MY NAME IS STEVE
Don't ask me what I'm doing here, because I don't know. One day, I woke up in the middle of a forest, covered in snow, devoid of all memory and sense of identity. Why? I have no clue. It almost doesn't matter.
I spent the first couple of hours calling for help, wandering around, hoping I'd find someone nearby. After a while, I came to the reluctant conclusion that I was well and truly isolated: no sound of human voices, no hum of tires on distant roadways; nothing but the trill of far off birds and rustling branches in the wind. There might have been a cow nearby from all the mooing, but I couldn't find it.
I might not have known who I am, or why I woke up in this snowy forest, but that didn't mean I was going to sit down and let depression take me along with the wolves. I needed a plan of action, needed to find a way to survive! But first, a man needs to know himself before he can trust himself, and because my old name was lost to my departed memory, I have decided to call myself Steve.
It's a good name.
I spent some time searching the area, looking for anything that might be useful to me. Tools and weapons would be my first priority--don't ask me how I knew, but I could tell the forest would be dangerous at night, something in my blood maybe. There wasn't much, not even a single fallen branch on the ground, just smooth snow and straight pine trees. I tried to grab hold of a few rocks peeking up from the soil, but they were firmly stuck. I'd need something to pry them free, or maybe break them away. I spotted a tree nearby and went to it, running my hands over the dark brown bark. It was a good tree, strong and healthy.
So I punched it.
Pulp and bark flew as my hard fists broke chunk after chunk away from the tree. I gritted my teeth against the jarring in my arms and kept going until the whole thing broke through and crashed to the ground. Chest heaving from the exertion, I gathered the wood and sat down, examining the pieces. I broke some of the longer chunks into thick sticks, then stabbed one of them into a flat piece of wood shaped like a blade.
I grinned as I hefted the wooden axe I'd made, then swung it around experimentally. It felt good. I used the axe to fell several more trees until I had enough wood to make all the tools I needed: a shovel, sword, and pickax--the latter of which I used to break those stubborn stones from the ground. I stowed the rocks away for later use and strapped the tools to my back. I kept the sword out though, the feeling of danger in the woods tickling the back of my mind. Thus armed, I set off in search of food and shelter.
I won't bore you with the details of my struggle against starvation and wolves. Suffice it to say, it was a struggle. I fought, bled, and conquered. I stumbled over hills and down into water-filled valleys, climbing trees to see the path ahead. I slew cows and ate their flesh to stay alive. I fell off cliffs and broke bones, spending days waiting for them to heal. I briefly marveled at how quickly the wounds mended, but wasted no time in pressing on once they did. At night times, I was attacked by monsters, proving my intuition about the forest to be correct. I hid from the darkness, lighting the small mud huts I'd built along the way with torches until the sun rose once again.
I never knew why the world I'd woken up in was filled with skeletons and zombies, but it didn't really matter, I bashed their heads in with stone swords nonetheless. There were more questions to be had than answers, and I knew I would never know the half of them.
I had to survive!
Weeks later, exhausted, clothes ripped and torn, blood from numerous cuts on my legs trailing into my socks, I finally found mountains. Majestic. I climbed them each, looking for the ideal spot to build a home, far away from the oppressive trees and monster-filled shadows of the forest.
I avoided the caves beneath those mountains, fearful of skeletons and massive spiders. I knew I would have to venture inside them eventually, but not then. I finally found a flat-topped peak that overlooked the forests to the east, and ocean to the west. From its heights, I would be able to see the whole land, and defend my homestead from intruders. It was good.
That was a few months ago. I've since become used to this way of life, in this strange land. The name of Steve fits me like a glove, and I am the master of my modest stone home. I've raised cattle, planted wheat, and baked bread. I've explored those mysterious caves and returned the victor, bringing home coal for fires, iron for tools and armor, precious gold and even a priceless diamond. I am king of all I see, master of this forsaken land.
