Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nightmare Runner

This is what I've been doing for the last two weeks. I've been doing this, bit by bit, on my newgrounds account.

It's set in this. If you go to my newgrounds account there's commentary.
Nightmare Runner, the game, is by Javier Lazaro.

There is a sequel to Nightmare Runner, the game, in the works. I'm not sure if I'll do a sequel story. I'm not sure if I can make it different enough from the first to justify it.

MAY 18, 2012

I wish I could write my name. As it is, all that comes to mind is Runner. I have no memories to speak of, but I know enough to see what is wrong with this world. To start off, what strange, eldritch universe have I awakened in? Islands, entire miles of land, floating in midair, can be seen to the horizon in every direction. As I look over the edge of my own, I cannot see any land below me. I can see strange, hideous beasts on distant islands. Overhead, a series of flying squid can be seen passing by. Could this world have ever been imagined by a human mind? Impossible, unimaginable. It is too alien. Islands, floating in a cloudless sky. And the creatures. More squids, the color of pale flesh, giants, easily twenty times my own height. They are flying through the air as if they were birds, none coming within five hundred feet of my island.

The gun. Aside from this book and this pen, it is all I woke up with. Other than my clothes, of course. The gun is a strange one. A cord of bullets stretches out of the chamber, but when I fire none go in. It never runs out of bullets. It is a pistol, that much I can tell. It feels oddly right in my hands, as if made just for me. I aim it into the sky, thinking to fire at a squid. But first I notice something strange about them. They are flying in a definitive direction. As I follow their path with my eyes, I see a beam of light, far in the distance. It must be massive, to be seen from this far. I give a start. There is a line of islands, each within jumping distance, which leads to the light. I feel I must have been placed here on purpose. I feel I must go to the light. But it is an impossible journey.

There are innumerable dangers between here and there. Wolf-like animals with giant teeth and spiny protrusions on their back. Squids cluster in the air over the islands, and I feel certain that they will all attack should I get close, or even step foot on their islands. And the gaps between the islands, while only four or five feet here close to my island, get slowly, but surely, longer.

Even so, as certain as death seems, it appears a better fate than to simply sit and wait. I do not feel hunger or thirst, and wonder if it is possible for me to starve. Would I wait here for all eternity? And aside from this all, the light. I feel it is meant for me to go to. As if it is my only fate.

I have decided. Tomorrow. I will set out tomorrow.

MAY 19, 2012

I have just woken. I still am not hungry or thirsty, which only serves to further convince me that even death is better than a prolonged existence here. I am about to start my journey. I shall take this notebook with me and write when I can.


Failure. Utter failure.

I did not make it even a mile. As I was jumping across a gap not two islands away, a loud squawk from above startled me, and I jumped too soon. As I fell below the line of islands and into the sky, my vision went dark. Surprisingly, I awoke, back here on the island I started from. I had not lost even the gun.

I now know that I cannot die, even if I fall into the abyss below me. I can attempt the journey again without worry of death. I shall try again right now.


Failure again. I made it farther this time, much farther. Ten islands away from where I stand right now, all manner of creatures started to descend on me. I hesitated as I raised my gun, thoughts of pacifism running through my head. The split second that I waited cost me my life, as they continued to approach. Finally, I fired, but it was too late. Even as I killed several, the others had surrounded me. The wolves pulled me down, as the squids still hovered ten feet above, simply watching. As they tore into me, my vision faded.

And so I awoke here again. Again, my gun and notebook, even my pen, are all by my side.

It is growing dark again, and though I do not grow hungry, I do grow tired. I shall set out again tomorrow.

MAY 20, 2012
Failure again. But I have new hope. By itself, my pistol does little to protect me. But I have found strange stones lying on the ground every couple of islands. They fit precisely into a hollow in the grip of my gun. As soon as I push one in, my gun undergoes a remarkable transformation. The barrel elongates, until it has gone from the length of my hand to the length of my arm. It now fires a spread of bullets, like a shotgun. This allows me to tear through my obstacles easily. One pull of the trigger kills a small squid immediately. Unfortunately, this transformation does not last long, only thirty shots or so.

I have also found a stone, much rarer than the other, that projects a small force-field around me, protecting me from a single blow. This kind of stone appears only once every dozen islands or so.

As I cross island after island, I can begin to see the massive beam of light more clearly, as well as something beyond it that I cannot quite make out. But I still have not come even halfway to the light.

Maybe not even a quarter of the distance.

I tire again. The several hours that I feel nothing after each death do not refresh me. I must sleep, and shall set out again tomorrow.

MAY 23, 2012

In the last week I have come to realize my name as Runner is appropriate. I feel as though I am meant for nothing but playing this cruel otherworldly game for all eternity.

However, simply being in this world seems to be making me healthier and fitter. My jumping ability has slowly increased. Whereas before I could jump the longer gaps only with difficulty, now they are as easy to me as if simply stepping over a crack. I can run faster, and for longer distances. Even my gun is performing better, firing faster and more accurately.

I have not written in days. I am now because of a new development that I discovered yesterday. I have made it further than ever, to what I judge to be halfway between my island and the beam of light. As I passed the halfway point, a giant squid, easily five times my height, descended from the sky behind me. For a split second all I could do was stare, my mouth agape. That split second spelled my doom. As I turned and ran, firing behind myself, it reached out with a giant tentacle and took hold of me.

