I roll over on the cold, flattened grass. My heart is beating out of my chest. I stare up into the sky, not looking around whatsoever, focused in on an incredibly rectangular cloud. There were distinct plains, running perpendicular and parallel to one another, outlining the sharp edges of such a soft, gentle feature of the sky. It feels as though I’ve fallen 6,000 feet and landed directly on my back. I’m stiffer than a fence post, but need to get a grasp of what’s going on, so I slowly begin to sit up. Before the world can be fully laid upon my vision, I feel as though I’m going to pass out again.
This can’t be real.
But it is. Everything before me looks just as the cloud did: completely square with harsh 90 degree angles at each corner. I can’t believe my eyes. While this would be the moment in time that most would completely break down mentally, I instead come to my senses and realize that there is clearly something wrong. This all feels…so…real. I don’t know anything about this world before me, but what I do know is I need to prepare and protect myself.
I steadily make my way to a standing position and look around me in all directions. To the north is a ledge that seems to drop off into a never ending abyss. To my east is a mountain with a waterfall running down it that turns into a beautiful river wrapping its way through every type of tree imaginable. To the south lies a village, featuring a blacksmith’s forge, a church, a library, a well and more, with strange looking townspeople, equipped with aprons, straw hats, monocles and so on. Finally, to the west, a treacherous chasm running through a blistering hot desert. There appears to be an oasis further out in the desert–or is it just a mirage?
Maybe I should go to the village and ask for assistance…
But… What if they speak a different language? What if they’re hostile..?! I guess it’s my best option regardless…
I brush myself off and head on my way towards the village. The path is just dead, trampled grass, clearly taking shape from being used frequently.
Have I been dropped into some alternate dimension..?
As I approach the outskirts of the town, a villager with a long, droopy, rectangular nose waddles over to me with two llamas pulled by a leash directly behind. He looks at me curiously, but doesn’t speak.
“Oh…hello there! Could you by any chance tell me where I am?”
The villager stares me directly in the eyes and silence follows for a solid 30 seconds. Just as I’m about to speak again, he opens his mouth.
I stare at him more intently than before, raising my eyebrows in confusion.
That is all the proof I need. We don’t speak the same language, but they seem friendly. He extends a bag of goods, and out of respect I take it and begin rummaging through. I stumble upon an axe with a sturdy wooden handle and precisely shaped iron blade. I remove it from the bag and hold it up to the sky. It’s beautiful. I look at the man with desperate eyes, clearly conveying the message that I need this but cannot pay for it.
“Hhmmm. Heh!” he says, nodding as if to tell me I’m free to take the axe for no payment. I drop to my knees and thank the man repeatedly before standing up and saying goodbye, heading further into town. I visit the blacksmith and am offered a chain vest to protect me from skeletal archers that seem to roam the land. I stop at the library and learn spells to empower my axe with the ability to more effectively fight off the undead. I drop into the cartographer’s shop and acquire a map of the landscape. I plow the fields with the farmers and am rewarded with delicious produce to cook later over a fire. I join an old, wise fisherman on his boat to catch some salmon to enjoy with dinner. Things are going well.
Come evening, I’ve achieved a great deal. I sit on a couple cubes of hay as I cook a meal over a beautiful and warm fire. I’ve found a cave feature that appears to have once been behind a waterfall, though the water has since all dried up, which is where I am now. I’ve carved a pumpkin to protect myself against a tall, slender, black creature with glowing purple eyes that appears to live in these parts. I have my chainmail to protect from skeletons. My axe is enchanted with ancient power to fight against zombies. I have torches to burn up and fight off the large spiders that lurk in the shadows.
“All bases covered…what could possibly go wrong?” I say proudly, stepping out of the cave and into the moonlight. I take a deep breath, prepared and overwhelmingly excited to take on this blocky world. I smile out at the village, dimly lit on the horizon, and turn around to head back into the cave for the night. As I do, I’m suddenly face-to-face with a tall, green, lumpy creature with no arms and four legs. It has the face of a murder victim screaming for their life the second before they die. And that is the last thought that goes through my head as the creature begins hissing and sizzling, growing in size, ultimately blowing up like a grenade in my chest.
I wake up in the cold, bright room of The Clark & Hoit Simulation Center that I entered the virtual world through.
“Here is your $500, sir. We appreciating you trying out the new technology.”