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[Author’s Note: The beginning is incredibly generic, just keep going, it gets better.]
Hello. Before I tell this tale, I must inform you of two things. I’m choosing not to give out my name, simply to avoid doctors suddenly barging to my house at midnight, writing me off as clinically insane, and hauling me off to the psych ward. Thus, I’ll refer to myself as “Autumn” from here on.
Secondly, everything you are about to read is true. You can choose to believe otherwise, I don’t really care. To be honest, I wouldn’t believe this happened either— hell, I’m still not 100% sure it even did because of some circumstances surrounding the events.
With those disclaimers out of the way, I’ve got nothing left to do other than tell things as they were.
When I was a young girl, about 4 or 5 years old (12 years ago at the time of writing) I met a really kind girl at my daycare. She was about a year younger than me. We’ll call her “Isabella”, to protect her identity. Isabella was always happy, so it seemed. We befriended eachother with relative ease, meeting up every day. Our mothers would take us over to eachothers’ houses, and we’d enjoy every minute of time we had together. This never really changed, until about three weeks ago. I had driven over to Isabella’s house after class on the last day of high school, because she said she had something really important to tell me. When I arrived, she was waiting outside on the porch, smiling timidly. I got out of the car and walked up to her, following her inside. Nobody else was in the house with us, so it was completely silent as she led me back to her room, closing the door behind her.
“So, what did you want to tell me?” I calmly asked, flipping my hair. She fidgeted around nervously, twirling. her hair around finger.
“Autumn… I… Well… Don’t take this the wrong way, but… I like you, more than a friend.” she shyly said.
I was certainly flattered and taken aback, so I wasn’t quite sure how to react. I spoke without thinking, which was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. If I could redo one thing in my life, I would have gone back and redone this. Things would be infinitely better right now.
“W-wow. I never knew you felt that way. But… I’m not… into that. I’m sorry…”
Her expression completely changed, turning to a sullen frown. Her face seemed to darken as she looked down.
“…Oh. Okay. You… can go now, I guess.”
I quietly left the room and closed the door behind me, contemplating whether to actually leave or not. In the end, I decided to go ahead and go home, still wondering if what I said was appropriate considering the situation.
Normally, Isabella called me every night, around 8 PM. That night, no call came. I gradually became more worried as time slowly inched forward, creeping towards 11 PM. I eventually caved in and called her.
She never picked up.
I decided to head to bed, although I didn’t get a minute of sleep.
The next morning, I called, with no response as before. We were both nearly adults, so I figured I would take matters into my own hands, I showered and changed quickly before driving over to Isabella’s house. Upon pulling up in the driveway, I immediately noticed that the front door was wide open. I got out of the car, walked up to the door, and cautiously walked in. All of the lights were off, but I didn’t have a problem navigating the house since I’d visited so many times. Combing the almost the entire house, I came across nothing of interest.
I was about to leave to file a missing-persons report before I remembered that I hadn’t checked the attic. Running through the hallway, I came to a stop under a cord. Yanking it prompted a ladder to slowly descend from the ceiling. The attic’s light was on, making me squint as I climbed the ladder. Upon reaching the top, I stood up on the floor of the attic, gazing around. Seeing nothing, I almost left before I felt something hit my head and drop to the floor, causing me to gasp from surprise. I kneeled down, seeing that the object that hit me on the head appeared to be a purple slipper. I looked up, not at all prepared for what I was about to see.
Isabella had hanged herself. Her corpse laid limp in the noose, about to fall to the floor.
I felt sick to my stomach almost instantly, and tears began to fill my eyes. I didn’t know how to react, yet again— I quickly climbed back down the stairs, storming off to my car without even closing the attic door. I drove home and wept.
I fucking wept for hours.
The next few days are a huge blur— I remember nothing of them.
About a week later, the police ended up finding her body after the neighbors began complaining about a foul scent wafting from the house. I found out that her parents had left her to live on her own because they didn’t approve of her lesbianism— which made me want to punch a hole in my wall when I heard it. Thus, that day, all of her stuff was simply being possessed by the state. I decided to gain my composure and head over tonthe house so I could see if there they found anything that I could take to remember her by.
