Choose Your Own Misadventure: Tripping at a Costume Party


The fortress sits atop a craggy bluff, shrouded in a perpetual, chill fog. There is something alien to the stink of it; an exotic redolence that snakes throughout the shifting banks. It entrances you. Like a siren's song, you follow the smell through the impassable, labyrinthine haze, and arrive at an oaken door, heavily bound with metal straps. You struggle with the wrought-iron knocker, forged in the shape of a screaming skull, and eventually manage to raise and drop it. The deafening metallic clang seems somehow profane in the sacred stillness.

Or maybe it's all the robbing from those graves out back that's giving you that "inexplicable profanity" vibe.

After a long moment, you hear footsteps approaching, and a view-slit slides open. From behind it peers the most appalling pair of eyes that you have ever seen: An infectious, oozing crust cakes the thick folds surrounding each lid; the whites so bloodshot you can actually see shadows cast by the pulsing veins; the irises a dead, cataract gray.

"'Sup skank-eyes," you begin your carefully prepared appeal for sanctuary, "can a brother take shelter from some 'Squatches up in this bitch?"

There is puzzlement in the expression, but eventually it yields to resolution, and the slit clangs shut in its housing. After a few tense seconds, the massive gate begins to ease inward.

The body they're attached to makes you long for the relative beauty of the hideous eyes. It is a bent and broken form, crackling arthritically with every movement. It must have been female, once, but qualities such as race or gender have long since lost relevance in the face of such remarkable ugliness. Its papery skin seems set to crumble at the slightest breeze. Its hooked nose is hairy, warty, and whistling audibly. Its sallow teats sway wretchedl-

"Jesus, what the hell, dude?" the thing croaks.

Holy shit, can it read minds, or have you been speaking aloud?

"You've been talking out loud," it answers, almost before the thought was finished.

"WITCH!" you scream, practicing some pre-slaps so you're ready when the real slapping starts.

If you try to reason with the Witch, turn to page 8.

If you attack the crone, hoping to exploit the little known weakness of the Witch race, turn to page 9.

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Robert Brockway

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