Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Chapter 1

I mentioned in my last posts (I almost wrote ‘recent’ instead of last, but…) that I was going to try writing a choose-your-own-adventure novel. I’ve finished the first chapter as part of Camp Nano (http://campnanowrimo.org), an event I’ve talked about in a previous post but which I will describe anyway. Participants attempt to write 50,000 words in one month. which works out as 1,616 words every day. I’m already falling behind… That is to be expected, though, as no good nanowrimo/camp nano attempt ever goes without a last-minute rush for the word count on the last day. If you’ve been meaning to get round to writing something but never quite managed it then you should definitely try it this month or in November (http://www.nanowrimo.org/). The idea is to write without editing anything, just get it on the page so you have something to work with.

Anyway, here’s chapter 1. The sections are all ordered, unlike other choose-your-own-adventures, but only because it’s easier to write it that way. I’ll jumble them up at the end. Start with section 1 and scroll down or use ctrl+f to find the section appropriate to the decisions you make. It’s not too complicated!

Note that there is a proper end because it’s only the first chapter, but you may find yourself at a section which says [end]. That would be because you’ve died (sorry).

If you find any mistakes then please point them out. Editing this will be tricky and this is just a first draft.

Enjoy.

_____________

Untitled Adventure

[1] (start)

You wake up with your face underwater and panic. The splashing of your arms echoes around you. No-one ever taught you how to swim and your feet can’t find the floor. You sink into the cool water but as it reaches up to stroke your mouth your hand hits something and you grab onto it. It feels like a metal rail. Opening your eyes is difficult, but you do it.

You’re in one of many pools in a long room. The walls are white and the water you’re in is bright blue. Fluorescent lights flicker on the ceiling. They do a poor job of illuminating the room. The water and the air around you are cool. There is a chemical smell in the air.

These impressions bombard your senses. You feel like you’ve been asleep for a long time, so long that your senses are all brand new.

You shiver. You’re wearing a thin rubber bodysuit that stretches from your ankles to your neck and your wrists, but it isn’t enough to keep you warm.

Do you climb out [2] or investigate the pool [3]?

__

[2]

You pull yourself up using the railing and climb over it. You are standing on a narrow tiled walkway running between your pool and the one next to it. The pool in front of you has algae floating in it and staining the white tiles. To your left there’s a computer screen in the wall at the end of the walkway. To your right there’s the rest of the room which is filled with workbenches, shelves of chemicals and more computers, all illuminated by the unreliable lights overhead. It looks like a laboratory.

Do you investigate the screen on your left [4], turn right and explore the lab [5] or examine the pool in front of you [5.5]?

__

[3]

The pool is about three metres wide and four metres long. Your feet are floating a metre or so above the bottom. The water is blue and has a slightly unusual smell that is a bit like bleach. Around the edge of the pool, just under the water level, there are lots of openings covered by mesh. The pool is lined by white tiles, some of which are covered by green algae. There is more algae floating on the water at the other end of the pool. It doesn’t look unusual. Do you touch the algae [6] or climb out of the pool [2]?

__

[4]

You walk up to the screen in the wall. It’s dark and doesn’t light up when you touch it at first. When you press it harder it flashes on, though. There are lines of colour running horizontally across the display and the writing on it is slightly blurred. Pressing the screen again does nothing so you lean in close to read the writing. Everything on the left-hand side is too indistinct to make out but you read this on the right:

Tank 14

Subject 565

//CIETGS9914565//

A: 30/14/A

TERMINATION IN PROGRESS

Prolonged exposure has lead to stunted development.

Subject abandoned. Reabsorption and purification initiated.

FINAL STAGE INTERRUPTED

Below that there is red rectangle but the horizontal lines of colour on the display block out what’s written in it. It seems to be presenting two options, one of which might be ‘cancel’ or ‘confirm’ and the other of which might be ‘abort’.

Do you try pressing cancel/confirm [7], try pressing abort [8] or leave the computer and explore the lab [5]?

__

[5]

You go to the end of the walkway and find a workbench piled high with papers, books, beakers and all sorts of scientific equipment. Behind it, against the wall, there is a row or computers that stretches from one end of the room to the other. Some of the computers are turned on. The room itself is very long and filled with more workbenches and pieces of equipment.

Through the flickering gloom you can just make out a door at the end of the room closest to you. The opposite end is in darkness; the lights there have stopped working completely.

Do you look at the workbench [2 C2] or the computer [3 C2]? Or do you go to the door [4 C2] or the dark end of the room [5 C2]?

[C2 means chapter 2, which I’m currently working on. You’ve reached the end of this chapter I’m afraid. Feel free to start again. Perhaps you should try eating the algae this time?]

__

[5.5]

This pool is filled with more algae than the one you woke up in. When you look closely you see strange shapes in the clumps of algae, but they’re too far away to make out in the gloom.

Do you turn right and explore the lab [5], turn left and look at the computer screen [4] or climb into the pool and take a closer look at the algae [16.5]?

__

[6]

The algae is slimy and smells more strongly than the water of bleach. You’re very hungry. Do you eat the algae [9] or climb out of the pool [2]?

