We were just down the stairs at the edge of the dungeon when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like, "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should fight..." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and this goddamn monster was tearing at me, some sort of man-sized jackal. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?"
I stumbled into my attorney, who simply backed into the dungeon wall and left me to deal with the beast. I hammered on it with my fists until it died, bursting into a cloud of multicolored smoke and leaving no corpse. "What the hell are you yelling about," he muttered, staring at the torches on the dungeon wall with his eyes closed and covered with wraparound Spanish sunglasses. "Never mind," I said. "It's your turn to fight next time." No point mentioning the monsters, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.
It was almost noon, and we still had something like 50 levels to go. They would be tough levels. Very soon, I knew, we would both be completely twisted. But there was no going back, and no time to rest. We would have to ride it out. My editor wanted a comprehensive story on the Amulet of Yendor and had told me and my attorney not to come back unless we had . . . and I was, after all, a professional journalist; so I had an obligation to cover the story for good or ill. The only way to prepare for a trip like this, I felt, was to dress up like human peacocks and get crazy, then screech off into the dungeon and cover the story. Never lose sight of the primary responsibility.
The room had three exits but only one had a closed door, so obviously I chose that one. I found my drug-addled senses made getting the door open difficult, but it was unlocked and gave after a few tries. I moved into the corridor and immediately saw that one of the open passageways led here anyway. Undaunted, I sidled past a boulder and kept going.
I was near the end of the corridor when I saw something flash out of the corner of my vision. When I looked down, a kind of scintillating insect was at my feet. It closed its glittery pincers about my leg and I was immediately jolted like I'd just taken a hit of mescaline. Cursing loudly, I stomped at the creature and it continued to snap at my leg, sending deadly electricity coursing through my leg. Eventually I crushed it and it disappeared in a cascade of multi-hued light. Not five minutes had passed and already I was half-dead. I had something in my pocket for this sort of thing, but it was too early to use it. Too early.
Still oblivious to what just happened, my attorney laughed at me. "You're full of acid, you fool. It'll be a goddamn miracle if we can get to the Gnomish mines before you turn into a wild animal. Are you ready for that? Breaking into a dark mine full of gnomes with a head full of acid?"
I ignored him and stumbled into the next room. I went immediately to a pile of money sitting on the floor next to some kind of bottled drink -- if I encountered any dealers down here, a bit of extra leverage wouldn't hurt. As I bent to take the money, I heard a skittering noise behind me. I whirled and saw a rat the size of a yorkshire terrier advancing toward me, its teeth dripping bloody froth. My attorney was nowhere to be seen. I kept moving toward the corner of the room, hoping for escape, only to see another rat follow the first one in. A set of stairs was nearby, but I wouldn't be able to reach it in time and god only knew what was down there. The door, too, was too far. Soon the beasts had me cornered.
With no alternative, I fell on the rats with fists and feet, fighting wildly. Soon I was near death, and I fumbled in my pocket for the draught there. When I straightened to drink from the bottle, I saw the hulking, insensate form of my attorney behind the rats, holding the bottled drink that I had left. O Christ, I thought, he's gone round the bend. Dr. Gonzo threw his vast Samoan bulk on the rats and I did the same. Under our combined attack, the beasts fell quickly, leaving the two of us covered in gore.
Dr. Gonzo was laughing out of control. "What the fuck are we doing out here in this dungeon?" he shouted. "Somebody call the police! We need help!"
I snatched the bottle out of his hand. "Give me that and let's go. We can't stop here. This is rat country!"
I drank down the bottle, which was chocolate milk, and stumbled back into the hallways. The first led to a dead end, which I gave a cursory search before giving up and heading to the opposite end of the room and down a long corridor, large enough to fit two men astride. My attorney followed me, chanting gibberish. I had passed through a room and into another corridor when I was surprised by some kind of horrible dog-man in a beat-up leather jacket. Before I could even move, my attorney threw a heavy punch that snapped the neck of the dog-man and sent him to the ground.
"You killed him dishonorably, you bastard!" I shouted. "We'll have to eat his corpse to satisfy the gods."
I stepped forward to do so, but was confronted by yet another monstrosity, this one made of plants. I struck out at it and it fell over motionless. I was now free to continue my ritualistic cannibalism, which I did. As soon as I was done, I felt the familiar touch of nausea -- damned dog-men. I picked up a chunk from the plant-thing's corpse to eat later and the leather jacket the dog-man had been wearing and moved on.
Now wearing the bloody leather jacket, I kept traversing the maze. I was still beset by monsters or hallucinations: another plant-monster, a giant newt. My attorney was no help whatsoever, screaming about conspiracy. I stopped at a fountain and drank it dry, disappointed that nothing horrible had happened. In the next hallway, we encountered another jackal, and Dr. Gonzo volunteered to eat this one. We killed two more of the shiny bugs.
Moments later, we found a piece of graffiti on the floor, in the room where we had entered the dungeon.
"What's it say?" Dr. Gonzo asked.
"I don't know," I replied.
We both stared at it for a while before I decided to move on to the next level of the dungeon.
"This is not a good dungeon for psychedelic drugs," I said. "Reality itself is too twisted."