<<silently>><<set $firstencounter = "see">><<endsilently>>You focus your attention on the walls and ceiling of your bedroom, and on the criss-crossing lattice of light and shadows that surrounds you. There are patches of light that are simply far too bright to be coming from the lights outside your window, and others where the shadows seem to be much, much deeper than is possible by the dimensions of your bedroom.\n\nOne trapezoid of light in particular, over on the wall to your right, unsettles you... There's a strange gradient to the light where that part of the wall goes from the same brightness as the rest of the wall around it to significantly brighter, as though there was a light source somewhere inside the wall that was shining on it...\n\nYou could climb out of bed [[touching the wall to see if it feels any different|touching]], or maybe [[turn on the lights in the room|illuminating]] to get a better look. Better yet, you could do the sensible thing and just [[get your head back down on the pillow and try to get some sleep|sleeping]].
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<<silently>>\n<<set $ascent>>\n<<endsilently>>You peer through the crack in the wall and into the bedroom, and notice a small tunnel on the other side of the room that looks like it leads further up the tower of the "sleeping architecture". The woman sitting on the bed seems to be facing away from you, and towards a strange device on the table beside her - a strange metal cylinder riddled with holes, rotating atop a turntable, which casts beams of light all over the room.\n\nYou climb through the crack in the wall, and immediately, a change comes across the room. Every point of the wall where the lights passed has been gorged open, creating a series of spirals that cut deep into all of the walls. A grinding noise, like the sound of metal being warped and twisted, churns up just within the limits of your hearing.\n\nIt seems your presence has changed the room from being an ordinary bedroom into a gateway to the "sleeping architecture".\n\nYou quickly move across the room, leaping into the crack in the opposite wall. As you pass through, you notice that the woman who was meditating has gotten up from her bed: she moves over to the spiral tears in the wall - and steps inside one particularly broad gap in the wall, disappearing in a second.\n\nYou continue on, [[climbing back through into the sleeping architecture|climbing]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $lights = "off">>\n<<endsilently>>A burst of inhaled breath, which you catch and hold still.\n\nCrusty sleep ripped from your eyes as you blink awake.\n\nYou instinctively lift your head from the pillow, staring unseeing out into the night.\n\nEvery sensory organ tenses in dread, preparing to witness what comes out from the dark.\n\nYour breath held, you [[wait|stirring]]...
<<silently>><<set $firstencounter = "hear">><<endsilently>>You focus your attention on finding the strange tone hiding away in the airwaves. After a few moments, you manage to pick it back up, and as soon as you do so, the sound's volume rises and rises, almost as though it had noticed you in turn, until it drowns out every other sound around you and submerges your mind.\n\nIt sounds like steel and rock, twisting and grinding together, dull drones groaning through the dark. The tone seems to rise and fall in pitch over time, much like how the siren of a fire engine seems to alter as it passes by. You come to realise that the source of the sound is actually moving from the left side of your bedroom over to the right, and then back again - almost as though it were circling you in the dark.\n\nYou could climb out of bed and [[put your ear to the wall|touching]], to see if you can hear the sound a little more clearly through the wall. Perhaps [[turning on the lights in the room first|illuminating]] might be a good idea. Or, you could [[lie back down on the pillow|sleeping]] and try to put the sound out of your mind.
...\n\na thud.\n\na rustle.\n\na vibration, shaking your whole body.\n\nbut [[where is your body|waking]]?
Daylight has engulfed your bedroom, from which strange noises, lights and entities are entirely absent. In fact, you can barely remember what happened last night -- you must have awoken from a dream or sleep paralysis, and carried some of it into the waking world. You did the right thing by ignoring it.\n\nWell, it looks like it's [[time to get up|preparing]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $crack = "pull">>\n<<endsilently>>You stick out your index finger, and wiggle it into the decrepit masonry. There's only about an inch of stone in the hole - after that, your finger is freely exposed on the other side of the wall. \n\n"<html><b>WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!?</b></html>" comes a masculine voice from the other side of the wall. You panic and instinctively pull your arm back; there's a jolt of pain through your body as stone bites into your hand.\n\n<html><i>Your finger is stuck in the wall.</i></html>\n\n"<html><b>Anna, go get a torch. I'm going to go get a saw or a pair of pliers or something.</b></html>" \n\nYou hear a thud of footsteps on the other side of the wall, then nothing...\n\n"<html><b>A big, strong white boy is going to rip your wriggly digit right off with a pair of pliers</b></html>," says a voice, coming from a cluster of tiny holes near where your hand is. It has a distorted, warbling quality to it...\n\nYou consider what to say, if anything. [["Hello"|greeting]]? [["Who are you"|introducing]]? [[Nothing at all|waiting]]?
