The sign reads
"Welcome all new travellers.
To continue you must go through a series of doors.
After going through you will pick a costume. You will then become a half- human and half that creature.
After a week(100 mins a hour,20 hrs a day,10 days a week) has passed you may morph and get another costume. To start of with you will only be able to become 40% human to 60% human.
If you put on a costume you will then become that creature, be teleported to it's home town and have to wait a week before being able to morph.
After 50 costumes you may change into one of your other costumes and become 30% to 70% human. When changing costumes you must wait at least an hour before you can change costumes again.
100 different species/gender costumes allows you to gender-morph and become 20% to 80% human
200 different species costumes allows you to combine costumes and become 10% to 90% human
400 different species costumes allows you to return to your world with no more morphing
And 800 different species costumes makes a polymorph and allows you to morph outside of this world.
Also if you have a costume like a centaur then the human part will always be human and is counted towards the human percentage.
Any gender/species transformation magic of yours can only change your gender(if you have at least 100 costumes) and the animal part to a different animal.
When you change into a different costume (that you already have) you may teleport to that species home town but you will have the week penalty where you have no costume changes.
If you die while wearing a costume you will be reborn at the local inn (or appropriate location ). If you have more then 100 costumes you will lose the costume you had when you died and go to an appropriate place for your next costume.
If you fail to make it out in 100 years(100 weeks in a year) one of your possible forms will be chosen and you will be permanently stuck in that form(apart from magic) until you die. Also there will be no possibility of going back to your world.
Also, one final note: should you take a female form and become pregnant, you won't be able to change your gender until the child is born, though the other aspects of your form may change (the child will change to match.) That is all, and good luck!
You realise that you have to do what the sign said to do and go through the doors and grab a costume.
Alternatively you could use the key system to determine the room
Illustrated by catprog
Written by Catprog on 11 February 2004
You go through the door.
All of a sudden it slams shut and with no handle on this side it appears that you are stuck.
There are two more doors however and both of them have a sign on them saying
Costume room for
So which door do you want
Illustrated by catprog
Written by Catprog on 26 February 2004
You go through the door.
All of a sudden it slams shut and with no handle on this side it appears that you are stuck.<P/>There are five costumes in this room, all of them female, all of them are normal land creatures.
- Snake <li><span class="female">Wolf</span></li>
Written by Catprog on 26 February 2004
You notice a furry pouch and stick it to your body.
Suddenly the fur expands and quickly covers your body replacing your clothes.
You look down remembering this was the female room and thus down there has changed.
You feel your new tail stretch out as your legs reshape into the powerful legs of your new form.
You feel your ears go pointed.
You feel a change up in the chest area as it grows to a decent size.
You feel your inside turn to liquid and reshape and you are done.
Illustrated by dragon-storm
Written by catprog on 18 December 2007
When the transformation is complete, you blink a few times before another door manifests in front of you. You try to walk toward it, but, you find that being in the body of a kangaroo makes walking feel almost awkward, not to mention the shape of your legs and new body make it a little difficult to attempt - you remind yourself that kangaroos don’t ‘walk,’ they hop.
‘Right,’ you think to yourself. ‘I don’t have full human legs anymore, which means…’
You look down and give a sigh, knowing that you’re pretty much going to have to start moving by jumping around instead of walking or running. So, you try to hop.
Your first attempt at a hop is humorous to envision watching, mainly because it feels so strange to you to move via bouncing. In fact, you move so strangely, you almost trip over yourself and end up bonking into the door. You teeter back, mildly dazed, but, you manage to shrug this off. You sigh, knowing you’ll need to adjust to this quickly to avoid making a fool of yourself.
‘And of course it had to be a female kangaroo form,’ you muse. You’re not super bothered by it, but, at the same time, the pouch isn’t exactly something you’re used to having attached to your midsection. ‘Couldn’t be a male one. Or, heck, couldn’t be something that walks around normally. Nope. Kangaroo.’
You shake this off and grab the door knob, then turn it.
To your astonishment, the door opens up to a vast land that is lush and fertile, and not at all like where you just came from. You force yourself to hop out of it and find this hop is a bit smoother than the previous - and after a few more hops, you feel like you’re getting the hang of moving that way.
Then, you stop.
First, you turn back to find that the door has shut, and, it fades into the background completely, leaving you in this new wild area to yourself.
Then, however, you look around, and you take in the sights more clearly.
You’ve ended up in a teeming forest environment, filled with towering trees stretching on and up toward the sky, and smooth, flat grassland with several hills at either side of you. In the distance, you can see mountains looming, while you turn to look back over your shoulder to find that there is a lakebed not far behind where you stand. The air is warm, with a faint breeze, and the sky above is clear, allowing the sun to beam down freely.
‘Is this… Australia?’ you wonder.
You’ve never been to Australia before, so you can’t say for certain.
