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Prologue: Title Screen
As he kept walking through the darkness, Sean could hear music start to play. He followed it, the electronic beeps and buzzes leading him to something hanging in the air; a small red button with a note with messy handwriting: "Press to Start." Curiosity kicked in as his finger hovered over it. He heard a small voice in the back of his head, urging him, tempting him. He couldn't resist any longer. Once pressed, the button dissolved into pixels. From under it, a fountain of coloured squares spilt out, colouring the floor grey. The fountain burst upwards and a screen began to form.
"Welcome, my friend!"
A face appeared, a familiar one.
"Of course it's you. It's always you..."
Anti smiled. "You sound disappointed."
"Where am I?"
"Well, you're in my domain now, Jackie boy. See, I want to play a little game. You know all about games, don't you?"
"You want to play a game?" Sean looked around him, as the pixels melted away into smooth lines. "I'm in a fucking game? How do I get out?"
"You'll learn the rules soon enough" A green, glitching fist reached out of the screen, hitting Sean in the face. The last thing he heard was his echoing laughter, as the world faded away.
Level One: The Gunslinger
Sean blinked hard. The lights hurt his eyes. As the colours faded through the dark, although it was blurry, he could recognise that hat anywhere.
The man before him stirred, his green hair messy under his cap. His hands were tied behind his back and he struggled against the ropes. His wide eyes darted around the room, his breathing hard and quick.
"Jack? Where am I? What the fuck is happening?"
There was that voice again. "Well, I'm glad you asked, Mr Brody."
We both looked up. In one corner of the room was a small camera, in another was a speaker. "Welcome to level one! See, you two are going to play a little mini-game for me. If you win, you get to live."
"And if we don't?" Chase asked, once again pointlessly fighting to get free.
"You had to fuckin' ask, didn't ya?" Sean said.
Chase rolled his eyes. "How come I'm tied up anyway? What kind of game is this?"
Anti laughed. "Well, kiddo, it's a classic. Russian Roulette!"
Sean felt his blood go cold.
"You have always been a big fan of guns, haven't you, Chase?"
A growl reverberated through the speaker, "That's no way to talk to your host."
A bolt of electricity shot through him and he jolted, screaming in pain. Once it was over, Chase hung his head and tried to catch his breath. "What the fuck was that?"
Anti chuckled, "Maybe try being a little nicer to me next time. Now... Since one of you no longer has control of his hands, guess who gets to pull the trigger!"
"Ding, ding, ding! That's right, you, Jackaboy. Go on, take it."
He reached out his hand, but his fingers hovered hesitantly over the grip.
"I said take it!"
It fitted strangely well in his hand. Too well.
"Let me explain the rules. Six chambers, one bullet. You both get 3 chances and then you're dead. Fail to shoot, and little Chase here will get a shock so big his veins will turn to wires."
Chase's eyes seemed to fill with fear.
"So, who will it be first, Jack?"
Sean aimed at Chase, his finger shaking on the trigger. His palms had grown sweaty, his breathing quickened.
He squeezed the trigger. The chamber clicked. Empty.
"Oh thank fuck."
Anti's voice echoed around the room, "Your turn!"
Sean pressed the barrel to his temple and pulled the trigger. Click.
Anti laughed. "And we are back at the start. Keep going." Sean could tell he was enjoying this.
Anti chuckled again. "Only 2 chances left. Which means one of you will die! It's your choice, Jack."
He moved the gun around in his hands, his head flooded with thoughts.
"If I shoot and it's empty, you get out alive."
"No, J-Jack..." Chase stuttered, nervous. "I-I'm the whole reason you're in here."
Sean aimed. "I'm sorry, Chase."
The gun clicked, empty once more.
"Oopsie! Guess someone's going to have to splatter their brains across the wall. Make it quick, Jacky."
Sean looked down at the gun in his hand. He knew what he had to do.
"No, you can't!"
He raised the gun to his head.
"Shoot me instead. My life is shit enough without this on my conscience."
"But your kids, Chase, they need their dad."
Chase lowered his head.
"I thought you knew..."
"They're dead, Jack..."
"W-what?" His hand lowered.
"He ... killed them..."
Anti coughed through the speaker. "That's not quite true though, is it?"
Tears began to roll down his face. "I didn't want to, Jack. He made me do it. He got in my head and... " He looked up, his watery eyes meeting with Sean's. "Please, Jack. Let me see them again. Shoot me instead. I don't deserve to live with what I've done."
Sean froze, in shock. Chase had everything torn away from him and now he's asking to die. What kind of monster could do this to a man?
"I'm sorry, I just can't..."
"Tick-tock-tick-tock. Better chose fast, or Chase is in for a shock!"
His mind was racing. He knew he couldn't kill him. This was it.
He pressed the barrel to his chin and pulled the trigger.
