Chapter 1: Toto, I don't think that I'm in Kansas anymore
I was on my way to Fermi Lab to meet my professor for a class tour when the white light filled my vision, it was so intense that I could still see it with my eyes shut tight. I immediately slammed on my brakes and tried not to swerve too hard in either direction.
When I finally calmed down and tried to open my eyes, I couldn't. They felt like they were burning, so I rested them for a couple of minutes and then tried again. I could see a tree that slowly came into focus; it was inches from my windshield in the center of my hood. I couldn't believe what I saw. A tree growing out of my hood looked like it had done so for years, the hood was barely dented and only in an upward direction surrounding the tree. The windshield was spider webbed with each crack filled in with dirt decomposing leaves. The compost inside the car crested my waist. I had to dig my way clear to the seatbelt buckle only to find a rusted our clasp. Only after wiggling the buckle back and forth I was able to free myself. The door handle came off in my grasp. Luckily my window was down or it would have been tough getting out of my Charger. I didn't think that its power windows were going to work.
I crawled out of the window and looked around trying to figure where the hell I was and what had happened to my car. My car looked to be hit by a wave of entropy. The rest pattern began at my front driver's wheel and grew in height as the rust followed along its path as it crested over the trunk of my car completely rusting out the lid of my trunk. Continuing to assess the damage, three of my tires were deflated and were the spawning grounds of various shrubbery. The passenger's front tire was completely normal. The driver's rear door had a young maple tree growing out of the rust. The coup de grace was the thirty foot apple tree that grew through the rusty remnants of the passenger rear quarter panel.
I don't think that I'm in Kansas anymore...
I looking around for anything familiar, a marker or anything. When I looked up a large oblong and heavily cratered moon stared back at me.
Definitely not Earth's moon! Earth's moon orbited far further away than this one.
From the slope of the ground around what was left of my car, it ended up on the crest of hill. I the lines of sight were blocked by other trees in the area, the only way that I could think of to get a clear view of the vicinity was to climb that dumb apple tree that grew out of my car.
The low lying branches helped me get a respectable distance from the ground, enough to get a good look at my surroundings anyway.
The forest filled my vision off to the west and south. To the northeast was a peanut shaped lake bordered to the west by the forest and on the east by rolling plains. The plains were patterned unnaturally Something that humans do when they farm. Having at least a direction to head out in, I was a bit more comfortable. Food was a new priority. The apples around me looked ripe enough to eat. I picked the closest one and used my fingernails to serrate the apple and then rip it in half. I tentatively sampled the apple and discovered that it tasted like a tart Granny Smith. It was good. I plucked a dozen more, carefully bundling them up in my flannel shirt and climbed down the tree.
Using a fallen branch, I brushed away the rust that comprised what was left of my trunk. I needed to see if my overnight bag, my backpack and especially my katana survived intact.
The squirrel that was living in the ruminants of the trunk scared the shit out of me when I disturbed him. I dug around to find everything that I tossed into my trunk this morning before I left with the old standbys of my deluxe first aid kit and an old overnight bag. What to take?
I emptied my schoolbooks out of my backpack. I stared at my calculator hating to leave it behind. I could always come back later. I started with the first aid kit, that was a no-brainer. The overnight bag was next followed by some apples. An old blanket filled the bulk of the space left.
Blending in with the locals was secondary to protection. My custom made Katana I wore at my belt. Father started me with the martial arts young and handed me my first sword when turned ten. Neither of us ever looked back.
I started down the hill when I smacked myself upside the head and turned around, I wanted to make a sketch of the area and I figured that the best way for that was to climb the tree again and draw myself a map. Moving from branch to branch to get a good view and a secure resting spot wasn't easy. I figured the lake would a good reference from its unique shape. My nonexistent artistic ability didn't help much, but after about twenty minutes I had something that I could recognize if I stayed away for an extended period of time.
I climbed down, double knotted my boots, belted on my katana and took one last glance around before I headed down the hill towards the water. The day was fairly comfortable and according to the movement of the sun still pretty early. I guessed that the temperature at 60F. I wore my usual jeans and a turtleneck with a flannel shirt to word off the chill. I figured that I would wear it for now since my backpack was full and having too many clothes beat not having enough.
Nervous, I picked my way down the hill only hearing the normal sounds of birds and bees. I stopped, cursed myself and retraced my steps going back to my car, there was one more thing that I waned before I left it for good. My box cutter, a nice 4 inch serrated knife, and my collapsible umbrella.
Ok two more things.
The umbrella went into my backpack with only part of it sticking out while the knife attached to my belt.
I started going back down the hill again. I went pretty slowly, not wanting to twist or break a leg on the unfamiliar ground.
About two thirds the way down, I think, I heard a low growl. I turned and saw a big-ass cat staring at me. I did what any red-blooded American would do; I panicked, turned and promptly tripped over a small scrub and started rolling down the hill. I slowed to a stop after a few yards and then started to get up when I felt the cat pounce after me. Swearing while on my knees, I drew my katana and waited for the cat to close the last ten feet or so. I prayed hard to anyone listening to help me not miss. Just as the cat leapt at me, I dove to the side while swinging wildly and missing. Thankfully he missed too. I scrambled to my feet looking for him and getting into the ready position. He then came around in front of me and started charging uphill toward me. This time when he went to attack, I sidestepped and cut him with my glowing katana.
GLOWING KATANA! What the... !!
It cut through him like he was made of butter and I almost dropped my katana in shock. Blood splattered and shaken I saw blood all around me but almost none on the katana, just a rivulet of blood and that was running off as I looked at it. On top of everything else my katana still glowed. I stared at it for a couple of seconds before I looked down to see the dead cat lying at my feet.
Hell I played D&D when I was a kid; I figured that my fervent praying actually worked. So I went to my knees and dedicated this, my first kill, to the god that saved my neck. To my complete shock the cat started glowing a bright white, then went pop and disappeared!
I felt the adrenalin rush out of me taking my strength with it. I stared at the blood from the carcass, that's when I noticed that something sparkled on the ground. I reached out for it and found a silver necklace complete with a silver sword pendant glistening in the cat's blood. I shook most of the blood off of it and then used my sleeve to pat the blood dry. I figured that I was now a servant of some sort of Sword god and put the pendant on.
I couldn't stand, I was still too weak.
"Shit, shit, shit..." I mumbled, as I again collapsed to all fours. Rolling over I reached around a dug an apple from my backpack and devoured it while I tried to calm down. Slowly I regained my strength, stood up and started making my way down the hill again. This time I was looking harder for unfriendly woodland creatures, I damn well didn't want to run across a bear or another cat.
Feeling better with the apple in me, my strength quickly returned. Feeling better I picked up my pace a little. After about an hour or so, I was getting near the bottom of the hill when I found a stream that was running pretty quickly off to my left. It was very cold spring water, but I felt better after I washed some of the blood from my myself and then my clothes. I took the Ivory soap out from my overnight bag to help get rid of the stains from my sleeves but it didn't help much ... I washed my katana down making sure that all the blood was removed. I didn't need to, I could not see one fleck of blood anywhere on the blade. I then removed my pendant to wash that too but it was also spotless.
I used my hands to warm up the water before drinking from the stream, I didn't want to drink water that was just slightly above freezing. The water numbed my hands so I had to keep warming them up between drinks. I needed to find a way to transport water, that would end up being very important.
I wouldn't last long without civilization, so I figured that continuing down the hill was a good place to start. Then move out of the forest towards the lake and to what I thought were farms around it. Hopefully there will be someone there that can help me.