The sign mentioned taking you to the respective creature’s habitat, and since it’s not like kangaroos are naturally found in the United States or somewhere common like that, it makes the most sense that you’ve ended up in Australia.
But for now, you shrug this off, and you decide you want to explore the area you’ve wound up in to see what may be around, and if there are any others like you in similar costumes - you’ve got a lot of time to kill in this body-changing costume, after all, and there’s no sense in spending that time staring off into space.
‘Besides,’ you think. ‘I still need food, water… gotta figure out where all that is so I don’t end up dying and getting stuck in some random costume.’
You begin to bounce forward, moving at a slow pace as you adjust to the motions proper; it’s still strange to you, the sensation of moving with both legs in unison by hopping, and it feels like the tail you’ve sprouted is acting like a sort of… guide, almost, to keep your body balanced. But you do feel more and more comfortable with it as every second goes by, and every bounce is performed.
‘Kangaroos do have superhuman legs, after all,’ you muse to yourself.
While you hop about, you end up going deeper into the forest. The trees are thick and large and numerous, but they offer a great deal of shade to you, as you stop feeling the sun’s frequent heat baring down on your body once you’ve gotten further into the thicket.
‘The air feels almost cooler here, too,’ you muse. You can feel it brush against your fur and the parts of you that don’t have fur. It feels quite nice, and is soothing to you. It carries with it the smells of the trees and grass.
‘Interesting…’ You breathe in deep, soaking in the atmosphere and the scents. Your nose seems to be a bit stronger than it was when you were a human, since you feel you can pick up some rather faint scents like the woodsy aroma wafting in the breeze. ‘This whole place is like something out of a fantasy book.’
You mostly spend this time moving slow and glancing about, checking the area for any other signs of life. You don’t know if this is actually the real Australia, or, if you’ve wound up in some weird dimension or whatever. You do concede that you wouldn’t be surprised since, well, you’re in a female kangaroo’s body right now, with a pouch and a tail and all that. Who knows what could be going on.
In terms of actual wildlife? You hear… something. You think.
You halt your bouncing and perk your ears up. Your ears are bigger and considerably stronger than they were before, of this you are certain, so you pick up a better concentration of sounds as you turn your head to and fro.
You can hear some birds chirping in the distance, although you can’t pinpoint exactly where they may be - and among those birds is the laughing sound you know to be a kookaburra; its humorous cackling is definitely the loudest sound among anything else you hear, and it echoes from the far distance.
As you stand there, soaking in this atmosphere, you also get the distinct sensation you’re being watched by something. You don’t know what, but, you feel the fur on your neck and arms start to stand upright - whether that’s the kangaroo aspect or your human self bleeding through, you’re not sure, but you don’t really care enough to ponder on that long. You feel uneasy, for sure.
‘What kinds of animals would be the predators to kangaroos?’ you wonder, trying to wrack your brain for the fuzzy memory of what you knew regarding Australian wildlife. ‘I know when they’re babies they’d be vulnerable, but, as adults… hmm. I know humans would be, but, that’s kind of a given, so…’
You can’t recall, even now as you try to think it over.
A rustling noise further to your right snags your attention. You turn to stare in that direction, but, you can’t see anything through the sea of trees. But you know you didn’t mishear, and, as you stare there, feeling tension spread through your body, you get the dreading sense you should leave the forest.
‘Shoot,’ you think. ‘Great. Now what?’
You freeze up and try to figure out what to do. You aren’t sure if you want to test it or not - for all you know, the rustling could be some small woodland creature just trekking about for food, but it could also be something bigger or potentially more dangerous. And you are no condition to take any chances; especially since you know nothing else about this environment.
‘Do I stay and see?’ you think. ‘Or do I turn and go back into the open area?’
The rustling occurs again. You need to choose, and quick.
Written by Hollowpages on 13 August 2020
You decide that maybe backtracking a little would be the wisest, at least until you can figure out what could be rustling about in the forest. Besides, you remind yourself you’re not some professional fighter or survivalist for that matter - you need time to figure things out before you can even begin to do anything crazy. And this? This is definitely way too crazy for you to handle.
‘Gonna nope out of this one, for now,’ you think.
You turn your body and start to hop backwards, when the rustling gets louder, and in a flash, something leaps out from the bushes where the noises were coming from, landing right in front of you somehow. You freak out and leap away in a rather mighty bound that takes you by surprise - and in the midst of this surprise, your back smacks into a nearby tree.
Your heart races, but, you blink when you see what’s now standing before you.
It’s another kangaroo! Only this kangaroo’s body is… not the same as a normal kangaroo (and you would know, given your partially-human form). In fact, you find yourself gawking when you realize it’s a male kangaroo, yet the facial features are not at all masculine - they’re distinctly feminine instead.
“G’day. And sorry about the fright. Overshot my jump.”
