Into the Wilderness

By Arcane Reno

A light drizzle fell as Castor, Misty, and Sunny worked their way up the forest trail, their boots squishing in the mud.

“Are you sure we’re headed the right way?” Misty asked, her striped tail flicking up and down. “Unlike you two, my fur is not waterproof.”

“I definitely saw it with the scope,” Sunny said, the otter holding up his pocket spyglass. “According to Marcus back home, there was a bunker across the old suspension bridge, and it should be… Aha!”

The tree emerged from the trees out above a wide river canyon, across which stretched a bridge of wood and cable, the pathway swaying gently in the breeze. Misty let out a small “Oooh.”

“Is that thing… safe?” asked Castor, the beaver edging close to the edge to peer down. “It’s gotta be pretty old. Besides, are you sure they would build a bunker across this?”

“What better place to put it? Way back in the mountains, nice and remote. Bots couldn’t cross the bridge easily, and they could cut it down if any tried. There’s probably still some good stuff in the bunker,” Sunny said. 

Misty flicked her damp hair back from her eyes. “Looks sturdy enough to me. Come on, let’s get somewhere dry!” With that, the raccoon strutted forward onto the swaying bridge. It bounced a little beneath her feet, but held firm, and she spun about to wave them on with a grin. “What are you waiting for? I thought you wanted an adventure!” 

Sunny and Castor shared a grimace, before following with cautious steps. Sunny kept his eyes fixed firmly on the other side, while Castor took an occasional glance down, taking in the view of the river rushing far below. Misty called out from the opposite bluff. “Hey, you were right! I see the bunker.” She pointed ahead through the treeline, where a glint of metal poked free of the greenery.

Once Sunny and Castor stepped safely off the swaying bridge–Sunny letting out a held breath as his feet touched solid ground once more–the three rushed forward up a small slope to the bunker doors, the structure set into the mountainside. Around them, the towering pines supported a network of wooden walkways, and the remains of old electric lights. “Aparently this place used to be some kind of park,” Sunny said, noticing Misty and Castor’s glances. “Y’know… before everything.”

“Cool, but that’s not making me any dryer,” Misty said, advancing on the heavy bunker door and tugging. “Lend a paw, would you?” 

With their combined efforts, the doors creaked open, unleashing a small puff of dust and swirl of cool, musty air. The three pulled windup flashlights from their belts and clicked them on, the dim glow lancing through the gloom.

“Check it out, there’s still plenty of supplies!” Misty said, walking forward onto the stone floor. The patter of the rain faded as they advanced into the abandoned shelter, playing their flashlights over wooden crates and old wrapped bundles. “I guess everyone who lived here took what they wanted and left in a hurry.”

“Or just decided it wasn’t worth it,” Sunny said. “I wonder which community holed up here?”

“No wonder they left these,” Castor said, the beaver pointing their light at the crates with a sigh. “It’s all beans.”

“Maybe there’s something else,” Misty said, moving deeper inside. “Besides, beans are still food!”

“Barely,” Castor grumbled, following her.

“You two go ahead,” Sunny said, stepping to the side to examine a fallen box of dusty magazines. “I want to flip through these.”

From Misty’s direction, clinking and clattering bounced off the bunker walls. “Oooh, kitty cola! Score!” A small pop rang out, followed by the telltale hiss of an opened bottle, then the gulping of the raccoon guzzling down the drink.

“Hey, save some for the rest of us,” Castor protested, moving beside her. Just as the beaver reached for a bottle, the ground beneath their feet shifted. “Woah, hey, did you feel–“


The earth heaved. All three shouted in alarm, Misty dropping flat and pulling Castor with her. Dust and pebbles fell from the ceiling as the ground trembled. 

“Look out!” Sunny yelped, hurling himself back towards the door. A large clod of earth shook loose from the ceiling, crashing down between them. A cascade of dirt and rock followed, clouds of dust flying, blinding them and sending all three into coughing fits.

Several tense moments ticked by, the shaking gradually settling. Each could hear the frantic thudding of their own hearts, echoing the earth’s thunder. A tentative paw reached out, clicking on a flashlight.

“Castor, you okay?” Misty rubbed dust from her eyes, helping her friend to their feet, the beaver still coughing. Once they caught their breath, they nodded, patting about for their own light.

“Hey!” Sunny’s voice came muffled from the other side of the cave-in. “Are you two alright?”

“A little dusty, but nothing broken or buried.”

“Except my light,” Castor added, looking forlornly at the barrier of rock and dirt. “Crud, now what?”

“See any way through?” Misty asked.

They scanned the cave-in, Misty’s light panning back and forth, but it proved floor-to-ceiling, sealing them in. The scent of fresh air from outside was fading, replaced by the mustiness of the bunker.

“This is too much for us to dig through alone. Maybe I should head back for more paws,” Sunny called. 

“Good idea,” Misty said. “We’ve got enough supplies for a few days anyhow.” She shifted her pack, emphasizing the point. “Always scavenge prepared!”

“Not enough to bring a shovel,” Castor said.

“Well, maybe we can find one,” Misty said, turning to look deeper into the bunker. “This place is huge after all, and there might be another exit.”

“I’ll go get help! Sit tight you two,” Sunny shouted through the barrier. With that, he turned tail and ran back out into the rain.

“Very funny!” Castor shouted back. Rolling their eyes and turning to Misty, the beaver squared their shoulders. “Lead the way I guess. What now?”

Misty grinned, putting her fist up. “Find some tools and start digging!”




Will Misty and Castor escape the bunker? Find out in the next part! Follow along with their journey by scanning the QR codes hidden throughout the con space, and make sure to collect the cipher components from each step along the way. Check out our con game, Corgi Says, for the full interactive adventure and the chance to win awesome prizes! Good luck out there, wasteland explorers!


For your first task, help Misty and Castor escape by getting to a high place, where you can see the land below!


Cipher Components:  T  E