Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
Have you ever heard of the GPS Game?
Before you type it into Google, let me save you the trouble – you’re not going to find much. If it’s not on the internet, I must be full of crap, right? You can believe what you want. The fact of the matter is, very few people know about this urban legend, and even fewer have attempted to play, let alone followed it through to the end. You might have guessed it, but I am one of those people.
I’ll spare you the details of how I became acquainted with the game. That’s a long, mostly uninteresting tale that I’ll save for another time. What I’m here to divulge to you is everything I’ve learned while playing; everything you need to know to stay safe, should you choose to play yourself. I’ll touch on why I’m revealing this later; for now, let’s discuss gameplay.
The game consists of typing a seemingly random sequence of characters into the search bar of any GPS system or app and following the path that is generated – this is known as the ‘master code.’ Unfortunately, it’s constantly changing, never staying the same for more than a few days at a time. It has something to do with the Earth’s rotation, as well as its position in orbit around the sun. A lot of complex measurements are needed to determine the code’s string of values at any given time. That’s why you have but two options at your disposal.
-Contact a “spotter” (accessible via specific dark web markets). They can access the measurements needed and output a list of possible code variations, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.
-Contact me. I’m no spotter, but I’ve played the game enough to know what I’m doing. I’ve discovered the code time and time again without any help, and I won’t charge you a dime.
After retrieving the code and officially beginning your expedition, it’s important to stay in it for the long haul. No matter how many turns you take, nothing out of the ordinary will happen during the trip itself. This is why a lot of first-timers get bored and call it quits halfway through, sick of driving aimlessly down random roads. As is consistent with the legend, it’s about the destination, not the journey. The GPS Game is supposed to lead you to the secret town of Battered Grove. Therein lies the reason for all of this – exploration in uncharted territory; the discovery of a non-existent place.
Though the route is always changing, drive-time usually remains the same. It should take you anywhere from five to six hours to complete the trip, depending on traffic. Keep an eye out for these landmarks, so as to be absolutely certain you’ve arrived:
--Hank’s Supernova Diner, an eatery that boldly proclaims that it’s open 25 hours a day
--HexWorks, a boutique that specializes in vintage curiosities
--Grovewood & Co., a souvenir shop (for some reason, I couldn’t seem to find this building during my last visit)
--Garrett’s Locker, a death metal venue
--The Grovewood Inn, a hotel with a haunted past (or so I’ve been told)
As exciting as it will be to explore this new place, you mustn’t get carried away. Forces beyond your comprehension are at work, offering you a glimpse into a world you were never meant to see. One false move could shatter this cosmic window, disrupting the delicate balance between worlds, effectively catapulting you into a fathomless void of nonexistence from which you may never return. That might sound dramatic, but it really is that serious.
I urge you to take the following advice to prevent irreparable damage to yourself, or reality as we know it:
-DO NOT get out of your car while in town. Your presence will disturb the residents, the nearest of which will walk up to you and bash your brains in with brute force. When chasing an outsider such as yourself, a resident possesses reservoirs of unnatural strength, agility, and endurance. After ensuring that your heart has stopped, the resident will resume their daily routine as if nothing happened.
-DO NOT film or take pictures of the town. Don’t even take a selfie in the car. If you have a dashcam, get rid of it. There can be no record of your visit, whatsoever. If you fail to do this, something will happen to you. Not right away – it could be a couple of days or even a week after your return home, but rest assured, it will happen. A GPS gamer I knew by the name of Tom made the mistake of taking a short phone video of his drive through town, for his personal records. I can only guess that someone, or something abducted him and retrieved the footage. We usually touch base at least once every few months to discuss our findings. It’s now been over two years since we last spoke.
-Speaking of phones, let’s talk electronics. Most of us rely on them in our day to day travels, but this is the one place you absolutely cannot. Don’t trust a single one of your gadgets. For instance, if the GPS is still going once you’ve hit town, it will have you driving around in circles, eventually leading you into the unsavory depths of the town where you’ll inevitably run out of gas. After that, it’s game over.
-If you call someone while in Battered Grove, there is a 100% chance that they’ll pick up – only it won’t be them. Their voice and diction will sound identical to their real-life counterpart, but don’t be fooled. It’s a trick of the town, fighting for you to stay so it can eat you alive. If you do stay on the line, the person on the other end will become hysterical. What they say is different for everyone, but their words will cut deep and they will somehow convince you to get out of your car. We all know what happens after that.
-The town learns. Every time you visit, it’ll throw a new curve ball at you, hoping you’ll exit your vehicle for one reason or another. I thought I’d seen everything, but on my last ‘playthrough,’ I received an Amber Alert on my phone. The plate number matched the truck in front of me and I could clearly see a young girl in the back seat, clawing at the window. She looked directly at me, tears running down her face, begging me to save her. I followed the truck for a good ten miles before coming to my senses and getting the hell out of dodge. It’s best to spread your visits out with long rest periods in between; the more often you visit, the harder it is to get out. The town hates repeat visitors.
-Oh yeah, the book. This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, be cautious. A book called Sleep Tactics: Exercises For a Mind at Rest will appear in your car on certain trips. It can show up in your glove box, the floor by the gas pedal, or even jammed in the crevice between the hood and windshield. Most of the time, it just appears on the passenger’s seat. No matter where it is, you can’t give in to the distraction. You will become strangely tempted to stop the car and open up the book to view its contents. DO NOT READ THE BOOK. If you do, you will be hopelessly engrossed and fall under its spell. As you devour the pages, you will become weary to the point of collapse, cast into a dark slumber. Depending on where you left off in the book, you will either remain asleep indefinitely, or exit yourself. In the latter scenario, your astral form will be adrift in Battered Grove eternally, with no means of communicating with the outer world, or returning to your physical body.
(Though this has only happened a handful of times, if the book happens to be Transpersonal Travel: A Guide To The Unknown Consciousness, TURN AROUND. You have to leave at once. Trust me.)
So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, I’m here. Right now. Stranded in Battered Grove.
I tried leaving by normal means, but the town is getting crafty. The roads that usually lead home rearranged themselves, all taking me back to this god-forsaken place. Remember what I said about spreading out your trips? Well, I got cocky. I went from a few visits a year to six or seven, to eventually coming out here monthly. It’s an addiction, one that I clearly don’t have the discipline to manage. I’ve officially hit rock bottom, sitting here in my car, completely out of gas, just waiting for the inevitable.
This is where you come in.
Below, I will reveal the current master code. I don’t know if it’s still active, but this is my only hope. Please help me, I beg of you. Even as I type this out on my phone, I’m in danger. The town knows I’m stranded and is doing everything it can to swallow me whole. Every few minutes I’m receiving calls from unknown numbers and getting pop-up ads for local gas stations that are “in walking distance from your current location!” I’m wise to the charade, but I know that it’s only a matter of time before the town fools me into thinking I can escape by leaving the comfort of my vehicle.
Given the town’s strange nature, I can’t be certain that this message will reach anyone, at least not in the way that I intend it to. Wherever my story does end up upon hitting this send button, I hope someone will give the game a try. Bring friends, make a road trip out of it, have some fun. If you end up finding me, that’s all the better. Even if you don’t believe a word of this, what do you have to lose?
Take the code and go. Now. I’m running out of time.
(MASTER CODE: P1NLNR4HRE2BI3ASETRGN2, BDE2AULEA1E62GI7TS4Y3E)
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