Chapter 16:

The Visage

Cyberpunk Ghostwriter

Elusia and the detective zoomed down the streets, lane-splitting through traffic.

In 5 miles turn right. In 4 miles turn right. In 3 miles…”

“Ok, ok! We get it already! Just be quiet!”

I am just trying to give you an accurate navigation experience.”

“Yeah, right! You’re not fooling anyone! Stop messing around and just tell us where we need to go!”

“Fine. After turning right, just go leftish and a bit more to the right.”

“Be clearer!”

Make up your mind already. Just follow the road until you see a mansion.”

“A mansion?”

Well that’s where the signal is coming from. My internal Global Positioning System is showing a mansion listed in that area.”

The hover bike continued to fly through the streets before arriving at their destination.

Elusia got off and started walking towards the building.

“Man, this place just screams ‘Get Out’. Are you sure this is the place?”

The mansion had seen better days, and it looked pretty…culturally significant?

“Positive. Maybe. At least 99%.”

“What’s up with 1%?”

The signal we were tracking, stopped moving about 10 minutes before we arrived.”

“Oh, huh.”

“Are you guys just gonna stand there or are we going in?”

The detective pulled the bike into the curb and walked to the mansion door.

Knock, knock

“This is the police! We got a call about a noise complaint!”

There was no response but the detective could hear noise coming from inside.

“Ok. We’re doing this the hard way. TOX, I’m going to need a gun.”

Got it.”

TOX morphed into a large black revolver and flew into the detective’s hand.

“What’s your charge?”

“I have regained up to 80% energy since our last skirmish.”

“Good enough.”

The detective shot the lock and kicked the door in.

“Put your hands up!”

Inside he saw the guide from the Temple. He was sitting in a lounge chair with his terminal in front of him. On his head was a large top hat and he was wearing a red domino mask and a tuxedo…or at least half of one.

He was going commando.



They just stared in silence for a while.

Then Elusia came in.




“What the hell was that?”

The detective sighed and walked over to the guide, keeping his gun locked on him.

“Ok, I don’t know what freaky shit is going on here, but I’m gonna need some answers.”

“Dude, I’m pretty sure we don’t wanna know.”

“I mean about your sister and the other people she was with! Who the hell wants to know about whatever the heck this is!”

“It’s not what it looks like!”

The guide attempted to get up, and the detective reflexively pulled back a little.

“Sit the fuck down!”

He waved his gun(TOX) a bit more threatening than before, at the guide.

“This was just one of my part time jobs! I’m a streamer called magic moon who plays retro games on necro-tube! I do tricks while playing, see!”

“Keep your hands up! I don’t give a crap about your weird career choices!”

Elusia felt a bit curious. Like someone who came across clickbait.

“Ok I’ll bite. What’s with the stupid getup and why are you not wearing pants?”

“I only had enough credits to rent the top half of the outfit! Nobody sees the bottom half of streamers anyway!”

“Enough of this crap! Focus Elusia!”

“Ah, right! Where’s my sister and the others!?”

The guide pointed towards the door in front of them.

“They’re in there! I sent them into the shadow land to take care of the supernatural situation!”

“The what?! Whatever, never mind, I’ll figure it out later. Just tell me how to get to them!”

Elusia had a lot of questions, but from what she had just heard, she decided she had no time to waste here.

“There should be a lantern inside that room. Just flick it on and off 9 times and you’ll be there.”

“How do we know you aren’t just shittin’ us?”

The detective pressed the gun onto the guide’s head.

“They don’t pay me enough to lie about this crap!”

“Elusia, get moving. I’ll stay here and watch this asshole.”

“Got it!”

Elusia ran towards the door and kicked it wide open.

There, on the floor was the lantern, just as the guide had said.


The detective pulled out his blaster and threw his other gun(TOX) to Elusia.

“Take TOX with you. He’ll help you with whatever you need.”

“Huh? How about your weapon? Don’t you need one in case he tries something?”

“I’ve got it covered.”

