Note: After an adventure has run its course, I collect the posts together so readers don’t have to jump around the blog to re-read the story. Originally this spanned a month’s time, posting each Thursday and continuing according to how readers voted in the comments. The comments you see at the end now are therefore what readers voted on the first post in this story.
It’s time for an Adventure re-run! This story posted originally in 2016, if you’re interested in how things turned out the first go around.
Otherwise, let’s jump right in =)
Today’s the day you’ve been working toward for months. Although the sky hangs overcast and the morning holds a gloomy gray in the air, you walk down the boardwalk with your shoulders back and your head high because, in your hand, you’re holding your final payment from the Sheriff.
You caught your last bounty that morning. For months you’ve tracked down criminals, with one goal in mind, to buy the chunk of land for sale on the far side of town. On it you plan to build your new home and work a small field and produce just enough to trade for anything else you might ever need. You never have to track down another person or haul them in for payment. No more wandering for you.
The money clinks softly in your pocket and you close you fingers around the coins to keep them from making any more sound. No need to announce your good fortune.
The bank’s just opened when you arrive and you step through the door with a barely controlled smile.
The door’s swinging shut when you hear it. SPLAT.
You pause mid-step. With the door now closed, the sound’s softer, but you still hear the repeated. Splat, splatsplat, splat, splatsplatsplat…
You back step and crack the door open with a shoulder blade. And SPLAT, against your face.
You give an ‘ugh’ and quickly step forward again to let the door close.
“Did you know,” you announce to the three bank tellers on the far side of the room, “that it’s raining frogs.”
They look up and their identical looks of skepticism could make them triplets.
“Just saying,” you shrug and approach the right hand teller. You pull the Sheriff’s payment from your pocket as you move and say, “Deposit for my account,” like raining frogs isn’t anything unusual.
The woman doesn’t look down at the coins you place on the counter. She points, “You’ve got a bit of, um, slime, on your face.”
“Oh,” you wipe your cheek with a sleeve and, sure enough, the fabric comes away with yellow slime. “Like I said,” you smile, “frogs.”
She swallows. “Really?”
You nod, with your smile in place, and point at the coins for deposit. Nothing could ruin this day.
The door opens and, with it, you hear the almost solid splatsplatsplatsplat of a deluge of frogs. When you glance at the newcomers, several small, colorful amphibians hop their way in around the people’s feet.
You’re still looking at the energetic frogs when there’s the heavy Cha-chack of a shotgun being charged.
Your gut knots and you raise your eyes from the floor to find four people, each holding a shotgun. Two of them approach the counter and sling empty potato sacks at the tellers.
“Fill ‘em up,” one says.
The Sheriff’s last payment still sits, gleaming, on the counter between you and the third teller.
A frog lets out a ribbbbet.
“Frogs,” you mutter.
“What’s that?” one of the robbers point his gun at you.
“Frogs,” you nod toward a green and red, glossy backed critter hopping toward his foot. “That one’s probably poisonous.”
He grumbles and kicks the frog away. It splats, unharmed, against the wall, before ribbeting to the ground where it starts hopping toward the man again.
The little amphibian seems determined to reach the robber and he’s not the only one hopping determinedly toward one of them.
Frogs chasing bank robbers. Interesting.
You eye the robbers. They’re all relatively short, wearing hoods and heavy clothing that you mistook before as rain gear. Now you see it just serves to make them nondescript but doesn’t actually protect them from rain. Splotches of color, like someone threw paint blobs at them, cover their heads and shoulders. The man’s boot, where he kicked the frog, boasts a red and green smudge.
Perhaps the clothing protects them from the frogs.
The slime didn’t harm you, so maybe these people aren’t human.
That’s a lot of guesswork, though.
With full potato sacks, the robbers back away toward the door. They haven’t touched your payment, so you don’t move.
Then one of them spies the gleaming coins and he pauses.
Let Him Take the Coins?
Fight with Frogs?
Raining Frogs 2 – Fight with Frogs
You worked for years to earn enough for your little parcel of land and now this two-bit robber wants your hard earned payment. No way are you okay with that.
As he thumps toward you, you back up in a non-threatening gesture. With a start of surprise, you realize he’s shorter than you are, and you’re not a towering individual. The bulkiness of his clothing also covers broad shoulders and what looks like the bulges of bovine ears under his hood. While you watch, those bulges move warily.
Around his feet hop a couple of the frogs that followed the robbers into the bank. They seem to be trying to hop into the gap of his pant leg but he’s moving too much and they keep missing the narrow target.
His hand comes down on the counter with a thump to sweep the coins into his sack.
Instantly, you’re moving. You stoop down, grasp a squishy frog and pitch it into the robber’s face.
He screeches and drops the potato sack full of money. It hits the floor with a tinkling crash and glittering coins scatter in all directions. Meanwhile, the robber stumbles and his hood falls back.
He’s ugly. Truly misshapen with a bald head covered in blotchy colors, big, rubbery ears and warts everywhere.
You hear a gasp from the teller behind you.
Where the frog smacked the robber’s skin, steam rises and bubbles blister his flesh. He wipes at the slime frantically, trying to clean himself with his sleeve, but he gets slime onto his hands as well. His fingers start to blister and steam as well with a hissing like an egg dropped on a hot skillet.
You grab another frog and pitch it into his face, driving him backward. Two of his companions move up beside him and you start pitching frogs faster.
But there are four robbers and only one of you. By the time you have a chance to look around for the last man/ghoul/whatever thing, it’s too late.
He lands on your shoulders like two tons of brick and you hit the floor with an ugh!
How can something so small weigh so much?!
“More for the offering,” he says in glee, ignoring the smokey remains of the robber you managed to hit. The two others chortle in hissing, high-pitched delight.