The revolver clicked. It was empty.
"You sick son- of a bitch..." Sean tossed the gun onto the floor.
Anti laughed; it filled the room and echoed from every wall.
"Congratulations, Jack. You made it past level one! Your prize? Not being a murderer."
Sean stood and passed the table to untie Chase, as he scowled. "What does he mean level one? What is happening?"
"The gun was empty, Chase. There was never any bullets. Neither of us was going to die. He was just using us for his own entertainment."
"And what a show it was! But can you save them all, Jack?"
He walked to the door on the other side of the room. Above it was a neon sign, now lit and glowing green. It read "Level 2."
"What does that mean?" Chase rubbed his wrists.
"It's not just you here..."
Level Two: The Magician
Sean turned the handle and stepped through the door. The room behind him dematerialized, taking Chase with it. In front of him stood a mirror, his reflection staring right back at him. He could barely look at himself after what he had just done—or almost done. He stepped closer. There was a man standing behind him; his hair was long and green, tied up behind his head. He wore a suit, blue with black detailing, behind it trailing a short black cape? A mask covered the top half of his face, complete with little cat ears.
Suddenly the mirror cracked. Sean spun. There was no one there, only the infinite blackness where the other room had been. "What's wrong, little boy? Are you lost?"
He frowned. "Why the hell do you sound so much like Pennywise?"
"I don't know." He answered through gritted teeth. "You created me!"
The invisible ground disappeared from under him. He was falling, seemingly in slow motion, the wind blowing through his hair. He screamed, his arms flailing through the dark.
His body hit something hard and he heard the sound of broken glass. His arms were cut and bloody. They hurt. He tried to get to his feet, stumbling a little as his reluctant limbs start to respond. He looked down to see what he landed on; looking back was his own fractured face. Another mirror. As he stepped forward to progress, he noticed the rest.
"Shit indeed!" Even though he could see no speakers, Anti's voice could be heard as clear as day.
"Spoilers." His laugh echoed down the hallway made of reflections. It was deafening.
Sean cautiously began to move forward into the mirrored corridor in front of him, taking care to remember every step. He checked every mirror to find something unique about it that he could remember but each one was the same as the next; infinite exact copies of himself following his every move. It hurt his head. He kept moving, taking a left, then a right, then another, dead end. He went back the way he came. Right, right, left, right, left. Dead end. He tried again. Left, right, left, left, right. Dead end. Sean clenched his fist, growling at himself. "Shit, this is impossible."
He stared at the mirror in front of him. His reflection started to warp. Its eyes turned black. A huge white grin spread on its face, showing off shining pointed teeth. A cut across its neck split open. Blood poured from it, staining its shirt. Sean had to tear his eyes away.
"What's wrong, Jack?" said the reflection, "Have you forgotten? Or are you too afraid to remember?"
"You've already used that line, you bastard!"
Sean kicked the reflection in the stomach, the mirror shattering. Pieces fell to the floor. He saw something in the cracks; A small slither of green. Was that ... hair? There was a muffled scream as more shards fell and broke into dust.
His body fell forwards out of the hole that had been made, his cape tied around his hands and a gag in his mouth.
"Holy shit!" Sean just managed to catch him. He untied him and took away his gag.
"How did you get in there, M?"
Marvin stumbled to his feet. "I-I don't know, I was out doing a show, and then I heard this laugh and then I was here. I was stuck in there for ages!"
He brushed a few strands of green hair away and wiped his sweaty forehead. "It was so dark. I..." He paused. "I thought I was dead..."
His eyes locked with Sean's. "I was... so scared, Jack."
"It's okay, buddy. I'm going to get you out of here."
Anti laughed. "Well, aren't you full of tricks."
"It was you? Did you put me here? Wherever that is..."
Slow, slightly metallic clapping could be heard.
"You..." Marvin shouted at the mirrors around him, "can shut the fuck up!"
"You fuckin' heard what I fuckin' said." His accent was thick.
Anti laughed again, booming and maniacal. "You're forgetting one little thing, magic man."
"I am the one in control!"
Marvin froze. He fell forward onto his knees, clutching his face. His breathing was fast and his hands were straining against the ground. He was in pain. Finally, it had seemed to pass. He stood, a large grin spread across his face. His eyes glowed green.
Left, right, left, right. It didn't matter which way he went he just had to lose him. He didn't dare to look behind him. He saw a door. His legs could barely keep up as he sprinted toward it. Out of the corner of his eye, a purple portal appeared next to him. A gloved hand grabbed the back of his shirt, pulling him back and throwing him down the corridor. His back smashed into a mirror. He sat there for a moment, shaking off the pain.
"Do you want to see a magic trick?" Marvin grinned, pulling playing cards from inside his jacket pocket. He threw them; they flew like shurikens and stuck into the glass inches from his head. Sean got to his feet.