Even as I fired into its eyes, in a last ditch effort to save myself, the Lovecraftian monster lifted me into its mouth. It all went black not long after.

It seems this monster dwells over the halfway point, as a sort of guardian. This only serves to make me wonder, why is it guarding the path?

MAY 24, 2012

Success. I have come halfway again, and managed to kill the Cthulhu-like creature. It took eight islands, and two of the shotgun stones, but I managed to kill, after which, it promptly fell into a gap in the path. I am now almost exactly halfway to the beam of light. However, night is coming, and I am tired. I shall camp here tonight, and traverse the last half tomorrow.

MAY 25, 2012



Damn it. God damn it. I woke, strangely, as twilight turned to dawn. As the sky lightened, the clouds flashed, and my mind went blank for a brief moment. When my senses returned, I was back on this infernal island. Back where I began.

An entire day's work, gone. It seems that each dawn, if I am still on this course, I am returned to the start. Apparently I must complete it in one day. I am depressed now, as it does not seem possible to run this course in just one day. I ran for an entire day, and still only made it halfway to the end. Damn it.

I will not be setting out again tomorrow.

JUNE 1, 2012
I have not written in days. I have not done anything except sit here, unmoving, watching the path. The path. It runs on into infinity. Or so it seems. As with everything else, my eye sight has improved. I can see everything more clearly. The beam of light seems bigger, brighter. I can pick out individual creatures on islands thousands of feet away. The gun is easily three inches longer now. It grows with my power. My power.

I discovered it during my rage-induced mope. For a split second, I concentrated on a stone ten feet away. It immediately shot into the distance, clear off the island. I am confident that I could kill with this power alone. My gun feels impossibly impotent now, increased size and, hopefully, power aside.

Despite its size, I can still easily lift it with one hand. Everything is improved.

On a whim, I picked up a stone. I clenched my fist, and it turned to powder. Easy.

I can run across the hundred feet of the island in less than ten seconds. I can do so a dozen times before I must catch my breath.

I took aim, and fired. My bullet killed a single, specific squid easily three hundred feet away. I am beginning to scare myself.

I concentrated with all my will, and the very island beneath me trembled. I must stop.

A giant squid flies overhead. I concentrate again. It shudders, then falls from the air. I MUST STOP!

I feel it. I must set out tomorrow. And I SHALL make it to the end.

JUNE 2, 2012

I am here. About three quarters of the way to the end. The sky is lightening behind me. But I will make it. The beam is so brilliant, it drowns out the stars, these alien, yet beautiful stars. And behind the beam I can see... No. It's too harrowing to think of right now, too... Shocking.

I have become death incarnate. This journey, this journey has been a study in epicness. At one point, I was surrounded by the wolf creatures, and the sky was blotted out by the squids flocking over me. As

I flipped over a wolf, I shot and mowed down thirty more. At the same time, I concentrated on the sky above me, and a ceiling of squids fell to the ground, all killed in the same instant. I do not know how I'm doing this, my movements don't feel like they're my own. Some power is flowing through me.

I can see a giant squid hovering over the next island. Watching me. It shall fall shortly, and I will reach the light. I must. I have come too far. I must set out again, to finish this.

And finish it I shall.

JUNE 3, 2012

It's so beautiful.

It blasts into the sky, and further. It emanates from far, far beneath this island, deep in the mist below.

The beam. Pure light. My goal.

The sun is rising behind me, I have at best fifteen minutes, so I must make this quick.

My memories are returning, but now, as I begin to recall, I wish I did not. My memories are truth. They are pain.

What I saw before, what I saw beyond this beam of light. I can see it so clearly now. And I am shocked.

There are more. More beams of light. And more paths leading to them. None of them are connected to mine. They are all free-standing. Free-floating.

I am certain now. Certain that there are more people here. More Runners. More contestants in this game. All trapped, like I have been. I can even pick one out from here. He's about halfway to his beam, but he's surrounded by wolves. He will not make it this time.

I will remove the final ten pages from this book. I will take them with me and leave the book itself here. Here, for the next Runner to find. Maybe he will find some further truth in these pages.

I am about to do it. About to step into the light. I hope it takes me somewhere other than death.


???, 2012

I remember everything now. I remember that my name is John Airen. I remember growing up in Tennessee, on a little backwoods farm with a pig and a goat and a cow. Strangely, my accent's gone now.

I remember the invasion. The invasion by the elder and outer gods. Who'd have thought Lovecraft was on to something?

I remember the day they freed Cthulhu from his watery prison, the day he destroyed a small country. On a whim. I remember them razing the cities of the world to the ground. Killing millions. I remember the rest of us being enslaved, forced to compete for the "right" to entertain them. I remember being picked for their sick "eternal" game. A game where we were transported to "their" dimension. An eldritch plane of existence, where our only fate was to run that insane "course" over and over again, while they watch from this dimension. It seems I am the first to succeed. The first to come back.

They were waiting at the exit. Too many for me to fight, and besides, I doubt I'm still immortal. They took my gun. Threw me in this stinking prison, guarded by that thing, that squid faced humanoid. But it's not enough. I can still see my gun. It's lying right there. They either don't know about my powers, or don't care. After all, what's one man against a council of gods?

I'm going to do it. I'm going to kill that thing, get my gun, and escape this prison. And I will continue to fight.

Just as I did in that eldritch world.