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You take a moment to consider the pulsing heart in your hands. Objectively, it’s terrifying. You can recognize that fact. For some reason, the still-beating heart of some inhuman creature is clutched between your palms, pumping air through it, hot and slick and tantalizing. This should be terrifying to anyone. Subjectively, even as you’re amazed at yourself for your lack of reaction, you find it more of a tempting curiosity. It’s a mystery in your grasp, to destroy or protect, to abandon, to hold, to take into yourself… the possibilities are endless.
You wonder why these feel like possibilities at all.
You make a mental list of what should not be possibilities: dropping it, licking it, eating it, leaving it behind. It’s in your hands for a reason, and for now, you’ll keep it there. It seems important. You should keep it safe.
You do wish you knew how it got into your hands, and who—or what—it could have come from. You cast your thoughts about but can’t find any answers.
You decide to try to think about yourself instead. You don’t remember who you are, or how you got here, or why there is a heart in your hands. So all you can start with are the basic details.
You look down at yourself. You see that you are wearing jeans and a washed-out blue hoodie. It feels and looks like there might be something in your pocket, but you can’t check while holding the heart. There appears to be a flashlight clipped to a belt loop. You are wearing black sneakers. Your hair is too short to make out its color, but the bit of hair you can see where one sleeve has rolled up a little is pale. You clear your throat and say, “Hello?” tentatively. Your voice is low and a bit scratchy, and you find you don’t like it very much.
You also wish you hadn’t said anything; although the environment does not change, your voice feels sucked out of you, like it was stolen from your mouth.
You don’t know who you are from the pieces you’ve put together, and you don’t know what you’re doing here. You think briefly that it could be some sort of test, or trap, but you don’t know what you are getting tested on, or what might trap you.
You switch to considering the environment again instead.
You decide that there is something very wrong with this place. The directions you can go are all around you, but you also acknowledge that there is a sense of up (the sky), down (the ?ice?), and through. You don’t know where through leads, or how to get there, but you sense it here. You’re sure you can figure it out if it’s necessary.
You start walking. You’re heading toward a point where the trees look thinner—and it is almost a point, as if the lake is a oval that narrows dramatically at either end. It looks like it will only be about a twenty minute walk. After five, you are off the black circle and you are faintly relieved it doesn’t follow you.
You feel fairly secure walking so far. The ice isn’t as slippery as you expect ice to be. You consider crawling if you have to, or if it gets worse, but you would prefer not to, as you don’t know what you would do with the heart in your hands if you had to. Could you hold it safely between your elbows…?
You have walked a bit closer and you realize there is a short cliff rimming the frozen lake, and the trees form a single line on the rim, as if planted only on the very edge rather than growing there naturally. The trees remind you a little of palm trees, though they seem to lack leaves, only trunks.
You consider the fact that you might be walking on the surface of a giant eye, and somehow, that is more horrifying than the fact that you are holding a beating heart. You walk more quickly, though still carefully. There is a story, you think, that this reminds you of. But for the life of you, you can’t remember the story.
You draw close to the edge finally, though you’re still a minute or two away. The short cliff isn’t too high from what you can see—more to the point, it has much more of a slope than it had looked to have from far away. You also see a low cave in the ‘corner’ of the cliff. The ice is softer here. The stars seem closer. The heart seems strangely delicious. Your footing seems poor. ??Through?? is here also. These are all directions.
You realize the black circle is back under you again.
The cliffs begin to move, sliding towards you across the ice. Where will you go? What direction will you flee? Will you flee? Decide.
[Please offer actions, thoughts, or concerns for ??you???? in the Comments.]
[Instructions | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 | Day 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Day 25 | Conclusion | Author’s Notes]