Alfredo, my cat, curled up with me on the couch as I settled in for the night.
After perusing my book shelf for a few minutes, I found a book I didn’t remember purchasing, but immediately transported me back to my childhood: a choose your own adventure novel.
I had been obsessed as a kid, and hadn’t read one in a great while. It was a fantastic option to wind down after a stressful day.
I put my glass of wine on the coffee table and started into the book. It was worn, and I must have forgotten getting it from a used book shop or something.
I frequented one on Brent Street far too often, and figured that was the one, but I couldn’t find a price tag or any identifying marks.
The book started out pretty normal. I was a toiling office worker coming home from a day at work. The first choice was mundane. I had to choose what to eat for dinner.
I chose chicken alfredo, one of my favorite dishes. This led my character to the store, as I didn’t have one of the key ingredients.
The choices got increasingly less boring, and the prose in the book was enough to keep my interest.
It was very light reading, so it was nice to just relax with the book, reminiscing on my childhood days of being a bookworm.
After about half an hour of reading, the book presented me with a choice after it said there was a rustling noise in my back room.
I could turn to page 68 to go check it out, or turn to page 93 to leave it alone.
As I imagined myself as the main character, I had figured my cat would be the one making the rustling noise, so I left it alone. I turned to page 93.
I started reading, and the story took a horribly dark turn. The tone went from light and fun to horrible and gruesome.
It went into incredibly graphic detail about a creature emerging from the back room and slowly ripping me apart, piece by piece.
It intensely and vividly described the creature tearing out my entrails and eviscerating me, spreading my innards throughout the apartment.
This was obviously an end point. I flipped the page back (as every child does) to turn to page 68 instead. When I flipped to page 68, the only words on the page were “No cheating.”
Startled, I threw the book on the ground. It was old and worn, so it easily stayed open. I glanced down to see the book was opened to page 93.
When I looked up, I saw a pair of dark, sunken eyes peeking out from the corner of the wall in kitchen, staring at me.