Gris et Jaune by Steve van Gaal.

Released in debug mode, so you can always cheat if you want.

Pig. It's not a barbecue: there's no molasses or onion. Instead it's an acrid smell that bites at your nose and steals the breath from your lungs.

Dirt. Hedging you in on all sides. Your shoulders, back, and feet touch it and it falls from above onto your legs. It sends cold through you. But warmth comes in through your arm, through a needle.

Voices. A woman. "Will it work?" A man. "Yes."

Faces. The faces dip in and out. You've never seen them before, and you won't again. You blink more and more and each blink lasts longer than the previous.

Blood. It wells in your mouth and spills to the left side. You swallow what you can and scream. You keep screaming until the dirt fills your open mouth.

Gris et Jaune
(First time players should type ABOUT)
Release 1 / Serial number 100930 / Inform v6.31 Library 6/11 SD

Grey
It's grey here. There is some food. Food is for eating. You should eat the food.

> about

Gris et Jaune was released for the 2010 IFComp. If you are playing during the competition timeline (October 1st - November 15th), you are encouraged to vote for this and the other games.

It would also be greatly appreciated if you could report any bugs, problems, or feedback to me at stevevngl AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks, and enjoy the game.

Steve

[Please press SPACE.]

The initial part of the game has relatively few options with how to progress, so if you are stuck, there is likely a puzzle that needs to be solved.

Otherwise, some general hints are to reexplore areas you have already visited (they may have changed in important ways, often to a plot relevant progression), find some way to communicate, and then TALK TO important-feeling characters. Some important characters may not be immediately apparent, and you are encouraged to look for help in unusual places.

[Please press SPACE.]

There are several new verbs necessary to complete the game. However, they should be clear from the context.

Conversation is handled a little differently. One can TALK TO <CHARACTER> and have a general conversation about whatever seems most pertinent at the time (you can TALK TO them several times in a row to carry on the conversation). Alternatively, if that doesn't quench your thirst for knowledge, you can ASK or TELL an NPC about <TOPIC>. Both will give the same responses, however, so as to avoid the headaches associated with asking someone about something but not telling them about it first.

At any point in the game where some text ends with "..." it means that repeating the same action will generate new information (usually in response to TALK TO <CHARACTER>).

Some of the spelling may be problematic, so there is SPELLING (confusing if you haven't seen the word in game yet, but no spoilers.

A WALKTHRU command is included if the hints are too cumbersome or not helpful enough.

[Please press SPACE.]

Grey
It's grey here. There is some food. Food is for eating. You should eat the food.

> get food
It slips down your throat easily enough. It tastes delicately sweet: there's honey and raisins and something unidentifiable. It's medicine. It makes you feel better. You savor the tastes spinning through your tongue; you've never felt anything like it. It's - invigorating. Good job. Now it's time for the garden.

There is a white square to the north.

> x me
It's just pieces. There are ears, and eyes, and a tongue, and hands, and feet, but there is no you. A fragmented thing. The only thing you own are the strange lines that trace the odd bones and folds of fat.

> n
You pass through the corners and the white streams from above.

White
It's white here. This is the garden. You have to work here or you won't get food. Your head swivels back and forth, and you realize you're looking. Colours bleed back. First green, then brown, then blue, then the rest. All around you things unfreeze, slowly shaking themselves back to animation. Tall plants shift in the wind, you are not allowed to eat any of the plants in the garden, and you see bugs - beetles crawling, bees sipping, monarchs fluttering from flower to flower - slowly waking, but soon bouncing back and forth, doing what bugs do.

There is now a stick in your hands. Till the soil.

> x green
The colours skip and dance, sinking and swelling until settling.

> x plants
Corn and other things. They add a sense of legitimacy to this "garden," and they cast a deep shade.

> eat plants
You're not supposed to eat the plants, stupid thing. Don't test it again.

> eat plants
Stupid, dead little thing. Without manners, you're nothing more than livestock. Something heavy, then something grey.

*** You have died, whatever that means. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Garden
[Previous turn undone.]

> x bugs
They buzz and dig and flit with no worries. To be a bug.

> x bees
They buzz and dig and flit with no worries. To be a bug.

> x butterflies
They buzz and dig and flit with no worries. To be a bug.

> till soil
You drag the stick across the ground like you remember, but that's not the right way to do it. It's so hard to remember, and it hurts you to. You shouldn't try to remember anything - you should learn things anew.

> learn things
You can't see any such thing.

> learn
You don't know what happened, but you're suddenly on the ground spitting out the sour soil. Stupid thing, don't try to remember.

> remember
Stupid, dead little thing. You clearly aren't listening. Something heavy, then something grey.

*** You have died, whatever that means. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Garden
[Previous turn undone.]

> l

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building.

> s
You can't come back inside until you till the garden.

> till garden
You drag the stick across the dirt. It makes a smooth line. No, that's not it. You flip it, blade down. Ah, there you go. The blade of the hoe bites at the dirt, and spits it back soft and crumbling. You move slowly, but you don't sweat, you don't burn, and you don't tire.

You till down one length of the garden, turn back, and do it again. And do it again. And again. Until you reach the edge of the yard.

Beneath the Cypress
You're at the edge of the garden now, beneath a large cypress, and next to a new fence. It's strongly strapped with angry curls of barbed wire at the top.

Something's different here. It starts as a low hum, a gentle choir of bees buzzing and leaves rattling. But it just keeps growing. A malevolent blare surges into your ears: twigs snap with thunderclaps, birds scream from their perches, even the bark peeling -ripping?- off the cypress.

"Regrét." The cacophony decrescendos, and it's just the bees, your ragged breaths, and a sweet voice. "I didn't think it would be so hard on you, but you need to hear me."

> listen
Her sweet voice floats over the fence.

"I'm sorry it took me so long to get to you. I've restored what I could - your smell and touch should be back soon."

It's a woman. She has a soft voice, little more than wind. It's trustworthy, but you should be careful. If she continues to help you, you know that you can trust her.

"The senses are the easiest. When God made Adam, he bound them strongly, yes? I can give you more, but the rest is not easy. I can even give you back your memories, your life."

> talk to woman
"Nnnh!" you groan.

"Shh," she says calmly, "Don't talk - it'd be a dead give away."

"But until then, a gift." Although the fence is tight, almost seamless, a thin piece of paper slides through. "Words are difficult, this should make them easier. This can give you mastery over words."

You turn the paper over in your hand. It's not paper at all, but part of a hornet's nest. A beautiful diagram - the brightest yellow - shimmers on one side.

"Fold it as small as you can and place it in your ear. Then you can hear all words, not just mine."

> x paper
It's gorgeous. Gray, white, and black flecks, with a golden shimmer dipping in and out. You try to trace the diagram, but your eyes are too clumsy and you're quickly dumped back to the start. It's flattened out.

"This will help you with the doctor. You should be able to hear his lies now for what they are. A silvered tongue is no match for a golden ear."

Her voice, low to the ground before, as though she sat against the fence, rises up and grows faint.

> fold paper
You move it gingerly at first because it crackles quietly at your touch, but it's strong, much stronger than it looks. As it folds, the diagram doesn't - it just gets smaller. Soon it's smaller than a cowpea.

"I hate to leave you scared and alone, but I must go now. And so do you. The doctor treasures you highly - he misses you even now. But be warned. He values you, but should he learn I've helped you he won't hesitate to put you in the grave."

You think she's gone, but then a warm breeze blows past. "I'll be back tomorrow, please come to me. Don't worry, you won't be a slave forever."

> put paper in ear
You swear the paper was dry, but as it rests in you ear, you feel something drip, like warm oil. The oil leaves the piece of pulp and goes deeper. It doesn't stop at the drum, instead it curls and wriggles in your skull, before settling down comfortably.

> i
You are carrying:
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)
a stick

> save
Ok.

> l

Beneath the Cypress
The great cypress makes it quite dark here - deep greys and greens and chaotic patches of wildflowers. You tilled much of the soil, but the brambles were too thick here, and the fence has deep struts that have already broken the ground. The rest of the garden is to the south.

> s
As the shade falls off your shoulders, you feel something underneath. A churning, a grinding of soil. Worms wriggle over and under your toes. A breeze rustles the fine hair of your legs, and up through your scalp. It cools the sun off your skin, and settles nicely.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> s
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

A bowl lies on the table. Scraps of porridge crust the rim.

A green covered book sits on the table - it looks as old as the shed itself.

An old, muffled voice comes through the solid door.

"I was standing by my front door.
On a cold and cloudy day."

> x book
Horses ploughing a field, bushels of hay, an apple pick, and cows and sheep nestled together. In the centre is gibberish - twisted letters that tumble and crawl over themselves.

"When I saw the hearse come a-rolling,
Oh, to carry my mother away."

> read it
Horses ploughing a field, bushels of hay, an apple pick, and cows and sheep nestled together. In the centre is gibberish - twisted letters that tumble and crawl over themselves.

"I did follow close behind her,
Trying to haul her bane with prayer."

Your legs quiver a little, and you feel weak.

> w
You collide clumsily with the door. Hmm, it'll have to be opened first.

"But I could not hold my sorrow,
When they laid her in the grave."

> open door
(the door)
You paw clumsily at the door before your hand finds the handle. A turn to the left, a turn to the right. Ah, that's how it's done.

> w
The last one is back: smell - filé, crawfish, and crisp celery. The steam is thick and heavy with the smells. "You're starving," but you're not hungry. In fact, although it smells delicious, your belly doesn't ache "Your belly aches." "It reminds you of hunger," but it's not the same at all. "Things are wrong - you need more medicine."

Kitchen
You step up into the kitchen, and see a young woman with heavy shoulders staring out the window as she absently stirs a deep pot. Your foot scrapes the stoop, and she turns quickly, straightening her shoulders and rubbing at her wet cheeks. "Sorry, you gimme a fright." Her eyes settle on you for a moment and her active smile becomes perfunctory. She opens her mouth -

"Easy Anna," - another voice, sounds flat - "This is my new guest." She turns again. You can't see whom she speaks to, but her smile is back.

"Ah, of course, Doctor Gris - I was startled, is all." She turns back to you and gives a friendly nod.

"We'll leave you to supper and we'll-" the voice drops its flatness and takes on a surprising reverberation that bounces about in you "-go into the sitting room."

She nods and smiles at you, but her smile drops when she sees how your muddy feet scuff the flagstones.

Anna stirs a heavy pot, glancing over at you occassionally.

> talk to anna
Your words tumble out in a tangled mess. She looks up at you, and shakes her head sadly.

"I'd be goin' if I were you, friend," Anna says, "Doctor Gris' a kind man, but he don't like to be kept waiting none."

That strange reverberating voice again: "Go to the salon." Anna doesn't seem to notice it.

> e
Your legs begin to shake, and refuse to go back to the shed. They pivot, and turn you around.

She glances over to you, "Tch tsk."

> n
You can go only east, west, in or out.

"Move to the west." Again, she doesn't hear.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you, and your legs stiffen. You're like a marionette puppeted by an unskilled hand. You try to regain control, but they just shiver and tense. "Come, we have work to do."

Salon
"You work well, faster than any man." You lurch about the salon, trying to break the vises on your legs. Despite your erratic movements, the doilies and Laliques remain unruffled. "But if that were all I needed you for, I would simply hire three." You swivel your neck in the direction of the voice, but everytime you're close, the speaker flits into a shadow, or behind a settee. A creak beneath you, and soon you're dragged down.

Lab
A draft sweeps your legs, and you're flat on your back, flat on a gurney. You try to move, but your arms are iron, and your legs just aren't yours. You can still swing your head, but your range is limited. A bare bulb above casts a sticky yellow light on some medical equipment, and some other items, far older. "Relax, this won't hurt a bit."

I'm wondering if I will ever be able to do anything.

"Silly thing, collecting so much junk." Your possessions lift up and float away, only to be flung to the side of the room with a crash. "Must be some defective, rudimentary gatherer instinct."

Straps rise from each corner, one at a time, moved by invisible fingers, immobilizing each frozen limb.

> l

Lab
A cold room of white walls and yellow light. The room looks newer than it should, renovated. It feels comforting, like it's much easier to be lying down. That you should be lying down. One wall is full of new things: shining needles, medicines, scalpels, tubes, pumps. On another, old things. Bottles and boxes and everything that smells warm and familiar. A ladder leads up to the floor above.

To one side is a blackboard full of cramped, indecipherable script.

Greedy hands run their way over you, pinching your arms, tapping at your veins. "Exquisite."

> x blackboard
It's indecipherable, but not as unorganized as you thought.

They slide down your legs and start tickling the bottom of your feet. Cold metal brushes your littlest toe, and you feel a pressure, slight until your toenail is ripped from its bed. "Such a shame."

> g
It's indecipherable, but not as unorganized as you thought.

The metal pinches each toe in turn - this little piggy went to market - by the time it gets to roast beef, a piggy is missing. There was no pain though.

The warm fingers grip your jaw and force it open. A bottle, with a cold brown liquid in it, swims up to your lips and drains into your mouth. "Your medicine - it tastes good."

> x bottles
Even if you could, it's too small to read, but you know what they say all the same. Panacea, aqua regia, snake oil, and oil of ginseng. Some are red-brown-black - the color of old blood.

"Almost done, friend." Your head slumps to one side: blood drips out into vials. Then to the other: a warm fluid flows in.

Lab
What time is it? You push yourself off the gurney. It's the same room you fell asleep in, but you're not quite the same. Your feet touch the ground, and you must steady yourself. You're dizzy, and it's harder to balance on nine. Other pieces are missing, but you don't miss them, and there's no pain.

To one side is a blackboard full of strange letters and numbers. There are some papers pinned to the frame.

A row of steel doors is embedded into the wall.

> save
Ok.

> x papers
Still gibberish, but something is different about this. The printed words are in a normal lettering, but in between them are little pen strokes in a tiny, cramped script.

> read paper
Still gibberish, but something is different about this. The printed words are in a normal lettering, but in between them are little pen strokes in a tiny, cramped script.

> x strokes
Still gibberish, but something is different about this. The printed words are in a normal lettering, but in between them are little pen strokes in a tiny, cramped script.

> x doors
Polished bright steel hides something dark.

> open doors
Door by door, you pull out a large slab on rollers, and each one extends with a clang. But when you get to the last one, it jars with a thump. There's a woman in this one.

> x woman
The dry air has left her dessicated. She must have been quite old, and her eyes are already milky. Her skin is a pale burnt red, and the blood has pooled in to her flat back.

You're about to push her back when you see something else; she has dark lines fading in to her skin: same as you. They weave and duck at wild, impossible angles. You remember them.

> x lines
Which do you mean, your lines or the woman's lines?

> my lines
They curl and wrap around you. Stars and crosses and wild angles.

> x woman's lines
They're drawn with some thick dye. In some places, where the skin creases, the dye is cracked. Elsewhere it's a deep, inky red. Your fingertips itch.

> x fingertips
You can't see any such thing.

> i
You are carrying:
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> l

Lab
A cold room of white walls and yellow light. The room looks newer than it should, renovated. One wall is full of new things: shining needles, medicines, scalpels, tubes, pumps. On another, old things. Bottles and boxes and everything that smells warm and familiar. A ladder leads up to the floor above.

To one side is a blackboard full of strange letters and numbers. There are some papers pinned to the frame.

A row of steel doors is embedded into the wall.

> get papers
You unpin the papers and slide them in to your pocket.

> u
Your cold limbs move slowly, and it's hard to bring them over your head, but you manage to pull yourself into the salon.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - flips and refolds.

Dammit, he's here. "Ah, you're up. Go to the garden. Plant the seeds."

You hear him plodding about, his bare feet padding on the soft-carpeted floor.

> x newspaper
The volume of words is immense, each wriggling and hopping in their own direction. It's dizzying.

> w
Again, your legs stiffen and you're flung back. "There's work to do."

You absently scratch at your head, and a matted clump of hair comes out and falls away.

> e

Kitchen
A small, but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

A jar of pralines sits on the counter near the door.

> x jar
A lead crystal jar full of pralines. They look delicious, but your stomach doesn't so much as flutter. The crystal is thick and sparkling, but it looks surprisingly cheap, fragile.

> open jar
It's lidless so people don't get a chance for self restraint.

> eat pralines
You try your best, but you just can't coordinate your mouth with your throat. A praline gets lodged in your windpipe. You try to cough it up, but you have no luck.

> l

Kitchen
A small, but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

A jar of pralines sits on the counter near the door.

> x chair
It's still.

> sit on chair
You get onto the rocking chair.

> rock
You push yourself back and forth. The chair creaks softly.

> z
Time passes.

> e
(First getting out of the chair.)
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

A heavy burlap sack, brimming with seeds, is propped against the table.

> x table
A low table, nothing more.

> look under it
The table is unimportant.

> x sack
Thick, heavy burlap brims with seeds and is propped against the table.

> get it
You lift the bag; it's light.

> n
You pass through the corners and the white streams from above.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> plant sseds
You can't see any such thing.

> plant seeds
(the bag of seeds)
You scatter the seeds in the freshly tilled soil. Each lands, like you expect. All of them: the sunflower seeds, scarlet runners, black-eyed peas, and the spiked dusky bulbs. They land and sink in to the soft, dark soil. You kick some bare covering of dirt over them and move north towards the edge of the garden. You duck into the gentle shelter of the cypress. Already, you know she's here. "Welcome back," she's happy to see you.

Beneath the Cypress
"Here," her voice is as kind as before. "Another gift." Another piece of paper slides through the gap. "Your sister asked me to give this to you. Don't worry, I haven't worried her." It drifts down into your hand. A photograph. It's of exceptionally poor quality, but you see many handsome, smiling faces.

> save
Ok.

> x photo
Men, women, and children. It's a large family. They're gathered in a family home, warming themselves by the wood stove. You don't recognize them, you do recognize them: they're your family.

Her voice becomes frantic, and you notice a burl hole you didn't before. It was always there. "What has he done to you?" You feel self-conscious about your feet. "Oh God. I'm so sorry. We have to get you out of here." She's so wonderful. Her voice is sweet and oh-so kind. You love her.

> talk to woman
"Nnnh!" you groan.

"Shh," she says calmly, "Don't talk - it'd be a dead give away."

"I'm sure you're tired of being played as a puppet, but the doctor is very powerful." She loves you too. "And the wards he has on you are even more powerful: they let him command you, make him invisible. But you can break them."

> ask woman about me
"Nnnh!" you groan.

"Shh," she says calmly, "Don't talk - it'd be a dead give away."

"I know you want more, but a single drop is all you need," she sounds sorry it had to come to this, she would never harm anyone. "Bring me one drop of his blood, and you will be free." A breeze blows, and she's gone. You feel so alone. You need her. Why does she always leave?

> l

Beneath the Cypress
The great cypress makes it quite dark here - deep greys and greens and chaotic patches of wildflowers. You tilled much of the soil, but the brambles were too thick here, and the fence has deep struts that have already broken the ground. The rest of the garden is to the south.

> x brambles
They twist and scrabble, hungry for clothing and blood.

> get bramble
You can't take the brambles.

> get thorn
You can't see any such thing.

> x struts
A tall, new fence, strapped tightly with curls of barbed wire.

> climb fence
Even if you could climb the fence, the barbs would tear you apart.

> s
You leave the gentle shade of the cypress.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

One of the spikey pods landed on a rock and never went in to the ground.

A small patch of skin curls and peels off your wrist and falls away.

> x pod
Spiky is the wrong word, it's more hairy. It looks like a monkey's tail with a ridge down the side where the halves join. A very strange looking plant indeed.

> open pod
You crack it open, revealing delicate little beans.

> x beans
Little seeds, all in a row.

> eat beans
You pluck one of the seeds from the pod. Carefully, you place it between your molars and grind it down. The loose powder mingles with your spit, and you quickly swallow the foul paste. It slips down into your gums and under your tongue.

Your stomach gets heavy and violent, thrashing about. "HEY!" an angry voice - you whirl around. There's no one there. Your head fills with air. You crouch, shaking it out. "Dead little thing, what do you look for?" You breathe heavily, until you regain yourself.

> i
You are carrying:
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> get pod
Piss poor for a day's pay, but you've earned it. You pick it up, and it prickles your fingers ever so slightly.

