Dreams Of Lost Chances

I still need to decide how interactive I want certain parts of the story to be. In the final piece, I may move all of the early scenes into the object based section of memories to explore. Each section has a header that will respond to the command “Remember (header)” The player’s actions in that section will be played back, but if this happens after some of the player’s memories have been sacrificed, anything that that memory references is removed from the playback.

 

Scene Zero: Dreams of Lost Chances

Every night you dreamt of darkness. A thousand eyes, the pressure of their watching a physical thing as you search the endless alleys of a sleepless city. You dreamt the sweet copper taste of blood that briefly overwhelmed the stench of the city’s rotting refuse. You dreamt of cold, the icy grasp of the claws that catch, the brief warm rush of the teeth that tear. You dreamt of dissolution and loss of identity. You dreamt of her scarlet hair and her radiant joy and all that you lost. You dreamt of knives in the dark and fain fools fallen. And through it all, you heard her voice, whispering in the distance. You could go mad trying to hear what she said. You may have, for you heard in her whispers a cry for help. Eventually the dreams were too regular, too awful and you slept no more. Then you awoke into the nightmare.

 

Scene 1 October Chill

October

Sweet Penelope, she tried to tell you and you couldn’t hear.

The air was cold and crisp and clear. You were busy and distracted, and she had always been one to take a joke too far.

 

She said her husband didn’t believe her, that he thought she was pulling a prank, and you must admit that you believed the same. You humored her, your oldest friend and said you would come, just not tonight, when life had calmed and business paused.

 

And as it will from time to time, life brought you a thousand thousand things that each called out for forgetfulness.

 

As she walked away that cold crisp day, the clouds came in and the rain began, a fall’s drizzle, sharp and cold, a misting chill, it brought the smell of molding leaves and the last nights of fall.

 

After she left, that whole month felt dull and grey, and once or twice you felt that the eyes that watched were watching you. You saw her and Chris several times, but she never mentioned the things in the dark again.

 

 

Scene 2: November Rain

November

“The rains continued and you saw less and less of Penalope. It had happened in your life before, and was just part of the background of your friendship. Growing closer together and farther apart was part of the natural cycle of your relationship.

 

That night was the last you heard her voice, save in your dreams and in the nightmare you now traverse.”

 

A late night at work, a dark house, an on coming storm. You rushed inside your front door just ahead of the gust front. You hear the ‘bam bam bam of hail as you finally close the door. You are in the Foyer, the light is dim, there is an answering machine with a new message blinking on the screen, and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(if actions > 5) “There is a brilliant flash of lightning and the instant roar of thunder. The house goes dark as the neighborhood loses power”

 

(Play Message On Answering Machine)

You hit the button on your answering machine and a static hiss fills the room.

“… you there? Please…. …. They are here and I need you. Oh god, the claws and eyes and teeth, I can’t keep them bac… longer. Please, please come.”

The line goes dead.

 

(if message has not been played) [Dark House]

 

(if message has been played and player leaves to find Penalope) [positive conclusion November Rain]

 

(Any action while wearing raingear except leave house) “You are dripping on the carpet, you need to take your raincoat off before you damage the

 

 

(take off raincoat) You remove your sodden rain gear and hang it on the door side coat-rack. A solitaire reminder of the cold days of winter approaching.

 

 

 

(go outside) (while still wearing rain gear)

[November Outside a]

(go outside) (without rain gear)

[November Outside b]

 

 

November Outside a

“As you step back outside into the storm, you are assaulted by golf-ball sized hail, and your rain coat does little to hold the sheets of icy rain at bay. You struggle against the elements for a moment when your whole world is consumed in a flash of light an

earsplitting double crash as lightning strikes a nearby transformer and plunges the neighborhood into darkness.

 

(any movement that isn’t back into the house) (if outdoor actions <4) “You try to force your way into the storm, but it is just too much for you.”

 

(pick up hail) (if outdoor actions < 4) “You bend over and grab a few small icy spheres.

