Greetings, friends! This week I have something special to share! I present to you…Blog Swap! It’s where two writerly bloggers exchange stories using prompts given to them. In case that doesn’t make sense, here are the basic rules:
- Each participant will receive three specifications at the beginning of Blog Swap supplied by a third party. These will be 1) a character, 2) a setting, and 3) some object or phrase that must be included in the story. Each participant will write part of a story using these specifications, leaving the segment on a cliffhanger.
- Blog Swap will continue in two weeks, when the participants will swap stories and continue what the other has written with three more third-party specifications; 1) a Bad Thing that happens, 2) an object or phrase, and 3) an additional character to be added. They will continue the story and end on another cliffhanger.
- In two more weeks Blog Swap will conclude with participants swapping back to their original stories and finishing them with three final specifications; 1) a Good Thing that happens, 2) a phrase or object, and 3) a scenario based on a song chosen by the third party.
- Each participant will post their full story on their own blog at the conclusion.
I will be doing a Blog Swap with The Everhart Author. Ashley is an amazing writer and was basically the inventor of this whole concept, so you should definitely go check out her blog, especially since the story I write here will be continued over there in two weeks.
The specifications I received for this story were:
- Character: a guy named Gavin
- Setting: a mountain
- Phrase: “You have a sweet voice, but you bring death with you.”
I also drew inspiration from another suggestion, which was to have a character who is a white bunny rabbit. And I also may have been inspired by the “Scroll of Truth” meme which I have always thought was hilarious. This story was so fun to write, and I can’t wait to see what story Ashley has created.
Without further ado, let us begin!
Gavin craned his neck to fully appreciate the grandeur of the sheer rock face he would soon be climbing. Upon deciphering the latest highly enigmatic clue, he had determined that the treasure lay somewhere in a cave within this mountain. It, of course, had to be the tallest, snowiest, most precipitous mountain in the entire region.
“All part of the master plan,” he drawled in a voice so convincing, he actually believed it. He stuffed his adventurer’s hat more firmly over his hair, which was an odd shade of blond that nobody really knew what to call.
Readjusting the strap of his satchel, he began the precarious ascent. Minutes later, he heaved himself over a ledge and stared up at the powdery blue sky, breathing heavily. Who in their right mind would stash a treasure up here, where oxygen was basically nonexistent?
With a muffled groan, he rolled over and stood to shake out his heavy limbs. A jagged crevice slashed through the side of the mountain at a treacherous angle. The midday sun’s glaring shafts barely pierced the gloom hovering just within the cave entrance.
Taking another deep breath, Gavin climbed into the rock fissure and inched his way along, disturbing the delicate balance of several rock shards. They rattled down the steeper part of the crevice, the echo of their fall continuing for several tense seconds. Slipping here would be suboptimal. The passageway grew much more claustrophobic, and Gavin began to sweat. Imagine if, in twenty years, someone found his skeleton wedged between two immovable rock walls. He barely suppressed a shudder.
It’ll be worth it this time, he promised himself. Last month’s adventures had not paid off. They weren’t even worth the thrill he always got with a near-death experience. But this treasure wasn’t your typical artifact. This was the Scroll of Truth. The one the people of Utopolis had been after since the city’s founding.
And I’m gonna find it. Once I get to the end of this rabbit hole, that is. How much farther could it possibly go?
At that moment, a glimmer of light appeared where moments before had been nothing. Gradually, the crevice widened and became more level, allowing Gavin to breathe a little easier. The mysterious light emanated from the pale green crystals that grew along the walls. This looked right. It matched with the clue, at least.
Gavin cautiously advanced into the new tunnel, eyes darting back and forth as he kept watch for traps. There were always traps in places like this. At the end of the passageway, an old wooden chest sat unobtrusively against the wall, haloed by the gentle light of the crystals.
This seemed too easy. His gaze drifted to the tunnel, then to the chest. He knelt down, darted a final glance at the tunnel, and opened the lid. Nothing happened. The floor didn’t drop out from under him. The ceiling didn’t collapse. So far, so good. The chest was mostly empty, except for the rather important-looking scroll in the very bottom. Maybe if he picked it up, the bad things would happen.
He picked it up. Another glance over his shoulder. Again, nothing. He carefully unrolled it. The old parchment crinkled under his fingertips. Gold lettering shone in the faint light, spelling out a few short words:
You are not who you try to be.
He made a little noise of confusion and scratched his head. That couldn’t be all. He unrolled it further, hoping to find a postscript or something. Nothing. The truth part of this Scroll of Truth was probably hidden by invisible ink — if indeed it existed. He stuffed the scroll in his bag and stood up, almost jumping out of his skin when a footstep sounded behind him.
A shadowy figure slowly came into view. Gavin squinted. He would recognize that petite, high ponytail-wearing, purple backpack-carrying silhouette anywhere. “Candy?!”
“That’s Candace the Adventurer to you, bucko! Did ya miss me?” Candy blew a strand of toffee-colored hair out of her eyes and smiled radiantly.
“Well, this is awkward. I actually came here to get away from you.”
She winced, her face falling. “Golly, that’s a bit harsh. I didn’t think I was that annoying.”
Gavin sighed. “You have a sweet voice, but you bring death with you. That’s why I never take you along on adventures.”
Candy rubbed her arm. “I’m not that accident prone. C’mon, just give me another chance. I won’t almost get you killed this time, I promise. What are you doing here, anyway?”
“Nothing much. Isn’t this a prime vacation spot?” He inhaled deeply and blinked rapidly as his eyes watered. “Smell that sweet mountain air. Just lovely. I’ve needed a place away from all the hustle and bustle of the city.”
