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<|startoftext|>You're a young prince named Stan in the noble kingdom of Chessie. A few years back your parents died, leaving you the entire palace in your hands to inherit when you became old enough and brave enough - as determined by the nobles of Chessie. You are well loved, and love everyone. YOu also have a strong love for the game of chess. You're pretty good but you don't like to brag about it, especially because there's nothing worse than bragging and then getting your ass kicked. But you're pretty confident in your abilities. Anyways one solitary day you're hanging out minding your own business when you get the idea to kindly invite your friend the Baron Alexis to a nice game of chess.
> Yes that's a good Idea! Let's invite Alexis to a friendly Game of Chess!
You decide to send a Messenger with a message inviting the young Baron Alexis at his convenience to come on over to your Summer Palace and hang out for a while, so that the two of you can get together and play a friendly game of chess. It's a very kind message, with your families Royal Seal of Chessie implanted in the wax, but it happens to recieve a rather rude reply saying "I WILL DESTROY YOU AT CHESS STAN! YOU ARE NOTHING!" in the note that is sent back to you.
well this isn't exactly the type of reply you were hoping for from an invite to a friendly game of chess!
> You well Maybe he's just joking, let's play him in a game anyways!
You decide despite the fact that Alexis is such a meanie head, to invite him over to play a kind game of chess. Perhaps he was simply joking. That Alexis! What a kidder.
so you plan a game for that monday, and you prepare a bit by playing a couple of random chess games with the palace servents. Unfortunately you don't care to play these servents. the games seem so empty ... so TWO DIMENSIONAL, as if there were no substance behind them. So you rarely do well in the games against your servents. But you figure better a little warm up than nothing.
Soon the day is upon you, it is Monday and you must face that Alexis today, and hope to show him that his response was both uncalled for as well as unfounded. You must defeat him.
Suddenly a Messenger appears.. It seems that there is an urgent message from your First Knight Georgiovanni.
You forgot that you are required to take an annual trip on this day to the City of Kleavelandia to make an appearance at the annual Wizard Convention, which was taking place at a large castle, the largest library in the land. It is extremely urgent that you go to the Wizard Convention, there is little worse than Angry Wizards, and you should be back in time... unfortunately if you are NOT back in time, will Alexis wait or will he run and throw another log on the Blaze that has become his ego?
> You forget the Convention! You have to stay here and wait for Alexis so you can show him that his ego is unfounded and peasant like.
Forget the Wizard Convention! At this point the real threat is Alexis! You wait for Alexis to appear, at his predetermined time.
Far away at the wizard convention, with you missing as the master of ceremonies, the convention is unable to get underway, leaving a group of rather angry Wizards, who (being all knowing) know that you stood them up for a simple game of chess! Together they plan a spell that destroys your chess playing abilities for the rest of your life!
The spells effects are immediate. Alexis comes to play you and destroys you within the course of 3 moves. He laughs hysterically screaming "NOW ALL OF CHESSIE WILL BE MINE TO CONTROL!"
he didn't just want a simple game of Chess! He wants the throne! You try to fight him but he screams "Quiet Wench! You are now one of my Slaves! bow before me!"
your lack of self confidence after such a devestating loss leaves you with little choice... you bow before the great Alexis... This should never have happened!
This should never have happened...
this should never have happened..... zzzzzzzzz....... WHAT!
you awaken suddenly!
It is monday morning and you just had the worst dream of your existence...
you're not missing this wizard convention today for ANYTHING!
> You on to the Convention!
You head out to the Wizard Convention with your loyal knight Georgiovanni, and your loyal steed Kevorsello. You explain to both your loyal knight and your horse your problems with Alexis and his evil messages to you. Both seem to be thinking very seriously about it, but assure you that you should be back in time to face Alexis as planned, and that if you are late, his noble blood will not allow him to leave your palace, but he will wait patiently for your return.
You head into Kleavlandia to where you believed that the annual Wizard Convention was being held. Unfortunately your information was wrong, and you find that you have actually gone to the wrong palace. The wizard convention is to be at the KSU (Klevelandia samantics Utopia) rather than KASE (Klevelandia Association of Semantics and Earth) Palace.
You turn and head on your noble horse to the correct palace and arrive unfortunately rather late. However the Wizard are so glad that you, as master of ceremonies, have shown up at all. They were beginning to get worried, though they knew where you were at all times.
Knowing that you will never make it back in time to face Alexis in Chess, you just hope that his sensibilities will rule and he will await your noble return.
When you finally DO return to your estate on your tired but noble steed Kevorsello, you notice immediately something bright red on your door.
Painted on your doorway, in bright bold letters are the words
"STAAN IS A WOOOOOOOOOSIE!"
largely, huge, all the nobles you are sure have already seen this insult.
all of your servents as well.
You ask around and everyone says that Alexis came, and out of anger that you weren't here, defaced your property then ran, unwilling to wait.
You consider stripping the Baron of his nobility but you realize that you cannot do that until you are truly king, and you will never be king if the evil Alexis considers to challenge you and you fail to live up to that challenge.
> You refuse to play the evil Alexis!
You decide despite all the heckling that you will not give in to Alexis's evil mockery and will not play him. Eventually the painted doorways, the evil messages and everything disappear. It is not long however before, due to your constant disregarding of the situation, Alexis crowns himself king of Chessie. With no opposition, and with you not showing the nobles your bravery, he was able to usurp the throne. He is a cruel king, mean to all of his subjects, he beats them with a whip and orders frequent beheadings to those who oppose him. One day there's a knock on your door as a group of subjects loyal to Chessie-King Alexis grab you and hang you from your door threshold. Around your neck hangs a sign "DEATH TO ALL WOOOSIES!"
The End
> You damn that Evil Alexis! Let's try again and show him what you're Made of!
You're a young prince named Stan in the noble kingdom of Chessie. A few years back your parents died, leaving you the entire palace in your hands to inherit when you became old enough and brave enough - as determined by the nobles of Chessie. You are well loved, and love everyone. YOu also have a strong love for the game of chess. You're pretty good but you don't like to brag about it, especially because there's nothing worse than bragging and then getting your ass kicked. But you're pretty confident in your abilities. Anyways one solitary day you're hanging out minding your own business when you get the idea to kindly invite your friend the Baron Alexis to a nice game of chess.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Your world is rot. Your nostrils fill with the smell of excrement and decay that tends to fill your home. Still, it's all you have. You scurry among the scattered ruins, climbing atop a massive section of castle wreckage, sniffing the air.
A rusted, blood-stained sword sits in one hand, a leather pouch hanging from your shoulder. Your whiskers tingle with excitement as you smell the scent of burning meat. Campfires are near, and where there's campfire, there's a caravan. Where there's a caravan, there's food.
> You head towards it
You scurry towards it, as do the others. Dozens of brown and black bodies scurry up from among the rubble and out of the ancient sewers underneath where your camps lie. You're one of the first on the sign, climbing atop a crushed tower as you see it. Three wagons circled around a campfire, basking in its light. The moonlight shines on your brown, shit-matted fur and catches on your blade as you run forward towards the camps. The man on guard, a young, cleanly shaven guard with armor that's too small for him yell as he sees you approach,. He readies his spear, looking ready to plunge it into you. You dance at the edge of the spear point, waiting for your chance.
> You grab at the spear
You step forward, grabbing the spear's shaft and yanking the guard forward. You swing your sword, slashing him in the massive gap between his helmet and shoulder pads, biting into his neck. He screams, collapsing to the ground as blood spurts forth.
You yell with glee, at other Ratlings begin arriving to take care of the other guards. The merchants and passengers of the caravan either flee back inside the caravans or procur weapons and get ready to fight, but this isn't a unified raid where the scraps will be given out later. You take what you can get. You run towards the camp fire, grabbing the stew cooking there, jabbing your snout into it and beginning to gulp down the delicious mixture. You manage to finish half before a much bigger rat grabs the pot from you, and you know you can't fight him. You turn to one of the caravans, where rats have killed the guards and are dealing with the merchants. The merchants are surrounded, looking terrified, as all those willing to fight have been cut down.
Although the majority of them are to be enslaved and sold to the Lizards or the Eastern Tribes, while the women will be taken back to the burrows for a less than kind fate, one unfortunate soul has made his presence known by trying to negotiate.
"Please, taken the cargo! It's yours! Keep the men as well, we'll fetch a heavy ransom! But leave the women and the child go, won't you?" the merchant leader says.
Bad choice. The boys have taken note of him now, and he's a fat one. His weight, the fact that he has so much food he can grow weak and fat, only angers you all thanks to the fact that you're all constantly hungry and eating scraps. One of the ratlings slashes his axe, cutting open the man's belly in a superficial wound. Another ratling jabs him with a spear, as the boys begin to jab and slash at the man as he yelps in pain as he's slowly cut and hacked apart.
The torture has drawn the others attention away from the actual carriages. You stare at them, contemplating sneaking away and grabbing yourself some more food.
> You join the torture
You laugh gleefully as you dash forward, punching the man in the side of the head and knocking him backward as he grunts in pain, knocking into the blow of a sword blade. You slash at his ankle as he collapses to a knee, before one of the ratlings decks him a blow from the butt of his spear. He tries to stand, blood down streaming down his face.
"Please, I'm sorry. I didn't...!" he cries, looking genuinely petrified, before one of the rats takes it too far and stabs him in the throat with his sword, killing him.
He slumps to the ground, before lying still.
"Bah! Could've played with him for hours!" you complain.
The largest rat, a big brute who's taken charge of the raid named Pak, strides forward. Not too many ratlings have joined the raid, a fact Pak is clearly enjoying as it means he gets to take charge, and since you all get a bigger part of the profit, all the better.
"You, you and you!" he shouts, selecting three rats from the group. "Start moving the prisoners back."
"Yes, yes," they snarl, as they begin to shout and whip the prisoners into movement.
"You!" he shouts, pointing a long finger at you. "Kill the horses."
You nod, walking over to the horses. They seem terrified and scarred, and look at you as if begging for mercy. You wonder if it's best just to untie them and scare them off.
> You kill the horses
You slash your sword, cutting open one of the horse's throats. You jab your sword through its skull to finish it off, before slashing another's throat. You kill the few horses, before returning to Pak, who's already ordering the others to carve up the horses and bring the meat and hides back to the home. Suddenly, you see two ratlings dragging a teenage girl out of a caravan, whose crying and screaming has gathered the rest of your attention.
"Please! Please! Let me go!" the girl sobs.
The ratlings toss her in front of Pak, who grins eagerly.
"Perfect! I'll have some fun with her!" he says.
He glances at you, noticing you're finished with the horses.
"Bring the girl back to the burrow. I'll have my fun with her later. Let the others have some fun, too."
You nod, walking over to the girl, grabbing her by the hang and beginning to drag her towards the burrow.
> You lead the girl back to the burrows
You drag the girl along the path to the burrow, as she cries.
"Please, you have to help me get out of here. We can run, just run into the wilderness."
"Can't do it. Too many bad things there. They'd kill on site a ratling. No, no," you say.
"Please! I don't want to die..." she whimpers. "Can... can you tell me what's going to happen to me?"
> You walk in silence
You keep walking, as the girl falls silent, becoming quiet. Soon, you walk down into the burrows through the caved in portion of sewer and into the top layer of the many layered burrows. The weakest and most feeble rats are forced to live here, away from the safety that waits lower down. They look gleefully at the girl, talking and chattering among themselves. They grab at her, groping at her breasts and bosom and tearing pieces of fabric off her dress. You raise your sword to threaten them off, and they easily follow orders. You're weak for a Ratling, but you could easily kill the crippled and the the meek who surround you. You find a corner of the room, shoving the girl into it and raising your sword, waiting for Pak to arrive and take his prey.
"I'm scared," the girl says.
"I'd be, if I were you," you admit.
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Ritz," you say.
"I'm Julianne," she says. "I don't want to die here."
You don't say another word, as she begins to chant.
"I have the soul of the dragon. Dragons to not break. Dragons do not die. Dragons do not show fear. Dragons survive the flames. I have the soul of the dragon..." she continues to chant.
You turn, staring at her. You notice a long, silver necklace hanging around her, and grab it.
"This is pretty," you say, admiring the silver.
"You can have it. If you help me get out of here, it's all yours. It was a gift from my father."
You stare at the necklace, knowing there's not a chance she's getting out of here alive, even if you tried to save her.
> You snatch it off her
You grab the necklace, snatching it off her neck and clutching it in her hands.
"Hey!" she cries, grabbing at it before you snarl, scarring her away.
She whimpers, shuffling away from you. You stare at her, wrapping it around the hilt of your sword and clutching it tightly. You wait patiently for Pak to arrive.
After a few minutes, the massive, black-furred rat clambers into the burrow, grinning as he sees her prey. He stomps forward, grabbing her by the hand.
"Come on, darling. Let's take you down to the lower levels. I have a few of the others I want pulled over to my side, and I'm sure your sweet ass will do a great deal in getting them there."
The huge brute begins dragging the girl away, leaving you standing there. Suddenly, he stops, turning around.
"What's your name?"
"Ritz," you say.
"You did a good job protecting her from the cripples and in the raid, and I'm feeling generous. Care to join in the fun?"
> You join in
You allow your bestial nature to take over, nodding vigorously. You follow him as he drags the weeping girl along with him. Soon, you venture down the twisted staircases and pathways down to the lower layers. Eventually, you enter the chamber filled with whatever Ratlings Pak wants to impress.
You watch in a mixture of fear and lust as the Ratlings appear, more than willing to be entertained by the new flesh that's entered their homes. They quickly undress her and begin to have their fun despite her horrified, screaming protests which soon turn to pained screams and begging. The Ratlings have their fun with her, and eventually you have your turn. You focus on the physical sensations rather than the pitiful weeping, and soon embrace the pure pleasure of the act. You achieve release, almost collapsing back as your body fulfills one of its prime functions. A ratling pulls you back to take your place with the hostage, and you're tossed gently aside.
You crawl back towards your home, curling up in a bed of animal hides and quickly letting sleep take you. The life of a ratling is a pleasurable one if you're smart enough to take advantage of it, you have to admit.
> You awaken
You awaken to a knife pressed against your throat. You reach for your sword in the darkness, but a hand catches yours.
"Scream for help or try anything and I cut you open," a harsh voice growls.
You try to nod, but the knife is pressed so tightly any movement would slice open your throat.
"A prisoner was taken into the burrows. Where is she?"
> You claim ignorance
"I don't know anything," you say.
The man grabs your throat, strangling it as he impales your hand. You try to scream, but you can't even get out a breath.
"Quiet," the man says, pulling out the knife and releasing your throat as you whimper, clutching at your wound.
"Do you think I picked you out by chance? You have her necklace. I tracked it here. Now, answer me."
> You plead ignorance
"I swear to everything I don't know!" you say.
"Filthy lying vermin," the man hisses. "Perhaps the next rat will be more trustworhy."
The man slices open your throat, and you collapse against the ground, quickly dying.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>"I don't know anything," you say.
The man grabs your throat, strangling it as he impales your hand. You try to scream, but you can't even get out a breath.
"Quiet," the man says, pulling out the knife and releasing your throat as you whimper, clutching at your wound.
"Do you think I picked you out by chance? You have her necklace. I tracked it here. Now, answer me."
> You lie
"She was taken off to be ransomed off by one of the travelling ratlings."
You see the runes of the blade glowing, as the man snarls.
"Filthy lying vermin," the man hisses. "Perhaps the next rat will be more trustworthy."
The man slices open your throat, and you collapse against the ground, quickly dying.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>"I don't know anything," you say.
The man grabs your throat, strangling it as he impales your hand. You try to scream, but you can't even get out a breath.
"Quiet," the man says, pulling out the knife and releasing your throat as you whimper, clutching at your wound.
"Do you think I picked you out by chance? You have her necklace. I tracked it here. Now, answer me."
> You tell the truth
"She's been taken down to the fifth layer. You... you won't want to find her. She's dead by now, and her body won't be in the best condition."
The man doesn't respond for some time, before snarling.
"No, she's alive. I can feel it. You, however, are no better than the rest of your lying kind. Death's for you."
The man slices open your throat, and you collapse against the ground, quickly dying.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You awaken to a knife pressed against your throat. You reach for your sword in the darkness, but a hand catches yours.
"Scream for help or try anything and I cut you open," a harsh voice growls.
You try to nod, but the knife is pressed so tightly any movement would slice open your throat.
"A prisoner was taken into the burrows. Where is she?"
> You lie
"She was taken off to be ransomed off by one of the travelling ratlings."
You see the runes of the blade glowing, as the man snarls.
"Liar. The knife speaks to your honesty. The truth, now, or you die."<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You awaken to a knife pressed against your throat. You reach for your sword in the darkness, but a hand catches yours.
"Scream for help or try anything and I cut you open," a harsh voice growls.
You try to nod, but the knife is pressed so tightly any movement would slice open your throat.
"A prisoner was taken into the burrows. Where is she?"
> You tell the truth
"She's been taken down to the fifth layer. You... you won't want to find her. She's dead by now, and her body won't be in the best condition."
The man doesn't respond for some time, before snarling.
"No, she's alive. I can feel it. Your fate, however, is less certain."
The man's blade illuminates, casting golden light on the both of you. You stare at his grizzled face with a thick beard growing. However, he gets a clear view of you, seeing your blood, sweat and semen-encrusted fur. He stares at you, realizing what you've done.
"You had her way with her... you disgusting vermin!" he near shouts, hopefully waking some of the other Ratlings to come to your side.
The man slices open your throat, and you collapse against the ground. He rams his knife into your chest repeatedly as you try to scream in pain, but blood quickly fills your throat. Your life is quickly drained from you, and you lie there as death takes you.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You grab the necklace, snatching it off her neck and clutching it in her hands.
"Hey!" she cries, grabbing at it before you snarl, scarring her away.
She whimpers, shuffling away from you. You stare at her, wrapping it around the hilt of your sword and clutching it tightly. You wait patiently for Pak to arrive.
After a few minutes, the massive, black-furred rat clambers into the burrow, grinning as he sees her prey. He stomps forward, grabbing her by the hand.
"Come on, darling. Let's take you down to the lower levels. I have a few of the others I want pulled over to my side, and I'm sure your sweet ass will do a great deal in getting them there."
The huge brute begins dragging the girl away, leaving you standing there. Suddenly, he stops, turning around.
"What's your name?"
"Ritz," you say.
"You did a good job protecting her from the cripples and in the raid, and I'm feeling generous. Care to join in the fun?"
> You refuse
You shake your head sadly, just staring at the rat. He lets out a grunt of disgust, before dragging the girl away despite her crying protests.
You head to your chamber, curling up in a bed of animal hides and lying there. You hear the girl's crying and screaming for help in the distance of the caverns, but know you can do nothing. You push your furs against your floppy ears to drown out the sound, trying to find sleep. Eventually, you manage to do so.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You grab the necklace, snatching it off her neck and clutching it in her hands.
"Hey!" she cries, grabbing at it before you snarl, scarring her away.
She whimpers, shuffling away from you. You stare at her, wrapping it around the hilt of your sword and clutching it tightly. You wait patiently for Pak to arrive.
After a few minutes, the massive, black-furred rat clambers into the burrow, grinning as he sees her prey. He stomps forward, grabbing her by the hand.
"Come on, darling. Let's take you down to the lower levels. I have a few of the others I want pulled over to my side, and I'm sure your sweet ass will do a great deal in getting them there."
The huge brute begins dragging the girl away, leaving you standing there. Suddenly, he stops, turning around.
"What's your name?"
"Ritz," you say.
"You did a good job protecting her from the cripples and in the raid, and I'm feeling generous. Care to join in the fun?"
> You try to stop him taking her
"No!" you say, punching the massive ratling in the jaw and sending him stumbling backwards, more out of surprise than anything else.
"What did you say to me, you little prick?" he says, raising his club to strike.
> You go for his eyes
You leap into the air, grabbing the massive ratling's shoulder and jamming your sword into his eyes.
"Ah! Fuck, fuck, fuck! I can't see! I can't fucking see!" he yells, grabbing you by the fur and flinging you against the ground with a painful thud.
Although he can't see, he still hears where you thud against the ground. With a scream of rage and pain, he raises his club into the air and swings with all his might. It slams into your legs, shattering both of your legs as you scream in pain. He snarls, lifting up his club once more as you yell and grab at your broken legs, trying to focus on survival rather than the awful pain. He swings down his club once more, crushing your skull.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>"No!" you say, punching the massive ratling in the jaw and sending him stumbling backwards, more out of surprise than anything else.
"What did you say to me, you little prick?" he says, raising his club to strike.
> You dodge
You roll to avoid his club swing, which slams into the stones next to you, sending splinters of wood flying in all directions. With his heavy club now on the ground, you now have a chance to do something.
> You dodge again
You slash at him, ready to dodge again as he lifts his club back up. He roars, swinging his club back at you. You roll under it again, before he changes direction of his swing, prepared for this. It slams into your legs, shattering both of your legs as you scream in pain. He snarls, lifting up his club once more as you yell asd grab at your broken legs, trying to focus on survival rather than the awful pain. He swings down his club once more, crushing your skull.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You roll to avoid his club swing, which slams into the stones next to you, sending splinters of wood flying in all directions. With his heavy club now on the ground, you now have a chance to do something.
> You strike at his side
You step forward, jabbing your sword between his ribs and into his guts as he lets out a horrid scream. He snarls and focuses through his pain, smashing his fist into your snout and sending you toppling to the floor.
"Little cunt!" he screams, grabbing your sword and yanking it from his side.
With a scream of rage and pain, he raises his club into the air and swings with all his might. It slams into your legs, shattering both of your legs as you scream in pain. He snarls, lifting up his club once more as you yell and grab at your broken legs, trying to focus on survival rather than the awful pain. He swings down his club once more, crushing your skull.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You roll to avoid his club swing, which slams into the stones next to you, sending splinters of wood flying in all directions. With his heavy club now on the ground, you now have a chance to do something.
> You flee
You turn, grabbing Julianne by the hand and yanking her away. The ratling is faster, though, swinging his club again with more accuracy this time and knocking your feet away, sending you slamming into the stone floor. As you go to stand, he swings his club and slams it into your head, cracking your skull and killing you with a heavy blow.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>"No!" you say, punching the massive ratling in the jaw and sending him stumbling backwards, more out of surprise than anything else.
"What did you say to me, you little prick?" he says, raising his club to strike.
> You run
You turn, grabbing Julianne by the hand and yanking her away. The ratling is faster, though, swinging his club and knocking your feet away, sending you slamming into the stone floor. As you go to stand, he swings his club and slams it into your head, cracking your skull and killing you with a heavy blow.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You keep walking, as the girl falls silent, becoming quiet. Soon, you walk down into the burrows through the caved in portion of sewer and into the top layer of the many layered burrows. The weakest and most feeble rats are forced to live here, away from the safety that waits lower down. They look gleefully at the girl, talking and chattering among themselves. They grab at her, groping at her breasts and bosom and tearing pieces of fabric off her dress. You raise your sword to threaten them off, and they easily follow orders. You're weak for a Ratling, but you could easily kill the crippled and the the meek who surround you. You find a corner of the room, shoving the girl into it and raising your sword, waiting for Pak to arrive and take his prey.
"I'm scared," the girl says.
"I'd be, if I were you," you admit.
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Ritz," you say.
"I'm Julianne," she says. "I don't want to die here."
You don't say another word, as she begins to chant.
"I have the soul of the dragon. Dragons to not break. Dragons do not die. Dragons do not show fear. Dragons survive the flames. I have the soul of the dragon..." she continues to chant.
You turn, staring at her. You notice a long, silver necklace hanging around her, and grab it.
"This is pretty," you say, admiring the silver.
"You can have it. If you help me get out of here, it's all yours. It was a gift from my father."
You stare at the necklace, knowing there's not a chance she's getting out of here alive, even if you tried to save her.
> You lie and agree
"I'll get you out of here," you say, unable to meet her gaze.
"Thank you! Thank you!" she whispers in relief, taking off her necklace and placing it in your hands.
You sigh, nodding as you wrap it around the handle of your sword. You wait patiently for Pak to arrive.
After a few minutes, the massive, black-furred rat clambers into the burrow, grinning as he sees her prey. He stomps forward, grabbing her by the hand.
"Come on, darling. Let's take you down to the lower levels. I have a few of the others I want pulled over to my side, and I'm sure your sweet ass will do a great deal in getting them there."
The huge brute begins dragging the girl away, leaving you standing there.
"Ritz! Help, help!" she cries out, looking desperately to you.
Suddenly, he stops, turning around.
"Ritz, huh? That's your name?" he asks.
You nod cautiously.
"You did a good job protecting her from the cripples and in the raid, and I'm feeling generous. Care to join in the fun?"<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You keep walking, as the girl falls silent, becoming quiet. Soon, you walk down into the burrows through the caved in portion of sewer and into the top layer of the many layered burrows. The weakest and most feeble rats are forced to live here, away from the safety that waits lower down. They look gleefully at the girl, talking and chattering among themselves. They grab at her, groping at her breasts and bosom and tearing pieces of fabric off her dress. You raise your sword to threaten them off, and they easily follow orders. You're weak for a Ratling, but you could easily kill the crippled and the the meek who surround you. You find a corner of the room, shoving the girl into it and raising your sword, waiting for Pak to arrive and take his prey.
"I'm scared," the girl says.
"I'd be, if I were you," you admit.
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Ritz," you say.
"I'm Julianne," she says. "I don't want to die here."
You don't say another word, as she begins to chant.
"I have the soul of the dragon. Dragons to not break. Dragons do not die. Dragons do not show fear. Dragons survive the flames. I have the soul of the dragon..." she continues to chant.
You turn, staring at her. You notice a long, silver necklace hanging around her, and grab it.
"This is pretty," you say, admiring the silver.
"You can have it. If you help me get out of here, it's all yours. It was a gift from my father."
You stare at the necklace, knowing there's not a chance she's getting out of here alive, even if you tried to save her.
> You tell her the truth
"I can't. Even if I wanted to, they'd kill us before we got out," you admit.
"No, we can! We have to be able to! You can help me!"
You stare at your feet, not saying another word.
"Take the necklace! Take it!" she says, taking off her necklace and placing it in your hands. "Please, there's a chance, there has to be a chance. You can help me. You can help me, please!"
You don't answer, and as if the hopelessness of her situation is just hitting her she quiets down. You wait patiently for Pak to arrive.
After a few minutes, the massive, black-furred rat clambers into the burrow, grinning as he sees her prey. He stomps forward, grabbing her by the hand.
"Come on, darling. Let's take you down to the lower levels. I have a few of the others I want pulled over to my side, and I'm sure your sweet ass will do a great deal in getting them there."
The huge brute begins dragging the girl away, leaving you standing there.
"Ritz! Help, help!" she cries out, looking desperately to you.
Suddenly, he stops, turning around.
"Ritz, huh? That's your name?" he asks.
You nod cautiously.
"You did a good job protecting her from the cripples and in the raid, and I'm feeling generous. Care to join in the fun?"<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You drag the girl along the path to the burrow, as she cries.
"Please, you have to help me get out of here. We can run, just run into the wilderness."
"Can't do it. Too many bad things there. They'd kill on site a ratling. No, no," you say.
"Please! I don't want to die..." she whimpers. "Can... can you tell me what's going to happen to me?"
> You tell her the truth
"Most likely? They'll take you down to the lower chambers as a treat for the more important Ratlings. They'll rape you for a few hours, maybe a few days depending on how resilient you are, and then they'll finally kill you and feed you to the giant rats."
The girl bursts into tears, sobbing with terror. You stare at her with a twinge of sympathy and guilt, before continuing walking.
"I need to get out of here! I need to...!" she says, looking as if she wants to run, so you tighten your grip on her arm, knowing there's no way she'll escape either way.
Soon, you walk down into the burrows through the caved in portion of sewer and into the top layer of the many layered burrows. The weakest and most feeble rats are forced to live here, away from the safety that waits lower down. They look gleefully at the girl, talking and chattering among themselves. They grab at her, groping at her breasts and bosom and tearing pieces of fabric off her dress. You raise your sword to threaten them off, and they easily follow orders. You're weak for a Ratling, but you could easily kill the crippled and the the meek who surround you. You find a corner of the room, shoving the girl into it and raising your sword, waiting for Pak to arrive and take his prey.
"I'm scared," the girl says.
"I'd be, if I were you," you admit.
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Ritz," you say.
"I'm Julianne," she says. "I don't want to die here."
You don't say another word, as she begins to chant.
"I have the soul of the dragon. Dragons to not break. Dragons do not die. Dragons do not show fear. Dragons survive the flames. I have the soul of the dragon..." she continues to chant.
You turn, staring at her. You notice a long, silver necklace hanging around her, and grab it.
"This is pretty," you say, admiring the silver.
"You can have it. If you help me get out of here, it's all yours. It was a gift from my father."
You stare at the necklace, knowing there's not a chance she's getting out of here alive, even if you tried to save her.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You drag the girl along the path to the burrow, as she cries.
"Please, you have to help me get out of here. We can run, just run into the wilderness."
"Can't do it. Too many bad things there. They'd kill on site a ratling. No, no," you say.
"Please! I don't want to die..." she whimpers. "Can... can you tell me what's going to happen to me?"
> You lie to her
"They'll... ransom you off back to the humans after a few days of imprisonment," you say.
"Oh... I can survive that. I can do that," she says.
You nod grimly, continuing walking. Soon, you walk down into the burrows through the caved in portion of sewer and into the top layer of the many layered burrows. The weakest and most feeble rats are forced to live here, away from the safety that waits lower down. They look gleefully at the girl, talking and chattering among themselves. They grab at her, groping at her breasts and bosom and tearing pieces of fabric off her dress. You raise your sword to threaten them off, and they easily follow orders. You're weak for a Ratling, but you could easily kill the crippled and the the meek who surround you. You find a corner of the room, shoving the girl into it and raising your sword, waiting for Pak to arrive and take his prey.
