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located in boxes and boxes, a part of storage unit 284, one of the many universes on RPG.

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Ethan hit his head as he fell...



When he finally opened his eyes, there was dim light filtering into the… Room? Was he in a room or a hall? He couldn’t quite tell. It took him a moment to orient himself, and then he scrambled to his feet as quickly as he could (which wasn’t particularly quickly) with the sand and rocks slipping under his feet. “Yousof?” He called, but it was pointless.

He needed to look around.

He was in a particularly wide hallway. The sunlight looked like a sunset. Maybe a sunrise. How long had he been here? His phone was dead, and his backpack was nowhere to be found. Great. The path behind him had been caved in by the floor he’d fallen through, so there was only one direction to go in. There was a door not very far ahead, anyway.

So he walked towards the door, but it was much farther away than he thought, and with every step he took the sun seemed to make the stones around him glow a brighter orange than the step before. It was trippy, like something out of a movie or a fever dream.

And, of course, when he finally got there the door was locked. He pulled and shook and rattled the door. This was the only way he could go, the only thing he could do. ”Fuck!” He yelled, finally letting all his fear and frustration out now that he was alone, along with a long string of expletives. Finally, when he’d all but decided to give up, he addressed the door specifically, “Just open th-the fuck up!”

And it did.

Ethan stood there for a long, silent moment. What had just happened? He looked behind himself, and all around. He didn’t know what to think, but he didn’t think he wanted to go into that room. But it was growing darker, and he could see a torch lit in the room beyond the door. He paused, for a moment, to consider why there would be a lit torch in a locked room. But that must mean there was someone in there, and if it was some of crazy murderer, well, he was beginning to accept that he was going to die in here anyway.

As he passed through the threshold of the room, the temperature seemed to change. It was cool here, cold even. Ethan made a beeline for the torch, looked around to see if he could see anyone else. It was empty. Once he made it to the torch, he was able to see a few things: there was a winding river, somehow, and an ancient looking boat with one oar. That’s weird. He wasn’t sure what might happen if he fell into the water, but from what he saw the ground to either side of the river didn’t look particularly stable. He didn’t want to fall through any more floors today. He went to grab the torch, and it immediately went out. That’s suspicious. It was suddenly very dark in this… River room thing, so he turned to leave, but the door slammed shut all on it’s own, plunging Ethan into complete darkness.

“N-n...no!” He ran back to where he was sure the door had been, but he either couldn’t find it or there was no handle on the inside to try. He stood there, perfectly still and trying not to hyperventilate, for a long time. What was he supposed to do? Tears welled up in his eyes and he had no power to stop them. Before long fell to the ground, hugged his knees to his chest, and allowed himself to sob. He’d never been more scared in his life.

It felt like ages when he finally calmed down enough to rationalize with himself that if there was a river here, then it had to come from somewhere, or lead somewhere. He had a boat, and it might be a trap but he had no other choice, did he?

It took a long time to navigate back to the river bed in the darkness, but eventually Ethan found his way back to the boat. He hesitated, slightly, to get it in the water and get going, but eventually he launched the boat and started floating down the river.

For a while, the boat kept running into the banks on either side of the river, and Ethan was worried it would jostle him from the boat. At one point, while he stood relatively still, attempting to use the oar to feel out the area around him, he heard something. So he stopped, stilled himself, and listened. There was something in the water.

There was something in the water.

There was something in the water, and from the sound of the splashes it was making, it was big. What might be down here? A crocodile? Unlikely, but possible.

He carried on navigating the boat through the dark, and started figuring out how to use the river and his instincts to his advantage. He was still on edge, but he was starting to gain some confidence in his abilities. Then whatever was in the river with him bumped into the boat. Ethan wasn’t sure what to do; he couldn’t see the thing, and the way sounds were echoing in this room was really messing with his ability to locate whatever this creature was. He prodded around the boat with the oar, but upon not finding anything he just carried on paddling through the water.

The creature bumped into, and rocked, Ethan’s boat every few minutes like clockwork. It was some sort of game, it seemed, and Ethan wasn’t interested in playing. Eventually Ethan found the creature with the oar and gave it a good shove, hoping to encourage it to move on and leave him alone. Instead it flipped the boat. Ethan let out a cry as he fell into the water. It was deep, far too deep to touch the bottom. He wildly reached to find the boat, the oar he’d dropped, anything. Instead, he felt something wrap around his leg and try to pull him underneath the water.

He kicked and flailed, trying to get the creature to let him go, but it pulled him under despite his struggle. He could feel strong muscles and then, eventually, sharp teeth threatened to tear at his flesh. He remembered that he had a pencil in his pocket, and hoped it was still there.

It was.

He stabbed the pencil into the creature, and it let him go, swam away. Ethan kicked up to the surface of the water and took a deep breath. Where was the boat?

He swam, trying desperately to find the boat, at least, before the creature came back. It would be angry this time. When he finally found the boat it took him more time than he would have liked to right it in the water, but somehow the process of doing that caused the oar to come around and bump right into Ethan’s back. Getting back into the boat wasn’t easy, but he managed it.

The rest of his boat ride was less eventful: he got stuck in a shallow patch of water, ran into a rock, and the creature did eventually come back to rock the boat some more, but he made it to the shore on the other side without sustaining any serious injuries.

After he got out of the boat, Ethan ran as far into the shore as he could before he started worrying he’d run into something else. This was insane. He felt like he was going to puke, he couldn’t believe he’d just done that. He took a moment to just sit and breathe, thinking- hoping- that the creature from the river couldn’t come up on the land.

Eventually he got up and slowly made his way around this side of the room. Empty, and though he couldn’t see to confirm it, it seemed identical to the room at the top of the river. Had he gotten turned around after that creature knocked him out of the boat? Fear started to build in his chest, but then he found a doorway. A way out. He’d be okay. He had to be okay. Had to keep going. So he went through the door. He didn’t have another choice.