You blink a few more times. The kangaroo has spoken, and, not only is it perfectly pronounced English with an accent, the voice is also decidedly that of a woman, if a little deeper-sounding. You stare at this kangaroo, trying to make heads or tails of what on earth is going on in front of you.
The male-bodied kangaroo shakes its head. “You’re not hearing things, mate.” The smile they have is human, very much human. “And you’re not seeing things, either. I’m not an illusion. I’m in the same boat as you, just on the flipside of things for the costume I ended up with is all.”
You slowly come to the realization, and, your brain starts to catch up with you.
“Well, go on then,” the woman - you think? - says. “You can still speak, I’d gamble, right?” They look at you. “Sorry again about the scare, though.”
You suck in a quiet breath, clear your throat, and, do so. “Uh.”
There’s a beat of silence. You feel a flush from your cheeks as the kangaroo woman eyes you with a broad grin - amusement is obvious on their face.
“Go on, try again,” they say. “You can talk the same as you could before, just gonna sound a bit different is all.”
“Y-yes,” you say, at last. Your voice comes out fine, and you sound much like you did before all this - the only difference is that your voice is a little lighter in pitch, and slightly softer than it used to be. Probably because you ended up choosing a female bodied costume. “…this is… this is something else.”
“Aye, definitely is,” the other kangaroo says, nodding, then they snicker as they appraise. “Ha. So you’re a yank, I take it, eh? Sound like one from the voice, which ain’t a huge deal. Somehow, I’m not surprised.” They snicker. “Thanks for not trying ‘sound’ like a typical Aussie - bloody bogan tourists can’t help themselves, and it’s a right mess whenever they try to be one of us.”
You shrug. “Hadn’t… erm. Hadn’t really crossed my mind to try.”
Your voice is strange to hear, you feel. You are definitely going to need to get used to that shift, at least until you get a new costume.
“Eh, no worries,” they say. “Born in Queensland myself, but spent a good ten years over in the States.” They pause at this and hop over toward you - they are noticeably bigger and bulkier than you, that’s for certain. “Name’s Erin. Yes, I’m a woman, I just got a new knob attachment for the foreseeable future.”
You give her your name, and she nods at this, still grinning.
“Take it you just came outta that room, huh?” Erin asks. “Chose yourself a door, then another door, bam, you get to stick on a costume and here you are?”
“Yes,” you say.
You’re a little relieved to know you’re not the only person around in that situation. This Erin person definitely has a knowing expression on her face, and there’s a hint of familiarity in her dark eyes.
“It’s a lot to deal with at once,” you admit, and you glance down at your furry form. “Especially when, you know, you end up in the… erm… the body of the opposite gender.”
“Yeah, been down this road a few times,” Erin says, and her tone is one of calmness and understanding. “You get used to it. Being able to change up the costume after a while can be a bloody pain, but, it depends on the kinda person you are and what form you’ve been given.”
You can’t help eyeing her. “You don’t mind having a male kangaroo body?”
She snorts out a laugh. “Oh, mate, I’ve been in a male body a lot thanks to these costumes. It’s strange, sure, but,” she shrugs, “ain’t so bad after awhile.”
Silence falls for a moment, and you aren’t sure what to do next - you didn’t expect any of this to happen when you went through that first door, so you are admittedly at a bit of a loss, being stuck in this costume for a long stretch of time. You are at least somewhat thankful to be in the presence of Erin, though.
Before you can speak, you stop when you hear something further off - a howl, a very high-pitched and eerie howl, that echoes from afar and seems to seep through your ears and into your very bones.
You gawk at the sound. “Is that… a wolf?”
“Dingo,” Erin says. She’s looking the same direction as the howl.
Your eyes widen. ‘Dingo! That’s what it was…’
You recall that dingoes are one of the more prominent predatory animals in Australia that you can actually think of right now. And no sooner do you recall this do you realize that a dingo might be one of the few creatures that could prove to be a threat to a kangaroo. They’ve got sharp teeth and can travel in packs…
You? You’re in the body of a lone kangaroo. Not good odds.
You look at Erin. She seems alert and there’s an air of earnest tension forming around her, though she doesn’t seem nearly as worried as you are.
“Do… do we need to be worried about that?” you ask. You feel like it could be one, but, maybe there’s more for all you know. It’s hard to tell exactly.
“Definitely not something we should ignore, mate,” Erin says. She nods her head to the side. “Let’s get outta this spot and move. You can ask your questions and learn from me when we’re safe, ‘cause the last thing your arse needs is some silly bugger dingo wanting to make a meal outta you.”
She starts to hop away, back the direction she came from, and now you find yourself wondering whether or not you want to follow her. You could follow her, sure, but, do you want to trust some stranger? Or do you want to go your own way instead? Your mind races, and you try to ponder your next move carefully.
