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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Emma's got a car, right? Rush towards it.
    You and Emma see the parking garage entrance ahead and accelerate as the downpour intensifies; the strange woman's cries have dwindled into nothing by the time you have made it inside, though you are both thoroughly soaked. Emma leads you through the winding concrete labyrinth until you come across the '91 black Honda Civic that Emma repaired and repainted a few summers back, putting her engineering degree to good use. You helped a little with that project, and it was a good learning experience; Emma is a better teacher than most college professors, but somehow you never feel patronized or overshadowed around her even when she is outclassing you in pretty much every conceivable arena.

    You both pile in. Emma starts the engine and drives you out into the slick wet streets, windshield wipers beating a gentle and predictable tattoo that cuts against the senseless and arhythmic din of the rain and thunder and wind.

    "Wonder what the hell that lady wanted with us," Emma mumbles. "You okay, Linda?"

    Your wet clothes have become incredibly frigid in the cold ambient temperature. You hug yourself and nod.

    "You and Denise didn't exactly seem to be hitting it off," she notes. "What put you off her?"

    "Emma, I told you," you exclaim. "Denise is the psychotic bitch who made my life a living hell in middle school! I thought I was gonna shit myself when she sat next to me."

    "Oh jeez, for real?" says Emma, eyes widening. "Fuck, I'm sorry, I completely messed up. I thought that was someone else."

    "Can I maybe get a proper list of people in the group before I come next time?"

    "Yeah, of course," she says. "Oof, I am super sorry, Linda, I swear I had no idea."

    "It's okay," you say. "I was wondering what you'd been thinking."

    "Well obviously, the problem was that I wasn't thinking, but hopefully that's fixed now," she replies.

    There's an awkward silence for most of the rest of the drive. The headlights make a hazy halo that flickers against the fog and the spray stirred up by the tires. Eventually the familiar top of your parents' condo building becomes visible, and a few moments later Emma pulls up at the curb. Something's off, though.

    "No lights in the whole neighborhood," Emma observes, glancing around. "Storm must've killed the power."

    That's what was off. Normally there are still a lot of lights on in this building, even past 11pm.

    "Will the buzzer-inner intercom thingy still work?" asks Emma, concerned.

    "I have keys," you reply.

    "Aight," says Emma. "I'm gonna hang out in the car for a minute after you go in, just in case. Call me if there are any problems, okay?"

    You nod somberly, open the car door, and step out. "Thanks, Emma."

    You pull a keychain out of your pocket and quickly flip through its contents: the Clement family condo key, the mailbox key, the key to your parents’ car, your bike lock key, the Semeraro family condo key, your keychain flashlight, your keychain Swiss army knife... ah, there's the key to the building's main entrance.

    A lightning flash casts a brief silhouette of twisting tree branches over the big glass-paneled double doors. Home sweet home, you think, as you turn the key in the lock and push through.

    What will you do?

    [sorry for the slow updates lately guys, been busy with final papers; also am making some more maps, but keep posting commands]
    Last edited by Varthonai; June 27th, 2014 at 11:57 PM.

  2. #52
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    [like the semeraros' condo map, this map is not to scale, but it is accurate as regards relative locations of rooms, furniture, doors, windows, etc. in general]

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Calmly walk into your apartment, with the aid of the flashlight if necessary, quite positive that nothing could possibly go wrong.
    You flip on the narrow beam of your keychain flashlight and quickly make your way up the flights of stairs that lead to the Clement family condo, dripping on the carpeted steps as you go. You unlock the door and proceed inside after wiping your shoe soles thoroughly on the welcome mat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Be totally jaded to all possible suspense by now, after everything that has happened today.
    You try it, and end up being not so much jaded as pleasantly resilient to said suspense. It's not that hard; even with the storm and the power out, there's a definite sense of comforting familiarity here in the foyer.

    To your left, your flashlight beam lands upon the instantly recognizable and welcome sight of your trusty red messenger bag hanging from an arm of the coat rack. Had you not been in a depersonalized state (and thus been denied any say in the matter) you likely would have chosen to take the bag with you on the excursion with Emma this evening. It contains a fair number of useful items (the small folding umbrella would certainly have been a boon in this weather) and it is capable of holding a fair number more.

    Ahead of you is the kitchen, newly cleaned, with a bowl of colorful vegetables on the counter. Dad must've picked them from the garden while you were gone. There's some ripe eggplant in the bowl, long and fat and dark, and you smile a little at the thought of him cooking some grilled eggplant in the near future.

