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I'm writing this in front of my TV. My Xbox is on and resting on the main dashboard. I can see my avatar, and I think he can see me. He occasionally waves.

I prefer to keep my eyes on the screen as much as possible, because better the devil you know, right?

This all started a week ago. I was playing games, mixing it up between Trials HD and Battlefield 1943. I'm an Arcade nut, and love some of the games that you can download. I was owning a level on Trials when I received a party invite.

The thing is, it had no name attached. It was just an empty field, followed by "has invited you to an Xbox Live Party". Flummoxed, I accepted it and entered the party. When I checked the menus, I was the only one in there. Somewhat strange, but not impossible. The person could have left before I entered.

Just as I was readying to leave, someone else joined the party. Namely, it was me. "SiliconLemming has joined the party". This made me smile, as you do sometimes see some rather weird glitches online. I checked the menus, and saw my name twice in the party. One was playing Trials and the other was editing the avatar.

"Hello?" I said, not really expecting an answer.

"Hello?" echoed back to me a couple of seconds later in my voice.

I relaxed. Sound delay and party glitches were rare, but they did happen.

"Getting freaked out over a glitch," I said, half-annoyed that I had allowed it to unsettle me.

My words returned to me, but this time, the their tone had become a little mocking.

This made me stop short for a second. I shook my head and reasoned that I must have misheard.

"Why don't you come and say that to my face," I said, which was a current private joke me and my friends were sharing at the time.

"Maybe I might just do that."

My blood turned to ice. That was my voice, but I hadn't said those words.

The other "me" left the party immediately after that. I sat for a moment, confused and shaking, as my adrenaline pumped. I checked the lists of interacted profiles, but that revealed nothing. I eventually decided that was enough Xbox for the night and turned it off.

The incident played on my mind for the entire next day, and that evening I was back on the Xbox again. I spent a couple of minutes looking around the menus for anything else scary, but everything was decidedly normal.

Half an hour into some intense "'Splosion Man", I received a voice message. I was getting bored of the game, so I dropped out to the dashboard and opened it. It was heavy breathing for a few seconds, followed by my voice saying, "Can you say, distraction?"

Once again confused, I stared at the screen. In the background, I could see my avatar dancing away, but there was nothing to attribute the message to. A momentary, illogical fear made me spin round and inspect the room, making sure there was nothing there.

It was when I turned back that I nearly screamed. My avatar had forced his way forwards over the menus, and his head now filled the entire screen. He stared at me silently, his hands planted against the screen from the opposite side. He pointed at me, then drew a finger across his throat. I started to smell burnt plastic; a trickle of smoke escaped the console, and then it crashed. The last thing I saw was the colours invert on the Xbox, and the face of the threatening avatar turning electric pink and green. The image then disappeared, followed by the standard "no signal" message.

My Xbox was wrecked. When I tried to switch it back on, I got the dreaded Red Ring of Death. The ominous name of the defect wasn't lost on me.

I waited a month before I eventually sent off my Xbox for repairs. I had brought it brand new, and it was well within warranty, so I got it repaired for free.

It sat in my hallway for a fortnight before I had the guts to switch it back on. I finally rigged it up and now I'm staring at the dashboard. Everything was fairly normal, until I logged in my profile and saw literally dozens of voice messages. All of them in my voice, screaming "Where are you?" and "We're not done yet". The final message was dated about 20 minutes ago. All it said was, "I'm done waiting. I'm coming to get you."

The avatar on the screen has stepped forward and started to rub his hands together, then he began to wave.

It took me a couple of seconds to realise he was looking at someone behind me.

Written by The Silicon Lemming 
Originally uploaded on December 17th, 2011
Content is available under CC BY-SA