You slam your fist into the button marked RESET. The machine begins a series of clicks and whirs which culminates in a brief silence. The panel's many lights and screens go dark only to reappear a moment later. \n\nAt once, and without the slightest warning, the world around you blinks away. Only then, in the fleeting moment of darkness, do you realize: [[you remember nothing|you reset everything]]...
The lock emits a satisfying click, telling the world that the deadbolt has slid securely into place. A second click echoes a moment later, originating from the other side of the cabin's shuttered window. You have half a mind to [[investigate]] the noise, but intuition tells you to find a [[weapon]] first.
You make for the rocking chair nearest you and have a seat. A gentle back-and-forth motion coaxes you into a dream-like stupor, despite all that has happened. You relent and allow sleep to wash over you.\n\nAn ear-splitting screech from within the room jolts you awake. You stand and swivel, only to spot a twisted creature with two furry heads, a long, scaly body and four limbs culminating in human hands. It marches toward you awkwardly, though resolute and clearly angry; its teeth, several jagged rows of chipped and yellowed points, are bared. \n\nYou have the presence of mind to pick up a chair and start swinging it wildly, clipping the beast's left head. It falters momentarily, though the other head lets out a shrill squeal and seems wholly unfazed. The beast, only a few feet away, lunges. As hundreds of teeth begin to close around your left thigh, the world around you goes black. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You press on, into the night. You can make out nothing around you and have no idea where, exactly, you intend to go. Ominous sounds reverberate across the darkened landscape, their origin or location uncertain; all you can infer is that you are not welcome here. You flick open your lighter, rolling the striker wheel and igniting a flame, though it's too weak to have any real effect here. The darkness consumes the tiny light and it reveals nothing. You consider turning back toward the cabin, but the faint glow of the open doorway is nowhere in sight.\n\nA second, and seemingly much closer, sound echoes through the darkness, and you begin to panic. Sprinting at full stride, you resolve to rid yourself of this place for good. You feel no pain as you slam headfirst into an unseen tree and the world around you goes quiet. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You remain still as the man walks around the pod and stops behind you. Before he can act, you spring forward and take the knife.\n\n"Please," the man says, "you must sit still!" You have no intention of following the man's orders, but instead you issue your own.\n\n"Put the knife down," you say, pointing to the pod. "And sit right there."\n\nThe man defies your command and remains standing, knife in hand. "I do not know what you think I intend to do, but I assure you this is not necessary."\n\nYou hesitate. The man notices.\n\n"Give me a moment to explain," he says. "Everything will become clear if only you let me explain..."\n\nWary, you choose to either [[let the man explain]] or [[press the attack]].
You approach a chromatic array of readouts and display screens, peppered with multicolored buttons, switches and levers. A small readout blinks the words "main databank array" and lists various statistics and status reports. Another shows a rotating model of a person, perhaps some unlucky subject stuck in the simulation. His vitals are listed below the model, updating several times per second.\n\nYou cannot help but wonder if ever you were so closely monitored as the subject on the screen. You shudder at the thought and return your focus to the elaborate controls before you, eventually finding the object of your pursuit.\n\nBefore you take any action, you try to justify the ends: the simulation causes hardship, of that you have no doubt. Yet the virtual world is full of excitement and mystery, a veritable treasure trove for would-be explorers and thrillseekers. Perhaps, you reason, the simulation is wholly dependent on the actions and motives of the subject, so while one person is in the throes of virtual torment another could be happily discovering mythical beasts. It's a lot to absorb, yet there's no time to absorb it.\n\nThe control panel hums beneath your hands as you eye the switches. Everything comes down to this moment, and in this moment you must choose which switch to flip: [[POWER]] or [[RESET]]
The door creaks open. Everything before you lies under a thick blanket of night, offering no answers to the many questions burning within you. You can make out the silhouette of an unlit [[torch]] resting in a sconce mounted on the wall to your left. You hesitate before [[walking into the darkness]].
You slam your palm into the button marked POWER. One by one, the readouts and buttons on the control panel blink off. You take a step back from the array and think of the lives you've spared from this twisted experiment.\n\nYou notice a strange, but familiar, numbness creeping up your body. A glance toward your feet reveals that you haven't any.\n\nOnly then do you realize: you were never destined to be free.\n\nAnd the world goes [[black]].
This is the end.\n\nYour ability to identify and exploit glitches in the simulation, a marked distrust in the mysterious stranger and your choice at the control panel have all contributed greatly to forging your current destiny.\n\nYou are encouraged to [[replay|start2]] the simulation, but remember: your fate depends solely on the decisions you alone will make.
You turn and begin your journey back to the passage's fork, frustrated thinking of the time you have lost traveling toward a dead end.\n\nBut before you get too far into your thoughts, a thin rope brushes past your head, seemingly attached to the tunnel's ceiling. You push the rope aside and hear a loud hiss from above.\n\nYou don't realize it immediately, but the giant spider's fangs pierce your shoulder as you move the broken web aside. The numbness spreads from there, and your legs eventually succumb to the sensation. You collapse in a heap, and the rapid clicking of the spider's eight massive legs is the last sound you hear as the world fades to silence.\n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You press on, into the night. You can make out nothing around you and have no idea where, exactly, you intend to go. Ominous sounds reverberate across the darkened landscape, their origin or location uncertain; all you can infer is that you are not welcome here. You consider turning back toward the cabin, but the faint glow of the open doorway is nowhere in sight.\n\nA second, and seemingly much closer, sound echoes through the darkness, and you begin to panic. Sprinting at full stride, you resolve to rid yourself of this place for good. You feel no pain as you slam headfirst into an unseen tree and the world around you goes quiet. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You take a seat in one of the rocking chairs, trying to make sense of the situation. You can remember nothing of the world outside the cabin, much less how you came to be in this place. You glance down at the fireplace and notice a glint of metal from within; a worn lighter rests among the ashes at the hearth's bottom. You consider for moment whether or not to [[take the lighter]], wondering if perhaps it's better to [[leave it alone]].
