Archive for the ‘Quandary’ Category

Choose Your Own Adventure

July 17, 2016

1. You stand alone in a great white room. Above you, the roof is covered with glow in the dark stars. Their are four walls, which, if they had been straight would have formed a square. Instead, each wall curved outward, making the room almost the shape of a flower. At the outermost parts of each of these semi-circular walls is a door, and each door has a symbol above it.

If you want to walk through the door with a moon, go to 5.

If you want to walk through the door with a star, go to 10.

If you want to walk through the door with a flower, go to 15.

If you want to walk through the door with a scythe, go to 20.

2. You walk a short distance out into the flower fields, trying to find a place that looks comfortable to lie down, where you will have maybe a slope to put your head, where nothing you are allergic to will cause problems. After a few minutes of searching you find the perfect place. You lie down, looking out at the many colors that spread before you. Your eyes drift closed, and you fall asleep. You are killed while you sleep. You die without ever waking up or reacting.


3. Tramping out through the woods, you head towards the moving lights. As you get close, you can hear voices, people speaking in a language you cannot understand. The voices start in a conversational tone, but as you get closer and closer, the voices sound angrier and angrier, until you finally get close enough to see the source of the lights. Several individuals holding torches appear to have stopped their march in favor of some kind of confrontation. The tallest individual, dressed in a thick red coat, with long blonde hair down to their knees, appears to be circling around opposite a much smaller man, dressed in a parka, with short cropped brown hair. The blonde person has their back to you, but you can see that both combatants are holding a knife in one hand and a torch in the other. Standing back, away from these two, are three more, of varying appearances, apparently content to watch the battle.

If you want to attack the blonde, go to 8.

If you want to attack the man in the parka, go to 13.

If you want to try and stop the fight, go to 18.

If you want to sneak back out into the woods, go to 12.

4. You pull yourself together, giving yourself a moment to recover from the head trauma involving the tree, then pretend to bow before charging forward, preparing to take the woman’s knife and drive it into her. She moves back, her fair billowing in front of her like a cloud of shining silver, and you step into it, blinded and surrounded by hair. You feel movement, glimpse a bit of her body beyond the mass of silver that surrounds you, and try to strike, but again she disappears. Then suddenly you feel pressure on your knee and shoulder. You are hurled to the ground, your head swinging down first, crashing into it, stunning you again. The woman is on top of you, stabbing down with her knife, once only. She is gone. She is walking away. You can feel yourself bleeding out. The woman walking away, your blood on her knife is the last sight you see.


5. You walk through the door with a moon symbol above it. It is dark as you walk through, and you cannot make out where you are until after you have closed the door behind you and your eyes adjust to the dimness. The only light is coming through tiny openings in the walls of the tiny room you find yourself in. Once your eyes have adjusted, you realize you appear to be in a tiny wooden outhouse. The door you just came through is closed behind you, but the other three walls of this tiny space are made of thin planks of wood, and the moon can be seen through the cracks, shining down on this small outhouse out in the middle of a forest. The smell is not so great, so you seek to move on quickly.

If you want to return to the room you just came from, go to 1.

If you want to explore the forest, go to 6.

6. You step out into the forest, into the dimly lit night. Looking back at the outhouse, it seems perfectly normal from the outside. You walk around it, and find nothing but empty forest in the space where you had just come from a few moments ago. An owl hoots, and the wind blows, chilling you a little, your clothing insufficient for outside excursions. Scanning the area around this fantastical outhouse, you spot a few notable landmarks. Off in the distance, you can spot several dots of light, bobbing up and down, and moving steadily perpendicular to your gaze. In another direction you see a tall tower, with menacing spikes, and shadows moving inside. Finally, just at the edge of your detectable hearing range, a faint tune can be heard, a whimsical little bit of music, coming from deeper in the woods.

If you want to retreat back from whence you came, go to 1.

If you want to head towards the moving lights, go to 3.

If you want to approach the spiky tower, go to 9.

If you want to follow the barely heard music, go to 12.

7. You decide to try and get a better look at this giant glowing orb. You decide the first step is to head for higher ground, and you spot a tall hill off in the distance. You move in that direction, running through the flowers just because you can. When you reach the top of the hill, you can see the orb better, and it looks like it might be some kind of giant cage, holding onto something very bright. From this new perspective you can also see a ladder in the distance, which seems to climb up and up, all the way to the roof, and thus the sun.

If you seek the sun, go to 14.

If you want to explore another part of the flower area, go to 26.

If you want to return to the white room, go to 1.

8. Moving swiftly, you seek to strike the tall, blonde warrior before they even know you are present. The parka wearing man spies your assault, and the blonde giant must have seen something in his face, for the body turns around, fast as lightning, the movements disguised by the curtain of platinum hair that has not turned as swiftly as the body. An arm extends out from the shifting pale locks, and before you can react, the knife that arm is holding has been thrust between your ribs and into your heart. The last thing you see before you breathe your last breath is the incredibly beautiful face of the blonde woman you had sought to strike down. She gazes at you for a moment as you fall, but turns away, back to her fight before you even strike the ground. Your life lasts as long as her attention span, and you are dead before you hit the ground.


