Recent Discussion

This Week's Active Posts

36
Family of Three Plus One
• Comments: 25 • Facebook: 11
30
The Naera
• Comments: 14 • Facebook: 16
16
Memory Lane
• Comments: 15 • Facebook: 1
14
Wounds
• Comments: 11 • Facebook: 3
11
Tick Tock Goes the Clock
• Comments: 9 • Facebook: 2

Your Favorited Pastas

  • Your favorites will be here.

Available Beta Readers

Whether you're looking for someone to help proofread and refine your creepypasta or you'd like to offer your help to writers in need of a second opinion, please check out the Available Beta Readers post!

Creepypasta Prompts

Have an idea for a great pasta, but lack the time or ability to see it through? Or do you have the time and the will to write a story, but your personal font of inspiration is running dry? The Creepypasta Prompts page should be helpful to people in both camps!

RSS Stories Looking For Feedback



Razor Games

May 21, 2016 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.2/10 (396 votes cast)

This pasta was the third place winner of our Gaming Creepypasta Challenge. Congratulations!

The first place winner can be viewed here, and second place is here. Thanks to everyone who participated!

My name is Tom. I am a sound designer for video games. I love my work and I have been doing it for quite some time. I used to work for a small indie game developer called Razor Games LLC.

My friend Jason, who hired me after I quit my last job for personal reasons, owned Razor Games. The company did very well and we had our share of small game development success but mostly did outsourced work for larger clients.

Jason’s brother Max was a producer at one of the largest game developers in the world. He often would outsource smaller projects to our company as a favor to his brother. That is where the bulk of our work came from.

We only had a dozen or so staff members at the company. I was close with several people at the company and considered them my second family. Jason was my friend of several years and was a rugged middle-aged man who had been playing games since he was five. Melissa was this quiet little blonde girl who loved fantasy books, game level design, and had been my best friend of several years. Tanner was this bearded teddy bear of a guy who worked as a game tester and had won my best friend’s heart. Melissa and Tanner had recently gotten engaged and I was elated for the both of them. The last person I was really close to at work was a guy named Nick. He was a character designer and A.I. programmer. He was a dark haired young guy and a prankster. The rest of the team was made up of various programmers, designers, and business-oriented people of whom I knew, but didn’t have as close of a relationship as I did with these four.

These people made my job the best job anyone could ask for. Things were great until two years ago when Max’s company laid off a bunch of employees due to a corporate restructure. Almost all of their development was kept internal, meaning we wouldn’t get any outsourced projects anymore.

I watched Jason stress out about possibly cutting into the company’s emergency fund to keep it afloat while he tried to find more work. Razor Games had received so much work from Max’s company that we were too busy to pick up but a few other clients. In the end, that hurt the company more than it helped.

For almost a year Razor Games survived on the emergency fund that it had built up. We had work here and there but no big projects. Out of the blue late last spring, Jason landed a massive job for us.

I remember being in the conference room when he announced the job. Melissa, Tanner, Nick and I were seated together around the small conference table at our office along with the rest of the employees, eagerly waiting to hear what Jason had to say about this new job.

Jason had hooked up his laptop to the projector on the table and was about to take us through a slide presentation.

“Over this past weekend I accepted a large job from a game developer in Korea,” Jason started. His body energy was higher than it had been in months and the excitement in his voice could not be hidden. “The developer’s name is Violet Edge Digital. The president of development for that company is a woman named Mia Nasta.”

Jason flipped to a slide that showed a screen capture of their website. It looked very professional and sleek. I had never heard of this developer before but with so many different companies around the world, I didn’t give it a second thought.

“She emailed me last week with a proposition and the possibility of a massive payout,” Jason continued as he paced excitedly back and forth at the front of the conference room. “Her company has in the past made VR simulators for military and aviation training purposes and is now developing a VR headset system for commercial use to compete with Oculus, Sony, Samsung, and others. We all know there are rumors of a Star Wars VR game and others floating around the community.”

A series of several slides showed pictures of what was supposed to be their past work. They included everything from pictures of a flight simulator and a VR set hooked up to a military training simulator.

Jason stopped his pacing and put his palms flat on the conference table and leaned in as if he was going to tell us the world’s biggest secret.

“They want us to do something for them before anyone else has the chance to.” Jason paused looking at each of us in the eyes.

“Which is?” Melissa said in a drawn out tone as she leaned into the table mimicking Jason.

Jason slowly stood straight up. “I know we haven’t worked in a VR platform before but they want us to create the world’s first VR horror game. The developer is swamped with finishing their VR headset so they have outsourced the creation of this game to us.”

I wasn’t excited. I personally didn’t like horror games or movies but work was work. Others seemed thrilled to take on the genre or be the first to do so in an emerging technology field.

“The bad news is we only have a few months to make it happen because they want a Halloween release…”

“No way! That’s insane,” Nick said cutting Jason off abruptly. “I’d have to pull insane hours to get that coding done in time as would everyone else.”

Jason raised his hand to silence Nick. “I understand,” he said calmly. “The bad news is we are on a tight schedule and we’ll all have to pull some stupid crazy hours. The good news is that they have concepts and basic designs for us already drafted and have paid us the first 20% of the contract.”

“Which is?” Melissa said mimicking her tone from earlier.

“$9 million,” Jason said with a smirk.

The room started to buzz with chatter with a few of the classic “holy shit” exclamations floating into the air.

“We’re going to have a good year,” Jason stated proudly. “But, we need to start immediately. Let me go over the design concepts with you all.”

Jason took us through the rest of the slide show. The storyboard was already flushed out. The premise was that the main character (or characters since it was to be multiplayer) had woken up in an abandon building that represented something like a psych ward with no memory of getting there. The character(s) would have to fight his or her way through monsters and solve basic puzzles, like finding keys to open doors to escape. There were to be nine levels of increasing difficulty in the game.

The developer even had some pictures of character models they wanted included in the game. There were several monster models they had suggested but two that they absolutely wanted designed and included. They had included well-sketched pictures of the monsters the team was to create.

The first of the two that they absolutely wanted in the game looked like an emaciated man with pale shiny skin. His head was bald and contained no eyes or nose. The only facial feature was an overly wide mouth with thin lips and needle like teeth. The fingers on his hands were replaced by long bone like claws. The creature’s knees bent opposite of ours with the bottom half of the leg being a long bone like spike that it walked on.

The second creature to be included looked like a fat baby with an overly large peanut shaped head and collapsed face. Its eyes sat back in the skull close together. Its mouth was small and puckered with sharp teeth. The hands and feet were replaced by single bone spike like protrusions.

The creatures were very grotesque but I could already hear the sounds I wanted to create for them in my head.

At the end of the meeting each department received a folder with very specific and detailed instructions on what the client wanted. I even received a flash drive of sample sounds the client wanted me to use that Jason had received in an email. Most of the sounds were labeled as monster movement or monster growl. The sounds themselves were very well done and very complex. Sounds like these would have taken me a long time to get something so crisp and unique sounding.

The flash drive had over a hundred different sounds almost all exclusively to be used for the monsters in the game. It seemed strange that they would send already finished sounds to an undeveloped videogame to the developer. At that point, I decided to ask Jason what he wanted me to do.

Nick was standing in Jason’s office when I arrived.

“Am I interrupting something?” I asked as I squeezed around Nick to the side of Jason’s desk.

“Nah,” Nick said. “Violet Edge Digital is asking me to include some weird script in my A.I. code that isn’t needed regardless of whether they have a different operating system for their head set or not.”

“Just include it, Nick,” Jason said with a sigh. “I noticed it too. It’s in the instructions for anyone who is writing code. They stated it was unique to their VR system and insisted it be included. If it doesn’t work or screws up we’ll go with what we know but for now include the script as instructed.”

“Fine,” Nick said sighing and walking slowly out of Jason’s office.

“What can I do for you, Tom?”

“I just wanted to make sure they want to use all these sounds. It makes my job easier but I figured they’d want us to design unique sounds from scratch.”

Jason rubbed his forehead with his thumb and pointer finger. “Yes. I know they’ve given us very specific instructions but at the end of the day they are the client and to make the deadline realistic, they sent us over what they had already started.”

“Alright,” I said as I started to leave. “I’ll group and organize what they sent me and create the rest of what they need according to their instructions.”

The next two weeks were insanely busy. Ms. Nasta sent Jason an email stating she was going to send two prototype VR headsets to us to test the game on. Jason spent some of the initial deposit on a few brand new computers with the fastest processors, largest video cards, and most RAM he could cram into them. Nate, our IT guy, spent the better part of those two weeks setting up the new computers in the testing room, or dungeon as we called it since it had no windows.

I spent those two weeks recording various sounds in my make shift foley stage in my office. I followed the list of sounds that the client required of me, creating various initial sounds that I could later mix into something amazingly creepy and new.

A few days after Nate had installed all the new computers and the entire team was deep into their own portion of the project, the VR headsets arrived. It would be a month or two before we would have anything close to a playable alpha version ready but Jason wanted the headsets up and running in the testing room ASAP.

Jason pulled the packages into the conference room so we could all get a good look at this new VR headset we were designing this game for. Jason opened the first package.

“Well, shit. That’s not what I had imagined,” Jason said sarcastically, spilling foam peanuts everywhere as he lifted this old jet pilot like helmet from the box.

“They want us to fly a plane with that thing or design a game?” Nick said jokingly.

“I don’t see that as a platform for a multi million dollar developed game,” Melissa chimed in.

Jason sat the helmet down on the table and pulled an installation software DVD from the box. “Well,” Jason sighed, “let’s keep in mind that these are prototypes. Either way, I want them installed and ready by the end of the day so we can begin testing as soon as we have something ready. Nate and Tom. Take these down to the dungeon and get the software installed on the PC’s. The rest of you, get back to work so we can get something to test on these bad boys.”

I helped Nate carry the headsets to the dungeon and set them up. Both came with two controllers to manage the movements and actions of the player’s in game character.

Nate ran the installation software on the computers as I connected the controllers to the headsets and the headsets to the computer.

“What the fuck is that?” Nate said suddenly.

“What’s what?” I asked looking up at the screen he was staring at.

“This screen.” Nate pointed to a pop up window that was full of what looked like wingding text scrolling on its own but it clearly wasn’t wingding text. The window suddenly disappeared and was replaced by another that read “Installation Complete!”

“I’ve never seen that before. I’m gonna run a virus scan just in case.” Nate started the virus scan quickly.

“The computer isn’t connected to the internet so we should be ok and I don’t understand why our client would send us a virus if they wanted us to get their work done,” I explained.

The virus scan came back empty. Nate ran the installation software on a second computer and the same window with the same scrolling text appeared before being replaced with an “Installation Complete!” window.

We didn’t think anything of it after that. The rest of the day continued on as normal. For the next month and a half we worked 12-16 hour days constantly with only Sunday off. At the end of that stretch, we had a working alpha of the game.

Melissa and her team had pulled off some amazing level design and were about 5 levels into the game. I had the majority of the important sounds crafted and mixed by that point. The crew working on character models had the essential monsters done including the two that were specifically requested by the client and were now working on the extras.

Tanner could now test the game for bugs and issues that needed fixing. Tanner wanted me to play the game with him on the first test run. He wasn’t fond of anything horror and scared easily. Nick would often play jokes on him at the office and he hated it.

“I’m not looking forward to this so let’s get it over with,” Tanner said nervously as he slipped the large VR helmet over his head.

“Awwww. Don’t cry. I’ll be right here if you get scared,” I said jokingly with a chuckle as I slipped on my VR head set.

We started the game and the first thing I noticed was that the graphics were amazing. The 360-degree view immersed you in a way I had never experienced before.

“Damn the guys killed it on the textures,” Tanner said in awe. “The sound is pretty fucking awesome too.”

“Thanks!” I said dryly. I was so focused on the game before my eyes I wasn’t really paying attention to anything else. Tanner was right. The sounds in the game were almost too good. I guessed I had created better sound bytes than I thought I had. I was pretty damn proud in that moment.

We spent a few minutes in the game’s starting area trying out the basic mechanics and looking for bugs. Tanner noticed some texture tearing that needed to be fixed and I took note that the character run command was spotty. After messing around with the character mechanics we made our way through the first level.

The level was simple. We needed to locate a key to unlock the door to the next area. We spent a few minutes running around the labyrinth of corridors in the abandon psych ward looking for a key. There were several jump scares that involved the little fat baby like monsters dropping in front of you or jumping out from behind something. I screamed a few times and so did Tanner, which helped me loosen up and laugh at the situation.

As we rounded a corner in the game a vent above us dropped down slamming to the ground with a metallic echo.

“Shit!” screamed Tanner.

“Ha ha ha,” I cackled. “It’s just a vent cover.” I paused as the echoing of the vent hitting the floor dissipated. “Wow, I don’t remember programing that sound. Sounds really good though. Perfect reverb and everything.”

I watched as Tanner’s character walked over the exposed vent and looked up into the dark shaft.

“Holy fuck!” Tanner screamed as one of the larger monsters swung down out of the vent rapidly and jumped on his character.

A large thud hit the ground behind me. I couldn’t hear it but I felt the ground shake.

“Tanner?” I asked hoping he was all right. I tried to pause the game but the feature didn’t work. I took quick note of it and slipped my VR headset off.

Tanner was sitting up on the floor with his headset lying next to him rubbing his eyes.

“You ok?” I asked as I set down my own headset.

“Yea, dude,” Tanner replied somberly. “It just seemed so real like I thought I could actually feel the monster’s weight on my body.”

“It’s virtual reality. It messes with your senses.” I extended my hand to my friend to help him up. “You want to take a break?”

“No. We need to get this testing done so we can get the big issues fixed ASAP. I’ll be fine.”

“Ok. I’m going to take what I have to the programmers and make sure they get the ‘pause’ function working then get on creating the rest of the sounds since the ones in the game sound pretty damn good if you ask me.”

“Ok. Just leave the door open for me.”

Tanner genuinely looked frightened and I felt sorry he was the lead tester on this game. I took my notes to the correct departments and brought up the ‘pause’ function of the game not working properly.

It was another month before the game was in a very rough finished shape. The game was far from fully functional but the first several levels were nearly complete.

One afternoon I was sitting in my office mixing some of the sound effects I had created when I heard Tanner in the dungeon scream loudly.