(add hail to pocket, start melting counter, add pipe beat, memory of ice)

 

(when outdoor actions = 4) Under assault by hail, rain, and lightning, you finally give up and return to the now dark house. (add sick) [Dark House]

 

(If message = played) “You push against the wind and the rain and the hail to get back to your car, and though you are battered and soaked when you get there, you mange to get the door open and the engine running. You take off and race through the streets. You don’t see the tree in the road until it is too late. When you wake up in the hospital, she is gone [Scene 3] (Upbeat)

 

 

 

November Outside b

“As you step back outside into the storm, you are assaulted by golf-ball sized hail, and clothing is instantly soaked by sheets of icy rain. You struggle against the elements for a moment when your whole world is consumed in a flash of light an

earsplitting double crash as lightning strikes a nearby transformer and plunges the neighborhood into darkness.

 

(any movement that isn’t back into the house) (if outdoor actions <2) “You try to force your way into the storm, but it is just too much for you.”

 

(pick up hail) (if outdoor actions < 2) “You bend over and grab a few small icy spheres.

(add hail to pocket, start melting counter, add pipe beat, memory of ice)

 

(when outdoor actions = 2) Under assault by hail, rain, and lightning, you finally give up and return to the now dark house. (add sick) [Dark House]

 

 

Dark House (not sick)

It is hours before the storm passes, and hours more before the power is back on. The answering machine’s light glows red, accusing you in the silent evening’s gloom.

(Play Message On Answering Machine)

You hit the button on your answering machine and a static hiss fills the room.

“… you there? Please…. …. They are here and I need you. Oh god, the claws and eyes and teeth, I can’t keep them bac… longer. Please, please come.”

The line goes dead.

[Empty December Nights]

 

 

Dark House (sick)

You stumble around in the dark of your house, wet, cold, and miserable with the loss of power and the cold wet storm, your house rapidly cools. By the time the power is back on, you are shivering in bed, and by the next morning, it is full on pneumonia. It is a week before you hear the message. A week of sweet blessed sleep.

[Empty December Nights]

 

 

 

Scene 3 Empty December Nights

 

(if the player was sick or injured)

By the time you are well enough to try to find Penelope again, she is long gone. The dreams of the other city, of searching the streets began while you recovered, and your sleep soon ended.

[Police Station]

 

 

 

Police Station

(if the player was not sick start here)

The next morning it seems like a dream. You call her phone but no one answers. You call Chris and he seems a little vague. He is worried, but he can’t keep his focus on his wife. The conversation meanders, and by the end nothing you can do will get him back on the subject. The same happens when you try to call her friends or her family, no one can remember Penelope. There are moments of clear memory, but they fade. When presented with evidence of her existence, they focus for a moment, but always confusion over takes them and they begin ignoring it once again.

 

Finally, you go to the police. A detective with a cluttered desk takes your statement but he forgets the missing person’s report before you are finished giving it.

He calls up her records, and there on the screen are the times she tried to get the police to help. Each call, each complaint, they are logged. The detective looks at the monitor and says “I am afraid that I don’t have anyone by that name in the system at all and there are no Jane Doe’s in the hospitals or morgues who fit your description. I’m sorry.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(If the player requests a print-out)

“You need proof you tried, for the family I suppose?” Yeah, l can print that for you.”

(Upbeat)

 

(When the player leaves)

“You walk out of the police station and the world feels unreal. Everyone is crazy, or maybe you are. [The Offer]

 

The Offer

Outside the station, as you walk back to your car, an old woman dressed in rags and dirt waves you over.

(If the player talks to the woman)

[Old Woman]

(If the player goes on)

You brush the crazy old woman off and get back in your car. You spend the day looking for Penelope, but you find it harder and harder to focus. Within a few weeks you have lost her altogether. You carry on with your life, but there is always the feeling that you have a unexplained hole in your life.

 

At least until the dreams begin again and the mad things in the dark take you as well.

 

The End.

 

Old Woman

“I know what you seek. She was taken by the Witch of the Market in the Sleepless City. I can bring her back, but you must do something for you. Will you help me?

 

 

 

 

(If the player says no)

You brush the crazy old woman off and get back in your car. You spend the day looking for Penelope, but you find it harder and harder to focus. Within a few weeks you have lost her altogether. You carry on with your life, but there is always the feeling that you have a unexplained hole in your life.

 

At least until the dreams begin again and the mad things in the dark take you as well.

 

The End.

 

(If the player says yes)

“Are you sure? Does she mean that much to you? You cannot know what you will lose, and it may be more than you have to pay.

 

(If the player says “no”

“A smart choice. You will in time forget her and the dreams will fade. Go now and forget that you were once nearly touched by the madness of those who do not sleep.”

