I remember seeing Tom Petty in concert during the late nineties. It was a time when I was going through a few issues of my own and music really got me through it all safely. I decided to cover Free Fallin’ in the hopes that it’ll get you all past this crazy time and to where we can resume some sense of normalcy.
One of my original instrumentals written a few years back. I’m beginning to post some of my songs as well as covers during this pandemic. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. We will get through it. Enjoy the music.
I hope everyone is staying as safe and cautious as possible. I know being confined and having limitations is something that takes time to adjust to, so for those of you who like a good read, my ETERNAL HUNGER SAGA is FREE on Amazon digital through this coming Monday.
Of course you can buy it in print too, but we are all struggling, so I hope you have some time to read a good book or 12! Yes, this is the entire series in one collection. 12 novels, 12 spinoff shorts and extra bonuses.
Here’s the link. Please spread the word and leave a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or lulu.com https://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Hunger-Saga-Rick-Pipito-ebook/dp/B085GH1LZZ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1584728232&sr=8-2
It’s a double release day! Now for the first time you can get in its entirety, THE ETERNAL HUNGER SAGA. This multi-award winning anthology includes the novels: FLESH AND LEFTOVERS, BLOOD THE SECOND HELPING, BONES AT BREAKFAST, SOULS 4 SUPPER, DEVIL’S DESSERT, TECHNO FEAST, GENETIC MORSELS, PLANET ATE, DEVOURED UNIVERSE, A COURSE FOR HUMANITY, THE THIRST OF CAIN, and CONSUMED BY WAR.
Also included are the 12 spinoff short books: ZOMBIE INCIDENTS, LEGENDS OF VAMPIRE, IN CASE OF WEREWOLF, GHOSTLY HAUNTINGS, DEMONIC ENTITIES, VIRAL UPGRADES, EVOLVED MUTATIONS, ALIEN ENCOUNTERS, COSMIC ORBITS, THE LOST HOUR, THE LOST DAY, and THE LOST YEAR.
In addition to those is the quick short THE LINGERING QUESTION, which wraps up a lose end, as well as a choose your own adventure style story called THE ETERNAL SURVIVOR, which puts you (the reader) inside this universe.
THE ETERNAL HUNGER SAGA is available now in hardback special edition for $59.99 here , in softback for $54.99 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu , as well as in digital format for $29.99 on Amazon.
While you’re at it be sure to grab a copy of DIGESTED CONCEPTS. It is an unedited behind the scenes companion for the saga, where I explain my inspiration, share some insight into what was factual and deleted concepts, as well as my writing process and ten year journey making these books. You won’t want to miss it.
*The Eternal Hunger Saga and Digested Concepts are copyright 2020 by Rick Pipito. Cover art by Dan Pipito
I’ve always wanted to create a choose your own adventure style book. The holidays have been frantic, but amidst the chaos I managed to make a quick one through an app, and it’s here now to share with you all. If you’ve never read a book like this, then you need to know to pick an option given as you’re reading and follow it to the destination. In this case I’ll be posting it free for you here, so the destination won’t be a page, but instead a paragraph number. Enjoy and let me know how far you get your first time in the comments! I decided to forgo publishing this one in book form because of lack of timing with artists etc, but it will be part of the upcoming Eternal Hunger Saga release.
THE ETERNAL SURVIVOR: A Story Where You Choose Your Own Fate
(Follow the instructions with the decisions you make to the underlined paragraph)
Text (C) 2019 Rick Pipito (all images were found in the public domain)
You find yourself on a gravel road stretches before you. How you got there you do not recall. Its endless expanse beyond the horizon is only slightly less tiresome than the feel of stone beneath your feet. Morning fog and dew saturates the surrounding trees on both sides of the path. The eerie setting is enough to send a chill down your spine. Goosebumps form as hair stands on the back of your neck at the added sound of slow groaning coming from the left. It sounds as if someone is injured.
Keep walking & ignore the sound – Goto Paragraph 37
Hurry to help whoever is in trouble – Goto Paragraph 36
Arm yourself with a fallen branch – Goto Paragraph 35
You continue to eat and drink what you’ve been given, deciding that it would be rude not to. When she returns to see you’ve finished it all she smiles claiming, “Those are all very good for your blood. Perhaps you’ll rest some more and join me later for another bite?” How could you turn down such a generous offer? You take a nap and then follow her when you wake into the dining room. Only a large chalice sits at the head of the table near one end. You quickly notice that it’s only set for one and something tells you this is all wrong. She turns to you with a grin that reveals two long fangs among her top row of teeth. Before you realize what is going on she extends her index finger and slides it across your throat. As blood pours from the wound, she catches it in the chalice and takes a deep gulp. “This is becoming way too easy,” you hear her say as you choke on your life fluids. The world fades from view and you find the end.
