I Went to the Graveyard

a Horror by bilbo

Commended by mizal on 1/7/2020 10:58:14 AM

Player Rating5.68/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 28 ratings since 01/04/2020
played 483 times (finished 37)

Story Difficulty2/8

"walk in the park"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

Maturity Level4/8

"need to be accompanied by an adult"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG.

Tags

Horror

It was dark, not a candle lit on the path through the graveyard. Your shitty friends dared you to come here.

You pass the graves two... three rows up. You can see the mausolem at the top of the hill and shudder. The grave you seek is beside a weeping willow. You try not to think what could lurk behind the shielding branches.

Thomas Albright. 

You look around one last time, then sink down and position yourself in the cold earth. Grass doesn't grow here, or maybe it is just well tended. When you feel your head positioned at the base of the pink marble headstone you close your eyes.

"Can you tell me a story?" you ask, hating the way your voice sounds in the too open night air.

You listen intently. Nothing is going to happen. All you need to do is wait ten seconds then you can walk down the hill and-

"I went to the graveyard"

Player Comments

This is not quite what I expected when I started reading this story, but I quite enjoyed it. The moment I saw the first page, I was immediately intrigued. "She speaks," the author remarks. "I went to the graveyard, and what did I bring?" Perhaps a knife, to commit some dastardly deed? A casket or flowers, to suit the mood? Or perhaps a bell, for purposes untold? Of course, I was intrigued enough to pick the 'knife' the first time around, though this (unsurprisingly) led to the darker two of the eight tales.

This game essentially includes eight short stories in one. Each of them had a creepy and suspenseful mood, keeping the player on edge. I highly recommend that the reader goes through each one; they’re all only two pages long. I also highly recommend that the reader doesn’t simply press the ‘go back’ button like I did, and instead presses the button “Do you have another story?” when prompted.

The grammar was pretty much all spot on. I did see a few minor typos, but they definitely didn’t detract from the quality of the writing. I think my favourite of the eight tales was the one where you choose to bring a silver bell. Either that, or the one where you bring flowers for the girl in the grave.

If you are looking over this review and wondering whether to read this story, I highly encourage you to do so. Each of the eight will only take you about five minutes. You can come back to this review after you’ve finished the game. Please be warned that the rest of this review will contain SPOILERS.

You did include a nice ‘restart’ prompt on the second page of each of your tales. However, I often used the ‘go back’ button to change the second of my two choices, when I didn’t want to restart the entire narrative. That means I read through all eight stories without seeing the secret ending. If I hadn’t noticed Mizal’s comment, I wouldn’t have bothered searching for it. I wonder if there’s any way to discourage the player from clicking the ‘go back’ button, without disrupting the flow of your writing?

I have to say, your trick with the page titles was very clever! When I initially planned out my review, I was going to comment that they took a much harsher tone than the narrative itself. For example, in one tale, a man is mourning over his dead daughter. Why does the title refer to her as a brat, when the narrator seemed to care for her so much? Why do some of the stories have a caring and thoughtful protagonist, while others have a psychopathic one? Your true ending explains the ‘inconsistency’.

Though not obvious upon first glance, each of these titles also plays significance to the characterization of the narrators and the ordering of events in the tale. Suppose that you choose the option, “she speaks”. The following title is: “one to begin and one to end”. The story with the ‘gold bell’ is the very beginning of the sequence of events, whereas the story with the ‘silver bell’ is how it all finishes.

This is also the first moment where we see that there are three narrators in the story, and that the primary narrator commonly takes the perspective of yet other narrators. Now, I found this part confusing at first. From the true end, its obvious who the female narrator is, but many of the tales are told in the first person despite being from someone else’s perspective (e.g. Daryl’s, Edward’s). I feel like the author could have fixed this by writing about these events in the third person.

There were three stories that didn’t seem to fit into the larger narrative, though the corresponding page titles and text alluded that they did. Perhaps I am simply missing the significance. The three endings I am referring to are: 1) If you choose “flowers” and then “She was lying”, 2) If you choose “A casket” and then “I waited”, and 3) If you choose “A casket” and then “I tried to reach it”. Also, while I understood the connections between the other five endings, I had to read through the story a second time (after the true ending) to fully grasp them. I wonder if there is a way to express these connections more clearly, without giving away the twist.

Ultimately, this was a very good game and I could tell you put a lot of effort into it. I highly enjoyed reading this. Excellent work! 6/8.
-- Reader82 on 1/24/2020 12:43:22 PM with a score of 7
Interesting set up in the beginning. You choose your character and the story you get by what item they're carrying as they enter the graveyard. A knife signifies a very different intent than some flowers after all... (Note for those who hate items: there are no actual items, they're just choices to click.)

First think I read was the 'She was standing' choice of the Flowers section. It did not mark the immediate change into horror territory that I expected.

...but things DID turn creepy fast. And this was the point I realized I'd basically be reading a collection of short stories, although this one in particular was so good even just as a standalone thing that I didn't mind.

I'm curious though, what's the deal with the title of the 'lying down' choice? Whose POV is that? Some of the titles seemed to hint that either something more was going on as a framing device, or maybe just that you planned it that way but didn't have time. But that one is the most jarring because it's so at odds with the actual story.

Casket:

Another nice twist on expectations.

The writing is SO GOOD, I was stopping and rereading some of the sentences a few times just to enjoy them.