“Who the fuck!” Tanner yelled in an angry tone. He wasn’t an angry type of guy so I knew something had caused him to blow a gasket.

I turned around to see Nick and a red faced Tanner standing in the hall.

“Dude it’s not fucking cool,” Tanner yelled.

“What isn’t?” Nick said with palms raised up and a confused look on his face.

“Dicking with me while I’m testing that game!”

“What are you talking about?”

“I know it was you. You’re the only prankster in this office. You came in and blew on the back of my neck while I had the headset on. I could smell your breath.” Tanner had gotten up into Nick’s face.

Nick backed up to create some space between the two.

“First, I just came from my office and am headed to ask Jason a question. Second, I know I joke around but you know that I know you hate horror anything so I would never mess with you while you were testing the game.”

“It’s true,” I said in Nick’s defense as I got up out of my chair. “My office door has been open the entire time and I didn’t hear anyone go into the testing room. I think the VR is really screwing with your senses.”

By this time Jason had entered the hallway to see what was going on. Tanner’s face was calmer but still red.

“Tanner,” Jason called. “Take the rest of the day off and relax before you have a heart attack.

“Sorry, Nick. I’m just on edge because of the game. I’m sorry, man.” Tanner hung his head down and sighed.

“Forget it,” Nick said calmly with a smile reaching out to grab Tanner’s shoulder. “Go take a break. I’ll do the rest of the testing today since I’m ahead on my work.”

Tanner looked exhausted as he walked off.

“Well, I guess there goes the idea of having a scare video compilation for promo purposes,” Jason said with a defeated tone as Tanner left.

“Promo video?” I asked inquisitively.

“Yea I was trying to convince Ms. Nasta that we should shoot a promo video of our testers getting scared shitless playing the game. I can’t get her to answer her phone during the middle of their day and the only email reply I got back was that they liked the initial alpha version I sent them and that she disapproves of the promo video idea.”

“You should do it anyway so we can watch it as a group for our launch party when this thing is finished,” Nick said smiling.

“I probably will,” Jason said. “What were you going to ask me Nick?”

“I still haven’t solved our A.I. issue,” stated Nick.

“You have an A.I. issue?” I asked him.

“Yea, it’s weird. Most people testing it and myself have noticed that sometimes the monsters won’t attack you and will run away like they want you to progress in the game or something. They should be programmed to run away when they are under 30% health but not while at full health. I just haven’t solved the issue yet.”

“Go hop on the game and see if you can figure it out. As far as I know the other programmers haven’t figured out how to get the game to pause either so you’re not the only one with some issues,” Jason finished.

Nick nodded and headed into the testing room. I went back to working on the last few sounds I needed to create. Before I left that night I asked Melissa to check in on her fiancé and let me know if he was ok. I had never seen Tanner like that before and it worried me. She eventually sent me a text saying he was fine and had calmed down. It was a big relief for me.

A week or two went by and I listened to several other people scream and fall out of their chairs in the dungeon from my office. Everyone seemed to be very pleased with the job we were doing with the game. Most people commented on the excellent sound and graphics. Plenty of people who tested the game also felt as if they could feel the monsters grab them or push them even though we all chalked it up to being immersed in a visually encompassing game.

I was finalizing the last sound in my office and Melissa was testing one of the game’s levels to check for any tears in the texture or glitchy spots in the dungeon next door when I heard her shout.

“Shit!” Melissa screamed.

I whipped around in my chair so fast I nearly flung myself out of it. As I stood up Melissa exited the testing room holding her left arm. A crimson streak of blood was dripping down on the floor.

“You ok? What happened?” I asked as I rushed to her.

Jason had entered the hallway at that point as well as Tanner. Both were speaking over each other asking her if she was ok.

“Yea I’m fine,” Melissa replied looking at her arm.

“You’re bleeding,” Jason mentioned as he pointed to her arm.

“I know. I’m ok.” Melissa was definitely calmer than the others around her.

“It looks bad. I’ll get the first aid kit,” Tanner said as he rushed off.

“What happened?” I asked again.

“Something scratched me. I was playing the game and I was on the 7th level when I was attacked by one of those bigger monsters with the bone like fingers. It swiped at my left side and I swear I could feel it cut me so I grabbed my arm and that’s when I felt the blood and the pain.” Her right hand was covered in blood. Tanner had returned with some paper towels and the first aid kit.

“It’s just a game,” Jason said. “Everyone is falling off chairs and sensing things that aren’t real because it’s a VR game. It’s supposed to immerse you. It’ll mess with your senses. You probably had a knee jerk reaction to what your brain sensed as an attack and when you grabbed your arm you scratched yourself.”

“I guess it’s possible,” Melissa said with a sigh as Tanner began dabbing the blood off her arm.

“You know what?” Jason stated with an exhausted tone. “We all need to take a long weekend off. We’ve all been pulling 12-16 hour shifts and I think we’re all burnt out.”

Jason wasn’t wrong. I was tired. My friends were tired. Jason himself was tired. He had been trying to get a hold of Ms. Nasta for several days voicing concerns over the pause function still not working properly and other business related issues. The only thing he was able to get back from her were a few short emails that said they approved of what we were doing and we should push forward.

We all took a long weekend. When we came back we pushed right back into the thick of things. Around the end of August we had a nearly finished beta. All of the sounds required of me were mixed and incorporated into the game. Since I was available, I ended up helping Tanner with a lot of the testing. Since the VR headset was not commercially available we couldn’t have an open beta so Tanner and I were going to put in some long nights.

The game itself looked amazing and sounded just as good as it looked. Tanner and I had begun to laugh when we were attacked by one of the emaciated man monsters or fat baby things. We knew where all the jump scares were on each level so we could anticipate them and make fun of each other if we jumped. Because the immersion of the headset was so good, we still felt like the creatures were breathing on us or could feel the impact of one of them hitting us. We knew it wasn’t real but our brain didn’t. Testing for several hours became the norm for us. Every now and then we would have to stop, especially after a long session because we would feel queasy. We figured it was because we weren’t used to playing in a 3D immersive game.

One day Tanner was out for a doctor’s appointment so Nick tested the game with me.

“Have you had a consistent experience with the monster A.I. when you’ve tested the game?” Nick asked me before we began.

“The monster’s always seem to be where they should be,” I replied.

“No. Let me show you what I’m talking about.”

We both slipped on our headsets and started to play on level seven. We pushed through the mini puzzles and hordes of monsters until we reached where you were to retrieve a key to open a door to level eight. The key was on a string dangling in the middle of a massive open room full of the baby like monsters and the emaciated man creatures. The creatures patrolled around in groups. We had designed this room to be a wave like boss encounter.

“So every level I’ve completed there is this issue where the first time through the monsters around the key should aggro at 20 yards but they don’t. In fact they’ll actually watch you instead of attacking.” Nick maneuvered his character to the middle of the room and stood by the key.

I watched with my character from the edge of the room.

“Come here,” Nick said.

I walked my character passed several of the monsters to Nick’s character. “What the hell?” I questioned in awe. The monsters let me walk past them. Instead of attacking they faced our characters. We stood in the center of the room with a dozen or so of the grossly disfigured creatures just watching us. They either swayed side-to-side or paced slowly back and forth in a small pattern. Their blank stares and creepy sounds, some of which I couldn’t remember if I had created or not, sent an ice like chill up my spine.

“Dude, this is really creepy,” I told Nick as I shuddered.

“I can’t tell if they’re bugged or what is going on but I didn’t program this. This isn’t anything compared to what I’m about to show you.”

Nick grabbed the key with his character and placed it into his inventory.

“Watch what they do now,” said Nick.

We began to make our way back through the level towards the locked door, which would take us to level eight. As we walked back through, the monsters from the key area followed us through every corridor. They stayed their distance but they were definitely following us.

“They’re just following us,” I gasped in disbelief. “I know these things are just digital images but right now they’re giving me the creeps.”

“They’ll follow us right to the door.” Nick unlocked the door and our screens went black to indicate we were loading into the next level.

“The issue is that I don’t know how to solve this.” Nick slipped off his VR helmet. “The first time through each level the creatures won’t attack you unless you attack them. I’ve tried programming different ways and I just can’t fix it. The second time through a level they’ll act properly with regard to game play.”

Nick restarted level seven to show me. Sure enough, when we reached the area where the key was, the monsters attacked us when we were within their 20 yard range.

After we finished the second session Nick and I got ready to call it a day. We both felt a little motion sick from playing the game.

“You ok?” Nick asked as I leaned forward in my chair after removing the VR headset.

“Yea. I just need to rest for a second. The 360 view makes me feel queasy after I play the game for a while. It’s weird I haven’t gotten used to it yet after doing more testing this past month.” I concentrated hard to get my world to stop spinning.

“Yea, makes me wonder how this whole VR thing will go once it becomes commercially available,” stated Nick as he put away his equipment.

The next two weeks for me were intense. Tanner and I did a lot of testing on the last two levels. Ms. Nasta had emailed Jason asking for push on the delivery so Violet Edge Digital could release some game footage as promotional material. However, they wanted to record the footage and forbid us from doing it. We were almost finished with the game and as strange as that seemed, Jason wanted to push forward to our big payout.

I had started to develop more and more motion sickness as I played the game. It would often be a combination of head spinning followed by a stomachache. The sickness intensified after each session in the final week.

That Friday was the last test session. I stumbled into my office wondering how I was going to make it through the day. To make matters worse it was a cold day. Everyone at the office arrived bundled up in warm jackets and scarves.

“Jesus,” exclaimed Tanner as he stood in my office door way. “You look like shit.”

“Feel like it too,” I said with my head lying on my desk. “We need to complete the last level so Jason can send a final copy Monday morning.”

“My head is spinning and my stomach feels bad too but at least I can still stand. Go home, dude. I can grab one of the other guys to help me with this. Jake in programming is free I think.”

I peeled myself off my desk, drug my half limp body down to Jason’s office to let him know I was going home, and then slept the next few days away in my own bed. I didn’t sleep well Friday or Saturday Night. It felt like my eyes and my stomach were going to explode as if something was ripping at me from the inside. I somehow made it to Sunday where the pain subsided and I could finally rest. Monday morning arrived with no pain or dizziness.

I arrived at the office early at the same time as Jason and Melissa.

“Feeling better?” asked Melissa with smile.

“Way better,” I answered enthusiastically.

Jason turned the door handle to the building and it gave. “Damn it,” he stated in an annoyed tone. “Tanner and Jake left the door open when they left on Friday.”

We entered the building and made our way to our offices.

“Tom, can you look around the offices to make sure everything looks like it’s here and Melissa can you check the dungeon to make sure all the equipment is accounted for?”

“Yea just let me get my stuff put up and my computer turned on,” I shouted back. I hit the power button on my PC tower but no lights or spinning disk confirmation noise happened. I tried again. Still nothing.

I stuck my head out of my office as Melissa walked into the dungeon. “Jason, my computer isn’t turning on, is yours?” I called out.

“Damn it. No!” Jason called out in reply.

I heard the click of the light switch in the testing room.

Melissa’s scream was deafening. Her body tumbled backwards out of the testing room as she backpedaled feverishly nearly crashing into me. She didn’t stop scrambling backwards even as she fell to the floor and hit the wall opposite the door with force.

I stood there stunned as her screams mixed with cries and the sound of her trying to choke back vomit. It felt like an hour had passed before I ran into the testing room without any thought to confront what had frightened my friend.

I covered my mouth as my eyes grew ten times their normal size. I couldn’t comprehend the grotesque bodies before me. Two piles of muscle attached to bone with their entrails pulled from what would have been their stomachs as if they had been gutted lay on the floor. They lay there motionless in pools of what was probably their own blood surrounded by busted equipment. I couldn’t make out if it was Tanner and Jake or these two bodies were completely alien.

Reality hit me like an angry fist. I stumbled back the same as Melissa. I caught myself on the doorframe as Jason came running down the hall. Melissa was still on the floor sobbing her hands covered in vomit.

“What the hell happened?” Jason said as he gasped for breath.

“Tanner… Jake… I think their dead.” I stumbled through my words fighting back my own gagging at what I just saw.

Jason quickly turned from us and looked in the room.

“Oh my God,” Jason said in a sedated voice. “Call 911. I need to lock the door and keep the others out before they arrive. I don’t want them to see this.” Jason moved in a panic. I gathered myself and frantically called 911 before returning to Melissa to get her calmed down and cleaned up.

Jason kept the other employees out of the office until emergency services arrived. Within minutes our office front had become crowded with cops and paramedics. Out side was a sea of blue, red, and white lights. The cops immediately sealed off everything and asked us some questions. Jason offered to pull security footage from the weekend to see if it was possible to catch whoever had done this to Tanner and Jake, if that’s whose bodies were in the testing room.

Our office computers didn’t work but Jason kept the security cameras running on a computer in a supply closet that was hooked up to a separate power supply than the rest of the office.

The footage he pulled from the security hard drive was weirdly disturbing. Even the police were perplexed. Jason pulled footage from Friday night first. Everyone except for Tanner and Jake, the guy who took my spot for the evening, was gone by 5:30pm. There were only two cameras installed in our office. One covered the front door from the outside and the other looked over the main hallway. Jason bought good cameras though. They could zoom in to show explicit detail of anything in their view.

Jake and Tanner could be seen entering the dungeon to finish testing the game with their coats at 6pm. It had been a cold day and the testing room was often kept at a cool temperature because of the amount of consoles and computers inside of it. Two hours passed before any movement was caught on camera.

Almost two hours after the two had entered the testing room, both exited the room. They were both wearing their coats and moving in a strange manner. Tanner was walking as if he couldn’t balance on his own feet. His face looked as if it had been squished from the sides and his right foot was being pulled behind him as if it were completely dislocated from his leg. His knees appeared to be bent slightly backwards but it couldn’t clearly be seen at the angles the camera was filming from. Both his hands were tucked away in the sleeves of his coat. Behind him in his right hand he could clearly be seen dragging one of the prototype VR headsets from Violet Edge Digital carelessly along the ground.

Jake was following behind Tanner half hunched over. He too was walking as if he couldn’t control his own movements. His hands were folded under his arms as he swerved side to side down the hallway as if two different people where driving his legs. In his arms he cradled the second prototype headset.

