Malicious Code

Scary Story User Entry

They said a text document would be fine, so I’m just going to write my account down here and send it on.

This is my account of the events occurring on the popular online game (@“552/%#err)

I don’t really know why I agreed to this. Closure, maybe? Maybe a feeling that I’ve done something to help, like when you send spam texts to the fraud companies, even though they probably won’t do much about it.

Could I have done more to help?

I’m getting ahead of myself here.

For those who don’t know, the game in question is a cutesy style horse riding MMO directed at kids, but pretty fun for all ages. I used to play it quite a bit. Emphasis on used to. I’ve purged my account, pretended the computer I used to play it on was bust and asked my parents for a new one.

Anyway

So in this game you can be part of ‘teams’, which functioned a bit like clubs. I was in one of these teams.
Our ‘team leader’, username Lil’Rose, was a really nice person. She was always kind and funny. She never took part in ‘noob baiting’ (being mean to new players) or anything like that.

Some people on the server hated her, though, as she had a habit of messing with the game files. I never thought it was anything bad, she’d just give herself unreleased horses or clothes.

The game devs were really serious about not liking this sort of ‘hacking’ , though. They plastered warnings all over their website and slapped bans on anyone who even breathed in the direction of the game code. I guess their actual security wasn’t as good as their threatened measures, as people still seemed to find ways to do it.

I guess our Lil’Rose was just good at covering her tracks, as she never got banned and only got hit with a suspension once or twice. Maybe if she’s been less good at that sort of thing, what happened wouldn’t have… happened.

Thinking back, the first sign that something was wrong was the username change. You can’t usually change your username in that game, and what Lil’Rose’s name changed to was so strange that we (the other members of the team and I) all thought it must be a glitch or bug.

It changed to a weird string of seemingly random numbers.

I actually took a picture of it for a bug report, so I’ll write it down here.

56 6f 79 57 65 72 65 57 61 72 6e 65 64

She still acted normal, and seemed to find the whole thing pretty funny.

I say normal, but there were a few things we all found strange about her. They were to get worse.

When she typed in chat, her messages came though so quickly that she must have been typing them at the speed of light- we joked about this, asked her if her fingers were catching on fire, but she didn’t get it. Which was odd, as she’d always had a great sense of humor before.

The big thing didn’t seem like a big thing at the time.

I logged on to go to a team event, and our club leader was on a different horse. She said it was an unreleased Halloween horse, and I remember thinking if that was true then the dev team must have not been getting enough sleep recently, because it was horrifying.

It didn’t have fur, instead cased in glistening red muscular skin. It’s eyes- bloated white and oversized looked dead even with the cheerful cartoony graphics.

It had a mouth extending all the way up its head, like a crocodile, with white fangs in neat little rows.

I hoped that it was a work in progress, because if the devs released it ‘as it’ then I was pretty sure a lot of kids were going to get nightmares.

It was never released, and I don’t think it was designed in modelling software.

I think the strangest thing about it was it’s breed name. It just read ‘AKUMU’

Nothing like any horse the devs had released before or since.

I’m going on a bit, but I feel that’s all important for the next bit. This is why I’m writing this, after all. But you already knew that.

It was Halloween, and I was logging on for our Halloween team ‘party’. My family never really celebrates Halloween, so it was fun to be able to in game.

Most of the other members logged on, but our team leader didn’t. We waited for her, but eventually decided she wasn’t going to turn up.

But she did. Or something did, at least.

It started with the game going unresponsive as she came onscreen. The face of her character looked different, and the horse was no less nightmarish.

She was typing in chat, I can only remember a few on the things but I’ll write them down here:
I will teach
Ready to learn?
She was naughty
Don’t be bad
Always watching.

If she (or it) said anything different I don’t know as the game was still frozen and control-alt-delete wasn’t working, so this was the time I was yanking the power plug of my computer and the monitor cable out, too.

It didn’t do anything. The graphics stayed on screen, and the computer was still running, too. But they had changed. They were real, too real, as if they could peel right off the screen and into the world. The most horrible thing was the faces of the characters. They had changed to look like our faces.

And they were screaming.

There was no sound to the screams, only a mangled static sound was coming out of the speakers, but their (or our) expressions were unmistakable. Then it all stopped. The screen went black and the computer died, as if it had just realized that it had no monitor cable or power.

I must have sat there for half an hour, breathing. Just breathing

I would have just gotten laughed at if I went to the police, and explaining it to my parents felt insurmountable. I wasn’t even sure what had happened myself.

To be honest with you, part of me had been convinced just to leave it all and go to bed, and wake up convinced it had just been some strange glitch, mixed with a bad dream.

But I didn’t do that. I plugged everything back in and booted up the game again. I had to be sure. I had to know. The computer started up obediently, almost too well considering what it had been doing before.

Everything worked perfectly. The game started up without hesitation. I wanted it to glitch, to bug, to know what I had seen had actually happened.

There was nothing, apart from that thing’s weird username, offline for the first time since this nightmare had begun.

I tried to look up what happened to Lil’Rose. I felt I owed her that much. She had once told me the general area where she lived and I attempted to look it up on the Internet.

I wanted to believe that she was okay.

I found a news article saying a girl named Lilian Rose had been killed in some sort of animal attack; it contained appeals for any missing dogs or sightings of other animals capable of this sort of brutality.

It was her. It had to be- Lil’Rose, Lilian Rose?

I’m so sorry, Lilian. You didn’t deserve this.

The worst thing from that article, however, was the date that Lilian had been killed- about that same time her in game character’s username had been changed. I don’t know what I had been interacting with the last few months, but I don’t think it was human.

It was toying with us, after it had ‘punished’ Lilian.

That was the end of my experience, but coming back to this I can’t help but think that this thing I found must be relevant. It was a post from one of the game devs, dated a few months back. I’ll transcribe it here:

Hi guys! Hope you’re enjoying (@“522/%#err)

Just to let you know we’ve added some new security measures just to deter anyone from getting unauthorized access to the game code. This won’t even affect the vast majority of you, unless, of course, you do enjoy snooping into our code, in which case- you may have laughed at our previous security, but there’s no way you’ll miss this one 😉

I don’t think that what happened was an accident.

I wonder if they’re laughing now.

Author: Anonymous

Just a young writer looking to take the mistakes I've made to aid the next generation.

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