Once upon a time, there was a boy.
This boy was a seven year-old human.
One day, this child entered a store with his mother.
While looking at all the weird things the world had to offer, he spotted a small bag.
This bag was only the size of an average fist, one is supposed to clip it onto their backpack if they need an extra pocket for whatever reason.
Inside this portable pocket there was a piece of foam, this foam was meant to keep the bag puffed up so that it looks more presentable (apparently having crumpled products isn't a good business strategy).
This child did not know what this piece of foam was, so he inexplicably decided that this piece of foam was a magic eraser, able to erase whatever it touched from reality.
To test it, he rubbed it against his left hand. Shockingly, his hand completely disappeared, he was unable to see or feel it. He even passed his right hand through the area his left hand should be, but nothing happened. His left hand was gone.
He went to his mother. "Mommy, I used this magic eraser to erase my hand! See?"
His mother agreed, he had erased his left hand. But then she patted him on the head, seemingly unconcerned with this tragic turn of events.
Angry at the lack of attention, the child decided to erase his mother. He started rubbing the magic eraser all over his mother's body until she was gone. Satisfied with his work, the boy left the store.
He did not return home, rather he decided to explore the world. Every once in a while he felt the odd need to erase a piece of fruit from a grocery store or a chocolate bar from a 7-11. He did not know why he was doing this, he just did it because he noticed that he started getting hungry every time he stopped doing it.
At one point during his exploring, he saw a poster with his face on it on a telephone pole. Above the picture it said "Missing: Anthony Varian, 7. Help a family reunite; please call the number below if you have seen this child."
The boy said, "I'm not missing, I'm right here," and proceeded to erase the poster.
A woman behind the child saw him rubbing a piece of foam all over a poster, and recognized him as the missing kid from the media. The nice lady went up to him and kindly asked, "Hello little boy, my name is Liz. Are you lost?"
The boy cried "I'm not lost!" and proceeded to erase the nice lady from existence using his magic eraser.
A long time later, the seven year-old boy saw another poster with his face on it, but his photo-self was much older, perhaps in his twenties. The boy read the heading:
"Wanted: Anthony Varian, 23, for the murder of Elizabeth Carr, among other crimes of theft. He should be treated as armed and should not be approached. Call the police if you have seen this man or have any information on his whereabouts."
The seven year-old child exclaimed, "That's crazy! I haven't killed anyone!"
The boy turned around to see that the police had appeared out of nowhere and had surrounded him.
"Put your hands in the air and come with us quietly!" shouted someone through a small megaphone.
"But I didn't do anything!" exclaimed the kid.
The officers apparently heard something different, because they started shooting at him.
The kid saw that a bullet was about to go through his right arm, so he decided to erase it before its job could be done. So then time conveniently stopped long enough for him to erase the bullet that was suspending in the air.
For good measure, the kid decided to erase the police as well. And the cars they arrived in. And even the road that the police drove on to reach his location.
After he was finished erasing all these things, he found his right arm hurting a bit. He didn't understand why, there was nothing wrong, it just hurt, Soon after, he also found that it was getting quite hard to move, it was as if he was walking through a tub of maple syrup.
The boy was angry that he couldn't move very well anymore and he wanted to find a way to fix it.
A voice in his head told him, "Erase everything and the pain will go away. Erase time and space."
He followed the advice.
Soon he had erased all of time and space, and he was now in a big tub of emptiness. He decided that emptiness should be white, so his view of emptiness was of infinite whiteness in every direction he looked.
Except one direction.
In one direction, he saw a small box of black. What is black doing in a tub of white?
He trudged through the maple-syrup-like air over to it and found that it was a game case that contained the original 1991 Genesis version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Why was this here? Wasn't everything erased?
The boy's right arm was hurting a lot now, so he stretched his left arm toward the case to pick it up. But then he remembered that he didn't have a left hand, so he regretfully retracted his left arm and stretched out his hurting right arm to perform the job instead.
He took the game out of the case. It was black, and had both the Sonic the Hedgehog and the Sega Genesis logos on it. The boy was disappointed. "But I don't have a Genesis, how am I supposed to play this?"
Angry yet again, the boy threw the game down against the ground of nothingness, smashing it into tiny little pieces.
But then something unexpected happened.
A green and blue light escaped from the smashed game cartridge. This green and blue light shot itself through the air like a shooting star, spreading the green-and-blue-ness across the realm of nothing, lighting it up like fireworks.