You clamber into a large gap in the wall, squeezing yourself into awkward positions in order to duck under, climb over and swing around the chunks of architecture around you. It strikes you as unusual that the hole you're climbing through hasn't been made simply by knocking the wall down into the adjacent room - it's almost like there has always been hundreds of feet of wall hidden behind your room, but only now has it split and come apart. \n\nAs you begin to crawl along the path you're on, it dawns on you that you've come so far from your bedroom - and clambered over so many obstacles - that you should be in complete darkness by now. You pause to look around, only to realise that there are shafts of light streaming in from numerous cracks in the architecture all around you, each of various sizes.\n\nIf you wanted to peek into one of the cracks, there's a sizable crack in the wall along to your left, but it will require [[squeezing into a tight, low tunnel and pressing your eye up against the wall|peeking]]. There's also a crack in the ceiling that's big enough for you to [[stick your head through|peering]]. There's a small hole to your right, at eye-height, that you might be able to widen a little if you were to [[stick your finger inside it and pull out some of the decaying rock|pulling]]. None of the other cracks in the wall look any less dangerous.
You pull yourself up from the bed, and over to another crack in the wall. There's a strange drive arising inside you - the desire to know more, to see more, to find the other people hiding in their bedrooms and to know more about them...\n\n...so you clamber through the wall, back into the sleeping architecture. You creep through narrow corridors, peeking through holes in the wall and watching people as they sleep. You stalk down long hallways, peering into other people's homes, other people's lives, other people's secrets.\n\nAnd then, one night - if there can even be said to be nights in the eternally sleeping architecture - you find a special room. A familiar room. A room where you see another version yourself, tenderly lit by the first rays of sunlight, waking up in your own bed and looking around, as though expecting to see something other than the plain, ordinary room around them. It's you, but it's not you - a you-removed. A body with its soul abroad.\n\nYou poke your finger into the crack in the wall, and manage to rip out a small chunk of the masonry. If you work hard, you'll be able to rip open a big enough hole by nightfall...
<<silently>>\n<<set $ascent = "sneak">>\n<<endsilently>>In the room below you is a young boy, sitting atop his bed and reading a comic book. The only illumination in the room is a small novelty lamp shaped like a blue police-box on the boy's bedside table - fortunately for you, it also casts most of the room into shadow, and using these shadows, you manage to sidle along a ledge near the ceiling and over to another hole in the room.\n\nHowever, as you squeeze through the crack in the wall onto a ledge near the ceiling, you notice the light in the room change; the flat ovals of light cast on the wall almost seem to collapse inwards - forming huge tunnels in the wall. As if to herald this change - or perhaps as a result of it - a grinding noise, like the sound of metal being warped and twisted, churns up just within the limits of your hearing.\n\nIt seems your presence has changed the room from being an ordinary bedroom into a gateway to the "sleeping architecture".\n\nThe boy seems to have noticed that something has changed, and he is now looking around the room, with a look of fear creeping across his features. You decide to leave before he manages to detect you: as you crawl along the ledge and [[squeeze through a crack in the wall opposite|climbing]], the last thing you see is the young boy climbing into the illuminated gap in the wall near his bed...
You climb back underneath the blankets, and lay your head back down on the pillow. \n\nBut even as you rest, you feel as though you've forgotten something.\n\nEvery bedroom you entered connected itself into the sleeping architecture, just like your bedroom was when you awoke. And the strange entity in the sleeping architecture intimated that light would kill them.\n\nSomeone was in your room when you were asleep. And you didn't turn your lights on.\n\nYour eyes blink open.\n\nEven in the dark, your eyes can still trace the distinct outline of a visitor, watching from the shadows.\n\nAnd then, nothing but the infinite dark.
