"WISDOM & FOLLY"
©2000 By Daniel Cobb
Don't read this tale straight through from start to finish. This is a multiple-choice adventure where you're the star of the story. Consider what you want the main character to do next then visit the various number sections. After you pick a certain choice, simply follow the instructions to see what will happen next.
As you read along, you'll be able to make many attempts to get to your goal. Your decisions will determine whether or not you succeed in your mission. Realize you are responsible and only you can find out your fate. Pay close attention to important illustrations and maps, because often they reveal hidden hints.
The endings are endless, but only one is the best or worst. If you come to a good ending before a bad one first, you win, but don't skip ahead or peek at pages. If you'd like to try again, just go back to your last known position (keep re-reading). If you get lost, you can always refer to the full outline listed in alpha-numerical order.
The path you take depends on the decisions you make. It's up to you! Are you ready now? Good luck! Be careful! Let's begin!
#1 I woke up with a start at midnight. I couldn't remember where I was. Don't ask how I got there, but I found myself lying in a wide, dusty road. It was dark out; I could barely make out the moon and stars in clouds drifting slowly past. At first, I thought I was blind, but then I saw tall trees and gray boulders to each side of the road. Mountains rose off in the distance and cast shadows on the valley - monumental peaks illuminated by silver rays of light. I stood at a climactic crossroad in life. Whole herds of people were walking past me. They kept coming, but shifted silently, like zombies. I couldn't make up my mind if it was real or just a dream.
Do you want to see where they go (9), or stay where you are and fall asleep (10)?
#2 "No thanks! I'll pass." I held up a hand confidently.
"Fine - you can keep him. I never wanted him anyway." Folly frowned.
I looked back longingly. The others seemed to be leading happy and successful lives. At first, I trusted in an outer appearance, but then I learned to perceive past that. The more I thought about it, I viewed how their pleasure was only temporary. Several signs said something about a fashion frenzy or a clothing crisis.
Perhaps Wisdom tricked me.
Wisdom took my arm, beckoning me to follow. I journeyed with her straight up the mountain. Our footsteps echoed across the landscape as we passed trees, rocks, and trickling streams. When we finally reached the top, we stopped and rested for a little while on a boulder under a tree. I was out of breath, since the air was so thin and cold here. Wind swept slowly past, flowing softly through branches that began swaying back and forth. We came to a sharp and rocky cliff - barely glimpsing the ground. Observing our terrain for miles from this unusual vantage point, I spotted a group of solicitors sneak up on us. To my utter shock, Wisdom took me by the arm and led me to the edge. I stepped back, refusing to go any farther. The girl shook her head sadly. Maybe she really knew what she was doing, but something about her frightened me.
Do you want to walk off the cliff (6), stay here (7), or head back down (8)?
#3 "I'm Folly!" The other girl ran forward to embrace me.
"What's up with her?" I scratched my head.
"Oh, she's just jealous. Don't pay any attention to her."
"Where does that path lead to?" I asked.
"Trust me. You don't wanna know." Folly rolled her eyes. "Come on, let's go!"
"Uh, sure…" I shrugged, but then looked back.
I decided to enter the amusement park; everything was free, including admission. At first, it was all fun and games, but Folly's gorgeous charm was only skin-deep. After she used me, she'd move on to someone else. I went off on my own and walked around, talking to people, looking at colorful lights, listening to music, and eating snacks. I got sick to my stomach on a roller-coaster ride, so I hesitantly entered the House of Mirrors. Wandering through a maze of confusion, I found myself lost for hours.
Is this a joke? I don't like this at all!
Hearing voices up ahead, I reached a small round table, with several thugs sitting by it. The only light came from a dim lamp. They chewed meat, drank wine, and spilt juice all over their necks. They laughed and mocked me in loud tones, yelling and shouting at me as if I were their servant. They indulged in a feast after all the ritual ridicule. I stared at them with horror then ran out of the room. This place was more like a Haunted House. The sign didn't say anything about it though.
There's something not quite right about this area.
Tapping his cane, the Ringmaster ranted and raved about all the interesting animals that had become part of the show. Actually, they were humans from many different careers and walks of life – giving in to greed.
I wonder what he's doing here? Who knows?
A knife flew straight into the wall over my head. People in every direction got in fights and yelled at each other. Hatred and violence went far as human eyes could see. Customers grabbed stuffed teddy bears and ripped them to shreds, not willing to let them go or share. Were they drunk or did they have no and self-control? I could probably find a place to hide and stay there until this is all over – common sense of course!
