Hello, whoever you might be that is reading this.
I don’t know how you’ve stumbled upon this, but if you’ve got some spare time to read, then please hear me out. I don’t want to convince you to stop reading what I read or to play what I have played, I know that is futile. Curiosity gets the best of us, I know this from experience. But maybe, just maybe, after you have finished going through what I have written here, you will probably think twice before engaging in this sort of activities. In that case, I think I should get started…
My name is Steve and I have been a huge fan of the Sonic the Hedgehog series ever since I was a little kid. I was and still am a lover of 2D platformer games and I played the Genesis and Advance Sonic games to death. Of course when I grew up, I started picking on the 3D games, but then something happened…
Wait a minute! If you’re an avid Internet user, you probably see where this is going, right? You might think this is an average Sonic the Hedgehog creepypasta just because of its cliché opening. I’ve read plenty of those to know what to expect from them. But really, Sonic was my gateway to the realm I never expected to find: the realm of creepypastas.
Just a few years ago while I was browsing Youtube out of boredom, I stumbled upon a video entitled Sonic.exe. It was of a ‘haunted’ version of the original Sonic game. I simply shrugged it off as a poor horror attempt at a classic game, since I kind of expected that to happen sooner or later, but I was still intrigued as to find out more about the whole Sonic.exe phenomenon. And so after a few Google searches, I found the said creepypasta on a Wiki site that was dedicated to them. Obviously, the writing did not impress me, a college student that is studying philology. But even so, I wanted to play the game for myself to see what it was like. So I downloaded it, played it like every other gamer and…
I will not lie, it creeped me out, especially the ending with the ‘I AM GOD’ face, the game over screen, the Japanese poem and the bonus level with Sonic as a playable character. However, I realized that I had underestimated the phenomenon that was Sonic.exe. Sure, the creepypasta was poorly written and the game at the first glance doesn’t look that scary, but if one researched it deeper, they found something that was really worthy of a Halloween scare.
Wishing to find things of even better quality, I began researching more on what was known as creepypasta. Before diving in to more reads, I made a quick search on Wikipedia (I know, not the most reliable source…) and I found this:
Creepypasta – urban legends or scary stories circulating on the Internet, many times revolving around specific videos, pictures or video games. Video game "creepypasta" often involves a hacked, glitched, bootleg, or beta copy of the game, typically found in thrift shops or garage sales. They often describe gameplay changes which are particularly violent, sadistic or demonic.
Being a fan of the horror genre as I was, I immediately liked the idea. After all those repetitive slasher movies that I kept watching Saturday nights with my friends, I finally found something new, something fresh. But I didn’t know where to start with other types of creepypastas, so for the following day I kept reading only Sonic-related ones. Some were really bad that they almost made me want to pull my hair out (notably Sonic’s Pentagram and Lost Sonic), but some were actually great and overall creepy (Anti-Sonic.dll and Tails Abuse).
And then, when the time came, I searched on Facebook and I found a Creepypasta page that posted what I wanted to read. As you guessed, instant like and quick browsing. I think I’ve spent countless hours on that page, reading tirelessly more and more, just like how a greedy kid eats all the sweets he finds under the Christmas tree.
That’s how I discovered Jeff the Killer, Slenderman, Suicide Mouse, Squidward’s Suicide, The Pocket, Smile Dog, and the list goes on. And sooner than I knew it, I became an instant fan of this Internet trend, knowing all of the most popular Pastas as well as striving to find even more of them.
But leaving aside the desire to be scared or explore what’s hidden in the dark, there was something else that attracted me to them. From a literary viewpoint, we mostly see horror stories that are being written by competent well-read people that have degrees in literature and so on. But what about the common folk? Yes, the people that are almost all the time the main characters in these stories, and the ones that are most of the time exposed to urban legends and creepy myths? Shouldn’t they have a right to create their own stories? Certainly yes!
And that was the thing. The official horror writers that are well-paid usually spend their time in academic circles, rarely enjoying the fun experience of wandering in an abandoned house during the sunset or doing ‘rituals’ with your friends at midnight. The fact that such simple people that had a much bigger contact with the ‘creepy environment’ if you will, were the ones creating these writings, was what made creepypastas a lot more enjoyable. The authenticity in the writing, and especially the fact that they were mostly written in first person, was making them seem more realistic and always made the readers ask themselves: is this really fiction?
