Time for another chance to explore an adventure for a second time! The last time this adventure was run, you found a rather unfortunate end. If you’d like to read the first run in it’s entirety, click here. Now, let’s hope for something more healthy this time!
Read on and, at the end, leave a comment for how you’d like the story to continue=)
On a whim, you stopped for the night at a random Bed and Breakfast off Highway 50 that you’d never noticed before. You’ve work on Monday but it’s only Saturday and a few days away sound like heaven.
You asked if there was a quiet place you could sit for a while and the owner of the Bed and Breakfast, Ms. Williams, directed you to the attic. You anticipated her to send you to the porch table out back or perhaps the trail that leads from the back of the B&B into the mountains.
“Up the stairs, dear,” she said, “just open the door at the end of the hall and make yourself comfortable. Anything in there’s fair game too, if you want it. It’s where I keep things left behind.”
A stab of disappointment hits you at her words. The attic? Really? But she’s a nice old lady and you don’t want to insult her, so you climb the stairs as they creak beneath your weight and give her a smile as you go.
The door to the attic’s an old relic. Painted a dull red with a crystal handle like you might find in your grandmother’s house.
You find it unlocked and slip inside to find an old style attic, peeked ceiling, wooden floorboards, rounded window and all. There’s a chair by the window and, since you asked for a quiet place to sit, you walk over and sit in the wooden thing.
Quiet’s right. You can just hear the steps of Ms. Williams downstairs as she cleans up from breakfast but after a short while even
Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.
that fades and the silence surrounds you along with the dry, dusty smell of attics the world over. You watch the aspen leaves fluttering in the breeze beyond the window until your eyes droop from the warmth of the dry room.
Maybe you snore, maybe not, but something wakes you with a start. You’re eyes blur and then come to focus on an ant sitting on your knee. Its shape is fuzzy from the dusky gray now showing through the window. It’s the only light in the attic.
“Oh dear, I’ve been had.” The ant takes flight and disappears into the lid of an old trunk tucked under the eve of the attic.
You shake your head. It spoke. It’s an insect…but it spoke.
Curiosity gets the better of you. Ducking to avoid the sloped ceiling, you pull the trunk from its spot so it sits in front of the chair and then you flip the lid open as you sit back down.
A cane with a dragon’s head stares back at you. Beneath it is a long brown jacket and a folded letter but no ant. Extracting the letter from under the cane, you find it crinkles at your touch and is browned around the folds. Ms. Williams said to make yourself welcome, so you flip the letter open.
Wear the coat and use the crutch and see the world through a different clutch.
Odd. Not the best rhyme you’ve ever seen. There are two pages to the letter, so you flip to the next page. It’s a map with an ant at one corner and an elephant at the other. Because it’s kind of fun, you pull the cane and coat out and hold them over your arm as you close the trunk and slide it back under the eves.
Then you head for the door because the light from the window is gone and you’re surrounded by darkness.
You open the door and almost stumble into a jungle. A blast of heat hits your face along with a wave of bugs. Yuck. You slam the door shut and try again. You open to sprawling grass land. What the?
“I suggest the grass land,” says a voice.
In the light from the open door, you see the ant sitting on your arm along with the cane and coat.
“Why? why can’t I just go down stairs again?”
“You opened the letter,” the ant shrugs. “Now you’ve got to play the game. Kind of. If you win, you find treasure, if you loose, you either die or get sent back to your boring life.”
“What happened to you?”
“I was made as part of the adventure. No win/loose for me. Just be. I suggest you put on the coat before you step through.”
The ant flies into the air as you swing the coat onto your shoulders. It fits. Perfectly.
“So what’ll it be, jungle or grassland?” asks the ant as you fit the cane to your hand.
“What’s it matter?”
“Grassland you can travel faster but it’s easier to miss details. Jungle’s slower but you have a better chance to pick up on key points of the map.”
You open your mouth to ask more but the ant interrupts. “That’s all you get. I can’t say more.”
You scowl at him.
So do you choose…
The Game Option A: Jungle
Looking at the map, the idea of picking up details easier appeals to you. There are a lot of little notations. You swing the door closed and then open again.
The ant groans as you step through into the heat of the jungle.
“So what am I looking for?” you ask.
“The treasure, of course,” the ant says.
