Chapter 4:

Desperate Struggle


Summoning Elopas is now a full-time job.

I mean, I still have school, but even they’re I’m making plans, and when I’m not stuck in that useless time sink, my days consist of just a few things:

-Message Gormage

-Get updates on the chips I’ve ordered

-Talk about Sonic the Hedgehog

-Discuss plans

-Go into the PSICO servers and experiment

It’s not so bad, really. Even though nothing ever happens each day, it always feels like it has a chance to. Maybe it’s like, a gambler’s fallacy thing, but it’s keeping me going, so I’ll take it. Gormage is pretty cool to, so I don’t mind hanging out with him, even if it means pretending to like a game I’ve never played. That’s another thing. Ain’t go no time at all to chew through media or the like other than music. That’s fine too though. Music was always my favorite. It’s just that, used to, on days like these, even if I was gonna spend a few hours witchcrafting, I’d at least get to watch a movie beforehand or something.

We hadn’t planned to do much of anything before I got both chips set up and shipped to my house, but me and Gormage were both so bored that we went ahead and started doing experiments without them. He’s really into my dream now, in a way nobody else ever has been. I can tell he believes me, at least as much as he believes I like playing Sonic games.

I wake up with a sore face from VISTA usage. Today’s the day the new Maxfeel gets here. The magatsu’s not ready just yet, but that’s not a big deal. Gormage wanted to try and experiment with the Maxfeel chip right away just like I did. He even promised that if I could get the same thing to happen again that did that one day when it blew up, he’d give me a new one for free. I start getting ready for another day of the sitting-in-silence Olympics before suddenly I get a text message that isn’t from any of my boys.

Today 5:08 (Deb)


The image of my phone screen rests on my eyes for a moment. Who was this again? Of course, it could only be Debby. I suppose she still wants to talk to me. Hasn’t been at school or anything in a week, so I haven’t been thinking about her much at all, especially with my current preoccupations.

Today 5:12 (Me)


Today 5:14 (Deb)

are you coming to school today?

Today 5:14 (Me)


Today 5:15 (Deb)

ill be there

Today 5:16 (Me)


Today 5:18 (Deb)

will you come see me?

Today 5:18 (Me)


Today 5:19 (Me)

Anything to distract from the grind

Today 5:21 (Deb)

lets meet in the junior wing bathroom after hr

“Molly? Are you getting ready in there?” Elaine’s voice interrupts from outside my always-closed door.

Today 5:21 (Me)


“Getting ready!” I shout, pulling myself together. One more thing to look forward to today, I don’t mind that at all.

I step out down to the first floor of my house once I’m all set to go. There I find Elaine standing by the door. My mom is always dressed the complete opposite of me. I’m not sure how to describe it. Straight, perhaps? I wouldn’t call it overly normal or anything. Just unassuming. I don’t pay much attention to the particulars of her outfit because it’s honestly boring to me.

She opens the door for me and soon enough we’re in the car. I’ve got both earbuds in blasting some meganeko, but she tries to start talking to me.

“Your father and I are getting a divorce.”

Nascens is really fucking cool, but Technokenisis is the meganeko release I listen to the most. I’m not sure which one I’d call my favorite. I think the girl on the album art of Technokenisis is cuter, so that boosts it up a few points. Maybe I should get a physical release if there is one. Dunno what I’d play it on though, I don’t own any music because I listen to pretty much everything digitally unlike my collection of physical movies and games and stuff.

“Did you hear me? Take those damn things out of your ears.”

I remove an earbud so I don’t miss anything. She sounds a little too passionate about something she so clearly feels negative about. Doesn’t make much sense to put effort into being sad, in my book.

“Your father and I are getting a-“

“I heard.”

“Then why didn’t you say something?”

“I didn’t… uh. Well, I didn’t want to overreact.”

“You don’t care?” She shakes.

“What? I mean… who am I staying with? Is Huey moving out?”

“Yes! He’s- yes, he says the house is mine. You can… just stay here, like normal.”

“So… none of his cooking anymore though, I guess.”

Elaine starts crying.

“Alright.” I say, putting my earbud back in. Oh, I didn’t notice a new song started.

When I get to school I sit down and talk to Dylan about anime and stuff for a while before homeroom ends and I can head off to the bathrooms. The walk feels short, probably since I don’t have too much on my mind today. That’s a first. I turn the corner to the girl’s room and step in to see her.

