Chance Encounters Option A: Follow the Man

Reader’s curiosity is just too strong! They all voted to follow the man into the woods. Let’s see where he goes and what happens next. Be sure to vote at the end for how you’d like to proceed=)

Chance Encounters Option A: Follow the Man

The curiosity is just too strong. You throw caution to the wind and head up the trail and into the trees to follow the man with the glowing object.

The aspens close around you as you hurry forward to catch up. After about five minutes, you still haven’t seen the man. Perhaps he took off into the trees but you have no way to track him.

You’re about to give up when you hear something up ahead, like someone throwing rocks at a wall.

You move forward with more caution and finally spot the man from the field standing next to a cairn. The piles of rocks marking the trial looks like every other cairn you’ve ever seen but the man stands staring at it.

His shoulders are slumped farther, if it’s possible, than they were when he left the meadow.  He tosses a rock at the cairn, then another one. If you had to guess, you’d say he wants to destroy the marker but isn’t putting much effort into it because he knows it’ll cause bad things if he does. At least, that’s what your imagination comes up with to explain his strange actions.

Finally he gives a gusty sigh and places the glowing object on top of the cairn.  The base of the pile of rocks shudders and a hole opens up in the ground. It continues to widen until it’s a large, dark entrance leading downward.

The man removes the glowing object and proceeds down into the ground. You hesitate only briefly before darting after him. You’ve come this far, so you figure you may as well see what happens.

The hole that looked dark from a distance proves to be a small tunnel with stairs. You take them two at a time until you reach the bottom but then you stop because there are three hallways leading off the stairs.

“You don’t look like an MPS.”

You spin to your right. It’s the man with the narrow face.

“An MPS?” you ask. You quickly try to figure out what MPS could mean—Military Personnel Sergeant, Multiple Personality Syndrome, Married Playing Single—but none of the possibilities fit so you give the man a clueless look.

“Definitely not an MPS,” the man decides. “So what are you?”

“Innocent but curious bystander.” You give a slight smile, hoping he finds the truth amusing.

He grunts. “Knew meeting at the lake was a bad idea.”

“Didn’t look like you had much choice,” you comment.

He grunts again. “Saw that? Well, you’re right, I didn’t have a choice.”

You decide to be bold. “Why not?”

His hand spasms around the glowing object but it takes him a moment to finally say anything.

“They took my son. I’ll never see him again if I don’t do what they ask.”

He refuses to look at you and you’re not sure if he’s creating a story for you or telling the truth. He definitely looks like he’s struggling and in pain.

“Why would they take your son? What do they want?” You want to see what he says. If he’s creating a story, maybe he’ll slip. Or, if he’s telling the truth, he shouldn’t have a problem explaining.

“The Queen cut all ties with the wolves awhile back,” his voice was soft. “It hurt the wolves a lot and now they want revenge. They took my son because I can get close to the alter where the Queen prays.”

You stand there shocked. Queen? Wolves? It all sounds rather fantastic and crazy.

Do you…

Aa. Believe him?

Or

Ab. Not Believe him?

Blessings,

Jennifer

(Please post a comment with your choice. One vote per comment per day please but comment as much as you like=) Voting will end at 6pm Pacific Time Monday. Tuesday I’ll post whichever option gets the most votes and we’ll see how the adventure continues!)

Chance Encounters

Ah, a new week, which means, all sorts of adventures may happen in the coming days=) Welcome to Adventure Awaits You and a whole new story. Read on and choose at the end how you’d like to proceed but choose carefully, for the world’s never quite what it seems.

Chance Encounters

It’s been far too long since you’ve hit the trail. The sun’s shining through the trees in splotches and leaves crunch under your feet. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey cover the ground in a golden yellow mat that shifts with the wind.

There’s nothing demanding attention other than a couple of birds chirping in the trees.

It’s a small slice of heaven uninterrupted by daily life. You’ve got the pack on your back and the day to yourself.

Just as your mind’s starting to relax and let go of all the things running through it, you hear voices. A couple of hikers, maybe.

You keep heading up the trail, enjoying the fresh air, until you hit a clearing. The trees open into a circular meadow with a small lake to your right. The trail leads straight across the grass and back into the aspens and pines on the other side.