    To your right is the big wardrobe, its massive doors stretched wide like the arms of a visiting relative seeking an embrace, its mirrored interior illuminated faintly by the trace amounts of ambient light your keychain beam throws off the walls. Faint outlines of winter coats dangle placidly in the gaping darkness between the open doors, unused for months but soon to be worn again with the dying of the summer. That wardrobe is older than you are. You used to try to get lost inside of it as a kid... hoping you'd find Narnia or something, you guess... and the nostalgia warms and calms you as you shiver in your rain-soaked clothes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Killing_Time View Post
    > Get to your parents' apartment. Avoid making too much noise and check if anyone is awake once you're there.
    You slowly, carefully tread your way around the snaking hallway that runs through the condo. You hear your parents' loud collective snores as you approach their bedroom entrance, which is closed. The tenant's bedroom door is wide open, and a superficial inspection yields no sign of her being in the condo. You figure she's probably out drinking or clubbing on Friday night, just like Emma's friends.

    What will you do?

    [massive thank you to everybody who has stuck around to play despite the slow start and the recent slow updates; i am done with uni for the summer so this should be less of an issue from here on out]

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Change your clothes and message Emma telling her everything's alright, and thank her for everything she's done. Afterwards, go to sleep.
    You quickly change into comfortable cotton pajamas.

    LINDA: Thanks so much again, Emma. Everything's cool, you can head on now if you haven't already
    EMMA: Aight L, keep it real


    You hear the sound of tires squealing against wet asphalt. They grow faint and eventually inaudible.

    You don't think you'll have much success going to sleep, though. You haven't taken your melatonin.

    What will you do?

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > See if you can find your melatonin. If not, no biggie, just find some way to keep yourself entertained until tomorrow's agonizing routine starts and then pretend you've slept fine. That's the strategy of insomnia pros.
    You make your way back to the bathroom where you met your first challenge of the day, the soles of your bare feet padding softly along the cool hardwood floor of the hallway and the cool linoleum tiling of the bathroom. You open the medicine cabinet, still relying on your keychain flashlight for guidance. There are all the meds; the melatonin, the Ritalin, the antidepressants. The Ritalin lid is still askew, since you haven't yet acted on your decision to keep it somewhere more secure, but no matter; doctor's orders are that you're only supposed to take the melatonin and the antidepressants before bed. You're supposed to take Ritalin in the mornings, with breakfast.

    What will you do?
    Last edited by Varthonai; June 20th, 2014 at 05:38 PM.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by BanHammor View Post
    >Try to check the breaker and see if you can fix electricity.
    As you're making up your mind about taking your meds, you are suddenly struck by the idea that maybe this power outage isn't general; maybe it's just this condo, and you can fix it with the local circuit breakers. It's a long shot, since all the buildings in the neighborhood that you can see are blacked out. But it's worth a try.

    You stuff all three pill bottles into the pockets of your pajama pants and head to the main circuit breaker in the kitchen pantry, near the spice rack. You examine the breakers and find that the main breaker is still tripped in the ON position and both of the main fuses are fine--no sign of a problem within the condo, thus it is probably a general power outage, and only the power company can do anything about it.

    As you examine the breakers you spot your dad's USB modem lying on top of one of the nearby cupboards, a device that can be plugged into any compatible machine to grant Internet via mobile broadband.

    What will you do?

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Take the melatonin (if you are supposed to). Disregard the Rilatin, that thing is for breakfast only.
    You tip the bottle, popping a melatonin pill into your palm and then into your mouth. The lump in your throat that you feel from dry swallowing is uncomfortable, but the feeling ends quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by BanHammor View Post
    >Take antidepressants as well, in case you forgot. Please don't overdose.
    Similarly, you dry swallow one of the Zoloft capsules. The hard gelatin shell goes down your throat feeling like a tiny fish bone. Your esophagus gets a strange sensation for a few seconds but it ends once the pill is all the way down in your stomach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Killing_Time View Post
    > Grab the USB modem if you have a laptop that's charged. With your sleeping habits you might at least have some escapism before you finally feel tired enough to rest.
    By the time you get to your room you think the melatonin is already starting to work, though that could just be the placebo effect. You sit on the edge of your bed and conceal the Ritalin at the back of your nightstand/makeshift bookshelf, placing the other two pill bottles on top as the bulging in your pockets is uncomfortable while lying on the bed.

