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A short story (fiction) about playing DOOM on the Internet

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Billy Baron
has entered the game!

Joined: 04 May 2021
Location: New York, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2023 6:58 am    Post subject: A short story (fiction) about playing DOOM on the Internet Reply with quote

The 1988 Station Wagon of Death by Billy Baron

So there you sit. Another night, connected to the electric fray. You never seem to be able to break out of this funk. Years have passed, you still regularly connect to the online battle, to send the Demons back to Hell. A job that's never over. A battle that has claimed countless comrades and brothers in arms. In the sufficiently comfy office chair, all the psycho-babble in the world can't convince you that you've had enough killing and Demon slaughter.
And you're not blind at all. You're the kind of guy that stands up and applauds when you see an emergency vehicle racing through the neighborhood with the sirens blaring. "Woo Hoo! Top Of The World Ma!" you shout with glee. What else can you do when the death wagon shows up at another senior citizen's house to confirm their untimely end? It's a testament to this go-nowhere end-up-as-nothing existence we all have to live. You're tired of hiding from it and are ready to face it like it's an extraterrestrial that has entered your bedroom. You're going to open your eyes right up and see it for what it is. Death.

The radio chirps with death messages and famous last words. Arnold Swartzenheimer promises that "He'll be back" and Elmer Fudd swears vengeance against someone only known as a "Waskaly Wabbit". Messages roll over the comm at a steady pace, reassuring that there is some sort of technological answer to this never ending question. Something with significant cruft that puts it in perspective. Of course it is.

Just then, you hear the chugging of a forgotten generation. A 1988 Station Wagon. It gasps to life, pulling it's rusting body forward, and then quickly goes back to idle.
*Chugga-Chuggs Chugg* it growls and lurches forward, followed by a loud purring of "Chugg-chugg-chugg-chugg".
You at first didn't even notice the chugging up the street. But then after it passes a few houses, you become aware of it's tell-tale sauntering, stalking it's way up the street.

A message comes across the comm
"Well? What's the problem?"
Your mind races for any other answer. How could somebody know what was going on in front of the homestead?
"Somebody is watching me? Bah. That's impossible." you decided in only a moment. It is ridiculous that you even entertain the idea. This kind of stupidity is so common place these days. When are they gonna stop....

You think of the black windows. The Station Wagon chugging loudly through its dated and tired muffler. The wood panels on the doors echoing those truths. Style simply met design on the drawing board here. Of course wood panels on this steel machination should be.
*Chugga-Chugga-Chug* !
The engine roars to life from idle, the driver looking for his next victims perhaps. Doesn't this person even have a house? Where is this guy from? Driving through neighborhoods, looking for something in the darkness of night. Not the best time to be looking for a contact lens you dropped, pal.
*Chugga-Chugga-Chug* !
He's coming up the street, nearer and nearer your door! You duck below the frame of the window, popping your head up, clutching the moulding. Is this guy going to make you his victim?

"What's going on?" The unknown player innocently asks. Only known by his moniker you've never seen before. You, for the first time, notice what it is named "Deth_Wagon31337".
"Deth Wagon! Does that mean something?!?" The fear in your mind seems unable to connect the dots. You know for sure now, the Station Wagon is going to stop in front of your house and you will be the next victim.

(Ed. Note: Long Story, Cheat and see the ending in The Aftermath!)

