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The Red Room

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This was a creepypasta I wrote when I was 16, based on this Japanese flash video that is rumoured to have been a favouversion to my school's creative writing book, but the following is the much, much darker original.


It was almost four o'clock in the afternoon, and the large suburban Edwin Macdonald High School had just let out for the weekend. A tall, mature-looking young man, Eric, stood alone in one of the classrooms, leaning on someone's desk and flipping through the rift of papers in his hands. A long weekend was coming up, and almost everyone had something due, so that afternoon had become a last hand-in opportunity. There were probably less than fifteen students still in the building.

A fair-haired, bespectacled boy about Eric's age came into the room and slammed his fair-sized backpack onto a desk. "Hey, you're still here?"

Eric simply glanced up, not faltered by the noise. "I have a lot of papers to put in, Ramsey."

"Everybody else is leaving now..." He gestured to the door. Three mousy-looking girls walked by, chattering. "You're still going to come over tomorrow, right?"

"I wouldn't drop my plans without saying," Eric said with a shrug. He often found himself the least energetic of the pair. Ramsey was a nice guy, but he was way too wild sometimes.

"Oh! By the way!" Ramsey pulled himself up to sit on one of the desks. "I heard a rumor about a deadly pop-up on the internet called The Red Room."

Eric finally looked up, his face disturbed. "You heard about what?"

"The Red Room!"

"Why is it called that?”

"I don’t know, but it's like this..." Ramsey paused, smirking, trying to gather whatever story he had. "Someone will be on the Internet, and everything's all normal at first, but a pop-up comes up out of nowhere. It doesn't say anything other than 'Do you like--?'"

"You could always close it."

"Well, that's the thing! If anyone tries to close it, they die!" Ramsey ended this with a hiss, wiggling his fingers in the air. Eric laughed a little. "C'mon, that doesn't make any sense," he retorted, throwing his jacket on. "How do you know it even exists?"

"It just does! I have to test it to be sure…" Ramsey was agitated now. "I heard a couple of people have actually died from it."

Eric was at the door now. "I hope not, man. Now, I need to get these to Mr. Granger," he said with a wave of the papers in his hand.

"Sure. Just be sure to come over tomorrow!"

"I will."

"My sister's bringing her kung fu movie collection."

"I'm still not going to miss it."

"Good!" Ramsey waved him off. "I'll see you!"

Eric headed up the hall with a bit of a sigh. "Why would you want to do that to yourself…?"

It was about an hour before Eric finally got home. He had got some groceries on the way to the apartment house, and knew his father would almost certainly be working late at the office again. As he was stepping into their apartment, he called out, "Dad? I got some things."

Nothing but silence greeted him.

As he put away the groceries, his mind flipped back to Ramsey and the pop-up. Maybe there's some kind of news release or a death report, he thought. If the pop-up actually killed someone...there's got to be written word of it, right?

Eric sat down at the computer in his room, hoping to ascertain that the rumor was, or was not, true. He went directly to a search engine, typing in 'killer pop-up', 'death by pop-up', 'pop-up window murders' and a variety of similar things, but repeatedly, he found nothing. He assumed then that Ramsey had been pulled into yet another hoax, and let it be. He went off to check his e-mail and a few other sites.

Less than ten minutes later, while he was back on the search engine, a small, rectangular pop-up appeared on screen. Eric looked at it, looked away, and then looked back in alarm.

Redroom

Eric stared at the pop-up for a few moments, wondering what to do. Ramsey's words still echoed in his head...If anyone tries to close it, they die. He considered calling him for help, but Ramsey would probably overreact and call the police.

He moved the mouse pointer around the pop-up, checking for another link or more text. It could only be either a joke ad or a virus, as far as he knew. Eric closed his main window, checking if the smaller one could be connected to it. But the little pop-up remained.

"Oh, very funny..." Eric muttered. He moved the mouse to the X-button, wondering if he should go ahead and close it, all the while arguing with his brain.

