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Tony's Journal: Entry 1: Books

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA Because of the rather bizarre nature of the D&D session I've been partaking in with some friends of mine, I decided to start writing out the scenarios from my player character's perspective. It's a bit of a shift from my usual material, though hopefully it'll be entertaining nonetheless. Anyways, summary time: Tony Hannah's got a fairly standard high school life going on, at least for the average jock: school in the day, practice in the afternoon, games on Friday, the usual. However, one particular day, after choosing to trail an oddly-behaving classmate, Tony and a couple of fellow students find themselves caught up in something that is anything but conventional scholastic fare.
Every authority figure I’ve ever had that was worth listening to, even a smidge, would tell me that for better or worse, my years in high school were going to be memorable. Not surprisingly, they were right about that, but I don’t think they were referring to what’s been happening to me as of late, the kind of stuff that makes what would have been memorable events suddenly seem completely irrelevant. I’m writing all this down because I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen to me, and if I’m suddenly just… gone forever, I want to at least have some of this crazy shit written down, for like, my final thoughts or something, not that anyone in their right minds will believe a word of any of it… but if anyone does read this, thanks for humoring me, it’s not easy to admit any of this nonsense is true, but nothing can convince me it’s false.

My name's Tony Hannah, and I’ve had the elusive privilege of being labeled a “jock” around my school, which basically guarantees my respect across the student body en masse. Unfortunately, within that category I’m something of a lower-ranking jock… Price of being a lineman really. We tend to only be associated as the group of big guys who either don’t exist, or are completely at fault for the team sucking any given year. Still, it’s not without its benefits, being on the team and all, even for guys like me it’s a major status booster. Hell, if I wasn’t on the team they’d probably start lumping me up with those scary rejects who lurk in the corners of every schoolroom, always looking suspicious, like they’re ready to cause an incident at any moment. Coincidentally it was one of those weirdos that led me and a couple of my classmates into this mess of trouble…

You know how the whole thing goes, ‘just a normal day’ and all that, and it was. Only weird thing at first was that I got up before the sun did, on account of getting to sleep early the night before. I was attempting to condition myself just that tiny bit more, get some weight training in before classes began, any advantage I could get to not only keep my position on the team, but prove I was more than they saw me, not just the brutish blocker who could run faster than the average lug. I got my early morning exercising done with and headed to homeroom, punctual as usual, not that the teacher in charge gave a crap about that. In any case I was just trying to relax a bit, ease off some of the soreness, but no sooner am I at my seat and leaning back when I’m hearing someone “psst” in my direction. Of all people, I didn’t expect it to be her. Jamie wasn’t usually one to speak to anyone who wasn’t a client of hers. She was very serious concerning the profitability of her… business. Not a very legal business but, it probably reeled in way too much dough to be considered anything less than a business nonetheless. A lot of us didn’t want to question or confront her about it no matter how blatant it was what she did among her peers, because none of us wanted to run the risk of being labeled an accessory. She could easily do it too, rumors had gone around that she’d purposely performed poorly enough to get left back a year just because of the amount of cash she was reeling in from the high school alone, and still being in the system made it easier to score new customers while keeping tabs on the returning ones. If she was willing to pull a stunt like that, her pragmatism likely had no bounds, and now here she was trying to get my attention? I’d figured she was probably out to get a ‘roid exchange out of me, but that sorta thing’s below me and getting caught isn’t worth it. Still, I knew it’d be better to hear her out just so she didn’t get angry.

She told me there was some particularly sketchy guy walking past the room at that very moment, I managed to catch a glimpse of just who before he disappeared from sight. Oh, yes, that guy. Jamie may’ve been sketchy herself but at least she was occasionally subtle about it, or y’know, she didn’t have that look of someone who was about to cause the school to appear in the national news in the worst possible way. The way he kept himself hunched over as he walked, hands always in his pockets, staring off at some godforsaken abyss every waking hour as he never appeared to actually be in class, it may have been in bad taste but a few of us tended to call him… something pretty dark in retrospect so I’ll just use the initials C.K. for him, go wild figuring out the full name yourself if you really want to. Anyways, Jamie sounded like she was finally getting sick of just waiting for C.K. to finally explode on his own and she suggested taking a more proactive approach to make sure he didn’t get the chance to even consider doing so in the future… So basically, she wanted to rough him up before something happened to her business venue, and here I was, big muscle jock who could help her with that. Though a part of my agreeing to this was because, like I said, she’s not worth pissing off, I’ll admit I didn’t like thinking of what C.K. could do either, so it didn’t really take much coaxing in any sense. I excused myself, she just kinda walked off, the teacher didn’t care, as per usual.

