Tag Archive | horror

A Year in Review: Pleasantville by Night


Zombie Nerd from Pleasantville by NightA year ago today, I sent out the first invites and officially opened the doors of Pleasantville by Night to the public. I’d previously been involved with another game called Xenos (in fact, a lot of Pleasantville’s code is based off of it), but there I hadn’t been the only one working on it. There were others able to fix bugs, and to give me feedback on my content before I went live with it. Pleasantville was a solo effort, and I was nervous.

Would I be able to handle it? Was I a good enough programmer? (The answer: “Not really, but turns out it doesn’t matter”)

Ghost Hunter from Pleasantville by NightMost importantly…would people even like it? This was a world that nobody had seen but me, and here I was about to put it out there for everyone to see. I had no idea if other people would think the jokes were funny or if the content was too dark or bizarre. Would people I know start giving me strange looks, calling the whitecoats on me, or maybe performing impromptu exorcisms to cure me of what is obviously a case of demonic possession? (No demons here, aside from the ones in the game. This stuff’s all 100% me. I dunno if that’s better or worse).

Well, here we are a year later. While new user retention isn’t as good as I’d like, a large number of the people playing the game today joined a year ago, so obviously I’m, at least, OK at this.

To those of you who play the game, thank you. It is fantastically, monumentally cool to see other people enjoying something you’ve created, and without you, there wouldn’t have been a year to review. The pride I feel I guess is kind of like the pride of having a kid, but less expensive and with less pooping? (Probably about the same time commitment, though)

Duck of Hell from Pleasantville by NightFor those of you who used to play, come on back! I’ve been putting a lot of effort over the past few months to make the game a lot more accessible. This round, for example, I massively simplified the stats so it’s more clear what things actually do. Give it another go…for me? (And if you still don’t like it, please, let me know why! I can’t promise I’ll make every suggested change, but if it’s a good idea, I probably will).

To those of you who don’t play, give it a try! (http://www.pleasantvillebynight.com) It’s free, the community is friendly, and it has zombie nerds, werehippies and Beelzebros! What more could you possibly want?

Some numbers, because everyone loves statistics. Since February 15, 2012:

    • 217 user accounts have been created.
    • We’ve had 7 complete rounds, and we’re now on the 8th. The shortest (the first) lasted less than two weeks. The longest (the 7th) lasted almost three months!
      • 4 Beelzebro Wins
      • 2 Inquisition Wins
      • 1 Cthulhooligan Win
      • 0 Weirdfellows Wins
    • Besides the original content, I’ve added:
      • More than 60 creatures
      • Almost 200 items
        • 11 of those items were donator-reward Items of the Month. 2 of those actually came out on the first of the month. Obviously there’s still room for improvement.
      • 6 areas

Classy Skeleton from Pleasantville by NightSo, in the end, tl;dr as the kids say, thank you for playing Pleasantville by Night, or at least putting up with me talking about it. It’s been a great year, and I’ve got some good things in store for next year. They say the first year of running a browser-based massively multiplayer team-focused role-playing game is the hardest, right? (Please someone tell me they say that, I don’t know if I have the strength to keep going otherwise! This thing is horrible…I’m going gray!)

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for putting up with my rambling. Much love to all y’all,

Taylor

The Legend of Halloween Tim


Everyone knows about Halloween, but not everyone knows why we celebrate Halloween. Well kids, gather round, because i’m about to tell you.

Many years ago, nobody celebrated Halloween. October 31st was just a regular day like any other. However, an evil wizard had been up to evil tricks and opened a portal to a terrifying nightmare dimension and monsters poured in and started attacking and eating people.

The people went to the king and begged for him to send his soldiers to protect them, but the king was a selfish man and just locked up his gates and stationed his soldiers around the castle to keep both monsters and commoners out.

There was despair and helplessness, and the people considered selling their soul to the Devil for protection, and they were just about to sign the contract when…

A man stepped forward…a man who we to this day know as “Halloween Tim.”