Jason switched to the outside camera as the two exited the building. As Tanner put his hand up to push the door open gasps of confusion and shock filled the room. The hand that Tanner used to push the door open didn’t have fingers. In their place were long boney looking spikes just like the emaciated man creature in the game had. As the two exited the building the grotesque hand was pulled back into Tanner’s coat sleeve. As they turned to walk away down the street several humps appeared on each of their backs under their coats. The protrusions moved up to the coat necks as if something had scrambled from their butt to their neck.

There was no other person in any footage the rest of the weekend till we arrived that morning. There were several “What the fucks?” floating around the room at this point. The police demanded a copy of the video, to which Jason quickly obliged.

The office remained closed for the next few days as the police continued their investigation. I sat at home in the dark waiting to hear if it was ok to return to work or if I needed to give another statement to the police. I felt numb. I wasn’t sure how to feel. Jason called after the police investigation at the office was over. I could hear the sadness in his voice as he informed me that the office was closing. He had paid everyone his or her portion of the initial deposit from out client and shut down the office. He explained that too many people didn’t feel comfortable working at the office where their coworkers had just been murdered.

The next phone call was from Melissa. She was in tears as she told me that the investigators confirmed the dead bodies to be Tanner and Jake by DNA and dental records. I knew she wasn’t taking it well and I tried to hide the fact that I didn’t take that news well either.

I was numb for a few weeks. Halloween came and went. That was when we were supposed to be celebrating a big payday and having a release party. I took a job at postproduction company creating sound. Melissa and I stayed in touch. I wasn’t going to let my best friend go through something horrible alone. Nick took a teaching job at a tech college and left town. We stay in touch through social media although it’s not the same as hanging out. I didn’t hear from Jason after his phone call to tell me he was shutting the company down until a few weeks before Christmas.

He called me and asked me to meet him for coffee one afternoon. It was a cold day much like the last one I spent at the office before my friends and colleagues were skinned, disemboweled, and murdered.

I found Jason sitting at the designated coffee shop alone. He still had his coat on. There was a laptop sitting on his table and he sipped from a shaky cup. Bangs had formed under his eyes and his hair was disheveled.

“You look like shit,” I said sarcastically as I sat before him.

“Good to see you too,” He replied with a half smile. “I don’t sleep much anymore.”

“Why? What’s going on? I haven’t heard from you since you decided to close down Razor Games.”

Jason shifted around in his seat. He twitched his head side to side as if he was looking for someone.

“I’ve been working for my brother. Long days and nights.” Jason paused and gazed out the window.

I knew he had something else to tell me.

“Remember when Nick said I should tape people testing the game to get some reaction shots for promo or our release party?” Jason quietly stated.

“Yes,” I replied tilting my head down.

“Well, I did. I setup the camera in the room and connected it to the computer in the closet that was recording surveillance footage. I wanted it to be a surprise for our release party. I figured we’d have a drink and share some laughs at everyone getting freaked out and fall off chairs while testing the game. With all that went on and because I had set it up months ago, I forgot it was there until a day or two after the incident. I pulled the footage from the hard drive. You need to watch some of the footage.”

Jason opened up the laptop still twitching around like a paranoid crack addict.

“Remember people saying they felt like the monsters were actually hitting them? Watch this video.”

The first video was of Tanner and me testing the game a few months ago in the beta. We were laughing in the video after just being scared by one of the monsters in the game. Our heads were turning as we were looking around with the headsets on. Suddenly Tanner screamed and an indentation on his shirt by his stomach appeared as if someone had pushed hard on him. Seconds later he could be heard saying he was jumped on by one of the creatures in the game. Jason showed me several more videos of various testers being pushed and pulled by some invisible force. We had always chalked the feeling of something physically touching us to being immersed in a VR experience.

“Do you remember the day that Melissa cut her arm?”

My eyes were wide and my heart was pounding at this point. I shook my head in confirmation.

Jason pulled up a video from that day. Melissa was sitting in the chair. The VR head set covered her face and her hands were moving with the controllers as she tested the game. A small indentation appeared on her arm and quickly moved down her skin followed by a trail of blood as if someone had scraped her hard. Melissa grabbed her arm in pain as she had done that day.

“Something was in the room with everyone,” said Jason. His bloodshot eyes did not blink. “You need to see the video from that last Friday night.”

I was afraid of what I would see but I wanted to know what happened to my friend.

“Play it.” I knew I would regret my decision.

The video started as Tanner and Jake sat down to begin testing after everyone else had left. Jason fast-forwarded 20 minutes into the video. Jake could be heard saying he didn’t understand why the monsters were following them instead of attacking. He made reference to the glitch Nick had showed me where you would have to complete the level before the monsters would act normal on the second play through. Tanner exclaimed that he was going to unlock the last door of the game and then they could run through the level again. Tanner started to say he was finished and that he was going to reset the level before his words were cut short.

Tanner dropped his controllers and grunted in pain gripping at his stomach as he did so. His body slouched back into his chair. His stomach began to bulge. It began to ripple and swell as if something was struggling to get out. His grunts became mixed with wails of pain. His body violently contorted. Jake’s body soon followed in the same contorted motions accompanied by his own screams.

I clasped my mouth in horror and disgust.

“I don’t want to see the rest of this.” I could feel a tear form in my eye as fear began to grip me.

“You need to see it!” Jason said in a stern whisper.

Both bodies writhed violently, their stomachs swelling and collapsing as if something was pushing from within. Finally the bodies came to rest in their chairs, their VR helmets still on, and stomachs swollen to unrealistic proportions. I watched in horror as my friends’ stomachs burst open. I could feel the vomit in my throat as I watched and heard that horrific sound which I’ll never get out of my head. Two large thin membrane sacs emerged from their bodies pulling entrails with them as they fell to the floor. A clawed hand punched through the thin veiny membrane as the screen cut to static.

“That’s it,” Jason said as he closed the laptop.

“What the fuck is this? Why did you make me watch this?” Tears were trickling down my face. I was disgusted and angry at what I had just seen. “Please tell me this shit is fake and that you’re just being a shithead so I can move on.”

“It’s not fake. I didn’t tamper with any of the footage. I saw the same shit you did.”

“No… we saw them walk out of that room.”

“The hell we did. Think about it. They were skinned alive. The coroner confirmed it was their bodies. You know damn well that whatever looked like Tanner and Jake leaving that office wasn’t them. The distorted face… The clawed hand on the glass door… The dislocated feet… the strange movement under their coats!”

I threw myself back in my seat and stared at the ceiling for a few seconds as I sighed.

“What are you suggesting?”

“This is going to sound crazy. I have been doing some thinking. What if we did exactly what the client wanted us to do?”

“What do you mean?” I asked in confusion.

“Violet Edge Digital doesn’t exist. Their equipment got ‘stolen’ so I tried to do a follow up with them from my home computer to let them know what happened. All of Mia Nasta’s emails to me are gone. If I send an email to what I remember was her email, it gets kicked back as not being able to be delivered. The police were also trying to do a follow up with them to find out exactly what the VR headsets were labeled or a serial number or something so they could report the equipment as stolen and they couldn’t locate any company anywhere named Violet Edge Digital that was based in Korea. They couldn’t find anyone named Mia Nasta either. They checked my emails and my phone calls to her office. There is no record of any of it regardless of how sure I am that I had those conversations with her. Their website is none existent. There is absolutely no trace of our client except our word.”

Jason took another nervous sip from his drink.

“All of our equipment that was in the testing room that was hooked up to the headsets was burnt from the inside out. All the game data and software was lost. All of our computers were wiped clean except for the one in the closet with the surveillance footage. It was the only one not connected to the internet. All of those folders containing instructions are gone as is the flash drive that had the sounds on it I gave you.”

“So? What does all this mean? We worked for a nonexistent company?” I was getting impatient at this point.

“Before I closed the company’s bank account the rest of the money promised to us was deposited. I had someone trace the money to see where it came from. It had passed through so many bank accounts both here in the US and off shore that it was impossible to tell. That money probably passed through 1000s of accounts.”

“What did you do with it?”

“I gave it to charity. I want nothing to do with it. I was already freaked out by that point. The morning I called you to meet me I got this in the mail. It’s a letter with no return address.”

Jason slid an envelope with his home address on the front across the table. Inside was a letter. It was on a plain piece of paper. The letter read:

Thank you. This is everything we needed.
See you soon.

– Mia Nasta

“What if…” Jason started before pausing. “What if we weren’t actually programing a VR video game? What if those creatures weren’t made up?”

“You can’t be serious,” I stated sternly.

“Think about it. The weird script they wanted us to include in the code that no one recognized. The feeling of people being physically touched while playing. You saw the video! What if we weren’t programming a game where a player escapes but in reality programing a way for those creatures to escape? Remember the pause feature not working? You can’t pause what’s real. People always said the visuals and the sounds were too good and contained things they didn’t remember programing. What if we weren’t looking at a game but a real world with our game overlaid on it?”

I sat in silence.

“Nick said the creatures wouldn’t attack you until you had opened the door to the next level right? You ever read Dante’s Inferno? There are nine levels of hell. The client wanted nine levels that looked like an abandon psych ward. Mia Nasta… Think about it. That name is an anagram.”

Jason’s ideas up this point seemed possibly valid but he was reaching for straws to me with his last statement. He was mocking our friends’ death at this point.

“Jason, enough!” I shouted as I pounded my fist into the table in anger. I stood up quickly. “I don’t want to hear this mockery of our friends’ death. Yea some strange shit happened. Yea maybe you have some good points but you can’t seriously believe that we programed a way for imaginary monsters to enter our reality. If that is the way you want to cope with their death fine but I won’t entertain that idea because it’s insane.”

I stormed out of the coffee shop.

“We made a way for them to come into our world!” Jason shouted as I walked away.

I walked the whole way home without stopping, furious at the thought of what Jason was suggesting. It was a complete fairy tale and probably his stupid way of coping with things. I wanted none of it.

His idea seemed stupid at the time but the reason I’m writing this now is because I believe him. Everything he said. It makes sense to me now. I’m writing this and posting it anywhere I can to warn people.

That night I was on Facebook looking at old photos of my friends reflecting on good times at Razor Games. Then I noticed it. In the suggested ad column on the right side was an advertisement for Razor Edge Incorporated’s new VR headset system. It looked strangely like the prototypes we had from our client.

I clicked on the ad. The VR system came complete with the world’s first horror VR game guaranteed to be the most realistic horror simulator ever. The game was titled ‘Ascent from the Abyss.’ There were screenshots of the game. The monsters, the graphics, and the premise were exactly the same. There was a demo video available. The game play was exactly the same and so was the level that was demonstrated. It was an exact carbon copy of our game.

We never titled the game. We never gave our client a final copy either. I don’t know what is going on but if Jason is even close to being right, we need to warn as many people as possible.

It’s the holiday season and if this VR set and game catches any traction, God only knows what will happen.

Credit: Tom

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.2/10 (396 votes cast)
LineWhatsAppTumblrFacebookTwitterRedditPinterestGoogle GmailGoogle+StumbleUponShare

The Shame

May 20, 2016 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.1/10 (247 votes cast)

This pasta was the second place winner of our Gaming Creepypasta Challenge. Congratulations!

The first place winner can be viewed here, and the third place story will go up tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who participated!

This is the bit where I tell you I’ve always loved games right? That I’ve been a gamer my whole life? Sorry, that’s not how it goes this time.

In all honesty I’ve always preferred book. So many games only give you this snapshot of a world, but a book could take you through so much more. My favourites had always been stories like Alice’s Adventures in wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, where the character would be thrown into a world far stranger, and often more frightening, than our own.

But, like a lot people, my friends went more and more down the path of the gamer and I found myself playing more video games since I had only a handful of friends and wanted to hold onto what I had. I began with a few of the easy titles like Halo, and just messing around with my friends in Minecraft. Nothing here really seemed to stick however. Not like books did.

I talked to my best friend about it, a guy named Mark, and he said he knew what to do. They next day he came by my house with a game called Planescape Torment on CD. He told me it was an old title he’d played like crazy as a kid, based on some strange, Dungeons and Dragons world. I thanked him and took the game.

I have to admit I had very little drive to play the game. The whole gaming experience seemed a little dry on its own to me and, without the benefit of talking to my friends online, I had very little interest in the idea.

Still I told Mark I’d play it, so I put it into my computer and installed it.

The experience was incomprehensible. The game had you playing as what could be best be described as a zombie with a floating skull for a side-kick. You would run around a city called Sigil and interact with the strangest characters that could be imagined. More than anything it felt full. Sure, there was no voice acting, but I’ve told you how much I love to read.

I loved every moment and played for hours every day. I put down my books, called in sick to work a few times, and went offline to my friends so they couldn’t distract me.

No longer was I sitting on the outside and watching one of these worlds, I was living it, interacting with it. The whole thing felt alive.

And then it ended.

It was about 2:00 am and my new, exciting world of Sigil ended. Leaving me with nothing but the cold empty apartment and the whirring of my computer fan.

I needed more. I looked for my friends online but it appeared they had all gone to sleep or where elsewise busy. This was unacceptable.

Instead I went wider places of the internet. To forums. Looking for something else to satisfy my hunger. But as far as I could see, Planescape is the only game to have been set in Sigil.

There was one comment that caught my eye on a feed though. The commenter was called Redrum Gamer. And all he said was, ‘The_Shame: Play it and learn your heart’s desire.’

The message was weird, but that only got me more curious. What is The Shame? I wondered.
I looked further. It was tricky to find The Shame. None of the mainstream sight like Steam or Uplay seem to have it available. But soon enough I found it, available for thirteen dollars. I held my breath. I had a tight budget and thirteen dollars was a steep price to pay for a game that I had only the one limited opinion of.

I scrolled down to the comments section of the webpage. The only comment was Redrum Gamer, once again, and all he said was, ‘Your heart’s desire.’

The smart thing would be to let it go. The smart thing would have been to ask my friends in the morning. I didn’t do the smart thing. As I hit ‘Add to Cart’ and entered my credit card information I felt a tingle of excitement run up my spine. My friends had a kind of competition. There was this plastic trophy cup we would pass around called the Finders Cup. Once a month whoever had found the best obscure title would claim ownership of the Cup. Needless to say I’d never had it before. But maybe this time? I thought to myself as The Shame downloaded and installed.

Opening up the file named the_shame.exe, the screen went black for a fraction of a second. Well almost black… I think anyway. I swear I could have seen a face in that instant of a moment, one shade of grey above the total darkness that surrounded it. But then again, it was late and I may have been having a hard time focusing.

