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Rage, Rage Against the Everlasting Party

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“‘Cause nothing good comes after midnight. Ain’t no good love come from pain. Nothing good comes after midnight when you play the devil’s game…”

—Dorothy/ROCKISDEAD/ After Midnight


DAY 1|000 HRS| RESETS: 0


Bzzt.Bzzt.Bzzt.

“Ugh –Stupid phone,” you groaned and rolled over blindly reaching for the device. You didn’t remember setting an alarm or maybe it was someone calling you…Aww, who cares? You didn’t appreciate being woken up out of the dead of sleep. After a couple seconds of fumbling you removed your phone from the bedside table, pressing your thumb to the home button. The glow of the screen illuminated your face; momentarily blinding you.

“What time is it?” You muttered before seeing that it was little past midnight. What the hell? Your thumb slid over the screen pulling down the notifications bar. There sat one notification from an app called Mystic Messenger.

‘Mystic Messenger?’ You thought. What was that? A messenger app?

{1 New Message from Unknown: …Hello…?}

Huh? You didn’t know who Unknown was. It had to be someone’s username, right? You tapped the notification and it pulled up this app that you didn’t recognize. It looked like a chatroom, but also didn’t. For one there was no textbox for you to type into, but there was also this strange green lettering in the background like it was lines and lines of computer code. Not that you knew that much about computers to make heads or tails of any of it. And that person, Unknown, was the only person there…

Perhaps they were just as confused?

Upon closer inspection, you noticed a little button at the bottom of the screen. The word ‘Answer ’ was helpfully printed and it was flashing on and off. Tapping button, another little button popped up.

[?]

Okay…? So this was a little weird. Why was it a question mark? You tapped the button quickly.

MC: ?

Unknown: Can you see this?

You tapped the answer button again, but this time two buttons popped up instead of one.

[Who are you?]

[Yes, I can.]

You huffed reading the response. Well, of course you could see it. You wouldn’t have responded if you couldn’t. Who the hell were they that they’re messaging you at this hour?

MC: Who are you?

Unknown: I’m sure you’re surprised. It’s not every day you get a text from a stranger. I’m a bit flustered myself. I found a smartphone at the subway station, but all it had was this messenger app. I want to find the owner, but I don’t see any contact info or call records…

You didn’t see how any of that was your problem. People loose there phones all the time…but you guessed it was nice that they were trying to return it. It didn’t explain why they were messaging you at midnight though.

Unknown: I’ve been sending messages with this app but no reply…

Unknown: All I see is an address and some important-looking numbers saved in the notes. I’d like to go there myself but I’m currently abroad…

And what? This random person just wants you to go to some address? Nuhuh, not gonna happen. Nope. No siree. You weren’t an idiot and who knows who this person is. They haven’t even told you their name yet.

[First…who are you?]

[An address?]

[I thought this app was for chatting with pretty boys?]

The last option had you scratching your head. But you quickly shrugged it off and tapped the first button.

MC: First…who are you?

Unknown: Me? Oh sorry. I didn’t even introduce myself. I’m just…a student studying abroad. I’m Korean.

Unknown: I could tell you my name, but it doesn’t really matter. You won’t find me on any search engines. ^^;

You could smell bullshit. This whole thing stank to high heaven with it. A student? Yeah-fucking-right. Please note guy, that if you want to sound convincing in writing don’t put ellipses in the middle of a sentence. 

Unknown: But, anyways…Can you help me find the owner of this phone?

No. No. A million times no. N-O.

Unknown: I know you’re surprised to have someone suddenly pop up and ask you a favor like this.

Hell yeah, you’re surprised. This asshole woke you up. And admittedly you were still fairly cross about it.

Unknown: But still… I’d appreciate it if you could help.

The answer button flashed at the bottom.

[How can I help you?]

[Why are you so obsessed with finding the owner? You can just give it to the police or the post office.]

[Why should I help you?]

[Uh…Why are you talking to me as if I’m your friend?]

Seriously? Why was it only these options? Why couldn’t you just flat out tell him no? You were getting a little frustrated now. But you thought that you could at least take the high road and be less hostile toward the guy.

MC: Why are you so obsessed with find the owner? You can just give it to the police or the post office.

Unknown: Well…Normal people wouldn’t be able to understand…

“Oh really?” you mumble a feeling of irritation bubbling up inside you. So much for taking the high road if this guy was going to be an ass about it.

Unknown: To be honest, I have a religion. My religion says that you must not miss any opportunity to do good, no matter how small.