> s
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

> w

Kitchen
A small, but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

A jar of pralines sits on the counter near the door.

> put pod in jar
You slip the treacherous, spiky pod in to the jar and hide it under some pralines.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> x newspaper
The volume of words is immense, each wriggling and hopping in their own direction. It's dizzying.

Huh? Must be a bug.

You hear a rather dramatic scream from the nothing.

> e

Kitchen
A small, but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

There's some broken glass here speckled with the doctor's blood.

> x glass
(the bloody glass)
The light is almost blinding, except where the blood is. It mutes it.

"Where the hell is Anna," he growls to no one in particular.

> get it
You manage to steady your cold, shaking hands long enough to pick up a piece of the bloody glass.

> save
Ok.

> e
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

Hehe, nice line.

Something scratches at your scalp. You shake your head and a blow-fly falls out.

> n
You pass through the corners and the white streams from above.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> n
You duck into the gentle shelter of the cypress.

I don't trust this woman.

Beneath the Cypress
The great cypress makes it quite dark here - deep greys and greens and chaotic patches of wildflowers. You tilled much of the soil, but the brambles were too thick here, and the fence has deep struts that have already broken the ground. The rest of the garden is to the south.

"Perfect!" she says; she's been waiting, she's so kind, she really wants to help. "Now just a drop of yours, and I can break the spell."

> i
You are carrying:
some bloody glass
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

"Come now, give it to me." She has desperation in her voice. She's desperate to help you.

> save
Ok.

> x woman
You peek through the hole, and all you see is the fluttering of a yellow muslin dress.

> x dress
You can't see any such thing.

> ask woman about blood
"Nnnh!" you groan.

"Shh," she says calmly, "Don't talk - it'd be a dead give away."

A bony finger - a beautiful finger - reaches through the hole. "Give it to me."

> stab finger
That's not a verb I recognise.

I really meant her finger, but let's just go with it.

> cut finger with glass
You grip the bloody glass tightly, and drag it across your skin. It's sharp, but your skin is tough. Still, it splits, spilling more than you intended. That should be enough.

> give blood to woman
(the bloody glass to the woman)
You pass the bloody piece of glass through the hole and it's quickly snatched.

"This is perfect," she says. "Don't worry, he won't be able to puppet you after this."

"Now listen carefully. I know your voice is still weak, but with me here, I can give you the power to speak," she says, her voice is burning intensely, and you can feel your vocal chords loosen and trill. "You must invoke the loa yourself - I cannot ask for you. First is Papa Legba." She whispers a series of appellations through the hole. "Got that, now invoke him!"

> papa legba
That's not a verb I recognise.

> invoke papa legba
You close your eyes, and feel your vocal cords hum and move freely. "Papa Legba, greatest of the Loa, locuter of God, keeper of the crossroads: my desperation bids you come. Free me, let me come to the crossroad, and make my own choices."

"Perfect," she croons. "Now for San Pedro, minister to slaves." She whispers his invocation to you.

> invoke san pedro
The words flow smoothly from you - you missed your voice, this isn't yours, it's hers, but it still feels nice. "San Pedro Claver Corberó, minister to slaves, break the chains that bind me. Free me, so I may live with dignity, and die free."

"Excellent," listen to her, she has the most beautiful voice, she loves you so much. "The last one is the master - Laurent Gris. He has held you long enough, he doesn't deserve you."

> invoke laurent gris
Even as the first words leave you, you feel lighter. "Laurent Gris, will-binder, soul-keeper, I take back my power. Release me. Bother me no more." You feel a warmth spreading through you, and your arms aren't as heavy.

"There, friend." You close your eyes, and you can almost see her beautiful face in the black behind your eyelids. "He can no longer control you. You must still be careful, because if he sees his power gone, he will cut out your heart."

"Thank you." You manage and already you can feel your vocal chords slacken. She turns from the fence. "Sorry, but I must take my voice with me. When you escape this place come to my house. Go south from the doctor's house, to the end of Conti, and I will tell you all you need to know." She's gone, and you feel so alone.

A misplaced shift of your leg, and your ankle rolls. There's a loud snap, but it doesn't hurt.

> save
Ok.

> s
You leave the gentle shade of the cypress.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> s
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

The cook sings in the other room.

"Will the circle be unbroken?
By and by, Lord, by and by."

> w

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna turns to you with a smile, but then the shout from the salon. "Anna!" So that's his voice. It doesn't do anything to you. No command, no tugging at the corners of your mind. And it's a weak voice - it shakes and rattles. "Could you fix me a drink?" She turns, pulls a bottle of chartreuse from the refrigerator, pours a glass (nearly full), and heads out to the salon.

She's back quickly.

> s
You can go only east, west, in or out.

> out
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

"There's better home a-waiting,
In the sky, Lord, in the sky."

> undo
Kitchen
[Previous turn undone.]

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

So that's what he looks like, not quite what you expected. "Keep 'em coming, Anna," then his eyes focus on you. His speech stutters and slurs, "Ah, I hope you're done with the garden." He looks down into his glass, "Meh, no matter. It's been so long since I had guests, since there was any music here, why don't you sing a little song for Anna and me?"

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> s
You can go only east, west or down.

> w
His eyes narrow, "You're not going to leave without singing?" He tries to deepen his voice, but all it does is deepen. He tries to compel, but he can't.

"Well, what are you waiting for," he says, looking you up and down.

> sing
You try to keep your mouth closed, and hum as best a tune as you can. He smirks, but seems eased. "Good show, friend."

Anna comes in with another glass, also full. She keeps her eyes low; she's embarrassed. She sets the glass down, takes the empty from from the doctor's hand - he has trouble letting go of it - and walks wordlessly back to the kitchen.

> w
His eyes narrow, the shaking in his hands stops and you see an angry flash out of the bottom of your eyes. His fingers flit with a tight efficiency and the scalpel tears out your throat - it was duller than you thought, but more than enough to do the job.

*** You have died, whatever that means. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Salon
[Previous turn undone.]

> e
His eyes narrow, the shaking in his hands stops and you see an angry flash out of the bottom of your eyes. His fingers flit with a tight efficiency and the scalpel tears out your throat - it was duller than you thought, but more than enough to do the job.

*** You have died, whatever that means. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Salon
[Previous turn undone.]

> l

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

Doctor Gris sips at his glass, and watches you closely.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

"Anna," he shouts, "D'you deliver that letter?"

> z
Time passes.

She pokes a smiling face through the doorway, onions in hand, "No, doctor. It's the strangest thing, wasn't no one down there."

> z
Time passes.

He turns away from you, "Anna!" She darts in, exchanges the glasses, smiles, and leaves. Doctor Gris jiggles his glass, more intentionally than not. "I had such high hopes for you. Such high, high hopes."

> z
Time passes.

> z
Time passes.

He finishes his drink with relish. "But what are you gonna do."

> l

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

Doctor Gris sips at his glass, and watches you closely.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

Anna comes in and switches the glasses. "That's the last of it, Doctor Gris, and I can't leave the ham."

"Hmm," he mutters, "I guess you'll have to go," his eyes are so glassy.

> x gris
He's younger than you would have thought. Thirty-five, forty? His face isn't quite dour, more frozen. The few lines are rigid, and don't bend when he talks or tries to smile. The ice cubes rattle in his glass as he trembles to bring it up to his lips. He's already spilled a lot on him self. You looks at you strangely. An odd, sad mix of pride, resentment, hope, and hunger?

"Here," he fumbles through his pockets, pulls some coins out and presses them at you. "Go down to Royal and get me some bourbon: Four Roses." He twirls a finger through your ratty clothes fondly, almost like drunken flirting. "Just don't go further south. Mama John'll snap you up like that." He tries to snap his fingers, but his trembling hand just claws up.

> save
Ok.

> i
You are carrying:
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> s
You can go only east, west or down.

> w

Foyer
It's stately, but not overdone. A rather heavy, barred door leads south, a tightly cornered staircase to the north leads up, and behind you is the salon.

You're free, at least for now. It's not liberating. You're lost. You have no answers. And only one name: "Mama John." The woman from the fence. Even from here you can feel her call to you, her fingers in your brain.

A worn leather bag - likely Anna's - hangs from the coatrack.

You're free, at least for now. It's not liberating. You're lost. You have no answers. And only one name: the Yellow Lady, "Mama John." The woman from the fence. Even from here you can feel her call to you, her fingers in your brain.

> look in bag
Rifling through the bag, you find a crisp letter and a couple of dollars.

> x letter
Triply folded and sealed - probably only for one set of eyes.

Something shifts in your belly, and you feel fluid spill.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> read it
You crack the seal on the letter, and smooth it out on your thigh.

The writing is very small, tight little lines, and it's still gibberish.

> get dollars
(the more money)
Taken.

> getletter
That's not a verb I recognise.

> get letter
Taken.

> u
You do your best to be quiet on the echoing stairs, but he's probably too drunk to notice now anyway.

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. A slightly better one frames a portrait on the far wall up the hall to the north.

> n

End of the Hall
Little more than an alcove. The rest of the hall is to the south.

A kindly portrait of Doctor Gris hangs on the wall.

> x portrait
He's not the man from downstairs. He's younger for sure, but that's not it. His smile is warm, but more than that, it's natural. The skin curves like it should; it's supple.

> e
You can go only south.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> s

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door to the west, a door to the east. And stairs to the south leading down.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> look under bed
You flip through the sheets, and look under the mattress. Nothing.

> x diplomas
Spidery words surround gold and red seals, but you can't read a word.

> x credentials
Spidery words surround gold and red seals, but you can't read a word.

> x phone
Simple enough, just a dial, a body, and receiver.

> call police
You try to repeat the call, but your tongue just can't make the right sounds.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> n

End of the Hall
Little more than an alcove. The rest of the hall is to the south.

A kindly portrait of Doctor Gris hangs on the wall.

> look behind portrait
It's too heavy to carry, but you manage to bump it off the bracket and guide it to the ground.

Paydirt - a small sturdy safe nests in the wall.

> x safe
Thick hinges, forged steel, and an unassuming dial.

> x dial
Thick hinges, forged steel, and an unassuming dial.

> w
You can go only south.

Your legs go limp and bend, and you stumble. You force back your kneecaps and straighten your legs.

> s

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> w

Bathroom
A clean, little, white room with nothing more than a toilet, a tub, a sink, and a mirrored medicine cabinet. The hallway's back to the east.

> open cabinet
The cabinet swings open.

Most of the bottles are full, but you can't read the labels. Only one has been used much at all. In fact, it's empty. It looks to be an old milk bottle with some dried brown residue at the bottom.

> x residue
All that remains is a dry, cracked, brown residue at the bottom.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> get bottles
You pluck the empty milk bottle - if he doesn't want the rest, neither do you.

> put water in bottle
(the milk bottle)
You need to be holding the toilet before you can put it into something else.

> x sink
It's been scrubbed furiously, but there's still stains of vomit around the faucet.

> turn on faucet
You turn the faucet and some water spills out. You turn it off.

> fill bottle
(the milk bottle)
You have no thirst, and need no water.

> e

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> d

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

A worn leather bag - likely Anna's - hangs from the coatrack.

> get bag
You take bag off the rack. Taken.

> save
Ok.

> s
You push through the door and step onto the veranda. The air is thick and sticky, and the sun is going down.

Veranda
The warmth wraps around you and fills heavily in your lungs. Sweet clematis puffs perfumes from the trellis. The day out on the street is just ending, and the night out on the street is just beginning. Revellers begin their slow crawl through the old bars and new speakeasies to the street to the south.

As you shuffle out, your foot brushes against something on the ground. It's a husk of corn.

You hear a slight rustle, and see a narrow scaly tail wriggle in to the clematis. You think it's gone, when two slitted eyes blink at you from the shadows.

> x eyes
(the snake)
The snake, glad to have had your attention, disappears in to the clematis to the east.

The husk of corn blows about in the wind.

> undo
Veranda
[Previous turn undone.]

> get snake
The snake, glad to have had your attention, disappears in to the clematis to the east.

The husk of corn blows about in the wind.

> get husk
As you touch the husk, a subtle warmth thaws your fingers. You place it in your pocket, and feel comforted. It flicks and curls in your pocket, coming halfway out. It flicks its head, almost like it's talking.

> x snake
You can't see any such thing.

> look in pocket
You can't see any such thing.

> i
You are carrying:
a husk of corn
a bag (which is open but empty)
milk bottle
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> x husk
It's been altered somehow. Someone has carefully torn along the natural fissures and tied it upon itself to make the crude shape of a man. There is touch of red streaked across the "chest."

> talk to husk
To your surprise, the husk of corn crawls up to your shoulder and tilts its head to your mouth.

The husk of corn pushes at the thick clematis to the east, but the vines are too springy for it and its flung back. You notice that up higher, they're broken.

> talk to husk
The husk of corn pushes at the thick clematis to the east, but the vines are too springy for it and its flung back. You notice that up higher, they're broken.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> e
Whoever's come through here had far more grace than you. You can see the path, but you triple its berth. Soon, the clematis gives way to brambles, the brambles to goldenrod, and the goldenrod to crabgrass.

Other Side of the Fence
Phh, the air puffs out of you as you collapse into a small patch of flattened grass. Someone has been here recently - the grass is flattened, but still shines. A barbed fence, dwarfed by a majestic old cypress, hedges off the clearing. The brambles are thick everywhere else but the southwest. They scrabble at you, and steal strips of cloth and blood from your legs.

There's a creak in your chest, and one of your ribs unhinges.

> x brambles
They twist and scrabble at you, and they've caught something yellow.

> x yellow
(the piece of muslin)
A short strip of yellow cloth, muslin you think. Flecks of blood haphazardly dance on the edges.

> get muslin
There's a piece of fine yellow muslin caught here: a bloody piece of muslin. You delicately peel the muslin away from the brambles - they don't want to let go - but with enough coaxing, you get it all.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> sw
You thrash you way through the brambles back to the veranda.

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> s
You stumble off the porch and find yourself in a gentle river of people.

Street Corner
The people eddy and flow around you. Some notice you. Most don't. It's chaotic, and loud, but it's nice to be invisible. To all except one. Across the street, a very dark man - between a random assortment of shots and mugs - stares at you from the seedy bar to the west. You float in the crowd a bit, but he never breaks from you. The street continues south.

> x man
He's perpetually talking to some other people, laughing, but he never takes his eyes off you - except to take a swig from a mug or bottle.

> w
The closer you get, the harder it is to see inside. Everyone is smoking, the cloud is impenetrable. Just as you're about to pull back, a black hand reaches out and pulls you through.

The Dead End Bar
Jazz, the Devil's song. A black man, much blacker than a black man should be, capers about between the tables. With a goose, he comes up and speaks to you in a liquored, foul tongue.

"Gwhaha, so it's back. What was it? Guinee too cold?"

The man hops back from foot to foot.

To your surprise, the corn husk flips and bends in some unfelt wind. It twists up into a stand and climbs up to your shoulder. Although it doesn't make any sound, you know it's growling. It raises its arms and curls them into fists, shadow boxing against the dark man. You blink, and it's flattened itself into your pocket once again.

> punch man
His drunkeness disappears for a moment, and he dodges your clumsy hand. "Look at it!" -he stops laughing- "Look at the clumsy, dead thing."

"Maybe if you beg, I'll let you speak," he grins at you, "or maybe not."

> talk to man
Broken sounds spill from your cracked lips and he bursts into a tearful laugh. "It's a scream! Look at it try to talk!" He claps you on the back. "You're walking - that's more than you can hope for." ?

"Come now, beg me , and we'll see about getting your voice back." He grins to his brood. "Hahaha."

He takes a puff on his cigar and purposely blows it in to your face. "Who is your maker, Zombie? I'd like to rip out their throat."

> tell man about gris
He chuckles. "Silly dead thing." With a flash, one hand strikes your throat and jaw, forcing you open and holding you still. The other hand digs into your ear, and plucks the piece of wasp pulp in one fluid gesture. He grabs your tongue, and sticks the pulp beneath.

"There you go," he says as your tongue loosens and you begin to make some coherent babbling sounds.

Something wriggles in your scalp and down falls a maggot.

> tell man about gris
Baron Samedi growls, "It was one thing in the hospitals. Sometimes he'd snap someone back from our gates..."

> ask man about yellow
Baron Samedi screams and cuffs you in the side of the head with his mug, "That witch!" He's livid. You get back up, but back away a little first...

> talk to samedi
He pretends to ignore you for a moment, but his restraint is lacking. "What I wanna know," he says softly, but with great intensity. He pauses for a moment and resumes his brash persona. "What you better tell me, is why the fuck did you come back!?"

Your voice is still weak, but you're not afraid of him. "I didn't. Come back..."

> g
He reaches out behind your ear, well, to your ear. You think he's about to speak, but then he just yanks, and rips it off. It doesn't hurt. "Then how the hell did I do that?" The man grabs a cocktail pick from a nearby, jazzed up Sazerac. He skewers your dry, bloodless ear and jabs it back on your head.

"I. Don't know." You cock your head, and meet his eyes. "Magic..?"

> g
His neck bulges and smoke streams from his nose. "Haha," he grabs your hand and shakes it vigorously. "Haha. You're alright, Zombie." And then he drops your hand, and pokes you in your sternum, hard. "But if I were you, I'd find out. You got no soul, and without it, you'll just keep falling apart." He emphasizes the point by applying more than a little pressure. You hear the cracking of your ribs, and a stray gust of wind that was somehow trapped in your lung wheezes out...

> g
"Where?" You have to hold your throat to form the word right.

He shrugs, "I dunno." He drags a finger over your lines, and they flare with a firey red light. "But they must have have been mighty strong with the loa..."

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> g
He sniffs at you. "A woman. She must be crazy, powerful. I smell her on you still."

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> g
He sniffs at you. "A woman. She must be crazy, powerful. I smell her on you still."

> g
He sniffs at you. "A woman. She must be crazy, powerful. I smell her on you still."

> l

The Dead End Bar
Trumpets blare and saxophones twist sound in impossible ways. It's a very distracting picture, but there's only one thing you can look at: the very dark man before you.

The man hops back from foot to foot.

You're absently sucking on a tooth when you feel the vaccuum break. You don't have the coordination, and it slips down your throat.

> x man
He wears a cheap tuxedo and seems perpetually standing on coals. There's always sound coming from him: a curse, and foul word, a grunt.

> talk to man
He sniffs at you. "A woman. She must be crazy, powerful. I smell her on you still."

> e
"Good," he gives you a rough shove in the shoulder. "Know that when you leave, you won't be coming back."

> save
Ok.

> l

The Dead End Bar
Trumpets blare and saxophones twist sound in impossible ways. It's a very distracting picture, but there's only one thing you can look at: the very dark man before you.

The man hops back from foot to foot.

> out
But you aren't in anything at the moment.

> e
"Pray you never meet me again," he spits at your feet. As you step down into the cobbled street, the smoke closes behind. When it clears, there's nothing left.

Street Corner
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> s

Street Corner
The crowd splits strongly here. Drunks spill in from the south, young loves (and younger truants) line up eagerly for the latest from the cinema to the southeast, and widows, and repentent husbands, and funeral directors file in to the flower shop to the southwest. The street continues north-south.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

The dishevelled lunatic rushes off to the southeast, to the cinema.

> n

Street Corner
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> w
The bar's gone, there's just the side of a run-of-the-mill building.

> s

Street Corner
The crowd splits strongly here. Drunks spill in from the south, young loves (and younger truants) line up eagerly for the latest from the cinema to the southeast, and widows, and repentent husbands, and funeral directors file in to the flower shop to the southwest. The street continues north-south.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

"It is I who am the gunner of god!" The young man shouts, tumbling through a crowd.

> x man
A young white man, in blue jeans, a labourer. His hair is short, but wild, and his eyes blaze and look at things not there.

The man rushes off to the south, to the next side street.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Street Corner
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

A pastor and a couple of volunteers ladle out a thin soup to a line of hungry men.

The young man shoves an older man and snarls.

> x pastor
Young and over his head. His tight-buttoned shirt doesn't fit, and his collar looks like it strangles him. Still, he has a soft, nervous smile.

The man rushes off to the southwest, to the bus station.

