My first attempt at a Creepypasta. Tried to be original with the format, and I think it turned out alright. All feedback is welcome. If, by some miracle, this gets read by Mutahar on YouTube, I feel it would be most effective read word for word. (That's really up to Mutahar though.)
"The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything." - Albert Einstein
I know it’s not really the norm for people to send handwritten letters anymore since we have email, meeting face to face and the all-powerful cell phone, but I wanted to switch things up. Plus I had a few extra postage stamps and I figured that you’d be expecting a letter from me sooner or later.
So…I have a confession to make. I haven’t been completely honest with you over the last couple of months. College has been great, but some very serious things have happened that have forced me to make some very grave choices.
Going back to the beginning, I was pretty angry with Kyle when he wouldn’t let me take any of our game systems to college. It’s not like we don’t own every single Nintendo video game system they made. (Sans Virtual Boy, of course. I need my eyes to study.) If I wanted to blame him, I could. But I don’t. Video games were such a huge part of our childhoods that I’m surprised he didn’t get more violent when I tried to sneak our SNES out with me. In hindsight, that was a stupid decision anyway. I don’t have a TV to play it on nor do I have the money to buy more games for it. What am I going to do, accept a copy of the game I’m looking for from some random old guy on the street for free? I’m WAY too familiar with some of the stories floating out there on the internet. (PS NEVER look these stories up unless you want to be truly disturbed.) So being the typical money deprived college student with no TV, I went online and downloaded ZSNES. If you’re unfamiliar with ZSNES, it's an emulator that allows you to play video games on your computer, downloaded from the Internet, as though you were playing on the console. Pretty convenient for me.
Anyway, the game I loved more than any other, as I’m sure you’re well aware from how much I used to play it, was Super Mario World – the reason I tried to sneak the SNES out at all. Being unfamiliar with ROM’s, I asked one of my roommates experienced with emulators where I could find a decent ROM of Super Mario World and he guided me to ROMHustler. When I finally downloaded, unzipped and copied the ROM to a permanent folder, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the ROM came with a bunch of hacks a la carte. I was under the impression that you had to search these hacks out.
For a while, I tested out the first world of each hack, trying to determine which hacks were worth keeping and which hacks I should just delete. Some of the hacks only changed the first world and the rest of the game either didn't exist or was a carbon copy of the original. This went on normally for about a month, and then I found myself at one very strange hack simply called “RUN.” Creeped out, I deleted it immediately. I had recently heard the story about Sonic.exe and I couldn’t get the Kefka sound effect out of my head - I was NOT taking any chances. (Like I said before, forget I ever mentioned these stories.) Needing to clear my head, I left for the rec complex for an hour or two. When I came back, I went to the folder of hacks only to discover that RUN had somehow been restored. Confused, I went to check the Recycle Bin, only to find that RUN was still there, so it had somehow been copied back to the original folder.
THIS SHOULD HAVE SENT UP RED FLAGS.
Deciding that I might as well see what it was like, (But only the first level, I promised myself.) I started ZSNES up and loaded the hack. Shockingly, the first world was entirely normal. As in, the hack creator didn’t change anything. ‘OK,’ I thought to myself, ‘this might as well be my normal game.’ Level after level turned out to be exactly the same as the original game. Being the completionist that I am, I had to get every single exit in the game. Oddly, I was able to get to Soda Lake before the last stage in Special World – something that I was never able to do before - so heading into to final stage, I was prepared for it to be similar to the original like the rest of the game. Wishful thinking on my part.
As I started the level, “Mario Start” popped onto the black screen and the first thing I noticed was the lack of music. The game was completely silent except for the jumping sound effects, and the only thing to appear on the screen besides Mario was a message block; no bushes, clouds or coins, not even a timer. The game wouldn’t let me progress to the right, so naturally the only thing left to do was hit the message block. The box came up on the screen and sent chills down my spine as I read it.
“IF YOU STOP, YOU DIE.”
Finally, the game would let me continue, but as soon as the message block was off of the screen, the level turned into a scroller, where you either keep moving right, avoiding everything in your path or you get crushed between the left side of the screen and whatever’s preventing you from progressing. Annoyed, since scroller levels are my least favorite of any type of level in Mario games, (Yes, even underwater levels.) I resolved to keep going until I beat the level and by extension the game. For the first 5 minutes or so, nothing appeared in front of me – I was just running on flat ground. I figured that this was a “push right to win” level, but after about 10 minutes, I began to get annoyed. Did this level ever end? It was at that exact moment that the scroll speed got faster. It took me by surprise after 10 minutes of absolutely zilch happening. The game got progressively faster and faster, to the point that even running full speed, I was only barely ahead of the left side of the screen.
