Day 7: Big Fungus

Day 7:

Even when your bed stinks of dead animal, a soft bed made of wool is light years better than a cave floor. Even a dirt cave floor, but especially a stone cave floor. I think today marks the first day I woke up relatively warm and dry since I arrived.

Today marks a week since I woke up on the shore. At least, a week of days here – it still only feels like a few hours Company Standard time.

I ate the last of the bread. I have some mutton left over from yesterday and one solitary fish.

Since everything here seems to grow faster than it does at home, today I decided to start a garden. Cut down two sizable trees from near the shoreline, made some fence posts, and fenced off a bit of the water so that I don’t have to worry about errant cows or horses or zombies or whatnot wandering through.

(I guess the pony-sized spiders are still a threat, but since that first day I haven’t heard any hissing, so maybe they’ve moved on? Would migrating spider ponies be better or worse than spiders that stake out a territory and stay put? At least the 2nd one I can kill off and keep clear?)

I planted some grass seed and one lone carrot that I found a few days ago. (I think a zombie dropped it?) No idea if any of it will grow. If I die tomorrow, at least the Company will see I tried to survive.

I also found a big mushroom. I mean big. Like it was the same size as the tree that I took down to make the fence posts. At first I thought it was fantastic! I could use it to make things! It was soft and squishy and… and gross, actually. Mushrooms are not building material. But it does appear to be edible.

Either that or I ate some the day I arrived on this planet, I’m with my crew, and this is all some momentous hallucination.

It seems as reasonable as the idea that the concussions from being blown up… four? times now? are causing me to dream this whole thing.

I used to be able to make a mean portobello burger. This giant mushroom is almost exactly the right texture, and the flavor seems ok too. But I ate all the bread and I don’t have any flour. Or ketchup. I haven’t seen anything even remotely like a tomato yet.

But! Soup! I bet I could carve a bowl out of a rock or a chunk of wood or something and make soup. Oh cod soup would be perfect for eating in the cave.

And now I miss tea.

And now I’m sad and lonely again.

what a giant mushroom looks like
what a giant mushroom looks like

Day 6: soft and warm

Day 6:

Woke up this morning with a screaming headache and aching body. Our ancient ancestors invented clothes and beds for a reason, and that reason is sleeping in a cave sucks.

I’m down to one loaf of bread and one fish. Supplies are low, I’m grouchy, I ache all over, and I’m getting hungry.

I figured the best way to work out the kinks was a long walk, and for a change, there was nothing waiting outside my door to kill me today.

Directly to my west (I’m calling it west – hard to tell with no map – but it’s the direction the sun sets and that was good enough for Earthers so it’s good enough for me) I found a few chasms in the ground, which are pretty disturbing. Generally means there’s an even bigger chasm or cavern underground. I’ll have to watch my step or I’ll plummet to my death on this codforsaken rock.

Beyond that, I came across a nice, deep forest. Inside the first I passed some pigs! Actual pigs! Or at least what passes for pigs here! And beyond that, sheep! With sheep I could gather wool and then with wool, I could make a comfortable bed!

I wanted to just shear the sheep but I had neither clippers nor electricity. I tried to shear them with the stone sword I’d made (it’s really more of a knife… well, it’s a sharp thing that keeps the zombies back a few feet, anyway.) but they don’t stand still very well and I, well, I cut their throats by accident.

Hauling a few hundred pounds of sheep, wool, and remains all the way across that chasm was no picnic. Took most of the day.

And I have no idea how to cure a hide or anything like that. It wasn’t part of our emergency training. I’m sure I’m going to mess it up and end up sleeping on rotting sheep carcass. With my luck, the sheep will zombify and its skin will strangle me while I sleep.

Beats getting blown up, I guess.

I also found a vein of coal, right outside my door, where the horrible green monster blew up yesterday. I mined out the coal (and some granite), which means I’ve got supplies for making torches and fires for a while.

