I Was A Stagehand For A Darkweb Gameshow - Chap 2
This is a lot to handle and will only get worse. If you’re just joining us please know you can read my experiences from part 1-3 without prior knowledge. Though it does help.
Welcome: “For one reason or another you have ended up in this position, You may be scared, upset and unsure of what to do. Depending on when you read this, you might still be in shock. Just know, The Family welcomes you with open arms. However, these arms are unflinching, they do not let go, and you will not leave them without our blessing.”
Petty crime and drugs have been the centre of my life since puberty. One night, the path I’d chosen led me to the front of a standalone fish and chip shop in a shaggy suburb bordering the train line. The fish and chip shop had converted half the building into a nail salon called “Fifi’s Nails”.
It struck me as an odd business decision. But what did I care? I was just there to rob the place. A fellow user “Doofdoof” or “Doof” for short had come with me. For the record, he introduced himself with this ridiculous name. Explaining it was “Food” backwards—a double meaning to describe a hefty man who enjoyed tunes with more bass then melodies.
We headed to the back of the shop, and Doof shouldered the door with all his weight. By the end of his onslaught, the door was off the hinges, and we made our way inside. Doof was the first one inside, and I followed behind searching the dim light for any valuables.
Doof went to the register, and I headed to the freezer to start bagging meat. While in the freezer I heard glass shatter and a voice scream “Get out!”. Rushing out, I saw Doof and a man with a physique resembling Gollum standing on opposite ends of the room staring at each other.
The only thing separating the two was the shards of glass from the beer bottle that had been thrown on the ground. Doof had tried to get into the nail salon through a connecting door but was met with resistance by this thin character.
Grabbing Doof by the shoulders, I told him we needed to leave, but this gelatinous bull’s vision was red. Without a word, he charged Gollum, who waved his knife around in fear. Doof crashed into him and in seconds was on top of him. I tried to stop it, but Doof wouldn’t listen, and soon I just gave up.
The way Doof was bashing this man’s skull, I didn’t foresee any possible way that he would live. Edging past them and into the place Gollum had come from, I found the floor littered with beer bottles and empty cigarette packets. In the back of the room, there was a dirty mattress, desk, chair and laptop.
Slightly confused but not giving a shit I slammed the laptop screen shut, pulled the charger from the wall and tucked them under my arm. By the time I was done, Doof was standing over the man panting and covered in blood. The adrenalin had faded, and the realisation was seeping in.
Doof had brutalised the guy.
All I could think about on the walk home was sleep, but the thought was useless. Closing my eyes plastered images of Gollum’s bloodied face across my mind. His eyes pleaded for me to intervene as his head violently moved back and forth against the ground—each connection with the floor producing more horrific injuries.
Gollum was murdered for a few bags of meat, some small change and a laptop. Something I couldn’t pawn nor had the guts to sell. I had no delusions I was an upstanding citizen, but I knew I wasn’t a murderer.
Doof and I parted ways, and when I got home, I decided to look at what was in Gollum’s laptop. Coming out of sleep mode, it presented two accounts on the login screen.
The first account was “1” and the second “2”. I clicked on “1”, and it asked for a password, so I tried “2”.
It logged me in, and I found an empty desktop. Mid-search the computer shut down and refused to turn back on. I plugged the charger in and still couldn’t get the thing to run. Admitting defeat, I decided to try to get some sleep.
When I awoke, there was a brief moment where I thought last night may not have happened. Unfortunately, the laptop on my desk said otherwise. Checking my phone, I figured Doof would try calling or messaging me.
But the only notification was from Facebook, an old high school buddy named Michael had added me. I wasn’t a fan of seeing how much better everyone I’d grown up with was doing, but curiosity got the better of me. Figuring a little Facebook stalking might take my mind off things I accepted and went to his profile.
A message popped up from him almost immediately.
“Hey mate, I made a new account. What have you been up to?” Michael typed.
“Good to see you’re still kicking! Not much, yourself?” I replied.
“Well, this is kind of awkward to ask, but I’ve just been let go. Think you could give my resume to your boss. You’re still working at the abattoir, right?”
Ahh, the abattoir, where all dreams go to die (among other things). Well no, I’d been fired for taking too many days off, but Facebook didn’t need to know that.
“Sure man, send it through. I’m not sure if they are hiring at the moment though” I lied, the abattoir was always hiring. No one stayed long, and those that did found disturbing ways to keep the job exciting.
A file came through, and I downloaded it onto my phone. However, nothing came up when I opened the file. “Files not working” I messaged him.