9. You walk towards the strange spiky tower, the crescent moon barely giving you enough light to find your way. As you get closer, you continue to see movement at the top of the tower, shapes darting this way and that. The tower looms over you when you finally reach its base, extending up and up into the sky. From this perspective you can no longer see the shapes atop the tower, only an ever extending black stone obelisk. Their is a great wooden door at the base of the tower, gold colored handles set into ebony structure. Alternately, the spikes on the tower seem close enough together that you might consider climbing the thing, spike by spike.

If you want to go in through the front door, go to 36.

If you want to scale the tower by its spikes, go to 45.

If you want to flee from the fearsome tower, go to 16.

10. You open the door with the star, stepping inside the room beyond. It is a simple room, much like the one you left, but instead of concave walls, it has convex, and instead of four doors, it has only the one that you had entered from. The room contains only you, and two staircases, one reaching up into the heavens, the other down into the depths. There is nothing else here but whiteness.

If you want to ascend the stairs, go to 35.

If you want to descend the stairs, go to 39.

If you want to turn around and go out the door you came in, go to 1.

11. You stand shakily, looking at the blonde giant and her followers, for you now understand she is the leader, the parka wearing man, one who rebelled. The others look to the blonde woman, and the blonde woman looks at you. She speaks, and she gestures, and though you do not know her tongue, her meaning is unmistakable. You are to bow, to submit yourself to her, or you too will be like the man in the parka. Servitude or death.

If you want to flee this woman, go to 16.

If you want to submit yourself to her, go to 24.

If you want to attack her, go to 4.

12. Moving deeper into the woods, you find yourself drawn towards the faint music you had heard. The deeper you walk, the less you feel able to resist its siren like influence. You trudge onward, losing feeling in your feet, as you seem to faintly understand you are now tramping through snow. The trees get closer and closer together, the faint moonlight less and less able to bring light into the darkness of these woods. Still, you still are able to see, everything beginning to appear illuminated by some sort of inner light, a green luminescence that seems to change hue subtly with the rhythm of the music. After an indeterminate amount of time, you find yourself in a clearing, a small frozen pond in the center. The music feels as if it is coming from below the ice. As you step to the edge, you can see a hazy shape through the ice, something almost like a woman, but with much longer limbs, and great elk horns atop her head. The music intensifies, but somehow you seem to have been freed from its influence. The long limbed elk woman appears to be facing towards you from under the ice.

If you want to break the ice, and free the elk-woman, go to 17.

If you want to flee into the woods, and escape this damned music, go to 16.

If you want to walk out onto the ice, and dance, go to 27.

If you want to strike down this unholy monster, go to 19.

13. You leave the cover of the trees, entering into the light of the torches. Making sure not to get too close to the blonde giant, you charge towards the parka wearing man, wielding a large and heavy tree branch you picked up before leaving your place in the trees. Shouts of surprise can be heard from all of the torch wielding people at your approach. The parka man’s face fills with fear as he realizes he now faces two opponents. When you close within striking distance of the man, you hear the sound of running behind you. You swing at the parka man, but before your swing can connect, you feel yourself lifted off the ground, and hurled through the air. You hit your head on a tree, and a moment later you regain consciousness. Apparently in that time, the blonde giant, who you now see is an incredibly beautiful woman, had closed the distance with the parka wearing man, and slit his throat. Shaking your head, you stand up on shaky legs, facing the blonde giant, who’s knife glitters red. Behind her you see the other torch wielders, all eyes now on you.

Go to 11.

14. You make your way further across the field to the ladder. When you reach it, and look up, you get dizzy. It just keep going up and up, with no breaks. You are not sure if you can climb that far. Still, you have come this far. You begin to ascend the ladder. Rung by rung you climb. At first you occasionally look over your shoulder, out at the wonderful view below you, but soon your arms become too tired for that, your fear too great. Your arms burn as you keep climbing, the roof never seeming to be getting any closer. The smells change as you climb, different flower scents carried by different air currents. You are certain you can’t go on, you could not possibly keep climbing. You are almost there, just a little more. At last, you arrive at the top of the ladder. There is nothing but a thin bridge, with no rails that goes from the edge of the wall, all the way out to the place where the sun hangs down below. The roof which had seemed so far away before, is now too close, making you feel strangely claustrophobic in the largest room you have ever been in in your life. Crouched, you carefully edge your way along the walkway, moving slowly towards the massive chain that holds up the sun. When you get to the edge, you look down, right into the blazing core. At first it is too bright, your eyes watering and burning as you strive to figure this thing out. After a bit of squinting and some shading of the eyes, you manage to spot a hatch that goes inside the glowing orb, just at the base of the chain.

If you try and climb the chain down into the sun, go to 21.

If you want to explore other rooms, climb down the ladder, then go to 1.

If you want to explore more of this room, climb down the ladder, then go to 26.