"I'm scared," the girl says.
"I'd be, if I were you," you admit.
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Ritz," you say.
"I'm Julianne," she says. "I don't want to die here."
You don't say another word, as she begins to chant.
"I have the soul of the dragon. Dragons to not break. Dragons do not die. Dragons do not show fear. Dragons survive the flames. I have the soul of the dragon..." she continues to chant.
You turn, staring at her. You notice a long, silver necklace hanging around her, and grab it.
"This is pretty," you say, admiring the silver.
"You can have it. If you help me get out of here, it's all yours. It was a gift from my father."
You stare at the necklace, knowing there's not a chance she's getting out of here alive, even if you tried to save her.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You drag the girl along the path to the burrow, as she cries.
"Please, you have to help me get out of here. We can run, just run into the wilderness."
"Can't do it. Too many bad things there. They'd kill on site a ratling. No, no," you say.
"Please! I don't want to die..." she whimpers. "Can... can you tell me what's going to happen to me?"
> You change topic
"Where are you from?"
"Maryborough, a small trading town. My father lives there."
"Was he the merchant we killed?"
"No, my father is a Paladin. I was given passage on the trading caravan to meet with him in the town over. He wanted to move me to our summer home in the country, where it's safer."
All this talk of summer houses and fine lives depresses you. You sigh, and continue walking. Soon, you walk down into the burrows through the caved in portion of sewer and into the top layer of the many layered burrows. The weakest and most feeble rats are forced to live here, away from the safety that waits lower down. They look gleefully at the girl, talking and chattering among themselves. They grab at her, groping at her breasts and bosom and tearing pieces of fabric off her dress. You raise your sword to threaten them off, and they easily follow orders. You're weak for a Ratling, but you could easily kill the crippled and the the meek who surround you. You find a corner of the room, shoving the girl into it and raising your sword, waiting for Pak to arrive and take his prey.
"I'm scared," the girl says.
"I'd be, if I were you," you admit.
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Ritz," you say.
"I'm Julianne," she says. "I don't want to die here."
You don't say another word, as she begins to chant.
"I have the soul of the dragon. Dragons to not break. Dragons do not die. Dragons do not show fear. Dragons survive the flames. I have the soul of the dragon..." she continues to chant.
You turn, staring at her. You notice a long, silver necklace hanging around her, and grab it.
"This is pretty," you say, admiring the silver.
"You can have it. If you help me get out of here, it's all yours. It was a gift from my father."
You stare at the necklace, knowing there's not a chance she's getting out of here alive, even if you tried to save her.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You laugh gleefully as you dash forward, punching the man in the side of the head and knocking him backward as he grunts in pain, knocking into the blow of a sword blade. You slash at his ankle as he collapses to a knee, before one of the ratlings decks him a blow from the butt of his spear. He tries to stand, blood down streaming down his face.
"Please, I'm sorry. I didn't...!" he cries, looking genuinely petrified, before one of the rats takes it too far and stabs him in the throat with his sword, killing him.
He slumps to the ground, before lying still.
"Bah! Could've played with him for hours!" you complain.
The largest rat, a big brute who's taken charge of the raid named Pak, strides forward. Not too many ratlings have joined the raid, a fact Pak is clearly enjoying as it means he gets to take charge, and since you all get a bigger part of the profit, all the better.
"You, you and you!" he shouts, selecting three rats from the group. "Start moving the prisoners back."
"Yes, yes," they snarl, as they begin to shout and whip the prisoners into movement.
"You!" he shouts, pointing a long finger at you. "Kill the horses."
You nod, walking over to the horses. They seem terrified and scarred, and look at you as if begging for mercy. You wonder if it's best just to untie them and scare them off.
> You scare off the horses
You walk over to the horses, untying them from their carriage before gently giving them a hit with their sword on the rump, sending them running off into the wilderness. Pak notices what you're doing, turning to stare at you, snarling.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing? That was good meat, good leather! You dumb cunt!" he snarls, enraged by your lack of obedience.
> You try to convince him they deserved to live
"But they were ki..." you begin to say.
Unfortunately, in all your life here you seem to have failed to pick up how society functions. By now, Pak's club is already flying through the air, and it smashes into your head, crushing your skull against the carriage and killing you instantly.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You walk over to the horses, untying them from their carriage before gently giving them a hit with their sword on the rump, sending them running off into the wilderness. Pak notices what you're doing, turning to stare at you, snarling.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing? That was good meat, good leather! You dumb cunt!" he snarls, enraged by your lack of obedience.
> You duck
You duck, but Pak slams his foot up, smashing you in the face. You sumble back and he punches you, sending you toppling to the floor. Pak stands over, stomping on you repeatedly as his weight and muscle breaks your bones as he smashes into you repeatedly as you scream for help.
With your limbs broken and lacking the strength to move, you hope you die of your wounds before something, some enterprising scavenger or worse, finds you.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You step forward, grabbing the spear's shaft and yanking the guard forward. You swing your sword, slashing him in the massive gap between his helmet and shoulder pads, biting into his neck. He screams, collapsing to the ground as blood spurts forth.
You yell with glee, at other Ratlings begin arriving to take care of the other guards. The merchants and passengers of the caravan either flee back inside the caravans or procur weapons and get ready to fight, but this isn't a unified raid where the scraps will be given out later. You take what you can get. You run towards the camp fire, grabbing the stew cooking there, jabbing your snout into it and beginning to gulp down the delicious mixture. You manage to finish half before a much bigger rat grabs the pot from you, and you know you can't fight him. You turn to one of the caravans, where rats have killed the guards and are dealing with the merchants. The merchants are surrounded, looking terrified, as all those willing to fight have been cut down.
Although the majority of them are to be enslaved and sold to the Lizards or the Eastern Tribes, while the women will be taken back to the burrows for a less than kind fate, one unfortunate soul has made his presence known by trying to negotiate.
"Please, taken the cargo! It's yours! Keep the men as well, we'll fetch a heavy ransom! But leave the women and the child go, won't you?" the merchant leader says.
Bad choice. The boys have taken note of him now, and he's a fat one. His weight, the fact that he has so much food he can grow weak and fat, only angers you all thanks to the fact that you're all constantly hungry and eating scraps. One of the ratlings slashes his axe, cutting open the man's belly in a superficial wound. Another ratling jabs him with a spear, as the boys begin to jab and slash at the man as he yelps in pain as he's slowly cut and hacked apart.
The torture has drawn the others attention away from the actual carriages. You stare at them, contemplating sneaking away and grabbing yourself some more food.
> You loot some more
You scurry into one of the carriages, clambering outside. Blood cakes the inside, where some poor soul was hacked apart in their sleep. You find a jar of cider, opening it and quickly downing the delicious drink, before tossing it aside. You grab a jar of honey that's almost empty and begin scooping it into your mouth.
"Everyone out here! Now!" one of the ratlings yells, as you turn and walk outside.
The largest rat, a big brute who's taken charge of the raid named Pak, stands there. Not too many ratlings have joined the raid, a fact Pak is clearly enjoying as it means he gets to take charge, and since you all get a bigger part of the profit, all the better.
"You, you and you!" he shouts, selecting three rats from the group. "Start moving the prisoners back."
"Yes, yes," they snarl, as they begin to shout and whip the prisoners into movement.
"You!" he shouts, pointing a long finger at you. "Kill the horses."
You nod, walking over to the horses. They seem terrified and scarred, and look at you as if begging for mercy. You wonder if it's best just to untie them and scare them off.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You scurry towards it, as do the others. Dozens of brown and black bodies scurry up from among the rubble and out of the ancient sewers underneath where your camps lie. You're one of the first on the sign, climbing atop a crushed tower as you see it. Three wagons circled around a campfire, basking in its light. The moonlight shines on your brown, shit-matted fur and catches on your blade as you run forward towards the camps. The man on guard, a young, cleanly shaven guard with armor that's too small for him yell as he sees you approach,. He readies his spear, looking ready to plunge it into you. You dance at the edge of the spear point, waiting for your chance.
> You charge him
You raise your sword, charging forward. The guard yells and steps back, jabbing his spear out. The metal spear jabs into your fur and into your chest and you yelp as he runs you through. He pulls the spear out as you collapse to your knees, before he jabs it through your throat, killing you.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You scurry towards it, as do the others. Dozens of brown and black bodies scurry up from among the rubble and out of the ancient sewers underneath where your camps lie. You're one of the first on the sign, climbing atop a crushed tower as you see it. Three wagons circled around a campfire, basking in its light. The moonlight shines on your brown, shit-matted fur and catches on your blade as you run forward towards the camps. The man on guard, a young, cleanly shaven guard with armor that's too small for him yell as he sees you approach,. He readies his spear, looking ready to plunge it into you. You dance at the edge of the spear point, waiting for your chance.
> You wait for the others
You continue circling the man the as he jabs at you, as you back step to avoid the jabs. Soon, other rats arrive. You can see the man's eyes bulge as he realizes how outnumbered he is. He jabs at another ratling and you take advantage, grabbing your sword forward and stabbing him in the throat. He tries to yell but blood bursts into his throat as you pull out your blade.
You turn to one of the caravans, where rats have killed the guards and are dealing with the merchants. The merchants are surrounded, looking terrified, as all those willing to fight have been cut down.
Although the majority of them are to be enslaved and sold to the Lizards or the Eastern Tribes, while the women will be taken back to the burrows for a less than kind fate, one unfortunate soul has made his presence known by trying to negotiate.
"Please, taken the cargo! It's yours! Keep the men as well, we'll fetch a heavy ransom! But leave the women and the child go, won't you?" the merchant leader says.
Bad choice. The boys have taken note of him now, and he's a fat one. His weight, the fact that he has so much food he can grow weak and fat, only angers you all thanks to the fact that you're all constantly hungry and eating scraps. One of the ratlings slashes his axe, cutting open the man's belly in a superficial wound. Another ratling jabs him with a spear, as the boys begin to jab and slash at the man as he yelps in pain as he's slowly cut and hacked apart.
The torture has drawn the others attention away from the actual carriages. You stare at them, contemplating sneaking away and grabbing yourself some more food.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You and your buddy Ben gather your cheap spelunking gear from the corner of his basement where you keep it and hoist it up the narrow steps to his living room.
His mom is sitting there the same as when you’d come in, still in her bathrobe, a green terry cloth robe Ben said his dad gave her, that’s how old it is. You head through the room without saying anything since she never responds when you do anyway, not so much as a "hi there" even though you've been her son’s best friend since the two of you dominated the kindergarten playground together. It gives you the creeps to see Ben try to talk to her. He's never tried to do what the rest of us would do if our mothers were walking, breathing vegetables like her. We’d have lost it long ago, taken her by the shoulders, slapped her, told her to fucking snap out of it. But not Ben. He lingers behind you, and you know he is bending down to kiss her on the cheek.
What do you do next?
> You enough is enough with Ben's mom. Someone needs to get through to her. You spin around on one foot, determined to get a reaction, if only for your friend Ben's sake.
"Excuse me, Mrs. Anderson," you say, and you cannot stifle the thought that you sound like that character in The Matrix but know that this is no time for movie references, no matter how apropos.
Ben is suprised by your sudden need to address his mother. He stands there, his hands swinging nervously at his sides, as if he's struggling against the urge to take physical action against you, and you push on.
"Mrs. Anderson," you say again, as the first one didn't succeed in getting her eyes to shift from the TV screen to you. This one doesn't either. You clear your throat. "Mrs. Anderson! Please look at me!" You're practically yelling now, your voice booming over the laugh track.
Slowly, ever so slightly, her head tilts up. Her eyes settle on your chest, then make their way up your chin to your eyes.
"Well. Just who. The fuck. Are you?" she bellows. Her voice sounds gravelly, nicotine-charred. Her blue eyes are the emptiest eyes you've ever seen. Looking into them makes you feel as if you're falling down a mineshaft. The back of your neck goes cold, and you step back, feeling Ben's hand on your shoulder.
"Get the HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!" she screams. Ben grabs your arm, you both snatch the spelunking gear, and you're out of there.
> You meet up with Rick
You and Ben wait for Rick to pull up in his rusted-out Cavalier. They’ll probably make you drive as usual, seeing as how they're all jealous of your sea-green Chevy Nova. Black vinyl seats, a beautiful, flawless paint job that you applied yourself, a car with curves like Kelly Siegel, you always say; she's a girl who goes to your high school.
Rick pulls up, foul black stuff coming out of his tail pipe. “You guys want to help me with this exhaust problem this weekend?” he asks.
> You oh, yeah. Can't pass up an opportunity to mess around with somebody else's car.
Rick gives you a high-five, and you drop down to take a look at the underbelly of his car. Just like you suspected: The exhaust system is pockmarked worse than your face was before you discovered Stridex pads. The salt they put on the roads at the merest hint of a snowflake here in Southern Illinois wreaks havoc on cheap cars like Rick's. You're in for more than a weekend job helping your buddy, but that's OK. If he wants to sink burger money into a car that ain't worth it, that's no skin off your nose. It'll be good practice for when you go for your automotive tech certification.
Plus, you made Rick happy. He'd never fix his car without your help.
> You drive to the Caves
You pile into your Nova, Ben riding shot-gun and Rick lying down in the back seat. He pretends he's being chauffeured around town, as if he were one of the Cardinals baseball players who live in those brand-new houses out by the golf course. Or Jimmy Connors, who is from Belleville, which everybody likes to point out as if it validates their existence in this cow-town. Rick mimics Ozzie Smith, complaining that his wrists are sore from all the backflips he did in the outfield last night, which is pretty funny considering that Rick is what they call "husky." Nothing so much as a two-step has been performed by that guy since he was six.
Ben fiddles with your radio, but there isn’t anything good on. “When you going to get a decent tape deck in here?” he asks.
“When you start giving me gas money, that’s when,” you tell him, and that shuts him up.
You quickly make it out of town and are curving around cornfields full of giant harvesters. You roll your window down to smell the sweetness, a little like candy corn before you’ve eaten too much to taste anymore.
Suddenly Rick, says, “Did you all hear about the dead body they found out in one of these caves?” You know he likes to exaggerate and make shit up, so you don't bite. “Might be the cave we’re going to,” he says, dragging it out.
You decide to take the bait. “No, Rick, we haven’t heard. Why don’t you tell us?”
“Yeah,” he says, sitting up and putting his elbows on the backs of your seats. “Some guy with his dick cut off.”
“No!”
“Yes, your honor. The man has no dick.”
“Shee-it.” You and Ben laugh, realizing that Rick is quoting “Ghostbusters.” All three of you know every line because your family owns a second-hand VCR that came with just that one movie, and since nobody else's family has a VCR, you've all seen the movie about 50 times.
> You inside the Cave
The cave the three of you enter today is a new one for you, a real beauty, nice and clean-smelling limestone with fingerlike projections of rock, boulders stacked like furniture. You and your friends live for the world of the cave, where nobody is around to mess with you, none of those pansy-ass suits who commute to St. Louis everyday and look down their noses at you. The caves are your world, and in them, you feel like kings.
You shine your flashlight on a few tiny bats clinging to the rocks, wings tucked in like little Draculas sleeping the day off. The three of you crawl through passageways no wider than your shoulders. Pale white plants, like tiny mushrooms, grow along the floor.
“Hey, check this out,” Ben says. He stares into a room full of pure, clear water. Over the water, draped like banners, are hundreds and hundreds of spider webs. You lean in, shining the flashlight on them: spindly white spiders, many carrying egg sacs, which vibrate as if about to burst open.
Rick comes up behind us. “I’m not setting foot in there,” he says.
What do you do?
> You death to the spiders!
You take the walking stick you thought to bring with you and use it to hatchet across the silken webs, destroying the delicate swathe hanging over the water, and hundreds of spiders, along with hundreds of gestating embryos of spiders in their little vibrating egg sacs, plunge into the water and drown.
... But wait a minute. What did these lovely, ghostly white cave spiders ever do to you? It's not like you're a hobbit trying to get past evil monsters with your sword Sting. This isn't that kind of story, and you're just a dude with a stick.
Game over for you, sadist.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>The cave the three of you enter today is a new one for you, a real beauty, nice and clean-smelling limestone with fingerlike projections of rock, boulders stacked like furniture. You and your friends live for the world of the cave, where nobody is around to mess with you, none of those pansy-ass suits who commute to St. Louis everyday and look down their noses at you. The caves are your world, and in them, you feel like kings.
You shine your flashlight on a few tiny bats clinging to the rocks, wings tucked in like little Draculas sleeping the day off. The three of you crawl through passageways no wider than your shoulders. Pale white plants, like tiny mushrooms, grow along the floor.
“Hey, check this out,” Ben says. He stares into a room full of pure, clear water. Over the water, draped like banners, are hundreds and hundreds of spider webs. You lean in, shining the flashlight on them: spindly white spiders, many carrying egg sacs, which vibrate as if about to burst open.
Rick comes up behind us. “I’m not setting foot in there,” he says.
What do you do?
> You rick is right. Spiders, ick.
"Just look," Ben says, so you and Rick do. You realize the spiders aren't threatening or disgusting; they're beautiful to watch as they spindle their webs and move slowly around the network of fibers that glow in the pale cave light. You can't help but let out a long, low, appreciative whistle, the echoes reverberating across the cave walls. Once your whistle dies down, the three of you turn around and keep going.
You crawl around nooks, through crannies, some spots wet and muddy, and soon, your jeans are soaked. You can feel water squishing in your boots. There are more ghost spider rooms, and you stare in at them, none of you willing to disturb the drapes of white webs glistening with moisture.
> You head Further into the Cave
A while later, Rick leads you down a passage that keeps getting narrower and narrower. You follow him, your gloves like muddy paws in front of you, Ben’s breathing behind you making you feel like he is sucking up your air. Then your head bumps into Rick’s ass.
“What’s the deal?” you ask.
He's quiet, wriggling around in the dark in front of you.
Then Ben stops in time to avoid bumping into you. “What’s the hold-up?”
“Rick?" you ask. "What do you see?”
Rick laughs. “Nothing. I can’t get my flashlight out in front of me. I think I’m stuck.”
“Like a pig in mud!” you hoot. You all have a good belly-laugh at that one. Ben tries to back out of the tunnel, but it's too narrow for him to turn around. You have to pull Rick free, and then you and Ben back out first, Rick coming after you.
“I think it’s time for lunch,” Rick says, patting his belly.
“That’s just what we need,” you say. “For you to eat more so we can get stuck for good.”
“Hey, you’d get stuck in there, too,” he says, pointing. “Give it a try, Slim Jim.”
You get back down on all fours and try to get through the opening but can’t.
“Okay, Chubs,” you say. “You’re off the hook this time.”
“The meat hook that is,” Ben adds. You and Ben about piss your pants laughing. But Rick ignores you, scratching his head, looking around at the cave walls.
“Which of these other passages did we come down?” he asks.
“That one,” you say, pointing to the one on your right.
“Naw, this one,” Rick says, thumbing at what looks like the wrong passage.
Both of you look at Ben to break the tie, and he shrugs his shoulders.
“There's only one way to settle this,” Rick says, smiling.
> You settle the Disagreement
Rick holds his hands out, one fist on top of a flattened palm. It's the universal sign for Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Who wins?
> You your scissors cuts Rick's paper
You scissors your fingers across Rick's outstretched hand just to emphasize your win. Rick looks pained, and not just from losing at Rock, Paper, Scissors: He really thinks his passageway is the right one to take. He glances at Ben again, and again, Ben shrugs. He's the type of guy who learned a long time ago just to go with the flow, that winning battles against those closest to you always gives you an empty kind of victory.
There's a lot at stake in this moment: your ability to get out of the cave, not to mention the strength of your friendships with these guys. What happens next in part depends on what's happened in the past, how you've been to each other up till this moment. Remember when Rick asked you to help him work on his car exhaust? What did you tell him?
> Yes. It was a win-win situation.
"You know what?" you say. "Rick, if you're sure your way is the correct way, I can go along with that. I'm not a hundred percent sure mine's the right one."
It's a shift in the balance of your relationship. Up till now, you've been the alpha male in the group, usually getting your way in all disagreements because Rick isn't quite as strong as you are, and Ben just wants peace.
"Yeah?" Rick asks, his voice betraying excitement, if a little disorientation, at your gesture of friendship.
"Yeah."
"Well, all right." Rick says. "I'm sure mine's the right one. Let's step on it."
> You follow Rick
You crawl around for a long time, hours it seems, and none of the passages you come to look like the one you’d been down before, and then you have to belly-crawl when the passages get narrower. It seems like you’ve got down to some old passages that nobody ever prowled around in, and you feel colder than you've ever felt in a cave. The further you crawl, the more you need your flashlight to see.
Rick checks his watch at one point, and it’s been six hours since you left Ben's house. You don't know if you are going deeper down into the earth or heading back toward the cave mouth. Your internal compass seems to swing around in wild circles, like compasses that go haywire when aliens land nearby. Your chest tightens, you all crawl faster, breathing hard, no one saying anything. When none of you can pretend like you aren’t for sure lost in the cave, you stop. You and Ben don't feel like telling Rick it is all his fault. And you don’t need to.
“Damn it, damn it,” Rick says. “I’m an idiot. I picked the wrong way.”
“Naw, man.” you say. “Could have been my route. We’d be in a different part of the cave, but we’d still be lost.”
“Yeah,” Ben says. “No telling which one was the right one.”
“I got some candy bars in here,” Rick says, as if it's a peace offering, opening his backpack.
“Dude, you’ve been holding out on us,” you say. “Don’t know if it’s because I know I’m trapped here or what, but I’m suddenly hungry. Got any beer in there to wash this down with?”
“Nope,” Rick says. “You know I don’t touch that stuff.”
“Sure would make being stuck in a cave a little easier right about now,” you say. Rick is quiet.
There are two Hershey's bars. What should you do?
> You eat the Hershey's bars. You'll never get out of the cave if you don't get sustenance.
“Let’s get going,” Ben says once you've polished off the Hershey's. “Mosey on out of here.”
The three of you follow Ben, who seems to get a rush of energy from the candy bar. Those skinny guys are like that, fast little motors in them like a gerbil in a treadmill. You try not to think about the corpse Rick said they found, the one with his dick cut off. You hadn’t bothered to ask him if he made that up. And now you don't want to know. You try not to think about how you don't have any food, that you hadn’t told anybody where you were going, that it is just your car parked in a cornfield to signal that the three of you are down here. In your mind, you try to calculate how far you've walked and crawled, and how far from the opening of the cave you've come. You can't picture it right: just a series of identical rocky rooms. The white spiders seem a long way off now.
> You become Introspective
You keep thinking about this guy they’d brought to your high school once, part of their tough love campaign. They brought in cops and military men to talk to students about the “real world” that you would encounter after graduation. Their speeches were always graphic, which was entertaining as hell, but you got the feeling they were exaggerating just to scare you straight.
The latest guy had been a POW in Korea. He told you they made him eat maggots and kept asking him for information he didn’t even have, not that he would have given it to them if he had, he said. But you had to wonder whether or not he would have cracked. You have a theory that most people cracked, despite what TV and the movies want you to think. Those were the good stories, right? The bad stories probably never saw the light of day. With this guy, the North Koreans thought he was lying and so they jammed metal files under his nails or just beat him up all the time. The worst part, according to him, was being put in the hole, a 5-foot-by-5-foot box where he’d have to crouch for weeks at a time. All he gave them was his name, rank and serial number.
You all decide to take a break, sitting in the pitch black darkness to conserve your headlights, cold and shivering then because the damp has leaked through the top layers of your clothing and down to the skin. You're all quiet. Rick stretches out on the ground to take a nap. After a while, you decide to ask Ben about his dad. “Ben?”
“Yeah?”
“Think your dad might have been a POW?”
“Hard to say,” he answers. “Most of my family just say he’s MIA, like he’s just lost in the jungle or something. Like once he finds a map, he’ll be back. But he might have been killed during the war. Or he might be rotting in some moldy old jail cell. I think he’s dead. There’re thousands that are probably dead, their bones in some rice paddy.”
“I can’t imagine,” you say.
“Can’t imagine what?”
“Any of that stuff—dying in war, torture.”
“Me neither.”
“What’s it like, man,” you ask, “to grow up without a dad?”
“You don’t miss what you never had.”
“Yeah, but it’s got to be weird, you know, not ever having a dad. Don’t you think about it all the time? Don’t you miss him?”
“Yeah, I guess.” Ben pauses as if he's thinking about how to say something that has been on his mind a long time. “You know Skeeter and those guys up at the VFW hall?” he asks. “Talking about that phantom limb syndrome? They say they feel it tingling where there used to be a leg or arm or even a pinky finger. Like when your hand itches but you can’t find the scratch anywhere. He went MIA when I was like three years old. I can’t miss someone I never even knew. But it’s like he’s supposed to be there, you know?”
You think of your own father, who left your mother and is now shacked up with some chick he used to work with who's half his age, and you feel envious of Ben for not having to deal with a father at all. “Sometimes I wish my dad was MIA,” you say.
Ben suprises you by grabbing your shirt, harder than he’d ever laid a hand on you before. “Don’t say that shit,” he says. “Don’t say shit you don’t mean.”
You shrug off his hand. “How do you know I don’t mean it?”
Ben is quiet a while, like he's trying to calm down.
“You and me,” he finally says, “we’re opposites. I don’t know what it’s like to have a dad who up and leaves. You don’t know what it’s like to grow up wishing you had a dad. I could tell you that I’d rather be in your shoes, but you’d probably tell me the same thing.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” you say. “Do you remember him?”
“Just this one thing,” he says. “I kind of have this shadowy memory of him dressed up as Santa Claus. I think I pulled his beard down, but it could be I just remember it from my mom telling the story. You know how that is. But it seems like I can remember him bouncing me on his knee; that’s how I pulled the beard off. He was bouncing me too hard, and I thought I’d fall off, so I grabbed hold of the closest thing.”
You pick up a dead root and start carving the dirt with it even though you can't see the shapes you're carving.
“You really don’t think he’s ever coming back, do you?”
“Nope.”
“You guys never had a funeral.”
“My mom thinks he’s coming back. She’s still waiting.”
> A Strange Sound
None of you say anything for a bit, and you hear a little chipping noise, like a squirrel trying to crack into a nut. “You hear that?”
You crawl in the direction of the noise. Then you shine your light on Rick and laugh. “It’s just Rick,” you say. “His teeth are chattering.”
Ben crawls over. Rick’s teeth are going a mile a minute. He touches his face.
“He’s ice-cold,” Ben says. “We got to wake him up. He could go into hypothermia.”
“Shit,” you say, mad that you hadn’t thought of it when Rick stretched out for his nap. “Wake up, Rick!” you yell. You shake him. “Wake the fuck up!”
Rick wakes quickly, looking confused. “Where am I?” he chatters.
You and Ben each grab a shoulder and lift him up. “Man,” Rick says, shaking his head as if he is groggy. “I am trapped in a goddamn cave. I was hoping it was a nightmare. I don’t feel so good, guys. I’m cold. Why’d you wake me up, anyhow?”
“No, Rick,” you say. “You can’t go to sleep. You’ll go to sleep and never wake up, you know what I mean?”
“I wish we’d brought more clothes,” Ben says. “A wool jacket or something. It’s always colder than you think it’s going to be in the caves. Bunch of idiots, that’s what we are.”
“Let’s sit together,” you say, scooting up close to Rick’s side. “Use our body warmth.” Ben does the same on the other side, and soon, Rick’s shivering slows down. But you are aching with cold on the side away from Rick. “Let’s huddle,” you say, motioning for Ben to move around so that you are touching on all sides. It's weird, sitting that close to Rick and Ben, but you don’t care.
“We’re going to have to keep each other awake,” Ben says. “Body temperature drops when you’re sleeping. That’s why Rick fell out like that.”
“Should we keep moving, trying to find our way out?” Rick asks.
“Seems like we’re just getting in deeper,” Ben says. “Maybe we should stay right here.”
> You keep Crawling
You don't like the thought of sitting there waiting for someone to rescue you. “Fuck that,” you say. “I’ll find my own damn way out.” You start crawling, and they follow you.
You crawl until your hands feel bloody. Rick and Ben follow, none of you making a sound.
“I have to rest,” you say when your knees ache and feel you can't go any further.
> You huddle Together
You huddle together, Ben saying, “Remember about keeping warm.” His words come out raspy. He hasn’t had any of his water in a while.
“Sip some water,” you say.
“What if I run out?” Ben says, his voice hoarse. “I need to go as long as I can. I’m not drinking that muddy cave water. Make you sick.”
It's pitch dark now. Your headlamp winks out, and theirs are down to two lights that together aren’t stronger than candlelight, so they turn them out to conserve.
> You try to Keep Warm
You sit in the dark for hours, moments of worried chatter interspersed with quiet. All three of you are shivering so bad, when it's quiet, all you can hear is the chatter of three sets of teeth. You're so cold, you keep imagining yourself surrounded by drifts of snow. You flash back to when you were five and young enough to make snow angels, how you took the garden hoe and set it in the angel's wing to look like a devil's pitchfork.
“This ain’t working no-more!” Ben chatter-yells. His voice sounds uncharacteristically uneven, as if he could break into a sob any minute. “I’m dying of cold!” he yells. “I’m going to die down here, and no one will know!"
“It’s all right,” Rick says. “We’re not going to die.”
You say nothing. Ben is yelling the same way you feel, and you can't conjure any encouragement.
“What the fuck do you know?” Ben says. “This is like my destiny. My mom will have two disappeared people in her life. A husband, then a son. That’s it. Then she’ll have two people to wait for!"
“You know what I heard once, at the VFW?” Rick asks suddenly, sounding oddly calm compared to Ben’s hysteria.
“This is no time for small talk!” Ben yells. “We’re dead men!”
“These guys were lost in the jungle, all right, homeboy?” Rick grabs Ben’s shoulders as if to steady him, and it strikes you how much they sound like one of those dramatic war movies they show on Saturday afternoon TV. Ben is the weak guy who's losing it in the heat of battle; Rick is suddenly the one holding you all together.