As your hostess graciously exits the room, you carefully get out of bed. Judging by the time of day you wonder why the shutters to the windows are all tightly shut. Not an ounce of sunlight can enter. Making your way to the bathroom you find that the only decor not in perfect condition is the mirror. It is shattered creating a pixelated image of you on its surface. You sneak out of the room and into the foyer where a macabre scene of darkness is illuminated only by a few dim accent lights. The odor of copper makes you curious as to where the hostess is, so you tiptoe further and find a table with a chalice. You admire the cup and walk to the windows to see that not only are the curtains drawn, but the windows are painted black on the inside. Something alerts you and you turn in time to see the mistress glide into the room. It’s as if her feet aren’t moving but she is floating with each step. With irritation she asks, “Has no one ever taught you manners? You shouldn’t wander in someone’s home uninvited.” You apologize and hand her the chalice admiring the craftsmanship. As she accepts you realize that she has no reflection in its shiny surface. As impossible as it seems you begin to put the pieces together. The disgust she’d shown at the mention of garlic, the shattered mirror and windows hiding the outside light, the scent of copper and the food she’d given you that is good for your blood, and the way she glides when she walks with no reflection. You deduce that she must be a vampire! Backing away your fears are confirmed as she reveals fangs. You grab the nearby lamp and throw it at the window. Sunlight flows in the shattered frame as the hostess recoils and falls over a chair. You quickly scoop up one of the broken wooden legs and tell her to let you leave. It only makes her angry. As she flies towards you, you place the wooden stake between the two of you, and her body begins to twitch with the impalement. Her grip does not let go of you so you hurl yourself and her through the broken window. As the light causes her body to turn to ash, she mutters one final thing, “I curse your soul to walk with a primal urge. As I hate day, you shall fear the night.” Her ashes blow in the wind and you take off running. Hopefully you’ll find a safe place soon. You’ve made your way to the nearest town just as the sun sets on the horizon. You worry about what the vampire mistress said to you before she died. If it were any other day you’d have laughed it off but today has been a strange one indeed. Your skin itches with the thought and you realize you need a shower. Your body aches as if your bones are breaking, and it makes you want to know more about how you got on that road yesterday. Your head pounds and you rub your temples only to notice that your hands don’t feel right. Peering down you see that they’ve grown elongated fingers, patchy hair and mangled nails. Your vision wavers and a guttural howl escapes your lips. Time passes and you see visions of horror. Like a waking nightmare people scream upon seeing you and cry as you rip them to shreds. You wake up the next morning in someone’s home and realize what has happened. You are human again but throughout the night you were a murdering werewolf. The stranger’s home reeks of blood and you use the shower and an oversized set of clothes to clean yourself. Then you wonder what to do next.
Turn yourself in to the police – Goto paragraph 32
Leave town – Goto paragraph 33
End your life – Goto paragraph 34
You don’t belong here and aren’t going to solve your amnesia from the day before if you don’t get moving. Placing the tray to the side, you go to the window and realize that the shutters are locked. Quietly you make your way down the steps and to the front door. It too is locked with no way to open it. The woman appears behind you and holds you in an embrace that you cannot escape. You try to break free but she whispers into your ear seductively, “Leaving so soon?” Then she laughs as she bites deep into the jugular vein on your neck. As she drains your blood in long deep swallows your energy fades. Your heartbeat slows with each breath until your life extinguishes. This is your only escape. The end.
You do what any good soul would do. You head towards the light and hope that your past sins are forgiven. Upon repenting and reflecting the gates to paradise are opened to you. Your soul is at ease among the angels and Lord of all good. It’s truly a happy ending. The end.
You cannot be forgiven for what you’ve done, even if it wasn’t your fault. You embrace the darkness and sink to the depths of hell. Once there you realize it’s too late to change your mind. Evil and torment surrounds you as you scream in pain. It is a pain that will last forever as your immortal spirit burns for the rest of eternity. The end.