    You prop up a pillow on the bed's headboard to create a makeshift cushion, then open your laptop and stick the USB modem into the side, noting that the laptop's at 67% power. The wi-fi symbol in the corner of the screen flickers to life and you prepare to browse a selection of games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Take advantage of this blackout to pretend to be in an exciting movie. No sense waiting for the morning to kill all that atmosphere.
    You smile a little at the idea. You lost your old PlayStation emulator in a hard drive crash a while back so you start downloading a new one with the help of the USB modem, figuring to play a little Shadow of the Colossus. With the dark storm outside and the power off, it seems like the perfect time for a tussle with Malus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aval View Post
    email dr. North. You done goofed by ignoring him with that freakout and you're kinda obligated since he expects you to fill the position. register as he asked too - who knows maybe ancient cults actually sound kinda interesting and good material for fantasy worldbuilding.
    You see that your browser tabs from the photography job search and the email from Prof. North are still open as you load the emulator. Neither of these are exactly "escapism"; just the opposite, really. Still, your optimistic decision to make good use of this atmosphere is paying off; that attitude, bolstered by the lack of conscious people getting in your face and giving you social anxiety, has set your mood at its high point for the day so far. Seems a shame not to get some more job stuff done while you're actually capable of focusing.

    North instructed you to register, familiarize yourself, and then email him, so you figure you'll do that. Your auto-generated username and password default respectively to "LindaC" and "studentaccount", because the university's IT security is terrible apparently. The site appears as a big mess of a half-finished spreadsheet, most items largely untagged and captionless, though they are somewhat organized by function (amulet, talisman, idol) and by culture (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Indian, Nepalese, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Bolivian, the list goes on). The items within the spreadsheets are all scans of photos of carvings and statues, some in higher resolution than others; they've clearly been taken across a wide variety of dates, with different quality cameras. The earliest photos are black and white and go back to the 1800's.

    You're intuitively drawn to one color photograph of an amulet in particular, though, because it's engraved and painted on a smooth and flat gray stone, one with a distinctive luster and texture. The stone reminds you of the mirrored chalcedony locket that Mrs. Semeraro gave to you earlier today.


    Items 61A-61C
    Origin: Star-Maker Culture
    Dates: January 2012 CE (photo) / c. 2800 BCE (est. date of engraving and painting)
    a: Amulet is a stylized Grand Tridecagram; that is to say, a stylized 13-pointed star with point angles totalling 180°, the sharpest possible for 13-pointed stars. Like all Star-Maker polygrams, this Grand Tridecagram's lines are almost precisely the same length and its angles are almost precisely (180/13)°, about 13.85°. It is unclear how the Star-Makers were able to construct their eponymous symbols with such consistent precision, despite having died out millenia before the invention of compass-and-straightedge geometry and its popularization by Euclid in the fourth century BCE.
    b: No further markings.
    c: Stone is gray chalcedony.


    Beyond the similarities to the chalcedony locket, something about the symbol feels uncannily significant. You are momentarily consumed with the irrational but unshakeable feeling that this symbol was somehow crafted with you in mind, even though it was made thousands of years before you were born. You close your eyes and shake your head. Don't be dense.

    What will you do?

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Wonder if you are at risk of accidentally engaging in dangerous tropes related to ancient relics.

    > Nahhhh
    Pretty much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    After you wake up (if you get any sleep), pay Mrs. Semeraro a visit and ask her about the gift she gave to you.
    You resolve to do this tomorrow morning, but before you can sleep you still need to send that email to Prof. North.

    Prof. North,

    I have registered on the database as you requested, am studying it now, and will keep you appraised if I have any trouble familiarizing myself. Apologies for my absence today.

    Sincerely,
    Linda Clement


    Even in your unusually stress-free and attentive mood, it takes you a surprisingly long time to get the wording of the email set to your satisfaction, and the emulator is done downloading by the time you hit Send. You load up an old save of SotC, put on headphones, and play.


    The melancholy atmosphere as Wander dances and jumps around the final stage is cathartic and relaxing, but you don't feel like you're getting any sleepier. Laptop power is down to 40%.

    What will you do?
    Last edited by Varthonai; June 21st, 2014 at 11:49 PM.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by BanHammor View Post
    In the classical tradition of the genre, load up your local equivalent of Pesterchum and see if anyone is worth bothering.
    You open up Skype and see two people online. There is your brother Derek, and there are your Internet friends Phoebe ("Phoenixon"), Ben ("Nightfare"), and Vivian ("Oddsfish"). Derek and Phoebe's statuses are set to Available. Ben and Vivian's statuses are set to Busy, but in your experience that usually won't stop them from responding (though it makes you feel super guilty for taking their time). Everyone else's status is Away or offline.

    What will you do?

