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All posts for the month March, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure Story: Trapped in The Castle

Published March 29, 2014 by julietstubborn

The dungeon door slams shut behind you. The dungeon is bare, except for various kinds of mould on the walls. And the only sound you can hear after the reverberations from the door have subsided is the drip of something… You do not know why you have been put in here. There is only one window high up on the wall, with bars across it.

Do you:

A1) Hammer on the door until someone comes to answer – you hammer on the door for what seems like hours, until your hands start to ache and bleed. Eventually someone opens the door just enough to be able to shout at you for hammering on the door, they go to shut the door again but you shove your foot in the door and demand to know why you’re there. After all you didn’t offend anybody in the castle did you? The guard tells you if you insist on a confession to the lord then they can take you up in handcuffs. You allow this. The guard edges inside the door and places handcuffs on your wrists before opening the door fully and leading you out. You start to walk up the stairs with the guards do you:

A2) Attempt to climb up the wall and see if you can wiggle the bars loose – You try to climb up the wall, but they are too slippery from the multitude of mould growing on them. You fall and hurt your hand.

A3) Wait for the door to open, they must give you food at some point – After a while, the dripping noise starts to drive you mad, do you:

 

A1) B1) Attempt to escape the guards while they are taking you upstairs – You find it difficult to overpower the guards as you are currently climbing up stairs wearing handcuffs. As you try to escape, one of the guards escorting you grabs at your clothes and you trip on the stone stairs. The guards tell you if you can’t be good, they won’t let you confess. 

B2) Go calmly up to speak to this Lord – As you walk you see inside some of the rooms of the castle, in one room is a masked ball, in another is a giant game of chess. You walk past some stairs which must lead down to the kitchens as you can smell food from the stairs.

B3) Go up relatively calmly but complain to the guard about how unfair this all is – You start complaining about your treatment to the guards, who to your surprise stop escorting you up the stairs and start to complain to you. “It’s alright for you. You think we like this job…”

 

A2) B4) attempt to find something in the dungeon which could help you reach the window – There is nothing else in the room, that you can use to stand on, but you do notice a small piece of paper shoved between one of the bricks. The piece of paper reads “The ladder to the stars is here, I can see it. I have only to leap.”

B5) Attempt to find something that may help your hand, since it’s really starting to hurt. – You start to examine some of the mould, just incase some of it turns out to be really good for pain relief. There is one that seems to glitter slightly, but you are not sure if it is just the last of the light. By night fall you have not found anything that may help your hand, but as moonlight streams into the dungeon, you notice the mould on the wall is now glowing. Do you:

B6) Find the source of the dripping noise – Sometimes the dripping noise seems to be louder, other times if you stay in the exact same position, it seems to go away completely. You wait until it is loud again and look around the room to see if it is rainwater coming in or something normal like that. You see nothing, as the dripping noise gets quieter again, you think you hear a small sigh.

 

A3) B7) Ignore it and continue waiting for the inevitable food – The food arrives! But before you can get to it, it is immediately devoured by a score of mice, which seem to come from nowhere.

B8) Try and find the source of the dripping noise – The dripping does not seem to be coming from anywhere in particular, but at times, you seem to be able to hear a slight sigh, though that may just be from the dungeon next door, you tell yourself.

B9) Double check around the bare room, checking every corner to make sure you haven’t missed anything useful – Half covered by mould you notice a small knife in one corner. It is too blunt to do anything useful with. Do you:

 

B1)C1) go up calmly to speak to the lord, sulking as you go. – You go into the main hall, with the lord of the castle sat at the front. The guards say you are here to confess your crime and throw you onto the stone floor. It hurts your knees. “Confess?” says the Lord. “This one has nothing to confess. They just annoyed me. They were speaking too loudly in the market place, or something like that…” The lord stops talking and stares at you for a minute. “Actually, I think that was somebody else. You can let this one go. I have no idea how they offended me.” The lord gestures to the guards, who un-handcuff you. You leave the castle by the main entrance.

