There are 3 paths.
One appears to go to a jungle,
one appears to go to a cave,
one appears to go to a beach,
you could try and climb the tree,
there is a nearby shop you could go in,
or you could do something else.
So what's its going to be?
Illustrated by Catprog
Written by catprog on 01 April 2003
All of a sudden the path collapses behind you. Luckily you can still continue to the jungle.
As you do you start to grow orange fur with black stripes. You feel an enjoyable sensation as the wind rushes through your fur.
Teeth fill your mouth, so big they grow out like a sabre-toothed tiger's teeth.
Your nose and mouth then catch up. You watch as your new muzzle takes up the middle of your field of vision. Your brain is assaulted with lots of new smells.
As your ears grow pointy your hearing improves.
Meanwhile the rest of your body is changing too. You have a tail and have been forced onto 4 legs.
As look at yourself, you realise you're now a tiger.
Illustrated by DisneyStock
Written by catprog on 01 April 2003
You notice a large antelope and your stomach grumbles. You decide to hunt the antelope and start a wild dash after the antelope
Illustrated by Della-Stock
Written by Cat on 14 May 2003
Kristine “Kris” Thompson hovered about the small area with three potential paths that lay before her, feeling a wave of uncertainty bubble up in her stomach. Not only did the clearing seem new to her - she’d certainly never seen a tree that massive in the New York suburb she lived in, let alone a massive tree next to an odd, nondescript shop - yet the air around seemed… thicker, maybe, tinted with the sensation she was being watched.
“Is someone there?” Kris called out.
She waited. There was no answer.
It wasn’t dead silent where she stood, thankfully (being in a weird place with silence would’ve been too unnerving, she felt). No, she could hear and feel the wind against her skin, and she could heard birds and woodland creatures doing their business all around, enough that it didn’t feel TOO unsafe.
Of course, despite the fact she didn’t feel threatened or like she might get lost, she was still coming to terms with the fact the weird trail she’d found while out walking led to this clearing, where three completely different areas presented themselves to her. All three had obvious signs indicating them, too, with neat, yet somewhat aged handwriting.
‘But who wrote them?’ she pondered. She’d always been a curious gal.
Maybe it was whomever owned the quaint little shop hovering not far from where she stood. Kris took a few steps toward it and eyed the shop - the windows were covered by thick curtains and the door gave no sign of being open right now. She frowned. Maybe it was someone else entirely.
“Well…” Kris glanced back the way she’d come. The winding trail that led her to this area was still there, waiting in case she decided to turn around. That was something, she supposed, and yet, she couldn’t bring herself to turn around. Not right now, anyways. She wanted… she wanted to keep going.
She sighed and mulled over the options - the forest, the beach, or the cave.
“Let’s see,” she said to herself. “Dark, creepy cave? No thanks. Beach? I mean, I’m not dressed for the beach, so…” She shrugged this off. “That leaves…”
Oh, she knew she could try to climb the tree, but Kris wasn’t one for extreme heights. And while the shop was an option, there was something OFF about the building - how it was so plain and unassuming, how there was no indication it was even open. She didn’t trust it.
Even though she felt like she was in a strange dream as she lingered in the clearing, Kris knew otherwise. She also knew she had plenty of time to kill for the day since she’d finished her college courses. So, taking that into consideration, the idea of exploring a forest enticed her the most. After all, she’d gone for a walk to enjoy some quiet time in nature - she was tired of being bored and feeling lonely in her dorm room.
“I just hope this doesn’t lead to me getting mugged,” she muttered under her breath, and adding, “or worse.”
Written by Hollowpages on 02 February 2020
With that, she turned and started down the trail that led to the forest.
The trail itself started off much like the one she’d taken that led her to the clearing, with a handful of trees about. Yet, as she continued on, the trees began growing in size and in number. Within five minutes of strolling down the - admittedly clean - path, Kris found herself walking in what felt like an actual forest. The air was cool, the breeze continued, and the sounds of chirping or singing birds and other woodland animals didn’t stop.
“Jeez,” she muttered. “Is this the national park? That would make sense.”
Even so, as she continued on, she couldn’t help but think that the scope of the forested area was grander than she expected from a national park. There weren’t any other people about, and the path felt so linear, she expected to see joggers, cyclists, and the like. Yet she saw none - it was just here, walking down an empty, clean path.
‘Maybe I should go back,’ she mused. She wasn’t the bravest of people, and though she knew she had left for her walk a little after twelve, nothing good would come about her wandering through the forest and getting lost…
Funnily enough, not long after Kris considered this, she saw yet another split in the path ahead of her. This time, however, it was a simple fork in the road - two paths, one that went left, and one that went right. And there in the middle of the split - big and hard to ignore - was a wooden sign, with words carved into it.