You are standing in a small, single-room cabin, your surroundings illuminated by a flickering light bulb on the ceiling. A lone window on the wall is shuttered, preventing any light or glimpse of the outside to find its way in. Two wooden rocking chairs sit in the center of the room, opposite a cold, dark fireplace. A single, shut door stands at the far end of the dwelling. \n\nAs your eyes slide across the room, you notice a line of words written on the wall before you. They seem to have been printed directly onto the wooden beams:\n\nREMAIN VIGILANT. FREEDOM AWAITS...\n\nYour head is pounding and you cannot seem to shake an unusual sense of deja vu. You briefly wonder if you have been in this house before, deciding to either [[sit|sitting]] in a chair or [[pace|pacing]] across the room while you formulate a plan.
Without another word, you lunge across the pod and lodge your knife deep into the man's chest. He lets out a hoarse groan and the knife in his hand falls to the floor with a metallic clang. \n\nYour eyes meet. Anger dances so vividly within his that you find it difficult to maintain contact, so you look toward his wound instead. His white smock is now mostly red. Blood, you suddenly remember, is red. \n\nThe man collapses only a moment later, his motionless body sprawled across the floor.\n\nFor the first time since you arrived in this place, you take a look around: rows of pods, all closed, make a line down the long white room. A large, blinking computer stands at the far end. Several screens and panels on its face are filled with data, images and information.\n\nAnd you set off, past the rows of sealed pods, toward the [[control panel|a final choice]].
Without a second thought, you press the cup to your mouth and swallow its contents. Immediately, your mouth and esophagus begin to burn. The sensation quickly spreads to your stomach, and you open your mouth to report this to the man. Nothing but blood spills from your lips, and you collapse backward into the pod.\n\n"Subject 217: records terminated," the man says. And [[the world blinks away]].
You don't feel comfortable dropping the knife, and you say as much to the man.\n\n"I sincerely cannot conduct myself in a reasonable manner under these circumstances," he says. "I really must insist that you set the knife down at once."\n\nOf course, you have no intention to do so. "You have three seconds to explain," you say.\n\n"But," he begins.\n\n"One," you interrupt.\n\n"Please," he tries.\n\n"Two."\n\n"This is unnecessary!"\n\n"Three."\n\nThe man stands on the far side of the open pod, his eyes wide in anticipation.\n\nWithout another word, you lunge across the pod and plant your knife deep into the man's chest. He lets out a hoarse groan and the knife in his hand falls to the floor with a metallic clang. \n\nYour eyes meet. Anger dances so vividly within his that you find it difficult to maintain contact, so you look toward his wound instead. His white smock is now mostly red. Blood, you suddenly remember, is red. \n\nThe man collapses only a moment later, his motionless body sprawled across the floor.\n\nFor the first time since you arrived in this place, you take a look around: rows of pods, all closed, make a line down the long white room. A large, blinking computer stands at the far end. Several screens and panels on its face are filled with data, images and information. \n\nAnd you set off, past the rows of sealed pods, toward the [[control panel|a final choice]].
You begin to walk away from the forest, treading over an open grassland. Only a few feet of ground is visible, afforded by the torch light, but you're certain you will run into something sooner or later.\n\nAs you watch the flames dance around the torch, you cannot help but wonder how long it will continue to burn.\n\nYou continue on your journey until you come across a narrow, overgrown stone path. You can see nothing beyond a few feet, but you feel confident the path will go on for a while. You consider either [[following the path]] or [[crossing over]] and continuing on your original path.
"Go ahead," you say. "Explain." \n\n"I'd much prefer if you weren't brandishing that knife while I speak."\n\nThe small cart is still within an arm's reach. It would be simple enough to [[lay down the knife]], though you're still [[not convinced]] that the man intends well.\n
Without pause, you turn and dive into the forest. The burning torch falls out of your hand and lands below a small evergreen. You lay on the forest floor and hold your breath, listening for the beast to make a move. \n\nAnother gurgling noise is heard just beyond the treeline, and you suspect that you are being hunted. You lay low for a moment longer.\n\nYou can hear the creature's soft footsteps growing quieter. It's leaving, you realize.\n\nAny celebration of victory you might be planning is cut short by the smell of smoke; you turn toward the treeline and see several evergreen trees engulfed in flame. You stand, but before [[running deeper into the forest]], you realize the way ahead leads to darkness and consider [[trying to retrieve the torch]].
You edge closer to the shuttered window, listening intently for any indication that danger were ahead. At an arm's length, you reach over and gently press on the frame before jolting your hand back. Nothing happens. You extend your arm again and push the glass panes. Again, nothing happens. You begin to think that the noise was only a figment of your imagination when a third click echoes around tiny room, this time coming from the light socket on the ceiling.\n\nThe light above you flickers out, except instead of returning a moment later, it stays out. You begin to breathe faster, your eyes wide in the hope that even a tiny bit of light will find its way to them.\n\nYou reach into your pocket and retreive the lighter. The lid flicks open and you roll the striker, igniting the small wick. You hold up the flame and check your surroundings, noting that nothing has changed in the past few seconds. The flame dies abruptly, and you attempt to reignite the wick unsuccessfully. You try again. And again. And again.\n\nSwallowed by the veil of darkness, you heave a sigh and drop the lighter. You reason that there is but one solution: [[admit defeat and wait]], in the darkness, until help arrives. If ever it will...
You turn left at the fork and continue on. You hear a drop of water contact a standing pool somewhere in front of you, but you get the impression that it's still a distance away. As you step slowly through the tunnel, you mistakenly place your right foot in a rather deep puddle. Your entire foot is soaked, but you don't let it irritate you too much.\n\nYou eventually arrive at a second fork in the tunnel. Once again, you cannot determine what lies at the end of either passage from here. Do you turn [[left|left2]] or [[right|right2]]?
You turn left again and resume your journey through the tunnel. The path continues for hours, leading you deeper underground. The air grows thicker and the smell intensifies with every step, but you keep walking. You round a particularly sharp corner and notice a faint light at the end of the passage. Your pace increases, though you're careful not to slip on the wet stones beneath your feet.\n\nWhen you reach the end of the tunnel, you find a cracked, ancient wooden doorway. The planks have warped considerably, allowing light to bleed through and softly illuminate the hallway.\n\nYour hand hovers over the door's rusted handle, but before you [[enter]], you briefly consider turning around and trying a [[different path]].
