It Wasn't Him: a Minecrafter's Tale

Image Credit: Bret N., New Tripoli, PA The author's comments: Yes, this is actually based off something that actually happened to me (so this might count as Personal Experience in the Nonfiction section), but I never found out what it really was.  In most stories about weird incidents in Minecraft, they always mention Herobrine, the creepy enigmatic character with the "default" skin and eerie white eyes. Few, if any, stories feature any other characters besides the famous griefer, and I always thought the only thing that made Minecraft mysterious and unpredictable would be him (and I remember dealing with him once, but that's not important right now), but that all changed when I met something else, or should I say someone else. I can’t remember when exactly this happened, but I do remember that it happened late in the year of 2015. I was playing Minecraft on my PS3 with my older brother (To make things more interesting and to keep his identity a secret, I’m just going to use our usernames instead.) in one of my worlds, with a house built immediately across a river in a forest (between a common oak forest and a jungle to be precise) almost too dense for comfort. We were planning on going on a mining trip, so Titanis and I went in separate directions to collect wood. I crossed a row of hills that bordered a part of the land that went from right behind my house to about halfway down the river. Right after I traversed the fence of oak-and-birch covered hills, I looked down at the small valley right in front of me. I found it strange that there weren't any flowers or distinct stalks of grass in the valley, but got myself down into the valley anyway. A particularly dense forest grows on the other side of the valley with a birch tree growing under a big oak tree. The pair of trees made a big spot of shade, dark enough for monsters like skeletons and creepers to hide under and attack an unsuspecting person, so to make sure it wouldn’t become a future monster’s hideout, I decided to chop the birch tree down. They say the strangest of incidents happen when you least expect it. Well, I didn’t expect anything to come out of that forest, even though I was in a very shady spot; you might call me a moron for doing so. Anyway, just when I finished my job felling the birch tree, I saw something bright green sneak behind the distant trees, a shade of bright, slimy green, not the blotchy green everyone associates with the Minecraft creeper. I knew it couldn’t be a zombie since I saw it walk in literally bright daylight. Slimes can only bounce and normally appear in caves and swamps, so that was another possibility ruled out. I stared at the site for a moment, then made the terrible mistake of turning around. When I did, I saw this thing walking down a trail shaded by the oak trees surrounding it. I didn’t know what to think of it at first, but as it got closer, I began to feel a little scared. This brute reminded me of a very exaggerated cartoon creeper, with slimy skin, a body in the shape resemblant of a stick of butter, and legs like a Rottweiler's that end in mole-like claws. How that thing walked without breaking one of its probably 8-inch claws, I don’t know. The creature also wore a wide-brimmed witches’ hat, which hid its face. It was heading toward my direction, and as it got closer, I heard this awful sound: drrr….Drrr….DRRR…. It’s not as dumb as it looks… or sounds, whichever you prefer. The moan reminded me of a guard dog about to attack. As the grotesque creature got closer, the sound got louder and more angry. I tried to get myself to run, but I found that I couldn’t move. I foolishly hoped the patch of sunlight between me and the monster would kill it, but what happened in reality was much more gruesome. The moment that monster made contact with sunlight (again), it reared back its head, and the second it did, I was thankful for the tattered hat the monster was wearing. Its face looked like it just got man-handled by a lumberjack. The thing’s eyes can be described as the bottom of slime-filled wells, or shiny black orbs, whichever you prefer, and its mouth was like that of a shark’s. I would have to say the monster’s face had plenty of wrinkles... to say the least. That thing was really growling at that point. I don’t know why this next part happened, but for some reason, the monstrosity made a terrible wheezing sound, then a scar I had never noticed before began to rupture. A whole chunk of its flesh fell off, exposing half its rib cage. I remembered seeing things like that in zombies and stuff like that, but at that terrifying moment it was just too much. Finally, the freak slashed my leg and I fled, suddenly able to move again. For the first few seconds, it ran after me, barking its weird cry as it moved along. I think I heard a hiss of frustration by the time I got to the other side of the valley, but at the moment I didn’t care and I didn’t look back to make sure. I kept running through the forest until I bumped into Titanis. He asked me why did I run into him like a maniac and how did I get a big gash in my right leg. I told him everything and I even took him to the spot where I saw that thing’s side fell off. That chunk of meat was all that was left of it. Titanis turned to me and raised an eyebrow, “Herobrine?” “No,” I stared at the lump in disbelief, “That wasn’t him.”                                              ... For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what that thing was supposed to be, but later on, I came across a village in a savannah separated from my land by a channel barely connected by a scattered archipelago of islands. I stayed at the village for a few days because I decided to build four houses for the village since the village was very small. Just after I finished building a house, I saw a newspaper lying on the ground. I picked the newspaper up and read the main headline featured on the front, and the main story reported a violent murder case had recently been solved. The least likely suspect was found guilty, and the guy who got framed was paid with three blocks of gold as an apology. Not only did this mention how one of the suspects got caught, but this article also mentioned strange incidents that happened soon after the murder. The very reason why I’m even bothering to include this is because one of the “paranormal” incidents the newspaper described was similar to what had happened to me almost a week ago. Apparently, a guy named Robert came down in a mine when this case was two weeks old. He likely wanted to get away from all the reporters and paparazzi and maybe find some valuable ore, like he probably always did. As Robert walked down further into the cave, he saw a narrow hole in the cave wall, not in the shape of anything particular. A strange, but horrible figure leaned out and motioned him to come closer and made a cooing sound in a predatory tone. The way the article described what this Robert guy had seen sounded a lot like the monster I had encountered recently. The newspaper also listed theories on what the thing may be. One said it was simply a prankster in a costume, others say it’s a badly corrupted moderator who tried to remove something that wasn’t supposed to be in Minecraft and turned into a monster in the process, but the most popular theory is the monster might be a ghost seeking vengeance. That does make sense, considering that it acted like a zombie, but since I had nothing to do with the case (in fact, I knew nothing about this until now), I still don’t understand why that ghost-creeper-thing came after me. In fact, I’m afraid whatever that thing really is or why it attacked me, I’ll never know, but I have a feeling this may be more than a chance encounter.   Endnotes: 1. Griefer is a term used in gaming communities to describe a prankster whose ideas of a practical joke (more like bullying tactic) involve causing major damage and killing players. 2. By creepers, I mean the totem-pole monster in the game, not the creeping vines or the dirty slang term. 3. The second theory may be based off the theory that Herobrine was corrupted by a virus.