‘But do I need to read it?’ she wondered. ‘I mean, this isn’t a jungle or some Indiana Jones movie, so… Hmm.’
Curious, yes, she was this. Indecisive… she was also that, too, unfortunately. The two did not work well together, which was probably why she was worried she would get lost - Kris knew herself well enough to know she would likely stop at some split in the road or some other place to make a choice, and she’d stand there, thinking for a good hour before making the decision.
‘Damn it, brain, stop it,’ she thought.
As she neared, she began to ponder: did she want to read and see if it told her anything of value, or, did she just want to pick one way without bothering?
Though Kris knew she could’ve easily continued and seen what lay one way - or both were she so inclined - her own curiosity and her sense of caution got the better of her. She sighed and opted to read the sign when she got to it.
After another minute of casually strolling, she arrived.
The sign appeared more ornate up close than she’d given it credit for, though the words were very large and sort of blocky. She couldn’t tell if someone wrote them by hand first, then took a knife to dig into the sign, or if someone was very skilled at carving a fairly large amount of words. She blinked several times. There were two small paragraphs on the side, one on the left, and one on the right with little arrows indicating their respective directions.
‘Someone must think the people that see this are a stupid,’ she mused.
With a shrug, Kris read the first part on the left aloud. “Go left, and you will find your heart’s innermost yearning - a child blessed by the wild, waiting for one with heart tender and mild. Though their body might be feral, they’ll bind to keep you safe through any peril. So come and you alone they shall claim, so come and their essence will you tame. Choose this path to find your heart’s ferocious love, and discover what freedom’s passion is truly made of.”
When she finished, she paused to absorb this information. If she could even CALL it actual information, since it didn’t really give her very much at all about what happened to be to the left path. Kris frowned to herself and crossed her arms. Her mind raced, as it often did, and she mulled this paragraph over.
“What the hell is this, a nature poem?” she mumbled under her breath.
No one was around, and whenever she was alone and certain no one was in ear shot, she would often talk to herself - it helped her think. And this… whatever it was, certainly needed some thought.
“None of that made any sense,” Kris said, nodding as she spoke. “I mean, seriously? ‘Child blessed by the wild,’ ‘body might be feral…’ Sheesh, it’s like they’re trying to tell me I’ll run into half-naked people living in the trees.”
Now granted, Kris did consider the possibility there might be an indigenous tribe in the area, or perhaps homeless folks taking shelter in the woods. Even so, she expected the sign to spell these details out - and it did no such thing.
‘Okay, so what’s the other side say?’
She shook her head and glanced at the other paragraph. “Go right, and you will find your mind’s innermost learning - a trial born within the isle, hoping to make your dreary life worthwhile. Though it might appear quite hard, should you keep your sense on guard, this challenge will leave your eyes starred. So come and you can test your wit, so come and with it raise your spirit. Choose this path to find your brain’s desire, and with it alight the dullness on fire.”
When she finished reading this, Kris could only gawk a little at the bizarre display. To her, it seemed like someone was trying to be poetic and clever at the same time in writing these, but they didn’t exactly do the best of jobs.
“Weird,” she muttered. “If these are supposed to be directions telling me what I’ll end up with one way or the other, they really friggin’ stink. I mean, Christ. I’m no nature guide, but even I know how to describe potential dangers.”
Kris didn’t see herself as someone who was dense - she wasn’t the smartest in her classes, she knew, but she wasn’t a slouch, either. She’d taken enough critical thinking classes in her day to know that there was SOME sort of meaning and significance woven into all this. But damn, did she not really know how to understand what they were going on about.
“I mean, love? Trials?” Her lips pursed. “Awfully big stuff to be throwing at some random person walking through the forest like this.”
She paused and peered behind her, back toward the direction with the initial clearing and the shop. She wondered if the shopkeeper or some worker there was responsible for all this. Yet, Kris knew that was neither here or there.
“Besides,” she said to herself, reasoning her choice out as though she were speaking to someone else, “if I go back and see who might be there, that’s more time wasted. I don’t really feel like going back… not yet, anyways.”
She turned her attention back to the sign. Kris paused and checked her cell phone - it was at 96% with the battery saver option, and she’d made damn sure to text her parents and a few good friends about her going for a walk. The connection was still fine, which helped ease her.
Ultimately, she knew that even with the sign’s strange attempt at rhyming poetry - or directions she supposed, crappy as they were - she was faced with another decision to make, since the only thing Kris knew was that this was starting to be quite the time killer, as dreamlike as the whole ordeal was.
