My dad parked the car and got out, eager to have a little sniff around. He always had a thing for raking through people's old stuff and finding hidden treasures. While he was off treasure hunting, I decided to go off on my own little wander.
Most of the stuff on sale was the usual crap: cakes, ugly crockery, junk, etc. Someone was holding a raffle. An old woman was painting kids' faces, but only seemed to know how to do one animal; there were zebra-faced kids everywhere.
I remember a couple standing out over all the happiness and sense of community. There was just a man and a woman with dead eyes taking no interest in their customers at all. All they did was just stare into the distance.
Their table was full of kids junk. You know - toys, magazines, crap PlayStation games, the usual. There were a lot of those Army Men games. A few sports games, as well. I reckon I missed all the good stuff.
I was losing interest when I spotted an old PlayStation memory card out of the corner of my eye. Written on the front in chipped Tipp-Ex was the name SAM. Now this was a real hidden treasure. I bought it from the couple and tucked it into my wallet. Neither said a word or looked at me when they took my money.
After that, I found my parents once more. Eventually, we got back in the car and were once again on our way to my cousins' house. We stayed there for a few days. I enjoy hanging out with my cousins, so I was quick to forget about my purchase. In addition, neither had a PlayStation, so it didn't matter anyway.
When I got back home, I retrieved my old PlayStation from the attic and set it up. I had kept quite a few games, too. I had all the classics: Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Future Cop, etc.
However, before I played any of them, I turned on the console without a disc in. I remembered you could do this to check out the contents of your memory card. I stuck Sam's into the slot and selected it.
There were a few save files on it. Some of them were corrupt - just strange symbols hanging there that displayed a strange series of characters instead of details. Others were games I had never heard of.
However, there was one I recognized: Metal Gear Solid. It was the VR Missions disc, to be precise. It said it had been completed 100%. I had both Metal Gear Solid and the VR Missions, so I decided to check it out.
I could remember quite a bit about the VR Missions disc, but the parts that stuck out for me the most were the giant soldiers, the murder mysteries, and the photo shoot mode. I remembered they were actually a lot of fun. I booted the game up.
When I loaded the save, something odd happened: the title music stopped. This sounded especially weird because I had turned up the volume on my TV so I could get right into the game, but there I was, suddenly plunged into silence.
On top of that, there were no sound effects as I scrolled through the menu options. It was a little eerie, but I chalked it up to the game or the console being old and worn out.
I remembered you could wait for Naomi's legs to uncross to take a photo in photo shoot mode and there was nothing there except a black space where a pussy should have been. It was a little empty void left by the creators to disappoint a million pubescent kids. Amused, I loaded up photo shoot mode and selected Naomi as my model.
When the level loaded, I remember thinking the music sounded a little strange. It was nothing eerie, just a little odd. Maybe it was slightly slowed down or something. Again, I chalked it up to either the game or the console's old age.
I made Snake duck down and looked through the viewfinder, staring at Naomi's crotch and waiting for her to uncross her legs. I was determined to get that snap that had destroyed my perverted hopes and dreams all those years ago.
It took longer than I thought and the first time it happened, I missed it. Waiting again, I almost missed a second time. Luckily, my reflexes had been sharpened by generations of gaming.
Click. Gotcha! A perfect snap of the little black zone where her pussy should have been. I smiled to myself and shook my head. It was funny that I had gotten so excited over something all those years ago.
I was getting a little hungry, so I decided to take a break. I was just about to head downstairs for some food when I noticed something.
I could hear crying. There were little sniffles and short intakes of breath. At first, I had no idea where it was coming from. For a moment I noticed it was behind me. Then I realized it was coming from the game.
I remember getting confused, sitting there to listen to some voice coming from my TV speakers. I just couldn't work out why it was happening. It started getting louder and a little more hysterical. I figured it was coming from Naomi. I tilted the camera upwards, wondering what the fuck was going on. Just as I got to her face, a horrible wail tore from my speakers and scared the shit out of me.
Naomi was screaming at me. I just had time to register her twisted mouth and horrible eyes when I gasped and dropped the controller. It landed on the ground on a button and the game came out of viewfinder mode.
Snake was just kneeling there in front of her. I stood there, shaking, watching the characters seem to stare at one another. I could no longer see Naomi's face. I couldn't tell if she still had that horrible look across it. There was no one in my house. My parents were both still at work. I jumped forward and turned the console off.
A little while later, I was lying on my bed thinking about that horrible face when it dawned on me that the characters in the game don't actually have eyes, just a darker shade of pixels.
Their mouths never opened, either. They just nodded their heads whenever they talked. Naomi's mouth, however, had been twisted open and her eyes were almost photo realistic. What the fuck?
After a while, I convinced myself I had imagined the horrible details. You always do in situations like that. It was just some lame kid's save that he had someone fuck with and managed to scare the shit out of me with. I wondered what else he had managed to do to VR Missions.
Later that night, when my parents were home, I finally got the nerve to turn the console back on. I selected photo shoot mode and chose Naomi as my model again.
