As My Body Crumbles By Kienna Shaw and Jason Cutrone

Instruments: 1d6, Playing Cards

Game Description 

As My Body Crumbles is a hack of Alone Among the Stars about playing as a constructed being given a shortened life by a Creator who abandoned you. You play by searching through the clues, hoping to find any answer you can before your scheduled death.

Game Content Warnings 

These are content warnings that are from the game prompts and are present in all playthroughs.

Playthrough Content Warnings 

These are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.

Game Playthrough

Word Count: 1934      Played: Jun 7, 2022

The Creation

What do you call yourself?

    I only ever was me. Me.. Me. Mimi. 

What did your Creator make you of?

    I was born of discarded flesh and earth and the rot of despair. 

What is the first memory you had when you awakened? 

    I was cold and dark and alone. The stone walls dripped wet with water but I did not thirst. The ground was cold beneath my bare feet and I could hear nothing but the water. For days I waited. I did not sleep and the others did not stir. 

What emotion sits at the forefront of your heart as you seek out answers?

    Why was I not enough to be loved?

The Creator

What name did your Creator make you call them?

    Hallowed was her title and her name, but I had no mouth that could speak the words. My teeth and maw were too cluttered and too inhuman. 

What did you do at your Creator’s command?

    I hunted, and I ate, and I stalked. I kept her home safe. I kept her following safe. 

What treatment did your Creator give you throughout your life?

    She used deep magic and spare parts of those I returned to her. She ran her hands over my leathered body and I ached to be caressed. I ached and yearned to hold her close to me. 

What is the last memory you have of your Creator before they abandoned you? 

    She reached out to me and I took her hands in mine and she squeezed them tighter than she had before then left without saying anything. 

Card 1 

Ace       A Page from a Journal
Clubs       A Laboratory

    The room was nearly abandoned when I had found it. The dust settled against every instrument in the room and the stench of rot had sunk so deeply into the earth that I could still smell it, despite its barrenness. 

    But I heard it through the disruption of the echoes, a paper balled, discarded and forgotten, lost deep under one of the long operating tables. My milk-white eyes could barely read the faded ink. 

    There were dates and times, some looked to be missing  as though the ink had vanished, others were scratched through with additional notes. I could not understand what it meant. 

Roll: 2

Heart Beats: 0/6

Card 2

7       A Weapon Once used against you
Clubs       A laboratory

    I could hear them lined up against the wall. She had not taken them with her when she left. Was this good for the new ones she would make? Was this a sign she would return? 

    They were long poles with the hoops, made for grabbing and trapping. She would ensnare us and drag us down the long halls when we were needed to suit her needs. How could we resist? She would pull us apart otherwise. 

Roll: 6

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 3

4       A monument, faded and worn
Hearts       A home

    It was silent here, down deep in the Dungeon, but still I searched. I recounted her visage and how it sounded when she moved and for a brief moment I sensed her. 

    I scrambled and shambled through the long halls, my legs and claws tearing through the rocks and the stone. But I did not find her. How could I have known of the statue of her in the follower’s quarters? I was not allowed where the living resided. 

    I embraced the statue in my arms as I had hoped every day she would do the same to me, but the stone was as cold as she was. 

Roll: 3

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 4

Jack       A message written from one lover to another
Hearts       A Home

    There was nothing in this place except the rotting mattresses and blankets. I had once found my way down into this place before. When the living resided and spent their time here. But it was only for a moment, before the screams and the pole-nooses arrived and I was dragged through the corridors back into the shadows. 

    But here too, like the laborator, there was a discarded paper. No light filtered from the outside into this place and I could hardly make out the symbols scrawled upon it. I tried my hardest to read but all I could see were the faint etchings of crosses and circles near the bottom. 

Roll: 1

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 5

King       A moment with sentimental meaning to your creator
Diamonds       A lecture hall

    And down through endless corridors I searched, through dirt and vine, and the ever present stench of the rot. Down to the chapel where she held her sermons and her speeches.

    The benches were all empty and the candles all unlit. I had heard her speak only once when I had hidden behind the back wall. She had tapped the large mirror with the carved circles with a silver pointer. She tapped it so hard I thought it would break, but it never did. 

    The pointer lay resting on the lectern, covered in a fine layer of dust and I was too afraid to touch it. 

Roll: 5

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 6

4       A monument, faded and worn
Spades       Graveyard

    One of my legs has begun to shift. I can feel it beneath the skin, twisting and kicking itself trying to be free. There was nothing I could do but let it dangle as it tried to worm itself away from my body. 