Tonight I’ll roast fresh mutton, feast, then sleep in front of a hot fire on top of a sheepskin in my shiny cave. It’s ridiculous to feel like I’ve accomplished anything when all I’ve done is be stranded for six days. And surely tomorrow The Company will come to find me.

Surely I’m not to be left here for dead.

I hope.

mutton leg and my knife
mutton leg and my knife

Day 5: Sort-of bomb proof

Day 5:

I miss my clock. Never thought I’d say that, since I’m one of those people who’s always late for everything. But it’s hard to work without a clock when you’re underground for hours at a time, because underground doesn’t change. It’s always damp, gloomy, and covered in rocks.

I mined enough andesite to line my entire cave with the tough and polished mineral. My home, for lack of a better word, is now grey and shiny.

And still cold and damp. I think I’m going to try to make a bed out of something. Grass, a horse hide, something.

The excitement of the day today came when I was digging out the last of the cave’s interior to put up the andesite ceiling. I broke through to the sky. The sun shone down on me, and a hideous green explody thing stared into my cave then blew up.

The good news: the monster (I’m sorry, I know we’re not supposed to judge xenobiological life forms, but it charges at me and explodes, it’s a monster) didn’t leave much of a crater and the andesite held up. Also: apparently I bounce off the back wall without significant injury.

The bad news: the explosion did take out the dirt walls of my spring, so my cave temporarily flooded. Also, the monster’s twin sister was waiting out the front door when I went outside to find some dirt to fix the flooding.

I’m exhausted, hungry, bruised, and concussed.

I worry that perhaps all of this is a concussion dream, or that I’m somewhere in a coma.

Tomorrow I’ll look for some kind of soft bed. That has to make things a little better. I hope.

my now-stone cave, flooding
my now-stone cave, flooding

Day 4: Not a Girl Scout

Day 4:

Spent the whole day polishing diorite and using it to build stronger walls in the cave. My hands are so dry from handling all the stone that I’m soaking them hourly (or what passes for hourly since I don’t have a clock) in the spring in the cave to keep the skin from cracking further. Would do anything for a drop-shipment of hand lotion.

The spring’s going to become a problem soon. Right now I have it contained in a little grass hollow, but if I’m going to protect the cave correctly, I’m going to have to dig underneath the hollow to reinforce it. Not sure how I’m going to do that yet without flooding out the cave. And I’d really really enjoy a day of sleeping on something that wasn’t soaking wet the whole night.

If that were the only thing I saw today, I’d consider it the most successfully calm day that I’d had since arriving (assuming you excuse the panicked activity trying to reinforce the cave with polished stone to keep the monsters from blowing up as “calm”).

But throughout the day I kept hearing a whispered hissing noise, like someone was really really bad at calling their cat and wanted the whole process to be a really loud secret.

Around dinner time, I took a glance out my door (I was smart enough to put a small window in it with my meager glass supplies) and saw a spider.

I know what you’re thinking: whoopee.

I neglected to mention that the spider was the size of a pony. Or maybe a cow. It was roughly the size of the cows I’d seen earlier this week, who by the way are strangely missing.

And it was standing outside my door.

In case you were wondering, it was not here to sell cookies.

I don’t know whether it was frustrated because I hadn’t answered the door all day or what, but as I watched the sun dip below the horizon behind the spider, the beast turned nasty, and charged the door.

I am safe inside my cave. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. I’ve still only carved out about a 10 meter by 10 meter space and roughly half that is lined with solid stone. The rest is still dirt (or worse, glass). I pray that the horrible green explody things don’t come in the night. I pray the spider doesn’t know how to dig. I pray my torches last until morning.

It’s still hissing. I doubt I’ll be sleeping tonight.

the view from my door of the pony spider, which did not bring cookies
the view from my door of the pony spider, which did not bring cookies

Day 3: OH COME ON

Day 3:

I AM SO FREAKED OUT I AM CODDAMNED SCREAMING.

So I totally missed dawn this morning because I found a huge vein of diorite and in my cave and I was busy mining it, but I realized that if I wanted to start growing my own food, that was probably safer to do when the zombies weren’t out.