Debby Vincent, on the same crutch as always, the stump of her missing leg securely bandaged. She wasn’t smiling before, but as soon as I walk in, she does.

“Hey.” I say. “Are you doing well?”

“Yeah.” She replies. “I think I am. Thank you, Molly.”

She spreads her left arm, inviting me into her shoulder.

With nothing better to do, I approach the taller girl’s armpit and hug her back, my face half-pressed against her.

“You were right Molly. It really hurt.”


“My parents were really mad.”


“They told me they would put the leg back on me, but I’d already fed it to the animals.”


“Not really. I get it now, Molly. What you said.”


“Life is real.”

I hear someone shit in the stall next to us, and I laugh.

School doesn’t last as long as it used to. During class I’m always planning our new experiments, feeling out ways to find Elopas. Then I can try each and every one of them when I get home. Getting home today is especially delightful as well. Walking out of the bus, down my street, and to my house, I see the package on my doorstep. No return address, just where it’s going and the name “Acidgirl” instead of my real one.

I unlock the door and head into my empty home, both parents at work. I hope Huey doesn’t have too much trouble finding another house, that probably sucks. I guess I’ll be home alone more often from now on. My eyes wander to the alcohol, but I restrain myself. I must be at least a little mentally present for my experimentation.

In my room, I giggle with glee at the sight of my new Maxfeel. There’s plenty to try out today, and if I’m lucky… I’ll even get to hear her again. I'll get to hear Elopas’ own beautiful laugh. The thought makes me fall to my bed face-first and kick my feet in the air.

I open up my phone to RedeadHillZone.

Elopostle (3:10)

Yo yo yo

Gormage (3:10)

Hows my witch apprentice doin

Elopostle (3:10)

Arent you MY apprentice?

Gormage (3:11)

Im not a witch

Elopostle (3:11)

I got the maxi

Gormage (3:11)

Fuck yeag we gotta test it later

Elopostle (3:11)

For sure

Elopostle (3:11)

Hows the maggot

Gormage (3:11)

Magatsu’s almost ready lol 94 percent

Elopostle (3:11)

No joke?

Gormage (3:12)

I got it to do some stuff this morning its really comin along

Elopostle (3:12)

Excellent very excellent my dear gormage

Gormage (3:12)

Theres something ive been womdering though

Elopostle (3:12)

Yeah what

Gormage (3:12)

Do you agree with the opinion that the werehog levels in unleashed are bad

What, that’s all? Easy mode today, huh. I’ve done my research here, and I can infer exactly what option he’ll have on a matter like this.

Elopostle (3:12)


Gormage (3:12)

Oh that’s neat cause I was replaying them today and theyre actually really good

Elopostle (3:12)

Yeah yeah exactly like act 13 especially goes so hard

Gormage (3:14)

I played them all today, aint there only twelve?


Elopostle (3:15)

No I mean like in the DLC

Gormage (3:15)


Gormage (3:15)

I never played that

Me neither. But someone on GameFAQs sure did.

Elopostle (3:15)

Theres some other sonic stuff I wanted to ask about but first I was wondering if you were still up to test the maxfeel today

Elopostle (3:18)

You know and like see if we can recreate that giggle

Gormage (3:21)

Yeah yeah of course

Gormage (3:21)

Oh and hey our friend told me what you did for her

Gormage (3:22)

I guess you know her as Debby

Gormage (3:22)

She confirmed it

Gormage (3:22)

I sent her a VISTA as a gift, proud of her

Elopostle (3:23)

Thats nice

Gormage (3:23)

Figured she could be here for the final test when you get the magatsu

Elopostle (3:23)

Yeah sure

We decide to go in and run out experiments. I insert the Maxfeel just like before, reminding myself of everything that happened on my first outing with this thing. What are the chances that it’d somehow magically work on my first try? If I can replicate the conditions closely enough, this might be in the bag.

Then I’ll… well shit, I’ll have done it. So long as I don’t take the damn headset off like an idiot, I might just turn around and see her, right next to me.

What a thought.

I load into the temple again. Gormage is here, but only as an observer, as not to interfere. I can’t see him, but he can see what’s happening and communicate through the mic.

