Below is a Recollection–this is not a review, but rather a full spoiler walkthrough of the author’s experience in The Parallel/Heretic’s V A N II S H Part One. This experience spanned three distinct nights and two separate DEATH experiences. As each experience is separate and distinct, they will be split into individual Recollections. Please read Part Two (Death), Part Three, Part Four (Death), and Part Five to get the full narrative. In this experience we are given an address and told to text when we arrive.
“I’m here, can I call?”
I arrive at an address. But this address is not my destination. A voice on the other side of the phone instructs me to continue down the street, past an old car wash, and proceed into a hotel. Don’t make eye contact with any guests, don’t look up, and most of all, don’t be followed.
I reach Room 11 and the door is ajar. The voice instructs me to knock and push the door open. I notice a naked woman lying face down on the bed. But as I inspect more: used cigarettes sit atop the television stand, bloody towels and tissues litter the floor, and the words “Liar” is scribbled on a pad of paper on a table. The voice tells me to look around the room, and I find the novel Satyricon by Petronius on the table (a Roman novel foreshadowing the theme of an unfaithful lover). I also find a phone and I hold onto it. The voice finally instructs me to sit down, sign the waiver, and put my belongings on the table.
I hang up the phone and sit on the edge of the bed. I take out the second phone and look at the recent videos. I click play and see the same room, a gun, and a man. But before I see what transpires, the bathroom door opens and a shirtless man with tattoos and an Australian accent emerges.
“I didn’t kill my wife.”
He seems confused, pacing back and forth. He asks me if I mind if he smokes, and I shake my head. His hands are too shaky to light the cigarette, so he asks me to do it. This calms his nerves a little. He sits down at the table and grabs my wallet. He looks at my credit cards, the cash, and finally my driver’s license. He begins to write my name and my address down. He then asks for my social—and before I realize the consequences, I am telling him it. He’s going to take my identity, and I’m going to be left with his—well, whatever pieces remain.
He asks if I was followed, and then asks again to be sure. He tells me there are people outside. They’re coming—we need to hide. So I lie down behind the bed, bracing myself for the worst. But nothing comes. Just the voices in his head. Kneeling next to me, he asks me if he told me about his wife. I shake my head, and he begins to recount a story.
“I had a dream three days again (no it was four days ago). I’m pretty sure it was three days ago (you’re wrong, it was four). My wife, she was dead. I had put a red sheet over her (it was blue! The sheet was blue). And there was a monster, it was eating her flesh (that monster was you, you were eating her flesh). No I wasn’t! It wasn’t me (yes it was, you ate her flesh).”
He seems to be arguing with his own inner demon. He’s confused; he doesn’t know what’s real anymore. Holding his head in his hands, he pauses to compose himself. And then he begins to tell me a different story. A darker story. A story that reveals what happened in this room. And in this story, I was to play him; to live his actions; to be guided by his inner demon.
I am grabbed violently from behind. Strong arms wrap around my neck until I can barely breathe. The Australian man continues to talk, while his inner demon holds me tightly. The man tells me that he came to this hotel room—and he waited for the girl to enter; he was hiding in the shower, watching her. The demon holding me pulls me backward, into the bathroom, stepping over the wall of the bathtub until we are both standing in the shower. We wait, and the petite girl enters the room, completely nude.
“The girl had to pee,” the Australian man narrated.
The naked girl sits on the toilet and urinates. This voyeurism excites my inner demon as he breathes heavier and the arm around my neck squeezes tighter until I gag to get air.
The girl finishes and reenters the room; I close my eyes and follow. I approach her from behind, and I notice my inner demon now has a towel. The Australian man continues to narrate, telling me that he wanted so badly to kill her. The arms reach out from behind me, throwing the towel around the young girl’s neck. He pulls tightly and the girl gasps for air. She struggles, her arms flying backwards, clawing at my face. She fights, until all force in her tiny body is exhausted. He lets go of the towel, and she falls lifelessly onto the bed. And I am pushed on top of her.
