Note: I did not write this story and am not taking credit for it.
It was a regular Friday evening. Tobias sat in his chair by his computer and tried to relax. He usually did surf on the web. It had been a good way to come away from every regular thoughts. There you could travel across the world, it just take some seconds to go from one continent to an another. Sometimes he checked out the car prices in Mexico, talk to comic book nerds that he had met in USA and listen to some newly performed metal from Australia.
Sometimes he just pressed random links to unknown places. And in every place there was a different thing he could get stuck in. Everything existed in his little computer and Tobias was very fascinated about that. Everyday he sat with his computer and did not know where he actually was till someone knocked on his door and yelled that they needed to use the telephone and that he had use the the telephone line for 5 hours. Tobias dad used to ask him a question, "if he really know how much it costs". Tobias had checked the price before and knew that it wasn't that expensive, but he did not say anything to his dad. "It was quite fun if his dad became annoyed" he tought.
Just this evening was especially dark outside. It was just a few weeks left to Christmas, but still no snow had fell. It was dark when he walked to school that morning and it was pitch black when he walked away from school.
He did not like the darkness, because he usually saw so many strange things in the forest when he walked home from school. And he felt the same thing today too. He knew it was only branches flailing in the wind. But his fantasy escalated and suddenly he saw imaginary murders and drunkards, and he felt that they where after him. he could hear the steps on the asphalt and he could feel breathing down his neck. Tobias was too scared too turn around, he ran the fastest he could to come home to safety.
He still breathed heavily when he sat himself in font of the computer. His heart beated very fast and now he really needed to sit and surf a while to come away from the scary thoughts. He was all alone at home and nobody could disturb him in a while.
"write searchword" it read on the the screen. And as usual he took the first and the best word that came into his head. He closed his eyes when he wrote and he rarely knew what he had wrote till he opened his eyes again.
But this time he became very surprised to see what he saw on the screen. Was this really what he had thought of? It had to be the darkness in the wood that made him think like that. Usually he was too scared to read about this stuff. He was pretty easily scared, especially when it was no one else in the house. But on the screen it read very clearly his inner thought: "GHOSTS", and he pressed unwillingly the enter button.
He breathed out when he saw the first pictures came on the screen. I wasn't scary at all, just some authors that spoke about their horror books and he rqognised both of them from TV. "I can handle worse" he thought and pressed himself to a gallery about ghosts in a museum in Denmark. It was a few artist that had painted supernatural stuff. but the paintings was as scary as "Casper the friendly ghost".
So he was unprepared when he pressed the link "ghostplaces". The first thing he saw was not that scary either. A big old castle with a moat around it. He had been to a similar place last summer to check out some old knight armors. But the thing special with this thing was that it was moving pictures and a guide that guide the viewer around the castle and told the viewer about the different ghost room.
It was stories that where where horrible. The camera stopped by a window and the voice told that once in a time how a miserable mom did throw out her only child there. She could not afford to keep the little girl. Ever since then, the mom have wandered around in the room, for 200 years. The voice said that she could not rest in her grave because she was grieving for her little girl.
The camera moved around and Tobias did get a feeling that he saw something moved in one of the rooms, even tough they where bare and empty. It was the exact feeling that he got in the forest earlier on the evening. And he actually it was a little bit scary, but then he looked around his own room and thought that it was just to turn it off so everything so everything would be normal again. So he continued even tough he did not really want to.
The picture stopped at a dark spot on the floor and the guide told about a horrible crime that was performed on this very spot. It was the victims blood that had splattered on the floor. The voice told that the blood showed up at random times at this location, and it didn't matter how many times you tried to clean the blood up, it always came back on the exact same place, red and moist.
"Ridiculous, this is just a device to get more visitors at the castle", he thought.
Suddenly it started to sound like a cassette tape was rewinded inside his computer. It got blurry on the screen and he saw a shadowy figure on the screen.
"They have probably made a little short movie too show how the murder could have happen, just to scare people", he thought.
The picture became sharper and he saw the same room as earlier but something was different. The furniture was nicer, not as broke and dusty, and their was not in the same place as before. The woman that was seen in the screen had a old timey dress. It actually felt like he could see right in the castle's big hallway like it was 200 years ago.
The feeling really felt unnerving. The acting was to good. The horror in the woman's eyes really did look real. She stared him right the eyes and yelled for help. She screamed for her life. The tears ran down her cheeks and she was struck by panic. You could clearly see that someone had hit her and she looked around herself, like if someone chased her and could come at any minute.
