Below is a Recollection–this is not a review, but rather a full spoiler walkthrough of the author’s experience in HEX, an extreme haunt by Heretic. As this experience will not be remounted, it is safe to read this, and not be concerned with spoilers.
Koreatown, 1 am. The streets are desolate, dark. A man waits on the street corner. I approach him and he leads me to a small unassuming building. A metal gate is opened, and I enter a claustrophobic room just large enough for the two of us. He closes the door and the room returns to darkness. He turns on a small flashlight, introduces himself as Adrian, the creator of the experience, and tells me his story.
Suffering from a high fever, Adrian became violently ill. This experience, HEX, is a visceral simulation that was transcribed from that sickness. It takes place in one room in the back of a clinic in which insomniacs are given a heavy dose of a sedative and are killed in their sleep. To add to the realism, this mattress was secured from a real murder scene, in which someone was tortured and killed on the mattress in this experience. The blood stains are real, but we will be protected from them by a layer of plastic.
He then asks me if I remember the safe word (Awake), if I have anything I want him to hold (my phone), and if I am ready (I am). Welcome to HEX.
A pristine white clinic awaits me. A bright flood lamp shines directly on a table in the corner. A woman sits at the table, focusing intently on the papers in front of her. A man in a fresh suit watches over her. I take a few steps into the room, and the man in the suit notices Adrian and I. He rises to greet me and leads me over to the table. He instructs me to read over my waiver and sign it so we can begin. He then approaches Adrian.
“I need to have a word with you—she is having trouble with the verbiage on the waiver.”
Adrian approaches her and asks her what the issue is. She explains that it says she could die! He explains that it’s possible in any event, this is simply a precaution, but she doesn’t have to partake in this experience if it’s not for her. She stands, notably scared, repeating that she doesn’t want to die, and she should probably just leave. The man in the suit moves over to her and she takes a step back. She panics—she can’t do this; she needs to get out of here. The man in the suit tells her that’s fine and puts his hand on her shoulder. But right as it touches her, she knocks it off.
“Don’t fucking touch me—I didn’t sign your waiver. You can’t touch me.” Her panic has transformed into rage.
He moves towards her to calm her, but she takes this as an act of aggression—kicking at him. He catches her leg in his hands, and yells to Adrian. Adrian rushes around and grabs her arms. They lift her into the air—she looks directly at me and yells out to me, “Help me! Help!! Why aren’t you helping me??!”
I feel my stomach sink. I wonder if this is a part of it—but what if it’s not? The thought frightens me and I start to panic. But before I can even think of what to do, they have carried her through a door into the back room. A minute passes, and the man in the suit comes back out, without Adrian.
“Sorry about that. Shall we continue with your waiver?”
He extrudes a calmness that infects me, and I relax. I sign the waiver and he pulls out a small journal and sets up a video camera. The red light blinks that it’s recording and we begin. He tells me he’s heard I’ve been having trouble sleeping—how long has this been going on? Do I go to bed at the same time each night? Do I wake up at the same time? Do I dream? How often? Have I had a reoccurring nightmare? Do I dream of rape?
All of my answers are scribbled into his little notebook. When we finish, he puts away the notebook and leans forward.
“Now, I need you to trust me.”
He pulls out a small vial of pills, spilling some into his hand. He offers me one—a powerful sedative that will help bring forth the nightmares that are plaguing me. Without hesitation, I put it on my tongue and swallow it with a glass of water.
He leads me to the door that the girl was carried through and I enter. It’s a small connecting hall with three doors. He takes me to one straight head and instructs me to put my arms against the door. He pats me down, looking for weapons. As he concludes, a second door opens and the girl from before falls out, grabbing onto me. She looks me right in the face, opens her mouth, and vomits blood across my chest. She lets go and falls to the floor.
The man in the suit pushes me past her—through the door and into a much larger room. A large caged in area is to my right and a curtain hangs to my left.
“In order to get the sedative working, we are going to have to get your adrenaline pumping. This here cage is full of breakable objects. You will be provided a sledgehammer. Break as much as you’d like, but make sure you get your heart pumping.”
He hands me a set of coveralls, a face shield, and a pair of large gloves. I slip into them and enter the cage. I pick of the sledge hammer and smash it into an old CRT television. It shatters into a hundred different pieces. I pick it up again and slam it down onto the television set a few more times, just to make sure it’s destroyed. I pick it up again, turning my attention to an old computer tower. I hit it a few times, rendering it useless. Finally, I find a nice vase, and one hit shatters it. Pleased with my destruction—and completely out of breath—I return to the man in the suit and remove my costume.
He now leads me to the left, past the curtain, and before me is a stained, old mattress—with a single pillow and sheet over it. He instructs me to lay down on the mattress to let the sedative take effect. I walk over to it and sit down. The mattress is soaked, rendering my butt wet as well. I rotate my legs over and lay back—my back now covered in whatever liquid fills the bed. The man in the suit takes a roll of duct tape from his pocket and tapes my hands together. He then lifts the sheet and places it up to my neck. He steps back into the shadows and the light changes into the slow flashing of a strobe. I close my eyes and await my nightmares to emerge.
A man emerges from the darkness. He’s completely naked. In the strobe light, his movements look mechanical—disjointed. He crawls over me, taking his time to grab at me as he moves. He settles just above my head, running his hands across my face. A female follows him. She, however, stops at my chest and pulls against my shirt—tearing the neckline and stretching the base. The man grabs at my hair, pulling my head back so I can’t watch what the woman is doing—but I can feel her claws as they are dragged down my chest and stomach. I tense all my muscles, but it doesn’t help—the pain is excruciating. The man disappears into the darkness with the flashing of the strobe and reappears to pull at my hair. The woman continues to claw at my chest, and I pray that it will be over soon.
After some time, they retreat into the darkness, and a demon emerges. This man is large—and wears a devil’s face. He approaches me, and grabs onto my shirt with both hands—lifting me into the air before pounding me back onto the mattress. He pushes me onto my side and then pulls me back into the bed. He continues to torment until the man and woman return to play. The three of them torment me in much the same manner, until the demon grabs me and lifts me up. He carries me across the room and slams me onto a hospital gurney. The woman climbs onto my chest; her breasts illuminated by a small light. She continues to claw at my chest as the demon now cuts at my pants, tearing one pant leg and then the other. My pants are nearly destroyed when I hear the man in the suit again.
“Wake up! Wake up! You’re having a nightmare!”
The woman tears at my chest some more. I fight to wake up, but she’s strong. I hear his voice once more.
And the demon jumps from the gurney, retreating into the darkness. The man in the suit rushes over, and helps me off the gurney. He instructs me that I’m going to be okay.
My pants fall to my ankles—they are torn beyond repair and can’t retain their shape. My shirt is ripped and covered in blood. My hands still duct taped together. I waddle out of the room and make a left in the small hallway. The room I enter is a small waiting room. Adrian, crew, and cast are waiting there for me—and they clap. They are proud, supportive that I made it through. But they also can’t help to chuckle at a grown man waddling through a door with his pants around his ankles.
I faced my demons and survived. I crawled into the bed of something dark, something sinister, and persevered. I left that night with scratches across my chest—marks to remind of my nightmare, but I also left knowing that I am stronger than anything unreal.