Kris was unsure of what to do in terms of picking a choice. This seemed like something out of a video game, but, she didn’t know what the best choice to make was. She wasn’t a nature survivalist, or a skilled hiker, and it wasn’t exactly every day you found yourself with a woman that looked like a Thundercat.
She clicked her teeth together. “I guess… finding shelter is the best choice?”
Shayla eyed her for a moment before cracking a smirk. “To be honest, yeah, it probably is. Too many risks involved in us pushing on when it gets dark. You never know exactly what you’ll run into in these parts.”
Kris rubbed her eyes, her mind slowly soaking in… everything.
“I don’t get any of this,” Kris said. She glanced back the way they’d come, and she thought about how she’d started off on a normal, peaceful walk, only to end up where she was now. “Am I in some… some alternate reality now? Is that what this is? Or has all this been around and I just never saw it before?”
Shayla gave a snort. “You stuck around, so, I’ll give you the scoop I’ve got. But we should get moving. I’ll explain as we go.” She paused, her catlike eyes scanning the horizon before them. “I can think of a few spots we might get lucky in. We need to get moving, though.”
Kris groaned inwardly and picked herself up. She wasn’t accustomed to being on the move this much, least of all in the wild, as it was getting dark. Yet she had no choice, and, even so, she was still very, very curious to find out more about.. well, all the madness she’d somehow gotten herself sucked into.
Shayla nodded once Kris was standing. The two started moving together, Shayla still favoring her wounded leg, though being forced to run the way she did appeared to not have added to the pain. Kris was mindful, either way, and kept her pace relatively slow to better match the taller woman.
“So,” Kris said. “What, uh… what do you know?”
Shayla sucked her teeth. She waited for the pair to breach the forested area, one devoid of an actual path for once, then she began to answer.
“I don’t know what the full details are,” Shayla said. “Don’t know if it’s magic, or some bizarre science experiment the government knows about, or maybe we did get whisked away to some freaky world within our world. Whatever the case is, the moment you took that path, the one that led to that shop? You made a choice that got you inserted into… something different, obviously.”
Kris rubbed the back of her neck. “I’m surprised I’m not having a panic attack from it all. I mean, the shop was weird, and the paths being next to one another was strange. Guess those aren’t that out of the ordinary when you think about them logically. But…”
“Running into someone like me sure as hell is,” Shayla finished, adding a smirk at the end. “I get it. Believe me.”
Above them, the sky was gradually beginning to darken. Kris could see the moon rising, and wondered how stupid this decision of hers would ultimately be.
“That doesn’t explain…” Kris trailed off.
Shayla sighed. “I can’t remember exactly when I found that shop. I know I was like you, normal and all that. And I know when I went in there, I went to one of the sisters’ doors - she had a wall of these really intricate human-sized costumes, and she said I could take one for free if I wanted. But, she warned me. Said that putting it on would be a ‘great change,’ and that I’d be drawn to the one that was ‘waiting just for me.’”
“That sounds… vague and kinda ominous,” Kris muttered.
“Right?” Shayla grunted, and paused, glancing about. “I didn’t pick one then. I left, because she was weird, and I had the supplies I thought I needed for a routine hike through the woods. Boy, did I learn how wrong I was.”
“What happened?” Kris asked.
Shayla sniffed several times, breathing in long and deep. She frowned, then began to move left, cutting through several thicker bushes nestled between the trees. Kris followed, wondering where Shayla was going, yet still very fascinated by the whole scenario. It was like reading a really good fantasy novel, only she was experiencing it herself - despite the fact a small part of her sincerely felt she was having one hell of a dream she’d wake up from soon.
“Let’s just say I got lost,” Shayla replied after a moment of movement. “Got lost, got tangled up in a few pitfalls that left me with less gear, and I ended up taking a nasty fall. Honestly, expected I’d die when all of a sudden, that creepy shopkeeper showed up - the oldest sister. She took pity on me, I guess, and gave me one of the costumes, the one you see on me now. A leopard.”
‘Leopard,’ Kris thought. She was fascinated to hear that, yet also fairly amused with herself since she’d guessed cheetah the whole time. She’d completely forgotten that there were other big cats with spots. Not that a normal person would’ve figured that out, of course. ‘Guess I was close in my guess… She still looks like a short-haired Cheetara from Thundercats to me.’
“Hold on a sec,” Shayla said, extending a hand to halt Kris. She breathed in again, long and deep, then growled. “Shit. Well, we’re going to have to make another choice before we continue. I can tell from smell that we’re not the only ones in the immediate area.” She sniffed a few brisk times. “Yeah, we’ve got company on both ends.” Her eyes met Kris’. “Gonna have to choose where we go.”
Kris blinked several times. “Wait, what?”
“It shouldn’t be too bad, but,” Shayla glanced from one side to the other, then back to Kris. “Which way? Right or left?”
Written by Hollowpages on 29 February 2020