You hesitate briefly when you spot the source of the voices.

Two men stand beside the lake. Most hikers just leave each other alone. They nod hello, comment on the weather, and keep going. You’re about to follow this general etiquette when the dark haired man pushes the other.

“You have no choice!” he shouts. “Take the stone and leave it by the alter.” He shoves an object into the other man’s hands. From where you stand it looks like it’s glowing.

“I can’t get that close,” the other man, who’s taller but willowy in stature, objects.

“Figure it out.” The dark haired man steps back, ending the conversation, and vanishes.

You make a startled noise and then duck behind a tree as the remaining man looks your way.

His face is narrow with the cheeks hollowed in under his cheekbones but this only holds your attention for a moment as the object in his hand catches your attention again.

It is, in fact, glowing. So much so that it’s shining through his fingers in broad daylight. It makes his fingers look thinner than they probably are.

He doesn’t seem to see you and finally turns to follow the trail up past the lake with his shoulders slumped and his head down.

After he disappears into the trees, you step out from where you’re hiding and head up to the lake.

The spot the men were standing doesn’t show any signs of them being there. Not that you’re a tracker or anything, but they didn’t even leave footprints. A chill goes through you even though you can’t put a finger on exactly why.

Your day of getting away and simply enjoying is now ruined. You can’t get the strange encounter out of your head.

If you head up the trail to go farther, you’ll end up following the man just to see where he goes and what he does with the glowing object.

If you head back down the trail you’ll be plagued with curiosity but then, you may also be safer. You’ve never seen a man simply disappear before and the whole encounter gives you the willies.

So do you…

A. Follow the Man?

Or

B. Turn Around?

Blessings,

Jennifer

(Please post a comment with your choice. One vote per post please but comment as much as you like=) Voting will end at 6pm Pacific Time Wednesday. I’ll post whichever option gets the most votes Thursday and we’ll see how the adventure goes!)

When Sticks Move Part Three

Welcome back for the finish of the story.

If you missed the rest of the week just know that Layla was taken to see dragons by Micah. However, Micah was only using Layla to draw the dragon out and he captured one to sell it. Layla and her brother, Alan, are now attempting to free the captured dragon, Mallon.

Now for the finish. Hope you enjoy=)

When Sticks Move Part Three

Micah glared at her from where he leaned beside the door to the basement.

“I want in,” she repeated. “You want to continue selling dragons, I want to be part of it.”

“Why would I let you?” Micah asked. “You’re worse than your brother when it comes to having a conscience.”

“It’s not like we live in luxury. Plus, Mom can’t continue working. Not in her condition.”

The glare still graced his face but a line formed between his dark brows.

“We don’t need you for the sale,” he said. “You don’t need to be here right now.”

“Actually,” Layla stepped forward, forcing her self to be bolder than usual. “I can help with moving the dragon.”

“How so?” Micah eyed her as if to say she wasn’t strong enough to be much help.

“I can convince the dragon to move all on his own. No ropes, no men to carry him, just little old me. Less chance of damaging him and far more quiet so the neighbors don’t notice.”

“Prove it.” Micah opened the basement door and gestured for Layla to lead the way.

A single lantern lit the steps on the way down. Layla trailed her hand along the wall, half to feel the rough stone, the texture of something solid, and half to hide the shaking in her hands.

“How’d you get the dragon down here?” she asked. The stairs were too narrow for Mallon’s torso. Even trussed up, he was simply too big.

“Back door.” Micah didn’t elaborate.

The stairs continued downward longer than Layla expected. As she reached the bottom, the basement opened up and she understood why.

The single room doubled the size of the house above and, on the far side, a door like that of a barn took up most of the wall. It was perfect for the sale of a dragon.

“Still can’t get the tail hooked,” a man coming up to Micah’s shoulder informed him.

“He must be secure for the sale,” Micah raised his brow as he turned to Layla. “Prove you can control him. His tail needs to be tied to those rings.”

Three metal rings jutted from the ground along where Mallon’s tail lay. Other ropes held his legs and neck to similar rings.

“Fights more than most,” the short man cautioned.

Mallon’s tail lashed sideways, knocking two men over and slamming a third against the wall.

