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Hi, I'm Tess. I'm thirty something and live in London. Dances with Squirrels is a blog for my collected stories and stuff. My books are available on your friendly regional Amazon in paperback and e-book. Comedy fantasy, The Gatekeeper on the Docks is here and The Ghastly London Ghost Stories Omnibus is here. If you'd like to follow me on Twitter, I'm @TessStenson

Monday, 13 August 2012

Gloucester Nights







Jonah

The boat appears to be called //The Spirit of Mercia//. Hmm, odd name. Are we even in the boundaries of the old Kingdom of Mercia? I think we must be, just on the edges. The reaper seems to be anxious for us to go in. I guess this is our final destination then. Good luck!\n\n[[Thank you. Good luck to you too.]]\n\n[[No, I think I'd rather just leg it.]]
A real purist I see. Glad I'm not the one messing with you.<<set $fists = true>> <<set $nasty = $nasty +1>>\n\nSo what now?\n\n<<if not $sandwich>>\nThink I'll have that sandwich after all. [[--Take sandwich--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n[[--Wait in bored silence--]]
Are you feeling alright?\n\n[[Nope.]]\n\n[[Yep.]]
Well, at least you're unlikely to choke and die whilst you eat it. I hope it was nice. It looks like we're in for a wait whilst things are decided. <<set $nice = $nice +1>> <<set $sandwich = false>>\n\n[[--Settle in for a long wait--]]
That's about it yeah.\n\n[[I'm going to get away from here.]]\n\n[[--Go back--]]
Oh, nothing. Just saying. Grrrrrrrooooout!\n\n[[Come again? What was that last part?]]\n\n[[You talking gibberish?]]\n
Blood thirsty. I like it. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[Fine.]]
Who? <<set $rothrock = true>>\n\n[[The martial artist?]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
--After an awkward silence filled half hour with Nigel, stumbling through broken conversation and abortive attempts at lightening the mood, you sign a contract that he hands you and you are encouraged through a fluffy white cloud portal in the wardrobe in Nigel's bedroom. Eternal happiness and good times await you. The cocktails at your local bar on the other side are pretty amazing. Now that you have the time to spare, you may finally getting around to reading that [[book|http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unleash-book.html]] you've heard so much about--
Nope, it doesn't seem to care. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]
--You run at the demon and let loose with a flurry of punches to its abdomen. It looks at you in surprise for a moment, then a look of disgust edges onto its face. It almost seems insulted that you would try such a thing. It returns the favour and punches you in the face. That's the last thing you see of the mortal world. You wake up in the pits of the Dark After-worlds. You vow never to try to punch a demon again. It was a stupid idea--
Alright then, I guess that's fair enough. I suppose I have been pestering you with question quite a bit haven't I? Oh bugger, sorry, that was another question wasn't it? Ahh. I'm not very good at this. I think I'm just naturally curious about people. I want to know everything about them, experience things as they do and really get to know them that way. I haven't been thinking of you enough. I'll try to be more considerate and accept that you may just not be in the mood for talking as much as I am. I'll do the talking for us both as much as I can then. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[I'd appreciate that.]]
--You wait with Nigel in his boat, trying to keep your mind from drifting off and thinking about your impending judgement too much--\n\n"Want to watch some TV?"\n\n[[What's on?]]\n\n[[I'd rather not.]]\n\n[[Shut up dickhead.]]
--There is no one here. It's very lonely but it doesn't look like the hunters will find you anytime soon. If they do, you'll probably be too far gone to really care anymore--
Yeah, that's right. Blame your naughtiness on just being overly passionate! You were generally a nice human being.\n\n"I'm sorry. I... I don't know what I can say. I don't have anything to do with judgement. It's not fair, it never is."\n\nSo what do we do now? Shit. What do we do? That reaper is creeping up on you. Better do something quick if you can.\n\n[[--Run!--]]\n\n<<if $sandwich>>\n[[--Throw the sandwich in Nigel's face in a fit of rage--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $bash>>\n[[--Bash Nigel over the head with the games console--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $splinter>>\n[[--Lunge at Nigel at stab him with your wooden splinter--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $fists>>\n[[--Punch Nigel square in the jaw--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n[[--Collapse into a heap and let the reaper grab you--]]
Dugdugdugduh.\n\n<<if $hunters>>\nYou see a large demonic figure creeping up on you. It loads a bean bag into as high powered bean bag launcher and aims it at your chest. The impact of the bean bag floors you and leaves you feeling as though you are breathless. You are dragged back to the boat by the Hunter demon. Nigel looks angry. Your fate in the next world awaits--\n\n<<else>>\n--You continue to walk on and on as your companion tries to talk to you. It all sounds like nonsense to you as you lose your mind. You never stop walking--\n\n<<endif>>
<<if $hunters>>\n--You are trying to scare a living human in the city centre by jumping up and down in front of them and making ghost noises. It is not working and they remain oblivious to you. The hunter demon that has been tracking you, however, is very much aware of you and has little difficulty in capturing you and dragging you back to Nigel's boat to be taken to your place of eternal punishment--\n<<else>>\n--You find someone to haunt. They are very scared--\n<<endif>>
I see I can never censure you.\n\n[[That's right.]]\n\n[[Indeed.]]
Blimey o'something or other. Is that a grim reaper? It looks pretty grim. And reapery. \n\n[[Your powers of deduction astound me.]]\n\n[[I've got a bad feeling about this.]]
--You spend the rest of your conscious existence laughing maniacally. You laugh so hard that it echoes across the spiritual world and slips over into the mortal. The cows in the field you mindlessly wandered into can't see you but can hear you. They are freaked out by it--
I did yes. Something is creeping up on us, stalking us. I'm getting flashbacks to that film, //Predator//. I loved that film, but this is getting freaky. Oh my... That's one big bloody demon coming at us. All that burnt red skin, giant horn... Those goat legs are kind of adorable though. How disconcerting. This must be one of those hunters that Nigel mentioned. I think now may be a good time to run.\n\n[[--Run from demon--]]\n\n[[--Surrender--]]\n\n<<if $sandwich>>\n[[--Eat sandwich--]]\n<<endif>>
Gloucester Nights.
Good idea, keep it down. Now let's get out of here. Where to? <<set $reaperwobble = true>>\n\n[[We're off down the canal path.]]\n\n[[Into the cow field, lose it in there.]]
--Nigel reads out your sentence. You feel a sinking sensation as you realise what is about to happen. The reaper is already moving in on you to stop you getting away. Nigel retreats to his bedroom at the back of the boat and opens fully his wardrobe to reveal a swirling vortex of furious looking fires and ash clouds--\n\n[[--Run!--]]\n\n[[--Seize up in fear--]]
--Next thing you know, the reaper has a hold of you and you are being dragged off to serve your punishment in the pits of the Dark After-worlds. It is very unpleasant--
...\n\n[[Don't take that tone with me.]]\n\n[[You're all talk buddy!]]
Oh am I now? Well fuck you. Enjoy eternity you anti-fudge loving arsehole. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[I'm sorry, can we just ignore this and go back to the matter at hand?]]\n\n[[Yeah, that's right piss off.]]
Indeed.\n\n[[Can I go back?]]\n\n[[So what now?]]
So, I think if we head to the city centre we'll have a good chance of finding someone in need of our extra-mortal help. Should give us a few brownie points that we can use to maybe convince those on the other side that we're not all bad and could do with a second chance.\n\n[[Let's go and help the shit out of Gloucester!]]
No, thank you. I know that I'm just a voice in your head and not a real person at all, but it would have been easy for you to simply ignore me. I'm grateful that you didn't and actually chose to acknowledge my existence.\n\n[[I'm not solipsistic enough for that. You're very real to me.]]\n\n[[You're just a voice in my head?]]
--You lose the reaper and make it to Mexico, after a long run and a good swim. You don't know anyone here. You've forgotten all the Spanish you know. You're constantly looking over your shoulder for reapers, even as you go insane in your death. But hey, that chorizo smells amazing--
Afraid so. I must just be your own kind of coping mechanism for dealing with what's happened to you tonight.\n\n[[Makes sense.]]\n\n[[Then bugger off out of my head.]]
I like the cut of your jib. Or slash of your pointy bit of jagged wood. Hmm, not sure that joke particularly hit the right spot. I'll have to work on my delivery a bit I think. <<set $splinter = true>> <<set $nasty = $nasty +1>>\n\nSo what now?\n\n<<if not $sandwich>>\nThink I'll have that sandwich after all. [[--Take sandwich--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n[[--Wait in bored silence--]]
I think you're right. Unless he's a 20 year old that's really let himself go or a 50 year old who is doing surprisingly well for someone who has a whiff of bacon frying to him.\n\n[[Mmm, bacon.]]\n\n[[Bacon, yuck.]]
