Amanda

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It happened in February 2011. Dead Space 2 just came out and since I owned the first one, I was hoping to buy the second part, but I was broke at the time. I turned my PC one at about 1:25 PM, Steam automatically opened and signed me in and then I saw something strange in my video game library.

There was a copy of Dead Space 2. I hoped it was some kind of mistake so, being a greedy bastard as I am, I started downloading it almost immediately. I started playing it at 9:00 PM. My roommate was out that night, so I turned off all the lights in out apartment hoping I would have an experience similar to which I had with the original Dead Space.

I soon realized something was wrong with the game. It booted really slow, which was odd considering I have a high-end PC. There was no main menu; I jumped straight to the game.

I was thinking that developers did a lousy job porting the game from the consoles. Then I started hearing a lot of static and something that could be characterized as heavy breathing.

Being a horror game and all, I just thought it was there to build some tension. I started sporting a name in that name, it was written in blood in every room I came in.

The name was Amanda.

Sometimes the game froze for a few seconds and that name was written on the screen. The letters were red and it looked like it was painted with a brush.

What a cliché, red bloody letters. I decided to restart the game, but nothing changed. I restarted my PC, still nothing.

 I accepted the game as is. A haven't searched for help because, well, I got it for free.

But the name Amanda… Why Amanda? Isaac’s wife was named Nicole and she takes a great part in the story.

Amanda just didn't make sense, at all. When the Necromorphs started showing up, things just got weirder.

They weren't hostile. As soon as they saw me, they just started looking at me. Not at my character, at me. I could feel their gaze on my skin. I got goose bumps all over my hands and the back of my neck.

I remember clearly how I was telling myself that things like that can't be possible. Games and real life are separated. I chickened out, I couldn't play it anymore.

I exited the game and I turned on all lights in the apartment. I felt alone like I never felt in my life. I wanted to talk to someone, I was thinking of phoning my girlfriend but she wouldn't understand.

I sat on my desk chair, just looking at the desktop. I decided I should watch a movie, a comedy of some kind. But as soon I touched the mouse, the screen went black, like it was off. It flickered a bit and then I saw a face of a young woman.

She looked like she was beautiful in some part of her life. But not in this condition. She looked underfed, her dark brown hair was all ruffled and her face, her face was covered with scars and bruises and some of them were still bleeding. Light red blood was dripping down her once beautiful face.

She was crying and moaning. I panicked. I quickly unplugged the power cable, but her tortured face was still on my monitor. She said a couple of words. I can hear them right now. She said “Why are you doing this to me? Stop it... Please...  I love you... I want to be with you, but not like this.” Then a blunt sound was heard and she screamed.

Her scream soon became a high frequency noise. My head was pulsating; it felt like it is going to burst any second now.

I lost ground below my feet and I started falling. That was the longest fall in my life. Everything around me was pitch black, like I was falling through the void, the dead space. Oh the irony.

Time stopped existing. There were no seconds, minutes, hours, everything was gone. How long was I in that limbo? It's hard to tell. It felt like years.

My roommate Jason woke me up next morning. I was lying in my room floor in a puddle of my own puke. As soon as I realized where I was I turned my PC on again. I wanted Jason to see it too. But the game was gone. Not a single folder or a file. No registry entries, shortcuts, Steam logs. The game was gone. I bought the game late that year. It worked like a charm.

I told Jason about Amanda. He thought I was crazy, but he swore he won't tell anyone else, and I trust him.

Sometimes I remember her big brown eyes, begging her tormentor for mercy. Maybe I could've done something to help her, I don't know. And I never will.