First this ridiculous looking vehicle, and now this! What's this all coming to? You don't know what to think, and the both things happening at the same time makes this all even more confusing. "Bah!" You decide and you turn back towards the window. The Station Wagon isn't moving up the street anymore, it's just sitting there idling. It'll probably start moving again in a minute.
"Wrong house, better murder the people up the street," you imagine the driver saying.
The door of the car opens calmly, and the silhouette of a heavy set man gets out. His broad shoulders give him a very hulking appearance. He appears to be wearing some kind of flannel jacket, like the kind people wear when they rake the leaves, but you can't be sure. It looks like he has blue jeans on, but you can't see, and surmise this winner of the gene pool might be wearing blood stained cargo pants, with a kitchen knife tucked in his belt. You never know. The darkness is helping to feed the fear and terrors of your mind very much.
He stands motionless for a moment, then begins to walk around the front of the car.
"Oh, great," you think. "He's coming for the door."
Still sitting awkwardly in your hiding spot at the window, you sneak back to a spot behind the corner up the hallway. You aren't taking chances with this surprise guest, you're getting ready to jet. You're actually so possessed with fear, you don't even think of how you're going to make your escape. You just watch on as the scene unfolds.
The man, who must be about six feet tall, stands in front of the door. The night light is on overhead, and his face and body are masked in the shadow created by his head which is tilted down towards the handle. The only thing you can see through the curtain on the door is that he has shorter hair which looks like it's curly. You can't tell what color in the dim nightlight, but you are able to ascertain that it is not black or dark brown.
The man tries the knob and gets the firm stop by the lock.
"Heh heh, stop 'em with a Shlogg(TM) brand door lock," you think.
Now painfully obvious that the door is locked, you predict the man will just get back in his ancient chariot and head out on up the street, preferably to a non-violent activity, trying to maintain positivity at this point. You weren't actually expecting an encounter, but now this is turning strange. You're trying not to laugh at this all, because how could this be one of those, things. Those dirty things.
Two dozen seconds pass and you surmise that he'll probably write a note and leave it under the door, or under the welcome mat. Then you hear some kind of metal scratching, and the man crouches in and down towards the handle. You can't guess what is going on, and a terror comes over you as you realize he is picking the lock.
*click-click-scratch-click* you hear in the door knob lock.
"This is getting out of control" you try to stir yourself awake. Now you're prepared to run, terrified of the impossible, this giant idiot knows how to pick locks.
The door knob turns all the way and the door opens a quarter of the way slowly and stops by his hand. You see him take a step forward and put his foot inside the room. He motions towards his side for something you don't know what. You don't even have time to think and begin to turn the other way.
Racing towards the room in the back of the house, you realize you don't have any time to grab anything, or put anything away. You have to leave right now. Once inside the room, you shut the door almost all of the way and try not to make any noise. You reason that he might go anywhere else in the house, and as long as he doesn't know you're back there, he might not ever notice. You cower in the darkness.
Looking around, you see no obvious exit, no door, paths to other rooms. You're just stuck. Thinking fast, you turn toward the window, which is just big enough for you to squeeze through. You've never done it, but this isn't one of those times where you want to sit around worrying about it. You quickly go to the window and open it up. Standing up on the table in front of it, you in only a couple easy motions heft yourself onto the opening and through. If you had been on a second floor, you probably would not have made it down. It was only like four and a half feet to the ground.
You land on the ground on your feet and stumble forward a few steps and stand up straight again. Dazed, you look around like you're waiting for a cooler of sodas to open up at your backyard barbecue. Shaking this drunkenness off, you realize you have to get out of here, right now. You go to the path around the side of the house that you know about, ducking and running past the window. You are so frightened, you don't notice if there is a person near the window or not. You're basically worried of the possibility of other people being in the Wagon of Death.
You stop at the front corner of the house, and take a look up.
"Nobody in sight" you quickly survey the situation. You can't see around to the front door to see if it's open or closed. You decide that you can probably run to the road and get out of harm's way but are simply distraught at having to make the effort. You want to stop and relax for a minute, but you can't even do that. You take a breath and run to the street. On your way up to the street, you don't even look back, and you get up to the car without seeing anybody else. You are glad are feel a little relieved that you can probably get off of the street without being noticed.
You turn around and take a step or two backwards as you say goodbye to your home. You see no one in sight, but the front door is open halfway in the orange night light.
"Somebody is in my house" you uncomfortably state as a truth.
You turn back towards the road, and go all the way to the street. When you get to the stop sign, you have decided that you'll go to a spot you saw when you took a walk with your sister when she recently visited. There was a "fort" in the woods built up by some children a half mile back in the neighborhood. You can stop and collect your thoughts fully there and decide what to do about calling the police. If the Death Wagon comes back to find you, you can try to hide deeper in the woods.
Making it all the way to the woods, you are furious with anger. WHO could break into my house? WHO dares come into my castle? This is an outrage! Heads are going to roll! This is not going unnoticed. There is no excuse for this malfeasance. You're going to press charges in the fullest, and the bastard who did this to you is going to pay; Pay you, your lawyer, the state, the state's lawyer. And he's going to do time. You're going to be certain that they take this bastard to jail. You don't get away with trespassing in my home.
You stand there enraged for at least fifteen minutes before you realize this kind of rage isn't going to wear off, and calmly accept that this kind of rage and anger is normal. The person is clearly wrong. It is a perfectly human response, and thankfully, one that doesn't come along in a very long time. You begin to wonder why someone would want to come into your house. You can't think of anything short of simple burglary, but again, you don't really have anything worth stealing. This whole situation makes no sense at all.
Feeling mentally exhausted, and seeing nobody approach you, your tiredness feeds your curiosity, and you decide that you would like to see what has happened to your home. You'll carefully sneak up the back street and peek around the corner to see if the person has left.