> sw

Bus Station
Runaways, tramps, fugitives - anyone who can rustle up a couple of dollars for a train ticket is heading north. If you don't want the bus north, you can take your feet northeast.

A dishevelled young man jostles with the customers.

The clerk ushers people onto the bus, trading money for tickets as he goes.

A large bus idles and chugs by the station.

The young man shoves an older man and snarls.

> ne
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Street Corner
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

A pastor and a couple of volunteers ladle out a thin soup to a line of hungry men.

The man rushes in.

> s

Street Corner
The intersection to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. This corner is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of the one shop - a dingey, but scorchingly bright lounge - to the southwest.

He lets out a feeble bleat, "when I roar the earth trembles!"

> se
Broken glass and thick charred wood crunch under your feet.

Rubble
Maybe half a doorframe, an old wood stove, and a few flagstones are all that remains. You can't even make out the original layout. It smells like smoke, but not wood smoke: tobacco.

"This my squat, pal," an old homeless man says, looking up from his nest of blankets and plant debris. He looks you up and down greedily, but when he sees your raged clothes, he snorts: "Get."

> s
You can go only northwest.

> nw

Street Corner
The intersection to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. This corner is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of the one shop - a dingey, but scorchingly bright lounge - to the southwest.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

The young man whips his head about and licks at his hands, when you see several police men enter from the north and approach him with that calm, quick policeman walk. The tallest one gently grips the young man's arm, "OK André, settle down. We'll let you sleep it off, and you'll be back tomorrow." The young man doesn't seem to hear and just looks at the hand on his arm with wild eyes. He calms for a moment, then gets agitated. "I am Agau!" He shouts, head-butting the nearest cop. "I am the gunner of God!" He ducks a wild swing of the billy-club. "When I roar, the earth trembles!" He kicks the shorter cop.

The cops drop the soft act, and tackle the man. He goes down with a thud, but still swings wildly. It takes three of them holding his arms for the fourth to get the cuffs on. They haul him roughly, but not cruelly, in to the paddywagon, and set off down the street.

> s
You leave the smell of burning, and emerge to the smell of the swamp. It smells good, familiar.

Street Corner
After the desolation of the previous corner, back up the street, this corner is strangely populated: even stranger is that it's the end. To the south is a thicket of brambles and Scotch broom. A crowd of petitioners stand in front of the thicket. They "Ooh," and "aah," and pay no attention to you.

"Just look at it," a young man says, tugging on his wife's arms. "That mansion is exquisite." Isn't it though, it looks so warm and inviting.

You should go in to the thicket, that'll solve everything. What's that? It feels familiar.

You scratch at a scaly patch on your leg, and a finger nail peels off, uncovering a purple-black bed.

> x thicket
At first it looks like nothing more than haphazard overgrowth. But as you watch, it takes on a pattern. The dead sticks form fences, and the witch's broom pulls and combs the other plants into place. It's beautiful, it's a manicured hedge. No, it's not. Almost obscured is a small placard, gibberish, as usual.

Another woman. "Just imagine what it's like on the inside," she says, "Oh what I'd do to live there." She's very smart, everyone wants to come to the mansion. You should too.

Someone's crawling around in your head, making you think things.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> get pulp
You already have that.

You feel a slight twinge in your foot, and you shake it out and take a step closer.

The corn husk ravels up and down your arm, trying to pull you away.

> put pulp in eyes
It's dry and jagged, but it rolls along your eye smoothly. It curls up inside, and feels like it melts away.

It's time to go in. "Have you seen the woman who owns it?" a young socialite says to her fellow.

Just like the damn doctor. Mama John's messing with your mind.

> x placard
At first it looks like nothing more than haphazard overgrowth. But as you watch, it takes on a pattern. The dead sticks form fences, and the witch's broom pulls and combs the other plants into place. It's beautiful, it's a manicured hedge. No, it's not. Almost obscured is a small placard: "672 Conti."

"Oh yes, sometimes she comes to wave at us," an admiring jealousy is in the tone, "she's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. And never have I seen a truer yellow than that on her dress."

The corn husk leaps to the ground and crumples. It quickly straighten up and pushes all its weight against you leg.

> n

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> sw
You brush through a curtain of glass beads and ceramic bones, setting off the tinkling of a thousand tiny bells.

Parlour
No one's here. It's a strange room. Every wall, every table, is robed in velvet. Cheap glass trinkets adorn the ceiling, scattering light in the movement of a draft. A table, with two chairs, is awkwardly placed in the middle of the room. You're about to leave, when a thin - a very thin - Creole woman rushes in from the back, setting off the crystal curtain.

"No, no," she pleads, "Don't go. I can offer you a great many things. Please, have a seat - you won't be sorry."

Mambo Felis looks at you eagerly - it doesn't seem like she gets many customers.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> talk to mambo
"What happ-" you cut her off: "I am dead."

She opens the bag, and then closes it. "How?" She's angry, demanding.

"Mama John." You say, your voice like bubbling like a thick bisque...

> talk to mambo
"No," she draws her hand around her belly. "No. I'm sorry, I can't help you."

> talk to mambo
"No," she draws her hand around her belly. "No. I'm sorry, I can't help you."

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> x bottle
All that remains is a dry, cracked, brown residue at the bottom.

> x letter
The words are in a tiny, shaky script.

John,

Your vague little threats don't scare me. I can't imagine you'd be stupid enough to threaten me with the police - we all know our reputations, and doctor beats mambo every time. However, I do imagine you stupid enough to threaten me with your little spells.

They may not have taught you this out in the swamp, but you are no sorceress, Mama John. You get them drunk on your poisons and bully their small minds, and mine is not small. This may come as a surprise, to you, oh Great Mambo, but I never believed in your magic - only your drugs - and without belief, you have NO magic. We both know I have no magic, and I can command our little friend with nothing more than a deep voice - because he wants to be controlled.

Do not try to bully, threaten, or contact me again, or you will feel my "great powers" - a phone call to Capt. DuMarche.

- L. G.

> x articles
It's a thesis paper: "Contribution a l'Etude de L'Anatomie pathologique du Locus Niger de Soemmering avec quelques déductions relatives à la pathogénie des troubles du tonus musculaire et De La Maladie de Parkinson," by one Konstantin Tretiakoff from the Université de Paris.

> n
You can go only northeast.

> ne

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> w
You can go only north, south, southeast or southwest.

> n
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> talk to pastor
"Sorry, friend," he says, smiling as he packs away some napkins. "But we're all out of soup..."

> se
You walk through a thick cloud of flies, booze, and tobacco smoke.

Moonlight Liquor
The only way to compete with the glut of liquor sales at every Mom and Pop is to possess every type the little guys don't. Everything is here. It's a sparkling rainbow of champagnes, and reds and whites, and chartreuses. The cold, dark street is back to the northwest.

The sales clerk leans on the counter, flipping through a pulp comic.

> x comic
A rather lurid cover, but he's reading "The Iron Man, A weird scientific story of a robot that ran amuck in the city streets."

Some internal rigging shifts in your pelvis - like a taut cord snapping. Urine runs down your leg.

> nw
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> sw

Bus Station
Runaways, tramps, fugitives - anyone who can rustle up a couple of dollars for a train ticket is heading north. If you don't want the bus north, you can take your feet northeast.

The clerk ushers people onto the bus, trading money for tickets as he goes.

A large bus idles and chugs by the station.

> get on bus
The attendant blocks your path, "Sorry, bub, we all wanna get out of here, but you need a ticket."

> buy ticket
He smiles, "We're all running from something, aren't we?" He tears off a little piece of paper from his book. "Here you go."

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> save
Ok.

> get on bus
Fuck them all. You're tired of being a puppet. Let all the doctors and demons and witches sort it out for themselves.

*** You attained freedom, after a sort. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Bus Station
[Previous turn undone.]

> ne
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> w
You can go only north, south, southeast or southwest.

> n

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> se

Box Office
It's quiet and empty, the lights on the marquee are out. All that's left is the ticket taker come sweeper. The street's back to the northwest.

The ticket taker push-brooms away the mess, listening with relish to the crunching of popcorn.

> talk to taker
She has that fearlessness that only someone born here has when a shambling creature harrasses them past midnight - "Listen, I gotta open up at 10AM - some of us work." She pushes more aggressively at the old soda cans.

> nw

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

Something itches in your hair, and you feel something crawling out. The maggots are now hatching: a blow-fly flaps out.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> sw
There's just you and a few desperate looking men here. The smell here is an unpleasant mix of sweet flowers and oversweet flowers.

Nursery
They must do quite well: most of the shop is prearranged bundles of roses, tulips, and lilies. There are a few potted plants, but still fairly conventional fare. However, towards the back, there are an assortment of pulverized and poulticed concoctions - all labeled in a sweeping Oriental script.

A young man sweeps up the muddy footprints and petals from floor.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> x concoctions
Unusual, likely; unknowable, definitely. Whatever secrets are in them won't be discovered by reading the label.

> get concoctions
You wouldn't know where to start.

> get plants
You can't take the potted plants.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> talk to man
(the shopkeep)
"Feel free to look around," he says politely but impatiently.

> ne

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> w
You can go only north, south, southeast or southwest.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> n

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> n

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> n

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

Doctor Gris looks glumly at his empty glass.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> read paper
(the newspaper)
"The Times-Picayune, June 22nd, 1933."

The usual drivel - "Pretty Boy Floyd" Still at Large!

Worker, Found Bound Near Jackson

Sturmabteilung Forbid All but National Socialists

Tulane Anthropologist Still Missing

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> u

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> x phone
Simple enough, just a dial, a body, and receiver.

> x diplomas
Bred at Duke, raised on Rice, refined at Tulane. Amidst the degrees and credentials, there's a couple of old photographs.

> x photogrpahs
You can't see any such thing.

> x photographs
(the photograph)
Men, women, and children. It's a large family. They're gathered in a family home, warming themselves by the wood stove. You don't recognize them.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> get photographs
(the photograph)
You already have that.

> x credentials
Bred at Duke, raised on Rice, refined at Tulane. Amidst the degrees and credentials, there's a couple of old photographs.

> l

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> w

Bathroom
A clean, little, white room with nothing more than a toilet, a tub, a sink, and a mirrored medicine cabinet. The hallway's back to the east.

> e

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> n

End of the Hall
Little more than an alcove. The rest of the hall is to the south.

The portrait lies propped against the wall, revealing the tight set safe.

A safe sits snug in the wall.

> x safe
Thick hinges, forged steel, and an unassuming dial.

> turn dial
You spin the dial, but you have no idea what numbers to use.

> i
You are carrying:
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> talk to doll
The husk points at the dial and shrugs it's little shoulders.

> show bottle to doll
The husk doll is unimpressed.

> show letter to doll
The husk doll is unimpressed.

> x letter
The words are in a tiny, shaky script.

John,

Your vague little threats don't scare me. I can't imagine you'd be stupid enough to threaten me with the police - we all know our reputations, and doctor beats mambo every time. However, I do imagine you stupid enough to threaten me with your little spells.

They may not have taught you this out in the swamp, but you are no sorceress, Mama John. You get them drunk on your poisons and bully their small minds, and mine is not small. This may come as a surprise, to you, oh Great Mambo, but I never believed in your magic - only your drugs - and without belief, you have NO magic. We both know I have no magic, and I can command our little friend with nothing more than a deep voice - because he wants to be controlled.

Do not try to bully, threaten, or contact me again, or you will feel my "great powers" - a phone call to Capt. DuMarche.

- L. G.

> read articles
You skim through it. The article itself is difficult - you don't know a lot of the words, but it talks about part of the brain decaying while a person lives and the effect it has on the body. The handwritten notes are a little more direct:

(a circle around a photograph of something that looks like a mouse's head) - Dr. Barger - the excluded chemical in the nigra is similar to the extract from the velvet bean, thinks it's inactive.

(three strong underlines - rip the page - beneath the words "dégénération irréversible") - need to try anyway, Benny says there are stronger breeds of the bean around, won't say more.

The other notes are strange diagrams, chemical formulas, and a lot of exclamation points.

> l

End of the Hall
Little more than an alcove. The rest of the hall is to the south.

The portrait lies propped against the wall, revealing the tight set safe.

A safe sits snug in the wall.

> e
You can go only south.

> s

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> x pitcher
It looked like a nice piece at one point, a juice pitcher probably, but now it's stained with something most certainly not juice.

> get it
Yecch.

> x dresser
It's a beautiful antique, more than enough space for an entire wardrobe.

> open it
As you rifle through the clothes you come across a thick stack of bills and an ancient Derringer. You slip them in to your pocket.

Along with the money for the doctor's liquor, this should be enough for anything you need.

> save
Ok.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> d

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> u

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> phone du marche
That's not a verb I recognise.

> dial phone
That's not a verb I recognise.

> use phone
That's not a verb I recognise.

> call police
You don't know the captain's number. Doubtful he'd help anyone besides Gris anyway.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

> d

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

Doctor Gris looks glumly at his empty glass.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> e

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

She looks apologetically at you. "You gotta understand, he's a good, generous man, but these last few years have been hard on him, and the liquor doesn't help his temper."

She looks about to go back to the ham, when she wipes her hands on her apron and touches yours. "So a dumber are you?" Before you can react, she worries she may have offended you. "Ain't no shame in that. My brother was deaf and dumb from little." She turns back to the ham. "But you hear fine. Sometimes, you gotta think more about what you got, and less about what God's taken."

She looks down at the bag you carry and frowns, "Please put it back,"

> e
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

> n
You pass through the corners and the white streams from above.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> x weed
There's a squat little building, covered in vines and jimson weed.

> n
You duck into the gentle shelter of the cypress.

Beneath the Cypress
The great cypress makes it quite dark here - deep greys and greens and chaotic patches of wildflowers. You tilled much of the soil, but the brambles were too thick here, and the fence has deep struts that have already broken the ground. The rest of the garden is to the south.

> s
You leave the gentle shade of the cypress.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> s
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

> w

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna busies herself with a plump ham.

> look in bin
You carefully use your hem to pick up the piece of the broken glass.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of clean, sharp glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> x bottle
All that remains is a dry, cracked, brown residue at the bottom.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

Doctor Gris looks glumly at his empty glass.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> stab gris with glass
That's not a verb I recognise.

> cut gris with glass
(the piece of clean, sharp glass)
You eye the doctor hungrily, and your rage builds and builds. A bloody scream streams from your mouth and you begin your assault. Although he looks sick and weak, he is immensely quick. You thrash him, again and again, with more rage than technique. He's bloody, barely recognizable. And you're looking at his face, when you should be looking at his hands. But by the time you see the glint, it's too late. He whips it across your neck, and the blood just flows and flows.

You collapse into a pile together, blood mingling. Master and servant, together to the end.

*** You have died, whatever that means. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Salon
[Previous turn undone.]

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> x rack
A couple of pegs hammered into a board. Does what it should.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> x flowers
To the east, the clematis has been ruffled, the purple and yellow faces looking away. Someone has damaged them.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> x vines
Shining purple and yellow faces staring at you, wonder what you'll do next. They shy away to the east: there is a path.

> e
You thrash through the brambles before reaching the flattened patch of crabgrass.

Other Side of the Fence
A barbed fence, dwarfed by a majestic old cypress, hedges off the clearing. The brambles are sharp and thorny and thick everywhere else but the southwest.

> w
You can go only southwest.

> sw
You thrash you way through the brambles back to the veranda.

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> s

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> save
Ok.

> s
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
After the desolation of Conti and Chartres back up the street, this corner is strangely populated: even stranger is that it's the end. To the south is a thicket of brambles and Scotch broom. A crowd of petitioners stand in front of the thicket. They "Ooh," and "aah," and pay no attention to you.

You legs stiffens, and you lurch forward. The crowd parts for you, without looking, in unison.

> s
As you pass through the oversized rabbit hole, terror rips in to you. Your legs go rigid and you lurch forward faster and faster. You can't see anything past thirty yards; a grey wall advances, swallowing everything in its path. A brief scent coquettishly kisses your nose, and then flits away with smell. It's not coming back, and your dry tongue can't accommodate. Words begin dropping off, to be replaced with chaos. A low drone mingles with the cicadas. "Welcome back..." They're the very last words you hear.

*** You don't know what happened. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Conti and Decatur
[Previous turn undone.]

> l

Conti and Decatur
After the desolation of Conti and Chartres back up the street, this corner is strangely populated: even stranger is that it's the end. To the south is a thicket of brambles and Scotch broom. A crowd of petitioners stand in front of the thicket. They "Ooh," and "aah," and pay no attention to you.

A warm invisible liquid rises from your feet and wraps and wraps until it get to your head. Your legs flash into animation They're still erratic, but they drag you with great force. You try to focus, to break it, but you can't. There's a small opening in the thicket, but you don't pass through it. Instead, you're pulled through the brambles, Tiny, painless cuts blossom on your exposed skin. You make it through, and something hurls you to the ground.

"Welcome back," you can't look up, so you stare at the shoes. Small feet wrap themselves in thin, sandals.

Suddenly, the feet turn gray, and the ankles, and the swampy dirt you lie on. Brief, unnameble smells, meat and hair? Your body grows numb, and it's all you can do to turn your head so you don't go face first in dirt. A drip of blood, a gift from the brambles, worms in to your dry, slightly open mouth. It tastes like thick water.

"Now we can contin..." The sound is gone, and everything greys out.

*** You don't know what happened. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Conti and Decatur
[Previous turn undone.]

> n

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> sw
You brush through a curtain of glass beads and ceramic bones, setting off the tinkling of a thousand tiny bells.

Parlour
Bare lights are amplified by the glistening crushed velvet and crystals scattered throughout the room. A table sits in the centre of the room. There's a distinct hodge-podge feel to the parlor - baubles next to antiques, fine silk cushions on cheap stuffed furniture. The less colourful street is back to the northeast.

Mambo Felis looks at you eagerly - it doesn't seem like she gets many customers.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> talk to felis
"No," she draws her hand around her belly. "No. I'm sorry, I can't help you."

> x velvet
The furniture's seen many people, but more recently, it hasn't seen anyone. It's covered in dust.

> x crystals
Colored glass sends the light scattering, dozens of little rainbows and solitary colors. Even when you're still, drafts spin through the walls and send the crystal tinkling.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> x cushions
The furniture's seen many people, but more recently, it hasn't seen anyone. It's covered in dust.

> se
You can go only northeast.

> ne

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> n
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> n

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> n

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> sw
You can go only north, south or west.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> sw
There's just you and a few desperate looking men here. The smell here is an unpleasant mix of sweet flowers and oversweet flowers.

Nursery
They must do quite well: most of the shop is prearranged bundles of roses, tulips, and lilies. There are a few potted plants, but still fairly conventional fare. However, towards the back, there are an assortment of pulverized and poulticed concoctions - all labeled in a sweeping Oriental script.

A young man sweeps up the muddy footprints and petals from floor.

> x plants
Mostly vines - clematis, ivy, that sort of thing. The south is full of secrets, and vines are innocuous.

> s
You can go only northeast.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> x clematis
Mostly vines - clematis, ivy, that sort of thing. The south is full of secrets, and vines are innocuous.

> x pots
Mostly vines - clematis, ivy, that sort of thing. The south is full of secrets, and vines are innocuous.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> l

Nursery
They must do quite well: most of the shop is prearranged bundles of roses, tulips, and lilies. There are a few potted plants, but still fairly conventional fare. However, towards the back, there are an assortment of pulverized and poulticed concoctions - all labeled in a sweeping Oriental script.

A young man sweeps up the muddy footprints and petals from floor.

> x concoctions
Unusual, likely; unknowable, definitely. Whatever secrets are in them won't be discovered by reading the label.

> taste concoctions
You can still taste the porridge - and the medicine. It overpowers the rest.

> ne

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of clean, sharp glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> n

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> n

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> e
You thrash through the brambles before reaching the flattened patch of crabgrass.

Other Side of the Fence
A barbed fence, dwarfed by a majestic old cypress, hedges off the clearing. The brambles are sharp and thorny and thick everywhere else but the southwest.

> undo
Veranda
[Previous turn undone.]

> n

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

Doctor Gris looks glumly at his empty glass.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> shoot gris
No, no separation. If you do this, you do this with your hands.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> se
You walk through a thick cloud of flies, booze, and tobacco smoke.

