Key & Compass presents:
Eric's Gift
by Joao Mendes

Eric's Gift is a TADS 3 interactive fiction story and is © 2002 by Joao Mendes. This work was entered in IF Comp 2002 where it took 16th place.

In this story, based on a dream by the author, you play as an unnamed man who knows he will meet a particular woman at 3:30 am in Turill Plaza. How you first met her and how you knew you would meet her again at this time and place is what this story's about.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on the 2002 IF Comp Release of the story.


Sal's Diner YourApartment Out in theStreet FrennigStreet Out in theHallway LivingRoom Study DiningRoom LivingRoom Sal's Diner TurillPlaza greet womanthen ask herabout me drink cup thensmell cup out sing thenwear hat knock ondoor thenask womanabout jb x painting in x buildingsthen up ask herabout herself.x buildings.x figure. z. z. z. z. z. sing.z. z. z. z. eat food x buildings

There are very few normal room connections in this game since you're not exploring geography. Instead, this is a linear story told in a strict sequence, sometimes called a story on rails. Going from one location to the next often depends on performing the right trigger action that advances the story.


Turill Plaza

> about.

> x woman. x cape. x tower. x moon.

> talk to woman. ("Mrs. Chandler?" "Oh, it's you.")

> ask woman about herself. x eyes.

> ask woman about plaza. ask woman about moon.

> ask woman about me. ("Call me Cappella.")

She suggests getting a cup of coffee, and you both head to Sal's Diner.

Sal's Diner (sitting on the bench at the corner table)

If you don't make conversation, Cappella will ask you questions about various topics instead. This technique is used in several places in the game.

> x cappella. x sal. x table.

> x cup. drink cup. x window. smell cup.

It may be hard to guess, even with the references to the coffee's aroma, but it's essential that you both drink and smell the synthcaf in order to trigger the next transition:

Your mind drifts back four years ago, to when you first met Cappella.

Your Apartment

This setting makes it clear that the story takes place in a comfortable future.

> x auto-cook. x bed. x tri-di set.

> out.

Out in the Street

The actions "sing" and "wear hat" are the trigger actions for this location.

> x people. n. sing. (The wind blows your hat off.)

> take hat. x it. wear hat.

You decide to visit your friend JB.

Frennig Street

You will not be permitted to leave until you've examined both buildings.

> x river. x kemstone. x jb's building.

> uporin.

Out in the Hallway

> knock on door. ask woman about jb.

She tells you that she and Eric live here now, but she invites you in anyway.

Living Room

She tells you about how she and Eric recently married and have all sorts of plans.

> ask woman about herself. ask woman about eric.

> x paintings. x panel. x fireplace.

> ask cappella about panel.

> tell cappella about me. x furniture. x bookcase.

> x fire. x figure.

Examining the figure in the panel triggers Eric's entrance, but only after you've satisfied two other conditions first: asking her about herself and examining the fire/buildings in the panel painting.

> tell eric about me. ask eric about jb.

> ask eric about job. z.

During a turn where you didn't continue the conversation, Eric will ask if you want to see a new painting.


> x eric. x painting. (It's of Cappella. Clock tower at 3:30 during the daytime.)

You suggest making it a night scene, which Eric quickly changes it to. The picture of Cappella is now radiant, but her eyes still don't shine. Eric then invites you to dinner.

Dining Room (sitting at the table)

> x dinner. smell it. eat it. x paintings.

After four turns in the Dining Room, Cappella asks you to sing. You must sing at some point after she asks you in order to trigger the next part of the dinner scene.

> sing.

During the next four turns, Cappella tells you about Eric's gift for painting the future.

> z. x largest painting. z. x eyes.

After Cappella asks if the paintings merely predict or actually change the future, you must eat more of your dinner to trigger the end of this scene.

> eat food.

After a glass of synthliquor, you prepare to leave.

Living Room

> x panel. x figure. x buildings.

You're shocked when you realize that the burning buildings are the ones that used to be on this street.

You never see Eric again. The buildings on their street burn down that night. But you knew Cappella survived. Your mind returns to the diner.

Sal's Diner (sitting on the bench at the corner table)

You leave the diner together for a quiet walk.

*** The End ***

> epilogue

Eric's Gift - Epilogue

You and she marry, although you two don't really love each other. You never learn what happened to JB.

It's perhaps worth noting that in all three prophetic paintings, that although the foreground shows the future, the background shows the recent past:



Also mentioned:


Almost inventory:

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