15. You enter the door with the flower. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust as you enter the room, it is so bright and colorful. Flowers spread out before you for miles, every imaginable color and shape. At first you think you have stepped outside, into the sunlight, but upon a second examination you can see distant walls, and you can just barely make out a ceiling up above the clouds. What had at first appeared to be the sun, now is visible as hanging from the roof, fastened with a thick chain. You look around for landmarks, but really see few. There are the flowers, the sun, and the distant walls of the room. It is a beautiful scene.

If you want to take a nap in the flowers, go to 2.

If you want to try and get a better look at the “sun”, go to 7.

If you want to explore the edges of this room, go to 26.

If you want to return back into the white room, go to 1.

16. You flee, fear driving your steps, faster and faster. You take no stock of your surroundings, nothing mattering except that you get away from what you have just seen. There is nothing but darkness, the sound of your feet, and the sound of your heart, pounding harder and harder in your chest. Every time you start to calm down, start to feel safe, you see a blurred shape, or hear a strange sound, and the panic returns, driving you ever onward. You run and you run, your shoes falling to pieces, your skin and clothes torn by the terrain you have ignored in your haste. Your body screams at you to stop, but you cannot, the fear refusing to retreat. Your legs are lead, your swinging arms burn, your lungs gasp breaths from the air, as the sound of your heart becomes louder and louder, until suddenly it is no more. Suddenly your heart does not beat, your legs do not move. You are on the ground. You cannot breathe. You cannot move your body. You can move only your eyes, and then even that is taken from you as your eyelids fall down. There is nothing.


17. Taking a nearby stone, you smash the ice to pieces, working quickly to free the strange fey-like creature you can see trapped underneath. After several hard and cold minutes of work, the ice is broken, and the long limbed, antler wearing woman rises from the depths of the frozen pond, watering pouring away from her, or disappearing into steam and mist. Standing at her full height, the fey-woman is more than four meters, her antlers breaking five. She gazes down at you from this impressive height, and you feel her eyes boring into your soul, feel your secrets and ambitions laid bare before this mysterious being. She extends a hand a hand towards you.

If you strike down this foul creature, go to 19.

If you kiss the back of the hand, go to 38.

If you shake the hand, go to 29.

If you flee from this fearsome creature, go to 16.

18. You step into the light, shouting for the fighters to put down their weapons and talk the situation out. The group is startled by your presence, and begins speaking again in a language you cannot understand. You turn to mimicry, trying to get the pair to throw down their weapons. The parka wearing man’s eyes keep jumping between you and the blonde giant. The giant meanwhile walks slowly towards you. Now that you can see the front of this individual it becomes clear that the blonde giant is a woman, and an incredibly beautiful one at that. As you continue to try to get across your ideas, the woman steps close to you, then charges forward with an almost inhuman speed. You are looking at her face, then the only thing that remains in that space is the tail end of her incredibly long hair. You find yourself being lifted high into the air by the woman, and hurtled backwards into a tree. You strike your head, and are stunned for several moments. You can hazily see the woman move just as fast towards the parka wearing man as she had advanced on you, and you watch as he falls back, blood spraying from his neck. You manage to get yourself to your feet. You are facing the giant woman, her knife dripping with blood. She and the other torch bearers are all now looking at you.

Go to 11.

19. As you move to strike at the unholy thing you can see before you, it shifts in form, becoming something of pure darkness, a living shadow. The world falls away, and it is just you and the shadow, wrestling with one another, using no weapons but your arms and legs, your your knees, elbows, and teeth. It is a vicious, bloody, pure struggle between human flesh, and inky shadow. Even as you draw forth new reserves of strength to grab and grip, break and twist, the thing you are battling seems just as filled with resolve. Neither you nor it can gain an advantage, every time one seems on the edge of gaining one, the other gets a second wind, breaking the hold, twisting away from the choke, wrenching free from the bite. For a moment, the two of you break away from each other, the thing regaining its old form. You stare ahead at this unholy creature.

If you want to flee this battle, go to 16.

If you want to keep at it, continue the struggle, go to 19.

If you want to call upon your secret name, go to 23.

If you want to seek peace, go to 28.

20. You step through the scythe marked door, a tingle running down your spine as you do. Upon entering the room, you see it has been well marked, for the specter of death itself hangs in the air before you, empty skull grinning, a great sinister laugh seeming to come from every direction and none. The door you came in from has vanished, and you stand alone in the void, facing death itself.

If you want to do battle with death, go to 19.

If you want to challenge Death to a board game, go to 25.

If you want to flee from the specter of death, go to 16.

