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“Do you fear death?”
Now, here is a question I was asked once in life. Being naive and young, the answer I proclaimed was a resounding “Yes!”
I’ve since learned better.
So, the way I see it. Death is nothing to fear. Generally, it is not something to look forward to, but to fear it is meaningless. You will die one day, that is a fact. The reaper always collects his two gold coins. To live dreading your day of terminality means you have simply wasted your life in fruitless struggle. Most people simply live their lives with the thought buried deep in the backs of their minds. They are always aware of it, yet choose to consciously repress and ignore it. This is beneficial to them in the long run I presume to say, since they can then live their lives to the fullest potential.
I, on the other hand, cannot afford such luxury. My life has been lived, and my day has come and gone. I have paid my two gold coins. Without the need for such prose; I am dead.
How dead, you ask? Very. Take for instance, the wood that composes your floorboards. How long has it been there, you reckon? Ten years? Twenty? Now, think for a second that it all was once a tree. Or several trees, if your curiosity is more morbid than most. Remember now that trees are alive, and that the wood beneath your feet was once as well. It’s pretty dead now, isn’t it? I can say without fear of rebuke that I am far, far deader than some squeaky old floorboards.
But the dead don’t move, now do they?
Funny thing, that. I clearly remember being dead. Or dying to put it more accurately. And I have the faintest notion that I was at one point buried. Now, Gods-know-how-long later, I’m all dug up and moving around like it was yesteryear. It is a bit of a weird feeling, being essentially a walking corpse. Nobody really believes in zombies until they are one, that’s a damned fact.
Now, the important question is: how did this all happen? Thankfully for us all, I remember it like it was yesterday. Allow me to recite the short version:
Once upon a time there was a treacherous wench. She defied the Gods and by extension her own death through the use of Tao magic and alchemy. Now, for a living she digs up corpses and brings them to life as servants. I just so happened to be the first and only one she’s dug up thus far. I would very much like to wring her neck in the near future, but the seal she has placed on my head will not let me and I am forced to serve her until the foundation of the universe collapses. The end.
Okay, so there is a bit more to it, but that’s the gist of it alright. The heathen just lies on her back all day, wallowing in boredom while drinking tea and wine, while I am sent off to do her menial tasks. Bring firewood? Done some of that. Do her laundry? That too. Fight off the reapers that come to collect her immortal soul once every other week? You bet I see some of that action.
She’s what you’d call a hermit. Not sure what that means in the proper definition, but it hardly fits the mental image. You know the one: greyed old man with a long beard and a staff, possibly undying, feeds on mushrooms and the entrails of cats. Oh boy do hermits love cat entrails!
That last part was a joke, pay it no mind. They don’t eat the entrails.
But enough exposition; here’s where the story really starts!
“Fetch me some water,” says the witch, slovenly half-crawled out of bed and awaiting her morning tea. No doubt I will be forced to boil said water upon retrieving it.
I begrudgingly accept. A certain lack of free will binds me to do her dirty work, and she knows exactly what goes through my mind each time she mumbles out some new order. A smirk travels across her face as I head out. Certainly her dominion over my actions gives her a sense of superiority, not that it bothers me. I’d rather just sleep, is all.
So with that obvious excuse to leave in mind, I head outside to stretch my arms and legs. If I don’t they’ll seize up and I’ll be stuck standing still like a rusty tin man until she comes out and gives me the good old what for.
[ ] Go: Lake [ ] Go: Hell [ ] Go: Home [ ] Go: Dennis [ ] Go: Insane
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Well, that’s just no good. Receiving beatings is not my forte.
I go with the less interesting but more practical yes-master-I-do-as-you-command approach and shove off to fetch a pail of water. A shame that all I have with which to fetch it is this bucket; a pail would be so much more poetic and befitting of this oddly idyllic setting. You know the one: rolling hills covered in flowers, sun shining all the time; not at all a proper scene in which to have the living dead running amok.