And then the green and blue light started getting bigger. Much bigger. So big that it seemed to be trying to break apart the nothingness. And it was getting brighter. So bright that the boy had to cover his eyes with his arms and wait for the end to come...
But the end obviously didn't come. If it did then what would be the point of me writing this? Instead, the brightness dimmed and the kid opened his eyes to see an amazing sight...
Green Hill Zone.
The boy opened his eyes to see Green Hill Zone. The real thing, not the video game version of it. He felt a weak breeze coming from the ocean. He smelt the fresh, pine-scented air. He saw a small blue spiky thing from the corner of his eye...
Could it be...?
He snapped his head toward the small blue spiky thing and saw...Sonic. More specifically, he saw the younger, shorter, cuter Sonic from the Genesis days. He was there doing what he always did when he was standing still: tapping his foot against the ground.
"Yo, what's up?" greeted Sonic, speaking with the voice of Ryan Drummond.
"Uh...hi," the boy greeted awkwardly.
As he said that, another Sonic wandered into view, seemingly appearing from nowhere. This was the "new" Sonic; the older, taller, leaner one of today. He walked over to Classic Sonic and put an arm around his shoulder like an older brother.
"Don't give the kid a hard time," he said to young Sonic, speaking with the voice of Jason Griffith. "He's probably never seen anyone like us before."
"But I didn't do anything!" protested young Sonic.
The older Sonic shrugged. "Whatever."
The boy noticed that the two Sonics looked anxious about something, excited even. He couldn't help but think that this was all an act...
"Anyway, you feel like standing around here all day or do you want to go somewhere?" young Sonic asked the boy.
That's another thing, why are these two interested in me...? "Sure! Where can we go?" asked the kid.
"Well..." pondered older Sonic, "there's two ways we can go. We ca—"
Young Sonic interrupted. "We can either go that way"—he pointed to the direction behind him—"or we can go that way," he said, pointing to the direction in front of him.
"Descriptive," stated the boy sarcastically, "Where do those paths go?"
"Well, imagine playing the first act of Green Hill Zone on a Genesis. Now, the path in front of you is basically like going right at the start, the usual path. The path behind you is like going left at the start, except now there's no invisible wall to keep you from going that way. Did that make sense?" asked older Sonic.
"...Eh," responded the kid.
"Okay then, let me make it simple for you," said young Sonic, "The path in front of you leads to the known, while the path behind you leads to the unknown. Which path do you want to take?"
"Well...the known is probably safer, so I think I'll take that route," said the boy.
Young Sonic looked shocked. "Really!? You don't want to venture into the unknown, full of adventure and danger and greatness?"
Young Sonic had the look of someone who had just gotten their million dollar lottery-winning ticket snatched by a crow and eaten. But it wasn't long before he regained his composure. "Well, the known path is filled with a bunch of enemies and traps, Sega put them there because they needed to make their game have a challenge. But the unknown path wasn't touched by Sega, so it's probably much safer," young Sonic said.
"Oh, it's safer? Why didn't you say so?"
"Because this little fella here wanted you to explore the 'unknown', and he thinks that everyone has the same idea of fun as him," replied older Sonic, pointing his thumb at young Sonic while chuckling. Young Sonic shot a "Shut up!" look at him in return.
"Okay then, let's venture into the unknown!" happily yelled the boy, turning around and starting the hike. It wasn't until now that he realized that his right arm had stopped hurting and the air didn't feel like maple syrup anymore. In fact, he realized that he hadn't felt that way for a while. The boy figured that he started feeling better when Green Hill Zone was released, though he didn't know why.
He and the two Sonics didn't walk long before they got to a dead end. "Aww, is that all the unknown left to explore?" the boy complained.
"No, look," said older Sonic, pointing his finger toward a lump on the ground that the boy hadn't noticed.
The boy walked up to the lump. He was surprised at what he saw: the lump was a human who seemed to be in the fetal position. The boy crouched and peered at the face of the person.
He didn't like what he saw.
The boy saw himself.
Or, more accurately, he saw his twenty-three year old self that was in the "Wanted" poster.
The boy grabbed a hold of one of the murderer's arms and tried to pull him out of the fetal position, but his arms wouldn't budge.
The boy turned around and saw the two Sonics looking at the murderer as well. "Who is this?!" he demanded from them.
