Inter-blog Choose Your Own Adventure: Part 2—Pretend All Is Normal

Welcome to Barry J. Northern’s Inter-blog Choose Your Own Adventure! The Mendigans is a sci-fi young adult story that will branch out into a web of different adventures as readers can choose what will happen next. To begin, visit Barry’s blog HERE, and then choose your adventure. If you would like to play along, follow the stories until you find unlinked versions and ask the blog owner if an option is available.

Here’s my version, continuing from Barry’s:

Option 2) Pretend All Is Normal:

Michael knew the dangers of the Mendigans, their mind-manipulating techniques and the sting of those tentacles could paralyze and infect with the ruin of alien life, so he thought, just act normal. Maybe that was what the others were doing too.

Stepping onto the bus, he nodded to the bus driver, like always, who stared back at him—unlike always. He wasn’t Mr. Bernstein anymore. Michael didn’t let it trip him up, least he give away his routine cover, and proceeded down the grooved, metal isle of the bus, scanning the seats for his good friend Jackson, who was already organizing an underground base camp to prepare for the crusade against the unwelcome invaders. He would know what to do. But Michael didn’t see his dark-clothed, slumped frame in any of the rows. In fact, several students were missing.

The Mendigan bus driver shut the doors and the bus chugged onto the road again. Michael steered towards the back, spotting Sarah, another friend of his, sitting in the very back row, not her usual seat. He sat next to her in the graffiti-scribbled cushion, a spot he didn’t normally sit in either. She noticed with a sly glance to his shoulder.

“Did you finish your homework assignment, Michael?” She asked.

Michael believed it was a set up question, since she knew he never did his homework until ten minutes before class, believing the pressure enhanced his performance. He paused, making sure in his mind Sarah wasn’t one of them trying to trick him, but then he figured homework assignments were unimportant to the Mendigans, and determined Sarah wasn’t infected. “No,” he replied, in his normal, flat monotone voice.

“Thank God.” She let her shoulders drop with a rolling-eyed sigh. “I thought I was the only one.”

“So you noticed Mr. Bernstein changed too?”

“Of course—how couldn’t you with those fangs.”

“Fangs?” Michael didn’t see any fangs and this new information troubled him; tentacles were one thing, but fangs introduced a hoard of other horrors.

“What about Jackson?” Sarah asked. “Have you seen him?”

He shook his head, stuffing a piece of cinnamon gum in his mouth. He offered her one, and she accepted, fumbling with the wrapper nervously. They both looked out the window and then realized the bus was heading away from the school. Sarah clutched Michael’s arm, and for once, he didn’t flinch back in fear or embarrassment.

The bus driver pulled behind a large, vacant warehouse that once manufactured paper products. Dust and tumbleweeds informed visitors of a ghostly desertion and the potential lack of technological communications.

“Uh-oh,” Michael couldn’t help but say when the students on the bus all stood, slow and methodical. They turned around to face him and Sarah. Tentacles wiggled out from beneath their hair and their hollow stares tried to tunnel into their thoughts.

“Don’t let’em in Sarah, don’t let’em in,” Michael shouted, but then the Mendigan bus driver parted through the kids, wearing a wicked grin that exposed the fangs Sarah just told him about—the largest fangs he’d ever seen.

To Be Continued

1) Michael and Sarah barely escape out the back emergency door of the school bus—where do they go? Emergency Door Escape by Laurita Miller

2) Michael and Sarah are captured by the Mendigans—where do they take them? CYOA – The Capture by John Wiswell

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10 thoughts on “Inter-blog Choose Your Own Adventure: Part 2—Pretend All Is Normal

  1. Oh fantastic! Thanks Erin, it's great to have both my options "live" now! :) This instalment is taking the story in a completely different direction than the other choice, and, I should've guessed, it's a lot darker this way ;) I'm looking forward to reading what Laurita and John come up with.

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  2. Slyness, fangs, and a lovely dark undertone. Even your YA has that Erin Cole intensity we've all come to love. This is fantastic, Erin. I love your mind and can't wait to see where your choices are taken.

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  3. I like yours better than mine! Yours is definitely darker and I love how you added alot of moodiness to the story. I also stole your tentacle monster if that's okay! :-)

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  4. OH MAN! This is some seriously great stuff. I've been too wrapped up in my own section of the story to be able to read the other branches yet but Leila, the writer who did my #1 option, looped back to this one with some clever time warp, memory wipe options! This thing is really taking on quite a life of it's own!

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  5. Oooh, fangs add some extra menace for sure. This is turning into a great, dark tale. Excellent branch off of the beginning of the story.

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