Shade: Ticket Scene

A slightly interactive excerpt

>read list

You step out of the bathroom nook, and sit down at the desk.

The task list for your impending journey is a mess of crossed-out items and scribbled corrections. There, near the bottom; "Buy plane tickets", and a checkmark. So where did you leave them? The desk? Your coat pocket? Could they have gotten packed accidentally?

This excerpt begins early in the story. You have gotten a drink of water, which prompts a reminder to find your plane tickets.
Search closet first
Search desk first
Search luggage first

>x closet

You stand up.

The closet (if you can call it that) is a shallow recess next to the bathroom. Peering into the (ahem) depths, you see an old jacket and a vacuum cleaner.

>x jacket

Your jacket hangs in the closet. This is, of course, your old jacket -- vaguely waterproof but definitely ratty -- suitable only for errands around the city. Your new jacket, windproof weatherproof sandproof Xoron(tm), suitable for desert hiking, is neatly packed away in your luggage.

(Not that luggage is the important part. It is, of course, the Death Valley Om -- half arts festival, half cult, a week in the deep desert where people show off, have sex, take drugs, and maintain a twenty-four-hour constant OM. Sand, heat, and thousands of throats. A space outside the world; with no dues except that you join in the chant, as much as is in you to chant.)

Now, you were wearing this jacket when you picked up the plane tickets...

>search jacket

You root through the jacket's myriad pockets. Nope. The tickets aren't there.

Search desk next
Search luggage next

>x desk

The desk is, of course, an organized mess; overlapping piles of paper, inches high. The computer is a dusty beige block, several generations out of date, poking up hopefully from among the strata. The lamp hangs over all.

A game-over message is flashing on the screen.

You see your to-do list and a travel book on the desk.

>search papers

You sit down at the desk.

You carefully tilt up piles of paper, trying to avoid an avalanche. Nope. The tickets aren't there.

>x luggage

You've packed and repacked: breakdown tent, dried food, sunscreen, compass, mylar space-blanket, long underwear and showoff tats, walking shoes and dancing shoes and hiking shoes. You're ready for the Death Valley Om.

(As ready as you're likely to get. Nothing is off-limits at the Om. "Law ends at sea level." In one place in the country, for one week, a community is formed from pure will. No enforcement; only desire, and the knowledge of what the desert can do. And the Om. Every religion chants, you remember reading that.)

Oh dear. You didn't pack the tickets in with your luggage, did you?

The luggage is the last location.

>search luggage

You stand up.

You quickly pop open each suitcase and riffle through, trying not to disarrange your tidy packing too badly. Nope. The tickets aren't -- Aha. They are, after all. The tickets slide to the floor and lie there, smirking at you.

>get tickets

Taken. Something scrapes underfoot as you bend to pick the tickets up.

And the story advances.