The air was cool, much more so than Steve preferred, especially when he was caught out in the rain as was the case on this night. His altitude didn't help things much, being as he was up above the frost line where snow wouldn't melt naturally.
Steve knew he could survive the rain and even the cold. Such things never really bothered him, but the monsters were a problem. Zombies, dozens of them followed him up onto the mountain. Steve had raced up here hoping many would fall to
their deaths as they tried to follow him up and some had. But with every dead zombie 3 more seemed to replace it. Steve's armor had broken long before as the night had first begun to fall and his sword had shattered even before that leaving
Steve unprotected and unarmed. "Ahrrg!" Steve shouted involuntarily as a zombie he hadn't seen got his arm and took a small chunk of his exposed flesh. Steve punched him with his other arm knocking the zombie back and sending him tumbling
away down the mountain. "I can barely see in this rain," he said to himself "I need to get to some cover so I can see these guys coming." Zombies typically weren't a big deal for Steve; he'd dispatched many in his day, but with the rain
came reduced visibility and a constant distraction of movement on all sides that created a sort of "white noise" that gave stealth to the foul undead currently chasing him. Yet there was hope. It was only a brief moment, little more than a misty
glimpse, but Steve thought he saw a forest off in the distance, maybe 100 meters from the foot of the mountain. Sure it was a lot of open ground to cover in the dead of night, but Steve was confident that he could manage it and come out
unscathed. Steve began to move down the mountain side more quickly, hazarding longer falls and moving ever in the direction of what he'd come to believe was his salvation. The ground began to level and flatten, going down more slowly
and spreading into an open plain. Unfortunately the plain was easily three times larger than Steve had originally thought, but what did that matter now? He had a plan and he had little choice but to try and attempt it. The rain intensified and
it seemed to get just a little darker, if that were even possible. Then the worst turn of luck so far that evening occurred, which was saying a lot considering what events had led to this moment; a lightning strike off in the distance. It
was a thunder storm. The chances were low that he'd get hit, but it could happen and that would end his adventure rather quickly, not to mention he was now in the middle of an open field and soaking wet. Steve took off running in the direction
of the woods, sprinting as fast as his legs would carry him despite the ever worsening visibility. Suddenly Steve found himself face to face with a thick tree trunk! He tried to stop but ran face first into it. The tree caused no permanent
damage, but caused considerable injury to his pride. "If I live to write about this I'll just leave that out," he said to himself. Steve had crossed the distance much faster than he'd anticipated and with far less resistance. "Finally a break,"
he said to himself as he evaluated his new situation. The zombies were still out there and coming this way, meaning the best course for his safety was likely deeper into the woods. Very little of the rain was making it to the ground as most
was being blocked by the thick leafy canopy held aloft by the many dark trunked trees that made up the forest. Steve had never before seen trees like these, but they appeared to him to be a darker version of the oak trees he was already
familiar with. So far as Steve could tell the way ahead seemed clear and he knew the path behind him led to death, thus Steve began to walk deeper into the forest picking his way around trees and avoiding those few gaps the rain could find to
breech the canopy. Steve felt as though he'd been walking for ages. He needed to get his bearings, figure out which way was home as the whole of the wood now surrounded him and went on as far as he could see. He pulled out his map and began
plotting a route back towards home... Hissssss... Steve knew that sound all too well; without even thinking he sprinted away switching to where his sword should be as he did so, realizing too late that his sword broke some time ago
BOOM! As expected there was an explosion behind him throwing him further forward and making his ears ring loudly. Steve didn't so much feel the impact with the tree in front of him as he did the effects of it. In a moment the majority of his
left side was lit-up with pain like a Christmas tree is lit with lights. Several ribs were cracked making breathing more difficult and his left arm no longer seemed to move without intense levels of pain. Minor cuts and scrapes covered the
the whole of his side and began to bleed and swell, and Steve was certain he'd rather seriously injured his knee as well. However, he was alive and even with the pain he felt he could keep going, especially now that he had an idea where home
was. Steve limped further on, his path taking him deeper into the woods. He knew it was a risky move, if there was one creeper here, there were bound to be more, but Steve felt he had little choice. Injured as he was, he needed to find home
as soon as possible, so natural healing could do its work and so he pressed on. Steve couldn't relax though. Maybe it was the blow to his head or maybe it was just nerves, but Steve was seeing creepers around every corner and behind every tree.