    I went down to the graveyard. I knew she would not be there, but I wanted her to be so badly that I convinced myself she was. It was empty except for the raised coffins, each sealed with lead and silver and embedded with a tarnished mirror carved with those same circles. 

    I could see the eyes in my skulls reflected back at me. It is worse to remember being able to cry but not able to anymore. 

Roll: 3

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 7

6       A weapon that you once used
Hearts       A home

    And through the Dungeon I still shambled. Endlessly, mindlessly, ritualistically. My claws scraping into the stone. And I did what I was built to do. I tore through any strange adventurer I found, devouring, and eviscerating. 

    I found an enclave of strangers in a room warded against all creatures except myself. I am the parts of humans and am not a part of this place. They were unprepared and overpowered. 

    Would she still be happy I protected this place? Will she even return? 

Roll: 4

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 8 

6       A Weapon You Once Used
Spades       Graveyard

    I dug with the hands and the claws through soft dirt and earth through the fresh graves on the surface. I did not come here often, and if I was discovered I would surely be hunted. 

    The strangers often drag the corpses of their companions out of the depths of this place. For what reason I cannot fathom. The surface is just as fallow. 

    She would bring us here to harvest for the bodies then bring them back to her lab. Sometimes she would have her following do this work, but sometimes it was us. 

    We were never buried when we stopped. We were burned.

Roll: 3

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 9

3       A body part of a being like you
Clubs       A Laboratory

    There was another one down here. Unfinished. Rotting. I found the parts in another part of the laboratory. I don’t know how I could have missed it before. 

    Its faces were still and the eyes missing. But still I held out my hands to it. I moved my hands over its coarse body and took it into my arms. I held tight to myself and stroked the rotting parts. Why was this one not finished? Everything else was gone. Why not this?

Roll: 5

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 10

Ace       A page from a journal
Diamonds       A lecture hall

    My skin had begun to fall. I felt it sloshing against the bones as I ventured into a smaller room. A part of me from a past life knows this was a classroom. A dim light still emitted from a crystal hanging from the ceiling and I could make out the vague shapes with my decaying eyes. 

    On a board there was a map with ten places circled in red. Is this where she was? I did not know of anything special about these places. I do… I don’t know where I am. I am home? I am home. I am here. I am here. 

Roll: 3

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 11

8       A tool, elegant and alluring
Diamond       Lecture Hall

    They have started to descend deeper into the Dungeon. Packs on their backs, weapons in hand, and greed in their eyes. This place is not sacred to them, and so they loot and pillage and destroy. 

    I feasted upon them as well, feeling the sharp metal against my teeth and their hair down my throat. But I paused at their shield. It was one of polished metal, reflecting as if it were one of the holy mirrors. In the warped and dented metal I looked almost human again. 

Roll: 2

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 12

6       A weapon that you once used
Club       A laboratory

    My claws still remain sharp through all the digging and shambling through this place. I returned to her laboratory and hid myself along the craiged walls and floors.  I scoured and I searched. I upended all the tables and the parts and destroyed everything that was once hers. 

    I searched and I searched and I searched for any sign of when she would return. This was her home. This was my home. 

    Everything was torn to shreds with the deep claw marks. I have been here. I will always have been here. 

Roll: 3

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 13

King       A memento with sentimental meaning to your creator
Club       Laboratory

    I had broken it. I did not see it when I tore this place asunder. But I held it now, in too many fingers for too many hands. It was a carved wooden box, affixed with a clouded mirror on top. She once kept those wretched tools inside, but it was empty now. They were gone with her. 

    I ran one of my fingers across the broken glass. It sliced the rotting flesh but I could not bleed. I thought about the glint of the box when she dragged me with those stick nooses across the floor and sliced into me. Adding more, removing more, fixing, breaking, stitching, piercing, slicing, making and unmaking. 

    She had taken the tools with her. She would be making more like me. 

Roll: 1

Heart Beats: 1/6

Card 14

King       A memento with sentimental value to your creator
Spades       A Graveyard

    This place is a sepulcher: every inch covered in death, every rock stained with rot, and every life a forfeit to Nothing. 

    The mirror in the chapel has gone dark. I imagine my lives before reflected back at me, though to look into it was to see Nothing.  It has come for me at last. 

    She sought to fill the Nothing so that there was something. She told me that I was made of the leftover parts It would not accept. I was made of what was not needed and remade me to be useful.  

    She was a liar. 

    And through the darkened mirror and into the loving embrace of Nothing, into Existence itself, I surrendered all of me. 

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