You are standing in a small, single-room cabin, your surroundings illuminated by a flickering light bulb on the ceiling. A lone window on the wall is shuttered, preventing any light or glimpse of the outside to find its way in. Two wooden rocking chairs sit in the center of the room, opposite a cold, dark fireplace. A single, shut door stands at the far end of the dwelling. \n\nBut you begin to remember the voice you just heard. You have no idea who was speaking or where they were, but, you realize, you now have a memory of something before this room. You begin to wonder if there are other memories to tap...\n\nYour head is pounding. You need a moment to think things over, so you weigh [[sitting|yrs catch]] in a chair against [[pacing|yrs catch]] across the room while you try to sort things out.
You pull the torch from the sconce on the wall and sniff it. The overpowering stench of pitch wafts through the air. If you had a means to [[light]] this, perhaps you could use it to find your way around. Alas, it is useless to you at present, so you place the torch back into the sconce. You take a moment to decide whether to [[continue out into the night|walking into the darkness]] or [[return to the cabin]].
You grip the stone tightly in your hand and swing it into the window. The glass shatters and sends small pieces and fragments skittering across the floor. You turn and look at the now-broken window, and see a small, rectangular blue button mounted on the inside of a shutter. A faded label reading "Reset" is stuck to the center of the button.\n\nYou begin to consider your options when you see your outstretched hand gliding toward the button. You watch, powerless, as your palm presses against the worn label. You hear a third [[click|you remember nothing]], and the world around you blinks out of existence.
"Yes," you say.\n\nHe looks at you, wide-eyed. "Where, exactly? You should feel nothing outside the simulation. Why, this... This is unprecedented!"\n\nHe offers no apology, you notice. Instead, he runs to a cart several feet away and pushes it alongside the pod on which you sit.\n\n"I just need to run a few tests, is all." He begins shuffling around the cart, moving various tools and instruments out of the way. He produces a long, sharp knife from beneath a stack of cloth. "Just hold still and you won't feel a thing," he says.\n\nYou spot a second knife on the edge of the cart, well within an arm's reach. You know not whether to trust this mysterious stranger, so [[attacking him]] is just as reasonable as [[letting him perform the test]].
You are standing in a small, single-room cabin, your surroundings illuminated by a flickering light bulb on the ceiling. A lone window on the wall is shuttered, preventing any light or glimpse of the outside to find its way in. Two wooden rocking chairs sit in the center of the room, opposite a cold, dark fireplace. A single, shut door stands at the far end of the dwelling. \n\nYour head is pounding. You need a moment to think things over, so you weigh [[sitting]] in a chair against [[pacing]] across the room while you try to sort things out.
Forward is the only way out, you reason. And so you soldier on, through the darkened woods for hours on end. You aren't fully convinced that you're not walking in circles, but being unable to see the forest makes it difficult to confirm the theory.\n\nYou're eager to press deeper into the forest, but pause for a moment to listen for any signs of life, hostile or otherwise. You find nothing among the trees.\n\nThe realization that you are truly and totally alone hits harder than you'd have liked. But before you can wallow in self-pity, you feel a slight tingle in your spine and [[you remember nothing|glitch1]]...
"Subject 217: error logged. Subject off-grid. Initiating simulation reset procedure." The voice sounds familiar and foreign at once. It is not the voice you hear in your head, your inner monologue, but something different entirely.\n\n"Subject is displaying symptoms of regression," the voice continued. "It's almost as if the subject is accessing its memory partitions, but I've checked and rechecked the arrays and nothing is being read nor written."\n\nYou are without words. This makes no sense to you, and you start to wonder where the house is. And then you realize you have no idea which house you are thinking about.\n\n"Proceeding with soft reset," the voice says.\n\nAnd then it happens: the world around you goes quiet, except this time [[you remember something]].
The flames are growing by the second, enveloping the forest several trees at a time. You edge closer to the blaze and spot your torch under the evergreen on the treeline. The fire has already covered a few feet between you and the still-burning torch.\n\nYou begin to [[accept the futility|running deeper into the forest]] of retreiving the torch, but a voice inside you tells you to [[go for it]].
You pay no mind to the shiny object in the fireplace and resume solving your immediate mystery; where are you? You see nothing of use inside the cabin and slowly walk over to the door. The deadbolt is set to the unlocked position, and you assume that is how you arrived in this cabin in the first place. You realize that now you must decide whether to [[open the door]] and look for answers outside or [[lock]] the door and wait for help to find you, if ever it does...
You grip the stone tightly in your hand and swing it into the window. The glass shatters and sends small pieces and fragments skittering across the floor. You turn and look at the now-broken window, and see a small, rectangular red button mounted on the inside of a shutter. A faded label reading "Reset" is stuck to the center of the button.\n\nYou begin to consider your options when you see your outstretched hand gliding toward the button. You watch, powerless, as your palm presses against the worn label. You hear a third [[click|you remember nothing]], and the world around you blinks out of existence.
You begin to raise the cup, the surface of the water rippling as your hand trembles, but stop just short of your lips. You notice no peculiar odors or colors, but you're still far from convinced. "You know," you say, "I'm not really thirsty."\n\n"But you are," the man says. "Your hydration levels are bottoming out."\n\nYou don't understand how the man could possibly know this, though you realize it is likely the truth. "You can have it," you say, thrusting the cup toward the man.\n\n"No, no. You must drink up."\n\n"I insist." The vitriol dripping from your dried-up mouth surprises you more than it does the man.\n\n"Please, calm yourself." He takes a step away from the cup. "You really must replenish your fluids."\n\nYou stand, though you're a bit weaker than you hoped. You take a step toward the man, the cup still outstretched, and he recoils at once.\n\n"Okay," he says. "I will take a sip if you will just restrain yourself."\n\nYou nod in agreement and pass the cup over to him. \n\nHe lifts the cup to his mouth and hesitates, his eyes darting from side to side. In a single, swift motion, he presses the paper to his lips, imbibes a small amount of the liquid and extends the cup back to me. "Here, drink it. Quickly."\n\nBut you do not take the cup. You watch for a moment as the man begins to wince and his breathing becomes labored. He's overplayed his hand. Mere moments later, the man is sprawled across the floor, motionless.\n\nYou look toward the far end of the room and see the [[control panel|a final choice]], its lights and buttons still blinking.
