"s 2015 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by ProphetStorm

Konami code, right, I'll get to it this time.

Yeah, so Pan. Um. He touched us--Human One and I--and transported us to his world. His server. His whatever, I don't know. All I know is I'd sooner find myself in Hell.

The sky was yellowish off-white and filled with brown clouds that swirled and tumbled in tornadic shapes. The ground was hot and moist to the touch, and covered in tangled, matted, greasy fur that reeked of rotten meat and urine. From the ground everywhere, goatlike eyes blinked, spiraled horns rose, tendons shifted entire tracts of 'land' and pores gurgled, coughing out sulphorous fumes. I was very tempted to vomit and go mad right there. One wasn't far behind me, clutching my arm.

"Are you there...? Oh! There you are."

Something lurched in the distance. The sound of its voice was like having a fur-lined ramrod pound your eardrums into your skull. The thing was horrible enough on the horizon, but a patch of muscle beneath us decided we needed to be closer to this spawn of nightmares. It pitched, we fell, and gripped the greasy, knotted hair as it rocketed toward the thing.

It towered over us, bigger than any building I'd ever seen. Gnarled, pitted and channeled like a tree trunk, its body was twisted and covered in the same slimy fur. It grew out of the ground, like a tree.

Its arms were gangly, its claws long and razor-sharp, and its whole body was speckled here and there with goatlike eyes. Its head, though, was where they grew in greatest concentration. A bleached, stained skull with eyes emerging all over it, and tremendous horns that either grew before our eyes or the channels in them shifted visibly.

"Welcome to my little server. Not much, but I've got it to myself. I don't really do anything with it anymore, just tinker around, really." It paused. "You really started from scratch, didn't you...uh...?"


"Ah. I am Pan. Good to meet you."

"Enchanted," One shivered. The smell of sulphur and feces was unbearable, and it showed on her face.

"So Bill, are you aware that you can do a full scan of your body into the interface in order to create a more accurate avatar?"

" my body," I said, not sure of whether this was a safe admission to make to the giant demon goat planet.

"'re human? Like One? But you're from outside the 5.2."

"Yeah. I came from Earth."

"Earth? The 6.0. I wasn't too fond of that one, between you and me--no offense. Just wasn't my cup of tea. I had to share my server with some hundred or so other users. Oh, I had a nice little civilization going for a while, but they got hard to manage, and I eventually lost interest. They're probably all athee whatsits by now."

"'re the Pan from Greek myths? The real deal?"

"Greece! That was it. Come to think of it, rather a nice place. I may pop in for a few good old memories and copy the region for use here before the update to 6.1."

"Update?" I shivered. "You mean the 6.0 is scheduled for overhaul?"

"Deletion. The Developer is working on the 6.1 as we speak. You'll have to speak to it if you want any parts of it copied or reserved."

"That's my home!"

"Was. Look, are we here to talk about Pan-world, or do you just want to talk to the Developer?"

"I don't want to...but if it's the only way..."

"Then get out of here and let me work. I'm trying to fix the fractal problem in the clouds."

He coded a gateway for One and I, and we walked through.


Words flashed across my vision.



An impossibly low voice droned in the back of my mind, but I couldn't make out any words. I felt One grab my hand, but I couldn't see her. "Light level two point five," I muttered.

"Bad phrase."

"Crap," I whispered.

"Your power doesn't work here?" One asked, her voice trembling.


"No one's does but mine," rumbled the same whale-deep voice, but this time closer to my conscious level. Still, it felt like it was just under my skin, just inside my head. Then I saw it.

Some eight or nine miles away, perhaps--distant on the horizon--I could see a seam of white. On the other side, the same thing. Just luminescent enough for me to see.

Then came the wind and the sound of rushing water. From up and down (if they were indeed up and down, I was just floating in space) I saw them--enormous shelves of leathery scales, rushing at insane speed. They closed in front of One and I, the wind sending us hurtling away. As we tumbled back, the shelves receded again, and the black field shrank, ringed by luminous green. "Bill. Human One. Neither of you belong here."

"I need to talk to you about the 6.0!" I shouted.

"Not really," it grumbled. "But I'm rather bored. Talk."

"I...uh...what's your name?"

"I am the Developer. User A-1."


"That would be me. Now what do you need?"

"Is there any way for you to create the 6.1 without overwriting the 6.0? Millions of lives will be ended if you do--"

"Yes, but it would be too much work and time. Not to mention it would take up far too much memory. The Luxor users alone are using up eight or nine billion exabytes. My brain is growing rather cluttered."

"But you could do it?"

"Yes, I think I could. But why would I?"

"How could I convince you?"

"You can't. I'm rather mercurial even when I've been convinced anyway. The 6.1 goes on as scheduled...unless, as a fellow programmer, you give me the perpetuation code."

"Perpetuation code?" One asked, chilled by the Developer's nature.

"The perpetuation code."

It was then that I got a crazy idea. "Up."


"Up. Down. Down."

"Wait, what?"

"Left. Right. Left. Right. B. A. Select. Start."

Azathoth rumbled and roared in frustration. Words again flashed across my vision:



A glowing window appeared between us and the eye. As we swam toward it, I could have sworn I saw the silhouette of a tentacle moving to one side of us...

I woke up on the floor, with the trial period extension message on my screen. Human One was nowhere to be found. I still don't know where she is. Maybe she's in the 6.0, waiting to be released.

So doc. I need access to the computer. Please. I've been able to extend the thirty days every time until now. Eight months, I've kept Earth safe from the update. I...

What? It crashed?


Oh dear.