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[Audience Choose Your Own Adventure] The Recluse Part II by noelletwine

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· @noelletwine · (edited)
$55.79
[Audience Choose Your Own Adventure] The Recluse Part II
(See Part I [here](https://steemit.com/writing/@noelletwine/audience-choose-your-own-adventure-the-recluse-part-i).)

The audience has chosen **Two: Chase it**!

<center>http://i.imgur.com/O2rMnbY.png</center>

----


I chase after the red object. 

At times I lose sight of it as it dances in and out of the mist, but then its vivid color reappears. I haven't run much for a long time, and soon become out of breath. Where can it be leading me? 

I tell myself that it must simply be a bird, and in any case is not *leading* me. But I can't resist following it. Scraps of an old legend flicker to mind, bright lights that would lead travelers astray. Will-o-the-wisps. 

A scream startles me. It's come from below the red thing, which has paused. I rush forward. The mist clears in proximity and I find myself looking down at the last thing I expected to see out here: a little girl. She is holding a string.

When I come close, she screams once more. "Stop chasing me!"

I sheepishly glance up at the shining belly of her balloon. "I was chasing the balloon..."

"What are you, five?" she yells. 

I shake my head in bewilderment. "What are you *doing* here? And where did you get a balloon?"

"I live here," she says airily, scowling at me. "What are *you* doing here?"

My mind drifts back. It was some time...I had just finished going through the divorce. I fell asleep with a glass of...whiskey. In the ether of my mind, flicking in and out of consciousness like a balloon, I found a path and followed it here. Of course. That's why I became so obsessed with dreams. 

"I just kind of found my way here," I reply. "But are you alone?"

"I would *like* to be," she says pointedly. 

What a rude child. She looks about ten, and is wearing jean shorts and a pink shirt with some band name on it. Absolutely inappropriate attire for this place.

"Do you like it here?" I ask. I always thought I was alone. Could it be that other people enjoy the solitude just as much?

"Yeah." She seems to soften slightly. "Or at least I did." Another dismissive glance. How exasperating.

"Do you have enough to eat? Do you keep warm?" Christ, I think. I sound like someone's mother.

"I'm fine. A lot more fine than *you*," she adds, jabbing my soft belly.

"Hey!"

"Bye, fatty!" She disappears into the mist. The balloon bobs after her. I start to turn away, but then I remember.

"Wait!" I yell. "Where did you get the balloon?"

No response. With a sigh, I pick my way back to the coconut grove. I never enjoyed collecting coconuts, but now it feels like filling out tax forms. I *like* it here. Don't I?

As I stand pondering, I feel a sharp jab in my leg. I whirl around to find the same little girl holding a small spear glistening with something other than my blood. "What did you..." Her form wavers. My vision blurs, and I collapse.

When I regain consciousness, I find my limbs tightly bound. A low vibration coalesces into the deepest voice I've ever heard. "...some piece of this place. But remember, Sarah, y--" A rustling of leaves. I finally open my eyes, but I see only mist and foliage. "He's awake."

Sarah walks over and peers down at me. She's no longer holding the balloon. "Bet you regret chasing me now."

My voice comes out garbled. "I only wanted...the balloon. To know..."

"You see?" She isn't talking to me. "He's a bigger kid than I am."

"He hasn't earned a balloon," the deep voice dubiously replies.

"You hasn't *earned* a balloon," she sneers. 

I'm truly beginning to despise this child. I glare back at her. "I was just curious." 

"Yeah right." She grabs a nearby spear and holds it to my throat. "Enough, liar! Tell me where you live and I'll find the truth for myself!"

----

<center> **1:** Describe it to her.</center>
<center>**2:** Tell her you have to walk her there.</center>

----

**Dear Readers,**

In this CYOA, I am trying something I mentioned before: readers collectively choosing what will happen. **Please comment with the option you'd like to choose**, and I will continue the story. You can also feel free to make suggestions of any kind.

([image source](http://snappygoat.com/o/4598b516514e0713d341cbd9b62c56b4889400e7/rainforest-mollem-national-park-384940.jpg))

----

<center> **BONUS MATERIAL!**</center> 

I tried to continue this story while high last night (which is a rare thing for me so it was pretty intense), and this is what I wrote before I got interrupted. >_>

So this red thing, right? So Octavius the spider went down to the rainy place and he was like omg that thing is so red. And he went after the red thing.

It glanced in and out of the mist like a tiny slender snake dipping in and out of a block of swiss cheese. And actually, come to look closer up, turns out it was a ba-lloon. But that was OK because Octavius like balloons, especially oval-shaped ones.

So my best friend is a man. So what? So, what, men and nonmen can't be friends? Sure they can. Lookat Calvin and Susie. 

Oh so anyway this balloon. It's weird, because it bobs low and doesn't float out of view for-ever. It wasn't just me; Duncan the spider king thought so also. (I got tired of "Octavius," now he is Dunkin'.) So this donut man of a spider stretched...
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vote your-acct "noelletwine" "audience-choose-your-own-adventure-the-recluse-part-ii" 100 true
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@carlyle ·
Lovely photograph and engaging writing :).
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vote your-acct "carlyle" "re-noelletwine-audience-choose-your-own-adventure-the-recluse-part-ii-20161025t200242337z" 100 true
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@noelletwine · (edited)
Thank you!

Buut, which option do you vote for??
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@carlyle ·
2!
👍  
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vote your-acct "carlyle" "re-noelletwine-re-carlyle-re-noelletwine-audience-choose-your-own-adventure-the-recluse-part-ii-20161025t212902019z" 100 true
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@the-alien ·
Noelle, no judgment if I'm predictable again and choose the walking? :)

Btw, men and nonmen? 

Can't wait for part 3!
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@noelletwine ·
Go ahead! 

Oh, I think when I was high I was amused by the idea that men are the obvious group and everything else can be categorized as not-men. Not exactly in a sociopolitical sense, but in a purely ridiculous sense, like, "We'll have beer and...whatever else it is people do." I think I was also enjoying juxtaposing a vaguely more leftish statement (the aforementioned + people of different genders can be friends) with a comparison from a comic (Calvin & Hobbes) that millennials grew up with -- a comparison that actually fell flat on its face because Calvin and Susie constantly fought and secretly had crushes on one another.

Haha, thanks. ^_^;
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@rebelmeow ·
I may regret this, since I so often die when making these decisions, but I'm going to have to walk her there.  :-)
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