--You turn your attention to Nigel, as he talks a droning noise starts from somewhere towards the back of the boat. It gradually increases in intensity as time goes on. You listen intently as he explains the situation and how your ultimate destination is being determined by a council of jurors on the other side to see if you led a good enough life for eternal paradise or not--\n\n<<if $nasty gt 5>> \n[[Too bad I was a real shit in life.]]\n<<endif>>\n<<if $nice gt 4>>\n[[I was a wonderful person.]]\n<<endif>>\n<<if ($neutral gt 1) and ($nasty lt 3) and ($nice lt 3)>>\n[[I made some mistakes sure, but in general I was an alright person.]]\n<<else>>\n[[I think I was an okay kind of person.]]\n<<endif>>\n
Never heard of her. I'm sure she's lovely.\n\n[[Yes. But deadly too.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
I'm not sure I want to know now. Wow, what is that thing? <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Good idea. I think that has messed it up nicely. Just flattened it to the ground. I think you've got a good opening to run for it now. Where too? <<set $reaperbash = true>>\n\n[[We're off down the canal path.]]\n\n[[Into the cow field, lose it in there.]]
Well giffle my berjiffle then.\n\n[[Err...]]\n\n[[I will, verily.]]
Ouch, is that thing poking you in the bum with the end of its scythe? That must be annoying. It seems to be leading us away somewhere near the docks. I hope it’s not going to make us sleep with the fish. It doesn't look like it’s a mafia owned grim reaper. I'm not even sure there is much of a mafia presence in Gloucester. Maybe they are just too good at running the city that no one realises it’s a mafia town? Or maybe that’s just horrifically slanderous. Luckily I doubt Shire Hall can sue a dead person like you. Maybe we should get a lawyer, just in case. Don't want to be caught short in the event of a lawsuit. \n\n[[I think we're there now.]]\n\n[[Shut the hell up you utter twat, we're here.]]\n\n
Uh-huh. You're dead.\n\n[[Nope you're taking the piss.]]\n\n[[Oh. Shit.]]\n
--You eat what you think is custard--\n\nRrojklop.\n\n<<if $hunters>>\n--You vaguely make out the outline of a giant creature with goat legs and horns coming up to you. It holds up a taser and shoots you with it. You feel a dull sensation of the shock going through you but it all feels so far away and unreal. Another giant creature comes over to you and puts a pair of handcuffs on you. You vaguely here one of them say: "Got the bugger. Better get this git back to the guv'nor." They drag you off back to Nigel's boat and to the portal to your punishment--\n<<else>>\n--Hufgluggy wingleful gibble fut xonlin. Quiokl dlong ammu euilp I think this is it. Uipnf lonwe cofry you're going insane. Tuilv zus zoot zul kwif--\n<<endif>>
Well, here's the boat again.\n\n[[Yes, I noticed.]]
You're running to Mexico? That seems unlikely. For a start you're running the wrong way. Mexico is due west...\n\n[[Ahh, thanks.]]
<<if $hunters>>\n--A large demonic figure with goat legs and a scary looking set of horns jumps out at you from behind some bushes. It tries to grab you--\n\n[[Hit demon with washboard.]]\n\n[[--Run from demon--]]\n\n<<else>>\n\nJjjjjjjjjjjugs.\n\n[[You're jealous, I know it.]]\n<<endif>>\n
So what, we wait here whilst Nigel goes and has a look to see what's up? Fair enough. Wow, that droning noise is insufferable. I hope this doesn't go on too long. Oh, here he comes back.\n\n"A decision has been made..."\n\n<<if $nasty gt 7>>\n[[Why can't he look me in the eye?]]\n<<endif>>\n<<if $nice gt 5>>\n[[I was a very lovely nice person.]]\n<<endif>>\n<<if ($neutral gt 1) and ($nasty lt 3) and ($nice lt 3)>>\n[[I made some mistakes sure, but I think I did okay in life.]]\n<<else>>\n[[I hope it's good news.]]\n<<endif>>
--Nigel reads out your sentence. You feel a sinking sensation as you realise what is about to happen. The reaper is already moving in on you to stop you getting away. Nigel retreats to his bedroom at the back of the boat and opens fully his wardrobe to reveal a swirling vortex of furious looking fires and ash clouds--\n\n[[--Run!--]]\n\n[[--Seize up in fear--]]
Let's not fight. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[Okay.]]
How exactly does this work then? <<set $neutral =$neutral + 1>>\n\n[[Check this out.]]
Well under ordinary circumstances I'd suggest that is a reasonable course of action. But these are extraordinary circumstances. Need I remind you that you are dead? Have you noticed how no one else seems to be the least bit phased by any of this? I don't think they can see any of us. They can't see you, me or the reaper chasing you. I don't think they can see any of us. So I fear that going to the police would be a fairly pointless endeavour. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[Then I'll go to the pub instead.]]\n\n*Sigh* You're right. [[--Give up--]]
Probably.\n\n[[Fine.]]
I'm getting tired of your attitude. Knock it off and listen to what Nigel is saying.\n\n[[--Listen to Nigel--]]\n\n[[I'm getting tired of you talking to me like a child!]]
"Why... why would you do that? That was a good damn sandwich." <<set $sandwich = false>> <<set $distracted = true>>\n\nI know that that probably accomplished nothing, but that was pretty funny. Would it have been funnier if it was blackcurrant jam I wonder? No time to worry about that now though.\n\n[[--Run!--]]\n\n[[--Collapse into a heap and let the reaper grab you--]]\n\n<<if $bash>>\n[[--Bash Nigel over the head with the games console--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $splinter>>\n[[--Lunge at Nigel at stab him with your wooden splinter--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $fists>>\n[[--Punch Nigel square in the jaw--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $nice gt 4>>\n[[I guess I better face the music then.]]\n<<endif>>\n\n\n
<<if $hunters>>\n--You are trying to scare a living human in the city centre by jumping up and down in front of them and making ghost noises. It is not working and they remain oblivious to you. The hunter demon that has been tracking you, however, is very much aware of you and has little difficulty in capturing you and dragging you back to Nigel's boat to be taken to your place of eternal punishment--\n\n<<else>>\n--You and your companion continue on. You begin to plan fun ways in which you can mess with the living. You start small, moving small inanimate objects in front of them. You soon move on to making banging doors, windows and anything else that you can slam or crash. As you fall deeper into madness, you begin to learn how to absolutely trash people's homes and make their lives terrifying. You spend eternity acting as a mindless agent of destruction around Gloucester and its suburbs--\n<<endif>>
"Oh, okay then. What do you want to do?"\n\n[[Have my life back?]]\n\n[[Punch a celebrity.]]\n\n[[Have one last evening helping the homeless.]]
<<if $hunters>>\n--You are in the process of trying use your spiritual presence to break up a fight on the streets when the demonic hunters that have been tracking you arrive. You are beginning to lose your mind completely but are intend on pressing on with your new found desire to help others. One of the hunters is impressed by your selflessness. After he has dragged you back to Nigel's boat and taken you to the other side, he contacts his superiors and manages to convince them to reduce your sentence to a long stay in purgatory as opposed to eternity in the fiery pits of the Dark After-worlds. You go thoroughly insane whilst in purgatory, but your spirit will recover as the ages go by. Eventually you'll be lucid again and released to eternal paradise. Eventually...--\n<<else>>\n--You travel to the city centre, where you spend the rest of your sane existence stalking the streets and trying to use your ethereal essence to influence people and help them out in whatever ways your limited perception allows. You find it an incredibly satisfying existence, even when your mind has melted away; you carry on as a mindless friendly wisp in the city centre--\n<<endif>>
"I'm not sure I really have the authority for that. I could maybe try to find..."\n\n--A loud bang and rush of air comes from the back of the boat--\n\nI think any celeb punching will have to wait until you're on the other side. Does this mean the decision has been made? <<set $nasty = $nasty +1>>\n\n[[Yep. Judgement awaits.]]
