Oasis Disturbance Option B: Go Outside

Welcome back for the second part in this adventure =)

If you missed last week, here’s a quick recap: You rode into the desert oasis town of Caspian and received a rather cool welcome from the inhabitants. Red, the tavern keeper, agreed to allow you to sleep in one of his rooms if you promised to stay inside all night. You agreed, but midway through the night there’s a deep roaring outside and the ground begins to shake. Readers voted to go outside to investigate. (If you would like to read the start to this adventure, click here.)

Now, let’s see what happens.

Oasis Disturbance Option B: Go Outside

The subtle shuddering in the floorboards continues, growing in strength until dust floats into the air from the surface and each dry board creaks against its neighbor. Red, the tavern keeper, may have asked you to stay in your room all night but you’ve a sinking premonition that your room might not last till dawn and it might be safer to move your body elsewhere.

Door knob - Oasis DisturbanceWith a firm grip on the doorknob, you turn it carefully and peek into the hallway beyond. Darkness greets you but it’s a sleepy kind of hush, not a creepy kind. Keeping your steps soft, you exit your closet room and make it three steps down the stairs before a grating, grinding crash shakes the walls. Even before the noise stops, you notice light coming from under the door of the room you just left. It’s silvery light, like someone opened a giant window…except there wasn’t a big window in that room to open. Maybe it’s time to get out of town, you decide, and take the last six steps down to the bar two at a time.

Before your feet finish thudding on the landing, someone’s got you by the arm.

“Should’ve told you to leave town!” Red shouts. He spins you toward the back door where you assume the kitchen sits.

“How do I have anything to do with this?” you shout right back, both from his rough handling and from your surprise.

By now, Red’s shoved you through the kitchen and toward the door outside. He lets go of your arm to swing the door open.

“Look at that!” He points through the door but does not step through it.

Beyond the door lies the backyard of the tavern and beyond that sits the stables. Or rather, what used to be the stables. A jumbled heap of timbers and thatch meets your gaze, and now that you know what you’re hearing, you realize some horses must have survived because their worried neighing carries through the tavern yard.

“Opher!” You run to search for her but Red grabs your arm again before you exit the door.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“My horse. Your stables. We’ve got to help them!”

He lets go like you burned him. “And go out there? You’re battier than a belfry.”

For a moment, you simply look into the big man’s dark eyes. Under the bravado, there’s a layer of fear so thick he’s almost drowning in it. No argument will make him leave the questionable safety of the tavern.

“Fine,” you say, and step out the door.

It’s a relatively clear night with only a few scattered clouds to hide the moon occasionally. You’re so focused on the stables that you don’t immediately see the creature running toward you waving its spindly arms. When you do catch sight of it, however, you freeze as your brain stumbles over an explanation.

Dinosaur - Oasis Disturbance“Look at you!” the creature crows. “All that lovely skin and hair and—and—and look at your eyes! You have eyes!”

This would be a very strange statement except the creature doesn’t have eyes—or skin—or hair. It’s just bones and now that it’s standing right in front of you, there’s no denying what’s talking at you.

A dinosaur, or at least it’s the talking bones of one. About the size of a thin, medium sized dog, the teeth and snout look like they could leave quite the wound in all your lovely skin.

But the dinosaur isn’t biting, or even really aggressive. Instead, it grasps your hands in its long claws and sighs,  “You’re perfect. Please help us.”

“Um,” you say.

“Oh right,” the dinosaur drops your hands and takes a step back. “They all say I’m a little much. Calm, Calvin, stay calm and explain.” This last bit seems to be said more to himself than to you.

“Someone stole the toad king,” Calvin says.

“What?”

“I know, right!? Who would do such a thing? But they did and now we need to un-damn the lake or we all stay dusty, thirsty skeletons. Help us?”

“My horse needs my help first.” You point toward the rubble of the stables as you try to edge around Calvin.

He grabs your arm and then flinches back. “Calm, Calvin, calm. Don’t scare the human,” he tells himself, then, “un-damning the lake will help everyone, horses included. What do you say?”

