You find yourself in a candlelit wooden cabin


This was written by Nick Merrill in a group chat, interactively, with Harrison Atkins, Daniel Johnson, Kati Skelton, Scott Egleston, Brandon Daley and @lunkus. The story was run in the style of a text-based adventure game. I played the game, and the Slack channel played the keyboard.

I have removed the "inputs," leaving only the "output," formatting each turn as a paragraph. I have edited the story minimally otherwise, splitting the story into six parts.


A dark, warm cabin. There's some humidity in the air. A candle burns on on a table across from you. On the other side of the room, a small window looks out over a grassy field. Hills roll outward into the distance. It's nighttime. You're quite high up. You cannot see the moon.

You seem to be lying in a bed. There are no doors or obvious exits.

You light the candle and illuminate the area under the bed. It's dusty. You draw the candle carefully underneath the bedframe. There is a scholar's stone under the bed.

The stone is a dark marble. It has an irregular shape and is inscribed with some characters you've never seen before. It has a delicately-etched base.

You put the stone on the table, carefully placing the candle next to it. You walk to the window. Outside is a grassy field. There are some trees in the distance. Stars are out. You cannot see the moon.

You emit a loud, lonely wolf's howl. Your mouth noises resonate in the floorboards.

You take the candle and maneuver around the room. The floorboards look loose. You notice that they aren't bolted down.

You lift the floorboards easily with your hands. Through the slatting below, you see another floor a half-story beneath you.

You climb down to the floor below. Here, there is another bed similar to yours, with another window. There is a note on the bedside table.

You read the note. It's in a language you don't understand. The characters look similar to those on the scholar's stone.

The scholar's stone is on the floor above, too high to reach or eat.

You emit a loud, lonely wolf's howl. Your mouth noises resonate in the loose floorboards.

You look under the bed. There are three marbles, one green, one red and one blue.

If you stand on the bed, you can push on the floorboards in the ceiling above. With effort, you can drag yourself up to the floor above. You take the scholar's stone and hop back down. You place the three marbles, the note, and the stone on the table. The stone emits a quiet hum.

You take the marbles off the table. The stone stops humming.

You pull up the floorboards easily with your hands. Below you is the grassy field. It's high enough that you certainly cannot jump.

You remove the blue marble. The hum is pitched down, and a bit quieter. You place the blue marble back. You repeat the process with the red and green marbles, observing the same effect each time.

You notice there is some heat emitting from the stone.


As you touch the stone, you're immediately transported. You feel a thud at your feet. The scholar's stone is lying at your feet. You are in a grassy field. Hills roll out in the distance, with trees at their feet. You cannot see the moon.

You emit a long, low wolf's howl. You hear your howl dissipate into the grass, into the night. There is no moon to howl to.

You pick up the bad boy. It is room temperature, and appears unchanged.

You cannot see any marbles here.

You begin to the walk to the trees. You lose all time walking. How long has it been? At several points, you look behind you. A tall structure recedes into the distance - a two-story cabin on very high stilts. After timeless walking, you arrive at the cusp of the trees. You are holding the stone.

You aren't sure how to get scholar stoned.

You yell into the trees, “i am interested in having a very yummy dinner now, For One!!!!” You hear indiscriminate yelling from within the trees.

You shiver with fear.

You don't see any rivers or ponds around.

You dart and fart in a treeward direction. There is a man here. He seems agitated, holding a shovel. He sees you, then looks toward your stone, then relaxes. He drops his shovel.

You say, "what's up my guy" a little too loud. He cocks his head. He responds in a language you don't understand, also a little too loud. You are still farting.

You don't see any note here.

You proudly waft your farts. The man steps back.

You gesture toward the direction from which you came. You make a pained, confused facial expression, while also shrugging. The man sighs in recognition. He gestures toward your stone, making a twisting motion with his hands.

You twist the freaking stone. He hunches over to read the inscription. Again, he sighs in recognition. He points deeper into the trees.

You say "mamma mia" with trepidation and start laughing. The man begins to laugh with you. He appears to be laughing earnestly. You are still farting and wanting the shovel.

You slowly reach for the shovel while making piercing eye contact with the fellow. He looks bewildered and hands you the shovel.

You are holding the shovel and the stone.

You are wearing a linen jumpsuit with cargo-pant-style pockets.

You put your hand inside each pocket. You do not find anything.