It's probably just a joke.

What if I really am going to die?

This apartment is small. I'd hear if anyone was coming in.

And how could they find me?

Finally, he clicked the X, slowly and uneasily. It disappeared from the screen. Eric looked at the floor, expecting someone...or something...to leap out and attack him. Nothing happened. He looked up again and prepared to shut off the computer. But the pop-up appeared again, this time, with a sound clip of a girl's voice, saying

"Do you like...?"

Her voice was warped, as if the sound file had been badly compressed or corrupted. Eric moved away from the computer, his heart racing. He waited once more to see if it would go away, or change somehow, but it didn't. Feeling slightly more confident, he slowly clicked off the pop-up again.

It returned a second later, with the same garbled sound clip. If anything, Eric was beginning to feel embarrassed and irate. He clicked it off again, to which it reappeared. He kept clicking, and yet it returned each time, always with the audio clip. The room was filled with bursts of the girl’s garbled little voice.

"Do you-- do you-- do you-- do you--"

After some clicking, Eric realized a word was coming from the line beside 'like'. The sentence now read, "Do you like the |?”

"Do I like the what?" he said to himself, hoping to be eased by hearing his own voice in the room. He was now curious, and went back to clicking it over and over again. More text slid from the line, the letters in a different place every time a pop-up came up.

'"Do you like the r|?" the distorted little girl squawked.

"Do you like the re|?”

"Do you like the red|?”

"Do you like the red ro|?”

"Do you like the red room|?”

Red room?

Eric sat there for a second, his stomach churning. He was afraid to take his eyes off the message, unsure of whether it would turn out to be a screamer or if he’d get a virus. Both of these possibilities were a thousand times more comforting to Eric at that moment.

I found it, he told himself, his gut turning over harder now. I really found it. It’s not a joke. This is real.

He quickly went through his mind for any 'red room' he'd ever heard of. He briefly thought the whole situation was funny and prepared to go to the phone and call Ramsey. And then the pop-up closed itself.

Eric turned back to the screen. Immediately after, a full-sized window popped up. It was nothing but an enormous text list of names on a red background. Eric, his hands now jittery, moved forward and scrolled through the window, skimming over the hundreds of names. He stared at them, his eyes widening in horror...Caroline Chalmers...Kay Wright...John Bay...Lisa Newport...Roy Kindlers...Mickey Fawkes... And then Eric saw something that made his heart stop.

At the very bottom of the list was the name Ramsey Holmgren.

"R...Ramsey?" Eric sputtered. Upon thinking of him, Ramsey's warning of the pop-up resurfaced in his mind.

Everybody on this list was dead. They’d found the Red Room before him. Eric thought he was going to cry, and something inside him was telling him to run straight to the front door and get as far away from the monitor as he could. But he couldn’t move; all he could do was sit there, shivering, eyes locked onto the red and black space that was Ramsey’s name.

Eric almost swore he could feel the sensation of cold, singing breath on the back of his neck. Before he could turn around, two hands clamped down on either of his shoulders, and tightened their grip. Eric howled in pain, and before he knew it, he was slammed sidelong into the wall.

On a Monday one week later, two girls were sitting in their homeroom at Edwin Macdonald High School, waiting for their second period class to begin. One of the girls sat on her desk, kicking her legs back and forth.

"Were you listening to the news on the weekend?"

"Not really, why?"

Well, two boys were found dead right before the weekend. They were found in front of their computers, with their stomachs gashed open."

"Oh, no! Did they find who did it?"

"Um, no, but the cops think it was a suicide pact...like, I don’t want to freak you out, but they both had industrial paint brushes in their hands. They said the boys were trying to paint the walls of their room with their own blood."

"Oh my God, why would they do that?!" Other classmates were crowding around now, eager to hear.

The girl pulled a newspaper page from her satchel and handed it to her companion.

"Here's the article. I think the boys were from our school."

"Geez," The other girl frowned. "Why would you want to do that to yourself…?"

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