"Is this your card?"
Sean dodged under more cards, running towards Marvin. He began to hover off of the ground, laughing to himself.
"What are you doing?"
Without much thought, Sean slid under his legs and grabbed hold of his cape. He pulled hard and Marvin fell to the floor.
He didn't let go. He tugged it over his head, obscuring his vision.
Sean ran. He reached the door, his hands sweaty on the handle. He pushed it open and slammed it shut behind him.
Level Three: The Doctor and His Patient
He stood with his back against the door, trying to get his breath back. His panting was the only sound that could be heard besides an insistent beeping. Sean smiled to himself. "Wow. I'm even better than I thought I was."
When he looked up, he took in the details of the room: Beds lined each wall, some empty, others not, along with strange machinery made of screens and tubes. "A hospital?" He said, confused as to what this had to do with Anti's mischievous plans. He walked down the centre of the room. The lights above him flickered. He chuckled. "What is this, fuckin' Outlast?"
A bed next to him rattled and he jumped back. "Okay, okay, I'm sorry."
He kept walking but the corridor seemed to be repeating itself.
"Hm. Ok, I was wrong. It's fuckin P.T."
Sean heard a growl. One of the beds shook, metal clanking against metal. It rocked again, and again, each time more violently than the last. It growled again and the sound of gargling echoed down the hall.
The reply startled him. He didn't expect whatever was making the noise to be able to respond. He reached the patient. He was small and thin and very pale, his skin almost lilac in colour much like his hair. He was also missing a large chunk of his face, the area around it rotten and bloody. His limbs were chained down to each corner of the bed. He seemed to be in pain.
"W-What? How do you know who I am?"
The strange patient pointed to his eye and then to Sean's. "Septiiic"
"Who are you? What happened?"
He heard a sigh.
"Now now, Robert. Settle down. Go back to sleep."
Sean turned to see a doctor. Slithers of pale green hair were escaping from under his surgical hat. He wore a mask with a large black smile painted on it and around his neck hung a small key. The patient groaned again and fought against his chains.
"I'm sorry, but I cannot just let you go." His German accent was so strong, it was difficult to understand.
You are simply not ready, Robert," said the doctor. He moved to a nearby machine. "I don't think you will ever be..."
He turned a dial and the patient screamed.
"I'm so sorry, Robert. I never wanted this. I never wanted any of this."
"Noooo! Pleeeaase! Stoppp"
The patient's body was weakening. He stopped fighting and eventually grew still. Sean stood back as Henrik threw a sheet over his lifeless figure.
"Who was he?"
"An experiment. A failing one, at that."
Sean's fists clenched up. "Is he dead?"
"Only sleeping. If he were to die, I will too."
"What do you mean by that, Henrik?"
"Robert here was a patient of mine. A car crash, you see. I did everything I could to save him, but nothing would work. I could not bare to lose another."
Their eyes met. "Then a man dressed in black came and said he could fix it."
"Anti did this?"
"He made me do it. I did not want this. He threatened my family. My wife, Jack." His eyes were sad. "She is with child. I could not lose her."
Sean placed his hand on Henrik's shoulder and gave a sad smile as they both looked down at the patient in the bed. "I trust you, Doc. You're a great doctor. But what could Anti do with a body?"
The doctor was silent, frozen in place.
An eerie quiet lingered until Henrik spun. He grabbed Sean's arm, holding it behind his back and plunged a syringe into his neck. It all happened so fast Sean didn't have time to react. He felt dizzy. He fell to his knees; the room around him was spinning. Above him stood Henrik, one image split into three. His eyes were glowing and a huge white grin spread from ear to ear.
"Not you as well..."
"Surprise!" He laughed
Sean used the bed next to him to get to his feet. His legs were shaky but he stumbled towards Henrik.
"Feeling a little woozy, are we?"
His hand slipped and he fell, crashing against the metal bed frame.
"W-What have you done to me?"
"It's just a little medicine." Henrik walked over. He kicked him in the ribs and Sean cried out, the air forced out of his lungs. "Pretty soon you'll feel right as rain."
He rolled over. He gasped and coughed, desperate for air.
"Because you'll be dead!"
His eyes were growing heavier and heavier. He heard a voice from somewhere. "Jaaackk"
There was a body sat upright in one of the beds.
"Yes, Robbie. I... I know."
Through his blurry vision, he could see an outstretched white hand pointing to a table on the left.
"Robert? You should be asleep!"
He turned to the patient to examine his chains. He turned dials and checked screens. He was distracted. This was his chance. Sean summoned all the strength he had left and started to crawl across the floor.
Robbie fought against his chains.
He fought harder. Sean was almost at the table.
Henrik growled, turning more dials and pressing buttons. Robbie was hurt but his determination did not falter. With one last pull, his arm became free. Sean took the needle from the table.
