The Darklands Game

πŸ“… Published on December 13, 2021

β€œThe Darklands Game”

Written by Elizabeth Davis
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME β€” 9 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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There are numerous games that circulate the internet. Most are written for fun. A rare few are written based on real experiences of those who found the worn corners of reality. Some are trying to quantify it into a recipe as a way to process their experience. Some do it as a way to prove to others that what happened was real. Some malicious few do it out of self-pitying schadenfreude.

I’ll let you decide the motives behind this game.

The first step happens when you dream. You will dream of your current or former college campus. If you have never been to school, then a college campus nearby. You will know which one in the dream.

There will be a party around you, a wild party that can only happen when you are young and reckless. But you will not join in, merely drift around the edges. As you take in the sights, you will find a narrow hallway. There will be signs outside each door – perhaps it will be movie titles, like an impromptu movie screening for the party, or just subjects that the classroom is used for. This is not important. What’s important is that one of the doors will bear the title of “Darklands.” You probably won’t go in at this point, no reason to go into this unknown room while there is still so much to take in.

If you do go in here, I don’t know what will happen to you. Maybe nothing, dream nonsense, because you are by yourself. Maybe.

You will hear an announcement from the radio, from the D.J. or perhaps in other ways – whispered from party-goers to party-goers, text messages written on the bathroom wall, yellowed flyers on the bulletins. The content will remain the same.

“The first session in the Darklands is free if you bring a friend.”

You will wake up with a nagging feeling that will last for the whole day before fading. Just as you have forgotten that you ever dreamed this particular dream, it will come again. Details will change, the attendants shifting as your past and present mingle, the campus of the school twisting into different endless hallways as the party sprawls out. It will be the same school. The dream will end as you stand in front of a door, separated from the party, down one of the endless hallways. It will be the same door.

You will wake up before you open the door.

Now you have a choice. You could do nothing and wait for the dream to fade, ignoring the nights in front of that door until you no longer feel the call when you awake. Or you could find a friend.

Your friend either needs to be an Anchor or a Seeker. If neither of you is a Seeker, you will never find the door. If neither of you is an Anchor, you will never return. What makes a Seeker or an Anchor is different for each pair – it’s a question that only you two can answer. Answer wisely.

Take nothing with you besides your clothes. Empty your pockets. Take your keycard and keys if need be, but you must leave them outside once you find the door. You will need to go to the college campus of your dreams. No other will work for you, even if all in their own way, lead to the Darklands.

You may wish to indulge in chemical lubrication to help with this next step, but I must warn against this – if you are too sloppy, you will likely find yourself on the wrong end of security or never making it to your goal.

Once you enter the campus, ignore any dorms and make your way to the biggest building. You may have to arrive early to avoid the doors being locked. Wait until nightfall, after the last class empties. After that point, you and your friend will go down to the lowest floor. There you will search, circling the hallways, until all you can think about is the stained tiles, the flickering fluorescent lights, as your world narrows down to just these echoing steps. Then you will find the door. It will be the same as in your dreams.

Once you cross the threshold, you can’t turn back. Don’t look back, for you will not see the hallway you have left. Instead, you will see the radiant gap between our world and the Darklands. Seeing that pure light, your nerve may snap, and you may try to run to the door. You will never reach the door, instead falling forever between.

Turn away from the light and face the darkness. You will see nothing at first, with you and your friend slowly extending your hands out, feeling around you. You will feel the dark cool of moist rocks, the dripping of what feels like water echoing through the air. It is not water. Do not drink it. If you drink it, you will forever be bound down here in this dripping darkness. Ignore your parched throat from waiting and pumping adrenaline.

If you continue to face the darkness, your eyes will eventually adjust. Pinpricks of light will guide you through as your hands scrape against the rocky walls, navigating the edges of stalagmites that will draw blood if you aren’t careful.

After jostling against your friend, shoulders slamming into each other as you are squeezed and pinched by rocks, you will finally find relief as the passage widens out into a large chamber. The pinpricks of light will give dim illumination as you reach out, trying to feel your way around. Eventually, you will look at them and realize that they form shapes. A vase pouring out water, twin fish, a silhouette of a ram, the glaring head of a bull, two crude people mirroring each other, a crab, a lion, a woman with hair as long as her dress, a set of scales measuring nothing, a scorpion, a drawn bow and arrow, and a goat head.

Maybe the Seeker will explain the significance. Maybe they will not. It does not matter. If you choose to walk towards them, reach out your hand, and touch those small lights, you will leave. You will never return, never dream of the Darklands again. You may be happy with what you find on the other side. You may be disappointed or filled with despair. You may find home. You may never be allowed to return home again. But at least you will be spared what is up ahead- if you can ever be satisfied with being spared.

Ignore the wall and look to the floor. You will find faint lights there, dimmer than the ones on the wall. The image should be of a man grappling with a snake. If it isn’t, then I have no more advice for you. Stand carefully on the edge around the man-snake and press your hands down, let your blood drip.

The floor will fall open, and you will feel your hands grabbed, pulling you down. You may struggle, pushing away, but the slippery floor will never support you. You will slip, fall, and be dragged down. The grip will feel warm, unbearably warm, like hands that belonged to a man who had been wrestling for ages.

