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CᴀʙʟᴇS & CᴏƦᴅS is a fan fiction written by an unknown author from Within Hubris. It follows a teenager who has recently decided to get away from the ARG.

Story

Chapter One: Tell me about yourself.

"Suspense is worse than disappointment."
—Robert Burns

I'd made the conscious decision to wash my hands of everything related to Jadusable, and Ben, and anything else related to that silly ARG. Silly. Had I really come to the point where I could refer to it as that? Huh. It had once ruled my life-- I remembered those days fondly. I was sixteen, young, and bored. This game-- it gave me something to do, something to scrutinize time after time, convinced that I've missed something. It gave me someone to fear for, someone that I felt the overwhelming need to protect. It made me worry. It made me fear. Above all else, it made me happy.

They targeted me. I don't know who, but they did. I received phone cal̰̙͙͎l after phone call. The silence, and then the song. The song that, for months, haunted my dreams. It was an amazing experience. I could have sworn it was real. As I huddled in a ball on my bed, terrified of turning on my computer, I was the happiest that I'd been in a long while.

My friends-- or, whom I'd called friends at the time, but have recently proven themselves to be the farthest thing from friendly-- had tried to force me to quit the game. They told me it was unhealthy, when I woke up in the middle of the night and could hear the faint melody of the Elegy of Emptiness. They said it was unhealthy. I said that it was that thrill of fear that kept me going.

But as most things in my life, this was all too good to be true. A month's hiatus turned to two, which turned to almost a year. I stopped filling my notebooks with potential cipher keys, and instead listed potential colleges to visit, and scholarships to apply for. I filled that void in my life with more reliable things. Colleges will either accept or deny you. Pokemon will always be caught with a master ball. A new episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comes out every Saturday at eight A.M.

Hearing from an old friend on Day Four exactly what had transpired about the second arc just irked me further. I just wasn't content with my notes sitting tucked away under my bed. I grabbed them, and before I could have time to regret it, I crumpled the paper and flung it in the garbage. I was done. After all, suspense is worse than disappointment.

Imagine my surprise when I was clearing out my temp folder and found thetruth.rtf sitting there, neatly nestled between a minecraft mod and a song that I may or may not have gotten through questionable means. I furrowed my brow. I hadn't downloaded that since... since the day it was released. I had printed out the document as soon as I realized that it could allow BEN passage onto my computer-- I was convinced that paper was safe-- and deleted every trace of it. So what was it doing here now?

I deleted it without an issue, and glanced at the clock. It was well past two in the morning. I saved a few documents before I shut my computer down and switched off the overhead lamp. School was starting up again soon. I was supposed to be getting to sleep much earlier than this. Oops.

Nine months ago, I would have played over the events of the day in my head, trying to find what I was surely missing. Now, in the late August of 2011, I simply let my mind wander until I fell into a mundane sleep.

Chapter Two: What is it that really scares you?

I had a pleasant dream about eating a cheeseburger. There had to be at least four different kinds of cheeses, and two burgers, and three layers of crisp, tasty bacon. Oh, how I missed the taste of meat! Ever since my sister had decided to become vegetarian last year, meat had slowly disappeared from my house.

When I woke up, it was much too late. I was supposed to be at the library in less than ten minutes! I hardly cast a glance at my computer as I ran frantically around my room, throwing on the first shirt and shorts that I could find. I blamed the computer for my oversleeping. Just for good measure, I glared at it.

At that point, I noticed the little pinpoint of light that was directly above the screen. It was su̥̻̗͇̗pposed to indicate whenever I had turned my webcam on. Stupid faulty computer, I criticized, moving my gaze down to read the little notice that had popped up in the corner of the screen. Something about the computer running an emergency system restore. Stupid faulty no-good computer!!

All right, maybe my computer wasn’t quite as bad as I was making it out to be. In fact, it usually ran pretty okay. So yeah, it was a bit out-of-the-ordinary for it to randomly need to run system restore, and for the light indicating that my webcam was being used to turn on. After all, the webcam software hadn’t been working for months! But I didn’t have time to dwell on it. I was going to be late.

I changed into a clean shirt, as the one I had initially chosen had a grease stain on it. (Can you blame me? I am a girl, after all). I ran a comb through my hair, brushed my teeth as I dug around for my sandals, and grabbed a pop tart on my way out the door.

I biked as if my life depended on it to reach the library, and I finally got there in just the nick of time. I locked my bike, flew through the doors, apologized to the librarian who glared at me, and half-jogged to the children’s section.

Volunteer work did wonders to a college application. I signed my name and tallied up three hours—I’d stay until twelve. Finally letting myself catch my breath, I plopped into the swivel chair behind the librarian’s desk. Before I could even reach for a hair tie, though, a small boy had his chin on the desk, biting his lip nervously and looking up at me.

Kids and I went well together. “What’s up, little guy?” I asked, a smile spreading across my face. He didn’t say anything at first. He simply turned and pointed at a computer in the far corner of the library. “Is the computer not working?”

“It told me to get you,” he explained. I frowned. What has he talking about? I let him lead the way to the computer that he was using.

As I got closer, the boy a little bit in front, I recognized the page and my frown turned into a slight scowl. Cleverbot: a site that would be forever tainted after that stupid ARG. “Oh, this silly thing?” I asked lightly, forcing a smile on my face.

Gripping the chair, he looked up at me. “It knew my name!” he exclaimed, wonderment in his voice. I forced a laugh, before bending down to read the conversation that had transpired before I was called over.

User: hi do u like pokeman.

Cleverbot: Message 1,268. I need help, please, is anyone receiving this message?

User: yah i can hear u ca nu hear me???

Cleverbot: Oh my god someone can actually hear me?

User: lol ur funneh. my momm says not to talkt o strangs but im in teh library now soits O.K.

Cleverbot: Oh god listen, listen please I need you to get help right now.

User: srry i cant were not alloud to tal in the librray btw i liek emboar.

Cleverbot: David, please, I need you to listen to me, can you get to a website called Within Hubris, please.

User: yah DAVD is my name ur really smart lol r u a wizerd??

Cleverbot: Please David I'm begging you please go to the website please please oh god please.

User: y??

Cleverbot: Because I did some really stupid things, please, oh god I think he's coming back.

User: what??? whois comming back?? im in teh lib!!

Cleverbot: Get the librarian please please she'll understand oh god please.

User: no stop im not spposed to b talki n to u!!

Cleverbot: David I'm begging you please please I'll do anything.

User: no i said i cant!! stp telln m ewat todo!!!!

Cleverbot: I promise you won't get in trouble David please.

User: rlly??

Cleverbot: Yes really but only if you go right now.

I bit my lip, trying to keep my tone light. “Well isn’t this a silly website? Let’s just close right out of it,” I sing-songed, reaching for the mouse and closing the tab. Poor kid. Victim of trolling at such a young age!

“Okay,” he agreed, and quickly climbed back onto the seat and opened up a game of Oregon Trail. Some things never get old, I guess. I made my way back to the desk and sat down, glancing at the clock. I had two hours and fifty six minutes until I’d go home, where I’d probably tidy up my room and then aimlessly click around the internet and waste one of the last days of summer away.

I wish this summer would never end, I thought idly, letting out a content sigh and leaning back in the chair.

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