It started out innocent. Nothing crazy, nothing malevolent, nothing absolutely insane. Who was I to assume something like a kids game was something more?
Oh how foolish I was to assume otherwise.
It started normal, as expected. I logged on to collect my daily spin. I was awarded three gifts that I really had no interest in. I figured they could get me something good from trading, maybe a beta if I threw in a few Fox Hats. None of the classic 'Trade me!' people in Township were of any interest to me, mostly consisting of plushies or cheap items. On a whim, I checked for any trading parties. Since I had decided to get on late after algebra homework, only a few parties were still around. Just my luck that only one trading party was left. And it was due to end in 15 minutes. Nevertheless, I entered the party and to my (momentary) disappointment, no one was present. However, upon checking the second floor, I discovered a snow leopard dancing and advertising to a few bunnies. They repeated, "Trading party through the portal in my den!! Plz come :)" Having nothing better to do, I clicked on their den. It was the default den with a floor portal set right at the spawn area.
Upon entering the portal, I became acutely aware of the amount of people. I almost couldn't see myself among the crowd. Considering it was the Sky Kingdom den, I really wasn't surprised at the surplus of people. Needless to say, I got a few betas that I had in mind and a glitched ring. Not at all a bad deal for walking into a random den.
After I went through the business portion, I decided to randomly wander around the den to admire the detail put in. It really did remind one of a party, like on college campuses. Feast Tables were set out, Lucky tables were covered in tea cups and popcorn, bean bags were scattered around, etc. Although I grew bored of the main area, the rest seemed pretty cool.
The center area where the Mira statue was seemed pretty off to me. There were Giant Crystals set by the left side that lead to the rainy marsh area, but the crystals were of the red and black variation. It certainly was offset from the party atmosphere and almost all the other guests made no comment. A penguin only made the quip, "Groovy colors but they don't fit." They walked to the house area after that. Curiosity getting the better of me, I walked to the top left and into the marsh.
Worst decision I ever made.
Walking into the really rainy area, I found a koala dressed in what looked like nothing but yellow, save for it's black n' white Star cape and red Lollipop necklace. It wore an Old Hood, Diamond Encrusted Gauntlets and Diamond Encrusted Tail Armor as well. Besides its clothing, it looked black with the secondary color of pale yellow, and to top it off, the bright yellow fire pattern. It had those creepy evil eyes, which were the same red as the necklace it wore.
Unsure of what to do, I moved around a little near it to see if it was on afk or not. Sure enough, it moved in response to my twitching.
"Hello," I typed simply. "Greetings," it responded. "Did you get what you were looking for?" I was slightly dumbstruck. Had they been watching me or..? I responded with a simple "Ye, some cool betas." "That's nice. Hold onto them. They're of great value nowadays, aren't they?" "Yeah, I had to trade one of my spikes to get a beta TV."
We had a rather normal conversation. Nothing else seemed off. We even had a few 'LOL' and 'XD' moments. Nothing weird. Abruptly, the host locked the den and I was kicked out. I felt a moment of irritation, because I had been hopping to buddy the koala. She had seemed interesting enough, especially with her explicit interest in felines and rodents (me being a cat fan myself). I had the dawning realization I had never clicked on them to see her user, so now it was even LESS likely for me to find her. After getting over the potential of adding someone pretty cool, I continued on my way.
Out of extreme boredom, I clicked on the Paradise Party. For a brief moment, I could of sworn it said "Parasite Party," but I shrugged it of as my mind playing a trick or a misread. I figured I could decorate my den with a few tables and mats. I was surprised as to how many Jammers were crowded into the spawn area. Amidst the chatter, I picked up on a white bunny wearing a Freedom Mask inquiring, "Has anyone seen Monster Frozenpuppet??" Recalling that to be the name of the koala, I piped up with "Me. Yellow and black koala?" I had no response; the rabbit started walking away. I quickly followed them and was lead to the bottom right area of the party. "If you ever see them again, don't talk to them." I was completely befuddled. "Why??" "Because they're dangerous." Out of curiosity, I clicked on their tag and looked at their user. 'Inquiry.' Almost as if on cue, they removed the mask to show the default bunny eyes. "They will find you if they've taken a liking to you. They'll want you." And just like that, they were gone.