Written by Hollowpages on 15 August 2020
You end up swallowing your reservations and choose to follow this Erin person. She’s the only one you’ve met so far, and since she claims she has experience, you hope to learn a bit more from her about all this insanity. Plus, you’d rather be safe than sorry trying to be on your own right now. There’s also that.
The two of you bound your way through the trees, deeper and deeper into the forest. You wonder where it is she’s going, but, you get your answer when the ground begins to move upwards into a grassy hill that carries up and then on.
‘Does Australia have hills like this?’ you wonder. You honestly don’t know, but, you’re not in a place to dwell on this for very long. It probably does, you think.
Said hill then morphs into a raised portion of land, and you follow Erin up this, hopping at the same brisk pace she’s moving at. You find, after a few minutes of this, that you are more elevated now, on a large hill where the trees have continued to sprout and tower over the land. You see Erin is leading you deeper in, toward a lake area with a cave right above it.
She stops near the lake, and eyes you as you stop next to her.
“This little place is somewhere I come to when I need to hide out,” Erin says, nodding to the lake. “Get yourself a drink, mate. Water’s clean and cool.”
You blink a few times. Then, you lower your head down and use your furry hands to cup some of the water. It feels cool to the touch, and you bring it up to your mouth to sip it. It feels lovely running down your throat; and it tastes fresh and clear, just like Erin says. You drink a few times to ease yourself.
“Thank you,” you say to her.
Erin nods and grins. “Anytime, anytime.”
The howl ripples through the air, but it’s further away from you now, and lower. You can’t see where it may be coming from, however, due to the elevated land area you find yourself at now. Plus, the trees block most of your line of sight.
“Bloody shitheads,” Erin mutters. “You can never tell with those howls if it’s an actual dingo or someone like us, wearing a dingo costume.”
You pause at this. “Would someone like us… be a threat?”
She scratches her chin with one hand, thinking. “Honestly, it’s always the toss of a coin when it comes to that sorta rubbish. You might think ‘ah, well, no way is this bloke gonna try and off me’ and then suddenly he’s chasing your arse around with the goal of killing you for shits and giggles.” She shrugs. “Depends on the person, I’d wager. Some are real bloody arseholes about it.”
You stare at her, a little perplexed. The idea just doesn’t compute with you.
“You read the sign, right?” Erin asks.
You nod. “Yeah. I read…”
It dawns on you after a heartbeat. You recall the wording of the sign, and how it talked about ‘if you die.’ Then it clicks for real that in this context, death…
“Are you telling me we’re… we’re basically immortal?” you ask.
She laughs at this for a moment. “Ah… mate, no. We ain’t immortal.” She’s smiling wide. “I mean, I’d love if that were the case. It’s more…” She pauses and seems to mull over the words she wants to use. “It’s more like we’re in a video game, yeah? If you die, you respawn at an old checkpoint. Only thing is, you lose all the progress and all the shit you had on hand at the time. You gotta start over from scratch in a random body, if that makes sense?”
You nod. The sign got that across, but hearing it now helps you understand.
“Does that mean you…?” you trail off.
She snorts. “Aye, I’ve been whacked a couple times. Not proud of it, but, sometimes fate stinks something ripe, lemme tell you.” She smiles at you with a teasing look. “Fortunately, you learn a few things when you ‘lose’ at this game. Makes surviving easier so you can avoid dying like a fuckwit.”
You nod silently and muse over this.
You don’t really want to ‘die’ in any sense of the word, even if you end up back at the start again. The thought doesn’t sound pleasant whatsoever, so, you decide you want to be smart and as careful as you can be during this time.
“So what exactly is there to do?” you ask Erin. “Besides hop around, I mean.”
Erin chuckles. “You do what the creature does, honestly, there’s no other method to the madness. You live in the great outback in this case. Look for food and water, explore, basically, you survive and learn on the go. It’s the wilderness, mate. You basically got yourself into a long-standing camping trip, just with the added benefit of being stuck in a half-human body.”
You cock your head to the side. “Does being half-human do more for us?”
“Oho, mate, you bet your sweet arse it does,” Erin replies. “You’ve got the added strength of a human, plus the thinking prowess.” She taps the side of her head as she eyes you. “You can think better. You can reason and logic. Plus, you’ve got twice the physical abilities as a normal roo does.”
“Huh,” is all you say, and you look at your hands again.
You don’t FEEL any stronger than normal, but, you suppose you haven’t really had the time to explore any of that. You shelve this consideration for later on.
“Question becomes, what do you wanna do with yourself now, eh?” Erin asks.
You ponder this. “I don’t know. Honestly, I was in the midst of starting to explore when I ran into you, and then we fled from a dingo…”
Erin nods. “Well, there’s plenty of ground we can cover. We got that cave there,” she gestures to the cave, “we can chill here for a while, we can go back down to see if the dingo’s gone, or, we can go explore around the area.”
