Death and Immortality,
a blessing and a curse.
Trapped in a reality
where you don't know which is worse.
I walk along an aesthetic beach, studying my surroundings as I have done so many times before. Everything is the same. The buildings are the same, the lake is the same, the trees are the same, the grass is the same. I sigh, I don't feel like tearing down everything again only to put it back up in a different style. Again.
I sit on a bench, one I made long ago, and watch a pig snorting around near some grass. The animals are the only things that ever change, but the novelty has quickly disappeared; if you've seen one chicken, you've seen them all.
I close my eyes and lean my head back, trying to fall asleep. I'm not worried about the Mobs that the night will bring, I've obliterated the chance of them spawning by lighting the whole world. And even if they could spawn, they can't kill me, I have spent months perfecting my armour, if they get past that, I still won't die. I'll just appear on my bed, startled from my rest. There is no way I'll ever die, this curse has made sure of that. Besides, at this point, death would be a gift.
I feel myself drifting off to sleep, and a smile appears on my face. Sleep is my only escape from from this prison that I call home. Only in dreams do I find myself away from this world. My dreams are always filled with happiness, even the nightmares, because they all take place far from this life. Sadly, they cannot last forever.
I drift away, but I don't find myself in a world of wonder, the world is black, nothing around me, Something's wrong. This has never happened before.
A castle forms around me, one that I am very familiar with, as it is one I have walked in many times. But it seems darker than usual. I wonder if the castle still stands, I don't remember destroying it, so it most likely lives. Tapping sounds down the stone brick hall that draws my attention. Unwillingly, my feet lead me towards the noise. Two forms appear from the darkness, one stays dark and I assume it is the other's shadow. The other slowly appears, like he is fading into existence. I am shocked when I see that it is myself, I've never been third-person view in my dreams. Perhaps this is a memory? But why do I have a third-person view, instead of my own? That does not make sense, unless this memory belongs to someone else. That makes even less sense, in my hundreds of years of living, I have never seen another living being like myself. Then could this be the memory of an animal? No. Animals never entered the castle, and if one of them did without my knowing, why am I able to relive this moment in its life?
The other me walks down the hallway, placing down torches as he goes. I can remember this faintly, it has been so long. I believe it was one-hundred years ago? Maybe two? No matter. That fact does not seem important at this time, so I allow it to stay buried in my mind. He stops every once in a while to make sure the torches are centered, I recall that used to be something I cared about, when I built not out of boredom, but because I actually enjoyed it. That enjoyment left with the years, following them away from me as though I am a disease.
A groan echos throughout the then-new castle, a groan filled with hunger and desperation. I recognize it instantaneously, it's the sound a zombie makes when it picks up my scent. This must have been before I learned to light my builds while I was building them. My double looks right at me when his eyes search for the cause of the noise, his gaze passes over as though I'm not even here.
Out of the darkness emerges the creature, limping slightly, though that doesn't deter it from trying to attack. The other me simply takes out a diamond sword and dispatches the zombie, which disappears into a puff of smoke, leaving behind a small pile of its rotten flesh. He turns to go back to work, but an arrow flies threw the air, and hits him in the back of the head. He falls to the ground, unconscious. I try to go check on him, I don't remember this at all, but my legs refuse to move, as though they are glued to the ground beneath me.
This has all taken place in the time span of a few seconds, but it was long enough for me to notice the dark form I thought to be a shadow, was not acting like a shadow. It holds still, as if observing; and though I appear to be without form, and it without a face, it looks at me. Just for a moment. For this entire moment I feel chills run down my back, this form is familiar to me, yet I can't recall ever seeing it. It looks away, and I relax.
I find that I still can't move as another arrow pierces through the darkness towards the man on the ground. The strange form steps in the way, and the arrow dissolves when it touches the form. Bones clank together as the skeleton nears, trying to find an opening so it can shoot the other me, but the shadow moves with it, shielding the unconscious man from death. What is this thing? How come I've never seen it before? Did this even happen? It must have, none of my dreams ever stay in my prison.
Apparently the skeleton has gotten too close for the figure's liking, as it lunges forwards and touches it. What happened to the arrow is now happening to the Mob, and it looks like it hurts. The monster writhes in pain, bones clanking together as it futilely tries to escape. The arm that the shadow is holding dissolves first, then slowly the rest of it turns black and crumbles to dust.
The black form stands there for a moment, like it's listening for more creatures of the night. Satisfied that there is no more immediate danger, it rips a banner off the wall and wraps my double in it while picking him up bridal style, being careful to not touch his skin. It looks at me again, and disappears into the darkness, fading into nothing.