We made sure to be as stealthy as possible, following C.K. through the halls, but apparently, judging by the sudden clatter we heard behind us, we weren’t the only ones trailing him, and now he was picking up the pace out of suspicion… Turns out the third wheel on this stalking train was another classmate I tried to distance myself from. Cody used to be part of the football team, but our association pretty much ended off the field. He was one of those guys who really embraced the New Hampshire wilderness lifestyle… in that he always had a rifle in his car and a hunting knife on standby. Sure, his mind seemed to be all there but… that sorta stuff can be pretty discomforting for a number of reasons that I really don’t think I have to explain. Naturally, Jamie was mighty pissed having our cover nearly completely blown like that, and I couldn’t say I was really over the moon over almost getting caught myself, but Cody managed to avert the situation miraculously, pointing out that we all had the same general motive in being here, and it was best not to lose track, literally… as C.K. was still in motion, we’d have to cover that distance.

Our social pariah of a target led us deep through the bowels of the school, through the janitor’s room and down a corridor that led to what we would come to realize was the abandoned school building, left to rot ages ago, likely because the district didn’t want to have to pay for the demolition fee. It all led us to a single room, still standing in this ruined structure. The room was in a serious state of decay, that at least was to be expected, and it was rather difficult for any of us to discern the initial purpose of it. Beyond a few old tables, cracked walls and dusty old books lying around, the only other clues we had were the remains of some very pentagram-like designs littering the walls and floor, and we were all pretty damn certain those weren’t a part of any official scholastic curriculum, let alone any clubs that a school from that far back in the past would ever allow to convene. Even beyond the creepy aesthetics though, we were getting some… very creepy vibes being there, like just this really unsettling, anxious feeling that something in the very air was irregular. There wasn’t a sign of C.K., he seemed to have up and vanished, just furthering the mystery. Hoping to reach some sort of context, we started to peer through a few of the books. I picked up a green-colored one from a stack of particularly vibrant book covers and started to skim through it, but immediately after trying to read whatever text was on those pages I felt a different sort of weird feeling… I turned to tell Jamie and Cody about it, but I didn’t get far before they vanished… along with the rest of the room. As a matter of fact, the only one who’d disappeared here was me.

For a moment, I was floating in a void, I felt formless, thoughtless, lifeless… Once I had a consciousness to regain again, I could barely open my eyes, on account of the sudden agony plaguing my system. It felt like dozens of knives had stabbed into me at once, and even after that pain subsided enough for me to think with a hint of rationality, a few more “delightful” surprises were in store. I was starting to feel particularly top-heavy around my forehead, something behind me was weighing me down, and I felt like I had lost a hundred pounds from just seconds prior. Needless to say, I felt pretty shitty at that precise moment. Shitty and confused, a not-so-classic combination. Getting on my feet once I had the energy to stand, I didn’t get more than a few seconds before I saw someone else going through apparently similar sensations before they looked at me with just the most wide-eyed, petrified expression imaginable. This guy, I should add, had pointy ears, and he was looking at me like I’d sprouted horns or something. He asked if I was a demon, I looked at him like he was crazy, then he informed me that I did, in fact, have horns… Furthermore, that dragging feeling behind me? Oh, nothing much, just a GODDAMNED TAIL! And this wasn’t one of those cute doggy or cat ones either, this thing was about as long as I was tall, this reptilian appendage that I had jutting out of my back.

