Hey there, I'm glad to see you back for more! A quick note before this chapter- I ended up merging Chapter 2, "The Return" and Chapter 3, "The Survivor" in the interest of making this upload a more consistent length. I wrote these long before I had started making every chapter 10K, so they were incredibly short before merging.
I approached the large building slowly, despite the fact that it was completely dark outside as well as raining. As I reached the freshly cleaned glass doors I paused and checked the time on my phone- as it turned out, I still had about half an hour to kill before my shift would start. I came in early for a reason, though; I wanted to make sure that I knew where all of my escape routes were, just in case I ran out of power. Maybe it was a bit obsessive to go over everything again, since earlier that same day Mr. Fazbear had given me an in-depth tour of the building's ventilation systems, but I figured that a little refresher couldn't hurt.
Through the glass I could see a single light on in the large lobby, illuminating one of the cleaning staff that were still mopping the floor. With one last breath of the night's fresh air, I pushed the door open and walked inside. The mopping man flinched at the sound of my entry and whipped around to face me with wide eyes. I smiled and politely nodded at him before turning for one of the hallways that would lead me to the security office. He gave a weak smile in return, but I noticed that he immediately stopped what he was doing and started putting his cleaning supplies away. Seeing that the night guard was already here probably spooked him, given that my shift started right around the same time that… Well, you know.
Save for that one light in the lobby, which I figured the janitor had turned on for himself, the rest of the building's interior was completely dark. Given that fact, my walk down the long hallway was more difficult than you might expect. The building was large, a size that was necessitated by Freddy Fazbear's national popularity, and at night the many corridors seemed even more numerous than they had during the day. Finally, though, I was given relief from the relentless darkness via the sight of my destination, the soft glow of the security office's light shining through the open doorway to greet me.
It wasn't long after that I entered, and even though I had only been in the cramped room once before, it still caused a feeling of intense terror to well up inside of me. I sighed- maybe that sort of reaction should have been expected, given that I had almost died here not even a day ago. Everything seemed to be just how I left it the previous night- that was, until I noticed a small shopping bag that flickered in the fan's breeze.
I cocked an eyebrow before walking over and opening the bag. Inside were a note and a flashlight, as well as a folded-up paper. First things first: I picked up the note and began to read.
I know that I just gave you a tour of the place this morning, but in the heat of the moment it can be easy to forget small details. So, I got you a few things to help you navigate through the building at night. Hope they help.
- Mr. Fazbear
That was nice of him. It was good to know that he was looking out for me- or maybe he just didn't want to lose another night guard. Given his earlier elation that I would be sticking around, I had to bet that it was the latter. Whatever the case, I tucked the note into my pocket and pulled out the flashlight. It reminded me a lot of the ones that police officers use; dark and surprisingly heavy. I tested the weight in my hand a few times before turning it on and shining it around my office. The light that it provided wasn't the brightest, but that was okay with me. After all, I didn't want to give my position away to any of the animatronics should I need to leave the office. Next, I moved on to the folded paper. Straightening it out, I found that it was an interior map of the building that had been marked for my convenience, as the location of every accessible vent outlet was covered with a little red X. I silently thanked Mr. Fazbear for the gifts as I pocketed the map and readied the flashlight. Turning it on, I walked out into the halls to refresh my memory.
Unsurprisingly, the eerie atmosphere of the restaurant was even more unsettling after-hours. I took my time walking through a few of the nearby hallways, shining my flashlight on the walls and into each room that I passed. I also took note of any vents that I saw as I moved along. My walking was unnaturally loud given the complete silence that consumed the building, the walls echoing the soft clicks of my footsteps as I passed.
I think that's good for tonight, I decided as I stopped near the end of a hall. I was about to head back to my office, but did one last sweep of my surroundings with my flashlight, just in case I missed something.
I paused when the beam of light shone into a nearby room and landed on something familiar. It was a wall covered in papers, each with a crude drawing of the Freddy's animatronics and smiling children. I slowly walked toward the wall and realized that this must be one of the rooms where they display the kids' drawings. That wasn't out of the ordinary for a place like this, though, nor was it what had caught my attention.
