(From a drabble of mine on Tumblr. I figured more people could see it and read it over here. I do so enjoy Wendy's character.)
It wasn't the first time Wendy had entered The Doorway. The King of Winter was brutal and painful, but the world that followed by far compensated for it. The Game Is Afoot, as sourceless knowledge from somewhere in her brain had dubbed it, was almost a joke of a challenge world. Maybe it was a genuine threat to some, but Wendy couldn't see why. If the other worlds were busy days at work, this one was almost like going on vacation.
Summer never ended. The days were all identical, and all the boons that came with the yearly season of flourishing never went away. The natural life in this artificial world was at its peak, and it never wore away like it would normally as winter came near. Crops provided food unconditionally, berries always sprouted back after a few days, traveling for meat never became an issue, supply demand never went up because there was no chill to fight off.
It'd been about a month. This was the second time Wendy had unloaded all the monster meat from the icebox and left it out to continue rotting in the sunlight, simply because there was too darn much of it and she couldn't cook it up fast enough. There was no point in jerkying it because, well, why bother? It was just going to gather up in the back of the box without rotting longer. Wasn't worth it. She'd rather burn the rot and get some more healing salve…like she needed more of that.
A majority of the excess meat came from the spider slaughters, which happened on a semi-regular basis, more for Wendy's attempts at entertaining herself than for any need for food. Abigail's presence itself was lethal, and thus was particularly effective against the horde of spiders that tried to swarm the hostile entity like they instinctively knew to, becoming corpses that their friends would struggle to climb over and die upon for the next wave to likewise climb over and die upon, creating a heaping mountain of death over the course of an hour. Wendy didn't even have to do anything, and thus didn't, more for the sake of avoiding needless damage to herself. Her sister didn't need her. She just stood by and watched as the kills piled up, spear at her feet, torch in hand, watching the black spiders turn grey and stop moving by the dozen. An otherwise spectacular threat fell flat and became the equivalent of watching the television despite nothing good being on, just because it was better than sitting around.
Speaking of excess, the supply situation - as predicted - was at an all-time high. An entire array of chests were crammed full of all the essentials: grass, twigs, wood, silk (especially silk). The farm was hardly that, just a patch of some saplings and some grass tufts that happened to be there when she set up camp, and since it never stopped growing, she could always just run around and gather more anyway. There was a field to the north and twigs weren't all that necessary to start, so their numbers rarely went far down enough to become a concern. She had enough supplies to last for the remainder of the foreseeable future, and well beyond as well.
Food was in gross excess, resources were always in storage, research could progress until she had every object constructed that she'd ever been able to make. If Wendy felt so inclined, she could just sit here in the middle of The Adventure and never leave. She could live like this every day until she grew old and her body shut down. As far as survival went, Wendy had succeeded in every way. This was prosperity.
Wendy stood over the pile of rotting purple meat, not at all concerned with the amount of food she'd wasted. It didn't even matter. She'd never go hungry. She'd survive forever here.
This was it. This was success. She'd done it at last.
There was a loud crash as a hammer came into contact with the top of the icebox, smashing the metallic hull that was far more brittle than it looked. A second and third blow shattered the box completely, sending gushes of crushed plant matter and stinking meat all across the ground.
The chests were next. The carefully crafted lids caved inward one by one as Wendy systematically demolished each and every one of them, all hand-crafted, now hand-destroyed with the help of some sticks and rocks tied together in a moment of inexplicable rage. Everything she'd ever compiled went flying off in a miniature landslide, everything - flammable or not - finding its way into the firepit, spilling out over the edges of the ring of stones.
What was accomplished in weeks took minutes to undo. Soon Wendy's entire livelihood amounted to little more than a pillar of indescribably intense and wicked flame, roaring at at the sky in defiance. Perhaps the pillar of smoke that went up was what convinced the sun to snap to the horizon, abruptly signifying that evening was coming.