Moonlight Liquor
The only way to compete with the glut of liquor sales at every Mom and Pop is to possess every type the little guys don't. Everything is here. It's a sparkling rainbow of champagnes, and reds and whites, and chartreuses. The cold, dark street is back to the northwest.

The sales clerk leans on the counter, flipping through a pulp comic.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

It's difficult to buy any liquor in this liquor store.

> buy liquor
They don't sell that.

> buy chartreuse
They don't sell that.

> but champagne
That's not a verb I recognise.

> buy champagne
They don't sell that.

> buy four rouses
They don't sell that.

> buy four roses
He needs no calculator, or maybe he's just making up the price, but either way, you have your bourbon.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> nw
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> n

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> n

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> n

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> n

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> z
Time passes.

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> n

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

"Uh-uh-uh-I knew you'd come back," he stutters. "I knew you wouldn't forget your creator."

> talk to gris
His stuttering words cut you off.

"I need more," he glances his frozen eyes to the little bottle that's rolled out of his hands.

> x bottle
A tiny bottle, 3 oz. maybe, with a small amount of brown liquid in it.

"I was so stupid," his stammer makes it come out in spittled pieces, "The second I saw you, I had to have you."

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> get bottle
His eyes light up, for a moment.

"I thought it would be worth it," -his shaking eyes try to focus on you- "It wasn't."

> talk to gris
"Why?" you ask. Your teeth grind, but you're not angry. You don't feel things like that anymore.

Doctor Gris looks away from you, "I'm impulsive, Zombie. And you were just so, so perfect..."

> talk to gris
"When I first saw you blink, I thought I had gone insane," he reaches out for you, then drops his hand. "But then you kept moving. You were so clumsy back then, but your gains were amazing. In that moment, I forgot about the yerepe..."

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> talk to gris
"No, that's not right. I just didn't care. I had to have you, to learn you." His lips curl, but you wouldn't call it a smile. "And now I have nothing..."

> talk to gris
"Benny won't sell the Mao Dou anymore, John would kill me if she ever saw me. I thought of calling Captain DuMarche, but everyone thinks I'm insane, and I doubt even he could protect me from her." He looks at your feet. "I don't even have you any more. Anna will leave. My career is is ruins. I will die..."

> talk to gris
"Nothing can stop that now," he drags his finger across his chest. "Even now, I can feel my body dying, and my mind has no choice to but to follow..."

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> talk to gris
His face shakes, and a couple of tears scatter - "Please, let me die in peace, I'm so tired."

> talk to gris
His face shakes, and a couple of tears scatter - "Please, let me die in peace, I'm so tired."

> ask gris about safe
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> l

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

> x safe
You can't see any such thing.

> n

End of the Hall
Little more than an alcove. The rest of the hall is to the south.

The safe's door swings open on its hinges.

> look in safe
(the safe)
There's just some papers.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> get papers
(the papers in the safe)
The papers are just for reading.

> read papers
(the papers in the safe)
It's his will. He was a wealthy man: half to Anna, half to Charity Hospital.

> x will
It's his will. He was a wealthy man: half to Anna, half to Charity Hospital.

> s

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

> d

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> e

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna busies herself about the kitchen cleaning up the dishes.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> tell anna about gris
"He's a treasure," her lips go ruddy, and she brushes her thick dark hair behind her ears. "He's been real good to me and my momma..."

> tell anna about will
She shrugs, "Why would I wanna talk about that?" She goes back to cleaning.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

I don't know if I am supposed to be strategizing at this point or just finding things out.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> i
You are carrying:
a small bottle
bottle of Four Roses
a piece of clean, sharp glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> n

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

> give roses to gris
His eyes gain a little brightness as he grabs for the bottle. It falls to the floor beside him, but it doesn't break. He twitches and shivers. "That won't help me now." He sobs.

> give mao dou to gris
You spread the remaining paste in his mouth and toss the bottle away. Quickly, the shaking settles and he pushes himself up into a more reasonable position.

> talk to gris
His face shakes, and a couple of tears scatter - "Please, let me die in peace, I'm so tired."

> g
His face shakes, and a couple of tears scatter - "Please, let me die in peace, I'm so tired."

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of clean, sharp glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> x mao dou
All that remains is a dry, cracked, brown residue at the bottom.

> eat mao dou
You lack the coordination.

> x ticket
Little more than a temporary scrap to let you on the bus.

> ask gris about yellow
"I've seen her dozens of times," he says slowly, counting out events in his head, "Always in yellow."

> ask gris about yellow
"I've seen her dozens of times," he says slowly, counting out events in his head, "Always in yellow."

> ask gris about anna
His face goes limp, no, that's not right, it softens. "She's been a great help. Don't know what I'd do without her."

> ask gris about me
He looks over you fondly, "You're beautiful. No beating heart or breathing lungs, or even a soul, yet you speak and think and move. I never thought I'd see the day..."

> ask gris about me
"I couldn't let you stay with her," he grits his teeth, "She would have buried you far from the world, you would have been lost forever," he gets distracted, "No, I couldn't have allowed that..."

> ask gris about me
"I only wanted to keep you here until I understood you," his lips turn up, "Even with the yerepe, I would have died long before I succeeded. No one can understand you, Zombie, least of all her..."

> ask gris about yerepe
His eyes glaze slightly, "That's how this all started," he licks the remaining bits of residue from his prickled chin, "I had heard about it from an ethnobotanist who gave a lecture at one of our annual symposiums," he's getting tired, "Everyone else dismissed him as a snakeoil man, but I knew there was something more..."

> ask gris about yerepe
"My first taste was only a couple years ago," he not shaking anymore, but he still steadies his hands on one another, "From Hop Kee. They've used it in their own remedies, but they still thought it strange that I would be interested. They had never seen me shake, all they knew of me is what Anna told them..."

> ask gris about yerepe
"It worked so well, I could just eat the seeds whole, and the shaking would go away for a few hours," his word's get slower, "But the tolerance came quickly enough. I tried extractions of my own, I am not unskilled at chemistry. But it didn't last..."

> ask gris about yerepe
"Their potions worked well enough, but they saw my desperation grow," he chuckles, "Benny even undercut himself, told me about the Mambos and Bokors. I like to think he was trying to help me, but I had probably made enough scenes in his shop, that he probably just wanted to pass the buck..."

> ask gris about yerepe
"Felis knew nothing, the far flung nurseries knew nothing, even the Haitian Bokors couldn't help. So I sold my soul to that witch," his draining spittle forms a tight ball, and he spits to the ground...

> ask gris about yerepe
"I'm sure you know more after that than I do," his shouldlers have loosened enough for him to give a weak shrug.

> ask gris about mama
Which do you mean, Mama John, Mambo Felis or Anna's mother?

> ask gris about john
His stiff lips curl, "I should never have found her, forty years without much trouble - she turns my life to ruin in a month's span," he pauses, for far too long, "But then I suppose I'd never have met you," his drugged eyes softly move around you...

> ask gris about benny
"Benny's a real good kid." Doctor Gris shrugs. "Tried to help me out a lot. But I didn't give him much choice - I think his parents told him not to sell to me after I blew up that third time."

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> ask gris about mambo
Which do you mean, Mama John or Mambo Felis?

> ask gris about mambo felis
"I approached her first," he takes a long, shallow breath, "To be quite honest, Miss John's reputation scared me. I never believed she actually could do what she said, but enough others believed her to make her dangerous."

> ask gris about mambo felis
"I approached her first," he takes a long, shallow breath, "To be quite honest, Miss John's reputation scared me. I never believed she actually could do what she said, but enough others believed her to make her dangerous."

> ask gris about me
"She didn't appreciate you," he clucks, "You were another tool to her. She kept going on about Guinea Pigs, and bait, and souls and magic, and God knows what else. Truly that woman is a lunatic..."

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> ask gris about me
He sighs, "I obviously don't own you any more. But please, stay away from her."

Oops, bug.

> ask gris about her

[** Programming error: tried to read from -->64 in the array "match_list", which has entries 0 up to 63 **]

[** Programming error: tried to read from -->64 in the array "match_scores", which has entries 0 up to 63 **]
"Please, I'm just so tired," he curls in on himself, for warmth.

> ask gris about asdf
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

> ask gris about john
"I had to beg her," he says, matter-of-factly, "And she still made me grovel. But in the end, I knew what she wanted - she was too well-known not to. Still shouldnt've done it though..."

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> ask gris about john
His flat grin twists a little, "Now I have you, but no yerepe," he frowns, "I wanted both of you, but I only needed the yerepe..."

> ask gris about john
"Mama John is a powerful enemy, Zombie." He says frankly. "She has many friends, and few detractors. When I would meet with her she would always have a few of her 'zombies' around, but not five minutes would go by that she wouldn't have some poor petitioner come up with a problem. And whether by voodoo or just common sense, she would fix it, and have another friend. Christ, I mean she's probably baptised half the babies in this town - that's not a bond that's easily broken."

> ask gris about john
He puffs up, but sinks down.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> ask gris about john
He puffs up, but sinks down.

> ask gris about voodoo
"I guess you're the proof," he reaches over and pinches your cold leg, you don't flinch. "I could go on about post-traumatic amnesia, and induced comas, but that wouldn't come close to explaining you..."

> ask gris about voodoo
"You're just what you are, dead. Walking, thinking, talking dead. A zombie, yes," his eyes are glossy and full of stars, "But so much more."

> ask gris about voodoo
"You're just what you are, dead. Walking, thinking, talking dead. A zombie, yes," his eyes are glossy and full of stars, "But so much more."

> ask gris about babies
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

> ask gris about anna
His face goes limp, no, that's not right, it softens. "She's been a great help. Don't know what I'd do without her."

> ask gris about anna
His face goes limp, no, that's not right, it softens. "She's been a great help. Don't know what I'd do without her."

> ask gris about seeds
His eyes glaze slightly, "That's how this all started," he licks the remaining bits of residue from his prickled chin, "I had heard about it from an ethnobotanist who gave a lecture at one of our annual symposiums," he's getting tired, "Everyone else dismissed him as a snakeoil man, but I knew there was something more..."

> ask gris about pod
"My first taste was only a couple years ago," he not shaking anymore, but he still steadies his hands on one another, "From Hop Kee. They've used it in their own remedies, but they still thought it strange that I would be interested. They had never seen me shake, all they knew of me is what Anna told them..."

> ask gris about shaking
"Started a couple years ago," he's not shaking now, but he extends his fingers, and they start to vibrate, "We all thought I was too young for it, so they started looking for other causes," he sighs, "Wasted time? Sure. But even if they had it right, wouldn't have changed much. I knew I'd have to change things for myself..."

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> ask gris about shaking
"We still don't know a lot about it," his eyes start to glow, "Even so, I still found the magic elixir: those damn beans from those spiky pods. It was awful at first - I wouldn't shake, but I'd sure as hell feel like I had swallowed an egg whole and walked in a dream..."

> ask gris about shaking
"After I got a little better at the extraction, it wasn't so bad," he says softly...

> ask gris about shaking
"Still," he sighs, "I think I've done all I can. This body isn't mine anymore, same as you."

> ask gris about shaking
"Still," he sighs, "I think I've done all I can. This body isn't mine anymore, same as you."

> ask gris about shaking
"Still," he sighs, "I think I've done all I can. This body isn't mine anymore, same as you."

> ask gris about parkinson's
"Still," he sighs, "I think I've done all I can. This body isn't mine anymore, same as you."

> ask gris about articles
"Five years of research." He mutters. "Relatively little was mine, but I think I'm the first to piece it together. Doctor Tretiakoff was getting close, but then he got distracted by some other such interests. Doctor Barger isn't much more than a chemist, and he had no idea of the significance of his little diagrams. It took me and my desperation to make the leap."

> x articles
It's a thesis paper: "Contribution a l'Etude de L'Anatomie pathologique du Locus Niger de Soemmering avec quelques déductions relatives à la pathogénie des troubles du tonus musculaire et De La Maladie de Parkinson," by one Konstantin Tretiakoff from the Université de Paris.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> ask gris about barger
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of clean, sharp glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> ask gris about wasp pulp
He chuckles weakly, "For all my time with Miss John, I never pieced together who those spirits were. I just thought she had taken too much of the yerepe," he clucks his tongue sadly...

> ask gris about wasp pulp
He's so tired, "They're real sure enough. Or I'm unreal enough." His head lolls defeatedly...

> ask gris about wasp pulp
"I'm sure it would have been better to deal with demons, than witches," he isn't making a joke.

> ask gris about wasp pulp
"I'm sure it would have been better to deal with demons, than witches," he isn't making a joke.

> ask gris about demons
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> ask gris about doll
He lets out a choking chuckle, "I've seen stranger things," he smiles at you.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> ask gris about doll
He lets out a choking chuckle, "I've seen stranger things," he smiles at you.

> ask gris about derringer
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

> ask gris about blood
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

> save
Ok.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of clean, sharp glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> s

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> s

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> s
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
After the desolation of Conti and Chartres back up the street, this corner is strangely populated: even stranger is that it's the end. To the south is a thicket of brambles and Scotch broom. A crowd of petitioners stand in front of the thicket. They "Ooh," and "aah," and pay no attention to you.

A warm invisible liquid rises from your feet and wraps and wraps until it get to your head. Your legs flash into animation They're still erratic, but they drag you with great force. You try to focus, to break it, but you can't. There's a small opening in the thicket, but you don't pass through it. Instead, you're pulled through the brambles, Tiny, painless cuts blossom on your exposed skin. You make it through, and something hurls you to the ground.

"Welcome back," you can't look up, so you stare at the shoes. Small feet wrap themselves in thin, sandals.

Suddenly, the feet turn gray, and the ankles, and the swampy dirt you lie on. Brief, unnameble smells, meat and hair? Your body grows numb, and it's all you can do to turn your head so you don't go face first in dirt. A drip of blood, a gift from the brambles, worms in to your dry, slightly open mouth. It tastes like thick water.

"Now we can contin..." The sound is gone, and everything greys out.

*** You don't know what happened. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Conti and Chartres
[Previous turn undone.]

> n
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> ask pastor about john
He spits violently: "Dangerous she is, that one." The pastor frowns, and tenses his fingers. "She's poached a lot of our flock for the Devil."

> ask pastor about john
He spits violently: "Dangerous she is, that one." The pastor frowns, and tenses his fingers. "She's poached a lot of our flock for the Devil."

> sw

Bus Station
Runaways, tramps, fugitives - anyone who can rustle up a couple of dollars for a train ticket is heading north. If you don't want the bus north, you can take your feet northeast.

The clerk ushers people onto the bus, trading money for tickets as he goes.

A large bus idles and chugs by the station.

> ne
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> s

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> sw
You brush through a curtain of glass beads and ceramic bones, setting off the tinkling of a thousand tiny bells.

Parlour
Bare lights are amplified by the glistening crushed velvet and crystals scattered throughout the room. A table sits in the centre of the room. There's a distinct hodge-podge feel to the parlor - baubles next to antiques, fine silk cushions on cheap stuffed furniture. The less colourful street is back to the northeast.

Mambo Felis looks at you eagerly - it doesn't seem like she gets many customers.

> ask felis about john
Her pale umber skin grows paler, "I don't talk about her none, not anymore..."

> ask felis about john
Her eyes burn, "Don't ask me about her - nothing but bad happens when you talk about her."

> ask felis about john
Her eyes burn, "Don't ask me about her - nothing but bad happens when you talk about her."

> ask felis about gris
Mambo Felis leans back in her chair and rocks precariously, "Funny you should mention him, he was sniffing around here a couple months back," she frowns, "I don't work that black stuff none though..."

> ask felis about gris
"Can't tella much more," she shrugs, "But he's an odd one, for sure."

> se
You can go only northeast.

> ne

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> se
Broken glass and thick charred wood crunch under your feet.

Rubble
Maybe half a doorframe, an old wood stove, and a few flagstones are all that remains. You can't even make out the original layout. It smells like smoke, but not wood smoke: tobacco.

The squatter eyes you warily

> ask squattera bout john
You can't see any such thing.

> ask squatter about john
"Get lost," he snips, kicking some ashes at your shins, "I don't got to answer you."

> ask squatter about john
"Get lost," he snips, kicking some ashes at your shins, "I don't got to answer you."

> nw

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> n
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> n

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> sw
There's just you and a few desperate looking men here. The smell here is an unpleasant mix of sweet flowers and oversweet flowers.

Nursery
They must do quite well: most of the shop is prearranged bundles of roses, tulips, and lilies. There are a few potted plants, but still fairly conventional fare. However, towards the back, there are an assortment of pulverized and poulticed concoctions - all labeled in a sweeping Oriental script.

A young man sweeps up the muddy footprints and petals from floor.

> x script
Unusual, likely; unknowable, definitely. Whatever secrets are in them won't be discovered by reading the label.

> get yerepe
You can't see any such thing.

> ne

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> n

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> n

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> e
You thrash through the brambles before reaching the flattened patch of crabgrass.

Other Side of the Fence
A barbed fence, dwarfed by a majestic old cypress, hedges off the clearing. The brambles are sharp and thorny and thick everywhere else but the southwest.

> undo
Veranda
[Previous turn undone.]

> n

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> e

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna busies herself about the kitchen cleaning up the dishes.

> e
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> n
You pass through the corners and the white streams from above.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> x plants
Corn and other things. They add a sense of legitimacy to this "garden," and they cast a deep shade.

> x yerepe
You can't see any such thing.

> s
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

> w

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna busies herself about the kitchen cleaning up the dishes.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> x silverware
Everything you'd find in a well-appointed home.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> u

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> x portrait
The smashed portrait of Doctor Gris. His face is ripped from his body.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of clean, sharp glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> show muslin to gris
Doctor Gris' eyes light up. "You got her blood?!" He rests a shaking hand on your wrist. "I didn't give it no credit before, but she says there's a lot of power in blood." He presses down with two fingers, and manages a crooked grin. "Seems there's a lot of power in lack of blood too."

> show muslin to gris
Doctor Gris' eyes light up. "You got her blood?!" He rests a shaking hand on your wrist. "I didn't give it no credit before, but she says there's a lot of power in blood." He presses down with two fingers, and manages a crooked grin. "Seems there's a lot of power in lack of blood too."

> ask gris about blood
His jaw drops briefly, but he has nothing to say.

> show derringer to gris
He looks deep in to the black barrel, then in to your black eyes and sees the same thing. "Might as well shoot me, Zombie. I ain't got nothing left worth living for. My body's gone, my minds drifting."

> put muslin in bottle
(the bottle of Four Roses)
Better hold on to it. Witch's blood comes by but once in a lifetime: or whatever it is you would call this nightmare.

> cut me
For the second time, you drag the glass across your skin, this time a little shallower. The blood spills out and coats the glass.

> put blood on muslin
Which do you mean, the piece of bloody glass, the piece of muslin or the husk doll?

> put glass on muslin
You drag the muslin across the broken glass, combining your blood and hers.

> show muslin to gris
Doctor Gris' eyes light up. "You got her blood?!" He rests a shaking hand on your wrist. "I didn't give it no credit before, but she says there's a lot of power in blood." He presses down with two fingers, and manages a crooked grin. "Seems there's a lot of power in lack of blood too."

> show muslin to doll
The husk doll is unimpressed.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (under your eyelid)

> x muslin
A short strip of yellow cloth, muslin you think. Flecks of blood haphazardly dance on the edges.

> pour mao dou on muslin
That's not a verb I recognise.

> put mao dou on muslin
Putting things on the piece of muslin would achieve nothing.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> x doll
The husk of corn lies sheepishly still in your pocket.

> talk to doll
The husk crawls up to your face, and slaps your cheeks, and pulls your eyelids up. But your vision is fine..?

> get pulp
You already have that.

> put it in mouth
You place the folded paper under your tongue.

> talk to doll
The husk crawls up and slides down the middle of you chest to your belly button, crawls over to your left shoulder, and back to the right. The sign of the cross...

> pray
If only it were that easy.

> d

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> talk to pastor
He looks over your tattered clothes, and bruised, bloody feet. "Listen friend," he turns away to load up some forks, "We only run the bread line late," he turns out his pockets and shrugs sadly, "But you look like you need a friendly ear, more than bowl of watery soup and stale cornbread..."

