The one word prompt ‘turmoil’ was suggested by alien-tea. I apologise for the wait.
Title: After the End.
A white wall of static blipped and screeched as it rapidly rearranged its unstable form. A thing, a man, burst forth from it, sending violent tremors across his small form. Turbo flickered, red pixels orbiting him and cutting into his side, exposing fragile binary code. He had been trapped in the now broken game, surrounded by the screaming machine and was subject to hearing hardware breakdown upon his interference. For all the noise that harmed him he knew that the game was suffering more than he and that, in itself, was worth it.
Suddenly the wall dissipated into nothing and the sound of shattering earth and broken pixel echoed through the tunnel. The game had been unplugged.
Turbo turned back, still flickering red, and smiled at his handiwork. He would not lie to himself, he enjoyed what he did. His achievement had to be shared with the twins immediately – they’d won.
The protagonist breathed in heavily, a wavering exhale carrying with it an echo of a laugh as he began to stagger through the tunnel.
There was a great rush of excitement, of power, beating within his body, pulsating but his form was currently far too weak to carry out the actions. He was drained, unsteady and possibly even half deaf from his experience.
It was over. The pain was finally over and-
The GCS was dark.
Turbo looked about, his luminescent eyes being the only source of light. Not a single soul was out. The Surge Protector had not appeared before the racer.
It was very quiet.
The protagonist looked back and forth as he plodded along in the darkness, nervousness and uncertainty taking its time to arrive and take hold of his mind and body.
His glowing eyes looked to the floor to ensure that he would not trip on anything. Maybe he would find someone.
“Grim” He uttered in response to his private thought.
Turbo looked up, estimating that he had come close to his game’s entrance and searched for its sign. He was met with ‘Fix-It Felix, Jr.’ instead of ‘TurboTime’. Strangely enough the signs did not generate enough light to be detected in the dark and remained unnoticed.
“Must not be as steady as I first thought” Turbo commented. His eyes travelled across to the right to where his game’s sign was.
He rubbed his eyes. It had to be a trick of the mind, he must be too tired.
Blank. The sign was blank. His amber orbs swiftly darted further to the left.
‘Pac-Man’ was still there. He wasn’t tired enough to not see that.
Realisation sunk in and anchored itself to the pit of his conscience.
“No” Came the first word of denial. Again he turned his head to the left to find the sign blank and again he registered ‘Fix-It Felix, Jr.’ and ‘Pac-Man’.
“No, no, no!” He exclaimed. He was struck with grief and his fatigued form could only stumble through the passageway, hopefully leading him to his game. The protagonist’s breathing quickened, pure anxiety mingling with the nerves and forcing them to channel its energy through to his small body.
The ground beneath the tracks replied with weak, hollow sounds that grew louder the further Turbo tread. The earth beneath seemed to soften but was numbed out by his hyposensitivity. The fear, as real as death, urged him on, his mind yearning, screaming to be proved wrong. The racer, finding himself tripping and severely unbalanced in his scramble, placed a hand to the tunnel’s walls and stumbled along with its support.
He wanted to keep everything vague, to obscure precise thoughts by listening to his ragged, hoarse breathing and engaging in the maddening feeling of the blood rushing through his head.
Turbo’s grey fingers picked up nothing in terms of sense; they were useless appendages now whose existence and original function served to mock him, in an absurd and unusual way.
The building frustration suddenly stopped for the source of it was no longer there.
The wall was gone.
Before him the track stretched out some few feet forward and ended in the middle of the inky black.
The protagonist trembled, his eyes searing with pain, burning and his whole body dead. He let out a meek shadow of a whimper and shuffled carefully forward, making strange noises of emotional pain as he did.
He reached the very edge, went as far as the crumbling tracked path could support him and looked down.
Literally, there was nothing.
The area was black but not dark, a strange paradox for it did not separate, did not make way, reveal, an additional empty space when Turbo’s glowing eyes searched it. The racer swallowed thickly.
“…J-Jet, Set” He called, voice cracking and crumbling, pain poisoning his voice. No way, no way, no way, this was not happening.
“Jet, Set” He repeated, a little louder. Not loud enough, however.
“Je-e-et, Se-e-e-t!” He yelled, strength capturing their names in a bubble and delivering it to the merciless sovereign of the abyss who did not even give a mocking reply. The last morsel of control was lost and never to be regained.
“J-e-e-e-e-t, Se-e-e-et!” He shrieked, their names inseparable, unwilling to be split up by a pause. It was projected as if it was one word in itself, yet Turbo could taste the subtle differences in their names. His head was practically hollowed out, empty even to the intrinsic impulses that drove him from day to day, extinguished as his heart bled with anguish. A rapid switch in his senses occurred and he felt every nerve, every fibre in his body cringe and groan with pain unable to comprehend the onset of grief.
Turbo cried and wailed, screaming into the black body that ate his words, muttering gibberish and other inarticulate sounds, watching them fall and never hit the bottom. The protagonist, the racer, who once held a place in the world, was now reduced to pathetic, crying child who screamed at the product of death and demanded that it return the souls of the dead, the perfect world that had existed.
Everything was forgotten and remembered, everything was felt and ignored. The muffled thud of the heart against the chest, drowned out by the hazard known as grief. Realisation sent the final blow to his sanity unleashing the horrors of Pandora’s Box into his mind. Ignorance plagued him and confusion took hold, vulnerability was expressed through his tears and the growth of lonesomeness began.
It should not have come to this; it could not have come to this.
It seemed like a night-terror, a hallucination of the hellish sort and by God if it was a sickness it would be a chronic disease that would cripple him forever.
Turbo shivered and wept and whimpered and exposed himself to the void.
He ended up remaining there for several nights and days, drained in every aspect of his being. He sat and mourned and mulled, engorging in the forbidden thoughts of morbidity.
Essentially, he had to give up his life as well. They had all committed a terrible crime and their own existence was evidence. It was like a silent, telepathic condition that had been passed around; a subliminal message that stated that all had to perish should things go wrong. There was to be no trace of their codes.
Turbo delayed his own obliteration and instead waited for the game to reappear.
He would eliminate himself in time, unknowingly, quietly and in a very self-deceptive way.
There was no avoiding it. His mind had already begun to dissipate.