After a – well justified – panic session, we both came to realize we weren’t strangers to each other. Somehow behind the elfish physique, I was speaking to Cody. He explained how I just popped out of existence after opening up that book, and Jamie was quick to follow after picking up another one and opening it similarly. Apparently, he tried reading the two books himself but they just had a bunch of old school-related material in them, and he wasn’t going anywhere. Then he picked up a third book from that pile of colorful ones and that ended up doing the trick. That at least loosely explained what happened, but that left us wondering where Jamie turned up. Searching, we eventually found a body of water, a lake or pond of some kind. There, in my reflection, I could see the full extent of the damage. I was literally a goddamned demon, only difference was I still had a peachy-white skin color, but that honestly made the whole thing that much more disturbing. Still… I couldn’t linger on my sudden shift into freak-show territory, we had to find Jamie, and eventually we stumbled upon her. She seemed to get the least jarring pick of the litter when it came to transformations, becoming a rather stunning, knightly sort with long, flowing blonde hair, still human, but definitely no longer the reserved, hooded introvert at least on the outside. In any case, we were reunited, but now we looked like a trio of LARPers who spent half their lives and all of their college funds on their elaborate costumes. Cody seemed eager to explore, but Jamie and I weren’t in the mood for that shit at that moment. In my case, being turned into a hellspawn and dropping half my body mass was making me just a tiny bit frustrated, and I’m pretty sure Jamie just wanted to get the hell out of there. Naturally this bizarre turn of events led us to bicker for a while, until eventually we just resorted to set up some kind of makeshift camp with the stuff our new bodies had on them, planning out shifts over who’d watch and who’d rest, not that I felt any sense of comfort resting with two major powder-kegs for companions. Cody took the option of resting first while Jamie and I merely prepared to face whatever insanity this place had to offer, only to find Cody had popped out of existence just seconds after lying down. We had our way out, and we didn’t hesitate to follow suit, kicking back and suddenly ending up back in the cultist room again… or rather… outside of it. The room was inexplicably reduced to rubble, inaccessible. By all accounts we couldn’t have been able to squeeze our way through the cracks, let alone step foot comfortably in it like we certainly thought we had…

The janitor came by around that point, understandably wondering why we were hanging around his room during school hours. Though we tried to vaguely mention the strange room we’d been in, he seemed all the more puzzled by it. Apparently, said room had been all-but-demolished for years, there was no way we could have been there. Furthermore when we mentioned we were following after C.K., he told us the guy was found murmuring a whole bunch of gibberish and had been sent to the medical clinic. This was rather headache-inducing news… but we nonetheless excused ourselves and tried our best to go through what remained of the school day as if nothing had happened. It was difficult, I can definitely attest to that, and football practice for me wasn’t much better, I definitely had an off-day, and the coach let me know it in his usual vocal way… but that wasn’t really on my mind when I regrouped with Jamie and Cody afterwards. Jamie seemed more than willing to just forget it happened and try to go right back to business as usual, whereas Cody was on the other side of the fence. He wanted to go back, become that heroic, powerful being in that other world, not who he was here… and I couldn’t say I blamed his thought process, but at the same time Jamie was making a lot more sense. I mean, the consequences of dicking around with that sort of inexplicable power could be pretty damn bad, even with the sense of empowerment, it may’ve not been worth it. Cody was trying to be persistent nonetheless, but Jamie wouldn’t hear any more of it, not tonight at least, as she had a deal she had to make over at the State university nearby. Not wanting to be left to hear the rest of Cody’s pleas, I went along with her, figuring I could probably get my name out there with some of the frats before I eventually enrolled in the school myself. I should probably add that, despite our views differing on where to go from there, we all kept a firm grip on the books we’d found in that room, the only signs that we were even in that supposedly destroyed space to begin with.

We figured that messed up trip was the last we’d see of… whatever that experience was. It wasn’t, of course, because if it was I wouldn’t have felt the need to write any of this down, but, for now that’s all I feel I can say about it. The stuff that happened afterward? I dunno, I think I need more time to make sense of it all, but, at least I feel a little more relieved putting my thoughts on that first… situation… in writing. I’ll probably talk about everything else too eventually… I mean, like, if this whole experience doesn’t kill me first. I hope it doesn’t but for the first time in my life I can’t say I feel safely assured I’ll make it out of this whole thing in one piece.
  1. Psycho Monkey
    Psycho Monkey
    Sounds like an intriguing campaign you guys are running. It's definitely a different type of plot so I look forward to seeing the rest of your adventure's chronicles.
    Nov 24, 2016
    Mr.RMA likes this.