Unknown: Well, some say that it’s just being nosy. But I’m not like normal people. I can’t help but thinking about how stressed the owner might be…

Unknown: It’s a really safe place. If you feel unsafe, you can turn around.

Unknown: I know the area. It’s developed.

Unknown: Please?

[No. You’re creepy.]

[Fine…I’m leaving right away if it feels sketchy.]

Major creep vibes. Like no joke. Something in your gut was telling you not to trust this guy. There was just something so off about this whole situation. You didn’t quite know what it was. But you felt tingly, twitchy almost, like somehow somewhere this creep was watching you. Who knows, maybe he was?

MC: No. You’re creepy.

Unknown: Creepy?... ^^;;

Unknown: I’m not a creep.

Unknown: Haven’t you ever heard of the saying ‘you get a treat if you listen to older men’…?

And how is that not creepy? Nope. This guy was setting off most, if not all, of your warning bells.

[No;;]

[I’ll listen to you.]

Again why are there only these choices?!

MC: No;;

Unknown: Sorry. I was just kidding ^^;;;

Unknown: Anyways… I know I’m asking too much. You might think I’m odd.

Odd wasn’t the word you’d use to describe him.

Unknown: …I am a bit odd to be honest.

Unknown: But would you consider it? I’m talking to you right now. Two complete strangers at two completely different places… It’s a miracle we’ve connected.

No that’s called the internet.

Unknown: No one responded to my messages. You’re the first one.

Unknown: I don’t know how we got connected…

Unknown: But maybe this was meant to be?

If you’re being perfectly honest, you weren’t someone who bought into all of that density crap. Fate, luck, a life plan mapped out by the universe… All of that was total hogwash. Didn’t it make more sense if a person can write their own future? You believed in the power of choice. And it was your choices that made your future not fate.

 All rights belong to Cheritz. Photo used purely for nonprofit.

Unknown: That is me in the photo.

Unknown: Maybe this will make you less suspicious…?

Unknown: I’m returning to Korea soon, so I’ll definitely make it up to you.

Unknown: If you feel unsafe near the place, you can just delete the app.

Unknown: Please, I’m begging you.

There was no telling whether or not that was actually him. You knew how easy it was to pull some random photo off the internet. You had read news stories about this. You had listened to that beware-of-strangers speech from your parents. You had sat through all those videos about internet safety that your grade school teacher had showed you. And there wasn’t a doubt in your mind that you would still choose NO.

[Alright… I’m returning asap if something seems strange.]

Wait… No that’s not what you want to say. Why is there only that option? What happened to your choice?

Unknown: Thank you!

You watched on helplessly as Unknown typed back. This wasn’t what you wanted.

Unknown: Then I’ll send you the address.

‘No.’

Unknown: Now how do I do that…

‘I’m not gonna go.’

Unknown: Found it!

“Don’t send me the address dude!!!” You yelled tapping furious at your screen, hoping against hope that the app will malfunction so you don’t get that address.

Unknown:[Address {(South Korea)Seoul-Gangnam, Gangnam-daero-5-gil, 14-dong 5-ho, 30174}

“I told you not too! Holy-filet-of-fuck-meon…” You paused and scanned over the address again. Korea? It was an address in freaking South Korea?! But you weren’t in Korea. You had never even been to Korea. What the hell is going on?

You wasted no time sitting up and flicking on the light. You winced at the harsh change in the room, taking a moment for your eyes to adjust. Then looking around your stomach dropped. You were sleeping on a pull-out futon in a small studio apartment. The room itself was fairly spacious for how small it was. A small fold-out table and chairs were set up by the large windows in the corner of the room there was a skinny shelf with some books and a couple framed photographs overhead. The kitchen was minimalistic with barely any counter space or cupboards. It was a cute place, but it felt empty, blank. And worse yet you had no memory of this place.

You practically leapt off that futon and ran over to the windows and throwing open the thick drapes. “N-no way…” your voice squeaked at the sight. A giant glowing billboard was just outside your window; a neon eyesore blocking the city landscape. Bold Korean lettering was printed across it, an advertisement for some tech company it read. How you could read it was a mystery.

“This can’t be happening…this isn’t happening. I’m still dreaming,” you stumbled away from the window and back over to the futon. “This isn’t real…” Your phone was a heavy presence sitting beside you, the screen still illuminated with those messages from Unknown.

This couldn’t be real. It just couldn’t.

Your throat felt parched and your mouth was dry. That gut feeling  you were feeling before had intensified and you were finding it difficult of catch your breath. Is this a panic attack? You couldn’t remember ever having a panic attack before… “W-water. I-I need water,” you said.