Finally, the end gate appeared and after I broke the gate, two things ran through my mind in rapid succession. The first thought was that I finally beat the hack, but then, I realized that the stage didn’t stop scrolling. Sure, Mario kept running at the speed I had him running at, but the end of the level should have signaled the level to stop scrolling, or at the very least slow down. Then I remembered in horror that at the end of every level, Mario stopped, turned to the player and flashed a peace sign before going to the next level. Praying to God that Mario wouldn’t stop like he normally did, my fears were confirmed. As he stopped, a wall appeared right in front of him, and I watched in horror as he was crushed between a wall that had just appeared in front of him and the left side of the screen. There was something comical, and yet so very disturbing about watching Mario try to walk through the wall as if it weren’t even there, that I was completely unprepared for the sound of Mario’s bones being ground between the walls. This wasn’t a normal Mario death where he makes a funny face and falls off of the screen. It was so gruesome and so unnerved me that my hands started shaking. The “Time Up” screen appeared, only instead of “Time Up,” it said “You stopped running.” I closed out of the game, wondering what the hell just happened. Because music typically calms me down, I opened iTunes, hoping some music would help me relax. When my library loaded, all of the files had been renamed “You stopped running.” Double-clicking on any of about 2000 songs produced the same horrific noise that I had heard upon Mario’s death in the game. In fact, every single file on my computer had been renamed to “You stopped running” and none of them worked like they should. My emotions went from fear to anger, as I assumed that the hack had planted a virus on my computer. If it was just a virus, that would have been the end of it. (Side note: The only reason I didn’t really tell you about the corruption of my hard drive is because I didn’t want you to worry about how much a new computer is going to cost.)
About a week passed without incident, and my mind eventually moved on from the corrupted hack… for a time. Inevitably, though, my mind went back to that strange hack. Late one Saturday night, I was sitting at my desk, working on homework and eyeing my computer suspiciously. I had anti-virus software. Why didn’t it stop the virus? Suddenly, I heard something hard hit the window as a car drove by. Assuming it was just a rock thrown by the tire of the car, I pulled up the blinds to survey the damage. What I found, I cannot explain.
The window was cracked in such a way that it spelled out RUN, but not in English. These letters were in Cyrillic, which cemented in my mind the thought that this was a personal message for me, since I’ve been studying Russian for the last year. Usually, I don’t believe in coincidences, but I tried to write this off as one. There was no way that this could be related to something that happened on my computer. At least… that’s what I kept telling myself. I needed to get my mind off of me and onto something else.
A floor above me lives one of my housemates who happens to own a dog – a beautiful 4 month old Australian shepherd puppy. Figuring she was asleep, I peeked into the room and sure enough, she was. Flipping on the light and opening the door to her kennel, she got up reluctantly and walked over to me, still eager to be pet at 5:30 in the morning and wiggling her butt, since Australian shepherds don’t have tails. I pet her, threw the tennis ball around to her, fed and watered her, and then I started feeling drowsy. Putting her back in her cage and flipping off the lights, I had no sooner shut the door and started down the stairs when I heard an unearthly sound coming from the room. I hesitated, not sure whether or not I wanted to check the room. Eventually, my mind forced me back up to the room. When I turned on the lights, the dog was on its side in the kennel, eyes wide open, staring blankly into the distance. She wasn’t moving.
Racing over to her, tears flooded down my face as I tried in vain to find a pulse. I had read somewhere that you can perform CPR on a pet much in the way that you can on a person, so I tried. I tried so hard to save the dog, but it was useless. When I lay her back on her side, I saw that same pattern from the window as coloration in her fur, something I know with 100% certainty wasn’t there before. Furiously, I kicked the sofa as hard as I could and had to grit my teeth to keep myself from screaming. Waking up 32 other guys at 5:30 in the morning would not have gone over well and there was nothing they could do for the dog. In a state of hysteria, I went back down to my room, put my head on my desk and cried for a good hour or two.