The emerald eyes rolled under the brow ridges Layla had once mistaken as part of a tree. She couldn’t see how she’d been so blind.

The eye facing her stopped, fixated on her.

Come to make it right or to worsen your crime?

Layla wasn’t touching him yet and so she didn’t respond. Micah’s short assistant sputtered more cautions as she approached the dragon. Even strapped to the floor, Mallon’s head reached her hip.

Laying her palm on the cool scales of Mallon’s forehead, Layla marveled. The texture was different from Haverim, almost smooth but with more ridges.

“You knew I was there,” she said, “when you stepped on me.” There was no way Mallon wouldn’t have killed her unless he’d dispersed his weight.

“Why’d you do it?”

Testing you. Most hunters, Mallon snorted, hitting a man’s face with hot breath, won’t sit still for such a thing. They call in their men long before I get the chance to walk over them.

Layla almost laughed. “You need to be still now.”

Why?

Looking over her shoulder would only alert Micah that she knew he was there, watching and listening. She lowered herself to look Mallon directly in the eye.

“You want to see Alan or anyone else again, you need to be still.” Layla hardened her voice like her Mom used to, before the accident. “You’ll walk out of here after the sale because I’ll make you.”

Defiance flared in Mallon’s eye, bright and angry. But then he closed the lid with a soft click of his scales. His body relaxed as though sleeping.

“Tie his tail,” Layla called over her shoulder.

“Impressive,” Micah said. “Stand over there for the sale.”

Layla retreated to the wall Micah pointed to. It was too far away to touch Mallon.

Alan and Haverim? Mallon’s voice was soft in her ears.

Settling her shoulder blades against the wall, Layla nodded. Mallon stayed relaxed, even snoring part way through the bidding. Most of the bidders Layla didn’t recognize but then, she wasn’t well acquainted with the city’s upper class. She kept her head down until Micah approached after the sale.

“Move him out the doors onto the wagon waiting outside. Then you’re done for the night.” Micah instructed.

“And payment?”

“I’ll swing by tomorrow and we’ll talk.”

Should she push it? Would Micah expect her to? Micah strode away before Layla decided. She took that as a good sign and pushed off the wall.

“Time to move,” she instructed Mallon. “No funny stuff. I’d rather not see my payment go up in smoke.”

I can’t breath fire.

“Untie him.” Layla looked at the men gathered without responding to Mallon’s comment. They hesitated but when Mallon stayed relaxed and Micah nodded to them, they complied.

Mallon rose but kept his head low enough for Layla to maintain contact with his forehead.

“Let’s walk—for now,” she muttered the last part. The handlers were backed up to give them space but Micah stayed close as they approached the doors. Layla eyed the dragon’s sides as he walked. The scales shifted seamlessly over the creature’s muscles. She’d always imagined dragon’s with cape like wings but there was no hint of such appendages.

“Guess the tales of dragons with wings were just that, tales,” Layla commented to Micah.

“Never seen one fly,” Micah responded. He gestured for the men to bring the wagon closer.

You’re blind. But I can’t take off in an alley.

The wagon barely fit between the walls.

“Why’s the wagon full of boughs?” one of the men asked.

The driver glanced over at him. “Following orders.”

Layla knew that voice. She spotted the boughs in the light of the driver’s lantern as he un-shuttered one side. Layered within the branches was a nice film of witch’s hair.

“Run!” she shoved Mallon’s head toward the open end of the alley just as Alan pitched the lantern into the wagon. He jumped from the seat, knocking into Micah on his way past. The witch’s hair caught with a whoosh.

Mallon’s claws wrapped around Layla and then she hung bouncing as the dragon cradled her against his side, running on three legs.

A clicking rustled along his sides, above his legs. Layla blinked as Mallon’s scales rippled outward, parting from his body.

The alley ended. Layla caught a brief view of an open avenue and then nothing but green scales darkened by night and the buffet of wind. Her stomach sank like she’d missed a gigantic step.

Relax Seer. It’s my turn to help you.

***

Layla sat on her bed, unable to sleep. She couldn’t decide if flying was the most exciting experience she’d ever had or the most terrifying.

One thing she was sure of—Mallon saved her. She’d thought through his escape but not her own. She would have been caught in the alley had the dragon not taken her with him.