These options aren’t necessarily bad options to consider, it isn’t that - what has you frowning is that, well, it seems like there are a lot of things without real end goals in sight. You don’t know if there’s a reason to go into a cave, or, if there’s a necessity to go roaming about beyond probably looking for food later.
‘Great, I forgot what kangaroos eat, too, now that I think about it,’ you muse.
“Or you can tell me to bugger off and do your own thing, that’s fine,” Erin replies, and she’s smirking as she says this. “Wouldn’t bother me if you did - I can be a right bitch when it boils down to it, and I don’t wanna drag down your enjoyment of this whole debacle. Choice comes down to you, mate, ‘cause I’m cool with whatever. Not gonna be sweating anything anytime soon.”
She leaves it at that, and now you get to decide what you want to do.
‘I have options,’ you think. ‘And yet, it feels like I don’t have options… hmm.’
You aren’t sure, but, you start to consider your next step. Do you stay with her? Do you go off on your own? And if you do either, then, what will you do next?
Written by Hollowpages on 17 August 2020
You can’t help but be a little curious as you think about all this; you recall how your introduction to this woman was her bounding out from the bushes and landing in front of you. You’re pretty sure a kangaroo can’t naturally jump that high and that fast, so, you decide to stay here for now and…
“How did you jump that high up back down there?” you ask.
“Oh, that?” Erin says. She snorts. “That’s easy to do. No normal roo can do it, either, if you’re wondering - pretty sure it’s a benefit to being half-human.”
You furrow your furry brow. “Then I can do the same?”
“Probably,” Erin replies. She gives you a glance over and smirks. “You’ve got yourself a sheila’s body, but, I doubt that would affect your jumping strength. You wanna try it for yourself, do you?” She rubs her hands together and motions to the flat area around you. “How you do it is simple - you concentrate your strength into your legs, yeah? And when you jump, you have to treat it like you’re jumping as a human the same instant you do the motion.”
You blink a few times. “That’s it?”
She makes it sound like it’s simple to do despite the fact you’re not a normal human anymore, but, you do remind yourself she has experience, or so she’s said she has. Still, you admit you want to try it out for yourself - after all, being able to leap that high could prove useful to you for survival reasons, right?
You turn your body and hop a few times to be clearer from her and the lake.
‘Jump like I’m still a human, she says,’ you think. Along with focusing your strength into your legs.
You suppose what that means is you put your power entirely into your feet, and when you think of jumping as a human, you remember how you did that - you crouch down a bit and breathe in slow. As you breathe out, you spring your body up and leap, the energy expelling from your bigger feet while you do so.
You end up jumping quite high into the air! So high that you freak out a bit from the sheer surprise, and you abruptly crash down onto the grass in a heap.
Erin chortles from where she’s standing. “Not quite like that, but good effort!”
You grumble and pick yourself up by pushing against the ground, which proves to help you right yourself quicker. You feel a little tingling from the impact, but, it’s far from being all that painful.
“Try doing it while you’re moving,” Erin says. “And don’t think so hard! Just do!”
You nod as you absorb this. ‘Okay, okay.’
You hop back a few spots from where you were before, then turn around and start to prepare for another attempt. This time, you start to hop, and as you do, you bring your feet down and put all the weight of your body into your feet; and when you move forward, you spring up and expel that energy again.
Your legs push against the ground, and your body sails up into the air, a good few feet higher than any kangaroo could naturally hope to jump, so high you feel lighter than the air itself as your stomach jumps up with you.
When you come down, you remain calm, and your feet absorb the impact and all your weight. They sting, but, it’s a brief sensation of discomfort.
You stop, and your arms flail. But you feel good inside because you did it!
‘Whoa,’ you think. You nearly fall again, yet your tail helps keep you balanced.
You glance back at Erin, who is bounding toward you, except she leaps into the air in a single, fluid motion, jumping even higher than you did. You swear she’s floating through the air as she gracefully lands on the ground beside you.
And when she lands, her tail drops down to the same level as her feet. She does a smaller little hop seconds after the landing, too, before she is still.
“Your tail is almost like a third leg,” Erin remarks. “Treat it like that, and you can learn to use it to help not only keep your balance, but also to jump higher and land much smoother.” She winks. “Keep that in mind, yeah?”
“Thanks,” you say.
She nods. “No sweat. Took me a while to get the hang of it myself.”
“Maybe if I practice it enough I’ll get adjusted to it,” you say. You can feel the energy swirling in you, and with it, you feel excited. “I never dreamt I’d be able to jump that high before. It’s like… not quite flying, but…”
“Gliding through the air, I’d say,” Erin remarks. She smiles again. “When you learn to master the motions and the landing, and you do it from start to finish… bloody hell, it’s fantastic, mate. It’s like gliding through the air in these great, big bounds. Just remember that your stamina ain’t infinite, and if you land wrong, you can still hurt yourself. Definitely gotta be careful with it.”