After that, I only went up to the second floor when absolutely necessary. I can only assume that the owner, who happens to be a vet student, couldn’t find a cause of death, since I apparently killed her. I had to try my hardest to not lose it every time he talked to me. I even threw up a couple of times. I couldn’t eat half of the time, and when I did, most of the time it wouldn’t stay down. This wasn’t something Tums could cure. These images of real life – real death – were burned into my mind, and I just wanted them out.
So yeah, now you know how I lost 12 pounds this past month.
My health was deteriorating quickly, and then, if you can imagine it, I actually got worse, because I started imagining what I had done to the dog happening to a person. It didn’t matter if it was a complete stranger or my best friend, the thought of being the death of anyone terrified me immensely – it was only a matter of time. I couldn’t let it happen, and then something suddenly clicked. The word RUN wasn’t haunting me because I failed on the level of the hack. It was haunting me because I hurt people. I was trying desperately to escape from that fact, but I never could.
Or… could I?
Anyway, if this letter gets to you before then, I promise to make sure you get an open casket. I won’t swallow a gun or anything like that. Most likely, it will be the pills I was prescribed for the infection I had in my foot.
If this letter gets to you afterwards, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner. I’m sorry that my death seemed senseless at the time. The last thing I would want you to think was that I committed suicide for selfish reasons, but maybe I did. Maybe I did it for someone else’s sake, or just to ease the guilt that I might feel if I did hurt someone close to me. Either way, perhaps the fact that I tried to be noble in my death can ease you pain, if ever so slightly. I can only hope.
Bro, you’ll face a lot of adversity in your lifetime. Don’t run from it. Stand up. Face it. Power through it. You will come out of it a better man.
I’m sorry that I didn’t get to spend more time with you, but you two gave me the best 20 years of my life. I love you always.
Searching for Closure, Finding More Questions
About three days after Kyle and I got the letter, we had the funeral. It wasn’t supposed to be much of anything special, but more people showed up than Jesse would have ever imagined. He always believed himself to be the lone wolf, but it was probably the same unselfish way that drove him to this that won him so many loyal friends. Ironically, the casket had a little storage compartment to put keepsakes, and Kyle put a SNES game in it. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Whenever they were together, Kyle and Jesse always had senses of humor that could best be described as cynical, especially when playing video games. I don’t think the loss will fully hit us until the summer. Right now, it just feels like he’s still away at college.
About a week later, I had to make the trip up to his college to gather his belongings. I spent the entire two hour drive figuring out how to keep it together when I got the consoling remarks from all of his housemates. Kyle wanted to come, but I wouldn’t let him. He had school, and for him, going to school would help him get back to a sense of normalcy, even if he wouldn’t be able to focus. Once I got to the house, I pulled into the parking lot thinking I was prepared for anything. Then, what appeared to be a house member opened the door for me and passed in front of my car, walking a small Australian shepherd puppy.
I sped through the rest of the day on auto pilot, numb, trying to figure out exactly what was going on. I thought the letter said the dog had died! It unnerved me so much that I couldn't even pick up any of his things. All that way for closure, and all I found was more questions. Once Kyle got home from school, I asked him if he had tried to find the hack. “Yeah,” he said, confused, “I found the Zip file he downloaded. The RUN hack isn’t there.”
So that’s where the story ends. We couldn't find out anything else. I'm not really even sure I wanted to. We’ll probably never know what really happened to Jesse over those last few months of his life. Maybe, that’s for the best. All I can say is that I’ve never been more proud of my son than I am right now.
There were two main things I wanted to do differently, although I'm not sure they would have changed the story much. The first thing I wanted to change was the way in which Mario was crushed in the hack. Originally, I had wanted the scrolling to speed up so much, that Mario ended up being pushed by the left side of the screen, until a countdown appeared on the screen to the tune of the drowning music from the Sonic series. (That damn music.) Everything else in the Creepypasta would have proceeded in much the same way.
The other thing I wanted to change was Kyle discovering that Jesse's hard drive was not at all corrupted, and that all of his files were in perfect working order. This I removed for one simple reason - With the ending the way it is now, it creates a lot more ambiguity, which allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions and allows me more freedom for the eventual sequel. If Kyle had discovered the files not being corrupt, that would have led more strongly to the conclusion that Jesse had just gone insane. But what really did happen...?
SEQUEL IS UP! --> A Terrible "Fate"