"Once the guys on the, err, other side have come to a consensus, they'll send a portal over. That will, erm, take you to the After-worlds for your final destination. Need to get you to the other side as quick as possible, you see the spirit, that would be you... now, it tends to fade away and degenerate if it's left in the mortal world too long. It, ahem, can just fade out completely, leaving a mindless husk wandering the world for eternity. We like to avoid that."\n\nThat's comforting of him to say.\n\n"We may or may not have much time before they come to a decision. That droning noise you can hear is the portal winding up. I'm afraid that this will be your last chance to experience the mortal world, so here, I erm, made you a sandwich."\n\nA sandwich? Is he taking the piss? That's his idea of what you want your last sample of the mortal world to be? I know that this may sound rude, but I don't think anyone would blame you if you took that sandwich and shoved it up his arse. <<set $neutral = $neutral + 1>>\n\nNo, I think it's sweet. [[--Take sandwich--]]\n\n[[Yeah, I think I'll ignore his offer.]]\n\n[[I may just do that.]]\n
--Despite his seeming awkwardness at making conversation, you and Nigel get on well. You sign a contract that he hands you and you are encouraged through a fluffy white cloud portal in the wardrobe in Nigel's bedroom. Eternal happiness and good times await you. As you were such an outstandingly nice human being, you find that you can't just sit and enjoy your eternity relaxing. So you enlist with the company that runs the After-worlds, hoping to make the universe just that little bit nicer for everyone else. In your spare time, you may finally getting around to reading that [[book|http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unleash-book.html]] you've heard so much about--
<<if $hunters>>\n--Seemingly from out of nowhere, a massive demonic figure lunges at you from the bushes. It sprays a can of pepper spray in your face and hits you on the head with a steel baton. You wake up in the fiery pits of the Dark After-worlds. It's hot and sweaty and makes you very uncomfortable--\n\n<<else>>\n--Your companion guffs off. Or at least you think he does. You're not sure if that incessant noise is him or not, or even what it really means to guff off. You spend the rest of you existence walking and pondering the meaning of guffing off--\n<<endif>>
No, really. See your body right there? Well that's yours. Notice how you no longer occupy it and are having this out of body experience. That would be because you are dead. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[Oh. Shit.]]\n\n[[What about all this acid I was taking?]]\n\n
I'm sure we can find a way to interface with the mortal world again, maybe influence it somehow. Maybe no one can see us, but I reckon we can have some sort of effect on the environment around us. After all, people report ghostly experiences all the time. I always thought they were morons, maybe not. Or maybe they are anyway, but that's not the point.\n\n[[Cool.]]
--You shout out profanities. They are very rude. No one can hear you--
"Seems there was a lot of debating, but they finally decided to let you through to the Light After-worlds. All I need is for you to sign the contracts and you're good to go."\n\n--Nigel explains further details as you sign the contracts. You feel a weight being lifted off your shoulders. You bid him farewell and go towards the swirling mass of bright lights and billowing clouds that make up the portal hidden away in the wardrobe in Nigel's bedroom--\n\nWell, I guess this is it. It's been a pleasure my friend. Good luck in the next life. Until we meet again, adieu.\n\n[[Step through portal.]]\n\n[[I don't really want to go though.]]
Truly? Wow, I had no idea. I should keep an eye out.\n\n[[Yes, you should.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Really? That's weird. You are dead after all; I'd have thought that would make you feel tired. I suppose with your mortal coil gone, you don't need to feed your body's hunger for energy anymore. Or something. I don't really know what I'm talking about; I'm just enjoying the thrill of the run. We should do something to slow the reaper though or we won't make it to Mexico at all.\n\n[[Good idea. I'll strip off. Maybe my naked body will distract it.]]\n\n[[Good idea. I'll pretend I'm alive after all.]]\n\n[[Good idea. I'll pretend I'm toxic.]]
I'm sorry. \n\nSo, err, how did you die?<<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[It's complicated.]]\n\n[[Gored by a Rhino.]]\n\n[[My appendix 'sploded.]]\n\n[[I don't know.]]\n\n[[Cynthia Rothrock beat me up.]]
So kind of you. \n\nSo how did you die? <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[It's complicated.]]\n\n[[Gored by a Rhino.]]\n\n[[My appendix 'sploded.]]\n\n[[I don't know.]]\n\n[[Cynthia Rothrock beat me up.]]
<<if $rhino>>\nWow, hang on, not necessarily. Remember that whole thing about dying by being gored by a Rhino? I have to be honest, I sort of thought that you were taking the piss but now I see I may have been a little quick to judge. It's a sight I never thought I'd see, a rampaging Rhino in the Gloucester fringes, running right towards us. I think it's going to hit the reaper head on.\n\n--The rhino rushes into the reaper, trampling it with no trouble. The Rhino seems surprised that it hit something that it can't see but is apparently in such a rush that it can't stop to check. The reaper is unlikely to get back up now--\n\nWow, what luck eh? Deus Ex Rhinoina! Get up, we've got to go.\n\n[[I think we're going to make it!]]\n\n<<else>>\n\nYeah. Still, we had a good run and had a few laughs. I think at least. Sitting here in your head and giving you an internal commentary system has been an honour. Thank you for being insane enough to let me carry on and not question it too much. In another life, maybe you could have given a good psychotherapist a good run for their money. Good luck in the next world. To us both.\n\n--The reaper drags you back to the boat, where Nigel is standing and looking very annoyed. He is unlikely to be sympathetic anymore. You are bundled off through the portal to serve your punishment in the pits of the Dark After-worlds. It is very unpleasant--
Oh dear, could this be it? Oblivion calling to you?\n\n[[Could be. There must be something I can do.]]\n\n[[I fear so.]]\n\n<<if $bash2>>\n[[I think I see something coming for me.]]\n<<endif>>
It's been emotional for us both.\n\n[[I'm sorry, can we just ignore this and go back to the matter at hand?]]
<<if $hunters>>\n--Before anything else can be said, you feel a dart stick into the back of your head. You turn around just in time to see a large demon crossing the field towards you. The tranquiliser kicks in and you collapse to the floor. You wake up in the fiery pits of the Dark After-worlds. It's hot and sweaty and makes you very uncomfortable--\n\n<<else>>\n--You run off towards the horizon, determined to found a resistance group to the invasion you are convinced is coming. Your companion screams at you to stop but you learn to tune the voice out. As your last few grams of sanity ebb away, you are content that you have given your existence to higher purpose--\n<<endif>>
Weop hillsin gooble plink plonk.\n\n[[I think I'm going all strange.]]
Me? No, but you are beginning to sound very disjointed. To be honest, I'm starting to have trouble understanding you; you seem to be rambling all over the placeeeeeeeejolk\n\n[[Err...]]\n\n[[No I'm not.]]
I can appreciate that, it does seem like it would be a nice and pleasant serene existence. Leaves gently rustling in the wind, roots down in nice cooling earth, squirrels playing around on your branches. Yeah, I can see the attraction of it. What worries me, however, is just why you felt the need to state that right now.\n\n[[My head does feel a little funny.]]\n\n[[I did? That's odd.]]
Wow, wow, wow. So now the gloves come off. Who are you to judge me? All I said was that I don't understand how anyone could not like fudge and here you are, making me out to be some kind of monster. Yeah, so maybe it's a little intolerant of me, or ignorant to refuse to see someone else's view, but that's my right damn it! <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\nOkay okay okay. I disagree but, whatever. [[What on earth is that?]]\n\n[[You're a bigot and an idiot.]]
Well, until a split second ago, it was at a point on its swing where you'd still have been able to dodge it. But now it is just about to hit you in the back of the head. Should have listened to me when you could. Nice knowing you, dumbass.\n\n[[Oh, how disappointing.]]
--You wait with Nigel in his boat, trying to keep your mind from drifting off and thinking about your impending judgement too much--\n\n"Want to watch some TV?"\n\n[[What's on?]]\n\n[[I'd rather not.]]
That's a good plan, lets continue on. You know, despite everything, I am really enjoying your company. It's really rather thrilling don't you know.\n\n[[Why thank you.]]\n\n[[Shut up will you?]]
It would be unfortunate. And such a fashion faux pas. Look, there's someone on the boat. Who is that? <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[I think he's the owner of the boat. He wants me to head inside to talk with him.]]
Goodness, we are. Is this that new section in the docks area, that weird new annex that absolutely needed to be build for some reason or other that no one really knows why? Not much going for it. A couple of ducks, a darkened path, field full of cows nearby, used condom in the bushes and one weird looking barge? <<set $nice =$nice +1>>\n\n[[I think it's a narrow boat, not a barge.]]\n\n[[Seems so.]]
You're a brave person. Good luck. I'll be cheering for you from the sidelines. I don't have a cheer leading outfit but hopefully you'll get the idea well enough. It’s been a pleasure sitting here in your mad little head my friend. Take care.\n\n--You travel back to the boat and apologise to Nigel. He seems angry at first but seems to relax and become more sympathetic as you talk. There is nothing he can do for you but you have grown to accept that fact and that you need to face up to your fate on the other side. You step through the churning fiery red portal in the boat without being forced; you have that at least, an honourable surrender to your destiny. Unfortunately, it looks like you'll now never get the chance to read that [[book|http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unleash-book.html]] you've heard so much about. Bummer--\n
If you eat too much fudge, you explode. I'm sure I read that somewhere.\n\n[[I think you're mistaken.]]\n\n[[Well, that would make a lot of sense. I do like fudge.]]
