Sand-dancer — 30 of 48

Aaron Reed and Alexei Othenin-Girard

Release 7

Chapter - The Open Desert

The Open Desert is a room. The Open Desert is west of Base of the Tower, north of Base of the Tower, east of Base of the Tower, west of Crumbling Concrete, west of Middle of Nowhere, east of Middle of Nowhere, west of Backtracking, south of Backtracking, east of Backtracking, north of Weed-strewn Rust, east of Weed-strewn Rust, and south of Weed-strewn Rust.

Before going from Around the Tower to Open Desert:

if flashlight is not held, instead say "Better not. [if headlights are switched on]Outside the wavering glow of your headlights, i[otherwise]I[end if]t's black. Pitch. Storm must have rolled in; there's no stars above, no anything but blackness around. Only the smell of the desert tells you it's still out there.";

if flashlight is not switched on, try switching on the flashlight;

if emergency lights are switched off or voice has not been visible or insufficient memories found, instead say "You heft your flashlight nervously, licking your lips, but decide not to head out into the desert just yet. There might be more around here you should investigate before taking such a drastic step.";

if Rainstorm is happening, instead say "In a storm like this? No way.";

if Coyote's Offer has ended, instead say "You have some feeling that when the last spirit animal decides to make an appearance, it will find you.";

if Pursuit is not happening and Temptation is not happening, instead say "On a night as freakishly dark as this, that's insane."

Definition: A direction is cardinal if it is not up and it is not down and it is not outside and it is not inside.

Before going to The Open Desert when The Open Desert is unvisited:

repeat with heading running through cardinal directions:

change the heading exit of The Open Desert to The Open Desert.

Report going to The Open Desert when The Open Desert is unvisited: say "You walk for a long time, thoughts turning over like the sand under your sneakers. You think about [a random thing in emotional baggage]. You think about Ocean and how pissed she's gonna be that you're not home. Like you tell her not to wait up for you but she always does anyway.

Some wind kicks up and chucks sand in your face. You blink it out and kinda realize while you're doing it that you haven't really been paying attention to where you've been going. Another gust whines through the sagebrush and you realize with a kind of heavy feeling that with all the dust this wind is kicking up you can't see a damn thing. You can't see your pickup, you can't see the electrical tower. Not even your damn footprints. You're lost. Well, shit."

The description of Open Desert is "[one of]Clouds of dust swirl through the air[or]The dust storm rages around you[or]Your tracks are swallowed up in moments by the billowing sand[or]The desert stretches around you in all directions[in random order], and [one of]you shiver in the chill night air[or]you plod wearily through the sand[or]you wish you could see more than twenty feet in front of you[or]god damn it's dark[or]every inch of sand looks just like every other[in random order]."

Desert flotsam is a kind of thing. A looming cactus is desert flotsam. A dull grey boulder is desert flotsam. A dead cow is desert flotsam. A low bluff is desert flotsam. A clutch of weeds is desert flotsam. Some dry bones are desert flotsam. Some clumps of sagebrush are desert flotsam. A dry streambed is desert flotsam. A stand of cactus is desert flotsam.

[Exercise 7.7]A scattered patch of dying sagebrush is desert flotsam. A dead pine tree is desert flotsam. A weatherbeaten outcropping is desert flotsam. A lizard skin is desert flotsam. Instead of doing anything to desert flotsam: say "It's not important, man."

The initial appearance of desert flotsam is usually "[one of]All you can make out in the darkness [is-are a list of visible desert flotsam][or]You can sort of see [a list of visible desert flotsam][or]Nearby: [list of visible desert flotsam]. Nothing to write home about[or]Half-lost in shadows, you see [a list of visible desert flotsam] and that's about it[in random order]."

Before going to Open Desert:

repeat with item running through visible desert flotsam:

now item is off-stage;

let decorations be the list of desert flotsam;

sort decorations in random order;

let density be a random number from 0 to 2;

truncate decorations to the first density entries;

repeat with item running through decorations:

now item is in The Open Desert.

Instead of dropping something when location is The Open Desert: say "Sounds like a good way to lose something forever."