You don’t feel right heading towards heaven’s light knowing what you’ve done, and no one in their right mind would want to go towards the darkness of hell. So, you drift towards a lone soul and ask what other choices there are. The soul claims that there is a way to return to your body. If not you can just stay here with the soul with no purpose but to guide others. But if you decide to return to life there is a cost. What it is, the guide does not tell you, only that it is a fate very few will be able to endure. Any fate is better than none. There is still good you can do on Earth, so you decide to breach the wall between the realms and enter your body once again. You wake to a stiffness all over, but rigormortis has not yet fully kicked in. Your body is still warm with current, and you know that the curse of the werewolf is gone as well. Unzipping the body bag from the inside, you sit up to find you’re riding in the back of an ambulance. When it comes to a stop you open the doors to the rear and leap out. As you turn around to see if you’re being followed you are shocked to see that you are, but not as you’d imagined. The guide said there would be a cost, but you had no idea it would be like this. Bursting from the back of the ambulance is a creature unlike any you’ve heard of before. It is both peaceful and frightening looking. This is no angel or demon, but instead a half breed of both called a Nephilim.
Kneel and pray – Goto paragraph 29
Run from the godly being – Goto paragraph 30
Confront the Nephilim – Goto paragraph 31
After the chair is prepped you feel the cool needle sting the side of your neck. The Nanomachines rush to complete their task but a blip in the technology causes them to react differently. Instead of fixing your memory, they alter your brain to be artificially controlled. You no longer have access to your own body, but the cybernetic machines do. Your choices are no longer yours. Enjoy your days as a cyborg drone. The end.
The doctor tells you to relax and places the helmet on your head. It’s surprisingly comfortable as he turns the machine on. Your memories are translated to a console where he sits. Even he is impressed by the new technology, but his eyes widen at what he sees on the screen. Quickly he turns the thing off and removes the device from your head. Instead of telling you the results he claims that you have to leave. He knows what you’ve done but doesn’t seem to care about that. He tells you that your memories will return in time but if he tells you now then it could cause irreversible damage to your psyche. You are outraged but didn’t really believe it could work anyway, so you regretfully leave before he changes his mind about turning you in. Shortly after you leave you come down with a headache unlike any before. You wonder if you have a tumor or if it’s a side effect of using that helmet. So much has happened to you from being a werewolf, to dying and coming back without the lycanthropy, and just the whole mystery of who you are. You stumble and lean on a building. It’s a busy day in the city, but passers by don’t seem to pay mind to you. You can hear their thoughts as if they are your own and the noise becomes too much to bear as the pain increases. You scream for them to be quiet and as you do a wave of invisible force projects outward from your mind, hurling innocents through the air. Thankfully no one is hurt badly, but all eyes are now on you and multiple people are calling 911 about the incident. Your headache has subsided slightly, but you are left wondering what the best course of action is.
Act like nothing happened – Goto paragraph 26
Take a cab out of town – Goto paragraph 27
Tell them to mind their own business – Goto paragraph 28
You realize that the risk is too great. You don’t trust computers to fix you and can’t have the doctor turning you in for all you’ve done. Maybe one day the answers will come back to you. Until then this is the end.
Your curiosities about the aircraft are more than about your past, so you agree to fly it. When you sit in the saucer shaped object you know immediately that it’s not from this world. A tendril pierces the back of your neck without warning. It drains your new mental capabilities but in turn leaves you with the knowledge on how to fly the saucer and where to fly it to. Now you know the government was looking for anyone with a certain level of telekinesis, and you were just in the right place at the right time. You receive a mental communication from an unknown source telling you that you must go to them, but that you have to get rid of the two others with you in the ship. You’re getting tired of people telling you what to do.
Take them with you – Goto paragraph 23
Explore the universe – Goto paragraph 24
Eject your passengers – Goto paragraph 25
This is the government and you can’t trust a word they say. They’ve been behind conspiracies and misinformation for years. You stand and decline their offer firmly. Upon doing so, the woman looks at the pale man and nods. He removes his glasses to expose glowing eyes that seem to bore into you. You’re paralyzed and can’t move as the woman says, “We will do it our way. Lobotomize his brain and take what we need.” You can’t move and regret your decision. It looks like they are going to use your powerful mind to fly the craft without you. For you, you’ll be spending the rest of your days drooling into a cup and being tube fed. The end.
