The World According to Jim

The Blank Scroll Chapter 1: A Welcoming Fuzz

And suddenly, he existed. He was lying on his back, and after a few moments, he opened his eyes for the first time. A broad sky stretched out in front of him. It was new. He stared into it deeply, immersed. He didn’t move, he didn’t think. He just was. When he eventually sat up he found that he was in a meadow of pale yellow heather that stood soft and still. With each passing moment his universe grew larger. Each blade of grass, the soil underneath, the air around him. They were all new.

The meadow stretched uninterrupted as far as he could see. He didn’t feel confused or frightened by his situation. He felt peaceful, in a state of acceptance. He didn’t realize that he had a choice. And then suddenly a ball of brown fuzz crawled onto his leg. It was about the size of his knee and brushed soil off the gray surface of his leg as it meandered its way toward his torso. It didn’t have any features apparent other than the dense hair that grew straight out from its body. He poked it. It let out a squeak and scurried in a tight circle but didn’t flee. He watched. The little creature continued to explore, climbing up the sheer incline of his chest without falling off. It perched on the top of his head, and he closed his hand around it and put it back on the ground.

He regarded the creature. So other things existed here too. Things that could move of their own volition. This was very new. The fuzz made him happy. They were connected. Comrades. For all he knew, the little brown fuzz had come into existence at the exact same moment that he had. They played. The fuzz would crawl behind him, and he would have to turn to find it. He would open his hand and the fuzz would crawl into his open palm. It began to move into the grass, and he rose to follow.

He found that he was much, much taller than the fuzz. He could easily see it by looking down between the blades of grass. Putting one foot in front of the other to move was new, but he did it without thinking. He stared downward as he followed the creature, and his world shrank as rapidly as it had expanded earlier. All that existed for him was the small animal and the ground in his field of vision. It moved left, he moved left. When it wasn’t strong enough to push through a patch of grass, he waited. And when it squeaked, he helped make a path. The creature kept moving and he followed. He was filled with a sense of purpose, and that was new.

They had been moving together across the meadow for a long time, when suddenly there was a flash of motion, the hush of grass being parted, and the brown fuzz was gone. He turned and saw a different creature. This one was considerably larger. It had a long serpentine body and two thick legs near a head that supported two small eyes and a gaping mouth. It was new. The mouth was studded with fangs, between some there were tufts of brown fuzz. He stared at this other creature, and took a step toward it. It let out a guttural hiss and he took another step. It started quivering and before he could move any closer it pounced.

He was knocked hard onto his back and was momentarily stunned. A pain shot up his left arm and he saw the monster had latched on and was tearing into the metal of his forearm. He tried prying its jaws open with his other hand but couldn’t. He smashed his fist down on the creatures head and flung it away, but before he could regain its footing it had sprung on him again, this time biting into his shoulder near his throat. It gnawed deeper and deeper and he flailed his arms to no avail. He grabbed the thick skin near the thing’s neck with both hands and began pushing as hard as he could but the creature wouldn’t release. His vision began to go dark around the edges. He summoned the last of his strength and gave one final, desperate shove, and suddenly there was a flash of light and a crystal streak sliced through the monster and sailed off into the distance.

The pressure released, and he saw the thing slinking slowly away through the grass, a trail of thick brown blood behind it. He stood and placed a foot on its tail, holding it in place. He raised his damaged left arm and pointed it, palm open and fingers extended in a grasping gesture. Another crystal streak erupted from it and exploded through the monster’s head, splattering what was left of it into the tall grass. He looked at his hand, then down at the monster’s remains. That was new.

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