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Prologue: Through the Screen

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA Bizarre attacks are beginning to be reported across an unsuspecting community, claims that appear completely preposterous, yet with the cases stacking up, one has to wonder if there might be more truth to the matter than it seems. Authorities can't pinpoint the source, but perhaps one observant detective knows a little more than he lets on.
Dennis was always an outspoken sort, especially in an outlet as anonymous as the internet. This particular evening though, he was really on a roll. Rant after rant, heated discussions that never seemed to cool. Everything was on the chopping block, and it was absolutely liberating, getting all those thoughts out there, consequences be damned. All the while, other heavy hitters in this particular forum seemed uncharacteristically quiet. Many seemed to log out in a haste once they saw just how much he was getting out there. No sense risking their presence, not these days. This didn’t go unnoticed either, not by Dennis.

‘Seriously you guys are all out there but no one else is saying anything?’

No response at first. He was about to type out a sharp rebuke until someone finally had the nerve to comment.

‘Just don’t think anyone else is as willing to take the risk right now. Nothing personal.’

Dennis scoffed and shook his head. What a bunch of naïve saps.

‘So a few people get hurt, probably all doing something stupid and completely unrelated to anything, and just because they were near their computers you’re all gonna wuss out and go quiet like this? Why even bother showing up? Would’ve thought you all would’ve been smarter than this but turns out I really am the only one around here with any common sense!’

He leaned back against his chair and sighed, not expecting to get another response. Everyone left was just so tight-lipped now… He’d turned away from the screen for a moment, then looked back up, only to see that someone did in fact respond. They didn’t have any sort of avatar, nor a username, just a blank space where it usually would go. The chat box was devoid of anything except the message itself:

‘So, that’s how you think?’

Oh, funny guy here, trying to play some stupid trick, Dennis thought to himself. Doing everything those half-crazed people claimed they saw in their little delusions. Only a matter of time. He leaned forward to type exactly what he thought, but he was stopped as a private message window suddenly popped up on screen. Strange… Usually one had to accept a PM request on this forum. Tellingly, it came from the same anonymous prankster. There wasn’t any text this time, just a gif. Some distant figure, apparently walking its way closer into view. Likely it’d get close enough to make a face or something and repeat, the typical sort of thing, and yet, something seemed… different about this. The animation was smooth. Exceptionally smooth. It was like real time, the way this thing was walking, and the resolution was about as high as one could fathom. As the thing got closer it started to look like it wasn’t confined to a computer screen at all. Dennis could make out its features now. It looked like some kind of humanoid cephalopod, dressed in ornate clothing that slipped beneath whatever its feet were, making the creature look as if it were floating in its approach. Second by second, the boy was getting more uneasy, waiting for the unsettling gif to restart its inevitable cycle and pop back into the distance, but it never did. It only seemed to get closer, and then, rather than simply looking unconfined, it truly wasn’t. A pale-green hand with tendril-like fingers reached out of the monitor and clutched at Dennis’ throat before he could even attempt to comprehend what was happening. He tried to scream for help but the creature’s grip tightened. Its squid-like head leaned out of the screen, staring at him with an abysmal gaze.

“Quiet your thoughts...” The monstrous being whispered as its free hand clutched the side of the terrified young man’s face, a single finger slithering towards his ear…


“You’ve gotta be kidding me… There’s no way this just keeps happening!” said a particularly bewildered police captain as he walked away from the crime scene, the house swarmed with cops and reporters, as well as onlookers simply trying to get a glimpse of the latest victim’s condition. The police were quick to hold them at bay, but the masses didn’t make it easy for them.

“Sir… it’s happening in nearly every precinct now, what are the other captains saying about all this?” a Lieutenant asked in a worried tone, following the older man away from the crowds.

“You saw what the kid was like, same thing with all of ‘em… and the same nonsense about something coming out of their computer screens. That’s the only connection, and it doesn’t make a lick of sense, Lieutenant. There’s gotta be something… marks, a sign of a break-in… You’ve talked to the family?”

“Yes sir, they all have alibies and eyewitnesses have them all away from the scene at the time it transpired… but the boy said something else, you might want to hear this,” said the Lieutenant, and the Captain seemed to merely stop and shrug, waiting to hear exactly what it was, not expecting it to really make much of a difference. “He brought up just what he thought he saw come out of his monitor. Said it was like a squid or something, but with hands… Said it spoke something to him and messed around with his head a little. He spoke it all pretty clearly for something so delusional.”

“…How’d we get that out of him? No one’s gotten anything like that outta these people,” the Captain asked in surprise.

“Well, the new detective managed to say the right things I guess. Got the right tone or something maybe? Whatever it is, it’s working,” said the Lieutenant, soon finding himself following the Captain right back into the house.

“Ponderosa… They said he was good, but damned if I ever thought he’d show us all up this quickly…”

Back inside the house, the two higher-ups spotted the freshly-transferred police detective kneeling calmly beside a despondent and disheveled Dennis, though the boy actually looked to be moving about slightly, mostly fidgeting, but nonetheless, showing a faint sense of activity. Only moments prior, he had been in a near-catatonic state. The Captain was nearly beside himself.

“Well now, they said you had a talent, Saul, but maybe you should’a considered the field of psychology with results like that.”

Saul turned to face his superior officers, standing up at attention.

“Just doing what I can, sir. We had an earlier case like this where I was last stationed, I’ve had plenty of time to look into it,” he said, attempting to explain himself as humbly as possible. He knew this sort of thing could sometimes be taken the wrong way, particularly for the more experienced officers.

“Well, you’re doing something right, just wish what the kid was saying actually helped some more, just more fantasy nonsense, but at least we have something new to report on… might see if we can get the other precincts to try and get similar descriptions outta their victims… There’s gotta be something else connecting all of these, way too coincidental for circumstances to be this exact… You saw what was on the computer?”

“Just the same sort of thing, that cryptic response, a blank private message screen and nothing else. Sir, whoever this is, he’s apparently going after rather highly opinionated people,” said Saul, getting affirming nods from both the men in front of him.

“Seems that way, but aside from the same calling cards, no one can trace where the messages are coming from, like they’re from a damn ghost or something. Feels more like a mockery now than anything,” the Captain muttered.

“Yeah… but… clearly the computer thing can’t be such a coincidence…” said Saul, merely looking back to the trembling Dennis, still seated, keeping his eyes averted from his computer.

That night, the case was continually replaying in Saul’s mind as he stumbled tiredly back into his apartment. Once he was inside, he seemed to gain at least a small burst of energy, making sure his door was deadbolted and all the windows of the compact living space were shut and draped. Turning on a small desk lamp near his laptop, he gave one more paranoid look around the room before pulling out what appeared to be some electronic device with a simple LCD screen and a couple of buttons lining the side. By all accounts it looked like a children’s toy, albeit a rather expensive and well-made children’s toy. Placing it near the laptop, it briefly glowed a bright, neon green which seemed to transfer over to the computer’s screen for an instant. As the glow disappeared there, a small creature, a ball of white feathers with black eyes, a beak with surprisingly mouth-like malleability, and a piece of eggshell on its head like a tipped hat stared back at the police detective with an eager grin.

“So? Did it work? Did he say what I told you he’d say?” The creature asked in a confident, near cocky tone, as if it was well aware of the answer before a response could be given.

“…He did. It was all just like you said it would be…” Saul quietly replied, staring intently at the virtual being on the screen as he grabbed at the device it seemed to spawn from. “Now, you’ve got some explaining to do, little birdy… You called yourself a Digimon… I’m thinking it’s high time you tell me just what that entails.”
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