That left the question of Alan. She’d made it home an hour earlier and still there was no sign of her brother.

Something thudded against her door. Layla jumped. She thought about hiding but there was no place to go.

Had Micah come for her?

But it wasn’t Micah who stood in her door.

“Alan,” She rushed to him.

“Next time,” he said, hugging her back, “tell me your whole plan before setting it in motion.”

The End

Blessings and have a wonderful weekend,

Jennifer

When Sticks Move Part Two

Welcome to the second part of the story!

If you missed the beginning just know that Micah led Layla out to a field to see a dragon but when she wanted to tell her brother, Alan, about seeing one, he cautioned her against it. Now Layla’s back out in the field to see the dragon again without Micah but she’s pretty sure she’s been followed.

Now for the story. Hope you enjoy=)

When Sticks Move Part Two

Instead of seeing a stick or something that might resemble a dragon, she was pretty sure she’d been followed. Something moved in the trees to her left. The movement hadn’t started until several minutes after she laid down. It was unlikely then that her follower could see her in the tall grass, but whomever it was seemed to be searching.

Layla wasn’t sure whether to be relieved that, with the motion no dragons would show themselves, or be disappointed someone ruined her chance of seeing one again.

Movement to her right, a flash of something dark, drew her attention. She shifted her eyes left but didn’t turn her head. More movement zeroed her eyes to the long arch of a scaled back.

Her follower stilled moved in the trees to her left. She could hear the occasional snap of a twig to prove it without her even looking. Surely the dragon could hear it. Why was it showing itself then?

A snout parted the grass. The nostrils flared and lips parted over long teeth. Layla stopped breathing. It was that or scream.

Finally she looked up from the teeth to meet the emerald eyes watching her.

Another seer.

Layla twitched.

“Seer?” She mouthed the words but no sound came with them.

Prett—

The dragon flinched. Layla cringed back as the parted lips pulled into a snarl and the eyes narrowed.

Trap!

The dragon tipped onto its side, its legs pulled from beneath it. The tail lashed out but something pulled it back mid-swing.

Layla sat up only to see men rushing at her. She scooted backwards from the ropes they threw but then she realized the ropes were not meant for her.

Several twisted around the dragon’s legs and more crossed over its back, holding the massive torso to the ground.

“What?” She couldn’t form the full question. She didn’t know what to ask.

“Well done, Layla.”

She pivoted into a crouch to see who spoke.

“Micah?”

He grinned. His eyes sparkled with the familiar humor but it was tinged with something mean.

Layla’s stomach clenched with the desire to throw up. “What are you doing?”

“Making money.” The grin widened. “You’ve any idea what a dragon will sell for?”

“Sell for?” Layla glanced over her shoulder at the beautiful beast.

Make it right, Seer. Find Alan.

She stared as the men finished trussing up the legs and then loaded the dragon onto the flatbed wagon they’d hidden in the trees.

Make it right?

No answer came.

“Don’t sweat it, Layla. This wouldn’t be the first time a seer’s helped capture a dragon.” And with that Micah strode away, following the wagon from the field.

Not the first time?

“Alan.” Layla was sure of it. That’s why Micah hadn’t wanted her to say anything to her brother.

***

“Alan.”

He didn’t immediately turn to acknowledge her. Tying up his horse, he pulled his coat from behind the saddle and gave Grover a scratch behind the ear.

“He tricked you, didn’t he?”

Layla twitched. “How’d you know?”

“Pulled the same stunt on me a few months back. Tried to convince me to help him again but I refused. When you mentioned Micah yesterday, I contacted Haverim.”

“Who?”

Alan eyed her and then sighed. “Micah didn’t let you introduce yourself?”

“No.”

Pushing his hair back, Alan sighed. “Follow me.”

He led the way into the house and then out the back door to the cellar. Layla stayed at his heels all the way into the cool darkness until he lit the lantern. She froze but Alan continued forward to place his hand on the dragon’s forehead.

This wasn’t the emerald-eyed beast she’d seen in the field. Of course not. That one was being held by Micah’s crew.

This creature was bigger with a spine running all the way from the tip of its tail to the end of its snout. And its scales glowed a dull golden brown.

