Chapter 13:

Back in Black

A Place between There and Now

I opened my eyes but I couldn’t see anything, I remembered that the light wouldn’t be turned on for the next hours or so. Suddenly I noticed what seemed to be a shadow leaning against one of the shelves. I opened my right pocket and grabbed my knife. I slowly walked over to it, step by step trying to not make any noise.

I looked on the ground, its legs were lying on the ground with the feet only about 1 meter away from me. One more step. It slowly moves its head. It was still sleeping. As I made the last step towards it, it raised its head, I stared directly into its closed eyes. I slowly raised my knife to stab it directly into its head before it even had a chance to wake up and kill me. I saw a slight twitch in its eyes but it seemed to be sleeping.

As I decided to stab the knife straight into his head from above, I watched his eyes as they slowly opened. When our eyes met, I thrusted the knife downwards towards its head but it swerved to the right as if it knew it was coming. it propped itself up on the shelf and jumped up right next to me. Me thrusting the knife down with full force expecting to hit it resulted in me losing my balance and now I was lying on the floor exactly where I found it. I noticed that my knife was lying right next to me, I seemed to have dropped it after my fall. It quickly picked it up and stabbed it directly into my heart without me having any time to react. As I took my few last breaths once more, I sat up and leaned against the shelf. I closed my eyes.

- booting #015

- repeat

I was walking down the street. School was finally over and I had the whole summer to think of excuses why I didn't do the homework over the holidays. I just needed to walk back home and turn my PC on, then I could relax until my mom came home and I had to show her the report I wrote in school, I wasn’t looking forward to that. “Hey! Yukio, please! Could you wait for a second?” I turned around, it was an old friend of mine, his name was Tetsuo. “I got the new game from Studio Nightfall, want to come over and play it for a bit? It is the first game to have a four-player asymmetrical coop without a class system!” I wasn’t interested but didn’t want to just say no after he ran after me like that. It was like 35° and Tetsuo wasn’t the fittest, he never was. He was sweating like the other day when our sports teacher chased him around the pitch. I answered, “Why do you care about four-player coop, I didn’t know you had any friends besides me.” He started laughing sarcastically and said, “What do you think online coop is for.” I replied, “Then I pray for you that they don't team kill you as soon as you scream into the mic.” He started laughing more sarcastically.

We arrived at the crossroad next to Matsukos ice cream café where our path parted and I ended our conversation with a simple “I’m sorry but I still have to do my homework” even though I knew that he knew that I never did my homework. He looked at me a bit disappointed and turned left. As he walked down the street he turned back around and shouted “I don’t give a shit about you, hope you have a wonderful day!” He waved at me and I waved back. My gaze wandered from him slowly to my arm. It was so warm that I wore a t-shirt and I could see my arm clearly. Is what I would have said if it was actually there but it wasn’t. This wasn’t my arm, It was theirs, their arm, their black, I hated it, I feared it, and I wanted to rip it apart.

I opened my eyes, everything around me was black. I remembered that the lights were out and closed them again. I could heat a footstep. I opened them again and looked up, a shadow was standing right in front of me, ready to plunge its knife down, directly into my head. I quickly swerved to the side and dodged its attack. I quickly turned around and picked up the knife I knew it dropped before it even noticed that it wasn’t in its hand anymore. I jumped towards it and stabbed the knife directly into his heart.

I used the shadows jacket to wipe the blood from his knife. After that, I got back up and put it into my left trouser pocket. I looked around, I didn’t see any more shadows, in other words, I saw absolutely nothing. I felt my way along the shelf against which my dead self was leaning until I reached the wall. from there I felt my way along it until I bumped my head against something. It was cold and flat, apparently made of some kind of metal arranged in an upward grid pattern. It was a step of the stairs. I grabbed the lower part of the stair railing and followed it until I stood directly before it.

