Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ghostopia, Chapter 7: Back To The Marketplace

Darren twiddled his fingers impatiently. The queue was progressing much slower than he'd expected, mainly due to the displeasing amount of old folks up ahead.
Okay, so that wasn't a very nice thought, but he just couldn't help worrying that Kat would grow tired of waiting and go away.
"Oh, for crying out loud." he muttered under his breath watching an elderly man place his trembling hands on the stand. He was now standing close enough to see that there was actually a map engraved on the stand. Multi-coloured dots flickered and moved all across, making him suspect that they represented the Ghosts.
After another ten minutes or so of observation, Darren figured out how the whole Shifter system worked. You wrote down a the code of your level by referring to a list on the wall, and a bird's-eye-view of the chosen level would appear on the stand. Then you chose which part of the level you wanted to go to. Astoundingly, the codes erased and changed themselves after each person.
"Hey, move it!" a voice shot out from behind.
Darren scurried over, realising suddenly it was his turn. "Let's see..." His eyes ran through the entire list of codes.
"LEVEL 1 - 42A39"
"LEVEL 2 - 80G04"
"LEVEL 3 - 77U24"
Uh-oh. What was the name of this level? He turned around to ask, and a long line of unfriendly faces scowled back at him.
"Erm...what level is this?"
"Hey you there! Hurry up!"
"Quit holding up the line!"
"It's Level 21, you moron!"
"Okay, okay," He went back to the Shifter, checked out the code for Level 21, and scribbled it down. An aerial view of the floor appeared, complete with swarms of blinking dots.
Apparently, he could only choose to shift himself to areas marked with an orange box. Not wanting to risk another ranting from the queue, he pointed at an area which looked the most like the marketplace.
Before he even knew it, the whole hall turned a flat orange, blinked twice, and became a familiar marketplace. The exact place where he'd met Kat! How fortunate.
Now, if only he had a watch. Darren estimated his time spent and came to the conclusion that he was well within an hour. Kat should return anytime now, hopefully having no newspapers with her.

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