Thursday, February 24, 2011

Part 7: Horror in Horse Heaven

Neither I or the horses ever sleep, so morning was a long time coming.  Finally, though, the first glimmerings of dawn glinted off the polished bones of roving skeletons.
Almost as soon as the skeletons had burned away like mist in the morning, I had burst through the doorway, screaming and waving my sword, before looking wildly in all directions for creepers.  This morning there was merely a spider lingering nearby, and it seemed uninterested in fighting.  When spiders are in broad daylight, something in their little spider brains gets fried and although they don't die, they merely scuttle around in harmless confusion, rather than behaving like the high-jumping, wall-climbing, bloodthirsty ninjas they are at night.

Satisfied that the coast was clear, I returned to the hovel to fetch the pegasus.

We had a slight problem with improperly installed double doors, and with an overeager Squares.
"I'm helping!  I'm helping!"

At last the moment arrived - I found myself on the pegasus, ready for our first flight.  I felt like there should be throngs of cheering spectators, but instead my audience consisted of a single boar.
Hey boar.  Watch this!
That boar was about to have his mind blown.

I punched the jump key a few times and we rose up into the air, reaching dizzying heights in just a few seconds.

Look at this! Look at this!  Why is the boar not even looking?
A few more flaps of the pegasus wings and we had rose to a height that was very, very high indeed.

And then I stopped looking down, and began to fly forward.
...and Wow.
I'm pretty sure I just won Minecraft.

I spent the day in giddy soaring above Horse Heaven, buzzing mountaintops where lions roamed, or delicately landing on steep, inaccessible peaks.  I could fly as high as the clouds - I could fly above the clouds - I could fly higher than the tallest mountain.  Controlling a pegasus in the air is everything that controlling a horse on the ground isn't.
Mountain peak, I think I will land on you.
Ha!  On the snowy mountain peak, looking down at Horse Heaven and my hovel with its stick.
Hello, lions on the mountainside!
Yes.  I'm pretty sure I did in fact just win Minecraft.
It's something about having spent so long tied to the ground, jumping block by block up mountainsides, fighting through forests, and having long ago accepted that flying is not even in the realm of possibility.  I planned never to come down again.

But sunset was nearing, so I supposed I'd start my flight home in the morning.  I started descending toward my hovel in Horse Heaven when it happened.

The game lagged, and then suddenly froze.  A few seconds later came the inevitable Minecraft crash.  "Minecraft has experienced an error and needs to close...."

When I restarted the game, it picked up where I had left off - mostly.  It remembered that it was near sunset.  It remembered that I had been soaring over Horse Heaven.  When it didn't remember was that I had been doing so while riding a pegasus.

I fell to the ground, taking considerable damage, but surviving the fall.

I looked in one direction: no pegasus.

I looked in the other direction: CREEPER.  Mere inches away, as if it had positioned itself perfectly for just this moment.  BOOM.  It exploded, creating a huge crater in the landscape, and knocking me backward.

And ow.
Now I could see my hovel - I had landed close, in fact - but there was something wrong with it.  The game had forgotten that I had spent yesterday building a tower and a new roof and doors.

I could also hear a horrible squealing sound coming from inside the hovel.

Had a lion somehow gotten in?  Had the game forgotten that I'd installed the door?  Where was the pegasus?  What was going on?

I ran into the hovel to find the squealing noise stopped, and the pegasus standing inside.  Alone.

I looked around in panic and confusion.  Where was Squares?  Were those sounds some kind of death cry?  If a monster had gotten in, why was the pegasus still alive?  Did the crash teleport the pegasus back home and turn it into some sort of crazed cannibal?  Was I next?

The sun set, and then I got my answer.

The pegasus, which had been bouncing around the hovel, suddenly stopped with its head in the ceiling and started squealing and flashing red.  I knew that was horse for "ouchouchouchouch", and it was a horrible sound.  I began to run around in a panic.  I punched at the ceiling where the horse was stuck - it was cobblestone, so my punching had no effect.  I drew my pickaxe and beat at the cobblestone, but couldn't tell if I was destroying the cobblestone or hurting the pegasus.  I fumbled for a haystack - restores full health - and gave it to the pegasus, but it continued going "ouchouchouch" as the ceiling monsters or whatever didn't let it go.  I considered climbing out to the roof outside, but I would never find the right spot in the dark before it was too late.  For some reason I decided to whack at the floor with my pickaxe with the crazy idea that lowering the floor would allow the pegasus to drop down.  The pegasus disappeared with one last horrible squeal and there was silence.