The title screed of the game featured a dark landscape of black, red and grey with wreaked buildings and strewn bodies everywhere all in 16 bit graphics. Hovering over the landscape was the words, The Shame in letters the colour of crusted blood, like a scar that had never been cleaned. Bellow this was two words, the first in white saying ‘PACISCI’ and another, below the first, this one greyed out: ‘EDURO’.

A tune played in the background of the scene of woe. It wasn’t distorted or eerie as you may be expecting. The tune rose and fell in a manner that, although seemed natural, also felt wrong… Like that sensation of nerves that shoot up whenever something touches your neck. It could be anything from a knife blade to a lovers kiss. Regardless, however, it still feels strange.

I tried to push down the felling the peculiar music gave me. I even considered turning the speakers off, but knew I had to give the game at least one try with the proper immersion. So, having only one clear option to me, I clicked enter on PACISCI.

The whole screen went black again. Grey writing came up which read: ‘What does your heart most desire?’ I hesitated at this. Is this what Redrum Gamer was talking about? I knew what I wanted to write, but also didn’t know whether it was crossing a line. Then I remembered that this was a video game and no one would have any idea what I typed Taking a deep breath, I typed in ‘Penny’.

The background was the same grizzled scene as the menu. The music became the same cringing notes that haunted me before. But the character, the character was almost featureless. Wrapped from head-to-toe in dark robes. The only part of him that wasn’t black was his face, but once again you couldn’t see it since over his face he wore a white mask I recognised as one that Italian doctors would wear during the years of The Black Plague. On his head he wore a triangular hat, which once again was black.
Glancing at the clock I saw that it was getting onto 4:00 am I realised I should have long since quit and gone to bed since I had work in the morning. But yet I still found my hands never going near the escape key. Instead they found their way to the W-A-S-D buttons. The default movement keys in modern games. Nothing happened.

Frowning, I then tried the arrow keys, to better success. I moved my character to the right, since this is how to progress in most side scrolling games. All of a sudden the scene started shaking, bouncing up and down. The chilling music was met with a low rumbling sound. Out of instinct I hit the left arrow and my character, my little plague doctor as it were, started running to the left.

The screen started moving left and the character kept running. I began to wonder if running form the presences to the right of me had been the right call after all. The rumbling never stopped however. And so I kept moving. This must have gone on for a good two or three minutes. I have to say that though the gameplay was beginning to become rather dull, I was impressed with the background. Where most games like this use the same small scene on a loop, the environment here always appeared to be changing, always something new, and considering the work was all in 16 bit it was visually stunning in its own twisted way.

I was so lost in the atmosphere of the whole scene, that when I finally had to respond it took me by shock for a moment. A vertical edge shot out from the scene leading upwards, a ladder just out of reach of my Doctor. The rumbling grew wilder, and more sporadic as my Doctor collided with the wall in front of him. Panicking I slammed my hand down on the spacebar hoping my character would jump like I intended. The Doctor shot up and grabbed onto the ladder dangling above him. With a heavy breath I climbed up and away from the rumbling.

As I rose up and away I became aware of my clammy hands and speeding heart. This startled me. I’d been frightened by games before, but they were games like Amnesia or Outlast. They were first person games that brought you right into the horror. I chalked it up to the music and my own exhaustion eating away at my sanity and with a heavy sigh to calm my nerves I climbed the top off the ladder.

Atop the ledge was what I assumed must have been some kind of checkpoint area. The rumbling had stopped, and there were even a few other living souls scattered about the broken environment.

I approached the closet of the other characters, a man wearing bright blue and gold clothes and a top hat on his head. For a time I pressed the buttons at random till shift brought up a text box.
“A wife I once had.
The light of my days and night.
But now she is gone.”
After a glance I dismissed it as meaningless dialogue and hit shit once more. But instead of closing it the conversation, it took me to yet another, although much shorter, text box.
“Such is shame.”

Hitting shift once again took me out of the screen, and gave me control over my Doctor. I kept moving forward to the second survivor, a women in a pink and red dress. Speaking to it again it said:
“I lied to escape
It. Tried to hold my head high.
Now it finds my dreams.”
Hitting shift once more I received the same second text box:
“Such is shame.”

There was one more character in the safe zone. A man wearing little more than what looked like a hessian sack, and was slumped on his knees. Curiosity getting the better of me once more, I spoke to him as well.
“I use to sing well,
Playing for all who listened.
Now they’ve gone away.”
Once again:
“Such is shame.”

I wondered what the messages meant exactly. It was clear these were all characters carrying shame, the game literally told me that so no secrets there, but is that all they were? In a game already so devoid of life, not just in gameplay but in people, colour and enemies as well, I’d hope for something more. Some reason as to why the four of us were here to begin with, and what had kept on my heels the whole run here.

After bouncing around for a while, and finding little else of interest, I decided to call it a night. I closed the game, hoping it had some form of auto-save function, and went to bed.

The next day, at my cubical desk job I E-mailed my friends about The Shame, asking if they knew about it, and telling them what I had done. None of them really should much interest, apart from Mark that is. Mark, the friend who had shown me Planescape Torment in the beginning, and I had always been close. We had met in high-school and stayed friends to this day even after I started dating and inevitably broke-up with his sister.

Mark was also an armature musician. And though he always said it was only a hobby even I could tell he harboured dreams of being professional. He was curious about what I had said about the music, having already started inserting some digital edits to his tracks, and asked if he could come around later that day and hear it for himself. I accepted, kind of relieved by not having to confront the game, and the music on my own again.

After getting home at 7:00 pm I grabbed something to eat, but while I was finishing I found myself torn between the desires to play more of The Shame before Mark arrived, and confronting the disturbing game world on my own. After all, at this stage it was still my discovery, but if Mark was around when I entered the meat of the game that I assumed was still to come, did it then become ours? Soon enough I settle for a third option, researching the game online.

I suppose it comes as no surprise: Googling ‘The Shame’ is a bad idea if you’re looking for specifics. You get this weird blend of Christians filled with it, and pornstars who are apparently without it.

So I tried again this time, adding ‘game’ to the end of the search. Once again, ‘The Shame Game’ harboured useful information.

Just as I sat scratching my head there came a sudden knock at my apartment door. It startled me, but I shock it off and opened up to let Mark in.

As Mark pulled up a second chair to the computer desk, I booted up the game. But as it started the piercing music never came. In fact what played instead was rather startling. It wasn’t 16-bit music or computerised in anyway. It was like a deep storm rising from a guttural rich vein. Like Mongolian throat singing. The kind that vibrates deep into your very core. This deep stir was then met by a striking higher note, the voice of a child, piercing into your mind.

I gave Mark a glance, his eyes fixed on the screen.
“Sorry.” I said. “It seems to have changed.”
“Not at all,” he replied, “this is outstanding…’

Looking back over to the game it was the same title sequence over the dead landscape. The two words, now both white, floating on the screen, ‘PASICI’ and ‘EDURO’. I looked at the screen for a moment. Mark tapped me on the shoulder.
“Are you going to do something man?”
“Yeah, yeah. Just last time I had only the once choice, I’m not sure what to select.”
“Try EDURO.”
“Why?”
“I just – I’ve just got a feeling alright…”
Shrugging it off, and trying to ignore Marks almost reverent stare at the computer, I selected the second option. The screen went black and Mark jumped back in his chair.
“Holy Shit!” he shouted.
“What?”
“Didn’t you see it?”
“No… See what?”
Mark blinked a few times and shook his head before saying:
“I just… It doesn’t matter, keep going.”

The scene was the wrecked landscape with the survivors I had left it in. My Doctor sat idle, waiting for instruction. Doing a quick check of the other characters to see they all said the same thing, I decided to see how far left my character would go in this safe-zone.

Eventually an animation played where the screen wiped across and I was in a new location. The sky was now a dying gold, mountains protruded from the background, and the music had gone back to the sharp electronic notes it had been before when I first played. I smiled, even as my heart plummeted, pretending it didn’t bother me.

I looked over to Mark, he shot me a smile as well. But I could tell even his nerves were digging in. Then he looked back at the screen, and frowned.
“Were they there before?”
I looked over, my Doctor was running into the centre of the screen, but joining him were the three others I had met earlier in the broken village.
“No.” I replied, puzzled myself.

Then the rumbling returned. I slammed down on the left arrow key, my Doctor ran, and the others followed.
“So is this all it is?”
“So far, I guess I’m only in the first – level? I guess that’s what you would call it.”
My mind began to wander as Mark kept talking, I assume commenting on the music. The music which seemed to enter my mind, the music that brought me to thoughts of my parents. We hadn’t been on the best terms when I’d last left. After Penny – Marks sister and my girlfriend of a few years, – walked out on me, I kind of fell off the planet and into my books. I had been studying to get a medical degree, but after she was gone… it just took a lot out of me.

“… I mean you did say there wasn’t much to the game – Shit! Watch out!”
My mind shot back into the real world! I looked at the screen and ahead of my Doctor and his three companions was a whirling blade. I didn’t think I’d be able to stop myself before running into it, and I guess, in a way, I was right. When I was just by the razors edge my Doctor simply stopped moving. I couldn’t walk into the circular blade if I had wanted to. I hit space bar and jumped over, the spinning lumber saw.

I kept running, and my companions followed me. Bouncing over the rotating saw as they went. All but one that is… The man in the sack attempted to leap over, but, and I’ll admit it was hard to tell with the pixel graphics, it appeared his foot was caught in the saw and he fell on his face on the other side of the blade.

I panicked.
“What do I do?”
“Go get him for Christ sake!” shouted Mark, he wasn’t concerned, he was ecstatic.
I ran my character back to the injured man. I mashed shift, hoping it would do something to help.
“Help him!” Mark shouted, his voice growing more and more frantic.
Shift did nothing however. All that appeared was a text box with that message again:
“Such is shame.”
Hitting shift again presented me with a final comment from my beggar friend:
“This is the price of Satan’s game.”
The thing, the rumbling. It was too close now, I couldn’t try anything else. So I ran. Leaving the beggar to be taken in by the rumbling blackness that hounded our path.

The rest of the road was uneventful for my Doctor and his now only two companions, the Gentleman and the Lady. I played in silence, Mark seemed to be lost in his own thoughts too as he sat beside me, wide-eyed. Soon enough the trio arrived at another ladder, and we climbed it without incident.

Feeling bummed about the whole events I closed the game as soon as I reached the safe zoned and turned the computer off.

Looking at Mark, I saw he was biting his nails.
“Hey man, I know it’s late and all, but if you need a drink or something before you head out it’s cool.”
Mark blinked twice and looked at me before saying,
“Ah, yeah man. Thanks.”

I got up from the office chair and pulled out a couple of beers from the fridge before meeting Mark on the cramped area I had designated as the lounge in my two room apartment. All there really was to make it more liveable than the rest of the place was a couch and a TV.

The silence that sat between the two of us was irking at best. Though nothing was said, Mark’s tension grated away at my own nerves.
“So how’s Penny?” I asked, trying to make small talk. It’s sad to get hung up on your ex like this, I know, but this time I really wanted to just break the silence.
“She’s good,” was all the response I got.
The silence returned.
“Well what did you think of the music?”
Mark was silent for a time before saying,
“What?”
“The music. It’s why you came remember?”
“Oh, yeah, yeah… Look man I’ve just gotta go. I’ll see you round.”
Then Mark got up, putting his bottle on the floor, and made his way over to the door. I got up to see him out, but by the time I picked up the half-drunk beer Mark had already left.

I shrugged, thinking little of it, and called it a night.

The next day I sat at my desk, staring away at my computer. The phone at my desk rang. I tensed. I normally only got calls on the work phone when a higher up needed to yell at me. Thanks to The Shame I hadn’t slept much lately and I worried the exhaustion may have been showing up in my job performance.

I picked up the phone.
“Joseph?”
It was Penny’s voice? It sounded stuffy though, as if she had been crying. I had given her my work number in some show of drunken affection, a ‘Sorry I ignored you for a year and a half as I spiralled into depression! But if you ever need me, don’t be afraid to call!’ sap move.
“Hey, what’s up?” I said quiet as I could. Hoping no one realised I was taking a personal call on work hours.
“It’s – It’s… Mark. He had an accident last night.”
“What?” I all but exclaimed before reminding myself to keep my voice down. I looked around the office, but no one seemed to be paying much attention, lost in there on clicking and typing no doubt.
“Is he alright?” I asked once I thought it was safe.
“Well he’s not hurt… Or at least doesn’t appear to be anyway… Just–” The line went silent.
“He’s what?”
“He’s in a coma. They don’t know when – I mean if – he’s going to wake up.”
Now it was my turn to fall silent. My body turned cold as ice.
“What caused it?” I asked. Mark had always been a safe driver, stuck to all those ‘wipe off five’ rules and everything.
“Well they’re not totally sure. Apparently there was alcohol in his system, a lot apparently.” Penny said through chocked breaths.
“What? Look the guy had one beer – which he didn’t finish by the way. If there was anything still in his blood it would be well below the legal limit.”
“Hold on Joseph, what are you saying? Did you see him last night?”
I froze, I mean I had, but I knew how Penny worked. If I told her then she would insist on drilling me for information and I was still at work.
“Joseph, you still there?”
“Yeah, yeah. Look I’ve gotta roll a hard six here, but I’ll call you later, you’ve still got the same number right?”
“Yeah, yeah. Okay. I’ll talk to you later.”

I hung up and fell back into my crappy chair that company claimed was ergonomic, and maybe at some point it was, but with all the springs and adjustments broken it was a rattling mess these days. ‘Rolling the hard six’ was a reference to the show Battlestar Galactica. Penny and I had watched and loved the series together and it had become our code for doing something harsh but necessary. Still I didn’t have time to think on that now. I had to get through the day, and figure out what I was going to tell Penny.

By the time I got home it was dark. I was putting off the conversation and had found any excuse to stay at the office, but there were no excuses now. I picked up my mobile and dialled Penny’s number.
“Hey Penny, just calling you ba –”
“Hi!” Penny’s chipper voice cut in.
“I’m not at the phone right now, but if you leave a mess –”
I hang up, I’m still not all that sure what I want to say, and I certainly don’t want to say it in a message.

