The Real Pinball Wizard

📅 Published on October 15, 2022

“The Real Pinball Wizard”

Written by Raz T. Slasher
Edited by Craig Groshek and N.M. Brown
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 — 6 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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Eight months ago, my life changed forever. I couldn’t tell you what the weather was like that day, what I had for breakfast, or even the first song I heard on the radio before I left the house. In fact, I can’t honestly remember any details of that day before I found a quiet little arcade downtown that I’d somehow never noticed before. I can’t even remember the name of it.

On a whim, I ducked into the place and had a look around. At first glance it looked like a normal arcade, a moment frozen in time with the ability to transport you back to the gaming days of yore.

I spent a lot of time in arcades back in the early 80s with my dad. It was about the only passion we shared together, and one of the only safe activities we could truly enjoy given my condition. I suffer from something called Cleidocranial Dysplasia. I’m not going to waste your time or mine doing a deep dive into what that is, you have the internet just like I do.

Basically, I’m way shorter than everyone I know, my bones are brittle, my spine is all messed up, and I’ve had dentures from an early age. I don’t mean to be crass or offend anyone else with the disease, I’m just sick to death of having to explain it to people so I’ve learned to stick to the highlights.

I’d say my biggest obsession at the arcades were the pinball machines. I’d spend hours in front of them every day after school studying patterns and perfecting the perfect angle on the ball from the flippers that would hit the chutes I needed for the best score possible. Once I mastered the machines at one arcade, dad would find us another and we’d start all over again. Some combination of the lights, the music, and the geometry entranced me. There are times I’d start playing and just completely space out until I ran out of quarters or it was time to go home.

Even after dad passed, I kept up the hobby. Partially to always stay close to him in some odd way, but mostly because no matter what changed in my life, pinball machines stayed the same. They were a source of comfort and Zen, which is a rare thing in life these days especially.

It didn’t take long until I found the corner where the pinball machines were kept. One after the other were my favorite four machines of all time, the ones that had taken me the longest to master as a child and often brought me the most comfort.

There was Theatre of Magic with its sultry sorceress gesturing me closer with an outstretched palm. Monster Bash with its motley crew of musical monsters inviting me to rock. The Twilight Zone luring me into a middle ground between light and shadow. And finally, there stood Medieval Madness calling upon me to save an ancient kingdom.

I pulled a couple quarters out of my pocket and headed for Theatre of Magic. An impromptu date with the first woman I’d ever fantasized about as a kid sounded like the perfect way to kill some time. Hey, don’t judge me man. At least it wasn’t the succubus from the original Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual.

Just before I slid the silver in her slot, I saw something out of the corner of my left eye that I hadn’t seen initially. Positioned into a corner was a pinball machine I’d never seen before. Which was odd, because there wasn’t one in existence I’d never played. I’d even taken vacations to other countries just to play new or rare machines.

The machine was called “Madame Marilyn’s Occult Pinball.” On the back glass was a window with a functional little female fortune teller inside of it. Mechanical inserts into pinball machines were nothing new of course, but they were always a treat to behold. With my mind made up I slipped my silver in the slot and tossed my extra quarters on the apron. I pulled back the plunger, took a deep breath, and released it. As my ball was launched to the center of the playfield, the song “Pinball Wizard,” by The Who. I laughed so hard that I wasn’t paying attention and my ball hit the drain. Normally I’d be pissed to lose the first ball so quickly, but this machine had an autosave, so the ball was sent back to the plunger instead.

I hit the change machine a time or two and probably went through $20 in quarters easily before really getting the hang of the game. If you’ve played pinball before I don’t need to explain in any real detail how they work. You hit bumpers, knock down drop targets, ride the subways and habitrails, and pay attention to the special mission all while avoiding the drain and gobble holes. If you’ve never played one before, I’d have to question what you’ve been doing with your life.