Layla’s cheeks warmed in shame.

“Meet Haverim,” Alan introduced.

“Hi,” Layla stepped forward with a tentative hand stretched out.

“Place your hand on his forehead.”

She took another step to rest her palm on the cool scales. Haverim’s eyes closed.

Hello Layla.

“The one in the field didn’t need contact,” she blurted.

“Neither does Haverim to speak, but to understand us they need contact.”

“Oh.”

Mallon was taken.

“Yes, I think. I didn’t get his name.”

I cannot go into the city to save him.

“I’ll go,” Layla promised. “I messed up.”

Haverim nodded. Good. Make it right or I will make sure you never see us again. Then he vanished.

Layla jumped back with a choked screech.

“He does that sometimes.” Alan shrugged.

“Why did Micah need us?” Of course Micah had seen dragons before, otherwise he wouldn’t be trying to sell them. What did she and Alan have that he didn’t?

“We’re seers. Means we can connect with dragons, so they’re attracted to us.”

“But why haven’t I seen one before?”

“Never slowed down long enough.”

All of Micah’s words made sense now. Layla felt sick.

“What do we do?”

“We free Mallon.”

Layla followed him from the cellar with too many questions to voice.

***

Micah’s wagon was left beside a house in the city. It wasn’t a house his family owned but Layla recognized the arms above the door. The house of Erik Coglin, one of Micah’s friends.

Layla shook her head.

“Why didn’t I suspect him?” She asked again. She’d asked the question several times on the ride to the city.

Alan raised a brow at her. He’d already pointed out that she had suspected Micah, just not in the way he deserved.

I’m an idiot.

“You’re not an idiot,” Alan said.

Layla turned to stare at him.

“What? You’re not.”

She let it go. Alan always seemed to know her thoughts. It was creepy at times.

“They must be holding him in the basement.” Alan mused.

“How you figure?” Layla shook her head and joined him at the wagon.

“They wouldn’t have wanted to move Mallon far. Not in the middle of the day.”

The thought of moving a dragon brought up all sorts of difficulties. “How do they move a dragon?”

“Trussed up tight and with a lot of men,” Alan said. He moved around the wagon, considering it.

“Did you bring your fire kit?” Layla blurted as an idea hit her.

“Of course. Why?”

“Burn the wagon when you see Mallon. The smokier the better.”

“Layla!” Alan called after her but Layla was already moving. It was almost dusk and for her idea to work, she had to be in place before the sale of Mallon happened.

To Be Finished on Saturday

Blessings,

Jennifer

When Sticks Move Part One

Welcome to a new short story. This one started from a random dream snippet of a dragon walking on me. Go figure. I don’t usually remember my dreams but this one stuck and I couldn’t resist attempting a story.

It grew longer than I’d like but I really prefer to keep it all within a week, so I’ll post it in three parts with an extra post on Saturday. Personally I prefer that over posting two gigantic posts. Let me know, Dear Readers, if you would prefer something different because these stories are for your enjoyment. Or, if you have any editing suggestions that would help tighten the story, I’d love to hear those too.

Again, welcome and I hope you enjoy=)

When Sticks Move

I should know better. Layla prided herself on being able to see practical jokes coming. She’d never been the brunt of one—until now. Micah would never let her live it down if he’d just succeeded in pulling one over on her.

But he swore dragons existed and there’d been something to his confidence that made her believe him. Said he’d seen a few but most people never slowed down long enough to see what lay hidden right before their eyes.

The tall grass swayed, tickling Layla’s cheek. She resisted the urge to scratch. Laying on her back, she remained still, taking slow, long breaths.

She wanted to believe Micah but now she was starting to think he was making a fool out of her.

He lay a few feet to her left, probably laughing this whole time, staying still just to see how long she would wait.

Layla could see it. His silent laugh spread across his face. That was Micah’s way. He played jokes on people all the time and this would be the laugh of the month for him. She almost sat up to see but then stopped herself.

What if he wasn’t lying? What if there really were dragons?

She stopped a snort in her nose. It tickled. Blinking a couple of times to distract herself from sneezing, she refocused on the stick jutting out of the grass several yards from her feet.

