The Nightmare Game

An interactive fiction. Copyright (c) 1984 by J.A.Schmehl
You are in a hallway. There are three doors here.

>Examine doors
The left door is all black except for a glowing eye which is watching you. The right door is green and has a frowning emoticon sloppily carved into it’s surface. The carving drips blood. The center door is blue and is decorated with a painting of white fluffy clouds and a yellow sun.

>Open center door
It is locked.

>Unlock center door
You need a key to do that.

>Find key
I don’t see that here.

>Open left door
It is locked.

>Open right door
You open the door. You are sucked into the center of a whirling cyclone. You can’t see or hear anything beyond dust and wind.
There is a monster here.

>Kill Monster
What would you like to kill the monster with?
There is a monster here.

I don’t see that here.
There is a monster here.

>Use magic spell to put monster to sleep
You have no magic spells.
The monster is swinging a club at you.

>Wake up
I do not understand that command. The monster has hit you with the club. (LIFE -50)

>Wake up!!!!
I do not understand that command. The monster has hit you with the club (LIFE -75)

I do not understand that command.
You are dead.
Thank you for playing.

no thoughts

I have nothing to think.

This is not the same as nothing to say.

My brain is tired, but my mouth is not, it just rambles along, making sounds, reacting to the things my ears hear.  There really isn’t any need for the impulse from the ear to pass through the brain on the way to the mouth.  It takes a shortcut. I become a mockingbird, repeating your ideas back to you.  Why not? It makes you happy.

I honestly have no thoughts.  Just feelings.  And feelings without words to describe them are meaningless.  Might as well not exist at all.

I have a mirror next to my desk.  I use it while I am writing to help capture my feelings.  Without it I would not be able to interpret feelings into words.  My face is an open book you tell me.  And yes, I see what you mean.  I stare at the reflection there and I see someone struggling with reality.

I have just read a very good book, one which has shifted something in my brain, the way only a really good book can.  I read a short story on the very same day that I finished the good book, and it increased the shift.  I love this feeling, although it is kind of sad, and very hard to put into words.

Both stories twisted what is ‘real’ into something different.  But neither story took the shape of traditional ‘fantasy’ writing.

They were beautiful like a fairytale without the tacked on moral platitudes.

I want to write that way.  I want to write something so seamless. To move a reader from what is now to what is possible (or not so possible) without discernible effort or deliberate manipulation.

So I float on a bed of nothingness while my brain takes a break, retreating from the mundane, entering the wonderous.

Nothing. No thoughts.

Sad Stories

14:365 Pen & Paper
14:365 Pen & Paper (Photo credit: mattbeckwith)

I can only tell sad stories today.

The hero dies before he saves the girl and the magic drum.
Terror strikes an old woman’s heart, and she fails to overcome.
An evil wizard attacks a village, a promising youth runs away,
but he never meets the wizened hermit, nor returns to save the day.

I did not intend to rhyme,
it just came out that way.
But I’m not afraid to tell you,
it’s been that sort of day.

But now I did the same rhyme twice and so the spell is broken.
So finally I am back to tellin’ the reason I was sulkin’.

Yeah, I just rhymed ‘broken’ with ‘sulking,’ please, someone shoot me.

This is why I don’t write poetry.

Moving on….

I don’t believe in ‘disorders’ or ‘conditions.’ If it isn’t proven via strict scientific method, it just don’t exist in my philosophy. But – I do admit there is something about dark, short days like the ones we have now in Philly, that just kill any inklings of creativity I might think I have. (As the bad rhymes above must surely prove.)

I feel like a day in which I don’t create something is a day wasted. I’ve done the math (ok – actually I went to this web site: and if I live to see the tricentennial (for you non-Americans, that is the 300th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, or July 4, 2076) which is my plan, I only have 23,213 days left.

Now, according to Wikipedia’s list of the world’s most prolific writers, A Spanish writer named Corín Tellado wrote 4000 novellas, or about 120,000,000 words (if her novella’s were 30,000 words long.) After her, the next highest is the English author, Charles Hamilton who wrote 100,000,000 words in his lifetime.

If I am going to beat those two fine writers, I need to write 5169 words a day, every day, for the rest of my life. Take that, NaNoWriMo’s of the world! My biggest obstacle though is that I like to write really short stories, a thousand words long at the most.

What all this math boils down to is this: I need to write five stories a day. And a short, gloomy day like today, when I can’t think a single creative thought, is not helping me at all.

I seem to have no problem doing math though… Maybe I’ve missed my calling! Oh no! Is it too late to start over?