The detective trained his blaster onto the guide and gave a small nod at Elusia.

“Ah, got it.”

She shut the door and went over to the lantern.

“Well, here we go.”

She flicked the switch.


“Urmph…well that was a trip.”

Elusia felt nauseated as she got up off the floor.

“Where am I? Is this the shadow land?”

She looked around the room. It was completely different to the place where she had entered.

“Hey, TOX, you ok?”

…Yes. However we appear to be somewhere I cannot locate in my databank. All of my sensors seem to be malfunctioning.”

“Oh. Is that a big problem?”

…It would depend on your definition of what constitutes as a problem. The environment around us seems to be emitting some kind of electro-magnetic interference that is causing electrical device malfunctions.”


“However, I am equipped with a internal energy supply generator, and and an EMF shield. Normal functionality should not be a problem.”

“Awesome. Let’s get going.”

The room they had landed in seemed to be some kind of large bathroom with fancy ornate toiletries.

“This definitely isn’t where we came from.”

Elusia opened the only door in the room and looked outside. On the other side of the bathroom was a long dark hallway with no end in sight and rows of doors parallel to each other.

“TOX, can you find where Amity and the others are?”

“No, unfortunately the interference is preventing me from getting an exact position.”

“Damn. Let’s look around then.”

Elusia felt an unease that seeped into her bones as she walked down the corridor.

“It’s pitch black in here…can you find a light switch?”

“No, but I believe I can solve the lighting issue.”

A bright light shone out of the gun nozzle, which majorly brightened up the area.

“Nice. You have a flashlight feature?”

“It was the only first thing installed into my system, along with the cameras.”


Elusia used TOX to scan around the area.

“All these doors have numbers on them…”

She shone TOX onto the wall as she walked.

“They seem to be decreasing the further we go. Perhaps we should head towards the door with the lowest number to find an exit.”

“Hmm, I guess.”

Elusia walked further, slowly but surely reaching the door at the end.




“Looks like we’re here.”

Finally after what seemed like a long, long time, she had reached the end of the long hall.

“But which door do we need to go through?”

“Who knows. Just pick one.”

She tried opening the door labeled 1, but the door was locked.


She tried opening up the doors around her, but no response.

“Maybe we have to try every single door here? Ugh, this is going to take forever!”

“Wait. Perhaps that will not be necessary. I am detecting a noise coming from nearby.”

Elusia looked around for some kind of clue as to where she needed to go. She placed her ear onto each door, listening for any noises.

“Oh, I think I hear something!”

Finally at door #9 she heard a sound coming from behind the door. A soft rumbling noise, like one from a motor could be heard.

“Okay. Let’s try this one.”

Elusia tried opening the door. It wasn’t locked but Elusia felt a lot of resistance as she was opening it.

“Is this…an elevator?”

“Seems so.”

Behind the door was the sliding doors of an elevator, but no way to open it in sight.

“How the heck are we supposed to use it!?”

“Don’t ask me.”

She tried opening the doors with her bare hands, manually, but they wouldn’t budge.

“Damn it!”

Elusia frustratingly looked around for anything that looked like a call button.

“Not here…”

“Wait. I am detecting something on the ground. Activating black-light.”

The light coming from TOX switched into a purplish ultraviolet light and Elusia pointed it towards the ground.

“Oh! I see it! It says…OCTOBER 31st 2666. A date? What do we do with this?!”

She kicked the elevator doors in protest.

“We don’t have time for this obtuse puzzle crap! Who makes this stuff!?”

Who indeed?

“Just calm down and think a bit. The display over the elevator doors has a six digit screen.”


Elusia took a big breathe and looked around.

“…I guess the only thing around that we can use, are these doors, so it’s gotta be connected to them somehow. Maybe a number code? But there isn’t a zero door…”

“Try using the 10th door.”

“Yeah…Give me a sec.”

She tried recreating the date using the doors as number inputs, turning the handle of each door in order.

“Humphhh…! Nope. Not working.”