> talk to pastor
"I'll be back to talk tomorrow," he gestures to the various grizzled men drifting in and out of the shadows, "There's little hope in these times, and I like to think I dispense more than watered tomato and soggy pasta..."

> talk to pastor
He smiles up at you with bright brown eyes, but continues to pack.

> ask pastor about john
He spits violently: "Dangerous she is, that one." The pastor frowns, and tenses his fingers. "She's poached a lot of our flock for the Devil."

> ask pastor about blood
"I'm sure I don't know about that," he says, looking a little vacant.

> talk to doll
The husk crawls up and slides down the middle of you chest to your belly button, crawls over to your left shoulder, and back to the right. The sign of the cross...

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> make sign of the cross
I only understood you as far as wanting to make the liquor store.

> make cross
You can't see any such thing.

> touch chest
Your skin is cold and firm.

> touch belly button
I only understood you as far as wanting to touch yourself.

> x husk
The husk of corn lies sheepishly still in your pocket.

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up to your head and tries to shoo away phantom crows or flies...

> l

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up to your face, and slaps your cheeks, and pulls your eyelids up. But your vision is fine..?

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up to your head and tries to shoo away phantom crows or flies...

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up to your face, and slaps your cheeks, and pulls your eyelids up. But your vision is fine..?

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up to your face, and slaps your cheeks, and pulls your eyelids up. But your vision is fine..?

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up and slides down the middle of you chest to your belly button, crawls over to your left shoulder, and back to the right. The sign of the cross...

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up and slides down the middle of you chest to your belly button, crawls over to your left shoulder, and back to the right. The sign of the cross...

> talk to husk
The husk of corn crawls up and blows in your ear, waves its little arms and tries to shoo away some phantom in your head...

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up to your head and tries to shoo away phantom crows or flies...

> put pulp in ear
You place the folded paper into your ear.

> talk to husk
The husk crawls up to your head and tries to shoo away phantom crows or flies...

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> talk to husk
The husk of corn crawls up and blows in your ear, waves its little arms and tries to shoo away some phantom in your head...

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> n

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> n

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> n

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> n

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> d

Lab
A cold room of white walls and yellow light. The room looks newer than it should, renovated. One wall is full of new things: shining needles, medicines, scalpels, tubes, pumps. On another, old things. Bottles and boxes and everything that smells warm and familiar. A ladder leads up to the floor above.

To one side is a blackboard full of numbers.

A row of steel doors is embedded into the wall.

> x numbers
- HR | 25 | 18 | 6 | 0 | 0 | 0

- BP | 60/30 | 52/24 | 28/10 | 0/0 | 0 | 0

- RR | 14 | 6 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 0

- Temp. | 98.3 | 91.6 | 82.5 |73.7 | 73.9 | 73.4

> open doors
They're already open.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> x bottles
Even if you could, it's too small to read, but you know what they say all the same. Panacea, aqua regia, snake oil, and oil of ginseng. Some are red-brown-black - the color of old blood.

> x boxes
Even if you could, it's too small to read, but you know what they say all the same. Panacea, aqua regia, snake oil, and oil of ginseng. Some are red-brown-black - the color of old blood.

> u
Your cold limbs move slowly, and it's hard to bring them over your head, but you manage to pull yourself into the salon.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> e

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna busies herself about the kitchen cleaning up the dishes.

> ask anna about blood
She shrugs, "Why would I wanna talk about that?" She goes back to cleaning.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> ask anna about gris
"Yah, he's getting sicker and sicker, and the booze and helping none," her eyes get foggy, "He got the same shaking disease that took my mom...

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> ask anna about mom
She's obviously teary, but she tries to hide it, "She got real bad, real fast. I knew she was sick, but it was too fast-" her last words are choked off...

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> ask anna about mom
"She was a real good woman, I miss her bad..."

> ask anna about mom
"I don't wanna talk about it no more," her voice is angry.

> ask anna about gris
She smiles, "A good, good man."

> ask anna about gris
She smiles, "A good, good man."

> ask anna about gris
She smiles, "A good, good man."

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> ask anna about zombies
She gives a deriding puff, "Nonsense," she shakes her head.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> ask anna about zombies
She gives a deriding puff, "Nonsense," she shakes her head.

> ask anna about voodoo
She gives a deriding puff, "Nonsense," she shakes her head.

I suppose I need to do something with the blood but I don't know what.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> drink blood
Which do you mean, the piece of bloody glass, the piece of muslin or the husk doll?

> muslin
You'd only choke.

> put muslin in liquor
You can't see any such thing.

> put muslin in roses
You can't see any such thing.

> put muslin in ear
Better hold on to it. Witch's blood comes by but once in a lifetime: or whatever it is you would call this nightmare.

> x derringer
A heavy instrument. A lot of history that just boils down to point and shoot.

> shoot me
You coolly put the gun in to your mouth, and you steady your weak hand. You give one more muffled scream. You've had enough. You pull the trigger and the bullet cracks the air with a deafening boom. It sinks in to your brain, and everything moves slowly for a moment. You feel it worm through, taking slight detours around the fissures and convolutions. Then it hits the back of your skull, and bursts through. It's all grey after that.

*** You have died, whatever that means. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Kitchen
[Previous turn undone.]

> save
Ok.

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/4) The shopkeep is well-trained.

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/4) The shopkeep is well-trained.

(2/4) He can identify any plant (or plant product) you bring him.

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna busies herself about the kitchen cleaning up the dishes.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> sw
You can go only north, south or west.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> sw
There's just you and a few desperate looking men here. The smell here is an unpleasant mix of sweet flowers and oversweet flowers.

Nursery
They must do quite well: most of the shop is prearranged bundles of roses, tulips, and lilies. There are a few potted plants, but still fairly conventional fare. However, towards the back, there are an assortment of pulverized and poulticed concoctions - all labeled in a sweeping Oriental script.

A young man sweeps up the muddy footprints and petals from floor.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
bottle of Mao Dou
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> show bottle to man
(the shopkeep)
He absently takes the bottle from you, then, looking down, his eyes widen and his fingers loosen. "No, no. Get out of here! I don't want to talk to you." The bottle falls to the ground with a crash. He quickly brushes it up, and takes it to the back, where you hear him shouting angrily in Chinese. He stomps back, "Go, get out of here!" he barks at you. He settles down, but he still looks quite antsy

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/10) This isn't the voodoo queen you're looking for, Mambo Felis is more of a voodoo serf.

(2/10) You have to go further down the street for the one responsible for you.

(3/10) But Felis does have some information - she's a victim of Mama John too.

(4/10) Unfortunately, she's terrified of John.

(5/10) ...but if she had a little protection of her own she might be more willing to help you.

(6/10) What has given you more protection than anything?

(7/10) Blood - from the piece of muslin (see the veranda hintss).

(8/10) That won't be enough, but you'll get another piece later.

(9/10) At that point, she'll be able to protect you.

(10/10) Give her the blood and the letter book and she'll be able to cast a spell much like the one used on you before.

[Please press SPACE.]

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/2) You can escape, but you won't get any answers that way.

(2/2) Buy a bus ticket, and enter the bus.

[Please press SPACE.]

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/6) There's some exposition in here.

(2/6) But you need a keen eye for words to find it.

(3/6) Or a proxy.

(4/6) Put the piece of wasp pulp under your eyelid, and you can read.

(5/6) The notes on the desk are important, as are the articles in the lab (don't worry if you don't have them, you can get them later).

(6/6) You can also go up to the roof, but there's not much to do there yet.

[Please press SPACE.]

Nursery
They must do quite well: most of the shop is prearranged bundles of roses, tulips, and lilies. There are a few potted plants, but still fairly conventional fare. However, towards the back, there are an assortment of pulverized and poulticed concoctions - all labeled in a sweeping Oriental script.

The young man glares at you as he deals with less troublesome customers.

> ne

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> n

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> n

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> e
You thrash through the brambles before reaching the flattened patch of crabgrass.

Other Side of the Fence
A barbed fence, dwarfed by a majestic old cypress, hedges off the clearing. The brambles are sharp and thorny and thick everywhere else but the southwest.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> undo
Veranda
[Previous turn undone.]

> n

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> u

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> x desk
A simple oak affair, covered with the scattered papers of a tired, flustered man.

> x papers
(the desk papers)
It's a mess: paid bills, unpaid bills, scrawled notes in a tiny script, and a stack of articles.

> get papers
Which do you mean, the articles, the paid and unpaid bills, the notes or the articles?

> get bills
(the paid and unpaid bills)
You have enough junk as it is.

> get notes
You have enough junk as it is.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> real notes
That's not a verb I recognise.

> read articles
(the articles)
You dig through the articles:
Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and a bunch of other, more obscure articles from France and Soviet Russia and further. Some of them deal with pharmacology and natural product extraction, others with Parkinson's Disease. They are all thoroughly read, scratched, and underlined.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> l

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/6) Not much to do here.

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/6) Not much to do here.

(2/6) Self-reflection is the key to understanding.

(3/6) You can look in the mirror (if the cabinet is closed).

(4/6) Eating the seeds from the pod can also be informative.

(5/6) And people always keep their best secrets from themselves.

(6/6) There's something valuable in the medicine cabinet if you search the bottles.

[Please press SPACE.]

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> w

Bathroom
A clean, little, white room with nothing more than a toilet, a tub, a sink, and a mirrored medicine cabinet. The hallway's back to the east.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> look in mirror
Most of the bottles are practically full. Aspirin, full; quinine, full; Brother Claude's Panacea, full; Mambo Felis' Miracle Cure, full.

> search bottles
You find nothing of interest.

> close cabiner
You can't see any such thing.

> close cabinet
You close the medicine cabinet.

> x mirror
With the cabinet closed, the thing in the mirror stares at you. It doesn't look familiar. But it blinks when you blink, sways when you sway. Its eyes are bloodshot and somehow milky. Its skin is stretched tight. It shudders and cries.

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/4) The shopkeep is well-trained.

(2/4) He can identify any plant (or plant product) you bring him.

(3/4) He can tell you a couple of things about the doctor's proclivities.

(4/4) But he's pretty spooked. Especially if asked about a thorny issue.

[Please press SPACE.]

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/5) The squatter is merely an innocent bystander.

(2/5) But he blocks a firey secret.

(3/5) Give him some money, and he'll be more agreeable.

(4/5) And you can look in the fireplace.

(5/5) He'll also become a valuable ally later, but that's not important now.

[Please press SPACE.]

Bathroom
A clean, little, white room with nothing more than a toilet, a tub, a sink, and a mirrored medicine cabinet. The hallway's back to the east.

> e

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris is slumped against the far wall, sobbing and shaking.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> s

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

There's a sound, from deep in your mind. It's her voice, calling you south.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
All colours and ages of people mill about, going to work, coming home. The occasional auto squawks by. The street continues south, and the cold familiarity of doctor Gris' squats to the north.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> s

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> se
Broken glass and thick charred wood crunch under your feet.

Rubble
Maybe half a doorframe, an old wood stove, and a few flagstones are all that remains. You can't even make out the original layout. It smells like smoke, but not wood smoke: tobacco.

The squatter eyes you warily

> give money to quatter
You can only do that to something animate.

> give money to squatter
You thumb out a couple of dollars, a fortune. His eyes go wide, but he quickly subdues himself. "Thanks, bub."

You snatch it back. "Now what will you do for it?" He glares.

"Come visit me, friend. I have tea and we have much to discuss." It's her voice. It's so sweet.

> x stove
A black iron stove made blacker by soot. You've definitely seen it before.

> open it
You open the stove. Amidst the soot and ashes from old fires, there is a small half-burnt note. Being in the stove was the only think that saved it from the conflagration that took the rest of the house.

> get note
It's too fragile, it would only crumble.

> read it
You have until the 18th to vacate,
Baptists. If you are not gone by then,
you can stop worrying about Hell,
because this place will be a whole lot
worse.

The signature is burnt away, but you have a feeling you know who wrote it anyway.

> save
Ok.

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/3) If you have a little money, you can see the shows.

(2/3) They're not that great, but what do you expect? It's the thirties.

(3/3) Buy a ticket from the ticket taker, and go in.

[Please press SPACE.]

Rubble
Maybe half a doorframe, an old wood stove, and a few flagstones are all that remains. You can't even make out the original layout. It smells like smoke, but not wood smoke: tobacco.

The squatter eyes you warily

> nw

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> n
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

The woman from the fence calls to you. "Please, don't make me wait. I love you. I want to help you."

> n

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> se

Box Office
It's quiet and empty, the lights on the marquee are out. All that's left is the ticket taker come sweeper. The street's back to the northwest.

The ticket taker push-brooms away the mess, listening with relish to the crunching of popcorn.

> buy ticket
She's remarkably gruff, "We're closed."

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/15) The world is your oyster.

(2/15) You can do a lot of things now.

(3/15) Nothing necessary, except for her previous instructions.

(4/15) Go south down the street like she said, and you'll find her.

(5/15) But don't go unprepared.

(6/15) If you hang out at the end of the street, near the petitioners, something should seem funny.

(7/15) She's in your head, telling you to do things.

(8/15) Who else did that? And how did you break that spell?

(9/15) To break her spell, you'll need her blood and your blood.

(10/15) Where is one place you know she's been?.

(11/15) On the other side of the fence - you can get there east through the clematis from the veranda.

(12/15) You can get your own the same way as the first time - Anna's cleaned up the broken glass: it's in the garbage in the kitchen.

(13/15) After that just repeat her ritual (REMEMBER the RITUAL if you can't remember the names).

(14/15) INVOKE PAPA LEGBA, INVOKE SAN PEDRO, and INVOKE MAMA JOHN.

(15/15) Then you can enter the thicket (somewhat) safely.

[Please press SPACE.]

Box Office
It's quiet and empty, the lights on the marquee are out. All that's left is the ticket taker come sweeper. The street's back to the northwest.

The ticket taker push-brooms away the mess, listening with relish to the crunching of popcorn.

> ne
You can go only northwest or in.

> nw

Conti and Bourbon
With nightfall, the drunks rule the streets. The cinema to the southeast is deserted, and only a few repetent husbands slink into the flower shop to the southwest. Conti continues north-south between Dauphine and Royal.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
The change is almost palpable. Some people, the workers and the women, move much quicker. Others, the hobos and the mendicants, don't move at all - most of them are clustered around the liquor store to the southeast. A few linger in front of the bus station in the southwest, maybe off to a better life.

The pastor packs up the tables.

> s

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> s
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
After the desolation of Conti and Chartres back up the street, this corner is strangely populated: even stranger is that it's the end. To the south is a thicket of brambles and Scotch broom. A crowd of petitioners stand in front of the thicket. They "Ooh," and "aah," and pay no attention to you.

A warm invisible liquid rises from your feet and wraps and wraps until it get to your head. Your legs flash into animation They're still erratic, but they drag you with great force. You try to focus, to break it, but you can't. There's a small opening in the thicket, but you don't pass through it. Instead, you're pulled through the brambles, Tiny, painless cuts blossom on your exposed skin. You make it through, and something hurls you to the ground.

"Welcome back," you can't look up, so you stare at the shoes. Small feet wrap themselves in thin, sandals.

Suddenly, the feet turn gray, and the ankles, and the swampy dirt you lie on. Brief, unnameble smells, meat and hair? Your body grows numb, and it's all you can do to turn your head so you don't go face first in dirt. A drip of blood, a gift from the brambles, worms in to your dry, slightly open mouth. It tastes like thick water.

"Now we can contin..." The sound is gone, and everything greys out.

*** You don't know what happened. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Conti and Chartres
[Previous turn undone.]

> hint

Conti and Chartres
Conti and Royal to the north was one thing - the blues and sadness was still alive. Hope may have been in short supply, but it still was there. Conti and Chartres is different. Some burnt rubble - an old house, perhaps - sits to the southeast. There's no one else here, probably to the disappointment of "Mambo Felis' Parlour" to the southwest.

> invoke papa legba
"Papa Legba, greatest of the Loa, locuter of God, keeper of the crossroads: my desperation bids you come. Free me, let me come to the crossroad, and make my own choices." You say the words, and feel infinite roads spread out from you.

> invoke san pedro
Your words come out, and you feel phantom shackles break. "San Pedro Claver Corberó, minister to slaves, break the chains that bind me. Free me, so I may live with dignity, and die free."

> invoke mama john
"Mama John, will-binder, soul-keeper, I take back my power. Release me. Bother me no more." The words slip out and you feel Mama John's grubby fingers withdraw from your soft brain.

You scream the names to the heavens. And feel something move through you. It's you. She no longer decides who moves in and out of this form. Her spell is broken. She can no longer control you. You can demand your answers.

> save
Ok.

> s
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
After the desolation of Conti and Chartres back up the street, this corner is strangely populated: even stranger is that it's the end. To the south is a thicket of brambles and Scotch broom. A crowd of petitioners stand in front of the thicket. They "Ooh," and "aah," and pay no attention to you.

"Fine," she grunts. "You have bested my spells. Still, the offer I have is most reasonable." She retreats from your mind. "Come or don't come, little dead thing."

> s
You brush the brambles away like cobwebs, but they aren't that friendly. They cut at you.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the southwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the southeast.

> sw
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the southwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the east.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> sw
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the southeast.

> w
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the east.

> w
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the northwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the northeast.

> ne
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the southwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the northeast.

> ne
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the northwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the southeast.

> se
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the northeast.

> ne
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the southeast.

> se
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the southeast.

> se
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The brush is thick here, but that is no problem. You don't even feel the scratches. Wait, can you? "Come now, drop the cloth." Still, you can spare yourself by going through the thin part in the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the northeast.

> ne
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the east.

> e
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The brush is thick here, but that is no problem. You don't even feel the scratches. Wait, can you? "Come now, drop the cloth." Still, you can spare yourself by going through the thin part in the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the northeast.

> ne
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the east.

> w
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the northwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the east.

> e
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
"Drop the cloth." A tangled mass of plants and other, fouler, things. The plants are obscenely, ridiculously curved. The brush thins out to the northwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the east.

> e
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The brush is thick here, but that is no problem. You don't even feel the scratches. Wait, can you? "Come now, drop the cloth." Still, you can spare yourself by going through the thin part in the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the southeast.

> se
The thicket scrabbles at you, stealing your blood, but you push on. It isn't so bad. A little worse for wear, you make it to another clearing.

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the southwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the northeast.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> drop cloth
The muslin falls from your hand, and floats to the ground. The brambles quickly ravel it up. A warm invisible liquid rises from your feet and wraps and wraps until it gets to your head. Your legs flash into animation They're still erratic, but they drag you with great force. You try to focus, to break it, but you can't. There's a small opening in the thicket, but you don't pass through it. Instead, you're pulled through the brambles, Tiny, painless cuts blossom on your exposed skin. You make it through, and something hurls you to the ground.

"Welcome back," you can't look up, so you stare at the shoes. Small feet wrap themselves in thin, sandals.

Suddenly, the feet turn gray, and the ankles, and the swampy dirt you lie on. Brief, unnameble smells, meat and hair? Your body grows numb, and it's all you can do to turn your head so you don't go face first in dirt. A drip of blood, a gift from the brambles, worms in to your dry, slightly open mouth. It tastes like thick water.

"Now we can contin..." The sound is gone, and everything greys out.

*** You don't know what happened. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Thicket
[Previous turn undone.]

> l

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the northwest, and you see a rabbit trail to the southeast.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/4) How do I get through the thicket?

(2/4) She lies, a lot.

(3/4) The thicket is nothing but one of her tricks, an illusion.

(4/4) Walk through it to the south.

[Please press SPACE.]

Thicket
The moon shimmers above you. It doesn't look quite real, but then again, when has the moon ever looked real. It lights a path to the west, and you see a rabbit trail to the northeast.

> s
You have no time for her little tricks. You brush aside the phantasmal thicket and come to a strangely dry and swampy patch.

Swamp
The woman in yellow glares at you, but her tone is entirely civil. "Welcome, Zombie," she says. "I was hoping you wouldn't be so recalcitrant, but that's the way things go sometimes." You glance around - there are a lot of tupelo and cypress rising from the swamp. More importantly, she has a half-dozen men and women around her. They slaver.