The tree it came from probably lay hidden in the grass, recently fallen. At least Layla guessed recently fallen because the bark still covered the branch in a thick layer of dark ridges. It curved toward the end and rounded out like a snout.

If she imagined it, she could believed the little bowl toward the end to be a nostril and the oval circles farther back to be a closed eyelid and brow ridge.

Perhaps her fancy was getting the better of her but the longer she stared, the more like a head the stick looked.

It moved. Layla twitched and blinked. Then kept her lids open for a prolonged period of time, watching. It moved again, swinging slowly to the left, then the right with the nostrils flaring in air.

The lids opened just a crack. Emerald green glinted through. Layla bit the inside of her lip to keep from squealing.

A dragon!

It rose in the grass and the hint of a back emerged below the long neck. Layla wondered how she ever mistook it for a stick but Micah was right, she usually would have walked right past it without a question in her mind.

The neck stretched out like a cat getting up from a nap before the dragon moved off to the right.

Layla wanted so badly to follow it. To simply pivot her head to keep it in her line of sight. But Micah had been adamant about not moving. He said dragons sensed motion. Any movement and she’d never see it again.

She could hear it though. The creature’s sinuous steps swished in the grass, slow and cautious.

Something brushed her arm and Layla choked in a scream. A clawed foot rose above her, the toes stretched out for balance. The dragon’s head lifted high above its body, not watching the ground it walked on but watching the horizon like it expected something to appear.

The foot came down across Layla’s torso, shifting heel to toe from her right to her left and pressing into her rib cage as the dragon put its weight down.

Micah swore she wasn’t to move, especially if it’d spook the dragon because then it might attack.

Layla held her breath and tensed her stomach as the weight pressed into her. She rolled slowly with the heel to toe motion, right to left. Tears pooled and then streamed from the outside corners of her eyes and into her hair.

The dragon never looked down. It placed its other foot and the weight slowly lifted.

Just as Layla started to relax, the tail drug across her body. Its rough scales heated her skin and, when the tail was gone and she braved looking, she saw it had burned her like the rug in her mom’s living room.

***

“It burned you!” Micah held her arm to examine the burn.

“Its tail did,” Layla attempted to pull away but it didn’t work. “Alan would love seeing a dragon! I’ve got to tell him.”

Micah’s grip tightened, keeping her from racing home “He’d hate it.”

Layla stilled, searching Micah’s eyes. “Hate it?”

Micah looked away and released her arm.

“What do you mean, Micah?”

“Nothing.” He walked away, no sign of humor in his eyes.

***

Layla kept her head down as she ate dinner. Beside her sat Alan, his elbow brushing her burned arm every time he lifted his spoon to his mouth.

His elbow brushed her again and Layla winced. She covered it by taking another bite.

“Long sleeves, Layla?”

Layla looked up. Mom interrupted Alan to ask the question. It was Mom’s way. She blurted whatever caught her attention.

Layla tried not to look at the scar that ran into her Mom’s hair. Being hit by a runaway wagon had done more than leave a scar. It’d destroyed a part of their Mom’s brain. The part that could track a whole conversation.

“Just chilled,” Layla lied. In reality it was hot—really hot—but she couldn’t think up a way to explain her burn without confusing her mom. “Too much sun, maybe.”

Mom hummed and Alan picked up talking again like nothing happened.

Layla finished eating and took the plates, rushing away to escape Alan’s elbow. She’d never noticed before how much he bumped her while eating.

“Whatcha hiding?”

She spun to find Alan leaning against the kitchen doorframe.

“Hiding?”

He smirked. “Long sleeves when it’s burning hot outside? Really?”

The mention of burning made Layla twitch. “Just got burned when Micah was showing me how to start a fire using witch’s hair. Didn’t want to explain to Mom.”

Alan eyed her and Layla knew he didn’t believe her. He shrugged before turning away. Layla breathed in relief. He hadn’t pressed, which was odd, but she wasn’t going to look the gift horse in the mouth.

***

Maybe she should have looked the gift horse in the mouth. Layla lay still in the middle of the field. Micah refused to come with her. He said too much time out in the field and someone might start asking questions.

But Layla hadn’t been able to resist. She’s waited for everyone to leave the house and then headed out the back.