“You mean away from predictable old Utopolis. There’s not much scope for adventure there. An adventure isn’t an adventure if it’s predictable, as they say.”
“As who says?”
“Me, mostly.” Candy put a hand on her hip and tilted her head sideways. “For real, G, what are you doing here?”
“Looking for the Scroll of Truth and getting pranked, apparently.” He tugged the scroll out of his bag and tossed it to her. “Take a look. It has to be a joke.”
She unrolled the parchment. “’You are not who you try to be, either.’”
“See, it’s…” Gavin stopped. “Wait. Either?”
“Yeah, either. What did it say for you?”
“The same thing, but without the either. It must have changed. Let me see.” He snatched the parchment away.
Candy huffed. “Rude. Did you lose your manners somewhere on the mountainside?”
“No.” He didn’t look up. The scroll still said the same thing for him. Maybe Candy was seeing things. “How’d you even get that backpack up here?”
“I have my ways. I’m an adventurer, after all! Been through much tighter situations than that one back there.”
Gavin wanted to roll his eyes but didn’t.
“This place is cool. I wonder what kind of crystals these—AGH!”
He still didn’t turn around. “What, did they zap you or something? I wouldn’t be surprised if they were magic.” Candy was silent. Gavin squinted at the parchment. The scroll did have a postscript of some kind. He must’ve missed it earlier. He held the parchment a few inches from his face. “ ‘Here’s something a little more accurate.’ Huh. I wonder what that means?”
The ground trembled. Gavin stared as his feet. His vision dimmed, then blacked out. When he opened his eyes next, he lay on the ground with a bump on his head and the contents of his bag strewn everywhere.
Oh, golly, now he’s never going to take me on adventures. Candy’s voice, but weirder. Like she was talking into a water bottle. The moment I enter the picture, everything goes wrong. Why can’t I be a cool and epic adventurer like Gavin?
Gavin’s nose wrinkled. I’m cool and epic?
WAIT, YOU CAN HEAR ME?!
He slowly got to his hands and knees, but everything felt weird. He tried to open his mouth to talk, but nothing came out. He touched his mouth and blinked. Did I suddenly grow a very weird, very fuzzy beard across my whole face? And what’s with my hands?
I’m what? WHY DO I FEEL WEIRD?
Gavin turned around. Sitting on top of Candy’s oversized purple backpack was a little calico cat with blue eyes and a pale pink nose. YOU BROUGHT A CAT?
No, you doofus. I am the cat.
If you’re a cat, then what am I?! He looked down at his hands, which were small and furry.
From the looks of things… Candy turned away for a moment, and a soft purr vibrated through the floor. Or maybe that was the earth shaking again.
Are you laughing at me? What am I?!
You’re a little white bunny rabbit, G.
Gavin’s mouth dropped open. You’ve got to be joking. I can’t be a rabbit!
Well, I don’t particularly like being a cat, either.
At least you have claws! I’m a helpless RABBIT! Why couldn’t it have been something a little more intimidating?
Candy licked her paw, then gagged and put it back down. Don’t you remember what the scroll said? ‘You are not who you try to be.’ Maybe it’s magic and it made us into more accurate representations of our…uh…personalities?
That makes sense. The message I saw just before blacking out was ‘Here’s something a little more accurate.’ But a rabbit?!
Yeah, I thought you were cooler than that.
As I overheard.
Candy’s ears flattened against her head. Let’s forget that happened.
I guess I’m not all that epic and cool after all. Suddenly Gavin felt very embarrassed. I tried too hard to make people like me, and—
I can hear you, Gavin.
Drat. Forgot about that.
We’re in the same boat, if it’s any comfort.
Gavin staggered backward as a crystal fell off the ceiling and shattered in front of him. I think this place is collapsing! We’ve got to get out!
But what about my backpack?
Forget the backpack! Gavin sprang away. At least rabbits were speedy. Candy raced through the tunnel behind him. Both narrowly dodged the falling crystals which tried their very best to impale the rabbit and cat as they ran. Gavin tripped on a loose shard and tumbled into the wall.
GET UP, GAVIN! Candy screamed.
Gavin struggled up to his feet. Oh no. I FORGOT THE SCROLL. IT MIGHT BE ABLE TO TURN US BACK.
THEN GO GET IT!
I really don’t want to but—ARGH, FINE! He raced back in the direction of the chest room.
Ow. That shout hurt my brain.
Now chunks of rock were raining down as cracks spiderwebbed along the tunnel walls. Gavin snatched up the Scroll of Truth in his mouth and sprang away. Please, please, please, please… The passageway narrowed and tilted sideways. Almost out. The crawlspace was tight while I was still human, but now it’s easy-peasy.
At that moment, the walls above and below Gavin started shifting. IT’S TRYING TO SANDWICH US!
That is an excellent analogy for this situation. Oops, that comment was just my mind processing things. I mean—CRAWL FOR YOUR LIFE, GAVIN! IT’S GETTING TIGHT UP HERE!
The walls closed in further. Gavin could barely move without jagged rock scraping his back. His breaths came shallowly. Everything was dark, tight, scary.
I have to get out. I have to GET OUT!
Ta-da! A cliffhanger, as per the rules of Blog Swap! If you want to see how Candy and Gavin get out of that perilous situation, head on over to The Everhart Author! In two weeks, I’ll be continuing the story she began there.
I hope you’re as excited as I am! If you want to get notified whenever I publish new content, please consider subscribing to my blog with the handy little widget you can find on my Home and About pages.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a wonderful week!