With shaking hands, he typed the address into the browser and waited for it to load. Cleverbot, one of those chatbot things you could waste hours on having pointless conversations with an artificial being whose knowledge and memory changed depending on what users fed it. Why whatever it was that controlled his computer lead him there, he didn't know, but he had the sneaking suspicion that it wasn't anything supernatural, but instead some kid trying to screw with him. Probably just learned how to use some remote access program or something. Whatever the case, he felt suddenly compelled to try to talk to him through this site, try to find out what was going on. It would be comforting to know that he was just being paranoid... he was just being paranoid...
Taking a deep breath, he forced his hands to be steady as he typed in the first word: Hello? It didn't take long to get a response; just seconds after he'd hit the enter button the word Hello came back to him. It was time to get straight to the point. The clicking noises seemed to echo in the tiny, one-student room. Who is this and how are you able to control my computer? It was concise and he certainly hoped that it showed he meant business. Almost instantly the reply came back: Who am I? He groaned out loud. Just a chatbot, nothing to be scared of... Right, forgot, he typed, shaking his head in frustration. You're a bot. But even as he typed he felt as though there was something wrong with this... he couldn't trust his own instincts, couldn't think logically anymore... Could he be sure that it was really just a -
Do you really think that?
He felt suddenly cold, as though someone had poured a bucket of ice over him. Hands trembling, he tried to sound angry, annoyed, anything except how he really felt. Listen, I know whoever's fucking with my computer can see my screen right now.
And your tiny room.
Wait, what? Lucky guess... that's all it was, just a lucky guess... You can see my room? For a moment he forgot himself, forgot to pretend to be okay.
I can see everything you do.
It was lying. Just a bot, just a program that learned to churn out responses like these, predictable responses... it was nothing more than sheer luck. Even so... he couldn't rule out the possibility that there was someone communicating through this thing, trying to mess with him. Some little freak who lived in mommy's basement. Hitting the keys a little too hard, he typed in his next line as though they were able to hear his frustration. Yeah, and I'll wager that youre one of those IT kids who thinks he's tough shit. You know what you're doing right now is illegal, right/? Too late he noticed he'd typed a forward slash instead of the first question mark but hopefully it just illustrated his irritation. He was only irritated and angry, nothing more.
No shit. Are you familiar with hte terms "invasion of privacy?". Get the fuck off my computer, kid.
Invasion of privacy sounds sexy.
For a moment, he could only stare blankly. Now he knew it had to be the bot. This whole thing was driving him mad. Why was he doing this? He was obsessing over a bad copy of an ancient game and his computer was having problems. It was all coincidence, it wasn't some paranormal shit happening because he was playing a bad cartridge. With a sigh, he continued typing, deciding not to play along with the current thread of conversation.
Well it's not.
It could be, with the right people.
And you and me are the right people?
It seemed to be taking longer to grab a response from somewhere within its memory banks, which served as a very small amusement.
We can be. We can become everything.
We're not becoming a couple.
Should I wait until you play the game then?
There was that cold feeling again, accompanied by a sinking feeling in his stomach. How was this a viable response?...What? he keyed, though he already feared he knew the answer.
Yes.He didn't know what to think anymore. How did it know...? Well the only way to find out would be to ask...
I did it.
I played with you.
This was impossible. This was just lucky responses; after all, he had been the one to mention the game, not Cleverbot. It could just have been agreeing with him. He could have told it 'beans' and it would have said 'yes'... You never played with me.
We can do something better than that.
It was like it was taunting him; he felt as though there was someone in the darkness watching him, in one of the corners grinning out at him, laughing as it forced Cleverbot to come up with its eerily accurate responses. That was stupid, though; it didn't happen. It was just luck, bad luck. It was messing with his overly stressed, paranoid, creaking mind. He was being stupid. Leaning back in his chair, he kept typing despite the 'x' at the top beckoning to him.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Do you always play with your shirt off?
...There was no way it knew that. That was more than luck. There had to be some trick to it. How did it know that he played shirtless? He didn't usually... There were reasons! Though he shouldn't have cared, his face went bright red as he typed the only response that this called for.
What the fuck/
What is it?
How did you know that?
I saw it.
But... but how?
Were you scared?
Who the fuck is this? He certainly had the right to know now. Now he was certain there was some creepy geek stalker watching him play a cracked copy of Majora's Mask half-naked, getting off on watching him go absolutely insane over nothing. Probably filming him and putting the reaction videos up on YouTube, little fucker.
THe statue? You're inside my computer now? This was beyond coincidence. He thought he might vomit soon and looked around desperately for the waste paper basket.
And I can see you.
You have beautiful skin.
You're very beautiful.
Great, so now on top of being all kinds of freaked out and nauseous, he felt violated as well. He tried to exit the browser but it wouldn't close. He pressed the off button on the computer but nothing happened. The cursor blinked at him. It was like he had no choice other than to finish this conversation.
I'm not into that.
I can see your browser history.
I know what you like to do.
His breath hitched in his throat. Was this punk going to blackmail him or something?
Are you going to tell everyone?
That I love you? Yes.