Maybe somebody should talk to management concerning this.
Do you want to stay and hide (4), or look for the exit (5)?
#4 I stayed, hoping it would calm down soon. The voice of vanity had inspired this insanity. Dangerous mobs formed to search constantly for me, so I ran for my life – leaving the bloodhounds behind. I hid in a nearby trashcan, but somebody saw me - hurling insults. I felt fear overpower their minds and taint their thoughts. They lifted the can onto a wooden platform and then kicked it hard down a hill. They left, but I still couldn't tell what was happening. I took a deep breath then crawled outside. Horrible flickering flames engulfed the entire amusement park. I scrambled frantically, trying to find the exit, but the gates were locked shut. I cried out in bitter tears, but nobody was there.
Oh no! Ever get the feeling that you're being watched?
#5 It seemed like I was walking in circles. The way out was very hard to find. The music blared so loud I couldn't hear myself think. I stopped and asked a few people where it was, shouting over the melody, yet they just laughed at me, pointing fingers like I was part of some freak show. After I looked everywhere, I found somebody sane. We searched for shelter, but folks started getting in fights. I stayed away from the rioters at first, but they began throwing small stones, glass bottles, and baseballs at us. We panicked and ran hands-over-head as the angry mobs hounded us wherever we went. They kept chanting the same chorus, like stray sheep led into a waiting wolf's mouth.
"Kill him!" Folly pointed. "No one leaves alive!" she shouted in a villainous voice.
"Follow me!" Wisdom came back to help me when her evil sister betrayed me.
Finally, we found it. Colossal crowds of people poured through the doors, like a full bucket of water about to tip over. I dashed up to the denizens and walked across on top of their heads. They all kept trying to hold me back, grabbing my feet, arms, and legs. My friend, who was looking for the exit, watched me try to leave, but gave up. It seemed hopeless to battle all by myself. I struggled, fighting my way forward until I grabbed the bars of a tall iron gate. Exhausted, I escaped from the awful amusement park.
"Wisdom trained you well." Folly frowned, concealing contempt.
Do you want to go with Wisdom (9.5), or return to where you woke up (10)?
#6 It's a long drop! I lifted my foot and fell forward with my eyes shut tight. Those famous last words of mine weren't very reassuring now. However, I was not dead yet. I slowly looked down. Standing on nothing, I mocked gravity, laughing at the rocks far below.
Wisdom casually walked past me until she'd gone so far I could barely even see her and then quickly vanished. I had never done anything like this before. Quite confused, I had a strange sinking feeling. Would I fall through the air any moment, without warning?
Do you want to continue carefully (11), or get back on solid ground (12)?
#7 "What, are you crazy? You don't talk much, do you?"
I wished she would at least say something, but she just stood there weeping as I peered over the precipice, wondering if I actually had enough courage to go through with it. She tried to speak, but I just couldn't hear her. I shook my head then stomped, but she kept pleading. I crossed my arms and tapped my foot. I glanced up at the stars and sighed. We weren't getting anywhere. Was everyone going crazy tonight or just me? Eventually I would have to make a decision.
Do you want to walk off the edge of the cliff (6), or head back down the pass (8)?
#8 "Forget this!" I started back down the trail.
She tried to stop me, but by then, I was long gone. On the way down, I tripped and fell. I rolled down the steep slope and hit a tree. Then everything went dark.
Whoa, what a headache! I slowly stood up.
As I looked around, trying to remember which way to go next, I noticed movement toward the mountains. I wasn't just hallucinating because of being dizzy. Something strange was happening. It looked like little ants were crawling all over hills. Millions of people amassed in the same area, headed toward a bright light far below in the valley.
Now that's just scary!
Beyond the amusement park, a huge volcano glowed with warmth. People fell into a lava pit! Maybe I should go back to what's her name and follow her off the cliff edge. She seemed like such a nice lady. Nobody appeared to know what they were doing, but if I didn't trust her, how would I ever find out? I could hang around and play it safe. What if she was only luring me into a trap?
Do you want to go down (13), wait and see what happens (14), or turn around (15)?