Walking this thing down was a nightmare but getting up there while it was pitch black and I couldn’t see a thing was somehow even worse. I proceeded to not walk the staircase up like any normal human being, no I crawled it up. What a little fear of heights and rapid nausea from swings can do to a person who has looked death in the face a dozen times. You could say that these were my inner demons, my fears that I would never conquer, but they really weren't, they were more of a road bump, they were annoying, but nothing more than that

As I slowly crawled up the stairs I could feel it shake and crumble underneath me with every step I took. I don’t know how much of this was only my nausea and disorientation due to the lack of seeable things but either way, I hated this staircase even more now than I did one or if you want to be super correct two days ago. I finally made it, a second time, this staircase, it didn’t defeat me! though it would have been funny if I experienced a mental breakdown because of a staircase instead of an army of bloodthirsty monsters.

I opened the door and was finally able to see again. I could finally see again, and I was so happy that these lights were broken, they would have been burnt into my eyes if they were not. I walked a bit more until I stood before the kitchen door. Through the little glass pane, I could see a shadow, it was walking down the hallway directly toward me. Luckily it was still too far away to see me through the small, distorted windows. I quickly jumped to the side and started thinking, I couldn’t run to the end of the hallway, it would open the door before I would reach it and could escape into the warehouse. I could still hide there and hope it wouldn’t find me, but I didn’t want to go back into the dark. I settled on just standing behind the door and hoping to be in a blind spot.

What happened next was strange. I could hear its steps, it was standing directly behind the door and its outline was just barely visible through the curved glass. I could see the fingertips of its right hand going through the door as if it were a hologram. I stepped closer to the window as it repels its hand.

I could see the same sense of wonderment in its face that I felt then, maybe the face says more than I thought after all, maybe I am just easy to read, I didn't know back then, and I still don't to this day. The next thing I saw was even stranger, or maybe I just thought that because I had already seen the whole hand phasing through door thing before. Anyways, it Started T-Posing and then just vanished. I opened the door and it was just gone. I looked to my left, nothing. I looked to my right, nothing. I looked to my left again and saw a shadow just lying there, sleeping, it wasn’t there a second ago and I didn’t see him coming and I knew why. Because it didn’t come, it was just there as if it had just decided that it wanted to exist after all.

I used my chance, I didn’t want to be here when it woke up, I could gratefully decline a fight with a shadow for today. I walked to the end of the hallway and back into the entrance hall. I didn’t know where to go now, I knew that the sleeping shadow would open the door when it got back up. I had nowhere to go besides the red door and the black hallway. I decided that I didn’t have enough pure black for today and choose the other hallway. I took out my lighter and noticed that I could have done that the whole time I was in the warehouse.

I still didn't feel comfortable touching my lighter near anything black, but since the building would have to stay ok for a few more hours because I would have noticed any major damage back then when I entered it, I closed my eyes and lit it. I opened my eyes, I was still in one piece. I walked further down the hallway until I reached a closed door. An emergency exit sign hung above it and an old fire extinguisher was hanging next to it. I tried to open the door but it seemed to be jammed. I tried to push the door open with full force. It swung open and I fell face-first onto the ground. The door closed behind me.

My lighter went out, It was pitch black once again and I couldn’t see anything. First I tried to find my lighter but after I started panicking I decided to just abandon my lighter for the day, it would come back the next day anyways. I stood up and turned around and reached for the door, but there was no door. There was nothing, nothing at all, no, much more the epitome of nothing at all, pure nothingness.

I was sitting in this room for what felt like hours already, I couldn’t check it, it was too dark to look at my watch. I had already heard about torturing people by taking their senses away and slowly making them go crazy, I didn't know how much was true of course, but I didn't want to find out. Luckily I had an ace in the hole or a curse, depending on how you want to look at it, either endless pain and never-ending torture or my freedom and my life. I was willing to try, out of sheer boredom I would take my life, how funny this world can be after all. I pulled the two knives out of my jacket and my trousers pocket respectively and held them both in front of my heath. I wondered If I would even feel it, sadly I still did. Turns out a wasp while not so badly still hurts even after the hundredth sting. I felt the blood gurgling out of my chest as I took my last breath and thought to myself who Tetsuo even was.

- booting #016

- repeat