Collapsing on the couch I turn the TV on, hoping to detoxify my addled brain from the stress of the day. It takes me into the early morning and through a lot of weird channels and programs, but soon enough, I crash.

I find myself in a forest. The trees are distorted and my breathing is heavy. Looking up the branches seem to stretch far out of sight. Then I hear a voice call my name. Looking about with a slow calm that feels wrong in this place I see Jayson and Kat, my other two friends. Jay is shouting at me, his face red with fury, while Kat seems to have broken down into tears. I attempt to ask then what is wrong but no words come out.

A beep from behind me rips my attention away and I spin around to see myself in a hospital. The beep is a heart monitor and Mark is laying in a bed, his face almost peaceful. I step closer and closer to his unconscious frame. Then his eyes shoot open and he turns his head to look at me.
“Why Joseph?” he asks.
“Why have you done this?”

When I awaken I find myself still half seated, half sprawled on my couch, perspiration built up on my face. I go to the kitchen and wash myself off. Looking at my phone I see I’ve get a missed call from Penny, and that it’s well past midday. I curse under my breath, but also feel a sense of relief that it’s my day off.

I was just about to call Penny again, but then I stop. I put down the phone and head over to my computer. I was acting out of some kind of instinct, an instinct that didn’t feel like my own. I switch on my computer, and open up Google Chrome, then my hands type the word ‘Pacisci’, the word from The Shame’s menu. The word was Latin, as I’d expected. However where I expected it to say ‘start’, or ‘begin’, it came up with, ‘to make a bargain or agreement’. My heartbeat rose as I typed in the next word. Whether it were by my own incentive or that of the outside force I wasn’t sure. I looked up ‘Eduro’ this was closer to what I’d been expecting. Yes it meant to continue in a sense, but with a little extra digging, I found it specifically applied went it meant to ‘persist or endure’. An odd choice for a game, something meant to be enjoyed.

I shook my head, attempting to clear my thoughts. I had to know what was going on here. I opened up The_Shame.exe and the background came up once more. I hesitated between the two options.
“But it can’t be?” I whispered to myself.
“This… This whole thing is insane…”
Eventually I selected ‘ENDUO’ and in that fraction of a second, where the screen went black, I saw in clear white letters: ‘No it’s not.’

I blinked in surprise, but that was all the time it took for me to return to the hillside. To my Doctor and his two remaining friends. I walk my Doctor about the scene for a while, even talked to the two other characters.

The gentleman says:
“So sad, that back there.
But we should move along now.
Move before He comes.”
And as always, clicking again he says:
“Such is shame.”
‘Jay is divorced…’ the stray though slipped through my mind as I remember the Gentleman’s first comment, ‘A wife I once had.’

I then found myself to speaking to the women, though dreading every moment of the approach. She said:
“It was his work not
Mine. Why should I pay the price?
I couldn’t do time.”
What did that mean?
“Such is shame.”

I picked up my phone and dialled Kat.
“Hey.” She said, her voice full of nerves.
“Hey Kat. I take it you heard about Mark?”
“Yeah.” I heard a chocking sound, as though she were fighting herself from breaking into tears.
“You doing okay?” I ask, despite already knowing the answer.
“Fuck no! I mean – You know Jays party two weeks ago?”
“Yeah?” this wasn’t where I expected this to go…
“Well remember how Mark said he’d give me a lift home?”
I stayed silent, knowing that she didn’t need an answer.
“I didn’t go home Joseph… I went to Mark’s, and we…”
“Jesus Kat!”
“It gets worse,” she said with a painful chuckle.
“I was late this month so I took a test and… I guess I’m pregnant.” Her words cut off and this time the tears really did come, I could only hear it through the phone but I felt my heart tense up all the same.
“Shit…” I had no idea what else to say. Eventually I found the right question:
“Did Mark know?”
“No,” Kat breathed in a high pitched whine.

Then the thought crossed my mind, why I had called in the first place. But I couldn’t ask now, could I? As I sat on the line to my sobbing friend, I felt compelled to run my Doctor to the left. And upon entering the next zone I felt my grip loosen on the phone and I felt it clatter to the floor. My Doctor, the Gentleman, and the Lady ran into the middle of the screen with a backdrop of a mighty forest, but not just any forest, the forest. The one that I had been lost in with Kat and Jay in my dream. The one with the stretching trees taller than the eye could see.

With a shaking hand and a brow all but dripping with sweat I reached down to pick up the phone once more.
“Joseph? Joseph? Are you there Joseph?”
“Yeah,” I croaked back in a broken voice.
“Is everything alright? I heard a crash a –”
“Kat I’ve got a question and it may sound dumb but I really, really need to know, okay?”
The line went silent, my screen started to rumble and I ran my Doctor onwards. I eventually hear Kat wipe back her tears and say:
“Ummm… Okay. What is it?”
“Have you ever been charged, or investigated for a crime?”
“What?” She snapped back.
“I told you it would sound dumb but I’m serious!” My eyes darted between the two figures running alongside my doctor, wondering who could be next. I knew someone would be next.
“I’m not talking anything major, just enough that you might get jail time.”
Kat said nothing for a long while. I was worried about how far I’d passed through the level, and how little I had left to go. But if I stopped the rumble would get us and somewhere in my bones I knew that would be far worse.

The music seemed to be getting louder and louder through the speakers, once again it had turn to the Mongolian throat singing. My hands were tight, every muscle contort despite only using the one finger to keep running onwards.
“Yeah, yeah I did,” Kat eventually spat at me. Then she continued.
“I dated a dealer after my parents kicked me out of home. I helped him out for a while but when he got busted I cut and ran. Now how the hell is that your goddamn business?”
I had no idea what to say? The truth would sound stupid and only make everything worse. But in what real-world scenario does any of this make sense?

I had to tell her the truth. It’s the only way I can live with myself, even if Kat never speaks to me again. I open my mouth to speak, and in that split moment it happens. My Doctor and the Gentleman pass over some form of rope-bridge, and just as the Lady goes across the panel breaks beneath her. My heart jumps and I run over to where she is still dangling.
“Joseph?” I hear Kat say on the other end of the phone.
Hitting shift I whisper an apology.
“Sorry, I’m so damn sorry.” I wasn’t sure if this was to the lady in the computer, Kat on the phone, or to both really.
The Lady said:
“Such a shame.”
“What the hell is with you today? I swear the next time I see you Joseph I’ll punch you right in the face!”
I hit shift again and I get one final message from the Lady:
“One last piece to be played.”
I hit shift and the Lady tumbles down in to the pit with no end. As the rumbling shakes the screen wildly I run my doctor away as fast as I could.
“Tell you what Kat,” I say to the phone as a tear rolls down my cheek.
“If I ever see you again, go right ahead.”
“What the fu–” Kat begins but I hang up before she finishes. Jumping onto the ladder I climb my Doctor and the Gentleman to the next safe zone, before shutting off the computer, climbing into bed, and crying myself to sleep.

I wake up to a banging on my door. Like a slug I ooze out of the cocoon I have made for myself and check my phone. More missed calls from Penny. The time reads 10:30 am, Sunday. So who the hell is at my door?

I slouch out of bed and drift my way over to the door. When I open the door one of the cops had his hand raised, clearly he was ready for round three.
“What is it?” I ask, looking them square in the eye.
“Joseph Ark I assume?” asked the cop who had been knocking. I nodded and he continued:
I’m detective Gabriel, this is my partner Fin.” The other cop gave a sarcastic wave.
“We’d like to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind?”
“Of course he doesn’t!” the cop called Fin says as he brushes past me and into my apartment. His matter-of-fact tone irked me.
Detective Gabriel shot me a glance, as though asking if this was alright. With a groan, I gestured him in.

“Joseph, mind if I call you Joseph?” Gabriel asked.
“As long as you tell me why you’re here?”
“Are you in anyway associated with a Miss Katrina Evans?”
It took me a second to recognise Katrina’s full name. A pang of gilt stabbed into my chest, I just prayed the cops didn’t notice.
“Yeah, I am.”
“How long you been sleeping with her?” Detective Fin, who had been idly drifting about my apartment, jumped in.
“What?” I scoff back. Seeing the script starting to play out before me. They must know about the pregnancy. But why assume it was mine, or that I was even involved.
“Hey!” Cut in Gabriel, holding up a finger to his partner.
“Were just asking a few questions. Now Joseph, are you aware that Miss Evans threw herself out a window last night?”
“Christ, really? Is she…”
“Dead? No.” Gabriel pulled out a pen and pad before he continued.
“It was a damn miracle to be honest. Five floors. Left her in a coma though, that’s why we’re getting involved.”
“Alright, but how does this all get back to me?” I knew the answer, well at least the answer that made sense in the way that nothing makes sense anymore but I continue to accept it.
“Because you made her do it!” burst Fin and he stepped towards me. Gabriel grabbed his partners arm and pulled him back.
“Wait outside.” Hissed Gabriel.
“But–” began Fin.
Gabriel cut him off:
“Save it rookie, I don’t want to hear it. Now get out.” Gabriel pushed his partner towards the door and Fin reluctant as a cat to water shuffled out, giving me one last glare.

“I apologise for my partner. Something like this happened to his sister.”
“Something like what?” I asked.
Detective Gabriel held his breath for a moment before going on:
“Miss Evans’ phone records show you two were chatting pretty late last night.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Neighbours say it got pretty heated?”
“Umm, yeah,” I mumbled back.
The detective narrowed his eyes, looking me over.
“How would you describe your relationship with Miss Evans?”
“She’s a friend I guess, we’ve known each other for a fair few years.”
“Ever look like it was anything more?”
“No. Definitely not.” That much I could say with confidence. She’d always told me how pathetic I was, still being hung up on Penny.
“And were you aware that Miss Evans was pregnant?”
“Yeah, that’s what we were talking about, mostly…”
The detective’s eyebrows shot up.
“Really, what else did you talk about?”
I thought about trying to explain for a brief moment, then realised it was futile.
“It – it doesn’t matter. Just a stupid video game.”
Detective Gabriel nodded. It was clear he was in deep thought.
“Okay Joseph, let me tell you what’s going on here. You seem like a good guy to me, honest. You could have lied about knowing she was pregnant, hell you could have even lied about ever meeting her before! But you didn’t. I like that. Shows you’re trying to get this sorted just as much as I am. But at the same time, a girl is in hospital on an IV drip and I have a duty to find out why.”
I go to speak, but Gabriel shushes me.
“So let’s run through the facts here Joseph. Miss Evans comes home after finding out she’s pregnant. She call you, has a heated argument about that pregnancy. Then throws herself out the damn window? What kind of light do you think that shines on you Joseph?”
Gabriel stood there, waiting for an answer. I felt my fists clench and my body go tight.

“Okay how about you listen to me, and I mean actually godamn listen, none of this good-cop-bad-cop mind game crap!” I had no idea where this anger was coming from. Whether stress from all that had happened, or my own rage towards myself, but for now it will be set doing something useful.
“If what you are insinuating is even true – and believe me it isn’t. The Dad’s name is Mark Grey, you’ll find him next door to Kat in his own hospital bed – being an asshole isn’t a crime. So if you ever, and I mean ever, need to speak to me again, it will be with a lawyer present. Now get out!”
Detective Gabriel gave me a weak look. He moved towards the door, and just before stepping through it he looked back at me.
“You seem like bright kid. Make sure you keep it that way,” then he stepped through the door and was gone.

Now I want to make a few things clear. Yes my friends were in trouble. And yes it was likely my fault, even if I didn’t understand how. But at the same time, they weren’t dead yet, and somehow, I knew I was the only one to change that. The question was how?

The obvious answer was to beat the game, at least that’s what a lifetime of Hollywood movies had taught me. But that left two glaring issues. First off: Life isn’t Hollywood and I can’t know for sure that will even work. Second: I’d be playing with Jay’s life, as well as my own… Now Jay was a good guy, but even if I could explain the whole thing to him, this was a big ask for only a chance of fixing my screw up.

I take a heavy breath and dial Jay’s number. It rings three times before he picks up.
“Hey man, you heard?” he says, voice distorted and crackling through the phone.
“Yeah. I just had a pair of cops give me an interrogation on the whole thing.”
“Shit man, what did you do?”
“Nothing. They just though I was the father.” The line goes dead for second.
“Kat’s father?” Jay said confused.
“No of course not, the kids.”
“What kid?”
“Kat’s!”
“Kat had a kid!”
“Jesus Christ! She was pregnant man! She and Mark hooked up.”
“Oh… Oh shit…”
Nothing but the buzz of the phone could be heard as the slow light of realization flooded over Jay.
“Now it’s making some sense…”

Jay and I talked for a while. Awkwardness colliding between us. I had no idea if I should tell him or not, and if I did, how could I say it in a way he would believe?

“Jay what are you doing tonight?”
“Nothing much, why?”
“Come round and have a drink. I’ve got something to show you.”
“Ummm, alright. See you then man.”
Alright now I just have to wait…

The knock on my door came by at about 8:00 pm that night. I’d been sitting upright in my bed the whole day trying to think about anything but that damn game. However, no matter how hard I tried, I always found my eyes wandering back to the computer, speculating. It’s just a game, right? I’ve worked myself up over nothing! Endlessly these thoughts passed through my mind and time after time I had to push them back down. It wasn’t that simple. No matter what my brain may say, my heart or soul or whatever you want to call it, knew otherwise.

My bones cracked as I moved to the door, stiff from little movement. Opening up, Jay eyed me over.
“You look like shit man,” he said.
“Yeah, it’s been a rough couple of days…” I said, gesturing him inside.
After Jay passed through the door I did a quick glance, up and down the hallway. Jay payed this no mind and fell into the couch before saying:
“So what did you need to show me?”
“Huh?”
“You said you wanted to show me something? And let me tell you, I’m praying its good news. In the light of recent events we could sure use some.”
“Yeah… I’m afraid I’m fresh out of that…”
“Should have known,” Jay said in response, letting out a heavy sigh.
“Well hit me with it, whatever it is?”

I’d rehearsed this part in my head, I’d told myself what to say, and convinced myself Jay would play his part to a T. It took all of three seconds after Jay walked in the door for that plan to go out the window. Still, Jay was the son of a Minister, and had always been a bit driven towards the supernatural and whatever was going on here clearly wasn’t possible in the natural world.

“Jay what I’m going to say is weird, in fact it will probably sound impossible, but I need you to hear me through. Can’t you promise me that?”