<<silently>>\n<<set $crack = "peer">>\n<<endsilently>>You get up onto your knees and then into a squatting position, before raising yourself up and pushing your head through the crack in the ceiling above you.\n\nNothing. Darkness, all around you. Your head feels exposed.\n\nYou wait it out, and before long, something comes into sight. You realise you've stuck your head into someone's bedroom; only, you appear to be halfway up their wall somehow - and at right angles to it. The conflicting dimensions make you feel thoroughly nauseated. \n\nSuddenly, you become aware that you're not the only one in the room. \n\nBy tilting your head upwards, you see a human head, hanging upside-down out of a hole in the ceiling. Its shaggy, straggled hair, swaying slightly as the figure breathes, is the only indication that the thing is even a person. You can't make out any distinct facial features, but the deep, dark shadows around its mouth seem to indicate that its mouth is moving...\n\nYou consider what to say, if anything. [["Hello"|greeting]]? [["Who are you"|introducing]]? [[Nothing at all|waiting]]?\n
<<if $crack eq "peek">>You wait in silence, watching the eye watching you. It continues to blink, its gaze never wavering from yours.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>You wait in silence, watching the head that's hanging down from the ceiling. It continues to sway slightly, its gaze never wavering from yours.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>You wait, unsure if the voice on the other side of the wall is going to make itself known again. You're met by complete and utter silence.<<endif>>\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>"<html><b>It's wrong to look inside another person.</b></html>," says a voice presumably attached to the eye, "<html><b>And I would know</b></html>." The voice has a strangely distorted warble to it, as though it were being spoken underwater, or by a child that had recently been crying. ," it adds.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>"<html><b>It's wrong to place your face beside another person's life</b></html>," says a voice presumably attached to the head, "<html><b>And I would know</b></html>." The voice has a strangely distorted warble to it, as though it were being spoken underwater, or by a child that had recently been crying. <<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">><html><b>Curiosity ate your cat</b></html>," says the familar warbling voice, at long last. "<html><b>And I would know.</b></html><<endif>>\n\n"<html><b>You ought to be more careful</b></html>," the wavering voice continues. "<html><b>All it takes is for someone to turn their bedroom light on - if the light is bright enough, it'll completely -</b></html>"\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>A horrific peal suddenly screeches out from behind the wall, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. Your eyes flood with a burning white light, and you flinch back, away from the hole in the wall. After the bright spots of light vanish from your sight, you take another quick peek through the hole.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>A horrific peal suddenly screeches out from the head, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. Your eyes flood with a burning white light, and you flinch back, away from the hole in the wall. After the bright spots of light vanish from your sight, you take another quick peek through the hole.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>A horrific peal screeches out from behind the wall, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. You instinctively wrench your hand back, and in doing so, manage to free your finger. You wait a couple of seconds, before peeking through the now much wider hole in the wall to see what's happened.<<endif>>\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>The person below you has turned on their bedside lamp, and is looking around their room in a puzzled fashion. The eye in the wall across from you, and the person attached, has vanished...<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>There's now a person in the room, who must have turned on the ceiling lamp, which was right next to where the head was... only now, it's vanished...<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>You can just about make out a beam of light that appears to be moving this way and that - the person in the room must have found a torch after all. There's no sign of whomever was speaking to you, though...<<endif>>\n\nIt looks like [[you'll have to continue on your way|continuing]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $ascent = "sneak">>\n<<endsilently>>As you look through the gap in the wall into the large, lavish room, you notice that you'll need to jump down from the hole in the wall and land between two broad squares of light, cast across the floor by enormous windows in the opposite wall.\n\nWhen you pull yourself through the gap and jump down into the room, however, the squares of light on the floor suddenly collapse downwards, forming vast, vertiginous pits in the floor, accompanied by a grinding noise, like the sound of metal being warped and twisted, churning up just within the limits of your hearing. You peer over the edge of one of the pits - they seem to go on for miles, deep into the earth.\n\nIt seems your presence has changed the room from being an ordinary bedroom into a gateway to the "sleeping architecture".\n\nYou cross over the bedroom floor, avoiding the pits that will take you further down into the sleeping architecture. As you climb up into another hole in the wall, you peer back out behind you before leaving the room - and you see an old woman, wrapped in a dressing gown, walking over from a dark corner of the room and lowering herself down into one of the holes in the floor. She disappears from sight in a moment.\n\nYou continue on, [[climbing back through into the sleeping architecture|climbing]].