When the movers were going through her room, they found nothing of interest that I was allowed to take. However, I managed to come across a Gameboy Pocket at the bottom of her chest-of-drawers, with an unlabeled red cartridge in the slot. Memories flowed into my head like a torrential rain— we both played her copy of Pokemon Red religiously as children. Of course, I had never kept up with the series outside of this, aside from occasionally coming across a few odd episodes of the anime while channel surfing. However, she had continued to play it, keeping up with each subsequent release, up to Black and White versions, her personal favorites. I decided to sneak this into my back pocket; something she was strongly associated with would always remind me of her. I faintly smiled and left around when the movers did, heading back home. I decided I would play through the game, for old times’ sake; so, I turned the power on, ready for a wave of nostalgia.
The Gameboy started up seemingly fine, as the logo descended to the center of the screen. However, the small Nintendo logo beneath was a black bar. The Gameboy refused to advance no matter how many times I cleaned the cartridge and retried, so I assumed it was broken. My Gamecube was outfitted with a Gameboy Player and conveniently hooked to my DVD recorder, so I decided “Why not?” and put in a blank DVD, so that if the cartridge DID decide to function, I could record it in case it stopped later.
Thank God I did so.
I lifted the Gamecube slightly and placed the cartridge in the Gameboy Player, searching for the boot disc. After finding it, I put it in, started the recorder, and turned on the Gamecube. The game booted without a hitch.
The copyright screen was, well, a copyright screen. I distinctly remembered a proper copyright screen that credited three companies, but then again, with the cartridge malfunctioning earlier, I figured it was just an odd bug due to age. It advanced, skipping the Game Freak logo that I remembered so fondly. Instead, it skipped straight to the scene Nidoran and Gengar.
Nidoran was gone, and Gengar’s sprite was mirrored. The scene played out as normal, despite these issues. Yet again, fairly harmless bugs, I assumed. The title screen appeared, but as the logo smashed down, there was dead silence.
The copyright was yet again missing. Red was simply a shadow, and his Charmander was missing. I was beginning to get a bit frustrated, expecting these odd bugs to ruin my playthrough. However, I continued, hoping things would fix themselves.
“New Game” was surprisingly missing. I clicked on “Options” due to the lack of anything else.
“Well, shit.” I laughed nervously, a bit creeped out due to the abrupt message and dead silence. Every attempt to enter the options menu was rewarded with that message. Eventually, I just mashed buttons, and apparently, the start button worked. The intro with Professor Oak was gone, and instead I was dropped in an empty house with an unfamiliar protagonist.
The music was a constant loop;
It opened familiarly, although I couldn’t (and still can’t, oddly) place the song. I do know it was from the original game, in some shape or form. However, it quickly segued into, well, glitchy madness, before looping with the background channel being slightly higher pitch. It’s worth noting that the pitch continuously went up, to perhaps ear-grating levels; I’ve only included two levels in the recording. Anyway, I moved to the staircase, slightly uneasily, emerging outside in an unexpected area.
Apparently Kanto had been flooded. I opened my menu; the game had been so weird even this shortly in that I was expecting to have a Pokemon that knew Surf.
I didn’t. The cursor defaulted to the trainer card, so after checking my party I decided to take a look at “White”.
“This… is going to be an adventure.”
Heading back into the “house”, I was a bit startled to appear in a large, white room. The wall tiles seemed to be made of packing boxes, and the most unnerving part— the NPC trainers had no eyes. I decided to speak to one of the girls that was walking around.
It was a bad decision, apparently.
I have absolutely no idea what happened, because I’m not incredibly versed in the field of video game programming, but it looks like the game didn’t know what Pokemon to give me and gave up. After about ten seconds of text wraparound…
Well, I don’t really know how to describe it. Take a look yourself.
That was… relatively jarring to me, to say the least. I had also taken notice to something— the only male I had seen in the game so far had been, well, nothing— a shadow. The game surprisingly returned to the field, only for the text box to still be up.
Evidently, White didn’t like what happened.
At that point, I really couldn’t go anywhere else. The room had no exits other than south, which led back to the shore.