#9 I got up on my feet and began looking around to see where everyone was going. Bright, colorful, lights flashed. Jazz instruments pulsed and shattered the night silence. They were having a party of some sort - perhaps a band playing. After I'd gone down the winding road for a while, I realized it was a carnival with rides, games, music, and excitement. Along the way, I met a fork in the road. One path led straight up to the top of a rocky mountain, getting narrower and even more difficult farther down the trial. The other road grew flat and much wider, approaching the amusement park. Some folks rode upon wooden wagons pulled by several horses; others abandoned the contents of their personal possessions, useless garbage, and junk as if to reach their destination even faster before the winter came. The leader picked up the pace, lest they should be attacked by hidden enemies ambushing along the way, crouched near the path.
(Continue to 9. 5)
#9.5 A young girl stood off to the side of a narrow road, waving her arms in the air, holding her hands to her mouth like she was yelling or shouting to people who were obviously oblivious. Nobody could hear her because the music was so loud. She seemed to be desperately trying to warn them about something, yet tourists acted as if they didn't even know that she was there. Fascinated with the fun-park, they never noticed her. Then somebody came up and tapped her on the shoulder. For a moment, the people rushing past me got in my way and prevented me from seeing what went on between them, but then the other pointed in my direction, trying to pick me out from the crowd. Then they spotted me. As I stood there, wondering what was happening, they argued with each other, fighting to win my attention. One had on a nametag that said 'Wisdom' and the other 'Folly'.
The first girl held a tiny old sign that said: WITNESS OF THINGS UNSEEN. She beckoned me to come with her up the perilous mountain pass. I got a feeling she was just trying to trick me into following her. It looked dangerous climbing up such a steep mountain late at midnight. Besides, she looked ugly.
People from the crowd motioned with their hands and I could hear them clearly. The second girl winked and curled her finger. She smirked and laughed.
Maybe I should just get out of here. On the other hand, the rides are FREE!
Do you want to follow the girl (2), visit the theme park (3), or turn around (10)?
#10 After a while, the crowd grew congested down the road. They forced me to go with the flow and keep in step. We began walking faster, then running in a mad stampede. I heard shouting, yelling, and terrible screaming on the horizon. They moaned loudly at crushing chaos, refusing to be quiet. The people behind me kept pushing and shoving. Those at the front reached a sharp edge, herding the human race off a convenient cliff. Before anybody could see what was going on, they fell. Nobody seemed to have any abiding awareness of the fate in store for them. I tried to escape, but they trapped me. It was too late to turn back now.
#11 I can do this. There's nothing to it.
I overcame my fear and began walking on thin air. Thousands of travelers had crowded the whole valley. Who would want to visit a circus tent around here? I almost turned back, but then I realized they were all being shoved off of a nearby cliff. I shuddered at the thought of something like that happening. They were having such a wonderful time nobody even noticed.
Now what? I gulped.
The girl stopped and I cautiously confronted her. She held out her hand, as if to stop me from going any farther. I gazed at the great cliff with a lake of lava below. A thin rope stretched from one side to the other. I could either walk around or just go straight across the canyon by riding a rusty old wheelbarrow. I knew there wasn't much time, so I didn't argue. Sharp rocks and bubbling magma burst into fierce flames beneath my feet.
Do you want to walk around the canyon (16), or get in the wheelbarrow (17)?
#12 What was I thinking?
I stood a while, doubting this could possibly be happening. I started shaking, scared to move. I appeared to hang from an invisible web. I slowly stepped back and began to fall, crying out as I plummeted toward the turf. I glided gracefully through the air - until I hit the ground hard. My bones shattered the instant I met the rocks below.
#13 I kept running downhill, being more careful not to stumble. Just before I reached the bottom, I heard a growling noise behind a boulder. A dragon blew fire out of its mouth, hunting me as its possible prey. It raised its head into the moonlit sky with its wings spread, then charged at me. Naturally, my initial instinct was to run away and hide; however, it ripped off my legs. The beast's cruel claws slashed me to pieces as it opened its jagged jaws to swallow me alive.
#14 I sat there and watched the multitudes climb over mountains, down into a valley. Finally, they crammed into the stadium with gates locked shut. A snake sat at the top of the bronze bars, as if chasing its own tail. I turned around and stared at the sky. A falling meteor flared up in the atmosphere, burning brighter. I thought it was almost morning, but saw no sun - though a neon glow lit up the clouds. Trees were on fire! A pit grew wider until whole mountains disappeared, sinking into the sulfur and smoke. I ran away as fast as I could. Exhausted, I briefly rested. The mountain began shaking in a big earthquake that buried me alive.
