• Published 9th Sep 2012
  • 18,203 Views, 957 Comments

Human Nature - Blank Page



Torn from his world and thrust into another, Hunter Grey struggles to survive in the alien land of Equestria.

  • ...
86
 957
 18,203

Act I: Extreme Camping

It was my family's first time to go camping, so it was only natural for us to be excited. I mean, it's camping, right? As an added bonus, I was going to miss a full week of school. Yep, it was no one other than the Gray family: my mom, dad, and two younger brothers, Tanner and Brandon. After months of planning this trip, we were finally prepared to tackle whatever Mother Nature had in store for us. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

We arrived at the clearing in the forest that would soon become our sanctuary from the elements for the next few days. We piled out of the RV we rented for the trip and almost immediately began constructing what was sure to be the greatest campsite ever. A few painstakingly long hours later, the campsite was made. Well... mostly made. The fire was already dying into a smoldering pit of ashes and the tents looked as if they were ready to fall apart at any moment. Cut us some slack, it was our first go at it.

Our pitiful condition wasn't unknown to us and my father decided to take command. "Alright, may I be first to say that this camp looks like crap." Good ole dad. He always knew the right thing to say. "We need to step up our game, pronto. Honey, you, Tanner, and Brandon get to work on fixing those tents. I'll get the grub cooking. Hunter," he directed his attention to me, "I want you to go get some more firewood. Here, take this, too," he handed me a hatchet, "just in case you have to break some wood."

I held the hatchet in my hands. It was a tad bit heavier than I anticipated. The blade was much sharper, too, which would definitely help. I lazily swung it down to my side. "Yeah, I can do that."

My father planted his hand on my shoulder. "Good, don't let me down."

As I left the campsite and entered the woods I could hear my mom trying to convince Dad to trade jobs with her. I silently prayed that she was successful; remembering the last time Dad tried making a meal from scratch. A shudder ran up my sign as I remember the "Man stew's" bitter taste.

After a few minutes of wandering around, I had collected a decent amount of firewood. As I headed back to the camp a movement to the right caught my eye. Now, I've seen my fair share of horror movies to know what was about to go down, but my logical self assured me I was just seeing things. I continued to the campsite. This time, though, with a quicker pace. Another movement; this time to the left. I could have sworn I heard a dog panting. I quickened to a jog. Something snapped behind me. I whirled around to face the cause of the noise. Nothing was in plain sight. Fear pulsed through my mind as my imagination began to play with the environment. I could have sworn I saw two yellow, glowing spots in a bush. They almost looked like eyes. Eyes that were staring directly into mine. A chill ran through my veins, causing goosebumps to line my arms. I was officially terrified now.

I sprinted to the camp, adrenaline coursing through my body. The ground suddenly pulled itself up to greet my face. I must have tripped over a root in my rush. Or was it a demonic hand trying to drag me into a deep, dark abyss? Maybe it was the tail of a carnivorous beast that could easily swallow me whole? Perhaps it was a tripwire that was slowly setting in motion the contraption that would ultimately end in my untimely demise? Would I dare look?

It was a branch. Just a silly old branch. I chuckled at how stupid I was to think that an ordinary branch could have possibly

It started moving. The branch rose up from the dirt on four legs made of twisted vines and branches. A closer look revealed its entire canine body was fashioned in a similar manner. As it slowly turned its wooden skull towards me, I could see its pure, yellow, glowing soulless eyes. It growled. Oh, sweet mercy, I'll never forget that growl. It sounded as if somebody took a large branch and scraped it across pavement as slowly as possible. I heard it behind me, too. I shot up from my prone position and twirled around to find six others between me and the campsite. To my displeasure, they were large; each one rose at least up to my stomach in height. They looked angry... and hungry.

Every fiber of my being screamed at me to run. My eyes darted from left to right, desperate to find an escape. The abominations were everywhere... except there! There was a small gap between two of them. The path would lead me further from the campsite, but I would prefer it rather than become dog/plant food. I tightly gripped my hatchet, my sole tool of defense, and charged to the gap. The two creatures, or “timber wolves” as I decided to dub them, leaped up to meet me. I instinctively ducked down in mid-sprint. Their claws barely grazed my back. Though they didn't apply enough pressure to rip open my back, I could tell that the claws were sharp enough that it wouldn't require much for them to do so. With a clear exit, I ran like my life depended on it. Heck, my life did depend on it.

The chase began. As I ran deeper and deeper into the forest, the timber wolves were right on my heels. I was running for what felt an eternity until I entered an open field in the woods.. I glanced behind me to discover the amount of my pursuers had doubled. I made it halfway across the clearing when I was assaulted by an invisible force. I fell down on my back, dazed by the abrupt stop. The timber wolves had me surrounded. I scrambled as far away from them as I could. My back hit the unseen resistance.

Colors warped around me as the barrier caved inward. With my hand that didn't have a death grip on the hatchet I felt the strange substance. It was smooth, like a silky fabric. It was thin, too; almost as if I could cut through it with something sharp.

Something sharp...

I turned around and slashed the hatchet through the barrier. The result was very... interesting. It was hard to describe, really. Through the gaping hole I created was just, well, a hole. There was nothing there. Randomly colored lights arced around inside every now and then, giving it the appearance of a storm. I could feel a part of me longing to enter the hypnotic enigma.

A screeching howl jarred me back to reality. The timber wolves were writhing in agony. One of the beasts lifted its eyes to meet mine. I saw many things in those eyes: anger, pain, hunger, hatred, and despair to name a few. The others slowly rose and advanced as quickly as their trembling bodies would allow. I took a step back, knowing full well that they were still a threat. They started that accursed growling again and closed in. I backed up involuntarily, causing me to fall into the hole in reality.

