August 27, 2014 The Intruder: A Tale of Mines and Crafting
Looking at the title some people will immediately make the connection to the game Minecraft. Some people will then wonder why they will want to read a post about Minecraft and why I am talking about it. Well let me tell you. This is about the kind of gibbering horror that sends a man screaming out into the night into the waiting jaws of carnivorous giant spiders.
First a bit about fear. There are different kinds that we know. There are different causes, and then there are different causes. By this I mean the difference between watching a scary movie and playing a scary game. Being a passive observer takes away some of horror's edge. You can watch a movie and not be phased. It's not you. You're not on the receiving end. Then you switch to a game and you are in a manner of speaking on the receiving end of it. You have a personal stake in the matter all of a sudden. You will die and lose experience levels and possibly hard collected gear and materials. There is a price. Also, you are actively involved. You are looking for the monster to come out of the dark tunnel. You are going carefully for fear of opening up a lava stream in front of or on top of you.
Before I get to the gibbering bit, let me start with a couple different scares. I do not like heights. You can't get me on the second step of a ladder and I don't like to stand on a chair. In Minecraft I've been some pretty high places. There was not much stake in it if I fell at the time. I was on top of tall trees along the edge of a large cliff. I can't say I felt scared per se, but boy does my hand on the mouse sweat doing that stuff. I also found a mountain at the base of an even taller mountain. I get to the top of the low one and it's very nervous any time I get to the edge.
The other scare was more of a jump scare. Minecraft is on a friend of a friend's server and sometimes it lags a bit. I was deep underground with rock right above my head. It's a good thing I'm not even slightly claustrophobic. It is tonnes of rock over your head. I'm mining and breaking rocks carefully in case I open up a fissure full of zombies or the cave spiders I've heard of but not seen. I can hear lava and I don't want to burn to death so I'm on edge. I break a stone and these furry blue legs start coming out of the rock behind it and I nearly jump out my skin. Server lag made me not see I was breaking a rock that breaks into blue pieces. Pretty good scare.
Now for the part you've been waiting for. I'm in one of my houses and I'm working on something, which means I can't look around. I hear a weird noise and then there is this gibbering all of a sudden. I finish what I'm crafting early and look around. Here is this monster, taller than I am, black, with thin arms and legs. It's teleported right into the house. I run out of the room and up into another room. I wait for a bit and it doesn't come after me, but it's making those noises. Finally I discover that I am a panicer. I run out of the house even though I know there are Skeleton archers, Zombies, and such outside. I run away from a couple Skeletons and I think, I'll hit the water. So, I'm treading water for a while and then I get tired of doing that. I make for land, away from the house, and I get torn apart by Spiders and lose my armour and other gear. Dying puts me back in the house and the monster is still there. Turns out as long as you don't look at it this monster's face it just gibbers to itself and looks around. At least once since one has appeared in the same house and it stood right next to me doing nothing while I ignored it until it went away.