I couldn't believe it.  Both horses dead within minutes of each other?  Killed by the ceiling??  The same ceiling that they'd been happily sticking their heads through for a full night and most of a day?  But suddenly was not OK now that the game had crashed and the ceiling was lowered? Was the ceiling now infested with deadly cobblestone weasels?

Nothing to do now but wait till morning.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Part 6: Preparations for the flight home

After a long and sleepless night that I spent being jostled from wall to wall by two rowdy horses, I was rewarded by the sign of the sun's first rays illuminating the creepers that circled our pit.  Yes, I had installed windows around the entire perimeter of the pit.  Once I place one window, I pretty much can't stop until I've created an entire conservatory.

With the addition of windows, the pit was looking less like a desperately-cobbled-together shelter and more like a real hovel.  This was somewhat on purpose - now that I had found a pegasus on day 2, my journey, though in length significantly shorter than "epic", was nearly over.  The only thing that remained was to fly my new pegasus home, leaving Squares behind.  Although I had originally wondered about how I would be able to leave Squares either locked up forever or wandering as lion feed, since I ended up so close to home I could simply come back and visit Squares anytime, and we could run around the plains together.  Horse Heaven turns out to be the only place I've found so far where it's actually practical to have a horse, so it makes sense to leave Squares here.

While I was having these thoughts (and perhaps delaying on leaving the house until the creepers wandered away), Squares and the pegasus took turns freaking me out by sticking various appendages straight through the walls and ceiling.
"Stop it," I told them.  "You're making me nervous.  Like you're some kind of extradimensional ninja horses or something."  The pegasus made a wing disappear into the wall.  "Bring that wing inside before - I don't know - a creeper gets it or something!"  Squares jumped up so his entire head disappeared in the ceiling.  "Cut it out!  Get down from there!....All right, have it your way."

I dug my way out of the pit, checked for creepers - which had luckily wandered off - and climbed to the roof.  Horse ears showed through the cobblestone roof whenever someone inside jumped.  It was sort of cute, but meant that the head those ears belonged to was embedded in a cubic meter of solid cobblestone. "How are you doing that? Think you're so smart, eh?"  I got out my pickaxe, removed the roof, and put it back on one block higher.  No more horse ears.

Next thing was to mark this shelter so I could find it again later.  I did my crude yet effective routine for whenever I want to mark something: put a giant stick on it, then put a torch on top.  You can build a tower like this by jumping up, then before you hit the ground, slapping a cubic meter of dirt underneath your feet.  If the horses are extradimensional ninjas, I'm a superbeing.
I make the tower two blocks wide so I can make my way back down again by digging the dirt out from under my own feet.

Next home improvement task: a nice wide set of double doors so I can take the horses in and out. No sooner had I installed the doors and turned my back than I heard a roar and a series of "ouch ouch ouch" and turned around to find that a lion was somehow attacking the horses through the door, using their own extradimensional ninja tricks against them.  The horses weren't smart enough to step away from the door, so I rushed in to join the fight, and there was a moment containing a confusion of wings and spikey paw and sword before I realized that none of my sword blows were actually hitting the lion.  I opened the door, stepped back, and settled the fight the straightforward way: with a volley of arrows.
Solving a small lion problem.
For once the horses stood out of the way.  I distributed sugar cubes to everyone, then reinstalled the doors to face the other way (if you install the doors from the outside in Minecraft, then you can hit creatures through the door but they can't get you, a trick the lion used against us).

Between the roof-remodeling and the tower-building and the lion fiasco, I was out of time for my pegasus flight before sunset, so reluctantly resolved to wait till morning before taking flight.

There was nothing to do all night, since I couldn't dig downward for fear of breaking into the lava- and zombie-filled cave that I could hear somewhere below me.  Instead, I just watched the horses, who, deprived of their favorite pasttime of sticking their heads through the ceiling, decided instead to do everything in their power to freak me out.

Squares loomed above me in the darkest corner, hidden except for his glowy eyes.
When I attempted to place a torch on the cobblestone block above him, the screen went black and I suddenly started dying.  Yes, dying, "ouchouchouch" noises and all. I had inadvertently right-clicked on him and was now on his back with my head encased in solid cobblestone.  In my panic I right-clicked again and found myself sitting on the floor, my health decreased by a few, and my jitteryness increased by quite a lot.