She twists her head back and forth, then gives a curt nod. "There's more than one way to skin a cat." The slavering men and women fan out under her direction. She barks commands, and they don't move without her instruction.

> save
Ok.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

Four of them approach from the front. You gird yourself, digging your heels into the soft, swampy dirt.

You're about to lunge, when it feels like you're wailed on the back by a sack of potatoes. A smaller one, one you didn't notice, wraps around you, covering your eyes.

> shoot woman
(Mama John)
The zombies tear and pull at you, you can't get a clear shot.

Another one flings herself onto you. A middle-aged woman. She wraps herself around your leg.

> g
(Mama John)
The zombies tear and pull at you, you can't get a clear shot.

This time it's an old man. He's colder than the others, but just as strong. He gums your arm and tears at your hair.

> shoot zombies
The zombies tear and pull at you, you can't get a clear shot.

A raggedy woman throws herself at you, butting you just under the ribs. You cough, but no air comes out. A little blood though.

> shoot woman
(Mama John)
The zombies tear and pull at you, you can't get a clear shot.

One of them hurls itself against you, latching on with teeth, nails, and limbs.

With you sufficiently weakened, the last zombie steps forward. He ignores you entirely, except for your clenched first. He bites your forearm, and you have no choice but to release the little piece of muslin.

Deep grey clouds swim before you. You don't remember anything after that.

*** You don't know what happened. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
restore
Ok.

> shoot woman
(Mama John)
You raise the pistol and sight between her eyes. You close your eyes as you let the bullet fly. You hear her collapse. You don't hear yourself collapse.

*** You have died, whatever that means. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
undo
Swamp
[Previous turn undone.]

> show gun to woman
(Mama John)
"You won't shoot me." It's not a command, just an honest statement. "If you do, the gros-bon-ange that animates you will flow out like smoke, and you will be no more, and I'll just make another Zombie. I learned enough from the doctor to know it's possible. There are plenty less ethical than he to assist me."

Four of them approach from the front. You gird yourself, digging your heels into the soft, swampy dirt.

You're about to lunge, when it feels like you're wailed on the back by a sack of potatoes. A smaller one, one you didn't notice, wraps around you, covering your eyes.

> undo
Swamp
[Previous turn undone.]

> hint

[Press ENTER to finish, or 'h' for another hint.]

(1/6) Don't take your eyes off the prize, you gotta stop Mama John.

(2/6) Shooting her won't help much - you need her alive.

(3/6) Attack her.

(4/6) But you have to find her.

(5/6) It's hard to see with that thing on your back.

(6/6) Sniff, listen, or back your way to find her.

[Please press SPACE.]

Swamp
Mama John stands on the driest patch, eyeing you warily. Her other slaves slink in and out of the rushes.

"Get the cloth!" She screams, her yellow dress fluttering.

> attack john
Her and her zombies are just out of reach. Not for long.

Four of them approach from the front. You gird yourself, digging your heels into the soft, swampy dirt.

You're about to lunge, when it feels like you're wailed on the back by a sack of potatoes. A smaller one, one you didn't notice, wraps around you, covering your eyes.

> listen
You try to slow things down: to ignore the loons and the jeers and her subtle manipulations. There. That's where they are.

Another one flings herself onto you. A middle-aged woman. She wraps herself around your leg.

> attack john
You slug her her square in the jaw and she crumples. You look around and see her zombies fall into weak, human piles. You're about to grin, when you crumple as well.

Yellow
Blink, blink, blink. You see a narrow slit of yellow and your skin shivers. No, it's a dimmer yellow: the colour of corn. The husk doll pants and puffs and pushes against your eyelids. A feathery slap skips across your cheek, and you lift your head. Mama John stirs at the periphery, but the zombies are still down.

Mama John stirs in the muck, but she's still far from waking.

> save
Ok.

> x john
She lies in a pile of contempt and yellow. Her chest rises and falls, but her eyes are closed.

> talk to john
"Please, Zombie, let me finish," she has a snooty sound at the beginning, but quickly drops it after looking at the collapsed men and women around her.

> talk to john
"Please, Zombie, let me finish," she has a snooty sound at the beginning, but quickly drops it after looking at the collapsed men and women around her.

> talk to john
"Please, Zombie, let me finish," she has a snooty sound at the beginning, but quickly drops it after looking at the collapsed men and women around her.

> i
You are carrying:
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> ask john about me
She moans quietly, but she stays out.

> talk to doll
The husk climbs your shoulder and points to the shack.

> x shack
The shack was rather hastily erected. It must be new, but it looks old.

> l

Swamp
The zombies lay in neat, still piles around the clearing. Tupelos and cypresses dig their roots into the soil, providing a small dry patch amidst the swamp. The slow lazy shore of the Mississippi gurgles to the south, and the thicket lies to the north. The more pressing business before prevented you from seeing the little shack to the west, and the shallow pit nearby.

Mama John stirs in the muck, but she's still far from waking.

> x pit
It's shallow, not more than a foot and a half deep. It looks dreadfully familiar.

> look in it
You find nothing of interest.

> w
You leave the chaos of the banks and return to the shack.

Shack
You push into the shack, leaving behind the warmth of the Mississippi. It's cold in here. Strange bottles cover the walls, and a low bookshelf sags under its burden. It smells here. Like gasoline and burnt, foul things.

The corn husk hops to the ground and rushes to the bookshelf. It tugs and tugs, eventually pulling out a thin, old book.

A little black book lays on the ground.

Salt and ashes are scattered about the ground.

> x bottles
Various bottles - some fine crystal, some old Coca Cola bottles. Most of them are empty, maybe with a little residue. An old box of Morton Salt, damp and stained, sits among the bottles. And there is one bottle half full of a syrupy brown liquid - it's much newer but the label is still faded.

> get book
(the letter book)
The book is ice cold. The pages are brittle, but they don't crack. The husk of corn quickly hops up your arm and runs frantically to the book. It flips the pages erratically, over then undershooting what it looks for. Until it settles down, huffing and puffing, on one page - a picture of an elaborate cross, decorated with stars and swirls. And a name: Papa Legba.

> get box
Taken.

> read book
(For easier browsing, the letter book is now available in the main game menu.)

It's arranged by lesson, starting with the simple: Lessons from first through seventh. You flip through the first few pages. It looks as thought written by a child. It proceeds to the obscure and the obscene.

> get bottle
(the bottle of yerepe)
Taken.

> menu

First Lesson: In the beginning.

In the beginning, Bon Dieu created the Heavens and the Earth. He was lonely, so he carved statues and but them on the earth. But statues are still, quiet, and boring. So he breathed and gave gros-bon-ange to the statues, and there were animals.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. It's crude, a bright smiley face with curls on its head breathing out a red-crayoned stream of gazelles and giraffes and fish and chickens.

[Please press SPACE.]

Second Lesson: Gros-bon-ange.

The animals chased and played with Bon Dieu when he came to visit, but they were boring, and couldn't talk. So Bon Dieu breathed again, and gave ti-bon-ange to the animals, and there were people.

There is a child's sketch below: blue crayon spilling from a smiley face and wrapping around some of the animals, twisting them upright and putting them in sundresses and pants.

[Please press SPACE.]

Third Lesson: Ti-bon-ange.

Bon Dieu loved the people: even more than animals. He played with them all day and had so much fun. But then night came, and the people went to bed. When they woke up, they wouldn't play with Bon Dieu anymore, because they forgot him.

There is a sketch at the bottom of the page: a big field with people sleeping beneath crosses.

[Please press SPACE.]

Fourth Lesson: Home.

So Bon Dieu made a deal: when the people went to sleep, he would bring the ti-bon-ange back home to Heaven, so he could play with them again.

The picture at the bottom is a big, happy man with a big smile dancing on a fluffy crowd with a group of people.

[Please press SPACE.]

Fifth Lesson: The loa.

So that is how things are. But, even though the ti-bon-ange loved Bon Dieu very much, they missed their brothers and sisters on the Earth so Bon Dieu let some of them go back to visit. These are the loa.

There is a child's sketch at the bottom of the page. In the sketch, there are several elaborate, but crude, circles with crosses and curled lines in them. Blue people stand in the circles, and blue and red people stand outside the circles.

[Please press SPACE.]

Sixth Lesson: Veves.

Bon Dieu liked this a lot, but the people of Earth took too many of his friends away, so he made rules for the loa when they played. Loa could only walk through circles drawn with salt, and they could only come if they were invited. The circles were called veves, and the invitations called invocations. This made everyone more polite.

In the picture, there is a blue stickman with four arms standing in a circle. Next to the drawing are the words, "Papa Legba."

[Please press SPACE.]

This page isn't so much a lesson as a reminder written out by the young Mama John.

The names of the loa have to be spelled properly and their veve circles drawn carefully, so I have to write down the words exactly as I'm told, and I have to show Houngan Bakulu-baka the veves drawn three times before he'll let me put it in the book.

[Please press SPACE.]

This page isn't so much a lesson as a scratched and rescratched train of thought. She has changed her mind many times, going through quill, to pencil, and finally to ballpoint. She's never kept her decision long.

Bon Dieu wants us with him, why delay? This pained, hungry, desperate life is not fit for anyone. I will rejoin all of us.

[Please press SPACE.]

Baron Samedi.

Patron of sex, death, and magic, Baron Samedi is head of family of Ghede - the loa of death. Fond of crude jokes and sexuality, he drinks with the dead, and introduces them to Guinee. He holds dominion over death, and, like all Ghede, hates zombies, for they are a distortion of his power.

Baron Samedi cannot be called, for he is usually drunk and lost. He walks in a stumble, and can't find anything, even if summoned. Below the writing is a child's sketch. Coffins and crosses and phallic symbols.

[Please press SPACE.]

Baron Kriminel.

Baron Samedi's brother. Once a serial killer who was especially fond of nuns, Baron Kriminel is now less discriminating and will murder whomever he can. When he rides a soul, his hunger for blood grows, and will bite the arms of all around.

He is summoned by cruelty, often by dousing black chickens in petrol and setting them alight. Their pained clucks call him down.

Below the writing is a child's sketch, and the page is stained with blood. The veve is wicked blades and fire.

[Please press SPACE.]

Papa Legba.

Papa Legba, greatest of the Loa, locuter of God, keeper of the crossroads. A wise, wise, Loa, he knows all things. Bon Dieu taught him all the wisdom of the heavens, and he can answer all questions.

Loa of choice, he can only be summoned at the a crossroads: where north, south, east, and west can all be reached. But he is crippled, and does not like to travel. Only a cry of great desperation will get him down.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. Crosses and stars and delicately curled lines.

[Please press SPACE.]

Dumballah Wedo.

The serpent god, the gentle, loving father. Wise, perhaps as wise as Papa Legba, but has no voice, his wisdom too great to be carried by things as clumsy as words. Eats a diet of cornmeal and lightning, and is always patient, always kind.

Dumballah does not respond to calls. If he wants to speak with you, he will, often through the grand serpent or another vessel.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. Snakes crawl over crosses and spit and swallow lightning and stars.

[Please press SPACE.]

Kalfu.

More demon than loa, he grows out of the wicked thoughts of men. He is a tree, covered in vines, and nurtured by manure and lies. Some say that he is Papa Legba, or at least an aspect of him: that when God created Papa Legba, and told him of all the sweet and beautiful things in the world, he had to create Kalfu, and told him all the foul and wicked things in the world.

Dangerous, and patron of the wicked Bokors, he has great magic in his leaves, and his flowers only blossom in the light of the moon. He speaks with the language of leaves, but only a great tree can carry him.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. A black moon tangled in brambles and vines held up by a weeping cypress.

[Please press SPACE.]

Sogbo.

Loa of lightning, brother to Bade and Agau. Obsequious and quiet, Sogbo is servant to his brother, and only comes when called by Agau.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. The same veve as Agau.

[Please press SPACE.]

Bade.

Loa of wind, brother to Sogbo and Agau. Ornery, dirty, and greedy, Bade will only come when called by Agau.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. The same veve as Agau.

[Please press SPACE.]

Agau.

A stupid, brutish, violent loa, Agau brings storms, earthquakes and destruction. He can call his brothers, Bade and Sogbo, lightning and wind, over from Guinee, and send them in to a vessel. When together, they create a violent thunderstorm.

They are storm loa and can only hear Agau when his voice is carried on the wind, next to the firmament up above.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. Lightning striking stones, tearing fissures through the soft rock.

[Please press SPACE.]

Shack
The warmth of the Mississippi isn't here. It's cold in here. It shouldn't be any different - the walls are barely walls - but it is. Strange bottles cover the walls, and a low bookshelf sags under its burden. East leads out to the swamp. It smells here. Like gasoline and burnt, foul things.

Salt and ashes are scattered about the ground.

Yikes, how much more is there of this game?

> hint

Shack
The warmth of the Mississippi isn't here. It's cold in here. It shouldn't be any different - the walls are barely walls - but it is. Strange bottles cover the walls, and a low bookshelf sags under its burden. East leads out to the swamp. It smells here. Like gasoline and burnt, foul things.

Salt and ashes are scattered about the ground.

> search bottles
The other bottles are empty and worthless.

> e

Swamp
The zombies lay in neat, still piles around the clearing. Tupelos and cypresses dig their roots into the soil, providing a small dry patch amidst the swamp. The slow lazy shore of the Mississippi gurgles to the south, and the thicket lies to the north. The more pressing business before prevented you from seeing the little shack to the west, and the shallow pit nearby.

Mama John pushes herself into a stand, and casts a defiant glare at you. The zombies are still down.

"Please, hear me out," she raises her hands in compromise - you know it means little. "I wish you had been more agreeable, but I was foolish. I knew you were special, why did I think I could treat you like -" she waves a nonchalant hand towards the bodies.

> talk to john
"Please, Zombie, let me finish," she has a snooty sound at the beginning, but quickly drops it after looking at the collapsed men and women around her.

"They're not zombies, Zombie. They're just lepers, rheumatics, phossies. Sick people, tortured by disease - cast out by their friends, their families. They are willing to fight for me because I treated them as humans, offered some hope." She smiles, sadly. "That's what this is all about, Zombie, hope. And pain. My hope to end pain."

> ask john about john
"Please, hear me out," she holds up her hands in conciliation, "Then you can ask your questions."

She pulls some candy from her pockets, holding it out for you. You wisely push them away. "That's why I need you, Zombie. You are the key to all of our freedom: a new age, without pain." She sees your skepticism and frowns, "but perhaps you don't care about that. I'm a pragmatic woman, Zombie, and I'm sure you are too. I'm sure you've already noticed the effects of not having a soul," she crushes the candy and a small cloud of sugar -and surely other things- billows away. "I can give yours back, or, well, a reasonable substitute."

> ask john about gris
"Please, hear me out," she holds up her hands in conciliation, "Then you can ask your questions."

She talks slowly, and measures out her words like flour. "In all of us," she distinctly points to herself, and not you, "There is ti-bon-ange and gros-bon-ange - you might call it a soul, but that is a clumsy, lazy word."

She draws her hand down in front of her face. "Ti-bon-ange is up here - your personality, your memories." She lightly curls her hand to a fist and thuds it over her heart. "Gros-bon-ange is here - what lets you walk and talk."

> z
Time passes.

She sighs, "When the doctor and I made you, the splitting was reversed. Normally, the gros-bon-ange leaves on death. The ti-bon-ange follows shortly after, once it understands the death of the body."

"With you, the ti-bon-ange is gone and lost, but the gros remains in your decaying corpse," she drops her hands to her sides.

> z
Time passes.

"You see, no one can catch the soul as it leaves: not even me." Mama John absently tries to grab a mosquito and misses, then she turns to face the river, "But I can get you a new one, never touched by something as foul as a body."

> z
Time passes.

"Come tonight, to my rites on the river, and I will bring you a soul, and we will end all pain. We will welcome the new age." With that, she walks down to the river, and the thicket creaks and parts.

> z
Time passes.

> ask john about soul
Which do you mean, gros-bon-ange, ti-bon-ange or human soul?

> ask john about human soul
"Bon Dieu, it was difficult. God bound the soul tightly he did..." She says, wiping imaginary sweat from her brow...

> ask john about human soul
She flips her hand back and forth. "He always intended for the soul to belong to the body during life, and to him in death." She puffs...

> ask john about human soul
"To extricate it was nearly impossible. I'm well practiced with the loa, but the Guede would not budge on letting me hold on to a gros-bon-ange." She smiles, clearly proud of herself...

> ask john about human soul
She rubs at her neck. "I had to make a deal with that idiot doctor. We tricked them, the death loa: you died, releasing ti-bon-ange. It's never supposed to work like that." She folds her hands in to one another, then rips them apart with vigor. "And I kept the gros-bon-ange..."

> ask john about human soul
"Now you're floating about in Guinee, and the door can't close." Her face darkens. "But I never counted on the doctor..."

> ask john about human soul
"I gave him all the yerepe he would ever need, even the seeds, but it wasn't enough." She flips her hair absently. "But I should of known - no one could resist you, Zombie..."

> ask john about human soul
Mama John strokes your face and you know she loves you - her spell is broken, you can feel this even without her fingers in your mind. "How could he. You are perfect..."

> ask john about human soul
She turns for a moment and looks at the Mississippi. "I know you will come back. You need a ti-bon-ange, and I am the only one - living or dead, loa or mortal - who can give you one."

> ask john about human soul
She turns for a moment and looks at the Mississippi. "I know you will come back. You need a ti-bon-ange, and I am the only one - living or dead, loa or mortal - who can give you one."

> ask john about human soul
She turns for a moment and looks at the Mississippi. "I know you will come back. You need a ti-bon-ange, and I am the only one - living or dead, loa or mortal - who can give you one."

> ask john about door
She looks terrified. "What choice do we have, Zombie?" Her eyes get soft and mushed. "We're in a Depression. But that didn't mother pain. Pain existed long before, and will exist long after. How can you not help me?" She begs...

> ask john about door
Just go, just get out of here!" She shrieks. "I need to do this!"

> n
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
The moment you break through the last of the narrow trail John carved for you, the thicket twists and roars and spreads apart, twenty feet at least. The sun bathes the street, and the tired crowd stirs. "It's time!" A young woman shouts, jumping to her feet. Smiles break out through the crowd. Wheelbarrows of daisies and columbine push past you. Hot pots of rice and beans fill the air with a rich smell. Boards, and tablecloths, and chairs, and dixie cups, and jugs of rum and whiskey bob past you with the rush of the crowd.

So that's what you're up against: a mad Voodoo queen with petitioners loyal enough to stay up all night just to get the first glimpse of her and her party. You've never felt more alone, more friendless. One of your shoulders dislocates, and you pop it back in. You're rotting, and you don't even have a soul.

> x crowd
Their faces beam brightly, as they push past you in to the thicket.

"But I'm so tired, mommy," A little boy whines. "Can't we go home?" His mother gently strokes his hair, "Don't worry, baby, just a few more hours. It's St. John's Eve - remember at your baptism? Just you watch, after tonight, we'll be rich, and I'll be pretty, and we'll never be hungry again," her fairytales soothe the crowd.

> save
Ok.

> z
Time passes.

A trickle of people traipse in from all directions, party favours and offerings piled high in their arms.

> s
You jostle slightly with the sleepy-eyed crowd, but they barely notice you.

Banks of the Mississippi
Already, you can see the work happening. The petitioners busy themselves about the clearing, tying garlands to trees and laying out thick mats of rattan over the bog holes. One of the men that attacked you so viciously last night now plays waiter and stands demurely at the end of a table being set up, serving out a vibrant punch in little Dixie cups. The band, bands, are just setting up. Cajun folk, Jazz, even some Bluegrass, all mingling in a strange, coherent harmony.

Mama John pushes through the crowd, her eyes never leaving you. "We're not ready for you," she looks embarrassed, like caught in undress. "This is the day of all nights, Zombie-" she whispers the word "-I want it to be perfect for you, for everyone." She turns from you, and her smile grows broad, "This is the one I told you all about!" She steps up on a stump, theatrically, and all eyes turn to her with adoration, "Know that you are all dear to me, but this one is dearer still. You were all born with grace," she gestures to them, and they smile, her voice rises with evangelical zeal, "But this one's has been stolen." She raises her arms, "Tonight, we will give it back!" The crowd erupts in a rolling applause and a thick cheer, and the nearest people clap you warmly on the back.