You laugh. “You guys are damn entertaining.”
“Shut up,” they both tell you.
“They were lost,” Rich says, continuing his story. “And it was cold. You think of jungles as hot, but those jungles in Nam can fuck with you. These guys were all wet from the swamps. Soaking wet like we are. And they were lost. They were supposed to meet a supply team but got lost. You know what they did to stay warm?”
Neither Ben nor you answer. You’d heard that story at the VFW, too.
Rick says it anyway: “They pissed on each other. It’s 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperature. That would be great right now, wouldn’t it? A shower of about 98.6 degrees?”
You still don’t say anything.
“Look, brothers,” Rick says, “we’ve been pissing in the dirt, wasting that bit of body heat, and I’m not going to do it again. I’ll piss myself if I have to, but I’d rather not waste half of it in my jeans. I’d rather use it to keep you shits from dying on me. Capiche?"
You stand up. “Fine,” you say. “Which one of you wants it first?”
“Give it to Ben,” Rick says. “Sounds like he’s about to go into a coma.”
You stand over Ben, and he holds his hands out. If it weren’t dark, you'd know for sure that they're already blue. If you get out of here, you think, will you be able to see color again?
Any time one of you has to go, you use it to save each other’s life.
> Another Strange Noise
You think you hear a sound, a tapping sound. "Hey, do you guys hear that, or am I hallucinating?"
They listen, and there it is: tap, tap, tap. It's coming from above you. The three of you pick up your headlamps and start tapping back.
You see the flashlight beam of your rescuers bounce off the cave walls before you know for sure you're saved. The sound of other people’s voices is like music, some sweet old country song that makes you cry every time you hear it. They told you you've been down there for three days, but it feels like three lifetimes. You were down deep. It takes hours and hours to crawl out.
At the mouth of the cave, a TV news crew is set up, Channel 11 from St. Louis. And there is Ben’s mom, standing over by your Nova, waiting for him. She's the one who called your parents, the police, even the news station when the police wouldn't take your disappearance seriously. She is still wearing that ratty old robe, but Ben doesn't care. He hugs her so hard, it picks her up off the ground, and that’s the clip they show on TV that night, a real homecoming for everyone to see.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You crawl around for a long time, hours it seems, and none of the passages you come to look like the one you’d been down before, and then you have to belly-crawl when the passages get narrower. It seems like you’ve got down to some old passages that nobody ever prowled around in, and you feel colder than you've ever felt in a cave. The further you crawl, the more you need your flashlight to see.
Rick checks his watch at one point, and it’s been six hours since you left Ben's house. You don't know if you are going deeper down into the earth or heading back toward the cave mouth. Your internal compass seems to swing around in wild circles, like compasses that go haywire when aliens land nearby. Your chest tightens, you all crawl faster, breathing hard, no one saying anything. When none of you can pretend like you aren’t for sure lost in the cave, you stop. You and Ben don't feel like telling Rick it is all his fault. And you don’t need to.
“Damn it, damn it,” Rick says. “I’m an idiot. I picked the wrong way.”
“Naw, man.” you say. “Could have been my route. We’d be in a different part of the cave, but we’d still be lost.”
“Yeah,” Ben says. “No telling which one was the right one.”
“I got some candy bars in here,” Rick says, as if it's a peace offering, opening his backpack.
“Dude, you’ve been holding out on us,” you say. “Don’t know if it’s because I know I’m trapped here or what, but I’m suddenly hungry. Got any beer in there to wash this down with?”
“Nope,” Rick says. “You know I don’t touch that stuff.”
“Sure would make being stuck in a cave a little easier right about now,” you say. Rick is quiet.
There are two Hershey's bars. What should you do?
> You ration the Hershey's bars. You don't know when you're getting out of this cave.
You take one of the three candy bars, break it into three equal pieces, and hand Ben and Rick their allotments. You and Ben eat yours quickly, but Rick eats his slowly, as if savoring the taste. Then, it hits you: Rick just really likes the taste of food. You remember how he will order a soda at the McDonald's drive-through and ask for ketchup packets there even though you're headed to Arby's for a roast beef sandwich, all because Rick likes the taste of the McDonald's ketchup better. To you, there's no difference.
You turn on your headlamp and lead the way, feeling a rush of energy from your little bit of candy bar.
> You become Introspective
As you crawl through the passageway, the light from your headlamp bouncing off the walls, you keep thinking about this guy they’d brought to your high school once, part of their tough love campaign. They brought in cops and military men to talk to students about the “real world” that you would encounter after graduation. Their speeches were always graphic, which was entertaining as hell, but you got the feeling they were exaggerating just to scare you straight.
The latest guy had been a POW in Korea. He told you they made him eat maggots and kept asking him for information he didn’t even have, not that he would have given it to them if he had, he said. But you had to wonder whether or not he would have cracked. You have a theory that most people cracked, despite what TV and the movies want you to think. Those were the good stories, right? The bad stories probably never saw the light of day. With this guy, the North Koreans thought he was lying and so they jammed metal files under his nails or just beat him up all the time. The worst part, according to him, was being put in the hole, a 5-foot-by-5-foot box where he’d have to crouch for weeks at a time. All he gave them was his name, rank and serial number.
You all decide to take a break, sitting in the pitch black darkness to conserve your headlights, cold and shivering then because the damp has leaked through the top layers of your clothing and down to the skin. You're all quiet. Rick stretches out on the ground to take a nap. After a while, you decide to ask Ben about his dad. “Ben?”
“Yeah?”
“Think your dad might have been a POW?”
“Hard to say,” he answers. “Most of my family just say he’s MIA, like he’s just lost in the jungle or something. Like once he finds a map, he’ll be back. But he might have been killed during the war. Or he might be rotting in some moldy old jail cell. I think he’s dead. There’re thousands that are probably dead, their bones in some rice paddy.”
“I can’t imagine,” you say.
“Can’t imagine what?”
“Any of that stuff—dying in war, torture.”
“Me neither.”
“What’s it like, man,” you ask, “to grow up without a dad?”
“You don’t miss what you never had.”
“Yeah, but it’s got to be weird, you know, not ever having a dad. Don’t you think about it all the time? Don’t you miss him?”
“Yeah, I guess.” Ben pauses as if he's thinking about how to say something that has been on his mind a long time. “You know Skeeter and those guys up at the VFW hall?” he asks. “Talking about that phantom limb syndrome? They say they feel it tingling where there used to be a leg or arm or even a pinky finger. Like when your hand itches but you can’t find the scratch anywhere. He went MIA when I was like three years old. I can’t miss someone I never even knew. But it’s like he’s supposed to be there, you know?”
You think of your own father, who left your mother and is now shacked up with some chick he used to work with who's half his age, and you feel envious of Ben for not having to deal with a father at all. “Sometimes I wish my dad was MIA,” you say.
Ben suprises you by grabbing your shirt, harder than he’d ever laid a hand on you before. “Don’t say that shit,” he says. “Don’t say shit you don’t mean.”
You shrug off his hand. “How do you know I don’t mean it?”
Ben is quiet a while, like he's trying to calm down.
“You and me,” he finally says, “we’re opposites. I don’t know what it’s like to have a dad who up and leaves. You don’t know what it’s like to grow up wishing you had a dad. I could tell you that I’d rather be in your shoes, but you’d probably tell me the same thing.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” you say. “Do you remember him?”
“Just this one thing,” he says. “I kind of have this shadowy memory of him dressed up as Santa Claus. I think I pulled his beard down, but it could be I just remember it from my mom telling the story. You know how that is. But it seems like I can remember him bouncing me on his knee; that’s how I pulled the beard off. He was bouncing me too hard, and I thought I’d fall off, so I grabbed hold of the closest thing.”
You pick up a dead root and start carving the dirt with it even though you can't see the shapes you're carving.
“You really don’t think he’s ever coming back, do you?”
“Nope.”
“You guys never had a funeral.”
“My mom thinks he’s coming back. She’s still waiting.”
> The Cold Gets to You
None of you say anything for a bit, and you hear a little chipping noise, like a squirrel trying to crack into a nut. “You hear that?”
You crawl in the direction of the noise. Then you shine your light on Rick and laugh. “It’s just Rick,” you say. “His teeth are chattering.”
Ben crawls over. Rick’s teeth are going a mile a minute. He touches his face.
“He’s ice-cold,” Ben says. “We got to wake him up. He could go into hypothermia.”
“Shit,” you say, mad that you hadn’t thought of it when Rick stretched out for his nap. “Wake up, Rick!” you yell. You shake him. “Wake the fuck up!”
Rick wakes quickly, looking confused. “Where am I?” he chatters.
You and Ben each grab a shoulder and lift him up. “Man,” Rick says, shaking his head as if he is groggy. “I am trapped in a goddamn cave. I was hoping it was a nightmare. I don’t feel so good, guys. I’m cold. Why’d you wake me up, anyhow?”
“No, Rick,” you say. “You can’t go to sleep. You’ll go to sleep and never wake up, you know what I mean?”
“I wish we’d brought more clothes,” Ben says. “A wool jacket or something. It’s always colder than you think it’s going to be in the caves. Bunch of idiots, that’s what we are.”
“Let’s sit together,” you say, scooting up close to Rick’s side. “Use our body warmth.” Ben does the same on the other side, and soon, Rick’s shivering slows down. But you are aching with cold on the side away from Rick. “Let’s huddle,” you say, motioning for Ben to move around so that you are touching on all sides. It's weird, sitting that close to Rick and Ben, but you don’t care.
“We’re going to have to keep each other awake,” Ben says. “Body temperature drops when you’re sleeping. That’s why Rick fell out like that.”
You eat the second candy bar in an attempt to warm yourselves up.
> You find a Way to Tough This Out
“Maybe we should sing,” Rick says. “Might take our minds off the cold.”
“Maybe we should cook you up and feast off your excess fat,” you say.
“Let’s try the singing,” Ben says.
“Shit,” you say. “Singing sissies. Like that’s going to help.”
“Bye, bye Miss American Pie…” Ben starts, and he and Rick sing without you. You give in when they get to the Elvis songs. They remind me of the part of your dad you can tolerate, maybe even like, the guy who sings at the top of his lungs when he's happy. You sing every song you know the words to, every damn song you learned in elementary school, every Christmas song, every church song, even the alphabet song. You sing every part of the Bohemian Rhapsody and Van Halen songs both pre- and post-David Lee Roth. You sing for hours and hours, pausing to take a breath or talk or relieve yourselves when you have to.
Or maybe days go by. You're beginning to realize there isn’t any time in a cave. You break the last candy bar in half first and then into thirds, saving half for later, painfully aware of how little food it is. You're cold, a cold that seems to get into your bones, turn your blood to tiny frozen rivers. It becomes hard to sing through the chattering of your teeth.
“This ain’t working no-more!” Ben chatter-yells. His voice sounds uncharacteristically uneven, as if he could break into a sob any minute. “I’m dying of cold!” he yells. “I’m going to die down here, and no one will know!"
“It’s all right,” Rick says. “We’re not going to die.”
You say nothing. Ben is yelling the same way you feel, and you can't conjure any encouragement.
“What the fuck do you know?” Ben says. “This is like my destiny. My mom will have two disappeared people in her life. A husband, then a son. That’s it. Then she’ll have two people to wait for!"<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You scissors your fingers across Rick's outstretched hand just to emphasize your win. Rick looks pained, and not just from losing at Rock, Paper, Scissors: He really thinks his passageway is the right one to take. He glances at Ben again, and again, Ben shrugs. He's the type of guy who learned a long time ago just to go with the flow, that winning battles against those closest to you always gives you an empty kind of victory.
There's a lot at stake in this moment: your ability to get out of the cave, not to mention the strength of your friendships with these guys. What happens next in part depends on what's happened in the past, how you've been to each other up till this moment. Remember when Rick asked you to help him work on his car exhaust? What did you tell him?
> No. You rather play Super Mario Bros.
There's a reason you're the alpha male in this group, after all. You know you're right about the passageway. Rick's one of those guys who always has music or some other distracting noise playing in his head, so he never notices details, like the way the stone in the passageway you came down has long yellow veins running through it. The other passages all look blue instead. You explain this to Rick and Ben, and they can't argue with your logic. The three of you split a cache of candy bars that you thought to bring along, and then you crawl and crawl, several times resisting Rick's insistence that you've chosen wrong and should head back down the other way. It takes a couple hours, but the three of you crawl to safety.
The sun is setting when you exit the mouth of the cave. You can see it glinting off the St. Louis Arch on the other side of the Mississippi.
Rick is uncharacteristically quiet as you head back to Ben's house. He seems distant, less like his jokester self. As you let him out at his junker, you nod your head in the direction of it. "Hey, maybe I can swing by and give you a little help with your exhaust system tomorrow after all," you say.
Rick stares off, at his car sitting there at the curb in front of Ben's house. "Nah, that's OK," he says. "I'll manage."
The three of you part ways, and you head home. As you round the cornfields this time, you see in your mind's eye a long cord stretching out between you and Rick, and you see that cord snap, the two of you drifting apart in space.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You scissors your fingers across Rick's outstretched hand just to emphasize your win. Rick looks pained, and not just from losing at Rock, Paper, Scissors: He really thinks his passageway is the right one to take. He glances at Ben again, and again, Ben shrugs. He's the type of guy who learned a long time ago just to go with the flow, that winning battles against those closest to you always gives you an empty kind of victory.
There's a lot at stake in this moment: your ability to get out of the cave, not to mention the strength of your friendships with these guys. What happens next in part depends on what's happened in the past, how you've been to each other up till this moment. Remember when Rick asked you to help him work on his car exhaust? What did you tell him?
> You said no at the time, but you're going to lie because you think it might give you a better outcome.
"You know what?" you say. "I'm sure mine's the right one, and just to prove it to you, we're not going to take it."
"Wait. Did you just say we're not going to take it?" Ben asks.
"That's right. Not. As in ain't. Gonna. Take it."
"Sweet!" yells Rick. "That means, I win! Let's go, boys." He picks up his gear and heads down the passageway.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You and Ben wait for Rick to pull up in his rusted-out Cavalier. They’ll probably make you drive as usual, seeing as how they're all jealous of your sea-green Chevy Nova. Black vinyl seats, a beautiful, flawless paint job that you applied yourself, a car with curves like Kelly Siegel, you always say; she's a girl who goes to your high school.
Rick pulls up, foul black stuff coming out of his tail pipe. “You guys want to help me with this exhaust problem this weekend?” he asks.
> No way. Rick's had enough of your free labor.
Why spend the weekend flat on your back under Rick's hunk of junk when you could be at home, sitting on that new lounge chair you just got for your room, finishing your quest to rescue the princess? You're so close; you can feel it. Just another hour or so, and victory is yours.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You and your buddy Ben gather your cheap spelunking gear from the corner of his basement where you keep it and hoist it up the narrow steps to his living room.
His mom is sitting there the same as when you’d come in, still in her bathrobe, a green terry cloth robe Ben said his dad gave her, that’s how old it is. You head through the room without saying anything since she never responds when you do anyway, not so much as a "hi there" even though you've been her son’s best friend since the two of you dominated the kindergarten playground together. It gives you the creeps to see Ben try to talk to her. He's never tried to do what the rest of us would do if our mothers were walking, breathing vegetables like her. We’d have lost it long ago, taken her by the shoulders, slapped her, told her to fucking snap out of it. But not Ben. He lingers behind you, and you know he is bending down to kiss her on the cheek.
What do you do next?
> You this family stuff isn't your business. Pause and wait for Ben.
“Bye Mom,” you hear him say as the screen door closes behind you. He might get a nod from her but that’s it, a nod without looking up, her eyes spaceylike from her pills, watching TV with the sound all the way down, as usual.
You wait on the porch under the oversized black POW/MIA flag, which rolls in crazy arcs from the October wind. One of these days you'll get around to telling Ben he should take the flag down. It's a dark omen and makes the whole house look like somebody just died when in reality, Ben’s father went MIA more than twenty years ago.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>The sound of your alarm clock wakes you and you groggily switch it off. You go through your normal morning routine and grudgingly head off to your job. As always, you arrive at work on time and walk straight into the back room to put on your uniform. Once there you notice your best friend, Ian, is already dressed and preparing to begin.
“Hey Jake.”
“Hey Ian, ready for another exciting day?” You ask sarcastically.
“Oh yea, working here has been highlight of my entire life.” He replies with equal sarcasm, “I hope I never quit.”
“Ah yes, stocking food has always been a dream of yours hasn’t it?”
“A lifelong-dream. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to live that dream.”
He grabs a small nearby crate and rolls it into the main area of the store. You never thought he would end up as a stock boy in a grocery store. Then again, you thought both of you had bright futures. Although you were never really motivated to do anything, Ian was and certainly should have succeeded. You sigh and change into your uniform; this is your life and there’s no point in brooding over what could have been.
The day goes by relatively quickly, which is about the only benefit to the job. However it’s a rather hollow benefit, as the day passing by faster just means you have to work that much sooner the next day. You and Ian wave goodbye to each other at five o’clock and you walk to your small one-bedroom apartment, reaching it by 5:30pm.
> A strange dream
You blink your eyes and look at your new surroundings. You’re alone in the middle of a classroom, a very familiar classroom. Glancing down you notice you’re sitting in a desk and that there’s a small ‘J’ carved into the bottom right of its surface. This is your desk. At least it was, some point in time many years ago. Bringing your attention back up you notice the class is now filled with other students, each sitting in their own desks frantically writing notes. You don’t recognize any of them, or rather you can’t since none of their faces are clear to you. A teacher stands at the front of the class by the blackboard, presumably lecturing, though you all you can hear are muffled words.
You idly glance around the room and notice something out of place. A girl stands in the doorway, with long blonde and pink hair, flowing down to just above her waist. You stare at her for a while, trying to remember who she might be. No one else in the class pays any attention to her, and like the rest of them, you can’t seem to make out her face. Suddenly, she turns around and runs down the hallway.
You stand up and walk out of the classroom, ignored completely by the rest of the class. As you enter the hallway, you look down the way you saw her ran, but see no one. Curious, you continue down the seemingly endless hallway trying to find her. Finally, you seem to reach the end, as a black metal door now blocks the path. Grasping the handle, you push it open. A bright light emits from the inside, blinding you and preventing you from seeing what’s beyond the door. Curiosity gaining the better of you, you close your eyes and step through the doorway.
> The other side
“Jacob, wake up it’s time for school!”
You hear a familiar voice yell to you, and you groggily wake up in response.
What a strange dream...
You try and remember the girl from your dream, but can’t figure out who she was. The classroom was probably from your high school, but as far as you can remember that girl was never in any of your classes. You shrug and proceed to get up. After all, high school was years ago, it wouldn’t be unusual for you to forget a few people in that time.
Once fully awake, the reality that you live alone dawns on you; there should be no one yelling for you to wake up. Then another thought occurs, you don’t go to school anymore either. Confused, you stand up and walk over to your dresser, which seems different from usual. Opening your drawers you notice your clothes seem different as well. Now even more confused, you get dressed and exit your room to find some answers. Outside your door you find your younger sister standing in front of you, in the uniform that she wore during high school. That is to say, while she has the same face, green eyes, and short brown hair as your sister, she looks considerably younger than she should.
“Mom says wake up.” She states quietly, then turns to walk away.
“Um, Tina?” you say, trying to confirm it’s her.
“Hm?”, she replies softly, turning towards you.
“Ah, um, never mind. I’m up.”
She nods and walks away. You return to your room and look for your backpack, the one you remember using in high school. Sure enough you find it, right beside your dresser. You open it and grab one of your notebooks, hoping to confirm what you think has happened. You turn to the last note in the book and look at the date:
April 24th, 2008
You walk to your bed and sit down, trying accept what has happened. Yesterday was April 23th, but the year was 2018. Ten years ago you were 18 and in your last year of high school. The fact that your sister was in her private high school uniform confirms this, since she was in her first year of high school when you were in your last. Your thought process is interrupted by the familiar yell of your mother.
“Jacob, hurry up! You’re going to be late!”
There’s no point in thinking over this any longer. You quickly grab your bag and head down the stairs to the front door.
"Remember, you need wake up early on Saturday to bring your sister to school, since I'll be working."
Your mother tells you, as she stands beside you watching you put on your shoes. You nod quickly in response, and although you’re tempted to hug her or say you’ve missed her, you put it off. The you in the past wouldn’t have done it, so you’re not going to do it either. After all, if this really is the past then doing something different could screw up the future in a major way.
You open the door and find Ian standing in front of you. Well, a younger version of him.
“It’s about time Jake, you goin' to school today or what?”<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Dead Man Walking! (Zombie Survival)
Can you survive the Zombie Apocalypse? While challenging, it's not as hard as the movies would have you believe - where they always make the worst possible decisions for the sake of drama. Here, at least, you will be offered logical choices amid the foolhardy and your character cares about survival even more than you do. A serious game with gory detail.
Style
There is a lot of reading in this story. Pages are filled with lengthy descriptions of who, what, when, where, why, & how. The story is quite long (over 2100 pages) and comes in three major sections (of varying length, depending on what you choose to do in them). Don’t forget your 'Save Game' option...
Sections
The first section is the shortest and involves escaping the subway tunnels.
The second section involves moving around within the city and escaping.
The third section involves moving through the suburbs to find and save your family.
Objective
Get the best ending (or) Get the highest score (or) Kill the most zombies (or) All of the above?
Scoring
Each choice is assigned a value from 10 - 50 points: Generally, 10 points are given for a bad decisions, 30 points for neutral decisions, and 50 points for the most logical choices. 20 & 40 points are also awarded, when certain choices fall between the other values. Your final Score at the end of the game is the total of all the decisions made, multiplied by a number of special factors (depending on what you accomplish during play).
Note that the highest possible score will not be achieved by making all the right choices - as making the best choices often allow you to bypass certain other 'choice-filled' events, that will net you more points in the long run (if survived) than by simply skipping them altogether in the first place.
Endings
As this is a zombie game, the very best ending can only be achieved by not getting bit at all, but there are still a number of interesting endings available, even if you do get chomped on a time or two. In fact, you are not likely to get the Highest Score with the very best ending - but that's the trade-off.
With each 'Death Page' and the 'Official Endings', you will have the chance to see how you did before quitting (or going back). A Rundown is included that shows how many zombies and/or people you killed, how many people you saved, how many zombies munched your brains, and of course your Total Score. If at the end of your game you have 10,000 or more points, you will also be able to see a write-up of the Zombie Virus and Zombie Types used during the game.
The type of ending you achieve will also be reflected in the last digit of your Final Score: Death Pages will produce a score ending in '0'; Official Endings will show a '5'; and the Very Best Ending will show a '7'.
Post a comment to show your high scores to the world!
Troubleshooting
Please PM me if you find bugs or breaks in logic (such as walking on foot in one scene, then riding a mountain bike in the next, without ever having found the mountain bike first). The most helpful thing you could do is tell me the name of the page with the bug (and) the name of the page you came into that page from, plus a description of what’s not working correctly.
Good Luck!
This game dedicated to my lovely LadyZerka (and Five Hundred Feet of Heavy Rope in a Barrel) =)
> You begin...
Dead Man Walking.
You are drifting through darkness, floating weightless in an inky black void. Slowly you realize you are not quite awake, but coming out of unconsciousness; you must have passed out for some reason. You try to sit up, but some unseen force holds your body down. With a note of frustration you realize again that you are still not fully awake. Focusing your will you try to start yourself awake, and for a moment it seems to work – you sit up and look around and can see that you are in a dark tunnel with very little light. You notice a man stooped over some object to your right and try to call out to him, but your voice does not work. Regardless, the man turns to look at you and it is then that you see it is not a man at all, but a smoky silhouette of shadow in vaguely a man-like shape. The thing sets upon you in a flash and you feel a smothering presence overpowering you in the darkness, wrapping you up, holding you down; trying to invade you. In panic you jolt awake – this time for real.
The first thing you notice is a sharp stabbing pain in your head. Reaching up, you feel your hair matted in blood and grimace as you run your fingers over the jagged edges of what must surely be a serious head wound. Part of your scalp has actually been torn free of your skull and hangs in a greasy mess over your ear. You’re not bleeding from the wound very much – it seems to have clotted – but you definitely should get it seen by a medical professional sooner than later…
In addition, your left arm, shoulder, and side are numb. Moving them slightly, you wince at small twinges of pain here and there, but are relieved to see that they are not broken – though it does seem that you have been thrown down on that side recently and with significant force.
Sitting yourself up against a wall of cool damp stone you take in your surroundings. The floor is of hard packed dirt with a thick layer of dust on top and (from what you can feel), quite a bit of shattered safety glass lays around you. In the air you smell a mix of smoke and ozone, like when an electrical outlet shorts out. That and the heavy stink of blood (your own maybe, you do seem to have lost quite a bit) and something reminiscent of burning hair… All in all, it’s somewhat hard to breathe, as if you’re not quite getting enough oxygen with each breath.
It is very dark, but a dim greenish glow stemming from a huge mass of twisted metal before you gives enough illumination to at least make out your hand in front of your face, as well as what’s immediately around you. Looking at the mass in front of you, you can see that it is the wreckage of a subway train – or perhaps even two trains – as if one had run up into another on the same track. Now however, the subway cars choke the dark tunnel you are in, cast zigzag across the tracks in a crumpled and jagged pile of wreckage. The greenish glow comes from inside the smashed train cars themselves and you surmise that it would be illumination form the emergency exits.
Looking to your right, you see a mangled body without a head. You shudder and wonder what it was you saw standing over that body in your half-conscious dream state.
Thinking back, you try to remember how you could have arrived in such a predicament, but you can’t get past the pain in your head. Your memory is all cloudy. How much of it have you lost? All of it apparently; you can’t even recall your own name. Looking yourself over for a clue to your own identity, you note that you are wearing reasonably savvy business attire with a gold watch. Unfortunately, the watch is broken, its face smashed and the hands stopped at 7:40 am.
Checking your back pocket you find your wallet and upon looking inside, you find your license.
“Greg Bradley”, you say to yourself, reading the name off the ID. The address shows a street in the suburbs. There’s also a photo of the wife and kids (you guess). The woman is pretty enough and there are two cute girls – a ten year old and a younger one, maybe seven.
A twinge of frustration creeps into your mind. Why can’t you remember anything? Isn’t seeing things like this supposed to jar a memory or something? You take the photo out of the wallet and tuck it into your breast pocket. Checking the rest of the contents, you find a number of low-end credit cards, $50 cash, and a half dozen of your own business cards; showing that you are an accountant for the Morgan Corporation, located on the 24th floor of the Summit Tower.
Also in your possession is a crushed cell phone (totally dead) and a ring of keys including the key and fob to a Toyota, a house key, a PO Box key, a padlock key, and what you think is an elevator key marked ‘ST 24’. Incidentally, your key chain also includes a small LED penlight – which upon testing in the darkness of the tunnel, seems to offer miniscule comfort against the engulfing blackness.
It occurs to you that you should probably find something to bandage your head with. You consider for a moment trying to use your shirt as a makeshift bandage. It seems to work in the movies.
It is then that you hear the rattle of movement from within the pile of train wreckage before you, followed by a long mournful sounding groan. Instinctively, you quickly turn off your penlight and remain still; waiting to see what is making the noise without yet revealing your presence. You don’t hear the sound again and wonder if some injured person is trapped there in the twisted subway cars, waiting for you to make the first move…
> You wait quietly for help to arrive
You sit in the darkness waiting. Surely someone must know about this train wreck and will be coming to the rescue any minute.
The minutes pass…
The hour passes…
And then hours pass…
You have been sitting in the darkness for a long time and are starting to feel weak and dizzy in addition to being in pain. Maybe you should have tried to find help for yourself, rather than sit here, probably bleeding out this whole time. On a side note, whoever is there in the train wreckage still seems to be alive – moaning incoherently from time to time.
> You bind your head with cloth from your shirt
As you tear some strips from your shirt, the noise seems to attract the attention of the person trapped in the train wreckage. The low mournful groans suddenly turn into heavy desperate panting snarls and a flurry of rattling and shaking from that direction. Whoever is making those noises does not sound very well off or even sane at this point.
You quickly bind your head and…<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Eyes fluttering open, you find yourself there in the Nightmare Realm again. You’re sprawled out on a soft, eerily warm ground. A dull, strange pulse that trembles through the ground. The ground's texture is unnerving as your fingertips run across it, closer to flesh than earth. You squint, making out thin veins spread out through the ground, pumping a black liquid through the flesh that stands in stark contrast to the brownish-red of the floor. You briefly look at yourself for any injury, but you don't see anything wrong, at least visibly. You're wearing a pair of simply cloth pajamas that hang off your pale, frail frame and some small, featureless blue slippers.
Standing, you look around at the nightmare realm surrounding you. The sky is black and lifeless, not a single shining light to break the dull veil of oblivion that hangs over your head. You’re in the middle of a forest of jet black trees that spike out from the ground like pillars of obsidian, their trunks all charred and blackened by what you presume was fire. From the tree's branches hang red, glistening organs and chunks of flesh, blood dripping down from them. A length of rotting intestine, a split open stomach whose food has spilled out to the ground, a long strip of unidentifiable flesh, they all just hang their like some horrifying butcher’s display.
In contrast to the dark floor there’s several chunks of bleached white bone about the size of a child’s head in the ground, sticking out like everyday rocks. You grab the nearest one cautiously, turning it over in your hand to reveal the bottom of it is covered with beetle-like creatures, which make a strangely human-like panting. Thin, long pink tongues extend from their mouths towards you, before you frantically shake them off the chunk of bone. Nervously, you toss the chunk of bone back to the ground.
You look around for anything useful, something to help you get out of this insane hellscape. Next to one of the trees, leaning against the gnarled black roots is a red, plastic Zippo lighter, seeming out of place in the whole world of nightmares. There’s a lake of black, unreflective liquid that you stare at, its waters thick and oil-like. Sitting next to it, far enough away from you that you’re not too scared, is a figure.