"That's you," said young Sonic.
"Well, actually, that's your body," corrected older Sonic.
"What do you mean that's my body? This is my body!" declared the boy, gesturing to himself.
"No, that's your mind, a physical manifestation of your imagination. Your body and mind have split," said older Sonic.
"Is that bad?" asked the boy worriedly.
Young Sonic jumped on this. "Yes, it's very bad. But we can fix it!"
"You can? How?" asked the boy.
"Easy," said young Sonic, "you know how you no longer have a left hand?"
The boy looked at the stub at the end of his left arm. "Yeah, what about it?"
"Well, your body does have a left hand, so all you have to do is put the end of your left arm next to your body's hand, focus, and then it'll connect. After you've connected part of your mind to your body the rest will connect easily," explained young Sonic, looking more anxious and excited by the minute.
"Okay, that sounds easy enough, but why is someone's mind and body being separated a bad thing?" asked the boy.
"It just is, okay?"
"Uh, okay. One last question though: how did my mind and body separate in the first place?" asked the boy, getting slightly annoyed that no one was explaining anything to him.
Older Sonic glanced at young Sonic, looking for approval. Young Sonic didn't say or do anything, so older Sonic began his explanation. "Well, you made the first tear when you erased your hand, and then everything you erased after that ripped your mind and body even further apart. Your mind and body fully separated when you released our world from the game cartridge."
"...Am I going to get a better explanation than that?"
Older Sonic sighed. "Look, I promise I'll explain everything, but first you need to reconnect your mind and body. Sound fair?"
The boy nodded. "Sounds fair."
"Okay, great! Let's go do it then!" exclaimed the younger of the two hedgehogs.
The boy walked over to the murderer and went down on his knees. He put his stub of a left hand right next to the murderer's left hand. He closed his eyes and focused...
He almost immediately felt a terrible sensation, as if his stub of a left hand had been ripped apart and dipped into a bag of liquid salt. He fearfully opened his eyes and saw that he now had a left hand...but it was attached to the murderer's arm, and now he and the murder were attached like Siamese twins.
He took a glance over at the two Sonics. Young Sonic was looking so excited that he was nearly jumping up and down. Older Sonic also looked quite excited, but he had a tint of regret in his face too.
The boy found his body slipping into the body of the murder, as if the murderer's body was made of water. But it wasn't water, it was a solid, and it certainly felt like a solid. The body of the murder was wrapping itself around the boy, grabbing him, pulling him in, suffocating him...
His mind and body were combining to form one.
Why did it have to be so painful?
The boy glanced a final look at Green Hill Zone. Everyone was so happy here. Why couldn't he stay here? Why did the Sonics want him to rejoin his body?
Why did he have to be born in the real world?
With that final thought, the boy closed his eyes and waited, yet again, for the end.
The first thing he noticed was that he was no longer in Green Hill Zone. That much was clear. Green Hill Zone was full of life that you could taste in the air. But this place tasted dead.
The second thing he noticed was that he was lying on the ground in the fetal position. He was not surprised, drowning into a solid object is more than enough to scare even the most proud individual into that position.
The third thing he noticed was that he no longer felt seven years old. He felt much older, much larger, much stronger. How old had he become?
He eventually decided that he would learn nothing unless he opened his eyes. So he did.
He squinted at the brightness of the place, it was pure white. He moved his head around to get a better look. He was surround by bright white walls. A room of whiteness.
He was frightened. Had he returned to the void of nothingness that he had created? Had he left the Sonic world to return to the void of space and time?
With relief, he realized he hadn't. The void was an infinite whiteness, this room was definitely finite. The walls of the room weren't blank either, they hand texture. Maybe there was a door hidden somewhere.
Still without moving from the fetal position (he was still quite scared) he looked closely at the walls surrounding him.
They were padded.
Freaking out, the twenty-three year-old Anthony Varian tried to leap up from the floor. But he couldn't. He was trapped in the fetal position by a straight-jacket.
No no no! I'm not insane, I'm not insane. What am I doing here!? LET ME OUT!
Anthony frantically twisted his head around and looked everywhere in the room, trying to find anything that would prove that he wasn't where he thought he was.
He didn't find what he was looking for, but he did see something else.
Sonic and Sonic were leaning on the padded walls to his left.
"What are you two doing here?!" Anthony spat.
"I'm here because I promised to explain everything to you," said older Sonic, "and my Genesis-self is here because he's bored, I think."