Jay sat back on the couch awkward in his own weight. After his divorce Jay filled the whole in his life with fitness. And though the countless martial arts lessons had paid off and he looked fantastic, he still seemed kind of uncomfortable in his larger frame.

Jay was giving me a look that simply stated: are you serious? Without a single word. But when he saw that I was keeping a straight face he sucked in a sharp breath through his teeth and said:
“Alright, shoot.”

I told Jay what had happened. Everything form finishing Planescape to the discovery of The Shame. I went into every detail about the characters and the conclusions I was drawing. I talked about the cops, both Gabriel and Fin. All the while Jay’s face turned darker and darker. When I was done the last of my words hung in the air:
“… so what are we going to do?”
Jay had been staring down into his palms for the past while, slowly rubbing his hands together. Then the silence was broken as Jay spoke.
“There are three possible answers to what you just told me,” Jay began, rising to his feet and floating towards me.
“First, you’re legit crazy. If that’s true I’m going to pick up my phone and call you some help.”
I took a thick swallow, glancing down at Jay’s hands to see if he was already reaching for his phone. One of his large hands were in his pocket, but they didn’t seem to be moving.
“Two, this is a sick fucking joke, and I’m about to beat you bloodied.”
Needless to say, Jay was doing nothing for my already racing nerves.
“And finally,” he said, standing less than an arm’s reach away,
“It’s all true.” Jay’s arms shoot up and around my neck, forming a tight grip. “It’s all true and I’m going to do what I have to!”
I panicked and tried to push him back but it was hopeless. Trying to fight against Jay was like playing The Shame, my fate was sealed from the beginning.

One, two, three seconds. Then the world disappeared around me into darkness.

The world around me was a lie, or something close to a lie anyway. I was in the forest once again, its tall trees shooting far out of sight. There was Jay, dressed up in the blue and gold of the Gentleman, his face a blank slate.

Beyond my control I found myself drawn towards him. Moving closer to him he said:
“The deal is all but
Set. Have you worked it out yet?
Enter in the sleep.”
I tried to call out to Jay, ask him what was going on, but try as I might, my lips didn’t move.

I then felt my body moving once more without my permission. An outside force pulling me to the left. A large black wall appeared before me and, despite trying to stop, I drove onwards to it.

Soo enough I collided with it and was consumed by blackness. A blackness that cut away in less than a moment. I was surrounded by white. A white hall. A white, blinding, florescent light, and white tiled floor. Blinking my eyes adjusted to the light. I heard footsteps clattering on the tiles, not just my own though. Jay?
I tried to turn my head but it wouldn’t move. We just kept running onwards through the hall. There were no doorways or windows along the corridor. In fact the scene showed no form of life or decoration at all.

Then the rumbling came.

A tremor at first. Barely recognisable from my own body, shake with exhaustion from the run. But as it grew heavier, and the deep, throaty music began to play, I realised the reality I was living in. Jay has open the game. I am lying on my on floor, a helpless vegetable, as he checks the credibility of my story.

There are no other words for it. My heart plummeted. I knew Jay wouldn’t screw the level up, I mean all it really needed was for the player to hold one button down. But in a way that only made it worse. Because If Jay didn’t get my Doctor killed, then he was the one in danger. But even if he did lose at this stage would that help? If it would save the others I’d gladly throw myself away. But from all appearances Jay was behind me and that means that this thing behind us was only going to get him first if we slowed down.

Then the scene was changing. The lights flickered and soon died all together. The tiles on the walls grew larger and heavier. Till soon enough it was thick stone walls that had us boxed in. The rumbling had gone far beyond what it had ever been before. I lost my footing for a brief moment and found my head slamming into the stone wall.

Opening my eyes as fast as I could. Then I heard a bleeding ring pierce through my ears. As the world became clear once more I realised the original menu music had begun to play once more. The tunnel was tighter than it had been before. I tried to take a step but felt a stabbing pain in my leg from a twisted ankle.

I almost collapsed, ready for the growing rumble to take me. In less than a moment something snatched me up by my waist, I panicked at first but then realised it felt familiar, definitely human at least. I looked to the side, once again having control of my body, to see Jay. His expression was of a determination as hard as steel.
“Jay?” I gurgled as he dragged me onwards.
“How did we get away?”
“We didn’t,” he replied, not losing focus.
“It caught me and brought me here. It told me everything.”
“But then… What?”
“I got away from it for a moment, but I can only run, never escape. That means I still have time to get you out.” Jay paused and glanced at me for a moment.
“I’m sorry, for what I did, in the real world I mean. I took you out because I had to see this for myself. I knew you’d never let me touch it. I was wrong and I was stupid. I should have listened. Sorry.”
Feeling my senses return to me I could make out a door up ahead.
“I forgive you Jay but your wrong, okay? There’s got to be a way for us both to make it out of here.”
“If only…” he said. Grabbing the door handle, pulling it open, and throwing me into the bright, glowing light that radiated through.

When I opened my eyes my head pounded in my skull. Looking around I found myself lying on my own floor. I cracked my neck and got to my feet. Looking around the room I saw Jay was on my couch, a collection on my anti-depressants and anxiety medication scattered about him. His body devoid on motion apart from his slow breathing. I glanced over to my computer and see a green DoS override box was displayed over The Shames main menu. I walked over and took look at the message.

“Congratulations!” it said.
“You have officially completed The Shame and shall receive your award momentarily.”
Bellow this was a flashing green tab, as though I could write something in response. Taking a breath, my hands trembling, I typed:
“Who are you?”
The computer seemed to process this for a second before replying.
“Peter 5:8.”
Clearly a biblical reference, I wish Jay was still awake to tell me what it meant. Having no bible handy I asked:
“What did you do?”
“Upon completion of the first level of The Shame you agree to the deal struck between us. I find the three you hold most dear, and exchange it for what your heart most desires.”
What my heart most desires? Does it mean Penny? I wonder.

A sudden knock at the door brought me away from my computer and back into my apartment. Taking one last glance at the screen it read:
“Enjoy!”
Step by step I approached the door. There was another knock.
“Joseph? Joseph? Open up Joseph I’m getting cold out here!” As I suspected, it was Penny’s voice. I opened the door and there she was. Dressed up in black lingerie and stockings. She leans in to kiss me and I wish I could say I was man enough to try and stop her.
“Hey Sweetheart,” she said. Leaning so close that her sweet lips brushed mine with every word.
“Can I come in?”

I stepped out of her way to let her in, my body feeling stiff as a tin-man. I watch her and her long and ever so elegant legs drift through my apartment to my bed.
“Come and join me?” she asks, fluttering her eyes.
“What about Jay?” I reply. My voice broken and cracked.
“Who?” she asks, looking puzzled.
I deliberate the idea of trying to talk to her. Trying to tell her what has happened and why this isn’t really her. But somehow I already know it would be futile.

Walking over to Penny I find myself kissing her once more.
“I’ll be over in a minute,” I say, returning to the computer.
“Oh,” she says, still seeming confused.
“What are you doing?”
I type in my final question to whoever it is on the other side of the screen before replying:
“Sometimes you’ve just gotta roll the hard six.”

POLICE AUDIO LOG TRANSCRIPT
DATE: 03/11/2016
OFFICER REPORTING: DETECTIVE GABRIEAL

The scene was a mess really. There was a guy [Jason Rowland] who had taken enough drugs to sink an elephant sitting around, confused but beyond that the picture of health. Then there was the girl [Penny Singer] all dressed up nice for her boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend… No one seemed sure of that one. Regardless it was for the victim by all appearances. Anyway she was claiming she had no clue how she got there.

Finally there was Joseph Ark, a suspect in the then ongoing case of Katrina Evans’ attempted suicide. [Miss Evens case has now been closed due to her and what is apparently now her fiancé making a full recovery.] Our old friend Joseph seemed to be just slouched at his keyboard, hacking some strange video game. I say hacking because when our specialist took a look at the computer they saw he had some override up that interacted with the programs base code.

The program in question appeared to be some kind of non- sensical communication between Mr Ark and the computer. The last part of this dialog, which my specialist assured me all happened offline, caught my eye particularly since it looked like an early-era chat room. It said:

Joseph Ark (JA): What if I didn’t complete level one?

Other (O): You would still get your wish. But I’d take your life instead of the others.

JA: I want to play again.

O: … What?

JA: You heard me. Start it up again.

O: Very well. But what does your heart desire now?

JA: I want my friends back.

Peculiar at best. I think I may attempt this game myself. See if I can find any answers there.

This is detective Gabriel signing off.

[This transcript has been withdrawn as evidence in the case against Detective Gabriel relating the hospitalization of Detective Jack Fin, Elizabeth Gabriel and Kyle Gabriel (Detective Gabriel’s with and son.)]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.1/10 (247 votes cast)
LineWhatsAppTumblrFacebookTwitterRedditPinterestGoogle GmailGoogle+StumbleUponShare

Willow Creek

May 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.2/10 (368 votes cast)

This pasta was the first place winner of our Gaming Creepypasta Challenge. Congratulations to moonlit_cove!

The second and third placed winners will have their stories uploaded on the 20th and 21st. Thanks to everyone who participated!

A small orb of orange light quickly illuminated then faded back into the darkness as Paul Donovan took a draw from his cigarette. He sat slouched in a plush chair in his living room, the hand that held the cigarette now dangling over the armrest. When he exhaled, the smoke rose and hovered near the ceiling, though it was impossible to see it in the darkness.

After a brief moment of questioning his willingness to continue, he picked up the TV remote in his free hand and pressed the power button. The solid blue screen initially caused his dilated pupils to ache – so much so that he winced and glanced away from the screen for a few seconds.

Once his eyes adjusted, Paul swapped the TV remote for his wireless game controller. He pressed and held the start button until the system booted up. After taking one final draw of his cigarette, he snuffed it out in an ash tray that was resting on a nearby end table. The disc reader inside his console whirred as it spun up to load the game data.

Continue to Level 3? The dialogue box gave him one last chance to change his mind. He initially used the controller stick to highlight the “No” response, and lingered there while contemplating the possible consequences of playing on. But he had to finish what he’d started, and he hoped that by completing the game he could put an end to this madness. More importantly, he wanted his son back, and he was prepared to do whatever was necessary in order to get him home safely. He returned the cursor to the “Yes” option and confirmed his choice.

– – – – –

Being an avid lover of horror and survival games, it was only natural that Paul would accept the challenge to play this game. He had learned of it quite by accident two weeks ago as he was browsing the discussion forum of his favorite gaming site. Someone had posted a topic requesting recommendations for the scariest games. Paul opened the thread with the intention of providing a long list of his favorites, but as he read through the responses he saw how the conversation had turned in a much different direction, beginning with a reply from a user he’d never seen before:

Chameleon01: If you guys are looking for a scary game, I’ve got one for you. I’ll bet no one on this board could even finish it.

GamerGabe: PFFFFFT!! Yeah right! We’ve played everything there is. What’s the name of it then, newbie?

Dark-Shadow957: Low post count + outrageous claim = troll.

00Raven00: Well, what game is it?

RevengeofSephiroth: Let me guess, a Pokemon game?

GamerGabe: (@RevengeofSephiroth) BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Dark-Shadows957: TROLL! Come on guys, don’t feed the troll!

Chameleon01: It’s called Willow Creek.

GamerGabe: Sounds lame.

00Raven00: I googled your little game. It doesn’t exist. Nice try though. Buh-bye now.

Chameleon01: It’s a pre-production bootleg. It’s not supposed to be out until next year.

00Raven00: We still would’ve heard of it as an upcoming release. Besides that, how would you even get a hold of such a thing? Geez, some people!

Chameleon01: I work for the developer. That’s all I can say. Do you want to play it or not?

00Raven00: What system?

Chameleon01: PM me. I’ll get you the version for whatever system you need.

The more Paul read into the depth of the thread, the more his interest was piqued. He wondered whether or not 00Raven00 had gone on to request the game from this stranger. He hovered his mouse over the link to Chameleon01’s profile, then clicked it and began composing his own private message to the unknown user. He was hesitant at first to give out his home address, but he rationalized it away by telling himself it wasn’t any different than the hundreds of random strangers using eBay that had already obtained his personal information over the years.

A yellow padded envelope with no return address arrived in Paul’s mailbox four days after he sent the private message. Inside was the game disc in a paper sleeve. On the disc, crudely written in ink, was: Willow Creek: beta v. 1.0.

“Ah, so this Chameleon guy is in charge of beta testing. That makes a little more sense,” Paul mumbled to himself. His mouth then broadened into a partial smile. “Well, he didn’t have to be so cryptic about it.”

A young boy came running into the kitchen where Paul stood looking over the rest of the day’s mail.

“Who you talkin’ to, dad?” the boy asked.

“Oh, no one, Scotty. Just myself.” He shuffled through the bills and junk mail.

Scotty was ten years old, an above average student, but a typical boy all around. He loved playing the seemingly endless stream of video games that his father was constantly bringing home. They had partnered up for many adventures on most of the multiplayer games (unless Paul deemed the game to be too mature for Scotty), and even when games were single player, Scotty loved to watch as his father solved all the puzzles and defeated the toughest bosses. Paul knew that Scotty’s mother would probably not approve of all of the games that they’d played together, but she hadn’t had a say in the matter for nearly a year now.

“We got a new game,” Paul announced to his son, holding the disc out toward Scotty.

Scotty took it from him. “It looks fake,” he said.

“Well, it’s a beta test. We’ll be among the first players.”

Scotty’s eyes lit up. “Cool! Can we play it tonight?”

“Sure, if we have time. You make sure you get all your homework done first though. Okay?”

Scotty hung his head as he placed the game disc on the kitchen table. “Alright,” he replied in a resigned voice, remembering how much homework awaited him that evening.

It was getting late when Scotty finally finished his school work and came barreling into the living room, begging his father to play the new game.

“It’s already 9:30, bud. You need to be getting to bed soon.”

“Can we at least start it?”

Paul hesitated for a moment. “Okay. But you’re not staying up past ten.”

Scotty’s excitement boiled over as he grabbed the game disc and booted up the console. He handed his father the first player controller. After a brief title screen, there were three level options listed from top to bottom. The only option that was active was “Level One”. The remaining two levels were grayed-out. In the background, behind the text, was the still image of a closed door depicted from inside a dark room with light radiating from the gaps at its edges.