> x crowd
All sorts of people are here. Sweet little girls sew flowers together while dodging the spittled, clumsy flirtations of the nasty little boys. Young construction workers hammer together planks while the old women lay out steaming trays of red beans and rice. Old men, architects and foremen, direct and maximize whatever those types direct and maximize. Hobos and tramps ignore the punch and dig the latrines for the coming crowds. They all work together in a smiling, confusing harmony.

> n
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
It's nice to be out of the swamp. Civilization - of a different sort - lies back up the street to the north. The thicket has opened to the south. Some of the petitioners sleepily drift forward, but much of the crowd waits patiently, stars in their eyes.

A trickle of people traipse in from all directions, party favours and offerings piled high in their arms.

> n

Conti and Chartres
It's still relatively bare here, but it feels nicer. The rubble to the southeast doesn't look as sad in the bright light of day, and the parlour to the southwest doesn't look so scorching. It's still a sad, little building, but not as self-conscious.

> sw
You brush through a curtain of glass beads and ceramic bones, setting off the tinkling of a thousand tiny bells.

Parlour
Bare lights are amplified by the glistening crushed velvet and crystals scattered throughout the room. A table sits in the centre of the room. There's a distinct hodge-podge feel to the parlor - baubles next to antiques, fine silk cushions on cheap stuffed furniture. The less colourful street is back to the northeast.

Mambo Felis looks at you eagerly - it doesn't seem like she gets many customers.

> give felis book
She quickly flips through the letter book, "Yes, yes," she looks puzzled at certain points, but quickly flips the page and tries to hide the lack of recognition at some of the names. She hands it back, "You should hold on to this."

> s
You can go only northeast.

> s
You can go only northeast.

> ne

Conti and Chartres
It's still relatively bare here, but it feels nicer. The rubble to the southeast doesn't look as sad in the bright light of day, and the parlour to the southwest doesn't look so scorching. It's still a sad, little building, but not as self-conscious.

> s
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
It's nice to be out of the swamp. Civilization - of a different sort - lies back up the street to the north. The thicket has opened to the south. Some of the petitioners sleepily drift forward, but much of the crowd waits patiently, stars in their eyes.

> s
You jostle slightly with the sleepy-eyed crowd, but they barely notice you.

Banks of the Mississippi
Already, you can see the work happening. The petitioners busy themselves about the clearing, tying garlands to trees and laying out thick mats of rattan over the bog holes. One of the men that attacked you so viciously last night now plays waiter and stands demurely at the end of a table being set up, serving out a vibrant punch in little Dixie cups. The band, bands, are just setting up. Cajun folk, Jazz, even some Bluegrass, all mingling in a strange, coherent harmony.

Mama John spins through the crowd, directing decorations, and encouraging with kind words.

> x john
She looks good, looks happy. The crowd buoys her spirit: these are her people. Her yellow dress looks cleaner, and she occassionally meets your eyes with a smile.

> put yerepe in punch
They would surely see you.

> n
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
It's nice to be out of the swamp. Civilization - of a different sort - lies back up the street to the north. The thicket has opened to the south. Some of the petitioners sleepily drift forward, but much of the crowd waits patiently, stars in their eyes.

A trickle of people traipse in from all directions, party favours and offerings piled high in their arms.

> n

Conti and Chartres
It's still relatively bare here, but it feels nicer. The rubble to the southeast doesn't look as sad in the bright light of day, and the parlour to the southwest doesn't look so scorching. It's still a sad, little building, but not as self-conscious.

> s
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
It's nice to be out of the swamp. Civilization - of a different sort - lies back up the street to the north. The thicket has opened to the south. Some of the petitioners sleepily drift forward, but much of the crowd waits patiently, stars in their eyes.

> sw
You can go only north or south.

> n

Conti and Chartres
It's still relatively bare here, but it feels nicer. The rubble to the southeast doesn't look as sad in the bright light of day, and the parlour to the southwest doesn't look so scorching. It's still a sad, little building, but not as self-conscious.

> sw
You brush through a curtain of glass beads and ceramic bones, setting off the tinkling of a thousand tiny bells.

Parlour
Bare lights are amplified by the glistening crushed velvet and crystals scattered throughout the room. A table sits in the centre of the room. There's a distinct hodge-podge feel to the parlor - baubles next to antiques, fine silk cushions on cheap stuffed furniture. The less colourful street is back to the northeast.

Mambo Felis looks at you eagerly - it doesn't seem like she gets many customers.

> talk to felis
Her eyes are wide. "You faced her, and lived?" She mutters to herself for a moment. "But that's impossible..."

> talk to felis
"No." You pull out the book. "She loves me."

Mambo Felis flips through the book. "Yes, yes. I can see that." She hands it back. "Perhaps I can help you..."

> talk to felis
She fondles your arms and legs and chest - the lines. "This spell: makes you unknowable to those you torment." She scratches at the thick dye. "I can recreate it..."

> talk to felis
"Just bring me her blood, and you can command her like she commanded you." Her eyes glow with optimism."

> i
You are carrying:
a bottle of yerepe
a box of salt
a letter book
a piece of bloody glass
a Derringer
a bus ticket
a piece of muslin
a husk doll
a bag (which is open but empty)
a letter
some money
a photograph
some articles
piece of wasp pulp (in your ear)

> give felis book
She waves it away. "Yes, yes, it's quite grand," she has a pale, envied look to her face.

> give felis blood
Which do you mean, the piece of bloody glass, the piece of muslin or the husk doll?

> muslin
You pull out the piece of cloth, and roll it across the table. You've piqued her curiosity, "What's this?" She unrolls the muslin.

"Her. Blood."

Her eyes light up and well with tears. "Yes, yes, this is perfect!" She throws her arms around you, she's surprisingly strong. She quickly pushes you away and straightens out her robe. "Come with me!"

Mama Felis takes your hand and leads you through the cascades of tinkling beads. She speaks in hushed tones, "Here," she drags her fingertips over your eyelids, "Close your eyes."

You feel heat, and hear tallow crackling. "Be still." Wax drips over your eyelids, sealing them. In to your ears, blocking them. Across your lips and in to your throat, quieting you. See, hear, speak - no evil. Steam wraps around you, but you can hear no water boiling. Suddenly, you feel a pressure on the back of your head, and you're plunged in to a scorchingly hot basin, still no pain though. The wax drips out, and she pushes you in to the parlour.

"Done," she claps you on the back. "A simple enough ward," she traces the lines on your body, "One I think you're intimately acquainted with." She kisses you lightly on the forehead, and turns you out. "Don't worry, Zombie, you secret's safe with me."

Conti and Chartres
It's still relatively bare here, but it feels nicer. The rubble to the southeast doesn't look as sad in the bright light of day, and the parlour to the southwest doesn't look so scorching. It's still a sad, little building, but not as self-conscious.

> s
The crowd mutter and stare, not at you, but at the thicket.

Conti and Decatur
It's nice to be out of the swamp. Civilization - of a different sort - lies back up the street to the north. The thicket has opened to the south. Some of the petitioners sleepily drift forward, but much of the crowd waits patiently, stars in their eyes.

> s
You jostle slightly with the sleepy-eyed crowd, but they barely notice you.

Banks of the Mississippi
Already, you can see the work happening. The petitioners busy themselves about the clearing, tying garlands to trees and laying out thick mats of rattan over the bog holes. One of the men that attacked you so viciously last night now plays waiter and stands demurely at the end of a table being set up, serving out a vibrant punch in little Dixie cups. The band, bands, are just setting up. Cajun folk, Jazz, even some Bluegrass, all mingling in a strange, coherent harmony.

Mama John spins through the crowd, directing decorations, and encouraging with kind words.

> x john
She looks good, looks happy. The crowd buoys her spirit: these are her people. Her yellow dress looks cleaner, and her hair is coiffed nicely. She is oblivious to your proximity.

> put yerepe in punch
Hidden by Mambo Felis' magic, you spike the punch with a liberal dose of the yerepe. Good, this should impair them a bit.

> n
You hear festivities from further on down south.

Conti and Decatur
It's nice to be out of the swamp. Civilization - of a different sort - lies back up the street to the north. The thicket has opened to the south. Some of the petitioners sleepily drift forward, but much of the crowd waits patiently, stars in their eyes.

A trickle of people traipse in from all directions, party favours and offerings piled high in their arms.

> n

Conti and Chartres
It's still relatively bare here, but it feels nicer. The rubble to the southeast doesn't look as sad in the bright light of day, and the parlour to the southwest doesn't look so scorching. It's still a sad, little building, but not as self-conscious.

> talk to husk
The husk crawls down and disappears between the pages of the letter book. You open it up and the husk drifts out in to your pocket. The page is opened to a name: Papa Legba.

> invoke legba
This location isn't quite right. You look in the four directions, and you can't go in all of them.

> n
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
It's getting deader and deader. There are a few tramps and hobos left, but most everyone else is down by the river. The bus idles down to the southwest, waiting for the next group who have had enough of this city. The liquor store to the southeast is closed, most of its patrons are still sleeping off yesterday's purchase.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

The young pastor stands on the corner, quietly chatting with whomever needs his ear.

The lunatic rushes north up the street.

> n

Conti and Bourbon
Last night, the battle for attention clearly went to the cinema in the southeast, a couple of pretty tulips can't compete with the glamour of Hollywood, but now, everything's empty. The few people here are on their way down to the river.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

He lets out a feeble bleat, "when I roar the earth trembles!"

> e
You can go only north, south, southeast or southwest.

The lunatic rushes north up the street.

> n

Conti and Dauphine
Up here, there's not much happening. The doctor's house sits quietly to the north, with the street leading down to the south. The occassional schoolkid skips down the sidewalk, and the occassional old man walks a Catahoula, but it's quiet. The bar from yesterday is just a cold brick wall to the west.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

The young man shoves an older man and snarls.

> w
The bar's gone, there's just the side of a run-of-the-mill building.

The man rushes off to the south, to the next side street.

> n

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> n

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> w
You can go only north, south, east or up.

> n

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> invoke legba
This is the right place, but you no longer have the desperation you once had. You alone are not desperate enough.

> talk to husk
Looking to the four exits, the husk of corn nods his head approvingly. He kneels down on a bended flap and draws a cross in the dust before hopping back up.

> invoke legba
This is the right place, but you no longer have the desperation you once had. You alone are not desperate enough.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

Doctor Gris sits up in bed, frozen hands clutching his blanket. His eyes are on you, but his head isn't turned.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> tak gris
That's not a verb I recognise.

> take gris
You grab the doctor by the collar and haul him out of bed. He crashes to the floor, but stays curled in a tight ball. You fling him into the hall.

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much up here. Cheaply fixtured lights halo a room to the east and a room to the west. An unshielded one casts a random chaotic pattern across the doctor's face. The hall continues to the north and to the stairs to the south.

Doctor Gris lies curled in a cold, shivering, ball.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> invoke legba
Something's missing. Without his symbol beaconing, he won't be able to find you..

> draw legba's veve
You meticulously sprinkle the salt until it looks just like the picture in the book.

A stray dog snarls and barks outside.

> invoke legba
"Great Papa Legba, keeper of the crossroads, come to us!" You rattle out.

Things are quiet for a moment, and then you hear the door downstairs swing shut. Footsteps and an extra sound - wood on wood - clip and clop their way towards you. A huffing voice booms up the stairs.

"Goddammit," it growls. "Why you gotta bother an old man?" A straw hat peaks out through a cloud of thick, rich tobacco smoke, followed by a sour, but not unkindly face.

"Ahh," a smiles spreads out. "It's you Zombie." A stooped old man limps over the last step. He's walking at an odd, crablike angle, trying to fit a crutch and a foot on each step. Papa Legba sighs, and leans against the wall, resting his crippled, twisted legs.

He grins, "A pleasure to meet you," he offers a dry hand with thick skin. "Half the loa want you dead: well, deader. The other half want you as one of us," he chuckles, "Like always, I'm neither here nor there." He nudges the doctor with his foot. "Shame about that one."

> talk to legba
"Who. Are. You?" You ask, tongue heavy.

The old man's wrinkled face cracks with a smile and lines crawl out like spiders. "I think you know, you called my name - I'm Papa Legba, locuter of God, keeper of the crossroads, knower of all things..."

> talk to legba
"Why. Am. I?" His eyes get sad, and his smile fades.

"You're a tool," he shakes his head, "the Gray Father was looking for a cure; the Yellow Mother was opening a door. She thinks, knows, you are the key. I'm sure you've noticed, the gates to Guinee have been opened." He mimes a door opening.

"The loa flow back in to the world by their own accord - Baron Samedi, Kalfu, Dumballah Wedo, they're all here. It didn't take them long to find the door, they are smart. But even Agau has found the way now - the Petro can't be far behind. Even the simple souls of the newly dead, ones that don't even realize they're dead yet, wander in and out of the door to Guinee like a yard dog..."

> talk to legba
"As long as you stay on this side, the gate can't close," he folds his hands awkwardly while holding his crutches in his arm pits. "When one dies." He pauses and pokes you under the ribs. "When you died. The whole is split. The gros-bon-ange, what lets you walk, lets you move, animates you, flutters off to Guinee." Papa Legba folds his hands like a bird, and they turn to a sparrow and flutter down the stairs. "The ti-bon-ange, you, who you are - were, follows a short time after."

"That's how it's supposed to be," he sighs...

> talk to legba
"She mucked it up," he shakes his head. "Don't quite know how, but she did. She kept the gros-bon-ange, and dismissed the ti. Now we got some fool Zombie walking about, the door to Guinee tearing off, and a mad woman ripping peoples souls apart and putting 'em back together." His cheeks go red, and he puffs heavily on his cigar and calms. "Ah, don't mind me, Zombie. Just these things ain't supposed to happen..."

> talk to legba
"What. Does. She. Want?" You fear the answer.

"Peace." He says flatly, "Knowledge. She seeks to become loa herself. She will ride you in to Guinee, holding both her body, ti, and gros-bon-ange. She thinks she will hold all the loa in her hands," he shakes his head, "She's an idiot. Maybe the loa will listen to her, maybe not, but the Petro never will - they will tear her apart, and then she'll just be another lonely soul up in Guinee, and they will stream through the gate. Soon it won't matter if you're on this side or not - the door'll be off it's hinges..."

> talk to legba
Your head lolls to the side, "Why. Not. You?"

He chuckles, "I'm an old man, Zombie. And I'm very tired," he smiles at you softly, "I love you, I love all of you, but God has me at the crossroads for a reason. I watch, and I talk, and I listen, but I never walk down the road," he stretches out a dry, leathery hand, and the husk of corn walks down your arm and hops to him. He pets the husk on its head, and it does something like purr. "Don't worry, you're not alone though." It hops back to you and curls up in your pocket. "You'll need more than his help though to close the door..."

> talk to legba
He smiles, "What do you want to know about?" he strokes your matted hair, "I'm tired, but answering questions is what I do."

> talk to legba
He smiles, "What do you want to know about?" he strokes your matted hair, "I'm tired, but answering questions is what I do."

> talk to gris
His eyes are wild, and he clamors at you. "Who's that man?" He mops at the sweat beading on his neck. His voice drops quietly, and he says desperately, "An angel?"

Papa Legba chuckles, "I am no angel, sir." And he grins at you..."

> talk to gris
Doctor Gris shuts his eyes, "Please," he pleads, grabbing at your leg with a quivering hand. "I don't want to die, not like this, please, you have great magic. Hate me or not, please, please help me."

Papa Legba shrugs, "It's up to you, Zombie." He pokes at the doctor with one of his crutches. "I don't like to see anyone like this, not even him..."

> talk to gris
He flips over an his belly, and wriggles over to the old man. "Please, Great Legba, please!" He flops down at the loa's feet. "What was that you said about Miss John? About the ti-bon-ange?"

Legba shrugs again, "I'm not here to talk to you, Grey Father..."

> talk to gris
Doctor Gris rolls over to you. "Please, Zombie! Ask him," He kisses the bloody stump of your toe lightly. "There has to be something."

> ask gris about captain dumarche
His eyes get soft and his voice gets easy. "Me and Frank been friends since we were little. I was his best man." He gets a little distant. "I've pulled away in the past five years - he may be a Captain, but that wouldn't stop him from being strung up if anyone found out what I had been doing and if he knew it..."

> ask gris about captain dumarche
"I know he hates Mama John - his family are pretty strict Baptists. They don't go in for none of this Voodoo and Catholic stuff." He shakes his head. "Still can't move though. Lot's of folk in town respect her, powerful folk...

> ask gris about captain dumarche
"Call him." You say, going and pulling the phone to him. "But, what, why?" Doctor Gris says, cocking his head. "John has friends. We need friends."

He puzzles for a moment. "Come now, Zombie, what could I possibly say."

"He is your friend. He will come." You hand over the receiver. He shrugs and dials: you have to steady his shaking finger as he turns the rotor.

The conversation is short, but productive. "He will meet you at Conti and Decatur..."

> ask gris about captain dumarche
"I hope you know what you're doing, Zombie." He shivers and pulls his sweater around him. "It's too late for us, but if this goes bad, I'll have destroyed another innocent life."

> ask gris about human soul
You drag Doctor Gris up, and wedge him against the wall with your shoulder. "You need a body." He slumps down. "I need a soul."

He shakes his head, he's getting foggier...

> ask gris about human soul
"What do you mean?" He's asking for repetition, more than meaning. You pantomime - your tongue is still so heavy. You touch his forehead to yours, touch your chest then touch his.

"I have gros-bon-ange. You have ti-bon-ange." The words tire you...

> ask gris about human soul
You slump down beside him. The delirium leaves his face for a moment. "But how?"

"I will kill you."

Doctor Gris falls away from you, and trembles. Then he looks at you, and realizes it's no threat...

> ask gris about human soul
His lips are stretched tightly, and he gives several quick jerks of his head. He agrees.

> kill gris
"Be calm, Gris." You say. He looks at tensing hands, and he knows what's coming. He doesn't struggle, he just meets your eyes with his. "I will kill you, and you can live on in me. Your ti-bon-ange, my gros-bon-ange."

You close your hands. The eyes stop looking, and just stare. He's dead.

> drink yerepe
The brown liquid tastes bitter as you swirl it around. You take a swig of the bitter fluid, and the walls begin to melt. They flow away like water, and you're gone.

Upstairs Hall
It's not really a room, more of a bounded space of twisting walls and melting colors.

Doctor Gris floats before you, his arms outstretched and a soft smile on his face.

> take gris
You grab Doctor Gris' hand and pull him towards you. His blue mingles with your red, and you feel all the empty places in you fill up. They fill up with him, with you. You remember how you felt when you first graduated. How your dad's funeral was. You didn't go to your mom's. You remember those first few times you tripped, when you thought you needed glasses. When you first heard the word "bradykinesia" in reference to you. They all flood you in an instant.

And settle down somewhere in your belly. You are Zombie again, but far less empty.You shake you head, and thud on your temples, then you're back.

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

Legba's veve sparkles in the dim light.

Doctor Gris lays out flat, a soft smile on a spittled, scratched face.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> read about agau in book
Agau.

A stupid, brutish, violent loa, Agau brings storms, earthquakes and destruction. He can call his brothers, Bade and Sogbo, lightning and wind, over from Guinee, and send them in to a vessel. When together, they create a violent thunderstorm.

They are storm loa and can only hear Agau when his voice is carried on the wind, next to the firmament up above.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. Lightning striking stones, tearing fissures through the soft rock.

> save
Ok.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> open window
You wedge your fingers into the groove of the pane and heave. It's tight, and your fingers go numb, but it gives.

> up
You carefully climb through the window.

Roof
Your arms pull as you scrabble onto the roof. The shingles are still hot from the sun, and they leave small pieces of tar stuck to your knees. The wind is strong up here, and you have to steady yourself. You stand, and take in the panorama.

> draw agau's veve
You scatter some salt, but it quickly blows away in vicious wind.

> d
You carefully climb through the window.

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

Legba's veve sparkles in the dim light.

Doctor Gris lays out flat, a soft smile on a spittled, scratched face.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

Something in your scalp turns foul to the maggots, and they curl up and fall away.