The flashlight's beam remained trained on one picture in particular; the paper was fading with age, but the colorful illustrations remained. It was a drawing of a little boy flashing a huge grin as he held hands with Freddy. On one side of the large bipedal bear was Foxy, while Chica and Bonnie stood on the opposite. All of the animatronics were smiling in the picture, with scribbly music notes and stars surrounding them. Written above the figures was a sloppy "I Love Freddy's!" in an assortment of different colors. I couldn't help but smile as I gently took a corner of the paper between two fingers and turned it over- written neatly on the back was "Dustin J., 1984".
"I can't believe that they kept this…" I whispered as I turned the paper back over. It was something that I had drawn when I was just a kid, before the ordeal with the missing children had forced the place to shut down. I stood back and studied the picture as old memories began flooding my thoughts… I found it ironically funny that these animatronics used to be my favorite things in the world, and yet here I was several years later, desperately trying to keep them from killing me.
My thoughts were shattered as I heard the familiar sound of a grandfather clock. I paused for a moment as reality slowly returned to me, then my eyes grew wide in fear. Those chimes meant that it was twelve o'clock now- meaning that the animatronics would be on the move! I cursed under my breath as I ran to the room's door and peeked out into the hall.
How could I let time get away from me like that? I'm so stupid! I paused to listen for any signs of the Band while still mentally berating myself. I should be in the security office right now, where it's safe- not standing around looking at old drawings!
Well, "safe" was a bit of a stretch, but it sure as hell beat wandering around in the halls with them.
After a few moments of nothing but silence, I steeled myself and shined my flashlight down the hall. Thank God nothing was there. I let out a relieved sigh as I exited the room, but couldn't help but shoot one last glance at my picture before running down the hallway toward my office.
I never realized before then how hard it is to run quietly. I sprinted down corridors and through party rooms while simultaneously trying my damnedest to make as little noise as possible. In a situation like that, some might take the stealthy and silent approach in returning to the office, but I had my motives for getting there as quickly as possible; one being that I still wasn't completely used to the building's layout, and two, I was in the throes of a panic attack. All that I could think about was the thing that I saw last night, with those heartless glowing eyes and outstretched robotic arms- arms that could extend from the darkness around me at any given moment. Compared to that possibility, the office looked like a haven… Though even then, I knew that it wasn't a perfect place to be. After all, it didn't have a vent outlet that I could use as a last resort if need be- instead I had a desk fan. A fan. Yeah, that was sure to be a ton of help in my fight for survival, a truly irreplaceable ally.
Finally, I reached the home stretch. A spark of hope ignited in my chest as the light from the security office came into view, promising momentary safety. I chuckled while increasing my speed- I couldn't believe my luck! I basically ran through half the restaurant, and didn't even see a single animatronic along the way!
It was in that moment, as I drew close to the office doorway, that I realized I had spoken way too soon. A large yellow head suddenly peeked out from around the corner, its purple eyes melting into black when they locked with my own. My grin dissolved at the sight, and as its beak fell open to let out a splitting mechanical shriek, I felt the color drain from my face. My sneakers squealed against the tile as I slid to a stop, and I managed to turn and bolt in the other direction just quickly enough to avoid two grasping yellow hands.
My mind was a haphazard mess as my feet pounded against the floor. That scream sounded nearly identical to the one that I had heard the other night, making me wonder if it was the same animatronic as before- but no, I could have sworn that the other one looked… Purple? God, I didn't know- and at that moment, I didn't really care. I could hear heavy footsteps tailing me at a rushed pace, their whirring thuds close enough that any mistake on my part was likely to get me killed. My heart thumped against my ribs at the prospect, but that was the least of my worries at the moment.
I strained my panicking brain for directions on where to go in this situation, but it was impossible to think straight. Of course, I also had the map that Mr. Fazbear had given me, but now wasn't exactly the best time to pull it out and strategize. Instead, I had to rely on instinct and muscle memory. My eyes shot to the left, toward an open doorway, and I silently prayed that it wouldn't be a dead end. To my great relief, I turned into the room to find an exit on the other side. I rushed through the room, dodging party tables and chairs in the process- and that's when I made a discovery. At my sudden turn, the set of footsteps behind me slowed before resuming, though now they were a bit further away.
My eyebrows furrowed. So, this thing isn't so good at making turns, huh? Maybe I can use that to my advantage.