“This is it.” He says.

“Might just be. Let’s find out.”

For the sake of consistency, I lose my clothes. I don’t tell him, of course. Lights off. TV on, volume down. Headphones in. Voodoom playing. Headset plugged up and plugged in. This time, I’m doing this for real.

The temple itself is quiet outside my music. I stand by the circle and press the switch above the chip slot. Immediate activation. It’s just as weird as before. My anime-styled head feels too big for my shoulders, and I feel kind of like I did after puberty hit. Now to see if I can really do this… who am I kidding? I can absolutely do this. I just have to believe. Believe in the insanity. I do my rituals again. Reciting code. Calling out for her in my heart. Wishing her into reality.

“Molly?” Gormage asks.


“Why’re you just standing there?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… nothing’s… nothing’s happening, is it?”

“Wait. Wait wait wait. Just- gimme a minute.”

I do it all over again. Reciting code. Calling out for her in my heart. Wishing her into reality. Picturing what little I remember of her. This is how it works, dammit! I already did this and it fucking worked! Magic is real! Elopas is real! It’s all fucking real!

And with that, we go for it again.



“It’s… I’m not… I’m not getting anything, Gormage.”

“Oh. Well, you wanna run some other tests?”

We spend the rest of our time trying out things I thought up in class. None of it leads to anything. I wanna curse my whole day away. Just another shitty Tuesday, like always.

But no.

I cannot let myself believe that. I must proceed.

Once we finish and I take the VISTA off, I look around my room. I notice that, just like my temple, nothing in this room has changed. God, this place is filthy. Of course the virtual reality can’t always change. Neither can this world. But that doesn’t mean change is impossible.

Scooping up my collection of Satoshi Kon films, I finally start organizing my endless collection of media. Even if it’s pointless, a little change takes nothing to accomplish. Just a tiny bit of drive. A tiny bit of irrationality in a rational setting. I am that irrationality. And I’ll change the world, whether it fuckin’ likes it or not!

The day I find the magatsu on my doormat is the next day I consciously participate in. Up until just now, as I look down on this cardboard box holding it inside, I have floated through life like a ghost. I didn’t talk. I didn’t think. All I did was prepare myself for this moment. And now I’m here. I am not giving up, Elopas. I’m coming for ya.

Elopostle (3:00)


Gormage (3:00)

U get it?

Elopostle (3:00)

Yes let’s go

Gormage (3:00)

Give me a minute

Elopostle (3:00)


Elopostle (3:01)

What is it you need to do so bad??

Elopostle (3:01)


Elopostle (3:02)


Elopostle (3:02)

You just sit inside all day don’t yiu??? So what is it you gotta do so bad???

Gormage (3:03)

Fuck off

Elopostle (3:10)


Gormage (3:23)

Okay okay sorry much better now

Elopostle (3:23)

Im sorry too

Gormage (3:25)

Just dont tellanyone I did that

Elopostle (3:25)


Gormage (3:25)

Theyd be suspicious if I did a thing like that

Gormage (3:25)

Leaving the convo I mean

Gormage (3:25)

Abruptly like that

Gormage (3:25)

I just know it yknow 

Elopostle (3:26)

Ok listen I dont know what your talking about but if we can just get to testing who cares

Gormage (3:26)

Great yes my thought to the exact

Elopostle (3:26)

Vr now meet you there

I drop my phone to the ground and strap on my VISTA tight. The magatsu fits snuggly into one of my input slots. Soon’s I put it in, I get a pop-up menu explaining how to activate and control its effects. I read only enough to get a grasp, just like those damn Sonic articles I’m forced to go through every day. Then I head straight to the temple.

“It okay if she joins?” Gormage the spectator’s voice rings out to me.

“What, Debby? Oh yeah… you did say we’d do that. Sure. Just… lemme try it solo first, okay? You can go and message her. If all goes well, she’ll be the second person on Earth to chat with a living work of art.”

“So go for it then, kid.”

I sit and cross my legs.

No use clearing this permanent-marker mind of mine, so I just scribble all over it as much as I can with her image. The time is now. After performing my rituals, I recite a prayer.

I call upon thee, o power of the aesthetic.

You, the essence of all longing in this world.

The power to abstract perception- that being, the power to change reality-

Allow me to grasp it, for just this one moment.