She put her phone away and mulled her options over.
Did she go left to see what all the ‘love’ talk was about or did she go right to find out what the ‘mental trial’ business was trying to say?
Written by Hollowpages on 03 February 2020
After taking a good few minutes to weigh the two choices over, and taking an extra moment to send a text to her Mom and her closest friend May - and she made certain to be clear about going for a walk, finding a new path, and that she was going deeper in, and yes, she’d be careful. Once the text messages sent for sure, she wound up deciding she would take the left path.
“Okay,” she said to herself, bracing her mind for what lay ahead for her. She took one step, then another, and then began to follow the new path.
‘I hope this one is the right choice,’ she thought. After all, the whole spiel it went on about love and romance and passion…
Kris didn’t know what she felt about it, in truth. She’d never been fortunate enough to have a relationship that lasted longer than a couple weeks, or a few months at the very most. Sure, she’d dated a few guys, dated two gals, and though they’d been a mixed bag in general, Kris hadn’t walked away feeling abused or misused or anything negative. They’d all been decent in some way - but things never clicked enough for both Kris and those ex-flames of hers.
‘I mean, they were all brief,’ she added internally. ‘I don’t think I’ve had an actual date for about two years now. Three years? Something like that.’
She supposed if she HAD to consider it, deep down, she did want someone that would last - a meaningful love, a meaningful relationship. But what sort of person she wanted most? Kris wasn’t entirely sure, if she were being honest.
Her lips pursed. Kris began to think.
For whatever reason, as she began to walk down the forested trail she’d chosen, getting deeper into it, her mind started to fill with questions about love and what she wanted most in love. The questions and thoughts seemed to come from nowhere - it was like something just sort of nudged these things into her head, and they began to fill her brain with each step she took.
‘Well, I guess…’ She mulled it over.
For one thing, Kris had to be honest: she was openly bisexual, and had been since her teenage years, yet she felt more strongly about women than men. She’d always been more attracted to women - especially tall women. Throw in a fit physique with a tall woman, and give her boyish hair… and oof, she thought, was she probably going to be admiring that woman.
Her cheeks warmed. She cracked a tiny smile.
She’d always preferred more feminine-looking men - long hair, soft features, closer to her petite height - and more masculine-looking women. She couldn’t help it, it was just what she was more into. But that was appearance. Beneath appearance, with personality, Kris wanted someone who could match her in the areas she felt she wanted to be matched in.
‘Someone passionate about something in life, regardless if it’s a job or a hobby or even just relaxing,’ she thought, ticking down a mental box without even having to be prompted to. ‘Someone that likes to be curious the way I do, but maybe wiser. Strong? I guess. Kind. Playful. Jesus, I’m horrible at this.’
Kris sighed again. Despite being twenty-four, and in college, she was still having a hard time figuring her own self out. For the last few years, she felt like she’d been stuck in this dull, gray circle of stagnant living - it didn’t help that she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life, and her small circle of loved ones didn’t exactly make matters any easier for her.
She brushed a hand through her hair, breathing in deep - the smells of the forest were strong, filled with the scents of grass, dirt, and something that just screamed ‘woodsy’ to her. Potent, yet, still very pleasant smells.
Her mother was a more traditional-minded woman. The sort who wanted her to get a job, then meet a man, get married, have children, and be a caretaker at home for said children. She was supportive of Kris going to college, and a good mother, of course, but she didn’t really seem to have the same level of faith in Kris doing anything ‘big’ in her life. And her father? He was more liberal in those things, sure, yet even he was much the same with traditional thoughts.
Maybe it was their lack of pushing her and their lack of openness to her pursuing anything that really put a dampen on her trying. She wished she could say she was an artist or a baker or a writer or SOMETHING, but she didn’t know what she excelled at. She only knew she was curious, and that she was hoping to find the answers by going to college.
‘Focus, Kris,’ she told herself. ‘Let’s see where this path of so-called love leads…’
No sooner did the thought leave her mind did she hear a noise - a very loud noise, like some kind of… growl or roar? It was rumbling, guttural, and definitely not human, and Kris’ first thought was that she’d stumbled onto a wild animal that would try to maul her. Yet when it happened again, she heard it clearer and… it sounded like a pained noise all the same, like some sort of animal that was in a lot of pain.
She froze in place. Her heart started to pick up in speed. The noise came from her right, deeper into the trees. She stared at the direction, feeling frightened and unsure all the same.
‘What the hell?’ she thought.
The noise came again, ripping through the air and practically echoing in her ears. She swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. Did she want to investigate? Or did she want to keep going, preferably at a faster speed?
Written by Hollowpages on 04 February 2020
To the Noise