Despite my burning lungs and shaking legs, I continued to sprint down the pizzeria's halls- except I made a slight change to my escape strategy. Now, instead of running and hoping for the best, I actively sought out doorways or turns. Each time I cut across a party room or conjoining hall, the thunderous footsteps behind me would fall back a bit further, and after repeating this process a few times, I had earned enough distance between me and my pursuer that I could try hiding in the hopes that it would pass me. My eyes flickered left and right to find a suitable room to duck into, and widened when a match was found. The animatronic had yet to clear the last corner I took, so I had but a few precious moments to duck into my sanctuary.
I cut into the room and immediately pivoted to stand beside the doorway, my back flat against the wall. My chest was heaving with needy breaths before shakily exhaling, though I did my best to muffle the sounds by clamping my hands over my mouth. I had just barely made it inside before I could hear hurried footsteps approaching from the hall, and anxiety tightly gripped my stomach. What if it somehow knew that I was in here? By the time that it came in, there would be no window for me to escape. I began shaking even more heavily as those pounding footsteps grew closer... and closer...
I screwed my eyes shut and tensed, hoping for all I was worth that it would pass me by without stopping. It was a helpless, terrifying moment, and yet I couldn't help but think that I wasn't getting paid enough for this job.
Despite my horrible luck that night, something must have been going for me- because the footsteps, retaining their fervor, passed by the door without so much as a pause. I nearly collapsed in relief as I let out an exhausted sigh. After taking a few minutes to catch my breath, I turned on my flashlight and shone it around me to find a standard party room… Though one without an alternate exit.
That was too close, I thought as I decided that the coast was clear for me to move again. Way too close.
It was obvious by the animatronic's coloration that the one chasing me had been Chica. Now that she was gone, maybe I could finally make it back to the security office and whatever relative safety it offered. With Chica off my trail, it seemed like something had shifted in my favor, and my luck was finally turning around…
… And again, I realized that I spoke too soon. My jaw clenched against the sound of a hearty baritone laugh that echoed from somewhere in the building- somewhere far too close for my liking. I shook my head in dismay… Its owner hadn't left the show stage the day prior, though now it was definitely on the move.
The laugh was a reminder, sent just for me, that Freddy Fazbear was in the building.
It was mind-numbingly dark in the space around Foxy. There was no sound, no light, no energy at all; and yet the rest of the building just past her curtains- just beyond her grasp- was buzzing with happiness almost every single day. The fox had learned long ago that there was a separate world hidden behind Pirate Cove's curtains, one that few would ever have to see, and her life here was stagnant and lonely to the highest degree. Honestly, was it even a life at this point? She didn't know anymore.
To her, life was seeing, hearing, and feeling a world that changed around you. It was about laughing with friends and crying onto their shoulders if you needed to- things that she had once indulged in, as she shared an emotional existence with what she had thought to be her family… But here she was, now left alone to be clutched in the unmatched loneliness of the Cove, and felt... nothing anymore. Nothing worth living for, at least.
It was true that she had cried many times since being exiled and hidden all those years ago, though she couldn't remember laughing even once since, and her far-between smiles were always the product of reminiscing about times long past. Still, she would gladly suffer all other troubles if only she had someone to spend her days with. Someone to talk to, to laugh with, to share emotion with again. They could bring her joy, share in her sorrow, and maybe even teach her what the true meaning of the word "friend" was. She thought she had known what it meant, once… Though friends don't abandon each other when they're needed the most. Even she knew that much.
But maybe not everyone was like that. Maybe someone would come for her soon, someone who would never leave her alone again. They could spend all day talking, and laughing, and playing, and..!
She sighed and did away with the thought. No one will even care that I'm here, let alone like me. Nobody else did…
Her glowing yellow eyes pierced the darkness and wandered her familiar surroundings. Somewhere out in front of her she could see a line of dull bluish light from where the curtains were thinly separated. She could remember what it was like before she was closed in, back when her act in Pirate Cove was popular. Each morning those faded purple curtains would open to reveal countless children, all smiling in anticipation. She would always flash a toothy grin back before she would start to sing:
'Do, de-dum do dum dum de! Yes sir, 'tis a pirate's life for me!'