You turn around and walk away from the ancient door, the light from behind you casting a long shadow on the ground. You are certain that you will only find danger inside the next room, so you aim to remove yourself from its vicinity with all due haste. \n\nYou walk for hours up the passageway, until at last you find yourself at a fork in the path. Do you [[turn right|right1]] and proceed past the first fork, or [[continue straight|right2]] and march into the abyss?
You head into the forest, careful that your torch doesn't affect the dry foliage all around you.\n\nThe forest, you find, is quite dark. The flame's light does little to alleviate this, but your surroundings are illuminated just enough to see where you are going. \n\nYou wander around the forest for a long while, doing your best to maintain a straight path. \n\nEventually the light from the torch fades away. You find yourself in the dark, deep in the heart of a forest, and all alone.\n\nYour instinct to survive [[wills you forward]], but in your mind you have [[already lost]].
Your fingers worm their way between the small space separating the wooden panel from the stones surrounding it, offering just enough room to allow the door to swing open. You gaze into the abyss below the floor and wonder what kind of terrible secrets the room holds, hesitating briefly to consider [[staying in the room|stay above ground]] before [[dropping into the darkness below]].
''You Remember Nothing'' began as a simple test of <html><a href="http://www.gimcrackd.com/etc/src/">Twine</a></html>'s capabilities and quickly spiraled out of control, culminating 48 hours later in an elaborate and twisting web. This story features a single central plot and over twenty endings spanning nearly 10,000 words.\n\nIf you came here during the story, press your browser's back button to retain your progress.\n\n[[Home|start]]
You weigh the risks of venturing into the subterranean passage below, but decide that nothing good could come of it. You find yourself lost in the neverending darkness of the cabin, and decide to take a seat and await the arrival of help, if ever it will come...\n\nYou move in the general direction of the rocking chairs, but several steps later seems to put you nowhere near them. You spin around and try for a second pass, seemingly walking right past them again. Deciding to reach the wall of the cabin to get your bearings, you soldier through the darkness...\n\nBut no wall appears. You walk for a few minutes, certain that the cabin is no longer around you, before stopping to think. You look to either side of you: darkness. Turning around reveals a faint outline of an open doorway, a soft light flickering within. \n\nYou step [[toward the cabin]], but pause briefly to listen in on the surrounding darkness. No sounds make their way to your year, and you wonder if you'd be better off [[staying outside]].
You drop the knife atop the small pile of cloth and ready yourself for the stranger's explanation.\n\n"Thank you," he says. "I grow apprehensive and my mind clouds when faced with adversity." He slowly begins to walk around the pod, toward the spot at which you now stand.\n\n"Now, you likely won't remember anything for a few days," he began. "A nasty side effect of going under. But once bits and pieces of your memory start to return, you will find that you are here of your own accord."\n\nYou stare blankly at the man as he rounds the side of the pod.\n\n"It's true," he says, responding to your expression. "I can show you the paperwork you signed just this morning, in fact. We keep everything about our patients on file, should anything happen during a procedure."\n\n"Procedure?" The man's explanation is offering little but more questions.\n\n"Indeed," he says. The cart is the only thing separating the two of you at this point. "We are a hospital, and you have a... condition."\n\nYou break your gaze off the man and look around, noticing that perhaps that part is true: rows of pods, all closed, make a line down the long white room. A large, blinking computer stands at the far end. Several screens and panels on its face are filled with data, images and information. Enthralled by your newly discovered surroundings, you ask a question without looking back toward the man. "What's my condition?" Your voice is barely above a whisper.\n\nThe man doesn't answer, but you hear a crash and see various tools and instruments slide across the floor in your periphery. You feel something cold slide between your ribs and your breathing becomes labored.\n\n"Disobedience," the man whispers, and the [[world fades away|the world blinks away]].\n\n\n\n
You press on, into the night. You can make out nothing around you and have no idea where, exactly, you intend to go. Ominous sounds reverberate across the darkened landscape, their origin or location uncertain; all you can infer is that you are not welcome here. You consider turning back toward the cabin, but the faint glow of the open doorway is nowhere in sight.\n\nA second, and seemingly much closer, sound echoes through the darkness, and you begin to panic. Sprinting at full stride, you resolve to rid yourself of this place for good. You feel no pain as you slam headfirst into an unseen tree and the world around you goes quiet. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You edge closer to the shuttered window, listening intently for any indication that danger were ahead. At an arm's length, you reach over and gently press on the frame before jolting your hand back. Nothing happens. You extend your arm again and push the glass panes. Again, nothing happens. You begin to think that the noise was only a figment of your imagination when a third click echoes around tiny room, this time coming from the light socket on the ceiling.\n\nThe light above you flickers out, except instead of returning a moment later, it stays out. You begin to breathe faster, your eyes wide in the hope that even a tiny bit of light will find its way to them.\n\nYet there is no light to be found. You begin to grasp that you have locked yourself in a tiny room and, for all intents and purposes, are blind to the world. Do you hope against hope and [[search for the lighter]], or do you resign yourself to fate and [[admit defeat]]?
