I spring up from bed, drenched in sweat like I just ran 4k. My dream replays in my mind like a movie on repeat.

“What was that? I was really hoping for a good dream today.”

I peel off my old blanket and head to the kitchen, just outside the bedroom.

“Morning Doc.” I greet Dr. Howard but as usual, he doesn’t reply.

Rude much?

“You know some people would find it very rude when you don’t reply their greetings every day.” I pull open the cabinet doors to find a can of baked beans and a single packet of noodles.

“Doc you didn’t tell me we were out of food. What am I going to eat now?” I sigh and leave to get dressed. I pull on my usual hunting attire, which definitely needs to be washed.

“You’re definitely not getting anything I catch.” I slam the small picture frame on the two-person table and step outside.

The sun is already so high in the sky you would think it was 2pm, it’s just 8 in the morning. Grabbing my bow and only 2 arrows from the wooden trunk in front of the house, I start my journey into the thick forest, mentally scolding myself for still talking to a picture frame.

“I really wish I met Howard in that house when I got here, everything about the place tells me that he was most likely a crazy person. When I found the place while walking through the woods a few years back, it was empty, I thought the owner would be back by nightfall so I stuffed my bag with all the food I could and waited. But nobody came.” I recall the first time I found the shed.

The tiny house looks like it was definitely made for just one person. Every room is the size of a small bathroom. There’s only three rooms – a bedroom, a kitchen and a tiny library. There’s no bathroom so I bathe and wash in the nearby river. Cooking works by starting a fire outside for every meal, which is definitely not easy but I have no choice. I’ve gotten used to the place in the past 3 years, only leaving the woods when I’m out of food and tired of having meat for every meal.

“The only downside of this life is that I’m alone, hence me talking to a picture like a crazy person. The only time I see people is when I leave the woods and head into the city and that happens about twice every 3 months. And it’s not like I talk to anyone when I’m there, they don’t even know me.” I continue my monologue.

“I always wonder what happened to him.” All ‘Doc’ left behind was the picture of himself that I talk to all the time and a ton of books on things he’d learnt and even stories he’d written. I owe a lot of what I now know to those books.

I pause for a second, hearing rustling a few metres to my right. Taking a crouching position, I slowly move towards the sound. Behind a bush are two huge rabbits, I could’ve sworn they were hares if not for their tiny ears.

I fix an arrow on the bow and aim ahead. The arrow whizzes through the air and brushes past the first rabbit but stabs the second one through its side. The first one is bleeding out and tries hopping away but it’s already getting weak from losing blood so it doesn’t get far.

“Nice one Onda.” I high-five myself before walking over to my catch.

Using the arrow stuck in the second one to raise it, I pierce my blades through the first one’s side, finally ending its life. As I raise it from the ground, blood drips down the blades standing between my knuckles and flows down my arm, drenching my sleeve. I run home but make a few stops to pick berries, fruits and a few mushrooms, hopefully picking the non-poisonous ones.

“I’m home.” I announce as I burst though the small door, “Like I have someone waiting for me.”

I start by cleaning myself up and take care of my game. First scraping off as much fur as I can – which is the hardest part – and then cutting it up.

“I can’t believe I caught two in one hunt. When was the last time that happened? Must be my lucky day.” I rinse off the blood on the cut up pieces of meat and start a small fire.

I check on my small garden behind the house and water my cherry tomatoes and bell peppers, they’re almost ready to be picked. After deciding on boiling the meat for breakfast, I relax on a pile of fallen leaves and munch on my freshly picked berries. About half an hour later, the meat becomes tender enough to eat; it’s still a bit hard and slightly uncooked but I’m starting to get too hungry so I dig in anyways.

Breakfast goes by in a blur.

“Ok let’s get some work done.” Pulling out an axe from the same trunk I took my bow and arrows from this morning, I start with the trees closest to the house. Chopping them down one after the other, carefully avoiding the house. I cut them up to make firewood. Then I move on to widdling some arrows, my supply is running low – only 5 left. The hours go by quickly as I occupy myself.

After exercising for a few hours and tiring myself out, I decide on getting some reading done. I pick up one of Dr. Howard’s books and open it to the bookmarked page. It’s a fictional story, and it’s quite interesting.

The day quickly goes by as I flip through the pages, getting excited for the characters as I dive deeper into the book; I’ve been saving this particular book for when I’m extremely bored and it’s definitely saving me now. I doze off for a second but quickly wake myself up.

But something is very off.

As I shake myself awake, I can’t see the room around me, it’s all dark. I could have sworn I was just in the kitchen enjoying a book a second ago but now everything around me is pitch black. I look down and can’t even see my own arms and legs.

“Did I forget to open my eyes?” I close my eyes tightly, feeling very stupid, and shake myself. Maybe I’m still sleeping and I’m having a dream.

As I open my eyes once again, I’m back in the room. That was quite odd.

I look outside and the sky is already getting dark, I light one of the last remaining candles and place it on the table. My stomach grumbles, reminding me that it’s time for dinner. Putting on a jacket and heading out into the cold night, I take the last pack of noodles with me. Thankfully the rest of the rabbit meat is still good to eat. Giving them a quick rinse before tossing them into the pot, I patiently wait for the meat to soften before plating it, still remembering the indigestion I got from breakfast. When the meat is ready, I put the noodles on next.

Putting everything on a plate, I take the food back inside with my mouth already watering. I continue the book I’m reading while simultaneously scarfing down the food. In less than 10 minutes I’m done with the meal. As I stand to clean up, the room goes black once again.

“Ok I’m sure I’m not forgetting to open my eyes right now. What is going on?” I turn around trying to understand what’s happening. A shadowy figure zooms past me, then I hear a distant voice.

“I told you to leave. Run, Onda. Run!” Mom? The voice seems to move further away with every passing second.

“Run! And trust no one.” Those are the last words I hear before returning to reality.

“Well I think I get the message now. Doc it’s time for me to go.”

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