The castle fades away into one of my bedrooms, I remember I used this one while building the castle. It's very simple, just a small room built into a hillside with a bed and fireplace. The form appears in the corner, still holding what seems to truly be my younger self. It notes that I am also in the room, and sets its cargo down gently on the bed. The fireplace blazes to life, warming the room, yet somehow failing to light it.
The figure disappears again, but not before nodding at me in farewell, and the fire brightens dramatically. I only have time to come to the conclusion that the figure was obstructing the light somehow, before I am whisked away again.
There is a bright light for a moment, then it dims, and I can see a town. A memory dances on the edge of my consciousness, but every time I try to grab it, it darts away. I decide to just leave it be, and survey the town. It looks like one of my earlier creations, made of only stone and wood. One thing I do remember is tearing it down, block by block, just for something to do. A gentle breeze slips in between the building delicately, bringing with it the scent of wildflowers. I take a deep breath, it has been so long I've seen -or smelled- anything close to wild. I start a little when the wind plays with my brown hair, making it swirl round my head, happy that it can manipulate the small strands. Wind is never is my dreams, neither is smell. But I'm starting to doubt that this is a dream at all. Perhaps I have been transported to the past somehow? Not likely.
The sound of blocks being placed enters my ears. I find I have control of myself this time as I walk towards the noise. I see a man, who I assume to be another younger me, seeing as this seems to be another memory. Maybe this is the one that evades me.
He is so focused, he doesn't notice the sun setting softly on the ocean horizon, nor hear the moans, clanks, and hisses of the Mobs coming out to play. He keeps building even as a Creeper steps out from some grass and walks towards him speedily with its four green legs.
The explosion echoes through the unfinished town. It only knocks me back a few blocks, which is odd seeing as I was standing right beside the Mob when it decided to suicide. However the younger version of myself isn't as lucky. The Creeper was below him, so the force sends him flying into the air. He yells in surprise as he goes up, and back down again. He hits the ground with a sickening Crack! I expect his items to fall to the ground and him turn into a puff of smoke, but that doesn't happen. He just lies there, awake and yet not. This is in fact the memory that escapes my grasp, I realize. It is fuzzy with age, but I remember falling to what I presumed was my death,
More Mobs choose to show themselves, walking past me to the prone form on the ground. They hesitate slightly when a shadow steps over him, but once again began their attack. I blink, it's the same shadow thing from before, or later I guess? Since I know this happened before the castle, but- gah! Never mind. It's the same dark form, which is evident from the arrows disappearing once they hit it. There is something different about it, which I quickly realize is that it isn't as dark. I can make out the shape of eyes, a nose, and a mouth, but that is it.
It waits until the Mobs are nearly upon it, then swipes with its hand, briefly touching all the Mobs before turning and doing the same to the other side. The reaction is instantaneous, some pull away with cries of pain, and retreat as a dark spot appears where the shadow touched them, the dark spots spread as they run, and once it consumes them, they blow away in the breeze as tiny dust particles. The rest of the creatures of night lunge at the dark form, which turns out to be a mistake as they are treated to the same treatment as the skeleton in the castle. The shadow moves so fast I cannot follow its movements, it looks like it has grown more arms as it speedily grabs each Mob and disintegrates them. The hostile creatures' remains float in the air, appearing as ash from a fire, but darker.
The shadow surveys the area, as it did in the castle, searching for more enemies. Seeing none, it grabs some tall grass, and uses it like a blanket to wrap the younger me in it. Things play out as it did in the castle, with the shadow bringing the unconscious man to his current home of residence. Again it sees me, and again it gives a nod and disappears.
This happens over and over, I fade into a new scenery, the younger me is knocked unconscious, then the shadow brings him back home. Showing all the times I thought I had died, and a glitch allowed me to keep my items. There are only two really noticeable differences in all these... visions I guess I can call them. One: I appear to be getting younger and younger in the visions, I do not change physically, as I can only remember looking like this, but I can tell by the way I hold myself, standing straighter, more of a spark in my eyes, looking less worn. And two: the shadow is becoming less of a shadow, and more of a person, by the time the visions stop, I can make out brown hair, tan skin, a nose, a mouth, and his -it looks male- clothing which strongly resembles mine. The only thing about him I cannot see clearly are his eyes.
The scene changes from the shadow saving me from a cave in, to blank. Completely blank, pure white. Nothing in every direction. Then,
I turn around quickly, jumping at the sight of a child that looks oddly familiar. The child has shaggy brown hair, and is very skinny, as though he had never eaten a real meal. Tears pour from big blue eyes and sympathy fills me. I kneel down. "Hi, there," I say, "are you okay?"