And then yesterday, my house blew up. Not all of it, but a good chunk of the western corner. You see, I was up on the roof, placing some wooden shingles that had blown loose in a rain storm, when a creeper appeared from of nowhere. I tried to pull back out of sight, but he spotted me and exploded in a fit of suicidal rage.
Now, I might not have mentioned creepers before, but not because they don't bear describing.
I call them creepers, because that's what they do. I first discovered them while exploring my first cave, and let me tell you: damn. Those things are scary as all hell. On that first instance, I'd run out of torches, and was blindly trying to feel my way forward, stone sword at the ready, when a movement caught my eye. I backed away, stumbling into the light of my torches, my head filled with thoughts of spiders and zombies, but instead... something else emerged, creeping along the stone with four stubby legs attached to a long torso. Its face stared at me with a strange sadness, mouth gaping in a profound grimace, arm stumps wiggling uselessly at its shoulders.
I stared, horrified by this hideous beast, lulled into apathy with misplaced pity.
But when the creeper neared, I caught a whiff of gunpowder, and the cave filled with an ominous hissing. I came to my senses and tried to flee as the hissing reached a crescendo. The creeper writhed and pulsed, its mouth opening in agony only a split second before it exploded in a roar of fire and flying rock. I threw myself down, covering my head with my arms as flames billowed over me.
I almost died that day, and learned to fear the creeper above all others.
And so, my house in smoking splinters after the latest creeper attack, I knew I had to repair it quickly before night fell and I became easy meat for monsters. I stowed all my valuables in a chest and armed myself with seven stone axes and iron armor, prepared to gather as much wood as possible before nightfall. I headed down to the edges of the forest and spent all day felling trees, breaking their wood into rough chunks I could carry back.
But somehow during the hours spent sweating and breaking axes, I got lost.
As the sun turned orange and dipped toward the horizon, I knew I had to get to shelter--fast. These lands bred monsters, and the sun's rapid progress worried me. With nothing but my axes and the wooden boards I'd hewn, I dug a hole in the ground and prepared to wait out the night.
But before I finished plugging up the entrance, I was spotted.
I put the last board in place and listened with dread in the dark as a dozen clacking mandibles drooled at the thought of my sweet blood just overhead. Their filthy mouths squealed and their clawed legs thumped all around as they did a frenzied, pre-meal dance, waiting for me to emerge. I slept uneasily in the dirt, listening to the terrible sounds above. When the morning came, they were still there. I cleared my bleary eyes and fashioned a crude sword from some stone beneath my feet and wood from my pockets, vowing to at least go down with a fight.
With a deep breath, I broke through the wooden barrier and leapt to the offense!
"My name is STEEEEEVE!" I screamed in defiance, but there were too many!
I ducked and dodged, keeping my lightly armored limbs from the six spiders' poisoned fangs as I hacked at their hairy bodies. But they pressed in.
I tried to retreat, but my foot fell into the very hole I'd hidden in overnight, and I tripped. I landed heavily in the dirt, gazing at the patch of sunlight above through my pain. Somehow, I knew this was the sky I would die under. I thought about the cows in their pens, the sheep grazing peacefully by the golden wheat ready to be harvested. They would all wait forever for me to return. My house would remain on my mountain top, an empty monument to Steve, the only human to ever walk this world. Was it all for nothing? No. I'd survived, if only for a while.
I blinked and brought myself back to the present. I smiled grimly as the spiders tried to swarm into the small hole, but their disgusting bodies were too big. I hacked at them from below, killing several. Perhaps there was a chance--
My hope was short lived, and my stomach dropped as a creeper suddenly appeared, blindly following the spiders, hoping for an easy victim. How could my luck have been so horrible? I knew what was going to happen next. Adrenaline flashed through my veins and I threw myself back as the creeper toppled into the hole, coming to land in a heap not two feet from me. I was trapped! The cold dirt and unyielding stone pressed against my back as I turned away, squeezing my eyes shut as the dreaded sound filled the small hole....
One day, I woke up in the middle of a forest, covered in snow....