The elevator doors wouldn’t budge.

“Perhaps we got the wrong idea?”

“Nope, that should be the answer…wait…! I got an idea!”

Elusia felt the (figurative) gears spinning around in her head as she ran all the way back to their starting point.

She closed the door to the bathroom, which they had left open on their way in.

“Yes! This is it!”

The front of the door was blank.

Elusia took out the brush and drew a zero onto the door.

“…Will that really work?”

“…Well, probably? We’re in some kind of shadow dimension and I’m using a magic brush, so who knows?”

She ran back towards the other end of the hallway and turned the door labeled 1.

“…huff…Okay now the other end.”

She ran all the way back. Again.

“…Are you okay?”

“…huffhuff…Yup. The gamer brain adrenaline rush is kicking in.”

“…Well if you say so.”

She turned the door knob.



There was a loud chime noise that reverberated throughout the hallway.

Suddenly, the entire corridor was bathed in bright red lighting.

“That doesn’t look good.”

No, it does not.

Elusia felt a sense of dread, unlike anything else that she had ever experienced, and her body instinctively jumped backwards.


A large fleshy tentacle burst through the door in front of her, wriggling around like a white slug.


“Oh, crap!”

She quickly aimed towards the large tendril and fired TOX.


The tentacle burst into chunks of slimy flesh. Elusia took of as fast as she could towards the elevator room. She could hear the door behind her smash open as whatever IT was came charging after her.

“We gotta get out of here quick!”

“Remember, you have to input the rest of the date. 3166.”

She ran towards the end of the hallway and turned the knob of door 3.


The thing was still coming.


It was almost here.

“Six! Got it!”

She could see it’s disfigured blob-like figure, writhing with tentacles with large red orifices filled with rows of human-like teeth.


Elusia activated a blast card, threw it at the creature, and dived into the elevator room.



“We need to go now!”

The elevator doors were slowly moving.


A large tentacle slammed into the room.

Elusia dodged the attack, but it grazed her leg as she moved.

“Gah! Come on!”

She pried the doors all the way open and slipped inside.

Quickly, she pressed the only button next to the door.

The doors quickly slid closed as the monster came into the room and reached towards her.


She ducked onto the floor and shot the slimy appendage with TOX.

The tendril burst into pieces and the doors shut, cutting off the rest of the monster from the elevator.


“Looks like we made it.”


Elusia sat up and leaned on the wall. She winced as she looked at her leg wound. It wasn’t too deep, but it was bleeding a bit and hurt to move.

As a side note she was also covered with tentacle slime and viscera.

“It doesn’t look too bad I guess…you think it’s gonna get infected?”

“I am unfortunately unable to determine that at this time. I would have to give you a full body scan later, but chances are, I will be able to synthesize a treatment with data from the leftover material from the creature.”


The A.I in the future was pretty all-purpose.

The elevator continued to move downwards towards a new location and the only thing that could be heard was the rumble from the motor.


Back in the real world, a couple of minutes after Elusia had left, the detective and the guide were sitting across from each other.

“…So that’s how I ended up working for the Temple.”

“I see.”

The two had been conversing about the inner workings of the Temple and whatever the guide knew.

‘Hmm…I’m learning lots about the Temple’s history and day to day, but nothing new about their main agenda. Is this asshole avoiding the topic?”

“Are you sure that’s all you know?!”

“Yessir! I don’t want to die! I’m just a part timer for these guys! I just needed some cash to pay my bills!”

“Why the hell does some random part-timer know so much, huh?!”

“Like I said, I’ve just been doing this a long time! I’ve seen a lot of shit! But I’m just an errand boy!”


The detective went into deep thought for a while.

Suddenly there was a large explosion of fire as the entrance to the mansion burst open.



The two were blown back into the walls with great force.

“Hack…what the hell!”

The detective pulled himself up and saw the cause of the explosion.

“T-target L-l-located.”

“Oh come on! This shittin guy again!?”

The biker was still on their trail.