#15 I took the trail back to the mountaintop. The vast valley pit grew bigger and wider. Soon the hills sank; the whole range was about to fall apart. I ran to the edge and leaped off. I stood in midair. I couldn't see any solid surface near me. As bubbling lava rose, I watched in horror. Below me, a blazing inferno boiled with orange and black liquid-rock. Should I try to find the girl again or get away from the lava while I still could?
Do you want to keep going forward above the lava pit (11), or run away (12)?
#16 Well, so much for that idea… I panted.
I decided to head directly toward the peak on the other side, but it was no ordinary path. One couldn't walk across it and back again. Here, you could only go in one direction. The moment I turned around, I fell to my doom and failed!
#17 I jumped in the wheelbarrow and sat down. At first, it was a nice, soft ride. I was worried because I had no control, but the woman steered it steadily. The rope caught fire. She began running across, yet maintained precise balance and accuracy. My shoulder started itching. A little mosquito landed on my arm and flew off with blood in its engorged belly. Soon, a whole swarm of them settled on my skin to feed on me. I was about to pass out. I'd make both of us fall.
Do you want to shake off the mosquitoes (18), or let them suck you dry (19)?
#18 I shook them off my neck and arms. Then I swatted until they were all dead, relying on her athletics to pull us through. Moments later, the bucket hit a slight bump. The rope began to wobble wildly as the cord started swinging in complete circles. Then we turned upside-down, yet she still kept her amazing balance and calmly looked ahead as if nothing was wrong. Every time the rope reached its highest point, I had to hang on for dear life.
#19 I could barely stand the urge to scratch. Bumps formed all over my neck. Suddenly, the bugs vanished. I looked down at my arm, which healed as we passed through a waterfall. We arrived at a tropical jungle full of exotic plants and animals. Creatures called out to each other from a garden of emerald palm-trees. Blazing sunlight beamed heat from the cloudless sky. Waves crashed onto a rocky shore as silver dolphins dived into crystal blue waters.
Finally, time for rest and relaxation!
I looked up at the mountains and heard lions roar in harmony. Staring into misty rainbows and rainforests, I couldn't help wishing I brought a camera. In fact, when I leaned closer, I saw the trees expand and contract every few seconds. Were they breathing perhaps? I was so eager to explore the island right away.
The girl left, but I felt she wanted me to wait around. She was acting strange, but I regarded her with respect because the more I got to know her, she became more beautiful.
Do you want to go for a swim in the sea (20), or stay on the island (21)?
#20 I dived into the water and searched for the girl. I discovered, much to my surprise, that I could breathe. We saw a few sharks, but they didn't attack us. I followed her down to the ocean floor. Dirt covered a treasure chest by a big pile of pale bones and skulls. The girl turned to me and pointed up. We carried it back to the land then scattered its contents on dry sand. I listened very carefully and looked up at a ray of sunlight break through the clouds. The wind and waves whispered to my heart.
"You can speak!" I blinked twice.
"Of course I can. You refused to hear me all along though." Wisdom wept. "I prayed for protection."
"What do you mean? I was trying to. Why wasn't I able?" I bit my lip.
"You weren't listening with your heart, but only your ears," she said.
"Look, whoever you are. Would you mind telling me what's going on?"
"You have a choice. Either you can take these precious jewels and gold coins, keeping them for yourself, or fling them in the ocean for someone else to find later."
Do you want to keep the treasure (24), or hurl the jewels in the ocean (25)?
#21 I set off at once and explore the exotic island. Monkeys tossed coconuts at the ground as colorful, beautiful birds soared overhead. Lizards caught crawling insects with a long tongue. The gentle ocean breeze swept through palm trees, causing leaves to rustle as trunks swayed back and forth before rain picked up with a tropic thunder. Monkeys jumped across trees, warning of my presence. Frogs crept onto various vines and leaf-cutter ants went up and down foliage endlessly. Snakes slithered down from low ferns as I walked past, flicking tongues to test the atmosphere.
I stumbled across a strange tree that could change colors almost like a chameleon. I reached out to touch it, then jumped back as it lifted its roots, unfolded wings, then flew off into the distance. I slipped, hitting my knee on a rock. As I sat upon the dirt to mend my wound, an insect went past my nose and landed on a nearby branch. A flying spider glided through the air with its web, then caught the flies hovering around its nest, entangling them with a strong static, electric force. Eventually, I came to a mud brown river, which was not only wide and fast, but also deep.
Do you want to swing across the raging river (22), or go around it (23)?
