So this story is definitely something I've been harboring for a few weeks now and I finally just have to get it off my chest.
Ok so I’m the type of person that isn’t big into video games. I actually didn’t really start getting into video games until a couple years back. I mean, like any person, I played as a kid. My mom still had her old Nintendo 64 when I was little and I would play Mario games on there with her when I was little as well as playing with old friends of mine. But that’s beside the point, obviously. Rather than a video game player, like console video games, I’m more of an online player. Mostly just little flash games or old CD ROMs from when I was younger, most of which I’ve gotten rid of. There’s this friend of mine that’s an excellent hacker and his dad actually makes video games. His dad gives him the games to hack so that they can figure out what issues there could be and how to make it so that hackers aren’t able to get into these (ruins all the fun, I know.). I asked him if he could get me one of these fixed games in exchange for one of the games I have. Thing is, he moved up to Howell (probably spelled wrong) recently and I haven’t heard much from him. Well, I got a package in the mail about a few weeks ago. Just one of those little packages that normally hold CDs. I take it inside and open it as I sit down with my laptop again. An unmarked CD in a clear case comes out with a piece of paper rubber banded around it. Taking the paper, I read ‘Time Step 2 Play at your own risk’. My friend likes scaring people and does some of the randomest stuff of all time. So, of course, I think nothing of it. I let my friends online know that I’ll see them later and put the game in just as my mom comes to tell me she’s heading to the store. She asks if I need anything, I say no, we exchange our goodbyes, and she leaves. I’m seventeen and my grandfather is rarely here so I’m left all alone in the house for an hour, maybe more maybe less. It’s dark out so my scaredy cat ass turns the light on cuz, you know, monsters might come eat me.
So the game starts and the screen’s all dark before it gets to the title screen. The music is kinda foreboding and I can already feel my chest tightening up in panic like it does sometimes. I shake the feeling off and look at my options. There’s of course ‘Settings’ and ‘Load Game’ but there isn’t an option for ‘New Game’. Instead, above ‘Load Game’ in ‘New Game’s place it says ‘Step Back’. Thinking it’s unique and what not I click it. The screen goes black again and is like that for a few seconds more as the music keeps playing before white text appears on the screen.
‘Welcome to Time Step 2. Play at your own risk and move the hands back.’
I laugh a bit as I realize where Will, my friend, got the ‘Play at your own risk’ thing. Move back the hands? I watch the screen as the text fades out and this huge clock face comes in the screen. Not knowing what I’m supposed to do, I move the hour and minute hands to 7:20 since that’s the time. Everything starts moving really fast and I feel like, as the clock moves closer to the screen, I’m in a fast moving car down a multi-colored tunnel and everything is going by in just a colorful blur.
It suddenly slams to a stop and my character can only see what’s around him. Seeing as I can’t see the character, it’s a first-person RPG. The forest around me is covered in a thick layer of grayish-white fog and it’s really hard to see the trees. I use the keys to move the character to see that the hands are in black leather gloves and they’re holding a bow. More text appears on the screen.
‘You are now in 1485 Bilanka. What is your name?’
An empty space comes up with a blinking cursor. Using my keys, I type in ‘Anna’. More text comes up.
‘Welcome Anna. Your job is to rid this land of its tyrant ruler, Utami. Good luck Assassin.’
The text goes away and I can move again. I start pressing the arrows to try and find my way out of the foggy forest. After a little while, I can see a castle tower in the fog but it’s really hard to see since the fog is so thick. The music suddenly changes and I can feel my chest tightening again. It’s dark, slow, and somewhat demonic. ‘Ok, so this has to be a horror game,’ I think. Although, I have a feeling that’s not the case. Shrugging it off, I continue my way towards the castle. Text covers the screen and I feel my heart start pounding as I read.
‘The tyrant’s guards have found you. Hide before they catch you. Otherwise you’ll be torn to pieces.’
Thinking that the message was a little creepy, I made my character hunch down behind a tree. Soon enough a shadowy figure starts coming through the fog. I can already see that the guard is large and very, very muscular. But I don’t expect what I actually see. Once the guard comes into sight, I see that his skin is just a sickening blue like someone was strangled for way too damn long and his eyes are there but they’re also not. Um, I mean his eyes are in his head but there’s nothing. Just blank white. I don’t even see any veins in it. There are rips and holes in the body and there’s just gaping emptiness there. No blood or gore. Just…nothing. The top part of his skull is gone just above the eyes and I can see a sick greenish-gray brain just giving gentle pulses. I can already feel my throat tightening up and my chest heaving. Maybe it’s just a zombie. Everyone has their own version, right? The thing stands in place for a few seconds looking around before continuing on. More text pops up.
