After a moment of pondering, you sigh and smile. Without a word, you make your choice known and sit down beside your two new friends. It must be a sight to behold - two human kangaroo hybrids, sitting on the ground next to a dingo human hybrid, but at this point, you don’t care much. You’re tired.
“Good, you’ve still got a functioning brain,” Maggie says with a snort. “Honestly, had you thought about hopping along, I might’ve just dragged your sorry ass back. It’s late, this day has been a royal bitch, and I think we all need the rest.”
You chuckle. “You’re right, you’re right.”
Silence falls over the three of you.
Your eyes wander up to the night sky - the moon is big and gleaming, not a full moon but fairly close to it. The sky itself is teeming with stars, hundreds of them exposed since what little clouds there are happen to be in the far distance. It’s a beautiful, serene thing to bear witness to, and you almost forget about everything that’s happened to you thus far, about this weird… world.
“I wonder where this place came from,” you remark. Your mind is wandering alongside your eyes as you stare up at the stars. “I mean, is this some kind of government project? Is there a mad scientist responsible for it all? Or is this just a really realistic, weird shared dream that we’ve all stumbled into?”
Maggie grunts. “I stopped trying to figure that shit out a while back, ‘cause all it’ll do is give you a damned headache. There’s no answer. Or, if there IS an answer, I haven’t seen any hint of what it could be in all the time I’ve been doing this.”
“I think it’s better not to worry on it too much,” Erin says. “I don’t get the sense that this… place, I guess, is some big, top secret experiment or whatever.”
You finally look back toward the two women. “You think so?”
Erin shrugs. “I’ve been coming here a lot, mate. I’ve come and gone, and I’ve never had any problems. No random text messages or emails telling me that I have to keep my mouth shut, no strange people in suits and shades following me… none of that shit you see in movies, you know? It’s almost like… when I wanted to leave, a door would pop up, and I could leave. And I never had any weird external force pushing me to return. It was always when I wanted it.”
“Huh,” you say.
It’s strange, of course, to sit and actually think about it all - about the logic behind everything, and about how… well, how unnatural the whole place is.
Being able to stick on a costume to transform into a half-animal hybrid in of itself is like nothing you’d ever heard of before, let alone would you have ever stopped to think that such a thing could be done. And there’s also the whole ‘if you die, you get brought right back at the start’ aspect. That, though, isn’t something you want to think about, at least not at a time like this.
“How far do you think this… erm, not-Australia landscape goes?” you ask.
“So many bloody questions,” Maggie remarks, though she’s smirking. “Actually, that’s a good question to bring up. Been wondering about it myself for a while.”
“To my knowledge,” Erin says, “and this is more of an educated guess then an answer, but, I think it’s… I wanna say about one to maybe two days’ worth of traveling in any given direction. There’s no cities or towns or settlements, that I know of.” She frowns. “Think it’s all entirely wilderness. Lot of open flatland with plenty of grass and trees like you saw before, some hills here and there, couple rivers and lakes. Last I saw, there’s one wooded area that way.”
She points to the right, past the cave you came out of. “And there’s a mountain range further off that direction.” She angles her pointing to behind all of you. “No clue what lies beyond any of that, though. I’ve got a hunch, but, that’s it.
“I wonder…” you say. “What’s your hunch, Erin?”
“I think this place is split up into biomes,” Erin replies.
“Biomes?” Maggie asks. “The fuck kind of biomes?”
“Like landscapes?” you offer, though you frown. “Or more like continents?”
“A little of both,” Erin says. She folds her arms and takes a moment to ponder, a thoughtful look crossing her face. “Me and Maggie were IN Australia, right?” She eyes you. “But not you. You came from the U.S., yeah?”
“So you chose a set of doors that brought you here, to this area,” Erin says. “Those notes that tell you how the rules for this whole crazy world works, they talk about habitats and all that shite. Makes me think that there’s got to be more then just an outback-esque area. I’m betting there’s got to be other areas that are attached to it, maybe like a video game, where, if we go past a certain point, we’ll end up in the snow or in a highland, something like that.”
“Ohhh…” you say.
That makes sense, you think. Not logical sense, no, but, it makes sense given what you understand about this world. You glance to the left of you, past the trees, and then around to simply peer about - it’s hard to tell given the fact it’s nighttime (even with the moon and stars casting plenty of light), and given the fact there’s trees and hills that kind of make looking far a little tricky.
Even so, it has you wondering.
It’s not so much that you’re all that concerned about figuring out the ‘secrets’ of this place - that doesn’t interest you, not enough to really dwell on it (you’re curious, like any normal person would be, sure, but hey, you like going with the flow). Rather, you wonder what else there is out there in this world. And who.
That brings up something you’ve not thought much on, at least not till now.
‘I wonder… how many other people are here?’ you muse. ‘I’ve only seen just us this whole time. Haven’t seen anyone else, or any real life animals. Are there any actual animals here? Or is it just people in animal costumes?’
You ponder this and consider asking your new companions the question - though you also note that they likely want to rest, especially Erin.
‘Maybe I’ll ask later,’ you think. And yet… your curiosity is incredibly strong.
You glimpse over at the pair, to see how they look. Both women appear wide-awake, though, so it doesn’t seem like you’d intrude on them trying to sleep (if they plan to). In fact, you don’t even know if you NEED to sleep, or if you CAN sleep when in costume. That’s not something you ever thought about, even though resting on the grass feels great. This just makes you think more…
You weigh it over - do you want to ask now or hold off for later on?
Written by Hollowpages on 10 January 2021
The end (for now)