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It only took about 30 minutes to accept that this was not Earth. It was easy to guess that this was not the future nor the past, but a world more widely known as a fantasy world by others.
“I’m lost for words.”
He was literally lost for words. Everything was just so real.
The yellow substance he vomited was sprayed the ground, and not far from it was his campsite which had been rummaged by the wolves.
“Those damn bastards!” Joonbum spat out angrily, thinking about the wolves. He then felt his wet pants, and the smell of urine pierced his nose.
“I even peed in my pants. This might have won more donations than ever.”
He mumbled while his expression showed that he was looking into the void. It was the first time he ever peed in his pants after he peed during his childhood.
“What a fool I am to be thinking about donations in this state.”
He thought to himself. Even though he was saying he accepted what had happened to him, there was part of him where he just wanted everything to be a dream.
Joonbum was racing between acceptance and denial of what occurred and was puzzled. Then sudden sound of wind slashing through the forest woke him up.
“Yikes! They must have left, right?”
It was just wind. Joonbum was ashamed that he was scared by the wind.
“Wait, what time is it?”
Joonbum checked his watch. An hour had already passed since he woke up. Joonbum grew weary and his mind rushed. He then searched for his cigarette and lit one. After puffing out a few, he relaxed a bit and started to think.
“Folks, what should I do?” Joonbum said as if he was streaming. His pale lip shook while he was speaking.
And then his stomach rumbled.
Joonbum was ashamed. He was ashamed that even in this state, he was still hungry.
“My… Folks, this is…”
He mumbled a few words but he couldn’t continue because his eyes were filled with tears. He put his head down and started to cry, sobbing. Sudden fear struck him hard. Just up until yesterday, he knew what he was doing with his life, but now, everything was dark. He knew nothing around him. He could not get rid of this uncertainty.
“I need to go back… I must go back…!”
While crying, he thought of his mother.
His mother went through all the suffering to raise him alone. He remembered her secretly crying while grilling pork belly when Joonbum finished serving in the army. He remembered how she was so happy when Joonbum became a streamer even though it was not a stable job. She did not complain to him and kept supporting her by working full-time at a restaurant kitchen.
Sadness struck him. All of this was too much to bear.
The sudden sound of an animal made him stop. The fear returned, and he quickly glanced around.
“Weapon. I need a weapon.”
It could have been thinking about his mother that caused him to cling for survival so that he could return to his world. He looked over at his scattered tools to see if there was anything. Concentrating eased his fear a little bit.
“A shovel… and a knife!”
The first thing he saw was a foldable shovel for camping. There were also numerous knives he brought for cooking. He brought those to show different cooking methods to his viewers.
“Knife and… yes! I had a crossbow too!”
His thoughts began to clear. Joonbum had bought a crossbow claiming to show a real hunt to his viewers. He used it against a dummy target multiple times on his stream. There were times when he tried firing at small fish.
There was also a flare gun and wild animal repellent. He received the repellent as a gift when he purchased other stuff, but it was not much use back then.
“How do you repel wolves? What do they fear…? Fire. Right, fire!”
Joonbum glanced around and eyed the area below.
“Are they gone? They’re gone, right? Folks, those bastards are gone!”
Joonbum mumbled like lunatic. He was just speaking as words came out of his mouth. He started to move.
Pain shook him when he scratched himself on the bark, but that helped clear his mind. The pain brought alertness and made him concentrate.
He could feel everything around him. Every breeze and the foreign smell were ever so close. It was a bizarre experience where he felt like he had everything in his grasp. Because of this, he knew.
His instinct told him that something was there and he stopped moving. A chill shook him and he eyed one spot in the forest. His body twitched and shivered.
Joonbum screamed while moving his body upwards. There was a wolf hiding behind the shadow, waiting for Joonbum to come down and lunged at him. Loud howling echoed and Joonbum felt a sudden jolt at the back of his skull. It was extremely cold and his entire body shivered as he lost consciousness.
The sudden pain woke him up. It was dark around him. It was already a night. There was darkness looming around.
‘Wolves. Where are they?’
It was too dark to see anything, but Joonbum was relieved that he was still alive. He was not sure how long he was out for, but it seemed at least the wolves were now gone. Relief made him feel the pain around the back of his head and he placed his hand on it.
“Is it blood?”
He felt something wet and sticky on his head. It was too dark to see it, but the texture of it was enough to let him know that it was blood. The smell also proved that it was blood. It was a smell that he experienced when he had a nosebleed while he was asleep and woke up because of it.
His eyes welled with tears. He carefully touched his wounds.
As he felt the wounds, he realized that it was not a simple scratch on the head.
“It’s a claw!”
There were three thick cuts on the skin. It was oozing with blood, indicating that the wound was fresh. Although it hurt, he did not moan anymore. The threat from the wolf and the fear of death made him cold. And despite all this, his stomach rumbled once again.
It was not funny at all. Even when he was panic-stricken, even when he was sobbing uncontrollably, his body craved food.
‘I didn’t eat anything today.’
Thinking of food made him hungrier, and he also remembered that he was thirsty. His mouth felt dry, and his lips were already like a drought-stricken desert.
‘Well, I peed, cried, and bled. I guess I do need to hydrate.’
Joonbum licked his lips while looking at his campsite once again. While looking around, he habitually mumbled, “Folks, it’s so dark now I can’t see anything.”
He couldn’t believe he was saying stuff aloud as if he were still streaming.
“I surely am crazy.”
It was so hard for him to say stuff without anyone listening to him physically at first, but now it just felt so natural.
Moving around brought all the pain back. The wound at the back of his head hurt him more – it was as if moving cracked open the dried blood clot back up.
Every part of his body, from the hand he was holding the tree bark with to his foot, there were probably tens of scratches and it hurt him while he carefully climbed down. Joonbum slowly moved down while he paid attention to the surroundings.
‘I should get those as soon as I get down.’
Joonbum eyed the stuff he decided to move towards as soon as he was on the ground.
‘Water bottle. Food too.’
The closer to the ground he got, the more careful Joonbum became. His heart was pounding so hard that it sounded like thunder. Just moving a few steps caused him to sweat a lot.
After he got down to the ground, he carefully moved toward his campsite. He wasn’t even sure how long it took him to move less than a few feet from the tree to the campsite. Any sound around him made him freeze and it took him many thought processes to be able to move again.
And it seemed like every bodily sense of his had opened up. He could feel everything around him so well.
At last, Joonbum reached the water bottle. He searched for his breaths and even his breathing scared him. He opened up the bottle and poured the water into his mouth. Cold water flowed through his lip, through his tongue, and into his throat. One gulp of water was enough to blow energy back into him. His thirst quickly dissipated with every gulp.
‘I must survive.’
Water cleared up his mind. He came to his senses.
He started to fill up to-do list in his mind and moved his weary body around the campsite. He picked up the backpack and quickly began packing camp tools into it. He then ran to the tree, left the backpack there, and went back to the tent.
Joonbum quickly cleaned up the tent and moved everything, from the tent to the tools, to the bottom of the tree. When he was finished preparing, he climbed up the tree again.
‘It’s only the matter of pulling it up now.’
It was just matter of pulling up the stuff he had prepared at bottom of the tree so that he could have everything up here. He was relieved, but the sense of relief made him feel lazy.
“Maybe I should at least eat something…”
He knew he had to eat, but he was too tired. Instead of eating, he wanted to get some rest first, and before doing anything, Joonbum fell asleep.
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