Hickle pickle.\n\n[[Oh, here's my washboard. The unicorn fairy polished it for me. It looks fantastic.]]\n\n[[I think I'm going all strange.]]
Oh, good one. I think that could do some real blunt trauma to him. Damn, I forgot to bring my camera; I would have liked to get a picture of it when you bash him. That sounds blood thirsty I know, but it would be a great addition to my portfolio for that journalism course I'm think of taking next year. <<set $bash = true>> <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\nSo what now?\n\n<<if not $sandwich>>\nThink I'll have that sandwich after all. [[--Take sandwich--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n[[--Wait in bored silence--]]
Err, yeah, nice try but I think you just pissed it off. It doesn't seem to have anything to kick down there. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]\n\n[[--Shout abuse at reaper--]]\n\n[[--Leg it!--]]
Fine. If that's going to be how you deal with things, I'll just leave you to it. Goodbye and farewell.\n\n[[No, come back.]]\n\n[[Finally.]]\n\n
Good. I'm not sure I'm wearing the correct shoes for running on unpaved ground. Plus, those cows look mean. Or at least as mean as a large docile land mammal can look mean. Which as it turns out, isn't very. I'm waffling on again aren't I?\n\n<<if $hunters>>\nAlmost missed what Nigel said.\n\n"You've done it now! I'll be pointing the hunters you're way when they get here."\n\nOh my, that doesn't sound good.\n<<endif>>\n\n[[--Run as fast as you can--]]\n
Sorry. I guess that's not something that is a productive avenue of discussion for this present time. Hey, who's that on the boat? <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[I think he's the owner of the boat. He wants me to head inside to talk with him.]]
Thank you, I'm so glad you get me.\n\n[[I said I understand, not that I get you. Frankly I find your views on anti-fudge quite revolting.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
You're right. I just got bacon rage descend upon my vision. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[Fine.]]
Close one. Quick, whilst its off balance.\n\n[[--Kick reaper's back--]]\n\n[[--Run out boat--]]\n\n<<if $bash>>\n[[--Smash reaper over the head with games console--]]\n<<endif>>
Dwinglofvy?\n\n[[Err...]]\n\n[[Indeed.]]\n\n[[Not now, I ate earlier.]]
Are you okaaaaaaaaaaayeeeeeeee?\n\n[[I think I'm going all strange.]]\n\n[[Yeah, fine.]]
He looks pretty dishevelled does he not? And that beaten up check shirt could do with an ironing. Or his plaid shirt, as I believe our trans-Atlantic friends may call it. What would you say, 30? Mid 30's?\n\n[[I can actually see what he looks like myself you know? I don't need this running commentary.]]\n\n[[Mid 30's I'd say.]]
--You find somewhere nice to let yourself go. It feels strange. Too bad you'll never have the chance to read that [[book|http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unleash-book.html]] you've heard so much about--
Flurp. Flurpy flurp flurp FLURP!\n\n<<if $hunters>>\n--You vaguely make out the outline of a giant creature with goat legs and horns coming up to you. It holds up a taser and shoots you with it. You feel a dull sensation of the shock going through you but it all feels so far away and unreal. Another giant creature comes over to you and puts a pair of handcuffs on you. You vaguely here one of them say: "Got the bugger. Better get this git back to the guv'nor." They drag you off back to Nigel's boat and to the portal to your punishment--\n<<else>>\n--Hufgluggy wingleful gibble fut xonlin. Quiokl dlong ammu euilp I think this is it. Uipnf lonwe cofry you're going insane. Tuilv zus zoot zul kwif--\n<<endif>>
You seem to be going off at quite a rate. I'm not sure what we can do about that, but I do have a plan we could try.\n\n[[Oh yes?]]
I don't think it's too bothered by your abuse. Maybe it doesn't understand you? <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[--Yell at it in French--]]\n\n[[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]
Of that, I never doubted for a second. Why did you think I needed to be reminded of such a fact?\n\n[[It never hurts to remind people.]]\n\n[[I'm not really sure.]]
"I'm afraid so. I'm so sorry. You really don't seem like the kind of arse hole that would usually get the high security portal. There maybe, perhaps, a mistake? Erm, yeah, it's possible I guess. I'll make some calls; try to get them to look again at your case."\n\n--Nigel spends several hours holding the reaper at bay, stopping it from getting to you to take you away, whilst simultaneously making calls to his customer service hotline. He manages to convince them to relook at your case--\n\n"Well, good news, I think. They've agreed to send you to purgatory instead. A long sentence admittedly, but it, err, better than the pits."\n\nHe's right you know. I think this is the best you can hope for.\n\n[[Yes, I'll submit to purgatory.]]\n\n[[--Run!--]]
Who's that? <<set $neutral =$neutral + 1>>\n\n[[I think he's the owner of the boat. He wants me to head inside to talk with him.]]
"I would advise you to reconsider. Once you leave this boat, and my side, you're spirit will start to fade out. Eventually you’ll just fade out, your spirit diffused away into the mortal atmosphere and you’ll just be a haunt, mindlessly travelling half-remembered places and visiting people you can’t quite see or hear. Take a spirit out of its entangled state with a mortal body and it begins to lose substance in the mortal world. It needs to revert to the spiritual world on the other side."\n\nHe does make it sound pretty bad. Your choice.\n\nOn second thoughts. [[Step through portal.]]\n\n[[This is what I want. I'd like to stay in rockin' Jet City Gloucester. Forever.]]
You and me both. Why not try to make first contact with it, see what it wants. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[Okay.]]
No, I'm almost positive that it isn't. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.]]\n\n[[In future, can you try to think before you speak? This is a very trying situation I find myself in and you're not helping.]]
Yeah yeah. For someone who is gradually going insane, you're awfully cranky at times. Hlub hlub whiiiiiz.\n\n[[Yes, I'm cranky. What of it?]]\n\n[[Come again? What was that last part?]]\n\n[[My head does feel a little funny.]]
The boat appears to be called //The Spirit of Mercia//. Hmm, odd name. Are we even in the boundaries of the old Kingdom of Mercia? I think we must be, just on the edges. The reaper seems to be anxious for us to go in. I guess this is our final destination then. Good luck!\n\n[[Thank you. Good luck to you too.]]\n\n[[No, I think I'd rather just leg it.]]
--After stepping through the slightly tingly feeling portal, you find yourself in eternal paradise. It's rather pleasant. You could get used to this. Now that you have the time to spare, you may finally getting around to reading that [[book|http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unleash-book.html]] you've heard so much about--
I wouldn't have thought that there were many rhinos in Gloucester that go around goring unfortunates like you.\n\n[[Well there are.]]\n\n[[It was less a rhino, more of a fat drunken dude with a spiky hair cut.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today! I want to be a part of it... ccccccrrrrrzzzzz beeeeeeep. Woof woof. *SYNTAX ERROR*\n\n[[Arrrrgggg!]]\n\n[[I think I'm going all strange.]]
--You run in the opposite direction to the boat and the reaper. You feel great as you run, until you hear a whooshing sound as the reaper begins to give chase--\n\nYou are fast aren't you? I think you can make it, you have good distance between you and the reaper now. Damn it's dark out though. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[Whaaaa?]]\n\n[[Huh?]]\n\n[[--Splat--]]
Try and slip it into your pocket when he's not looking. Hopefully you can avoid eating it but still keep an air of civility. It looks like we're in for a wait whilst things are decided.\n\n[[--Settle in for a long wait--]]
A choose your own death adventure by Tess Stenson.
<<if $hunters>>\n--You make it several miles further up into the countryside before you notice that you are being stalked by two very large creatures with big horns, goat legs and horrid scarred red skin. When they make their move it is lightning fast and you are utterly powerless to do anything about it. They drag you back to the boat for you to face your punishment for a lifetime of wickedness--\n\n<<else>>\n--You walk and you walk and you walk and you walk... Forever--\n<<endif>>
"Let's see... Erm, some Japanese cartoon thing, a documentary about door knobs, a catch up on the day's cricket, a film with big explosions..."\n\nWow, did you feel that? The boat just rocked like crazy and I got buffeted by an air blast of some sort. Shit, I hope we're not under attack from bombers. Probably unlikely, but you never know.\n\n"Ahh, decision has been made."\n\nOh, cool.\n\n[[Yep. Judgement awaits.]]
I don't think you really get what it means to be dead.\n\n[[So what now?]]\n\n
--You fall over. It was a completely avoidable fall, but unfortunately, you got distracted by a sea gull flying low out of the evening darkness. Fearing that it was going to hit you, you decided to take gravity on at its own game. Gravity won. The reaper catches up with you and drags you back to the boat--\n\nNearly got away! Damn birds.\n\n[[Yeah, nearly had it.]]