The pegasus stuck various appendages through the walls and, when that failed to produce a reaction, Squares and the pegasus turned to face me, standing on either side of the door, and began to do everything in mirror image.  They stared at me.  They turned in unison to stare at each other. They stared back at me.  They faced in opposite directions, Squares lurking and the pegasus sticking its face through the solid wall.

Stop it!  Stooooooppp iiiiit!
It might have been a cute dance routine had it not been dark and had I not already been made nervous by the lion attack in our own house, and had I not been hearing the constant zombie and lava noises in the basement.

"Why are you doing that?  Why are you guys doing that?? Why don't you go back to bouncing?"

I began to be irrationally afraid of a single square of dirt in the corner of the floor, nervous that it would spawn a lion at any moment.
This single square of dirt was probably too small to spawn anything but a bird or a bunny.  Probably.
I didn't have any more cobblestone in my inventory, but I would be staring obsessed at that block all night unless I replaced it with something that predators wouldn't spawn on.  I was forced to install a window in the floor.  No predators, and I could look through it anytime to get a breathtaking view of dirt.  See, perfectly rational.
There - sorted!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Part 5: Entering Horse Heaven

Full morning arrived and the horrible hissing squelching noises of dying monsters had finally stilled, leaving only the slurping sounds of the spiders on my roof.  Squares and I had survived the night, but the task of actually exiting our makeshift house/pit was still before us.  My normal method of exiting shelters that may have monsters lurking outside is to bust through the wall and run screaming for the horizon, in hopes that anything pursuing me would give up the chase.  But now I had Squares to look after, and my chances of convincing him to run screaming in the same direction as me were slim.  Slim also were my chances of exiting the pit on horseback in an orderly manner.

I carefully opened a hole in one side of the pit roof.
This about gave me a heart attack.
Yep, there were spiders out there.

I opened the hole wider and ran screaming for the horizon.  But, being a Brave Horse Caretaker, I then summoned all my courage and turned around, swinging my sword madly.  I hadn't run far enough, and was frankly quite lucky there weren't any creepers.  I took out the spiders, taking only minor damage, while Squares shouted encouragement from our shelter.  I scanned the horizons nervously for creepers, finding only a cow that was lingering near our shelter, looking up at me as if to say, "What spooky cow noises?  I don't know anything about no spooky cow noises."
Only a cow.... or IS it?
My next task was to get Squares out of our shelter, so we could hit the road.  This proved to be deceptively difficult, because although Squares and I both fit in the shelter with a three meter high roof, when I'm on horseback we're approximately five meters tall, and when we jump my head reaches a height of about eight meters.  I found out without a doubt that there is such thing as head-bonking damage.  I took a lot of head-bonking damage before I managed to clear away the roof enough for us to scramble out.

Immediately the cow scrambled into the shelter we had just vacated and hid its head in the corner. 

Cow in the corner.  I translate its "Mooooo" as "You can't seeeee me!  I'm invisible!  Invisi-Cow!"
When I looked up at the hill, I discovered the reason why: a lion making its way toward us.
Could it be that cows are smarter than I had thought?  Certainly it proves that this cow was smarter than Squares, who, rather than hiding was now shouting a loud friendly greeting to the lion.  "Hi!  Hi there!  Are you a horse too?"  I judged it was time to move on.
The country ahead was mostly bare of trees, and although there were tall canyon walls on either side, the path ahead of us remained mostly clear.  We nearly fell in a shallow cave/pit before I managed to turn Squares aside from the brink.  A drama was being played out between a fox chasing a sheep along the rim - it wasn't until I looked at the screenshot later that I noticed it was looking straight at us in a wall-eyed appeal for aid.  As it was, we had lost enough time that morning, and galloped on our way, up a small hill.

We crested the hill, and the horizon fell away.
Oh, my, this will be much easier going.
This... this was Horse Heaven.  The ground stretched out flat and treeless into the far distance, with gently sloped mountains and hills on either side of the plain.  Herds of horses, pigs, cows, and bunnies roamed the grassy landscape.  I was thrilled, and Squares was probably ecstatic at the chance to finally stretch out his legs and race for the horizon.

We approached a herd of horses that was bouncing about under a distant tree.  From my screenshot timestamps I see that we made it in about nine seconds.