I began to wonder why I was still playing this when something hit me really hard; Isabella had been studying Assembly a few weeks before she came out to me. Perhaps she had dumped a hacked ROM onto a cart as a way to explain things in case I said no.
Looking back, she did a pretty bad job up to this point. I was insanely confused, and somewhat upset due to remembering the time we spent playing the original game. So, I decided to take a look on the internet at some information. First, I googled “White Pokemon”, in the hopes that I may have been playing as a character named White.
I then hit up my friend Sarah on MSN.
Either that had been planned, or the game had some degree of control over things around it, apparently. I’m not sure what caused that even now, but it was definitely intended to call my attention back to the game.
Heading back to it, I looked through my Items menu, in hopes that maybe something had suddenly swapped in. I now had an item called “?????”, with tons of glitchy items under it.
Using that ????? allowed me to surf.
I couldn’t talk to any of the NPCs, no matter how hard I tried. I also attempted to use one of the glitch items to no avail.
I have absolutely no idea what that beeping at the end is, even now. Recently, I showed my History teacher from this year the audio, and he said that it might be morse code, but he’s not positive given the glitchy nature of everything else.
When the game crashed, I reset the Gamecube. I respawned right where I was, so apparently the game had autosaved.
So, I ventured forward into the replacement of Viridian City, my heart pounding and my skin cold.
The moment I stepped into Viridian City, the music changed for the first time since the Gengar battle. It was a welcome change from the rather dreary, disturbing music that had been filling my ears for the past thirty minutes or so, but it still wasn’t much better. Ahead lied a completely straight path— but upon moving forward, White’s sprite disappeared. I did the only thing I could do; move forward.
Well, that was about it. Continuing brought me back to “Viridian”, if you could even call it that. Moving forward made me invisible, and I had no other options; I decided to move back. I hadn’t yet gone down from the “cave” area. But, before that, I decided to get back on MSN to ask around some more. My avatar was still the trainer card sprite of White, no matter how many times I tried to change it; so I dealt with it.
And guess what?
I talked to EVERYONE who was online.
Nobody responded. Not even a “___ is typing” prompt would appear. I signed out in frustration and headed back to the Gamecube to continue my ethereal experience.
Going down from the shore hit me with what was expected.
I really had absolutely nowhere left to go. I decided to pick up my phone and call someone over to comfort me as I turned off the DVD recorder and the Gamecube. Dialing for Iris, the first person I contacted on MSN, I held the phone to my ear.
I heavily sighed and sat down to think. If I continued the game, my mood would just get worse. Everyone also seemed to be avoiding me, so I wasn’t exactly happy. My best friend was gone, and it was my fault.
I cried like I had never cried before.
I was lost, confused, and I had nobody else to turn to.
Everything was hopeless, and I was sitting here playing a hacked game for no reason at all other than some hope of clinging to a childhood memory.
Standing up, I walked over to my door and sighed heavily. Turning the knob, I hit something.
The door refused to open.
The locks were all open, and I turned it the right way— Something was going very wrong.
Not knowing what to do, my blood ran cold. I had nothing left to do— the game was the only thing that could possess the answers now. I remembered the barriers that I had come across — if I managed to walk through them…
I quickly ran to my closet and rummaged through old boxes. At last… I found it. My old Gameshark. With it, I could walk through the barriers into the field ahead. I ripped the cartridge out of the Gameboy Player frantically and inserted it into the Gameshark. I put the Gameshark in the Player’s slot, and powered the Gamecube on. Scrolling through the list of cheats, I found it; 010138CD. Walk through Walls. I checked it and started the game nervously.
Yet again, I was invisible when I reached the barriers. However, instead of waiting around for the game to reset…
(I cut out a large portion of hanging. Nearly ten minutes passed when the trainer sent out their glitchy mess.)
So, I was face to face with the shadowy Red again after a brief stint. I still didn’t know what he symbolized— all I knew was that I was beginning to become seriously unnerved by his appearances. Whenever he showed up, I always felt… tense. I still can’t really explain it. I came face to face with this image after losing the “battle”. This was one of the worst things I saw over the course of playing this game, and the image is still burned into my head. Was Isabella planning her suicide from day one?
