,|kyle->["Will, this house is playing us," Kyle said in the softest voice he could muster. Just in case the house could hear.]
The house was called Ebony; they themselves had christened it some ten mintues ago, back when it seemed harmless. It had a ring to it, Kyle said.
|kyle->[[["It's playing us," he repeated.->Opening Credits]]]<span style="font-size: smaller">\
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<a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/"><img alt="Creative Commons License" style="border-width:0" src="https://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc/4.0/80x15.png" /></a><br /><span xmlns:dct="http://purl.org/dc/terms/" href="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/InteractiveResource" property="dct:title" rel="dct:type">The House of Ebony on the Planet Jubilee</span> by <a xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" href="perringcentral.tumblr.com" target="_blank" property="cc:attributionName" rel="cc:attributionURL">Perry P</a> is licensed under a <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" target="_blank">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License</a>.
Music is <a href="http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/" target="_blank">Tranquility by Kai Engel</a>.
Thanks, Tammi <3
It was their first planet. It was a milestone, a thumbs-up from their superiors, and everyone was excited.
The task was simple: take measurements. And with an empty house on an abandoned planet, it gave a lot of time for sightseeing and goofing-off.
The planet Jubilee. It couldn't have been any more appropriate.
|kyle>["Would you like a house like this, Will?"] Kyle called out, making everyone hear. He looked up at the house, arms raised to the sky.
William was standing farthest from him, taking in the land. The orange of the sand. The black of the house. Kyle, looking back at him, grinning.
|will>["Maybe later!" he jeered, and everyone laughed.]
Ashley, their captain may have actually smiled. She approached him, documents in hand. |ash>["What do you think, science boy?"]
He nodded at the house. |will>[[["We'll make quick work of it."->Ashley & Kyle]]]<center>
(css: "font-size:150%")[(css: "animation: flicker 3s linear infinite")[The House of Ebony on The Planet Jubilee]]
by <a href="https://www.perringcentral.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Perry</a>
Written in Twine
(css: "font-size: 80%")[
Implied suicide, gun violence]\
(link: "Content warnings")[(show: ?warnings)]]
They lost their biologist ten minutes in. Her name was Mara, and she had the brightest eyes William had ever seen. She disappeared in a flash of light, and was never seen again.
Kyle was there.
|kyle>["The locals here were religious people," he said. "The light is a universal symbol for salvation, you know? Which is funny."]
|kyle>[[["Because they died when the sun went out."->Kyle & Will]]]Kyle was the second to go.
William was at his post, assembling and disassembling instruments, checking data he already checked, trying to steady his hands. He'd do what he came on this god-forsaken planet for, while their captain made a plan. Perhaps they could still come home. Perhaps he and Kyle would get a house. A small garden. A dog.
William watched as if in a trance. It was the light. Kyle wandered towards it, his feet dragging ont he floor, towards the gap under the door where light was escaping. It was bright, blinding.
|will>["Hey, Kyle!"] He scrambled over equipment, sending fragile instruments crashing to the floor. He stumbled, broken pieces cutting into his palms. "Ashley!"
Kyle was at the door now, his hand on the knob.
|kyle>["I can see her, Will,"] he said. "She's right behind this door."
From where he stood, William could hear the waves of a beach from within the room. Mara Hart, their medic, lived on a planet full of beaches. 'More beaches than people,' she used to joke.
[[Kyle opened the door.->ash & will]]When he realized something was amiss, he was still dazed, half-asleep.
It was the light that woke him. The brightness burned through his eyelids, turning his vision red. Then he heard his captain scream.
Ashley was there, in the middle of the light, strugglign against a hold he couldn't see. William, near-blinded and still dazed, realized that it was a creature. And it was reaching out to him.
The image came to him the way dreams did. Fields of green grass. The distant sound of flowing water. Water? he thought. There was no water on Jubilee.
He fumbled for his gun, and fired.
At the sound of the gunshot, the brightness burst, blinding him for a few moments. When his vision cleared, he saw Ashley, slumped against a wall. She was bleeding. [[A hole in her skull where he had shot her.->5]]|ash>[You’re kidding me. You brought a ring here?]
|kyle>[Yeah, Captain. Ashley. Ash.]
|ash>[I can’t believe this.]
|kyle>[This was my mothers. Told me to find a nice girl. Heh.]
|ash>[Well, you’re in space, Grey. And I’m not your mother.]
|kyle>[Do you think he’ll say yes?]
|kyle>[Oh my god, she can laugh.]
|ash>[Shut up, will you. Of course he’s gonna’ say yes. You two are practically married.