How pastoral!  This is definitely country for horses.
"We're horses!  We're horses!"  They seemed friendly and bounced vigorously in greeting.  I let Squares bound about in the flower-strewn meadow with them for about as long as it took me to assure myself that there was no pegasus in among them.
We left the herd and raced like lighting - like lightning, I tell you! - across the plains, soon coming across another herd scattered across a group of low rolling hills.  In the screenshot it looks like I found the God of All Horses, a 50-meter megahorse, which truly would have been the best thing ever (yes, I would have tried to tame it.  Of course), but I think it was merely an ordinary horse that jumped at just the right moment to create an impressive piece of forced perspective.
We found another group of horses almost immediately, our third of just that morning, and Squares exchanged pleasantries with them as I scanned the herd for pegasus.
Howdy!  Howdy!  Howdy!
A bit of white movement caught my eye and I looked past them to the horizon.  Then did a double-take.
"Oh, her," the horses seemed to say. "Yeah, she's got some kind of deformity.  We try to be kind, but really, these gross bits of flesh just flap around all over the place whenever she bounces and, honestly, it's a disaster to stand anywhere near her when we're doing a bit of community bouncing."

We covered the distance to that tree in under ten seconds.

Can it be - the rare - a - really a - GOLLY!
It was a pegasus.  Actually a pegasus.  On only my second day of travelling.  But considering how this valley was swarming with horses, I had probably stumbled upon the perfect horse-hunting territory, and with Squares's super speed, I could travel enough distance to see horse after horse.  It was getting toward sunset, and pegasus are supposed to be even harder to tame than unicorns (and I once had to give up trying to tame a unicorn after it threw me so many times that all I could do was limp home with one heart left, before the sun set and left me utterly doomed).  But I couldn't just let this pegasus escape.  This is why I had brought three whole stacks of sugar lumps, and several haystacks, and a saddle.

I leapt off Squares and approached the pegasus.  "Nice horsey, niiiice horsey, c'meeeere horsey."  I tried desperately to remember how much food you were supposed to give a horse before it would accept a saddle.  Pegasus were supposed to require the most food of any wild horse.  I readied a sugar lump.  "Niiiiice horsey."

I gave it a sugar lump.  Crunch.  I gave it another sugar lump.  Crunch.  I tried the saddle.  "Poink."  The saddle was on the pegasus, and I couldn't believe my eyes.
Pegasus with a saddle!   Getting closer!

After you put the saddle on, you're supposed to bribe the horse with lots of food and then climb on - it'll throw you, and you'll take damage, but you should get back on repeatedly until it finally stops throwing you off.  I think when I was taming Squares he threw me at least seven times.  When I was attempting (and failing) to tame a unicorn it nearly killed me and I gave up.  Pegasus are supposed to be worse.  When it threw me, would it do so from a height of 500 meters?

I nervously readied my sugar lumps.  "Niiiiice horsey, you'd like some more sugar, wouldn't you?  Nice sugar?"  Sugar.  Crunch.  Sugar.  Crunch.  Sugar.  Crunch.  The pegasus devoured ten lumps of sugar in quick succession and then stared at me fixedly.  I got on.  As expected, after a short pause the pegasus threw me off, but I didn't even take any damage.  I got on again, and waited for the pegasus to throw me off.  And waited.  And waited.  Nothing happened.  "What, really?"

"Sure, whatever," the pegasus seemed to say.

I tried to steer to the right.  The pegasus turned to the right.  I experimentally punched the "jump" button twice.  We rose up into the air.  "Why were you just standing there under the tree when you can do THIS?" I asked the pegasus.  The pegasus made no answer, as if I couldn't possibly understand the complexities of her decision to fly or not fly at any given point in time, and really shouldn't I understand that the difficult thing is not learning how to fly, but learning how NOT to fly?