I head off to the lake, which is thankfully not too far away. I only need take a few dozen steps and I’m knee-deep in cool water. It smells stagnant, old; not much unlike the idea of a lake-themed death. For the sake of drama I place my head beneath the water’s surface and inhale deeply. Nope, nothing out of the ordinary. Tempting fate aside, the water here is undrinkable. I head out further.
And further out, it is over my head. Also not out of the ordinary. Being somewhat dead, the concept of drowning no longer holds meaning to me. Things such as fire or acid may be unpleasant to the touch, but water poses no threat at all. I take a deep breath of the stuff and return to the surface. When I reach the shore, what I carried back gets coughed up into the bucket. I’m sure she won’t mind the taste.
“Took you long enough,” she says, glaring at me as though I had killed her mother. Her gaze lets up and she sighs, laughs, tells me where to set the bucket. And as I find a good place to drop it, she adds, “You really can’t take a joke, can you?”
I say nothing; there’s nothing to say, really. She probably has a good idea of what I would say anyway, were I to say it. To put my thoughts into words, I would probably tell her that I would like very much to rip my own arm off, beat her with it, and then take a bite out of her—
You get the idea. It would not be kind words, to put it lightly. I drop the full bucket on the floor, make a quick mental note that she seems to have managed to dress herself today, and return to where I had started.
“Oh, I wasn’t quite done with you, yet,” she mutters, causing a feeling to run down my spine that is not unlike the one you would feel when being gutted from behind with a rusty chainsaw. I should know, I’ve been there and back again.
“If you don’t mind,” she continues, “I would like you to fetch me a few things from the village. I’ve made a list since I know you won’t be bothered to remember it all.”
“How thoughtful,” I grumble, grabbing the list from the count—
[YOU HAVE RECEIVED ITEM: GROCERY LIST]
...I can see what kind of story this is shaping up to be already. I roll up my sleeves and prepare for adventure.
[ ] Adventure time! [ ] The lake calls to you. [ ] To Hell with everything! [ ] One hundred years of pain! [ ] Go: Dennis
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I attempt to go in the direction of Dennis. This begs a number of questions, but let’s forego them all for now and head towards Dennis as was decided via majority. It would seem that democracy has failed me, and that in my attempt to create a bit of fun for everyone the majority went for the least sensible option. This concerns me greatly. I would have much rather gone on a pointless errand than face down this Dennis single-handedly. The infinite powers of the undead are no match for the might that is the great Dennis.
Who or what Dennis is is an enigma, but the point I am trying to make is that this decision leads to DEATH. Permanent, irreversible DEATH. The final thoughts that zip through my quickly disintegrating brain are as follows:
“How odd. Something like this should not happen to an immortal zombie. I suppose breaking the rules of the in-universe world can cause some strange things to happen.”
It seems long-winded, but thoughts travel fast. Faster than disintegration at least. I greet my oblivion with open arms, and they too are deftly blown apart into something not unlike the appearance of canned dog food before vanishing into nothingness forever.
Ah, but the concepts of ‘forever’ and ‘never’ are meaningless when one is effectively immortal.
I awaken ░無▓░无▉▌무┇ later having no recollection of this ‘Dennis’ creature. My body seems to have been able to rebuild itself after horrifyingly destroyed the very fabric of reality.
“Oh good,” my insane witch of a master says slovenly, “You’re awake. Certainly took our sweet time reviving, did we not? I expect you will refrain from any such foolish actions in the future?”
“Uh…” My brain forcibly shuts down, error 0x0000007B.
Trying to recall the events that happened just prior to my last death end in an abrupt and permanent failure. Thankfully, I just so happen to be an immortal zombie. So long as my idiot master doesn’t die and get eaten by flies—no matter how much I may wish to see her do so—I cannot and will not stop existing.
“Now that you’re up and moving again, I need you to go into town and fetch a few things,” she says, lazily dressing herself in the usual haphazard manner. One shoe on, one off. No need for undergarments or—in this case—trousers or a skirt.
