It’s Thursday, you know what that means (rain?). Another installment of my favorite Choose-Your-Own-Adventure written by me […it helps narrow down the choices when I’ve only written this one].
Last time, we left our hero just as he was about to leave the Traveling Tree. Now, we’ll find out where they went.
With a guiding push from the imp, Ben stumbled out of the tree into the radiant light of sunrise. The orange orb floated just above the treeline and pierced the morning chill. Ben staggered, regained his balance, and grumbled about the cold morning.
The cockatrice bit Ben’s left earlobe.
The imp laughed. Clapping its hands, it twirled. “Best day ever!”
Ben’s eyes widened. “Are you okay?”
The imp shrugged. “We’re alive.” It strolled away from Ben, down the concrete sidewalk that surrounded the tree.
“But where are we?” Ben glanced around. Trees covered the east. Everywhere else, however, buildings blocked nature from sight. Ben needed to crane his neck to see the sky. He chewed his lip.
The cockatrice whistled.
“Come on.” The imp beckoned. “You’ll miss the fun.” He ambled down the sidewalk with the rising sun at his back.
Ben looked at his cockatrice and raised an eyebrow.
The cockatrice tilted its head to the left.
With a shrug, Ben followed the imp. “Is the circus in town?”
The imp snorted. “Who enjoys those death traps?” He grinned over his shoulder. “There’s a genuine haunted house right down the street.”
The cockatrice nuzzled his neck.
The imp frowned. “You’re not afraid, are you?”
Ben shook his head. “No.” Standing straighter, he marched passed the imp.
“Good.” The imp wrapped an arm around Ben’s shoulder. “I’d hate for you to embarrass me in front of my friends.”
“You know the actors in the haunt?”
“I taught most of them how to escape H–” The imp glanced around. “Hehe, let’s not spread that around.”
“Spread what around?”
“Exactly.” The imp tapped his nose. “I knew I could trust you.”
The cockatrice clacked its beak.
“You, too, of course.” The imp bowed to the cockatrice perched on Ben’s shoulder.
Ben scratched his head. “If you escaped, someone’s looking for you.”
The imp tapped his lip with a narrow finger. “Could be.”
“Is there a reward?”
“None that you’d live to collect.” The imp’s eyes glowed red like charcoal embers.
The imp laughed and rubbed his hands together. “This is going to be fun.” He ushered Ben farther along the sidewalk.
“Great,” Ben mumbled.
The imp stretched its leathery wings. “How many haunted houses have you seen?”
Ben shrugged. “Enough.”
“Just like a mortal.” The imp’s wings drooped. “Never interested in the supernatural, only concerned with the mundane.”
“Um, I have a pet cockatrice.”
The imp yawned. “We see dragons every day. I’m talking about the extraordinary.”
“Like a shot of courage in your espresso?”
The imp shook its head. “Humans really have such tiny imaginations.” It stopped walking. “Ah.” It spread its arms wide. “The pride of Fleece Street.”
Ben’s jaw politely dropped.
A Victorian mansion with battered, boarded-up windows and a green shingled roof stood before him. Faded and chipped white paint covered the wooden siding. The door hung open like a broken toothed maw. Candlelight flickered inside. Large spiderwebs concealed the covered porch. A skeleton lounged on a dusty bench beside the front door, an empty glass goblet dangling from one hand.
“Beware!” The skeleton sat up. “Turn back, now.”
The imp walked forward. “Hey, Wellington. How’re the kids?”
“Barty, you’re ruining the illusion,” the skeleton whispered.
The imp jerked a thumb over its shoulder. “Oh, the kid? He’s plenty petrified already. Ain’t ya, kid?”
Ben decided it would be best if he didn’t answer.
So, what do you think will happen? What do you want to happen? Was it too short? Too long? Too unfunny?
Yep, that’s right. I’m soliciting comments and suggestions. I may even use them. No matter how wacky, zany, nerdy, or weird. No matter how serious, fanciful, or sci-fi. It’s a choose your own adventure. You choose what happens next
because I’m just not that creative.