If there is one thing I hate most in the world, it’s going out to kill animals.
Out of every job we can possibly assign to one another in Achievement City, hunting is probably the most boring. Especially since it’s a one person job, so there’s nobody to keep me company.
Somebody has to do it though, and today it’s my turn.
We have a pretty good system going in our little city. As if you can even call it a city. It’s compiled of just five of us. Geoff, Jack, Ryan, Ray, and myself, Michael.
Geoff is sort of like our boss or leader. He’ll tell us who does what as a job today, and he’s usually the one that builds all of the games we play for fun. Every Friday we all go to a new area where Geoff has built some huge crazy game that we all compete for. Sometimes Ryan will help him if it involves red stone torches.
But we all sort of work together like a little community, and we’re all really good friends. We even made a logo for ourselves once when we were all drunk, and Geoff ended up making a huge version of it out of wool in the center of our small city.
By city, I mean five houses. We seriously don’t even expand past having buildings for anything other than our own individual homes. Ryan’s is literally just this little attachment onto Geoff’s house that we lovingly call “Kung-Fu House.”
We’ve all been through a lot together, and I know that we all have each others backs. I’d fight to the death if it meant protecting those guys. We’re just one big, weird family.
But, of course, it’s more like an unspoken thing between all of us. We don’t go around saying sappy stuff like that. We spend our time beating the crap out of each other with swords, calling each other offensive names, and just treating each other like shit. It works for us.
Just because I’m content with being given a job, and I know that it’s not my first or last turn to go hunting, that doesn’t mean that I can’t complain to myself during it.
The only problem right now is that I’ve somehow gotten lost.
Out of everybody in Achievement City, I probably know my way around the least. Usually if I go out on my own, I don’t stray to far from the recognizable landmarks.
Once I’d gotten lost and the only way they were able to find me was to climb on top of Geoff’s huge house and keep watch for any signs of me wandering around trying to find my way back. I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to navigation.
I’ve never been so pissed off in my entire life. I should know these woods like the back of my hand, yet every tree I pass by looks so different and unfamiliar. I hasn’t come across any of the normal landmarks, and the more I walk around the more hopeless it seems.
To make matters worse it’s also night time. I’d left a few hours ago when it was still daylight out, and then as soon as it started to get dark I’d turned around to go back. Yeah, as if that worked. I am in the middle of butt fuck nowhere and I have no idea if I’m even heading in the right direction or not.
I can hear creepers hissing in the distance, but luckily I haven’t run into any yet. I’ve actually been pretty lucky to not see any monsters so far.
The only upside is that I have a torch with me, so at least it’s not completely dark and the guys might be able to see it if they’re on the look out. Plus, I’ve still got my diamond sword. Better that than nothing. Although taking a map with me before I left would have been very beneficial.
I briefly wonder if they’ve started searching for me yet, just seconds before something huge falls from the tree above me and it hangs down in front of my face.
Before I can even see what it is I have my diamond sword drawn and pointed at the thing.
My eyes widen when dim glow of the torch reflects off of an upside downperson. A guy, to be specific.
He’s hanging upside down from the tree branch effortlessly, just watching me with a small and innocent smile on his face. His face is completely level to mine, and I back away a few steps to get some space away from him.
We just stay there, completely still for a few moments. Neither of us moving expect for to study each others appearance. He seems just as curious as I do, but I have to put an end to it. It’s just getting weird.
I take a step back, but he doesn’t move other than cocking his head to the side in confusion.
"Uh… hello?" I question, and nudge his shoulder with my sword reluctantly. Even though it sounds foolish, I’m having a hard time believing that there’s actually a real guy hanging upside down in front of me.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen another person. Usually we’ll get people travelling through the forest who stumble upon our little city. We always have to have our guard up in case they’re bandits or thieves. But so far we’ve never gotten any of our supplies or resources stolen. That doesn’t mean we should slack though.
He just looks like a normal guy. He’s pretty skinny, messy light brown hair, probably a little bit taller than me. It’s hard to tell though since he’s hanging like that. The weirdest thing about him is his clothes.
His pants and shirt look pretty sloppily made, but it’s also easy to tell that it’s actual creeper skin, which is really odd. He’s covered in dirt and soot, but what concerns me is the amount of cuts and bruises that are decorating his body.Why would somebody be in the middle of the woods at night, all by themselves, dressed like a creeper!?
I look around, trying not to lift the torch away from the boy in case he decides to attack. All I can see of the surrounding area is darkness without the light, and even if there was light, all I’d end up seeing would be trees.
Where could he have come from? Why is he in a tree in the first place?
I’m snapped out of my thoughts when he swiftly jumps down from the tree, somehow flipping himself around in the air and landing on his feet without any hassle or indication of effort. I take a step back, but keep my sword up in case I have to attack.
