Disclaimer: See Chapter 1.
Winston Smith took a sip from the teacup sitting before him. He still couldn’t help but smile at the taste: real tea with real sugar, not blackberry leaves with saccharin. It’s something he hadn’t had since he and Julia had been together. That thought made him sigh, he missed her so badly. He had betrayed her, she had betrayed him, and, in the end, they had both been killed.
He’s almost brought to tears by the thought of how he had been tortured and broken completely, stripped of everything he was until all that remained was loyalty to the Party and loyalty to Big Brother. When he awoke in this world, he was restored to himself, reborn as an individual again, completely free and without that ulcer that had bothered him for so long. He was lucky in that he found himself in a safe place: Yggdrasill, the Great Mana Tree. He and the others who awoke here were protected from the horrors outside by Yggdrasill and its guardian spirit, Martel. Martel was a pretty girl with long green hair, leaf-like green ears, and odd green top with long tails and white tights, wielding a staff with two green wings.
Most of the living quarters and the dining room where he’s currently located are found below ground, among the roots of the tree. There was a small vestibule and a few rooms in Yggdrasill’s trunk. The tree itself is very powerful, producing huge amounts of mana, or magical energy. Those living inside of it can ask the tree for almost anything they could need or want. Winston was actually starting to put on some weight from all the good food, but he found it well worth it.
He took a glance up from his book to take another look at his surroundings. Sitting at a table near him was a couple, Prometheus and Gaea, sharing a bowl of strawberries. Prometheus was a tall, handsome man and Gaea was a beautiful blonde woman. They hailed from a country not so different than his. In their country, all technology is gone and the loss of individuality is much more extreme. So much in fact, that referring to oneself as “I” rather than “we” is punishable by death. They were reading the book that tells their story Anthem by Ayn Rand.
The next group, in the middle of the room, was odd indeed. It consisted of two large cart horses named Boxer and Clover, an old donkey named Benjamin, a white goat named Muriel, three dogs named Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher, and few other animals, such as sheep and chickens whose names Winston couldn’t recall. What makes them odd is that they can all talk, something that took Winston a great deal of time to adjust to. They were part of a revolution in which they overthrew their farmer and attempted to create a utopian farm where all animals were equal. However, the pigs seized power and created an oppressive regime that would make Big Brother proud. In the end, the pigs became no better than the humans they had tried to separate themselves from. They were listening to Martel reading from a book titled Animal Farm by George Orwell.
The final man in the room was Guy Montag. He hailed from a hedonistic, anti-intellectual society in which books are banned. He worked as a “fireman,” burning homes containing books, but eventually became disillusioned about his whole society and began exploring literature. His wife betrayed him, forcing him to flee for his life with a group of drifters seeking to change the society. He was reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
Winston returned to his own book, 1984 by George Orwell. He had hoped it would give him greater insights into the inner workings of the Party and any potential weaknesses, but the story is told from his perspective, so he’s not finding out anything he didn’t know already. He kept reading though, hoping to catch something he missed while living these events.
He had a purpose though, all of them did. Ever since they began living inside of Yggdrasill, they had begun developing strange powers from the mana flowing from it.
Prometheus, true to his namesake who took fire from the gods and gave it to man, developed pyrokinetic abilities. He also has the ability to temporarily grant life to clay statues, much like how his namesake was said to have created humans out of clay. His final power, in greatest irony, allows him to summon a huge eagle, much like the one that would eternally eat the mythological Prometheus’s liver.
Gaea’s powers also drew from her namesake, giving her powerful geokinetic abilites. In addition, she gained power over plants, owing to her job before running away with Prometheus.
Boxer gained super strength and the ability to harden his skin to be impenetrable. Clover, due to her motherly nature, developed very powerful healing abilities. The three dogs could fuse into a huge three headed monster, reminiscent of Cerberus. The sheep have developed a sort of hive mind that grants them much greater intelligence, as well as mind reading abilities. If Benjamin and Muriel had developed powers, Winston has yet to see them.
Guy’s powers were particularly interesting. He could extinguish fires by thought alone and reform ashes into what they were before they were burned. He also had the ability to summon objects, people, and creatures from books.