You don’t really trust them and tell them that you want to know everything they do about you, details about what you’re getting into, and a compensation before you agree to take on this strange offer. The woman does not agree and orders the pale man to convince you. You realize it’s not going to go the way you wish and release a mental blast that knocks the man and woman unconscious. You turn to leave but are blocked by two armed guards. They tell you to stand down before you repeat the mental attack towards them. An alarm sounds and you rush towards the only exit you know, which is the elevator. As the doors slide open you leap inside. Before you can press the button one of the guards wakes up, pulls out his handgun and fires. You have no time to dodge such a fast bullet. Your body falls back against the elevator and the doors shut. You die gasping for air as the wound on your chest soaks the floor. The end.
You are curious as to what the other buttons do, since they are labeled in an alien writing, but you decide it’s best to stick with the plan. Upon pressing the yellow button your saucer fades from current space and arrives at a time when many more stars are in space than you’ve ever seen before. This must be the future and your suspicions are confirmed when you turn to see there is a passenger with you. It looks like one of those grey aliens with the big black eyes that people always represent in movies or conspiracy theories. It’s as if it reads your mind and tells you telepathically that they are not alien but human descendants who watch over history and alternate realities. It explains that the Kids were needed to find one worthy human for this mission. Humans can’t be trusted in your time, but thankfully you’ve done the right thing. You present the object that your benefactors gave you to the Grey. It takes it and studies it as if reading it somehow. Then it tells you that you must fix anomalies in Earth’s history and help them protect your timeline. You find this odd that they’d choose you, but it’s got your interest peaked. The Grey tells you about a previous traveler from your species. They recruited him as one of the many protectors of the timeline, but he was killed in the middle of a mission. His body and clothes were eaten by whatever needed to feed, but he had a pocket watch that was left behind. You wonder what is so important about the watch and the Grey answers by explaining it was left in a time when technology had yet to exist on Earth. Its presence caused a ripple that could be catastrophic. Your mission is to retrieve it. If you succeed they promise to restore your memory as to how you got on that gravel road. It already seems like a lifetime ago, but you’re interested. They tell you the location and when in history you need to go. It’s clear that you can’t travel forward in time unless someone pulls you forward, so once the mission is complete, they will bring you back to the future. You wonder why they don’t just do it and they explain that it’s because their presence in the past would cause more of an anomaly than yours. They explain how to use the time device that they strap to your wrist and that the year is before modern humans walked the earth. Which year do you travel to?
47 B.C. – Goto paragraph 20
April 15, 1912 A.D. – Goto paragraph 21
78,072,481 B.C. – Goto paragraph 22
You access the hidden panel and see the three buttons. Each is labeled, but the markings are not in any language you’ve ever seen. You are curious about what the others do. Red is usually a warning on your planet but who knows what aliens perceive it as? You hesitate and then give in to your curiosities. Pressing the red button causes the flying saucer to jolt and come to a sudden stop. Then mechanical arms come out and place an environmental suit on your body. The problem is that the suit is made for the aliens who built this craft, not a human adult. You try to cancel the action by pressing numerous other buttons but nothing works. When the arms retract and your new suit is only half on you, the cockpit opens and you are ejected into the vacuum of space. The Kids must use this for spacewalks, but there’s no time to think about that. You feel agony as your body freezes and your blood boils. The pressure is crushing your organs from the sudden change and you’re suffocating. Even though you die quickly, it seems like forever. Forever is how long your corpse will drift in space. The end.
You locate the buttons with alien writing labeling them. You don’t know what it means, but you think you may need to use your instinct. Yellow on your planet means caution, so you are cautious and stay away from that button despite the alien telling you to use it. Red usually means stop or danger. That’s definitely a no go. Green is your safest bet you think and you waste no time pressing it. The saucer begins spinning like a gyroscope and your ship is whisked through a vortex. When it slows to a halt you look at space and see a lot fewer stars in the universe. You deduce that the green button must have taken you into the past, but how far you do not know. Science tells you that it’s at a time long before Earth and that the universe is still forming. You try to activate the yellow button but it sends a signal that won’t be received. The people from the future aren’t looking for your signal in this time. Your gut still tells you not to press the red button, so instead you begin flying the craft. You know that you must find a world suitable to build a new life on before you run out of air and supplies the military stashed in there. For you this is just the beginning of a quest to survive, but it’s an end to your current mission. The end.