Without even hesitating he looks up at me and gives me a huge grin.
"Stay back!" I yell once he takes a step towards me.
The smile doesn’t leave his face, but his eyes widen in amazement once he sees my sword. Usually I’d be a lot swifter, but this whole situation is kind of freaking me out. When he grabs the sword from my hands, I’m about to jump and grab it back from him. But surprisingly, he doesn’t hold it like he’s about to attack.
He just studies it as though he’s never seen one before.
I don’t think he’s dangerous.
Maybe thoughts like that will lead to my own death, but I think I just need to trust my gut here. There’s something odd about this guy. I’m still hesitant to trust him though, since I know nothing about him. He must have other people with him.
How could one person survive out here this long. It doesn’t look like he has any weapons and, judging by the way he’s looking at mine, he’s never seen one before either.
"That’s my sword." I state, "Give it back."
He looks up from it to give me a curious look.
"Hello? Can you hear me? I said give it back, you fucking moron." I yell, and make a grab for it. Without even flinching he just takes a step back so that I claw at the empty air where he once stood.
He goes back to look at the weapon, holding it closer to his face to see it better.
"Do you understand what I’m saying at all?" I question. It’s like dealing with a toddler.
Maybe he’s deaf. But he’s also never spoken a word this entire time. Deaf andmute? Doesn’t seem very likely. How could somebody survive out here by themselves without hearing. It’d be impossible to know if a creeper is sneaking up on you.
He doesn’t look up this time, but he turns the sword so that he can look at the handle. Once the blade part touches his bare fingers he lets it go like it’s fire. It drops to the ground with a slight clang noise, and I roll my eyes before picking it up and then putting it into the sheath on my back.
"Yeah, nice going, butter fingers." I mutter. When I look back at him I see that he’s cradling his hand with a concerned expression on his face.
"Are you okay?" I ask.
I want to curse at myself for being so worried. It’s just the pitiful look on his face makes me want to help him, and make sure he’s alright. I’m like a fucking mama bird watching out for her baby.
He holds his palm up, and I can see the blood dripping down his hand where he held the blade. He’s worse than a toddler. Even little kids know not to touch sharp things with their bare hands.
I put the torch down by our feet so that we can still sort of see each other in the darkness.
"Nice job." I scoff at him, and easily rip off a strip of fabric from my own shirt. I could easily just get Ryan to fix it once I get back home. It’s an old ratty one anyways, I probably would have ended up throwing it out after today.
Good thing I don’t give two shits about my clothing. The only thing I really care about is my bear skin jacket, that I’m also currently wearing right now. Bears are rare to come across, and even harder to kill. So wearing the skin of one is pretty cool.
I move to take his hand, but he quickly pulls it out of my reach, then cradles it toward his chest. He’s not smiling anymore, and just looks worried.
"It’s okay, I won’t hurt you." I try to say as softly as I can. It’s not very often that I have to be sweet and soothing for somebody else’s benefit.
Why the fuck do I even care about this guy anyway? Who the fuck is he? I could easily just leave him here and continue on, but something is pulling me towards helping him out somehow. I don’t know why, but I might as well just go with it.
I am lost in the forest after all, any company is better than no company.
I don’t reach forward to grab his hand anymore, but I just hold my own out. It takes a few moments, but eventually he relents and softly lays his injured hand in mine.
I give him a soft smile to let him know that he can trust me. He gives me a toothy grin back. I make a mental note that he changes emotions really quick.
"Man, you really banged yourself up with that sword." I mutter, while trying to examine the cut as best as I can. I’m not very good at healing or potions, usually Ryan deals with that kind of stuff. We don’t call him the genius of our group for nothing.
But since it’s still bleeding I decide to just wrap it up with the strip of material like I planned to do. It only takes a few moments, but once I knot it off the material is already soaked with blood.
Maybe I can take him back to Achievement City with me and get Ryan to fix him up. I’m talking about this guy as though he’s a lost puppy or stray cat.
Once I look back up at him, he grins even wider than before and looks at the makeshift band-aid with happiness. I just watch with amusement, at least when he studies this he won’t end up injuring himself.
How far away is he from his home? I know that there are other villages out there, but there aren’t any for miles from Achievement City. I couldn’t have gotten that lost.
"Do you understand me at all? Do you know English?" I ask, trying to speak slowly as though that could help him understand.
He just watches me with amused confusion, but I can tell that the words hold no meaning to him.
"Perfect." I groan, and roll my eyes in frustration. Only I would be unlucky enough to be lost in the woods with nobody to help me other than some strange creeper guy that doesn’t speak English, and has never seen a sword in his life.
"Perfect!" a voice chirps happily.
My eyes widen and I look up to see the boy’s smiling once again, as though he’s proud of himself.
