Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pathfinders: B is for Bold...or is it for Bottomless?

The call of that tunnel is too strong.

Cautiously, your heart beating in your throat, you grasp the edge of the hole, slide a foot down, ready to spring back at once should anything seem amiss. You feel the cool firmness of the earth under your hands, steadying you, and your toe touches a pipe. The pipe holds beneath light pressure, and, emboldened, you ease more weight onto it. You can feel a low, steady vibration, like the hum of distant machinery, transmitted through the pipe, but the pipe itself stays fast.

The vibration is oddly comforting, and you begin to relax. All your weight on the pipe now, you bring your other foot down, feel your footing still solid on the rounded surface of the pipe. You release the breath you hadn't realized you were holding. Sure of yourself now, you reach out for a handhold on pipe that juts out just below the edge of the hole, grasp it, and gingerly begin climbing down, maneuvering around and through the maze of pipes, edging closer and closer to the tunnel, struggling not to look into the dizzying void. The vibration in the pipes grows stronger, and your hands and feet begin to tingle and go a little numb. Is it from the vibration, or something else?

The pipes feel moist and slick now under your hands, getting hard to hold on to. Sweat? Oil? The tunnel seems closer now than the top of the hole, and you resolve to make quickly for its relative safety. You release your grip on the pipes to wipe one hand on your clothes, the other hand sliding on the slickness now, but still keeping a tenuous grasp, and you realize that your movements seem slow and heavy, like moving through water. As you shift your weight to take hold of the next pipe, you catch a glimpse of the star-filled void, and dizzied by the view, feel yourself sliding forward. You grab for the pipes to steady yourself, but your arms and legs fail to respond in time, and your fingers just brush the edge of the pipe as they swing past. Your feet slip off the edge of the pipe and the jolt pulls your other hand free from the pipes.

You are falling toward the void, into the stars, banging against the pipes as you struggle in vain to reach them. You abruptly stop, your body slamming against an invisible barrier. The impact leaves you dazed, your nose you burn from the impact, or from the barrier itself? Amazed, relieved, but terrified, disoriented, gazing into the impossible starry void, you push frantically against the barrier, manage to raise yourself up, and feel a sickening sensation of vertigo. You collapse, trying to fight back nausea, and you realize with horror that the barrier is softening, has ceased to hold you up, and that you are slowly, inexorably, sinking into it. The burning, prickling sensation increases as the field begins to close over you.

Do you:

Call for help? Blog 1

Struggle against the field?

Close your eyes and accept your fate?

This post is part of Porky's Fantasy Blogwalk, a collaborative cross-blog Choose Your Own Adventure narrative. If you have an idea for what comes before, write it, post it on your blog, and link to this post in one of your action options. If you have an idea for what happens next with one or more of the options (or if you have an idea for what happens with another action not yet listed) write it up and leave the link in the comments here. I will add the link to the appropriate option. The main adventure begins here.


  1. Oh, wow. That was expertly done, real and powerful. Not only that, but very true to the sense of the thing as I visualised it; I'd not have got such tension though, not by a long way. And it's a solid B for the A to Z too. Another masterclass. I'll link it up right now.

  2. Gosh, I loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books. This was a very well done.

    I choose A) Call for help

    Hmmm... what happens next??? Happy B Day! :)

  3. @Porky - I credit your writing for being evocative enough to really give me a sense of the place and the emotions that went along with it. I'm glad you feel I did your amazing set-up justice.

    @PK Hrezo - I'd love to see what you think happens next - write it up, post it on your blog, and drop a link here in the comments, and I'll add it to the page options! Maybe it can be your "C" entry: "C is for 'Call for Help'.