The sun rose slowly, seemingly more slowly here in this... place, than it ever did driving to work. It started as a soft glow, not so much banishing the darkness as easing it out of the way like a nodding child who kept claiming she didn't want to go to bed, but couldn't keep her eyes open.

I climbed out of my car and stood, leaning against it, watching and listening to the fresh new morning. Only a light fog dusted the green landscape, no pollution tainting it, nor engines smothering the sounds of nature waking up.

There was a town below me, off in the distance. No smoke yet rose from any chimneys, but a thatched roof on the outskirts looked to have a bonfire going. A breeze blew across the scene, and I shivered.

I turned from the sight, leaned back into my car for a jacket, and patted the hood lovingly before starting back up the path. I liked what I saw, so far, and didn't really want to go back. I'm sure I could carve some sort of life out for myself here, maybe even eventually stop doubting this new reality every time I woke in the morning, but I had to check first. I made my way carefully back up the path.

The switchbacks were there, but the crushed gravel was gone. The path remained wide, and clear of vegetation; well-tended if not frequently used. A zig and a zag and I was back at the crest.

There was no civilization there. I should have been able to see bustling cities in the distance, but all that remained was a valley, and another mountain, higher and steeper, rising on the other side. It rose into the clouds, and as they shifted, I thought I could see... a sparkling tower? But then it was gone again and I could see no more.

Should I try to examine the mysteries of what lay hidden above those clouds? GoTo 011

Should I head back to the car and then further downhill for some reconnaissance? GoTo 021

Should I head back to my car to inventory my things and get started on a new life for myself? GoTo 004

The End

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