Free Interactive Fiction Gamebook by Mystery and Thriller Author Shawn Jolley

Find Your Way Out: An Interactive Thriller

IMPORTANT

This is a free-to-read, gamebook-style thriller where you decide what happens. To avoid spoilers, don't scroll too far and use the buttons to navigate (scrolling will happen automatically).

You Wake Up in an Empty Basement

You wake up disoriented in an empty basement. Glancing around, you notice you're alone. There is no furniture. Grayish light comes in through a high, small window on the far wall. The cement floor has been chilling you for an indeterminate amount of time. You shiver and try to remember how you got here. You don't feel particularly weak, so you stand up. There's a door behind you.

What do you do next?

You Inspect the Window

You walk through the still, damp air and look up at the window. It's dirty. The grime is difficult to see through, but you're pretty sure you see a green bush growing to the side of the window. You reach up, stand on your tiptoes, and grip the thin ledge. You were never good at pull-ups, but you've got to see more. Your arms burn as you get eye level. A crouched man stares back at you.

What do you do next?

You Inspect the Door

You walk to the door and try the tiny brass knob, which turns with ease, so you make your way up the stairs. With each step, you try to remember what happened before you woke, but nothing's coming to mind. You do know this isn't your house. At the top, a second door blocks you. This time, the knob doesn't turn. You jiggle the handle in vain. A voice asks, "What's the password?"

What do you do next?

You Run for the Door

Startled, you scream, drop to the floor, and bolt for the door, praying it's unlocked. The tiny brass knob turns with ease, surprising you, but you don't have time to think. You take the stairs two at a time, not bothering to look where you're going. At the top, a second door blocks you. This time, the knob doesn't turn. You jiggle the handle in vain. A voice asks, "What's the password?"

What do you do next?

You Say, "Hello…"

Startled but determined to get help, you say, "Hello, do you live here?" The man nods but then walks away before you can say another word. Unable to hold yourself up any longer, you fall to the floor and shake your arms a bit. Why am I in a stranger's basement, you wonder, trying to stay calm. You stretch your back and notice the pipes above you. Would vandalism get attention?

What do you do next?

You Make Up a Password

You have to think on your feet, so you say the first thing that comes to mind: "Open." Speaking takes a surprising amount of effort. A lock clicks and the door opens wide enough for you to see a man with a familiar-looking face smiling at you. "Wrong," he says. He tries to close the door, but you place your foot in the way. His smile fades. "Move your foot," he says. You consider it.

What do you do next?

You Demand an Explanation

Password? There's no way you're going to be able to guess that. "What's going on?" you ask. Speaking takes a surprising amount of effort. A lock clicks and the door opens wide enough for you to see a man with a familiar-looking face smiling at you. "Nothing," he says. He tries to close the door, but you place your foot in the way. His smile fades. "Move your foot," he says.

What do you do next?

You Move Your Foot

The man is bigger than you—too strong for you to fight—so you slide your foot out of the way. A lock clicks after the door shuts, and you hear fading footsteps. Just to be sure, you try turning the knob, but it doesn't budge. You sit on the top step, rest your head in your hands, and think about what to do. A memory surfaces all at once. The man. You know him. He's your neighbor.

What do you do next?

You Push the Door

Even though the man is bigger than you, there's only one way to get out of the basement and you're going to take it. You shove the door as hard as you can and the man staggers but remains in the way. "Get back down there," he barks, kicking your foot and slamming the door. You hear the lock click. A memory surfaces all at once. The man. You know him. He's your neighbor.

What do you do next?

You Search the Basement

Even though the basement appeared empty, you decide you'd better search it, just to be sure. You walk to the center where you woke up and slowly spin in a circle, taking everything in. It's unfinished and smells damp. A rusted spot on a pipe looks fragile. You walk along the walls, unsure of what you're looking for. Then, you spot a small pile of dirt in the darkest corner.

What do you do next?

You Try to Pick the Lock

There's no way you're giving up. If this is the way out, you're going to be resourceful and keep trying. Looking around, you notice a thin finishing nail at the base of the unfinished wall. Ironic. You pick it up. Time to see if you're any good at picking locks. The nail goes in partway before you wiggle it. It gets stuck, but there's a click. Is that good? No. It broke. Now, you have nothing.

What do you do next?

You Examine the Dirt

Bending over, you see there's more dirt than you originally thought. You start brushing away layer after layer, trying to see if there's anything under the dirt. It doesn't take long for you to touch on something hard and knobby. Your heart beats quicker when you realize it's a skeletal hand. A shimmer catches your eye despite your fear, and you reach forward. You pick up a key.

What do you do next?

You Break a Rusty Pipe

A flood in the basement seems like a good idea, so you go and grab the low-hanging pipe where it's rusted. A few violent shakes later, a thunderous snap is followed by a burst of water. Surely, someone will hear the torrent and come to take care of it. Then, you'll be able to get help. Of course, if that doesn't happen, you may be stuck in a flooded basement. Is there any way out?

What do you do next?