"Did you just talk!?" I can’t stop myself from yelling, and I try to remind myself to keep it down. It’s night time and if any monsters come around then it isn’t going to be a pretty sight.
"Did you just talk." he repeats, mimicking the rise and fall of the words perfectly. If he doesn’t speak English, then he’s an expert at sounding like he’s fluent in it.
The only weird thing about it is that he talks with a British accent, the words rolling off of his tongue like honey. It makes me want to smack him because it just makes him even more attractive than he already is.
"So you can speak. Okay good.” I nod.
"So you can sp-" he begins, but I cut him off by covering his mouth with my hand.
"No." I state, slowly as though scolding a child. I’m about ready to rip my hair out with frustration. His face drops in confusion, but he doesn’t move my hand away from his mouth, or attempt to back away from it.
He just stands there, watching me. I don’t waver in my glare. I just continue to stare right into his eyes. It’s hard to make out what color they are when the only source of light is the small torch I’ve stuck into the ground at our feet.
I feel his smile forming behind my palm, and the playful mischief in his eyes entrance me. I move my hand away and let out a chuckle as he throws his head back in silent laughter. The only noise he makes are these small high pitched squeaking noises that are actually really adorable. He’s very easily amused.
"You probably don’t understand this," I say, "but I’m Michael."
"Michael." he repeats, his British like accent butchers the names and makes it sound funny. He seems almost confused by the word. It’s like he understands that it’s more important than the others, and he’s wracking his brain for the reason why.
"Yeah. Michael." this time I point my finger towards myself.
His eyes widen with realization and he nods quickly, “Michael!” he points at me too.
Judging by that glint in his eye and the excited smile, he understands that it’s my name.
"Yes!" I grin, nodding along with him.
"Gavin!" he states loudly, pointing at himself.
It’s a word I’ve never heard before in my entire life, and for a moment I think that maybe he’s trying to speak to me in his native tongue. His face drops and his eyebrows furrow in frustration once he realizes that I don’t get it.
"Michael." he points at me.
I nod, understanding that part. It’s like he’s flipped the situation so now I’m the child-like one instead of him.
He turns his finger away from me, and points to himself once again, “Gavin.”
Realization dawns on me and I want to smack myself in the forehead. “Oh! I get it. Your name is Gavin?”
He nods enthusiastically, probably not understanding my sentence, but my facial expressions must be enough for him to read.
"Your name is Gavin!" he states, repeating my words.
"No, no, no." I mutter, and pinch the bridge of my nose while squeezing my eyes tight. I know that he understands, and is just re-saying what I’m saying in an attempt to communicate, but I need to teach him the basics if I’m going to continue this… whatever this is.
"No?" he asks softly, his smiling dropping once he realizes that he’s wrong. At least he understands the difference between yes and no.
“My name is Michael.” I state clearly, and then look him in the eyes, trying to convey without words that I want him to go from that. It’s difficult to speak to somebody if you don’t know their language.
Confusion clouds his eyes for a few minutes, and I can practically see the gears in his brain trying to figure it out. “My name… is Gavin?” he tries, pointing towards himself. “Your name… is Michael?”
"Yes!" I shout in celebration, throwing my hands up.
He’s a fast learner.
Gavin squeals excitedly while bouncing slightly in place. It’s pretty adorable, if I have to admit it.
The happy moment is ruined when I hear that familiar uneasy hissing sound.
There are creepers nearby, and they’ve probably heard us. It won’t be very hard to find us, especially since we have a light.
I’m overcome with the surge to protect Gavin and help him get to safety with me. It’s the same feeling I get if I’m out with any of the other guys and we run into trouble along the way.
He’s just so oblivious and innocent that I don’t think he’d be able to protect himself in situations like this if he was on his own. I have no idea how he’s stayed alive so long.
But that’s something to worry about another time. Right now we’ve gotta get out of here.
"Come on, Gavin." I say, picking up the torch from the ground, and grabbing his unbandaged hand into my own. "There are creepers nearby, we need to get someplace safe."
I’m about to start running, but then I realize that he’s not moving at all from his place. Not even when I give his hand a gentle tug. I sigh angrily, “Come on!”
He seems almost amused at my behavior, and gives me a look that conveys the message ‘What’s wrong? Why are you so scared?’
I can hear the hissing get louder, and I know that there’s probably a pack of them nearby. Goddammit, this is seriously not the time to be going over the danger of creepers with an idiotic non-English speaking man child in the middle of the fucking woods!
I grow too frustrated to be nice to him, and roughly pull his hand so that he has no choice but to topple towards me. I’m not going to let him get killed because of his own incompetence.
He makes a strangled whining noise and I roll my eyes. What a baby. It’s like when you tell a dog not to eat chocolate because it’s bad for them, but they don’t understand that and whimper when you take it away.