#22 If I fell, I could just swim to shore or let it take me somewhere downstream. Carefully, I climbed up a tree and grabbed a long, thick vine. I cut it with a knife and held on tight. After gathering enough courage, I hurled myself off the branch. Then the strand snapped. I splashed into the surface, landing flat on my back. This hurt a lot; the water felt like steel concrete. I caught my breath and found myself swept down the river slowly.
A few natives ran up to the riverbank, wondering what the commotion was about. Somebody shouted, pointed at me, and cut vines off trees. Others rowed over in a floating bamboo boat, setting sail. Choppy currents and razor sharp reefs turned their wayward voyage into a naval nightmare. The water all around me began to bubble. These guys were hungry, especially after my injury. I'd begun to bleed. Island inhabitants tried to save me from Piranha, but cut the strands too short. Within seconds, the only thing left of me was fertilizer.
#23 As I continued to walk around the river, I saw colorful trees of all different shapes and sizes. I walked over to one of the bright-blue trees with black and white stripes all over the bark. It lifted me up, tangling me in a huge net of vines and branches. I dangled upside-down by my feet. The plant knew I was there, like a Venus flytrap. I waited in shock as blood rushed to my head. A tree made a creaking sound, about to tip over. I tried to free myself, but I couldn't get my legs untangled. Then, out of nowhere, a giant red crab scattered across and cut me loose. It helped rescue me from the mutant tree, but it only released me so it could have me for lunch. I ran, but lobsters have such long arms. I might as well have worn a sign that said: EAT ME.
#24 After considering both options, I chose to keep the chest of jewels, rubies, and gold coins for myself. As I reached out to grab the gems, the box suddenly vanished. After that, the girl bid me farewell and left me all alone on the isolated island. Just as I counted the last gold coin, everything disappeared.
I waited, hoping for a sea-shell ship to sail past and pick me up, but nobody came. Months later, I managed to adjust to the harsher climate of the barren bay. I tallied each day as it went by. I built a huge fortress, but it was just a castle composed of sand.
Was it worth it? Did I make the wrong decision after all? What was inside that heavily hewn treasure trove? What if it's empty? Perhaps next time I shouldn't be so hasty! How could I be so stupid? I guess now I'll never know. Oh well…
Folly ended up stranded on the same island. Before she knew it, the poor girl had leaned over so much her reflection reached out and pulled her in. She waited a while, but no one came to help her escape until later. Her prince had arrived to save the day. He called her name and looked around, but couldn't see or hear anyone else. Finally, he knelt at the pool to wash his face.
Look, my true love! Surely he shall notice me now…
Instead of viewing her, all he could see was his own reflection. He laughed out loud with his hands on his sides, admiring his own arrogance – never realizing what was lost and trapped deep down inside. He flexed his muscles and formed a fist. Plus he did many annoying action hero poses, which I won't mention because it's really boring.
#25 After a moment's hesitation, I hurled the gems back into the ocean. The deep, sapphire water enveloped each of them with a deafening splash. I trudged back toward dry sand and went through the ancient treasure chest one last time to see if I had missed anything accidentally. Inside, there was nothing but a perfectly dry blank piece of paper, which I lifted only to find a single small seed. I threw it in the air, not watching where it fell back down to the earth.
I'm such an idiot! It was right there in the palm of my hand…
"What's wrong?" Wisdom wondered.
"I don't wanna talk about it." I sat down, frustrated.
The girl gently picked up the paper and held it closer to my eyes. I took it from her, recognizing the words of a particular passage revealed in the sunlight. She smiled and planted the seed in some fertile soil. I looked up slowly, amazed that it had grown into a tree full of papers with books hanging from the branches like fruits of knowledge.
"My name is Wisdom. You remember me, right? I stand in the streets crying out to the crowds of people passing by. Some listen to me, but others do not. The whole world sleeps. Only a few are still awake - those who walk by faith, not by sight. You must come back with me to warn the rest, who have been deceived."
Time is a one-way street. You can't go back and change the choices you've made. In this life, our actions have temporary consequences, but not the next. Sometimes you have to go your own way, but people won't understand why - no matter how hard you try to tell them. There's only one map or book that can get you to heaven. The answer was affirmative.
After the virgin visit, I fell in love with Wisdom at a young age. We've been together for many years and there's never a dull moment. We may have our differences, but there are difficulties to work out in any worthwhile relationship. She gets me into a lot of trouble sometimes, but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.