You get to two streets away and start to make your way down the hill to the road that connects this street with your own. As you begin to descend the hill, you hear
*chugga* *chugga* *chugga*
The car is coming up this street. You can't believe what is going on. You're standing in the road in the middle of the night, and now you're going to have to run away again. Who is this guy? Is he going to hit multiple houses? Did he see you clearly run out of the house? Will he notice it is you if he sees you?
Your heart begins to beat wildly in your chest as the terrors flood over you. You don't know what to do. There is no clear answer, and you are thinking in a hundred directions at once. You have to get out of here! You have got to find help! You have to get your house and life back! You are going to have a life in that neighborhood after this! You manage not to say anything or have any kind of outburst, even though you feel like you would like to explode.
The lights shine brightly on the trees above the road, but the headlights are still lower than the hill. "He's coming up the hill right now," you begin to worry.
You have to get out of here right now, and you look around for any place to hide. You look back up the road and whether by exhaustion or some other factor you put the idea out of your mind. You turn towards one of the houses that is set way back from the road behind a big front yard. You see behind the house is a wooded area, you don't know how deep or dense, you just see that there is no obvious route to your street which is somewhere behind there. It looks familiar, and you decide to chance it, guessing that there is probably a small ridge and then a couple large rocks and that's all between the house and the road. You're almost sure of it now, and you start running towards the front of the house.
There are no lights on inside except for the bright numbers on an electric clock that you can see through the window. You don't even stop for much more than a quick pause to see this, and decide against going up to the door to ask for help. You run around the side of the house and through the gravel driveway. You hop over a garden hose and run past an old car that looks like it isn't even road-worthy before you get to the back yard. Looking off to the side, you see that there are some woods, and you see a street light from your street on the other side of it. You run to the wooded area and quickly look for an obvious foot path that might be between the two streets. Upon you don't find an easy way, you decide to climb over the branches and get back to your street.
*chugga* *chugga* *chugga*
You see the station wagon roll in front of the house behind you. You feel a kind of safety hidden behind the house, assuming that he couldn't possibly have guessed that you have run back to here. The only way he would have noticed is if he saw you ducking through the front yard. You had a lot of distance on him and are fairly optimistic that you got away this time.
You step over and onto branches, twisting your ankles around the fat downed timber, quickly nearer and nearer the other street. It's only a couple more feet. You stumble and wrestle with knee high piles of debris, trying to get enough of a footing to walk over the piles of dead wood. It's only a couple of feet, but you are standing shakily on cracking kindling at best.
Just then, you see light bounce towards you, like some kind of flash light. Looking back, you don't see anybody from the inside of the house, and, to your dismay there appears to be a person shining a light from around the front of the house. The light rolls over the woods and back again in the other direction. You hear the car door slam. "He got out. He's coming over here.", you worry. "How did he guess that you went behind this house?", you wonder. You reason that he could not have had enough time to check every yard.
"Why is this happening to me?" you want to know. "How could he find me so quickly?" your mind instinctively worries as the prey of a predator does. Like some game of cat and mouse, this reality of a killer stalking you down does not make you feel very dominant. You feel little more than meekness, and an overpowering sense of righteousness. But what good is all the righteousness in the world if you are a little mouse, unable to do more than hide from a giant cat? A killer cat?
You finally free yourself from the woods, and hop into the lane. Your house is several houses up, and you are not very interested in what you may find there. With you already having personal knowledge of your home being ravaged, it does not soothe your conscious very much to believe therein lies an answer. You can't stay on hold and wait for an emergency operator to route you through to the police. And it may take hours for the police to show up for a random call which may be a prank.
You run up to the nearest door and bang heavily on it, hoping someone inside will wake up. No answer or lights come from inside, and there is no movement after a couple minutes. You feel uncomfortable standing so near the woods and run to the next house. You run right up the steps and begin banging on that door. No lights on inside there either. With no movement or indication of any people are even awake, you breathe a heavy sigh, discontent and disappointed with the situation. You wonder if anybody will be able to help you.
You race away from the night lit door and back down the path in front of the house, and run up the street to a third house. Banging heavily on the door, still afraid to raise your voice very loud, you see no movement or signs of people inside. You bang heavily a second time, and then a third time, pounding heavily with your fists, but, again, no answer of life comes from the other side of the door. You just writhe at how unfair this has happened in the middle of the night like this.
You are becoming more and more emotionally drained with each unanswered door. You are running out of energy and very quickly. You don't know how much of this punishment you can put up with. "Someone has to be there," you desperately search for enough strength to continue. You feel like you want to slump down and curl up into a ball right there. You've had it with this race. You've had it with this chase. Even the fact that the person did not follow you through the woods isn't enough to give rest to your nerves. You can't even seem to shake the uneasiness, you're just going through wave after wave of feelings of impending doom.
*chugga* *chugga* *chugga*