You reach for the fellow's pockets. He holds his hands up. He empties his pockets for you. A few loose pieces of lint fall to the floor. He gestures deeper into the trees hurridly, panicked.

You put the stone in a pocket. As you walk away, you whisper, "fashion…." The man cowers, eyeing you as you leave. You perform a handstand - a real showoff move. The man runs. You are walking deeper into the woods. All time is lost. You notice the incline growing steeper.

You emit your signature low, long wolf howl. Even the trees are quiet. You cannot see the moon.

You look to your feet. You are walking on pine needles and dirt, the roots of trees. The odd shade-loving plant grows on the forest floor.

You murmur, “now if that just don’t beat all…”

You walk to one of the quiet trees. It doesn't rustle, there is no breeze.

The incline is steeper in the direction you're going. You begin to walk up the incline again.

Eventually, you leave the wooded area. The hill continues up to a summit, above.

You feel strong enough to climb the summit.

You do 3 or 4 handstands, your signature flex. You follow up these handstands with a few push-ups and jumping jacks. You feel no more tired than when you began.

You cannot discern what the stone thinks. You think wistfully on the days when the stone was warm.

You begin to walk toward the summit. Unknowable time passes. When you arrive, you notice a sheer cliff. It is only black beyond; there are no stars.

Behind you, you see a forest stretch into grassy fields, which extend to the horizon.

You can see the cabin on stilts in the field.

You emit a howl. There is no echo over the cliff.

You gambol jauntily over the edge of the cliff. You are falling, still holding the shovel.


You are very much alive. You cannot figure out how to use the shovel to jab into the cliff wall - it is a little far. Shimmying and jiggling your body over to the cliff does not work the way you expect. You are falling.

You check in with the stone via putting your hand in your pocket. It is still there, and it is warm. As you touch it, you remember a time when you were a child. You are looking out of your childhood bedroom window. There are dozens of moons in the sky. Your father comes up behind you and lifts you onto his shoulders. He tells you, "This is is a once-in-a-lifetime." The moons are all different hues.

You are not sure how to tell if you are stuck in the memory.

You put your hands over your father's eyes. He laughs. "You can't stop me from seeing this!" he says. He lifts your hands away from your eyes.

The moons are falling slowly earthward.

You scream and shout, throw a tantrum, pounding your fists and wailing and your father. He puts you down as your tantrum escalates.

You emit a low, deep wolf's howl at the moonshower. You feel the earth vibrate beneath you. Your father smiles. The moons continue to fall slowly.

You ask your father, "where's mommy?" "She's downstairs," he says.

There is a downstairs.

You walk downstairs. Your mother is in the kitchen drinking tea. "Are you and dad watching the astrology?" she asks.

You tell your mother, "yes mama and i did a huge howl thusly," and then you howl for her, gambol about, do a handstand, go wild. She nods and smiles politely.

You cannot feel yourself falling. You feel weightless. There is only blackness outside of your memory. How long have you been falling?

You reach into your pocket. You have the stone. It is hot, almost too hot to touch. You take it from your pocket.

Your mother reacts. She begins to speak in a language you don't understand.

She gestures for you to twist the stone around.

You twist the stone around. She hunches over to read the stone. She nods and points out the front door.

You kiss mommy. She smiles.

Your mother is wearing a nightgown. You are wearing a linen jumpsuit. Your father is upstairs, you cannot see what he is wearing.

You see a mirror. You look like a child - small and cute.

You say the word "pop tart." There is no particular recognition. Your mother points out the front door again.

You look around and check for marbles. The usual places are empty of marbles.


You exit through the front door, doing your dinky dance. "Carpe diem," you think. "Maybe carpe noctum." As you exit the door, you find yourself in a sun-soaked canyon. A dirt path circles around a southern californian hill. The sky is filled with moons, blanched white moons. There is a glass house at the bottom of the canyon, maybe a greenhouse.

You appear to be an adult. Your hands are large.

You walk toward the glass house, intending to hit that shit up. As you walk, you think about "southern california." You remember a horrible movie you saw in a tiki bar once, in which the "natives" were supposedly living on some South Pacific island which looked suspiciously like southern california. You reach the glass house. The windows are fogged, you can't see inside. There is a door.

You attune yourself to the sound of whoopie making. You hear a pitter-patter, like glass hitting snow.

You do an internal body scan, like your therapist taught you. You feel no worry, no anxiety. Your mind is clear and single-thoughted.