This machine had more missions than I’d seen in a pinball machine before in my life. The skill shots alone had me sweating so hard I’d miss aimed more than I’d care to admit. I’d been there from morning till sundown by the time I’d finally hit the wizard level of the machine. Not all machines had them of course, but it was always a pleasant surprise when they did. A wizard level in a pinball machine was akin to a secret final stage in a normal video game, but a million times more difficult. To beat any wizard level of a machine put you in a league all your own. I’d beaten them all, and I would be damned if I didn’t beat this one too.

It took me an extra thirty minutes of the most anxiety-inducing game of my life before I beat it. I was in the zone, becoming one with the machine when it happened. The music started to glitch and turned to static, the lights flickered in a strange entrancing pattern, and the mechanical fortune teller built in the back glass began to move. A sultry voice came through the speakers over the static.

“Congratulations Jerry, you have bested me. I shall now grant thee thy heart’s desire.”

To say I was stunned is an understatement. I know what you’re thinking, how does this machine know my name, right? Yeah, that thought occurred to me in the moment too. I’m old enough to have seen every movie you can think of that should have told me right then and there it was time to get the hell out of Dodge. On the other hand, I’ve always been a curious kind of guy. In the end I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind really. Honestly, it was more of a nervous joke, but how many times would I get to relive one of my favorite cinematic moments right?

“I want to be big!” I shouted out, probably a little too loudly. It was a line from my favorite Tom Hanks movie, and it felt super relevant in the moment. “Your wish will be granted,” Madame Marilyn replied profoundly.

Madame Marilyn reset itself and my name popped up in the top position of the scoreboard, replacing someone by the name of Arthur. Some kid probably, but I didn’t really care to dwell on it.

I went home and passed out, dead to the world. When I woke up, it was still dark outside. Every inch of my body was throbbing in pain. It took me the better part of ten minutes just to sit up in bed and turn my lamp on. I was met with the most terrifying image I’d ever witnessed.

My bones appeared to be somehow lengthening before my eyes, grotesquely stretching my skin in all directions. I screamed out in pain but didn’t move out of fear that I would split myself wide open. Joints shifted and popped as every part of me was dislocated and shifted to a new position. Outside of a werewolf movie, this just wasn’t possible!

I could feel my organs moving around inside, suddenly untethered from their previous locations. Vomit and bile didn’t eject from my mouth as much as it just sort of oozed out in sticky strings. My vision blurred completely, and the sutures of my skull began to pulse wildly. I passed out from the pain when I felt a quadricep muscle snap like a guitar string that had been wound too tight.

When I awoke once more, I flinched at the bright fluorescent hospital lights. According to my nurse I’d been out for nearly a week. She assured me that they had done everything possible to help me, but there was only so much they could do with what was left. In my drugged-up confusion, I had no idea what she meant at first, at least until she brought in a mirror to show me my reflection. My initial reaction was to laugh. I’d seen trick mirrors like this at the Halloween stores in years past that showed you some horrible monster with your face on it.

A quick glance at the nurse’s horrified visage knocked that thought out of my brain and I began sobbing inconsolably. What looked back at me from the mirror was some fucked up cross between Frankenstein’s monster and the guy that got turned into the Walrus in that movie Tusk. My flesh had more stitching and staples than a local craft store. My lower torso was gone for the most part, and large portions of my upper torso looked more like mangled corpse parts than my own.

That was eight months ago. This is the first time I’ve told anyone what happened that day. Until now everyone thought it was a home invasion gone wrong. It was a leading police theory that I just went with at some point, because who would honestly believe the truth at this point?

What weirds me out is that out of every part I lost or got put back together, my fingers were mostly untouched. A little longer, sure, but they were the only things that didn’t have to be somewhat rebuilt and re-attached or discarded altogether like other things were.

On the bright side, I can still play pinball for the most part. My insurance covered one of those electric lift wheelchairs so I can adjust my height if needed. I’ve been playing more than usual this last month. I hear there’s a big tournament a couple of towns over at some place called The Corpus Arcade.

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


Written by Raz T. Slasher
Edited by Craig Groshek and N.M. Brown
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Raz T. Slasher


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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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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