Psst … missed the previous story in the Parallel Welcome Sequence? Click here to read it before you continue
“Uh … is this that copywriting island again?” you wonder aloud. “That one with Daniel’s lab on it?”
For some reason, your stupid time-travel remote has landed you somewhere else on the island again.
“Got to get Daniel to give me a new one of these,” you mumble to yourself, shoving the remote into your pocket.
You look around, but you don’t recognise any landmarks …
So you start walking through the oddly-coloured trees.
As you trudge, strange noises and screeches echo from the distance. Above you, a shadow whips past through the tree canopy.
You look up, but it’s already gone.
“Ugh, please tell me that wasn’t a monkey,” you mutter. “I hate monkeys. Never in ten million years would I want to run into one of those on this island.”
(As you say it, for a fleeting instant, you have this odd … premonition. For a moment, you see yourself running through a mist … escaping something … while shotgun blasts ring out. But then it passes, and you shrug it off.)
You come up to a thick tangle of vines and leaves.
You push them aside, and …
… find yourself staring at a large clearing in the middle of the jungle.
You step into it cautiously and look around.
“Hello?” you call out. “Daniel? Are you there?”
… no answer.
You walk into the middle of the clearing.
“Heh,” you chuckle. “Almost reminds me of one of those video game boss battles—”
Then you freeze.
Was that … a noise behind you?
The hair on your neck stands up as you spin around …
… to see a little hamster, hissing at you.
You stare for a second … then burst out laughing.
“So THIS is the ‘copywriting hamster’ Daniel was warning me about?” you laugh to yourself. “Ha! As if I have anything to worry about with THAT!”
The hamster lunges at your shoe and bites it.
“Shoo, ya little pest!” you say, kicking it away.
The little hamster goes flying off into some distant bushes.
You smirk and turn to leave, when—
A deafening screech echoes through the clearing.
Your blood goes cold for a second.
You turn around again …
… and see a GIANT hamster standing where you just kicked the little hamster.
And … he looks mad.
You swallow. “I, uh … your little friend there … it was an accident, I swear …”
The giant hamster takes a few steps towards you, rattling the ground as it steps.
Oh … dear.
Then, it opens its mouth … and with frightening speed, starts bounding towards you.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
You turn to run — but your foot catches a root and you fall over. You look back desperately, to see the giant hamster bearing down on you.
And you realise …
You’re not going to make it.
“DAAANIEEELLLL!!!!” you cry to the heavens. “WHY DID YOU DRAG ME INTO THIS HORRIBLE PARALLEL WORLD!”
You close your eyes and wait for the end.
And then, just as the hamster is about to devour you …
A voice rings out across the clearing.
Followed by …
The sound of a shotgun blast.
The blast clips the giant hamster’s shoulder.
It hisses in pain …
… then shakes itself off and bares its teeth. It’s too tough for one little blast like that.
And … it’s not done with you.
It opens its jaws to devour you, when—
There’s the sound of a shotgun reloading … then another strange number.
And — BLAM!
Another shot hits the hamster.
It squeaks in pain.
Seconds later, there’s more reloading and firing as more blasts ring out across the clearing at the hamster. Each is accompanies by another random number: 24! 5! 98!
(You’re not sure who is more confused — you or the hamster.)
And then, from behind you, a voice rings out:
“I’ve got 101 of these, you big furry cretin, so you’d better scram before you start looking like Swiss cheese!”
Still lying on the ground, you turn your head around — and gasp.
Across the other side of the clearing is a man armed with a shotgun (what is it with the guns here?) … and a string of shells slung over his shoulder.
If you squint, you can make out a large number printed on each of the shells.
The man starts walking towards you, reloading his shotgun, and you realise …
It’s … Daniel Throssell.
(Also known as ‘me’, but this is the awkward side of this weird first-AND-second-person narrative style I have.)
The giant hamster bares its teeth at me … before turning its fluffy tail and bounding off into the forest.
(I fire off a few more numbered blasts after it for good measure.)
Then I lower my gun, and crouch down beside you.
“Are you okay?”
“I … think so,” you stammer, standing to your feet. “What … what’s with the numbered shotgun shells?”
“Oh, these?” I say, casually looking at the ammo belt over my shoulder. “These are the rules of my Email Copywriting Compendium. I thought I told you about that in a previous page. They’re my 101 rules for writing emails and surviving in this copywriting jungle. I never leave home without them.”
“Can I see it?” you ask.
You reach for the ammo belt on my back—
I slap your hand away.
“This isn’t some charity, you know!” I say crossly. “You have to buy it. Here, this is the sales page.”
I hand you a business card with a link to the sales page.
But you don’t take it. Instead, you just stare at me incredulously.
“I nearly just died, and you’re trying to SELL me some product?”
“Rule #71, baby. You’ll understand when you buy the Compendium for yourself. Anyway, the offer is there when you come to your senses.”
I take the card and put it back in my pocket. Then I turn to leave.
“Let’s get moving,” I snap, striding back into the forest. “We need to get back to the lab. And on the way, I need to warn you about those copywriting hamsters I was telling you about in my email.”
“Warn me?” you say, running to catch up. “Too late! Weren’t you just watching? One of them nearly just killed me!”
I look across at you with a smirk.
“THAT? That wasn’t a copywriting hamster,” I say. “That was merely a giga-hamster.”
“A … giga-hamster?”
“That’s right … a giga-hamster. Large, yes. Violent, yes. But deadly to your copywriting career? Not at all.”
I turn up my chin and chuckle knowingly.
“Hah, to think that you thought that thing had anything to do with copywriting. Come on, let me tell you about copywriting hamsters …”