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Now what?

Climb the stair to the clifftops
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Author Topic: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.  (Read 6070 times)

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Offline PatMan33

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A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« on: October 24, 2012, 07:26:14 pm »

You are in complete darkness. A howling of wind is distant and audible but the air in your immediate area is comfortable, if a bit stale. Up ahead you see a light.

How did you miss it before?

It shimmers and dances across the darkness, sending long arms into the void. The light is harsh and bright, however. Your eyes strain to take it all in and you have to turn away. A cough escapes your lungs and you shiver suddenly. The stale air, you realize, has begun to leave a sour taste in your mouth. You are feeling weaker. Maybe it's time to get a move on.

Either into the uncomfortably bright light, or into the darkness where the howling wind awaits?



Offline Inkling

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 07:29:47 pm »
Walk toward the train light.
Probably not a Goat, either.


Offline Neoadept

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 07:31:30 pm »
You felt fine before the the light appeared.  Retreat into the comfort of the darkness.
Nefarious?  Nearly.  Ne’er-do-well?  Never!  Neither nearly names this narrator.  Naive and knowledgeable, notorious and inscrutable, this nascent Nero is known naturally as Neoadept.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 12:15:33 am »
Seems like you can't decide. Stay where you are, you're fine where you are.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 02:09:39 pm »
Results:
Unable to see through the darkness, your eyes dart wildly back and forth as you cautiously wander into the howling void. - 4 votes
Squinting, you raise your hand to shield your eyes and approach the light. - 1 vote


You walk for a few moments and stop. The shimmering light has begun to pulse and you feel like it is calling for you.

Still, you've made your decision. And without much doubt!

Onward you travel and in short order the howling wind starts to grow louder. Much louder, actually. Far off in front of you a soft, yellow beckons in the darkness. The light is constant, but twinkles like a star. At least it isn't cold and oppressive like the other light. Involuntarily, you raise your hands to cover your ears from the noise. It is almost deafening but by this time it sounds less like wind and more like... steam? Groping around in the blankness of your mind, you seem to remember the grade crossing near the old grocer that you worked at after school. Freight trains used to rumble past regularly and ones that had local stops always let out a big blast of steam as they approached. The sound you hear in the darkness is rushing steam, not wind!

You are certain.

Knowing this, the sound becomes less menacing. The soft yellow dot has approached much more quickly than you expected. It turns out to be a sizable incandescent light bulb mounted in the center of a grumbling monstrosity of steel and energy. Amidst the light bulb's hearty pale the darkness is less-complete and you are able to make out the form of a giant steam locomotive. Or maybe it's a regular-sized steam locomotive, they are all pretty massive. Another pulse of light washes over your body and you turn away from the locomotive to see the shimmering white light from before spanning the distant horizon.

Okay, you're all-but-certain that it wasn't that big last time.

You hear its tingling voice in your head once again, beckoning you to step into the light. Still you refuse and instead rush toward the steaming engine. In the brightening, burning light you can clearly see not just a locomotive but an entire train. Six beautiful rail cars accompany the locomotive and the front-most car is open. Unable to keep your eyes open more than a sliver, you stumble up the ladder and into the vestibule of the first car. You turn the small, simple knob on the car's door and hurry inside.

The scent of mohair upholstery fills your nostrils.

Inside the car you feel safe but very, very alone. The air is almost warm, maybe cozy, and whatever mess was occurring outside seemed to be well within the specifications of the car's dark windows. Which reminds you. You walk over to the window and look out. The brightness was everywhere now, not a speck of dark to be seen. On the ground you could discern a cobblestone platform with an old crooked signpost and a few paths going off in several directions. The rest was flat. Just flat and grassy. Another bright flash washed across the land and very faintly you thought you could hear someone crying with lament. But whatever you thought you heard was pushed aside as you watched darkness roll over the land once more. The shimmering, shining light had vanished.

A whistle rattles the glass in front of your nose and the entire world seems to lurch.

The train slowly begins to come to life and you hear the brakes release with a hiss. You watch helplessly out the window as an invisible and alien world slips by. Catching a brief panic, you bolt toward the door you came in from but stop short of the handle. It is already turning and someone is moments away from entering the car.