 

The End

 

(If the player says “yes”)

Tell me three times and three times it is true. I will bring you to the nightmare where Penelope is held. Bring me a coin from the hand of the Wax King’s hand, a News Boy’s hat, a key from one of Detective Tock’s men, A sound of joy from the endless screams, and a fork from the table of a gustatory explorer.

[The Halls of Memory]

 

 

Scene 4 Halls of Memory

 

The Halls of Memory

You walked the Sleepless City for days or months or years. You contested with the mad and the nightmares and the hollowed souls of the victims of the city. You exchanged almost all that you were for the things you needed to survive the City and to finally return to the old woman’s tent and bring her what you have.

“You are ready to see your lost Penelope?” She ushers you down the alley until you reach a slate grey door. She opens the door though it has no handle.

“Go in, remember what you may and release the times you had in this place. Memories can be burnt in the fires of forgetfulness and only in doing so may you leave behind that which would stop your return to the mortal world. ”

 

The walls are lined with shelves, and the shelves are full of nicknacks and bric a brac. Each item has a small brass plaque with a name and a single word. Try as you might, as soon as you look away from an item, it slips out of your mind. You wander the hall in a timeless grey blur.

There are five rooms in the halls, four of which are lined with shelves and the fifth of which has a clinging blue fire.

The four rooms with shelves each possess an item of interest, a small token of the events that happened to the character between leaving the police station and entering the halls of memory.

 

The player can “remember” each item (or other memory based words) to see what happened. Each time they remember one of these events they get to make a choice between sacrificing part of their self or doing something that hurts someone else. The first is a beat toward Humanity, the second is a beat toward Madness or Nightmare. Those choices feed into the final decision.

 

The room with the fire is a place for discarding memories. The player cannot find the doors of Oak and Ash without having discarded almost every memory, unless they never picked any of them up.

[Candle]

[Origami Hat]

[Silver fork]

[A bell]

[A book]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The door of Oak or Ash

You prepare to step through the door, the old woman from the market of dreams is standing beside you, where she has always been. The shadows draw close around you, and the eyes that watch and the claws that grasp, the musk of death, of loss, all of those are in the shadows, all of them call to you. Your eyes almost see, your hands nearly claws, and your bulwark against loss is nearly spent.

(If the player has not accessed any memories) She speaks, “Our revels now are ended. But you, you did not play your part. Your promise was not fulfilled. I told you that through madness lie all hope. Now you have nothing.”

The door flickers and wavers until it halts, an oaken portal in the wall.

“Go now, to the reward reserved for those who spurn hope, who wait and lay still in the face of that vital choice.”

 

(walk away from door first attempt)

The woman’s eyes flash bright and terrible and the darkness draws much closer. The things that you can not see loom closer, their presence becoming more real with every second.

“Turn back. There is nothing left for you on this side of the dream.”

(walk away from door, second attempt)

“I warned you. Now what little you had left is grist for my mill.”

The shadows leap forth and engulf you. The Teeth that bite, the claws that tear, and the eyes that see first rip away the remnants of your memory, and then the last of your flesh.

The End”

(walk through Oaken Door)

[Hollow Way]

 

(if the player has chosen more madness paths than humanity paths)
She speaks, “Our revels now are ended. But go you, who played my part to the hilt, who served well the sleepless night. I now will send you to that which you seek. My nightmare, my sweet monster who was a man.”

The door flickers and wavers until it halts, an oaken portal in the wall.

“Go now, walk the streets of the sleepless city, my emissary, bring me the hopes and fears of those who would abandon them too cheaply.”
(walk through the door)
[Nightmare Way]

(try to leave)

“It is far too late for that. You have given yourself to me and I will not be denied. Walk the path you have chosen or meet oblivion beside the one you came to save.

 

(try to leave again, or attack the old woman)

“Some spirit is left, but you would have done well to have kept your bargain.”

You double over in pain as your flesh melts away. The shadows engulf you and you are surrounded by the comforting presence of your family. Each of you share the eyes that watch, the claws that grasp and the teeth that bite. There is great comfort in being part of the will of the master.

 

(if the player has chosen more humanity paths than madness paths)

She speaks, “Our revels now are ended. But go you, who played my part, who walked between the Nightmares and humanity. I now will send you to that which you seek. Beware the cost is yet more than you have given, but of that you were fairly warned.”