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    How close are you with Derek?
    Derek is just shy of a decade older than you; your parents had him almost immediately after marrying. He's really sweet and attentive. He was a good listener and always seemed very wise and worldly back when he was a teenager and you were a toddler. He helped talk you through stressful situations whenever he could see your parents' sink-or-swim approach wasn't working out, which was most of the time. You're sure that if you have a shred of a functional human being inside of you, you owe it to his influence.

    Though your parents started making Derek pay rent to keep his old room after he graduated from college, he dutifully paid and continued his brotherly ways for nearly another decade. You figure it was partly because the rent was still cheaper than most other places, partly because a lot of those years the economy sucked, and partly because he was just lazy and needed to keep a low-cost lifestyle to suit his general lack of ambition; all three of those are motives you can completely respect. But you also like to think that he stayed for you. He was always there to pick up your parents' slack no matter what, and it made things a lot easier, and you really hope that he found it rewarding and not just a burden.

    It lasted until April of 2010, when Derek couldn't make a monthly payment on time and your parents kicked him out. He moved in with his girlfriend Shauna in one of the shittier parts of town and you stopped hearing much from him. Whenever you tried to talk to him thereafter, whether online or on the phone or the occasional time you'd catch him in person, he'd get flustered and quickly excuse himself. It left you feeling kinda broken and you're still not sure exactly what happened.

    Your parents haven't rented the room out like they've done with yours. They sold the bed and clothes drawers and turned his former abode into a library-slash-sitting-room. Now they act for all the world like that's what it has always been.

    So... how "close" are you with Derek?

    You guess you don't really know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Talk with Vivian, see what she's up to these days.
    LINDA: Hi V
    VIVIAN: shh linda i am stalking prey
    LINDA: You're bidding on vintage children's toys on eBay?
    VIVIAN: maybe
    VIVIAN: possibly
    VIVIAN: okay yes
    LINDA: You know you're gonna bankrupt yourself on those things
    LINDA: You have a problem
    LINDA: Who even feels the need to have multiple identical action figures based on some obscure daffy duck parody of the scarlet pimpernel
    LINDA: Stuck in their crazy creepy womanchild doll collection
    LINDA: Nobody is who
    LINDA: That shit is whack
    VIVIAN: one might even be forgiven for saying that this shit is
    LINDA: No
    VIVIAN: daffy
    LINDA: No, one might not be forgiven for that, you crazy bitch
    VIVIAN: ^_^
    LINDA: I have problems too though so it's all good I guess
    LINDA: Been taking melatonin for a while now and I don't think it's really helping with my sleep
    VIVIAN: aww (hug)
    VIVIAN: it's not that late yet where you live, though, so don't lose hope!
    VIVIAN: not even midnight, if my preschool arithmetic time zone calculations are correct
    LINDA: Also earlier today this lady who lives a few floors above my parents' condo gave me this weird rock carved into a mirrored locket for an early birthday present, and then just now I found the exact same rock in this database that my potential new boss wants me to help manage and it weirded me out
    VIVIAN: is he a geologist?
    LINDA: Nah, archaeologist/anthropologist
    LINDA: I think my parents must've spun my courses in semiotics + that one time I did some stone carving over the summer, made it sound like I was some kinda prodigy of prehistory
    LINDA: The rocks weren't *exactly* the same, obviously, the one in the database had this symbol thingy carved on it
    VIVIAN: what kind of symbol?
    LINDA: A protective one, probably, the database said it was an amulet and that's what amulets do according to the people who believe in that kinda stuff
    LINDA: Come to think of it that's what Mrs. S told me the locket was supposed to do too
    LINDA: (Mrs. S is the lady)
    VIVIAN: ahk
    LINDA: This thing seems a little too simple to be an amulet proper though
    LINDA: Just a stone, hinge, and mirrors
    LINDA: Usually they have symbols and script and whatnot, or a complicated mess of beads and cloth patterns, or something else reasonably distinctive
    LINDA: Like a forwarding address
    LINDA: For the Grand Whoever is responsible for supplying the protection magic
    VIVIAN: sounds like that semiotics course prepared you better for this job than you're admitting
    LINDA: Thanks


    It's nice how easy it is to sound fairly cool and in control of your life while talking to people who've never met you in person.

    What will you do?

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Attempt to talk with Phoebe and Derek.
    LINDA: Hey Phoebe
    PHOEBE: Hey
    PHOEBE: You haz been out of the loop
    LINDA: Yeah
    LINDA: Sorry about that
    PHOEBE: No worries
    LINDA: I had issues to sort out
    PHOEBE: Check out what you been missing


    Phoebe's link takes you to a horror-themed text quest that's been up for a month or so on a forum you both frequent. You spend a while catching up and talking it over with Phoebe. The two of you share theories about what's going to happen and the significance of what has already happened; but despite your affectation of enthusiasm, you're finding it uncomfortably close to home because a lot of the main character's problems seem like exaggerated caricatures of your own problems. And as if that wasn't enough, by the time you've gotten to the present update it has started to get all weird and metafictional. The main character has discovered a horror-themed text quest within the horror-themed text quest and started down a crazy path of infinite text quest Inception.