You nod in understanding. “What else can we do? That you know of, I mean.”
She taps her chin, providing a humorous image given her form. “I’ve been in this body for a bit longer than you, I’d gather. I would say we can climb faster, because our upper body is notably stronger than a common roo’s. Thing is, our primary strength comes from our legs, and not our arms.”
You wriggle your furry toes around in the grass. “Makes sense, I guess.”
“Yeah, roos in media always have superhuman kicks,” Erin remarks with a snicker. “And it’s for good reason. Think more along those lines, and you have a broad grasp of what we can be capable of. Just don’t try kicking any boulders, or you might hurt yourself.” She winks. “We’re not superhuman, remember.”
“Well, I guess, then, maybe I should…”
Before you can finish, that howl rips through the air again, only it’s much, much louder, and much, MUCH closer than it was. You and Erin turn to the direction you both came from, toward the start of the hill, and you realize…
“It’s followed us,” you say. Because of course the dingo decided to follow them.
“Aw, piss,” Erin mutters.
“What do we do?” you ask.
She looks around and points. “We can go to the cave and hide out, wait and see what this dingo is and what it wants, or we can flee the other way. What do you wanna do? And be quick!”
Your mind races.
Written by Hollowpages on 19 August 2020
You don’t know why you’re the one that has to decide this, but, you don’t know how fast this thing is or if you can outrun it proper. But you do NOT feel like sitting around and seeing if it’s a friendly dingo or a wild, savage animal that wants to try some kangaroo-slash-human meat.
“I guess the cave, then,” you say.
“Good choice,” Erin says. “C’mon, then.”
She starts jumping toward it and you follow suit. You hear the howl again, but, you try to ignore the sense of impending dread filling your stomach as the two of you leap up to the path that takes you into the cave’s maw. It’s way too dark for you to see how deep it goes, but, right now, you don’t care.
Seconds after you enter the cave, you find the air itself has chilled a lot - you can feel it is colder inside, and the air seems a little thicker, too.
You try not to let it bother you as you follow Erin deeper in, unsure of whether or not this will prove to be a good idea, or a horrible one. Her hopping slows, and so you slow as well. You end up moving at a slower, steadier pace.
The ground is soft beneath your furry, large feet, yet coarse to the touch. It’s not painful to feel, but, this, combined with the rocks jutting out at random points, and the myriad of pebbles and little dips you spot, means you need to be much more careful going forward. You don’t need to get impaled, or run into some thick rocky wall, or trip, or get your feet stuck… none of that.
“Eesh,” Erin says, quieter now, but audible enough for you. “I forgot how dark this bloody cave can be when the sun ain’t hitting it just right.” She grunts. “Piss. At least it ain’t so dark that we can’t see anything in front of us, but, watch your step all the same, yeah?”
“I assume you’ve been in here before?” you ask.
“Aye, a handful of times,” Erin replies.
“And… where does it lead?” you ask. “How big is it it, anyways?”
“No bloody clue,” Erin admits.
You stop then, and you look around. The cave is dimly lit enough that your eyes have adjusted to it, somewhat, but, you don’t exactly feel comfortable going into a big, dark, unknown cave when you don’t know where it goes.
“You don’t know?” you ask Erin, confused.
Erin pauses to look at you. Dark as it is, you can see her features enough to register the sheepish expression she’s giving you.
“To be honest, I… erm.” There’s a beat of silence as Erin groans. “I’ve only explored to a certain degree, okay? I always try to go deeper and deeper in each time, but I end up getting a bit freaked out, so, I’ve never really gotten to the end of it, if there even is one.”
You blink a few times. “Oh.”
“What?” Erin crosses her arms, and the image is admittedly humorous given the fact she’s in the form of a tall, bulky male kangaroo. “YOU try delving into a large, creepy, stinky cave on your own. Ain’t exactly something you can be prepared for in this state,” she gestures to herself and you, “and for all we know, the cave could be a dead-end. Or, it can have some big-arse hole in it that we fall to our deaths in. I haven’t been in the mind to test that out fully.”
You concede to this point with a nod. “Fair enough.”
“Look, we can take our time, for now,” Erin says. “And I know a good amount of this cave, so I can say without a shred of doubt that there’s gonna be a fork in the road coming up.” She points forward. “We can figure out how to proceed when we get there. Cave’s definitely going to mess with the dingo, either way.”
“Are you sure about that?” you ask. You don’t really know her, but, more than that, you don’t know if this is actually going to be beneficial. For all you know, your idea will get one or both of you caught by the dingo, especially if it turns out there’s a dead end just waiting for you to run into it.
She smirks. “Definitely. Take a whiff. Tell me what you smell.”