You kneel down, holding the torch low and to the side to keep it out of the way. The creature's tail wags faster than before, and the hair standing on its spine relaxes. \n\nThe beast takes a cautious step forward. Then another. It stands less than an arm's reach away, and you extend your hand.\n\nThe creature, alarmed at your sudden movement, gurgles and lunges toward the hand. You withdraw quickly and the beast darts across the open field, out of sight. \n\nYour heart races as you watch the sharkdog flee, only to notice a dull ache emanating from your hand. You look and see nothing but a thumb attached to your mangled palm.\n\nYou feel light-headed and drop the torch, your body collapsing beside it a moment later. You land face down in the dirt and are unable to see anything. Moments later, [[you remember nothing]]...
written by Joe Sanders
"Are you okay?" the voice asks. Only now the voice looks more human, and stands beside you.\n\nYou realize that you are laying in some sort of pod, and the lid has just been removed. You assume that is the source of the loud noise a moment ago.\n\n"Can you hear me?" the voice asks.\n\n"Yes," is all you can manage.\n\n"Try sitting up," he says.\n\nAnd so you try. You sit up without issue.\n\n"Good," he says. "Good. Do you feel any pain?"\n\nYou consider the question and choose your reply: [[yes]] or [[no]].
You awake in an unfamiliar place. Nothing makes sense to you and you can remember nothing before this moment. It is up to you to explore the tangled web that lies behind this world and forge your own fate based on decisions made along the way. \n\nBefore you begin your journey, a bit of advice: keen adventurers may find it helpful to keep a log of their movements and decisions. And remain vigilant! Just because something may seem familiar does not make it so.\n\nSo, hero, what do you do next?\n\n[[You open your eyes and look around|start2]]...
This is the end.\n\nYour ability to identify and exploit glitches in the simulation, a marked distrust in the mysterious stranger and your choice at the control panel have all contributed greatly to forging your current destiny. \n\nYou are encouraged to [[replay|start2]] the simulation, but remember: your fate depends solely on the decisions you alone will make.
You have no idea what stands behind you, but the gurgling grows louder by the second. You raise the torch as if it were a mighty sword then slowly turn to face the noise.\n\nBefore you stands a creature, its body canine and its head resembling that of a shark, mouth open and teeth shining in the torch light. You stagger backward without thinking, the image of this bizarre beast coming as quite a shock. It gurgles again, its tail wagging and the hair on the ridge of its back standing on end.\n\nYou brandish the torch, swinging it like a lunatic at the sharkdog. You begin to question your sanity, convinced that this creature is of another world.\n\nIt gurgles once more before taking a step in your direction. A strange sensation takes you, as if the beast is trying to communicate. With only a few feet between you and it, you briefly consider [[allowing the creature to approach]] before attempting to [[beat it with the burning torch]].
You glance around the room for something to use as a weapon. You spot a stone on the face of the fireplace that appears slightly askew, and you try to wriggle it free without making too much noise. The stone releases with a small puff of dust, and you creep toward the now-silent window, your weapon at the ready. You hesitate before the window and realize that you are uncertain of what to do next: [[wait and listen]] for a moment, or [[bash the window]] with your rock.
You turn right at the fork and continue on. The passage goes on for a short distance, twisting and turning wildly. You stop abruptly as your foot kicks a loose brick on the floor, and you listen as it skids across stones before settling with a thud a moment later. You inch forward and feel a large pile of rubble, bricks and stones and dirt, blocking the passage. You reason that the tunnel collapsed at some point, but at least you weren't under it at the time.\n\nYour only option, you realize, is to [[turn around]] and head down the other passage.
You choose a path and maintain your slow pace through the passage. You resolve to find the end of this place, one step at a time. Ahead, you can hear the sound of running water, the source of which is unknown to you. You consider that this path might lead to a river, which may lead to people. You press forward, faster and with a new feeling of hope burning in your heart. \n\nFor the first time since you set out, you begin to feel as if you were [[almost free]]...
You awake in an unfamiliar place. Nothing makes sense to you and you can remember nothing before this moment. It is up to you to explore the tangled web that lies behind this world and forge your own fate based on decisions made along the way. So, hero, what do you do next?\n\n[[You open your eyes and look around|start2]]...
The musty smell of the passage is replaced by the sweet smell of the outdoors. You catch the scent of pine wafting in through some unknown source. The sound of running water is now a roar, seemingly just beyond your fingertips. You are nearly running through the darkened tunnel, eager to drink up any morsel of light and, for the first time in a long time, see something. \n\nWithout warning, you tumble head-over-heels and land on your back. The water has found you, it seems, and is washing you down the tunnel at an alarming rate. Wind and dirt surges past your head, leaving you disoriented and panicked. The passage makes a sharp cut to the right, but the water cannot quite keep your body from slamming into the brick wall. The water around you fades and the world goes quiet.\n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
"Subject 217: completion of treasure hunt module." The voice sounds familiar and foreign at once. It is not the voice you hear in your head, your inner monologue, but something different entirely. And it sounds pleased.\n\n"Subject is displaying high levels of improvement," the voice continued. "It's almost as if the subject is accessing its memory partitions, but I've checked and rechecked the arrays and nothing is being read nor written."\n\nYou are without words. This makes no sense to you, and you start to wonder where the house is. And then you realize you have no idea which house you are thinking about.\n\n"Subject tagged for recursive behavior checks," the voice says.\n\nAnd then it happens: the world around you goes quiet, except this time [[you remember something]].
You stand by the window, still reeling from the unfathomable series of events that have just transpired. Your thoughts are racing, trying to link something to the past but continuously coming up short. Your head is throbbing, the headache you had a short while ago now feels like a ten-penny nail being driven through your temple. As the pain soars past your tolerable threshhold, you collapse to the floor and, at last, your thoughts fall silent. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
"Subject 217: failure on node 8A, forest grid." The voice sounds familiar and foreign at once. It is not the voice you hear in your head, your inner monologue, but something different entirely.\n\n"Subject is displaying acute signs of awareness," the voice continued. "It's almost as if the subject is accessing its memory partitions, but I've checked and rechecked the arrays and nothing is being read nor written."\n\nYou are without words. This makes no sense to you, and you start to wonder where the house is. And then you realize you have no idea which house you are thinking about.\n\nThe detached voice concluded, "The subject's unusual infatuation with the primitive firestarter is to be added to the trait monitor. The trends are showing this to be typical behavior of the dataset, which only raises more questions about the subjects."\n\nAnd then it happens: the world around you goes quiet, except this time [[you remember something]].