A loud crack filled the air as if lightning had struck nearby. Colorful arcs of lightning flashed around me as I hurtled though the nothingness. My body heated up as if I was suddenly stuffed in an oven. My jacket and jeans were no help to me whatsoever. A horrible headache threatened to split my skull in two. I was beginning to sweat through my grey t-shirt when another crack sounded. My body started to cool down as the cold earth absorbed my warmth. I thought I was deposited back in the forest. That was quickly changed as I started to take note of my surroundings. I was definitely in a forest, but not the forest I had left.

The trees, the dirt, the sounds, the colors… everything was different. Everything felt different. The air itself felt as if it was rejecting me. Unfortunately, one thing managed to stay constant throughout the change.

The noise of scraping wood sounded all around me. Timber wolves emerged from the shadows, eyes glowing demonically. I needed something to defend myself. My hatchet was lying at my feet. I quickly scooped it up and braced myself for the impending attack. One of the larger pounced. My brain went into overdrive as I connected the blade of my hatchet to the side of its head, quickly becoming stuck due to the force of the impact and the sap pouring from the wound. Needless to say, it died immediately. I was flooded with mixed emotions. I was awestruck, confused, excited, and depressed at the same time. I killed another living being for the first time in my entire life. It was so easy… And now I had a fighting chance.

I yanked my hatchet out of the newly made carcass and prepared for another attack. The wolves backed up with uncertainty on their faces, which I was happy to use to my advantage. I charged forward ready to hack down anything that got in my way. Once they realized the tables had turned they scattered, giving me a clear exit.

<><><>

I ran and ran until the sun began to set. There was no way of knowing whether or not the wolves chased me, or for how long if they did. I was tired, hungry, and had no shelter. I had cuts and bruises everywhere from my journey. The only thing that could make this worse

CRACK! Thunder rolled throughout the darkened sky as rain poured down.

was this. It seemed as if this strange place was out to get me. I pulled my dark blue hood over my head to shield my eyes from the downpour.

Fortune smiled upon me that night as I stumbled upon a village. I was so overjoyed to see civilization that I ran/stumbled through to the town. Not a single light was shining from the buildings. My only source of illumination was the occasional strike of lightning.

Strange... I couldn’t think of a better word. Not just the eerie silence, but the buildings themselves. It was as if I had wandered into a Renaissance fair. The buildings looked fairly new but their design was far too old for this time period. I even spied a few circus tents in some areas. Out of all these sights, nothing was more outlandish than the four-story, life sized gingerbread house. I probably stared at that structure for at least half an hour before another clap of thunder jarred me out of my trance. I walked away from the building, looking back every now and then to see if my eyes were working correctly.

I soon found myself in a marketplace with various produce. Fresh produce, as it appeared to be. There was not a single spoiled fruit or vegetable in sight. I approached a wooden stand loaded to the brim with apples and apple related products protected from the raging storm by a green and white striped canopy. My stomach growled at the sight of all that beautiful food. In fact, it looked almost too beautiful. My hand hovered above a shining red apple. If it was real that would imply it was recently picked; which meant someone would’ve had to pick it. It would also mean that people were recently here. But where would they be? Unless if the food was plastic; in which case this place was either a closed or abandoned theme park. There were too many possibilities and only one way to narrow them down. I grabbed the apple and took a bite.

It was delicious! I’ve never tasted anything like it before. It had the perfect amount of juiciness, crunchiness, and sweetness. I nearly cried when I finished. I needed more! I stuffed myself with various apple products (which probably wasn’t the best of ideas) until I was filled. My hunger satisfied, I picked up my hatchet I dropped during my apple galore and moved on.

The revelation of the fruit changed everything. If the food was real, then somebody had to pick it. But where was that somebody? It wasn't like someone would dump piles of food in the middle of nowhere and then leave, right? The silence was making me paranoid. I could practically feel eyes watching my every movement from the black windows. Silently judging me. Studying me.

I needed to find shelter; the rain wasn't exactly giving me an easy time. After a close survey of my immediate surroundings, I concluded that the best structure that could shield me from the rain was a large tree house. I say "tree house" solely because I couldn't think of any better way to describe it. It wasn't your run-of-the-mill tree house; this was literally a house made out of a tree. I knew that it wouldn't provide much protection, especially with leaves and branches being my cover, but it was the best I could afford.

The air became richer and richer with tension as I approached the odd structure. A shadow flashed across one of its many windows. I abruptly froze. There were definitely people here; more specifically, in the house. I slowly snuck up to the tree. My back against its... bark... I positioned myself in front of the door (if people really were present, and it wasn't just my imagination, there would be no point in scaring the living daylights out of them by peaking through the window). It didn't even occur to me that the door was a few inches shorter than me. I lifted a fist up to the door. This was it; the moment of truth. I knocked on the door.

"It's coming in! Hide!" a hushed voice squeaked from the other side.

This was ridiculous. I not only had proof that people still occupied this village, but now I knew they were deliberately hiding from me. Sure, seeing a stranger waltz into town wearing a hood during a storm wouldn’t bring out the best impression, but that was no good reason to hide. I’ve been through plenty today running for my life, defying the laws of reality, and going all-out survivor in that stupid forest, and a bad first impression wasn’t going to be another. And don’t even get me started on the whole calling me an “it” thing. I pulled open the door and ducked inside.

To say that I was confused would be the understatement of the century. There, before my very eyes, was a bright pink horse. Now, I use the word “horse” loosely. It had the general build of a horse, but it was smaller, probably just over half my height, and, well, cartoonish. Her darker pink mane (I assumed it was a she) was a frazzled mess. Her brilliant blue eyes narrowed in my direction. She was “standing” behind a cannon locked onto the doorway; which meant, to my displeasure, it was also locked on me.

"FIRE AT WILL!" she screamed.