You frown at this, unsure of what that has to do with anything, but, you take her advice and do so - you breathe in deep, and you smell… you don’t know exactly, but your nose scrunches up as several less than pleasant odors hit your nose at once. The air is stale and musty, for sure, and you can smell the obvious odor of dankness, which all seem to meld together at once.
You make a noise of disgust.
“Stinks, don’t it?” Erin asks. “The cave reeks something fierce, but that’s a good thing. Means the dingo, whether or not it’s like us or a normal one, will have a harder time tracking us via smell. Deeper in we go, the better our chance is of losing the bugger. Now, let’s get moving, yeah? Hop to it, mate.”
You stare at her curiously. “Did… did you really…?”
She gives a grumble. “Yes, I did, I realized right when I said it.”
You smile at this, but, only briefly. Then it’s back to following Erin into the cave.
After a few minutes of slower, more cautious bouncing into the darkness of the cave, you come to another stop, only this time, it’s because you have found the ‘fork’ that Erin was referring to. Before you, the cave splits into three different paths, one that goes straight, one that goes left, and one that goes to the right.
“Which we do we go now?” you ask. You look from one to the other to the other. “These all look like they go different directions. How does that help us?”
“That’s the thing,” Erin replies. “I dunno which is the ‘best’ to go. But, it doesn’t really matter at this point, I’d say.” She nods to the splitting paths. “I’ve gone down all three at one point in time or another. All were safe for as far as I went into ‘em, so, that’s on our side. Thing is, we should be quick about picking where to go.” She eyes you thoughtfully. “What do you think?”
You furrow your brow and look from one path to the next. Three different choices, but you have no clue which is the right one to go down - you can’t tell where any of them lead, save for maybe the central path that goes straight.
Yet even that one is so dark, you don’t see what’s ahead. You only have Erin’s reassurance to work off of, and that’s it. So what way do you want to go?
Written by Hollowpages on 21 August 2020
You shake your head, trying to decide. It’s not easy when you have three choices instead of two - that’s not even a fifty fifty split by then. But, you suck this down, and you end up choosing: center path for the time being.
“I guess center, then,” you say.
She nods. “Right. Okay, good. Then you go down the center path and see where it’ll take you. Me, I think we should split up to give the dingo two separate targets to chase rather than us both going down the same path together.”
You pause to stare at her. “Wait, wait, what? Split up?” You don’t like the sound of that one little bit. “Isn’t splitting up always a terrible idea in these kinds of situations?”
She sighs. “Normally, I wouldn’t suggest it, but, think. There’s one dingo, yeah? So one of them and two of us means if we go separate ways, then we can confuse it. Worst case scenario, it’ll chase one of us down, but you look like you’re plenty smart enough to handle it. Just be cautious and don’t do anything too stupid, yeah?”
You continue staring. ‘This feels like something stupid…’
“I’ll go the left path,” Erin says. “We’ll meet up again. If you really want, we can take about five minutes to trek in further, then wait to see what happens.”
She turns and starts to hop down the path before you can finish. You watch her go, and you can’t help but let out a huff of annoyance at this - perhaps doing this was a bad idea, and so was putting trust in someone you literally just met…
‘Damn it, you gotta be kidding me,’ you think.
You can hear something far back from you, though, and it sounds like movement. Heavy movement. You grimace and then start to bound down the central path, and you hope that doing this will work to your advantage.
You find that the small tunnel you’ve entered seems to teeter back and forth, winding to the right, then the left, then the right again, for no apparent rhyme or reason. But still you push on, keeping your pace brisk, yet still paying attention to everything ahead of you and around you. The path starts to shrink, however, as the seconds go by. You find yourself getting squished in to the point where mobility is almost impossible for you given the fact you move by jumping.
‘Figures,’ you think.
But still you squeeze on through, until after a good minute or two of this, the path opens up a bit more. You keep going, and then, at last, it opens up to a much larger ‘room’ for the cave. Here, you halt your jumping, and you glance around to take in the vicinity for anywhere you can safely hide and wait.
You spot a few nooks in the walls of the cave, and a small ledge to boot.
‘Bingo,’ you think.
You hop up to the ledge, which has nothing to its back beside the cave wall. From here, you turn and face the direction you come from, and now, you wait in silence. You wait to see if the dingo chasing you and Erin is coming after you, and if so, if it’s a person in a costume, or an actual wild dingo.
For a moment, you hear nothing.
Your heart is racing, of course, so you hear that thudding away in your chest, but you keep your eyes and ears peeled for the dingo - you don’t know exactly what to expect either way. If it’s a wild dingo, then you suppose you can use your human ‘ingenuity’ against it somehow. But if it’s a person in a costume? You’re less certain.
‘I mean, would a person want to, I dunno, kill me?’ you think. ‘I don’t know a normal person would, unless…’
You recall what Erin said earlier, but you don’t know if you fully believe what she’s said. She’s given you no reason to doubt her, mind, yet the fact she wanted to split up at a time like this really doesn’t settle well with you. Maybe she’s right to do it, maybe not; you don’t have to like the idea either way.