You look at him and start. You’re looking eye to eye with him. Holding your hands up, you find you have too many of them and, bending to look at yourself, you’re looking at a hard black shell of a body. Strangely enough, you’re still wearing the brown jacket and in your lower left hand, you clutch the head of the dragon cane.
“I’m an ant!?”
“At least you have wings,” the ant points with a smile like maybe this’ll keep you from attacking him.
Twisting to see, sure enough, you have wings. Transparant, wispy things that might carry you.
“Great,” you grumble. “Some game.”
“It’ll be fun, trust me,” the ant grins but it looks more like he’s trying to convince than like he believes it himself.
You turn away and open the map again. The ant in the corner is highlighted and a trail stands out that you didn’t see before.
“Guess I’m supposed to head that way.” Testing your wings, you lift into the air and wobble in place for a moment.
“Yay!” Cries the ant. “They work.”
Oh joy. Your wings working surprises him. But they are working and, giving them a moment to adjust, they feel strong as you listen to the soft hum they create.
Flying through the trees, it doesn’t take long to see the first marker on the map. It’s a crumbling structure of stone like an old temple. The map depicts a jar in one of the temple walls, so you guess you’re supposed to find this jar before moving on. Winging closer, you come up short with a whiplash snap.
Struggling, you only manage to stick yourself more to what you now realize is a gigantic web. A spider with a bulbous red body and long, sharply jointed legs shakes the web as she steps on.
“Weave the web and wait the day,
for something’s sure to catch the lay…”
The spider sings as she meanders closer. Her many legs click in a dance of joy at her fresh meal.
“Weave the web and shake it dry,
let it sit for eyes will lie…”
You look around as best you can but even your head’s stuck to the sticky fibers. Then you see the flutter of transparent wings as the ant settles down on a leaf nearby.
His eyes shift from the spider back to you. Sure she doesn’t see him, he holds out a stick and acts like he’s using it to walk.
You tilt your head as far toward your lower left hand as possible and the ant jumps up and down in excitement that you picked up on his charades. He holds out the stick and starts poking the handle of his makeshift cane.
You frown, not entirely sure what he’s getting at, but feel around the head of the cane until you feel the eyes of the dragon give under your probing fingers. Pressing harder, there’s a slicing sound like cutting a vegetable.
“Weave the we-ssss…”
She hisses and her many eyes narrow to slits. You can’t see the cane but it must have done something. You shift your hand as hard as you can and the web sags. She stalks toward you, her round body low to the web and her lips pulling back to reveal more saliva than you care to consider. You cut faster until suddenly you’re falling and fighting to get your wings out to break your fall.
A leaf breaks it instead just before you hit the ground.
“Gahh,” you groan as you roll onto your back.
There, above you, the spider’s lowering herself. She’s coming fast and the look on her face is vengeful. Above her, still on his leaf, sits the ant. He’s gesturing for you to get up and run.
The Game Option Ab: Fight
Having an ugly red spider behind you could be really bad. If you leave her behind, she could always show up later to ruin your day.
Struggling to your feet, you check the cane to find it has a blade sticking out the side like a sword. At least the game didn’t dump you in the jungle without something to defend yourself with.
The spider sets down and rears up on her legs. Trails of saliva string from her lips but whether they’re from hunger or anger, you can’t say.
Swinging the cane, it chops off her front right leg. She tilts with a cry but instead of going down or retreating, she shoots a glob of web. You spin to the side but the sticky glob catches your wing, weighing it down. It slows your reaction as she makes a grab at your legs.
The cane flies from your hands and you fall. As you struggle to move, she smacks her lips in anticipation and goes to bite you. You’re weaponless and your limbs are held by the spider, but as her teeth draw closer, you wriggle your wing free and slap her in the face with it, sticky web and all.
She rears back, fighting her own glob of web. You scramble for the cane and feel it’s reassuring dragon head in your hand. Just as the spider frees her face from the web, you swing, catching her body. She flies through the air to land on her back. Then her legs curl in and she doesn’t move.
“Wow,” says the ant, still in a tree above your head. “I’ve never seen someone do that before.”
“Let’s get out of here,” you say.
You and the ant fly into the ruins and you show him the map. It shows a wall of Dancing Ladies in which a bottle is apparently hidden. As you wing through the ruins, you’re careful not to fly into another web, which is a good thing because there are webs everywhere.