Your guts fall out at the sound. He's coming back up the street. With what seems like less than seven minutes of peace it's going to start all over again. Where are you going to run to now? You were wrong for coming back to this side of the neighborhood. You know that now. You quickly guess that you go back and hide near the fort those kids made, at least there will be plenty of opportunities of doors to bang on up that way. It seems the peace you were expecting to return will never be. You can't even imagine, but you think you'll probably never get used to life here in this neighborhood again. "Does it all really end like this?" as you pull yourself up as quickly as possible.
You run across the street to your neighbor's house and feel warmed at the night light shining brightly in the night. Inside, you see signs of hope, main room lights are lit, and a hallway you can see from the doorstep is fully illuminated. You bang on the door heavily. After a couple moments you see a woman's curly haired head popping down the hallway. Success at long last, the camaraderie of the neighborhood washes over you and the unification of that which your whole country is made of builds up your spirit.
"Hi! Hi! I live next door! I live next door!" you say through the glass. You're not sure if she recognizes you are she gives a pissant scowl and approaches the door. You waive it off, assured by the strength of your expectations that all of the things will be resolved. "I need help" you continue. "Someone broke into my house, I need you to call the police." you beg. It looks like she isn't even paying attention to you as she walks towards a table at the side of the room. You cant see enough of what is going on inside until she picks up the phone.
*chugga* *chugga* *chugga*
Your begin to worry as you hear the station wagon nears her house. You don't even look over as you are so hopelessly spellbound by the possibility of the phone call ringing true with help from the authorities on the other end. You can't even seem to fathom the reality that something may go horribly wrong. It's the rude awakening of the entire world 2.
Your neighbor talks to someone over the phone for what seems like a really long time, but when you think about it, is only maybe a minute or a little longer than a minute. She then puts the phone down and walks towards the front door. She says the police will be coming in a couple minutes through the glass, and that finally gives you a sense of relief that there may be an end in all this running. "Thank you, " you begin, not sure of what to say or where to begin the conversation.
Terrifically, the car lurches in front of the house and stops abruptly. You are so terrified it scares the life out of you. You jump up, turn, and make an immediate pass towards the side of the house. You run as fast as you can to the back of the house which has a big bright halogen light over the grass and clothesline standing there. You see heavy woods and just about nowhere to run. Through the woods you can see some night lights twinkling at you from an adjacent street, but it is very difficult to even see a way through. You for some reason decide to brave the woods which are more difficult than the last small pile of branches to pass.
Behind you, you hear what sound like the front door being pulled off of the hinges and glass breaking, followed by two or three heavy slams; someone kicking or throwing his weight against the door. Loud female screams sound, and then you hear your neighbor screaming "Help! Help!" as she apparently begs for her life. Two loud blasts ring out, then after a second or two, a third blast comes from the out-of-view scene. You can't be sure, but guess that the gun you hear is a shotgun, maybe a double barrel from the pause after the first two shots came. You don't want to know, and try to quickly move through heavy trees and mud.
You push over, and bend saplings, and step over giant trunks, slipping on muddy dirt that is both wet and covered with leaves. Moving forward, and up a hill, you slide and slide backwards until you step through the knee high weeds and brush. There isn't many downed branches on your way up the hill, but the slippery mud is no cake walk. Moving forward without looking too much, you come to what looks like an old road or highway. You run around the corner that is ahead and come to a kind of cul-de-sac.
You look around and run up to one of the houses. Again, you begin banging on the door. The lights are all out, and there is no movement inside. You don't wait long before you bang on the door again, giving heavy booms with each slam of your fist. You stand back, and decide that nobody is awake inside. You are so energized by the details of the murder and exhausted by the experience, you can barely reflect on the horror. You run down the step and across the cul-de-sac to a house that has some light on inside, but no night light in front of the house.
You run up the wood step which give an empty sounding thud at each step. There are no roses on the lattice in front of the porch, you hardly notice as you go straight for the door. You knock on the window this time, seeing no place to give a heavy fisted slam. After two repetitions of knocks, a man appears in a robe from around the corner.
"I'm from the other neighborhood, " you explain through the glass to a person is a complete stranger to you. "I need you to call the police, something terrible has happened." you say as briefly as you can. The man walks to the other room and you can see him talking into a phone, but again, you don't know who he is talking to. You quickly imagine the same situation unfolding and turn around to look for a different way out, hoping not to be chased through the woods. Not even waiting to see if the man has contacted the police, you run down the steps and to the front of the cul-de-sac. You notice it is a real cul-de-sac, and has no other exit.
Your mind floods with fears that the man will ultimately find and kill you, and you run around the corner ahead of the entrance to the cul-de-sac, where again, you are presented with the highway which must connect to your neighborhood somehow. You don't even know the name of the highway as it looks so foreign to you from this point of view. Looking directly across the highway, you see some unplowed grasses of a farmer's field. You race across the pitch black highway and into the moonlight of the field. You look around seeing many places to hide out, and you duck behind the foundation of some old farm equipment building. There you sit and wait in the blue moonlight and chill of night.
After about fifteen or twenty five minutes, you see the police roll up the highway which has been all but deserted up until now. You breathe a sigh of relief that you have lost the station wagon between the neighborhoods.

