The Game

Welcome to a new adventure. Read on and, at the end, leave a comment for how you’d like the story to continue=)

The Game

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 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…

A. Jungle?

or

B. Grassland?

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 near by.

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.

The cane.

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.

Do you…

Aa. Run?

or

Ab. Fight?

The Game Option Aa: Run

Compared to your tiny ant size, the spider’s huge. Running sounds like a much better idea than trying to fight her.

Using the cane to get to your feet, you run, brushing aside leaves and branches and dead foliage while also trying to spread your wings. Some of the web’s fibers cling to the wispy fabric, preventing them from spreading enough for you to fly.

The sound of fast legs follows behind and, even without turning, you know the red spider’s gaining.

“Faster, faster,” yells the ant flying above your head.

You’re about to shout a sarcastic reply when you stumble over a half hidden pile of crumbling rock. Seeing a hole in the stone, you dart inside and suck in your breath to hold it.

Thin, red legs step over the hole and continue on without stopping. You release your held breath before peeking out of your hiding spot.

“That was close,” says the ant, coming to land beside you.

“Yeah,” you agree. Looking around you see the ruins you were aiming for in the first place. More now than ever you want to figure this place out and go home. It’s not much of a game.

“There’s a bottle here,” you mutter as you scan the map, “hidden in a wall with dancing ladies.”

“Let’s go look,” the ant encourages.

Cleaning your wings of the last bit of web, you spread them and take flight. 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.

He’s beside you in no time. “The wall’s covered in webs.”

Pressing the dragon’s eyes on the cane, you see what you couldn’t before while stuck in the web. A sword blade juts out of the side of the cane.

“Fantastic,” you mutter and 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 really gets a good look.

“Looking for a ring. Let me know if you see any statues,” you tell him.

“Of course, of course,” he says but his words sound bright, forced.

You eye him, wondering if you should split up in the search.

Do you suggest…

Aa1: Splitting up?

or

Aa2: Sticking together?

The Game Option Aa2: Stick Together

The ant’s making you nervous. There’s something about him that just doesn’t seem right although he’s helped you up to this point.

“Let’s stick together now that it’s dark,” you suggest.

“Sounds good,” says the ant.

You fly south to start at the outside perimeter of the ruins. Finding a couple of pedestals where statues used to stand as you fly around the south section, you check these carefully for any sort of ring compartment just to be sure, but you’re pretty sure the statue of the child will still be standing. The map seems to change as the situation changes. It stands to reason then that the map would know if the child statue were no longer around.

Pretty soon you near the center of the ruins and that’s when you see the statue tucked into the side of the main squire.

“Seems to be the only one still standing,” says the ant.

“So it appears.”

You land on the base of the statue. It’s pockmarked by time and moss. As you head around the base inspecting it, the ant follows so close on your feet that he catches your heels.

He’s just trod on your heel for the third time and is apologizing profusely when you see the glint of a silver ring. He sees it at the same time and you hit heads reaching for it.

He’s a slippery one though and has the ring on one of his legs before you can grasp ahold of it.

“What’s this?” you ask.

“It’s my turn to go home,” he says. “Now hand over the bottle.”

“You’re not part of the game.”

“Everyone’s a part of the game. Everyon…” he’s cut off as red legs grasp him and quickly spin him into a web. His muffled shouting grows quieter the thicker the spider makes his cocoon. The ring disappears inside that mass of web with him.

Pressing the eyes of your dragon cane, you brandish it as the spider turns your way. She hisses.

“Dirty bit of steel,” she says.

She jumps.

Swinging the cane, you catch one of her legs but the other seven curl around you and hold tight.

Quicker than you can react, she’s spinning sticky threads around and around your body. The last thing you hear is her singing,

“Weave the web and wait the day…”

I’m sorry to say the rest of your story is rather sad. May you rest in peace.

The End

Hope you enjoyed the adventure. If you’re not happy about this ending, don’t worry, I’ll run the adventure again sometime in the future since it has 8 possible endings. So, better luck next time=)

Blessings,

Jennifer

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