"They can't all be real..." he said to himself hopefully. Even so he found himself running from the slightest noise and jumping every time he thought he saw bright green. Finally he could take no more. "Alright Steve, that's enough! Get a
grip man. All of these creepers can't be..." Boom! Steve was thrown to the side with a force that felt like being hit in the face with a shovel tossing his body unceremoniously into a small, barely exposed underground lake. The water cushioned
his fall and though it ruined his attempt to dry off from the rain, Steve was thankful for the soft landing. He swam, as best he could to the surface of the water and checking himself over quickly realized with horror that he had come a hair's
breadth from being killed. Had he not landed in the water he certainly would've come to a different end. Steve crawled out of the pool and tucked himself back into a small corner. He pulled out a piece of now very moist bread and ate a bit to
recover his strength. It took a few moments but he began to feel like he could carry on and he looked for an easy way out of this hole. The simplest way seemed to be to dig out a couple blocks to make a small staircase to climb out of and so
Steve did just that. He poked his head up and seeing no creepers or other mobs crawled the rest of the way out and started back along his course home. Something wasn't right though. It had been long enough for the sun to have risen, but the
storm ragged on and the canopy blocked so much light that it was like constant night beneath its boughs. He had to get out of here and back to his home. Steve ate a little more as he walked and eventually found the strength to run in short
bursts, stopping only to find his way around a tree. But finally something forced him to stop and wonder if these woods were really a natural thing or if they had been created by someone. A large clearing stood before him with a raised stone
outcropping at its center. The clearing was covered in a swarm of creepers, more than Steve thought was even possible. As he stood in mixed awe and horror at the sight before him Steve saw another creeper rise up from the center of the stone
protrusion and walk down in amongst its many siblings. "What is this?" Steve asked himself. He moved closer to get a better look and as he approached many of the creepers noticed his presence and moved toward him, thankfully there was a
fence in the way. "Better not get too close," Steve thought to himself. Suddenly as he examined the creeper pen a bolt of lightning cracked down from the raging sky striking the fence on its way ground ward. The fence splintered and broke into a
million tiny pieces as it gave way under the lightning and creepers began to pour out of the pen and rush toward Steve, but these were different somehow, the ones nearest the fence had been altered by the strike in some way and now glowed
with an ominous blue aura. Steve wasted no time and bolted away as he struggled and searched for something in his pack. The creepers seemed able to keep pace and chased him ever further through the woods. He looked back quickly, "There must
be dozens!" he said to himself as he finally found what he'd been groping for in his pack. He pulled it out, a small bit of flint with a small steel striker for lighting fires. He tossed his pack back on and turned to face the oncoming swarm.
Steve pointed his flint and steel at the ground to light it ablaze as a trap for the creepers but one of the glowing ones moved too quickly and got in the way. Steve looked up suddenly with horror on his face and just stared at the creeper for
a second that seemed to stretch into hours. The creeper suddenly stopped even as its cohorts moved around it to kill Steve. There was a confused look on the creeper's face as it began to hiss and expand. "It's gonna blow!" Steve realized
and jumped back with all he was worth. The creeper exploded with more force than Steve had ever heard of before, breaking blocks with ease and bones, just as handily. The creepers that had followed the glowing one were killed instantly leaving
nothing but a massive crater and a number of items scattered around on the ground. Steve woke with a start. He was in his base, standing next to his bed. He felt healthy, well fed, and well rested, but still found himself unsettled. With his
awakening he found that it was late morning and the rain had ceased. Steve grabbed a little food, some armor, and a new sword and ran out to the woods were he'd died. He'd actually not been far from making it home. It was crazy to think that
these woods had been so close all this time and he'd never known about them. It wasn't hard to find the spot where the creeper had exploded. The crater was so large you could fit several horses in there comfortably and many, many more if you
crammed them in. Steve gathered his stuff, noting a couple lost items, but nothing of serious consequence and found a small stack of curious items he'd never seen before. He picked them up and found them to be... creeper heads? There were at
least 7 scattered around and in the crater, grim reminders of the previous evenings events. Steve knew he'd have made it if it hadn't been for that stupid pen and he was going to make sure it was never a problem again. He hadn't come far from
it when he died and he knew right where to look. He stormed up to the spot with righteous anger bubbling up within him until he realized with some confusion that the pen and the stone protrusion were gone, as were all the creepers. "What?"
Steve said to himself. "Where could it have gone?" Steve looked frantically for it. The large clearing was there, but everything else was gone, even digging down revealed nothing. "How could it just disappear?" Steve wondered out loud.
Even as he did this a creeping fear began to claw its way into the back of his mind. Was it possible that he'd actually imagined the pen and that his death had been just an unfortunate run of bad luck, or was it possible that someone else was
out there, hiding and biding their time until they could find a way to end Steve, permanently? This final thought led Steve to but one question... "Who?"