“Fucking shit! Fuck! What the fuck!” I screamed. This wasn’t a game. This wasn’t fucking fun. I just watched that goblin die. It was fucking horrible, and the pain in my leg was one-hundred percent real. I hadn’t expected it to be like a VR headset where my only connection to the world was my sight, hearing, voice commands, pedals, and gestures from the gloves, but I also hadn’t expected this. That creature felt fear and felt pain. The emotion in those eyes as it died was far too real to be simulated, and the fucking pain in my leg was far, far too intense. I had never felt pain like this before. I couldn’t stop crying, and it was causing my vision to blur. No health bar had appeared, and the damage to my body wasn’t merely a reduction in health points. Instead, my lifeblood leaked onto the carpet of the hallway.

“God damned cheap Chinese piece of shit!” I roared as I threw the hilt of my katana that now had only half a foot of blade attached across the hallway.

I knew nearly nothing about first aid. The entirety of my knowledge relating to stab wounds was:

  1. Don’t pull the knife out. Let a doctor do it, or you will bleed out.
  2. Apply pressure.
  3. Keep everything sterile.
  4. Sew it up.
  5. Pray, it didn’t hit an artery or get infected.

The tower’s mandatory safety and evacuation seminar ensured I knew the location of the first aid kit in my apartment, despite never having had to use it before. I couldn’t figure out where to put pressure with the knife still embedded in my leg, so I let it bleed while I stumbled back to my room. Beneath the kitchen sink was a red and black bag. I opened it and rummaged through till I found absorbent pads in sterile packets, a bunch of suture packs that looked like curved needles on the end of a ring-like spool of thread, and rubbing alcohol. I knew exactly what to do with that.

I took a moment to double-check I had everything I thought I needed. The cops hadn’t come, I had just killed a goblin, and there was a dragon outside. My chances of getting to a doctor were very, very slim. I had to do this. I breathed in deeply and exhaled as I tore out the knife. “Fucking green fucking fucker! Fuck!” I Screamed as blood and pain erupted from the wound. What I had believed to be unbearable pain minutes ago was now a fond memory of happier times. I slowly peeled my jeans down to my knees to expose the wound. Then I grabbed the alcohol and used it just like I had seen it used in every movie I had ever seen. I poured it on the wound. “Holy fucking fucker! Why would anyone ever fucking do that!” I screamed as I sobbed.


Skill Unlocked: Pain Tolerance
(Willpower Skill) By enduring pain, your mind adapts to tolerate it. This does not ease the pain, but your ability to endure it increases by %1 per level. Current level: (1)

“Fuck me,” I whimpered as I swiped the pop-up away. Sure enough, the new skill did absolutely nothing to dull the pain, but I felt ever so slightly more clear-headed. Or it was just a placebo. It was only one percent, after all.

I pressed down hard on the wound with a pad in my left hand and tore open a suture pack with my teeth. I shifted the pad slightly, so only one gushing edge was exposed, and pierced it with the curved needle. I shuddered as the needle piercing my skin added to my already excruciating pain, and then endured the ungodly sensation of the string being pulled through the flesh of my thigh. I nearly pulled the suture thread all the way out before I stopped. I had to use the hand that was maintaining pressure on the wound to try and tie off a knot, or it was just going to fall out when I continued stitching. The blood spurted out freely as soon as I released the pressure, and both my hands were slick with blood. The blood covered the string, and I couldn’t see what I was doing, but after a few minutes, I finally felt that the first stitch was snugly knotted.

I grabbed a new pad and applied pressure again, but I felt so terribly dizzy. I rushed through the process now that I had tied off the end. I stabbed myself five times with the needle before I stitched all the way across the wound from the kitchen knife, but blood still leaked from the wound. I didn’t know what else to do, so I stitched over it again, going the other way. My breaths were ragged, I was dizzy, and the tile of my bathroom was covered in blood. I managed to tie off the end of the suture, and then my whole world went black. The last thing I saw was a new, vibrant blue popup appear in front of my face.

I awoke from a deep, dreamless sleep to something out of a horror film. Dried blood covered the floor, and the handle of the open door, the countertop, the cabinet door below the sink, and the wall I had leaned on were smeared with crusted blood along with every place I had touched before sitting down on the floor to treat myself. There was a trail of blood in the shag carpet leading from the bathroom as well. It was horrifying, but the popup in front of me demanded my attention.


Skill Unlocked: First Aid
(Intelligence Skill) Provide basic medical treatment to treat minor illnesses and wounds or attempt to ease or stabilize more severe conditions. This skill improves the efficacy of treatment by %1 per level. Current level: (1)

For the first time, I had a chance to read and absorb the information in the pop-up. I had gained the skill: first aid, almost certainly due to my frantic attempts at sewing up my thigh. I remembered that I gained sneak attack from hiding and catching the goblin by surprise, critical strike from stabbing its throat, and pain tolerance from being in an absurd amount of pain. The world now had skills, and since there was a level listed, I could only assume that I could raise them. One percent wasn’t much, but if additional levels weren’t too hard to get, that would add up quickly.

I tried to tap or interact with the pop-up in any way, but the only reaction I got was a sliding and fading effect when I started to swipe at it from side to side. I gave up and swiped away the skill window, and a new one popped up.

Ability Improved: Hibernation
Hibernation has reached level 2


“What?” I mumbled. There was no skill information. The other skill alerts had a basic summary, but this just said it was raised to level two. Did that mean I already had the skill before? Or did it jump by two at once and clear the original message? I swiped it away.


Ability Improved: Hibernation
Hibernation has reached level 3


‘I guess that answers that question. Each level gets its own popup,’ I thought. That still doesn’t explain what it does. Some animals hibernate to conserve energy in cold months or to stave off starvation. ‘How long did I sleep?’ I wondered as I checked my phone… “Sunday, April 18th, 2027” ‘Shit, I started my marathon late evening on the 9th. I had three days in the game and two for sleeping after. I woke up to this apocalypse on the 14th, then, which means I slept a whole four days after that goblin stabbed me! Damn!’ My thoughts were racing, and then I remembered that I had been stabbed, but I barely felt it now. My intense hunger pains drowned out everything else. There was a slight ache in my thigh, though. I looked down, and my thigh appeared to have healed. The area was only slightly inflamed, and the wound seemed to have sealed. I didn’t know enough, but it seemed like I could take the stitches out right then and there.

Is it supposed to have healed this quickly? Did this hibernation ability heal me while I slept? I sighed and looked at the mess around and on me. I finished pulling off my pants, and they crackled as the dried blood broke and crunched. I got to my feet and was surprised how good I felt, despite the ache as I put pressure on my right leg. I stripped down and had the hottest shower I could.

A note from Skaeger

Mark is having a bit of a tough time right now, so please excuse his colorful language. I did not mean to post this right now. I meant to have it appear in the morning to attract some early birds, but I'm not going to take it down. I'll just have to write another chapter if I want one for the morning.

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About the author


Bio: New writer, exploring my new passion. Currently working on my second story, please enjoy my work! :)

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