The young boy's eyes pass over me, letting me know he can't see me, so is this another vision? But why the kid? "Is anybody there?" the child calls out, walking around as though looking for something, and appearing very frightened. With every step he takes, life in the form of trees, flowers, and animals bloom from the blank white. He either can't see a world forming around him, or he doesn't care as he continues his quest to find... whatever it is he's looking for.
He continues to call out in the hopes that someone will hear him. I desperately wish that he could see me, to know that he's not alone. I understand the feeling of loneliness that he must be experiencing, I have been alone all my life, but I feel like he has it worse, he is a child who has no one. While I am used to having no companion, he is not.
In minutes the white is gone completely, cast from this place by the boy's steps. He acts like nothing has happened, as though the forest now surrounding us has always been here. A form materializes in the darkness cast by the trees, I recognize the form as the shadow man. I can finally see his eyes, which to my surprise are a glowing pure white, much like the blank that surrounded me not too long ago. But it doesn't bother me much, the man and the kid are the only other people I've seen, for all I know the kid and I are weird, and the man is completely normal.
Even though I am unfazed by the man's eyes, the child isn't. As soon as he spots those dots of light in the trees, he bolts away. The man follows him, and I follow the man, which is much more difficult than it sounds as the man is teleporting everywhere, seeming to herd the child in a certain direction. I lose them a couple of times, but then the scene changes and they are once again in view. It's as though what ever that is causing these visions wants me to see where they are going... I resist from smacking my head into a tree as hard as I can, even if that will probably yield no pain. Did I truly just think that? Why is it that living over a hundred-thousand years has still not improved my intellect enough to realize that obviously whatever is controlling the visions would want me to see this, otherwise what is the point of the vision?
Just as I finish berating myself for that inane thought, a simple cabin comes into view. So simple, actually, that I can describe it in four words: Worn down, and quaint. Yes, quaint suits it nicely with only one layer one wood for walls and a traditional triangular shape of brick for the roof. The kid rushes inside the house for safety, and peers out of one of the small windows to the day beyond. However that day is quickly turning to night, and the sounds of the Mobs can be heard very clearly.
Time speeds up, night turning to day, and vise versa. The child leaves the window and rushes around, growing older, while the man with white eyes comes every so often to leave something at the door. The house and the surroundings also change, the trees disappear and the house expands, at one point it even changes shape. Everything slows again, and the young boy is no longer young. Well, he is, in the sense that he is now a young man, instead of a child.
He is inside the once-small house, and suddenly, so am I. A knock at the door makes him grab a iron sword. The sight is peculiar, I haven't seen an iron sword in... it was so long ago I cannot remember. He opens the door quickly and stabs at the air. Seeing no zombie wishing to feast on him, he glances down. An expression of puzzlement forms on his face, also puzzled, I follow his gaze with my eyes and can't help but let out a gasp. On the ground is a bundle of clothes, on them is a note that reads: "To Steve" which, though I am very much shocked by the revelation that the child was me when I first appeared in this cursed world, I can't help but think the note is unnecessary. Unless... I look up at the window, through it I see the man smiling at me. Not the past me, but the actual me.
I close my eyes to blink, but instead I wake up. My eyes are still closed, and I can feel the cold diamond of my armour pressing into my skin. The inside of my eyelids is bright from the light of the sun. I must have slept through the night.
My eyes take a moment to adjust to the light when I open them, only for me to find out that the light is not coming from the sun, but from the man's eyes. He's standing in front of the bench I'm seated on, smiling just like in the dream, but sadly. He reaches out a hand, and before I can react, he briefly touches my own hand. I expect pain to shoot through my nerves, but none comes, instead there is a pleasant airy feeling. The hand he touched isn't turning black, but white. By the time the white reaches my elbow, my fingers have begun disintegrating, the small particles floating up away into the sky. Despite all the white surrounding me, the world is turning black. A comforting black that promises freedom. I feel...free.
The Trapped's remains escape into the dark night, up beyond the clouds. With a sigh, the Protector follows. The world beneath him falling into dust, deleted.
The ashes of the Trapped reform into a little girl with red hair and green eyes. Male or female, Alex or Steve, the Trapped always changed when the world was restarted. The only thing that never changed, no matter how many restarts there was, was the Protector; who always kept the form of Steve, only differing in eyes. The Trapped and the Protector were created to fill the universe, to banish the nothingness that had resided there.
The little girl began to search, for what, she didn't know. But the Protector did, she was looking for her old life. Though the Trapped always wished for change, it was never ready when it did come.
Life is not worth living
when you've lived all lives.
And giving up
will save you
for only a short time.