Instead of seeing a stick or something that might resemble a dragon, she was pretty sure she’d been followed.

To Be Continued on Thursday…

Blessings,

Jennifer

Giant Town Option Bb1: Free Alexander

Thanks for stopping by for the finish to the adventure.

Reader’s vote was unanimous to free poor Alexander from his prison. Let’s read on and see how Alexander repays your kindness.

Giant Town Option Bb1: Free Alexander

The walkway is lit by the walls themselves. They give off a hot and dry air and it makes you realize the vent was warm and moist because it must pull moisture from the city to keep the lights working. You’re not sure about the mechanics but the light is soft, not like flame but like the walls themselves are glowing with a bluish light that swirls. Makes you think of being surrounded by walls of water instead of stone.

You step outside the door and peer over the side of the walkway railing. Raylaylin appears far below you through the telescope of the walkway that spirals downward around the outside of an open shaft. The mere space involved makes your head spin.

Stepping back, you realize, even if you do go it alone, you’re without a rope and down one anchor. The likelihood of getting into the giant’s treasure room is slim without the rope in particular.

Plus, you kind of like Alexander. He’s been straightforward with you so far. You head to the right to free your giant accomplice. The room beyond the door is dark so, to help you see, you leave the door open but as soon as you cross the threshold, there’s a whoosh and the room lights up like the walls.

Someone shouts from below. It echoes off the walls and reaches your ears as a distorted “iiitttt”.

They’ve spotted you.

You try to lock the door behind you but there’s no lock. Turning to find the lever to free Alexander, you hesitate. There are lots of levers, and no one saw fit to label them.

Reaching a tentative hand toward a black lever, your fingers close around it.

“Sewer drainage system.” Says the voice. That voice that greeted you in deep tones at the door. Thankfully it doesn’t shake the ground here.

You move to the next lever.

“Ceiling air.”

Next lever.

“First cell.”

You don’t know which cell Alexander is in. You pull the lever just as the door behind you opens.

“STOP THIEF!” This is not the city talking.

You pull the next lever and go for a third but a strong hand grabs your wrist and forces you around to face an old man. The same old man who’s curse led you to the city.

Behind him stand several other men who sport an assortment of odd features. Too large ears or a nose that takes up half a face. These must be Alexander’s ‘friends’ who he shrunk.

“You’ll pay for this!” the old man says as he flips the levers back to the up position. “We’ll shrink you to the size of a bug.”

He pulls you toward the door even as you try to resist him. Considerinlg he looks like an old man, he’s quite strong.

The ground shakes and the wall’s light flickers.

“Which levers were pulled?” one of the others asks.

Before the answer comes, the door bursts open and a figure fills the space. A very large figure.

“Maurice,” Alexander greets your captor.

“You deserve your cell,” Maurice responds.

“So do you.” Says a new, rumbling voice. Another giant steps up behind Alexander. Seeing them side by side, you conclude Alexander was telling the truth. Some of his features are shrunk.

“Good idea opening two cells,” Alexander says to you.

You smile like you thought the whole thing through and step away from Maurice as his grasp on your wrist has grown limp.

The five shrunken giants glance at each other and then bolt, trying to get past Alexander and his friend’s legs. They don’t make it far.

***

The first cell housed Alexander alone. However, the second cell held three other giants who assisted Alexander in rounding up their shrunken friends. They agreed to hold a trial for the five after all the giants were released.

As for yourself, Alexander showed you to the treasure room. It fits the giants. It’s huge. And you decide it was fortuitous that you helped Alexander because the giants hid their treasure by having an outer treasure room, convincingly large enough to make a treasure hunter look no further, and then they have their inner treasure room where you could become lost and never be found again.

Alexander and the others made a deal with you. You can come take a bag of treasure once a month on the condition you never reveal the city to anyone. You’re pretty sure you can keep that deal.

The End

Congratulations treasure hunter! You’ve successfully found treasure and made some friends along the way. Thanks for participating this week. I hope to see you next week for a new short story involving one of my favorite creatures. Dragons=)

Blessings,

Jennifer

Giant Town Option Bb: Vent

Welcome back. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. =)

Reader’s have voted to crawl through the vent in hopes of escaping the giant’s prison. Read on to find out what happens and be sure to vote at the end for the last choice in this adventure.