 __

[7]

You press the screen hard and it flickers for a moment, then freezes how it was before but with more dead pixels. You press it again but nothing happens. There’s a humming sound coming from the pool on your right now, so you turn to look at it. Ripples are spreading across the water, disturbing the algae.

There’s a flash of light and an arc of electricity leaps across the pool, followed by another and another. Two flash at once and then join into a single, sustained bolt that races from one end of the pool to the other and back again.

Your bare feet tingle. You look down and see them illuminated by the blue light coming from the pool. You look up again and see the last of the algae in the water burning away.

The electricity doesn’t seem to be dying down and you can imagine it leaping out of the water to hit you. Do you wait where you are [10], get off the walkway and explore the lab [5] or get back into the pool behind you [11]?

__

[8]

The screen flickers off. You press it again but it stays blank.

Do you investigate the pool on your right [12] or get off the walkway and explore the lab [5]?

__

[9]

The algae slides down your throat but doesn’t stay there for long. You throw it up and it once again floats on the surface of the pool. The taste lingers in your mouth and makes you want to throw up again, but your body is empty and there’s nothing to come up.

Do you climb out of the water [2] or hang around in the pool until something happens [13]?

 __

[10]

The lightning lasts for another minute and then stops. The pool is clean and free of algae and the smell is stronger than before. The water also appears to be glowing faintly.

Do you climb into the pool [14] or turn right and explore the lab [5]?

__

[11]

You climb over the railing and into the pool. The water makes you shiver. You watch the flashes of blue light on the ceiling until they stop. The humming sound stops, too.

Do you climb out of the pool [15] or stay in the pool until something happens [13]?

__

[12]

This pool is filled with more algae than the one you woke up in. When you look closely you see strange shapes in the clumps of algae, but they’re too far away to make out in the gloom.

Do you turn right and explore the lab [5] or climb into the pool and take a closer look at the algae [16]?

__

[13]

Nothing happens. You’ve spent quite a lot of time in cold water and aren’t feeling great.

Do you climb out and explore the lab [5] or stay in the pool for a bit longer [17]? You could play dead or wait until you fall asleep [1]?

__

[14]

The water makes your skin tingle as you lower yourself in. The water is very clear and the smell of bleach is very strong.

Is this a good idea? Do you climb out of the pool and explore the lab [5] or stay in the pool [18]?

__

[15]

The lightning has cleared all of the algae from the other pool and now the water is very clear. It has a faint luminescence, too.

Do you climb in the pool [14] or go and explore the lab [5]?

__

[16]

You lower yourself into the cool water and pull yourself round the edge of the pool with the railing until you get close to a patch of algae. There’s definitely something in it but you can’t make out what.

Do you look closer [19] or climb out and explore the lab [5]?

__

[16.5]

You lower yourself into the cool water and pull yourself round the edge of the pool with the railing until you get close to a patch of algae. There’s definitely something in it but you can’t make out what.

Do you look closer [19.5]? Or do you climb out and explore the lab [5] or the computer screen [4]?

__

[17]

You’ve grown fond of this pool. It’s cold and wet and smells odd but it’s a home of sorts.

There’s a humming sound and then a flash of lightning. You die but have just enough time to scream first.

[END]

__

[18]

The smell is making you feel dizzy but you pull yourself all around the edge of the pool using the rail anyway. You can’t find the place where you climbed in. You go round the pool a few times but find yourself lost. Oops.

You realise that the pool has actually become quite painful. The water is corroding your suit. And your skin. You feel sick. It smells horrible and your muscles have grown weak. You can’t pull yourself out of the pool so you hold on to the side and watch as your body dissolves, becoming one with the weird blue water, dude. Your blood makes the water go a bit purple but then it goes back to blue which is kind of cool. It makes lots of swirly patterns.

The pain actually starts to decrease. You’re pretty high. Perhaps you could get used to the smell but unfortunately you’re dissolving but hey that’s pretty zen in a way because wouldn’t we all just be happier if we could just dissolve into the universe and become one with nature?

You die. Bummer.

[END]

__

[19]

You poke the algae. It’s soft and wet. You stick your hand in and pull out some grey mush from within the lump of green.

Do you eat it [20] or drop it and leave the pool and explore the lab [5]?

__

[19.5]

You poke the algae. It’s soft and wet. You stick your hand in and pull out some grey mush from within the lump of green.

Do you eat it [20]? Or do you drop it and leave the pool to explore the lab [5] or computer screen [4]?

__

[20]

It tastes revolting but you force it down. You stay still for a moment, feeling odd. You feel a pain in your stomach that slowly builds into utter agony. Soon you’re vomiting up blood. You don’t remember when you climb out of the pool but you find yourself on the walkway, blood leaking out of both ends. You wonder why you ate that grey stuff. You must have been suffering from a form of early-onset insanity to go mad this early in your adventure. Normally it takes several horrific encounters to push a protagonist over the edge like that.

Either that or you’re just not very clever.

The next thing you know you’re walking past rows of computers. You catch a glimpse of stars out of a window and then you fall and lose consciousness.

You die at some point, but you’re too delirious to know how. It probably wasn’t pleasant.

[END]

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About lemonmachine

I am Kieren McCallum, a third-year English Literature student at UEA, Norwich. View all posts by lemonmachine

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