Contains: Haunting, possession of items, memories of people who have passed away and sudden disappearance.
Details: Legitimate creepiness, no over-excessive gore or violence, stalking, somewhat unrealism (fantasy-like events).
Word-count: 3,290
Author: Azurai Temcev (PanDuh)

It started one day, when I finally had enough money to buy myself a new gaming console and a few games. I had planned on getting an Xbox 360 for a while now, and my dream was about to come true. I drove down to the electronics store where they sell things like televisions, batteries, remotes and all that. I asked one of the staff members for where I can find the gaming consoles, and she pointed towards the back of the store. I quickly headed over there and picked up an Xbox 360 box, then rushed back over to the register.

I asked if there was anything wrong with the console for safe measure, and the man said that it was brand new, factory sealed. I went along with him and bought the console, went back to my car and drove to the next location, the games store. It was very close by, so it wasn't too bad.

I walked into the store and picked out a few pre-owned games, then took them to the register. I once again asked if there was anything wrong, and the man behind the counter said that there were a few scratches, but still playable. I bought them, then rushed back to my car and drove home.

As I arrived and walked into my house, I noticed that the television was left on, where a show about supernatural things was on. I disregarded it, quickly setting up my new console. I went through the natural process of making a profile and an avatar, then I popped in my first Xbox 360 game, which was Borderlands. I couldn't wait! I was trembling with excitement.

The next day, I had finished the main campaign of Borderlands, and I was doing all the side missions I might have skipped. At this point, the bandits, skags and other enemies were hard to beat, as they were around the same level as me, and I didn't have very good weapons. However, this didn't faze me. I slowly got through some of the missions, then I stopped for a while to try and find better gear.

This was easier said than done; I couldn't find anything worth mentioning. I yelled at the game, "Damn, why is this so hard? All I want is a weapon strong enough to be able to kill things!" At that moment, I found a supply crate, I found my first orange weapon (one of the rarer weapons), and I almost jumped through the roof in excitement. But what made me think the most, is that the moment I yelled at the game it happened... I shrugged it off as a coincidence, and continued.

I went to go fight an army of Spiderants and killed their queen, the one in the Tash Coast. However, there were many Badass Spiderants and Slayers that kept shooting at me. I yelled at the game once more, saying, "Fuck me, why is this so hard?!" and once again, something strange happened. The orange weapon I had, which was a sniper, managed to kill them all with one hit, not even a critical. Even the Queen, which has the second highest health amount of any Spiderant in the game! This time, I was sure there was something wrong.

I had enough of Borderlands for the time being and decided to play my next game, which was Blazblue: Continuum Shift EXTENDED. I went back to the Home menu, and put the disc in, once again bouncing up and down again in excitement. But the game froze as it tried to load the main game. At that point, I heard a voice. "Hello, AzuraiTemcev."

I jumped back a little, my breath quickening. What happened? I get my breathing to normal, and tried to forget what I had just heard. But then the same voice spoke again, saying, "Hello, sir? Are you there?" This time, I freaked out a little more, putting the controller down and rushing out of the room to the kitchen.

I keel over the sink, running some water. I ran my hand under the water, splashing water on my face, then I took a few deep breaths; I must've been imagining something, or it might have just been my flatmate. 

I walk back into the lounge room, and I see that the intro to Blazbue has just begun playing. I sat back in my seat and smiled as I saw how awesome it was. The game froze for a short moment, and that same voice said, "Help me..." This time, I didn't take a chance. I ran through the house to my flatmates bedroom, but he was asleep. I pinched my cheek hard to see if I was dreaming, but I wasn't. Could I have been hearing things?

I slowly walked back to my lounge room, where the title was showing. I press Start and set up a storage device to save my data to. There were a few graphical glitches on the main menu, where there were some off-coloured pieces. I mean, I hadn't seen this, but comparing it to the majority of the background, it was off. The game ran smoothly, though. Some of the commands might not register, but it was fine, as it wasn't too common.

Every time I beat an opponent though, the game would freeze, audio and video, and I could hear a background sound, as if it was someone gasping for air. I disregarded this fact as my flatmate had light asthma, and his inhaler was close by, so there was no immediate danger. The game decided to play again, but it froze again, that voice from before coming back. "Find the microphone... and headset... in the box..." it gasped. 

I was curious, if a little bit freaked out, then I looked inside the box, and there was indeed a microphone and headset, which is a little strange as I had not purchased one, it wasn't in the box when I opened it first, and the box didn't say it came with one. Reluctantly, I plugged it in the controller, and strapped it to my head. 

"Hello?" I said cautiously, waiting for a response.

The voice had sighed, then made a sound as if the person was getting up after a nasty fall. "Oh, good, you're still there..." I hadn't paid attention until now, but the voice sounded feminine.

"Who are you?" I asked again.