“Thought so,” I say, figuring an excuse was necessary to get the plot moving again. I did not, however, expect the excuse to be the same as it was previously. Did she seriously wait all of these ░無▓░无▉▌무┇ for me to revive so that I may run this errand, when it would have been far easier for her to have simply done it herself?
I suppose her pride would not allow her to stoop to a bit of manual labor. With all her infinite power she could easily have all the servants she needs to gather for her all the groceries she could ever want. Waiting for a single servant to revive and then forcing them out to run such a menial task first thing after waking up is certainly characteristic of the ones like her. I’ve only ever met a few in my life, and they’re all the same as her.
Oh, and… Please don’t repeat that last little mistake; I do not think my poor little undying mind could take it.
[ ] Go into town like a good little girl. [ ] Test the limits of immortality. [ ] Rebel against the corrupt! [ ] Cut out and present to the lady your own still beating heart.
Writefag here. Stories with see-through fourth walls are weird like that. There are no unacceptable actions according to me, but the MC may find some things deplorable and will hate your guts. I mean, what would you do if YOU were told to go Dennis? I don't even know a Dennis. Maybe Dennis is an all-powerful wizard. Or an asshole. It's just that kind of story.
Apologies to Dennis and anyone named Dennis. I'm sure you're all very nice people
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Come to think of it though, what good is an undying mind if one is essentially a zombie? The short answer is: none whatsoever. Proof in point, my poor little undying mind is the genius behind this next spectacular idea. The rest of me, having a thinking capacity equivalent to a cracked brick made out of concentrated high-carb grade ‘A’ stupid, decides this next move is a glorious idea and runs with it.
My mind, you see, says this to my body: “Hey, why not rip out that thumpy-thumpy thing in your chest. It’s gotten rather annoying as of late and leaving it passive-aggressive notes telling it to be quiet doesn’t work anymore.”
My body replies, “Yes-master-your-wish-is-my-command.”
Unfortunately for me and my poor, poor life, this little conspiration between mind and body forces me to reach deep into my ample bosom—past the sexy parts and skin and what have you—and tear out my own still-beating heart.
I rip and pull and tear the poor little guy straight out from between my breasts and present the bleeding thing to my master who, rightfully so, has a mix of shock and disgust plastered onto her regularly average-looking face. I’d laugh at her funny-looking face, but people without hearts die. It feels squishy and gooey, particularly so when I squish it into a meaty goo.
Wait, haven’t we been through here once already? You guys are enjoying this, aren’t you?
I come to quickly, my heart having magically waltzed its way back into my chest cavity. Having not rightfully thought this through, the first thought to pass through the lump of grey uselessness lodged between my ears is this: “Oh dear, my shirt’s come open.” Not that this should be surprising… or erotic. I would like now to invite the masses to remember that I am undead. Like a zombie minus the rotting or gnawed-on parts. To lust after my body—as perfect as it may be in every way—is necrophilia. Oh, and the blood is all gone, too.
“You thought up something incredibly stupid just now, didn’t you?” The master chides, “My binding technique may have been incomplete when I made you, but it wasn’t quite to that extent.”
“Uh…” No comment. People with small boobs are people I do not associate with, let alone answer to.
“And do note that I can hear your every thought, being in possession of your soul and all,” she says, now visibly aggravated and making her ‘this-is-going-to-be-a-long-long-day’ face. I make a mental note of the effectiveness of calling her flat-chested.
“Now that you’ve had your little outburst, care to run that errand I sent you on two posts ago?”
> And do note that I can hear your every thought, being in possession of your soul and all
[X] Start singing the following inside your head: -[X] 'I know a song that gets on every bodies nerves, every bodies nerves, every bodies nervers! I know a song that gets on every bodies nerves, and this is how it goes!' --[X] Once you get to the end, start again from the begining. ---[X] Repeat as often as necessary.