(Did I mention that the zombies catch fire in the presence of sunlight? Massive exothermic reaction, but it’s not enough to keep them from trying to strangle me. One of them set my shirt on fire yesterday morning. I probably should’ve mentioned that in yesterday’s report.)

So I walk out the door — I replaced my rock pile with a proper door, by the way – and turn to close the door and a CODDAMNED REAL LIVE SKELETON (IF YOU WILL EXCUSE THE EXPRESSION) SHOT ME IN THE BACK WITH A BOW AND ARROW AND THEN (IT GETS BETTER) SOME OTHER WHACKADOO ANIMAL IN THIS CODFORSAKEN BACKWATER BILGE PUMP OF A PLANET BLEW UP.

BLEW. THE FLOCK. UP.

IT LEFT A CRATER.

It blew me halfway across what I’ve started to think of as my “front yard” and and totally stunned me. Took me a minute to get on my feet, the whole time I’m thinking “WOW MY HEAD HURTS” and “I BET EVERYTHING IS BROKEN” and “I’M SHOUTING IN MY HEAD BECAUSE I CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING FROM THE EXPLOSION”.

Then I realized that my meager supplies were in the cave right where the skeleton was. But then I realized that I could still remember the skeleton flying sideways during the explosion. Still, tried to get back to my cave because that’s what humans do, when in trouble we go get our stuff. Got all the way to the entrance, opened the door

AND GOT BLOWN UP AGAIN.

This time the crater in front of my door was so big that after the smoke cleared and I regained consciousness, I had to fill it in with random dirt I found around the area just so I could climb up to the door.

So: xenobiology report for the folks back at The Company when you get these files (if you ever get these files):

  • Horses. Black. Look just like horses.
  • Cows. Brown and white. Look just like cows. Moo like cows. Have not explored the milk part yet, need to catch one.
  • Chicken duck bird things. Look like chickens that are constantly judging me. Wait, chickens always look like that anyway. Large bill/beak things. Sound like chickens. Lay monstrous eggs, the cloaca on those things must take up most of their body mass.
  • Large green humanoid, outweighs me, wears clothes but doesn’t speak, always goes for the throat. May be capable of communicating but the whole “goes for the throat” thing really has me turned off of trying. When killed, disintegrates into dust. Also, strangely, the last one was carrying a carrot. So I have a carrot now.
  • Skeletal grey humanoid, around my size but doesn’t outweigh me, no clothing but uses a bow and arrow. Would attempt communication but IT’S SHOOTING AT ME so getting the hell under cover is my current plan of relations. When blown into smithereens by Hellish Green Thing (see below) disintegrates but SO DOES EVERYTHING ELSE so I’m not sure that counts.
  • HELLISH GREEN THING. OK, picture a small green head, no snout, eyes as big as dinner plates, on a long thin body and four tiny feet. No, that doesn’t work. OK picture a massive anaconda, one as big around as a standard human, with a head on top, but it’s only about feet long and walks around on 4 tiny feet, no tail. Still not quite there. Picture an anaconda crossed with poison ivy on the feet of a corgi and all of it – the anaconda, the poison ivy, the corgi feet, are the most explosive substance on earth.

It was raining at the time. Is it possible that the hellish green thing can’t mix with water? I don’t know. I really didn’t get a lot of time to study it before I was flat on my back on the other side of the hill.

Anyway, I decided that maybe some of this diorite would be best used to build a shelter that Hellish Green Thing might be able to blow up less-well than my current Cave of Dirt. Looks like my plans to go up on the mountain are delayed, since it’s more important to be safe where I am than killed by exploding creatures in the woods.

I guess it’s better for me to stay near the drop site for now anyway. I’ve only been here a few days. The Company could teleport me off-planet at any time, but only if they can find me.

I want to go home, move to the city, and surround myself with people.

Sketch of the skeleton outside my cave
Sketch of the skeleton outside my cave
The horror monster giraffe corgi camo thing
The horror monster giraffe corgi camo thing