Stumbling, you managed to make it over to the small kitchen sink and fumble through the cupboards until you found the glasses. You wasted no time in filling it up, not caring whether or not the water was filtered, and with shaking hands you gulped down the contents. Admittedly, you drank too quickly because no more than three seconds later you were coughing and spitting up water into the sink.

Well that was a brilliant idea…

Bent over like you were your face was close to the metal surface of the sink; you were impressed by how clean it actually was. The still open drapes allowed for the light from the neon billboard to flood the tiny kitchen and combined with the lamp you had flicked on, it allowed for enough light that you could easily make out your reflection on the metal… Wait, was that your reflection?

As if you hadn’t had enough surprises already, the universe decides to throw you one more. You could just picture some smug little cherub pushing up their imaginary glasses and laughing jovially. “Surprises?” They would say, “You want surprises? Okay…poof! Not your face!” You didn’t know whether you felt like laughing or crying, nonetheless you were one hundred percent sure that the person staring back at you wasn’t you.

The girl, woman actually, was obviously Korean, her monolid eyes was enough indication of her Asian heritage. She had a kind looking face –you might even consider it pretty. Prominent cheekbones and heart-shaped face was something you had remembered was idealized in celebrity magazines and from what you could tell her face, your face now, was very clear. There wasn’t a single pimple in sight…how the fuck was that possible? What was her skincare routine? Did she do facial masks? With how soft your cheek felt you didn’t doubt it. If there was one thing, though, that you found unattractive about this face it was the nose. A short stubby little thing, protruding out slightly under the eyes, it was far too short for her long face and gave her almost a chipmunk-like appearance.

Long auburn colored hair fell down your shoulders and bushed against the counter as you leaned back away from the sink. “Okay…okay…calm down,” you whispered to yourself, “Getting worked up isn’t going to solve anything.”

You took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Then you attempted to sort out everything that had happened in the last couple minutes.

  1. You’re in Korea. In a strange apartment with no memory of how you got there or who you are.
  2. You’re not you. You can’t exactly remember who you were, but you know that you’re not in your body.
  3. You have some creeper trying to send you to an address that may or may not be a ploy for a sex trafficking ring. Said creeper is currently waiting for you to go said address and you have little doubt that he is somehow watching you.
  4. There’s this weird messenger app on your phone that doesn’t allow you to type out responses, but gives you pre-programed textboxes.

What to do? Should you go to the apartment? You still thought the whole thing was a bad idea. What if something bad happens? What if this creeper tries to do something to you? …On the other hand, what if he somehow knows about your situation? What if he can give you answers to what was happening to you? It couldn’t just be a coincidence that he picked you, right? But were you willing to risk putting yourself in a stupidly dangerous situation just to get answers?

“Argh!” You yelled gripping your hair between your fingers. Why was this so hard?! You couldn’t just stand here and wait for Unknown to come looking for you. No that was a worse idea. You couldn’t stay in your apartment much longer; you had to act now… “Alright, fuck it!”

Whatever happens, happens. You needed answers and right now your only option was to go to the address Unknown had sent you. Scrounging around your apartment, you managed to find jeans, a pair of socks, shoes and a warm hoodie to change into. You left on your oversized sleep shirt figuring you’d avoid the hassle of putting on a bra, besides the hoodie was thick enough that no one would notice.

Your phone still sat on the bed where you left it; the address link still the last message in the chatroom. Unknown hadn’t texted you again. Good. There was a brief second of hesitation before you tapped the chatbox with the address, a second where you asked yourself if you were ready for whatever was going to happen. Of course you couldn’t have known at the time what would happen, but you figured yourself ready for anything. “Let’s do this.”

[Go to address.]

There was really no way you could of prepared yourself for what happened after you tapped that button. It was unbelievable, paranormal, and defied the laws of physics. One second you’re standing in your apartment, then the next you were in a long hallway staring at a fancy door with a key code and no memory of how you got there.

“What the fuck?!” You exclaimed stumbling back from the door and turning on your heels. “How? What?”

You took notice of the elevator and stairwell near you and seriously considered hightailing it the hell out of there. This was too much. Getting answers wasn’t worth this Twilight Zone shit! Although you stopped in your tracks…What about Unknown? You had forgotten that you were probably being followed and while the elevator was right there, who’s to say that he wasn’t waiting for you somewhere?  

Bzzt.Bzzt.Bzzt.

                {1 New Message from Unknown: Are you there? ^^ See nothing strange.}

The notification on your phone filled you with dread. Nothing strange? Was he serious?! This whole situation was strange!

Unknown: Is there a password lock on the door?