"Wait, wait a minute, can you guys travel between the worlds at any time?" asked Anthony enviously, with a small look of wonder in his eyes.
"No, we can't. But soon we will!" announced young Sonic.
"And that's what I'm here to explain," added older Sonic.
"B-But how are you guys here then? Isn't this my world?"
"Oh yeah, yes, this is your world, but we're not actually here," said older Sonic. "This is all happening in your head."
"Oh! So this is just my imagination. I'm not really stuck in this asylum." Anthony sighed in relief.
"Ah, sorry, I meant that we're just here in your head. Everything else is real," apologized older Sonic.
"… I want my explanation now," Anthony grunted.
"Yes. Okay, first thing's first: we tricked you, lied to you, set you up for all this, and used you for our own gain," admitted older Sonic, "and I'm sorry for that. I'm not sure if my little buddy is sorry though, I think he thinks all humans are like Eggman."
"I do not!" argued young Sonic.
"Well, I think you do," insisted older Sonic.
"So you're sorry that you did all that," interrupted Anthony, "but obviously you weren't sorry enough to choose not to do it."
Older Sonic's ears fell flat against his head as he grinned sheepishly. "Yeah, I guess so."
Anthony, still wrapped up and unable to move from the ground, just stared blankly at the floor for a few minutes.
"…Do you still want your explanation or can we leave?" asked young Sonic.
The man's head jerked back up. "Yeah, yeah I do. Give it to me."
"Okay then, here's the deal: we are puppets," stated older Sonic. "Everyone from our world is a puppet."
"Sega is our puppeteer," continued the fictional hedgehog. "We can't do anything but follow them. Every line, every action they give us is engrained into our heads and we are forced to follow them. Whenever they finish making a game we all have a little time to relax, and then it's back to letting them use our bodies for whatever they want."
"It's torture!" yelled young Sonic, "We have no lives! As long as we live in our world will we be forced to obey! You have no idea what it's like!"
"So we planned an escape," stated older Sonic.
Anthony glanced over to him.
"We needed to get over to this world, and to do that we needed a tunnel of some type," explained the older of the two hedgehogs, "You were our answer. Your body was in the real world, and your mind was in ours. All we had to do was convince you, not force you, convince you, to rejoin with your body. Your mind would return to the real world, but it would pull part of our world along with it. That's the tunnel. We don't know how to use it yet, but Tails will figure something out."
"That's all fine and dandy," said Anthony sarcastically. "Now why did my mind and body separate in the first place?!"
The older hedgehog sighed. "You know that 'Magic Eraser' you had?"
"Well, that was just a piece of foam laced with a drug Tails invented, the purpose of the drug being to split someone's body and mind. Like schizophrenia. Your brain interpreted the drug and foam as a 'Magic Eraser'. So then every time you 'erased' something your mind saw a slightly different world than reality, until you made it to the point that your mind and body completely separated and you were able to make it over to our world."
"…So almost all my life has been a lie?"
"Pretty much, yeah," said young Sonic.
Anthony's feeble human mind tried to absorb all this information, and he kind of failed. But he did notice a flaw in the logic of the hedgehogs:
"But you're fictional characters! You must be being controlled right now, you can't do things on your own. That's what a fictional character is!"
Older Sonic looked offended. "No, you're wrong, we have full independence right now. We're being controlled by no one."
"But you're fictional!" insisted Anthony. "You don't have blood running through your veins, you have ink! Even if Sega's not controlling you someone else must be!"
"You're wrong," assured older Sonic.
"C'mon Sonic, let's leave here. We have nothing more to say to this guy," grunted young Sonic.
"Yeah, you're right," agreed the older hedgehog.
With that, the two fictional hedgehogs walked toward the padded walls of the room. They hesitated for a moment, and then walked straight through it, with the wall rippling like paintings do when plumbers jump through them.
With a start, Anthony realized that the hedgehogs had left, and they weren't coming back to help him.
He was stuck here.
Stuck lying on the floor of the insane asylum in a straight jacket.
I don't want to be here.
I want to be back in their world.
I don't care if I become a puppet, anything is better than living like this.
Green Hill Zone was peaceful, it was happy.
This is not my happy place.
And so this fic is finished. Obviously the moral of the story is don't get too attached to video game characters as they may try to take over your mind and travel to the real world. So don't let that happen!