Enjoy=)

Giant Town Option Bb: Vent

Although the window sounds like the easy way out, you’re suspicious of it. It sounds too easy.

“Let’s try the vent,” you tell Alexander.

He hums a surprised “huh” but without further question, you hear him move and his large hand wraps around you. He must be able to see better in the dark because he doesn’t fumble around.

You lift into the air with a swift, nauseating whoosh. Then you hear something crack and the metal grate over the vent clangs against the floor.

“I know you can’t see,” Alexander says as he sets you down,”but you’re in the vent now. Walk directly away from my voice until you reach a wall, then reach up. There’ll be a ledge you can lift yourself onto. The vent continues like that in steps. When you hear the whoosh, you’ll know you’re near a fan. There are three. Good luck.”

Three fans. He didn’t give you any advice about getting past them but then, maybe he doesn’t know anything. Considering the size of the vent, maybe humans helped in their construction.

You hit a wall and reach up, exploring with your fingers until you find the ledge. You’re just tall enough to make this work. Hoisting yourself up, you feel around until you figure out the vent’s direction and then you continue on, listening to your breathing echo in the tight confines and your steps lightly swish against the stone floor.

The whooshing of the first fan starts not long after the next ledge. At first it’s faint but as you continue, it grows to the point that your ears throb with the whoop-whoop of the blades.

The floor sloops against your soles and, after exploring with your hands above you, you realize the vent is no longer square but circular.

Air presses against you like a strong wind. It’s moving but it’s not cool. Instead it’s warm and heavy with moisture.

You feel around the walls but don’t find anything like a lever or switch to shut the fan off. Since you can’t see the blades, you decide to simply try to stop the thing.

Taking your pack off, you pull out an anchor you brought for repelling. Although your rope is outside, you still have the rest of your gear. You get as close to the fan as you dare and place your hand on the floor, feeling the whoosh of air after each blade passes. You count. One, two, three. Then shove the anchor into the path of the next blade. You let go as soon as you feel resistance.

It’s a good thing you do because the blade grinds against the anchor, dragging it for a moment across the tunnel. It screeches, making the throb in your ears tighten to a high pitched ringing. But then silence. The air turns muggy on your skin.

Tentatively exploring, you find the fan has five blades. The bottom one is bent into a bow shape and your anchor feels mangled beyond recognition. You slip through the still blades and leave the anchor behind.

A moment after pulling your feet free, the bowed blade lets out a dying screech and snaps. The next blade hits your anchor and tosses it into the vent wall. You hear the thud and duck just in time to miss its rebound.

The whooshing returns with a slightly different sound. Less air resistance with only four blades.

Your heart’s barely returned to its normal rate by the time you reach the next fan. Due to your close call on the first one, you search the walls a little harder this time and find an odd indentation in the right hand wall. It’s round but doesn’t seem to have a handle or anything. Giving up on it, you turn and lean, preparing yourself for the next anchor placement.

The indentation gives way under your weight. It slides inward. Pushing it harder, you find it slides in and to the side, opening up what you’d guess is an access tunnel circumventing the fan. Relief runs through your veins.

The third fan’s a cinch since it has the same access tunnel. You’re sure the first one had it too, you just didn’t search hard enough to find it.

Exiting the vent into the vent room, you find a square room full of humming machinery. This room must keep air flowing throughout the entire city. You traverse it and peek out the door to find a walkway running to your right and left. To your right is a door and then the walkway ends with a railing. To your left it spirals downward into the city.

If you head right you can free Alexander. He might be telling you the truth and you’ll be shown the treasure. Or he might just be playing you in order to free himself.

If you head left, maybe you can find the treasure on your own but then you’ll be leaving Alexander to wait for the next treasure hunter to be dropped into his prison.

Do you…

Bb1. Free Alexander?

or

Bb2. Leave him?

Blessings,

Jennifer

(Please post a comment with your choice. One vote per comment per day please but comment as much as you like=) Voting will end at 8pm Mountain Time Wednesday. Thursday I’ll post whichever option gets the most votes and we’ll see where the adventure finishes!)