You begin down the path, torch in hand. The smooth stones below your feet occasionally catch the torch light and shimmer in the darkness.\n\nYour mind begins to wander as the stones pass by, one by one. Seconds turn to minutes and minutes turn to hours.\n\nEventually the light from the torch fades away. You find yourself in the dark, on the middle of a narrow stone path, alone and out of options.\n\nYour mind begins to eat itself alive, and it is at this point you concede. You close your eyes and the world around you [[vanishes|you remember nothing]].
You press on, into the night. You can make out nothing around you and have no idea where, exactly, you intend to go. Ominous sounds reverberate across the darkened landscape, their origin or location uncertain; all you can infer is that you are not welcome here. You consider turning back toward the cabin, but the faint glow of the open doorway has vanished.\n\nA second, and seemingly much closer, sound echoes through the darkness, and you begin to panic. Sprinting at full stride, you resolve to rid yourself of this place for good. You feel no pain as you stumble over an unseen, low-lying fence, launching you head first onto a stone path beyond it. A quiet crunch announces your skull meeting one of the stones, and the world around you goes quiet. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You edge closer to the shuttered window, listening intently for any indication that danger were ahead. At an arm's length, you reach over and gently press on the frame before jolting your hand back. Nothing happens. You extend your arm again and push the glass panes. Again, nothing happens. You begin to think that the noise was only a figment of your imagination when a third click echoes around tiny room, this time coming from the light socket on the ceiling.\n\nThe light above you flickers out, except instead of returning a moment later, it stays out. You begin to breathe faster, your eyes wide in the hope that even a tiny bit of light will find its way to them. The stone in your hand grows heavier, an unnecessary burden, so you drop it on the floor beside you. It lands with a heavy thud.\n\nYet there is no light to be found. You begin to grasp that you have locked yourself in a tiny room and, for all intents and purposes, are blind to the world. Do you hope against hope and [[search for the lighter]], or do you resign yourself to fate and [[admit defeat]]?
You Remember Nothing
You slump yourself down against a tree in the perfect darkness of the forest. You listen for any signs of life, hostile or otherwise, and find nothing among the trees. You wait for the end to arrive, worn out and wholly defeated. \n\nBefore long, you feel a slight tingle in your spine and [[you remember nothing|glitch1]]...\n
You eye the old, scuffed-up lighter and prompty give it a thorough shaking. You then throw open the lid once more and roll the striker wheel with all your might. Several sparks bounce around before one takes hold, setting the fuel-soaked wick ablaze. Perseverance has paid off. You snap the lid shut, unsure of how much fuel it has left, and begin to formulate a plan. The cabin seems secure enough, so you consider [[locking yourself in]] and waiting for help to arrive. You have no idea what is outside the cabin, however, so [[opening the door]] and exploring is also an option.
You turn and close the cabin's door, leaving it unlocked should a rescuer approach. You plant yourself in the rocking chair nearest the door. A gentle back-and-forth motion coaxes you into a dream-like stupor, despite all that has happened. You relent and allow sleep to wash over you.\n\nAn ear-splitting screech from within the room jolts you awake. You stand and swivel, only to spot a twisted creature with two furry heads, a long, scaly body and four limbs culminating in human hands. It marches toward you awkwardly, though resolute and clearly angry; its teeth, several jagged rows of chipped and yellowed points, are bared. \n\nYou have the presence of mind to pick up a chair and start swinging it wildly, clipping the beast's left head. It falters momentarily, though the other head lets out a shrill squeal and seems wholly unfazed. The beast, only a few feet away, lunges. As hundreds of teeth begin to close around your left thigh, the world around you goes black. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
A feeling deep within tells you that you have made the right choice. You approach the golden hoard and look over the riches; there must be hundreds, if not thousands, of gold ingots on the floor before you.\n\nYou reach forward to pick one up, but as your finger grazes the golden surface, you find yourself paralyzed. The treasure room fades away, and all you can think of is how much you desire the gold.\n\nYou feel a slight tingle in your spine and [[you remember nothing|glitch2]]...
You know that there is a choice to be made, but you cannot decide between something so menial as sitting or standing. You see the lighter in the fireplace and glance at the light bulb above you. \n\nA strange sensation eats at the back of your mind. You realize after a moment that you have been here before. Several times, in fact. Either you'll try to lock the door or turn and run into the night, or some other bizarre scenario will unfold. Even if you can't quite remember all the details, you know it to be the truth.\n\nInstead of playing along this time, you decide to make the rules for yourself. You ignore the urges to sit in the chair or pace back and forth like a fool.\n\nYou pick up a rocking chair and smash it into the light bulb overhead. The room falls dark immediately, and the voices in your head begin to grow louder. You try your absolute best to [[ignore them|another, familiar voice]].
This is the end.\n\nYour ability to identify and exploit glitches in the simulation and an unwavering confidence in the stranger have both contributed greatly to forging your current destiny. \n\nYou are encouraged to [[replay|start2]] the simulation, but remember: your fate depends solely on the decisions you alone will make.
The lock emits a satisfying click, telling the world that the deadbolt has slid securely into place. A second click echoes a moment later, originating from the other side of the cabin's shuttered window. You have half a mind to [[investigate the noise]], but intuition tells you to [[find a weapon]] first.
You set off toward the doorway, reaching it a moment later and peering in. It's the very same room that you just left, except the lights are on and the ashes in the fireplace appear undisturbed; a glint of metal catches your eye and you recognize the ligher laying atop the pile.\n\nYou step over the threshold of the cabin and a chill rolls down your spine. The door slams shut, but when you turn toward it, you find that [[you remember nothing]]...