C2) Go back to the dungeons with them. – This was stupid. You are now back in the dungeons where you started, but the guards are ignoring your hammering on the door.

C3) Head butt one of the guards. – You head butt one of them and he falls down the stairs, but as you are in handcuffs, the other guard grabs hold of you and puts you back in the dungeon. Now you have actually committed a crime, you will not be allowed out of the dungeon for another week, unless you want to be put in the stocks instead.

 

B2)  C4) Attempt to overpower the guards now and go to the kitchens – the guards have lessened their grip on you as you have not struggled so far, so you run away from them easily and down to the kitchens. You run past a room with roaring coming from inside it. Knowing opening this door will cause a distraction for you, you push open the unlocked door and find a dragon chained up inside. You unchain it and climb on its back. You escape the castle by dragon.

C5)  Attempt to overpower the guards and go to the masked ball – the guards have lessened their grip on you as you have not struggled so far, so you run away from them easily and run into the masked ball. You pick up a mask someone has dropped on the floor and when the guards come in you put it over your face so the guards do not recognise you. You join in the dancing and go home when the party is finished with everyone else.

C6) Attempt to overpower the guards and go to the chess game – You run away from the guards and make it to the chessboard, where after the guards have failed to run after you a bit. They agree to play a game of chess with you for your freedom. You start, but unfortunately you can’t play chess and lose half your pieces in about three goes. You are put back in the dungeon.

B3)C7) Tell the guards they should quit their job if they don’t like it so much – The guards laugh at you, they can’t quit their job. They shove you into the main hall where the lord of the castle is sat. On seeing you he says to the guards “I thought I told you to put this one in the dungeons until further notice?” “They wanted to confess, my lord” says the guard. “Confess? I don’t need them to confess, they did nothing wrong! I just wanted them out of the street for a bit, they are a very annoying person. Put them back in the dungeons until morning.” You are taken back to the dungeons by the guards.

 

 C8) Ask why they don’t like it – they mumble a bit about it being unfair because the lord just puts people in the dungeons if he finds them a little bit annoying. Then they whisper to each other a bit, and you don’t catch it but they gesture towards you multiple times during the conversation. After a while, one of them unlocks your handcuffs and tells you to run for it. You run out the castle over the drawbridge and back into town before they have a chance to change their mind.

C9) Tell them you have it worse than they do, because you were in a dungeon five minutes ago – The guards start to argue back, saying you are a prisoner and shouldn’t be talking at all, and they are only taking you to the lord to confess out of the goodness of the hearts! You shout back and they take you back to the dungeons, saying they won’t let you see the lord until you’ve apologised to them. You are now back in the dungeon.

 

B4)C10) Ignore the piece of paper, as it’s clearly nonsense – You watch a mouse run in from somewhere. You see a tiny hole in the corner where it squeezed in from and you go over and start to chip away at the hole. You are still doing this.

C11) Wait for nightfall and the ladder to the stars to arrive – When night arrives, a ladder does not. You are about to give up when you notice something glowing on the opposite wall. It’s the mould. You pick up some of it in your hands and place it down under the window. As the moonlight hits the  mould, it starts to grow upwards towards the window. It creates a mould ladder that you can climb up to remove the bars and escape through the window. You do so, but you land in the castle moat and get hypothermia whilst escaping.

C12) Keep the piece of a paper in case it’s message becomes clear later and resume looking for cracks in the bricks – You put the piece of paper in your pocket. As you do so, you hear a voice saying “That is how to escape.” You turn round to find a ghost stood right behind you. They point to the mould on the wall, and say “Wait till nightfall then place it beneath the bars and do not fall in the waters.” Then the ghost ghosts away and you are left alone. At nightfall you do as the ghost says because you don’t have any better options. The mould catches the rays of moonlight and grows into a ladder which you can use to escape after removing the bars. Remembering what the ghost said about the water. You pull the ladder through the hole with you. The mould is changeable, so it fits through the hole easily enough and you place it across the moat as a bridge. You run across it and escape into town.