Hypnagogue
<<if $crack eq "peek">>You whisper 'Who are you?' to the eye that's staring out of the wall at you. There are a few seconds of harrowing silence as the eye continues to blink, its gaze never wavering from yours.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>You whisper 'Who are you?' to the head that's hanging down from the ceiling. There are a few seconds of harrowing silence as the head continues to sway slightly, its never wavering from yours.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>You whisper 'Who are you?' through the small holes in the wall, and await an answer. You're met by complete and utter silence.<<endif>>\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>An ungodly laugh bursts out from behind the wall. The eye quivers, wrinkling slightly at the bottom - the face it is presumably attached to must be smiling.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>An ungodly laugh bursts out from the head. Its entire frame shakes with laughter, its hair swinging madly around it as it quakes with savage delight.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>An ungodly laugh bursts out from behind the wall. The cackling seems hollow and strange, almost painful to listen to.<<endif>>\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>"<html><b>Who am I?</b></html>" it replies, in a voice that warbles and wavers as though it belonged to a child that had recently been crying. "<html><b>I'm one of your secret cousins. Remember when we played in the lighthouse together? It wasn't pleasant, being with you."</b></html><<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>"<html><b>Who am I?</b></html>," it replies, in a voice that warbles and wavers as though it belonged to a child that had recently been crying. "<html><b>I'm one of your secret cousins. Remember when we found the candles in the cupboard and lit them all one by one? Thanks to you, my illness will never go away."</b></html><<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>"<html><b>Who am I?</b></html>," it replies, in its familar warbling voice. "<html><b>I'm one of your secret cousins. Remember when we went into the basement with a torch to find spirits? You'll always have to live with what you did."</b></html><<endif>>\n\n"<html><b>You ought to be more careful</b></html>," the wavering voice continues. "<html><b>All it takes is for someone to turn their bedroom light on - if the light is bright enough, it'll completely -</b></html>"\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>A horrific peal suddenly screeches out from behind the wall, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. Your eyes flood with a burning white light, and you flinch back, away from the hole in the wall. After the bright spots of light vanish from your sight, you take another quick peek through the hole.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>A horrific peal suddenly screeches out from the head, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. Your eyes flood with a burning white light, and you flinch back, away from the hole in the wall. After the bright spots of light vanish from your sight, you take another quick peek through the hole.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>A horrific peal screeches out from behind the wall, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. You instinctively wrench your hand back, and in doing so, manage to free your finger. You wait a couple of seconds, before peeking through the now much wider hole in the wall to see what's happened.<<endif>>\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>The person below you has turned on their bedside lamp, and is looking around their room in a puzzled fashion. The eye in the wall across from you, and the person attached, has vanished...<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>There's now a person in the room, who must have turned on the ceiling lamp, which was right next to where the head was... only now, it's vanished...<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>You can just about make out a beam of light that appears to be moving this way and that - the person in the room must have found a torch after all. There's no sign of whomever was speaking to you, though...<<endif>>\n\nIt looks like [[you'll have to continue on your way|continuing]].
You wriggle back into the tunnel that you were climbing through. The only real way to go is straight ahead, and so, you continue onwards.\n\nAs you clamber through the tunnel, you notice that the structure seems to be turning upwards, requiring you to climb and hoist yourself up through it. The cracks further along get larger and larger, becoming less like a tunnel shaft and more like a set of scaffolding - every few meters, you find yourself able to see an entire bedroom from any position. Here, there are two women sitting atop a bed, cross-legged, hushed whispers passed from one to the other. As you climb up, you find yourself walking behind a room with a young girl, who has dragged the sheets off her bed and draped them across a desk, then fallen asleep under the canopy. Beyond that, there's a massive cleft in the floor below you, where you can see an older man, sitting at the edge of his bed, muffling sobs with his hands over his face.\n\nAs the gaps in the wall get larger, the beams of light you must climb around get larger too - up ahead, you can see shafts of light cleaving through the darkness, like a colossal, complex skeletal structure. [[You'll have to climb up towards them|ascending]].\n
From your encounter earlier with the strange entity, you recall that bright light seems to have an unusual - and painful - effect in the "sleeping architecture", and so, you alter your path to diligently avoid climbing directly into the light. Each of the lights seem to be coming from brightly-illuminated bedrooms that are just visible through massive gouges in the wall, cracks that have split to ten or fifteen feet wide, and sections of wall that have just fallen away. The holes in the wall seem more numerous than the actual wall itself, as though you were climbing up a deep, deteriorated pit that hid behind every darkened room in the world...\n\nYour way ahead is blocked by two beams of light that have converged above you. The only way past is by moving into one of the cracks in the wall nearby, in effect entering someone's bedroom, and climbing up from inside there. There are three bedrooms that look like they could take you higher up: you could [[climb into a large, dilapidated-looking room with a small boy inside|sneaking]]; you could try [[entering a gargantuan, lavishly-built room with broad windows and no person visibly present|trespassing]]; or you could try [[going into a room where a middle-aged woman is meditating on her bed|breaching]].