Halloween Tim was, to all appearances, an ordinary man, but he held within his chest a pure heart and a powerful will. He kicked the Devil in the face, then tore up the contract and ate it. His stomach absorbed the mystical power that the contract was infused with, and he became more powerful than any man before or since. He gathered up a militia and led the people across the country, slaying the monsters and restoring hope and joy to the land.

His campaign led him to the evil wizard’s tower itself. Here, Halloween Tim left his followers outside, and went in to fight the wizard one-on-one. Nobody knows for sure what happened inside the tower, but it is known that Tim was victorious, and was able to close the portal.

After that, Tim led his people to the gates of the king’s castle. The king wanted to make him a Duke for his services, but instead the people overthrew the king and established a democracy. Halloween Tim was elected the first president and served 34 terms, ruling fairly until the day he died.

Today, the legend of Halloween Tim lives on. Every group of friends or family democratically elects one person to be “Halloween Tim” that year and that person gets to judge their costumes and hand out candy and prizes.

It’s symbolic, you see, of Tim handing out violence and justice to the monsters that attacked his land.

 

If you liked this story, you might also like my horror/humor game, Pleasantville by Night.

Not How I Remember It (Part 3)


(If you haven’t read it, part one is here, and part two is here. For best effect, listen to the songs while reading the lyrics. You might get confused about which is the “real” version…)

I’ve had some requests as to the exact contents of the songs off the Beatles album. I’ll put up what I can remember, but I took the CD back to the store so I don’t have the lyric sheet anymore. I’m leaving off “Orange Submarine” and “All You Need is Blood” because the only changes to those songs are obvious in the title. I’m also leaving off “I Am the Walrus” because even though I remember every single word (how could I forget?), nobody ever needs to know what that one says.

Anyway…

There Goes the Sun
There goes the sun, there goes the sun,
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long hot lonely summer
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
There goes the sun, there goes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, the frowns returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
There goes the sun, there goes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, there it goes…
Sun, sun, sun, there it goes…
Sun, sun, sun, there it goes…
Sun, sun, sun, there it goe…
Sun, sun, sun, there it goes…

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly freezing
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
There goes the sun, there goes the sun,
and I say it’s all right
It’s all right

(Don’t) Think For Yourself
I’ve got a word or two
To say about the things that you do
You’re telling all those lies
About the good things that we can have
If we close our eyes

Do what I want you to do
We’ll go where we’re going to
Don’t think for yourself
‘Cause I will be there for you

I left you far behind
The ruins of the life that you had in mind
And though you still can see
I know your mind’s made up
You’re gonna cause more misery

Do what I want you to do
We’ll go where we’re going to
Don’t think for yourself
‘Cause I will be there for you

Although your mind’s opaque
Try thinking less just for both our sakes
The future could be good
And you’ve got time to rectify
All the things that you should

Do what I want you to do
We’ll go where we’re going to
Don’t think for yourself
‘Cause I will be there for you

Do what I want you to do
We’ll go where we’re going to
Don’t think for yourself
‘Cause I will be there for you
Don’t think for yourself
‘Cause I will think for you

Penny Lane
Penny Lane there is a butcher showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to have known
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
But banker never learned how to laugh
And it’s pouring rain…
Very strange

Penny Lane is in my dreams and in your cries
There beneath the black and choking skies
I sit, and meanwhile back

In Penny Lane there’s a prison guard with a billyclub
And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen.
He likes to keep the prison clean
Running like a machine

Penny Lane is in my dreams and in your cries
Fingers n’ fish baked into pies
In summer, meanwhile back

Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
An ugly girl is selling puppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She dies today

Penny Lane the butcher serves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
Then the prison guard rushes in
From the pouring rain…
Very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the black and choking skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the black and choking skies…
Penny Lane.

Sexy Sadie
Sexy Sadie what have you done
You made a meal of everyone
You made a meal of everyone
Sexy Sadie ooh what have you done.