Of course, at college I could not resist but telling people the tales that I was reading. Obviously there were three categories of people: those who didn’t give a damn, those that called me a freak, and those that were paying genuine interest to what I was saying. It became so frequent that at one point when we were having a two hour break from courses, my friends and I would gather around in a corner at the university for the ‘weekly horror stories’. We had a lot of fun, even if I was mostly doing the talking. Everything seemed great, these creepypastas became a huge part of my life and they were helping me in becoming that one interesting guy that always had something to tell.
One day when our English literature professor announced us that the scientific communications session was approaching, I offered to make a project regarding creepypastas as the new wave of neomodernist literature. My friends were excited and so was the professor. But that meant one thing: I had to deepen my research and not just simply read those creepypastas, but also do some actual ‘ground search’ in the sense that I had to interact with the writers, ask them about their inspirations and so on. Easter holidays were approaching, so that meant that I had two weeks at my disposition to make a great and entertaining project.
In that Friday afternoon, just as the holidays started, I was the last student left at university. I had to help my previous English literature professor with arranging some Shakespeare movies. That took us some time and we were done around 6 PM when it was closing time. As I descended the stairs all tired and admired the scarlet sky under which the last rays of our majestic star were still shining, something touched my shoulder. I immediately turned around only to find my good friend Alex from the theology college. Our universities were in the same building only that his was at the first floor, mine was at the second.
“Hey dude, it’s been a long time!” he greeted.
“Yeah, long time no chat.” I replied and shook hands with him.
“I heard you’ve been spending too much time on the Internet lately.” he alluded.
“Yeah right, those girls just can’t take a day without me.” I joked.
“You know very well that’s not what I meant, Steven.” his voice changed to a more authoritarian one that surprised me, since I knew him as a chill guy.
“Then what are you talking about?” I asked him with confusion.
“The whole university’s talking about those creepy stories that you’re telling. They even reached the ears of my colleagues.” he explained in the same way a parent scolded his child.
“Your point is?” I arrogantly asked.
“What you’re doing is not good. It’s becoming an obsession.” Alex looked dead serious into my eyes.
“An obsession?!” I exclaimed. “Don’t be ridiculous, man! It’s just a hobby!”
“Then how come that’s the only thing you’ve been talking of in your spare time, lately?” he analyzed. “Please, man, give up this thing. It’s for your own good.”
“My own good? The heck you’re talking about?” I was even more confused.
“Like any obsession in life, it opens the gateways to many bad things. Things you don’t want to have in your life.” he began speaking in a preachy manner.
“Man, not the whole sin and devil crap again! Please, you know very well that I don’t believe in this stuff!” I replied back. “Listen, I know you’re a future priest and all, but you’ve got to understand that some people just don’t buy into this nonsense.”
“Please, Steve, I’m only trying to look out for you!” he uttered caringly.
I turned my back on him and resumed my way to the exit.
“See you after holidays!” was the only thing I said back to him before going out the doors.
As I sat in my comfortable chair in the train that was heading to my city, I kept thinking about everything that had been going on the past weeks. The games, the stories, the sudden popularity I was gaining, the new friends I was making, Alex’s words… So far it seemed that everything had changed for the better. I was no longer the boring nerd that loved any sort of old literature that others would yawn after reading the first page. I was actually an interesting guy, and all thanks to this phenomenon. And things would only get better after I wrote down my project about creepypastas. I was sure to win the first prize! Alex was simply bullshitting with all his talk of the ‘supernatural’, most likely due to his religious upbringing. I was not going to let some superstitious fears come between me and my road to success.
Luckily my parents were gone for the whole Easter holidays in a mini vacation at the mountains. I didn’t want to come with them since I was really excited about this project, so there I was, all alone at home for two long weeks, doing nothing but spending time on the computer, researching.