The figure looks like a badly deformed child, although its face is closer to that of a hairless rat, a long snout that extends past its face. You pause, noticing its eyes are a pair of black buttons, stitched straight into its sockets with red thread. Its limbs are thin and frail, and although it seems to be naked. Its skin is pale and leathery, hanging off it in patches to reveal the black flesh underneath. It holds in its hand a fishing rod, sitting there casually as if nothing was wrong. You wonder if it’ll act as a friend or foe. Sitting next to it is a black oil lantern, from which the only light in sight shines out, brightening the area.
> You follow the pulse of the ground
Dropping to your knees, you press your thumb against one of the veins going through the ground, feeling the warm pulse of blood go through. You follow the vein, the pulse growing louder and louder, stronger and stronger with every beat.
Continuing to follow it, you soon reach a thick mass of flesh, coils of muscle filled with the black, oozing blood. The thing spasms every few seconds, and you wince as you realize you’re listening to the beating of a heart.
The heart lies there, spasming and beating as you wonder what to do.
> You attempt to kill the heart
You take a deep breath, looking around before seeing a chunk of bone. You lift it up, shaking off the bugs that cling underneath, before ramming it into the heart. It bounces back, but you feel there’s some leeway, so you heave it back into the air before bringing it down. The heart bursts open as you drive the chunk into it, spraying you with the black bile-like blood as it covers your arms up to your elbow as you plunge your hands inside. It spasms one final time, spraying blood out, before you toss the chunk aside.
Listening to the silent night air, you hear the faint beating of other hearts, keeping the nightmare realm alive. There must be hundreds of them. There’s no way you’re killing this hellhole.
> Back
Eyes fluttering open, you find yourself there in the Nightmare Realm again. You’re sprawled out on a soft, eerily warm ground. A dull, strange pulse that trembles through the ground. The ground's texture is unnerving as your fingertips run across it, closer to flesh than earth. You squint, making out thin veins spread out through the ground, pumping a black liquid through the flesh that stands in stark contrast to the brownish-red of the floor. You briefly look at yourself for any injury, but you don't see anything wrong, at least visibly. You're wearing a pair of simply cloth pajamas that hang off your pale, frail frame and some small, featureless blue slippers.
Standing, you look around at the nightmare realm surrounding you. The sky is black and lifeless, not a single shining light to break the dull veil of oblivion that hangs over your head. You’re in the middle of a forest of jet black trees that spike out from the ground like pillars of obsidian, their trunks all charred and blackened by what you presume was fire. From the tree's branches hang red, glistening organs and chunks of flesh, blood dripping down from them. A length of rotting intestine, a split open stomach whose food has spilled out to the ground, a long strip of unidentifiable flesh, they all just hang their like some horrifying butcher’s display.
In contrast to the dark floor there’s several chunks of bleached white bone about the size of a child’s head in the ground, sticking out like everyday rocks. You grab the nearest one cautiously, turning it over in your hand to reveal the bottom of it is covered with beetle-like creatures, which make a strangely human-like panting. Thin, long pink tongues extend from their mouths towards you, before you frantically shake them off the chunk of bone. Nervously, you toss the chunk of bone back to the ground.
You look around for anything useful, something to help you get out of this insane hellscape. Next to one of the trees, leaning against the gnarled black roots is a red, plastic Zippo lighter, seeming out of place in the whole world of nightmares. There’s a lake of black, unreflective liquid that you stare at, its waters thick and oil-like. Sitting next to it, far enough away from you that you’re not too scared, is a figure.
The figure looks like a badly deformed child, although its face is closer to that of a hairless rat, a long snout that extends past its face. You pause, noticing its eyes are a pair of black buttons, stitched straight into its sockets with red thread. Its limbs are thin and frail, and although it seems to be naked. Its skin is pale and leathery, hanging off it in patches to reveal the black flesh underneath. It holds in its hand a fishing rod, sitting there casually as if nothing was wrong. You wonder if it’ll act as a friend or foe. Sitting next to it is a black oil lantern, from which the only light in sight shines out, brightening the area.
> You inspect the tree trunks
You head over to the black tree trunks, running a hand over the ash-covered trunk. Some of the ash rubs off, and you roll it between your fingertips. You notice that there’s several deep gouge marks in the tree, no doubt from some horrifying beast.
A drop of blood lands on your shoulder from the organs hanging above you, and you step back away from the tree.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Eyes fluttering open, you find yourself there in the Nightmare Realm again. You’re sprawled out on a soft, eerily warm ground. A dull, strange pulse that trembles through the ground. The ground's texture is unnerving as your fingertips run across it, closer to flesh than earth. You squint, making out thin veins spread out through the ground, pumping a black liquid through the flesh that stands in stark contrast to the brownish-red of the floor. You briefly look at yourself for any injury, but you don't see anything wrong, at least visibly. You're wearing a pair of simply cloth pajamas that hang off your pale, frail frame and some small, featureless blue slippers.
Standing, you look around at the nightmare realm surrounding you. The sky is black and lifeless, not a single shining light to break the dull veil of oblivion that hangs over your head. You’re in the middle of a forest of jet black trees that spike out from the ground like pillars of obsidian, their trunks all charred and blackened by what you presume was fire. From the tree's branches hang red, glistening organs and chunks of flesh, blood dripping down from them. A length of rotting intestine, a split open stomach whose food has spilled out to the ground, a long strip of unidentifiable flesh, they all just hang their like some horrifying butcher’s display.
In contrast to the dark floor there’s several chunks of bleached white bone about the size of a child’s head in the ground, sticking out like everyday rocks. You grab the nearest one cautiously, turning it over in your hand to reveal the bottom of it is covered with beetle-like creatures, which make a strangely human-like panting. Thin, long pink tongues extend from their mouths towards you, before you frantically shake them off the chunk of bone. Nervously, you toss the chunk of bone back to the ground.
You look around for anything useful, something to help you get out of this insane hellscape. Next to one of the trees, leaning against the gnarled black roots is a red, plastic Zippo lighter, seeming out of place in the whole world of nightmares. There’s a lake of black, unreflective liquid that you stare at, its waters thick and oil-like. Sitting next to it, far enough away from you that you’re not too scared, is a figure.
The figure looks like a badly deformed child, although its face is closer to that of a hairless rat, a long snout that extends past its face. You pause, noticing its eyes are a pair of black buttons, stitched straight into its sockets with red thread. Its limbs are thin and frail, and although it seems to be naked. Its skin is pale and leathery, hanging off it in patches to reveal the black flesh underneath. It holds in its hand a fishing rod, sitting there casually as if nothing was wrong. You wonder if it’ll act as a friend or foe. Sitting next to it is a black oil lantern, from which the only light in sight shines out, brightening the area.
> You fetch the lighter
You move over towards the gnarled, tangled roots of the tree, blood from the organs that hang above dripping down to you. You pause, seeing wrinkled fingers wrapping around your other hand. You’re torn through the air with a scream, smacking into the earth as you’re quickly dragged down a burrow hidden in the roots of the tree. You tumble to your ground, collapsing in front of a horrifying creature.
The creature looks to be a strange hybrid between a spider and an old man. It’s body is spider-like, covered in a pale, translucent ooze. Its head is that of a smiling old man, although the same ooze drips from the corners of its mouth. Its eyes are black, lifeless orbs. It’s eight long, spindly legs each end with a human hand covered with a wrinkled, grey skin.
“Good evening, my child,” it says, with the voice of a kindly grandfather.
It’s long, spindly arms reach around, it’s wrinkled fingers grabbing your limbs and lifting you into the air.
“A shame I won't be able to take you to the tea party soon, but I'm just so very hungry. I’m going to savor your young, soft flesh,” it says, as you scream into the silent darkness.
Hours later, when the last breath finally expires from your broken form, its long arm reaches out from its den, placing the bright, red plastic lighter in front of the den, waiting for the next fool to come. They always did.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Eyes fluttering open, you find yourself there in the Nightmare Realm again. You’re sprawled out on a soft, eerily warm ground. A dull, strange pulse that trembles through the ground. The ground's texture is unnerving as your fingertips run across it, closer to flesh than earth. You squint, making out thin veins spread out through the ground, pumping a black liquid through the flesh that stands in stark contrast to the brownish-red of the floor. You briefly look at yourself for any injury, but you don't see anything wrong, at least visibly. You're wearing a pair of simply cloth pajamas that hang off your pale, frail frame and some small, featureless blue slippers.
Standing, you look around at the nightmare realm surrounding you. The sky is black and lifeless, not a single shining light to break the dull veil of oblivion that hangs over your head. You’re in the middle of a forest of jet black trees that spike out from the ground like pillars of obsidian, their trunks all charred and blackened by what you presume was fire. From the tree's branches hang red, glistening organs and chunks of flesh, blood dripping down from them. A length of rotting intestine, a split open stomach whose food has spilled out to the ground, a long strip of unidentifiable flesh, they all just hang their like some horrifying butcher’s display.
In contrast to the dark floor there’s several chunks of bleached white bone about the size of a child’s head in the ground, sticking out like everyday rocks. You grab the nearest one cautiously, turning it over in your hand to reveal the bottom of it is covered with beetle-like creatures, which make a strangely human-like panting. Thin, long pink tongues extend from their mouths towards you, before you frantically shake them off the chunk of bone. Nervously, you toss the chunk of bone back to the ground.
You look around for anything useful, something to help you get out of this insane hellscape. Next to one of the trees, leaning against the gnarled black roots is a red, plastic Zippo lighter, seeming out of place in the whole world of nightmares. There’s a lake of black, unreflective liquid that you stare at, its waters thick and oil-like. Sitting next to it, far enough away from you that you’re not too scared, is a figure.
The figure looks like a badly deformed child, although its face is closer to that of a hairless rat, a long snout that extends past its face. You pause, noticing its eyes are a pair of black buttons, stitched straight into its sockets with red thread. Its limbs are thin and frail, and although it seems to be naked. Its skin is pale and leathery, hanging off it in patches to reveal the black flesh underneath. It holds in its hand a fishing rod, sitting there casually as if nothing was wrong. You wonder if it’ll act as a friend or foe. Sitting next to it is a black oil lantern, from which the only light in sight shines out, brightening the area.
> You head off into the trees
Heading off into the woods in a desperate attempt to find a way out of this place, you quickly hurry off out of the light of the lantern. You’re soon drowned in darkness, without the light of any light to guide you. After a few minutes, as you're feeling your way forward to avoid hitting a trunk, you hear the faint sound of someone weeping.
A huge, towering creature of black fur with muscles that ripple underneath, standing like a gorilla with two massive, clawed hands appears out of the darkness, right in front of you. It’s face is a white, china mask of a crying woman, with tears of red flowing down its cheek. It continues to weep as it moves towards you, a hand wrapping around you. It lifts you up, moving you right in front of its crying face.
Suddenly, it flings you into a tree, shattering your ribs. You hit the ground with a scream, as it continues weeping, although you can’t see where it is. You lie there in pain, listening to the sound of the crying growing fainter as the monster moves away.
Suddenly, you hear the sound of laughter, growing closer and closer. You try to move, but you’re effectively crippled by pain, unable to move. You close your eyes and like your assailant, begin to weep, hoping whatever creature finds you first does its job quickly.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Eyes fluttering open, you find yourself there in the Nightmare Realm again. You’re sprawled out on a soft, eerily warm ground. A dull, strange pulse that trembles through the ground. The ground's texture is unnerving as your fingertips run across it, closer to flesh than earth. You squint, making out thin veins spread out through the ground, pumping a black liquid through the flesh that stands in stark contrast to the brownish-red of the floor. You briefly look at yourself for any injury, but you don't see anything wrong, at least visibly. You're wearing a pair of simply cloth pajamas that hang off your pale, frail frame and some small, featureless blue slippers.
Standing, you look around at the nightmare realm surrounding you. The sky is black and lifeless, not a single shining light to break the dull veil of oblivion that hangs over your head. You’re in the middle of a forest of jet black trees that spike out from the ground like pillars of obsidian, their trunks all charred and blackened by what you presume was fire. From the tree's branches hang red, glistening organs and chunks of flesh, blood dripping down from them. A length of rotting intestine, a split open stomach whose food has spilled out to the ground, a long strip of unidentifiable flesh, they all just hang their like some horrifying butcher’s display.
In contrast to the dark floor there’s several chunks of bleached white bone about the size of a child’s head in the ground, sticking out like everyday rocks. You grab the nearest one cautiously, turning it over in your hand to reveal the bottom of it is covered with beetle-like creatures, which make a strangely human-like panting. Thin, long pink tongues extend from their mouths towards you, before you frantically shake them off the chunk of bone. Nervously, you toss the chunk of bone back to the ground.
You look around for anything useful, something to help you get out of this insane hellscape. Next to one of the trees, leaning against the gnarled black roots is a red, plastic Zippo lighter, seeming out of place in the whole world of nightmares. There’s a lake of black, unreflective liquid that you stare at, its waters thick and oil-like. Sitting next to it, far enough away from you that you’re not too scared, is a figure.
The figure looks like a badly deformed child, although its face is closer to that of a hairless rat, a long snout that extends past its face. You pause, noticing its eyes are a pair of black buttons, stitched straight into its sockets with red thread. Its limbs are thin and frail, and although it seems to be naked. Its skin is pale and leathery, hanging off it in patches to reveal the black flesh underneath. It holds in its hand a fishing rod, sitting there casually as if nothing was wrong. You wonder if it’ll act as a friend or foe. Sitting next to it is a black oil lantern, from which the only light in sight shines out, brightening the area.
> You pull organs down from the trees
You move towards the branches, attempting to pull the organs down. When that fails, you wrap an arm around the tree trunk, lifting yourself up somewhat and shaking a branch. Several bloody organs plop down into the dirt.
Suddenly, the soil begins to morph, as it cracks open to reveal small, human-lie mouths. The creepily human-like teeth bite and tear at the meat as they swallows the meat, devouring the organs.
> You attack the mouths
You quickly look around for a bone chunk, grabbing it and shaking the bugs off it. Quickly, you smash the chunk of bone into a mouth, knocking bloody and broken teeth out. The mouths gnash soundlessly as you smash the chunk of bone into them repeatedly, smashing out countless teeth. The mouths shut closed, morphing back into the ground.
Cautiously, you collect a handful of broken, bloody teeth, but the mouths don’t make a reappearance.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You move towards the branches, attempting to pull the organs down. When that fails, you wrap an arm around the tree trunk, lifting yourself up somewhat and shaking a branch. Several bloody organs plop down into the dirt.
Suddenly, the soil begins to morph, as it cracks open to reveal small, human-lie mouths. The creepily human-like teeth bite and tear at the meat as they swallows the meat, devouring the organs.
> You quickly flee
You're unwilling entirely to let those mouths get you or get close to you. You quickly backpedal, heading to the relative safety of next to the lake.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Eyes fluttering open, you find yourself there in the Nightmare Realm again. You’re sprawled out on a soft, eerily warm ground. A dull, strange pulse that trembles through the ground. The ground's texture is unnerving as your fingertips run across it, closer to flesh than earth. You squint, making out thin veins spread out through the ground, pumping a black liquid through the flesh that stands in stark contrast to the brownish-red of the floor. You briefly look at yourself for any injury, but you don't see anything wrong, at least visibly. You're wearing a pair of simply cloth pajamas that hang off your pale, frail frame and some small, featureless blue slippers.
Standing, you look around at the nightmare realm surrounding you. The sky is black and lifeless, not a single shining light to break the dull veil of oblivion that hangs over your head. You’re in the middle of a forest of jet black trees that spike out from the ground like pillars of obsidian, their trunks all charred and blackened by what you presume was fire. From the tree's branches hang red, glistening organs and chunks of flesh, blood dripping down from them. A length of rotting intestine, a split open stomach whose food has spilled out to the ground, a long strip of unidentifiable flesh, they all just hang their like some horrifying butcher’s display.
In contrast to the dark floor there’s several chunks of bleached white bone about the size of a child’s head in the ground, sticking out like everyday rocks. You grab the nearest one cautiously, turning it over in your hand to reveal the bottom of it is covered with beetle-like creatures, which make a strangely human-like panting. Thin, long pink tongues extend from their mouths towards you, before you frantically shake them off the chunk of bone. Nervously, you toss the chunk of bone back to the ground.
You look around for anything useful, something to help you get out of this insane hellscape. Next to one of the trees, leaning against the gnarled black roots is a red, plastic Zippo lighter, seeming out of place in the whole world of nightmares. There’s a lake of black, unreflective liquid that you stare at, its waters thick and oil-like. Sitting next to it, far enough away from you that you’re not too scared, is a figure.
The figure looks like a badly deformed child, although its face is closer to that of a hairless rat, a long snout that extends past its face. You pause, noticing its eyes are a pair of black buttons, stitched straight into its sockets with red thread. Its limbs are thin and frail, and although it seems to be naked. Its skin is pale and leathery, hanging off it in patches to reveal the black flesh underneath. It holds in its hand a fishing rod, sitting there casually as if nothing was wrong. You wonder if it’ll act as a friend or foe. Sitting next to it is a black oil lantern, from which the only light in sight shines out, brightening the area.
> You approach the figure
You walk slowly towards the strange figure. It eagerly turns to stare at you as you approach, moving slowly and cautiously. When you’re standing less than a meter away, it begins to approach, it’s frail arms reaching up to your face, two pale, disgusting fingers entering your mouth and tapping against your teeth. Quickly, it jabs its finger forward, knocking a loose tooth free from your gums with a few drops of blood.
“Mine,” it whispers in a soft, rasping voice.
You pull back frantically as it releases its grip, looking towards you with indifference again as it slowly picks up the loose tooth, raising it to its mouth and swallowing it whole. You step back, ready for it to strike, but it returns to its spot by its lantern, grabbing its fishing pole. You wiggle your tongue around in the new gap in your teeth, staring ahead nervously.
> You move away from the figure
You move nervously away from the figure, who seems indifferent to your slow but steady backpedalling.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You walk slowly towards the strange figure. It eagerly turns to stare at you as you approach, moving slowly and cautiously. When you’re standing less than a meter away, it begins to approach, it’s frail arms reaching up to your face, two pale, disgusting fingers entering your mouth and tapping against your teeth. Quickly, it jabs its finger forward, knocking a loose tooth free from your gums with a few drops of blood.
“Mine,” it whispers in a soft, rasping voice.
You pull back frantically as it releases its grip, looking towards you with indifference again as it slowly picks up the loose tooth, raising it to its mouth and swallowing it whole. You step back, ready for it to strike, but it returns to its spot by its lantern, grabbing its fishing pole. You wiggle your tongue around in the new gap in your teeth, staring ahead nervously.
> You offer it a tooth
Not knowing what else to do, you step forward, pointing to one of your teeth.
"A tooth. You get one tooth."
The figure nods happily, motioning for you to kneel down. You do, and suddenly its disgusting fingers force their way into your mouth. They're surprisingly cold, tasting of a mixture of soot and rotting flesh. Its fingers squeeze a tooth tightly, before tearing it free of your mouth in a single motion. You go to move away, but the creature doesn't seem satisfied with its single tooth now that its so close or doesn't understand your offer, grabbing another tooth.
At that point, you quickly panic, and begin to move desperately as you try to escape it as it tries to hold you in place to remove your teeth, shaking you violently in an attempt to get you to stop moving. You keep moving your head rapidly, trying to avoid it getting a grip on another tooth.
It lets out a rasping scream in frustration. Finally, holding your head tightly, it twists it around and forces your head under the black, murky water. The water oozes into your throat, flooding into your lungs as you try to scream, but instead the liquid just pours into your throat. As your body seems to realize its hopeless to fight, the last bit of strength drained from you.
Your last thought is a morbid one, but you think that it'll be a lot easier to pull out your teeth once you're dead. <|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You walk slowly towards the strange figure. It eagerly turns to stare at you as you approach, moving slowly and cautiously. When you’re standing less than a meter away, it begins to approach, it’s frail arms reaching up to your face, two pale, disgusting fingers entering your mouth and tapping against your teeth. Quickly, it jabs its finger forward, knocking a loose tooth free from your gums with a few drops of blood.
“Mine,” it whispers in a soft, rasping voice.
You pull back frantically as it releases its grip, looking towards you with indifference again as it slowly picks up the loose tooth, raising it to its mouth and swallowing it whole. You step back, ready for it to strike, but it returns to its spot by its lantern, grabbing its fishing pole. You wiggle your tongue around in the new gap in your teeth, staring ahead nervously.
> You try to take the lantern
You move towards the creature’s lantern, but it quickly grabs your hand. Its cold, semi-moist fingers wrap around your wrist as it gently but firmly pushes you back.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Dropping to your knees, you press your thumb against one of the veins going through the ground, feeling the warm pulse of blood go through. You follow the vein, the pulse growing louder and louder, stronger and stronger with every beat.
Continuing to follow it, you soon reach a thick mass of flesh, coils of muscle filled with the black, oozing blood. The thing spasms every few seconds, and you wince as you realize you’re listening to the beating of a heart.
The heart lies there, spasming and beating as you wonder what to do.
> You leave it
There’s no way you’re messing with whatever’s there. You’re just not willing to do it. You step back, moving away from the heart.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|> "Amanda!" you yell from the kitchen. "I swear, if you don't turn the telly down, I will KILL YOU!"
The blaring from the living room drowns out her response, which drives you mad. You tap your foot impatiently. I will wait five seconds before I go in there, you tell yourself.
One.....Two.....Three.....Four.....
"'Manda! I'm coming in there!" You say furiously as you storm from the kitchen. The living room's lights are dimmed, so the glare from the telly makes you blink. Amanda is curled up on the couch, her eyes glued on the screen. Her red hair is a mess, and she is dressed in rumpled up pajamas.
"Amanda," you say as you grab the remote. "You really need to stop this! Your head is going to explode from the sound."
"Shut it, Jess!" Amanda shushes you. "Turn it up, this is really important!" You roll your eyes and listen to your roommate.
The reporter is just finishing up a story. "...and the residents of Greenwich should be more cautious. The number of robberies and break-ins have increased over the last two weeks. So, make sure to lock your doors when you leave to house."
"So?" you say as you turn it off. "It's just some robberies. Nothing unusual."
"But he said it was happening in Greenwich! That's here, in case you forgot!" Amanda says as she gets up from the couch. She stretches, and walks with you to the front door. "We have the same chance of getting robbed as anyone else here!"
"'Manda," you turn around, exasperated. "Who in creation would want to break into the flat of two twenty-year old women that can barely pay the rent? It's not like we have anything of value here."
You grab your purse from the table by the door. Glancing into the mirror, you check to see that your hair is still in its place, and your mascara hasn't smudged. Pleased, you turn to Amanda.
"We have a telly, a microwave, a DVD player, and some jewelry upstairs, Jess!" Her green eyes flash with fear. Amanda is always worried that someone would break into the flat that you share and steal everything you have.
"Oh, for God's sake. Listen to me. No one is going to rob us!" You unlock the door. "Right, I'm going out."
"Make sure you get some more apples. We're nearly out," Amanda reminds you.
"Yeah, don't worry. I'll remember." You walk into the hallway. "Lock the door behind me!"
Your best friend lets out a retort as you close the door in her face. Time to go to town.
> You going Shopping
You walk down the street, carrying a bag of groceries. The car is just down the street. Thank God. Once again, you made the mistake to wear heels to the shop.
Trying to shift your grip on the bag, you stop for just a moment. The bag is really heavy, since you decided to buy a few more things that you saw. You get a good grip just as a man runs straight into you.
"Oh, God!" You moan as your bag falls to the concrete sidewalk at your feet. Something broke inside of it; you could hear the smashing sound. "Thanks a lot! There's my week's pay, gone!"
You look up at the man who ran into you. "Sorry! I am so sorry!"
He is in a tweed jacket, a striped shirt, and a bow tie. You can't see his face, since he is bending over the bag on the ground. You get down on your knees next to him. Sighing, you say, "It's alright. Not your fault, anyway. I should have seen you coming."
The man looks up at you, finally showing his face. All you think is, Blimey, he has a big chin. His eyes quickly scan you, sizing you up. "What's your name?" he asks.
"Jess. Jess Rowell." you say calmly as you pick up some apples. "And, you are...?"
"The Doctor," he says as he puts the now broken mug into the bag.
"Doctor who?" you ask him.
"Just the Doctor." Finished, he stands up. You pick up your bag and get up.
"The Doctor?" you muse. "Well, Doctor, let me ask you this. Why were you running so fast?"
"It's quicker than walking. Now, I really have to go. It's important." he explains. And, just like that, he's gone. You can see his head in the crowd before that disappears as well.
You walk towards the car. Might as well go home.
> You previous Page
"Amanda!" you yell from the kitchen. "I swear, if you don't turn the telly down, I will KILL YOU!"
The blaring from the living room drowns out her response, which drives you mad. You tap your foot impatiently. I will wait five seconds before I go in there, you tell yourself.
One.....Two.....Three.....Four.....
"'Manda! I'm coming in there!" You say furiously as you storm from the kitchen. The living room's lights are dimmed, so the glare from the telly makes you blink. Amanda is curled up on the couch, her eyes glued on the screen. Her red hair is a mess, and she is dressed in rumpled up pajamas.
"Amanda," you say as you grab the remote. "You really need to stop this! Your head is going to explode from the sound."
"Shut it, Jess!" Amanda shushes you. "Turn it up, this is really important!" You roll your eyes and listen to your roommate.
The reporter is just finishing up a story. "...and the residents of Greenwich should be more cautious. The number of robberies and break-ins have increased over the last two weeks. So, make sure to lock your doors when you leave to house."
"So?" you say as you turn it off. "It's just some robberies. Nothing unusual."
"But he said it was happening in Greenwich! That's here, in case you forgot!" Amanda says as she gets up from the couch. She stretches, and walks with you to the front door. "We have the same chance of getting robbed as anyone else here!"
"'Manda," you turn around, exasperated. "Who in creation would want to break into the flat of two twenty-year old women that can barely pay the rent? It's not like we have anything of value here."
You grab your purse from the table by the door. Glancing into the mirror, you check to see that your hair is still in its place, and your mascara hasn't smudged. Pleased, you turn to Amanda.
"We have a telly, a microwave, a DVD player, and some jewelry upstairs, Jess!" Her green eyes flash with fear. Amanda is always worried that someone would break into the flat that you share and steal everything you have.
"Oh, for God's sake. Listen to me. No one is going to rob us!" You unlock the door. "Right, I'm going out."
"Make sure you get some more apples. We're nearly out," Amanda reminds you.
"Yeah, don't worry. I'll remember." You walk into the hallway. "Lock the door behind me!"
Your best friend lets out a retort as you close the door in her face. Time to go to town.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You are a mid-twenties human being in Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road. When the world ended countless years ago, you were old enough to possess memories of your old life but too young to yet be set in the ways of the old world. Because of this, you had the upper hand both physically and mentally during the first few dreadful years after the apocalypse, but the real credit goes to your older brother. He taught you everything you needed to know about surviving on the road, and he always had your back. You don't travel with him anymore. In fact, you can't even recall when you last saw him, or where he went. You never try to remember though—your brain repressed that memory for a reason, and you don't care to find out why.
You're bundled up tightly in a shirt, jacket, snow pants, and hiking boots. You've tied a cloth around your face to keep the ashes out of your lungs. You used to have a fair amount of supplies, but a close call with a band of marauders several days ago forced you to leave most of them behind. What did you decide to take with you?
> You your shopping cart, three large blankets, extra shoes, a lighter, and a canteen of water.
The wind is noticeably colder today than it was yesterday. Already, you can feel the brutal winter creeping up behind you, taunting you by sending fatal, frozen ashstorms your way. As you push your cart south down the long, crack-laden road, the darkness that you've come to recognize as day begins to fade. You know that it would be reckless to keep moving in the black of night, so you resolve to camp out and try your luck at sleep. Where do you settle down for the night?
> You sleep in the road. If you were to get caught in a snowstorm out there, you'd never find your way back.
With confidence that you've made the right decision, you park your cart in the ashes beside the road and hurriedly collect firewood, staying as close to the road as possible. Lighter in hand, the dry twigs catch instantly, and you sit back and watch the flames spark and crackle before you. A distant memory starts to surface, but the ashes in your mind make the image appear blurry, and you can barely make out a pair of tiny feet warming in front of a fireplace. You quickly push the thought from your brain and take a swig of water from your canteen. Bitter, but refreshing. You continue to add fuel to the fire and eventually, with heavy eyes, take your blankets out of the cart and bundle up for the night.
> Next.
You awake to the dull light—if it could even be called light—of morning. Your fire had died long ago, and as you look about you, it appears that everything is just as you had left it previously. You don't see this as a success on your part so much as a stroke of sheer luck that no one crossed your path. Gathering up your provisions, you place them back into the cart and begin on your way south.
After having walked almost five miles, you come across what used to be a bridge spanning a wide river. The rapids may have raced along the channel at one point in time, but now the thick sludge only creeps slowly over the rocks. It would be slow going, but the water is shallow enough that you think you'd be able to cross. (After all, the shattered bridge will be of no use to you.) What do you do?
> You attempt to cross. The longer you stay moving south, the better.
You step hastily into the water—and immediately recoil your foot. It's so freezing that you feel your foot instantly go numb. You take a deep breath and hesitantly step back in, bracing yourself for the brutal cold, and this time you manage to endure it enough to move your other foot into the river. Dragging the cart behind you, you begin steadily working your way across, with the water up to your knees, and then, to your waist. With only a third of the way to go, you suddenly feel a tug on the cart. You glance over your shoulder and pull at it again, but it's stuck on something, and no matter how hard you pull, it won't budge. You...
> You leave it. It's not worth wasting the time and effort to get it loose.