Sexy Sadie you broke the rules
You mixed us up for you to eat
You mixed us up for you to eat
Sexy Sadie oooh you broke the rules.

One sunny day the world was waiting for another
She came along to burn up everyone
Sexy Sadie the greatest of them all.

Sexy Sadie how did you know
The world was waiting just for you
The world was waiting just for you
Sexy Sadie oooh how did you know.

Sexy Sadie you’ll get yours yet
However big you think you are
However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie oooh you’ll get yours yet.

We gave her everything we owned now we serve at her table
As she smiles and eats up everyone
Sexy Sadie she’s the latest and the greatest of them all.

She made a meal of everyone
Sexy Sadie.

However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie.

History 616


Excerpt from the journals of Robert Witherstone, archeologist.

July 12th, 1894

We made our first excavations into the structure today. Amazingly, it seems to be a library, stretching on as far as the eye can see. I don’t see how a library of this size could have been lost without any record of its existence, unless it perhaps it is the hidden hall of some ancient Indian tribe. If so, this discovery could be a breakthrough in anthropology, finally giving us a written record of the history of this continent before colonization! I have taken a few volumes back to study and attempt to decode them.

July 12th, 1894 (later)

I have made an amazing discovery — the books are in English! The first one I opened turned out to be a history of the American Revolution. Something’s not quite right about it though. The book claims the war ended at the Siege of Yorktown when George Washington ate General Cornwallis. Perhaps this is a mistranslation from an original, different work written in another language, because this can’t be what the author meant to say.

July 13th, 1894

Read more of the books in the library today. Most of the books on science seem fairly normal, but the fiction is perverse and terrible. Worst of all are the supposed “histories.” I found a volume detailing the colonization of Africa, but rather than referring to the cannibalism practiced by the savages there, it described the Europeans as cannibalizing the Africans they killed! All of this is most unsettling, and I am not sure what to think. I am normally the type of man to laugh at silly superstitions, but the fact that today is Friday the 13th does not help my unease. I will continue to examine the volumes contained here in an attempt to get to the bottom of this.

July 16, 1894

Lord have mercy. I do not know what sort of unholy place we have found, but it has to be destroyed. Today I found a Bible (if, indeed, you can call such profanity a Bible).

The familiar stories were replaced with grotesque and disturbing tales of sadistic violence, culminating in the most awful blasphemy of all. The author of this monstrosity wrote the story of the Lord’s Supper as literal rather than symbolic. Christ order his disciples to literally kill him, drink his blood, and eat him. We have set up a fire in the center of the structure and are burning all the books we can lay hands on. We have also set up explosives to collapse the cave in the morning so that nobody else can stumble on this blighted place.

July 17th, 1894

We collapsed the cave today. Jones was injured in the blast. He is conscious, but his leg is too hurt for him to walk. It is slow going having to carry him.

July 18th, 1894

Returned to the University today. No doubt it is my addled nerves still in shock from the horror I discovered, but something about the students makes me uneasy. I do not like the look in their eyes; it seems alien in some way. While they commonly use strange slang and colloquialisms with which I am not familiar, it recently seems to have gotten even stranger, so much so that I sometimes cannot even tell what they are talking about.

Doubtless I am still in shock from the events of the previous few days and this will pass.

July 19th, 1894

I spoke with Jones’ doctor today. He is a nervous man, continually licking his lips and grimacing. His manner is overbearing, his breath is terrible and his teeth are unpleasant. But I digress. In any case, he told me that Jones’ injuries are much worse than they had appeared at first. Apparently he had a great deal of internal injuries as well. They are not sure if he will pull through.

July 20th, 1894

Jones succumbed to his injuries today. The funeral arrangements are being made.

July 22nd, 1894

Jones’ funeral was today. The preacher was very strange. I’m not quite sure what he meant when he said Jones’ soul was “swallowed up” by the Lord. I did like his point that Jones would be “a part of us forever,” though.