    You decide to switch out of conversation with Phoebe for a bit, and so you message Derek instead.

    LINDA: Hey big bro

    There's an awkward silence that lasts four or five minutes.

    DEREK: Linda, hi!
    DEREK: Sorry, I was afk.
    DEREK: What's up?
    LINDA: Job stuff.
    LINDA: Rebellious brainmeats making my life harder than it needs to be.
    DEREK: I hear ya (hugs)
    LINDA: Felt like talking to you.
    LINDA: How're you doing?
    DEREK: We're managing.
    DEREK: Uh, shouldn't you be asleep?
    DEREK: Isn't Mom making you try to get your schedule onto a 24-hour cycle?
    LINDA: Yeah
    LINDA: Not really working though
    LINDA: IDK, what do you do to fall asleep?
    DEREK: Well I don't normally have insomnia
    DEREK: But when I do, I usually get up and get a glass of water or milk
    DEREK: Then bring it to bed and drink it slowly
    DEREK: While reading a book, or just sitting alone in the dark thinking quiet thoughts
    DEREK: Like, obviously not a really interesting or exciting book
    DEREK: I'm usually ready to fall asleep by the time the glass is empty
    LINDA: Ok
    DEREK: You know it just occurred to me that I'm probably making things worse for you
    DEREK: Like enabling you or something : /
    DEREK: Even the best advice I can give is probably not going to make up
    DEREK: For the amount of sleep you lose while listening
    DEREK: And the monitor glow’s influence on your brain, too! I remember you said that the sleep doctor said the light suppresses your body's natural melatonin production, or something
    DEREK: And the synthetic melatonin supplements wouldn't be enough to offset it
    LINDA: Idk, I felt like talking to you might help, and I think I was right
    DEREK: You sure?
    LINDA: Yeah, we haven't been in contact enough lately
    DEREK: Oh
    DEREK: Sorry
    DEREK: I've just been kind of swamped
    LINDA: I don’t mean just these past few months
    LINDA: I mean ever since you moved out
    LINDA: You kind of act like you're not part of the family anymore


    You don't know exactly why you're being this uncharacteristically forthright. Maybe it's the mood you fell into as you entered the condo. Maybe it's the attitude you decided to adopt a little while ago with regard to the stormy atmosphere. Maybe it's your mild sense of accomplishment at having actually dealt with Prof. North. Whatever it is, you kinda like it.

    You feel a yawn welling up inside of you. You stretch your arms out wide and let the yawn go with great satisfaction.

    DEREK: I
    DEREK: Uh
    DEREK: I'm sorry Linda : (
    LINDA: Thank you
    DEREK: D'you wanna maybe
    DEREK: Come over to Shauna's and my place on Sunday
    DEREK: Hang out, talk, and stuff?


    As you are reading mid-yawn, you stretch your arms a little too far. You feel a tug and a pinch as the scab that had formed over your armpit wound from Mrs. Semeraro's cracks open again.

    What will you do?

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Tell Linda's brother that you would love to visit him and Shauna. Then go to the bathroom and check your wound.
    LINDA: I’d love to, Derek, that sounds great : D
    DEREK: Okay cool
    DEREK: For serious though you should try to get some sleep
    LINDA: Yeah okay
    LINDA: ttyl
    DEREK: ttyl Linda
    DEREK: Love < 3


    Your laptop is down to 21% power so you figure you’ll tend to your broken scab and then try to sleep. On top of your nightstand there remain the two pill bottles, the keychain and its flashlight, your phone, your tablet, and the tiny box that contains the mirrored chalcedony locket. You grab the keychain, since you’ll hardly be able to navigate the hallway or the bathroom without it.

    The medicine cabinet in the bathroom is still open; you guess you must have forgotten to close it when you left in a hurry to check the circuit breakers. You pull out a bottle of antiseptic cream and place it on the sink. You then start to reach for a box of adhesive bandages.

    Something long and thin and dark suddenly skitters over the box’s surface in the keychain flashlight’s dim aura, causing you to leap backward in shock.