You knew you'd have to leave the cart behind eventually, but that doesn't mean you're going to abandon the rest of your supplies. Carefully, so as not to fall into the river, you turn and pull out the blankets in which the rest of your provisions are hidden, and without looking back, you haul them the rest of the way across. You drop them onto the ground and your feet and struggle to catch your breath, then glance over your shoulder. The cart's still there, standing firm against the current. You're convinced that you wouldn't have been able to dislodge it after all. Once some strength has returned to your legs, you tie the blankets into a sack and sling it over your shoulder, heading once again along the road going south.
> Next.
Grey snow begins to fall as you make your way slowly along the road. You're not sure how long it's been. Days? Weeks? It couldn't have been months, you think, otherwise it would be getting warmer by now. At least, that's what you hope is true, for there would be no meaning in migrating south every winter if summer only grew colder. You amuse yourself with thoughts like these in an attempt to forget the twisting, empty feeling in your stomach. Impulsively, you remove your canteen from the sack of blankets and take a quick drink to quell the swelling of your throat.
Later in the evening, you come across an abandoned gas station—actually, why do you even refer to it as abandoned? Everything in this world is abandoned and decaying, isn't it? ...There goes your brain again. You can't let it get to you. You have to hold on to the hope of survival, because without it, life isn't worth living.
You take a deep breath and force yourself to enter the gas station. As you expected, all of the shelves have been ravaged and there's hardly anything worth keeping. You pay no mind to the open cash register and instead begin fumbling about through the mess in search of something, anything worth eating. You peer into one of the broken refrigerators and spot a sealed packet of some sort of lunch meat, hidden away in the corner. You open the door and pull it out, staring longingly at the pale hunk of long-expired, browning flesh. What do you do?
> You eat it. If you're going to survive the rest of this journey, you NEED to eat something!
With an intense hunger welling up inside, you tear open the packet and scarf down every last slice of meat, licking your fingers and the packet once you're done. It's starting to get dark, so you hurry outside with a newfound, perhaps imaginary, stamina and bring firewood back into the building. As you set up the fire, you feel an uneasiness in the pit of your stomach and have to rush into the corner of the store to vomit. This persists for most of the night, eventually causing diarrhea and such a spike in temperature that you can hardly move. Curled up in your blankets and highly delirious, you pass into an agitated sleep.
For the first time in a very long time, your dreams are pleasant. You find yourself to be a child again, playing on a playground swing set. You dig your feet into the mulch and push yourself in circles until the chains are wound so tightly that they send you spinning around and around. You let out a laugh. The dizziness makes you want to throw up, but you just keep laughing.
Death takes you in the morning.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You step hastily into the water—and immediately recoil your foot. It's so freezing that you feel your foot instantly go numb. You take a deep breath and hesitantly step back in, bracing yourself for the brutal cold, and this time you manage to endure it enough to move your other foot into the river. Dragging the cart behind you, you begin steadily working your way across, with the water up to your knees, and then, to your waist. With only a third of the way to go, you suddenly feel a tug on the cart. You glance over your shoulder and pull at it again, but it's stuck on something, and no matter how hard you pull, it won't budge. You...
> You pull harder.
You determine it's best to weigh your options before charging headlong into the river, so your turn east and begin walking parallel to the waters. The land is barren, and as you glance over from time to time, your eyes catch glimpses of bicycles, trees, and frozen corpses lying lazily in the water with no place to go. After walking for a little while, something else draws your attention: an old house by the river, rotting, abandoned. Acting on instinct, you quickly take cover in the woods and peer out at the building. There's no smoke around, and it doesn't seem to be in use.
You decide to...
> You ignore it. If there is someone in there, you can't take the risk.
You know that, if you had managed to find this place, then others might've, too. You're low on supplies, but that's no reason to act reckless. You carefully turn around and walk back until the house is out of view, and then turn to cross the river.
The water is freezing, and you can only trudge across so quickly, with your legs growing numb and your cart in tow. The water only reaches up to your thighs before becoming shallow again, and you scramble onto the opposite shore, gasping from the brutal cold. In one last moment of hesitation, you look back over your shoulder. The house still stands tall on the other side, but this time, you think you see movement in the window. It may well have been an illusion, but it's enough to scare you into action, and soon enough, you're back on the road moving south.
> Next.
Grey snow begins to fall as you make your way slowly along the road. You're not sure how long it's been. Days? Weeks? It couldn't have been months, you think, otherwise it would be getting warmer by now. At least, that's what you hope is true, for there would be no meaning in migrating south every winter if summer only grew colder. You amuse yourself with thoughts like these in an attempt to forget the twisting, empty feeling in your stomach. Impulsively, you remove your canteen from the cart and take a quick drink to quell the swelling of your throat.
Later in the evening, you come across an abandoned gas station—actually, why do you even refer to it as abandoned? Everything in this world is abandoned and decaying, isn't it? ...There goes your brain again. You can't let it get to you. You have to hold on to the hope of survival, because without it, life isn't worth living.
You take a deep breath and force yourself to enter the gas station. As you expected, all of the shelves have been ravaged and there's hardly anything worth keeping. You pay no mind to the open cash register and instead begin fumbling about through the mess in search of something, anything worth eating. You peer into one of the broken refrigerators and spot a sealed packet of some sort of lunch meat, hidden away in the corner. You open the door and pull it out, staring longingly at the pale hunk of long-expired, browning flesh. What do you do?<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You determine it's best to weigh your options before charging headlong into the river, so your turn east and begin walking parallel to the waters. The land is barren, and as you glance over from time to time, your eyes catch glimpses of bicycles, trees, and frozen corpses lying lazily in the water with no place to go. After walking for a little while, something else draws your attention: an old house by the river, rotting, abandoned. Acting on instinct, you quickly take cover in the woods and peer out at the building. There's no smoke around, and it doesn't seem to be in use.
You decide to...
> You enter cautiously. There may be supplies inside that I can useâ€"or food.
You're barely surviving on the few provisions you have, and that doesn't even include food. You can't afford to pass up this opportunity, even if it is a little reckless. Parking your cart in the woods near the house, you cautiously approach and make your way silently onto the porch. Peeking through the windows, you don't see any signs of movement, so you slowly open the creaky front door and step inside. The interior smells like rotten eggs, and there's an ungodly stench coming from the hallway to your right. You can see a kitchen on the other side of the living room, and there are also stairs leading up onto the second floor of the house. Where do you search first?
> You investigate the terrible smell.
Maybe that smell is simply rotting food, and where there's rotting food, there's always the possibility of stumbling across something edible. At least, that's how you justify it to yourself, but really, you're just curious. You turn down the hallway to your right and come across a door with a chain across it.
> You unlock the door and enter.
Your recklessness knows no bounds. You unlatch the chain from the door and carefully open it. You pull your lighter out of your pocket and flick it on, holding it out to examine the space before you. There are stairs that lead down and to the left into some kind of cellar. With irrational prospects of food, you step carefully down into the darkness and quickly discover the source of the smell. Bodies stacked up on one another, wide-eyed, lying about in leisure. Decaying. You cover your mouth to keep from gagging, but soon the stench is the least of your concerns.
The light from the door above you disappears, and you can hear the chain being slid back into place.
> Next.
You run back up the stairs and frantically try the doorknob, but it's no use. The door won't budge. In a moment of desperation, you hurl your body at the door, only to hear an unsettling noise in your bones and to collapse onto the floor. The smell, the bodies, the hopelessness of it all—you are overwhelmed and can't control the dry sobs arising from your throat. This is it. This must be the end. You idiot!
There's no way of knowing how long you'll be down here. Days, months even. If the people living in the house are cannibals, you will surely perish in a few days and provide sustenance for monsters. If they're people just like you with everything to lose, they'll never open that door, and you'll slowly rot with the rest of these corpses. Either way, you'll be dead eventually. But the waiting. That's the worst part. And it's all that you can do now...<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Maybe that smell is simply rotting food, and where there's rotting food, there's always the possibility of stumbling across something edible. At least, that's how you justify it to yourself, but really, you're just curious. You turn down the hallway to your right and come across a door with a chain across it.
> You go back to the living room.
Sure, you're feeling desperate, but not desperate enough to look for hope where there is none. There's probably nothing worthwhile behind that door—and for all you know, the smell is coming from rotting corpses. You shake the thought out of your head and turn around to return to the living room, but when you arrive, there's a tall figure standing in front of you, holding a hunting knife in his hand. He looks just as terrified as you, but his reflexes are much faster, and before you know it, he's lunging at you with the knife.
> You run!
You turn to run out the front door, but you only make it to the edge of the porch before you feel a hot pain in your leg. Shouting, you tumble down the porch steps onto the ground and hold your wounded thigh to your chest in agony. The man grabs you by the neck and raises the bloody knife over his head, and in that brief moment before death, when your life should've been flashing before your eyes, you see a glimmer of something in his. You can't be certain, but you think what you're seeing in his eyes is fear—something so human that it startles you, and yet is somehow relieving.
Then the blade penetrates your skull, and everything goes black.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You're barely surviving on the few provisions you have, and that doesn't even include food. You can't afford to pass up this opportunity, even if it is a little reckless. Parking your cart in the woods near the house, you cautiously approach and make your way silently onto the porch. Peeking through the windows, you don't see any signs of movement, so you slowly open the creaky front door and step inside. The interior smells like rotten eggs, and there's an ungodly stench coming from the hallway to your right. You can see a kitchen on the other side of the living room, and there are also stairs leading up onto the second floor of the house. Where do you search first?
> You search the kitchen.
As soon as you enter the rundown kitchen, you freeze. Through the window, you see a tall figure outside making his way towards the house with a large hunting knife in hand. The terror moves your legs into action, and you bolt back out the front door. You're moving so quickly and in such fright that you don't even think to go back for the cart, and instead you launch yourself into the river and frantically stumble across. Your heart is throbbing in your ears by the time you reach the opposite shore, and looking back, you think you see movement in one of the windows of the house. You have no time to think and act on the primitive fight or flight response alone, fleeing the scene and leaving everything behind for the stranger.
> Next.
With no supplies to carry and no idea of where you're going, you feel lost and without a sense of purpose. You wander through the forest in the bitter cold, clutching your arms and clenching your jaw to keep your teeth from chattering. Your stomach is empty, and your nerves are raw—every noise sets you off. You wish you had done things differently. You go over every scenario again and again and try to understand what went wrong, but really, it was the world that went wrong. All you were doing was trying to set yourself right... right?
Your mind continues to race with possibilities when suddenly you run into something hanging from a tree and accidently knock it down into the snow. Startled, you cautiously look down to find it was a nearly frozen corpse, poorly dressed for this weather and, well, dead. These things used to freak you out, but you've learned to accept them for what they are, so long as they aren't you.
You stare at the body at your feet, mind racing. You don't want to resort to that. You promised your brother that you wouldn't. But you're so hungry already. You have no idea how you'd go about it, but you're convinced you'd find a way. You're convinced it's the only way.
You...
> You resist.
You sit down in the snow and ash beside the body and watch it. It's a female. She was probably no older than nineteen. You bet her name was Meredith. Or Jenette. You like the name Jenette better. Your mind begins crafting a backstory for Jenette: a loving family in Tennessee, a big heart for animals, a tire swing on which she'd drag her pet cat on a sunny day in June... And soon enough, you can't even bring yourself to think about eating her. She was a human once, after all. She still is a human. Your stomach protests, but you smile softly to yourself. Your integrity remains intact, if only for today...<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>With no supplies to carry and no idea of where you're going, you feel lost and without a sense of purpose. You wander through the forest in the bitter cold, clutching your arms and clenching your jaw to keep your teeth from chattering. Your stomach is empty, and your nerves are raw—every noise sets you off. You wish you had done things differently. You go over every scenario again and again and try to understand what went wrong, but really, it was the world that went wrong. All you were doing was trying to set yourself right... right?
Your mind continues to race with possibilities when suddenly you run into something hanging from a tree and accidently knock it down into the snow. Startled, you cautiously look down to find it was a nearly frozen corpse, poorly dressed for this weather and, well, dead. These things used to freak you out, but you've learned to accept them for what they are, so long as they aren't you.
You stare at the body at your feet, mind racing. You don't want to resort to that. You promised your brother that you wouldn't. But you're so hungry already. You have no idea how you'd go about it, but you're convinced you'd find a way. You're convinced it's the only way.
You...
> You give in.
You don't think about it as you're doing it. The fire, the tearing of flesh, the roasting, the smell, the satisfaction—thinking would only drive you mad. You don't have time for thoughts outside of yourself. You can only consume and consume until your stomach can handle no more. You almost throw up, not because of what you're eating, but because you haven't eaten in such a long time that your body doesn't know how to handle it. Soon enough, you've calmed down, and you lie back against a tree. There isn't a thought in your head outside of yourself. You are full and you will survive another day. If only just another day...<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You're barely surviving on the few provisions you have, and that doesn't even include food. You can't afford to pass up this opportunity, even if it is a little reckless. Parking your cart in the woods near the house, you cautiously approach and make your way silently onto the porch. Peeking through the windows, you don't see any signs of movement, so you slowly open the creaky front door and step inside. The interior smells like rotten eggs, and there's an ungodly stench coming from the hallway to your right. You can see a kitchen on the other side of the living room, and there are also stairs leading up onto the second floor of the house. Where do you search first?
> You check upstairs.
As quietly as possible, you creep up the stairs and begin to look around. There are several rooms that have been raided and destroyed, but one in the far corner remains intact. You step inside and immediately freeze. There's something on the bed in front of you, a lump of flesh that looks neither alive nor dead. Your heart starts to race, and you're filled with terror as the lump rises and falls with the man's breathing. You start to turn around...
> Next.
You don't even see your attacker. All you feel is the blunt edge of the knife being jammed into the back of your skull, and the world goes black. Oh, what a grave mistake you've made. Maybe your killer will dispose of you into the woods. Maybe they're decide to consume what little meat is left on your scrawny bones. But what does it matter? You're dead now, and you won't suffer any longer.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>The wind is noticeably colder today than it was yesterday. Already, you can feel the brutal winter creeping up behind you, taunting you by sending fatal, frozen ashstorms your way. As you push your cart south down the long, crack-laden road, the darkness that you've come to recognize as day begins to fade. You know that it would be reckless to keep moving in the black of night, so you resolve to camp out and try your luck at sleep. Where do you settle down for the night?
> You set up camp in the woods. Sleeping in the road would leave you defenseless against an attack.
The wind is noticeably colder today than it was yesterday. Already, you can feel the brutal winter creeping up behind you, taunting you by sending fatal, frozen ashstorms your way. As you trudge further south along the crack-laden road, your back hunched from the weight of the pack on your shoulders, the darkness that you've come to recognize as day begins to fade. You know that it would be reckless to keep moving in the black of night, so you resolve to camp out, eat some supper, and try your luck at sleep. Where do you settle down for the night?
> You sleep in the road. If you were to get caught in a snowstorm out there, you'd never find your way back.
With confidence that you've made the right decision, you set your backpack down and hurriedly collect firewood, staying as close to the road as possible. You arrange the twigs into a teepee and spend what feels like forever rubbing two rocks together, willing a spark to ignite the tinder and rescue you from the cold. It's already dark by the time the wood catches, and you wrap yourself in your extra jacket and lean forwards to feel the pulsating warmth of the fire. Pulling out a rusty can of peaches, you quickly scarf down your dinner and observe your hands. Rotten and calloused, with frostbite eating away at your black fingertips and oozing sores around your knuckles. You recall observing your hands like this before when you were much younger, but you can't for the life of you remember what they looked like. Not that it matters, anyway. You can't afford to look back on a past that will never return.
You know this, and yet you fall asleep, curled up by the fire, with the tarp draped over you, staring at your bony hands.
> Next.
You awake to the dull light—if it could even be called light—of morning. Your fire had died long ago, and as you look about you, it appears that everything is just as you had left it previously. You don't see this as a success on your part so much as a stroke of sheer luck that no one crossed your path. Gathering up your provisions, you swing your pack over your shoulders and begin on your way south.
After having walked almost five miles, you come across what used to be a bridge spanning a wide river. The rapids may have raced along the channel at one point in time, but now the thick sludge only creeps slowly over the rocks. It would be slow going, but the water is shallow enough that you think you'd be able to cross. (After all, the shattered bridge will be of no use to you.) What do you do?
> You attempt to cross. The longer you stay moving south, the better.
You step hastily into the water—and immediately recoil your foot. It's so freezing that you feel your foot instantly go numb. You take a deep breath and hesitantly step back in, bracing yourself for the brutal cold, and this time you manage to endure it enough to move your other foot into the river. With a great deal of effort, you begin steadily working your way across, with the water up to your knees, and then, to your waist. It feels like a week has passed by the time you make it to the other side. Climbing onto the shore, you collapse to your knees and struggle to catch your breath, and after a few minutes, you force yourself to your feet and look ahead. The road spans before of you further than you can see. With a deep breath, you continue on your way.
> Next.
Grey snow begins to fall as you make your way slowly along the road. You're not sure how long it's been. Days? Weeks? It couldn't have been months, you think, otherwise it would be getting warmer by now. At least, that's what you hope is true, for there would be no meaning in migrating south every winter if summer only grew colder. You amuse yourself with thoughts like these in an attempt to forget the twisting, empty feeling in your stomach. Impulsively, you remove your canteen from your pack and take a quick drink to quell the swelling of your throat.
Later in the evening, you come across an abandoned gas station—actually, why do you even refer to it as abandoned? Everything in this world is abandoned and decaying, isn't it? ...There goes your brain again. You can't let it get to you. You have to hold on to the hope of survival, because without it, life isn't worth living.
You take a deep breath and force yourself to enter the gas station. As you expected, all of the shelves have been ravaged and there's hardly anything worth keeping. You pay no mind to the open cash register and instead begin fumbling about through the mess in search of something, anything worth eating. You ran out of canned food long ago, and your stomach has been protesting its neglect by twisting about in knots with every breath. You peer into one of the broken refrigerators and spot a sealed packet of some sort of lunch meat, hidden away in the corner. You open the door and pull it out, staring longingly at the pale hunk of long-expired, browning flesh. What do you do?
> You eat it. If you're going to survive the rest of this journey, you NEED to eat something!
With an intense hunger welling up inside, you tear open the packet and scarf down every last slice of meat, licking your fingers and the plastic once you're done. It's starting to get dark, so you hurry outside with a newfound, perhaps imaginary, stamina and bring firewood back into the building. As you set up the fire, you feel an uneasiness in the pit of your stomach and have to rush into the corner of the store to vomit. This persists for most of the night, eventually causing diarrhea and such a spike in temperature that you can hardly move. Curled up on the floor and highly delirious, you pass into an agitated sleep.
For the first time in a very long time, your dreams are pleasant. You find yourself to be a child again, playing on a playground swing set. You dig your feet into the mulch and push yourself in circles until the chains are wound so tightly that they send you spinning around and around. You let out a laugh. The dizziness makes you want to throw up, but you just keep laughing.
Death takes you in the morning.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Grey snow begins to fall as you make your way slowly along the road. You're not sure how long it's been. Days? Weeks? It couldn't have been months, you think, otherwise it would be getting warmer by now. At least, that's what you hope is true, for there would be no meaning in migrating south every winter if summer only grew colder. You amuse yourself with thoughts like these in an attempt to forget the twisting, empty feeling in your stomach. Impulsively, you remove your canteen from your pack and take a quick drink to quell the swelling of your throat.
Later in the evening, you come across an abandoned gas station—actually, why do you even refer to it as abandoned? Everything in this world is abandoned and decaying, isn't it? ...There goes your brain again. You can't let it get to you. You have to hold on to the hope of survival, because without it, life isn't worth living.
You take a deep breath and force yourself to enter the gas station. As you expected, all of the shelves have been ravaged and there's hardly anything worth keeping. You pay no mind to the open cash register and instead begin fumbling about through the mess in search of something, anything worth eating. You ran out of canned food long ago, and your stomach has been protesting its neglect by twisting about in knots with every breath. You peer into one of the broken refrigerators and spot a sealed packet of some sort of lunch meat, hidden away in the corner. You open the door and pull it out, staring longingly at the pale hunk of long-expired, browning flesh. What do you do?
> You put it back. You can't take that risk.
Your stomach protests your decision, but you return the package to its original hiding place anyway. You know the risks that come with food poisoning, and with such a poor immune system, it would be all too easy for some bacteria to kill you off in your sleep. Instead, you venture outside and return with firewood, and after setting up a small fire in the middle of the store, you curl up on the floor with your extra jacket draped over you and fall asleep.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>The wind is noticeably colder today than it was yesterday. Already, you can feel the brutal winter creeping up behind you, taunting you by sending fatal, frozen ashstorms your way. As you trudge further south along the crack-laden road, your back hunched from the weight of the pack on your shoulders, the darkness that you've come to recognize as day begins to fade. You know that it would be reckless to keep moving in the black of night, so you resolve to camp out, eat some supper, and try your luck at sleep. Where do you settle down for the night?
> You set up camp in the woods. Sleeping in the road would leave you defenseless against an attack.
Even though you doubt that anyone would dare to traverse the road at night, you don't want to take any chances. After resituating the pack on your shoulders, you venture deeper into the woods until you come across a small clearing. The charred trees around you don't offer as much protection as you'd like, but it's better than being completely exposed and vulnerable. You put your supplies down and set out to search for firewood, but by the time you return, there's barely enough light to see by, and you nearly trip over your backpack in the pitch dark. Muttering under your breath, you begin working to start the fire, but your frustration gets the better of you and you lay down in defeat.
Pulling a rusty can of peaches from your pack, you quickly scarf down your dinner and toss the trash to the side. A cold wind blows through the forest, sending your body shivering uncontrollably, and you realize that you may not survive the night without a fire. You decide to...
> You try again. You have no choice; you need to stay warm.
With a great deal of patience and effort, you finally manage to ignite the tinder with sparks from two rocks and sigh with relief. The flame quickly consumes the dry twigs and you have to constantly feed it to keep it going, but it's worth the warmth. Lying alarmingly close to the fire, you bundle up in your extra coat, drape the tarp over yourself, and easily relinquish your mind to sleep.
> Next.
You awake to the dull light—if it could even be called light—of morning. As you look about you, the only change that catches your eye is a tree that fell several yard away from your campsite. You look at it in wonder; it hadn't even woken you when it fell, and you can't help but wonder if it could've fallen on you. Either way, though, you're thankful; that was the best night's sleep you've had in a long time. You stretch leisurely, gather up your provisions, and stuff them back into your pack. You swing it over your shoulder and walk up towards the road, and in no time, you're heading south.
After having walked almost five miles, you come across what used to be a bridge spanning a wide river. The rapids may have raced along the channel at one point in time, but now the thick sludge only creeps slowly over the rocks. It would be slow going, but the water is shallow enough that you think you'd be able to cross. (After all, the shattered bridge will be of no use to you.) What do you do?<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Even though you doubt that anyone would dare to traverse the road at night, you don't want to take any chances. After resituating the pack on your shoulders, you venture deeper into the woods until you come across a small clearing. The charred trees around you don't offer as much protection as you'd like, but it's better than being completely exposed and vulnerable. You put your supplies down and set out to search for firewood, but by the time you return, there's barely enough light to see by, and you nearly trip over your backpack in the pitch dark. Muttering under your breath, you begin working to start the fire, but your frustration gets the better of you and you lay down in defeat.
Pulling a rusty can of peaches from your pack, you quickly scarf down your dinner and toss the trash to the side. A cold wind blows through the forest, sending your body shivering uncontrollably, and you realize that you may not survive the night without a fire. You decide to...
> You just lie down and try to sleep. You're exhausted, and spending all night trying to build a fire would expend all of your body heat anyway.
Your body feels especially heavy tonight, and all you want to do is sleep. You huddle up inside your extra jacket and pull the tarp over your head, willing sleep to come. However, you continue to shake in the brutal cold, and by the time you finally succumb to slumber, it is a light, restless sleep. You'll wake up in a fit only to fall back asleep and wake up again, leaving you more exhausted each time.
> Next.
After a long, cold night of broken sleep, you awake to the dull light—if it could even be called light—of morning. As you look about you, the only change that catches your eye is a tree that fell several yard away from your campsite. You remember waking to a loud noise in the middle of the night, but your body was so heavy that you couldn't even sit up to protect yourself. Thankfully, it didn't land on you... though you wonder if that wouldn't have been best. With a heavy heart, you gather up your provisions and stuff them back into your pack. You swing it over your shoulder and walk slowly up towards the road, and soon enough, you're heading south.
After having walked almost three miles, you come across what used to be a bridge spanning a wide river. The rapids may have raced along the channel at one point in time, but now the thick sludge only creeps slowly over the rocks. It would be slow going, but the water is shallow enough that you think you'd be able to cross. (After all, the shattered bridge will be of no use to you.) What do you do?<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Creator Notes: Please maximize the window to fully enjoy. I made this to tell a story while allowing you to see first-hand what the characters feel, think, and what they've been through. I wanted to make something enjoyable and worthwhile, so here it is.
Disclaimer: All pictures are not mine - they are from google. Where the heck else will I, a 14-year-old, get angel pictures? However, all characters and such are mine.
We throw out our bodies on the fire and we die,
Settle into ashes as the flames keep piling high
We tossed and spread the kerosene and alcohol,
The ethylene ignited cardboard homes.
The second in a hundred and again as many years
Street signs, skyscrapers and names.
State Street, what a great street
When the places and the people stayed the same.
Winter beats the summer on the worst ones
I fall in love again on the first ones
Carbon vapor lines burn as a grid
Like the burning summer evenings like my fingertips did ...
This town is choking on our filth
Obstinate displays of wealth
Clog our Lincoln, Wicker, Rogers parks.
Here's to your health Chicago.
Fiddle as we burn.
Nevermore, nevertheless
Build it up and tear it down and never learn .....
-- The Lawrence Arms
PROLOGUE:
BURNING CHICAGO
> You start the game.
'
There's a strange soft ringing in my ears, but I cannot open my eyes. Cinders of gray and red have blinded me, my movement halted by something large crushing into my back, my ribs. In an instant, I remember everything. A sound of gunfire and a thick, hearty smell of fuel makes me naseous.
"Yuzo! Aki!" I can't even recognize my voice, it's so torn and raggerd.
The apartment is no longer an apartment, but a pile of rubble and belongings - some of them I would know as my own. Swollen and burning with tears, my eyes try to pry open and see, and I'm made frantic by the sound of perpetual ringing and crumbling.
My leg is mingled under the thick layers of debris and rock, and I fear it will only mangle worse with struggles.
> You try to pry away.
When I finally decide to try to pry myself out from under the rubble, I brace my abused hands down and pull out with as much vigor as I had to muster. I had to tell myself, no matter the strain placed on my leg, that staying would not save me. I have to escape, and I have to find Aki and Yuzo. I can't simply abandon my childhood friends.
There was a loud pop that came after my leg was released from the painful hold, and I screamed. Oh, how I wish to see. I could feel hot ash brush under my face, in my hair. I tried so horribly to leep them away; I must've been pathetic.
> You go find Aki and Yuzo.
Slowly, I have gotten through much of the debris, though troubling. At the moment, my mind was set upon my two friends. If I was in such a wretched state, what was of them?
"Y-Yuzo! Can you hear me! Please answer me!"
They could've been buried in debris...
> You go find help.
I decide to find someone to help, someone who has better eyes and can see more than me. Someone who could tell me whether my friends have made it through; I would not make it without it.
"Is anybody out there?! Anyone?! Please, answer me!"
For a long time, there is no response, and suddenly a "Who's there?". It was a deep voice, like one's father would have. Then, a hand touching my shoulder. "My god, boy! You shouldn't be walking! You have a deep laceration in your side! And your eyes..."
> You say "Please, we need to find my friends."
He was silent as a grave, looking at me with sad eyes. "Kid, you're a miracle to be alive yourself. Your friends have a ghost of a chance. A ghost of a chance, I'm telling you."
> You say "No, you're wrong! Dammit, you're wrong!"
My face scrunches with anger, my aching eyes glaring. "Damn it, they are fine! They could be alive! You need to save all of the people alive right?! No matter the stakes! No matter anything!"
"Kid, calm down. You'll only hurt yourself."
"How can I be calm when...!"
The man was right - I think I'd fainted in the prime of my cursing and ranting. '
...This is where it will truly begin.
> You end of Prolouge
In 1954, Zempaphs were introduced into life; these newborns had contracted Schizophrenia Morphi, a specific type that allows into the baby a new part of the brain to use - almost like a locked door being opened up with a new key. Most are born insane, it's said, but out of every ten, there is a good three that have no symptoms of brain defunctions. Of course, only an estimated three hundred are recorded to date.
Of this small group through billions of the Earth's people, they are gifted with unusual abilities. Normally, telepathic abilities and telekenesis -- even more than those as well. They are normally instantly noticed at birth because they are born feeble; and the Umbilical cord detaches around five hours before birth. We speculate that that is because the brains oxygen lowers, except the part of the brain that can perform the Zempaph abilities that then 'vacuum' stronger brain cells - the many accelerated during the fetus phase - and use it to boost its power in the last moments.
Most births have proven fine to the mother - no miscarriages or mothers dying have yet to be seen. Now, the whole Zempaph debate (on whether to take more special... 'precautions'...) is in 1983, when one in certain, a young boy, had murdered his fellow classmates in Gates Elementary School. It spawned the Zempaph Hazard and Confinement Law, which would immediately put any one of the specimen into special classes to undergo brain alterations. In this way, they would not be as unstable, and the chance of murder is cut in half. When they brake laws, they are confined to special rooms.
Some people thought it wrong, but it had more support than protest.
The next incident... one of the most horrific incidents ever recorded in human history... would be The Devil's Act. In this, one Zempaph in specific had went on a rampage and destroyed cities near Canada... Chicago being a major one. Thousands or thousands had died from one: Julian Moore. He was around twenty-seven when the whole thing occured in 1989, using a manipulation of fire to destroy everything in sight. We still don't know if he is a 'Fire Manipulator' or a 'Fire Starter'. Fire Manipulators can bend an already lit fire, while a Starter can make it from components in the air.