You shot a weary look at the door behind you. There was a password lock on the door, albeit you didn’t remember him saying anything about a key code in the previous messages…so how would he know? It only confirmed what you had suspected. You were being watched.

‘Play along,’ you told yourself. Walking back to the door, you placed yourself so that your back was to the elevator and tapped the answer button.

[Yes.]

[Hmm. I don’t see one.]

You had a bad feeling about the first option. You considered why this person wants you to come here if they’re the ones with the phone. And you came to the conclusion that he wanted you to enter the apartment. Why? Who cares. You weren’t going to.

MC: Hmm. I don’t see one.

Unknown: That’s strange.

Unknown: There’s really nothing?

Unknown: There’s nothing to put in the password?

He knew you were lying. And you knew that he knew that.

[There’s nothing.]

[Jk. It’s here.]

You were given an out. You could easily fix this with a tap of a thumb and a part of you seriously considered it. You knew that if you choose the first option it would only anger him, which in turn would jeopardize your safety. Although, wasn’t your safety already jeopardized? From the first message any safety you had was thrown out the window.

MC: There’s nothing.

Unknown:

Unknown: You sure?

This guy was being pretty lenient with you. You would’ve thought he’d had shown himself by now. He must really want you to go inside that apartment.

[Jk. It’s here.]

[It’s not here.]

Another out? Hmm...

MC: It’s not here.

Welp, there it goes. You signed your fate with that last option and you didn’t expect him to give you any more chances.

Unknown: Really?

Unknown: That’s strange.

Unknown: I can see with my own eyes that…

Unknown: You are standing in front of a password door lock.

Unknown: Are you gonna continue lying?

[What?? You can see me?]

Unknown: Haha…Yes.

Unknown: I guess that’s it then.

Unknown: Plan failed.

You spun around on at the sound of footsteps and that’s when you saw him stepping out from the stairwell. Unknown looked nothing like his picture. You didn’t expect him to, however he looked so drastically different that it threw you for a loop. He resembled one of those punk-rocker, gothic, emo teens that were always posting pictures on Instagram. His thick curly hair was dyed white and the strands would periodically catch the light taking on a more pinkish hue. Gaunt cheekbones and dark circles under his eyes lead you to belief that he wasn’t wholly healthy, and yet the way he carried himself felt more like a prowling lion than the lanky man he was. Greenish-blue eyes sparked dangerously over the black mask covering the lower part of his face.

You took a step back bumping into the door behind you. “Who the fuck are you?!” You yelled.

Unknown’s voice came out distorted, muffled from his mask and oddly off pitch like it was being projected out of a broken speaker. “The plan failed. I’ll have to find someone else.”

“What plan?” You asked. “What are you talking about?”

He didn’t respond to your question. In fact, it was like he didn’t even hear you. “Hello? I’m asking you a question! Are you just going to ignore me?” But Unknown continued to look at your face, saying not a word or giving any indication that he understood that you were speaking. The man was just standing there staring at you…No. He wasn’t staring at you, he was staring through you, you realized. You stepped forward slowly, keeping your eyes trained on his face, preparing yourself in case he pounced.

You walked forward until you were within arm’s reach of the man and stopped.

“Umm…hello?” You repeated hesitantly.

Nothing. No response. Unknown just continued to stare at the spot that you no longer were.

It was beyond strange. This whole night’s been just one freaky thing after another, but this… You didn’t know what to make of this. You brought your hand up and waved it in front of his eyes, even going so far as to snap your fingers a couple times by his ear. Nothing. He didn’t even blink.

‘Okay then…’

He was totally unresponsive. A lifeless wax figure. An animatronic that was just as fake as his voice sounded… This had to be a dream. There was no way this could be real, that this was happening. No. You were just dreaming. You had to be dreaming.

Your phone was still grasped firmly in your hand; the Mystic Messenger app still running on the screen. One quick glance confirmed this, but it also confirmed something else –Something that you had begun to have an inkling of since that first text box, something that you were hoping, praying, wasn’t true.

[Who the hell are you?!]

[This is creepy! I’m getting out of here.]

Two choices on the screen, but you weren’t in the chatroom. The textboxes looked different too; a grey background with gold lining, swirling around each option. This isn’t right. You wanted to drop your phone on the ground and leave, but there was something stopping you. And it wasn’t Unknown. Hell, that guy you could just walk past and he would be none the wiser. No, what was stopping you was the thought that entire world could be frozen along with him. What if you walked outside and the cars, the people, even the animals were just there, unmoving, frozen in whatever act they were in, and you were the only one that could walk and talk? The thought was too horrifying to even think about. If choosing one of these text options would restart everything, if it would make this guy move again, then maybe you could get out of there without having to choose again.