And so time went by. I selected a couple of popular creepypastas which I tackled from a literary critique point of view, analyzing the text, searching for build-ups and character development, you name it. I was also doing some research in the gothic literature critiques that I received from my current English literature professor in order to make connections between classic horror novels and the chosen creepypastas. And when I was tired and could no longer take notes, I simply played games based on my chosen pastas or read new creepypastas. Whatever I did, it simply had to involve it.
Maybe Alex was right, maybe it was turning into an obsession. I could not think of doing anything that did not involve any degree of horror fiction. Creepypasta was no longer my key to success, but now it was also my drug, my escape from reality, my addiction. I lived it, I breathed it, I tasted it.
Days passed, nights passed, I didn’t know or care. I simply stood there in my room with my curtains pulled down, the monitor’s screen being the only light for me. The only time I would eat was when my stomach demanded it wildly through loud growls, and only then I would just eat a chunk of a sandwich, drink a little coke and then I would resume my work. But from that point on things would change.
Whenever I went to sleep, I never once slept well. I always had nightmares, nightmares involving me being chased in an empty city’s streets by a strange figure. Sometimes it took the form of Jeff the Killer, other times of Slenderman, sometimes even Sonic.exe. The point is, whenever I was being chased, it was by one of those monsters that I always ardently read about. And I would always wake up right when they caught me and attacked me.
My state was getting deplorable. I was wearing the same sweaty clothes, I was growing an uncomfortable beard, my hair was greasy and I probably smelled worse than a trash bin. But I didn’t care; I just wanted to be over with my project. And while I am at that, did any of you know that sometimes creepypastas are metafiction? Yes, but mostly the game-based ones, because they use a reference to either parody it or refer to itself as a form of art. You see, meta as a prefix means ‘after’ or ‘beyond’, which is what some creepypastas that reference other games or TV shows are. Stories that go beyond the boundaries of the original and explore hidden things that most readers or even writers tend to ignore. But the question is: Where should one stop exploring for his or her own good? Where do we draw the line?
But getting back, I don’t know what day it was, but I was getting close to finishing the project. I just had to re-read it once more, come up with a suitable ending, give the credits to all the works I quoted and send it to the professor so she could give her approval and advice on how to improve it. Then something unexpected happened.
I heard a knock at the apartment’s door. I went to see who it was, and obviously I didn’t open the door. I simply looked through the eyehole to find nobody in the flat’s hall. But that was the very first time I finally got away from the creepypastas. I then remembered what my parents told me: that while they were away they left message to their friends to not look for them at home. Also, I did not have any friends in my home town, as all my friends were either on the Internet or were residing in my university’s town. In that case, who was knocking at the door? Thinking it was some sort of prank; I walked back in my room and sat at the computer. For some reason, I finally could not stand the enclosed air anymore, so I pulled up the curtains and opened the window.
The sky was unusually red and the city’s streets were empty. There was no sight of life, no old people, no playful kids, no street dogs, nothing. All the buildings seemed abandoned and there was no sign of inhabitants at any window. Also, for some reason, there was a strange thin fog outside. Even though those were signs of a dusk or dawn, I could not see any streetlight on. Curious as to see what time it was, I looked at my watch and saw to my shock that it was 11:07 AM! Moreover, my computer showed the same thing. I looked at both my watch and my computer for what seemed like hours, but the time never once changed.
Everything was just too strange! I tried contacting my friends, but all were offline. I tried searching this on Yahoo news, but no result. I tried phone calling everyone I knew: parents, relatives, friends, nobody would answer. Just what was going on? I don’t know, I’ll probably never know. All that I know is that the door knocking still happened from time to time. But I can’t answer it; I’ll probably never answer it. I’m too afraid to go and see who or what is at the other side.
And now here I am, stuck on my computer, writing this down. Hopefully this message will reach one of you and you’ll know my tale. I don’t know how I got here, all that I know is that prior to getting here I had a huge obsession with creepypastas. But now, as I look at that red sky and at those empty buildings and street, I know that I don’t need some Internet stories to be afraid anymore.
All that I’m saying is this: next time you read a creepypasta or play a game based on one, be careful just how deep you delve into the story. For you never know what you might find. I certainly didn’t know…