 

B5) C13) Assume it is the last of the light and continue looking for pain relief for your hand, You are still looking for something for your hand. It would help if you knew anything about plants, but you don’t, so you just keep looking.

C14) Poke at it. – It wriggles away from you. The mould is alive. You pick some up and throw it down on the floor to see what will happen. To your surprise it grows into a ladder which is strong enough for you to climb up, dislodge the bars and escape through the window. You land in the moat and swim to the other side, getting only a slight cold as you do so.

C15) Smother it on your hand to see what happens – The mould seems to melt itself into your hand and take the form of your hand, it grows up your arm and looks as if it will overtake your whole body until you are made of mould. You scream but the guards do not answer. You join all the other ghosts of the castle and spend your time haunting the guests with the other long gone lords and ladies.

B6)C16) say “Hello?” out loud – To your surprise someone does seem to reply, but it is coming from far away. It may be from the other side of the door, or from outside the window. “Well I’m not out there.” comes the reply as you peer out the window on your tiptoes. The ghost of a woman is stood before you. She disappears through the door and unlocks it for you as you promise to search the moat for her lost necklace. In the moat, you scrabble around for a bit, before finding right at the bottom an old rusted necklace coated in mud. You fish it out and hand it to the ghost. This is why they were trapped here. The ghost wisps away into nothing before your eyes and you run off into town.

 

C17) Continue looking for the source of the noise, it might be air escaping from somewhere which means there might be a way out! – You crawl around on the floor searching for somewhere air might be coming in from, eventually you give up and lie down in the middle of the floor. When you look up, you scream. The ghost of a woman is on the ceiling. The ghost says she can help you escape if you do something in return for her. You ask what she wants done. She says you must find her necklace that is at the bottom of the moat. You agree. She lets you out and helps you escape to the moat. You dive down, after multiple attempts you have not found the necklace, but promise the ghost you will create a new one for her just like it. She agrees to this, although she cries too, and you notice as she cries the water in the moat fills up. As that is where she lost her necklace, her tears were what made the moat in the first place.

C18) Hurl yourself at the door repeatedly until a guard comes along. The dripping noise is driving you mad after all. – You throw yourself at the door about three times, before you hear a voice behind you. “Well that’s not going to help you at all you know.” You turn to see a ghost girl sitting on the small edge of the window, nonchalantly picking at her fingernails. You start to scream, but the ghost puts up a hand to stop you. “I could unlock the door for you, but what would be in it for me? If I let you escape you, you must search the moat for my lost necklace” You agree, so the ghost goes through the door and unlocks it for you. You get to the stairway, but the guards spot you and put you back in the dungeon. The ghost says she won’t help you again as you’re obviously stupid and she ghosts away to another part of the castle leaving you alone in the dungeon.

 

B7)C19) Beat the mice off with your hands, you waited for this food dammit! – The mice run off and you eat all the food: stale bread and some sort of indeterminate soup. Someone comes along to take away the cutlery almost straight away and they tell you the lord has changed his mind and you are free to go, as long as you don’t ask why you were put in the dungeon in the first place that is.

C20) Try and deduce where the mice came from in the first place – You find a small mouse hole in one corner of the dungeon and put your hand inside. Something from inside the hole grabs your hand and starts trying to pull you through the tiny mouse hole! The guard comes in to take away your food and shouts for the other guards. They all come in and try to pull you away from the thing that has grabbed hold of your arm. They eventually do so, but there is a bite mark on your arm. The guards gravely decide that you must be held here for another week in quarantine, as you may turn into whatever that thing was.

C21) Scream. You don’t like mice. – If you had a chair to jump up on, you would have done so. The mice scatter, there is no food left, but you could use the cutlery to pick the lock, if you can stand picking up the mouse cutlery. Whole you are making a decision about this the guards open your door and tell you, you are free to go. The lord has dropped the charges, as he can’t remember what they were in the first place.