'Well that was a thing,' I absentmindedly thought. I returned to the main area and bought a few tables and mats, as was my original intention. After briefly touching up my den, I went to the Township area and into the pillow. My favorite pass-time was watching the ongoing drama or the 'Adopt me plz' people. The moment I walked in, my eyes locked onto the same koala, Monster Frozenpuppet, seated on the yellow pillow to the top left. She got up once I entered the room. "Oh hello, nice seeing you again, Victory," she said. "Hello, I thought I had lost you when we were locked out," I replied truthfully. "I have ways with finding people again. Natural gift I suppose." I could feel my back tingle and my hair rise, remembering Inquiry's warning.
"Would you like to come to my den?" she asked suddenly. "How come?" I replied, hoping my cautiousness didn't leak through my typing. "I'd like your opinion on my den. I traded a few items to decorate it." Seemed innocent enough. I clicked on her den. It wasn't anything really special. It was decorated with a few adventure items and store bought things. What caught my eye was the Tiny Shelf with a Phantom Plushie placed next to a Heart Lava Lamp. 'That's weird,' I mused. 'Aren't Phantom Plushies member only?' She probably understood my confusion, since I was hovering just below it. "I used a glitch I know to place it. Even though it was patched, it still remains there." I shrugged it off with a dull "Cool" and continued walking around. Just outside was a den portal. "Where does that go?" "Walk in and see." Again with the goosebumps and suddenly dry throat moment. Not wanting to disappoint, I hopped through it.
That is were I absolutely messed up.
The first thing I noticed as I was dropped into a default den was a dead tree was placed at the junction in the path leading into the house. The other thing that made my blood run colder? The den owner's name.
'What kind of person names themselves something so.. Creepy?' I wondered. Monster Fierypuppet popped out in front of me. "Do you like what you see?" she asked. "It's.. Certainly something." I replied. "Go into the den. You can meet the others." "The others?" "Yes. They're talking right now. It's a meeting."
I noticed someone had walked into the corner of my screen and my eyes locked onto them. They had the appearance of the Lost Jammer, I noticed, but the name wasn't correct and the eyes were blue. They walked off screen again. "What sort of meeting is this..??" "Oh, it's a for fun one. If it were serious, I wouldn't have let you in."
In a random moment of self awareness (and recalling I didn't even bother to check when I had the chance), I checked Monster's user. 'Alphaandomega667' 'One number off from 666,' I realized. 'She must have chosen a work around from AJ's system.' "Go on, Haven won't be angry with a visitor. In fact, they've been looking for someone.. Special." Once again feeling a little offset and unnerved, I walked inside.
It was a room filled with people who looked like Lost again. But it wasn't just wolves. There were rabbits and seals and tigers. Each of them had different colored eyes and a Turquoise Ring from what I could tell.
Except for the one of the Elephant Throne.
They wore a yellow Ribbon Scarf (aka the rare of it) and they had dark red splotches, almost as if it were covered in blood. It's eyes were of the same hue, although I had to squint to tell. They were the one talking. And everyone else was watching them. Glancing at their tag, I noted they had a name accurate to Lost as well; Awesome Sunnybrave.
"Decorations are allowed as you know, but keep in mind I wish for the same format. Two Egyptian Cat statues and a Medieval Window, with the dragon being of the red and black variation." Someone (a tiger I think?) piped up with, "May we place rugs under it or mats around it?" "Absolutely. I have no opposition to such. Do what you believe to be aesthetically pleasing." I briefly thought back to Monster's den, the setup outside sounding similar to what Awesome was requesting. 'Must be a club or something,' I shrugged.
By then I was more calm, considering the crowd seemed relatively normal. Monster hopped on her orange pillow up in the corner, as if beckoning. I walked over and sat down. We were the only ones in the little oval area; the rest were busy listening to Awesome. From what I could tell, they were now talking about different types of music. At one point I had the brief delight of hearing that many people liked Twenty One Pilots. But besides that I was tuned out to their conversation and paying attention more to the surroundings.