    After a moment you compose yourself and realize it was probably an unusually big house centipede, like the ones that you saw in Mrs. Semeraro’s bathroom; after all, if they were in one of this building’s condos, they could well be in several others. But you’ve been through much worse things today, so you steel your nerves and quickly seize the box of bandages from the shelf before you have time to freak out or start talking yourself out of it.

    There’s no centipede behind the box of bandages. It’s probably off in another part of the cabinet already. You focus on treating your gash to take your mind off of it, unscrewing the cap of the antiseptic bottle and rubbing a little of it into the scratch under your armpit, wincing at the mild sting. You try to place a bandage on top of the cut once you’re done with the cream, but between the poor lighting and the awkward almost-out-of-sight position of the injury, you keep placing it slightly off and having to rip it back up again, wincing each time. You pull back the door of the medicine cabinet to try to use the mirror to assist you.

    You are surprised to see that the mirror is cracked--and pretty badly. A single long and twisting crack runs through it diagonally, touching the upper left and lower right sides of the frame. Dozens more cracks run outward from the big diagonal crack in spidery channels.

    Huh, you think. When did that happen? I’m pretty sure it was fine when I took my meds out after I came home… did I knock it when I jumped back from the centipede?

    You guess it doesn’t matter how it happened. Your parents will see it in the morning and deal with it however they want to deal with it. What matters right now is that this mirror is virtually unusable for what you need—its cracks obscure and distort all images within its frame.

    What will you do?


    [sorry for another big delay folks; I got some invaluable creative input from Aval and will be aiming for updates of daily frequency or greater from this point onwards]

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Disregard the calcedony locket, use your senses to locate the wound.
    You continue attempting to place the bandage without the aid of a mirror, and you continue to be unsuccessful. I'd have to be some kind of tactile ninja, you think. It's like reading Braille.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > First, use the locket as a mirror.
    You give up on your decision to work without a mirror. Instead, you return to your room to try using the mirror in the chalcedony locket, bringing the bandages with you. Your dim, narrow keychain flashlight beam flicks from side to side as you check to make sure you don't inadvertently step near any centipedes, but fortunately you see none.

    You arrive back in your room and flick open the locket. It works perfectly, even in the dim light from your flashlight beam and laptop monitor (13% power, you note). You apply the bandage neatly so that its soft pad covers the entire surface of the wound, and you are deeply satisfied with your work.

    Then you see something horrible in the mirror, something just behind your shoulder--it appears to be a single flayed human hand. It is tightly encased in something transparent and wrinkly that reminds you, weirdly, of plastic food wrap. It is not a severed hand, but the rest of the body that the hand presumably belongs to is located outside of the tiny mirror's frame. The flayed wrist to which the hand is attached is raised, but also limply bent, with no tension. It is as if the hand is being raised by an invisible puppeteer's string rather than by the wielder's own muscles.

    Then, quickly as it appeared, the hand seems to move out of frame again and your room is apparently back to normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    Second, be the centipede.

    Centipede: > Flee for your life
    Fleeing is all that you've done for the scant few days that you have existed. Fleeing is all that you know, all that you remember, save for the faint memory of the taste of prey long ago. You can't even be sure that the memory is truly yours anymore, but in lieu of real prey it is all that sustains you.

    The end is close now... so close, you can almost smell it, touch it, taste it. You will flee, as you've always fled. And it won't matter, because you'll die at the end of your flight.

    You'll flee, and you'll die.

    But not before you taste prey for the last time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    Centipede: > Stop being the centipede.
    You never were the centipede.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Find any light source you can and turn it on.
    You try to turn on the electric lights in your room, but the power is still out. You still have your keychain flashlight. Your family owns some brighter flashlights but off the top of your head you can't remember where they are; probably the foyer, the kitchen, or one of your parents' offices. There are also candles and matches in the pantry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Scour the room for some logical explanation for the hand
    You turn to look over your shoulder, where (you think) you saw the hand. There is nothing there. Nothing in the room appears to have been disturbed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > If you fail to do that look for the centipede. You might need all the allies you can get
    No way. You'd rather take your chances with whatever is coming than go after that nasty crawling thing.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Okay, we have to now officially agree that this is a state of horror-story crisis, and you, as well as those surrounding you, are in imminent danger. Can we agree on that?
    You consider this and offer up a tentative yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    If yes: > Take stock of who is in the building with you and ensure their safety
    Your parents are asleep in their room, as you observed earlier when you heard them snoring as you passed their closed door. The tenant is still out for the night. There are a handful of other families and individuals in the condo building, Mrs. Semeraro among them. You haven't heard any sounds that would suggest trouble or distress.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    Let's see... We could try to quarantine the room where you saw the hand, but if it escaped then you're just blocking access to potentially vital supplies - and you're certainly not going to lock yourself in a room with the threat.