<<if $firstencounter eq "see">>You climb out of bed and move up closely to the wall, in the direction of one of the bright trapezoid of light.<<endif>><<if $firstencounter eq "hear">>You get out from underneath the covers, closing your eyes as you move to the wall to better focus on where the sound is coming from.<<endif>><<if $firstencounter eq "touch">> You slide cautiously out of bed, and move up to the nearest wall, intent on moving along the wall in order to completely explore the entire room.<<endif>>\n\n<<silently>><<set $outofbed = "true">><<endsilently>>However, when you get up close to the wall, you suddenly realise that it has transformed: the criss-crossing networks of shadows you noticed before are actually solid pieces of architecture and masonry jagging out at rough angles; the patches of odd light are actually deep within the wall itself, which has been ripped, twisted and torn apart, revealing a vast labyrinth of endlessly self-similar ragged paths.\n\nAs you look around the room, you realise that all of the light and shadow in the room comes not from the light outside the window, but from somewhere deep within the walls, which completely surround your room. Even the wall surrounding the bedroom door has been ripped open, revealing that the hallway it was previously connected to has completely disappeared, as though these new structures have replaced your entire home.\n\nIt looks like you could [[climb between the mesh-like shadows and get deeper into the walls|entering]]. <<if $turnedonlights = "false">>You could also try [[turning on the lights in the room|illuminating]].<<endif>> Then again, you could also just [[head back to your bed|sleeping]] and try to put all of this weirdness out of your head by going to sleep.
You walk over to the light-switch and turn it on: the room floods with light, illuminating every tear and rupture in the walls around your room. Despite that, you feel safe... or, safer than you were before at least.\n\nYou climb back underneath the blankets, and lay your head back down on the pillow. Before long, the weight of exhaustion lifts, and you drift off, into the darkness of sleep...\n\n... and, hours later, you awaken the next day, feeling slightly sluggish but otherwise none the worse for wear. As you blink the sleep from your eyes, you look around the room to find that each of the walls has returned to normal - smooth, solid and sure. The first rays of sunlight timorously peeking in through the bedroom window allows you to see there's no sign of any of the cracks in the wall, mysterious lights or strange visitors...\n\nBut as you sit up in bed, your senses seem a little keener than normal... there's a strange noise, almost imperceptible under the morning traffic, like the drone of grinding metal. The light in the room seems to move out of the corner of your eye, almost like it's trying to creep back into its proper place. And there's the sensation that somewhere in the room, somewhere just out of sight, something is waiting for you to surrender yourself to sleep.
You get up, get washed and dressed, and head out. You end up having a thoroughly ordinary day.\n\nAnd, when you head into bed, you're only able to entertain thoughts of odd lights and bizarre geometries for a few minutes before you drift off into a dreamless sleep. Just an ordinary night's sleep.\n\nIn fact, you endure over two hundred more ordinary nights, before [[something strange occurs|waking]]...
You find yourself standing in the middle of your bedroom.\n\nThe walls remain gorged and split. The strange lights still pulse from deep within the sleeping architecture. The dull grinding noise continues from somewhere behind the walls. Nothing has changed since you first left here, what feels like hours ago.\n\nYou sit down atop your bed and stare into the darkness around your room. As soon as your body hits the bed, you feel the full weight of exhaustion pushing you down. The desire to sleep is overwhelming - [[you could lie down and rest in the dark|darkening]], although you wonder if it would be better to [[turn the lights on and just try to rest as best as you can|lighting]].\n\n...but there's a feeling, an understanding, that there's something inside the sleeping architecture. An exit. Answers. A safe place. [[You could continue to explore, despite your tiredness, and continue through the half-light|obscuring]].