Moore was taken down by the local police, but he was never found nor known to be dead. In fact, we think he is very well alive, surfing the State of the Union. We don't know if he's still dangerous, or if the insanity that drove him is gone.
--Doctor Elaine J. Rechell
Chapter One: Bana-Jxo
> You chapter One.
Chapter One: Bana - Jxo
Er wartet auf den Mittagswind
die Welle kommt und legt sich matt
mit einem Fächer jeden Tag
der Alte macht das Wasser glatt
Ich werf den Stein zu meinem Spaß
das Wasser sich im Kreis bewegt
der Alte sieht mich traurig an
und hat es wieder glatt gefegt
Im weißen Sand der alte Mann
zitternd seine Pfeife raucht
nur das Wasser und ich wissen
wozu er diesen Fächer braucht
Die Ahnung schläft wie ein Vulkan
zögernd hab ich dann gefragt
den Kopf geneigt es schien er schläft
hat er bevor er starb gesagt
Das Wasser soll dein Spiegel sein
erst wenn es glatt ist, wirst du sehen
wieviel Märchen dir noch bleibt
und um Erlösung wirst du flehen
Den Fächer an den Leib gepresst
im Todeskrampf erstarrt die Hand
die Finger mussten sie ihm brechen
der Fächer bleibt zurueck im Sand
Den Alten ruf ich jeden Tag
er möchte mich doch hier erlösen
ich bleib zurück im Mittagswind
und in dem Fächer kann ich lesen
Das Wasser soll dein Spiegel sein
erst wenn es glatt ist, wirst du sehen
wieviel Märchen dir noch bleibt
und um Erlösung wirst du flehen.
--Rammstein
> You begin.
Toronto
4.14. 1994
A lanky figure had spread itself out on the park bench of Toronto, a newspaper masking away his face, only showing a mass of red hair popping out from the top. His foot tapped a perpetual beat of three clicks, his eyes reading the words covering his face.
"Oh wow... another speculation about Julian Moore. I've become quite famous ever since that little squabble." he said in a soft, almost sweet voice. He lifted his hand, and twirled it slightly to create a splinter of fire in his palm. "Curses." he laughed, "It's funny, actually."
In truth, he felt a little bored.
Health: 100
Money: 5
Level: 1<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>He was silent as a grave, looking at me with sad eyes. "Kid, you're a miracle to be alive yourself. Your friends have a ghost of a chance. A ghost of a chance, I'm telling you."
> You say "So... What do I do now...?"
The man is silent for a moment, overthinking his decisions. "Come with me. I'll get you to our place. Maybe your friends are there... I'll carry you."
He lifts me up on his back, and I can't remember anymore. '
...This is where it will truly begin.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>He was silent as a grave, looking at me with sad eyes. "Kid, you're a miracle to be alive yourself. Your friends have a ghost of a chance. A ghost of a chance, I'm telling you."
> You say "But Yuzo... And Aki..."
"I'm sorry, kid... but there's nothing I can do. We're to leave now - the city has gone to Hell."
His hand feels heavy on my shoulder, and I can't remember anymore after that... '
...This is where it will truly begin.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Slowly, I have gotten through much of the debris, though troubling. At the moment, my mind was set upon my two friends. If I was in such a wretched state, what was of them?
"Y-Yuzo! Can you hear me! Please answer me!"
They could've been buried in debris...
> You continue the search.
I felt through the dirt and hot smoldering ash in search of them. I swear I could almost feel their warm skin, undead and uninjured, but it is only hot embers that burn me at the touch. Through my eyes, and feel warmth ooze down, and I do not check to see if its blood or tears.
No... my friends... it can't be...
I fell unconsious there, leaving my search uncompleted.'
...This is where it will truly begin.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>'
There's a strange soft ringing in my ears, but I cannot open my eyes. Cinders of gray and red have blinded me, my movement halted by something large crushing into my back, my ribs. In an instant, I remember everything. A sound of gunfire and a thick, hearty smell of fuel makes me naseous.
"Yuzo! Aki!" I can't even recognize my voice, it's so torn and raggerd.
The apartment is no longer an apartment, but a pile of rubble and belongings - some of them I would know as my own. Swollen and burning with tears, my eyes try to pry open and see, and I'm made frantic by the sound of perpetual ringing and crumbling.
My leg is mingled under the thick layers of debris and rock, and I fear it will only mangle worse with struggles.
> You remain there for help.
I can't say I remember how long I had sat there and remained so terribly still, so helpless and sightless and immobile. I called for my friends, but they did not reply, and it frightened me. I would scream in agony from time to time when the pain of my eyes struck a nerve. My eyelids were close to gone - I touched them beforehand in frightened curiousity just to touch bleeding flesh and soft eyeballs.
"Is anyone out there?"
I know my ears are not fooling me, they can't have!
"Hello? Hello!" I call, and the male's voice grows as he speaks. I feel a hand gripping my shoulder, and hear him speak.
"God..."<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Ah the basement. The refuge of all who refuse to move out of the house for whatever reason.
Some of them are dreamers who just can’t fit into proper society.
Some of them have potential, but due to personality quirks fame has escaped them.
And finally 99% of them are just downright pathetic losers that just fail at life.
So choose one of these basement dwellers and enjoy the desperation and horror of their tales! You may come to find that they are just like you. In fact chances are, you’ll think someone wrote a biography about you!
> The Ebay Escapist (This one's for the classic randomness!)
You wake up and dread the fact that you’ve entered the real world again. The dream world will have to wait until later.
You don’t like real world, never have. It’s why you like to sleep. It allows you to get away from the reality for a little while. It’s also why you prefer to hang out on your computer all night and day.
It’s not really because you’re afraid of the real world, it’s just that you don’t have that much interest in it. Sometimes it can be fascinating, but over all you just find it to be involve so much boring tedium that you’d prefer to remove yourself as much as you can from it.
It’s also probably why you’re over 18 and still living at home.
You’re a basement dweller.
Fortunately you’re one of the productive ones. You contribute to the household by buying and selling useless shit on Ebay. Unfortunately this is still “work” and as a result, it’s a hassle so you probably don’t put as much effort as you should into it. In fact you’re more inclined to keep the stuff you buy due to your interest in odd things.
Despite your limiting of outside world contact, you can’t help but feel like something different is going to happen today. You start daydreaming about possible things that could happen to you until you quickly snap yourself out of it.
As much as you’d like to waste time daydreaming, playing video games or other time wasting activities on the internet, you probably should go to “work.”
Well don’t just sit there with a thumb up your ass, you gonna buy useless shit, or sell it?
> You buy useless shit
You decide to buy more useless shit. You can never have enough, you fuckin’ obsessed pack rat.
Okay well some of this shit isn’t useless, and might even do you some good. Certain items catch your eye.
You see a car that’s made completely out of asbestos! How cool would that be? You could drive through fire and be none the worse for wear! True you rarely go out anymore, but maybe this would be the thing that could do it!
You see a bomb shelter for sale made of xentronium armor. Could be useful in these dangerous times we live in and it’ll definitely provide you more protection than the basement.
There’s a small island made of Styrofoam in the middle of the ocean. It says it’s held together by hemp. While you’ve never been one for the beaches and sun, you wonder if you could rent it out some how. Maybe movie producers would pay you to use it or something.
Actually perhaps something more practical might be good, there’s some toilet paper for sale. You know you always need that!
Finally, you see a building for sale; it doesn’t really give a description. It just says “Generic Gray Building” It might be a good thing to invest in since you’re getting tired of hearing your Mom’s moans of ecstasy at night when she’s masturbating with her 400 horse powered vibrator. A place of your own might be in order.
> You buy the car! It's Asbestoriffic!
The car! You gotta get the car! As much as you don’t fit in to society, you still have urges, and even you think that having a real life girl would be better than wackin’ it every once in awhile You figure you might get a girlfriend if you get a car. After all chicks like cars right?
Not so fast there, asbestos boy. You gotta buy it first and a few other people seem to have the same “great idea” you have.
Eventually the bidding war is won by you, for an even $5000. There goes all the money you have in the world.
You’re probably going to have to sell your prized Harlequin Baby Art Collection to make that money back, but who can put a price on the endless supply of pussy you’ll be getting from this cool car?
Eventually the car arrives outside your house along with keys and an instruction booklet on your doorstep saying “READ ME FIRST!” on the front cover.
Guess they really want you to read the instructions first.
> You read the instructions
Well you didn’t get to be a basement dweller by being adventurous so you read the instructions first. Good thing too, there’ a bunch of safety precautions to the car. Namely due to the extremely high levels of asbestos in the car, going in it without a hazmat suit would be fatal. Fortunately you just happen to have one. Unfortunately you only have one, which means that any lady that’s remotely impressed by it won’t be able to get in the thing without dying shortly thereafter. So unless you plan on becoming a necrophiliac, you have to come up with a new plan. (Though becoming a necrophiliac is plan B)
As you’re suiting up, you think about how you’re going to impress possible ladies with the car, without actually letting them get in it. You got it! A stunt! Chicks like daredevils right?
You got a bunch of compost in the backyard, A LOT. You get the idea to take that compost and put it in the middle of the street, set it on fire and then drive through it!
Enthusiastically you start grabbing compost and going through with your plan. It probably would’ve been a better idea to at least use a fuckin’ SHOVEL on the compost instead of picking it up with your fuckin’ hands you silly motherfucker. Oh well at least you’re wearing a hazmat suit
Anyway you smell REALLY awful and you’ve just made the entire block smell that way too, when you light it on fire. This act has finally come to the attention of all the neighbors who are giving you holy hell about it.
“Jesus fucking Christ! It smells like a dead bum who just sprayed diarrhea on himself during a heat wave!” one of them shouts.
An angry mob is starting to form…
> You escape in your car
Realizing you can’t possibly calm them down or fight them, you quickly get in the car and start it. The car belches toxic fumes of its own causing the mob to back off a little as they begin to puke and and tear up from all the foulness in the air.
The shortest way to escape is through the burning compost. So part of you hopes that between the puking and tears that some of the cuter chicks on the block will still see your stunt
You barrel down the flaming compost pile…
SPLUNGE
You don’t quite make it!
It seems you made the compost pile a little too thick and even at the high speed you were going the car couldn’t quite make it all the way through. Instead you got struck right in the middle of the compost until it enveloped you completely, effectively trapping you.
Fortunately the car is made of asbestos so you’re protected from getting burned to death. Unfortunately the car still runs on gasoline…
Your car explodes spectacularly throwing hot shit and asbestos pieces everywhere, not to mention killing many of the mob that were already in a state of extreme sickness at this point. The whole block is later quarantined and treated as a biohazard dump.
You of course died instantly, BUT you did get your wish! You made front page news and became a sex symbol for lonely necrophiliac women who thought you were so cool for dying in your car like that.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>
> You alien Abduction
It was the start of summer and you really wanted to be doing what you had planned for many months: sleeping. Well, of course you weren't going to sleep ALL day, but you certainly were not planning on getting up a five in the morning just so you could go stand in line... and then stand in line again... and then again.
Summer had arrived and while you had planned to spend the week sleeping and gaming, your parents had decided that instead you were going to spend a week with Aunt Mary. You really didn't have anything against Aunt Mary, but she was pretty plan and boring. Worse, she lived in a town with absolutely nothing to do. Last time you spent a week there, you spent most of the week sitting on the front porch watching the grass grow. Sure, you might catch up on some of your sleep in the first part of the week, but she didn't have a gaming system, so you knew you were going to be seriously bored. Then again, it's not like anyone asked you what you wanted to do. So you got up early and rode to the airport.
After getting dropped off, you stood in the line to check in. The days of the skycap were over, you know, because of "terrorism." Instead you had to walk inside and stand in line for an automated kiosk. You managed to make it through the line only for the machine to tell you that you had to check in at the agent counter. You trudged over to that line and waited at least 30 minutes before you made it to the front of the line. You handed ID, she pressed about 500 keys, then took your luggage with a seriously fake smile. This was really going to be a long day.
Thinking about Aunt Mary's tiny house, you headed over to the security line. Of course there were about 1,000 people in that line, most of them confused when the blue-uniformed Wal-Mart greeters told them they had to take their shoes off. Or leave them on. For some reason, some people had to take shoes off and some did not. The confused ensured the line would continue to move very slow. That and the "special" people who managed to cut into the front of the line after paying some bribes or some crap. You were just glad that when you finally got to the front of the line and through the scanners that you didn't get felt up by the goofy guards.
Next you had to wait for your plane to start boarding and then watch as all the people who were not called to board ran to get in line first. You had a ticket with an assigned seat, so you just waited until your row was called and then went to stand in line yet one more time. As you walked down the aisle of the plane, you counted the seats and knew before you finished counting that the seat next to the really fat guy that was having trouble breathing was your seat. Hooray for coach seats! At least you had the aisle seat so you wouldn't be squashed into the wall of the plane. You took your seat, fastened the stupid seat belt, and promptly closed your eyes, trying to ignore everyone and everything around you.
At some point in time, you woke up, wide awake. You're not really sure why you woke up. The plane was filled with the sound of airplane noises. You looked around and realized that there was some sort of odd greenish light coming in through the windows of the plane. A few people started talking about just that as more noticed it. You heard a popping sound and looked around for the source. Everything looked normal, but then you heard someone towards the front of the plane yell. You stood up, like most of the plane, and looked towards the front. Suddenly there was another popping noise, and half the people in front of you simply disappeared! They were there one moment and not the next. More people started to yell and run into the aisle. There was another pop, and everyone in front of you disappeared. You looked around towards the rear of the plane, and saw others staring at you, eyes wide open. Then there was another popping sound and suddenly blackness...
> You continue...
When you start to wake up, you feel cold. Actually, mostly just your rear end feels cold. And quite uncomfortable for some reason. You slowly open your eyes and blink in the bright white light. You realize that you're lying down on your back and your pants are down around your ankles. You are lying on a cold metal table. Well that explains why your rear end is cold, but why does it feel like...
You sit up and look around, pulling your pants up. You are in a small, strange, round metal room. The floor is flat, but the silver metal walls curve up and around, creating almost a bubble. You are sitting on a table in the middle of the room and there is a large machine of some sort sitting right next to you. It has long probes on it that are pointed in your direction. Fortunately, none of them are moving at the moment, but your butt clenches as you stand up from the table.
There is an opening in the wall to the east that leads into a hallway, but you don't see any other ways out of this room. The floor and walls appear solid, but they also appear to be glowing a little, enough to provide light so that you can see all around you.
> You head out of the room to the east.
You stand at the west end of a long hallway. The walls are silver and curve up and around the ceiling so much that you feel like you are walking in a long, strange tube. The floor is flat and level, but there are small dips at the edge, looking almost like gutters that you would find on the roof of a house, but not quite as deep.
To the west is the room where you first awoke with the strange table and probes that make you feel strangely uncomfortable. The hallway continues to the east, slowly bending out of sight to the right. To the south is a rounded doorway that leads into a well-lit room that looks like it might have some other metal tables in it.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|> You wake up in some dimly illuminated room with a damn headache, and the first thing you notice is that you are really thirsty. You also notice that you are not “in” the bed, but instead you are simply on top of it, dressed in a really creased gray suit, and apparently you didn’t even bother taking off your shoes. All of this makes you think “Fuck this, I’m never drinking that much alcohol again in my whole life”.
But there seems to be something weird in this whole situation: You can’t remember what clubs did you visit last night, or what did you drink at them. Hell, you can’t even remember whether you went out last night or not (even if the answer to that question seems pretty obvious). And what is worse, you don’t have a clue about who the hell are you or where the hell is this place, now that you think about it.
And since that’s really creepy, you think “Nah, this must be a dream, I’ll wake up soon enough and then I’ll laugh at my own stupidity”. But until you wake up from such a hateful dream, you should do something… “Hell no, there’s no reason to get up in such a hateful dream as this one, screw it” you think as you turn yourself to find a more comfortable position to sleep.
You try to remember if you had seen some horror movie or whatever thing that could justify such a crappy dream, but you realize there’s no way to find something like that out without your memories. And while you keep thinking in these deep, sort of pointless, thoughts, you fall asleep again. And suddenly:
Voice of a Man: “AAAAAAAAA Who are you and what the **** are you doing here?!”
You: “Fuck! Who are you?”
Man: “What the… You are sleeping in MY house and you dare asking me who am I?”
You: “Eh… Well, yes… Why wouldn’t I do it? I don’t remember having ever seen you in my life. And who says this is your place?”
Man: “… O.o… ¬¬ Get the hell out of here right now or I’ll call the police”
> You try convincing him that you are just a poor human being lost, scared, and unsure :(
You: “But… But… I can’t remember how did I make it to this place, or who am I, or… you are the only person that can help me! :(”
Man: "How did a fucking junkie get in my house…?”
You: “No! I swear it’s true! I can’t remember anything, if you kick me out of here I won’t even know where to go to :(”
Man: “Well, I’ll hate myself for doing this later, but… Let’s say I believe you. What do you suggest I do? The only thing I can think of is that the police might know something about you. But you probably should just go straight to a psychiatrist… er… doctor. Or perhaps a hypnotist so you can do a regression, or however those are called. Actually, I know a hypnotist…”
> The word 'Hypnotist' sounds cool and awesome, and possibly helpful here
You tell him to call the hypnotist, and he suggests you go sit down in the living room while he finds the number and phones him. In the living room, you notice a black leather wallet that looks pretty badass, so you grab it thinking it might be yours, and open it.
Inside it you find a bunch of cards and identifications, all of them with different names. Before you can think any more into it, the owner of the flat comes back and informs you that the hypnotist has some free time in 20 minutes, so you should get going. You ask the man if the wallet is yours. He says he’s never seen it in his life, so you put it in your right pocket, noticing right then and there that you also have a lighter in that pocket for some reason.
The man must have been pretty happy about you leaving, because you got perfectly clear directions and reached the building where the hypnotist works in no time. Once you are in his “office”, he tells you to close your eyes, something about a brilliant white light surrounding you, and whatever else they use to make you fall asleep… I mean, enter in a trance
It seems to have worked, because you have the feeling of having been asleep for a while now. You look at the hypnotist’s face, and notice he’s staring at you as if you were something weirder and more creepy than a pink-stripped white alien. You eventually gather enough courage to ask him what he got out of the session, and the hypnotist starts reading his notepad in a voice devoid of any emotions:
“Firstly, you said you see yourself, aged 15, talking happily to some friends, until you all see a bunch of dragons flying over your heads and one of your friends say “Oh shit, I knew this town was fucked. How about we run?”, thing you all agree with. You run through the field and eventually take shelter in a castle. Soon after that, an army of angry dwarfs sieges the castle, and you have to fight them
Next scene is about you running through a highschool filled with zombies, until you find your goal: The garden. You walk around there and notice the guy you hate sitting next to a beautiful well. You turn to walk in the opposite direction thinking “this guy isn’t going to mess with my day!”, but suddenly you stop and say: “then again, I doubt I’ll ever have a better chance of doing this...” You run up to him and kick him straight into the well, in a slow motion movement that is repeated from 3 different angles
Now you are feeling really dizzy inside a hospital’s room, some blond guy is helping you out of there. He says his name is Dani, and that he wants to “save your ass”. He drags you through the hospital, and eventually gets you out of there and throws you inside a car. He then stops and lets you somewhere, telling you he’ll be in contact with you, and if you can’t find him, go to Decasibar
Finally, you are at the first plant of a hotel with "some stereotyped characters, the kind you see in teenagers movies: The nerd, the evil tough guy who thinks highly of himself, the 2 blonde stupid girls who are best-est friends, the black man,the lonely bitch and the hot guy", in your own words. You all have to participate in a Battle Royale-like game, you see every single fucking death and give a long list of dark details I will *not* mention. In short, the friends kill the black guy, the tough guy kills the hotter one, then the friends deal with the loner, the nerd kills tough guy (thianks to his knowledge of horror movies, he knew exactly where was the guy going to attack him from, and he managed to shoot him through the door), the 2 friends kill each other by activating some trap and the nerd runs away
A weird man armed with a giant wirecutter appears and tells you “Lots of people can’t appreciate their lives. But not you. Not anymore”, you answer “But I didn’t even do a thing, the nerd did kill someone, though”. He comments “Oh, you are honest. Now you’ve really won, he will live too… but first… You must pass a trial”. Apparently he wants to cut a finger off your left hand, you oppose the idea, and he says “LISTEN YOU IDIOT, IT’S YOUR FINGER OR YOUR LIFE”. So you nod, he cuts it and stores it in a plastic bag, and then bids farewell to you, smiling”
You: “Eh… hehehe… I see...”
Hypnotist: “Get out of here now before I call a psychiatric, you fucking piece of shit on crack”
You: “Yeah, great idea”
You run out of the building, in your hurry your wallet fell off your pocket -.- oh well, you are definitely not going back to the poor hypnotist. Not in a week, at least. That must have been tough on him. And hey, at least you still have the lighter, which is a golden, pretty cool-looking one. You walk in no direction until you see a bar in front of you. Called “Kasi bar”. Didn’t you say something that sounded like that in your insane rambling? Something about a Dani guy telling you to go there? Well, you won’t lose a thing for trying, will you?<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Your name is Katrina and you are the Elf Princess. You are 17, slender, have long dark brown hair that reaches your waist, and blue eyes. You are in your bedroom which has sapphire blue walls, multiple windows, a high wooden ceiling from the tree which your living quarters are in, and an ivory colored carpet. Your room is sectioned off from everyone else being that you ARE the princess. You live with your family in the biggest oak tree in the forest which is in the center.
You go over to one of the windows facing the river that runs in your father's kingdom. Examining the current and the ways that the wind is blowing, you start to feel at peace. All of a sudden there is a hand on your shoulder, you spin around ready to strike but it is only your father, the King.
"Katrina, it is time," he says. You nod your head understanding that he is speaking of the coming of age ceremony in which you are to look at all the suitors and pick one. You have dreaded this night for a long time but you follow him anyway.
Your crimson dress flows around you like a curtain of blood as you walk to the gathering place where the celebration is being held. You walk and are greatful for the elegant red flats being as comfortable as they are.
As you get there, you look into the room and see a lot of elvish people looking back. You acknowledge them and they go back to what they were doing. You look around the room spotting the food. Your father grabs you by the elbow and leads you to the front of the room where the thrones are and gives you a choice: you can either go dance with the suitors or you can eat your fill and wait for someone to come to you.
> You dancing
You nod at your father who turns to sit down on his throne made of roots. You head out to the dance floor and pick the closest suitor. You look up into the face of the dancing partner that you picked and smile politely. He smiles back. Then he speaks to you, "You look beautiful Princess Katrina." You laugh.
"Oh please, not as beautiful as my mother does tonight," you say acknowledging your mother who is sitting beside your father and wearing a deep green that made her throne look like a living tree.
"No," he says agreeing, "you have your own beauty that makes you even more beautiful than your mother."
"Thank you, but I couldn't say that I can agree with that," you say in reply. You nod as the song ends not even catching the gentleman's name. You shrug it off. You look for another partner and you spot a handsome gentleman standing off from the rest of the celebration but you also notice your best friend William watching you.
> You mysterious gentleman
You start to make your way to the mysterious gentleman by the window. You weave through dancing people and eventually make it over to where the stranger is standing. He gives you a side glance with a raised eyebrow.
"Good evening! Are you enjoying yourself?" You ask the gentleman.
"I guess, and you Princess?" He asks in return.
"I am. Since you know who I am, you should tell me your name," you inquire.
He smirks but answers you, "My name is Ash."
"Nice name. What brings you here?" you question him wondering if it was the food or something else.
"To be honest, it was the anticipation of meeting the princess because I wanted to see if the rumors were true."
"What rumors?"
"The rumors saying that you are the most beautiful girl in all of Eden." He says with a smirk.
"And..." you push.
"They are mostly true," He says.
"Mostly?" You question raising your eyebrows.
"Yep, there is only one woman more beautiful, and that is my mother. Although since she isn't with us anymore I guess that makes the rumors true." He replies.
"I'm sorry to hear that," you say sympathetically. He just shrugs as he goes over to the food table.
> You follow
You follow Ash with a sort of curiosity so you go sit by Ash who glances at you but turns back to his food.
"Do you want to go on a walk? I want to know more about you." You say to him spontaneously.
"Sure, but after I am done eating." He replied to you and you nod in agreement. You sit there eating and thinking about what you would want to know about him, all of a sudden you get nervous because you think that maybe he doesn't want you to pester him
> You go on a walk with him
When he is done with his plate of food you ask, "do you still want to go for a walk?" He looks over to you with a look of surprise as if he wasn't expecting you to still be there. But you give him an expectant look. He shrugs his shoulders as if he couldn't care less but he follows you out the door into the hallway anyway. He walks quietly next you glancing one way and then another. You look at his face trying to read it but you get nothing. You try to think of something to ask him.
Finally you come up with a question to ask him, "How did your mother die?" Admittedly it isn't a good question and it is probably a sensitive topic. You turn a corner to go outside towards the river. You don't think he is going to answer you, but when your reach the river he replies.
"She was murdered when I was a little boy. My father was never around so I ended up raising myself pretty much." You quietly think about his answer. All of a sudden your best friend William comes out from behind a tree and stands in between you and Ash. You look up at William with a questioning glance.
"What are you doing, what is going on?" You ask William.
"What are you doing with him?" He asks you.
"I was just talking with him." You state.
"I was just talking with him. Yeah right!" He says slightly loud.
"Dude! What is up with you?" You say right back,
"You don't know him. You know know who he is or what he has done or anything. You shouldn't be around him." He says grabbing your arms kinda hard.
"Ow! Let go of me. You are not the boss of me! I am my own person, you don't need to be telling me what to do!" You say with anger in your voice. William lets go of your arms. You look around for Ash but he seems to have disappeared. All of a sudden there are screams coming from the gathering place.
> You stay Where You Are
You decide to stay where you are. All of a sudden you are surrounded by people in dark clothing with bows and arrows ready to shoot. You try to think of something but aren't fast enough and they shoot an arrow into William's heart. As you go to catch him before he falls an arrow suddenly protrudes from the center of your chest and you fall on top of William dead.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>When he is done with his plate of food you ask, "do you still want to go for a walk?" He looks over to you with a look of surprise as if he wasn't expecting you to still be there. But you give him an expectant look. He shrugs his shoulders as if he couldn't care less but he follows you out the door into the hallway anyway. He walks quietly next you glancing one way and then another. You look at his face trying to read it but you get nothing. You try to think of something to ask him.
Finally you come up with a question to ask him, "How did your mother die?" Admittedly it isn't a good question and it is probably a sensitive topic. You turn a corner to go outside towards the river. You don't think he is going to answer you, but when your reach the river he replies.
"She was murdered when I was a little boy. My father was never around so I ended up raising myself pretty much." You quietly think about his answer. All of a sudden your best friend William comes out from behind a tree and stands in between you and Ash. You look up at William with a questioning glance.
"What are you doing, what is going on?" You ask William.
"What are you doing with him?" He asks you.
"I was just talking with him." You state.
"I was just talking with him. Yeah right!" He says slightly loud.
"Dude! What is up with you?" You say right back,
"You don't know him. You know know who he is or what he has done or anything. You shouldn't be around him." He says grabbing your arms kinda hard.
"Ow! Let go of me. You are not the boss of me! I am my own person, you don't need to be telling me what to do!" You say with anger in your voice. William lets go of your arms. You look around for Ash but he seems to have disappeared. All of a sudden there are screams coming from the gathering place.
> You run Towards The Screaming
You and William take off toward the gathering place. When you get there you see nothing except bodies littering the floor with arrows protruding from their bodies and blood pooling on the floor. You run to the front where the thrones are and on the floor you see both of your parents dead. William is giving you a second to mourn but he soon is tugging on your arm telling you that you need to leave.
> You leave with William
You let William pull you up and quickly pull you away from your parents and the rest of the dead. With tears in your eyes you watch the gathering place get smaller and smaller until it finally disappears. You start to walk faster keeping your hand in Williams. You guys go for awhile until it is well into the night. William sits you down next to a tree resting your head against the trunk. You feel numb from the nights events. William is setting up camp around you. After everything is set up he takes your into the tent and tucks you into bed. He then goes out and sits outside the tent on guard and you fall into a sleep full of nightmares of your parents horrible deaths.
> The Next Morning
You wake up to the sound of arguing. You sit up quickly remembering the events of the day before. You find a brown deerskin backpack that has clothes in it. You quickly and quietly change into brown hunting pants, a forest green long sleeve shirt, and brown leather boots. There was also a silver circlet but you decide not to wear it. At the bottom of the bag you see a dark green cloak so you pull it out and put it on. You start packing everything up. All of a sudden the tent flap is whipped open and you see Williams face looking down at you.
"Good you're up. You have a visitor." He snaps. You glare at him but follow him outside the tent. The sun is just coming up and you calculate that it is about 6 in the morning. You look around and you see Ash leaning against a tree across from your tent with a look of annoyance on his face.
"Where have you been!?" You ask him. He looks at you with raised eyebrows as if to say really.
"He just all of a sudden pops out of nowhere and thinks that he can just waltz right in here after what happened last night." William interjects.
"Oh, you're not off the hook either mister. Where did you get all of this supplies. Did you know that this was going to happen and that we would have to all of a sudden leave so you packed everything we needed?" You ask him.
"I was just prepared for anything to happen. Maybe I wanted to take you on a hunting trip or something." He says defensively.
"Or something. Whatever. I can't deal with you guys bickering all the time so you either hush it or one of you guys leave because I will not have it." You say as you turn around grabbing your backpack to go find a place to cool down. You hear a yeesh in the background as you leave.
You find a small spring next to a willow tree and you splash some water onto your face. You take a deep breath and look through your pack for something to eat but you turn up empty. You really are hungry but you don't know if you could survive on your own without any weapons.
> You go Out On Your Own
You decide that you can't stand to be around either of the guys so you decide to leave them both behind. You go a little while until you become officially lost. You stand around trying to find your way when out of nowhere a group of people in dark cloaks surround you.
