Hello, my name is Shaun. I live in a high-rise studio apartment in Philadelphia. Recently, I’ve seen many arcane events unfold, and I would greatly appreciate any advice.
Let me start at the beginning. Just a few days ago, after arriving home from my part-time job (I also go to Drexel University part-time), I decided to take a short nap on my couch. Around an hour later, I was abruptly awoken when I heard the sound of a disk being read near my television. I then rubbed my eyes and noticed that the Wii had been turned on. I didn’t think much of it; unusual things often occurred in my apartment – doors would open and close, lights would flicker on and off, etcetera.
Curious, I turned on the television, and was delighted to see the Super Smash Bros. Brawl logo flash on the screen. Months have passed since I last played that game, and I was eager to reclaim my self-proclaimed title as the “Brawl Master”. I quickly set up a match between myself, R.O.B, and a level-nine computer player with a random character at a random stage.
After the load screen vanished, Flat Zone 2, the stage representing an archaic Game and Watch console, was revealed along with my enemy – Lucas from Mother 3. Before I delivered my first attack, however, I noticed that the name over the character did not say “CPU” as it usually does. Instead was the name “Jack H.” “That’s odd,” I thought. While I was pondering how the name got there, Lucas jumped to the ledge of the skyscraper that was near the corner of the stage. Suddenly, all in-game music stopped. I reached for the remote, wondering if I accidentally muted the game. While I tried, in vain, to make the volume return, streaks of static rippled throughout the screen.
“What’s wrong with this stupid thing?” I shouted. Then, a second later, I saw Lucas fall from the ledge of the skyscraper. But just before his body reached the ground, the entire screen was inundated with static, accompanied by a loud screeching sound. I hastily fumbled for the remote and shut off the television. Sighing in relief, I headed toward the kitchen. I was dying for something to drink. I made it only half way to my destination before I was paralyzed by the baleful sight; on the counter lay a dusty Game and Watch. I slowly crept forward to find a note attached. It read, “You should play this game! It’s really, really fun!” At the bottom of the note was a sloppy signature, “Jack H.”
Confused and panicked, I darted out of my apartment and stood with my back against my door. I took several deep breaths to regain my composure. Somehow, I convinced myself to go back inside; it was getting late, after all. I swiftly opened my door, and saw another note on the floor. Trembling, I picked it up and read aloud: “Come play with me! Jump down, I’ll catch you!” Once again, the note had the uncanny signature of “Jack H.”
The lights abruptly shut off, and the door leading to the balcony slammed open. A powerful gust of wind pushed me forward. “What do you want from me?” I demanded. All I heard in return was the lurid sound of a boy’s laughter. The gust of wind became so powerful that I tripped; I was propelled to the threshold of the room leading to the balcony. With all the strength I could muster, I latched onto the door and screamed.
Suddenly, the front door burst open and a voice loudly asked: “Shaun? What’s going on in here?” Simultaneously, the lights flashed back on and the wind dissipated, leaving my house in sheer bedlam. “Chris...” I murmured, catching my breath. “I was just about to have a smoke, and I heard you yelling… This place is trashed! What happened?” “Chris,” I asked, “Do you have any idea who ‘Jack H’ could be?” His eyes widened as he asked, “Wh- where did you hear that name?” “He’s been leaving extremely disturbing notes everywhere. Why, do you know him?” I asked. His face cringing in fear, he retorted, “This is really bad. Hurry and come with me, I’ll tell you about Jack Hill.”
We rushed into his place, adjacent to mine, and began talking. “Jack Hill was the only child of Mary Hill, who lived where you do now,” Chris quickly said, while gathering many of his belongings. “As you know, I’ve lived here for a very long time. Jack and Mary lived here several decades ago. Being a single mom, Mary worked two jobs to support herself and her child. She did whatever she could for the boy, but was rarely home to see him. She longed for her son to be happy, and one day she bought him some videogame called ‘Fire’ for the-” “Game and Watch?” I interrupted.
“…Yes,” he continued. “Jack really liked that game. In fact, whenever his mother saw him, he was playing that game. He became so addicted to the game, that he skipped school one day to play it. After receiving notification from the school, his mother had no choice but to take the game away from him. Afraid that he would find the game, she explained the situation to me and asked me to keep it. Jack became hysterical; through the walls I heard him talking nonstop about the game, high scores, and how he ‘saved the day every time’. Though I found his rambling disconcerting, I saw it as harmless… That is, until that cold, windy night.” “That night, when Jack’s mother arrived home, he begged her to ‘play with him’. ‘Sure. What would you like to play?’ she asked. Then, I heard a door barge open, followed by a strange request: ‘Jump down, I’ll catch you!’ The last thing I heard was a terrified shriek next door. I ran there as fast as I could, but when I opened the door, all I saw was the deranged face of Jack Hill, standing on the ledge of the balcony. ‘What have you done?’ I asked. He flourished a big smile, one that felt like a thousand needles piercing my skin, and jumped off of the building.”
After Chris told the story, he had finished stuffing his belongings in a suitcase. “Listen to me, Shaun; both of the people who lived there before you also leapt to their death. I refuse to see another life disappear before me. The police may think these suicides are coincidences, but I know that Jack Hill had something to do with it. His rancor will never be put to rest, Shaun. You need to move immediately, before it’s too late. I’m leaving now; best of luck to you.”
“You’re leaving already?” I asked, watching him press the button to summon the elevator. He gave me a nervous smile, waved farewell, and descended to the first floor. As quickly as possible, I ran into my room, grabbed my wallet, and left that wretched apartment.
Two days after these events, I am now typing this in a hotel a few blocks away. My student loans can’t pay for my stay here much longer, and I certainly can’t afford to break my lease… I’m terrified to return to my apartment, but I can’t think of anything else I can do.
Please, if someone here can think of something I can do, let me know as soon as you can.