 

B8)C22) Go over to the wall to see if it’s louder there – It doesn’t seem to be louder but you can hear a strange whooshing noise coming from the room next door, like a bird’s wings flapping, but giant bird’s wings. There is a loud crash, like a door being rammed down, and the door to your dungeon is burnt down in a blast of fire. There is a dragon standing at the door. All the guards have run away, before it breathes fire again you run round the back of it and grab onto its tail. It races up the stairs, bruising you as it goes, but you carry on holding on. The dragon flies out the drawbridge and you crawl up onto its back and fly with it.

C23) Assume it’s wind coming through a loose bar in the window and try to climb up the slimy wall to pull it out – You try and climb up the slimy brick wall and fall a few times, eventually you have dislodged enough of the mould that you can balance on the edges of some of the bricks. You grab hold of the bar in the middle of the window and pull. The bar dislodges immediately and you could now squeeze through the gap in the window. You do so, but you land in the moat and a guard sees you swimming to the other side. You are put back in the dungeon.

C24) Say “Hello?” out loud in case it’s a person – Someone does answer. It’s the guard from outside. He was doing a patrol and heard you say “hello”. He runs and gets you food as they had forgotten to give you any before, thinking this dungeon was empty. You are still in the dungeon, but they gave you the really nice leftovers from the banquet upstairs to make up for forgetting you.

 

B9) C25) Take it anyway and arm yourself with it so when the guard comes round you have a weapon to fight your way out – The guard does eventually come round to give you food, but the guards have swords, they tell you, they were going to let you go as the lord has pardoned you, but now you have threatened a guard, they will have to put you in the stocks for a week. At least the stocks are outside though.

C26) Leave it where it is – You leave it where it is and eventually a guard comes along with a cake left over from the banquet upstairs. They tell you the lord is drunk and has allowed all the prisoners free as long as they take cake with them, because there was too much at the banquet.

C27) Take it but put it in your pocket until you really need it. – The guards come along and tell you, you are free to go, but you feel like you should do something with the knife now you have it, so on your way out you drop it into the moat and watch it float down to the bottom. A guard sees you, and tells you that dropping anything into the moat is against the lord’s laws. You are put back in the dungeon for breaking this law.

The Remains of The Day (Kazuo Ishiguro) Review

Published March 10, 2014 by julietstubborn

Set in 1956, The Remains of The Day follows Stevens, the butler as he travels to Cornwall to meet with a housekeeper who used to work with him – Miss Kenton. The old English house where he works – Darlington Hall – has recently been bought by an American man and while most of the staff have left, Stevens has stayed.

“There is no virtue at all in clinging as some do to tradition merely for its own sake. In this age of electricity and modern heating systems, there is no need at all to employ the sorts of numbers necessary even a generation ago.”

The book is narrated by Stevens, so the writing style of the book is very professional and precise as Stevens is. The American Mr Farraday, unlike his previous employer, banters with Stevens and talks to him as if they are friends. Stevens does not know what to do in these situations, whether he should joke back, this upsets him as he feels it is unprofessional if a butler cannot tailor his service to fit his employer. So he takes to teaching himself how to banter with Mr Farraday, he goes about this very precisely and you can tell from his efforts that it is not something in his nature.

“It may well be that in America, it is all part of what is considered good professional service that an employee provide entertaining banter…It is quite possible, then, that my employer fully expects me to respond to his bantering in a like manner, and considers my failure to do so a form of negligence.”

As Stevens travels, he spends much of his time thinking about the past and reminiscing, though many of his reminiscences are about other people rather than himself such as his old employer Mr Darlington, his own father etcetera. He is not as important as they are in his head.

“It was one of those events which at a crucial stage in one’s development arrive to challenge and stretch one to the limit of one’s ability and beyond, so that thereafter one has new standards by which to judge oneself.”

The writing style is very formal throughout the book, which while this can be a little annoying to read, it makes sense as Stevens is the sort of person who is never informal and does not really know how to be.

Nothing is overly dramatic in the book, or dramatic at all. Even the main plot of the book – why he is really visiting the housekeeper rather than writing to her – is dealt with in what turns out to be a very small amount of sentences. Again, this is because of Stevens’ character. The main part of the book is taken up with his reminiscences. Stevens’ hopes that in looking back he will find a way of fitting into the present world and the future.