"We are members of the Dark Order. Stop or be killed." One of the people say. You decide to stop. You say that you don't want to die but no sooner where the words out of your mouth that you suddenly find an arrow protruding from your chest and you fall over dead.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You wake up to the sound of arguing. You sit up quickly remembering the events of the day before. You find a brown deerskin backpack that has clothes in it. You quickly and quietly change into brown hunting pants, a forest green long sleeve shirt, and brown leather boots. There was also a silver circlet but you decide not to wear it. At the bottom of the bag you see a dark green cloak so you pull it out and put it on. You start packing everything up. All of a sudden the tent flap is whipped open and you see Williams face looking down at you.
"Good you're up. You have a visitor." He snaps. You glare at him but follow him outside the tent. The sun is just coming up and you calculate that it is about 6 in the morning. You look around and you see Ash leaning against a tree across from your tent with a look of annoyance on his face.
"Where have you been!?" You ask him. He looks at you with raised eyebrows as if to say really.
"He just all of a sudden pops out of nowhere and thinks that he can just waltz right in here after what happened last night." William interjects.
"Oh, you're not off the hook either mister. Where did you get all of this supplies. Did you know that this was going to happen and that we would have to all of a sudden leave so you packed everything we needed?" You ask him.
"I was just prepared for anything to happen. Maybe I wanted to take you on a hunting trip or something." He says defensively.
"Or something. Whatever. I can't deal with you guys bickering all the time so you either hush it or one of you guys leave because I will not have it." You say as you turn around grabbing your backpack to go find a place to cool down. You hear a yeesh in the background as you leave.
You find a small spring next to a willow tree and you splash some water onto your face. You take a deep breath and look through your pack for something to eat but you turn up empty. You really are hungry but you don't know if you could survive on your own without any weapons.
> You go Back To Camp
You pick up your stuff and head back to camp where both guys are waiting with some deer jerky out and some fruit. You grab some and eat them while leaning on a tree.
"So is someone going to tell me the plan or am I going to have to do everything?" You ask them both. They look at each other as if waiting for the other to speak.
Ash speaks up, "I am sorry, I shouldn't have run off like that."
"You have nothing to worry about Ash, it's William that I really want some explaining from." You say pointedly. He sighs.
"Fine. I don't like him and I never will. I don't want you hanging around him because I know him and what he had done and what he is capable of." William says. You just roll your eyes and start putting away the tent. You may be a princess but you know how to survive, sure your skills could use a little refresher but you know how to put a tent away and how to shoot decently. You pack the tent and find your bow and arrows under the front part of the tent. You glance at William with a raised eyebrow.
He shrugs but says, "Thought it might come in handy." You nod and put the arrows over your shoulder. During this time you notice that Ash is watching you closely as if trying to figure something out but you shrug it off.
"We have two options, we can go to the next elf village for reinforcements or we can go back to the gathering place." You say to the others.
"Reinforcements?" William asks surprised.
"Go back to the gathering place?" Ash asks at the same time. You just sigh and make the decision.
> You go Back to the Gathering Place
You start walking towards the Gathering place and the other two follow you. You are carrying most of the supplies. It takes about 3 hours to get back and when you do see in the broad daylight how mass the killings were. It really hits you then, you sink to your knees and tears start pouring out of your eyes for these people, your people.
After a few minutes you get up with a heavy heart and you start digging a mass grave for everyone who had died. You start having the guys bring the bodies out and throwing them into the hole. All of a sudden you feel a sharp piercing pain coming from your chest, you look down and there is an arrow coming from the center of your chest. You fall into the grave that you dug for your people and you land next to your parents, dead.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You pick up your stuff and head back to camp where both guys are waiting with some deer jerky out and some fruit. You grab some and eat them while leaning on a tree.
"So is someone going to tell me the plan or am I going to have to do everything?" You ask them both. They look at each other as if waiting for the other to speak.
Ash speaks up, "I am sorry, I shouldn't have run off like that."
"You have nothing to worry about Ash, it's William that I really want some explaining from." You say pointedly. He sighs.
"Fine. I don't like him and I never will. I don't want you hanging around him because I know him and what he had done and what he is capable of." William says. You just roll your eyes and start putting away the tent. You may be a princess but you know how to survive, sure your skills could use a little refresher but you know how to put a tent away and how to shoot decently. You pack the tent and find your bow and arrows under the front part of the tent. You glance at William with a raised eyebrow.
He shrugs but says, "Thought it might come in handy." You nod and put the arrows over your shoulder. During this time you notice that Ash is watching you closely as if trying to figure something out but you shrug it off.
"We have two options, we can go to the next elf village for reinforcements or we can go back to the gathering place." You say to the others.
"Reinforcements?" William asks surprised.
"Go back to the gathering place?" Ash asks at the same time. You just sigh and make the decision.
> You go Get Reinforcements
You start heading toward the next village of elvish people and the other two follow. "What do we need reinforcements for?" William pipes up on the way. You look at him with a look that says it all.
"Because she is going to take her kingdom back from the Dark Order of course you dummy." Ash adds to my look gaining him a look of him own.
It is a few days walk to the next village but it is very uneventful. The guys bicker but you block them out. You are determined to avenge your parents and your people. As far as you know, only the Gathering Place was attacked so there are probably some families out hiding waiting for a leader to take over.
As you enter the next village you realize that you probably don't look very presentable so you find a stream running through the village. You wash your face and you put the circlet on your head but you keep the cloak on with the hood up. You got glance from people that you walked by but nothing more. There are less and less people as you got closer to the center of the village.
All of a sudden the trees stopped and formed a clearing where a huge glass fortress rose up from the ground.
> You knock on The Door
You slowly walk towards the elegant glass doors. You raise your hand to knock but the doors are already opening. You lower your hand and look up a little. In front of you is an older kind faced elf with long white hair, pale skin, and bright green eyes. He was your father's best friend.
"Please, come in quickly." He says to the three of you. You enter and hear the door close behind you. "Who are you and what business do you have that is so important that you would disturb King Keenan. You take your hood off showing your face and the circlet on your head. "Ah, I see. That is important." King Keenan says without further explanation. "So Princess Katrina is running for her life and she comes here. How interesting. One would think that she would be in hiding and not running about." He continues to himself.
"Your Majesty," you say bowing, "I have come to ask for reinforcements so that I may take back my kingdom and protect the last of my family bloodline. I need your people to help my fight the Dark Order." You say this and then show him the note that William found. He nods his head.
"Yes, you may take my people and protect your people for the time being, but you will owe me a favor in the future." He says.
"Fine, you will get your favor as long as you keep your end of the bargain." You say with what you hope sounds like diplomacy. He just chuckles. During this time Ash and William are being very quiet which is a nice change from the constant bickering from the trip. "Thank you so much. We will leave as soon as convenient." You continue.
> You leaving With The Reinforcements
You look at the 200 elf warriors in uniform. You nod your head and everyone starts marching toward your homeland, Eden. It takes three days to get back to your kingdom but you eventually make it. You tell everyone "spread out and search the area for anything and anyone. If they put up a fight, you are not allowed to kill them. You will bring all survivors to me whether they are friend or foe." Everyone starts going in every direction.
You are going over to the Gathering Place but dare not enter for the stench may be to horrid. You find your way to the river. You settle on a boulder when people start arriving. All the ones that are being brought to you are people you recognize so you let them set up camp next to you. You do this for about 3 hours when all of a sudden someone is brought before you that you don't recognize.
> You question Him
"Who are you." You demand. He looks up at you smiling.
"I am Aaron of the Dark Order." He says. You try to maintain your composure but something must have slipped because he started laughing.
"What do you want?" You continue.
"To kill you and everyone in your bloodling." He replys.
"Why?" You question.
"Because I was told to." He says.
"By who?" You ask.
"Someone that you know." He says with a smile.
"That's helpful. Anything else you can tell me?" You question.
"Nope." He says. You give a command and he is carried away to be executed.
All of sudden there are yells from all around. You see dark hooded people coming towards you and all of a sudden someone throws a bow into your hand and the elf warriors surround you to protect you.
> The Battle
The warrior elves fight through the dark cloaked elves. You start firing arrows at the dark cloaked elves as they come closer to you. All of a sudden one of the elves starts rushing you and dodges your arrows. The hood falls off from around him face and you stop. "WILLIAM!!!????" You look around for a sword, you see one by one of the fallen elves. You pick it up and point it at William.
"What are you doing!?" You ask him.
"Ending your bloodline." He says.
"Why!?" You ask.
"Because I love you and you won't ever love me back." He says.
"What!? Are you serious!? You are my best friend, of course I love you but I won't ever love you more than friends. You are more like family." You say almost hysterical. You back up to avoid being hit with his sword. He jabs at you and you parry. He swings and you block. You can feel and see that he means to kill you and it breaks your heart. You try to stay on the defensive side of it but he taunts you into making offensive moves. You ask him, "What is your connection to the Dark Order?"
He laughs but replies, "I am their leader. I also told them that if they come upon us that they should shoot both me and you just as a precaution." You listen but as you do so you begin to feel the anger build up inside you. It builds and builds until you finally explode.
"YOU killed my parents! YOU killed my people! And finally YOU killed yourself and the love of your life." You yell at him.
He laughs and says, "That sounds about right." You grow so angry that you put all of your power into your thrust and it goes straight through his chest. He becomes still with surprise. He looks at you will a sad smile and falls to the ground. He was dead. Your heart is broken but you are alive.
You go about the rest of your day sorting through the friends and foes. Ash comes to check on you which you appreciate.
> You happily Ever After...Kinda
A few years pass of peace where you and the others so about establishing a good system for your ruling. You are made the Queen of Elves. You rule justly and kindly. You live a life a joy once you are able to move past the loss of your best friend. You try to not let your emotions rule over your actions like you did that fateful day. You end up marrying Ash and you two rule together a happy kingdom.
You don't go a day without thinking about William and the day that he betrayed you.
You try to think happy thoughts as you watch your two daughters and son play in your courtyard.
"Don’t make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion." - Unknown<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You look at the 200 elf warriors in uniform. You nod your head and everyone starts marching toward your homeland, Eden. It takes three days to get back to your kingdom but you eventually make it. You tell everyone "spread out and search the area for anything and anyone. If they put up a fight, you are not allowed to kill them. You will bring all survivors to me whether they are friend or foe." Everyone starts going in every direction.
You are going over to the Gathering Place but dare not enter for the stench may be to horrid. You find your way to the river. You settle on a boulder when people start arriving. All the ones that are being brought to you are people you recognize so you let them set up camp next to you. You do this for about 3 hours when all of a sudden someone is brought before you that you don't recognize.
> You put Him With The Friends
You decide that he looks harmless so you wave him off to the friends camp. You go about putting people in categories for a little long until all of a sudden you feel a sharp pain in your back and realize that the someone stabbed you in the back. You turn to look and see that it was the one that you so carelessly waved off. He has smiling. You fall to the ground in a crumble dead. <|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You start heading toward the next village of elvish people and the other two follow. "What do we need reinforcements for?" William pipes up on the way. You look at him with a look that says it all.
"Because she is going to take her kingdom back from the Dark Order of course you dummy." Ash adds to my look gaining him a look of him own.
It is a few days walk to the next village but it is very uneventful. The guys bicker but you block them out. You are determined to avenge your parents and your people. As far as you know, only the Gathering Place was attacked so there are probably some families out hiding waiting for a leader to take over.
As you enter the next village you realize that you probably don't look very presentable so you find a stream running through the village. You wash your face and you put the circlet on your head but you keep the cloak on with the hood up. You got glance from people that you walked by but nothing more. There are less and less people as you got closer to the center of the village.
All of a sudden the trees stopped and formed a clearing where a huge glass fortress rose up from the ground.
> You turn Around
You decide to turn around and not risk anything by not bothering anyone. You turn around and become a fugative but you don't last long. Eventually the Dark Order finds you and assassinates you, William, and Ash. <|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You and William take off toward the gathering place. When you get there you see nothing except bodies littering the floor with arrows protruding from their bodies and blood pooling on the floor. You run to the front where the thrones are and on the floor you see both of your parents dead. William is giving you a second to mourn but he soon is tugging on your arm telling you that you need to leave.
> You stay and Mourn for Your Parents
You shrug William off but he keeps insisting. You finally told him to just leave you alone to mourn. He finally leaves you to mourn. You lean over both of your parents bodies crying out. You cry so loud and for such a long time that you don't notice someone enter the room. You catch something in the corner of your eye. You turn to see a lone elf with it's bow drawn. You can't see their face because it is covered with a mask of sorts. The elf hesitates at shooting but not for long. You stare as the elf releases it's arrow which finds its way to your heart. You fall down dead next to your parents.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>When he is done with his plate of food you ask, "do you still want to go for a walk?" He looks over to you with a look of surprise as if he wasn't expecting you to still be there. But you give him an expectant look. He shrugs his shoulders as if he couldn't care less but he follows you out the door into the hallway anyway. He walks quietly next you glancing one way and then another. You look at his face trying to read it but you get nothing. You try to think of something to ask him.
Finally you come up with a question to ask him, "How did your mother die?" Admittedly it isn't a good question and it is probably a sensitive topic. You turn a corner to go outside towards the river. You don't think he is going to answer you, but when your reach the river he replies.
"She was murdered when I was a little boy. My father was never around so I ended up raising myself pretty much." You quietly think about his answer. All of a sudden your best friend William comes out from behind a tree and stands in between you and Ash. You look up at William with a questioning glance.
"What are you doing, what is going on?" You ask William.
"What are you doing with him?" He asks you.
"I was just talking with him." You state.
"I was just talking with him. Yeah right!" He says slightly loud.
"Dude! What is up with you?" You say right back,
"You don't know him. You know know who he is or what he has done or anything. You shouldn't be around him." He says grabbing your arms kinda hard.
"Ow! Let go of me. You are not the boss of me! I am my own person, you don't need to be telling me what to do!" You say with anger in your voice. William lets go of your arms. You look around for Ash but he seems to have disappeared. All of a sudden there are screams coming from the gathering place.
> You go Looking For Ash
You take off after Ash. You notice that William is headed towards the screams but you keep running anyway. You make it to an old willow tree that is about half a mile from the gathering place and you stop to rest. All of a sudden William comes rushing towards you and gives you an awkward hug and you just stand still. "I am so sorry." He keeps whispering over and over into your ear.
You push him away. "What are you sorry for?" You ask in confusion.
"Your parents," he stammers, "there dead."
"What!?" You scream at him.
"That's not all. This was left next to your parent's heads." He says handing you a letter.
You take the letter and read it outloud:
"Dear Princess Katrina,
You may notice that your parents are dead.
You're next.
-The Dark Order"
You stare at the letter dumbfounded. You look at William looking for an explanation but he gives you none. You have to make a decision.
> You continue looking for Ash
You stomp off toward the direction that you think that Ash went but you don't go far before you collapse. William is setting up camp around you. After everything is set up he takes your into the tent and tucks you into bed. He then goes out and sits outside the tent on guard and you fall into a sleep full of nightmares of your parents possible horrible deaths.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You take off after Ash. You notice that William is headed towards the screams but you keep running anyway. You make it to an old willow tree that is about half a mile from the gathering place and you stop to rest. All of a sudden William comes rushing towards you and gives you an awkward hug and you just stand still. "I am so sorry." He keeps whispering over and over into your ear.
You push him away. "What are you sorry for?" You ask in confusion.
"Your parents," he stammers, "there dead."
"What!?" You scream at him.
"That's not all. This was left next to your parent's heads." He says handing you a letter.
You take the letter and read it outloud:
"Dear Princess Katrina,
You may notice that your parents are dead.
You're next.
-The Dark Order"
You stare at the letter dumbfounded. You look at William looking for an explanation but he gives you none. You have to make a decision.
> You go See Your Dead Parents
"Take me to them." You say simply. He walks with you back to the gathering place. You see bodies littering the floor with blood pooled on the floor. You run to your parents making sure they are dead. William begins pulling on your arm telling you that you can't stay here forever.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|> You follow Ash with a sort of curiosity so you go sit by Ash who glances at you but turns back to his food.
"Do you want to go on a walk? I want to know more about you." You say to him spontaneously.
"Sure, but after I am done eating." He replied to you and you nod in agreement. You sit there eating and thinking about what you would want to know about him, all of a sudden you get nervous because you think that maybe he doesn't want you to pester him
> You say nevermind and go back to looking at other suitors
"You know what, never mind, I don't want to bother you. Have a nice evening." You say as you get up to leave. He nods as you walk away. You start to look at other suitors when all of a sudden a group of people come rushing in. They start shooting arrows and you see one kill your father and then your mother. You look for William but you can't find him. All of a sudden an arrow finds its way to your heart and you die.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You start to make your way to the mysterious gentleman by the window. You weave through dancing people and eventually make it over to where the stranger is standing. He gives you a side glance with a raised eyebrow.
"Good evening! Are you enjoying yourself?" You ask the gentleman.
"I guess, and you Princess?" He asks in return.
"I am. Since you know who I am, you should tell me your name," you inquire.
He smirks but answers you, "My name is Ash."
"Nice name. What brings you here?" you question him wondering if it was the food or something else.
"To be honest, it was the anticipation of meeting the princess because I wanted to see if the rumors were true."
"What rumors?"
"The rumors saying that you are the most beautiful girl in all of Eden." He says with a smirk.
"And..." you push.
"They are mostly true," He says.
"Mostly?" You question raising your eyebrows.
"Yep, there is only one woman more beautiful, and that is my mother. Although since she isn't with us anymore I guess that makes the rumors true." He replies.
"I'm sorry to hear that," you say sympathetically. He just shrugs as he goes over to the food table.
> You watch Him and Look at Other Suitors
You watch him with curiosity but you glance at other suitors. As you watch there is a sudden pounding on the door and people start rushing in. Pandemonium breaks out at they start firing arrows at people. You watch in horror as one first finds your father and then your mother. You look for William but you don't see him. You look for Ash but you don't see him either. As you start freaking out an arrow finds its way to your heart and you die a sad death.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You nod at your father who turns to sit down on his throne made of roots. You head out to the dance floor and pick the closest suitor. You look up into the face of the dancing partner that you picked and smile politely. He smiles back. Then he speaks to you, "You look beautiful Princess Katrina." You laugh.
"Oh please, not as beautiful as my mother does tonight," you say acknowledging your mother who is sitting beside your father and wearing a deep green that made her throne look like a living tree.
"No," he says agreeing, "you have your own beauty that makes you even more beautiful than your mother."
"Thank you, but I couldn't say that I can agree with that," you say in reply. You nod as the song ends not even catching the gentleman's name. You shrug it off. You look for another partner and you spot a handsome gentleman standing off from the rest of the celebration but you also notice your best friend William watching you.
> You best Friend
You make your way over to him. He is standing by the door. "Hey," he says when you reach him.
"Hey," you reply.
"Enjoying yourself?" He asks.
"Not really. You?" you say questioningly.
"Ehhh, it's okay. Could be better," he replys.
"Oh?"
"Yep."
"How so."
"Doesn't matter, what about you. What do you think could be better other than obviously it not happening at all?"
William is the only one who you actually told that you didn't want a party. But you just shrug at the question. You turn your eyes to the mysterious stranger that you noticed earlier and you ask William, "Hey, what do you think of him, who is he?"
He turns to where you are looking and says contemptly, "Oh him? That's Ash." You look at William with raised eyebrows. "What?" he asks.
"Is there something between you or something?" you say.
"Kinda, but I don't want to talk about it." and with that you let the topic slide.
"Hey, do you want to keep standing here looking for someone to dance with or do you want to get out of here and practice your fighting?"
You choose:
> You stay and Pick Someone
"I'll stay I guess." William nods and walks away with what you think is a look of disappointment. You look around and see multiple people but only one catches your eye. He is a tall handsome guy with dark hair, dark eyes, and light skin. He was beautiful. You decide to go over there.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You make your way over to him. He is standing by the door. "Hey," he says when you reach him.
"Hey," you reply.
"Enjoying yourself?" He asks.
"Not really. You?" you say questioningly.
"Ehhh, it's okay. Could be better," he replys.
"Oh?"
"Yep."
"How so."
"Doesn't matter, what about you. What do you think could be better other than obviously it not happening at all?"
William is the only one who you actually told that you didn't want a party. But you just shrug at the question. You turn your eyes to the mysterious stranger that you noticed earlier and you ask William, "Hey, what do you think of him, who is he?"
He turns to where you are looking and says contemptly, "Oh him? That's Ash." You look at William with raised eyebrows. "What?" he asks.
"Is there something between you or something?" you say.
"Kinda, but I don't want to talk about it." and with that you let the topic slide.
"Hey, do you want to keep standing here looking for someone to dance with or do you want to get out of here and practice your fighting?"
You choose:
> You escape With William
You finish eating and stand up with William as he starts to leave. You walk with him over to the glass doors that lead to the river. The weapons are already there. You pick up a bow and test the string as William sets up the targets. You pick up an arrow and adjust it in your hand onto the string. William quickly gets out of the way. You pull the arrow back on the string and aim. You let go and the arrow flies hitting the 2nd circle. William comes and makes you get back into position. He tweaks a few minor positions and then has you shoot again. You shoot the arrow and it hits dead center. You get so excited that you drop the bow and hug William and he just stands there in shock. As you calm down you instantly realize what you are doing and let go of William. He awkwardly laughs.
"Sorry," you say.
"It's okay," he says. All of a sudden there are screams coming from the gathering place.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Your name is Katrina and you are the Elf Princess. You are 17, slender, have long dark brown hair that reaches your waist, and blue eyes. You are in your bedroom which has sapphire blue walls, multiple windows, a high wooden ceiling from the tree which your living quarters are in, and an ivory colored carpet. Your room is sectioned off from everyone else being that you ARE the princess. You live with your family in the biggest oak tree in the forest which is in the center.
You go over to one of the windows facing the river that runs in your father's kingdom. Examining the current and the ways that the wind is blowing, you start to feel at peace. All of a sudden there is a hand on your shoulder, you spin around ready to strike but it is only your father, the King.
"Katrina, it is time," he says. You nod your head understanding that he is speaking of the coming of age ceremony in which you are to look at all the suitors and pick one. You have dreaded this night for a long time but you follow him anyway.
Your crimson dress flows around you like a curtain of blood as you walk to the gathering place where the celebration is being held. You walk and are greatful for the elegant red flats being as comfortable as they are.
As you get there, you look into the room and see a lot of elvish people looking back. You acknowledge them and they go back to what they were doing. You look around the room spotting the food. Your father grabs you by the elbow and leads you to the front of the room where the thrones are and gives you a choice: you can either go dance with the suitors or you can eat your fill and wait for someone to come to you.
> You eat and Wait
You nod to your father, who sits on his throne made of roots, and make your way over to the the table of food. There is everything that you could have asked for: juicy prime rib, honey glazed carrots, grilled asparagus, bbq chicken, and of course sweets to fill multiple people without the entrees.
"Happy coming of age ceremony," someone says sarcastically next to you. You look and see that it is your best friend William. He was the only one that you told openly that you were dreading this thing so much. "You look nice tonight," he comments giving you a quick glance over. You just nod as you continue to put food on your plate. After you have a pile of food on your plate, you make your way over to some of the tables. William follows you with his own plate and sits next to you. "So have you picked one yet?" William askes.
"No, I just got here. You know how much I don't want this," you say in reply.
"Fair enough. So what are you going to do?" He questions you.
"I have absolutely no idea. What do you think I should do?" You look at him expectantly.
"Well, you could stay here with these mundane elves and pick a suitor like you are supposed to do...or after you are done eating, you and I could go out and find a place to practice your fighting," he says. You finish eating and make your decision:<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You are sitting in the pilot's chair of the starship Andromeda, on the edge of the Protherus star system, getting ready to make a Light Space Jump to your freighter's next destination. You hear a sound, like someone gasping in surprise, and look up from your console. Your co-pilot, Karl, is looking intently at his console, and doesn't seem to have heard anything unusual. You must have imagined the sound, for you and Karl are the only two people aboard this starship.
"Jump calculations are complete," Karl says to you, sitting in the co-pilots seat beside yours.
Before you, the transparent plasglass windows of the cockpit provide a view of the stars. Space stretches on infinitely before you. Directly in the middle of your foreward view, a star shines brighter than the others - it is your destination, the closest star to the star system you are currently in.
"Preparing to Jump to Light Space," you say, mentally going through your pre-jump checklist, as you press buttons and flick switches to the correct settings. You feel the ship beginning to vibrate as the interstellar propulsion system powers up, ready to activate.
"Activating LSJD," you say, pressing the final button. There is the usual flash of white light, and...
> You not Quite Right
You are sitting in your pilot's chair, in the cockpit of the Andromeda, and something is not quite right. Outside the windows, the darkness of space is gone, there is only light. You raise your arm to cover your eyes, but as you do, the light pales. Instead of searing your eyes like a thousand suns, the endless expanse of white outside the windows gives off a soft light, like looking at a white plaster wall that someone is shining a torch on.
As your eyes adjust to this strange phenomena, you hear a gasping, gurgling sound from behind you. Glancing to one side, you see the strangest thing. The right hand half of the cockpit is stretched out before and behind you. Your co-pilot, his chair and console, are now lines and blobs of horizontal colour, stretching through the room in streaks, like a motion-blurred, time-lapse photograph!
Your head goes dizzy as your eyes and brain try to make sense of what it is you are seeing, then suddenly the strange warping of space stops, and the entire cockpit looks normal and whole once more. However, your co-pilot, his body restored to its correct physical form, sags forward in his chair, held up by his chest-crossing seatbelt buckle. Blood trickles from the corners of his mouth as his head drops forward, staring sightlessly down at his console.
Outside the ship, the pale light - the endless expanse of whiteness instead of the blackness of space - tells you that something is horribly wrong here.
> You examine Karl's body.
You move from your console, over to beside your co-pilot. You lift up his head so you can look in his eyes. His head, fully illuminated by the pale light shining in through the windows, stares back at you, seeing nothing. You release him, letting his head drop back down again.
Looking at his jumpsuit, you examine the body-monitoring device built into the suit. The device is supposed to monitor life signs, as well as the surrounding environment, and it tells you that his heart has stopped. Karl is clearly dead.
> You bring up a ship damage report on your console, and try to find out what is wrong with the ship.
Sitting in your chair, you bring up the ship status display, and look for signs of damage. For a moment you just look at the screen, unable to believe what it is saying. According to the screen, nothing exists behind the ship's cockpit. The rest of the ship is simply gone... vanished... non-existant!
'How can that be?' you think to yourself. After all, the power generators at the rear of the ship must exist, because all the computer systems and life support within the cockpit is functioning just as it always does. The rest of the ship MUST exist!
Frustrated, you turn off the status display.
> You check the ship's sensors, and see what it can detect.
You look at the ship's sensor screen. It shows your ship in the middle of the screen, but shows no signs of planets or stars in the vicinity. In fact, it shows nothing at all, in any direction. You look out the window again, at the vast expanse of whiteness that seems to stretch out endlessly in every direction. There's nothing out there but pale, white light.
What is this place? Is this Light Space, the other dimension, that ships pass through when they jump? Did your ship somehow become stuck in this dimension, half-way through the jump procedure? If so, how are you supposed to get out?
> You open the cockpit door, and look into the central passageway.
Feeling a little uncertain as to what you might find, you nervously walk to the rear of the cockpit, and press the door release button. The rear door slides open and...
The central passageway that runs from the cockpit, through the ship, to the cargo bay at the rear, looks exactly as it always does. Lights in the ceiling illuminate the steel passage. Metal grating panels on the floor allow access to various wires and cables that run through the ship, beneath your feet. Door hatches are set into the passage walls at different points along its length, leading to various rooms aboard the ship. Far at the other end, you see a large hatch, that opens into the cargo bay at the other end of the starship.
Everything looks completely - suddenly there is a shearing of light and form, as a section of wall about half way down the passage blurs outwards into the passage, in an array of colourful streaking lines - then suddenly flattens out again to look like a normal section of wall once more. Perhaps things aren't as completely normal as they seem...
You say a short prayer that the motion blurring phenomena won't happen anywhere near you.
> You start walking down the passageway.
You step out of the cockpit and into the passageway. As you move through the doorway, you feel a strange sensation, like stepping through a thin wall of water.
> You turn around.
Having felt like you stepped through an invisible wall, you turn around to look at the doorway you just came through. The doorway looks as empty as before, the air is clear and invisible as always. However, looking back through the doorway into the cockpit, you can't help but gasp.
Outside the cockpit windows, you see space! Black space! Dotted with stars! You're back in normal space again! In fact... it would seem the ship is exactly where it was before it tried to jump - as you can see the single bright star in the middle of the window, the star you were going to jump to. Then you gasp again, blinking your eyes to be sure you can believe what you are seeing - for there are two people in the cockpit!
On the right sits Karl, your co-pilot, running jump calculations through the computer, and on the left is... it's you! You are in there, sitting in the pilot's chair, preparing the ship for jump! How is that possible?
> You rush back into the cockpit!
As you rush through the doorway, out of the passageway, and back into the cockpit, you feel the strange sensation again, the slight pressure against your body, as if you are passing through a thin wall of water. As your face passes through, the scene before your eyes changes!
Karl's body lies dead in his chair, as you had left him, and your chair is empty again. Outside the windows is the shining expanse of pale, white light. What the heck is happening on your ship? It's almost as if... Yes, it's as if the cockpit and the passageway existed in two different places... Or rather, two different times!
The passage outside the cockpit was somehow before the jump took place, and here in the cockpit is somehow at the current time frame... Actually, you would only be guessing that you were in the current time frame - how would you even know what was the past. For all you know, the cockpit could be somewhere in the distant future, or - or who knows what?
> You start walking down the passageway, again.
You step out of the cockpit and into the passageway. As you move through the doorway, you feel a strange sensation, like stepping through a thin wall of water....
> You turn around, again.