Michaels icon appeared, indicating he’d seen the message and another file came through. This time it worked, but it wasn’t his resume. It was a video and a picture. The video was dark, but the sound of Doof struggling with the man came blaring out of the speakers.
My half-hearted attempt to stop him followed before my figure appeared in full view through the doorway. There my face was, clear as day as I closed the laptop. My stomach dropped, the same mixture of disgust and fear that I’d felt last night washed over me.
But how did Michael know Gollum? The police weren’t at my door, so I figured that was a good sign, right?
“You send this shit over Facebook? Can’t this be tracked?” I typed.
“Why do I care what happens to you?” His comment stung.
“What do you want?” I replied.
“Go to the laptop. Username: 1 Password: N*Z&H(G#1Z2671LZKIPO.”
Gripped with fear, I did as he asked, and I logged in. There were only two shortcuts on the desktop, a VPN and a yellow smiley face icon.
“I’m logged in.”
“Connect to the internet, run the VPN and click the :)”
“Okay, it’s starting. What now?”
“You’ll know what to do.”
Michaels account disappeared moments later, and as if on cue, the real Michael updated his Facebook status.
“Having a really shitty day. Hope this rain stops soon”.
The program I’d opened was a crude looking chatroom. There were hundreds of chat rooms, but the top one had my name on it.
Entering the room, I found myself in the main lobby, and a video started streaming. It took a few seconds to buffer before a man wearing a golden plague doctor’s mask appeared on the screen. He was sitting at a large wooden desk, something I’d picture a business executive sitting behind. Two men stood either side of him, also in suits but with their faces covered by black cloth masks.
“Let’s get to it then,” The man in the plague mask said.
I didn’t bother replying. What was there to say? My mind was screaming to close the browser, throw the laptop in a river and pretend I’d never found it when my thoughts were interrupted.
“Don’t leave, it won’t help you,” he said, pulling a piece of paper out in front of him.
“You were the unlucky one who showed his face, so let me tell you what we know about you.” The man paused to clear his throat before continuing.
“Robert Clarke, address 9 Syria Street, parents Harold and Janice Clarke, one brother Nick and one sister Hannah.”
My chest throbbed faster with each word.
“You stand accused of killing one of us.” The man spoke with no emotion, but something inside me knew he was smiling.
“Let’s review the evidence” The Doctor disappeared, and a video replaced him. The same video Michael had sent me. I couldn’t look at the screen.
“You killed a man last night, Robert. Not just any man, but a supplier of some special props for our entertainers” The man paused for a moment, letting his words sink in.
My thoughts forced themselves out of my lips. “I didn’t kill anyone! I tried to stop it. Please! Just believe me.”
“Now I’m going to lay down two options for you. You’ll enjoy neither of them, but that silver lining is we don’t want you to. Now you could go to the police, hat in hand and confess your crimes. That would be very noble of you. But if you chose that route, who would protect your family?
While you’re serving possibly decades in prison, each family member will cease to exist as we take revenge. After serving those years, you will eventually find yourself a free man. But we don’t forget Robert, the worst will be saved for you and your efforts will be all for nothing.”
This was inconceivable, I couldn’t believe it. No, I wouldn’t believe it.
“The second option you have is to fix what you destroyed. Starting with the one that was with you, we want him. This will buy you some time. However, we are honest folk here, and I want to be upfront with you. Your friends’ life and even your own will not make up for this. You. Are. Worthless. Provide value and survive.”
I considered my options, either spend time in prison and even if these guys were full of shit I’d still be locked away for at least a decade. But, if I got them Doof, I might have a chance of getting out of this.
I was always a self-serving bastard, and at the very least, I would remain consistent. Fumbling around the browser, I looked for a way to make the deal.
The doctor chuckled as if he could see my panic-stricken face.
“Just nod, yes.”
My breath quickened, and my body started to shake. Taking a deep breath, I nodded.
“You have made a wise decision Robert. Now type his address in the chat.”
Typing Doof’s address in the chatbox, I hesitated for a moment. The mental images of Gollum’s face flashed in my mind like a goddamn PowerPoint presentation.
This was Doof’s fault. I hit send and waited for a reply.
“Wonderful. Two men will pick you up tomorrow at 3AM”. The doctor continued “Welcome to our family Robert, we are ecstatic to have you on board”.
The video ended, and I scrolled down through the chat. All the users were spamming the same thing.
“Download the induction —> HERE.”
When the file opened, I slammed the laptop shut and started sobbing uncontrollably. If I was going to cry, I wouldn’t let them see it.