It was a normal den without wallpaper and carpet. There was a red 'Welcome' mat at the entrance and a statue of Peck besides it. There were black and white Carnival Flags just above where me and Monster were sitting. We were in a small area with six orange pillows placed atop a regular blue rug. Just behind the crowd of people, a red Patched Rug with Papyrus Scrolls was set down. At the back door area of the house, a Stitched Rug with a den portal was set, with the portal inactive. There were two Phantom Crates that sparked with yellow electricity seemingly guarding the portal. The part that caught my eye the most was where Awesome sat. They sat on the throne, more specifically the red mat placed on the throne. To their sides were two Stone Carved Chairs. All of the seats were placed on an Egyptian Rug, with two Tiki torches to the sides of the chairs. Just above the throne was a Golden Egyptian Scarab, with a yellow gem.
"Very well, all of you are dismissed. You may return to your regularly planned activities within the game. Monster and Laughing when they get here will remain for a moment. As well as our guest." My attention was caught at the mention of me. One by one, the crowd bid each other and Awesome various 'BAI!'s and 'Goodbye!'s. Monster walked and sat in front of Awesome once everyone had left.
"Step forward, Victory." They referred to me by my Arctic Wolf's name, and I moved to hover close to Monster. She moved to one of the other chairs, sitting next to Awesome. "Good work, Alpha. You chose wisely," they praised. Monster made the smiling/laughing emote briefly, mentioning, "The trading party you recommended proved to be helpful. He seems a good candidate." I could feel prickles building on my back again, typing out quickly a "what?" Awesome made a laughing emote, but the part that threw me off is that the emote was animated. And Awesome looked like a nonmember.
"You must be terribly confused as to what this is. It isn't a club, I'll tell you that much." I felt like I could taste bile in the back of my throat, terrified that they reiterated my earlier thoughts.
"It's more of per say.. A cult. I sent out Monster to find a specific person for our intentions." I nervously typed out, "haha This is a really funny joke, but you're freaking me out here." Monster piped up, "Our intentions are not malicious. Not towards you anyways. We just needed someone in general."
By that time, I was internally panicking. In a split second decision I clicked on my den button. Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing. I was spamming it at record speeds, and not a thing changed.
"There is no use trying to escape, Victory. I will release you when I see fit."
My throat felt tight and my head felt lighter than I remembered. I quickly typed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING," not bothering with grammar. "Setting an example. I won't use you as the scapegoat, but you know someone who we find will be the perfect subject. Commander Spiritwolf, was it?" My heart skipped a beat at the mention of my older brother's main animal. He was currently on a field-trip, and hadn't been on his account for a few days.
"How do you know of my brother?" I typed, forcing my nerves to steady enough to form a sentence. "I know of many who have done the same as he has." 'Cryptic much,' a small part of my snarky personality muttered. "Oh I know full well it was." "HOW ARE YOU IN MY HEAD???" "I find it easier to understand someone through their mind. At least yours anyways. You'll probably be the only one I'll ever be this.. Intimate with." "I said how not why" "Reasons that I'd rather not relay." After the initial shock, I felt more irritation and fear towards Awesome than I probably should have.
"Back to the matter at hand," they chided. "I won't harm your sibling. I really can't. Nor physically, anyways." "What's that supposed to mean?" "I'm a rather big fan of physiological 'mind tricks.' Little things that set nerves on edge, that make people second guess themselves, riddles, and so on." 'Real comforting to know,' I thought bitterly.
"Do you know of Ol' Lostie's tale, Victory?" they spoke. "Of course," I responded slowly. "Who doesn't?" "You'd be surprised," Monster commented. Awesome continued, "Then you know of the assumption that Fman122 is the jammer behind the mystery. Are you aware of the second assumption? That Fman was scammed and therefore devoted himself to hacking?" "Kinda..?" Awesome responded with the (animated yet again) emote. "There in lies the reason you saw them. This is the form I have chosen. In a sense, we serve justice with an angry howl and bittersweet spite. Commander scammed someone of their headdress, did they not?" "He did.." I slowly typed, still recalling how I had laughed with him, but internally I had been extremely unsettled at something so unfair. "That is why Monster found you. I have no interest in harming you; you are a surprisingly innocent party. You still feel the echoes of guilt, do you not?" "That's because of how mean it was of him. I still don't want him hurt!" "And rightfully so. You are loyal to your blood. But they still will receive the punishment due."