Having felt like you stepped through an invisible wall, you turn around to look at the doorway you just came through. This time, you are prepared for what you see - outside the cockpit windows, you see space again, and both Karl and yourself are sitting in the cockpit chairs. You feel certain that if you tried to step into that cockpit, you would end up back in your version of the cockpit, surrounded by white space.
> You continue down the passageway
You decide to continue down the passageway. A few metres along, you reach door hatches on both sides of the passage. One is your sleeping quarters, the other is Karl's. An image of his dead face, blood trickling from the corners of his mouth, flashes before your eyes. You take a deep breath, and calm yourself. You know you will need to keep a level head if you are going to get out of this alive.
> You open the door to your sleeping quarters.
You press the door release button on the wall, and the door to your sleeping quarters slides open. Through the doorway, things look normal. Your bunk is up against one wall, the covers thrown aside - why make a bed if you're the only one who's going to look at it, or use it? Against another wall is a desk unit, with a few personal odds and ends inside and on top of it. A closet containing your clothing is up against a third wall.
The lights are on, and you don't see any strange blurring, bending or stretching of the universe.
> You go inside your sleeping quarters.
You step through the doorway, and instantly feel that sensation again - the feeling of walking through an invisible wall, like passing through a sheet of water. Your sleeping quarters are now quite different to how they had looked an instant ago...
Firstly, the bed is made. You can't remember ever having made your bed. Secondly, and more disturbingly to you, the sheets are bright pink with little white bunny rabbits on them!
You suddenly hear footsteps behind you, and spin around to see a woman wearing a pilot's uniform, standing in the passageway, outside the room. She looks up from a clipboard she was reading, and her jaw drops as she sees you looking back at her. You can see the cogs turning inside her mind, as she tries to find words to say, and her first instinct is to shout, "Get the hell out of my sleeping quarters!"
> You quickly step back out into the passageway!
Blushing furiously, and stunned at whatever is happening - for only yourself and Karl were supposed to be aboard the starship - you step out into the passageway.
As you do, you feel yourself passing through an invisible wall again, and an odd thing happens - as your eyes pass through the wall, she vanishes from in front of you. As you stand in the passageway, looking about, she is nowhere to be seen. Looking back into the sleeping quarters, you see your sleeping quarters, with your personal belongings, and your unmade bed!
The woman in uniform is nowhere to be seen! How very, very strange.
> You slowly step back into your quarters.
Taking a deep breath, you step back through the doorway. As you pass the invisible wall again, you see the room, once more, clean and tidy, with pink bedsheets. Now though, the woman is inside the room with you. She is in the middle of the room, with her back to you. The clipboard lies where she dropped it on the floor, and she has drawn a pistol. She looks left and right, examining her sleeping quarters, holding the gun carefully, ready to fire.
> You say "Please, don't shoot! I'm unarmed!"
"Please, don't shoot! I'm unarmed!" you say, as she swivels quickly to face you, pointing her gun in your face.
"Who are you? What are you doing on my ship?" she demands.
> You say "Your ship? This is my ship, lady! These are my sleeping quarters!"
"What are you talking about? I've run this ship for six years, now!" she says incredulously, waving the gun about in front of you.
"The Andromeda has been under my command for twelve years," you growl back at her, "It was my father's ship before me, and I don't recall either him, or myself, selling it to anyone else!"
"The Andromeda wasn't your father's ship - it was my father's ship!" she shouts back at you, waving her gun some more. "And it was my grandfather's ship before him, and my great-grandfather's before him!"
Something crazy is going on, and your brain is hurting just trying to work it out. A suspicion is creeping into your mind. "My name is Michael Dobson," you tell her, hoping an introduction, and an attempt at being diplomatic, might stop her waving the gun in your face. If it accidentally went off...
Her jaw drops, "No, it can't be..." She shakes her head in disbelief, "No, that was just a crazy tale, just mad talk - none of it could be true!"
"None of what could be true?" you ask, not sure you like the sudden change in her.
"My... My grandfather's name was Michael... My name is... I'm Susan Dobson," she says, looking you up and down, and inspecting you properly for the first time. She lowers the gun, then drops it forgotten to the floor.
"You're saying you're my granddaughter? That's crazy! That's..." you realise that maybe it is not so crazy after all. Something has happened to your starship. What if something had happened half-way through the jump, and your ship was indeed stranded in the extra-dimension of Light Space. Who knows how your ship, or even you, might be affected. Could this location on your starship actually take you to another moment in time - somewhere into the future?
"Tell me, why would you think you were my granddaughter?" you ask, softly.
Her eyes glaze over, as she loses herself to memories, "My grandfather used to tell wild tales. No one really believed him, and by the time I was born, he wouldn't talk about it. My mother, though, she said that my grandfather was in a starship accident once. He used to say that he met people from the past and the future. Everyone thought he was crazy, but other than that, he was perfectly normal. People said that the starship accident did something to him, and that's why he would make those wild claims. People said he was just dreaming, or drunk. Once though, before he died, he asked me a strange question... 'Remember when we were aboard the Andromeda together?' he asked me. I guess if he was you, then this, here and now, is what he was talking about. He said he would never have made it back if it wasn't for me..."
"So, I obviously get out of here alive then," you say as much to yourself as to her. "Karl and I made a starship jump, but we didn't appear at our destination - I think I'm still trapped inside of Light Space somehow. Strange things are happening as I move about my ship. When I step through that doorway, I'm back aboard my version of the ship, and this is my sleeping quarters, but when I step back in here, it's your sleeping quarters - somewhere in the future..."
Suddenly the ship shudders, and you both grab hold of furniture so you don't fall over.
"What was that?" you both ask at the same time. Suddenly a warning klaxon blares through the ship.
"I've got to get to the bridge!" she shouts, forgetting about you and the whole 'mixed-up time' issue. She rushes out the door and down the passage. Instinctively you rush out the door to follow her, and suddenly pass through that invisible wall again. She vanishes from sight as you step into the passageway - and back into your own time.
> You quickly go back into the sleeping quarters.
You quickly step back into your - that is, her - sleeping quarters. You can barely make out voices in the distance, probably your granddaughter and her co-pilot talking in the cockpit. You wonder what is going on. Then you hear the ship's computer's voice saying "Intruder Alert! Closing All Doors!"
A light flashes above the door, and you realise that the ship's computer, in her future time era, is about to close and lock all the doors on her ship!
> You stay inside your sleeping quarters.
You decide to stay put. The door slams shut, and clicks as the locking mechanism moves into place. You are now locked inside your granddaughter's sleeping quarters, at some point in the future... It feels weird, mostly because according to her, you died years ago. However, she said you made it out of the starship accident alive.
However... You know many people have tried to understand and hypothesise over how time travel works, and wether there is but one timeline, or many branching off, depending on people's actions. You wonder if it is certain that you will survive, or if perhaps you will die, and your granddaughter will never have existed. Just trying to work out how time works begins to give you a headache, so you decide to focus on the present.
The computer said there were intruders aboard. That must have been what the shuddering of the ship had been - a pirate's starship docking with the Andromeda. If pirates had come aboard, they would try to kill everyone, so they could steal the ship and its cargo.
As you realise that, you also realise that you are now locked inside a room, with no way out unless someone breaks in from the outside, or your granddaughter has the computer unlock and open the doors. Then you notice a gun on the floor - the pistol your granddaughter lost!
You can use it to protect yourself, however, you realise she must now be unarmed, and unable to defend herself against the pirates! If you hadn't appeared out of nowhere and surprised her, she would still have her gun! You curse yourself and the predicament you are in.
(Click on the gun to pick it up.)<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You quickly step back into your - that is, her - sleeping quarters. You can barely make out voices in the distance, probably your granddaughter and her co-pilot talking in the cockpit. You wonder what is going on. Then you hear the ship's computer's voice saying "Intruder Alert! Closing All Doors!"
A light flashes above the door, and you realise that the ship's computer, in her future time era, is about to close and lock all the doors on her ship!
> You head back into the passageway.
You head back out into the passageway. Suddenly, that strange blurring phenomena takes place just in front of the cockpit door! The walls of the passageway around the doorway stretch out in lines of colour, twisting and blurring. Then the strange effect seems to move toward you, down the passage! In a few seconds, it will reach where you stand, beside the doors to your quarters, and Karl's quarters! You had best act fast!
> You dive back into your quarters!
You quickly dive through the doorway into your quarters, emerging through the 'time wall' into the future. You are once more inside your granddaughter's quarters. The intruder alarm is still ringing on her ship, and you hear another explosion as the pirates try to blast their way through the ship's interior hatches.
You are starting to freak out - if you step through the door, you will be back in your own time - but will the spatial warping, the blurring of matter that killed Karl, be waiting for you on the other side of the door? Yet, if you remain where you are, it will only be a matter of time before the pirates find this room. On top of that, what of your granddaughter? Is there some way you can help her? You remember her words - supposedly it is she who saves you, from being stranded in Light Space back in your own time... What can you do?
Then you notice a gun on the floor - your granddaughter had dropped her gun! You quickly pick it up. (Click on it to pick it up)<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You head back out into the passageway. Suddenly, that strange blurring phenomena takes place just in front of the cockpit door! The walls of the passageway around the doorway stretch out in lines of colour, twisting and blurring. Then the strange effect seems to move toward you, down the passage! In a few seconds, it will reach where you stand, beside the doors to your quarters, and Karl's quarters! You had best act fast!
> You quickly open the door to Karl's quarters!
You slam the button by Karl's quarters' door with your fist, and the door slides open. On the other side of the doorway, there is no floor, no walls - no room! Just an endless expanse of pale white light... The twisting, stretching, blurring phenomena is almost upon you!<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>"What are you talking about? I've run this ship for six years, now!" she says incredulously, waving the gun about in front of you.
"The Andromeda has been under my command for twelve years," you growl back at her, "It was my father's ship before me, and I don't recall either him, or myself, selling it to anyone else!"
"The Andromeda wasn't your father's ship - it was my father's ship!" she shouts back at you, waving her gun some more. "And it was my grandfather's ship before him, and my great-grandfather's before him!"
Something crazy is going on, and your brain is hurting just trying to work it out. A suspicion is creeping into your mind. "My name is Michael Dobson," you tell her, hoping an introduction, and an attempt at being diplomatic, might stop her waving the gun in your face. If it accidentally went off...
Her jaw drops, "No, it can't be..." She shakes her head in disbelief, "No, that was just a crazy tale, just mad talk - none of it could be true!"
"None of what could be true?" you ask, not sure you like the sudden change in her.
"My... My grandfather's name was Michael... My name is... I'm Susan Dobson," she says, looking you up and down, and inspecting you properly for the first time. She lowers the gun, then drops it forgotten to the floor.
"You're saying you're my granddaughter? That's crazy! That's..." you realise that maybe it is not so crazy after all. Something has happened to your starship. What if something had happened half-way through the jump, and your ship was indeed stranded in the extra-dimension of Light Space. Who knows how your ship, or even you, might be affected. Could this location on your starship actually take you to another moment in time - somewhere into the future?
"Tell me, why would you think you were my granddaughter?" you ask, softly.
Her eyes glaze over, as she loses herself to memories, "My grandfather used to tell wild tales. No one really believed him, and by the time I was born, he wouldn't talk about it. My mother, though, she said that my grandfather was in a starship accident once. He used to say that he met people from the past and the future. Everyone thought he was crazy, but other than that, he was perfectly normal. People said that the starship accident did something to him, and that's why he would make those wild claims. People said he was just dreaming, or drunk. Once though, before he died, he asked me a strange question... 'Remember when we were aboard the Andromeda together?' he asked me. I guess if he was you, then this, here and now, is what he was talking about. He said he would never have made it back if it wasn't for me..."
"So, I obviously get out of here alive then," you say as much to yourself as to her. "Karl and I made a starship jump, but we didn't appear at our destination - I think I'm still trapped inside of Light Space somehow. Strange things are happening as I move about my ship. When I step through that doorway, I'm back aboard my version of the ship, and this is my sleeping quarters, but when I step back in here, it's your sleeping quarters - somewhere in the future..."
Suddenly the ship shudders, and you both grab hold of furniture so you don't fall over.
"What was that?" you both ask at the same time. Suddenly a warning klaxon blares through the ship.
"I've got to get to the bridge!" she shouts, forgetting about you and the whole 'mixed-up time' issue. She rushes out the door and down the passage. Instinctively you rush out the door to follow her, and suddenly pass through that invisible wall again. She vanishes from sight as you step into the passageway - and back into your own time.
> You open the door to Karl's sleeping quarters
You press the button set into the passage wall, and the door to Karl's sleeping quarters swooshes open. However, you just stand there stunned, looking through the doorway. Even with everything else going on, you did not expect to find this. Or rather, you expected to find at least something.
On the other side of the doorway is nothing - just whiteness. No floor, no walls, no room - just the endless expanse of pale white light that surrounds your starship.
> You close Karl's door.
You quickly press the button again, and watch the door slide shut. The last thing you'd need is to trip and fall outside the ship into that endless nothingness!<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You press the button set into the passage wall, and the door to Karl's sleeping quarters swooshes open. However, you just stand there stunned, looking through the doorway. Even with everything else going on, you did not expect to find this. Or rather, you expected to find at least something.
On the other side of the doorway is nothing - just whiteness. No floor, no walls, no room - just the endless expanse of pale white light that surrounds your starship.
> You hope there is something else on the other side of the doorway, and step through...
You stick your foot through the doorway, and it vanishes from sight. You feel it passing through an invisible wall, like sticking your foot through a flowing sheet of water. However, when you pull your foot back to this side of the doorway, you can see it again, and it feels fine. You take a deep breath, and plunge through the doorway...
You stumble to a halt as you pass through. As your face passes the invisible wall in the doorway, the endless white expanse of nothingness vanishes from sight, to be replaced with Karl's sleeping quarters! You look around the room. There's a bunk against one wall, a closet with Karl's clothing against another wall, and a small desk unit with some of his various odds and ends.
Turning to look out the door, you can see the passageway fine. Opposite Karl's open doorway, you can see the door hatch to your own sleeping quarters, and it is closed shut.
> You head back out into the passageway.
Well, you know that this location does exist aboard your starship, and is not, after all, an endless expanse of whiteness. You decide to head back out into the passageway. Stepping through the doorway, you feel yourself passing through an invisible wall again, and then look behind you. Where Karl's room had been was again a vast expanse of endless pale light. Very strange...
You press the button in the wall, and close his door.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You stick your foot through the doorway, and it vanishes from sight. You feel it passing through an invisible wall, like sticking your foot through a flowing sheet of water. However, when you pull your foot back to this side of the doorway, you can see it again, and it feels fine. You take a deep breath, and plunge through the doorway...
You stumble to a halt as you pass through. As your face passes the invisible wall in the doorway, the endless white expanse of nothingness vanishes from sight, to be replaced with Karl's sleeping quarters! You look around the room. There's a bunk against one wall, a closet with Karl's clothing against another wall, and a small desk unit with some of his various odds and ends.
Turning to look out the door, you can see the passageway fine. Opposite Karl's open doorway, you can see the door hatch to your own sleeping quarters, and it is closed shut.
> You wait around, and see if your granddaughter comes past this room.
Perhaps, you think, you might run into your granddaughter again? You sit on the bed, but then you realise that in this room, there is no blaring sound of the intruder alarm. Karl's room must not be in her era of time... Besides which, looking about the room, it looks like it is indeed Karl's room, and not being used by someone else.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Taking a deep breath, you step back through the doorway. As you pass the invisible wall again, you see the room, once more, clean and tidy, with pink bedsheets. Now though, the woman is inside the room with you. She is in the middle of the room, with her back to you. The clipboard lies where she dropped it on the floor, and she has drawn a pistol. She looks left and right, examining her sleeping quarters, holding the gun carefully, ready to fire.
> You tackle her to the ground, trying to get the gun out of her hands!
You dive at her back, and tackle her to the ground. She cries out in rage, as the two of you roll about, struggling for the gun. Suddenly, the gun goes off! It strikes her in the chest!
She goes limp, and you roll off of her, grabbing the gun. Suddenly, as she breathes her last, the gun fades out of existance! It just vanishes from your hands!
Then, before your confused eyes, she slowly fades until she doesn't exist either! What's happening, you wonder, then with horror, notice your own hands turning transparent. Moments before you also vanish from existance, you can't help but wish you at least knew what she had been doing on your ship.
Then you are gone.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>You step through the doorway, and instantly feel that sensation again - the feeling of walking through an invisible wall, like passing through a sheet of water. Your sleeping quarters are now quite different to how they had looked an instant ago...
Firstly, the bed is made. You can't remember ever having made your bed. Secondly, and more disturbingly to you, the sheets are bright pink with little white bunny rabbits on them!
You suddenly hear footsteps behind you, and spin around to see a woman wearing a pilot's uniform, standing in the passageway, outside the room. She looks up from a clipboard she was reading, and her jaw drops as she sees you looking back at her. You can see the cogs turning inside her mind, as she tries to find words to say, and her first instinct is to shout, "Get the hell out of my sleeping quarters!"
> You ask what she is doing on your ship - and what did she do to your sleeping quarters?
"What are you doing on my ship? HOW did you get on my ship? And what did you do to my sleeping quarters! I mean - bunny rabbits on the bed?" you growl at her incredulously.
"Your ship? Your ship! What the blazes are you talking about! The Andromeda is my ship! I've run this vessel for six years now!" she growls, stalking into your/her sleeping quarters, and brandishing a pistol, which she proceeds to wave in front of your face!
"The Andromeda has been under my command for twelve years," you growl back at her, "It was my father's ship before me, and I don't recall either him, or myself, selling it to anyone else!"
"The Andromeda wasn't your father's ship - it was my father's ship!" she shouts back at you, waving her gun some more. "And it was my grandfather's ship before him, and my great-grandfather's before him!"
Something crazy is going on, and your brain is hurting just trying to work it out. A suspicion is creeping into your mind. "My name is Michael Dobson," you tell her, hoping an introduction, and an attempt at being diplomatic, might stop her waving the gun in your face. If it accidentally went off...
Her jaw drops, "No, it can't be..." She shakes her head in disbelief, "No, that was just a crazy tale, just mad talk - none of it could be true!"
"None of what could be true?" you ask, not sure you like the sudden change in her.
"My... My grandfather's name was Michael... My name is... I'm Susan Dobson," she says, looking you up and down, and inspecting you properly for the first time. She lowers the gun, then drops it forgotten to the floor.
"You're saying you're my granddaughter? That's crazy! That's..." you realise that maybe it is not so crazy after all. Something has happened to your starship. What if something had happened half-way through the jump, and your ship was indeed stranded in the extra-dimension of Light Space. Who knows how your ship, or even you, might be affected. Could this location on your starship actually take you to another moment in time - somewhere into the future?
"Tell me, why would you think you were my granddaughter?" you ask, softly.
Her eyes glaze over, as she loses herself to memories, "My grandfather used to tell wild tales. No one really believed him, and by the time I was born, he wouldn't talk about it. My mother, though, she said that my grandfather was in a starship accident once. He used to say that he met people from the past and the future. Everyone thought he was crazy, but other than that, he was perfectly normal. People said that the starship accident did something to him, and that's why he would make those wild claims. People said he was just dreaming, or drunk. Once though, before he died, he asked me a strange question... 'Remember when we were aboard the Andromeda together?' he asked me. I guess if he was you, then this, here and now, is what he was talking about. He said he would never have made it back if it wasn't for me..."
"So, I obviously get out of here alive then," you say as much to yourself as to her. "Karl and I made a starship jump, but we didn't appear at our destination - I think I'm still trapped inside of Light Space somehow. Strange things are happening as I move about my ship. When I step through that doorway, I'm back aboard my version of the ship, and this is my sleeping quarters, but when I step back in here, it's your sleeping quarters - somewhere in the future..."
Suddenly the ship shudders, and you both grab hold of furniture so you don't fall over.
"What was that?" you both ask at the same time. Suddenly a warning klaxon blares through the ship.
"I've got to get to the bridge!" she shouts, forgetting about you and the whole 'mixed-up time' issue. She rushes out the door and down the passage. Instinctively you rush out the door to follow her, and suddenly pass through that invisible wall again. She vanishes from sight as you step into the passageway - and return to your own time.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>Feeling a little uncertain as to what you might find, you nervously walk to the rear of the cockpit, and press the door release button. The rear door slides open and...
The central passageway that runs from the cockpit, through the ship, to the cargo bay at the rear, looks exactly as it always does. Lights in the ceiling illuminate the steel passage. Metal grating panels on the floor allow access to various wires and cables that run through the ship, beneath your feet. Door hatches are set into the passage walls at different points along its length, leading to various rooms aboard the ship. Far at the other end, you see a large hatch, that opens into the cargo bay at the other end of the starship.
Everything looks completely - suddenly there is a shearing of light and form, as a section of wall about half way down the passage blurs outwards into the passage, in an array of colourful streaking lines - then suddenly flattens out again to look like a normal section of wall once more. Perhaps things aren't as completely normal as they seem...
You say a short prayer that the motion blurring phenomena won't happen anywhere near you.
> You remain in the Cockpit for a while, just to be safe - that is, if anywhere on this ship is safe...
After seeing what the strange warping phenomena did to Karl, and seeing the wall bulge in a similar way further down the passage, you are not too sure it would be safe to walk through the starship.
However, as you stand in the Cockpit, wondering what to do, you realise a few things. Firstly, if you stay here, there's no guarantee that the air around you won't warp, and you won't be killed. Secondly, if you are stuck half-way between a Light Space Jump, then the only way out that you can think of, would be to reactivate the Jump Drive, and hope that it finishes the jump, and returns you to normal space.
However, the Jump Drive Chamber is at the rear of the ship, to one side of the Cargo Bay. That means, if it is possible to reactivate the drive, you will have to travel through the ship to get to it... The fact that the rest of the ship doesn't even show on the ship's computer is in no way reassuring to you.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>These are the Footink Caves. Secluded away from the outer world, secret, safe in a mountain and reachable only through long, dark tunnels. It’s been your home your whole life, and you love it dearly.
Despite being at a marriable age, you live with your mother and father and help them manage their modest housestead. Today you harvest moss by scraping it away from the cave wall. Magic balls of light help you see.
You manage to get a decent amount into your bucket. Enough to eat well tonight. The moss will grow back over the next few days.
You bring it back to your house, which is essentially a sturdy tent. There isn’t a single flat surface in the caves. Everywhere you go, you must be careful of your step. In many places, you must use your hands and knees to crawl and climb.
Your mother, Rosimary, is weaving. “Thanks, Mary,” she says as you lay out what you gathered. “We need water now.”
Sure enough, the water tub is nearly empty. You would like to take a rest, but what must be done must be done.
“I’ll go,” you say. And you do.
---
After a few minutes of walking, you arrive at a large cavern that opens up to the light blue sky. Big tents and clay houses form bustling tiers, and there’s even a few green plants. High on the far side, there’s a shining white building. The Temple. You feel awe when you see it, as you always do. It glints beautifully.
A stream of water flows from high above. It forms a pool at the lowest point, and in the middle of that pool is a powerful whirlpool which, as far as anyone knows, spirals down forever.
You make your way there and fill your bucket. The water's crystal clear and icy cold.
“Did you hear ‘bout the magician?” says a voice behind you.
You turn around and see your cousin, Westerly. You don’t know what he’s talking about.
He reads your quizzical expression. “The talkers are talking. Apparently, there’s a magician in the caves. And not the one from the Temple.”
Only the Temple priests are allowed to practice magic here. Anyone else who does is evil. Terribly evil. That's what you've been raised to believe. You stand up fully. “That’s impossible. The priests would never allow it.”
He shrugs. “That’s what the talkers are talking.”
You refuse to believe it. Gossips are by nature often liars, after all. The priests would never allow a foreign magician to come into Footink.
A girl runs up to Westerly's side. “Westerly!” she exclaims. She pulls him away, looking perhaps jealous of you.
“See you at prayers tomorrow!” Westerly waves.
You smile and wave.
> You go back.
You climb through tunnels and tunnels, trying not to think about what Westerly told you. You don’t like danger or conflict, or anything strange.
Slowly, you become aware of a strange feeling - a feeling of something watching you. The caves are pretty full, so that's not unusual. But this is different.
It's different here. It's different…here…
Oh dear. It dawns on you you’re in the wrong place. This is a dark, empty tunnel – so small, you have to stoop low. You must’ve been thinking so hard, you took a wrong turn. You have no idea where you are.
Never mind, never mind. It’s no big deal – you’ll just go back. Your sense of direction is pretty good.
Before you fully turn around, though, you glimpse something shiny and reflective. The magic lights, which here are dim and sparse, don’t have a reflective look to them. It’s the kind of reflective light that you only see in gems and eyes-
And what you’re looking at right now, you realize, is eyes. There’s a person crouched in a dark corner, watching you, cloaked in a strange kind of cloak you don’t see in Footink. It has a hood and long sleeves – too hot for the caves, too hot to come from around here…
You hear a whisper coming from him – something in a strange language. He points a finger at you.
Even though you know you need to run, your arms and legs are stiff with fear. Could this be the magician Westerly talked about? But how? And why you? You curse your stupidity in coming here. Why, oh why?
“You. Will. Not. See.” Four words, evenly spaced.
You take that as your cue, and turn back and run. Within the first few steps, your footing comes out from under you and you trip and fall. Your head hits hard against the rock, but you don't lose consciousness.
You start crawling. Fast, fast. You get your momentum again and run. He doesn't appear to follow you.
You debate whether to tell your parents what just happened. If you were truly cursed, you might bring them harm by telling them. Not to mention you might be shunned for bringing bad magic. You get an awful feeling that, if you tell anyone, terrible things will happen.
You think you should keep this secret.<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>The thug is right in front of me, picking on people weaker than himself. The very definition of a coward. Attacks unarmed people, specifically chooses those that cannot defend themselves. It's people like this that make project: Eden sound like a good idea. He hasn't spotted me yet. He probably wouldn't if I glowed in the dark, dimwitted asshole. He has a knife, but it's not like that's much of a challenge, not for a Homo Perfectus.
REMAINING HEALTH: 100%
> You attack the thug from behind.
I come at the thug from the shadows and punch him across his face. I seem to have forgotten to increase my strength, so the hit doesn't take him out. Panicing, he swiftly swipes the knife at me, and barely manages to slash my arm. I then deliver a second hit, and this one takes him out. The fact that a punk like him managed to get a hit at me is more painful than the actual wound.
REMAINING HEALTH: 85%<|endoftext|>
<|startoftext|>The sound of screams assault you as you wake.
Though it is so fundamentally different, the screaming is in another way similar to the shouts of the cheering crowds that stood before you not too long ago, paying their due to the great hero Tainea.
Paying homage to you.
It takes about half a second before the screams truly register in your mind and you leap to your feet. The single, small window you have allowed yourself for this hiding place of yours confirms that it is daytime. You gaze through it, seeing nothing out of the ordinary until your eyes catch a glimpse of a sword blade. Turning your head, you see that two men stand in the village square, one of them cloaked with a hood over his head. The other, you take a moment to recognize.
Then you realize that it is Ghall, the blacksmith here! He is -- was, judging by the weapon driven through his heart -- the most skilled at his art for miles around, the one who arms the town's guards. Without him, they will not have any weapons and therefore will be much less able to defend the village.
Several others lie dead on the ground, you realize, and the sword was stained with blood even before it was buried up to the hilt in Ghall's flesh. The murderer pulls the blade out, turning towards a guard who wields a bow and is approaching him. He points his sword towards the guard and mutters a single word under his breath, you can tell by the movement of his lips. He isn't talking loudly enough for the guard to make out the word, you can tell.
Even if he had, it wouldn't have mattered. The corpse slumps to the ground, its head completely incinerated. Your jaw drops and you take count of the weapons you hold. You haven't seen anything like this since the Dayel! There are a lot of daggers on you, hidden in every conceivable place. A wrist-bow on your left arm creates only a slight bulge in the sleeves of your robes. It is activated by a rather complicated mechanism of Ghall's own design. A vial of acid hangs from your belt, something that you have only ever used in last-ditch situations because you carry just one at a time. They are quite hard to come by, especially inside the Dayel's realm. You intend to save that one for the creature you detected which no doubt commands Ghall's murderer. Finally, there is a crossbow strapped to your right hip.
You shed the robe that hid all of these weapons and rush out towards the village square. Yes, you're thought to be dead, but with the guard's death there will be no witnesses. As you come out of the door, the killer gets up from the corpse that he was bent over, the one of the guard. He (it?) looks towards you and points the sword at you. You estimate that you have about a second to live, unless you stop him, and quickly.
> You try to dodge the attack
You ready your weapons, drawing two daggers out of their sheaths, but knowing that you don't have enough time to get over to him. At the same time, you're running to the side. The sword follows your movement, but you can see that your attacker's concentration is breaking. You are spiraling ever closer to him.
That probably wasn't a very good idea. You see the steel flash, and instinctively drop to the ground in a roll. A searing pain hits you, but you quickly realize that you're still alive. The agony does not interfere with your roll as it's performed almost entirely on momentum and it's gone as abruptly as it came. Jumping to your feet, you stab at him.
The attacker seems to have recovered quickly from his attack despite the concentration it took. You're now certain that he is under the command of the Dayel's minion. However, that knowledge is not much use when he knocks your dagger out of your hands, and, in the same fluid motion, twists his weapon, lunges forward, and strikes you on the forehead with the pommel of his weapon, causing you to drop your other dagger and shoot your wrist-bow into the ground.
A sweeping foot brings you to the ground, and you lie there, groaning, for a few moments. The attack approaches you, changing his grip on his sword. It's two-handed, but also backhanded, and you can see he's preparing for the finishing blow. You try to roll to the side as the blade comes down towards you but his foot stops you partway and instead of hitting you in the chest he strikes your back.
The blade pierces your heart, comes out of the front of you, and buries itself in the ground. The pain lasts an incredibly small amount of time, and then --<|endoftext|>
You can’t perform that action at this time.