You now understand that your actions have affected many others. The void will correct your place in history and your fate will be sealed. It is a major sacrifice, but you know you must take it. You step into the surrounding space and fall toward a black portal. Other portals surround you, but this one leads nowhere. They’ve told you such. As your body passes through there is no sensation. You cease to exist. Although humans are primitive to the Greys the aliens see you as a hero. You made the decision that none other could. The end.
You are outraged that they used you and though angry, you beg them to make you their time agent and spare your life. They decline the offer saying you are too filled with emotion to make intelligent decisions. They believe you will fail and order you to step into the void of nothingness. You shake your head and run. Deja Vu sinks in as it feels this has happened before. Yes. It has. You now remember it occurring and understand that it will all happen again. Perhaps this time you’ll make different choices. You close your eyes and pass through the portal to your time, but are missing your time bracelet as it has fallen off. You won’t remember any of this in a few seconds, but you’ll have a long road ahead… again.
Open your eyes – Goto paragraph 1
You tell the Greys that you understand how critical the situation is. You shouldn’t exist, but they cannot directly interfere for some missions to the past because their presence would alter events. You convince them they have no other logical option but to make you their field agent. All you ask in turn is that they allow you to exist to do so, and one day you promise that when there are no more anomalies, you will take care of the final one… yourself. They agree to the terms surprisingly as you must have sold it differently than the first time you met them. You become a very effective time agent for the Greys and even get to visit different versions of history that never happened in your time. It’s a life of constant adventure and you are the unsung hero that no one will ever know except for you, the Greys, and some Higher Power. And that’s enough to put your mind at ease. The end.
You realize that you are in possession of a time machine. You can go anywhere in the past and then finish the mission later. You decide to travel to a point in history that you’ve been curious about since a child. Cleopatra’s reign in Alexandria. Ancient Egypt was your forte in school but the ruler there was an icon for all. Her beauty and power inspires and intrigues people even in modern times. You arrive in the middle of her throne room almost instantaneously. The records of the future miraculously are able to place you just where you want to be. Upon arrival you see the woman you’ve been so curious about, and she in turn sees you. That’s when you realize it was a mistake coming here. You are immediately seized by guards who strip you of your time device and bind your arms behind your back. They wait for their orders but it won’t be good for you. You do not speak their language and your arrival makes them believe you are some sort of sorcerer. You will be sentenced to a very harsh existence as a slave. That isn’t the worst part. Cleopatra now has your time device and once she figures out how to use it, history will forever change. The entire existence of mankind is now doomed thanks to your curiosities. The end.
You figure since you have a time device, that you can be a real hero and prevent innocent people from dying throughout history. You leap through time onto the bridge of the Titanic. It’s around 2:00 am approximately twenty minutes before the ship hits the iceberg which will sink it. You appear before the captain who finds your clothing odd and is obviously alarmed by your sudden appearance. You think fast and tell him that you are from the future and that he needs to slow the massive boat down to avoid catastrophe. The captain does so more out of curiosity. Then he sees the iceberg you claimed would hit the ship. He believes and thanks you for saving all the people on board you before you vanish into the past. Your intentions were honorable, but altering history should never be attempted. You never arrive at your next destination in the past because you changed the future. It is now one where you are never born. You cease to exist in this reality. You could say it’s the end, but you never had a beginning. The end.
You set the device like the Grey told you to travel back to the late Cretaceous period. You wanted to explore other moments in time, but you know that any slight variation in history could cause major changes in the future and you’re not ready to accept responsibility for that. You arrive in a flash surrounded by immense vegetation and plants you’ve never before seen. Giant insects swirl in a pattern overhead that at first glance look like birds. You move away from them and follow the indicator on your wrist device. There’s a clearing up ahead and it looks as though the pocket watch is just beyond that. Cautiously you step into the clearing and stop as you notice a giant animal that can only be a Triceratops. It looks strange though, unlike modern science depicts. In fact the other dinosaurs roaming the land look different from what you can tell. They aren’t so different that you don’t know what they are however and that is a point proven when you hear a strange grinding sound. To your surprise it’s not the roar you’d expect from what movies have portrayed. In fact, the Tyrannosaurus Rex has this new sound that is even eerier than what you assumed. You know it’s the T-Rex because the other animals in the area begin running the other way. With the clearing now a stampede, you wait for your opportunity and sprint as fast as you can. The triceratops turns and gives chase to you just as you slide and scoop up the pocket watch. Instantaneously you’re whisked back to the future and out of harm’s way. That was a close call and you nearly collapse from the anxiety. The Grey takes the stopwatch and congratulates you on your first mission. It then fulfills its promise to you to tell you the truth about what led up to you losing your memory and being on that gravel road. You yourself are a temporal anomaly since you came back from the dead. Originally the alien Greys brought you to the future because you were no longer supposed to exist in the present. They were going to send you into a void of nothingness as to not pollute the timeline of all reality. You struck a deal and told them you’d fix other anomalies to keep them safe and give you purpose. They denied your request and you ran. You leapt through a window of time and ended up on that gravel road with the transition wiping your memory because you didn’t wear the bracelet. The rest is history. You know now what they think about you and have a final decision to make.