Tobias did not dare to move. He knew it was just a movie, but he still had a hard time to shake off the feeling of reality, but how in that case could he help?
He tried to press some buttons on his keyboard and right away it showed a sign of hope in the woman's eyes. The feeling of insecurity in her face disappeared and know she begged him like she saw him.
"Help me! She yelled. "Help me, you good saint out there"
"How did she know?" thought Tobias. It must be a computer technician who did so you could feel tricked. So you can go further in the game to save the woman from the one chasing her.
He decided to continue and filled the square that had came up on the screen. There it read "choose your weapon". He had to choose between a sword, an axe or a frying pan. He clicked fast on the frying pan because he knew what the developers where usually thinking. The things that seems least important usually are the things that are most important.
"Welcome", it read and he wondered what was going to happen. Then the guide's voice and what it told him made him get shivers down his back.
"It was funny that just you wanted to join our little ghost game. I hope you will enjoy your stay here. Many peoples life is hanging on you. And you seem to have it good there in front of your desk in your little locked room. But that flower in your window looks like it needs some water. It's a shame that your parents are not home. They could have helped you.
Tobias pressed hard on the off button. He did not want to be there. He did not know how the guide could have got all this information. This should not be happening in a game. Everything was already predetermined. But now he knew that someone knew all about him: that the room was locked, that his parents was away and that he had a half dead dry flower in the window that his mom did not want to water. He let it slowly die, just to tease her.
He didn't have any time to think this trough. On the screen was a man with a black cape who had came in the room of the castle. In his hand he had a big axe that he swung around his head, and at the same time as he screamed so it echoed and ran after the scared woman.
"The frying pan", Tobias thought. I"ll can maybe defend her, but how?"
He fingered fast on his keyboard and saw how his presses did make so the man moved faster and slower. At last he did see that there was some kind of logic in the game. If he did press on numbers and symbols the man went faster. But if he press a letter he could slow down the horrible process that happend on the screen.
But the black clothed man came closer the woman with his axe, and it didn't even matter anymore where Tobias pressed. He had never seen something similar in a game, and he had played every game that he could get his hands on.
It didn't exist any frying pan in the room on the screen and Tobias had no idea how to get one. At last, the man stopped, with his axe over his head, and got ready to chop the woman that had fainted on the floor. Tobias pressed letter after letter to stop that he would chop the woman.
"Take it cool. You still have a chance to save her" said a voice from the computer.
"How?" Cried Tobias. "I don't understand. What should I do?"
"It exists 25 opportunities, but one to survive. Everything is in your hands. If you press the right letter, she survives, if not, she dies. But you can't hesitate. If you don't press in 20 seconds, the axe determines." The voice laughed. s The thoughts flashed in his head. "I must choose right, I can't choose wrong, I must press for life...". He hesitate at first with is finger over the letter "f" like in the words "for life", but then thought at that letter maybe stood for "fooled"
After 19 seconds he took his hands over the whole keyboard. He didn't want to play these types of games anymore.
"Well, is it like that?" He heard the voice again. "Then you have done your answer. And you will pay a high price for that. You don't break the game's rules without punishment.
Tobias saw how the axe's blade teared trough the woman's head like it had been a bit of wood. The blood was flowing, and he noticed right away that the woman lay exactly at the place as the blood puddle he saw earlier.
Tobias started to cry. It was him who had killed her, he thought. It was him who was responsible for the woman's death,
All of the sudden, there was a light tap at the door behind him. Tobias laughed a little bit of relief. Finally his parents where home! But when he raised up to open the door, the picture on the screen changed. Now it showed his own room, and he saw himself look up at the door. It was like the film was a few seconds after.
He didn't care how this was possible. But he promised himself to never ever go on the internet again.
The taps against the door did get louder. At last they went over to knocks and then to hard punches.
Then Tobias realized that he was in the same situation as the woman that he tried to help before.
"Help me! Whoever you are, press the right letter!" He yelled at the air, but without any answer.
Tobias stared at the computer screen. Then he turned around and sobbingly fell on the floor.
The crime did get published as a murder and a robbery and Tobias was buried the day before Christmas. The police did not succeed to find any trace of the kiler and the case went cold.
But the thing that is the most confusing for the cops was that the killer had not taken anything valuable in the family home. The only thing that was missing was the modem in Tobias computer.