You erase all doubts and are convinced that this predator seeks a meal. You adjust your grip on the torch and swing it with both hands. \n\nThe first swing falls short by about a foot, but the beast recoils nonetheless. The gurgling noise is replaced with a low, guttoral growl. You realize that this is a declaration of war.\n\nThe beast lunges, and you swing again. The torch connects with the shark's nose and it diverts, running into the darkness. The growling subsides and you think for a moment that you've prevailed, but mere moments later a shrill, soul-rending wail pierces the darkness. The beast charges out of the darkness and leaps into the air just short of you. \n\nYou swing the torch and miss. The sharkdog's many teeth find their mark and latch around the arm holding the torch, though you feel nothing. You try to find a shriek, but no sound exits your mouth.\n\nThe torch falls from the grasp of your shredded arm and bounces off the ground, the flame blinking out as if a switch were flipped, and the world around you goes black. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You move, slowly, toward the fireplace, knowing that the lighter rests among the ashes at the bottom. You nearly stumble over a rocking chair, unable to detect it in the darkness which consumes the interior of the tiny cabin. At last, you kneel down before the hearth and begin to dig through the ashes. As your fingers run across the bottom of the fireplace, you notice the smooth stone abruptly turns to rough hewn wood. You brush away the ash and feel what seems to be a wooden trap door. The lighter is nowhere to be found. Perhaps it has fallen into the chamber below? You consider [[opening the trap door|open no light bulb]] but hesitate, wondering if you shouldn't just [[stay above ground|stay above no light bulb]] instead.
You edge closer to the shuttered window, listening intently for any indication that danger were ahead. At an arm's length, you reach over and gently press on the frame before jolting your hand back. Nothing happens. You extend your arm again and push the glass panes. Again, nothing happens. You begin to think that the noise was only a figment of your imagination when a third click echoes around tiny room, this time coming from the light socket on the ceiling.\n\nThe light above you flickers out, except instead of returning a moment later, it stays out. You begin to breathe faster, your eyes wide in the hope that even a tiny bit of light will find its way to them. The stone in your hand grows heavier, an unnecessary burden, so you drop it on the floor beside you. It lands with a heavy thud.\n\nYou reach into your pocket and retreive the lighter. The lid flicks open and you roll the striker, igniting the small wick. You hold up the flame and check your surroundings, noting that nothing has changed in the past few seconds. The flame dies abruptly, and you attempt to reignite the wick unsuccessfully. You try again. And again. And again.\n\nSwallowed by the veil of darkness, you heave a sigh and drop the lighter. You reason that there is but one solution: [[admit defeat and wait]], in the darkness, until help arrives. If ever it will...
You stand by the window, still reeling from the unfathomable series of events that have just transpired. You slide down against the wall and drop to the floor in a heap. Your head is throbbing, the headache you had a short while ago now feels like a ten-penny nail being driven through your temple. As the pain soars past your tolerable threshhold, you collapse to the floor and your thoughts fall silent. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
You decide that the best way to escape is to pick a direction and stick with it. And that is exactly what you do, pressing on through the open fields for a particularly uneventful journey.\n\nYour mind begins to wander as the ground passes by, patch by patch. Seconds turn to minutes and minutes turn to hours.\n\nYou abruptly realize that you are not standing on the ground. In fact, you aren't really standing anywhere at all. The world around you seems to be... missing. You stamp your feet and they collide with something, but you certainly cannot see anything.\n\nThe torch disappears from your hand and the world is [[thrown into darkness]]...
You move away from the spreading wildfire as quickly as you can manage. The undergrowth is thick enough to impede your speed, but not enough to hinder you entirely. You glance back at the blaze and watch it fade as the distance between you and it grows. You feel helpless and lost, unable to determine your direction, and you suddenly find yourself out of ideas.\n\nYour instinct to survive [[wills you forward]], but in your mind you have [[already lost]].
"Subject 217: failure on node... introduction?" The voice sounds puzzled. A series of short beeps can be heard from everywhere and nowhere. \n\n"Doctor," the voice continues, though seemingly more distant than before. If that were possible, anyway. "I have an active subject showing rapidly progressing awareness patterns..." He trails off and doesn't speak for a moment. You grow curious, anticipting what the voice might say next.\n\n"And a hard reset won't interfere with any of the other subjects' data collection?" the voice said. You consider replying, but don't know the answer. \n\n"Yes, sir. I'll wipe the data logs right away, then." Another curt beep echoes through the nothingness. \n\nYou are just as intrigued as the disembodied voice, but you have no way of conveying that. Before you can really think much on it, everything you know slowly begins to vaporize from the emptiness around you.\n\nA sharp pain shoots down the back of your neck and you let out a gasping [[scream]].
You throw the lighter back into the fireplace, frustrated. What seemed like good luck has only left you angrier. You see nothing of interest inside the cabin and slowly walk over to the door. The deadbolt is set to the unlocked position, and you figure that is how you arrived at this cabin in the first place. You realize that now you must decide whether to [[open the door]] and look for answers outside or [[lock]] the door and wait for help to find you, if ever it will...
the world around you goes black. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
Your fingers worm their way between the small space separating the wooden panel from the stones surrounding it, offering just enough room to allow the door to swing open. You gaze into the abyss below the floor and wonder what kind of terrible secrets the room holds, hesitating briefly to consider [[staying in the darkened room|stay above no light bulb]] before [[dropping into the darkness below]].
You decide to let the secret of the underground passage remain a mystery, standing up and brushing the ashes off your hands. You turn to face the room and notice the door at the end of the cabin is still ajar, the darkness outside soaking up what little light escapes from within. Realizing that your options are quickly growing limited, you choose to either [[venture into the darkness]] or [[shut the door]] and await the arrival of help. That is, if help will ever arrive...
You remain still as the man walks around the pod and stops behind you. You feel a slight tingle as the knife slides into the top of your spine.\n\n"Oh," the man says. "Oh, dear. The reciever has died."\n\nThe man's words are nonsense to you. You aren't entirely sure what comprises human anatomy, but a reciever does not sound like it fits the criteria.\n\n"I'll just initialize a manual connection, and..."\n\nYou panic and try to spin around, but the knife is still firmly planted in your back. It tears a thin line across your shoulder and you howl in agony.\n\n"No, no, no," the man cries. "You mustn't move!" You fight back the burning in your shoulder and glance at the man, the knife held in place by his left hand and a thick cable in his right. You watch as the cable lifts toward the incision in your spine. You hear a muffled click and it dawns on you: you've just been reconnected to the simulation. Trusting this stranger, you realize, is perhaps the last decision you will ever make.\n\n"Thought ought to hold," the man says. And [[the world blinks away]].