You Try the Key

This key's got to fit somewhere, and you hope it's your escape. Wiping away sweat, you quietly make your way up the stairs, trying not to think about whose hand that was. Back at the top, you see a keyhole. Could it be? With a shaking hand, you insert the key in the knob, stop, and press your ear against the door. A clock ticks. Something hums. No footsteps. No neighbor. You hope.

What do you do next?

You Wait for Night

Patience is key, you think. You head to the lower door and turn the tiny brass knob with ease. Silently, you creep up each step and look for a potential hiding place near the top door. There's a small space in the unfinished wall where you tuck yourself. Reaching over, you try the handle, just to be sure. Surprisingly, it turns and the door opens. You better go before he hears the water.

What do you do next?

You Unlock the Door

Sitting around and waiting to see what happens won't work. You slowly turn the key to the right and wince as the lock makes a deafening click. The knob turns smoothly and you push the door open. There's an uninteresting hallway with a wall clock. You hear a car drive by, leading you to believe the front of the house is to your left. All houses have a front door. Surely, that's the exit.

What do you do next?

You Force the Door

Sitting around and waiting to see what happens won't work. You decide to force the top door. The knob is tiny and old. You brace yourself, put your foot on the knob, and push. The door opens. There's an uninteresting hallway with a wall clock. You hear a car drive by, leading you to believe the front of the house is to your left. All houses have a front door. Surely, that's the exit.

What do you do next?

You Remove the Key

After a moment of apprehension, you slide the key back out and look at it, thinking about what the best course of action is to take. Is there any benefit to waiting? You press your ear to the door and listen again. You're sure he's not there. You've got no one else. You've got to do this. So, you place the key back in and slowly turn the knob. The door opens bit by bit. You see a hallway.

What do you do next?

You Go to the Left

Stealth is the name of the game, so you creep into the hallway, keeping a low profile and a hyper-alert mind. You tiptoe to your left, ready to bolt at a moment's notice. A thump from nearby paralyzes you. A moment later, you hear a soda or beer can open. Someone must be at the fridge. You notice a tiled room off the hallway. You'll have to pass the kitchen to leave.

What do you do next?

You Go to the Right

Stealth is the name of the game, so you creep into the hallway, keeping a low profile and a hyper-alert mind. You tiptoe to your right, ready to bolt at a moment's notice. A thump from behind paralyzes you. A moment later, you hear a soda or beer can open. Someone must be at the fridge. You keep moving. Unfortunately, the hall loops back to the kitchen. You see tiled floor.

What do you do next?

You Bolt for the Exit

Every second you spend in your neighbor's house is one second too many. You realize you need to do whatever it takes to get out now. A shadow appears in the hallway. He's coming this way. You bolt down the hallway and crash into the wall past the kitchen, turning to see the front door. "Stop!" you hear, but you're already across the living room. The door's unlocked but won't open.

What do you do next?

You Sneak to the Back

This is a house, isn't it? There must be a way out the back, even if the hallway layout makes getting there confusing. You head away from the kitchen area, looking for a window or door, but there's just more wall. You get turned around. Just as you're giving up hope, you hear, "Stop!" from behind. You bolt away, turning to see the front door. It's unlocked but won't open.

What do you do next?

You Turn and Fight

There's no time to mess with the door, so you turn back toward your neighbor. You realize you never learned his name. You know next to nothing about him. He's just the man who's lived on your street forever. "You can't leave," he says. A crumpled can falls from his hand. Sparkling water. How normal. As you lunge forward, there's a knock at the door. Your neighbor grabs you.

What do you do next?

You Try the Door Again

He'll overpower you if you give him the chance, so you keep struggling with the door. The locks aren't engaged. It just won't open. You hear him creeping up behind you. A sob lodges in your throat and you silently plead with the world for this to only be a dream. "I told you. You can't leave," he says, breathing heavily. A knock at the door startles you. Your neighbor grabs you.

What do you do next?

You Scream for Help

Even though your neighbor's grabbed you, he's done a terrible job covering your mouth. You scream, "Help!" He tries to pull you back into the hallway. "Help!" you blurt. Your throat burns with effort. The front door opens as you're pulled out of the living room. A knife glints and you feel the blade reach your throat. There's a deafening sound—a gunshot—and his grip loosens.

You've made it to the end.

You Bite His Hand

The first thing your neighbor does is cover your mouth so you can't scream. It smells vile. You bite his hand as he tries to pull you back into the hallway. "Help!" you blurt. Your throat burns with effort. The front door opens as you're pulled out of the living room. A knife glints and you feel the blade reach your throat. There's a deafening sound—a gunshot—and his grip loosens.

You've made it to the end.

You Escape!

He's dead. A police officer tries to console you before the paramedics load you into the back of an ambulance. It's precautionary, they assure you. You're just glad to be free. As you look at the medical instruments and feel the ambulance speed up, you remember yesterday morning's jog. The sharp pain on the back of your head. Your neighbor's terrifying voice. You'll be alright. Now.

Congratulations!

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