Josh starts down the road. With the full moon behind him, it's easy to see where he's going. Eskarians have great night vision, so even if the moon wasn't out, he'd be just fine.\n\nBehind him, something moves through the brush in near silence. Josh knows it's the wolf and that it intends to make Josh its first meal. Not going to happen.\n\nJosh whips out his forked dagger and spins.\n\n<center><img src="Images/Nightwolf2.jpg" width="300"></center>\n\nThis can only end [[one way|One]].\n
Josh is never afraid.
Josh turns north, heading into the mountains. Shadows are longer now, with the sun dipping lower in the horizon. He didn't really expect to take this long a walk and now thinks maybe Blue was right. He should've brought his crossbow. \n\nMaybe he should turn back [[now|Now]].\n\nHe figures it's probably okay and [[continues|Continues]].\n\n
They continue to walk together in reasonably companionable silence. Smoke still wafts from Blue's nostrils. He isn't enjoying this at all.\n\n"Okay, I get it. You don't like walking," Josh says. "If you want to go home, then go. I won't keep you here."\n\n"I like walking well enough, when there's a destination and a purpose. This is basically wandering aimlessly. It doesn't matter which way we go." Blue snorts smoke. "That's what bothers me."\n\nJosh looks at his friend and nods. "I guess I can see your point. I don't agree with it, but I can see it."\n\n"Good enough," Blue says, tilting his head. "Do you hear that?"\n\nJosh holds his breath and listens. He hears birds, a raccoon or two, and--there it is. \n\n"Dimensional portal. I hear it humming now," Josh says.\n\n"Right. It might be something, might not. Want to check it out?" Blue looks at Josh, curiosity on his face.\n\nJosh shakes his head. "Nah. We're here for rest and relaxation. I say we go home, pop some corn, and watch a movie."\n\n"I'll pop it for you," Blue offers. "Faster that way."\n\n"You incinerate it, not pop it. So no, we'll do it the slow yet sure way to actually have something to munch on." Josh grins at Blue. "Won't we."\n\nBlue glances at Josh. "Of course."\n\nAhead, something rushes through the brush and springs onto the road ahead of them.\n\n<img src="Images/Nightwolf2.jpg" width="300">\n\nNightwolf: fast and deadly. Definitely a threat to humanity. So much for popcorn and a movie.\n\nThis can end only [[one way|One]]. \n\n\n\n
He hears the sound of water and turns toward it. He comes to a waterfall and decides now is a great time for a brisk swim. It's a beautiful afternoon. What could go wrong?\n\n<img src="file:///Users/phoenix/Documents/Images/Joshua2.jpg" width="550">\n\nHe gets undressed and the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He's being watched. And he has no weapons.\n\nHe decides to see what's what. You never know. Maybe it isn't a hideous monster looking to decapitate him, but a lovely lady needing some fine company.\n\nHe quickly dresses and heads further into the woods, crunching over fallen leaves and twigs, winding through tall firs and maples, and sliding across old, fallen trees.\n\nHe comes to a clearing. At the opposite end, there's a small entrance to a cave. He can hear something moving inside.\n\n<img src="Images/GB03.jpg" width="450">\n\nMaybe it's a bear, or a mountain lion. Probably not a threat to humanity (or a lovely lady), so he decides it's time to head home.\n\nAs he turns, pain explodes in the back of his head. He \n<center>[[drops to the ground|Ground]].</center>\n<center>[[whips out his forked dagger|Dagger]].</center>\n
Josh sees stars, but turns to face his attacker anyway.\n\nHoly shit.\n\n<center><img src="Images/Darrin.png" width="300"></center>\n\nThat feeling he'd had only moments ago hadn't been someone watching him, it had been a shift in both time and space. What he'd felt had been the opening of an interdimensional door. And <em>this</em> was what came through.\n\nYou really couldn't say dimension shifters were harmless because not only did they come from any<em>where</em>, they came from any<em>when</em>. Maybe humans thought they were the only ones in the universe, but Josh knew better. \n\n"Turn around, go home," Josh says. \n\nThe shifter shakes his head. "I don't think so. It's way too much fun. I can be Superman here. You go home."\n\n[[Chapter 2|Chap2]] coming soon!\n\n
Josh knows what he must do. The wolf is a threat to humanity. He is bound by the warrior code to destroy it. \n\n<img src="Images/Joshua.png" width="450">\n\nYet, he hesitates. Is he [[afraid|Afraid]]? Or is he plotting a gruesome end to this insidious [[nightwolf|Nightwolf]]?