Although there was one good thing. As strange or flippant as it might be to mention, the food at the reception afterwords was fantastic.

Three Sixteen


The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. – Psalm 121:8

That was written in chalk on the sidewalk as I left my apartment. I didn’t think too much about it at the time. It’s really not that uncommon around here for some church group to write Bible verses on the sidewalk for passers-by to see, though they usually pick more well-known ones.

On the way to lunch I passed a few more. I noticed “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. – Psalms 119:35” on a small wall along the sidewalk and smiled at the irony of “Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. – Proverbs 25:16” scrawled outside the McDonald’s I ate at. I was a little puzzled as to how they managed to write “But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. – Exodus 14:16” in the crosswalk of a busy intersection, but I had to admire their dedication. All these verses spread so wide, perhaps it was some sort of city-wide event all the churches had decided to do.

My amusement ended when I saw “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. – Matthew 6:19” spraypainted on the front of my office building.

“Hey, you guys see what those Jesus Freaks did?” I asked Jen and Paul as I came back to work. They looked at each other and shrugged.

“They spray painted a Bible verse on the front of the building. Strange that you didn’t see it, they must have just done it right before I got back.” We all shook our heads. The neighborhood sure was going to shit these days.

Seeing “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. – 2 Kings 2:11” painted on the hood of my car didn’t improve my mood any, especially given the heavy traffic I had to sit in on the way home and the strange looks I got.

But when I saw “And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. – Genesis 28:17” painted on my door, it was the last straw. Furious, I called the police. The bored attendant took my statement and said they’d send someone in the morning. Clicking on my E-mail, a message popped up — “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. – Psalms 37:8.” Unknown sender. I hit delete and went to bed, fuming.

The next morning I woke up to find that they had broken into my house overnight. Every possible surface was covered with Bible verses.

I began to go through all the rooms, marking down and noting all the verses I could find. Whoever did this was meticulous. All of the verses were there. Except one. The one that you’d most expect to find.

All the verses written except one. All the surfaces in the house written on…except one. My body.

It was clear now what had to be done. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife (“Jesus wept” carved in beautiful ornate script on one side, “- John 11:35” on the other).

Walking into the bathroom, I stood in front of the mirror, shirtless, and began to write.

“For God so loved the world…”

When You’re in Bed, You’re Dead


I don’t sleep anymore.

It started out innocently enough; I was experimenting with modafinil. You’ve heard of it, right? That stuff they give to fighter pilots to keep ’em awake for 40 hours? I thought I’d get myself some and try it out, see just how long I could last.

At first it was fine. I stayed up all night for a few days, wasn’t tired at all. Sure I started having these weird periods of disorientation and times where I’d black out for a few minutes but it was worth it for all the extra free time I had.

But then I started seeing the shadows. You know those shadows you sometimes see out of the corner of your eye but when you turn your head they’re gone? Yeah well, they don’t go away when you’ve been up for three weeks straight. They didn’t really act like they noticed me or anything, though, they were just doing their own thing. I couldn’t really figure out what they were, until that night.

It was about 5 AM or so and I was taking a stroll to watch the sun come up over the city. I passed by this bum asleep in an alley and for some reason he caught my eye. When I looked back at him I noticed those shadow things were all around him…and not just all around him, all over him. When he woke up screaming I realized what they are.

They’re fuckin’ nightmares.

Since then I’ve figured out I can sort of control them, sort of bring them to me by thinking negative thoughts. So that’s what I do at night now. I keep the nightmares away from people by drawing them to me. There’s an orphanage near my house and I usually hang around there keeping them away from the kids.

The only problem is that they don’t actually go away. I can keep them away from people, but then they just hang around me. And they’re angry. They can’t do anything to me when I’m awake, but…

I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I haven’t slept in four months, and now the back alley doc I used to buy the modafinil from got arrested. I’ve only got a few days’ worth now. I don’t want to think about what happens when I run out.

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