That's notWait, what? He didn't understand. What was happening? He was being stalked by some malevolent force from an old videogame? This was the stuff of fan fiction. Crazy fan fiction written by females with nothing better to do. If it weren't for the fact that no supernatural tentacles were reaching out to him he would have concluded that he was stuck in the world of slash fic. He could just smash the computer... that would end this, surely? Try as he might he couldn't tear himself away.
You're intelligent, sexy; what's not to like?
What are you wearing?
So you can't really see me?
It's too dark; I can't see your face.
Perhaps that was a relief. Slowly he looked around at his abandoned shirt. Why did he decide to do this in his underwear? This would be something to omit from the notes.
How are you in my computer? He had to change the subject, and fast.
You connected me.
How the hell did I connect you?
Cables and cords. Oh no... when he made the videos... he hadn't even given any thought to what would happen if he recorded the game directly from the console. Did that mean...? Was BEN on the internet now? And could he really upload videos of Jadusable in his underwear to YouTube? This was seriously bad.
Tell me about yourself.
What do you mean?
What is it that really scares you?
What the fuck? What did it mean by that? What the hell did it mean? Did it want to know his fears or was it trying to... Was it... Trying to get him to come out of the closet?
No.Quite suddenly, a website opened in a different window. The tagline read "Support for LGBT persons" and somewhere in the comments he saw his own username. Son of a bitch!
what the fuck, how did you just open that by yourself?
It's okay, you know, to like guys.
How did you do that?
I am your computer now. No, no this wasn't happening. He was having a nightmare. Nothing controlled his computer; he was going to wake up any second now. He'd just been on 4chan too long, just hung around the slash ficcers too much; he'd stop that and his dreams would go back to normal. He'd throw out the cartridge and everything would be fine.
How much can you control?
It seemed to take a lifetime but the effect was like being hit with a lead brick when a single word came back. All.
He gulped loudly, arms shaking uncontrollably as he tried to soldier on.
What do you want from me?
I told you already; I don't do that.
You do. And it's hot.
you're stuck inside there. You can't hurt me? He had to say it, to make himself believe it. He drank too much, that was probably it, he could stop for a while and everything would be clear. College was stressful; that was all. No creepy statues were going to molest him in the night... And even though he half believed it, he still felt acid rise in his throat to see the two letter response: Ha.
Go play it told him. It was definitely an order and he felt somehow compelled to, as if there was no other choice. For a moment he looked over at the console and swore he could hear the Song of Healing. He had to fight this. He had to.
No, you can't hurt me.
Good, because you can;t.
I'd do all kinds of things to you but not hurt. Unless you like that.
Well I don;t.
Took you longer to type that. It almost seemed to mock him. It took all his strength not to just mash the keys and scream "I'm not gay, damnit! I'm not I'm not I'm not!" Almost as though punctuating the thought, he thought he heard the Skull Kid's laugh. Giggly little bastard.So? he demanded, face growing so red he feared blood might pour out of his eye sockets.
I know you want to do me.
You're a statue.
You're not sure.
If you're so powerful, why use a ridiculous website like this to 'chat' with me? He was getting really angry now. He would not be co-erced into... into... whatever this even was with BEN. Was it cybersex? Or was it actual sex? When the entity could be in your mind, did it matter which one it was? Did it still count as sex? And if he were to... by himself... ugh! He'd never been scared enough to keep his hands off of himself so far but now... now he just felt sick... And a little intrigued at how that would work…
Less messy. More structured. Fun. Exciting. Hot.
Yes, tradition. I like it.
You've done this to other guys before?
Bet you'd like to know the details.
How I made them feel.
I don;t want to know! The waste paper basket had been under the desk the whole time. He'd never been so glad that it was there in his life.
I know you want this.
Leave me the fuck alone!
You think this is funny? All kinds of emotions just met in his head and made him feel dizzy with rage, with fear, with exhaustion. He felt it right in his stomach and could swear he felt clammy hands on his shoulders, massaging him but only making the tension worse. How...? It didn't matter how! It was all varieties of wrong! …but a little nice… actually now it was soft… and if he didn't struggle so much…
And my notes?
You may write them down.
Why are you letting me?
The world will love the slash fic fodder.
I'm not leaving that in. Opening up the note file, he began to copy and paste from the chat log, making sure to delete the bits he didn't want anyone else to see.
Keep it for those lonely nights, eh?
You suck, BEN.
Only if you want me to.
You have no power over me; you're some creepy stalker.
It is amusing to see what you think of me.
And just like that, the window closed. Frantically, he started typing notes, regretting the decision to record the videos. Now the world was in danger, now everyone was at risk. And now it could see into his bedroom. Or now it was in his bedroom...? Exhausted, he turned the computer off and dragged himself over to the bed. This couldn't happen; it wasn't happening... he was making a big deal out of some stupid computer virus... his eyes began to close... he was drifting off to sleep... And just as he did so, he could see it. That statue, right next to him, horizontal on the actual bed right in front of him. The Skull Kid's laugh echoed but he couldn't get up, couldn't run. He felt cold breath on his neck, wet hands on his hips, something clammy brushed through his hair. Almost comforting... He didn't know what was about to happen.
One thing was for sure, though. It wasn't going in the notes.