Anodyne stood, eyes closed, his arms raised up with palms to the sky; as they reached his head, his eyes opened, beaming a blue light lifting him from the ground. The seas started churning and turned violent, tossing the sister’s ships and setting them off over the horizon as land emerged from beneath them; the sisters stood cheering as a grand landmass emerged from beneath the stirring waves. Turning and raising a hand higher, the land mass grew mountains and hills across the landscapes as far as the eye could see; the other hand lowered, making valleys and lakes.
“Conductor, I need you to head back unto Earth to bring forth more humans. Make sure to bring a variety for some interest.”
The Conductor bowed, and upon closing his eyes and pressing his hands together, he disappeared in a blue flash. Anodyne redirected his attention to the lands bringing forth all manner of flora and fauna; the rumbling all stopped and was replaced with the choir of life as the plants and animals all sang with their new life.
“Now is not your time, little ones; I will send you to your ships, where you must learn the seas and defeat the beasts within. Once this has been done, the humans will have settled the shores where you may raid them to your heart’s content.”
With one wave of his hand, Anodyne teleported all seven of the girls to their ships just as the Conductor returned with a small group of humans no larger than thirty. While in his omnipresent state, Anodyne peered into the minds of all those brought; he looked for one bad egg he could corrupt; smiling, he descended upon a cop placing his hands over his head and feeding energy from Hollow into his soul. All the other humans backed away, screaming.
“You are mine; you shall set forth and bring new humans back to Hollow, your home.”
The cop’s eyes darkened as he slowly disappeared into the blue energy; Anodyne landed, looking around at all the humans that had been brought back. His eyes faded as his feet made contact with the ground returning back to his usual state.
“Good news, gods do exist; bad news, you had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting this god. I am Anodyne.” Anodyne placed a single hand on his chest and gave an extravagant bow.
“I have brought you here from your world with the simple intention of seeing how well you will survive, with that both I and my tall friend here shall leave you…
What are you waiting for? Better hurry before night falls.”
Anodyne and the Conductor disappear in a violent explosion of force, leaving the group of humans standing terrified and confused in their new surroundings. Time ticked over with nothing; no one talked or even moved; every single person was lost to what was happening and was still dealing with the scope of what had just happened.
“So I guess we…”
Screaming and panic broke out before the man was capable of finishing; shouts of disbelief and curses to the gods they once worshiped all overlapped each other creating a sea of noise until the first man could take it no more.
“ENOUGH.” Silence fell over everyone; they all turned to see a rather plump short man standing with a red face covered in rage.
“To everyone cursing your gods, at least you know they exist now; they did not do this to us that Ano-whatever god did, if you are to curse a name, curse his. As for the rest of you wondering how we are going to survive, praying clearly won’t work; we have to survive, which means getting off of our asses and working.”
His voice rang in a few ears bringing them to the sound of reason; they walked over to the short, plump man to start introducing themselves.
“Oh, alright, I agree with you, but I will be dammed if I take survival advice from a man who clearly has never done hard work in his life, tubby; why shouldn’t I be in charge? I am fit and healthy, which means I can clearly lead better than you. I mean, we do not even know who you are; I am Johnathan, Johnathan Reeves. Please lead you all.”
“So physical prowess is what determines a good leader; last time I checked, Sir Winston Churchill did a bloody good job, you fucking idiot. Not that it is your concern, but I am Peter Fitzgerald.”
“Hello, everyone, I am Maxwell Furthur, creator of Furthur Industries, and if anyone is capable of leading this group, it would be someone like me, someone who has already led a group of people from the bottom to an awe-inspiring tower of wealth. While I am not the fittest, I am certainly capable of being on the front lines helping with all the hard work ahead.”
“Well, since we are doing introductions, my name is Greg, and I was a survival guide back on Earth, so you guys can all bicker over who wants to lead, but I am going to get started; who knows how long the days are here or how cold the nights will get.”
The unnecessary bickering from the others trying to lead drowned out Greg’s voice as he tried to help; Greg took one final look around, locking eyes with a few people that had clearly heard him, he signaled for them to follow, and the small group started to walk away from the main group. Being on the edge of the group and seeing how everyone’s focus was inwards to the three’ leaders,’ Greg and his group managed to slip away without a single person noticing.
“Well, as you all heard, I am Greg, and I was a survival guide back on Earth; it was my job to educate people of all ages to survive in the wild. It is good we are in a large forest clearing here. We should not get much wind at all. So I guess we could do introductions; that is what I used to do, just name and useful skills.”
“Well, I am Joseph, and this here is Mary. We sell horses , not really useful sorry.”
“Hey, I am James. I work in a lumber yard, so I can do heavy lifting and hard labor.”