‘Maybe this is a game to them,’ you consider. ‘Damn. I don’t know. There’s so much being thrust at me, and I’ve only just started getting used to being in a female kangaroo body. Never mind having to run for my life and hide!’
Still, you remain in place, and you listen.
You hear something eventually, and it sounds like movement. Loud movement, too, until it stops. You try your best to listen as close as you can, and you swear you hear what sounds like sniffing, perhaps. There’s sniffing, followed by some sort of grunt - it sounds like a grunt of annoyance, but you can’t be certain. Then, the movement seems to… go the other way?
‘Did it get stuck in that area I was having a hard time with?’ you wonder.
That makes the most logical sense, especially when the sound of something moving grows quieter and quieter until you can’t hear it at all.
You feel your throat go dry.
‘Maybe it did,’ you think.
You leap down from where you were resting and very, very slowly, you trek toward the entrance to the cavern you’re in. You stand not quite near it and you put your ear closer, listening in. Either the dingo did start to come down this way and decided to go after Erin, or, something else was following you.
Nothing. No sound. Not the wind, not feet pads on the ground, not rocks.
It’s a little unnerving to hear nothing down the way you came, but, you consider the possibilities - either the dingo decided to go after Erin, or, it decided to go the other path, or it left. Or, hell, for all you know, the dingo could decide to try coming down the central path after you a second time. You don’t know, yet you do know that you don’t like being split up like this, not in this scenario.
‘Great,’ you think. ‘Well. Now what? I don’t think I want to stay here for too long, because something else could be lurking about. But, then…’
You consider that you could go back the same way and hope for the best. Or, you could stay here and wait a while longer, just to be safe. One way or another, you know you won’t be able to remain in this dark cave forever.
You close your eyes and suck in a deep breath. ‘Decisions…’
Written by Hollowpages on 23 August 2020
Dingo Bingo II
You end up choosing to leave the cavern, because you don’t like the anxiety of not knowing what the hell to do with yourself - and while you may be annoyed that Erin opted to split up, you can’t shake the idea that sticking together is the wisest choice to do, especially when you still know so very little. You’ve had barely any experience in this madness, whereas she has said otherwise.
‘Please don’t run right into the jaws of death,’ you think.
You start to hop down the path you came from, and you end up in the same spot you had trouble moving through because the walls were smaller, and again, you have to work to move given how tightly compacted it is.
Yet you halt midway through this and look down - there are tracks there. Tracks that are shaped like a wild dog’s, or in this case, a dingo. So then the dingo HAD come after you, probably first, yet it ended up stopping and then turning around. You can tell from the tracks it did this. But what you can’t tell is if the tracks you’re staring at are bigger than normal dingo footprints or not.
They’re big, for sure, but you hesitate to think them too large.
‘Forget it for now,’ you think. ‘Focus.’
You push this aside and start moving again, trying to be quick and quiet and cautious all at once - quite the jumble of different things. It takes a few minutes again to push through the compacted portion of the path, then, it starts to open up more and more until, eventually, you reach the portion of the cave where you started from, where it split into three different tunnels to pick from.
Here is where you stop, because here is where you now have to figure out your next course of action.
You can see the footprints and claw marks on the ground that show the dingo went after you. And now, as you glance at the other two tunnels, you spot the same marks that lead down the path Erin took. You start to think that the dingo has decided to go after her next.
‘I wonder how far she got,’ you think. You prick your ears to the side and listen.
You don’t hear anything out of the ordinary down that path, although it does veer to the side, so you consider you’d probably have to go down it a bit to hear anything, anyways. With a heavy inward sigh, you hop down it a few times so that you’re angled more toward the direction it goes - the tunnel seems to be a straight shot once it’s gone to the one side, at the least.
Now, you listen again.
And you can indeed hear something further in, the padding of feet on the ground. It’s faint, and growing distant with every passing second, but it’s all you need to hear to know the dingo has decided to go after Erin. If anything, that means it’ll be preoccupied, yet you don’t want to abandon her to it if it’s something that wants to kill or hurt her. Stranger or not, you aren’t the sort to just turn the other way, not in this sort of situation.
You sigh internally and started to trail after the dingo, and in doing so, trail after Erin since she went down this path first. You keep your pace moving slow and cautious again, mindful of whatever is around or in front of you, since you don’t know what else could be lying ahead, or where Erin’s gone off to.
‘I hope this isn’t a stupid idea,’ you think as you bound onward, although you know it probably is. ‘Erin… so help me, please let this work out for the both of us. I don’t feel like falling down a massive hole or getting eaten by some dingo, real or hybrid.’
But on you go regardless.
Written by Hollowpages on 25 August 2020
Dingo Bingo III