You tiptoe to the door, wary of whoopie. You cannot see what all the fuss is about from here. You hear the pitter-patter coming from within.

You open the door a crack. You feel a burst of humid heat. The cracked door reveals a sliver of green.

You enter the greenhouse, doing your dinky dance from kidhood. You enter into a greenhouse filled with plants. The plants are fruiting marbles in all different colors. Some fall onto the ground, producing the pitter-patter you heard from outside. The ground is covered in a hard rubber, reminiscent of an indoor playground.

You run across the floor at warp speed. It reminds you of when you were a kid. The stone is in the pocket of your jumpsuit.

The stone feels hot, almost burning. You can feel it through your pocket.

You turn to a marble plant and say, "what it do. whats gucci" The marble plant responds. It writhes and produces marbles.

You look around the greenhouse. Each plant is in a separate pot. The windows are fogged up. Marbles of all colors are scattered across the floor. There is a system of sprinklers suspended from the roof, covering each row of pots. A small, electrical box sits on one corner of the greenhouse. The water pipe appears to run down into the earth.

Some water is falling from the sprinklers. You catch some in your mouth. It quenches your thirst, however slightly.

You walk to the electrical box. It's a black box.

You open the box. There are two rows of marbles stuck into the box, which may correspond to the two rows of plants in the greenhouse.

You touch the marbles. They buzz slightly, a low, electrical hum.

You do not notice any change in the plants when you run your hands over the marbles. The sprinklers sputter slightly, though.

You reach into the pocket to touch your stone. It's burning hot. You place it against the marbles in the box.


You find yourself in a dark place. There is a gray plane that extends out in all directions. There are moons, smaller than you, in all different colors, arranged randomly throughout the plane. Beneath you is the stone. You have no body that you can see.

You are not sure how to do a dinky dance without a body. You remember having a weightless body, some other time or place…

You are falling.

You emit a long, lonely wolf howl. Only the moons can hear you. And the abyss.

You see the moon up close. It's green, pockmarked with craters like the moon you're used to. It seems to hover just above the plane. It's lit evenly on all sides, as if there's no one light source.

You look at the moon even closer. Your perspective shrinks - you're on the surface of the moon. It's a cratered landscape, uniform to the horizon. Moons on the horizon in all directions blur, their infinity converging into a rainbow halo along your line of sight. "Fuck," you say softly.

You run (in a bodyless way) extremely fast, saying “fast fast fast fast fast.” Warp speed. You zoom over an infinity of colored moons. As you accelerate, they blur into a swirl of pastels.

You don't see a wall here. You try to approach the plane, but nothing happens. You are okay.

You don't seem to have a mouth.

The stone is here, in the center of the plane. It appears to be material, as do the moons.

You do an internal scan. You feel the moons and stone as if they were your body.

You find that you can twist the stone by imagining it twisting.

You can twist the moons.

The moons twist. The plane is a disc of spinning moons like teacups.

You release a low, long, psychic wolf howl. You can sense the sound as you can sense yourself, eminating through endless space, falling.

You physically imbibe all of space. Moons move toward you on geological time. Each moon enters your point-of-being. With the first, you begin to feel a being in space. Eons pass. As the moons come inward, space grows darker and dimmer. Inward and inward.


You are in the abyss. You are falling. Your shovel is floating next to you, falling. The man from the woods is here again, falling.

You reach to his pockets. There is some lint in there.

You ask to trade clothes with the man. "Why do you want to do that?" he asks. He begins to slowly accelerate away from you.

You cannot accelerate toward the man, but you ask him, "why can I understand you now?" He says, "I'm not sure why you couldn't understand me before." He continues to accelerate slowly away from you.

"Ah man, damn! Now that's what I call… a mysterious pizza pie," you yell beneath you. The man recedes from view. You are alone, falling.

"AH MAN, DAMN!" you yelll. "NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL…" The abyss is echoless. "A MYSTERIOUS PIZZA PIE." You twist that stone. You see a light beneath you. You are falling toward it.

You fall forward, mugging toward the camera. "Yikes," you mime.

You swan dive toward the light. It's coming for you. It approaches slowly. Larger and larger. A blue sky emerges. You jump out the other end, reaching the peak and falling back down onto the peak of a mountain. You are lying on your back here. You can see the moon.

Author: ffff

Created: 2020-03-17 Tue 15:31