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Joonbum abruptly woke up from his sleep, frantically looking around.
“How long have I been asleep?”
It was dark. So dark to the point that no matter how many times he blinked, he couldn’t see anything. It was a darkness that you normally would not find in ordinary city life with no artificial light available.
“Is… Is this real?”
It was real. It was nowhere close to a dream that you could simply wake up from. All the pain and sore muscles screaming from his body proved that he was not dreaming, but there was a part of Joonbum that still wanted this to be a dream.
“Where am I?” he said to himself while clearing up his thoughts. He could not see anything, which made him fear the dark, but it also helped him not think of anything else. Then his belly rumbled.
“Okay folks, I will drink some water here… hell, what am I saying.”
Joonbum spat as he habitually repeated his stream dialogue and opened up a water bottle. After gulping through the entire bottle, he pulled up the backpack and took out a cherry tomato. As he munched through some, he felt the juicy sweetness filling up his mouth.
As he found some relief through eating, he then rummaged through the backpack, searching for more.
“I need more sugar. I need… oh, Snickers!”
His mouth watered when he found a chocolate bar. He instantly ripped open the packaging and took a bite. His face lit up with a smile.
“Ohhh… this is sweet! So good!”
He consumed all the cherry tomatoes, one chocolate bar, and a water bottle in a glance. As he munched, he thought about searching for more but stopped.
“I should save some.”
Unknown land. Not even a day had passed after he woke up in this strange place. He needed to conserve his food and water. He remembered he mistakenly ate everything on his first few streams of Wilderness Survival. Rather than just watching him eat his food, he realized that his viewers wanted to see how to survive with scarce food or water to show what it is like to survive out in the wild.
“How much do I have… ouch!”
He suddenly felt pain searing through the back of his head. His face cringed as he put his fingers to his wounds. There was no more blood flowing out of it as it was all dried up, but it was now swelling. It might have been infected as even a slight touch brought so much pain.
Joonbum quickly searched through his backpack for disinfectant and a clean towel. It was a necessity to bring around first aid kit for his videos since it was easy to get minor cuts out in the wild. He carefully cleaned up his wounded area with a wet towel. As it touched the area, the unbearable pain shook him. It was too much to handle, but he resisted his urge to stop and finished up cleaning his wounds. His knowledge of first aid that he acquired through his streams had surely helped him out.
“So where the hell am I? How did I even get here? If it is a fantasy world, shouldn’t I be killed in an accident and then some God or Demon tells me I wasn’t supposed to die, but I can’t go back to my old place, so I get some cool skills instead? I don’t have anything here. Damn, this is dark.”
It was just too dark. But a moon was rising, shedding some light so he could now see some blurry shapes around him. With no light source other than the stars and moon above him, there was an eerie sense of calmness rising inside him. As the moon rose higher up in the sky, it now gave out enough light for him to look around. Joonbum took out a cigarette and lit it up. The end of his cigarette glowed, and because there was no other artificial light source, it seemed to glow ever so brightly.
Then from a distance, a wolf howled. It seemed to be really far away, but it was enough to give Joonbum a chill to the bone and he felt sweat running down his back. His breathing became shallow as if he remembered the terror of the attack.
“Ah damn! Chicken, I am,” said Joonbum while massaging his shaking hands. The fear subsided and was soon replaced with shame. As the moonlight brightened up the area, the forest began to wake up. The serene silence that prevailed was now swept away by the sound of wild animals or bugs. The occasional faint cry of an animal meant a death that continued with a new life.
As he was paying attention to the change in the atmosphere, he suddenly realized that his pants were still wet from the incident, causing his bottom to feel itchy.
“Let’s take it off first… I only have drinking water but… oh well.”
An awful odor pierced his nostrils as he slipped off his pants. He continued to take off his underwear and placed both on a nearby branch and poured some water on it. He then took out a towel and drenched it with water to rub the dirt off his body beginning from top to bottom.
“Hah, it feels refreshing.”
It was unbelievably refreshing to feel a breeze drying his clean, wet skin. He took out another dry towel to clean off any wet spots.
“It’s 2:30 AM now.”
It felt like a long time had passed, but that was not true. Not even a day has passed since his arrival here.
“Hey, God! Or Demon! Or anybody. Care to give me some skills? Powers? Or explain me something at least?”
Joonbum shouted, but only wild birds replied to him with a screech.
“Aw crap, I must be going crazy.”
He had hoped for a slight miracle, but it was false hope.
He angrily spat, “Why me? I’m just a loser! Why?”
He was finally getting a feel for streaming. Joonbum had just figured out how to balance survival and eating food. It was only a matter of time for his channel to become stable and then he even dreamed to shoot a video in a foreign country like those famous wildlife survival TV shows.
“Yeah, foreign, but not other world! I can’t do it here! No electricity, no food, monsters all around me. Why did you put me here? Did I not deserve what I was doing?”
He shouted at no one. As he mumbled, cursed, and ranted, time passed quickly and a light started to come up from the horizon, lighting up all the darkness. As the light became brighter and stronger, it soon filled entire world around him.
It was a bizarre and magnificent scene to behold. All harsh feelings melted away at the sight.
He yelled, wiping out all the anger inside him.
“It is what it is.”
As he made up his mind and was ready to accept what was going on, everything started swirling around. His eyes opened up, but the light became blurry and the entire world started to spin as if he was drunk.
“What the hell is this now?”
Confused, the swirling quickly swept his entire sight and before he could even feel afraid about what was happening, he started to see something familiar.
“Wha- where- What’s this?”
The world was changing again. He was going back to the hill where he had camped the night before.
“Am I going back? For real? No freaking way? This is crap! What?”
He fell to the ground on his butt while speaking different things, expressing his disbelief. He was just accepting reality and was trying to make up his mind to survive in the new world.
Now he was going back.
“Wait… camera. My camera!”
He ran for his camera, trying to capture what was going on. His wound throbbed as he moved abruptly, but he ignored and reached out for his camera to capture at least a glance of this world shift.
“No! Wait! Hold on tight you bastard!”
Joonbum shouted at the sight, frantically pointing his camera at the shift. But it quickly faded away and it was done.
He cursed, realizing that the footage was not long enough to actually be considered worth it. A single response saying it was a hoax would ruin the validity of the video. It was that short and unclear.
He took a long breath and shouted, “Hey God, or Demon or whoever you are! Are you kidding me?! For real?”
Joonbum glanced around at his dismantled campsite. Shouting stretched his wound and the pain came back to him.
“Ugh, I should go to the hospital.”
Joonbum gathered his stuff, loaded his truck, and drove off. He knew he needed to tend to his wound first.
As he turned on his favorite music and lit up a cigarette in his car, he began to calm down and started to realize what an unbelievable experience it was.
‘What was it really? What happened in the end? Maybe I can go back again?’
As he relaxed, he was drenched with his thoughts. Even with all the horrors he experienced, his mind was filled with one thought: he wanted to go back.
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