As the day slowly fades, you pause in front of a wall. You’ve passed it before but as the light shifts lower to the horizon, the pock marks and crumbling lines shift with purpose. Flying up and down as you watch, the lines on the wall move like a cartoon drawing through a notebook. Ladies dancing.
“Found it,” you call to the ant.
Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.
He’s beside you in no time. “The wall’s covered in webs.”
Pressing the dragon’s eyes on the cane, the sword blade juts out of the side and you clear the wall until you find a small shelf. Tucked on the shelf is a bottle no bigger than your ant leg.
The ant reaches for it but you snatch it out before him. You tuck it into the pocket of your brown coat, eyeing the ant’s look of frustration as you do. What’s the bottle to him?
Checking the map, the next destination looks to be in the same ruins. Instead of the bottle though, you’re now looking for a ring which appears to be hidden at the base of a statue of a child with wings.
The ant tries to look over your shoulder but you fold the map before he gets a good look.
“Why do you want the bottle?” you ask him.
He stutters out a reply about not wanting the bottle but you eye him in disbelief and he deflates. “I’m like you,” he finally says, “I can’t leave without the items on the map and no one’s ever offered to exchange places with me.”
“Why haven’t you just run the game yourself? You had the map in the trunk.”
“I can’t. It only works for the most recent person. If I walked through the door, I’d have nothing to go off of.”
“What happens to the person who stays behind?” you ask.
He shrugs, “they run the game with the next person. I think.”
So do you…
Ab1. Offer to change places?
Ab2. Suggest you both try to get out?
The Game 2 Option Ab2: Together
The Game Option Ab2: Suggest There’s a Way for Both to Get OutThe ant looks completely dejected. His shoulders slump and his front legs hang beside his wings. Although it’d be nice to simply leave, your conscience would plague you knowing you left him behind.
“Maybe there’s a way for us both to get out,” you say.
“What?” his head comes up so fast you wonder if ants can get whip lash.
“Have you ever tried to leave the game with someone,” you say.
“No, no one’s even suggested such a thing. It could work!” he jumps up and down, fluttering his wings until you pull him back to the ground by his feet.
“Let’s find the ring.”
You tell him about the statue of the child with wings and then you fly over the ruins searching. There are a lot of pedestals where statues used to sit but it’s not until you reach the very center of the ruins that you find the child with wings.
Landing by the statue, the ant lands next to you like you’re tethered together. He’s not getting more than an ant leg away from you. Perhaps he’s scared you’re trying to trick him.
“How long have you been in game?” you ask.
“Can’t really tell,” he replies. “Five people have gone through before you. The first few I tried to tell but they hid the map from me and ran away so I stopped telling people they could get stuck here.”
“I can see why.” You walk around the statue as you talk, checking each pock mark in the base for the ring. You’ve circled it twice when a glint of silver catches your eye.
“There,” you pull the ring out and hold it up.
The ant looks at you, fear in his eyes.
“What do we have to do?” You ask.
“They put the ring on and drink from the bottle and poof, they disappear.”
“The ring’s big enough for us both to wear,” you comment, sliding the ring over one of your legs. He slides his right leg in next to yours and you stand shoulder to shoulder as you pull the bottle from your pocket. The ring’s big enough it could fit over your head, so there’s room to spare for both your legs.
Unstoppering the bottle, you drink half and hand him the rest.
“Here goes nothing,” he says and downs it.
He lights up around the edges with a yellow glow. Looking at yourself, you’re glowing too.
In wonder, you look at your legs and your torso, which are changing from ant shape back to human. The glow fades and you look around to see you’re back in the attic with a small man wearing glasses standing shoulder to shoulder with you.
“It worked!” He shouts and jumps up and down just like he did in ant form.
“We’re back,” you agree, stretching your arms and legs as you get used to your human form again.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” He jumps up and down and then hugs you. “I’m hungry, lets go find some human food!” And he races out of the room.
You follow more slowly and end up eating dinner with him and Ms. Williams before heading to bed half believing the whole thing was a dream.
You made it out though and you’re happy with that. The game purported to have treasure at the end and, someday, maybe you’ll go back in to try and find it. But for now, it’s good just to be human.
No treasure but you end the game human and you helped the other ant out too! Not bad for an adventure=)
Thanks for joining in and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.