You climb back into the pit, and continue your ascent.\n\nThe climb is difficult, and requires navigating the massive beams of light that burst through more gaps in the walls of the pit. Several times, your ascent is blocked, and you must climb back down and find another way around.\n\nThe climb feels like it takes hours. With every meter you ascend, the flesh on your hands and feet feels ragged and torn. Exhaustion is creeping into every one of your limbs, and more than once, you wonder how long it will be before you try to push yourself up to a new foothold, only to crumple and fall back down the pit, crashing into the blazing-white scaffolding of light. You hoist yourself up through a hole in between chunks of masonry -\n\n- only to find yourself [[climbing up into a familiar room|concluding]].
You decide to block the odd <<if $firstencounter eq "hear">>noise<<endif>><<if $firstencounter eq "see">>lights<<endif>><<if $firstencounter eq "feel">>feeling<<endif>> from your mind, and you lay your head back down on the pillow. Before long, you have drifted into a deep sleep.\n\nYou dream. You dream of strange angles, of a bright, shining trapezoid. You dream of your name whispered by a digitized voice. You dream of endless undulating corridors, twisting and turning and merging and dividing like organic cells. You dream of yourself, dreaming, from the point of view of someone standing outside your room, peering through a ragged hole in the wall.\n\nAnd then [[you wake up|awakening]].
<<if $crack eq "peek">>You whisper 'Hello' to the eye that's staring out of the wall at you. There are a few seconds of harrowing silence as the eye continues to blink, its gaze never wavering from yours.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>You whisper 'Hello' to the head that's hanging down from the ceiling. There are a few seconds of harrowing silence as the head continues to sway slightly, its gaze never wavering from yours.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>You whisper 'Hello?' through the small holes in the wall, and await an answer. You're met by complete and utter silence.<<endif>>\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>"<html><b>Hello</b></html>," says a voice presumably attached to the eye. It has a strangely distorted warble to it, as though it were being spoken underwater, or by a child that had recently been crying.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>"<html><b>Hello</b></html>," says a voice presumably attached to the head. It has a strangely distorted warble to it, as though it were being spoken underwater, or by a child that had recently been crying.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">><html><b>Hello</b></html>," says the familar warbling voice, at long last. "<html><b>I'm your secret cousin</b></html>."<<endif>>\n\n"<html><b>You ought to be more careful</b></html>," the wavering voice continues. "<html><b>All it takes is for someone to turn their bedroom light on - if the light is bright enough, it'll completely -</b></html>"\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>A horrific peal suddenly screeches out from behind the wall, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. Your eyes flood with a burning white light, and you flinch back, away from the hole in the wall. After the bright spots of light vanish from your sight, you take another quick peek through the hole.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>A horrific peal suddenly screeches out from the head, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. Your eyes flood with a burning white light, and you flinch back, away from the hole in the wall. After the bright spots of light vanish from your sight, you take another quick peek through the hole.<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>A horrific peal screeches out from behind the wall, making every nerve in your body vibrate with dread. You instinctively wrench your hand back, and in doing so, manage to free your finger. You wait a couple of seconds, before peeking through the now much wider hole in the wall to see what's happened.<<endif>>\n\n<<if $crack eq "peek">>The person below you has turned on their bedside lamp, and is looking around their room in a puzzled fashion. The eye in the wall across from you, and the person attached, has vanished...<<endif>><<if $crack eq "peer">>There's now a person in the room, who must have turned on the ceiling lamp, which was right next to where the head was... only now, it's vanished...<<endif>><<if $crack eq "pull">>You can just about make out a beam of light that appears to be moving this way and that - the person in the room must have found a torch after all. There's no sign of whomever was speaking to you, though...<<endif>>\n\nIt looks like [[you'll have to continue on your way|continuing]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $lights = "on">>\n<<endsilently>>You <<if $outofbed eq "false">>get out of bed and<<endif>> move over to turn on the light-switch.\n\nYour vision burns white for a few seconds, before your eyes adjust to the light, and you can see the rest of the room. \n\n<<if $outofbed eq "true">>The walls of the room are still broken and twisted, but with the lights on, you can suddenly appreciate the extent to which your room has been changed. The criss-crossing shadows are simply pieces of the wall that have been torn and ripped apart. The entirety of the room has been changed - even the ceiling and floor have gaps in them that show fragments of the fractal architecture.<<else>>The walls of your room have been gorged open: the criss-crossing networks of shadows you noticed before are actually solid pieces of wall architecture and masonry jagging out at rough angles; the patches of odd light are actually deep within the wall itself, which has been torn apart. As you look around the room, you realise that all of the light and shadow in the room came not from the light outside the window, but from somewhere deep within the wall. Even the wall surrounding the bedroom door has been ripped open, revealing that the hallway it was previously connected to has completely disappeared, as though these new structures have replaced your entire home.<<endif>>\n\nIt looks like there's sufficient space for you to [[climb into the torn and ragged walls and get deeper inside|entering]]. Of course, you could always just [[climb back into bed and go to sleep|sleeping]], since this is obviously some weird dream or something.
