You guys voted! Here we go with part two of our Choose Your Own Adventure. We are taking up just before we left off on part 1. In case you missed it, here’s a link to Part 1.
I turn back to the eye, still uncertain. The eye is gone, but in it’s place is a book. It seems to glow.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“Answers,” the voice says.
I glance again at my father then back at the eye, my hesitation slowly turning into resolve; I need to know what was in that book. I had to escape the prison I was in, a prison made of words and secrets instead of wire and bolts.
“Tonight,” I whisper. “As soon as it gets dark. Meet me here and I’ll help you in. But,” I say. “I have conditions as well. You give me the book, and if I need more answers, you will give them to me too.”
“It’s yours,” the voice whispers. Then the eye disappears.
Hours later I come back to the gate. Everyone is sleeping. When I press my eye against the hole, I see the eye staring back. It seems to glow like the book. I shudder, but push away my misgivings.
“Hold on,” I whisper. “I’ve never done this.” I feel around the gate for the latch that frees it. I’ve watched it done time after time, but there’s a secret to it that only the hunters know. Still, I’m fairly certain I can figure it out.
The wood is smooth, almost silky. For a moment I feel it shivering under my touch. I pull my fingers away, confused. “Did you do something?” I ask.
The eye just waits.
“Nevermind,” I mumble. My fingers travel carefully along the base of the gates, searching for the catch that I know is there. Finally, they brush over a tiny bump, so small I would have passed right over it if the rest of the wood hadn’t been so smooth.
“Got it,” I whisper. I push against the bump, forcing it into the gate. I hear a small click, then another, then a chain reaction as the complex lock slowly releases its hold. Eventually, the last click sounds and the gate slides open, followed immediately by a small creature with hands bigger than feet, a nose that hooks painfully to the left, large eyes that bug out of a sickly face, and a toothless grin that wrenches my stomach in more ways than I care to admit.
It hands me the book.
“Your answers are in there,” hesays, tapping the cover. “But I must warn you. Sometimes, secrets are hidden for a reason.”
Then it skips gleefully toward the sleeping people.
“Wait!” I cry, reaching to stop it. I’m too late. A horrendous shriek wrenches out of the chest of this tiny, freakishly strange creature. Immediately I drop to the ground, clutching my ears, feeling the pull of something I don’t understand. The book dropped somewhere next to me.
My body wants to crawl toward it, my mind wants to run.
My body listens. I’m moving toward him against my will. My mind is screaming that I have to stop! Then my hand falls on the book. Suddenly, my mind is pure again, as if it had been washed clean by a cool river. I clutch the book desperately, holding it against myself.
This book is more than answers.
When I look up I see that the doors are opening to the shanties where my people were sleeping. I see the terror in their faces as they sprint toward the monster shrieking outside their windows. Their bodies are moving against their will. My Father’s eyes catch mine as he runs past, and what I see in them makes me want to vomit. He’s terrified, absolutely, but worse than the terror is the betrayal I see in his face.
I chase after him, grabbing for his arm. “Take the book,” I sob. “It’ll stop it.” He tries to reach for it, but his arm jerks unnaturally away.
The creature is glaring at me and the shrieking stops. “Do not interfere,” he hisses.
“You can’t do this!” I scream.
“You let me in. Why do you think those gates were closed?” He laughs. “What do you think they’ve been hiding from all these years?”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Your answers are in the book.” He turns away from me, face lit up in pleasure, body held in triumph, and I want to sob.
“Finally!” he shrieks, addressing my people. “You knew you could not keep me out forever.” He swings toward my Father and flicks his hand. Somebody screams as my father’s body crumples, and I feel a wrenching pain in my heart, as if somebody took it in their hands and crushed it.
“Don’t kill him!” I cry.
The monster turns to me, his eyes shrewd slits. “He’s not dead,” he says. “But he will be. You have a choice. You can fight me and try to save these people.” His hand flings out to encompass his victims. “Or you can open that book and discover how to save your father. If you save them, he will die. If you save him, they will be mine.” He laughs, throwing his hands in the air like a performer. I want to sob. More than anything I want to go back to life hours earlier when I chose myself over these people.
I want my prison back.
“Make your choice!” The monster screams.
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