    If the locket showed you the hand, then we could try putting the locket in quarantine; however, if the locket turned out to be vital to your survival then you would be sealing your fate by doing so.

    This leaves one option.

    > Seek a means to defend yourself from monsters. Keep the locket close, but DO NOT HANG IT FROM YOUR NECK IN ANY WAY.
    You take a moment to think about the most readily available weapons. There are knives in the kitchen. There is a sharpened chisel left over from that summer course you took in stone carving, which you think should still be near the little goblin statuette you made for your dad's vegetable garden as your final project. You clutch the locket in your fingertips and wrap its chain around your hand and fingers to keep it in place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aval View Post
    Reprimand yourself for being so dumb. You mean, seriously. You and even people without broken overmedicated brains have seen weird shit at night before and yet in the morning without fail the world is natural as ever.

    Why is it that as soon as the lights go out your whole faith in epistemology evidently flies out of the window and you can entertain blatantly self-contradictory beliefs? Is it any less likely that impossible things can happen in the daylight? You know it's just a dumb association re-enforced by too much exposure to horror media. Pull yourself together and use your remaining battery power to watch something funny and get yourself into a different kind of headspace and get your delusional ass in bed.
    This is a good point. You catch your breath and start to sit down at your laptop, still at 13% power. You minimize the Skype window and re-open your browser, which is still open to the window with the star symbol.

    Something moves in your peripheral vision, drawing your eyes back to the open locket. There's a row of bared human teeth there, tight-clenched and surrounded by lipless gums. Again, it all appears to be buried under layers of that translucent filmy wrapping. The modern mummy, some weird part of your brain mouths off, the rest of it apparently dumbstruck. Furnished in a frozen food funeral shroud.

    You hear a noise nearby that sounds like a muffled, weary, wheezy breath. There's something in it that reminds you faintly of the ragged and slurred words of the homeless woman's mantra that you heard earlier this evening--pitiable, pathetic, potentially dangerous from desperation.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aval View Post
    do you have a history of hallucinations?
    Yes. Like most humans, you have a history of vivid hallucinations that occur during sleep. However, you do not have a history of hallucinating while awake.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aval View Post
    lose faith in epistemology
    You feel that your very existence could be threatened, and thus are presently occupied with ensuring your continued ontology. Figuring out how you feel about epistemology is going to have to wait for a more appropriate time.

    Quote Originally Posted by exodus View Post
    Try and get a glass of water without thinking of the weird stuff happening around. Keep the locket close to you, maybe in your pocket.
    As you turn the locket to place it in the pocket of your pajama pants, it catches the light of your laptop monitor. For a brief moment the image of the tridecagram appears centered within the mirror, reflected from your browser.

    Where a moment ago there was only dark and empty room, a bizarre creature is now visible, occupying the space between you and the door.


    It glides like a ghost, but looks uncomfortable doing so. Its movements are erratic; they seem forced, unnatural, with the same puppet-like stance you saw in its hand a moment ago.

    It appears to have no eyes. It is not making any attempt to approach you, nor giving any sign of having noticed your presence... for the moment.

    What will you do?
    Last edited by Varthonai; August 2nd, 2014 at 10:51 PM.

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Do you still have the mirrored locket? Get rid of it. It might as well be cursed. On the other hand, you don't need it to see the creature so it might not be cursed after all.
    You snap the locket shut in your hand and toss it onto your bed. Immediately, the creature vanishes.

    You still hear faint muffled breaths, faint muffled creaks of bone on bone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    It sounds like you are daydreaming, maybe you are just tired of never properly sleeping and your brain can't get used to your imposed schedules.

    The creature isn't hostile so far, and it can't see you, but does it have a nose/ears?
    It doesn't appear to have any facial features other than its lipless mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Try illuminating the horrible creature with your keychain to see if it feels the light on it's muscles.
    You shine the keychain flashlight toward where you saw the creature a moment ago, before you discarded the locket. Nothing seems to happen, but without seeing the creature you can't be sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Inch your way around to the door. We're definitely going with the quarantine option
    You can try inching your way around the spot where you saw the creature a moment ago, but it could have moved since then.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    So in some way, it is near Linda, and the locket seems to have some influence on the creature. It has visually vanished in her point of view, but it could be... behind her.

    Linda, turn your head slowly to either your left or right and try to use your peripheral vision to spot something out of place or moving. Do not use the locket as a mirror since you would end up where you started.
    You turn your head slowly left, and...