Sunset was nearing, so I reluctantly let us settle to the ground.  I hadn't exactly planned this next part out, how I was going to possibly secure TWO horses, plus myself, from predators all night, especially given that one of the horses could leap into the skies at any point she chose.  Pit.  I would build another pit, and then drop the horses into it, and then build a roof over the pit before digging my way in later.  I started digging as fast as I could, musing that perhaps I should have made room for a shovel in my inventory.
C'monnnn, dig dig dig dig dig hurry
Miraculously, Squares and the pegasus didn't bound off into the sunset, but stayed put, watching my progress with interest.  Once the pit was deep enough, I got on the pegasus and dropped her into it, then placed a block so I could climb out.
Why have you put me in a hole?
"Oh no look at that." She seemed to say. "I'm in a pit.  How shall I ever get out."  I scrambled to get Squares and walked him into the pit as well.  "Whee!  I'm in a pit! I'm a horse!"  The sun set as I hurried to build walls around the edge, then place a roof on top.
Sunset!  Sunset!  Gotta hurry!
In the darkness and confusion, I accidentally right clicked on Squares.  "Whee!  More playing in the dark!  Wheeeeeee!"  I quickly got off, but now I was in the pit with the horses, getting jostled about as Squares bounced off the walls.
Squares was very very excited by the prospect of being in another fun pit.
My attempts to put the roof on were punctuated by short laps around the pit when I accidentally clicked on Squares, but the walls were by now tall enough that we never actually found ourselves outside the pit, and I could climb safely back off, shaking my fist at Squares who practically vibrated with excitement.  I even managed to floor the pit with cobblestone.  While I worked, the two horses stared at each other and exchanged a constant volley of loud neighs that reverberated through the pit.  I had also unluckily built the pit in the vicinity of a cave that contained a couple of zombies and lava, so the jumble of noises all night was maddening.  "Horse!  Horse! scufflescuffle Braaiiiiinnnns!  Ploink ploink ploinkity scuffle ploink Horse! ploink BRAINS poink scuffle HorseHorseHorse ploinky ploinkity plink Brains Braiiiinnns HORSE brains plinkity ploink WoooooooOOOooooo scuffle Horse WOOOOoooOOOOOOooo"  Spooky Cow was visiting us again.  This was going to be a long night.
"Why is the human sitting there huddled in a corner with its paws over its ears?"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Part 4: This time for real! The journey begins

At long last, the big day arrives!  I was actually quite surprised when, after scraping together my supplies for the umpteenth time thanks to the many many software problems, I made my way to Squares's pen and found him bouncing happily inside it.  Hardly daring to believe my luck, and wanting to waste no time, I jumped on his back and we were off in a clatter of hooves, leaving the morning's lingering creepers behind in the dust.

We stopped for a totally-not-staged couple of photos on the top of nearby tall sand dune to mark the big day.

We are majestic!  Squares is a unicorn!  My feet look silly poking out on either side of his neck!  At least I think those are my feet.
The territory ahead.  The tall pillar at the far left is a natural formation, believe it or not.  I think those things from the previous picture must be my feet because there's definitely nothing in the stirrups.
We head north.  The landscape just close to my base is pretty easy-going, except for a steep climb down a sand dune.  There is a moment of anxiety as I fear that Squares will crash headlong into a stand of cacti.  He has never seen cacti before, and seemed to be determined to make friends with them.
No, Squares!  We don't nuzzle the cacti!  They are not friendly.
The next major obstacle was a forest.  I think I've mentioned before that Squares believes himself to be rather larger than one would guess upon looking at him - and thus two trees planted a few meters apart might as well be a solid cliff face as far as he's concerned.  We careened madly around the forest, trying to find a path through.  To manually clear a path I'd have had to jump off, beat wildly at the foliage, and then go chase down Squares who by that time would be somewhere on the distant horizon.
Augh, trees!  Squares doesn't do forests.
On occasion we somehow ended up in the treetops, Squares evidently delighted with the view, and me fretting about how we were possibly going to get down again without taking falling damage.  We took a lot of falling damage.
In the treetops.  How did we even get up here?
All this while, Squares was keeping up a steady stream of neighs, whinnys, and snorts.  I'm not sure why, since there were no horses nearby to talk to, and the neighing only served to announce our presence to any lions, bears, or creepers that might be in the vicinity.  He could be offering commentary on the landscape that we were passing, but given his mental faculties, it was probably more likely something like, "I'm a horse!  I'm a horse!  I'm running!  Wheee!"

Mountains were next.  Although climbing them is actually pretty fun due to Squares's impressive jumping abilities, descending them is somewhat of a challenge on horseback, which become evident in the screenshot below.
I'm not sure how we made it down this mountainside without killing ourselves. Or what I was hoping to do with that torch.
I can't see the ground below, and Squares, having the self-preservation sense of a bagel, is no help whatsoever.  I could tell him to step off a sheer cliff face, and he would happily race to our doom, commenting, "Wheee!  I'm a horse!"  Somehow we managed to weave our way down.