\nThis is an interactive story about our hero, Joshua Cortaro. Joshua is an ancient warrior, half old Mayan and half Native American, born in the time when the Mayans did human sacrifices...but that's another story.\n\nJosh isn't exactly human. He's <em>Eskarian</em>, stronger, faster, and immortal. He and his brethren are here to save humankind from the myriad threats to humanity. \n\nIn this story, Josh has decided to take a walk with his old dragon companion, Blue, who is about four-foot tall, mean as all hell when he wants to be, and actually does breathe fire. \n\nYour job is to help Josh survive. \n\n© Copyright 2019 Alexa Ann Martin\n\n<hr>\n\nChapter 1\n\nJosh is staying at his cabin in the Olympic mountains in Washington state. He needs a little R and R and this is the perfect place to get it. Grabbing his jacket, he heads out the front door.\n\n"Come on, Blue. Let's enjoy this beautiful afternoon," he says.\n\nBlue has a voice box attached to the base of his skull that translates his thoughts into sound. There is no filter between what he thinks and what he says.\n\n"Coming," Blue says. As he leaves, he slaps his long tail against the screen door, slamming it shut. It would've shut anyway, but Blue likes the <em>slap/wham</em> sound of his tail against the wooden door. \n\nThey walk down the side of the road. Josh is content to listen to the birds, and feel the cool Autumn breeze. \n\n"I don't really see the point of walking around the woods. You don't even have your crossbow with you," Blue says.\n\n"The point is to relax. Walking is just one way I do that." Josh picks up a stone and tosses it, watching it skip down the dirt road.\n\n"Well, I'm not relaxing," Blue says. "This is stupid and I'm bored."\n\nJosh grins at his friend. "Give it a little more time." \n\nBlue snorts, smoke coming from his nostrils. "No, I'd really rather go [[home|Home]]."\n\n"What if I let you light the logs in the fireplace?"\n\nBlue stops to think about that. "A bribe to keep doing this walking shit?"\n\nJosh nods. "Yep. Like you said, I don't have my crossbow. Could use your help, buddy."\n\n\n"Fine, but just a little bit [[longer|Longer]]. This is not my idea of a good time, you know."\n\nJosh sighs. "I know."\n\n\n
Josh feels pretty good. He's got Amy's phone number in his pocket and, barring anything extraterrestrial or extraordinary, he's calling her tomorrow. A cup of coffee or a glass of wine at a dockside bar sounds awesome. He looks forward to seeing her again. \n\nA sense of unease hits Josh as he goes out the front [[door|Now]].\n
<center><img src="Images/Nightwolf2.jpg" width="300"></center>\n\nThis can only end [[One way|One]].
Blue stops and spreads his wings. He lifts himself from the ground.\n\n"See you later, Josh," he says.\n\n"Have it your way." Josh waves as his friend clears the trees and disappears. \n\nHe decides to go [[north|North]] then changes his mind and heads [[south|South]].\n\n<img src="Images/Dragon2.jpg" width="450">
Josh turns around, thinking, again, that he should've brought his crossbow. Nightfall is coming and even up here in the mountains, there are dangerous threats to humanity.\n\nAs if on cue, a nightwolf howls. He knows the sound, which is different than a natural wolf, and different from a coyote. The nightwolf has a dual-toned sound, as if two wolves are howling at once--or, more likely, the wolf and the human howl at the same time. It is an unsettling sound.\n\nAnd here he is, listening to it. \n\n<center><img src="Images/Nightwolf.jpg" width="300"></center>\n\nThe wolf isn't all that far away. Because it's a known threat to humanity, Josh's duty is to kill it. The problem is, all he has is his forked dagger. That means he has to get up close and personal with the wolf to kill it. Yeah, he can do that, easily, but how nice it'd be to have his little crossbow right about now.\n\nWell, it's currently at home and Josh isn't. He needs to decide what to do.\n\nThe wolf howls again. It's closer now. \n\nThe bite of a nightwolf is deadly, even to Eskarians. It doesn't kill them, technically, but does enough damage that they end up in the dream state. If they don't get the blood they need to regenerate, they'll stay in the dream state, a place where you don't know what's real and what isn't. Hell on earth, if you ask him.\n\nJosh can either keep moving toward [[home|Home2]] or find the wolf and [[kill it|Kill]].
Josh heads south, back toward his cabin, lamenting yet again that he didn't have his crossbow with him. Well, to be fair, he'd expected Blue to hang out at least for a little while, and the dragon just wasn't having any of it. \n\nSeriously. Dragons could be fucking temperametal.\n\nHe hasn't gone very far when he comes to a beautiful Victorian house with an incredible garden, full of flowers and herbs, in the open back yard. His Eskarian brother, Jason, their healer, would be impressed. Jason knew everything there was to know about herbs and natural healing.\n\nJosh moves in to get a better look. Only then does he notice a beautiful, dark-haired woman pulling weeds and turning the soil.\n\nShe looks up to see him, waves.\n\nHe waves back.\n\n<img src="Images/JoshSex.png" width="300">\n\nToday is turning out to be a very good day.\n\nAfter some quality snuggle time, Josh gets dressed and heads for the [[door|Door]]. \n\n\n
It's dark when Josh opens his eyes, not that it matters. Josh's night vision, like all Eskarians, is excellent. \n\nHe gets to his feet and sees that he's alone. The back of his head hurts like hell and feels sticky-wet. He doesn't have to look at his hand to know it's blood. \n\nHe heads for the road. A second later, he's standing at the edge of a lake surroundwd by fog. There isn't a lake anywhere near his cabin, which means he's not where he thought he was.\n\n<center><img src="Images/lake.jpg" width="300"></center>\n\nWhat happened? Josh gets out his cell phone and clicks on Maps. The GPS shows he's on Vashon Island. What the hell?\n\nHe dials his commanding officer, Griffin McCallum. It rings once.\n\n"M'Callum," Griffin says. "Josh, where are you?"\n\n"I <em>was</em> up at the cabin and went out for a walk. Something came up behind me, struck hard, and the next thing I know, I'm near water. There's no water near my property. I check my GPS and I'm on Vashon, on the west side." \n\n[[Chapter 2|Chap2]] coming soon!\n