Your thoughts race. What should you do? Step back and try to act natural or do your best to find a hiding spot?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 02:14:36 pm by PatMan33 »

Offline Neoadept

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 02:50:10 pm »
Take a seat.  This is your refuge from the cursed light, a gift from the void.  You've nothing to hide from it's keepers.
Nefarious?  Nearly.  Ne’er-do-well?  Never!  Neither nearly names this narrator.  Naive and knowledgeable, notorious and inscrutable, this nascent Nero is known naturally as Neoadept.

Offline Inkling

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 03:26:47 pm »
You have no idea how long the train ride could last, it's not like you could hide in the closet forever.
Probably not a Goat, either.


Offline Brandonazz

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 07:35:47 pm »
Play it cool. Be all like "I paid good money for this train ride."

Offline PatMan33

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 07:56:50 pm »
Results:
You hurry to the nearest seat and try to look like you're where you are supposed to be. - 7 votes
Dropping to the floor, you scurry behind a few brooms in a pocket near the door. - 1 vote


This one was a no-brainer. The closet looked appealing for a brief second but you decide it best to just slip into the nearest seat. You end up in a booth seat on the car's left and you watch with palpable anticipation as the slender door opens. Someone begins to grumble and you see an old man with a heavy jacket and black conductor's hat shuffle in. His nose looks like a squished grape and two beady eyes peek out from the most luscious eyebrows you've ever seen. The old man reaches into his breast pocket and produces a hole punch, then strides toward you.

"Ticket please!!"

You swallow a giant glob of shame and smile at the conductor. This was about as far as you'd managed to plan. "Ah! No ticket. No ticket no ticket! I see then..." the conductor exclaimed. "Let's see what we can do for you." Reaching into a small pouch he had strung around his neck, the conductor found a slip of paper. He haphazardly punched three holes in it with his punch and then handed it over.

"I see you're traveling first class all the way to mumblemumblemumble... well well aren't you fortunate. And you're with us round trip! That gets you a complementary meal over in the dining car and free use of the observation car. Keep your hands inside, mind you. And remember, if you decide to stay long at any stops along the way just show the station manager your ticket and we'll come pick you up. Enjoy your stay!"

Before you can get a word in edgewise the conductor is off. He merrily begins talking what you guess are other passengers in the empty car. Best not worry about him for the moment. The train is rolling along very quickly, that much you can tell. So jumping off is out of the question at least until the next stop. Looking down at your ticket, you sigh.

No destination.

Offline martyk

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 10:32:07 pm »
What a pleasant fellow!  It only makes sense to take advantage of his hospitality.  To the dining car!
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Offline Brandonazz

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 10:57:40 pm »
You perform better on a full stomach.

Offline Inkling

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 06:21:20 am »
You're probably still a bit woozy from whatever was affecting you out there in the darkness.  Go to the Observation car to clear your head and figure out more about where you are and maybe where you're going.
Probably not a Goat, either.


Offline PatMan33

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 07:50:14 pm »
Results:
Go to the dining car. Maybe some food will get my mind working. - 3 votes
I loved riding the observation car when I was younger. Might as well check this out! - 4 votes
What's this other thing here? Smoke? Must be a smoking lounge. I guess I can take a look. - 2 votes


Tough one! You realize that you can't remember when you last ate. But you're hungry. Still, you are also curious about the smoking lounge... or jealous that you aren't allowed in. Either or. But that's beside the point. Fresh air sounds good. Plus observation deck! And you have a fondness for them from your childhood. You cock your head at the strangeness of recalling something so mundane. With that, you stand up and head toward the back of the car, seeing as it would probably be rude to bother the engineer. In your memory you picture six train cars. The first one behind the engine is a passenger car and you are currently in it. You reach the door and enter the vestibule between cars and arrive in...

... another passenger car. Empty.

The conductor shuffles in behind you and begins asking the empty seats for their tickets. You can only imagine what goes on in his head. Right then, another passenger car. This one is identical to the previous car. Rows of dark green mohair upholstered booths with the movable backs that allow you to switch direction to match the train's. Each one is unoccupied. With a shrug you continue on to the third car and are greeted by a long, narrow corridor. The sleeper car. Three skinny doors and accompanying windows with privacy shades dot the right side of the hallway, while outward-facing windows run down the left. The thought crosses your mind that your first class ticket may net you a room. You smile for the first time in a while and enter the next car.