"Oh, err, well this is awkward."\n\n--A loud bang and rush of air comes from the back of the boat. Nigel seems relieved, as though he was dreading having to answer your questions--\n\nWell that's odd. Does this mean the decision has been made?\n\n[[Yep. Judgement awaits.]]
I've had enough of this. I'm out of here. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[Yeah, that's right piss off.]]
<<if $hunters>>\n--As you sit and cry, two enormous demonic creatures walk up to you. One seems genuinely disturbed by your state, the other disgusted by how easy you have been to catch. They lead you off in handcuffs to face your destiny on the other side--\n<<else>>\n--You sit and cry--\n<<endif>>
--You are now all alone in your death--\n\n[[--Yell profanities--]]\n\n[[--Cry--]]\n\n[[--Find someone to haunt--]]
Everyone loves bac... ohh, oops. Everyone except vegetarians, Jewish or Islamic people, pigs probable, those that just don't like the taste... I really didn't think this through. Carry on.\n\n[[Fine.]]
Damn. The rate you're going, I'm not sure we have that much more time left. Are you feeling alright?\n\n[[Nope.]]\n\n[[Yep.]]
Yep, sorry. Hey look, the reaper is distracted by your clothing. I think you've confused it. Either that or it is too dazzled by your natural beauty that it can't bring itself to chase you. Quick round that corner! Towards the Cathedral. We're losing it! We're losing it!\n\n[[We're going to make it!]]
I wonder if Nigel is affiliated with the Coroner's Office at all. I don't believe I've ever heard of this sort of thing being involved in the process of autopsy or writing a death certificate. Unless it's all some sort of grand secret that the medical services keep from the rest of us so as not to panic us. That would seem unlikely. Not like there is some grand conspiracy going on now is there! Ha! No, I think it's just that we're used to only seeing one side of the whole, err, process. We're through the rabbit hole now. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\nIndeed [[--Listen to Nigel--]]\n\n[[I think you're mixing your Lewis Carroll references there.]]
You have died.<<silently>><<set $nice = 0>> <<set $nasty = 0>> <<set $neutral =0>><<endsilently>>\n\nSeems that this night out in fair old Gloucester hasn't worked out particularly well for you, because, as I said just now; you have died.\n\n[[Nuh-uh.]]\n\n[[What?]]\n\n[[Damn.]]\n
<<if $reaperwobble>>\nLooks like our reaper chum is having a bit of trouble staying steady. Whoops, it's getting dangerously close to the canal... Oh score! See that, the dumb idiot fell in. I think you've got this in the bag buddy. Let's get going.\n\n[[--Keep running--]]\n<<else>>\nIt's right on your tail. RUN!\n\n[[--RUN!--]]\n<<endif>>
I'm sure we could look it up in the obituary section of the papers. Assuming that anyone cares enough about you to write one, or even notice that you've gone. If they don't, then I guess we'll just have to hope that your last act was to soil yourself and someone comes to investigate the smell.\n\n[[You're sick.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Hey fuck you buddy. I'm just trying to help you out. If you're going to act like that I don't think I'll bother. Good luck with your new found death. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[No, I'm sorry. Come back.]]\n\n[[Yeah, that's right piss off.]]\n
So, I think if we head to the city centre we'll have a good chance of finding someone in need of our extra-mortal help. Should give us a few brownie points that we can use to maybe convince those on the other side that we're not all bad and could do with a second chance.\n\n[[Let's go and help the shit out of Gloucester!]]
Yes, quiet ingenious even I do say so myself. It appears to me that we are in this predicament because you've spent your life going around being a bit of a twat to people. Nice folk don't get damned to eternal punishment in the pits you know. So maybe if we go and find some good deeds to do? Really get stuck into the helping the community thing.\n\n[[Good idea, let's go help people out.]]\n\n[[Sounds too boring.]]\n\n[[I think I'd rather just give in.]]\n\n[[But I'm just a spirit now, how could I help anyone?]]
Vlobblobitty.\n\n[[Where me washboard?]]\n\n[[Guff off.]]\n\n[[Not now, I ate earlier.]]
"I'm sorry."\n\nI don't like where this is going.\n\n"On behalf of the Death Council under contract for the Discipline and Completions Department, a decision regarding the actions in life by..."\n\nOh shit, looks like you're up a certain creek without a useful bit of equipment.\n\n[[--Listen in horror as Nigel reads out a long list of your misdeeds and your sentence to the Dark After-worlds--]]\n\n[[--Run!--]]\n\n<<if $bash>>\n[[--Bash Nigel over the head with the games console--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $splinter>>\n[[--Lunge at Nigel at stab him with your wooden splinter--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $fists>>\n[[--Punch Nigel square in the jaw--]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $nice gt 3>>\n[[There has to be some mistake! I was a nice person, just messed up at times. Messed up big, but still!]]\n<<endif>>\n
Well, here's the boat again.\n\n[[Yes, I noticed.]]
Yeah, you're probably right. Just an idea. Come on, let's get out of here, maybe find someone to haunt.\n\n[[Right on.]]\n\n[[--Find someone to haunt--]]
<<if $reaperwobble>>\nLooks like our pal the Grim Reaper is still a bit dizzy from that kick. I don't think he's going to be able to get over the cow fence. \n\n[[I think we're going to make it!]]\n<<endif>>\n<<if $doomed>>\nBollocks, I don't want to alarm you, but the reaper is literally about to grab you. Yes, yes, that tugging sensation you feel is the reaper grabbing you by the coat. I suspect you may be about to be pulled right off your feet... and yes, there it is. Sorry, I don't think you're getting away after all.\n\n[[I'm pretty much screwed now then?]]\n<<endif>>\n<<if $reaperbash>>\nWith the reaper pretty much dead, you could probably stand to be a little cocky here and just casually stroll through the field and make your getaway. Maybe not the best idea though, so I'm not actually suggesting you do that. Still, it would make a point. You're on your way to freedom!\n\n[[I think we're going to make it!]]\n<<endif>>
--You wait nervously as Nigel goes on about his work. You don't really care. The wait goes on and on for hours until, eventually, the loud droning noise from the bedroom intensifies once more. After a loud explosion, Nigel leads you to his room and unveils the source of the noise. A fluffy white clouded portal. You sign contracts and say farewells and step through to enjoy your eternity in peace. Now that you have the time to spare, you may finally getting around to reading that [[book|http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unleash-book.html]] you've heard so much about--
"Seems that the guys on the other side absolutely loved you. Relatively quick decision. I knew you were a good guy. So eternity, err, awaits. Enjoy! I just need to get the boring old admin... nonsense out the way. Sign these things and everything and you're ready to go."\n\n--Nigel extends a hand to shake. He explains further details as you sign the contracts. You feel a weight being lifted off your shoulders. You bid him farewell and go towards the swirling mass of bright lights and billowing clouds that make up the portal hidden away in the wardrobe in Nigel's bedroom--\n\nWell, I guess this is it. It's been a pleasure my friend. Good luck in the next life. Until we meet again, adieu.\n\n[[Step through portal.]]\n\n[[I don't really want to go though.]]
Jingle jingle huff.\n\n[[Give me my custard you bastard!]]
Yeah, thought as much. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
"Well, I... err. Okay." <<set $nasty = $nasty +1>>\n\nHa, told him! Wow, did you feel that? The boat just rocked like crazy and I got buffeted by an air blast of some sort. Shit, I hope we're not under attack from bombers. Probably unlikely, but you never know.\n\n"Ahh, decision has been made."\n\nOh, cool.\n\n[[Yep. Judgement awaits.]]
It is a very stupid idea. You could break a neck out here if you tripped and fell. Ooh, err, figuratively of course. Although let's not discount the possibility that the paramedics who are dealing with your body back where it fell drop it and it causes your neck to break posthumously. Gosh, I hope that wouldn't have any effect on your, your, err, spirit, I guess. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen eh? <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[Shut up.]]\n\n[[I'll just have to hope that that doesn't happen. I'd hate to spend my afterlife in a neck brace.]]
--Next thing you know, the reaper has a hold of you and you are being dragged off to serve your punishment in the pits of the Dark After-worlds. It is very unpleasant--
Fair enough, your funeral if you eat that thing.<<set $sandwich = true>>\n\n[[Yeah, it's pretty bad.]]\n\n[[Be nice. It's tasty enough.]]\n\n[[--Settle in for a long wait--]]\n\n[[--Spend your time plotting how to shank Nigel--]]\n\n
Yeah, maybe a little. I just love fudge. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[I guess I can understand that.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Really? Just like that? \n\nYes. [[--Go back--]]\n\n[[Good idea, let's go help people out.]]\n\n[[Sounds too boring.]]\n\n[[But I'm just a spirit now, how could I help anyone?]]