I advanced the text, and… I don’t even have an explanation for the following. It’s sickening.
After that terrible series of events, I was left somewhat broken, and very disturbed. The game dropped me off in a white field, completely featureless. A chilling, melancholy tune was ringing through the speakers, but somehow it seemed to put me at ease. I began to move around, not knowing my objective or the location I was headed to. I managed to see the field by opening the menu repeatedly.
That was the last thing I saw in the game. What else is there? I don’t know. Hate me if you must, but I stopped. I’m not an idiot, and I sensed very real danger as soon as the screen turned black. I calmly took the cartridge out, staring at it longingly. It thoroughly disturbed me to think that Isabella possibly left it there for me. Why would she do something like that?
I closed my eyes, grabbed both ends, and snapped it in half. Everything felt… Normal. I walked over to my door and turned the knob. It surprisingly opened this time. I assumed the cartridge was somehow preventing it from opening, but that’s stupid and farfetched, so I still have no idea. Stepping out onto the porch, I realized that it was raining extremely heavily outside, which I hadn’t heard beforehand. Was this really the cartridge that we had played so much? What even happened to it? I didn’t even know anymore, and I’m still not positive. I walked in the rain, out to the road. With tears in my eyes, I threw the cartridge into the road. An oncoming car ran over it shortly, crushing the remains to pieces. I walked back inside and sat on the couch to reflect on some things.
What exactly was the meaning of everything here? Something didn’t quite… match up. What role did Red have in everything? Was White important at all? What was the point of the eyeless characters? The battles? The music? The empty house? The shore? “Lost”? The beeps…. Everything. Nothing linked up at all. I had finished with the cartridge, but the role it was going to play was just beginning.
Taking the first logical step, I hit up my friend Alys on MSN. She was a trained analyst, so she could possibly be the biggest help I could ever get. I took these screens right after she left.
As Alys said, she was dropped off by her boyfriend Skyler. I removed the DVD from the recorder and put it in the player as she walked in and took a seat. After a thorough examination of all of the content, Alys came to a screeching halt upon rewatching the third capture.
“There’s morse code in that frame.” she said calmly, lifting the remote. Moving back a few seconds, to when White’s trainer card was shown, she proceeded to rapidly press the “pause” button to frame-by-frame the video, stopping on the morse.
“I don’t know how to read morse, but Skyler does. I’ll be sure to show him whenever we get back home.” she said, continuing on. “There’s probably morse in the other videos as well, but I have to go. I need to do some things at around 5:30. Anyway, I’ll take a thorough look tonight and we should have the morse back to you tomorrow. Bye.” she said. She walked outside, withdrawing her cell phone and dialing for Skyler. After she finished, she came in, burned her copy of the DVD, and waited outside.
You have to work with the leads you’ve got.
The next day, Alys rang me up, instead of contacting me on MSN for some odd reason.
“Hey, ——. It’s Alys.”
“Why aren’t you on MSN?”
“My computer apparently gave up after I copied the DVD to it for analysis. The hard disk failed.”
“Yeah. I decided just to watch it on my DVD player, and came across a few things; there’s morse in a ton of the captures. Whoever made this was very fond of it. There’s morse after you open the trainer card at the straight path. There’s also text morse after the “forbidden territory” message. Even more text morse is present in the last capture, right after you say ‘yes’ to ‘Delve deeper?’. I can’t decode it because Skyler isn’t picking up, for some reason. There’s also some normal text in the last video, but I can’t read it due to the lossy compression I used when I burnt it.”
“Well, huh. What do you suggest we do?”
“I feel like we should head to ——‘s house. It’s for sale now, but the repossessing agency might have missed some stuff. They tend to ignore attics.”
“…Right. Attics.” I replied, cringing.
“I’ll meet you over th-“
“FINE.” I said sternly and hung up, tossing my phone across the room onto the couch. I showered quickly and put on a pair of skinny jeans, as well as a white long-sleeved tee and a short-sleeved, low-cut pink shirt over it. Slipping on my shoes and walking out the door into the wind, I began to feel immensely frustrated towards Alys for almost completely intangible reasons.