I must create an idol to my obsession.

I must live to see something more than just another boring human.

I don’t want humans.

And I’m tired of art, too.

Got so much media stuck between my teeth, I can hardly swallow more.

Through all those memes and themes, one thing remains true…

None of it was real.

But life is undoubtedly real.

So please, make yourself real- so that I, too, can experience such a delight.


The shock

Of silence.

The feeling

Of nobody arriving

On the date of your second birthday

The sensation

Of a mother

Living through a miscarriage

Only to wake up and realize

Her husband left her the night before.

I whimper.

“A-are you uh- okay?” I hear Gormage ask someone.

“Y-Yeah...” I answer. “Just- didn’t work, is all.”

“Hey…” his staggered voice comforts me. “Well that’s… that’s, that’s alright. We still have to try it with Debby there, remember?”



“Why? What was so different this time? If the magatsu chip runs through every internal possibility in the machine, and I did all my rituals the same… why did… nothing happen? Nothing at all? Not even… one more giggle from her? Not so much as a laugh?”

Just then, another avatar appears. The purple fox in front of me is missing a leg, and “stands” on a digital crutch attached to its arm.

“Molly? Is that you?” It asks.

“Oh, Deb.” I freeze, the Bateman-esque ramblings in my head absent as despair reaches me.

“Nice to… see you here.” She says. “Gormage, he told me about what you were doing. It made more sense in his words.”

“Oh yeah…?” I mutter.

“It’s really simple, actually. Just manifesting is all it is. I could help with that, you know.”

“That so…”

“Yeah. Listen, I’ll chant just like you do. And… and Gormage, too. Get in here. We’ll all team up to summon Elopas.”

I snicker.

“Okay… but… if, I uh… mean when this works… I get to be the one to talk to her.”

Can’t see her face, but I like to imagine Deb is smiling.

“Okay. Yeah. Let’s do it, Molly.”

Gormage joins the two of us and we all gather to perform the ritual. The magatsu’s fans whirring above my ear, we put our hearts and souls into the idea of Elopas. We all think very very hard and we all do everything in our power to create my Elopas. Our prayers are sent as far as they can go, carried through our mics and inputs as we hope.

And nothing fucking happens.

The next day I’m at school. It really does go faster now. But I’m often bothered by the pointless comments of others as I try to think through the brick wall I find myself up against.

“Molly… are you- are you… alright?”

Dylan wouldn’t usually do this. He’s not an especially kind person, after all, just an inoffensive one. Thought I could rely on him not to bother me. Guess I don’t even get that much.

“I’m fine.” I defaultly answer, feigning the capability to read the questions printed on the worksheet below me. I can’t think about much of anything right now. I suppose I’m trying to figure out what to do about Elopas, but even that is an exercise in futility. It’s pointless. I decide to unload my frustrations onto the boy.

“We can’t do it.” I tell him. “Elopas is nowhere to be found.”

“I hate seeing you like this, Molly. It’s pathetic.”


“Totally sad. I don’t get it.”

I blink. “What?”

“Do you need my help?”

“I don’t… see what it would do.”

“Me neither.” He sighs.

“…You can.” I utter. He finally looks at me as I speak. “You can anyway.”

“Okay.” He folds his head over his resting arm. “Truth is, I have nothing better to do.”


“See, normally… I hang out with you because… well, you’re interesting. I just… siphon off your energy, and try to make it through the day. But with you like this… fuck, just reminds me how boring this all is.”

“You can say that again.”

That afternoon, I once again message the always-online Gormage.

Elopostle (3:31)


Only, he doesn’t send even a single character back.

I sit and stare at the screen in TV-static anger for what must be hours before he replies

Gormage (4:10)


Elopostle (4:11)

Tf was that

Gormage (4:12)

Getting ready

Elopostle (4:12)


Gormage (4:13)

Things i gotta do

Elopostle (4:13)

Like what

Gormage (4:15)

Why are you asking me so many questions bitch

Elopostle (4:15)


Elopostle (4:16)


Gormage (4:20)


Gormage (4:20)

Im ready now

Elopostle (4:21)

Good I got 2 friends joinin us

The Ones from when we met

Gormage (4:21)


Elopostle (4:21)

Im thinking with their help we can do this

Gormage (4:21)

See u there

We all load into the server and group up in the center of the temple. The five of us would look like any other group of VRchat players from the outside. Course, here there’s nobody else to see us, and our intentions go far outside the bounds of online socializing. We’re here to change the world.