21. You lower yourself over the edge of the platform, then reach over to the chain, dropping down and gripping tight. Now that you are on the massive chain, you slowly inch your way down, getting closer and closer to the sun. It isn’t getting any hotter, only brighter, which is a good sign, and after a few minutes of climbing, you can feel your feet touch the surface of the sphere. You stay holding the chain, frightened that you might just slide right off the massive structure, but it seems like it has pretty good traction, so you let go, making your way to the doorway you had spotted from above. You feel your way to a handle, unable to look down directly for fear of blindness, and pull it open. Still not looking, you lower yourself into the sun. You open your eyes a moment later when you sense that it is not as bright in here as it on the outside. You look around the space, and it almost seems like some sort of lab. There are nobs and nozzles, buttons and switches. Most noticeable is a large indicator, showing that the light is almost gone. Even as you notice this, the room starts flashing red, warning indicators and a robotic voice asking for more light, explaining that if it does not receive some concentrated light, it will go into emergency shutdown. The hatch you came in through closes, with no handle on this side. It looks like you need some light.

If you try and fix the sun, go to 30.

22. You close your eyes for a moment, and when you open them again, they burn with the light of go intuition. You strike at the board, at death’s position, every move sending shock waves felt both in and out of the game. Death was not prepared for this surge of vitality, falling back, stone by stone, retreating from your reckless ambition, your attempt to come back from an incredible deficit. Your white stones surround and entrap, pursue and consume, the black stones of death seeming to fall away from the board in a cascade of captured pieces. When the dust settles and the stones lie still, the board itself has broken from the strain. Every black piece is gone, only your stones remain, death finding no liberties, no life on the board. With this defeat, death itself seems to have faded away, the skeleton in the tattered cloak leaving only the cloak behind. With victory secured, you take the cloak of death, and cast it around yourself. You am become death, destroyer of worlds.


23. Looking deep within yourself, you find something even you had not fathomed. A secret lived within you all this time, and it took this conflict, this battle with the creature that stood before you to tear it forth from the depths of your soul. You gaze at your enemy, your eyes no longer filled with battle-rage, your mind clear of all fear and all doubts. Your enemy can see this change in you, and it understands somehow, it knows that the tables have turns, the tide has shifted. Now there is fear in its eyes. Now there is a shaking of the earth, as the planet quivers in excitement of your proclamation. You speak, in a soft voice, barely above a whisper, but the creature cannot help but hear, no thing animate or in would dare hide the words that you speak. The creature listens to your secret name, and it is no longer a creature, no longer even a living thing. That which was once your enemy is now merely a small shrub. You are about to smile, but then you realize your mistake. You understand that the world too was listening, the world had heard your secret name. And you yourself had heard it. That which had once been a planet, that which had once been you, all that had heard that name which could not be unheard, all were shrubs. Floating in space, no longer a part of any story, the many shrubs who had once been the world floated. You are one among them, a shrub like any other, though a shrub with a secret name.


24. Having seen this woman’s strength and speed, you decide discretion is the better part of valor. You give the woman a bow. She walks over to you, a presses you further down, into a position of absolute supplication. After a moment of this, she drags you to your feet, then points to the dead parka guy. Looks like you get to have his stuff. After putting on the parka and the backpack, and relighting the torch, you fall into line with the group. You walk together with the others, listening to them speak in a language you do not know. The travel takes days. Their are a few meals each day, mostly meat that the giant blonde woman provides, but mostly there is walking. At last you arrive at the destination, a run down old castle, up on the side of a mountain. When the inhabitants of the castle see you coming, they all rush out, hundreds of them, and each bows to the blonde woman just as you had been made to do. You are lead inside, and put to work. You wash dishes, cook, clean, help out with whatever needs helping. After the first few days, you decide now is the time for choice. You can try and get out of this, or the routine will consume you, and you will never escape.

If you want to try and escape, go to 16.

If you want to try and lead a rebellion, go to 41.

If you want to accept your fate, go to 32.

25. Casting fear aside, and trusting in myth and legend, you speak to the specter of death, asking it if it might be interested in some kind of board game. After a few minutes of miming with you, and a brief moment where death retreats to its board game closet, you are facing death down at the game of go. The game starts out well enough, death being a patient fellow, not too aggressive, but you soon find it difficult to keep your shapes alive, death being apparently quite good at finding it in go. You are on the brink of defeat, a huge shaping having been captured by death.

If you want to flee from the board, go to 16.

If you want to go ham or go home, go to 22.

If you want to surrender the game, go to 33.

26. You set forth across the flower fields, intent on learning more about this place. You decide to try and walk all the way across first, to check the opposite wall, maybe see if there are other doors. The smell of the field is wonderful, though after a few minutes you start to feel a little weirded out. Something is missing, something important. After another few minutes of much more nervous walking, you realize the problem. There is absolutely no noise. No birds chirping, no insects buzzing. You have not seen a single bee or ladybug, nothing in all these flowers. How are they getting fertilized? As if to contradict your hypothesis, you suddenly hear something. Its a buzzing sound. At first it is soft, but it grows louder and louder, beginning to drown out your very thoughts. You notice then that one of the things you had earlier supposed to be a cloud was descending rather rapidly towards you. It seems it is some kind of insect swarm. You try running, but it soon becomes obvious the insects are faster, so you turn to observe, see if there is anything you can figure out. As the bugs get closer, you are able to make them out as bees, hundreds of thousands of them. When it seems as though they are right upon you, as though you will be swarmed and killed, the bees seem to melt together. A hulking creature is formed from their aggregate. It still buzzes, despite its appearance now being closer to bear than bug. It roars a buzzy roar, and charges towards you.