Just over the bellowing of flames, one could perhaps pick out a small stream of giggling. Wendy could only smile, not bothered by the heat that scorched her flesh. Her skin prickled with the sting of first-degree burns, and she didn't care. Blackness closed in…or at least, it tried to, and Wendy's giggles grew into full-fledged laughter. The omnipresent danger that had hunted her from the very beginning couldn't even perform properly because of how good she had done here. Even night struggled against her.
Soon Wendy was on the ground and rolling in the brittle, scorched grass, tears rolling down her red, burned face. Ashes stung and burned her clothes where they landed, trickling from the sky like a drizzle from Hell, coating the grass in thin, gray snow.
Summer had become winter. The normal world had become the underworld. She had made night into day. She had eliminated hunger and need. She had accomplished all that there was to accomplish. Wendy had become God.
This was what anyone in her position had ever wanted. She could have lived here forever. She'd done everything she'd ever tried to do; she got herself into a position where she was genuinely prospering. She'd never have to struggle. She would barely even have to do anything at all. She could have grown into an old woman and died from age. It was something that she had only been able to dream of once. It could have been hers. She could have accepted it so easily.
But she didn't want to.
Because it was boring.
There was no purpose, no struggle, no fighting. She didn't have to go anywhere, didn't have to do anything - all the things she'd have to fight for were here, in a pile, ready to be consumed on a whim so she could go get more and do it all over again. And then what? What was she supposed to do here? What was this all for? Living? Surviving? And what did she do after that?
Her life was an empty shell. There was nothing in it. She had no loved ones, no friends, no family. She woke up and had nothing to look forward to. The pain, the struggle of scratching up a living from a hostile environment, the threat of threats yet revealed…that was it. That's all she had. This place she'd come to know as Hell, crafted by a madman with an appetite for human suffering, was the only thing she knew and the only thing she had to look forward to. Without its hardships to stave off, there was nothing. Absolutely nothing.
She'd wander directionless, every goal fulfilled, every need satiated, nothing to do, nowhere to go. She would rot slowly and all the defenses she'd ever put up would be worthless as that tiny, brittle piece of soul she'd kept intact for so long withered and disappeared.
Prosperity was the closest Wendy had ever come to a living death. And that just couldn't happen.
The fire would last all throughout the night, and well into the next evening too. The flames lingered on, having consumed her entire campsite at one point, but now they were tamed, dying slowly beneath their own need for fuel that continued to grow as things to burn steadily ran out. The firepit, for once, looked like an actual firepit as opposed to a gate to Hell, containing nay more than a pile of coals and starving tongues of fire begging for food. Come evening it was completely dead. Her old life sat smoldering in a mound of lifeless embers and rocks.
Wendy was going to die here. This night, right where she lay, not a moment later, she would be dead. It had been decided.
She could have survived. She may have even been able to start over in the hour or so left until the sun went down. She was half-starved and covered head to toe in burns, but she could have gotten it together. There were enough natural resources in the area that she could have gotten another fire going, collected some food, kept life in motion. She could have kept Death waiting for as long as she so desired.
But no, Wendy wasn't interested in survival anymore. She laid out in the grass, arms spread, covered in a light dusting of ash, and stared up all day and night into the fake sky she had never had a chance to appreciate. There was little to appreciate - there were no clouds, except when it rained - but she had the chance now, and so she indulged. She, like the gold-orange sheet of featureless sky overhead, finally had a chance to get to know one another.
For the first time in a thousand forgotten lives, Wendy spent the whole day smiling.
She didn't remember dying. Even when she woke up outside the doorway, clad in armor she didn't remember making with a spear in her hand, she just laughed and tossed it all away, flopping back down in the grass covered in bits of coal and the remains of burnt trees and incinerated evil flowers.
It was overcast here. The grayness meant rain soon.
Later that night until her death, and a few minutes after her next life began, Wendy wondering what a real sunset would look like.