The characterisation in the book is amazing, it is easy to believe this is a true memoir, and although the formal writing style can be annoying, the book and the character of Stevens would not work half as well without it.

Choose Your Own Adventure Story

Published March 1, 2014 by julietstubborn

It’s quite complicated to map out on here, as I can’t change the font colour, but the story should still be do-able. Just find the number 1 options, and then the first three number two options, if you picked 1a, or the second three options if you picked 2b etc. Hopefully the story is still enjoyable! There is also a video of the story available here.

You awake in the forest with no memory. You know something must have happened for you to end up here, but no idea what. Your shoes have been removed and thrown in the branches of a nearby tree. You can also hear the sound of a stream coming from behind you.

1a) climb tree to retrieve shoes – You reach the top of the tree and see a cottage about a mile away. There is smoke coming out of the chimney, it looks like someone is inside.

1B) Go to stream behind you

1C) Walk deeper into the forest

2a) climb down tree and walk towards cottage – Someone is cooking food inside the cottage, you realise how hungry you are. You peer through the windows, whoever you thought you saw inside does not appear to be there at the moment they may have gone to get firewood. Do you:

3a) go in the cottage disregarding everything you’ve ever read about how dangerous cottages in the middle of woods can be.  You go inside and start eating straight from giant pot of food cooking on the stove, the food is delicious, you hear a noise that might be the door but carry on eating, someone walks up behind you and pushes into the boiling liquid. You are now Witch Stew.

3b) Wait for whoever lives in the cottage to come back and ask for food – You wait a long time, a very long time, in fact you are still waiting, waiting is your life now, waiting is all you remember.

3c) walk past the cottage in the hopes of finding whoever lives there – You come across a man cutting firewood with an axe, he takes one look at you and screams, it turns out you have a scar on your face, the man calls an ambulance for you on his mobile phone they take you to hospital and treat your injuries, but you never remember who you are or why you were in the forest.

2b) climb down tree and continue into forest – you are very hungry and thirsty, you should have gotten a drink from the stream. Just before you pass out you start to notice strange shapes in the forest. you awake at night and notice you are being carried. On opening your eyes, you see the same strange shapes you saw before you passed out Do you:

3d) Shut your eyes again and hope they go away – They are aliens and they perform a living autopsy on you, you should have kept your eyes open.

3e) Keep your eyes open and try to find out who or what is carrying you – You cannot tell what is carrying you, but they seem to be taking you aboard something. You see them in the lights of the ship you are now on and realise they are aliens, before you can do anything about it they knock you out again and experiment on you. They then leave you in the forest and you awake with no memory and three options for what to do.

3f) Scream like a normal person would. – They panic and drop you, running off. You remain lost in the woods all night and eventually decide to just build a cottage and live there out of stones. Now you live in the forest.

2c) climb down tree and wash mud off shoes in stream – you find an old rowing boat at the stream with a bottle of water inside it, you take this to clean your shoes and then fill it up with water to drink. Across the stream there is a worn path through the woods, that may lead to a main road. Do you:

3g) row the boat across the stream and follow the path to the main road – You reach the main road and attempt to hitch-hike. Eventually someone stops and asks where the hell you’ve been. It is your mother, you’ve been missing for three days. At least she said she was your mother as you climb into the car.

3h) wade through the stream – it’s not that deep – to the path instead – The stream may be shallow but it’s also very rocky, you trip on a rock and knock yourself out, when you awake you have your memory back, you were kidnapped by a florist, but are still lost in the woods.

3i) Go back into the forest to find another path – You eventually find a path that suits your weird path needs and follow it. You are still following this path. There’s a good chance you are going in circles, but still you follow the path because you’re so stubborn.

1b) go to stream behind you – you see a small rowing boat with an oar laid on it.

2d) row down stream in rowing boat – you row down the stream until you are out of the forest, a house boat goes past you now you are back in civilisation. They see you and offer to take you aboard.