"Click on my name. Go to the pets tab. Tell me what you see." I was confused at their instructions but did so nonetheless. I was shocked to see a surplus of hamsters. Immediately I noticed the similarities; all of them had the same hollow eyes and the base color of black. There were many different colored patterns, and almost all of them had a unique name. "Hamsters??" I quizzically replied.
"Those are who I torment. I trap their souls within the game, through the most insignificant creature in this 'realm.' Those who I hold experience nightmares, paranoia, mood swings, even subtle twitching. Once I decided that they are punished to the degree that their crime fits, they are released." I really had no response to this, my mind not at all sure how to process it.
"To you, I give a choice." My attention was brought back to that speak bubble above their head. "You are a unique case. And we need a message to brought out in a.. More sophisticated way than a mere hacking spree. There's no class in loading a computer with viruses or stealing items that one did not earn. But for our will to be expressed in a better way is more difficult to come by. So I will strike a deal with you."
"I'm listening.." I confirmed hesitantly. "I will shorten his punishment in exchange for your influence. Click on the pets again." Doing as told, I spotted a new hamster. It was white with sky blue stripes and scraggly fur. "He will suffer for three days. As a compromise, we will watch you. We find you.. interesting." Yet again with goosebumps. But for my brother's sake?
Not a moment later, AJ crashed. Panicking, I refreshed and logged on as fast as possible. Not a thing was touched on my animal, and my items were the same. But I did have a jag. I was cautious to check them, remembering the story of Fman spreading his virus through jags. In a moment of (maybe stupidity) bravery, I clicked on the icon. My newest jag was definitely from Decomposinghaven. It had the drawn Phantom background, with the text "Welcome to the party." A gift was attached. I gulped softly and clicked on the gift, revealing a Turquoise ring. The color of the actual ring part blended in well with my wolf's fur when I tried it on. I took it off and replaced it with my wrist spike again, curious if I could get back into the cult den. I searched the user and clicked on the den. It was unlocked, but nobody was there. Not even Monster.
I decided to log off for the night. Too much stress on my mind and I honestly needed time to just understand what happened in the course of less than two hours.
Since it was the weekend and as always I was an early riser, I logged onto my account. Nothing had changed. I checked Decomposing's pets. They had three more, returning to the black color scheme. 'To think that my brother's soul is in a hamster..????' On a whim, I texted my brother. My only reply was "Tired. Didn't sleep well last night." Recalling nightmares being on that list of symptoms, I bit my lip and returned to AJ. I checked Monster's account too, and nothing seemed off. She didn't even have any pets.
I went back to my normal AJ activities. Trading, decorating my den, adventures, grinding for gems, etc.
Not a thing changed for the next few days. And not a word from that cult.
On the third day, when Decomposing had agreed my brother would be set free, I checked his pets eagerly. The white hamster was gone. I felt my chest decompress with a soft sigh, glad to see it gone. I glanced at my inventory, specifically the ring that Decomposing gave me. In a moment of fearful paranoia, I clicked on the recycle icon and on the ring. Nothing happened. I tried again; to no prevail. I clicked a few more times before giving up, remembering when I attempted to escape the den. Again I noticed a jag. Clicking on it, it was from Monster this time. Hers had the wolf by the moon background, with the text being "Check my pets :)" When I did, my eyes locked on the single pet she now possessed. A tan and brown hamster with shiny eyes and the hedgehog like spikes, with the single brown stripe going across it's face. It had the name "Redwings."
My arctic wolf had that same color scheme and wore red wings proudly on it's back.
Another jag. From Decomposing this time. "You serve the time your brother doesn't. I will see that your nightmares are gentler than most receive."
And so I bid you this warning; don't ever even considering scamming. Don't even try. They'll find you. They'll torture your mind until you're on the brink of breaking. They'll see to your just desserts.
And don't ever make a deal with the devil in a decomposing haven.