"My name is Cass, what about you?" she said, suddenly much more relaxed.

I hesitated for a bit, then I shook my head. "I'm not too comfortable with telling." I heard a faint giggle, and then a sigh. It must've come from this person.

"That's understandable... oh, I forgot! Would you like to continue playing your game?" My eyes widened a little bit, and I responded with a yes, and the game started up again at the character select screen. "Did I give you a fright?"

I shook my head, picking another character. "At first, yes..." I managed to stammer out, and I heard another giggle from Cass.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to." She was very polite with a soothing voice. I picked the COMs character and began a new match. Surprisingly, there was no apparent glitching; all the commands I entered happened, the menus didn't have that off-colouring and it ran like a brand new game. Was this because I talked to Cass? I didn't know.

"What are you doing in my console?" I asked, trying to be polite as she was.

"I was bound to you quite some time ago, sort of like a string attached to two person's fingers. I didn't show up sooner because I had no means of contacting you."

"What about one of the other consoles I have?"

"They weren't compatible, none had a microphone attachment."

I looked away for a moment, then I looked back at the screen, still fighting matches with the computer. "But my Nintendo DS had a microphone."

She giggled, then tried to muffle it. "Don't you remember? Your flatmate didn't check to see if everything was working; that microphone never worked."

I growled under my breath, then I shrugged it off, continuing to play my game, losing on this match. This Cass... she got bound to me, since when? Wouldn't I have noticed a change? I shrugged off the thought, then I turned off the console, then took a short nap on the couch.

I woke up about an hour later, which is longer than my usual naps. I turned on my Xbox again, and notice that the opening scene had froze on the last frame. I heard what appears to be a droning, then the menu eventually showed a few second later.

"Why didn't you say goodbye?" I heard Cass's voice say. I was a little shocked, then I strapped the headset on and responded:

"Sorry, I didn't think of it." She huffed it off and went silent. While the fact that there's a real person on the other side of my television that can actually interact with me and my game, I felt genuinely sorry. I eventually started up Blazblue again and played through the story mode.

Hours passed, Cass remained silent throughout it, even when I spoke to her. She still messed with the games whenever they got me frustrated, but did it almost hesitantly. Every time she did, I apologized, and I heard her sigh every time, as if trying to say, "Yeah, whatever".

"Well, I'm going to go, it's getting late," I say as I begin to get off. 

"Alright," Cass finally says after four hours of solid silence. "I'll see you soon, right?"

"Yeah, as soon as possible." I heard a sigh of relief from her, then I turned off my console and went to my room, tucking myself into bed.

During my sleep, I had a dream that seemed to have been a recollection of what had happened on that day, with a few details left out. I woke up repeatedly during the night, but by the time morning came, I had gotten enough sleep to not be exhausted.

I rolled over and hit snooze on my alarm clock, then I looked behind it and saw another headset, similar to the one for the Xbox, except it was white and connected to my DS. I sat up and stared at it for a while, then I reached over and grabbed it, starting up my DS and strapping the headset to my head.

"Hello, again," I hear Cass say in a very cheery voice. "Isn't this great? I found a way we can stay together!"

I laughed nervously, then I responded, "Yeah, I guess..."

Things were starting to get creepy now; I had a strange girl stuck inside my Xbox, and the same one now in my DS. Is she going to stalk me down and do something? Am I in danger? I decided to ask:

"Excuse me, but... why are you wanting to remain in contact with me so often?"

I heard a very faint gasp, then silence for about five seconds, then I hear her stammer; "You've had a hard time with your life, haven't you? You've had nobody to talk to all your life, right?"

I quickly but carefully put the DS down and took off the headset, taking a few quick breaths. How did she know? I haven't told anyone...! I hear Cass repeatedly saying, "Oh, no..." I put on the headset again, talking to her.

"... How did you know?"

"I... just did. I'm not sure how, but it's like I can see your memories..." She sounded really sincere and even a little upset. I didn't know what to say.

"Well... I think it's best if we think of this later," I finally say, then Cass agrees. I turned off my DS and put it and the headset on the top shelf on the bookcase. I walked out to the kitchen to get a glass of water, but I was starting to see things. There was a strange man hovering over someone defenseless. I couldn't make out any faces or hear anything, but he struck this person on the ground with what seemed to be a knife. 

I was at my limit. I fell backwards and landed on my backside, leaning up against the chair. My forehead was a little sweaty from worry, so I quickly crawled over to the sink, propping myself against it, washing my face again. My hands were shaky and I felt as if my body would shut down from pure shock and anxiety. What had I seen? Why did I see it? Who were the people I saw? All of these questions need answering.

I took a quick drink, then I turned around and leaned against the cupboard under the sink, closing my eyes and taking slow, deep breaths. I opened my eyes and saw that my hands were still a little shaky, probably because of the cold air from the open window blowing against them while they were wet from the sink. I dried them off with the tea towel and stood up slowly, looking around. 

