In the interest of catching everyone up, I am going to reprint our entire adventure so far, but with only the bits where we live. Here goes! Next week I’ll do one of just the ways we die.
It’s another boring day at your stupid office. You spent most of the morning catching up on all the Internet you missed while sleeping and now you’re behind. Your stomach is growling because the banana you bought had a weird brown lump on it. You know you should get back to work, but you also know that you’re hungry and don’t care about your job at all.
You open your desk drawer and, underneath a stack of sexual harassment zero-toleration handbooks and porn magazines, find a bag of beef jerky. The brand name is “Jack’s Links” …which doesn’t sound quite right, buy hey, beggars can’t be choosers and you need something to lay down on top of that scary-looking banana you ate earlier. You rip open the bag and dig in. Hey, this stuff isn’t half bad! Kind of an odd color for beef jerky, but it’s really quite delicious. You get through about two thirds of the bag when you pull out a piece that’s got a tattoo of a heart and anchor on it.
Meh. Whoever this guy was, he didn’t have a great taste in tattoos, but he did have a GREAT TASTE. You finish the bag off, and lick you fingers. You scrumple up the Jack’s Links packet into a ball, and proceed to throw it into the waste paper bin on the other side of the office. It runs along the ridge of the paper bin twice before finally falling in. Hey, this is great! You think you’ve just invented the latest sport: waste paper golf. You’re surprised nobody has ever done this before. God, you’re an absolute genius. You’re about to scrumple all of your important legal documents into balls to continue your newfound sport, when Angeline walks into the room and sits in her cubicle. You know Angeline is like, really into you, because she was totally checking you out at the last Christmas shindig. Well, either you, or the tall, handsome guy standing next to you. Nah, it was definitely you.
As another wadded up paper ball bounces off the rim of the waste paper basket, you get the distinct feeling that someone is watching you. You shrug it off, however, and continue to crumple up your “important” meeting notes and show-off your skills to whomever is watching. Hopefully, it’s Angeline.
This time, the ball goes in! “Yes!” You shout while pumping your fist into the air, “200 points.”
“That’s the first one I’ve seen you sink,” Jimmy, the boss’s kid says.
Startled, you try to compose yourself. In your excitement, you had forgotten someone had been watching you. “Well,” you reply snarkily, “Maybe each basket is worth 200 points.”
“I’m telling my dad,” he retorts. Then runs off to your boss’s office.
Oh crap! This could ruin your day…well, more than your day. What if you got fired? What if you got fired! There’s always unemployment…
Oh, you’re going to tell daddy over my dead body! You spring into action, grabbing a handful of those cheap office pens, just in case you need to throw stuff at him. You begin to notice your age as you pant towards the brat, but you’ll be damned if that stops you! You whip a pen at him, missing completely (unless you were actually aiming at Sue with the lazy eye from accounting, but you know you weren’t).
He looks back to see if that was you, makes an obscene gesture, and picks up the pace. If you don’t do something soon, you’ll have to listen to your boss lecture you for 15 minutes about conducting yourself in the office! 15 friggin minutes!!! You take every pen in hand, and throw them with all your might. Nailed him!
He turns around again, probably to make some stupid remark, when he runs right past his dad’s office, and down a stairwell. You hear him make a large amount of shrieks and shrills, as any annoying child is prone to do when they’re making a big deal out of some broken bones. Oh wait, this is bad! Now he’s going to tell his dad you made him fall! Unless he broke his mouth. Can you break a mouth? You’re not sure, but you bet that kid just found out.
That’s what an innocent person would do in this situation, right? Plus, if it isn’t broken now, maybe you can find a way to rectify that before he has a chance to talk! You follow the boy’s path past his father’s office and to the top of the stairwell.
It is immediately apparent from the renewed shrieks and obscenities that come as soon as you are in sight that the kid’s mouth is not broken. In fact, he’s probably not very hurt at all; this stairwell is weird and the first flight only has like three steps.
You walk towards little Jimmy, hoping maybe the sight of your intimidating figure advancing towards him will shut him up for a few moments while you think of another plan of action. No such luck; if anything the shrieking just gets worse. How does such a little kid know that many swear words? you wonder for a moment, but then you remember who his father is.
When you get within reach of the kid, you grab him by the arm and pull him to his feet.
“Shut up, kid! Save it for when you’re actually hurt!” you say as he struggles against your grip. You note with satisfaction that even if you couldn’t keep up with the youngster when running, you’re still much stronger than he is.
He squirms and shrieks for a moment, but then he quiets down. His eyes grow big like he’s terrified of something, and a smaller, more genuine-sounding moan escapes from his lips.
“Behind you,” he whispers.
“Yeah, right,” you laugh, “as if I’d fall for that one!”
Jimmy wordlessly pulls against your grip again, this time with such sudden vigor that he at least succeeds in pulling you towards the other end of the landing.
Your oath dies on your lips as you glance up and see what Jimmy was so scared of. Standing at the top of the stairwell is a gigantic bug-thing! Its silhouette fills the doorframe as it stands on two hind legs and waves four arms that end in scythe-like claws in the air. Its shiny black body is spattered in blood—you guess that of your poor dear officemates, given the shreds of cloth that are also sticking to it here and there. It kind of reminds you like a horrible, bipedal cockroach.