It was now barely past noon, and I was already getting nervous about stopping for the night.  I had sort of run through some scenarios of how to build shelters for Squares and myself, but hadn't actually tested anything, and thought it might be a little tricky my first time.  I found a convenient cliff wall that could serve as one side of a shelter, with as a bonus, very thin grass with stone right underneath, so I could build Squares a pen with a non-grass floor.  A non-grass floor is important because lions and bears and other horse-eating creatures will spawn on grass.
The spot I chose for our first night's stop.
I walked Squares against the cliff, got off, and fished through my inventory for a hay bale.  Hay bales not only fully heal horses (I wasn't sure how he was doing after all that falling damage) but also make them stay contentedly put until the next time they're ridden.  My plan was to give Squares a hay bale, then build a nice shelter around him, then dig myself a shelter in the cliff face and spend the night mining.

By the time I got the hay bale out, Squares had bounced well away from the cliff face.  I got on, walked him back, got off - and he immediately bounced away from the cliff face again.  After another couple of tries, I gave up and gave him the hay bale when he was merely in the vicinity of the cliff.  I would just build a four-sided pen for him.

I got two and a half sides of the pen done before I accidentally right-clicked too close to Squares, and ended up on his back.  "Whee!  You want to play!  I'm a horse!"  Bouncebouncebounce.  I got off, and Squares bounced out of his pen.  I got back on and tried to steer him back into the pen, but now Squares had decided that the opening was much too small for Squares the Mega-Horse, and was having none of it.  I got off and enlarged the opening.  I chased down Squares.  I maneuvered him back into the half-pen, then tried to stand beside him and block up the opening.  Two blocks later, I had accidentally right-clicked on him again, and was once again staring at the pen from horseback, unable to place any more blocks.  "Hi!  We're playing again!  I'm a horse!"  I got off, and Squares immediately bounced out of the pen.

By now the sun was beginning to set, and I was starting to get worried.  Instead of trying to box Squares in, I switched strategies and tried to dig a pit, hoping to lure Squares inside and close it up over our heads.  It worked for a while - Squares can only jump 1.5 blocks when I'm not riding him, so I was able to dig a pit that was two blocks deep, chase down Squares, and drop inside the pit with him.  He bounced in the pit next to me as I tried to reach past him to make a roof above us.  I placed a few blocks, then accidentally right clicked on him again.  When I'm riding Squares, he can jump 3 blocks, so we were out of the pit in a flash - in the confusion I right-clicked again, and I ended up back in the pit, looking up at the stars, and listening to Squares bouncing around outside.  "I'm a horse!  I'm a horse!"

This is bad.
I sat there in the pit for a second, looking up through the half-built roof at the stars.  This horse journey was a bad idea, and I have just royally botched the very first night.  If I blocked up the roof now, I would be safe.  Safe from all the zombies and skeletons and wolves that were just now beginning to appear.  But Squares would get eaten by the first monster that came along, because he would go straight up to it and ask to be friends.

I climbed out of the pit and went to look for Squares in the dark.  Fortunately he was bouncing in the torchlight just outside the pit.  I steered us back into the pit and - fighting panic - somehow managed to get the roof closed up.
I stood there for a while, smelling Squares's horsey breath inches from my nose.  Upon finding himself in a low-ceilinged cave with no exit, he began to while away the time by bouncing vigorously, occasionally announcing to the world that he was a horse.

Eventually I tried to move, and discovered that I couldn't go an inch in any direction - Squares was pinning me against the wall.  I tried to dig myself a little room behind me - the first block immediately revealed the dark night outside.  I closed it up and turned around to face Squares again, still unable to take a step.  I started jumping up and down along with Squares.  It felt strangely therapeutic.  I eventually stopped bouncing and found a block that I could safely clear away without exposing us to the spider that was now making its slurping noises outside.  Now that I could move a little,  I spent most of the rest of the night trying to sidle past Squares to get to a chunk of coal just behind him.
Rrrgh - Mffff - move it, Squares!
Toward dawn I heard a new sound that I at first identified as "Cow with something very wrong with it".  It was like a low drawn-out moo, all wavering.  I looked at Squares.  "Was that you?"  He looked back at me innocently.
Squares was not the source of the spooky cow noises.
The sound came again, but this time it sounded like a teenager trying to scare kids at a slumber party.  "WoooOOOOOoooo"  It was coming from outside, and it was a new creature that I had not seen or heard before.  It kept up its hair-raising sounds until dawn, when I heard its equally hair-raising death cry.