“Let’s uh... Let’s get this going, then.” The robot shark furry says, coughing.

“Everybody grab hands.” The amputee furry adds.

We all spread our controllers and link across our five households.

“This is kind of funny.” The giant Wire comments.

“I don’t feel like convincing myself this is as stupid as it probably looks.” Dylan responds.

“I’m not saying it’s stupid.” Replies Wire. “I’m in the same boat as you. Let’s make a night out of this, shall we? I don’t think a single person here… has anything even a little better to do.“

I didn’t choose to experience that night.

In hindsight, I probably should have. As I lie in bed, my memories make it look fun. Wire had a lot to talk about with Gormage. Dylan and Debby even hit it off, just a little. And we worked through more experiments and ideas than ever before.

But the truth stands that I’m alone right now.

All those friends couldn’t do a damn thing when it came to getting me my real friend.

Elopas is still nothing more than a fleeting memory of a dream.

I roll over in my bed. There’s no other girl here. Just little old me, and the cell phone I was too lazy to put on the charger. Across my unkempt sheets, I’m sprawled like a dead bug, too tired to move but too uncomfortable to shut my eyes. I think this world may have just been created as a hell for dreamers like me. When the one thing you want’s almost impossible, life really does start to feel a tad meaningless. I don’t especially want to die, but I’ve always felt like it would be a relief if I did.

The screen of my phone glows awake, burning my eyes and dying the room in blue.

I pick the thing up, the RedeadHillZone notification visible. In my desperation, I unlock it.

Gormage (3:44)

Im sorry for today

Yeah, what a nice guy. A total asshole who wakes you up before you even get a chance to fall asleep. I really shouldn’t reply, but without Elopas, my loneliness knows no bounds.

Elopostle (3:45)

No t a problem

Gormage (3:45)

Wanna go again tomorrow

Elopostle (3:49)

I dont think so

Gormage (3:50)


Elopostle (3:51)

What else is there to do

Elopostle (3:52)

Im not like completely giving up dont get me wrong

Elopostle (3:54)

Bit like youve done all you can for me

Elopostle (3:56)

Imgonna rethink things and move on

Guess this is goodbye

Gormage (4:01)


A raindrop falls inside my heart.

I don’t know what that feeling was, but I hated it.

I forget the sensation almost instantly.

It felt like stepping on a bug.

I don’t understand it.

Gormage (4:16)

Is there anything you wanna talk about ?

I know he means Sonic, but I’m not in the mood. For once, I decide to be honest with him.

Elopostle (4:17)

Death maybe

Gormage (4:17)


Elopostle (4:17)

Like mortality

Gormage (4:17)

Sure like what u mean exactly

Elopostle (4:18)

I was thinking itd be okay to die I guess

Gormage (4:18)


Elopostle (4:18)

Sorry thats fucked up

Gormage (4:18)

Not really

Gormage (4:18)

Everyone thinks that

Elopostle (4:19)

I dont think so

Elopostle (4:19)

Ive heard plenty disagree

Gormage (4:20)

Probably lying

Elopostle (4:20)


Gormage (4:21)

You shouldnt die

Elopostle (4:22)

Trying to save me? Im not suicidal

Gormage (4:22)

No I just mean you shouldn’t

Gormage (4:22)

Youre interesting

Gormage (4:22)

Not fake interesting

Gormage (4:22)

Like real

Gormage (4:22)

Real interesting

Elopostle (4:23)

I’m flattered

Gormage (4:23)

Like you have a dream and all

Gormage (4:23)

People like you should live, ok

Elopostle (4:24)

Good idea I gues

Gormage (4:24)


Elopostle (4:25)

Still gonna haveto drown my sorrows or something tomorrow

Gormage (4:26)

You do that then

Gormage (4:27)

Good luck on everything Molly

Gormage (4:28)

Im just gonna do some thinkin

Gormage (4:28)

Felt so weird lately

Gormage (4:29)

Guess its nothing new

Gormage (4:29)

Oh are you asleep

Gormage (4:30)

Sorry again

Gormage (4:30)