I eventually walked into the lounge room, turning on my Xbox, with no freezing on the menu, and no voice from Cass. Maybe she didn't feel like talking to me after what I had said. I grabbed the headset and put it on, talking into the mic.  

"Are you there, Cass?" I slowly said, trying to hide my trembling voice. The home menu on the Xbox slowly faded into a picture of what seemed to be a pure white room with no window, and a single person in the middle of a screen, sitting on a chair. It was a woman, smiling at me. She stood up and walked closer, waving as she did. 

"Yes, I'm here," the woman said, now realizing that I can see her. I smiled slightly, sighing in relief. 

"Where are you?" I asked. She simply looked around whilst pacing, then shook her head. She didn't know. 

"What was it that I saw?" 

"That was a memory, one of mine. A man offered me a job, one that would change the face of communication for millennium to come. That was the man you saw; he betrayed me. He stuck a knife through my stomach and watched as he..." 

I leaned in closer, covering my mouth, as I saw her hide her face, shaking her head a lot. "No, I shouldn't..." 

I stood up and walked over to the television, pressing one hand against it, then Cass looked up at me, putting her hand where mine is. She smiled, wiping away tears that rolled down her cheek with her cuff. I could see the pain in her eyes, she needs to say what happened, so I ask for the rest of the story. 

Not looking away, she slowly nods, and begins where she left off: 

"He betrayed me, left me to die as he... grabbed something and stuck it into my head, and I could feel all of my memories, my emotions, my experiences and everything about me flow into this one device. It was like he reached into my being and pulled it all out, leaving just an empty, fleshy shell... the next thing I know, I'm woken up by the person he chose to be his victim." 

I felt my knees give away and I fall backwards, landing on the coffee table, my eyes wide, simply staring down at the floor in front of me. Cass took her hand away, bringing them to her chest. "I'm sorry, there's no preventing it..." 

I looked up at the screen, tears welling up in her eyes, then the screen fades into static, no sound coming from the speakers. Eventually it came back to the home menu of the Xbox, waiting for me to pick a game. 

I picked up the headset and microphone and quickly said, "I'll be back soon," then quickly unplugged my Xbox without waiting for a response, then I stumbled towards my room, bumping into a few walls on my way. I felt very lightheaded, and I collapsed onto my bed, my breath escaping my lungs. I could feel something within my chest, as if a hand had plunged into it from the outside. I clasped it tightly, my heart racing with fear. I was gasping for air as I saw the lights for my DS turn on from the top of the bookshelf, and Cass's voice yelling, "Hang in there, it's only temporary!" I eventually passed out on my bed, my eyelids slowly falling.  

I woke up eventually, with my flatmate shaking me wildly, and I could hear his grating voice, but it was muffled and distorted. I looked up at him as all sound was drowned out by something. My head felt heavy and it dropped, finally hearing a single thing before passing out again... 

"I'm sorry..." 

The next time I opened my eyes, the room I was in a very white room, laying on a bed. There was a single glass window and a door to the right of it, but nothing else. There were three people standing behind it, one of them was Cass. I sat up slowly, rubbing my head, then looking at the window.

"Where... where am I?" I manage to say, then I see Cass smile and clap her hands together grabbing a microphone from the wall to her right, from behind the window.

"Oh, thank God you're alive...! I'm sorry to say, but you're stuck in the same place I am... you're just waiting to be bound to someone." I look around the room a second time, as it begins to come more into focus. It seems to be a single hospital ward, but it was completely quiet. No other patients, no doctors even.

I slowly got up off the bed and walked around, feeling the walls. "The door will unlock very soon, we're looking for the right person," I hear Cass's voice say, then I walk up to the window, pressing my hand against it, she does the same, over mine. 

"So... did I die?" I ask quietly, then Cass shakes her head. 

"No... well, not yet. Once you come through the door, you'll become what my body is; a fleshy shell with no life left whatsoever." I turned around, my back facing her, leaning against the glass.

"This is unbelievable..." I hear Cass sigh through the microphone, gently knocking on the glass to get my attention. 

"Don't worry. As long as you're here, you can relive as many memories of your life as you want, and make new ones," I hear her whisper, as I hear a click from the door to the left. I look over at it, then back at Cass. 

"Do I go through now?" She simply nods, then I walk over to the door and it slowly swings open. I take a slow but deep breath, then I walk towards it, stopping at the last minute. Cass was there, smiling at me with open arms.

I smile weakly, walking through the doorway, letting her wrap my arms tightly around me. 

"Now we can feel the embrace of total oblivion together..." I hear her whisper. I nod slowly, feeling a strange sensation. My consciousness slips from my mind and I feel as if I'm falling backwards through the sky. The monitor on the control panel turns off for a few seconds, then comes up with this display: 


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