>>>I had held my lover's hand what had only seemed a few moments earlier. Hers were warm, mine cold. The world had
glimmered though I knew it was, in actuality, dim and fading. It was extinguishing before me and I thought it
would have been the silent smothering of a flame, but instead it was paper curling brightly, consuming itself in its thirst to blaze.<<<

Didn't care for the path that rewarded suicide though.


Knife:

The first two paragraphs. Even reading this in January they makes me shudder. I know that kind of humidity all too well and it's lurking just a few months away. Both stories had some similarities, but then again I guess when you're packing a knife to a graveyard with an intent to use it there's only so many ways that can go. I enjoyed the 'hide' one the best I think, there are some glimpses of humor there that gave it an edge over the other one.


Bell:

Silver must've been the point where you were feeling the time crunch as I started finding more typos here. It was nicely spooky though, going back to you old strengths with writing about spirits and fae and the like. Since that was one of the few protagonists without some dark twist I was really rooting for them to survive.


>The golden light fell through the silken curtain of willow leaves to dapple the path beneath my feet.

Love it. Like, it's just a single sentence, but that's just phenomenal imagery and it's got a kind of poetic rhythm to it. There's lines like this all over the place.

Gold did so much to make the couple likeable in such a short space. Just the little details (like how Amy opens packages) are enough to give more character and believability. And then you just leave us hanging on such an ominous note... This is the last story I read and it's the one I felt the most strongly could be spun off into a storygame of its own.

I'll just DM you the typos I found rather than cluttering up the actual review.

It really is an incredible shame this one was posted just a liiiittle to late to qualify for the contest. The branching itself might be a little lacking for a CYOA, but the actual quality of the writing overrides that. I really hope you have more stories planned, because you are unnaturally good at this stuff. And the commendations are well deserved; if you'd posted any of these pieces individually on the forum they'd have all gotten A++ gold star your admins love you stamp immediately.
-- mizal on 1/7/2020 10:23:50 AM with a score of 6
I thought this was an entertaining and sometimes chilling read, almost with the tone of an old and sinister ballad or maybe a well-written penny dreadful.

The story works best, really, with all of the four main paths being read one after the other, as perspectives on a whole, as variations of sadness and horror swirling around each other. They don't precisely tell a single coherent story: it's more like a theme and variations, all terrible (in the good sense of the word) and all highly atmospheric.

The narrator's tone of address to ther often has an undertaker-like flatness of emotion: dry, hands folded, somber. I think it adds a lot to the overall effect. But this effect doesn't come at the expense of description, particularly in the "casket" path which is visceral and the most startling in its presentation.

It's like four different whiffs of emotion, all powerful, but held at a slight distance by the narrative voice and the story telling conceit. I really enjoyed this, especially its artful construction.
-- Gower on 1/4/2020 8:37:30 AM with a score of 2
Not enough of a storyline.
-- Quorrah on 9/28/2020 9:37:05 PM with a score of 1
It only had one choice!
-- DarkentityOni on 4/25/2020 4:27:38 PM with a score of 0
LOVED IT
-- CarterBrazensky on 4/1/2020 9:27:42 PM with a score of 0
Now THIS is certainly something.
It's not really a game but more of an curiosity. With two clicks you decide what's going to happen, even though you're not completely clear on what those clicks mean. It's clever. But only because you made the outcome work so well.
A knife carries a different feeling than flowers, hiding in the shadows with your weapon ready to attack is different than waiting happily in the open for a friend. I'm kinda into it. It makes you want to see all the possibilities.
This game is like a box of chocolates: You never know know when you're actually dead-- Wait, that's not it....
-- puddlebunni on 1/19/2020 1:57:02 PM with a score of 2
Hey, guess what? I just found a secret ending!

Hint: there is something going on with the page titles.
-- mizal on 1/7/2020 8:22:22 PM with a score of 7
Others have been more eloquent than me already. This review is just to tell you that you have a way with words to use them in a poetic style without fall in the purple verbose. I maybe miss an only one coherent story but yours is a really well done short gothic story.

HOW COULD YOU MISS THE DEADLINE YOU WROTE A WINNING STORY SILLY GOOSE!!
-- poison_mara on 1/7/2020 10:05:43 AM with a score of 0
This was very different than what I expected. The whole game has a very unique branching style I wish I would see more. This idea was brilliant, and since you are a good writer overall the execution is great as well. Before reading this review you should play the game. That means you, you bitch who reads the reviews before playing the game and gets spoiled on them. TLDR this game is worth playing. Now go play it.

Starting with the idea, this game takes place in a graveyard. Depending on what you take to the graveyard, and what you do with it, you are one of many characters. I like the setting overall, because graveyards are just interesting. I can’t get too much into the idea without describing what the main draw, at least for me, is, and that is…

The branching! I love the branching in this game. Like I said earlier on the first page you pick what you take to the graveyard. You can take a knife, casket, flowers, or a bell. Once you pick your item, you have two options on what to do with it. Then the game is over. Each path is only 3 pages, and what this allows is for the author to create 8 paths, witch are very fleshed out for being 3 pages. All of them felt super complete, and the fact that that is every possible in a game with 9.2k words and 13 pages is astonidening. This game feels like 8 short stories connected only by their setting. While some may not like that, I do.

In conclusion, this game is great. The only thing that I’m unsure about is what to rate it. As much as I want to give it a 7, I don’t feel I can. With this length, it is almost impossible to write something worthy of a 7. There just isn’t enough room to work with to get to the necessary level. Though I will say this game is great, and I hope you continue writing.
-- MicroPen on 1/5/2020 6:13:34 PM with a score of 0
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