You head back inside and shut the door. The room remains unchanged since you stepped out, as you should expect. You consider [[locking the door|lock]] before going to [[sit on a chair]] and await rescue.
You lean into the fireplace and brush away the ashes. A singed fragment of a letter rests beside the lighter, and you can make out the words "keep left" scrawled across the paper. You grab the lighter and stand up, opening its lid and spinning the striker. Nothing happens. You try again, this time with more force. A spark soars upward and burns out almost immediately. You begin to wonder if the lighter is a dud, and consider [[throwing it back into the ashes]] instead of [[trying to light it again]].
You cannot detect any sort of ladder, so you spin around and drop through the opening. A thick, musty smell hangs in the cool air. You crouch down to feel for the lighter, but your search leaves you empty handed. A sudden urge to return to the room is stifled upon realizing that you cannot reach the door from here. You then proceed to inch your way down a damp corridor, unable to see anything ahead of you.\n\nThe journey is uneventful, following a gently winding passage until you arrive at a fork in the tunnel. You think for a moment before deciding to go either [[right|right1]] or [[left|left1]]. There is nothing to indicate what lies at the end of either passage.
You pull the torch from the sconce on the wall and sniff it. The overpowering stench of pitch wafts through the air, but you grin. You remember the old lighter in your pocket and pull it out, striking up a spark and igniting the torch. Darkness gives way to the warming orange light which now touches everything nearby. Just as the flame transferred from the lighter to the torch, the small flame in your hand puffed out. You roll the striker a few times, but none of the sparks catch. You determine that the lighter's fuel is spent, so you discard it on the ground beside the cabin's wall.\n\nYou step back and drink in your surroundings: the small cabin rests on the edge of a large forest, with the door you just exited facing away from the trees. The treeline extends off either side of the building and continues beyond the torch's glow. You wonder what else is out here and decide to either [[walk along the treeline]], [[head away from the forest]], or [[take your chances in the woods]].
You dash into the cabin and nearly dive into the fireplace. You remember seeing the corner of an old lighter among a pile of ashes, and it is this you now seek. Strangely, the lighter is no longer visible on top of the pile, so you begin to dig through the ashes. As your fingers run across the bottom of the hearth, you notice the smooth stone abruptly turns to rough hewn wood. Brushing away the ashes reveals a hidden trap door beneath the fireplace. The lighter seems to have vanished. Perhaps it has fallen into the chamber below? You consider [[opening the trap door]] but hesitate, wondering if you shouldn't just [[stay above ground]] instead.
You glance around the room for something to use as a weapon. You spot a stone on the face of the fireplace that appears slightly askew, and you try to wriggle it free without making too much noise. The stone releases with a small puff of dust, and you creep toward the now-silent window, your weapon at the ready. You hesitate before the window and realize that you are uncertain of what to do next: [[wait and listen|wal lighter]] for a moment, or [[bash the window|btw lighter]] with your rock.
"No," you say.\n\n"Good," he says. "Good, indeed." He moves toward a counter on the edge of the room and motions toward it. "Do you need some water?"\n\nYou somehow had not noticed that your mouth was dry. You feel like you haven't produced saliva in years. "Yes," you say.\n\nWhile the man fills a small paper cup from the tap, you glance around: rows of pods, all closed, make a line down the long white room. A large, blinking computer stands at the far end. Several screens and panels on its face are filled with data, images and information. You hear the tap shut off and the man and walks a filled cup over to you.\n\nYou take the cup, though you realize that you have no reason to trust this man. The water could very well be acid for all you know. For this reason, you consider [[asking the man to drink first]] instead of [[gulping the water down]].
You pace from one end of the room to the other, trying to make sense of the situation. You can remember nothing of the world outside the cabin, much less how you came to be in this place. While walking past the fireplace for the tenth time, you notice a glint of metal from within; a worn lighter rests among the ashes at the hearth's bottom. You consider for moment whether or not to [[take the lighter]], wondering if perhaps it's better to [[leave it alone]].
The door creaks open. Everything before you lies under a thick blanket of night, offering no answers to the many questions burning within you. You can make out the silhouette of an [[unlit torch]] resting in a sconce mounted on the wall to your left. You hesitate before [[walking into the darkness|with a lighter]].
You make your way along the treeline, the glowing torch fighting off the darkness as you walk. Distant howls and screeches roll across the open landscape, the cover of the thick forest growing more inviting by the minute. \n\nA loud gurgling noise emits from a spot only a few feet behind you, and you freeze. Your eyes dart to the trees mere inches away, and you consider [[diving into the woods]] rather than [[facing the source of the noise]].
You take hold of the worn handle and gently push the door. Despite its rusty hinges, it glides open and the interior lights blind you for a minute. You squint and shield your eyes to see a large room, well-lit and lined with marble tiles. At the center of the room, a small pile of gold ingots is stacked neatly.\n\nYou begin to suspect this is a trap and consider [[turning around|different path]] at once, but curiosity compels you to [[approach the treasure]].
And you figure the voice knows best. You take a running jump over the wall of flames and land, crouched, beside the torch. The inferno all around wraps itself around your clothes, but you ignore the heat and reach for the torch.\n\nYour hand, you realize, is engulfed in flames. A final thought enters your mind, and you realize the foolishness of your actions. You feel no pain, however, as the flames fade away and the world around you goes black. \n\nYou awake suddenly, though [[you remember nothing]]...
"Who's there?" the voice asks.\n\nThe pain in your neck intensifies and quickly tunnels through your spine. You cannot help but offer a plea to the omnipresent voice: "S-stop!"\n\nThe voice remains silent.\n\n"Please." The pain nears your lower back and compounds by the second. "Make it," you say, interrupted by shortening breaths, "stop!"\n\nThe voice answers. "Oh, God..." You hear several clicks and a single, elongated beep. "I'm getting you out."\n\nAnd with that, the pain subsides. You find yourself, once again, in the dark. You're laying down this time. A sudden, unknown noise, seeming only inches away, gives you a startle.\n\nThen [[the world opens up]].