As I arrived at the house, I got out of the car. Noticing a “FOR SALE” sign, I angrily kicked it over, picking it up and tearing it in half. It felt terrible to see the sign so shortly after the incident. Throwing the remains of the sign down, I sat down at the porch. The violent winds stung my face, blowing my streaming tears away.
A few moments later, Alys arrived. She stepped out of the car, approaching me.
“Why are you crying?”
“You can’t tell?! Just shut up!”
I wordlessly stood, wiping the tears away with my auburn hair before the two of us entered the home. The moment I walked through the door, a strange urge overcame me. It intensified greatly as the two of us approached Isabella’s room, a depressing violence swelling inside of me.
“Alys. I have a question.” I said as we entered Isabella’s emptied room. My voice echoed off of the bare walls, amplifying it considerably.
“Huh?” she replied innocently. I turned to her, nodding my head down. My hair gave shadow to my face, obscuring my eyes.
“How exactly, have you been involved with ——?” I asked solemnly. Alys glared at me nervously, beginning to twiddle her thumbs.
“Don’t be shy, nothing will leave my mouth. Tell me or we leave.”
“…Okay, fine. I met —- at a club in 2010. We talked a bit, and, well, I found out she was a lesbian. I actually am too. Skyler was a coverup. Anyway, so… We started dating. Then, about a week ago, she said she had to break up with me because she cared more about… you. It was you, you, you, ——. That’s all she ever talked about. And so, it was.”
“…no wonder you show such contempt towards me. Would you like to explain your actions now, or let them drag you to Hell?”
Alys looked away and back repeatedly. She stepped backward into Isabella’s room, pitch black barring the light peering through the blinds. I entered, closing the door behind me.
“Don’t act like I’m stupid, Alys.”
“What are you even talking about, ——?!”
“You had the ‘If I can’t have her, nobody can’ mentality. You convinced her into suicide, didn’t you?”
“…No…? ——… Have you lost your mind?”
“You only came over yesterday to confirm that —— actually did what you wanted. YOU told her to make that game. YOU gave her the noose! You… You…”
“This is insane.”
“To think you would have found out so easily. Man, I need to cover my tracks better.” Alys sighed, thrusting her hands into her pocket. I slowly looked up, my eyes glistening with tears.
“I thought I could trust you, Alys.”
“You’re the reason why she’s dead, ——. If you wouldn’t have said no, she wouldn’t have come running back to me for advice.”
“…No… That’s a lie!”
“Sorry, kid. That’s how it went. And now that you know, I can’t let you leave here alive.” Alys said. Her face was obscured by shadows, so only a small smirk was visible.
Alys removed a pistol from her back pocket.
“You took her… You took her away from me!”
“I could say the same! What kind of sick **** goes on your mind that made it into that game?”
“Oh, don’t get that wrong. Everything in that game was all of ——‘s hands.
She gave you some insight into what you caused.”
Alys pulled the trigger.
I awoke groggily in a hospital bed, IVs embedded into my arms. Doctors were crowded over me, staring down at my tired form. Barely able to sit up, I gazed at the doctors.
“So, you’re finally conscious…” a female said, looking over me. “It’s been a week since your friend Alys brought you in.”
“…Brought me… in?” I whispered out, coughing. I was extremely confused.
“Apparently somebody named Skyler had shot you in the chest. It’s a miracle you’re even alive— the bullet wound was barely a centimeter from your heart.”
“We also found mild dementia, paranoia, and schizophrenia in our mental scans.”
“Schizo…phrenia…? Dementia…? No way.” I replied sternly, coughing. “When will I be let out?”
“You can leave today— just be careful.”
On my way home, I passed Alys’ car on the street. Had she actually been innocent? Was I hallucinating?
It’s… all a blur. I don’t know anything anymore. I’ve been home for a week now as of telling this story, and I’m not positive if I’m even in real life anymore. Maybe I’ve been far gone ever since Isabella killed herself. The game… I still don’t get it. The only proof of its existence is in the captures I’ve watched a million times. Maybe the people I’m talking to, the people reading this, are desperate cries from my mind. Maybe the game and captures were too.
If this is all a dream, wake me up. I’m scared.