<<silently>>\n<<set $crack = "peek">>\n<<endsilently>>You wriggle into the tiny alcove on your elbows, and crane your neck up to press your eye against the crack in the wall.\n\nIt takes a few seconds, but your eyes adjust to the quality of light inside...\n\n...part of your vision is blocked by a wall on the other side of the hole, but you can clearly see a bedroom behind it. Not your own, but someone else's entirely - in fact, you can see a young man, asleep in his bed, a little ways below you. The light from the crack seems to be coming from ambient light coming in through his bedroom window.\n\nThere's a blink.\n\nNot from you, but from an eye peering out of the crack in the wall partially obscuring your vision. It's staring at you.\n\nIt blinks again.\n\nYou consider what to say, if anything. [["Hello"|greeting]]? [["Who are you"|introducing]]? [[Nothing at all|waiting]]?\n\n
by Mitch Alexander\nhttp://hyparc.net
<<silently>><<set $firstencounter = "feel">><<endsilently>>The preternatural sense of being watched slithers across evry nerve in your body, clustering around your spine. You peer into every corner and cranny in the room, half-expecting to see two eyes looking out from the dark...\n\n...but you can't see anything. Nonetheless, the feeling persists. It's almost as though you were picking up on something occupying space in the room with a sense you don't have a name for. Something is here with you, and you can feel it, even if you can't see it.\n\nYou might be able to find whatever - or whoever - is hiding nearby by [[getting out of bed and exploring the room|touching]] - but you can't guarantee <html><i>you'll</i></html> find <html><i>them</i></html> first. Maybe you could risk running across the room and [[turning on the bedroom light|illuminating]], hopefully getting there before they have a chance to move. Maybe everything will be fine if you just pull the cover over your face and [[lay your head back down on the pillow|sleeping]]...
<<silently>><<set $outofbed = "false">><<endsilently>>It's almost imperceptible, but there's a strange noise nearby, like a dull groaning. The more you focus on it, the louder and louder it becomes, until it completely fills your ears, threatening to deafen you - but if you focus on any other sound, like your breathing, it simply vanishes, and [[you have to root it out again|hearing]]...\n\nMaybe it's the weird angle the shadows on the wall are making, almost like the walls themselves aren't flat, but curved, undulating from convex to concave as your eyes move from one shadow-locked section to another. The room still seems as dark as it would normally be, but [[when you focus on the patches of light on the wall|seeing]], they seem so much brighter than they should be...\n\nOr perhaps it's the humid, heavy air in the room, the feeling of the pressure of an unseen ocean pressing down around you and making you feel slow and sluggish. You wonder if the room has gotten warmer because someone else is in it, staring out from the dark spots that your eyes can't pierce in the low light. Perhaps you could find them, were you to [[focus on that feeling of being watched|feeling]]...
...there's nothing there.\n\nWell, that's not strictly true. The familiar layout of your bedroom begins to filter into your vision as you sit up in your bed. A quick glance at the clock beside your bed shows that it's 2:37am.\n\nThe lights from outside your window cast criss-crossing shadows across the wall, patches of light caged in between bars of shadow, giant blocks of darkness scaffolded by off-kilter stripes of streetlight illumination. A car passes by on a road nearby, causing all of the lights in the room to swivel and skew, before returning to their original positions.\n\nAs you shake off the sleep, you think back to a few moments ago.\n\nYou just know you felt movement. In that way unique to the space between deep sleep and wakefulness, where senses fuse into brand new ways of perceiving the world, you understood that something in your environment had been greatly changed, like stagehands working behind a curtain, moving props to set the next scene. Now, with your mind fully awake and your senses once again divided, [[you can only just make out that something in the room is very, very, wrong|sensing]].