3j) Go aboard the boat – you tell the people on board the boat that you lost your memory and they offer to let you live on their boat, which you accept.

3k) decline and continue down the river in your rowing boat – You should have listened, they were going the opposite direction for you and now your headed for a waterfall.

3l) ask them where you are before deciding anything– They say something that sounds like the river GOOLD. You have no idea where that is and so you row over to the side of the river to look for street signs you may recognise. You still don’t know where you are, but you made it out the forest.

2e) search inside rowing boat – you find one water bottle, one shoelace and an empty notebook with a page ripped out, you continue looking for the page and notice that the seat in the middle of the boat is hollow, you take it apart and find the missing page, slightly damp but still decipherable. The note says: Roses are near. Do you:

3m) rip the note apart and throw it in the river – As the water melts the paper, you see the outline of roses on the page. They were doodles of some kind. You pull the piece of paper back out of the water and see if anything else has been made clear by the water. It is an entire letter saying you are running away from home, but it was not written by you.

3n) assume it’s a clue of some kind and walk into the forest to find where the roses are growing – You eventually find a patch of wild roses, but they do not give you any clue as to anything. You go back to the stream and start again.

3o) ignore it as it’s clearly nonsense. – you go down the stream in the boat until you are at civilisation and ask for help from the first person you see.

2f) wash mud off your hands in stream – you wash the mud off your hands and notice there is something glittering at the bottom of the stream, it is stuck under the mud and will not move.

3p) find a rock to dig it out with – you eventually dig it out. It appears to be some form of locket, though it has really sharp edges, you prise it open and find a rose petal. This was important for some reason, it belonged to you, but you cannot remember why. You are still pondering this.

3q) dig it out with your bare hands – It has sharp edges and you cut your hands, your hands bleed so much you have to give up. You start again.

3r) ignore it and walk into forest – you find another empty cottage and decide to live there rather than in civilisation.

2g) search camping site for food – you do not find food, instead you find a compass, a mobile phone with one bar of battery left and a photograph. Do you:

3s) use the last of the phone battery to take a selfie and see if you are the person in the photo – You are not. This disappoints you. You put the now dead phone away and keep the photo in your pocket before continuing past the campsite and carrying on walking till you eventually reach the main road where you can hitch-hike.

3t) use the compass to find your way out of the forest – Following north, you find your way to a small village called Penty village and you decide to live there, where no-one knows you anyway.

3u) put everything back where it was and continue searching for food. – You eventually find food: one packet of space raiders. You eat these walking to the main road and hitch-hiking somewhere.

2h) start a fire with their matches so people can see smoke signals and rescue you – it works, someone phoned the fire brigade after thinking there was a forest fire, and the fire brigade came to find you. The police are also here, it turns out you have been a missing person for the last three days and they want to take you home. Do you:

3v) go with them in the hopes of finding out who you are – They take you home, apparently your name is Ashley, but it is a long time before you remember any of your family and you never remember what happened to you while you were missing.

3w) Ask if they can not take you home as you have decided you want a new life – They accept this and they set up a place for you to live: a council flat in Birmingham.

3x) run away – You run away from the police that you summoned into the forest and trip and knock yourself out on a rock, when you awake the police have taken you to hospital, your memory is back and your mother is waiting for you to wake up.

2i) continue past camping site – You wander further into the forest and when night arrives you hear the sound of music coming from nearby, there are campers who offer you alcohol.

3y) Join the camp site and get drunk – You get drunk and end up telling everyone at the camp that you’ve lost your memory, they decide to give you a new one and you spend the rest of the night coming up with a life story and names for yourself. You go with this new group the next day and assume your new identity where you are referred to as No Name.

3z) join the camp site but refuse the alcohol – You start talking to a drunk girl who insists you are someone she knows called Jordan, you decide to go along with it and go home with this group the next day with your new identity.

3aa) Ask if you can just sleep there as you are tired. – you fall asleep almost instantly despite the loud music, you awake in the morning to find the campers have already left, you are in exactly tyne same position you were yesterday and have the same three options.