While his companions gather up the fallen coins, he ties your hands behind you and throws an extra potato sack over your head. It smells musty like the potatoes it used to hold turned moldy.
Offering? You wonder as he forces you to your feet.
He pushes you forward and a moment later you’re outside getting hit by spatting frogs. Deluge is right.
Your capturers grumble but keep pushing you forward.
Stay Quite for Now?
Make Life Difficult for Them?
Raining Frogs 2 – Make Life Difficult
These creatures ruined your day. This perfect, lovely day of realized dreams. A vindictive part of you simply wants to ruin their day in return.
Although your head’s covered with a potato sack, you have no trouble telling when you’ve left the bank. Frogs splat against your head and shoulders in an unceasing rain of amphibians. They fill the air with ribbits and croaks over the general, thick splatting sound their soft bodies make against the ground.
You wait until you’re away from the bank and out into the street before you let loose on your three remaining captors. With a shove of your hip, you push the right one far enough away that you can kick his legs. Luck’s with you. The kick connects solidly…although with the hood, you can’t say where.
You guess near his knee because he screams and crumples to the ground. He continues screaming in a gargle like show of agony.
You don’t question your luck when he doesn’t rise. Instead, you shift to attack the creature on your left.
Before you get the chance, he sweeps your legs from beneath you and you hit the ground with a thud that rattles teeth. The potato sack slides to the top of your head and you shake, making it fall away completely. You’re just in time to see the creature aim a kick. As his leg draws back, you snake your feet around the leg holding his weight and pull.
He falls and huffs when he hits. His hood falls off and within seconds, frogs cover him.
You stare, shocked, while steam hisses and frogs croak but when they clear away from him, there’s nothing left except the items he carried.
A quick glance confirms the other robber suffered a similar fate. The money sacks and shot gun he carried now sit in a pile of mounted up dirt. You can’t remember when he stopped screaming. It all happened in such a blur.
You meet the eyes of the last robber, and shudder. Inhuman fury turns his already ugly face to a mask of pure hate.
He shrieks and races at you.
You try to roll away but your hands are still bound and his first kick hits low on your spine. It hits like the kick of a mule. Then the butt of a shotgun barely misses your temple.
A part of you wonders whether to be thankful or frustrated that he doesn’t just shoot you, but then you loose any thought except trying to protect your body as more and more kicks connect. Something catches your back and pulls against your bound arms. There’s a snap and the pulling disappears but you find the the tension holding your arms is gone. You pull your hands up toward your face and curl into a tight ball as another kick rocks you onto your back.
Your pain-addled brain slowly registers that you rolled onto something hard. It’s a moment before you realize it’s a shotgun from one of the other robbers.
You roll off it, snatch it up, and pull the trigger.
In your haste, you miss the attacker altogether and the wall of the general store gives a puff as the shot embeds itself in the wood.
When you look up, you freeze. The last creature holds a shotgun as well and he’s grinning at you as you stare down the barrel.
Time slows for a subjective minute. Frogs hop behind your last opponent like they’re encouraging you. Several land on top of each other and before long, you realize they’re stacking themselves behind him to reach his head. It’s the oddest thing you’ve ever seen.
Can you shoot faster than he can, you wonder? Will the buckshot even hurt him? Can you stall long enough for the frogs to reach his head instead?
Stall for the frogs?
Raining Frogs 2 – Stall for the Frogs
You’re not sure the shotgun will do anything to the last robber other than anger him further. However, you do know the frogs turn these creatures-he looks remarkably like a ghoul-into piles of dirt.
You grin at the robber. His eyes narrow and he sneers.
“You’re not fast enough,” he mocks, indicating the shotgun in your hands.
He’s probably right, but you only say, “Perhaps,” with a shrug and continue to smile like you know something he doesn’t.
He backs away a step.
“Hold right there,” you say. Somehow you sound more confident than you feel but the confidence must sound convincing because he stops moving.
You hold a relieved sigh. He almost knocked over the fast-growing tower of frogs behind him. While the ghoul-like robber sneers again, another frog jumps on the tower. It sways precariously, almost touching his back, before the new frog settles on the top and braces for another frog to join the tower.
Seeing your distraction, the robber starts to turn.
You kick several frogs at him and he recoils.
The shotgun in his hand rocks back, almost hitting his face.
You flinch. The shot whistles past your head and chunks of brick fly off the corner of the bank where the shot slams into it.
Spooked, the ghoul spins to run…and comes face to face with a tower of frogs.
You could swear the frogs grin in glee. They jump for the gap in his hood, hitting his face and working their way beneath the fabric.
He shrieks like his companions and disappears in a flood of frogs. All you can do is watch, horrified and fascinated, until the last robber’s gone in a mound of dirt.
Suddenly the air’s deafening with the ribbiting of all the frogs and then, poof, they disappear too. Sunlight hits the street like it’s smiling on a perfect, uninterrupted summer day.
Except there are bags of money laying on the street.
Shaking off your shock, you gather it all, making several trips, to return it to the bank.
“So what happened?” The sheriff asks later.
You tell him. Straight truth.
He scowls and moves on to the tellers.
Their stories aren’t any more convincing, so you come up with a story about four robbers that ran away and he sketches out wanted posters for four very ugly fugitives.
Every time you see those posters you giggle in hysteria. There’s just something crazy funny about it.
You become known as the crazy person who owns the land just outside of town, but just like the town drunk, the people accept you as part of their own and you continue to giggle every time you see a wanted poster.
Perhaps it was all the frog slime that scrabbled your brain. You don’t know and don’t really care. Life’s just more fun this way.
Thank you for joining in this month’s adventure =) I’m always fascinated when I re-run an adventure and it goes the exact same way it did the first time. There must be something in the wording of the decisions to encourage readers down the same path.
Again, thanks for joining in!