When the level loaded, I knew right away that something was wrong. The stage was empty except for Snake. Naomi was nowhere to be seen. There was no music, either. It was just like the title screen. I ran around a little and the footsteps sounded louder than they should have been. They sounded real, too, like high-quality sound effects recorded in a great hall.
The whole thing was a little unnerving, but I kept telling myself that it was just some whiz kid's stupid experiment. Still, I couldn't shake the horrible sensation that something else was at play.
There was nothing on the stage except Snake. I decided to look through the camera's viewfinder again, to scan the level for, well, anything. Panning around, I realized that all those graphics that usually floated in the background were gone. All of that scrolling information wasn't there. The level was just floating in a black, silent abyss.
Still panning, I suddenly spotted something in the distance: a vague shape in the darkness. Before I could focus on what it was, it was gone. I had no idea what I had saw, but it reminded me of one of those ghosts from Metal Gear Solid you could see if you took photographs in the right places.
However, you could only see them when you left the game and examined the photos in the in-game photo album. They had been really creepy. I remember when I was a kid, I stopped looking for them because one had scared the shit out of me.
Still facing that horrible abyss, I took a photo roughly in the space I thought I saw something. I turned around and started taking photos all around me, a few being where Naomi was supposed to be standing. I left the game afterward. I was relieved to get out of that horrible place.
The menu still wasn't playing any music. There still were no sound effects when I scrolled through, either. I loaded up the photo album and began to shuffle through the pictures.
The first one was of the abyss that surrounded the level, or at least I think that's what it was. It was just a black image with no features. There were a few more like this, too. I remembered you could mess with the colors and contrast, so I played around with it, hoping I would see something. Nothing materialized.
Eventually, I gave up. I scrolled across to the next image - the first shot of where Naomi should have been standing. What I was faced with was something completely different.
It was a picture of a little boy, tied up against a bed. It wasn't an in-game photo, but a real one. It was a real boy on a real bed with real ropes. The picture was slightly pixellated, but nothing compared to the low-resolution of the game. Just at the edge of the picture, I could make out a leg. Someone was standing by the bedside.
Something told me to turn the game off. Something darker told me to scroll to the next photo. I listened to the latter. The next photo made my stomach jump. Gloved hands were holding the boy's eyes open. They were forcing him to look at something off-camera. The boy's expression was of absolute terror. A part of me was glad I couldn't see what he saw.
I continued scrolling. They were torturing him now - cutting open his skin and mutilating him in ways I won't describe. The photos only became more and more disturbing, never letting up. Each one was worse than the last. They violated him and tortured his young body. I'd never seen anything like it. I never knew humans were capable of such acts.
My body was shaking and my hands could barely hold onto the controller, but I kept scrolling through the pictures. I was unable to stop myself.
I came to another image. I was relieved to see it was no longer of the boy. This relief, however, was short-lived. I squinted at the screen, wondering what exactly I was looking at.
Then it hit me. My insides did a little wet flip and I froze. I dropped the controller again, no buttons being pressed when it hit the floor this time. I was staring at the image, mouthing "what the fuck" to myself over and over. I stayed like that for a while, my body completely functionless as I gaped at the screen.
It was a shot of Naomi with her legs uncrossed. It was the very first photo I had taken after switching on the game. It was the photo that had started this horrible journey. Now, however, I could actually see her pussy. It was a real image of a pussy - not pixelated or anything. It was just sitting right in front of me in incredible detail.
If I were still a teenager, I'm sure I would have been delighted that all my hard work had paid off. I'm pretty sure every kid who tried getting a photo of her snatch back then would have felt the same, especially when compared to the black void that too many of us actually faced. However, I was far from aroused in this situation.
I noticed the pussy was moving, pulsing with every breath as though I was watching a movie instead of an image. It was like some voyeur's spy cam or something and it was squelching.
As I sat there, speechless, blood slowly seeped from the inside, dribbling over her lips and legs and spreading fast. When her pussy was completely caked in red, Naomi finally began to move her body. She was slowly leaning down towards the camera. I really didn't want to see her face, but I couldn't look away.
Then she was screaming and staring at me with those horrible eyes and twisted mouth. She wasn't looking at the camera, but at me. I screamed back before she lunged.
Out of nowhere, I found strength. I watched as my arm shot out from my body and hit the power button. Her scream cut short. The screen went blank. I tore the memory card from its slot and held it as though it was some potent drug. I realized I was breathing heavily. I kept staring at the name SAM in white Tipp-Ex as my lungs gradually relaxed. I never plugged it back in.
That was the last time I ever played VR Missions. I still have the memory card in my drawer, but I daren't open it. A part of me wants to bind the damn thing, but the other part won't let me.
Maybe one day I'll give it another go, just to see how messed up the rest of the game is. Perhaps I'll buy some of the other games and see how fucked up Sam's saves for them are. Maybe I'll try to figure out what games those other, corrupt saves are for. Maybe.
But for now...well...the memory card can stay in that drawer until I'm ready.