If you wish to fight this unholy creature, go to 19.

If you wish to flee, go to 16.

27. You step out onto the ice, which cracks and shivers under your step. For a moment you simply listen, letting the haunting music that brought you to this place wash through you, fill your mind with strange thoughts. Then, begin to move, letting these thoughts take possession of your limbs, letting the music move your body into a manic, magical, mysterious dance. You can hear the ice shattering beneath your feet as you leap and step, stomp and twirl. The edges of the small pond seem to draw away from you, turning from pond to lake, then from lake to sea, an endless expanse of ice, all simply waiting to be danced upon. You dance, then you dance more. You continue to dance, filled with the spirit of the music. You are not tired, you are not bored, you are simply dancing. This continues forever.


28. You seek peace with the terrible creature before you. You stop for a moment, implore it to wait, hold itself back and listen. You speak then. You speak of the pain in the world, of inequality, of greed, or hatred. You speak of the things that make people fight, the trivial, stupid things that tear apart everything that takes so long to build. You then speak of the way to combat this, of the simple need for understanding, for an acceptance of differences, and a willingness to work together despite those, and perhaps even because of them. You speak of peace, of unity, and of a better tomorrow. Then you wait, seeing how it is that this strange fearsome creature you face will respond.

If you wait in hope, go to 31.

If you wait in despair, go to 34.

29. You shake the hand that had been extended out before you. A strange smile extends across the elk-woman’s face. She bends down, turns her head, and kisses you. It is a terrible, wonderful, magical, horrifying, indescribable experience. Your body and emotions are pulled this way and that by lust, by disgust, by existential horror. She is something other than what you are, a part of another world, and this kiss gives you a glimpse, a moment of her existence, something entirely outside your experience. Your mind flashes with images. You see stairs, extending ever upwards. You grasp something at the top of the stairs. Then you see a giant, with hair like shimmering steel. You can sense evil from this giant, a great and twisted wrongness. Then, the kiss ends, you recover, you open your eyes, and you are back at the white room where it all began.

Go to 1.

30. You work frantically, trying to fix the sun you have found yourself trapped inside. You read faqs on the blinking screens, you look at the wires and switches underneath the panels. As the blinking lights dim, and the warning sounds get softer and softer, you figure out how this all works. You understand that the problem is light alone, that you need some kind of laser or something to re-power the system. With no such tool available to you, the lights go out, and you are trapped alone, in the dark, in the sun.


31. You wait in hope, prepared to accept the changed perspective and new belief in the bright future that you are sure this creature will soon come to accept. The creature seems to consider your words. It stands motionless for a moment, turning its head this way and that. Then, it smiles a terrible smile and tears you asunder, rejecting both your words and your very life. You are torn to shreds, your hope betrayed, your fears realized.


32. You accept your fate. The work is tiresome and dull, but you manage to make it worth it by succumbing to Stockholm syndrome and falling in love with your silver haired captor. You rarely see her, but you do the work for her, wanting her to find you valuable. You live your life among others like you, all working, all slaving away, all in the service of their queen. You learn the language eventually, and fall into the usual patterns of life, but you never leave the castle again, you never think about working against your queen again. Eventually, you get sick, there is no medicine here, and you die in your sleep.


33. Death appreciates your understanding of the position, and shakes your hand, which is a bit of a creepy, though undeniably cool, experience. Afterwords, turning to notes instead of miming, death explains that it is looking for an assistant to help out. It needs someone to learn sign language and translate for it when it makes scary pronouncements, and it also needs someone to help it with some of the paperwork involved in the whole death process. It figures a good go opponent would not be a terrible fit for this position, and offers you the job. Considering the alternatives, you accept, and soon begin your eternal mission as death’s right hand person, helping death with its taxes, making sure the right people die at the right time, and occasionally playing some board games. So begins eternity.


34. You wait in despair. While you know your words to be true, you understand that the only way for the world to truly have a future is if petty differences can be rejected, you can’t possibly believe that a creature such as this, one so very different, one who’s differences seem perhaps not so petty, could possibly accept your argument, turn away from this violent path. You close your eyes, you accept the death you know to be coming. For a long time there is nothing, then you feel soft pressure from all around you. You open your eyes and you see the strange creature, eyes filled with tears, hugging you. Though you and it are different indeed, this gesture begins a new chapter, a new friendship between humankind, and that which is outside, that which is different. Though you cannot communicate with words, you forge a strong bond of friendship with the creature whom you had once feared, and the two of you together go forth in the world, spreading a message of harmony, of forgiveness, and of friendship.


