Rusty Hammer

This is the second part of an adventure series where YOU determine the next step in the story. Read part one.

You stagger to your feet and the room spins. So does your stomach. As your body expels breakfast and blood onto the floor, you know something is very wrong. You crouch over your own vomit, hands on your knees, sweating and breathing heavily. You focus on the pink splatters of protein shake swirling around your boots. Even though you inhaled it this morning in the mess hall, you knew it tasted funny. Now you know you were drugged.

You wipe your mouth with the back of your hand and stand up straight. Your eyes lock on the workbench and you cross the room in three steps.

The bench has been repeatedly ransacked and the tools left behind are subpar for a maintenance shed, much less an armory. In a dirty pile you see a rusted hammer and various screwdrivers and wrenches, all heavy-duty. You grab the hammer and give it a swing. The balance is good and the claw is at least menacing. It will have to do.

You use the hammer to sift through the dirt. In the back right corner, the claw catches on something large under a tarp. You reach for it and pull it out. It’s a flak jacket just like yours. Blood is caked everywhere and obscures half of the name tag. You scratch off some of the blood. Zuniga. You don’t know a Zuniga. You pull off the name tag and slip it into your pocket. If you find your way back to base, you can report the missing soldier.

By moving the jacket you uncovered a few other items: a quart-sized paint can and brush, a small flat head screwdriver, and a full 9mm clip. No gun. Nearby is a thin chain. Instead of dog tags, it bears a crude symbol made of twisted paper clips. You lean closer for a better look. Three, possibly four religious symbols have been combined into one. You work on tangling the chain around the head of the hammer.

As you finish, a deafening boom fills your ears. The walls shake. Dirt showers from the ceiling. Terrified, you grab the hammer and whirl around. Another slam erupts from the right side of the room. A light fixture smashes to the floor just a foot away. Another slam now, from the left side. In the pause between, you hear wings.

You’re being flushed out.

Doesn’t matter. You’re done here anyway. You pocket the clip, the small screwdriver, and the paint brush, and scoop the paint can into your arm. You run to the blood-splattered interior door. Raising the hammer, you open the door and rush outside. The door closes softly behind you, barely dampening the noise.

You’re in a narrow hallway with thick gray carpet. To your right, the hallway is long and you see a light at the end. Blood covers the wall and cakes the carpet all the way down. To your left, the hallway is dark but may be just as long. It appears thoroughly clean. Directly across from you, on the wall, someone has left a message in blood.

“And when the thousand years are expired, the Beast shall be loosed from his prison.”

What do you do?

A: Take the bloody hall to your right.
B: Take the dark hall to your left.

Vote in the comments or on Twitter. Voting ends Tuesday night. The highest vote will be the next step in the story, posted on Fridays.

Image courtesy of Sam Ley.

UPDATE: The voting is now closed. The A’s have it. A final count has been added in the comment section, in case you’re curious. The next step in the story will be posted Friday. Many thanks for everyone’s participation.