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Oh, fie! Just what I need, a bunch of easily-cowed idiots running the show from behind the curtain. You think you're all safe, do you?! Think I don't know you exist, eh? How dare you show your face in my thread! And to think, I could have been persuaded to have done something interesting like... I dunno, rip my own head off and shove it into my chest cavity while I do a little dance? That sounds like fun, doesn't it? But nooo, you just had to take the boring route. Well now, setting that aside it's off to the village to run some slave errand. Yay.
So I cut out the insults at the behest of a certain someone, bid my idiot master adieu, and head off on this glorious little grocery shopping trip scavenger hunt. Though no matter how I may choose to butter it up, a fetch quest is still a fetch quest. As I walk down the usual dirt road towards the usual town where the usual gang of idiots live, I take the time to peruse my list.
Unfolding the wrinkled little scrap of yellowed parchment, I find written in quickly-scrawled chicken scratch:
Milk Eggs Bread Bacon Eye of toad Human heart Fresh charcoal More bacon A jar of dirt Iron ingots
I note that next to the words "more bacon" is written "this is important" in parenthesis. It seems to have, along with a few other additions, been written in by a second person. For one thing, the handwriting is neater and not nearly as off-balance or lopsided. I have confidence that the added words are mine; my handwriting is far better than hers. I would imagine I reckon I might have written that in there earlier along with "human heart" and others, though I do not recall remembering doing so.
Funny thing, memory. I go to sleep for one evening and wake up the next day not remembering a thing that happened the previous day. This is to be taken with a grain of salt, of course; I do remember to recollect some things on occasion. It's not so much the remembering things as it is the remembering to remember things that throws me off. Writing them down helps, but then I forget to remember to remember where I have written what I wrote, and then I forget to remember to remember to remember to find the writings that I have written to help me remember to remember what I have forgotten, and in doing so utterly fail to remember why it is that I am searching or what I am searching for. Generally speaking, I come across notes I've left for myself months ago with little warning and think to myself upon reading, "Oh, now isn't that nice?" Of course, remembering that I should remember to remember to remember to--oh fuck it.
But the reason for these additions is simple and known to me: I do loves me some bacon and human heart sandwiches every now and again. I cannot stress how tasty they are. I suppose I had wanted one a number of days ago, but I'm no longer hungry. I scratch the additions I made off of the list, which leaves a few bare essentials plus charcoal and iron. Why she would need iron is a mystery to me.
I step along pondering and thinking about everything and nothing all at once. Thoughts flow through my head freely, but hit a wall before I am able to commit any of them to memory. There seems to be a massive block between my conscious and subconscious. I cannot for the life of me--ehem, unlife of me figure out why it exists let alone how to remove it. At times it seems almost non-existent, and at times insurmountable. On rare occasions I find my body moving without my say-so.
Times just like now, where my feet push me forward on their very own, towards a cliff below which certain death awaits.
[ ] Cliffs are fun! [ ] Stop walking. [ ] Cliffs are fun! [ ] What relevance to the plot does this have, again?
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Cliffs sure are fun! Especially when I don't fall off of one, much unlike what I am about to do in a matter of seconds. Well, seconds to me. It may take one longer to read this mess. Time is relative, see. I call it Yoshika's theory of General Relativity. The boon of being undead is that it does not really matter all that much whether or not I stop myself before stepping off into the bottomless chasm below, and thank the gods for that; I don't show any signs of stopping.
Though, I may have exaggerated a bit. Just a teeeensy bit. The cliff is more like a small lump of rock protruding from a bit of dirt, and the bottomless chasm is more or less as high as a stair. Oh, and it's followed by several identical ones just below it. I do believe these cliffs are actually stairs. Sorry about the confusion folks. My eyesight isn't quite what it used to be, and I'll be damned if I become the first shambling corpse to wear glasses.
