Some(?) years(?) later I woke up to an orgy of writhing flesh. Too much flesh for one person, or so I at least originally assumed. A mound of seething, pulsating flesh with several heads and limbs and the like.
Looking around there was a smoking man.
He was asking where I came from, and when I said I was brought here, but wondered where “here” was I was told that “here” was two places.
This smoking man spoke to an invisible person called Ben (who, at this time I didn’t know was the farmer from before) and confirmed that the problem would be fixed soon enough.
The writhing flesh was apparently the result of combining the worlds (shadows?) of a dancing troupe and troupe of acrobats.
The man wanted to know what I could do to help fix this world.
I asked how he combined worlds and the man demonstrated, moving his hands and taking us to a broken nothingness! It wasn’t just the blackness of a closed space, but literally nothing – I felt empty and for the first time I was unsure that I was where I was meant tone.
He didn’t seem at all happy with this, and blamed the nothingness on me, although it wasn’t meant to be my answer, just a question to glean information – so I asked how we get new worlds.
The man grinned and I was asked to close my eyes.
I closed my eyes and awoke in a marble hall – at least that was where we were after I woke, but I was slightly more groggy than usual and with an unusual headache. I never usually have this when I sleep to new worlds.
Around this marble hall there was a variety of people from a range of different places. Some were familiar to me from my adventures so far. At one end were the “I have a club and just cleaned my loin cloth” type (easy to outthink, even if not always to outfight), and people in interesting and shiny clothing that completely covered their body, including a solid glass bubble over their head (who I hadn’t met by then, but I believe now to be “space suits”).
I wasn’t sure if this marble hall was a new world to defeat, or just another aspect of the old one, which I assumed had the task of helping the smoking man fix his entertainers.
I needed to find the smoking man and find out if we were done!
I think I saw Random and Aron, but they were busy talking to people, going off for some time – returning with a new look for Aron (all white, a quite surprising change of looks) and an even bigger smirk and shaded glasses on the face of Random.
I think I saw a gorilla?
I think I saw a guy who was only in Black and White, not the sheer white of Aron, who at least had his ruddy complexion still, but someone whose very self looked distinct in this place of bustling colour. I met him in a later adventure, where I found out his name was Phil Rake.
Some time later I was in a sheer black and white world – Phil Rake’s world!
It seemed to be a world where there were constant criminal plots, with devious and complicated solutions, but I was quickly able to solve a locked room murder and presented the solution to Phil. That night I felt confident when I went to sleep, sure I’d beaten the world.
Then I woke in a room with spikes. The walls moving towards me – the motion was what woke me.
Scribbled along the one wall in what looked to be blood was the words “think your way out of this!”.
Think my way out of out? I couldn’t even think my way in – how was I moved here? How did the walls move? Where did the spikes go? Nothing made sense!
For the first time in a long time I was unsure.
Not just unsure. Afraid.
Not just afraid – actually pants-wettingly terrified for the first time in many, many years.
I could feel my brain shattering in interesting ways.
It was even more off-putting than being nowhere, before we got to the marble hall.
The nothingness was empty, but this place was full of danger and it wasn’t even that large a place.
I was actually rescued from the terror by Phil Rake – perhaps he felt that he owed me for solving his case?
The situation made me resolve to learn more how to defend myself.
I felt I owed Phil, so I set out to take on his nemesis. He apparently had a beef with Conrad, who was the gorilla I saw at the party. Or at least he was sometimes a gorilla. Anyway, I decided I should set up a trap for Conrad.
I knew I couldn’t fight him toe-to-toe, that’s never been my style, not that I’m knocked down for long, but it wouldn’t serve the purpose I wanted to achieve.
The answer seemed obvious – use a similar trap that was set for me, for Conrad.
Putting him in a room with no escape. Making his mind as broken as mine was.
Making him scared for his very sense of self.
So I did so – I don’t know how he got out, because I know I didn’t rescue him, and I don’t see why Phil would.
I found out the truth! Thinking about who could let Conrad out of the trap I set, and realising the easiest way would be to get me to do it, it occurs to me that the spike trap I found myself in was actually set by Phil! I was betrayed! He set me up as some kind of “aimed gun” (thanks to Random I’d learned what a gun was) and fired me against Conrad. I am not entirely sure what the result of these new feuds will be, I can only contemplate whilst I try to fight the new worlds that come my way.