|“Couldn’t you hear me knocking?” she asked incredulously.
“I did, I think,” he said, a perplexed look on his face.
“What’s the matter with you? You look like you just woke up. Were you sleeping?”
“No, not exactly, at least I don’t think so.”
“Why is it dark in here, what have you been doing?”
“You’ll think I’m crazy if I tell you.”
“No I won’t, it’s obvious something is wrong with you. Here, let’s turn the lights on and go into the living room and sit down.”
They sat on the couch in silence until John said, “Something very strange and scary happened to me. In my mind, I could hear someone knocking at the door, but I couldn’t move my body; I couldn’t escape.”
“Escape?” Megan asked. “Escape from where?”
“The game I was playing, it tried to capture me.”
A soft laugh escaped from Megan as she stared at John sitting there with his head in his hands.
“You must have been dreaming, that’s all,” she said.
“Maybe, but I don’t think so, it seemed so real.”
“Dreams can seem real sometimes, it’s not unusual.”
“This was different, and why were all the lights out, I didn’t turn them off?”
“Hmmm, I’m not sure, maybe you turned them off and forgot about it. Did you have something to drink tonight?”
“No nothing except a soda. I was waiting for you to come over and thought I’d play a game in the meantime.” He pushed the game to the far end of the coffee table. “I’m not going to play anymore, that’s for sure.”
“Oh come on, you have to face your fears. There must be some explanation for this. Tell me what you were doing, and what happened step-by-step. I’m sure there is nothing to fear from a video game.”
“OK, I sat down to play the game like I always do. I thought the remote wasn’t working. I remember shaking it. I felt lightheaded and dizzy like I was going to pass out.
Next thing I knew I was in this hallway.There were doors everywhere. I kept running from door to door trying to get out but they all led nowhere. Then I found a room with a gun in it. I started shooting it up in the air. I was panicked, I felt trapped. There were pieces of the ceiling falling all around me and suddenly I could see the sky and the stars overhead, but I didn’t know how to get to the top.
Then I realized that I was inside the game and I knew I had to find the rope ladder. I threw the gun to the side and went out of the room and I searched for the red blinking light. I finally saw the glow from the light in the hallway and when I opened the door to the room, there was the ladder, just like in the game. I knew if I could climb the ladder in time, the helicopters would come and save me. I was halfway up the ladder but when I looked up at the sky there were no helicopters but spaceships circling all around. I knew from the game that I would be captured and I couldn’t let that happen so I let go of the ladder. I felt a sensation that I was falling and my body jerked. That’s when I woke up and heard you knocking on the door.”
Megan put her arm around John. It was clear that he was shaken by what had happened to him. “Listen, I think you had one heck of a bad dream. Maybe you have been playing that game way too much. Let’s go down to the pub and enjoy the music. It will do you good to get out of here for a while.”
“Good idea, I’m ready to get out of here. Can we spend the night at your apartment?”
“Sure if you want to. Are you afraid to stay here alone?”
“I don’t know. It feels kind of creepy right now.”
John’s eerie feelings finally disappeared after they were at the pub for a while and soon it was out of his mind completely, although he hadn’t picked up the game to play since the incident. One day, out of boredom, he decided to play it again, all fear now gone.
Knock, knock, knock. “Anybody home? He’s not answering Miss,” the policeman said to Megan.
“It’s been over a week since I’ve talked to him, sir. That’s highly unusual, he usually calls me at least a few times a week. I’ve got a key, I think we should go in and see if he’s OK.”
“Are you sure he’s not just visiting someone elsewhere?”
“Yes, I’m sure, he would have said something to me.”
“I suppose it’s all right just to go in and check quickly then.”
The apartment was dark and a quick search did not find John. The game console was laying on the couch and the TV was on in the living room. On the TV was a picture of a building with a hole in the roof with a rope ladder leading down.
“Oh my God,” said Megan. “He’s in the game, they’ve captured him, just like he said.”
“What are you talking about Miss? Who’s captured whom?” asked the policeman.
Coming to her senses, Megan looked at the policeman. “Oh, nothing,” she said. “The last time I was here, John had a bad dream about a video game, I was just remembering what he told me.”
“It doesn’t appear there is anything more we can do here, Miss. We’ll file a missing person’s report down at the station.”
“Yes,” Megan replied. “I’ll come with you.”
The report had been filed and Megan, with a heavy heart, once more opened the door to John’s apartment. She sat down on the couch and picked up the video game. She was John’s only hope of rescue now.