Do you…

Bb. Help Calvin?

Or

Bc. Find Opher?

Let me know in the comments which option gets your vote. Next Thursday we’ll return to see how this adventure continues.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Oasis Disturbance

Oasis Disturbance - Moon

Our last adventure had a rather chilly river involved. Let’s warm up in the desert for this next adventure =)

Oasis Disturbance

It’s dry as only a desert can be. Each breath creates a dull ache in the back of your sinuses like the flow of air is actively pulling moisture out of your body. Well, you admit, it is in fact doing just that.

Your goal is the small town of Caspian. As far as you know, it’s the only oasis in the otherwise flat, tan and white of the desert, and it’s the only waypoint in the middle of the Salt Desert.

“We’ll make it,” you tell Opher, your nag of a horse, as each of her steps trudges forward. As long as you can reach Caspian before the sun sets, you should be fine. You’re not prepared for another freezing night out on the salt sands, however. “We’ll make it,” you say again.

Opher doesn’t respond.

Oasis Disturbance - WaterNot more than an hour before the sun disappears below the horizon, you top the crest of what can barely be called a hill, and there sits the dumpy town of Caspian. Right in the middle of the sloped, dried looking shapes of the buildings sparkles the town’s claim to fame, the Caspian Lake, and the only true water for miles.

As though she can smell it, Opher picks up her pace toward the main street.

You pull her up short in front of the Horse’s Shoe, the only tavern in town. In previous visits, the people of Caspian haven’t been openly friendly, but neither were they openly hostile either. As you dismount now, an elderly woman wanders by and gives you such a hairy look that you check to make sure you’re not indecently dressed.

Perhaps she’d just having a rough day, you decide, and wander into the tavern. At this time of day, the main room’s full. Before you opened the doors, the general hubbub of the place carried out into the street, but as you enter and pause in the dark interior, all conversation stops.

The older lady was easy to shrug off but this is a clear sign something’s amiss. You meet the bartender’s stare and hold up your hands to show you mean no trouble.

“Meal and a glass of water?” you ask.

The bartender, a heavy shouldered man with such red hair it could be flame, grunts. “Sure,” he says and nods his chin to the only open stool at the bar.

As you slowly make your way to the spot, conversation picks up again although it stays more hushed than before.

When the flame haired bartender sets a plate of over cooked beef and a hard roll on the bar, you thank him and then ask, “trouble in town?”

“Something like that,” he says as he turns away.

Before he can get too far, you ask, “Any rooms open for the night?”

He eyes you for a long moment before nodding, “Sure. So long as you stay inside the whole night. Want no trouble.”

There’s more going on than one stranger rolling into town and creating possible trouble, but Red doesn’t seem interested in sharing.

“Deal,” you say. Staying inside shouldn’t be a problem. You’ve been traveling for several days and a solid night of sleep sounds good.

Red grunts and walks away.

***

A room turns out to mean a closet with a twin bed and a nightstand with a small bowl of water for washing up. Thankfully, there’s a tiny window to let in fresh air or the place would feel uncomfortably close.

You splash your face to remove some of the desert dust and then flop onto the bed for much needed sleep.

It’s perhaps an hour after midnight when a sound, a solid, deep chested roar like a lion’s but much deeper, wakes you from a dreamless, drool-inducing sleep. Your heart rate hits top speed, rushing blood through your ears and making you wonder if you only imagined the noise. As you listen, the whoosh, whoosh of blood screams in your head.

Then the roar comes again, accompanied by a subtle shudder to the earth. You sit up in bed and hesitate. There’s a faint light shining through your small window but between the haziness created by dust on the pane and the shifting clouds across the moon, you can’t actually see anything outside. You said you’d stay in the room, but nothing you know of makes a roar like that.

Do you…

A. Stay Put?

Or

B. Go Outside?

Leave your vote in the comments and we’ll return next Thursday to see what happens next in this adventure! Thank you for stopping by this week.

Blessings,

Jennifer

(If you liked this story and are interested in more adventures, you can find my book, The Adventure, on Amazon.)