I begin running, still pulling him along after me. He’s stumbling and trying his hardest to keep up, but I know I can’t slow down. The creeper noises are closing in, and I know if it was daylight we would have seen them by now.
I frantically move around the torch, trying to get as much light in front of me as possible so that I can see which direction I’m heading in. It would be pretty rotten luck to bang into a tree right now.
Trees should be the least of my concern though, because I immediately come to a halt when I see a creeper standing no more than five feet in front of us. Gavin crashes into my back and it almost sends us both toppling to the ground, but luckily I’m able to hold us upright.
I’m about to run to the left, but I see another creeper there. Fuck, there’s another one on the right of us too. They’re closing in, but as far as I can tell there are only three or four. Our chances are slim, but that’s better than nothing at all.
It’s time to fight, so I let go of Gavin’s hand, and put the torch in it instead. I hear him gasp loudly when I take my sword out of it’s sheath on my back. I don’t pay any attention to him though, and hold it out, ready to battle our way through this mess. I’m not prepared to go down without a fight.
"No!" Gavin cries. I can hear worry, fear, and panic in his voice, and it confuses me for a moment. Does he not understand what’s going on? He must have seen a creeper before since he’s wearing the skin of one. If you’ve seen a creeper then you must know how dangerous they are.
He reaches forward and grabs the handle of the sword, then tries to point it downward and away from the creatures. I don’t even notice that they’ve stopped coming near us.
"Gavin! Fucking stop, you idiot!" I yell, trying to get the sword out of his reach. It’s not hard to pull it away from him since he’s only able to hold it with one hand.
"No, Michael!" he yells back, forcing me to look into his eyes. I can’t explain what it is, but something about the passionate worry in his eyes makes me stop.
We stay there for a few seconds, just staring at each other.
He takes a hesitant step back, still watching me, making sure that I don’t make a move.
I’m just frozen in shock and confusion. What the hell is he doing? Does he have a death wish?
Gavin turns away from me, and faces the creeper that’s nearest to us. He walks towards it a little as though there’s no need to be afraid of it, and begins hissing.
My eyes go wide and my jaw is slack at the sound of it. Gavin is making the exact same noises as a creeper. That eerie hissing noise that I’m so used to hearing and running from. The only emotion I can process through my head right now is shock and amazement.
And then the creeper starts hissing right back, as though they’re having a goddamn conversation! The other creepers that are surrounding us join in and Gavin turns to hiss at each one, as though he’s trying to explain something to all of them.
The fucking guy doesn’t know English but he knows creeper!?
I’m knocked out of my shocked state though when one starts to walk towards Gavin a little more. They were already a little too close to him for comfort, but seeing them move towards him makes me panic. He holds out his hand to touch it’s head and judging by the smile on his face he doesn’t understand what that could mean. Creepers explode if you touch them or get too close!
Without thinking it through I yell, “Gavin, no!” at the top of my lungs, raising my sword up again, ready to fight them away from him.
The sound of my yell must cause the creeper to panic, because it backs away from Gavin quickly, but I still see it flashing like a TNT.
Before I close my eyes, bracing myself for the impact of the explosion, I see Gavin run after me. Fear and panic washing through his eyes once again. He grabs my hand, much like I did with him a few moments earlier, and he pulls me along quickly, planning to run away before it can erupt.
But it’s too late, and the creeper explodes.
I feel myself being thrown backwards. I can’t make out anything other than the loud boom that leaves my ears painfully ringing. Everything’s moving so fast in front of my eyes that I can’t make out what anything is. I see bright lights, and darkness whiz past at once like some kind of incomprehensible show.
I close my eyes once I land and I’m pretty sure I’ve landed on the hard ground, even though my back feels numb to it. For a few glorious seconds I can’t see or hear anything. It’s peaceful, and quiet. No worries about Gavin, creepers, or my friends that are probably still out looking for me crosses my mind.
Then it all comes back once I open up my eyes. I see Gavin looking down at me, he’s yelling stuff but my hears are still ringing so I can’t hear him very well. Just the incomprehensible echoes of sound that don’t match up with his lips.
He’s really blurry too, so I blink my eyes a few times to focus on him a little more. It seems to work, and I’m able to tell that he’s okay.
It doesn’t look like he’s taken any damage from the explosion. I can only pray that it didn’t set off the other creepers or we’ll be in an even bigger battle field than we already are.
But I don’t think about that stuff right now. I focus on Gavin, trying to look deeper into his eyes. Letting the panicked concern I can see swimming in them relax me more and more. I seem delirious, and I briefly wonder if this is what it feels like to die.
I look away from his eyes and toward his mouth, which is moving frantically. I still can’t see much of him, and I assume it’s because the torch is almost completely out. My image of him gets darker and darker as I keep focusing on his lips.
It’s only right before I black out that I finally hear what he’s been screaming out the entire time.