35. You climb ever upwards. Your legs ache, and your back is killing you, but you manage to convince yourself again and again that the next twist of the staircase will be its last, that its just a few hundred more steps to the top. Eventually after entirely too long, these false promises turn true, and you stand at the pinnacle, the very top of stairs, looking out over a vast landscape, a crescent moon overhead. Before you are a number of individuals wearing dark brown robes, all huddled around something or other in the center of the space you are in. You approach, and the robed figures scatter, moving to the edges of the tower, and all bowing down before you. The thing that they had been huddled around turns out to be a small machine, which, on closer inspection, turns out to be a laser gun. Not what you were expecting at all, you pick up the weapon, methodically fiddling with the trigger. The folks in cloaks begin to chant, and the world fades away. You find yourself standing in the same open room you had started in, except now you have a laser gun.

Go to 1. Now that you have a laser gun, you have access to additional options. If you should choose to attack something, you can do so with your laser gun instead of whatever else is around by going to page 4X, where X is the last digit of the page you would have gone to had you not had a laser gun.

36. You enter into the great black tower, pulling open the lavishly decorated doors and boldly stepping into the foyer. Once your eyes adjust to the darkness, you think you can make out a huge staircase that ascends up and up, high into the tower. Apart from the staircase, their appears to be little else in the tower, at least initially. After making your way towards the staircase, you spot something else, another set of steps, this one descending down into the ground instead of up into the heights.

If you want to ascend the tower, go to 35.

If you want to descend into the depths, go to 39.

If you want to flee from this terrible place, go to 16.

37. You decide that it is not possible to escape while the queen yet lives. You convince the rest of the rebellion as much, and you all begin the plot to kill the queen. You wait and scheme, and at last the perfect moment arrives. The giant blonde woman has a great feast, where she consumes much, and drinks more, and at last she falls to her bed, asleep. All of rebel members grab the spears they had made, and move silently into the woman’s bedroom, after slaying her guard. You and they all surround the bed, and as one, stab your spears down into the bed, hoping to slay her before she even knows what is happening. The spears stab, but not quite all at once. One stabs first, and the woman feels it. She reacts faster than any human could, throwing her body off her bed, cut and nicked by the spears but not impaled. Off the bed and amongst the people of the rebellion she cannot be stopped. Bodies are hurled this way and that, spears are shoved back into their wielders, limbs are detached from their owners. She is a whirlwind of death. You last longer than most, but you too are taken down, impaled on your own spear. You live long enough to see the woman satisfied with her work, and going back to sleep in a room filled with corpses.


38. You kiss the majestic creatures hand. It nods, accepting your vow of service to its cause. It reaches down and grips your body, stretching your limbs like its own. You feel your body change, becoming something different. The strange elk-lady twists and shapes you, making you into an instrument of her will, a part of the forest and the music and the seasons. Your limbs are long and lanky, your body now covered in feathers, and you seem to have a beak. When you stretch out your arms you can feel the wind catch hold of the feathers and pull you into the air. You fly silently, a great white owl, watching for mice and rabbits, seeking your prey. Sometimes you have your hands and your limbs, sometimes you help the lady of the forest in her many tasks, but most days you are an owl. A great hunter, an eternal stalker of prey. You catch and eat a mouse. You are happy.


39. As you descend further and further down these stairs, the temperature rises, becoming hotter and hotter, more and more muggy. Sweat pours off you in waves. You are almost swimming down these stairs now. The stairs glow with a red heat, and you are thankful for your shoes, without which you would certainly be burning now. Eventually, the stairs stop and you are alone in a vast expanse of fire and brimstone. You see lava flowing in several places, and rocks red hot, on the edge of becoming magma themselves. You feel as though something is wrong with this situation, your mind flashing back to science books read so long ago. Before you can figure out what the problem is however, you find yourself not quite so alone. A beast has risen from the lava, a being of fire, of wicked wings and terrible claws. A sound like fingernails on a chalkboard can be heard as it drags itself, step by step out of the magma bath it had been resting in, and towards you, the heat coming off this creature putting all other such experiences you have had to shame.

If you want to strike down the unholy beast, go to 19.

If you want to flee from this create, go to 16.

If you want to try and talk it out, go to 28.

40. Thinking quickly, you draw forth your laser, searching for the right place to fire the weapon. After working with the machines around you for a bit you find the place where the light needs to be administered. You fit your laser into the slot, and hold the trigger down. You watch as the light bar creeps back upwards, your tiny laser some how able to supply this massive machine with its needs. The laser starts to get hot from the amount you are firing it, but before it reaches a dangerous point, the sun has been fully recharged. When it reaches the 100% level, many of the auxiliary systems come back online. You are able to read documentation on the sun, and discover it has a number of useful features, when provided with sufficient power. These functions include flight, sun beams, and telepathic control of giant cloud sized bee swarms. With the sun at your command, your future seems limitless.


41. You continue your work in the castle, but you plan and you plot. You work hard to learn the language of the people around you, and once you do, you begin to sow the seeds of dissent. A little whisper here, a rumor over there. Little by little you build yourself a small band of conspirators, all who wish to overthrow the queen, all who want freedom. You prepare the time and place, getting everyone ready for a moment of action. Then, there is division in the ranks. Some want revenge, to free all of the slaves by killing the queen. Others simply want to escape, start a new community far from the grasp of the woman who enslaved them all.