Chicken corn chowder!!

The smell dominates your senses and you immediately feel hungrier. It must be the dining room! The car is separated at its midpoint by a wall, with a corridor to the next car along the right side. The rest, you assume, is the kitchen. Someone is toiling away back there working on the spectacular-smelling chowder. As you wander through the dining area you notice the painstaking work that has gone into each place setting. Every fork and knife is perfect. The glasses are all spotless and each napkin is folded into the bust of an eagle. You lament your departure from the dining hall but vow to return.

Next you find yourself in a storage car. All along the front half are pallets of food and other supplies, as well as a fair amount of luggage. In the middle is a large white box with a depiction of an eagle carrying a letter. The train must be carrying mail, too. In the back portion of the car three small staff rooms had been designated, and beyond that the door to the final car. You quietly pass the staff rooms just in case someone is trying to sleep and step over to the observation car.

Another long, narrow corridor to the back of the train. There is some kind of room dominating the entire area to your right, but you've got no idea what it could be. Finally you arrive at the rear observation deck and look out the glass-paned door. It's dark, but two lights shine brightly and illuminate the entire deck. You are about to leave when you notice something out of the corner of your eye. There is another door behind you.

SMOKE

Of course, the smoking lounge! Or SMOKE. Whatever. You give the door a wary look and exit onto the observation deck. Taking a deep, long breath you approach the back rail and lean against it. One of the deck lights rustles softly to your right and you look over at it. It is very pendant-like and suspended by a strong silvery twine. A large whitish-green jewel is in its center appears to be giving off a cool, calming light. You peer closer and notice raised artwork on the pendant. It appears to be a depiction of a battle. Men killing men and beasts killing men. Not exactly what you expected. But then again, take a look around.

"Excuse me?"

You stop dead. A voice. A female voice. On the weird train hurtling through the infinite void.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2012, 08:44:23 am »
Results:
Act natural and fail. Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you? - 2 votes
Be blunt. You're on the doom train in the nega void, after all. - 6 votes
Jump over the railing to escape! - 0 votes


"Hey! Sorry if I didn't see you. It's been a weird day. You're real, right? Not just some figment of my imagination." Being honest has worked so far, so you decide to keep it up. The woman giggles and removes her small hat. Her face is soft and pretty and you can't help but notice her pale red eyes. Long black hair runs down to the small of her back and meets up with her light tan blazer. She is strictly business casual. Except for the two sharp, narrow horns that protrude from her forehead.

I need to start paying better attention.

Again, you kick yourself for not noticing something like that earlier on. Two pointy horns measuring about two and a half inches in length are set just above her hairline. With a bit of reckless courage, you reach out and attempt to poke one of the woman's horns with your index finger. With a sigh, she reaches out and smacks your hand away. "Yes, I'm real. And don't touch those!! That's not for you..."

She gives you a wink and then smiles mischievously.

"This is your first time, isn't it? No need to say it, I can tell. If I'm being honest, it's only my third time and it hasn't gotten any less-bizarre. Did you try the soup yet? It has been tempting me but I can't work up the nerve to try it." You look at the strange women and think. She seems to be acting honestly. Or at least she isn't acting very strangely. So far you've got first place in that contest. Your mind wanders back to the soup and you speak. "I haven't! But I think I'm going to when it's ready."

The woman pursed her lips and looks you up and down. "You're interesting. And also the first person I've ever met on this train with a personality other than crazy. Maybe I'll take you up on that soup later. For now, though..." She looks down and takes something small from her handbag. It's a ticket! "Looks like I've got to get going. Don't wander too far!" With a quick smile she turns and heads for the observation deck door. She reaches to her side attempts to slip the ticket into her bag but it falls to the ground instead, unnoticed. Instinctively, you reach down and pick up the ticket. Now what?

Offline Rysworld

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Re: A light is up ahead and darkness lies behind.
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2012, 10:11:07 am »
Return the ticket. You already have one, and it can't hurt to give her's back.