Leap into the void – Goto paragraph 17
Return to the gravel road – Goto paragraph 18
Prove yourself worthy – Goto paragraph 19
You are certainly not jumping into a situation you know nothing about without backup. You take the two astronauts with you and use the controls to fly through inter dimensional space. You arrive on a planet much smaller than Earth where the creatures there are the size of an average toddler. You exit the craft with your copilots, but the sight of them causes the aliens greeting you to react. They claim that you have violated the peace accords. In response they produce small weapons and fire three short blasts. You and the two astronauts are vaporized instantly. The end.
You are the pilot now and will go where you want. Ignoring the alien’s demands you soar off into the depths of space. You tell the two astronauts with you that the aliens communicating with you are sending you on an exploration mission. To your surprise they are as excited as you and treat you as captain of this new vessel. Well, Captain, where will your journeys take you? To eternity and beyond… or something along those lines. The end.
You lie to the two astronauts and tell them that there are hidden panels on the exterior of the ship that have to be accessed simultaneously. They are hesitant but you convince them they have to do it while your mind accesses the console to power it on. They leave their gear inside with the intent on immediately returning once they access the panels, but that’s their mistake. As soon as they exit the ship you lift off slowly and exit the atmosphere. Adjusting the controls you blink out of sight and soar through interdimensional space. When the craft slows you see a planet much like Earth but smaller in scale. Upon landing you are greeted by aliens the size of toddlers. They appropriately refer to themselves as “the Kids.” They quickly tell you that you needed to come alone because bringing the others would violate some sort of intergalactic treaty and doom them all. They’ve been waiting for someone your size with advanced mental experience to handle a secret mission. They are too small to be able to do it and must send someone closer to human physiology. You don’t know what the task is but you agree to see what they have in mind. The Kids spend the better part of an Earth day telling you about the descendants of mankind. They weave a confusing story about some time far in the future where humans have evolved and made it their sole purpose to protect the timeline because not doing so destroyed their world. Your new alien friends claim that they have proof about what caused that destruction and they need a human to fly to a rendezvous point to be pulled into the future. It’s the only hope for saving mankind. You can’t argue with that. They tell you about a hidden panel with three buttons. You are only to press the yellow one. That will take you to where you need to go. They warn you not to press anything else or it could cause a catastrophic event. You climb into the saucer with the proof needed and soar into space once again. Now to send the signal to the future.
Press the yellow button – Goto paragraph 14
Press the red button – Goto paragraph 15
Press the green button – Goto paragraph 16
You act quickly and try to blend in. A few suspicious eyes glance your way, but you play it cool and walk away from the crowd with haste. You don’t get too far before two black SUVs with government plates pull up near you and men in black suits exit accompanied by three armed soldiers. The lead man shows his badge and tells you that you need to go with them. He claims he knows all about you and that there are no other options for you. Deciding not to press your luck, and curious as to what they may know you agree to cooperate. The ride is awkward and silent. Two guards are on either side of you with two suits facing you in a middle seat. The lone driver is separated by a divider window. The drive lasts just under an hour and consists of many twists and turns in the path, presumably to make you lose track of where you are. Then your vehicle is waved through a secure gate where you arrive at a hangar. You all exit the SUV and enter an elevator taking you countless levels underground. Finally you arrive in a conference room where a strange, tall man with pale skin sits. Sunglasses hide his eyes making you wonder if he’s an albino. A woman also is seated and she wastes no time telling you, “We know about your past, or should we say that we know about your future?” The statement confuses you and you wonder why you are here. She goes on to explain that a special team of astronauts need a person with your mental capabilities to fly a prototype aircraft into outer space. You want answers first, and they promise you that and much more if you agree to their terms. You have to decide quickly or the offer will be rescinded. Take it or leave it?