“I am Margret, and I am a pensioner and love gardening; I may not be useful for hard work, but I can tell you plenty of useful information. For instance, your survival training will be nearly useless here.” The old woman gave herself a second to clear her throat,
“Like I said, I like gardening, but I do not recognize any of these plants.”
The group looked around at the flora; while it was not alien, it was definitely not the Earth plants. They were all so close but slightly off in some small way. They all stood thinking of what they could do as Greg and Margret were investigating some of the nearby plants, discussing what they could be. Meanwhile, a couple of kids approached the group.
“Hey, you guys doing something because I don’t want my little brother and sister stuck in the crap that is happening back there.”
Two small kids were hiding, trying to hold back tears, holding onto the baggy clothes of a teenager; as they spoke, Mary ran across, giving the two younger kids a hug, and they exploded with tears.
“Hey, I am Joseph. That is Mary. What are your names?”
“Never got names at the Orphanage, got told it would make it easier for parents to adopt if they got to pick a name for us.”
Both Joseph and James looked at each other with great concern, neither of them knowing what to do.
“Hey everyone, oh, a couple of newcomers. Well, we have good news. Margret found a plant that has berries but bad news we…”
“We what have to pick them, well don’t worry about that we can sort to that hand over the berry and we will get to work.” Peter grabbed the berries from Greg’s hand.
He examined them for a moment before spotting a large bush in the shrub with more; promptly, he signaled for his small group of followers to follow as he ate the whole fistful in one bite.
“More where that, more where, more.” Peter collapsed to the ground grasping at his throat. As the flesh seemed to melt between his fingers, he pulled his own neck out before gurgling on his own liquid flesh and dying.
Margret let off a little laugh behind her hands, “That is one acidic berry.” her giggle continued as she made a note in her little pocketbook,
‘Spiky bush, blueberries, poisonous’
“No, the bad news is that we do not know if they are poisonous or not.”
Everyone backed away from the body, staying in their respective groups, allowing the other large group to see the gurgling remains of Peter. Everyone was turned to face the remains when a scream broke the silence; a woman at the back of the large group was being dragged away by a group of ash-black creatures with red mouths until they all disappeared into the bushy tree line.
“Everyone group up in the middle, facing outwards.”
Not a single person hesitated as they all sprinted into a large group staring down the tree lines as the screams of the woman finally stopped leaving the group with the sound of the forest and their hearts.
“All right fuck a leader; we all work together; otherwise, none of us are getting out of here. We need to set up defenses and have people on watch, and probably weapons won’t hurt, and shit, it is starting to get dark.”
“Yea, but who in their right mind is going to touch that tree line, acid berries monsters straight out of hell, and who knows what else? We are not going to survive the night.”
Meanwhile, Anodyne and the Conductor were floating unseen above, watching with glee and laughing at the chaos that was ensuing down below.
“Anodyne, might I suggest that you give them some assistance for this first night. Otherwise, they are going to perish, and we will have to start all over again.”
“Why should this concern me? We can just grab more until they finally make it.”
“But if the first group does not make it, there is no reason the second one would fair any better now, is there?”
“Crap, they have nothing, and I need this to last, and urgh, fine, the vermin can have a few things.”
Anodyne removed his shroud and re-ignited his Omnipresent form, causing massive winds to blow straight down upon the group of humans. They all started to panic once again. A few tried to run, but Anodyne secured them in with four strong walls made from wood towering three meters tall, along with a pile of weapons and edible food.
“You live this night by May grace; you have shelter, weapons, and food that you can eat. Do not waste my gifts, as they shall be the last you receive from me.”
“You are a monster.” Cried a woman cradling her small child
“No, my dare, it is much worse than that. You see, I am not a monster,” Anodyne teleported right in front of her, staring her in the eyes.
“I am a god, any more stupid statements?”
“Why go through all the time and effort of making a world if you are just going to kill us?”
“Well, first off, I want you to survive, I really do; I want you to all be tortured as long as possible. As for all the effort of making this world, I did it in a few minutes. It was no trouble at all.”
“Wait, so it did not take seven days?”
“Seven days, I barely spent seven minutes on it; this world had only just been finished when you all arrived. Did you want some grand bible-es kind of creation? Wait, I got this.”
Anodyne raised above all the humans and altered his voice to be deep and booming.
“On the first day, I created light and darkness; on the second day, I gave birth to the shape of the world; on the third day, I carved my world to perfection; on the fourth day, I laid green unto my beautiful creation; on the fifth day I gave it creatures of divine design, the six days I brought forth vermin known as humans to the world, finally on the seventh day I raised hell and laid it upon Hollow.”
Anodyne stared down at all the humans with disgust before disappearing once again.
“So we have a wall, we have weapons and some food; what do we do now?”
A disturbing noise echoed out of the forest, drawing the attention of all the humans; it was joined by a choir of smaller horrifying noises.
“I guess we survive.”