If you want to attack the blonde woman with your rebellion, go to 37.

If you want to escape into the countryside with your rebellion, go to 46.

42. Having transcended the narrative structure of the choose your own adventure story, you have achieved the final and greatest ending. You ascend beyond mortal time and space, all of the cosmos opening to your vision. You smell the birth of stars, feel the death of nations, and taste all the infinite possible light waves. Your victory is absolute and complete, marred only by its lack of origin, this victory having occurred outside the tyranny of cause and effect. When at last you strip back all that is, look at the very core of reality, you glimpse these words you are reading now.


43. Taking careful aim with your strange laser weapon, you fire at the man in the parka, piercing his body with a lance of pure light. The laser makes a terrible screeching sound as it fires, and the rest of the torch wielding folks all turn their gaze towards you. The blonde giant can now be seen to be a beautiful woman, though this beauty is hard to appreciate considering her sudden movement towards your position. You try to get your laser into position to defend yourself, but the woman is too fast. She kicks the weapon out of your hand, crushing it against a nearby tree, then she lifts you into the air, and hurls you out from your place in the trees, and into the light of the other torch wielders. The parka wearing man moans, apparently having survived your attack, though this lasts only a short while before the gigantic woman cuts his throat. You manage to stumble to your feet, and you stand facing the blonde, as well as the other folks with torches who stand behind her.

Go to 11.

44. The woman’s commanding gaze had shaken you a little, but you remember your laser gun. You are the one in control. You stare back at her, unafraid, then draw your weapon, firing it right at her center of mass. She is gone. At first you think the laser had disintegrated her, but you realize a moment later that she had seen your movement and had dodged faster than you thought possible. She had rolled to the side, and you quickly turn the gone to track her, but she can move her whole body faster than you can adjust your aim. You try again and again to get her in your sights, but again and again she rolls, ducks, and weaves out of vision. You back up, not wanting to let her close in on you, but you step on a root, and almost fall. You catch yourself, but the moment of distraction was all the woman needed to get an advantage. You didn’t see her grab the rock, but you feel the pain in your hand as your gun is knocked out of it. Fear clenches your stomach as you realize you are unarmed against this woman’s strength and speed. The blonde giant is upon you. She slams you to the ground, your head crashing against the same root you had almost tripped on, and she grabs the fallen laser gun. She examines it, then turns it towards you. A blaze of white.


45. You begin to climb up the tower, spike by spike, little by little. At first this is quite hard, as the spikes are pretty far apart at the bottom of the tower, but as you climb higher and higher the spikes become more and more dense. Step by step, moment by moment you continue up, ever upwards and onwards. Past a certain point, the density of the spikes has become so great that there is now no longer room for your body. Your attempts to continue lead to puncture wounds. Now with blood leaking out of several places, you begin to descend, giving up on your goal. The blood is leaving to fast however, and you begin to feel faint. Again and again you move incorrectly, spikes stabbing into you instead of you grabbing them. At last you stop trying to move, expecting to fall to your death. Instead it seems you have impaled yourself sufficiently to hold your body to the side of the tower. Your consciousness drifts in and out as your blood leaks away. As the night ends, and the sun comes across the side of the tower, your body can be seen, pressed against the tower, pierced and broken.


46. You convince your rebellion to escape instead of seeking revenge, having seen the terrifying force that woman was in combat. You and the other rebels prepare for the right moment, and at last it arrives. The woman has a late night of feasting and drinking, and when she at last falls asleep, you act. Holes had been dug slowly and surely over the last several weeks. The guards were disabled, people rebel members did not like were assassinated, and the whole group slips out through the holes, never waking the queen. You travel hard and fast, knowing that she will be after you. You wade through rivers, cross hard and rocky terrain, and do everything you can to avoid leaving a trail. Even after you are sure you have escaped you, you continue to travel for several more weeks, wanting to put distance between yourselves and the queen. Eventually, you all stop, and begin to build a civilization, starting a small town on the coast. It is a simple and hard life, but its good. For five years your town grows and expands, building and living. Then the queen finds you. You are slain to a man, your heads brought back to be mounted on the top of her castle. None shall escape her.


47. You convince the other members of the rebellion that the best way will be to kill the queen. As you prepare for the assassination, you carefully test your laser gun, which you had kept all this time. You and the others wait for the opportune moment. At last it occurs. The queen has a great feast in celebration of some victory and she eats and drinks much, staying up late into the night. When at last she retires to her room, that is when your rebels strike. All of you move together, surrounding the woman with long spears, but the first move is yours. You aim your laser gun, putting her head right in your sights. Everyone holds their breaths, hoping, praying for your success. You squeeze the trigger, sweat pouring down your face. The loud shriek of the laser blast deafens you, and the bright light blinds you, and when you can again perceive the world around you, the woman is dead, without a head. The rebels chortle in their joy. With the queen defeated, everyone is free. It takes a long time to convince everyone she is truly dead, and some of the former slaves are greatly saddened by this, having given their lives in her service. Still, after a little counseling and a good bit of social restructuring the castle becomes a democracy instead of a dictatorship, and the people of the castle live relatively happy lives, though honestly not much different in content than before the rebellion. You on the other hand feel listless, unwilling to settle down in this newly liberated location. After a few months of helping with the democracy process you take your laser gun and your parka, and head off for new adventure.