The door flickers and wavers until it halts, a portal of ash and rowan in the wall.

“Go now save the one you came so far, release her from the grip of nightmares.”

 

(anything except walking through the door.) “You should not break our agreement this close to its fulfillment. I would not see you damned like so many who came before you.

 

(Second attempt)

“I warned you. Now what little you had left is grist for my mill.”

The shadows leap forth and engulf you. The Teeth that bite, the claws that tear, and the eyes that see first rip away the remnants of your memory, and then the last of your flesh.

The End”

 

 

(If the player still holds a memory)

As you walk through the door, your fingers elongate, your face shifts and melts into a blank mask. You have become one of the nightmare guards from the market. You cling to your fleeting humanity and the tiny spot of irritation that is provided by the (trinket for memory kept).

[Door Of Ash]

(if the player does not hold a memory)

As you walk through the door, your fingers elongate, your face shifts and melts into a blank mask. You have become one of the nightmare guards from the market. You cling to your fleeting humanity.

[Door of Ash]

 

Scene 5 Doors into Night.

 

Door of Ash (3 Upbeats)

“You pass through the door of ash and rowan into a featureless grey hallway. All your life, the people, the pains, the desires, “were all spirits and are melted into air”

You remember losing, but not what is lost, and all that you have of what was is the (trinket for a memory kept)

 

As you walk down the endless hallway and shed all but the madness that brought you here. A figure approaches along the interminable path.

 

(look at figure) You look at the approaching figure, the mist and the illusion parting from your mind for a moment. A flash and you remember who and why and where. Walking away from the nightmares you have embraced is Penelope. She watches you approach and does not recognize you. She shies away from you. You try to speak, but your voice was left behind. All you know is that this was an important person to you once and that now it is one of the hollow ones.

 

(give memory to figure)

You surrender the last aspect of your humanity and Penelope is suddenly there behind the figure’s eyes. Your fingers brush hers as you hand her your last memory, and you can see her clearly one last time. She tries to speak, but your raise your long slender finger to indicate silence in this place. Her tears are your gift, and the occasional memory of a human you might have known. As you part, you se

e a moment of the future, her leaving this place and entering the world you once shared. You never come across her in the Mad City, and when your mistress calls you, she always says things about the one who left. While the words mean nothing to you, they always calm the roiling madness behind your eyes.

 

The End

 

 

Door of Oak

(Hollow Way)

You walk, lost in your mind, your memories fragmented, down an endless gray hall. When finally you step out into the twilight of the Sleepless City, you can’t remember who you are or what you are doing there. You become part of the background of the city, a Hollow soul ceaselessly searching the streets without any knowledge or cause. You are an event without self, the lost ones of the mad City of the Sleepless. A thousand times you find the object of your search, the Hollow One who was once Penelope, but the search is all you have left, so you walk on.

 

The End

 

 

Door of Oak

(Nightmare Way)

You slink down the mistress’s exit route, ready to do her will upon the Sleepless and the Nightmares and the hollow ones. As you pass along the subtle grey walls, a human wrapped in cloth, nearly hollow itself. Usually one such as this would not be worth your time, but perhaps, since you are new to Her service, you should take this one’s last memories and present them to the Mistress as your first collection.

(If the player possesses a memory still, they may give it to the human.)

You discard your final memories of your life before the mistress. The human looks at you in shock, actually reaches out toward you. You threaten it with claws and teeth and much much worse and it backs off and keeps walking. It whispers so softly that even your ears have a hard time hearing. “Thank you.” And with the exchange you know its name for a moment. “Penelope” before you forget it once again.

The End

 

(If the player attacks the figure)

It tries to struggle, and something inside you knows that that is the best part. It is merely human, and one has lost almost everything to this place. It is not mad enough to have become one of the nightmares, so it succumbs to one instead. You taste its memories as they leave its cooling body, and it holds images of the pathetic thing you once were. You take a special pride that you have found the object of the search that brought you here. The lady will be pleased.

 

(The player ignores the figure)

You decide not to take this one, at least not yet. It is heading into the Mistress’s chambers on its own, and if it survives that, you can always find it later. It has memories that smell strangely familiar, and that will aid you in hunting it at your leisure.

 

The End.

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