“What’s this about?” Scotty asked.

“I don’t know exactly. But it’s supposed to be scary so I may be sending you to bed if it gets too bad.”

Scotty groaned. Paul confirmed the selection of level one and sat back as the game loaded. “It looks like it’s only one player so you’ll just have to watch me play for a while.”

“That’s okay.”

After a few seconds of load time, a cut scene appeared. Paul and his son watched the animated footage – a first-person perspective as the protagonist entered a door with a frosted glass window into an antiquated office environment. On the window, decaled in thick black lettering, was “Detective Charleston”. Somber ambient music droned in the background. The scene reminded Paul of the way many of the classic film noirs he’d seen over the years had begun. Right away he realized that this would be more of a puzzle solving game. An intellectual’s game.

Paul caught on to the gist of the game relatively quickly. He played as Detective Charleston, traveling all around the virtual town of Willow Creek and finding clues that could be pieced together to advance the storyline. In level one’s mystery he was introduced to the story of James Braxton, a man that worked the third shift at the Willow Creek Steel Mill. One night while having an argument with a coworker, James was pushed into the blast furnace. The perpetrator left the scene and there were no other witnesses. It was up to Paul to find all of the evidence and have the murderer convicted.

During one particularly realistic cut scene of the murder, Paul had ordered Scotty off to bed. Scotty protested at first, but soon relented. Paul finished solving the case by himself, and was pleased with his work when the police finally slapped the handcuffs on the murderer in the final cut scene of level one. The game automatically saved his progress.

Paul’s phone rang. He looked at his watch – 12:37.

“C’mon, you’re going to wake up Scotty,” he whispered as he reached for the phone. He answered it.

“Hello?”

“Thank you for setting me free.”

Paul pulled the phone away from his ear to glance at the screen – unknown caller. “Who is this?” he demanded.

“James Braxton.”

“Who?”

“James. From Willow Creek. You solved my case.”

Paul was taken aback. He glanced at the television screen which now displayed a dialogue box, beaconing: Continue to Level 2?

“Who is this really? And where did you get my number?”

“I told you – I’m James from Willow Creek. I just wanted to thank you for solving my case. Now I’m free. I only had about six weeks left before reaching the dreaded one year mark. Thank God you came along. No one else had solved my case yet. I even-”

“Where did you get my number?” Paul interrupted.

“From Chameleon, of course.”

“What the…” Paul trailed off as the phone slipped from his hand and landed with a thud on the carpet. His mouth slacked open in disbelief. He looked down at the phone. The illuminated screen stared back up at him. He could still hear the muffled voice at the other end. He grabbed the phone and shut it off as quickly as he could.

Paul’s heart was racing and drops of sweat began to form on his brow as he switched off the game console and the TV set. He was bathed in silence and in the darkness of his living room. After a long moment to gather his thoughts and to allow his pulse to settle, he quietly snuck into Scotty’s room where he watched his son sleep peacefully for several minutes. Paul was not able to fall asleep himself until nearly 4:00AM. He could not shake the uneasy feeling of the phone call. His last thought before finally drifting off into slumber was how useless he was going to be at work later that day.

– – – – –

Paul awoke in a fog at first, but then jolted upright when he saw the time on his bedside clock – 10:23. The room was washed in dim shades of gray as a heavy rain beat steadily at the roof and windows. Apparently Paul had forgotten to set his alarm amidst the chaos that followed his completion of level one. After the utterance of a few choice profanities and throwing off the bed sheets, he darted into Scotty’s room. His empty bed was neatly made. In the kitchen Paul found a note:

You were sleeping so well, I made my own breakfast. I have to catch the bus soon. Love, Scotty

Paul sighed and felt like such a failure as a father. It was in moments like these that he wished Laura were still there. He missed her in so many ways, and her penchant for organization, though annoying at times, was something he undeniably needed in his life. Paul stared into blank space as he relived in his mind the accident that took her. Once he snapped out of the vision he decided to call in sick to work. Afraid to turn on his cell phone, he made the call from his land line.

After a quick breakfast, Paul debated with himself about whether or not to continue the game. He finished off a cigarette as he rehashed the events of the previous night. As unnerving as it had been for him at the time, it now seemed like nothing more than a strange coincidence with a wrong number. A very strange coincidence, but how else could it be explained? Besides, Paul was never one to back away from a challenge. He had to finish the game.

The console booted up, the disc spun, and the title screen gave way to the dialogue box: Continue to Level 2? Paul confirmed the “Yes” selection.

The second case for Detective Charleston was that of a housing developer who had dug up human remains while leveling a lot for construction. The site of the discovery was roped off and it was the objective of the player to properly collect all of the evidence and determine who the remains belonged to and what had happened to them. Paul was meticulous in his actions and was careful to think of every possible piece of evidence. He collected samples for DNA testing. He interviewed the former landowner, the construction foreman, and the equipment operator who had made the discovery. He pored over photographs of the crime scene.

Little by little he pieced together the story of a woman that had been kidnapped and murdered. She had been carjacked and a fiery accident was staged to cover up the disappearance. She was then held captive by her abductor until he finally did away with her and buried the remains. The case was solved in its entirety when the DNA test results came back. There were two DNA profiles in the samples – one for the perpetrator, who turned out to be a known troublemaker in Willow Creek – and the other for the victim, Laura Donovan.

Paul threw the controller aside. His pulse immediately increased to the point that he could feel his neck throbbing. His ears rang and he began shaking.

“There’s….no way.” He choked on the words. Tears welled up in his eyes as he recalled the circumstances surrounding Laura’s death. The car had burned beyond recognition. The funeral was closed casket. Had something more happened to her? Had she not died at the scene as this game was suggesting?

“What are you?” he screamed at the television, his face dark red. There was no answer, just the ever-increasing throbbing of his pulse, now audible in his ears, and the prompt on the screen: Continue to Level 3?

Paul rushed over and unplugged the game system. The TV screen shone solid blue. With the exception of the pounding rain outside, silence enveloped the house. He paced around the living room, wrestling in his own mind for answers. How was this possible? There’s no way it was all a coincidence!

The wall phone rang.

The sound of the mechanical bell was jolting, threatening to split Paul’s head in two. He agonized at the thought of the caller’s identity. Most people did not have his home phone number.

“No! Please, no! Don’t do this to me!” His initial reaction was one of terror, but what if it really was Laura calling? What if he’d somehow released her from the clutches of the game just as James claimed that he’d done in his case? Ridiculous! Paul thought, She’s dead! He made his way over to the phone mounted on the kitchen wall.

“Hello?” Paul said this with great caution, the way an intimidated child would approach an angry parent.

“Paul Donovan?” It was a woman’s voice.

“Yes.”

“This is Janice Pendleton from Roosevelt Elementary School. We were just calling to check on your son, Scotty, since he was absent today.”

Paul was at a loss for words.

Janice continued, “We couldn’t reach you on your cell phone, but we found this alternate number in Scotty’s file.”

“You’re telling me he didn’t show up today?”

There was a pause of confusion before Janice delicately replied, “Yes sir, we found it odd since he rarely misses a day. So we wanted to check…” She trailed off.

“He left for school as usual this morning,” Paul said, “I mean, I was sleeping, but…” He realized that no matter what he said next it would make him sound like a negligent parent. He began to weep and tried his best to hide this from Janice, but she was able to pick up on it.

“Mr. Donovan, if you’re saying you don’t know where he is either… Do you want us to notify the authorities?”

No longer attempting to hide his sobbing he managed to blurt out, “Yes. Please!” then wept uncontrollably, dropping the phone receiver. It hit the kitchen wall with a hard thud and swung there by its cord as Paul sank to the floor.

– – – – –

Paul spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening at the police station. He answered a barrage of questions from multiple officers and detectives. He filled out endless amounts of paperwork. He pleaded with everyone he encountered to stop wasting time and find his son. The officers convinced Paul that they would do everything in their power and then persuaded him to go home in case Scotty returned. “That’s how many of these cases resolve themselves in the early stages,” one officer had told him.

The rain had subsided by the time Paul returned home, leaving wet streets and walkways. He unlocked his front door and entered the darkness. The house was silent.

“Scotty?” he called, standing in the doorway. “Are you here?” But there was no response.

Paul knew that if he were to simply sit around the house waiting he would go insane, so he booted up his computer to revisit the message board thread about the game – and to give this Chameleon guy a piece of his mind. As the computer was starting up he gazed at a framed photo on the desktop. The picture was of himself, Laura and Scotty taken at a family reunion during a much happier time in their lives. He fought tears again and then turned the photo face down on the desk. The computer was ready.

He navigated to the message board and found the thread. He noticed two things that had happened since he had last been there. First, the user Chameleon01 was no longer listed. Everywhere he had posted, his username was replaced by an icon with the text No Longer A Registered User. The other item of interest was that the tread had been locked by moderators after the argument about the mysterious game grew much more intense. As Paul was reading the heated exchange he heard the front door open. A sigh of relief washed over him and an impossibly large smile crossed his face.

“Scotty!” he yelled. He ran down the hallway. “Scotty, you’re home! Thank God! You had me so worr-”

Paul stopped dead in his tracks when he turned the corner to face the front door. Scotty had not come home. But Laura had.

– – – – –

Even though she had lost weight and appeared sickly, Laura’s embrace felt like home. It was comfortable and familiar, although it had been almost a year since Paul had experienced it. They lingered in the doorway in that position before either of them spoke.

Finally, Paul pulled back, his hands remaining on her shoulders, and asked, “Laura, is it really you? How is this possible?”

“It’s really me! You freed me! It’s so good to be home.” Paul was awestruck as they resumed the embrace. They kissed passionately for several minutes. Once the disbelief of her presence lessened, Paul led Laura over to the couch to question her about all that had happened.

“I don’t even know where to start, Laura. I was playing this video game and I-”

“I know, Paul. I know. Let me tell you everything that happened to me.”

Paul nodded and listened intently.

“I didn’t die in the car crash,” Laura began. “He took me.”

“Who took you?”

“This ‘thing’ that calls himself The Chameleon.”

Paul’s stomach sank and his brow creased as he tried to make sense of this.

“Took you where, exactly?”

“After he abducted me and burned my car, I woke up in a holding cell. There were hundreds of us in there, stacked in cages lining the walls. I don’t think the place is even in this realm. He told us that if someone solved our case in the game he would send us back to ‘the real world’. And when I was released, I passed through some sort of portal and wound up in the sewer tunnels under Hamilton Square.”

“What in the world? That sounds crazy, Laura!”

“I know it does, Paul. But you’ve got to believe me. It’s happening.”

“But what is he getting out of this? I mean, why not just make a game without the human collateral?”

“I think the human collateral is the point. It’s some kind of a sick game to him. The cages are stacked around the perimeter of a very large warehouse-like room. In the center of the room is a stage where people whose cases aren’t solved within one year are creatively…” she began crying, “…dispatched in gruesome ways.” Laura leaned over to embrace Paul again, her tears dampening his shoulder. “I saw terrible things, Paul. And my time on the stage was only two weeks away.”

The gravity of this hit Paul like a ton of bricks. He rubbed her back.

“You saved me, Paul. Thank you.”

“I have to tell you something, Laura,” he said after a contemplative pause, “Scotty is missing.”

“I know,” Laura replied somberly, “he’s in the game.”

– – – – –

Paul sat in the dark living room and stared at the prompt on the screen. Continue to Level 3? After selecting “Yes” and while waiting for the case to load, he closed his eyes and hoped beyond measure that the case he would be presented with was Scotty’s. Laura watched silently from the couch. The familiar cut scene played showing the entrance into Detective Charleston’s office. Once Paul had control of the game, he opened the last case file and began reading.

He nearly burst into tears of joy when he read about a missing ten year old boy. His objective was to find the boy and have the kidnapper brought to justice.

“It must update through the internet connection,” Paul said to Laura. “The disc is just a gateway into the game. I’ll bet if I went back to level one again it would not be James’ case, but something new – one of Chameleon’s latest victims.” As Paul was saying this, he had the sudden realization that this would never end. He would be compelled from then on to spend every waking moment of his life playing this game, lest someone experience a gruesome death that he might have prevented. His conscience would never let him put it down.

Paul refocused on the task at hand. He worked the level three case as diligently as he knew how, talking to possible witnesses in Willow Creek and collecting evidence from the playground where the boy was last seen. Soon, he was at an impasse. He did not have enough evidence to figure out what had happened and he had no further ideas on how to proceed.

“What’s that store next to the playground?” Laura asked.

“I think it’s like a convenience store,” Paul replied.

“Can you go talk to them? Maybe there’s a security camera or something.”

“Brilliant!” Paul navigated Detective Charleston into the store and spoke with the manager. Moments later he was able to obtain the security camera footage from the time of the disappearance which showed the boy being stuffed into a car with a clear license number. Back at his office Detective Charleston ran the plate number and located the kidnapper. After the handcuffing scene, Paul was treated to a congratulatory message for having solved the case in level 3.

And they waited.

The house remained quiet, and it did not take long for Paul to become frustrated. He paced nervously in the living room.

“Where is he? I solved his case.”

“Give it more time, Paul. Remember, it took me several hours to make it back here after being released.”

Paul nodded, but it did not calm him. He stepped out onto the front porch for another cigarette and to watch for a boy to come running toward him in the distance. When this did not happen, he darted out into the middle of the front yard, gazed out into the darkness with his arms outstretched and yelled, “Give me my son back! Take me instead! You hear me? You come take me instead!”

Dogs barked in the distance. Paul collapsed onto the lawn. When he finally looked up, he saw Scotty moving toward him. He wasn’t running, but walking slowly. He was reaching up with his left hand as if being led by a much taller adult, but Paul did not see anyone walking next to him. As Scotty approached, Paul could barely make out the vague outline of a tall cloaked figure holding Scotty’s hand.

In a moment, Scotty was in Paul’s arms. The outlined figure stood over them. It was not translucent, but entirely solid, yet it took on the perfect semblance of the surroundings behind it. If Paul were to reach out and touch it, his hand would not pass through it, but meet resistance as real as any other body. It stood motionless and silent – and waited.

Laura burst from the front door and off the porch into the yard.

“Scotty!” she called to him.

“Momma?”

“It’s me, baby! It’s really me!”