‘You’ve been spared this time but don’t think you’ll be so lucky next time.’
What the hell? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I quickly make my character get away from there. Already my mind is whirring and I’m trying to figure out what fuckin game my friend sent me. I would’ve expected him to send me something that would be, like, MLP or something really random. But a horror game that is threatening my character’s life? The fuck? I keep making my character run and, without any warning, one of those zombie things come again. Rushing me, I can’t get away. The screen cuts black as there’s a ripping sound and the sound like a person’s screaming. White text comes up.
‘You’ve met a horrible fate. Would you like to see the remains?’
An option of yes and no come up. I go to click no and nothing happens. I try clicking it again. And again. And again. I click it one more time and text comes up.
‘Stop clicking no. It’s no use. You’re going to see what you did to yourself, Andrea.’
I lose it. I take the game out of my computer and throw it across the room before grabbing my cell and calling Will. I know that he hacks things but this is too far. This is too damn far. As soon as he picks up, I start yelling at him. I demand to know what his problem is and if he thinks it’s a joke. When my ranting finally stops he talks.
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I sent you a game I asked my dad to make for you. It has the characters from Elfen Lied in it.’
‘What? No. No, that‘s not right. I got a package from you today. It had your address on it. The game that came out was Time Step 2.’
‘I’ve never heard of that game.’ My face pales as I look over to where I threw the game. Someone had tampered with my mail.
‘When are you coming back down?’
‘In a few weeks to see Jaylin. Why?’
‘You two need to come over here. Something’s wrong.’ I hang up after we say our goodbyes and curled up in my chair, staring at my desktop. I try to bring up the internet and to my relief it works. It looks like I didn’t get any viruses. So I do something I know can take my mind off things, hopefully. I go onto youtube and onto SOG’s channel. I know, bad choice. Why watch haunted shit when I’m freaking out right now? Because it helps. And I like it. I go to bed later on that night, having forgotten about the game, and fall asleep. However, my brain refuses to let me forget.
I have a nightmare that night. I’m walking through what I’m assuming is my backyard in archer’s garb. Leather gloves, bow and quiver, long sleeved shirt, long pants, and leather boots. I look around and walk through the dense fog as I can hear what sounds like pounding on the ground, coming closer and closer to where I am. I start to quicken my pace but the pounding keeps getting louder and louder. It’s not until the last moment that I realize I was going in the wrong direction. There’s that guard again, looking even more grotesque than it did on the game. I attempt to run away but its large hands grab me first, ripping me in half.
I jolt awake and stare at my ceiling with wide eyes as I can feel my heart pounding against my chest. The next few weeks are going to be long ones. Each night I have the nightmare and each day I am so fucking jumpy that my friends have started calling me prison bitch. The day finally comes and I invite the boys over to my house, holding out the CD to them. I sit back on my couch as I let them start it on my computer. I’m not going near that damn thing again. I watch them for about half an hour before Jaylin jumps back.
‘What the fuck?!’ He almost yells it.
‘See? I told you! I told you there was something wrong with that game!’
‘You didn’t tell me about this fucking picture!’ Picture? What picture? I reluctantly go over and look at the screen, feeling the bile rise in my throat. The screen is completely black but in the middle there seems to be a spotlight. Laying in that spotlight is my friend Jaylin, torn up, bloody. It’s hard to tell that it’s even a person. But that wasn’t the scary part. The scary part was that it was Jaylin. Not some stupid avatar or the character we were playing. But actually Jaylin. His glasses lay crushed to pieces by his head and his clothes are perfect replicas of what he’s wearing right now. I finally just collapse to the ground and hold my face in my hands, too sick to even keep my eyes open.
‘Fuck this shit!’ I hear Jaylin say. The sound of the CD ROM drive opening comes and the next thing I hear is a metallic/plastic sounding snap. I peek up between my fingers to see him busting the CD into little pieces until it’s just shiny plastic. Since then, and it wasn’t that long ago, I’ve been really wary about putting CDs into my computer even if I’m 100% sure what they are. And thankfully I can say that I don’t have the nightmare anymore but I do get the feeling sometimes that something is lurking in the shadows, just waiting for me to mess up.