01 - Going Digital
Three beeps. Nothing special about them. Just something akin to a message alert. Beep. Beep. Beep. Then nothing for a while. Then again. Beep. Beep. Beep. It was infuriating. Worst of all, Taiji couldn't work out for the life of him where the damn noise was coming from. He was jumping around his room as if possessed, pulling entire drawers out in a blind effort to find the source of the noise which had been plaguing him all day, and it was taxing on ones energy reserves just to watch him do so. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. "Oh great" he thought aloud. "Now it's getting louder." The search intensified; over the course of about an hour he had pulled his room apart, turned it upside down and back again, and left it in a general state that would raise the question as to whether a small bomb had been set off in the vicinity recently. His mother came in after another twenty minutes, and almost fainted at the sight; everything he owned was out on the floor, right down to the mattress from his bed and the underwear from his drawers. And on top of it all, sat Taiji, thinking deeper than he had ever done in his life, wondering where on Earth the—BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. "Right on cue..." He was about to lunge in the general direction of the latest offending noise, but his mother reached him first, and with a slipper about the head he was well on his way to tidying the mess. All of a sudden the pain in his forehead magically helped him to forget about the noise; funny how that worked.
He almost did manage to block it out of his mind for a while. He lost himself in his thoughts. When he had raised it with his mother, she had looked at him as though he was crazy, insisting that if there were such a noise, she would have heard it. He rubbed his forehead and thought... "Yeah... she wouldn't have hit me if she'd heard it right beforehand... Hmmm..." BEEP. It was longer this time, about three seconds in length. A second's break, then BEEP. Again... BEEP. "You have got to be kidding me..." He let out an exasperated sigh and resigned himself to living with the noise for the time being. He certainly wasn't going to turn the room upside down again unless he was sure he could prove that the beeping existed. Of course, there was the chance that he actually might be insa—BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. Never mind. He got changed into his pyjamas and laid on top of his bed, arms behind his thick brown hair, deep blue eyes staring intently at the nothingness on the ceiling.
A light to his left caught his attention. His laptop was on? He was certain he'd turned it off, and even if he hadn't, he would have closed it so the screen didn't get scratched up if the stupid cat came in during the night. Not only was it on, but it was really bright. Really, really bright, in fact; his eyes were burning just from looking at it. He reasoned his mother must have used it at some point during the night and not mentioned it. "Ah well, it's not like I have anything to hide" He chuckled at this, remembering the rack of DVDs he'd found under his father's bed the week before. "Yeah, I don't have anything to hide..." With that, he vaulted over the side of his bed and walked over to his laptop to close it down. He sat in front of it, and was about to turn it off when he heard it again. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. "Oh for the love of—I THOUGHT IT'D STOPPED!!!" He shouted a little louder than he'd meant to, and for a second he half expected for someone to come in and shout the house down, but strangely nobody came. It dawned on him that the noise may have been coming from his laptop all along. Which, of course, made no sense as it was the first place he'd checked after his cell, but if the shoe fit...
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. This time the screen itself seemed to flicker brighter and darker with each beep, so he began rifling through the notifications he could see in the hopes he'd find something. A couple of updates here and there, but nothing that would beep so incessantly, or so loudly. He noticed a folder that hadn't been there that morning, but once again put that down to his mother using his laptop without asking. He hit the shutdown button and shut the lid (the beeping stopped), turning tail and going back to bed, this time actually getting in. He rolled on his side and looked over to the side of the room, only to see the laptop on his table, screen open and aglow. Before he could even register the shock at this, the beeping started again. He cleared the gap between his bed and his desk in less than a second, taking with him most of his blanket by mistake and very nearly tripping over on the way. He had a good mind to slam the thing on the floor and smash it up; it was haunted, or something!
He'd heard on the news about a really funny virus someone had programmed that caused the CD-drive to eject and close itself randomly, but never something like this; there were no electric motors or anything in the hinges, so it couldn't be a virus. Something had to be moving it. Did that mean there was someone in the room? Or was he dreaming? BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. It was louder than ever, more high pitched, and went on for longer. It sounded almost... urgent, as though it wanted him to do something. Or maybe it was a countdown to exploding or something like that. After all, if it was a virus or a person they could have done anything to it! The next set of beeps was quieter again, as though trying to calm him down. "You're right, don't be ridiculous. You're imagining all of this. It's a dream." He breathed deeply and then went to turn around. He'd go sleep on the sofa instead. He'd have his father look at the machine in the morning.