Your tumble down will be stopped by your friend as you both pin each other in place. The walls here are warm, and you can feel them constrict and release around you, their enormous ribs framing your world. The darkness here is absolute – so you need not bother with your eyes. If you panic here, if you struggle, if you scream, you will never leave. You will remain forever stuck, or you will gain the attention of Nirah. Then you will find your warm flesh bathed in acid, and your bones will join the rest that is stuck in the gullet. Take a deep breath. Take it again. Quiet your friend if you must; lead them in your breaths.

You will have to work together, to carefully squirm and writhe in unison, to allow yourselves to slip down during the release, to shelter between the bones of the unlucky during the constriction so you will not be impaled, for even those soft bones can burrow deep.

Do not worry about time. That is not important here. It will feel like hours, days, eternity. Keep your calm and slide down. Eventually, the last constriction will push you through, and you will fall. Your landing will be hard and painful, but you still must go on. There is still no light. The bones will crack under your feet. Now you will hear voices. They will promise you answers to questions you have always had, partial answers that beg for you to stop, to drop down in despair, to turn to them in wonder, promising you all if you turn and leave the path.

Smoke will choke your lungs, leaving you in coughing fits, leaving your head swimming. In this darkness and smoke, you will see things vibrant and almost real. I don’t know what you will see, but I know that they are not real. They are only what might be or might have been. Or at least not any more real than the darkness and crunching bones.

Do not stop moving, even as your coughing shakes you, even as words spill from your lips from what you see. It would be best if you moved forward, as much as you can understand forward in this darkness. Do not stray from this forward, or you will be lost in this darkness, seeing visions and crying out to those who walk along the path, seers who go unheeded.

That is the fate of those lost in Delphi’s cave.

Eventually, the darkness will wane as the smoke drifts away. Your path will grow clear of bones, and you will step out into a city. You will see in the light, the blue light that seeps from the ground, from the sky, from everywhere, bathing everything. The light will sting. Now you can rest, wait for your eyes to adjust.

Just be careful of the snakes – for they are coiled on every surface. Their venom is deadly, and they are quick to strike. Their bodies are the only color you will see in this city, beyond the black walls. Move slowly, let them slither away from you, the rainbow shredding into black.

As your eyes adjust to the light, you will see the city is black walls, ruined, absent of all life beyond the snakes. You will probably run your hand on the polished stone, feeling the carvings. You may even be able to make out individual carvings that represent lions or people, but their greater meaning is lost on you. You will not understand the words carved into the stone, made out of angler lines before an alphabet.

You and your friend are likely to be silent. One of the two may try to speak, but your words will drift away, falling away into the silence. As your eyes look up, you will survey the city’s wide streets, and think of the skyscrapers dwarfed by these walls.

You will wander. It does not matter which way. All roads lead to the center, all snakes slither to the center, gliding along with the tiles as you enter the plaza, a courtyard in which two thrones look down. The snakes will not enter, their tongues flickering out in your wake, remembering your scent as you walk away.

Two figures will sit on the twin thrones, wizened, dwarfed by their thrones. You may feel strong for a moment, tempted to rush them until you realize that even the dwarfs of this city are far taller than you or your friend. Their skin is the same shade of the city stone, from what little you can see from their draped clothes and the blue light that falls away from them. You will not see their faces hidden away from your eyes.

You will never see them. They have been forgotten.

Now reach into your pockets. If they are empty, you will find a dagger, and if you didn’t empty them, you will find what you brought. How the Queen and King of Der will judge you then, I do not know.

You will feel the stone handle, the sharp blade. You will feel the engraving of a snake and man combined into a single being throughout the dagger. You will pull out the dagger, feeling it grow and lengthen. Your friend will be too busy looking at the king and queen, the friend that followed you down, that you escaped from the gullet with, that led you away from the voices, that scared the snakes away while you rested. The friend followed you when no one else believed or that they loved you enough to ignore their disbelief.

You must not hesitate. You will be judged poorly if you do. You will walk up to them, silently, unnoticed and bury the knife into their back. You may have to draw it out, and in again, spilling their blood on those dark stones, the red turns dark in the blue light as they shudder and fall over. Do not stop until you hear the last rattle, the last intake of labored breath.

Dip your hands in the blood. Kneel on the stone as you lift your hands.

What passes now is different for everyone – how you are judged, weighed on inscrutable scales. Regardless of the answers to your question, you must now pick up your friend and carry them out regardless of what you are given.

Walk between the thrones, walk past the dark city into the blue light.

You will leave the Darklands and find yourself back in that school hallway. Your hands will be clean, and your friend will be standing nearby. They will look like nothing happened, that they were never dead in a titan city. But you will look in their eyes. If they are the Anchor, their eyes will be lifeless, dull, and they will never laugh, smile, frown, or cry again. Your wrists will feel heavy, and scars will form in time, in the shape of grey metal chains. If they are the Seeker, their eyes will not recognize you, looking beyond you. They will laugh, smile, cry, and frown, but never at what is around them, forever roaming inside themselves. You will feel lighter, like a puppet whose string is being pulled. The scars will form on your back, making the shape of white wings.

Next time, you will not need a friend, gaining what you lacked from them. Next time, you must pay the price of a second session.

Are you willing to see what is beyond? Are you willing to go back deeper into the Darklands?

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Elizabeth Davis
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

πŸ”” More stories from author: Elizabeth Davis


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

More Stories from Author Elizabeth Davis:

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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