As they hugged and wept together, Paul turned his attention toward the nearly indiscernible cloaked figure. It was at least eight feet tall by his best estimation. Paul was still kneeling when the figure’s cloak parted at the bottom, revealing a blackness that could only be rivaled by the deepest, darkest cave. The entity stepped forward and absorbed Paul. The edges of the cloak reunited and all was silent.

“No!” Laura’s scream was drawn out and ended with hysterical wailing as she realized that only she and Scotty remained in the front yard.

– – – – –

Somewhere in an inaccessible nether world Paul slowly awoke in his fourth-storey cage. He heard the wailing of all the other occupants in their cells, though he could not see them. On the wall in his small dark cage was a placard with two dates written on it. The first was the date of his imprisonment, and the second was the date exactly one year from then. Suddenly there was commotion below as a slightly overweight man was led by the cloaked figure onto the spot-lit stage in the center of the arena below. The man was manacled to a post with a sinister-looking mechanical device positioned behind him. Paul had already closed his eyes by the time the machine was started up. He did not want to see what it was or what was going to happen to the man. However, the screams he heard would never leave his mind.

– – – – –

Seven hundred fifty miles away from Paul Donovan’s earthly home, a middle-aged man known in certain internet gaming circles as 00Raven00 opened a padded envelope that had been sitting on his kitchen counter for several days. He inserted the plain disc into his gaming system and watched the opening sequence. Once he had control of the game he opened the file folder on Detective Charleston’s desk. Apparently a man named Paul had been pushed in front of a subway train by another person who then fled the station, according to witness statements in the file.

Being primarily an action-based gamer 00Raven00’s patience wore thin quickly, and he spent only fifteen minutes exploring for clues before giving up.

“Psssshh. This isn’t even scary,” he declared, and switched the system off.

Credit: moonlit_cove

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.2/10 (368 votes cast)
LineWhatsAppTumblrFacebookTwitterRedditPinterestGoogle GmailGoogle+StumbleUponShare

Creepypasta Contest: Gaming Pasta Challenge [Entries Closed, Winners Announced]

April 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Thanks for all of your entries! Here are our top three:

1. Willow Creek (Congrats to moonlit_cove on your flask!)
2. The Shame
3. Razor Games

Some entries were deemed very close-but-no-cigar and as such will be posted to Crappypasta for further refinement. It’s our hope that they will be reworked enough to eventually end up on the main site! Please keep an eye on the Crappypasta Round-Up category if you are interested in giving feedback to the stories in question, or simply check in with Crappypasta regularly.

As mentioned in the April Discussion post, this month we are having a writing contest!

I’m going to just go ahead and copy/paste what I wrote before:

If you’ve been active in the creepypasta community for a decent amount of time, it’s highly likely that you’ve encountered gaming pasta. Such stories are often referred to as “Haunted Cartridge” pastas due to how many of them involve protagonists who, for some reason, are willing to pay for obviously counterfeit versions of old NES games and then have to deal with the consequences of whatever weird angry gaming spirits they’ve invited into their console of choice.

The genre gets a (largely deserved, let’s be honest) bad rap mostly due to how many gaming pastas are nothing more than retellings of the original, more novel haunted game stories. For example: while Pokemon Black was novel at first and did creep some people out, the countless “Pokemon Blood Orange” or “Pokemon Burnt Sienna” spin-offs that sprung from its loins got really tiresome, really fast. Likewise with the “Ben Drowned” rip-offs – people started churning out variants that essentially were just mad libs, replacing just the game and Ben’s name. There’s really no faster way to kill a creepypasta subgenre than overloading readers with a glut of indiscernable copycat stories – even when a decent and/or original entry appears, readers seem to be too jaded from the ” crappypasta overload to give anything in the genre a chance.

With all that said, I do believe there is hope for gaming pasta. Even if it doesn’t receive many additions, I do retain the Haunted Games tag for a reason – there are those of you out there who truly do enjoy your creepy video game stories, and when they’re done well, I fully agree that they can be enjoyable.

So this month, I have a challenge for all you writers out there: write and submit a good gaming pasta.

From April 19th until May 5th, I will open up a special submission form where people can submit gaming pastas only; anything unrelated that gets sent in via this form will be deleted. The moderation team and I will read through all of the submissions and pick three winners that we feel best accomplished the goal of writing a good gaming pasta. The top three submissions will have their story hosted here, of course, and the top-ranked eligible author will also receive a Legend of Drink Gaming Cartridge Flask:

The Legend of Drink

  • The mods and I will be reading and discussing the submissions amongst ourselves as time allows. Please allow up to a week after contest submissions close for us to choose our winners.
  • Only ONE winner will receive the flask. In order to receive the flask, you must have a shipping address in the US/Canada and be 18 years of age or older. If this doesn’t apply to you but you still wish to submit a story to the contest, that’s fine, just know that you won’t be eligible for the physical prize – it will be given to the next placed author that fulfills the eligibility requirements. However, your story will still be eligible to be declared the overall winner of the contest.
  • TO BE CLEAR: DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR CONTEST ENTRY VIA THE NORMAL SUBMISSION FORM. USE THE FORM ATTACHED TO THIS POST. Submitting your story to the wrong form is likely to result in your story not being read until after the contest is over, as it won’t go into the priority contest queue.
  • Just because I know some of you will read that last sentence and think you have a clever plan to get your non-contest story read quickly: if you submit a non-contest story using this form, it will just be deleted. Don’t try to game the system, it won’t work.

The form is attached to this post under a cut and can be accessed by clicking here (or simply by clicking the post title). Submissions for this contest are now closed! Thank you to everyone who participated.

I look forward to seeing what you guys can produce!

*There is an affiliate code present in the link to the flask on Amazon. This means that if you buy anything on Amazon after using that link, the site will get a small kickback – which goes back into the pot to fund more giveaways like this one. If you use our affiliate link, thank you!

LineWhatsAppTumblrFacebookTwitterRedditPinterestGoogle GmailGoogle+StumbleUponShare

April 2016 Discussion Post: Creating Good Gaming Pasta

April 1, 2016 at 12:00 AM

For information about the writing contest that is acting as a companion to this month’s discussion post, please click here.

In order to help everyone get inspired before the contest submissions open, this month’s discussion post will be a sort of gaming pasta general chat. Which tropes have been so overdone that they’re no longer redeemable? What do you think makes a quality gaming pasta? Do you think the age of haunted game stories is over, or do you still have an appetite for more? Do you find a specific type of game more suitable for creepypasta over others? Do you have any examples of worthwhile, enjoyable gaming pasta that you’d like to link and discuss? Please let us know your thoughts on such topics – or really any input you have on what makes a good gaming pasta.

Be polite, have fun, and I’ll leave you all with the one true king of haunted cartridge experiences:

LineWhatsAppTumblrFacebookTwitterRedditPinterestGoogle GmailGoogle+StumbleUponShare

One Word Story

October 28, 2015 at 12:00 PM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.9/10 (1503 votes cast)

Have you ever played One Word Story? It’s a very simple game: a few people take turns, going around to make a sentence. Each person adds one word, until the sentence is complete, then someone says “period” and it’s read back. It’s actually pretty fun if you play with the right people, but I’m pretty anti-social and only have one or two friends. They don’t like the game as much as I do, so I use a random-chat site to play with strangers. It’s completely anonymous, so my identity is supposed to be safe. Anyway, it was late afternoon on a Saturday, and I was in the middle of a game when my apartment went dark. It was probably caused by the weird heat; all week, other tenants in my building had complained about the power cutting short around this. It only lasted a few minutes, but when the power came back on, I saw had been disconnected from the site. When I tried to reenter, I couldn’t, it kept crashing or something and I kept getting disconnected.

I’m easily bored, and was a little more than pissed that I hadn’t finished my game. So, I took to Google, and searched “Chat Room, Anonymous, One Word Story.” After “0.18223 seconds,” I had 23,000 results. I scrolled down the page and tried a few sites out, but either the players weren’t very good, or I was led to an anonymous sex chat site. It wasn’t until the third page of results that I found something interesting: MicroFiction.com. I clicked the heading and entered the site, then I logged in as a guest. I was really surprised to see how dedicated this site was to an overall simple game; mystery, parody, anime, music, cartoons, horror, film, superstition, and superhero were just a few of the categories that people could use to play One Word Story. For no particular reason, I went to Mystery first and played a few short games, then I went to Horror, then to Music, and to a few others. Eventually, I went to take a bathroom break, and made sure to bookmark the site, so I could visit it in the future. The site was pretty well managed; under each main heading -for example horror- there were subheadings. These were games being hosted by members. Some games only had a few people in them, others had thirty or forty. Some were open to anyone, others were private games that you could only get into if you had a password that the host had sent you. I played for a few hours, really enjoying myself because everyone here took the game just seriously enough to make each sentence interesting, and also had enough fun to make the whole story funny to read out loud, while still making sense.

It was ten now, and ten thirty was my self-imposed bed time, so I resigned to play one more game before going to sleep. Going to Mystery for the last time that night, I found a private game. Being a guest on the site, I couldn’t message the person to ask to join, and I would’ve kept looking for a Public game, except that the page froze. I refreshed it, and saw that the game had been changed to Public, with room for one person. I thought about that: a one-on-one game of one word story, and I felt excited at the possibility that this guy would be just as good as I was, and we could create something really unique. So, I joined. The host, username Doppelgänger1221, went first; “I,” appeared on the screen almost instantly. I was impressed with this guy’s bravery, as using “I” in this game usually led to embarrassing sentences in the long run. So, I rewarded him with a simple enough word that would keep the sentence going: “see.” He responded almost immediately with “you.” This was honestly a very amateur tactic. It would make the game harder to finish, and the “unsettling” approach was never enough to make me quit. I decided to humor him though, and typed, “through”. His response: “your”. I thought about where the sentence was going, and noticed that my living room window was still open from the afternoon; I typed “window.” His response was a period, signaling the end of the sentence.

“I see you through your window.” I chuckled to myself, realizing this guy was a “creep,” a player who tries to make unsettling or disturbing sentences to scare his opponents into leaving the game. He probably had a friend with him, and they were thinking up ways to scare me. I didn’t blame them, my sister and I did that last Halloween when I babysat for my parents. I started the next sentence: “You.” His reply: “are.” My reply: “not.” His reply: “safe.” My reply was a period, ending the sentence.

“You are not safe.” Again, I chuckled, and watched as he started the next sentence. “I” appeared on the screen. I typed “am,” which was followed by “coming”. I thought about ending the sentence there, as a slight punishment against the guy for not taking the game seriously. Instead, I typed “for” to see if he would type what I thought he would. He typed “You.” I was right on the money, and typed a period.

“I am coming for you.” It wasn’t funny anymore, just boring. There was a chat, so I used it to tell the guy to cut the “creep” stuff. I told him it wasn’t funny, and if he didn’t cut it out, I would leave the game. He actually replied.

“Look out your window.” That caught me off guard, but I did what I was told. Across the street, a light post had burned out its bulb, which I hadn’t noticed before. It was pretty dark, and I couldn’t really make out any shapes. I turned back to the monitor. Doppelgänger had typed “I,” and I saw in the chat that he had posted another comment. Basically, he was telling me what to write. I was becoming fed up with him, but ten thirty was just five minutes away, so I reasoned to just finish, and did as he asked. I typed “Have.” He typed “A.” I typed “Gun.” He typed “To.” I typed “Your.” He typed “Head.” I finished the sentence with a period.

“I have a gun to your head.” I sighed aloud, and closed my eyes, stretching at my desk. I just wanted this game to be over. It was my turn, and he had sent me another list of words, so I typed “I.” He typed “Am.” I typed “At.” He typed “Your.” I typed “Window.” He typed a period.

“I am at your window.” Reading it aloud, I realized the game was over: we had made the “story” relate to our first sentence. Out of habit, I read every sentence out loud.

“I see you through your window. You are not safe. I am coming for you. I have a gun to your head. I am at your window.” I finished reading, and rested my head against my chair, yawning. I was drowsy, and thought about sleeping in my chair when a loud, cracking sound echoed across the empty street outside and I noticed the crack that was spider-webbing from the center of my computer monitor. I blinked to full alertness and saw it: the glint of a bullet, sticking out of my screen. I turned my head behind me, and screamed as I saw someone in a mask staring in through my window. Out of panic, I dashed out of my chair and into my bedroom. I hid in the closet, under a thick pile of dirty laundry, and waited, trying to control my rapid breathing as my eyes adjusted to the uncomfortable darkness.

It was a few minutes before I heard soft footsteps. The maniac was in my bedroom; I could see his dark boots and leather pants. He fired the gun again at my bed sheets; he must have thought I was hiding in the covers. He rummaged through my drawers, and took something that I thought was money or my prescription medicine. I saw him stalk towards my bathroom, and fire a shot into the shower. He looked around in there, before turning around, and looking under my bed. He was almost level with the floor, so I could see his features: he was at least six feet, and dressed in all black, except for his mask, which was white with red tear-tracts under the eyes and a painted set of crooked, beast-like teeth; he seemed to see perfectly in the dark. I could really only see him because his clothes seemed to be darker than the already lightless interior of my bedroom. After what felt like hours, he stood up, and walked out of my room. I stayed in my closet all night, eventually falling asleep, covered in my unclean socks and underwear. I smelled horrible in the morning, and the first thing I did was take a shower; I stepped on the bullet that had torn a hole in my shower curtains.

Afterwards, I called the police, who told me to come down to the station. I got ready to go, but couldn’t find my keys anywhere. While looking through the drawers of my desk, I complained internally about my monitor being busted. I could still see the site, the chat room, and the game, and took a picture of it with my phone for the police. Now, in the kitchen looking for my keys, it hit me that I had kept them in my dresser-drawer, and ran into my room to see that what the psycho had taken was my keys. I groaned, and was about to call my buddy for a ride when I accidentally opened my photo gallery. I was very annoyed with myself, until I took another look at the picture I had taken. Something was different in the picture than I had remembered from last night. There was a new line in the chat. A single word. A simple question. A word I had used so many times over the words, after a game was over. I never thought that this word would send shivers down more spine nor turn my blood to ice in my veins.

“Rematch?”

Credit: Anthony Naranjo

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.9/10 (1503 votes cast)
LineWhatsAppTumblrFacebookTwitterRedditPinterestGoogle GmailGoogle+StumbleUponShare