"Pl..." He stopped in his tracks. A voice. "Please..." He spun around and looked about wildly; someone or something was in the room with him, was teasing him. He needed to get out now. "Please help. We don't have long." His urgency to escape was suddenly gone; it was a child's voice. Even if they were with him in the room, there was no doubt in his mind that he could overpower the child and beat him into submission for scaring the crap out of him. "Where are you?" He asked with a little more violence in his voice than he probably should have. "Here." Three beeps followed the child's voice, so he walked over to the laptop, half expecting to see a webcam feed or something akin. Instead, he saw his desktop, but completely cleared of icons in their entirety. All except one. That folder that he had assumed his mother had put there was still sitting there, in the middle of the screen. And it was pulsing. He didn't know how else to describe it, the folder looked as though it was growing bigger and smaller with each passing second, and each passing... BEEP. "Wha—" The beeps had ceased to have any regular rhythm now, instead of being in groups of three they just went off in time with the pulsing of the icon on the screen before him.
This was insane; he knew that. Taiji wasn't some stupid kid, he was thirteen years old and he knew when he was being played for a fool. He rolled the mouse pointer over the icon and clicked twice. What popped up wasn't anything he'd expected to see. The folder appeared on screen, encompassing the whole screen in complete white. A pulsing... BEEPing... white. He'd made it worse; whatever stupid little virus had gotten onto his laptop was like those pop-ups that multiply when you close them, and by playing ball, he'd fallen into the trap. "Bugger." The beeping suddenly changed again. It ceased now to be a beeping at all, but a continuous wailing, like two walkie-talkies placed next to each other... like a feedback. A second glow, from a second source, lit up the room as the wailing began; the cell phone by his bed was shining a brilliant white; an impossible, brilliant, white. He ran to his cell and picked it up, only to find it wasn't his cell anymore. It was a strange white device with blue buttons and a screen that resembled, more than anything else he could think of, one of those old Tamagotchi toys—the virtual pet things. Before he could question this sudden occurrence, he turned to his computer upon hearing the wailing get louder. Running to his computer with the sudden fear that his mother or father could probably hear the noise now and would want an explaination, he watched in horror as the screen, previously completely white, turned into a tunnel in front of his eyes.
It was an amazing illusion; he could have sworn that there was actually an endless tunnel inside the screen of his laptop. Were it not for the cold fear he suddenly felt, Taiji would probably have felt it necessary to congratulate whomever had designed this particularly elaborate prank. After all, to have swapped his cell with this... toy... without him noticing was pretty clever in itself, never mind the whole virus concept that someone had thrown together. He found himself wondering which of his geeky friends had decided this would be a good idea to try out on a school night, when the tunnel's entrance burst from the screen and surrounded him, leaving the room far behind. He felt a jarring sense of vertigo and of motion sickness, and suddenly passed out from the sensations.
When he awoke, he was somewhere new entirely. Well, he wasn't really awake; even he could tell the difference between a dream and reality, and knew what was possible. For one thing, there was nowhere in America that looked like this; he was in a small looking village, no bigger than a farm. Of course, were he on a farm, he might have been able to reason that he was awake, but this was no farm. The buildings around him were made from children's building blocks, not bricks... huge children's building blocks. "That's it, you..." He muttered to himself "No more cheese before bed in future. This is whacked." As he said that, he remembered his mother hitting him with the slipper and came up with a better reason; he rubbed his head gently "...Crazy bitch gave me a concussion..." Before he could debate the ins and outs of why he was dreaming so strangely, and so vividly, and longer, a large rabbit-like creature jumped out at him from behind one of the buildings.
The creature looked angry, and did nothing to dispel Taiji's belief that he should definitely not eat cheese before bed anymore. It was a large, purple rabbit, about four times as big as his cat, with defined black stripes, scaly skin and a feathery, almost peacock-like tail. But has he had already noted, those big red eyes did not look particularly welcoming. The monstrosity jumped at Taiji's stomach, but the boy was bigger than the beast, caught it and threw it to one side. As he did so, the mutant rabbit let out a jolt of electricity that arced off over Taiji's shoulder, narrowly missing his head. All of a sudden, the boy did not feel so confident, and that bolt had felt very, very hot, and very, very real. The creature regained its composure and began to paw its way back over to the boy, like a cat stalking its prey.
I don't have much to say about this chapter besides that I quite enjoyed writing it, especially at the beginning, although I struggled a little to reach 2000 words for the first chapter. I wonder how long I'll keep at this before it becomes another one on the pile of unfinished stories? Oh, for those that were wondering, it's an Elecmon. And I'm aware that they're not normally Purple. Just saying.