The Aftermath
You run up to the police who think you are a concerned neighbor and explain what happened. The old woman was murdered. They investigate, but never find out who it was. There is no obvious link to any DeathWagon. The only 'DethWagon's weren't even logged in at that time.
You start to talk about the woman, and you learn that she has been murdered, shot with a shot gun several times, it's not yet known how many. Your eyes tear up and your stutter a little bit, in disbelief that she is dead. It all sounds so unreal that you cant even believe it is a reality. You can't believe that things are this bad. Are you going to live? How / Where are you going to live? A murderer knows who you are!
You are very frightened to even live there anymore. You move to a new town, unable to settle your nerves.
You go back to playing DOOM, never realizing anything strange. Not even DethWagon, or whatever his name is.
One day, you hear a guy you work with, at a job after you quit the job you get after you move away. You start to joke about your co-worker Mary's "Car Church" - cars so filled with personal items you can't even see through the windows, like boxes, useless crap from department stores, diapers.
He starts talking about this loud station wagon that reminded him of a "Car Church" that came up the street last night, very creepy.

DOOM is a work of it's respective authors and 2020.
(id Software, GT Interactive, and Bethesda right?)
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Posting Spree!

Joined: 14 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2024 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is fucking incredible billy. 10/10. Favorite part was the aftermath.
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has entered the game!

Joined: 06 Oct 2012

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2024 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one
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