Well, his boat seems... nice? Yeah, //nice//. Could do with a good dusting and tidying up some of the clutter but it doesn't look like there is anything feral in here. I'm not sure I particularly want to commit to sitting on the awful brown couch there and there are some suspicious stains on the floor, but at least you're not going to get any deader by touching anything here. Oh hang on, he's saying something:\n\n"Hi. My name’s Nigel, please come in. I’m afraid that I have some bad news but you are dead. That dude over there is a Reaper; he has bought you here to me because I’m your Gatekeeper to the portal that will take you in to the After-worlds."\n\nNormally, I may suggest that this guy is crazy and a dangerous mind that must be met with caution, but as strange as it sounds, I think he may be telling us truth.\n\n[[Really? What gave it away, was it the way in which I'm dead or the way that grim reaper has marched us here?]]\n\n[[He does seem to be, yes.]]\n\n[[--Listen to Nigel--]]
Well you certainly don't look it. You've got a sort of mad thousand yard stare going on and a quivering bottom lip and the hedgehogs of the Galactic Omnium are preparing to invade the Lunar land of Belgium.\n\n[[Are they? Damn them all.]]\n\n[[Err...]]
It doesn't seem to respond to being talked to. Oh no, it seems very intent on shepherding you away. \n\n[[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]\n\n[[--Kick reaper in the balls--]]
I'm going to go ahead and just assume that you died during sex.\n\n[[Fair enough.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Wise choice. You don't want your last hours in the mortal world to be full of fishing chucks of crappy PB and J sarnies from your teeth and gagging at the aftertaste of it. It looks like we're in for a wait whilst things are decided.\n\n[[--Settle in for a long wait--]]
Indeed, hence why you are here. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
"Seems there was a lot of debating, but they finally decided to let you through to the Light After-worlds. All I need is for you to sign the contracts and you're good to go."\n\n--Nigel explains further details as you sign the contracts. You feel a weight being lifted off your shoulders. You bid him farewell and go towards the swirling mass of bright lights and billowing clouds that make up the portal hidden away in the wardrobe in Nigel's bedroom--\n\nWell, I guess this is it. It's been a pleasure my friend. Good luck in the next life. Until we meet again, adieu.\n\n[[Step through portal.]]\n\n[[I don't really want to go though.]]
If what you say about her is true, I should fear her too. \n\n[[Let's get a move on. Don't stop.]]\n\n[[I think we should find a place to hide.]]
Excellent. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[Shall we continue?]]
--Your buddy has gone quiet. Maybe he doesn't want to spend eternity with such a mad fool anymore?--\n\n[[--Carry on--]]\n\n[[--Cry--]]
Probably a wise choice. Let's at least see what the deal is with the reaper thing. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]
...\n\n[[Buddy?]]\n\n[[--Carry on--]]
So what is it? Ooh, peanut butter and jam on horrid looking cheap white bread. How very //wonderful// of him. <<set $sandwich = true>>\n\n[[Yeah, it's pretty bad.]]\n\n[[Be nice. It's tasty enough.]]
--You don't really have a washboard to hit the demon with. You just pound it lightly on the arms as it carries you away to face your ultimate fate in the Dark After-worlds. In your mind however, you are a great demon slayer and supreme ruler of Valhalla--
Who's that? <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[I think he's the owner of the boat. He wants me to head inside to talk with him.]]
Do you think you can make it? I mean, you're pretty fast and all, but so is that thing. It doesn't seem to be getting out of breath at all. Maybe we should give up. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[--Give up--]]\n\n[[No, I'm ok. I don't feel tired at all.]]
If he doesn't, let's beat him up.\n\n[[Fine.]]\n\n[[Yes, let's beat him.]]\n\n[[That may be a little harsh.]]
Watch out! The reaper is about to swipe at you with its scythe! <<set $hunters = true>>\n\n[[--Dodge the scythe--]]\n\n[[What? Where?]]
--You fake a violent sneeze and shake your arms and legs as though you are being possessed by a demon--\n\nHey, that's pretty good. But I'm worried that a Grim Reaper may have inside knowledge of what demonic possession looks like, if indeed it even exists. So it might know that you are faking it. Maybe if you had some pea soup to spit out at it, it may be inclined to take your show more seriously. If that is somehow meant to convey that you are toxic, I'm not sure you are really going to sell it to anyone. Maybe if we do get away, you could try to find some post-life acting classes? Ahh, look, the reaper has come for you. I don't think your plan worked.\n\nCrap. [[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]
I'm truly honoured then. You're really not a bad person at all. What a shame that it's come to this. If only this whole situation was able to be ignored as unreality or a figment of your imagination. I'm pretty sure it's not at least. One figment of your imagination is probably enough for any one mind.\n\n[[Exactly.]]
Very odd. Yet you can't recall doing so... Interesting. Are you feeling alright?\n\n[[Nope.]]\n\n[[Yep.]]
--No one answers. Except for Nigel, who continues to stutter and blather on. You try to follow just what he's on about but you are too distracted and before you know it, you're signing contracts and being led through a swirling mass of clouds and lights to the next level of existence. Unable to think of anything else, you block out all external stimuli and spend eternity feeling guilty about how you left things--
Bugger. I wasn't expecting you to call my bluff on that one. Listen, I ain't really the I-Spy kind of person. In all honesty, I'm not entirely sure that any of this is really real, I mean, did you see the //The Matrix//? No, I'm not sure I want to vindicate the reality of the situation by playing a game based on acknowledging the physical world. I'd much rather talk about you. <<set $neutral =$neutral + 1>>\n\n[[What about all that 'You are dead' crap. Isn't that you trying to convince me of the reality of this situation? You don't think that a bit of a double standard?]]\n\n[[Fair enough then.]]
Right on. So no need to fear the reaper anymore.\n\n[[Let's get a move on. Don't stop.]]\n\n[[I think we should find a place to hide.]]\n\n<<if $rothrock>>\n[[I fear nothing. Except for the wrath of Rothrock.]]\n<<endif>>
Oh, right, I must be.\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
--It is very peaceful here. Nice place to spend eternity--
--One second you are intent on running away to enjoy your death in peace, the next you have completely forgotten what you were doing. Instead you begin to fixate on what exactly was in the suitcase that John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson's characters were carrying around in //Pulp Fiction//. You decide that it was probably a box of kittens just as you feel the reaper's cold hand grip you and drag you off to the boat again--\n\nWhat happened there? You were making good progress.\n\n[[Yeah, nearly had it.]]\n\n[[I... I don't know.]]
Hey, listen buddy; you're the one who's dead. Don't get cranky with me. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[You're right, I'm sorry.]]\n\n[[No, fuck you. I've had enough of this nonsense.]]
Well, genius, maybe that's what killed you? <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[Screw you!]]\n\nOkay, good point. [[So what now?]]
Does anyone really care what the difference is? I mean, I'm sure there are //some// people that may care, but I was asking in a more rhetorical sort of way. I'm not sure I really care to be honest, I was just making conversation. I fear that the walk over here was a bit too silent for my liking. It seemed to be just me talking with you being a bit distant. I realise that you've been through a lot this evening and may not be in the best frame of mind, but could you maybe make more of an effort to engage? I'm going out on a limb here to forge a new friendship; I don't want it to fall apart because of something so silly as one of us being dead.\n\n[[Hey, don't put this all on me! I'm not a talker, I'm a listener.]]\n\n[[Okay, I'll try. Let's check out this boat.]]
Do we really have time for this?\n\n--You eat the peanut butter and jam sandwich Nigel had given you. Although it isn't the finest example of that particular genera of sandwich, you grudgingly accept that the Americans were right to pair the two flavours together. The sandwich gives you the mental energy to outrun the hunter as it tries to catch you. It grunts in annoyance as you slip away. You hear it speaking into a walkie talkie handset for backup from his partner. You don't stop to listen any further. You continue to run as fast as you can. With no physical body to weigh you down, you find that you can run indefinitely and the sandwich has filled you up enough that you no longer want to think about food. You are somewhere in the Yorkshire moors when you finally stop running as you can no longer remember what you were doing. The voice in you heard stopped sometime ago--\n\n[[Peace at last.]]\n\n[[Hello?]]
Ponce. Have it your way. Let's wait in bored silence then. <<set $nice = $nice +1>>\n\n[[--Wait in bored silence--]]
That may be for the best. Anyway, whilst you were being a twat, something weird has crept up on us. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
I'm worried that this may be all too overwhelming for you so I'm providing a helpful service of giving you an extra view on what's going on, so that you can have as comprehensive knowledge of the situation as is possible to get under current circumstances. I'm not saying that it's a perfect system, but I think you are underestimating the value in what I'm trying to do for you. Yes, that's right; I'm doing this for you. So get off your high horse and maybe be a bit more grateful that there is someone out there that is still looking out for you. You can ignore my observations and suggestions or not, it's your choice, but at least do me the credit of appreciating what I'm doing. You don't think I had other plans for tonight? Yeah, I had stuff to do but I decided to put them aside to look after you...\n\nOkay, okay. Thank you. [[--Listen to Nigel--]]\n\n[[Twat.]]