    ...you see nothing.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Turn your head right. If nothing's there, look up, down, everywhere in the room as long as you keep hearing the creature's breath.
    You cautiously examine the entire room in this manner, finding nothing out of place. A few minutes pass. You don't think that you can hear the breathing anymore, but it might have just gotten fainter. Or maybe you're having more trouble hearing it, distracted by your own accelerated pulse and breathing.

    In the distance you think that you can hear the creak of a door opening.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Point at the door with your key chain. Do not interact with the locket.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aval View Post
    the thing still seems to be present without it. the locket is the only means of seeing it we have so far. take it and use it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    That actually makes sense, but would Linda really want to see it again? Ignorance is bliss.
    Different conflicted feelings flow through your adrenaline-shocked mind and you question whether or not you really want to go any further down this rabbit hole. But to your surprise, examining your emotions throughout this whole encounter, you find that despite your physical stress response you psychologically feel sedate... almost serene, even. You should be terrified, panicking, hysterical; that's the kind of person that you thought you were. But instead you are feeling an entrancing, ecstatic emptiness, an opiate oblivion. It is like one of your depersonalization states, except that you are still you.

    Yes, there would appear to be a monster in your home. Yes, it could be very dangerous. Yes, you could die at any moment.

    But I never really felt like I had much to live for in the first place, you think. So fuck it.

    You grab the locket and flip it open again. You still don't see any sign of the creature. Your door is open, though, and it might have gone off down a hallway.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Are you gonna pull an E.T. with the creature?
    [what, you mean have it turn out to be friendly and cuddly?]

    [aha. ahahahahahahahahahahahaha. ehehehehehehehehehehe, ohohoho.]

    [: D]
    Last edited by Varthonai; August 4th, 2014 at 12:50 AM.

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killing_Time View Post
    Despite your calm demeanor, just mentally double check you took all the medication required for today.
    You are pretty sure that you did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Killing_Time View Post
    You heard a door creaking earlier. If this creature isn't some figment of your imagination it might be responsible. Determine which door it might've gone through.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aval View Post
    locate and hug creature
    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Do as K_T said, and investigate the rest of the apartment, holding the locket all the time.
    [gonna repaste the condo map for convenience]


    You cautiously move up through the hallway, clutching the locket. The tenant's door is still open; you think it looks undisturbed from before, but you're not certain. Same with the pantry/kitchen door and bathroom door.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    > Check and see if the tenant is the monster. That would be great evidence to convince your parents to throw her out.
    You peek into the tenant's room. Most of your old stuff from when it was your room are still up in there, posters and bedsheets and so forth; you guess she was too lazy to redecorate. It's a mess, too, with dirty laundry all over the floor.

    Which is to say, it looks undisturbed since she was last here. It's probably safe to move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Try the kitchen, maybe Kuribo got hungry (it has a mouth, after all).
    You cautiously head into the kitchen. You spot several items that you were contemplating earlier. There is a rack full of knives on the counter. There are candles lying bundled together on a shelf in the pantry; close to the candles are some matches and a bottle of lighter fluid. Still no sign of the creature though.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanism View Post
    Is Linda still hearing faint breaths? I suggest moving around the house until they grow stronger and clearer.
    You can no longer hear the breaths, but you can search the house until you start to hear them again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aval View Post
    I'd actually recommend hiding where they're faintest but either way first grab a knife.
    Before you start searching, you grab a large chef's knife from the rack. You are somewhat surprised to find that your fingers don't even tremble as you grip it in your right hand; you are clearheaded and resolute, and your body reflects this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Killing_Time View Post
    Is the bottle of lighter fluid pressurized? If it is, spend most of the night engineering an improvised flamethrower with kitchen items and a lit candle. In the event that no duct tape is available change your design so it works with cotton string. There should be some available for tying roasts, but be careful that none of it is in line of fire.
    The bottle is not internally pressurized; it is a squeeze bottle, designed to squirt fluid onto charcoal when pressure is applied externally with a tight grip. In any case you're not sure you trust your engineering skills enough to be sure the thing wouldn't explode in your face on firing, especially not under possible time pressure. You've worked on projects with Emma, but you are not Emma. You are you, and right now you're cool with that.

    Anyway, you guess that if it really came to it, you could always just squirt lighter fluid all over the creature and then toss a lit match at it. You stuff the lighter fluid bottle into your pocket (making sure it is sealed tight and not going to leak on your pajama pants) and pocket the book of matches as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    As a rule: Attempt diplomacy; expect hostility
    You will bear this rule in mind as you search.

    What will you do?

    part two in progress
    current update: save the cat that you maimed

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