Agree to fly the aircraft – Goto paragraph 11
Don’t trust them – Goto paragraph 12
Demand they tell you first – Goto paragraph 13
You quickly hop in a nearby cab and tell the driver to step on it. You tell him to take you to the next town, and he doesn’t question you. It’s as if your mind forced him to do so. A few miles down the road you notice you are being followed by two black SUVs. The driver tries to escape them, but they close in and pin the sides of the cab between them. You manage to see a license plate and know that it’s the government. You try to project your mind but you don’t realize your own power. The two SUVs explode with your unknown force and you are stuck in the middle. As the cab rolls onto its roof and burns you know there is no one who can get you out in time. You perish in the flames along with the drivers of all three vehicles. The end.
You are irritated at the thoughts you’d mentally read and yell at everyone to bug off and mind their own business. Some do, but the majority feel they need to act. One angry bystander shouts at you, “We saw what you did, freak!” Another spits at you and you become angry at the outpouring of hatred towards you. The headache returns and with each person approaching you begin mentally projecting them backwards. You don’t know how but your mind is now a weapon. It becomes addictive, but the people of the city stand together. They realize you’re a threat and no matter how powerful your mind, their unity is stronger. They band together and begin beating you. You fend off as many as you can but are eventually overcome. They don’t stop the beating until your heart stops its own rhythm. The end.
You realize that a half demon half angel could never be beaten or out raced by a mere human. Putting your pride aside you kneel and begin to pray. You ask the Highest Power in existence to save you from whatever the Nephilim has planned. To your astonishment the Nephilim stops and realizes that you believe with all your embodiment. It gives a half smile half frown and then vanishes through a portal. You live knowing that from now on your choices will be decided with much more care. You spend the next several weeks trying to piece together the gaps in your memory. You’ve had to do some less than honorable things in order to move on, but you now have at least some money and a goal. You need to find answers, and read a report about a doctor who has created a device to help Alzheimer’s patients retain their memories. You take a train ride for four hours and eventually arrive at the doctor’s office. After explaining your memory issues he claims he can help you in one of two ways. 1) he can inject microscopic nanomachines into your bloodstream to repair the damage blocking your memories, but your body may reject the foreign material. 2) he can use a helmet that will read your brainwaves, but while it will tell you what you want to know it’ll also tell him all of the bad things you’ve done.
Inject Nanomachines – Goto paragraph 8
Use brainwave helmet – Goto paragraph 9
Neither because of risk – Goto paragraph 10
You rush off as fast as your sore legs will carry you, but it isn’t quick enough. The Nephilim streaks across the distance and hurls you through the air. Your body slams into an oncoming vehicle with a sickening thud. The being has done what it came for. If you weren’t dead enough before you are now. No soul would ever want to inhabit the broken corpse you’ve become. The end.
You face your fears and stride up to the tall being and demand to know what it wants. It stares at you with amusement and simply says, “Your soul.” You ready yourself to fight if need be, but it is a useless effort. The Nephilim reaches a finger out toward you, and the second it touches your skin your body drops. There will never be an afterlife for you now as the creature consumes your life force. The end.
You run to the police station and turn yourself in for the murders of the man on the road, the vampire mistress, and the people last night. It doesn’t take long before they realize you’re telling the truth, yet they don’t believe you about the werewolf story. Once they see that it’s true and watch your transformation the next night, word travels to the townsfolk who demand your execution. You’re sentenced to the electric chair. You have no last words other than “I’m sorry,” and then they pull the switch. As the high voltage ends your miserable existence you feel at ease. The afterlife is calling. You feel weightless as time passes and you don’t know which way is up or down. You have no body as your soul drifts in the spirit world. You can’t float here forever. You have three choices.
Head towards the light – Goto paragraph 5
Head towards the shadows – Goto paragraph 6
Talk to a lost soul – Goto paragraph 7
You hastily leave town before anyone can find out. You realize that this is just the beginning of the curse, but perhaps one day you’ll find the cure. Until then you will be feared as each night tales of your violence will have everyone hiding in their homes. Eventually you embrace your animal half and learn to control it, turning your tendencies toward criminals. They become the prey and you the unwanted vigilante the world needs. This is your blessing and curse. The end.