Wow! Wait for me! Wow, ain't you the speedy bugger. I don't want to alarm you, but that thing back there is following. Just what are you planning?\n\n[[I'm going to Mexico!]]\n\nOh, sod it. My leg hurts. [[--Give up--]]\n\n[[I'm going to alert the authorities.]]
Yes you are. Are you feeling alright?\n\n[[Nope.]]\n\n[[Yep.]]
Fine. If that's how you're going to do things. Goodbye. Jerk.\n\n<<if $hunters>>\nBefore anything else can be said, you feel a dart stick into the back of your head. You turn around just in time to see a large demon crossing the field towards you. The tranquiliser kicks in and you collapse to the floor. You wake up in the fiery pits of the Dark After-worlds. It's hot and sweaty and makes you very uncomfortable--\n\n<<else>>\n--Your companion leaves you alone. You remain alone as you travel across the country, losing your mind and drifting off into delirium--\n\n<<endif>>\n
Wow, what the hell are you doing? What on earth did you think I just said? You keep your clothes on.\n\n[[Not now, I ate earlier.]]\n\n[[Spoil sport.]]\n\n[[Try and make me.]]
You really are a most unpleasant person. You're right though, we're here. Is this that new section in the docks area, that weird new annex that absolutely needed to be build for some reason or other that no one really knows why? Not much going for it. A couple of ducks, a darkened path, field full of cows nearby, used condom in the bushes and one weird looking barge? <<set $nasty =$nasty +1>>\n\n[[I think it's a narrow boat, not a barge.]]\n\n[[Seems so.]]
<<if $hunters>>\n--Before anything else can be said, you feel a dart stick into the back of your head. You turn around just in time to see a large demon crossing the field towards you. The tranquiliser kicks in and you collapse to the floor. You wake up in the fiery pits of the Dark After-worlds. It's hot and sweaty and makes you very uncomfortable--\n\n<<else>>\n--You continue to walk on and on as your companion tries to talk to you. It all sounds like nonsense to you as you lose your mind. You never stop walking--\n\n<<endif>>\n
Yes! I love cows. Well eating them that is. I've never actually spoken to a cow one-on-one.\n\n<<if $hunters>>\nNigel's shouting something at us.\n\n"You've done it now! I'll be pointing the hunters you're way when they get here."\n\nOh my, that doesn't sound good.\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $reaperbash>>\nOn the plus side, I don't think that reaper is getting back up after the clunking you gave it over the head. So, you know, add one to your awesomeness tally.\n<<endif>>\n\n[[--Run towards the cow field--]]
Does it? Cool. Called that one right then.\n\n[[Exactly.]]
Really? Whatever.\n\n[[--Listen to Nigel--]]\n\n[[Yes. It's down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass.]]
Nerd. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\nI'm going to ignore that. [[--Listen to Nigel--]]
I will. Oh I'm sorry, I was distracted by something... <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
The boat appears to be called //The Spirit of Mercia//. Hmm, odd name. Are we even in the boundaries of the old Kingdom of Mercia? I think we must be, just on the edges. The reaper seems to be anxious for us to go in. I guess this is our final destination then. Good luck!\n\n[[Thank you. Good luck to you too.]]\n\n[[No, I think I'd rather just leg it.]]
We could play I-Spy? <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[No, let's not.]]\n\n[[Yeah, okay.]]
--You continue on through the field of cows towards the ring road around Gloucester. You find a bridge that crosses the River Severn. You hide under the bridge and find yourself convinced that you are actually a troll. The hours go by and you find it harder and harder to concentrate and remember what you were doing, you try to get up and walk around. Your companion tries to talk to you but you find you can't quite make out the words--\n\nHerp jukhle twont twont?\n\n[[No, I don't understand.]]
We should probably think about our end plan now. We can't just keep running and running, we'll just end up in the sea and I didn't bring my swimming costume. Nigel said something about your spirit degenerating or something, we should think about how to counter that.\n\n[[I want to be a tree.]]\n\n[[My head does feel a little funny.]]\n\n[[There ain't no party like an S-Club party.]]\n\n<<if $hunters>>\n[[Wait! Did you hear that?]]\n<<endif>>
Yeah. Bummer eh?<<set $neutral =$neutral + 1>>\n\n[[Can I go back?]]\n\n[[So what now?]]
Gufffffffffff. Lexigobble panspermia flup flup.\n\n<<if $hunters>>\n--You vaguely make out the outline of a giant creature with goat legs and horns coming up to you. It holds up a taser and shoots you with it. You feel a dull sensation of the shock going through you but it all feels so far away and unreal. Another giant creature comes over to you and puts a pair of handcuffs on you. You vaguely here one of them say: "Got the bugger. Better get this git back to the guv'nor." They drag you off back to Nigel's boat and to the portal to your punishment--\n<<else>>\n--Hufgluggy wingleful gibble fut xonlin. Quiokl dlong ammu euilp I think this is it. Uipnf lonwe cofry you're going insane. Tuilv zus zoot zul kwif--\n<<endif>>
Uh-oh. The reaper has caught us. At least it doesn't seem any more pissed off than it was when it first appeared. Oh, looks like it's taking you away whether you like it or not. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\nBugger. [[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]
--You don't get far. It easily manages to catch up to you and casual grab you by the neck. It drags you back to the boat to face your fate. Nigel is very angry with you and no longer seems sympathetic to damning you to eternal punishment--
--You stop in your tracks, turn to the pursuing reaper and nod curtly at it. 'Good day', you say. It isn't fooled--\n\nWell, it was a nice try. I guess it's dragging us away regardless. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\nDamn. [[--Allow reaper to shepherd you away--]]
Yes. I hate to break it to you, but you are indeed dead. An ex-person.\n\n[[Nope you're taking the piss.]]\n
Well, aren't you a fine example of humanity. In all this time I've been talking to you, I'd not appreciated just how devastatingly good looking you are. <<set $neutral =$neutral + 1>>\n\n[[Eyes on the prize please.]]\n\n[[Why thank you! I'll just stop and observe myself in the reflection of that window over there.]]\n\nYou're right. I am a thing of beauty. I shouldn't risk falling and damaging my form by running. [[--Give up--]]
Ooh, nasty! Right over the head. Bloody good show! Probably ruined that console though. Those things have a really kitsch attraction on the second hand market these days. Retro gaming is pretty big these days. I think it has something to do with people not being able to see through their rose tinted glasses to see how bad most of those crappy old games were. Or maybe everyone is conscious of increased carbon dioxide emissions because of manufacturing of newer console and worldwide shipping, so want to get down with re-using older machines. Or hey, maybe as we have entire generations now that grew up on video games, the younger generations are getting an inferiority complex about their place in pop culture so seek out their forefathers playthings in order to compensate for the missing link in their video-entertainment historical knowledge? I may be rambling a bit. Probably best not to stand here listening to me waffle on and giving Nigel a chance to get back up or that reaper to catch you. <<set $bash2 = true>> <<set $bash = false>>\n\nYeah, good call. [[--Run away!--]]
Are you sure? It's dark here along this canal section; we don't know what may be on offer in the boat and let's not forget that grim reaper there. Wait a sec; it does seem distracted by the boat. Now might be your chance. \n\n[[I'm going to leg it.]]\n\n[[On second thoughts, that is a stupid idea.]]
Excellent. I was hoping you'd say that. We should probably think about our end plan now. We can't just keep running and running, we'll just end up in the sea and I didn't bring my swimming costume. Nigel said something about your spirit degenerating or something, we should think about how to counter that.\n\n[[I want to be a tree.]]\n\n[[My head does feel a little funny.]]\n\n[[There ain't no party like an S-Club party.]]\n\n<<if $hunters>>\n[[Wait! Did you hear that?]]\n<<endif>>
Oh, and you spilt his drink maybe? Nudged his arm? Vomited on his girlfriend?\n\n[[Something like that.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
So, any good ideas on how to nail this bastard?\n\n[[On second thoughts, I think I was too harsh to consider it.]]\n\n[[That old games console would make a great bludgeon to bash him with.]]\n\n[[This splinter of wood I just peeled off from that crappy coffee table will make a good shank.]]\n\n[[I prefer the tactile pleasure of using my own fists.]]
<<if $hunters>>\n--As you try to work out what is happening, a large demonic figure creeps up to you and puts you in a head lock as another puts you in handcuffs. They drag you back to the boat to face your destiny--\n\n<<else>>\n--Not knowing what else to do as the world begins to blur and swoop by you, you start to dance the robot. You spend the rest of time in that field, doing the robot. No one can see or hear you, but sometimes people who wander nearby get the strangest sensation that they want to dance the robot--\n<<endif>>\n
I said. Fnarrrrr, erg, huppoodittity. You may be going insane.\n\n[[Err...]]\n\n[[Indeed.]]\n\n[[I sure hope not.]]
