Chapter 1: A New World
This is the story of an unlikely assortment of people, all of whom have their own story and goals. At least, that was what the book Jack was reading was about. Thrilling adventure, a touch of romance and epic fight scenes plugged the right wires in his brain to actively follow his new favourite book series. Today a new addition just hit the stores, stacks lining every library window, the sweet smell of all those new books wafting over the heads of townsfolk.
But the saddest thing was, Jack couldn't get this book. Not today nor any other day of the year. Instead he had found himself in a dark, ivory vortex. Not a thing was clear to him on why he was in there, or how he managed to get there in the first place, but as he felt himself getting lurched into the heart of the storm, Jack knew something was afoot. In the centre of the vortex was a light, a light that shone closer an closer... Until Jack was falling. He didn't fall far, mind you, but it was enough to make his knees buckle. With a grunt he got back to his feet as soon as he was able to move his legs, and took a long look at the scene before him.
Everything that surrounded him was... Natural. The trees that swayed in the breeze, the clouds that hovered high in the sky. There was only one problem. Something he should have noticed from the very start. Though the trees and clouds were very beautiful indeed, all that surrounded him was...
"Square?!" Jack cried out, stumbling back. Indeed, not just squares, but everything was in the shape of a cube. Even the cow that grazed a few feet away was just a big rectangle with different colours! Jack looked down at his hands, and to his horror saw that he only had stubs. Where were his perfectly functional fingers?! He needed those for pointing, thumbing something up and- Jack felt even more traumatized by the fact he couldn't successfully give the finger to someone anymore. He gulped down his initial shock, and started to wander around.
Jack had first appeared in a light forest, trees here and there and the ground was littered with various flowers. Dandelions, azalea, he could only recognize a couple. It was... Serene, he thought. Peaceful, even. A small pond glittered in the distance. Jack ran, almost relieved, to the shimmering bed of water. He drank gratefully, the water enriching his body. Gasping for air long enough to catch his breath, Jack liked at his reflection. Even he was a cube. But that still didn't mask any of his features at all.
Ebony hair, a scrawny nose that had been broken a couple too many times, complimentary dark eyes, and Jack's pale face reflected back at himself through the clear water. He had been wearing the same clothes that he had that same day- jeans and a red sweatshirt with the string tied. At least that bit hadn't changed about him. Jack blinked, and jumped back as another face appeared in the water.
"You really shouldn't doze off like that. You'll end up dead sooner rather than later." a girl (he assumed so) with long red hair tied in a loose ponytail with big, blue eyes gave him a questioning look. She wore a simple green and navy blue plaid shirt and black yoga pants that fit around her waist comfortably.
"What was that for?" Jack panted, still recovering from the overwhelming shock.
"It's not like I tried to sneak up on you or anything! You just stood there staring all dramatically into the pool of thought!" the girl shrugged, extending a hand. "Seeing as we're the only two souls here... I'm Ami. It's, er, nice to meet you."
"Jack," he replied, shaking her hand. "Same goes to you."
The duo stood in silence for a few seconds until Ami cleared her throat. "So, what do we do from here, do ya figure?"
"Er," Jack glanced around. "A house or something would be nice to spend the night in." This world faintly reminded him of an old memory. No, he thought. That was the past, it had nothing to do with the problem at hand.
"Agreed," Ami nodded. "We should chop down some of these trees to start with."
Jack went up to a average Birch tree, rolling up his sleeves. It was them he realized he was missing something.
"We don't have an axe, do we?" he called.
"Negative. Just use your hand!" Ami punched the tree next to him, the segment disappearing. "See?" She held out her... 'Hand', the slab of wood suddenly there. "You can access your inventory with your brain. Cool, huh?"
He nodded, punching the tree himself. Then Jack focused, scrunching up his face. A faintly blue box appeared in front of his face, slightly transparent. Several boxes and even a view of himself presented itself before his eyes. In one of the boxes was an item labeled 'Birch Wood'. Jack smiled, dragging it over to the front most boxes. Suddenly a block of wood appeared in his hand, not different from the tree.
The time passed on, and it was apparent that the sky was getting darker every second.
"Hey, uh, don't mean to be a downer or anything, but we might need a house or something to sleep in." Ami called from several feet away, stopping her wood-chopping to wipe her sweaty brow.
"Well, we don't exactly have enough time to make a house before the sun sets... We can always sleep under the stars."
Ami perked up. "Really? I like staring up at the sky and sleeping! Let's call it a day."
Jack laughed. "Agreed."
They didn't have anything to make beds out of, so Jack and Ami made themselves comfortable on the cool grass. The stars peacefully glistened in the night sky. Ami had started pointing out several constellations to Jack.
"See that? That's the Little Dipper."
"Then where's the Big Dipper?" Jack asked, slightly confuddled.
"Just because they have half the same name doesn't mean they're in the sky, Jack."
"This is too confusing for my head." Jack closed his eyes, attempting to rub them with his stub of a hand.
Ami rolled her eyes. "You're just making it worse for yourself. We should at least try and sleep a little, if you wanna quit stargazing."
"Yeah," Jack nodded. "I'll think about this in the morning when I can't see it, maybe I'll get it then."
Ami giggled. "All right, g'nite."
The night was especially quiet, almost serene. Unfortunately Jack couldn't sleep at all, no matter how hard he tried. Not to mention he had a feeling someone- or something was watching them. The feeling wouldn't leave him at all, so with a heavy sigh he got to his feet. Ami was still and motionless, aside from the rhythmic breathing she kept a steady beat on. Jack stretched, his joints feeling like rubber. It was then that his eyes caught something in the dark. Something... almost camouflaged... it approached.
"A-Ami..." Jack stuttered out, shaking her with his foot. She grumbled awake shooting an annoyed look at him. "What...?"
Jack gulped. "Company."
A green creature walked on four stubby legs, just as tall as they were, padded in different shades of green. It's coal black eyes stared at them, blank of emotion. The thing's mouth hung open as well, giving it a peculiar look.
"Who are you?" Ami asked.
Jack hit her on the shoulder. "Ami! We don't even know if this thing is friendly! Let alone if it can talk!" She scowled. "I might as well try. We're in a different world, might as well make some friends." She took a few steps towards it and spoke again. "Can you help us? We're new here, and-" The creature started to make a sizzling noise, flashing a bright white, its body expanding so it became almost round. Something you wouldn't normally see in this world.
"GET DOWN!" Jack yelled, yanking Ami's arm and shoving her to the ground as a loud explosion echoed across the forest. He heard Ami scream, and felt a sharp pain himself. The dust settled, Jack and Ami both gazing bewildered at each other.
"I told you so." Jack panted.
"Let's get out of here," Ami squeaked, getting to her feet quickly. "I can't take this."
"Ami hold up! We can't split up!" Jack broke into a run to keep up with her, but he slowly started to slow down. "Wait!" he called desperately. His energy was fading fast, Jack's vision turning black. He crumpled to the ground in exhaustion, unable to continue any further. The last thing he saw was a faint light in the distance, and two figures running towards him.
"Jack? Jack!" Ami's voice grew faint. Jack couldn't respond, and finally fell unconscious.