It all started out as a boring night with nothing to do. I was going through my games on steam to see if I could mod one of them and make it a bit more interesting than it already was. I had been making my own mods for quite some time, but I wanted to make one that changed the game play of a game entirely. The mod was for a game called “Portal,” a well-known game in the gaming community.

After many weeks of hard work, I had completed the mod. The mod was simple but it was made and based around the story of “Doug Rat-man,” a character that is commonly known in the fan-base of the Portal and Portal 2 games.

After completing the mod, I immediately went to test it out; as soon as I loaded the game, it crashed. I was devastated. It took me weeks and weeks of coding and designing and all of that shot down the drain as soon as it crashed. But, I was determined to get this mod working.

I began to dig through the coding to see what had gone wrong. Immediately there was a corrupted strand which when translated it just said: “Rat.” I deleted the strand and went back to try testing it again.

I let out a physical squeak of delight when I saw the mod was working properly. The title screen was normal and so were the options, but something didn’t seem quite right when the game began. It was supposed to start with Doug Ratman shaking you awake. Instead, it started with him sitting by the bed calmly, just saying a very familiar quote: “rise and shine.” The voice didn’t sound right either; the voice was supposed to be my friend’s. However, it ended up sounding glitched, and this new voice would also enunciate different syllables that were not recorded.

I decided to keep going and continued to play through the tests. Everything was as it was coded. Though, something went wrong around test chamber #4. Test chamber #4 was a simple momentum test, which required some minor ninja portal-jumping. When the test was completed, Ratman was supposed to meet me at the end with the companion cube. Only Rat-man appeared at the end of the chamber.

I just decided to pass it off as a minor glitch and continued on playing, but before I did, Rat-man said something disconcerting. All I could get out of it was the phrase, “You are man,” but the rest was buried in incomprehensible static. I was beginning to think that my friends who helped make the mod had been playing tricks on me. Letting out a frustrated sigh, I continued on with the chambers.

Again it was fine for a couple of test chambers, but then I came to chamber #7, which is where I was supposed to get the orange portal gun. Instead I was greeted by Rat-man. Rat-man said another line of static that ended with the words: “In the world.” Now, this is where I turned down the idea of this being just a friendly prank. Rat-man had smashed the other portal gun and had thrown it into the blazing inferno of the furnace. As the furnace opened, I heard the screams of unimaginable horror saying things like “I’m different,” and “Help me,” which were NPC lines that the turrets would say in the actual Portal games.

Rat-man then turned to face me, the player; his eyes were a strange lime-green color, and he did not have his matted and ratty beard. He said another line of static, this time I could not understand any of it. I panicked and tried to end the game, but this only resulted in glitched patchwork patterns that began to fill the test chamber. They began to get more and more intense, filling the screen with multiple patterns and distortions. There was only one thing that didn’t glitch over though, and it was those lime-green eyes that Ratman had appeared with.

I opened my task manager and shut down the game. When I went to look through the coding on the mod again, I noticed that everything was how I left it except three corrupted lines of code. They read as follows:

“He is not man, you are man.”

“The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.”

“Wake up and smell the ashes.”

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