> s

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> e

Kitchen
A small but well-appointed kitchen. It smells of pungent spices and rich foods. The memories of hundreds of lovingly prepared meals. An old rocking chair sits in a corner, quite still. Anna has cleaned up the broken glass: it's now in a waste bin near the door. East leads to the shed: west to the salon.

Anna must have been making a molasses pie, because there's a box of it on the counter.

Anna busies herself about the kitchen cleaning up the dishes.

> take molasses
The box is sticky, and webs of molasses cling to your fingers.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> n

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

Legba's veve sparkles in the dim light.

Doctor Gris lays out flat, a soft smile on a spittled, scratched face.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> e

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

You feel things stitching, mending themselves together inside of you.

> u
You carefully climb through the window.

Roof
The doctor's house isn't the tallest around, but you still have a relatively clear vantage of the street on one side and the garden on the other. The wind rips across you, and tugs clumps of hair out.

> mix molasses with salt
You carefully mix the molasses with the salt and get a rather large clump of sticky salt.

> draw agau's veve
You meticulously spread the sticky salt until it looks just like the picture in the book.

Clouds begin to gather on the horizon, and the air crackles with static and smells of ozone.

> invoke agau
(Agau's veve)
The wind carries your words. "Agau, bringer of storms, come to me!" It spins down the street and you hear a far off barking down the street to the south. The sounds of a madman.

> d
You carefully climb through the window.

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

Legba's veve sparkles in the dim light.

Doctor Gris lays out flat, a soft smile on a spittled, scratched face.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> s

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

You scratch at your itching skin, and feel pain in your finger. A new nail bud is sprouting.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
Up here, there's not much happening. The doctor's house sits quietly to the north, with the street leading down to the south. The occassional schoolkid skips down the sidewalk, and the occassional old man walks a Catahoula, but it's quiet. The bar from yesterday is just a cold brick wall to the west.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
Last night, the battle for attention clearly went to the cinema in the southeast, a couple of pretty tulips can't compete with the glamour of Hollywood, but now, everything's empty. The few people here are on their way down to the river.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

"It is I who am the gunner of god!" The young man shouts, tumbling through a crowd.

> punch man
You watch him carefully and wait till he's just a foot away. You wind up, and give him a quick smack across the face. He snarls, and lays his wild eyes on you - the chase begins.

The young man growls and bounds after you.

> n

Conti and Dauphine
Up here, there's not much happening. The doctor's house sits quietly to the north, with the street leading down to the south. The occassional schoolkid skips down the sidewalk, and the occassional old man walks a Catahoula, but it's quiet. The bar from yesterday is just a cold brick wall to the west.

A dishevelled young man, younger than twenty, runs up and down the street.

The lunatic skids and tumbles, but quickly rights himself and continues the chase.

> n
He roars and clips the side of your head, but you keep running.

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

The lunatic skids and tumbles, but quickly rights himself and continues the chase.

> n
He roars and clips the side of your head, but you keep running.

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

The lunatic skids and tumbles, but quickly rights himself and continues the chase.

> n
The lunatic growls and snaps at your heels.
He bounds after you.

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

Legba's veve sparkles in the dim light.

Doctor Gris lays out flat, a soft smile on a spittled, scratched face.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

Foam spits from his mouth, and you feel his hot breath on your neck.

> e
The lunatic growls and snaps at your heels.

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

Foam spits from his mouth, and you feel his hot breath on your neck.

Something stings your tongue. You feel around in your mouth, and a baby tooth is coming in.

> u
He bounds after you.
You carefully climb through the window.

Roof
The doctor's house isn't the tallest around, but you still have a relatively clear vantage of the street on one side and the garden on the other. The wind rips across you, and tugs clumps of hair out.

The sticky veve clings to the roof.

He scrabbles out on to the roof, trying to grab your ankles, but you're too quick. You heave yourself over the gutter, and gun it to the far side of the roof, carefully skipping over the veve.

Agau snarls and gives chase. He steps in to the boundaries of the veve and lets out an enraged scream. Black clouds fill the sky, and small flashes of lightning spark on the horizon.

> invoke sogbo
He snarls, but then sits down. He brings his nose up like a hound, and makes strange grunting sounds. "Yes," he licks his lips, "I have found a vessel."

He stamps his feet on the shingles, shaking loose dust and tar - the salt stays fast. "It's done."

"When I roar the earth trembles!" He stomps his feet.

> invoke bade
He sneers, and turns up his nose. "Yecch, why would want him?" He coughs up a tight ball of phlegm. "Phahh, no matter."

He gets down on all fours, and licks the spackle. His chest rises and falls, "Got one." He breathes out a toxic-smelling puff, and then rams his head in to the roof. He looks dazed for a moment, then shakes it out. "Done."

Agau paces in the cage, "Let me out."

> d
"Hey, fuck," he shouts, "Aren't you gonna let me out? My brother's are useless without me."

"When I roar the earth trembles!" He stomps his feet.

> erase agau's veve
You drag your feet across the veve, erasing it. "Thanks," he snorts, pushing past you. You think he's about to climb down through the window, but instead he runs full bore to the edge and just drops. You rush over, but other than a slight staticky crackle in the air, and the faint smell of sulphur, he's vanished.

> d
You carefully climb through the window.

Bedroom
A single bed up against the wall, unmade, with a juice pitcher near the head and a dresser near the foot. A small desk sits under the window, and a door leads out to the west. Various diplomas and credentials cover the wall.

A rotary phone sits on the desk.

> w

Upstairs Hall
There isn't much in here. The hall continues a little to the north, a door west to the bathroom, a door east to the bedroom. And stairs to the south leading down.

Legba's veve sparkles in the dim light.

Doctor Gris lays out flat, a soft smile on a spittled, scratched face.

Doctor Gris' portrait lies torn on the ground.

You can also see bottle of Four Roses here.

> s

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

You head feels less boggy, and it begins to scab over and heal.

> e
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

> e

Kitchen
You push through the slatted door and notice that several of the slats have been crushed, forming little arcs of slivers. You see her. Anna crouches on the ground, digging through the trash. The kitchen is in ruins. An arc of lightning skips from her elbow, and smashes in to the oven. Another jumps between her knees, back and forth. She hears your feet thud softly on floor, and turns very slowly. You meet her eyes and they are entirely feral. Then, with a bound, she knocks you to the side, gives a throaty roar, and bursts through to the west through the door to the salon.

Anna rips through to the west.

> drink yerepe
You take a swig of the bitter fluid, and the walls begin to melt. They flow away like water, and you're gone.

Kitchen
It's not really a room, more of a bounded space of twisting walls and melting colors.

An old Indian woman rocks back and forth here, and looks at you with a frozen face.

> take woman
You flow over the shining, six-holed figure. She struggles against you at first, but eventually settles. The walls stop flowing and reform. And you're back.

Kitchen
The garbage bin has been upturned, and the slatted door reduced to scraps of veneered kindling. Trash is strewn about, and the kitchen is in ruins. Thick, black scorch marks dot the walls and floor. The only thing that has not been damaged is the rocking chair, that swings back and forth in a new draft. A still intact door leads out to the shed in the east, and slats of wood that were a door lead to the west.

> read about kalfu in book
Kalfu.

More demon than loa, he grows out of the wicked thoughts of men. He is a tree, covered in vines, and nurtured by manure and lies. Some say that he is Papa Legba, or at least an aspect of him: that when God created Papa Legba, and told him of all the sweet and beautiful things in the world, he had to create Kalfu, and told him all the foul and wicked things in the world.

Dangerous, and patron of the wicked Bokors, he has great magic in his leaves, and his flowers only blossom in the light of the moon. He speaks with the language of leaves, but only a great tree can carry him.

Below the writing is a child's sketch. A black moon tangled in brambles and vines held up by a weeping cypress.

> e
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

> n
You pass through the corners and the white streams from above.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> n
You duck into the gentle shelter of the cypress.

Beneath the Cypress
The great cypress makes it quite dark here - deep greys and greens and chaotic patches of wildflowers. You tilled much of the soil, but the brambles were too thick here, and the fence has deep struts that have already broken the ground. The rest of the garden is to the south.

All through you, an ache spreads. It's in your bones - they're remineralizing.

> drink yerepe
You take a swig of the bitter fluid, and the fence melts. The bald cypress weeps and keeps weeping. They both flow away like water, and you're gone.

Beneath the Cypress
The great cypress drips in to a puddle of green, purple, and gold. But it doesn't stay that way. The fence stays melted, but somehow the ichorous fluid, like fluid from from a blister, watery but thicker, does not. It coalesces and sprouts in to a mighty tree. Not a soft, beautiful tree like the cypress, but a foul, sticky thing that drips blue poison from it's boughs.

A small sapling bends in front of the tree, its bark a foul blue-black colour, like a petrol slick. As you melt in to the scene, it unfurls and whips back and forth in a chill wind. "So the dead little thing has found me at last." It hisses with the cooperation of feathery leaves. It's a man. A blue tree man, covered in a scaly bark. "Why have you come here, Zombie. This is a place for no one, not even you."

> talk to kalfu
The treeman sways in the breeze, curling and bending against the flow of the wind.

"Who are you?" You ask, as the spreading oil bends your knees and forces you to the ground.

He ruffles off some dripping blue like a duck, and bends forward. He's a good two feet taller than you, but he comes down to look at your eyes from three inches. "I am Kalfu." He blinks - it's rubber sliding over two white eggs. "But a better question is who are you..?"

> talk to kalfu
Kalfu bends down, and rifles through your clothes with his slim, crooked fingers. "Phah," he licks and slurps at your face, and meets your eyes with his white orbs. "Gray Father," his tongue darts out, a tri-fronded leaf over his two round lips. "Welcome..."

> talk to kalfu
"I need help." He twists around you, peeking in one ear, then the other.

"We all need help, Zombie." His eyes, although they are pupilless, dart back and forth. "But for you, anything."

He extends a slimy branch, and on it a leaf. You pluck it, and he winces slightly. "'Til next time," he hisses, and retracts in to the ground.
You shake you head, and thud on your temples, then you're back.
You duck into the gentle shelter of the cypress.

Beneath the Cypress
The great cypress makes it quite dark here - deep greys and greens and chaotic patches of wildflowers. You tilled much of the soil, but the brambles were too thick here, and the fence has deep struts that have already broken the ground. The rest of the garden is to the south.

> s
You leave the gentle shade of the cypress.

Garden
It's beautiful here. The sun burns low in the sky and it's too bright, but there's enough shade from the tall plants. The plants thin out to the south, giving way to tangled jimson weed and a low building. The edge of the garden is to the north.

> s
It's low, but you don't have to duck as you enter the shed.

Shed
It's much older than the fence, and light streams in between the slats of the old wood and through the opening to the north catching the dust you toss up. A low table hulks to one side, and a door - much newer and nicer than the rest of the shed - leads west.

> w

Kitchen
The garbage bin has been upturned, and the slatted door reduced to scraps of veneered kindling. Trash is strewn about, and the kitchen is in ruins. Thick, black scorch marks dot the walls and floor. The only thing that has not been damaged is the rocking chair, that swings back and forth in a new draft. A still intact door leads out to the shed in the east, and slats of wood that were a door lead to the west.

> w
The slatted door swings shut behind you.

Salon
A gentle sensibility governs here, considering the wicked room that lies below. Silverware instead of curved scalpels. Doilies instead of bandages. Warm light from Yankee lamps instead of the cold bare bulb. A slatted door leads out east to the servant's area, and you can see further west to an elegant staircase.

A thick bundle of papers - a newspaper - has been read and folded.

Trying to be subtle, you do a brief plié, and your legs don't collapse out.

> w

Foyer
Not much here besides some muddy footprints and a coat rack. The veranda is out to the south, and the salon to the east. A set of stairs to the north leads up.

> s

Veranda
The doctor's house to the north is quite new, and this veranda even newer. Delicate clematis creeps about, the new flowers tumbling and crawling through the dead vines. The street slants down to the south.

> s

Conti and Dauphine
Up here, there's not much happening. The doctor's house sits quietly to the north, with the street leading down to the south. The occassional schoolkid skips down the sidewalk, and the occassional old man walks a Catahoula, but it's quiet. The bar from yesterday is just a cold brick wall to the west.

> s

Conti and Bourbon
Last night, the battle for attention clearly went to the cinema in the southeast, a couple of pretty tulips can't compete with the glamour of Hollywood, but now, everything's empty. The few people here are on their way down to the river.

> s
It's a little seedier here; the crowd has a sad, predatory feel.

Conti and Royal
It's getting deader and deader. There are a few tramps and hobos left, but most everyone else is down by the river. The bus idles down to the southwest, waiting for the next group who have had enough of this city. The liquor store to the southeast is closed, most of its patrons are still sleeping off yesterday's purchase.

The young pastor stands on the corner, quietly chatting with whomever needs his ear.

> s

Conti and Chartres
It's still relatively bare here, but it feels nicer. The rubble to the southeast doesn't look as sad in the bright light of day, and the parlour to the southwest doesn't look so scorching. It's still a sad, little building, but not as self-conscious.

Papa Legba puffs on his cigar and leans against the wall.

> s
As you approach the intersection, the sterile smell of ozone burns your nostrils.

Conti and Decatur
Conti and Decatur is empty. The petitioners from before have all gone down to the river, leaving this a place for crickets and your comrades. Conti continues up north, and the tangled hedge lies to the south.

Agau, Sogbo, and Bade pace about the street, alternating between headbutts, stomps, and growls.

Anna's mother paces in front of the thicket, slavering for blood.

Captain DuMarche is here with six bored-looking cops around him.

> s
You step forward, and Kalfu's leaf burns in your pocket. You pull it out, and it burns with a blue-black flame. The flames spread out and flow down your arm, and your body, and your legs. They flow in to the thicket and twist the broom in to vicious blue-legged spiders.

Agau, Sogbo, and Bade growl and fan out in front of you. Lightning skips out from them, igniting the remaining bushes in to a brush fire. A narrow tunnel of wind turns back and forth, simultaneously spreading and smothering the flames. Smoke and ozone fill the air, and the brothers begin grunting in unison.

Ti-bon-ange swirl around you, you think you are the only one to see them. They have no words, but their message is clear, they want blood. They hiss and spin and envelope you in a blue crackle. You feel comfortable with them.

Captain DuMarche and his men tread gingerly behind you, clearly unnerved by reality crumbling around them. Their guns are drawn, and their heads swivel back and forth in apprehension.

Doctor Gris crawls about in the bottom of your mind. He is still dizzy and confused from the procedure, but he steels your gros-bon-ange and keeps you in your head. "Good luck, Zombie," he whispers, and you can feel him crawl up behind your eyes, and peers out.

There's a pit here, a clumsy trap. You easily step around the conspicuous rattan mats.

Banks of the Mississippi
The swamp is unrecognizable from the sour, putrid place this morning. It is now geared for festivities. Strings of daisies and carnations and roses spiral around the trees. Tables covered with everything from cheap linen to fine silk cloths surround the clearing. Piled dishes sit at the edges - the partygoers have already eaten. Now they stand near the banks, some facing you, some facing the large barge moored at the shore. Floating little bags, filled with candles - prayers - stream out from children placing them in the water. Mama John stands in the centre of the crowd. She ignores everyone but you.

Kalfu's tree-demons scuttle out and encircle the crowd. Agau, Sogbo, and Bade scale the trees, hucking pieces of lightning and black cloud between one other, each growing with each pass. The ti-bon-ange swirl out and cut through the air with a shrill whistle.
The captain and his men leerily eye the crowd, hands on their pistols.

Doctor Gris stirs in you, and whispers. "Be careful," he says, licking the inside of your eardrum. "You don't need her anymore. You have a soul. Quickly, you must stop her. If she doesn't open the gate through you, she will find another, and another until she succeeds."

Many of Mama John's friend stumble and are distracted by unseen demons and ghosts. The yerepe you spiked the punch with has dizzied them well.

The husk of corn sits on your shoulder patiently brushing you matted hair behind your ears.

Your allies dig their heels in to the dirt - facing off in a sharp line against Mama John's petitioners.

Mama John stands behind hundreds of her petitioners. She is elevated on some sort of barge, and calls out to you.

"Welcome, Zombie," she calls. Some of the petitioners exchange strange glances, but most don't. "I see you've learned some little tricks." Mama John sniffs around, but she can't see you: Mambo Felis' spell holds, but she still knows you're here. "Why do you fight me, over and over? Can't you see I'm just trying to help you, to help all of you?" Her voice rises above the crowd, and they cheer.

Something tingles in your fingers. It's warmth, fresh blood.

>
I beg your pardon?

> z
Time passes.

"Come now," she says to you, then turns to the crowd. "You all know pain, depression." She turns back to you. "But this one knows pain more than anyone. Still, Zombie does not want to help us. Zombie stands between all of us and the warm, calming, feeding light of Bon Dieu."

> z
Time passes.

"But still, somewhere, Zombie must know this has to be." Mama John hams it up. "Something draws it back. The new age calls with its own voice, and no one can resist." You see something in her hand - the bloody glass you gave her at the fence. "Come, Zombie," she hurls it in to the river, a truce. "Speak with me in my shack." Mama John steps down from the barge, and walks through the crowd: the blow kisses and offer her flowers and prayers. She disappears in to the shack.

> w
You leave the chaos of the banks and return to the shack. She is out of tricks: it's time to talk honestly. You drop Mambo Felis' spell and join her in the shack.

Shack
It's just you and John. All the friends - yours and hers - give you privacy and a chance to discuss. Even with all the decorations outside, she hasn't changed this place. It's still cold, and dark and unhappy, and John looks so cold an alone. It's a horrible place to live or die. The only other thing is Baron Kriminel's veve on the ground, it looks so delicate.

Mama John leans against the wall tiredly. Her eyes plead with you.

Salt and ashes are scattered about the ground.

> talk to john
"Oh," she looks disappointed as she combs over your mending flesh and no longer smells your putridity. "So you found a soul, did you?" Mama John looks at you sideways. "I guess it was possible - I guess we've all learned that possibility is somewhat more bendable these days..."

> talk to john
She sighs, resignedly: she's exhausted. "Back to the drawing board, I suppose. I'm sure I can make another without the doctor, I watched him closely." She turns to leave.

"No." Your voice is sweeter now, no longer the raspy, clumsy sounds from before. "I won't let you..."

> talk to john
Mama John snickers, that old, irritating sound. "Do you think you can stop me?" She points outside. "There are hundreds who will die for me. They have no jobs, they are starving most days, their rage fills the breadlines and speakeasies and railroads and mansions. How is spending eternity with Bon Dieu not better than this..?"

> talk to john
"We clearly disagree, Zombie, and I am sorry for that." She turns to the door. "Come, let's settle this. Go outside and we will fight this out. There is no other choice."

> tell john about myself
"What about my identity, yours? Won't you think it's a loss for us to disappear? You say.

She shakes her head. "You have no identity, even now. You'll always be a murdered thing. And I will always be a murderer. But maybe there is atonement, you do look better, even now."

What's that sound? An ominous drum beat fills your ears. You heart.

Your words soften her, and her head tilts in thought.

> tell john about anna
You think of Anna's soft face. "You must have met Anna, was she unkind?" You frown.

"Of course not, she's an angel, which is why her heartbreak is all the more reason to end all this." She fiddles with her dress.

She looks at you, thinking something strange.

I'm still losing? Bah.

This was way too ambitious for a comp game. There are 48000 words in this transcript, and a large chunk of that was just running through the walkthrough.

> tell john about herself
"Are you worth nothing, John?" You frown.

"I'm broken, Zombie, even more than you." She says flatly.

Mama John pauses and thinks over what you've said. She looks so tired, worn out, but there's a strange sparkle in her eyes, and you can see your reflection in them. "You're right, Zombie. That is enough." She leans in to you and smiles.

You haven't convinced her: she will always be broken, just like you. Your resistance, your persistence, your attempts to stop her and to change her mind - raising an army against her; your arguments, cogent or not - never mattered - she just wanted you to try. She created a Zombie just so she would have someone that cared enough to stop her.

You may not love her, but she loves you, more than anything. Sometimes, that's enough.

*** The door is closed, and Mama John has peace. ***

There's no score to keep. Life doesn't work like that, but if you had to say, you'd say you're losing.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move or QUIT?
>
quit