Winston believed his own powers would make the Party very afraid. He could make himself invisible and completely undetectable, he can project illusions, erase memories and plant false memories in people’s minds, he had limited mind control, and powerful telekinesis.
Their ultimate goal was to find a way back to their respective worlds to overthrow the oppressive governments of each of their societies. They had a huge number of books at their disposal (leading Winston to believe this place was originally a library or bookstore) and hopefully at least one will be a spell book detail how to do it.
Winston smiled and raised his cup.
“Down with Big Brother.”
The being calling itself Leland Gaunt looked nervously out the window of his store. Things were going so badly lately. First that Sheriff, a mere man, nothing more, had beaten him. He had lost. That was totally unacceptable.
Then just as he was about to start over in a new town with a new shop, he suddenly ended up here in an exact replica of his previous shop, Needful Things. What was different this time was that it was real this time, not some illusion created by his power.
However, he took little time to ponder these things. He was constantly in danger here. There were creatures out there, both good and evil, that were more than capable and more than willing to destroy him. It was not a feeling he was used to and it was not pleasant. It had gotten so bad that he didn’t dare leave the protection of his shop and was wary to allow in customers, lest they be some mighty creature in disguise seeking to devour him.
He didn’t really need customers, this town was long destroyed by monsters, the only human life being the occasional group of drifters. However, it was his nature to make sales. He had been doing it since man had first started trading things of value for other things of value. If he didn’t trade humans junk for their souls, he really didn’t have much of a purpose.
So every few weeks some hapless person would drift in, buy something, kill some people, and then their soul would be his. It had gotten so unsatisfying, though.
Outside, he caught a glimpse of someone coming and quickly switched his sign from closed to open. As the figure approached, he noticed several others were following behind it.
They came within a few feet of his shop and he finally got a good look at them. The one leading them was a pretty Japanese girl in the clothing of a miko carrying a bow and arrow. Beside her was an Asian man in the robes of a Buddhist monk. On the other side of her was a Mexican Catholic priest. Behind them was a rabbi. Beside the rabbi was a woman in a white dress, most likely a Wiccan priestess judging by the pentacle on her necklace.
He quickly reached to turn the sign back to closed, only for the miko to fire an arrow through the door. The spiritual power in the arrow caused his hand to dissolve. He screamed with a kind of pain he had never felt in his entire existence.
He fell to the floor, clutching his stump. Before the could react, all five were standing over him, the miko offering prays to various kami in Japanese, the monk chanting Buddhist sutras in Chinese, the priest reciting the Rite of Exorcism in Latin, the rabbi praying in Hebrew, and the Wiccan invoking the power of the Triple Goddess in English.
Their combined spiritual power washed over him like cleansing fire. His body glowed white and dissolved as he screamed in an inhuman voice and was completely annihilated.
Huckleberry Finn glanced nervously at the sides of the river. He had been travelling south on his raft down the Mississippi River for a few weeks, but had yet to find any civilization. There are times when he would wonder if Miss Watson had been right and he had died and ended up in Hell.
Of course, if this was Hell, it wasn’t nearly as bad as he had expected. There wasn’t any fire and brimstone nor was there a red man with a pitchfork to torture him. He had seen some pretty strange sights, though. He shuddered as he thought about the giant blob monster that had taken a couple other monsters into itself and dissolved them.
He had been lucky though. None of the horrors had yet managed to get him.
What he didn’t realize was that his luck was about to run out.
He yelped in surprise as something cold and clammy wrapped around his ankle. He cussed and tried to hit it with an oar, but no avail. He dug his nails desperately into the raft trying to keep from being pulled into the water. This also turned out to be a futile effort, as the tentacle dragged him.
As he hit the water and was pulled under, he tried to scream. The only thing that came out of his mouth was a cloud of bubbles. He struggled, trying to swim back to the surface, but the tentacle just held him into place. Eventually, black spots began to grow in his vision and he slipped into unconsciousness.
I had to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in English class this past school year. Needless to say I hated the book.