I work in a small IT shop for a large company. My best friend works for the same company, but in sales. Due to our differing jobs, it isn't often that we get together for a brunch, dinner, or even drinking parties, like we used to in college. Nowdays, the most we see of each other is on certain weekends that both of us have off. Even then, this is done remotely with games. Me being a little sociophobic, we usually play on closed servers that I or he hosts. I build computers as a hobby, and I am a little proud to say that I built both my friend computer and mine.

   In any event, this all started a few months ago. We were playing unreal tournament on my server with a few other friends, a CTF map called Facing Worlds. I was on the blue team, my friend on the red. We were dominating, the score was 13 - 0, going to 20. I had the flag, running towards my base, when suddenly I was sniped, the flag rested on the ground. This had happened several times before, but this particular incident was the turning point of the game, we scored no goals at all after that point, and they took the lead. This being completely out of the ordinary, as my friend sucked at FPS games, I took a look at the leader board at the end of the game. An additional person had joined their team. 'Grue'. I had simply passed the notion as I had forgotten to add a white list and some random person in our workcenter knew about the server and joined in during the game. I thought I saw the notification in the middle of the game, but dismissed it as it was a fairly fast-paced match.

   A few weeks passed, and we got together for another game, this time Minecraft. This time I was sure my firewall would hold, as not only did I double check the whitelist for my server, but I had an additional whitelist on Minecraft. It was myself, my friend, and three other people. We were in the middle of building a large tower when another player joined, again named 'Grue'. I caught it this time, and immediately asked him who he was. No response. I was pretty pissed at this point, so I used my admin powers to kick him off the server. Both him and my friend left. I thought it coincidence until my friend came back on demanding to know why I kicked him. Thinking it was a bug in the system, I annotated it on a notepad, and went about my business constructing the tower. Until 'Grue' came back on. I didn't kick him this time. Instead, I checked the whitelist in my mincraft folder. For some reason, 'Grue' was added. I again asked who he was. No answer.

I figured this was about time that I find this 'Grue' person and give him a piece of my mind. I attempted to teleport to him, but couldn't, as he was in 'another dimension'. This usually meant that he was in the 'nether'. I gave up on it and called it quits for the night.

I was awoken by a phone call. My friend called me, complaining and shouting. I couldn't figure out what was going on for a while, between shouts and explitives. I managed to find out that his computer has been busted and he needed me to fix it. Very odd, as it wasn't that old.

I collected his computer the next day. It wouldn't get any attention until the weekend. I had found that the graphics card was burnt. Not normal burnt, as one would expect, but burned as though somebody had taken a lighter to it and burned the card. I replaced it, and it seemed to work just fine. To verify, I installed my old Age of Empires copy into it and played it for a while, with random maps. This went on for a while, until I noticed that one of the player's names wasn't 'computer'. It was 'Grue'.

I quickly closed the program. I wasn't even connected to the internet, there was no way I could recieve a connection from a hacker, no matter how good he was. I looked on the desktop and noticed a text file with my name on it. I wasn't sure if it was there before, so I opened it. It was from my friend.

"Brian (my name), I'm sorry to put you through this, but I have no other choice. I am being stalked by this fucker 'Grue'. No matter what game, no matter what server, this asshole follows me around. When I asked for help from other people, they told me I was full of shit, so I am asking you. You know me, you will help. From what I gather, his IP address is Help Me."

I closed the txt file in a hurry, only to find the background had changed. It wasn't the pony that Mike had on it anymore. It was a kid's face. Nothing especially creepy about it, just something that looked like a school photo. The only creepy thing is that I didn't change it. I quickly took my boot copy of AVG and scanned Mike's computer. This would take a while, so I got a snack. When I returned, it found something.

What.exe (Trojan) D1d.dll (Rootkit) Y0u.css (Trojan) D0.ex (Adware) t0. (Tr0j4n) (4dw4r3)

AVG notified me that in order to remove the files, I would have to reboot the computer.

I did so.

As the system started to boot up, I smelled a faint burning odor. Sensing danger, I pulled the plug and checked the inside of the system. Although there was a definite burning smell of circuitry inside the machine, I couldn't locate the source. I was about to give up when I noticed burn marks on the ram. I pulled the stick out to check it under a light.

The burn marks again looked to be made externally, not an internal source. This time, however, the marks formed words. It read: "Help Me".

I put the ram back in place; after all, there was nothing externally wrong with it.

I opened notepad, and started typing.

I wrote: "Is anyone there?"

I awaited a response. Two hours passed, and nothing happened. I stared intently at the screen, not really knowing what to expect. Sighing, I closed the notepad. The desktop had changed again. The kid was still there, but underneath his face there were words written. "I AM GRUE" was written in an unknown font, the letters crimson.

I reopened notepad, hoping that whatever it was is trying to communicate with me. Although skeptical, I don't entirely dismiss the notion that paranormal entities exist. Notepad started up like normal, but instead of the normal blank file, it opened with the words 'Help me'. On the next line, I typed in 'How?'.

Eagerly I watched, waiting for a reply. Receiving none, I decided to close notepad yet again to see if the desktop had changed. It had.

This time it was a little unsettling. The picture was the negative of the original picture, with the eyes blackened completely out. The words 'I am Grue' had been replaced with 'HELP ME', still crimson, still in the same unknown font. I stared at the screen for a while, trying to figure out what was going on, until I noticed that the picture, even with the eyes blackened out, was blinking.

I quickly checked the desktop settings to see if I could find the source file, which was likely a .gif. To my dismay, the settings showed that the desktop was a pink pony. I went back to the desktop, and again the picture had changed. The teeth in the mouth had twisted and become distorted. More than a little unsettled about this, I shut the computer down and called my friend.

A few days later, he showed up at my house and I confronted him about the text file. He knew nothing about said text file. So we turned the computer on.

The desktop showed a pretty, pink pony. The text file was gone.

Aggrivated by the sudden departure of my evidence, I decided to play a quick LAN game to see if the problem had been solved. We started up a game of Terraria. My game started up just fine, his however, did not start up at all. I decided to let him play on my computer while I troubleshot his.

I tried to start up Terraria on his computer. It seemed to respond. Instead of Terraria opening, however, notepad came up. It said 'Beware Mike'. I felt a shiver go down my spine, the palms of my hand became sweaty. I looked over my shoulder to see if Mike was still there, but he was nowhere to be seen. I shouted his name to see if he was even in the house. No response. I returned to the screen to find the text had changed. It now said 'RUN, OR YOU WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS I'. I closed out notepad to find a new background. The screen showed Mike standing above a bed with a knife. In the bed was a child. The same child as in the photo.

I quickly got up and turned around. Behind be stood Mike, wielding a knife. His face held an unnatural grin. I was paralyzed as he started walking towards me with an unnatural gait. He held the knife above his head and struck.

To this day, I cannot recall what happened after that. Mike's computer was still in my house, albeit he had completely vanished. I had no stab wounds on me when I woke up.

Grue was gone. I checked Mike's computer to see if he would come back, but he never did.

Several years later, I was playing Minecraft when Mike's screenname came up. I was overjoyed to see my friend again, even after the whole ordeal. I typed in a very enthusiastic greeting, to which he never replied. The same chill started going down my spine. I was playing a solo game. I shut down Minecraft to find that my desktop had changed. Mike's old school photo showed on the desktop. 'Help me' was written underneath, in crimson, and in the same unknown font.

Written by Benovere

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