Face to face, I look at her. Her eyes spring open and she begins to panic as she gasps for air. She claws at me again; her nails digging deep into my skin. My inner demon places a knife into my hand and holds it there. The girl continues to claw at me, until I plunge my knife deep into her side. I watch the life drain from her eyes, and she stops moving.
I am forced up. My tormentors surround me. “Do you want to see The Room?” I nod my head reluctantly and a new set of hands grab me, pulling me back through a door I haven’t been to. This room is a small side room with only enough room for a bed and nothing else. Scissors cut my shirt clean off, and a pillow is placed over my head. I push it up to find a pocket of air, but my hands are grabbed and pulled to my side—the pillow still putting pressure.
The torture subsides, and I pulled out of The Room. I am pushed up to a mirror, my eyes forced open.
“Look at yourself.”
And I do. I am shirtless, a large scratch can be seen across my nose, and my hair is a mess. I look frightened. Audio begins to play—it’s the Australian man again. He doesn’t want me to answer, but just to reflect upon it. If I was to go missing today, would anyone care? Would anyone notice that I’m gone?
With this I am pushed from the hotel room.
But it’s not over. I am grabbed and pushed into a second hotel room. “Get on your knees,” a voice commands. Two of my tormentors enter the room behind me. “Give the man some water,” another one barks. A tall man in black approaches me with a water bottle and pours it over my face. Their leader approaches me—wearing the face of a grotesquely mutilated woman.
“Are you ready to join us?”
I nod yes, and the tormentors revel in their excitement. They inspect me: I have a cut on my nose and no shirt. They discuss if they should get me one, but decide I will be more frightening without one. They give me a mask: a woman’s mask with long brunette hair. When I am ready, they proceed to plan for the next victim—a young girl. I remain kneeling this whole time. They joke and the air is relatively playful. Have I earned their trust? Am I safe? No—I’m never safe. The girl should be there soon; they stand me up and take me back to the first hotel.
I wait in “The Room.” The door is cracked and I can see her enter. The scene plays out similarly. She meets with the Australian man. She kills the girl. I watch this play out. The tormentor next to me instructs me, “You will kill her when she comes in here.” I understand. I am ready.
I look out and she is grabbed by her inner demon and pulled into the bathroom. But as I see this happen, I am hit with an elbow to the chest and fall back onto the mattress. Pain shoots through my body, but I can’t react because the tormentor pins me to the bed. She begins to choke me, scratch me, and cut my pants to shreds. A body lands next to me, and it’s the girl. They place a pillow over her head and instruct me to keep it there. I comply as they destroy her clothes. Hands grab her and she is lifted up. She is pulled from the room. The tormentor grabs me and pushes me out with her. The girl kneels in front of the bed—and I am forced to do the same in front of her. The Australian man is brought out and is pushed to his knees.
“Do you know how to suck a cock?”
The girl’s mouth is forced open, and a hand grenade is pushed inside. It slides back and forth, mimicking the movement of a dick. She chokes on it. Their leader approaches; he has something in his hand. It’s shaped like a playing card, but larger, and has a picture of a skeletal reaper on it—it’s a Death card!
“Do you know what this means?” he asks the girl. She manages to squeak out a weak yes—and the card is shoved in her mouth.
“Get their hoods—one, two, three.”
The first one is placed on the Australian man, the second one on the girl, and the third one on me. I am pulled up and pushed out the front door. I have no shirt, my pants are in tatters around my ankles, and I have a hood over my face. I waddle out about ten feet and then remove the hood. I am alone with the girl in the parking lot. I begin to walk to my car. I need a moment—she needs one too. I was led to that hotel, joined a dangerous cult, and helped kill two girls. Who am I?
This is the end of V A N II S H Part One: Night One. Please continue reading Part Two: Death to Continue the Story.