48. From your hiding spot in the trees, you decide to take the blonde giant out with your laser gun. You wait until they have all their attention focused on the parka wearing man, and then, in that moment you fire. The gun makes a terrible shrieking noise, and you see a lance of light blast through the giant. A hole is visible in the blonde, but amazingly they seem to still be moving, turning back towards you. You fire again and again at the blonde, even after seeing its strikingly beautiful face. The first strike seems to have disabled her however, and the next three or four finish the job. The blonde giant is a smoking husk, lying on the ground. The man in the parka and the other folks waiting around appear to be in shock. You step out from your hiding place, motioning towards the gun, warning them not to try anything. When you speak, the man in the parka nods, and speaks back in a language you understand. He explains that all of the rest were captives of the blonde giant, and that he had just been captured himself. He had managed to get a hold of a knife and was attempting to free himself when you helped him out. The others have been slaves for years, and the lady has a whole castle of slaves, so you just helped out a bunch of people. He mentions that he wanted to thank you for your help, that you have earned your freedom, whatever that means. He holds out his hand, saying he will take you far away from this place.

If you take the offered hand, go to 50.

If you flee from the offered hand, go to 16.

49. You draw your laser gun, take aim, and fire at the unholy creature before you. The thing howls a terrible howl, even as the gun you have fired makes a terrible shriek as well. The being has been injured, but is not dead. It advances on you, eyes filled with menace. You fire again and again, each time the creature falling back, or falling down, but each time it regains its feet, continues to move towards you, implacable, indefatigable. As the firing continues, the little gun you are holding begins to heat up, the continued fire being beyond its specifications. Still, you cannot let up, you cannot stop firing or it will reach you, it will tear you to pieces. The beasts body is filled with holes, it cannot be far from dead you think to yourself as your fingers blacken from the heat, your skin roasting and sizzling. You are right, though in the end it matters not. It at last closes the distance, strikes at you, and you put the gun in between yourself and the attack. The gun explodes, disintegrating both you and the creature you battled, nothing remaining but ash and regret.


50. You take the man’s hand, and suddenly you remember everything. You remember the horrible incident, the trial, your travel to the prison planet. You even remember being put into the mind-wipe machine. The parka wearing man is a guard who had gotten captured by one of the inmates, and because you saved him you have officially been freed from the inter-dimensional prison planet XanZirab IV. With your memories and your freedom, you say goodbye to your strange time here. You have the rest of your life to live.


How short this day.

October 4, 2009

At 4:30 PM October 4th I awoke from a fairly long slumber.  I had gone to bed at three the previous night but even so 13 hours of sleep is pretty dang long.  I awoke this day and went about the many things one does after they awake.  Ate some food, took out some garbage, answered some emails.  Later on I did some other random stuff and then went out to play some ping pong.  Now I end my day and am about to attempt to once again wage the epic battle known as falling asleep.  Now the strange thing about today is how fulfilled I feel.  Compared to many days I feel as though I have done more in this short day than on days that I have awoke at 8 or 7.  Why is this?  That question is all I really wish to ask.  Why?

What to do…

September 10, 2009

Today, I walked to a large cylindrical building in order that I might participate in what could be refered to as an “assembly”  It could also be called a “convocation” a “ceremony” or a “gathering of a bunch of people”  At this assembly I found myself facing a moral quandary.  It isn’t a moral quandary that is truly that important or that I think many people would have.  It isn’t even necessarily a “moral” quandary so much as a second guessing of some of my principles.  You see, while I was sitting viewing a series of presenters and listening to the words that they spoke, there were a few places in which people were either expected or not expected to stand.  I myself was sitting near a group of friends.  Here is where the danger lies.  I found myself mimicking what decisions the other three people in this line of friendly faces in regards to standing or sitting.  Several times they made a decision that was contrary to the group as a whole and I followed them at it.  My question is why?  Why did I do this?  Was it because I felt as they did about that particular moment and decided to do the same as they?  Or was it because they were doing it and I wanted to do what they were doing?  It becomes even more confusing when you factor in the few times when I felt like doing the opposite of what these three friends did.  Did I want to do the opposite because it was different then what they were doing?  Did I want to do the opposite because it was the same as what the assembly as a whole was doing?  Thus my quandary.  I seek to live as an individual.  Neither doing things because other people are or doing them because other people aren’t.  I want to do things only because I personally believe it is a good idea.  And yet I am not sure if I was able to do that on this small scale.  Can I really believe I will hold my own when it really matters?