ROBERT HOEKMAN JR.: And There Were Tears on the Floor (My Father in the Rain, pt. 4)

No one cries but Grandma. She cries at the wake after, in the church basement next to the table with the sheet cake. I tell her hang in there, Grandma, because I don’t know what I’m supposed to say. Then I go into the bathroom and stand inside the stall. Robert Hoekman Jr thinks you … Continue reading ROBERT HOEKMAN JR.: And There Were Tears on the Floor (My Father in the Rain, pt. 4) →

ROBERT HOEKMAN JR.: See How Much It Weighs (My Father in the Rain, pt. 3)

When someone can’t show up, my uncle asks me to be a pall bearer. I carry Grandpa to the ground with five men I don’t know. Grandpa who used to snatch my nose with his thick mechanic fingers. Grandpa whose skin is like rubber. I carry him to the ground. Robert Hoekman Jr thinks you … Continue reading ROBERT HOEKMAN JR.: See How Much It Weighs (My Father in the Rain, pt. 3) →

ROBERT HOEKMAN JR.: My Father in the Rain (My Father in the Rain, pt. 5)

At the cemetery, I look at my father in his dark suit and dark shoes and I see a drop of water on his cheek and I think it might be a tear. But then I think no, it’s only the rain. And then it rains and rains and rains. Robert Hoekman Jr thinks you … Continue reading ROBERT HOEKMAN JR.: My Father in the Rain (My Father in the Rain, pt. 5) →


Where is he? Take a happy memory, old, rarely visited. Imagine it as a painting, oil on canvas. See the subjects, how they laugh, smile, dance. One does not. Follow that gaze to the dark corners. Someone casts a long shadow, out of view. There he is. The Shadow Man.


Rough and sharp, her voice is filled with demons. She hides beneath her tongue, a monster dancing before you. Angry and alert, her life is emergency. She rails and hurls insults – of course it’s all your fault. You hold on tight and pray you’ll make it through her teenage years. Eliza Mimski, a retired … Continue reading ELIZA MIMSKI: Holding On →