'Hey, wanna get a dog, Will? How about a house near the country?' You two flirt over comms.]
|kyle>[Yeah, yeah, listen. It’s— I’m planning on to ask him on the next planet.]
|ash>[Horror house planet?]
|kyle>[Jesus, it’s just one horror house, it’s not like that’s the only thing there.]
|ash>[Yeah, horror house planet.]
|kyle>[Ashley. God, really? Just one minute, give me a minute.]
|ash>[Okay, Romeo, go on.]
|kyle>[The Jubilean sun exploded, right?]
|ash>[This isn’t making it any more romantic.]
|kyle>[The light from the nearest star hasn’t reached it just yet. If I did my math right—And I always do my math right-- Jubilee will have its first sunrise in a millenium. While we’re there.]
|kyle>[What is it? Ash—]
|ash>[You’re gonna’ ask him then?]
|ash>[That’s actually sweet. Shit, that’s actually really sweet.]
|ash>[So that’s what you called me here for? To see if your marriage proposal was romantic enough? Jesus, Grey, I got a ship to run.]
|ash>[[[Anytime.->2]]]|will>[If you hold my hand any tighter it'd go numb.]
|will>[You don't sound okay.]
|kyle>[Sure, you got me. House eats Mara, I'm not okay. Shocking.]
|kyle>[That wasn't fair. Sorry.]
|kyle>[No, it's not. This stupid house.]
|kyle>[It's playing us, Will.]
|will>[I know. Shame we couldn't have stayed for the sunrise. Would've been here in, ah, two hours.]
|kyle>[Did you just--]
|will>[Did I what?]
|kyle>[Nothing. It's nothing. Really!]
|kyle>[Yeah, I'm sure.]
|will>[Well, if you have something to ask.]
|kyle>[[[I know.->3]]]|ash>[Will, are you okay?]
|will>[I would've said yes, did he know that?]
|ash>[I'm sure he did. We all kinda did.]
|will>[Can we get out of here?]
|ash>[Ship needs to charge, Will. How about you sleep for a while, I'll wake you the minute we can get off of this damned planet.]
|will>[[[Thank you.->4]]]He buried Ashley in a shallow grave, in the sand. He mumbled his prayers; the words made no sense.
The atmosphere had lots of oxygen. Almost like Earth's. Kyle would have found that interesting, he thought.
He would have found it more interesting to note that the house could burn. All it took was a bit of friction.
The fire started quite nicely. It crawled, small and blue over the dark wood. Overhead, the sky was slowly, ever so slowly, gaining light.
And that's when he saw it. A flash of white. A tendril, stretching through the wooden planks.
Hands shaking, he aimed his gun, and fired.
Will ran for ship, going as fast as gravity would allow. He veered off-course, light-headedness making him look like a drunk. The tendrils reached out, begging him to return, and wrapped itself around his ankle.
He fell to the ground, filling his mouth and eyes with sand. Kicking didn't help. He tried to drag himself against the pull, but the sand simply shifted under his fingernails.
The tendril kept pulling, and pulling.
As he was pulled through the open door, he could see the flames reaching up to a once more eternally black sky.
Somehow, he could smell [[his mother's cooking.->The House]]The house was different somehow, although he couldn't quite place it. Brighter, perhaps?
He looked outside a window. Faintly, he rememered that there should be a lump in the sand. He was sure of it. Didn't he just plant something there just now?
He blinked, and the sand disappeared. Outside, there was just grass. Bright, green grass, stretching for miles and miles.
Yes, he thought to himself. Grass is supposed to be green.
He looked back at the house again, the weirdly bright house, at the pale yellow walls. There were pictures of him, smiling.
He sniffed the air. Someone was cooking.
|kyle>["Hi, honey."] Kyle was beaming. He had a spatula in one hand. |kyle>["I thought you'd never comem back from out there. What, the grass greener than usual today?"]
Will took a seat, smile growing on his face. |will>["Pancakes? I didn't know you could cook."]
Kyle winked. |kyle>["Pray I don't burn them."]
Will looked out the window again. The grass was green. In the distance, he could hear running water.
A clink of glass brought his attention back to the room. Kyle asked, "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"
Kyle poured him a glass of orange juice.
|kyle>["Mara says she'll visit. She says she just likes this place. Maybe we should invite Ashley along, get everyone together again?"] Will was silent. |kyle>["Hey, why are you crying?"]
He felt [[a gun in his holster]] and [[a ring on his finger.]](css: "animation: flicker 3s linear infinite")"I'm sorry," Will said, standing abruptly.
Kyle reaches out to him, at the gun in his hand.
"This isn't real. I'm sorry."
The last thing he sees is a face full of grief.
[[End->Credits]]]"We could move, if you want," he said.
Will shook his head, slowly. "No, this is good," he said. "I love this house."
The grass was green. He had a ring on his finger, and that was all.
"And I love you," his husband replied. "How about we eat pancakes, huh?"
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