Robbie lunged for him, the chain holding down his other arm breaking. Henrik's head snapped back as Anti left his body. Sean plunged the needle into his arm, wincing at the pain. He felt the power restoring in his legs as he stood. He stumbled towards the door, the light above it reading Boss Fight in luminescent red letters.
Robbie jumped; machines fell, crashing to the floor. He pinned Henrik to the floor and snarled.
"Robert! What are you doing?"
Robbie sank his teeth into the doctor's neck, blood spilling onto his lab coat. Henrik screamed. He bit more and more, as his appetite didn't seem to get satisfied. The screams quickly ceased, as did the life of Doctor Henrik Von Shneeplestein.
Boss Fight: The Glitch King
He stayed there with his back against the door for a while, fighting away the tears, face hidden in the palms of his hands.
"I'm sorry, Henrik... I-I couldn't have saved you..."
"Ze good doctah iz no more!" Anti laughed. Sean looked up. This room was nothing like any of the others he had seen. It was a kind of throne room, with grand gold drapes and a red velvet carpet leading to a large golden throne in the centre, where he was sat, smiling his usual toothy grin.
Anger shot through him.
"You didn't have to kill him!" Sean strode towards him, his fists tightly clenched.
"Thing is though, I didn't kill him. That thing did."
Sean swung a fist. Anti glitched away.
"So you can teleport now?"
His smile grew. "You're forgetting. This is my world. I can do whatever I want!" He laughed and drew his knife from his pocket. He reached out his hand and Sean fell to the floor. He couldn't move his legs. He looked down; they were gone. All that was left was strings of pixels and binary code.
His hands stuck to the floor, merging with the red carpet, glitching and flashing. Sean saw two black boots walking towards him. "Why are you doing this? Chase, Marvin, Henrik, they never did anything to you."
"Because I wanted to see you suffer, Jack."
Anti growled. "You have everything! And I am left to rot in the fucking background."
"No. There's something else. Why are you like this?"
Sean could move again. He quickly got to his feet, creating distance between them while the anger grew in Anti's eyes.
"They made me like this, Jack!
His knife seemed to grow.
"Do you have any idea what it's like to be nothing but a small glitching ball of hate and misery? Just floating around waiting for something real to hold on?"
The blade warped, sharpening and growing longer with every second.
"I stole this body. He was so weak, couldn't even scream for help." From another pocket, he took a small black bowtie and threw it onto the ground.
"They made me like this." He repeated." And you let them. Encouraged them, even."
Anti glitched forwards, pinning Sean to the wall, his sword at his throat.
"Now you're going to pay!"
Anti smiled as he glitched, his body merging with Sean's. His head snapped back, his eyes turning to inky circles. Black coursed through his veins.
"Finally..." Anti examined his new body, his old form crumpled like paper on the floor. He smiled.
"It's game over, my friend. It's time to wake up."
Something began to beep.
"I said wake up!"
Epilogue: End Credits
Chase's eyes snapped open. Light had just begun to pour in through the gaps in his curtains. He hit snooze on his alarm clock and swung his legs out of his half-empty bed. He still wasn't used to sleeping on his own yet. He crossed his messy bedroom to his drawers, threw on a shirt and headed downstairs for some breakfast. Messages were waiting on the answerphone, but he didn't listen to them. A black coffee restored the energy he was lacking and he sat down on the sofa to eat his toast smothered in peanut butter, the only thing left in the cupboards. He switched on the TV and the news theme chimed.
"A man, yet to be identified, was rushed to the hospital late last night after collapsing in the middle of the street." A CCTV-captured image of the man showed on the screen, low quality but still recognisable.
"Oh my god!"
"A diagnosis has revealed a brain hemorrhage caused him to fall into a sudden coma."
Chase grabbed his jacket and ran to the door.
He was waiting at the reception for half an hour before the doctors let him in. Sean lie on the bed, connected to machines and drips, monitoring every heartbeat.
He sat beside him. Doctor Henrik Von Sheeplestein stood calmly opposite.
"We do not know what's wrong. He won't wake up."
Chase took Sean's hand. It was cold and motionless, almost dead.
"His heart rate is fine, blood pressure fine, all other life signs fine."
Henrik came closer.
"The hemorrhage. It didn't happen."
"There was no hemorrhage. He just collapsed and he hasn't woken up since."
They both looked at him.
"You've saved him before, Doc. You can do it again, right?"
Henrik hesitated. "I'll leave you some time together."
He gave Chase a quick, but sympathetic pat on the shoulder and left.
Chase's eyes were watery.
"I can't lose you too..." His hand tightened its grip. "Listen, Jack, if you can hear me, you've got to wake up!"
A tear began to roll
"Please... Wake up..."
There was a moment of silence. Sean's eyes shot open, black. He grinned.