You stand there gaping at the impossible creature before you, and would probably continue to do so until the thing gobbled you up with those huge blood-soaked jaws, but as you think you catch a glimpse of another two or three similar creatures coming down the hall, something pulls at you.
Jimmy has now gathered his wits about him enough to have the sense to make for the exit. Since you haven’t thought to let go, the viselike grip you have on his arm is pulling you along, too. Jimmy reaches the other end of the landing, and you shake yourself into awareness just in time to consciously think about not tripping as you dash down the stairs. You can hear the creature behind you, clicking and hissing like that weird music that was coming from the boss’s office when you were chasing Jimmy earlier. It occurs to you as Jimmy leads you down another flight of stairs that the weird music may not have been music after all…
At least I don’t have to worry about being lectured for fifteen minutes! you think.
Down another flight of stairs, and another, and another, you go, never letting go of Jimmy’s arm, always with the clicking and hissing bug-thing right behind. But all too soon, you find yourselves out of stairs! You only work on the third floor, after all.
With nowhere else to go, you shove the door to the lower level open, and you and Jimmy rush inside. Jimmy finds the knob that locks the door from this side, and you hear the beautiful melody of the tumblers sliding into place just half a second before you hear the thunk of the bug-thing running into the door.
Panting for breath, you lead Jimmy down the hall. Nobody works in the basement; it’s just a dimly-lit storage area for janitors’ supplies and extra office stuff. The other stairwell is always locked and the elevator needs a key to get down here, so you should be relatively safe here. But just in case, you take Jimmy into one of the storage rooms, lock the door behind you, then plop down on an abandoned office chair, finally letting go of Jimmy’s arm.
“Now what?” Jimmy asks, rubbing the developing bruise shaped like your thumb.
Now what, indeed…
“Now what?” you repeat back at Jimmy, “Now you stay here and be reeeaaal quiet while I go look for help.” You quickly unlock the door, open it, slip out, and close it behind you before the shocked expression even leaves his face. You quickly but quietly make your way down the hall. If you remember right, there’s a stairway leading to an emergency exit around the corner.
Just after you round the bend, you hear Jimmy start to cry loudly. Man that kid has a set of lungs! Over the bawling, you can just make out the sound of something with a lot of feet heading towards your former hiding place. As you try to get the image of a giant cockroach eating a small child out of you mind, there’s a huge crash, and Jimmy’s cries turn to screams. You peek back around the corner, and see the monsterous insectoid has apparently gotten itself stuck trying to climb through the window in the door. You also see that there’s a fire axe attached to the wall opposite the door. You realize you have two choices.
Finally, the annoying brat isn’t your problem any more. One less thing to worry about is always a good thing. Still, that fire axe might come in handy. While the critter is busy dining on screaming child, you sneak past and grab the axe. You head over to the locked stairwell on the other side of the basement, break the lock, and head up the stairs. You know, you feel surprisingly good. You thought that you’d feel at least a little bit guilty about leaving a kid to die a gruesome death, but nope, nothing. Meh, the days of needing to look after your fellow man are long gone now. In the main foyer, it looks as if the military have arrived to start evacuating the survivors. This probably means that this is a far bigger problem than a simple roach infestation. Hanging with the military sounds pretty cool, but then, you’ve seen all those apocalypse shows, the military is defeated and falls to pieces early on, and small groups of survivors fare a little better in comparison. Maybe you’re better off on your own?
A: Follow the military to the safe zone
B: Go lone wolf and head off in your car
Now, before you get too outraged that we’re cold-blooded to let little Jimmy be the main feature from Room Service at the Roach Hotel, here’s what would have happened (according to borntobealoser) had we tried to assist the little nipper:
A: Go back and use the axe to try to kill the monster before it eats little Jimmy:
The kid probably deserves what’s coming to him, and you haven’t really got the time to go saving people, you’ve got your own hide to save, after all. But something about “being a good human being” means you have to help the kid, and if you aim for anything in life, it’s being a good human being. Well, a not-bad one, at least. The creepy crawly is distracted by Jimmy, so you’re easily able to get close and grab the fire axe. You raise the weapon high above your head, and with all your might, send it flying down towards the giant bug’s back. With a dull thud, it bounces off of the roach’s tough exoskeleton, and clatters to the floor. Suddenly the bug isn’t trying to squeeze through the window, but has pulled itself out, and has turned its attention on to you. You’re uncertain, but you think you see the equivalent of a smile spread across its face. And with that, you realise you’re screwed. Before you can turn to run, your head is firmly inside its mouth. Your adventure, and your life, end here.
So it was sort of a lose-lose situation however you look at it. Renxin and HerrD had more traditionally “heroic” solutions, but they both resulted in us ending up still with the same choice as last time (save Jimmy or stay put). So I went with the one that gave us more outs.
Your challenge for this week, then, is to write up the results of both of our choices (follow the military to the safe zone or go lone wolf), one of which results in classic CYOA death and the other of which continues the adventure, again offering us two choices.
However, we have the added proviso that this week at least one of your options must include someone or something called “Tankerbell”. It could be the name of a vehicle or a weapon, a soldier’s last name, or an actual fairy of some sort.