Oh, but stairs are so hard to navigate with such a stiff undead corpse for a body. Calisthenics alleviate naught in regards to flexibility when the tendons and muscles have already achieved the rigor mortis status buff (+15 to Charisma!), and my number one method when contending with stairs is to simply fall down them gracelessly. I do just that. It hurts. A lot, really. Coming from an undead that shrugs off pain like most trees do, that says a lot. I hope this alleviates the tension from my previous fib. Seeing me in pain is funny is it not? You obnoxiously sadistic bastards.
I topple head over heels, and then heels over head. Head falls over heels, heels touch head, bones make odd breaking sounds, spleen goes flying off into the ether and everything fades to black. Not a clean fade to black like you see in old movies, either. This is a bloody, bone-crunching and flesh-rending horrible nightmare gone horribly wrong attempting to wiggle its way out of your subconscious to eat you and your family alive. It'll probably leave your dog be though, heartless it is not.
I awaken later to find that I have forgotten everything, name excluded. Or included, not that I think about it. Good thing I keep backups handy for catastrophic failures like this particularly nasty little fall down a flight of stairs cliffs. Why someone would place stairs cliffs in the middle of nowhere begs numerous questions. Questions which will be answered riiiiight... abooooouuut... now!
There is a house. Well, a few houses. Lots of them, I should say. Enough to fill a world! None of them happen to be within my field of view. Instead, I find myself standing rather brokenly in the middle of a graveyard. I try to walk around to get my bearings, but too many broken bones impede my progress. Ouch, one might say, as they fall to the ground much like I do. Lucky for me, I wouldn't have to worry about bleeding out and dying like what's-their-face.
Magic works its... magic actually, and I'm seconds away from being cured. Bones unbreak, head and heels no longer possess the ability to touch, and I am well on my way. I pick up a few bits and pieces that may or may not have fallen off in the process, reattach them and move along.
Odd place for a graveyard, says I. Odd that they would need stairs to reach it, replies I to I. Odd still that it seems to be unattended, pontificates I. But, oddest of all are the sudden speech patterns I happen to have picked up along the way. Great physical trauma does that sometimes, you know. It jumbles the brain and--
Knocks it a short distance off to the side, in some tall grass. Right next to a patch of babmoo. Most unfortunate, I just had it cleaned. Those bamboo stains will never come off! I dust off my thinky bits, thrust it back into its rightful place, and move to explore this, er...
Oh yeah, boathouse! No, no, I'll get this one. Gimme a sec...
No, graveyard! It's a graveyard! Full of graves and corpses! And deadbeats. And moving corpses that move, though not very lifelike nor fluid. Well, one deadbeat, anyway. I can see it now:
GRAVEYARD: Population 1 deadbeat.
She sits lonesomely, her back rested against one of the larger graves. She looks off into the distance, also lonesomely, and does not seem to notice my presence. Particularly lonesome, that one. Obviously the writer didn't think to break out the thesaurus for that one. Now, if me falling down a flight of stairs cliffs and breaking all the bones in my body, as well as forcing my brain out of my cranium will not garner her attention, I do not know what will. Oh, and my spleen flying off into the ether. Who knows how that happened, or what happened to it. I suppose it'll turn up later in the story, or not.
But, best leave that for later. I was on some sort of errand to do something with some sort of somethings. Something seems to be missing.
[YOU HAVE LOST ITEM: GROCERY LIST]
...I'll pretend I didn't see that. Now, what was I doing again?
[ ] Surfing the web for obscure pornography. [ ] Driving around aimlessly in a new car. [ ] Uninstalling Internet Explorer. [ ] Giving cash to deadbeats in graveyards. [ ] Exploding pants.
[X] Look Yoshika, we were trying to make it so your slave-driver that you unfortunatly have to call 'master' gives up on you, thus having you gain freedom. The only way we can see that happening is by disabling you from following her orders, as you can't kill her yourself due to magic bullshit.
[X] Look Yoshika, we were trying to make it so your slave-driver that you unfortunately have to call 'master' gives up on you, thus having you gain freedom. Hence why we do as bad a job as we can and bend any orders in either the most literal or silliest way possible, whichever is funnier. -[x] Acquire milk from the deadbeat.