I had never really been that into video games. I mean, I played a few here and there and seen a few people play different games, but they never interested me that much.
I had recently watched someone play a game called the "The Witch's House". I had thought it was pretty interesting. I had seen both endings, but I wanted to experience the game for myself, so I started looking for it. I eventually found a download for it. The download had only been added a few minutes before I found it, but I was so excited that I thought nothing of it. I downloaded it and started the macabre puzzle game as soon as it was ready.
I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary at first, you know, talking cat that randomly showed up wherever you went, everything was a'ok. Then something happened that I hadn't seen anyone else experience. It was a textbox that said:
"Viola: . . .Do you hate me? Why are you helping her?""
While it was slightly discomforting, I figured maybe I had just uncovered a secret that no one else had found. I decided to continue along my merry way. As I went, I noticed things were missing, like key items, as if the game didn't want me to progress. I thought maybe the game just hadn't loaded correctly so I saved (so as not to lose the that small scene with Viola) and restarted the game. Everything loaded ok this time. I progressed through the game fairly quickly. At one point (the part where you are chased around a room by a portraits occupant) I ended up dying. It sent me to the main menu where I selected the load option. It had seemed my file was replaced with a new one. It didn't even list a location (as the save file usually does) it just said "Viola's Payback". Confused I loaded up the file. It put me at the spot where I had last saved, although this time, it looked like all the rest of the puzzles on this level had been finished. I ventured on to the next level, where all of those puzzles had been solved.
"What is going on here?", I said to myself. At one point the music stopped, and was replaced with music of a happier sounding music, which just seemed out of place and strange. I wandered through the rest of the houses levels (as it seemed all of the puzzles had been solved). Finally I reached the last level, where the witch's room was located. The old creepy music returned, which was strangely comforting. As I approached the end of the hall, I noticed the cat standing there. It looked at Viola and said:
"Black Cat: Seriously? You're still resisting? You have no hope of escaping her clutches, just give in . . . Viola."
What? What? Why was the cat saying these things that were clearly out of character? I saved the game, and reluctantly, hesitantly, entered the witch's room. I proceded through the last part of the game, getting Ellen's knife, and watching that terrible heart wrenching ending.
As I was getting ready to close the game's window after the credits began to roll, the sprite of the seemingly dead witch twitched and looked up, and stared eyelessly at me, as if looking into my soul. A text box appeared saying:
"Viola: This is your fault . . . you did this . . . now . . . it's your turn!"
At that the sprite began to crawl forward again. The screen began to flicker with static as it approached. The camera angle switched and the sprite turned into an anime rendition of the witch crawling toward the screen. Horrified, I found that I couldn't shut it down. All sorts of notification boxes popped up saying things like "YOUR FAULT!" and "YOU DID THIS!" accompanied with loud, angry screams and notifications that different processes were failing. The game seemed to have frozen but zoomed in every few seconds on the witch as the screen blipped. A final blood curdling scream pierced the air as my computer crashed.
I sat there for a few minutes, trying to figure out what had just happened. I started up the computer, and went to the folder with the game file in it. The game had been replaced with a document titled "PAYBACK!". I opened it, as curiousity had gotten that better of me. It read:
"This is what happens you play with things you don't understand.
Recieved Viola's Curse
The download link for the game followed. I decided to leave it and serach for the site where I got the link from, to file a complaint if I could, because obviously this game was bugged or something. The site had been taken down only moments before. I asked around on a gaming forum to see if anyone else had experienced this strange phenomonon. No one could say they had, so either they really hadn't, or were to scarred to admit it.
I went back to the file and moved it to a new folder which I titled "Never Play" as I wanted proof of this insane ordeal if I needed it. I found that I had nightmares about the game, and would hear the screams in the distance when I was alone, so naturally I surrounded myself with people most of the time. No matter how hard I tried, though, those nightmares wouldn't go away. Each was the same, I was put in Viola's place during her final moments in that rotting body.
A few years had gone by, and I had to get a new computer as my old one broke. As I finished getting all set up, I started it.
When I got to the desktop notification box popped up that said:
"Recieved Viola's Curse"
I knew at that moment that this game would haunt me until I righted the wrong that I had done to Viola. I opened my files and found that the "Never Play" had been placed there. I opened the document and downloaded the game. I started and found that the save file "Viola's Payback" was also still there. I loaded it up and found myself outside the witch's room yet again. A dialogue box appeared saying"
"Viola: Will you do what's right?"
There was a yes or no option, and I chose yes. Viola's sprite nodded and said:
'Viola: Ok, let's do this."
I entered the room and started the whole spiel of the witch chasing me through the house. I entered the main room on the first level and remembered that I had "Viola's Curse". I opened the menu and selected it from my inventory just as the witch approached. The witch stopped, and Viola glowed a bright white. The witch's body began to shake violently and disappeared from the screen. Viola turned and looked at the screen and said:
"Viola: Thank You".
The game closed and the folder opened. The game was still there this time and the document was replaced with one that said "Thanks". I opened it and it said "Thanks for playing." I tried opening the game but it wouldn't open and then it disappeared from my computer altogether. It's been a long time since I thought about that game. The nightmares had stopped and I had been left in peace.