Suicide is never the answer. You search the home and find a gun. After you pull the trigger you realize what you’ve done but it’s too late. Your human half dies from the bullet, but the Lycanthrope in you will live on to terrorize countless innocent lives. The end.
Just to be cautious, you grab a branch to defend yourself from whomever is moaning. To your surprise it is a boy who appears to be injured. When you ask him about the wound he recoils and tells you it was a scratch from in the woods. You can tell he’s not very good at lying, but invite him to walk along with you until you can find someone to help him. Using the branch as a cane for support you travel until coming to a fork in the road. It’s there where the boy collapses and can’t walk anymore. He looks extremely pale. When you ask if he’s okay he looks toward you and says, “Dad?” You quickly realize he is not addressing you but someone behind you. You turn just in time to avoid a man stumbling towards you. Then you remember the report about the unbelievable. Something viral caused people to turn into what appeared to be zombies. You sidestep and swing the branch just in time to knock the attacker away. He falls onto the boy and bites deep into the child’s leg. It’s already too late for him though as you realize both are of the undead. Using your makeshift weapon you swing the club at the father’s head. The zombie man’s skull crushes under the impact immediately, and the boy is pinned under the weight of his dead father. You are about to attack the undead child but realize you can’t bring yourself to do it. Instead you drop the branch and run for help down the left path. You keep running until your legs can carry you no longer. Then you collapse and pass out. You awaken the next day in the comfort of a bed which is not your own. You wonder how you got there as much as you wonder how you ended up on that road the day before. A woman you’ve never met before walks in and places a cool rag on your head. She’s one of the most beautiful women you’ve ever seen and something about her eyes mesmerizes you. “It’s a good thing I found you on that road before any of the creatures of the forest did,” she claims and then offers you a tray of food. You are starving and quickly shovel a fork full of the roasted vegetable mixture into your mouth. As you swallow the blandness of it you thank her and ask if she’s got any salt or garlic powder to season it a little. Her eyes narrow in contempt as she says “No. Salt is not good for your blood pressure and I despise garlic.” Instead she offers you a glass of red wine to wash it down with. It’s a strange meal you think as she smacks her lips together. Something about this woman is strange but you can’t put your finger on it. She leaves the room telling you to finish the bowl and drink, promising to return soon.
Finish the food & rest – Goto paragraph 2
Investigate the home – Goto paragraph 3
Get out of the house quickly – Goto paragraph 4
Worried that someone may need your help, you rush to the source of sound and find a boy who is limping in pain. You ask him what happened and the boy claims he lost his father in the woods. “My dad was sick since last night when he got home from work. We came out here to get away when all the craziness started.” You remember hearing something about an incident in the city but your memory is as foggy as the surroundings. After talking some more with the child you notice he has changed a few shades paler and before you realize what has happened, the boy lurches forward and bites a chunk out of your wrist. You shove him away and his head slams into a rock. Tired, confused and now sorry for your actions you sit down to rest. As the sun reaches its peak in the sky you are no longer worried about anything. All emotion has been replaced with the need for living flesh. You continue your trek down the road no longer a human, but instead a zombie. The end.
You continue walking for some time, finally coming to a fork in the road. One way is overgrown and you try to remember how you became stranded. Where are you? You look to the sky and see by the sun’s rising position which way is East. You sit to get some rest after the long walk. Perhaps a car will pass by and find you but you need to shut your eyes for a few minutes rest. As you relax against a rock you hear that groaning again, but it’s changed into a hollowed sound. Turning around to see the source you are horrified to find a pale and dead looking man. Before you can ask anything he lurches forward and bites into your shoulder. As you fall he continues to bite and eat you alive. Right before you die you wonder if you’ll become a zombie too. Then everything goes black. The end.
My daughter, Lana’s, favorite stuffed animal has always been a pink bear since she could understand what she was holding. Her final addition to the Animals of Oz series focuses on the Bears of Bear Center in Oz. These are toy stuffed bears run by the Lavender Bear king and his adviser the Little Pink Bear.
On the back of the painting she wanted a quote by L. Frank Baum. It reads: “Time is given for us to be happy and for no other reason. When we waste time, we waste happiness.”
What are some of your favorite characters from the land of Oz?
Deciding to not have the carpenter in this scene was a wise choice by my daughter. Lana wanted to focus on the series’ animals, so here’s her vision of the Walrus and Oysters. She chose a quote for the back of the painting by Lewis Carroll that reads: “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well.”
What are some of your favorite characters in Wonderland?