“This is creepy! I’m getting out of here.”

The words flew out of your mouth against your own violation. They were a combination of surprise and anger, something that you weren’t even close to feeling. But it worked. Unknown blinked, looking at you, actually looking at you this time. His eyes squinted at you as he hummed, inquisitively.

“That’s feisty,” he remarked. Then his eyes smiled, “I’d like to let you go, but you already know me. Sorry, but you’ll have to some with me.” He reached out a hand to grab your wrist, but you anticipated this and took a quick step back.

“No. I’m not going anywhere with you. You’re going to explain some things to me, okay? What the fuck is going on? Why am I here?” You said.

“…I could just get rid of you…but that’d be a shame.” Unknown continued ignoring your question, or not ignoring it he just didn’t hear you speak, “You’re so cute.”

“What...?”

“You can be my assistant,” he mused, “Right…He said he has an assistant. I’d like one too.” The last part was spoken more to himself than it was to you.

You took another step back. “Look, dude. I’m not gonna be your assistant.”

Still Unknown, didn’t even acknowledge that you had spoken. And you knew –you knew that he couldn’t hear you. You were just screaming at a wall. “Should I use… you?”

Your throat began to close up as you struggled with the revelation; torrents of various emotions flooding your mind, making it difficult to breathe. He can’t hear you. He can’t see you. You’re alone. Alone. Alone. Alone…

“Come here,” he said reaching out his hand to you again.

Your voice cracked horribly, “N-no…”

“I’ll be good to you,” he assured you. He almost sounded gentle and for a brief second you saw flicker of something human in him. “Come with me.”

[Okay.]

[No…]

The two choices glowed on the screen. The first one wasn’t an option for you. You were still holding onto the hope that you would be able to get away, if only you could figure out how to do so without freezing the world again.

“No…”

Unknown paused, anger flickering quickly through his eyes, and then smiled again. “Nonsense,” he said, “If you don’t come with me, I’ll have to find a way to destroy the information you know. But you’re not a computer so I can’t just delete you…”

He took another step toward you and again you shook your head. “No.”

Unknown’s eyes narrowed. You could tell he was getting annoyed with you now. He didn’t try to hide it, his voice taking on a harder edge. “Well, you never had a choice anyways. Now let’s go.”

It wasn’t a request, but you refused to believe that this was your only option. There was always a choice. Your gripped tightened around the phone in your hand. If only you could make it to the stairwell, maybe you could get away. But you needed a distraction. You didn’t have much time, each second your chances of escaping decreased and Unknown continued to move toward you. You were trapped, boxed into a corner and like any animal backed into a dead-end your survival instincts kicked into overdrive.

He seemed to sense you were about to flee. His eyes softened and he attempted to cox you toward him. “I’ll be nice,” he said. “I’m a much better person than him.” He stretched out his hand again, waiting for you to take it.

That’s when you saw your window.

With your phone still gripped tightly in your hand, you took one step toward him. Then another and another; until you were within arms-reach again. You had to keep your expression perfectly neutral or he would’ve caught onto what you were about to do. Movingly slowly, you brought your hand forward, the hand that was gripping your phone, and moved as if you were handing over the device. Your mind was running at about mach 20, adrenaline flooding your bloodstream, time seemed to slow in that moment.  You saw Unknown’s eyes crinkle up as he smiled, you saw the flicker of the light reflecting off the surface of the phone as you threw the device at him, how his hair swayed as he dodged the projectile, the surprise in his eyes as you lunged forward slamming your knee into his gut. Then as suddenly as the world slowed, everything started to speed up exponentially.

“Ugh.” Unknown fell forward clutching his gut. You darted past him to the stairwell. “Fuck.”  You heard him swear as you sprinted down those first couple steps. He had already gotten up, you realized, and that attack was only enough to stun him and you knew he was already hurrying after you.

One foot after another.  Heart pounding in your ears. Your breath was coming in quick heavy pants. You felt him gaining on you. Faster. Faster. Go. Go. Go.

“H-help. Someone HELP ME! HEL–” You didn’t even realize you were screaming until you felt a firm tug at the material of your hoodie, strong enough to stop you mid-step and pull you back. “NO! I’M NOT GOING!” You yelled swing your fist toward Unknown and stepping closer to the edge. One second, one mistake and your world was tilting; failing off its axis. You felt yourself falling backwards, slipping off that step, Unknown reached out to grab you. The panicked look on his face struck you with horrific implications and you fell hard.


 

[Reset? Y/N]