You can keeeeeeep your hat oooooon.\n\n[[Indeed.]]\n\n[[Err...]]
--You say your goodbyes and step outside back onto the canal siding. The reaper steps aside to allow you to pass--\n\n[[--Find someone to haunt--]]\n\n[[--Find a quiet place to lose your mind and drift off--]]\n\n[[--Laugh like a mad person--]]
Everyone loves fudge. Except maybe those that don't, but I try not to think about them. They represent a mentality that I cannot understand, no matter how hard I try.\n\n[[You're fudgsist.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Okay then. Let's put that behind us and get back on track. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n[[So what now?]]
<<if $reaperbash>>\nDoesn't look like that reaper is chasing you. I think that twatting you gave it really knocked it out of order. You're home free, keep going.\n\n[[--Keep running--]]\n\n<<else>>\n\nBetter get going, the reaper is coming.\n\n[[--Keep running!--]]\n\n<<endif>>\n\n
Get in! Right in the lower back. Ha! He won't be sitting comfortably for a while will he. Go on, twist that shank. Wow, that dude can yell! Can't say I blame him. If someone shanked me in the back, I'd probably be a little upset and yell out. Euggh, shanked in the back. You're a psycho. I mean that in the best possible way. I know that we've only known each other a short time, so I hope you don't think me too presumptuous to say it, but it is a little psychotic. Probably unfair of me to say so if I'm being honest, I think I may have encouraged you. Regardless, let's get out of here before the reaper catches you or Nigel stops crying on the floor. <<set $splinter2 = true>>\n\n[[--Run away!--]]
Shit, you're right. Only the biggest fucking demon I've ever seen in my life! Well, the only one, but that's still a perfectly valid statement. Wow, it looks mean and kitted out for a fight. What do we do?\n\n[[--Surrender--]]\n\n[[--Run up to demon and punch it--]]
Run, run, run. Let's go. No, don't look back, there's no time. Oh, okay, look back, just to check. But don't enjoy looking back, there's definitely no time for that. Unless it's really funny, then you can probably enjoy it. Oh dear, the reaper is closing in on us fast. Where are we going? <<set $doomed = true>>\n\n[[We're off down the canal path.]]\n\n[[Into the cow field, lose it in there.]]
Watch out! The reaper is about to swipe at you with its scythe!\n\n[[--Dodge the scythe--]]\n\n[[What? Where?]]
I'm not so certain that you have much choice about it. With your mortal vessel gone, I think your spirit is diffusing into the atmosphere, making you lose your marbles. Maybe we should go back to the boat after all?\n\n[[Eternal punishment or eternal insanity?]]
That's unfortunate. <<set $rhino = true>>\n\n[[They are a menace.]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
--You try to look behind you to see where the reaper is. In the darkness, you fall into the canal. You are now wet. The reaper pulls you out and marches you back to the boat--\n\nWell, nice try.\n\n[[Yeah, nearly had it.]]
Maybe you shouldn't have eaten all that fudge.\n\n[[What's fudge got to do with it?]]\n\n[[What on earth is that?]]
Yonks! In the face. Wild! Quick, whilst he's discombobulated, let's jet.\n\n[[--Run away!--]]
You sure about this? Okay, fair enough. Good luck my friend. I'll shut up and let this demon talk then.\n\n"Yer surrendering then are ya mate? Smart of ya. Thanks, didn't feel like chasin' down some squirt of a spirit. Ya got honour, I'll give ya that. You come quiet, I'll leave out the handcuffs and keep me partner at bay. I'll try'n make it as comfortable as I can."\n\n--The demon leads you back to the boat. He holds up a hand to quieten his partner from speaking when they meet at the boat. He personally takes you through the sulphurous smelling fiery red portal to the Dark After-worlds. He pulls some strings with his friends in the Accommodation Department and gets you a nice cell and a cushy prison job away from the main pits--
"That's very selfless of you." <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\n--A loud bang and rush of air comes from the back of the boat--\n\nWell then, I think we're on.\n\n[[Yep. Judgement awaits.]]
Hujillington gobsnobly?\n\n[[Erm.]]\n\n[[I like custard.]]
--The reaper forces you through a portal in Nigel's wardrobe in his bedroom. The clouds of noxious red gas ill prepare you for the horrors that await you on the other side--
--The droning from the back abruptly stops, only to restart shortly afterwards. A new portal appears. The greyness and dreariness of it is spirit-crushing. You thank Nigel and say goodbye to everyone as you walk through to serve your sentence in purgatory with the promise of admittance into eternity afterwards. Who knows what punishment you'll be forced to endure whilst in your cell? Maybe they'll force you to read that [[book|http://tessstenson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unleash-book.html]] you've heard people moan about so much?--
Good idea. It looks like a pretty crappy sandwich anyway. I'll hire a goon to come and break his legs for us someday. It looks like we're in for a wait whilst things are decided.<<set $nasty = $nasty +1>>\n\n[[--Settle in for a long wait--]]\n\n[[--Spend your time plotting how to shank Nigel--]]\n\n[[--Take sandwich anyway--]]
It's no good; it's going to catch you. Sorry to say it. We've had some fun right? I know we may have argued at times, and maybe said something that neither of us really meant, but it's been fun. I know that I'm just a voice in your head and not a real person, but I'm really going to miss this. Maybe if I am going with you to the other side, maybe that'll be okay. If not, then good luck.\n\n[[--The reaper catches you--]]
You just seemed to freeze up and go all glassy eyed. That may be a concern if you try anything like that again.\n\n[[Yes. It's concerning.]]
Fair enough. So how did you die?\n\n[[It's complicated.]]\n\n[[Gored by a Rhino.]]\n\n[[My appendix 'sploded.]]\n\n[[I don't know.]]\n\n[[Cynthia Rothrock beat me up.]]
Yep. \n\n--The reaper smashes you in the back of the head with the blunt edge of its scythe. You fall to the ground and black out. You wake up in the fiery pits of the Dark After-worlds. You spent eternity struggling to make friends with anyone here--
Can you buy me a pint please? I've not got any cash on me. Also, everything that I just said. No one can see you. You're unlikely to get served, and this time its not just because the pub is too busy and the bar staff too incompetent. <<set $nice = $nice + 1>>\n\nBollocks. [[--Give up--]]
Zzzzzzonk! Nobnotnobnob!\n\n<<if $hunters>>\n--You try to work out what you are being told. It sounds like a warning but you can't quite make it out. The shadow of a large creature with goat legs, red skin and horns falls over you. You look up and see the face of a large demon looking down at you. It hits you on the head with a steel baton and then casually talks into a walkie talkie handset it has. You just manage to make out what is being said before you black out: "Yeah mate, got this 'ere bugger. Better 'all off the search. We're comin' back in." The demon unceremoniously drags you back to the boat and your ultimate fate--\n\n<<else>>\n\n--You struggle to work out what is being said. You spend what little remains of your partially-lucid and conscious existence turning the statement over and over in your head trying to discern its meaning whilst pacing around the smelly dank pathway under the bridge. Some people say that you can still sometimes be heard whispering to yourself as you pace, forever and ever--\n<<endif>>
So, err, not sure how to put this delicately. How did you pop your clogs and become brown bread?\n\n[[It's complicated.]]\n\n[[Gored by a Rhino.]]\n\n[[My appendix 'sploded.]]\n\n[[I don't know.]]\n\n[[Cynthia Rothrock beat me up.]]
You're right, better safe than sorry. Are you feeling alright?\n\n[[Nope.]]\n\n[[Yep.]]
--You run as fast and as far as you can. Eventually, after wandering around town for a few hours, you find a spot under a tree in the darkness of Gloucester Park that looks like it is a good place to hide until you can think of a plan. The hours go by and you find it harder and harder to concentrate and remember what you were doing, you try to get up and walk around. Your companion tries to talk to you but you find you can't quite make out the words--\n\nGerfhuffin moggy twodge flurb?\n\n[[You're not making any sense.]]\n\n[[What are you talking about?]]
Yes, of course, but did you ever think that maybe //I// want to give this running commentary. Maybe that's just my way of dealing with things. <<set $nasty = $nasty + 1>>\n\n[[Fine.]]\n\n[[So are you going to be doing this running commentary all the time?]]
I agree.\n\n[[I hope he makes us bacon.]]

2 comments:

  1. What on Earth?
    Nice work Tess. Good use of the word 'shank'!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I quite enjoyed that. Surprisingly funny

    ReplyDelete