A faint smile formed on her face at the memory. She missed seeing their beaming faces, as well as all of the shanties and adventures that they would share. She wanted that back… She wanted to sing again.
Her body began to tremble as she opened her damaged mouth a bit and tested her vocalizations. It took her a few tries, but she eventually managed to regain control of her seldom used voice. Then she started to sing, her volume soft and tempo slow:
"Do... de-dum d-do dum dum de..."
The corners of her mouth lifted as the familiar sound reached her ears- it was just like back in the old days! She could hear her voice again- not the preset sound of a cliché pirate's speech or a technological shriek, but her actual voice! She was amazed that, even after all these years of disuse, she could still sing just like how she did before. Her confidence grew, and for a moment her broken spirits lifted- until...
"Yes sir, 'tis a pirate's life for meee-R-ee-REEEEEEEEEEE!"
Her eyes shot wide and she quickly clapped her good hand over her mouth, cutting the horrible noise short. Still, the shrill sound echoed off the walls of the empty building for several moments to come, each reverberation reminding Foxy of what she really was. Her smile instantly faded into a somber grimace. Her circuits and voice box were so worn and damaged that she couldn't even sing her old shanties anymore... And even though she had never been particularly fond of her role as a pirate, songs like that one were the only tie she had to her past anymore.
Burning tears begin to well in her eyes as her momentary break from the sorrow ended. She sobbed quietly for a while before a familiar dark thought crossed her mind:
Should I just end it all?
After all, what was the point of living like this for any longer than she already had? She had no purpose, and even if she died, nobody was likely to notice- let alone care. She cast her eyes down to the hook attached to her arm. It was sharp, heavy, and looked like it could get the job done... Just one quick thrust into her core and all of this suffering would end. Her mind made up, she whimpered as she lifted her hook and turned it so that its wicked end was poking at her chest. The metal was cold against her fur, and she flinched against the contact. Regardless, she swallowed and began to drive the point toward its target- her core. Her arm shook violently as mechanical strength was applied to the action.
Both her heart and mind were racing, and all she could think between broken sobs was could this really be the end?
She jerked to a sudden stop right as the hook's tip had begun to carve into her outer pelt. She looked down at it for a long moment, then pulled it out of her skin.
Foxy sighed and lowered the hook, using her other hand- which was still shaking terribly- to wipe her tears. It was pathetic, but she still couldn't take her own life...
The thought was cut off by a crash coming from beyond the curtains.
Huh? What was that?
Her ears perked toward the sound, and soon after, a terrible shriek sounded from somewhere in the restaurant. Her body tensed- she knew that sound all too well. It was the cry made when one of the other animatronics was attacking a night guard, which she could only guess was happening right then. Given that she hadn't heard any children or staff in the building for several hours, Foxy assumed that it was probably well after midnight now- meaning that the animatronics were free to roam the building, making her hunch all the more likely.
Her ears drooped and she bowed her head in the silence that followed the scream. So much death and sorrow filled this building, yet anyone who visited seemed completely oblivious to it. Right now, for example, some living, breathing person was probably being shoved into a mechanical suit, their life being crushed out of them... But nothing would change. It never did.
She kept her head lowered for several minutes after the scream had ended. Even if she didn't know who this person was, being killed in such a matter was a terrible fate, one that nobody should have to face. She knew that fact in her heart, even though she had long since become numb to the act. After all, hearing the same thing happen over and over again was desensitizing after a while.
Her ears perked and head shot up again as she heard something in the distance. It sounded like a repetition of soft clicks, though it was quickly gaining in volume. As the clicking grew louder she realized that it sounded like... Footsteps? She looked through the small part in the curtains as it grew closer. Yeah, those were definitely footsteps- but whose? Just then, a shadow flew by her curtains as a blur, causing them to blow open a bit before settling back into place. She stared forward in surprise and confusion- the only person who would be here this late was the night guard, but they were already caught... Right?
It was then that a second set of footsteps came from the same direction as the first, mirroring the rapid pace of the prior. The difference was that these sounded much heavier, and gave off a soft whirring sound as they approached. Foxy watched as, just like before, a shadow charged by the Cove so quickly that the curtains parted. This shadow, however, was notably larger than the first, and thanks to her ability to see in the dark, Foxy was able to note its bright yellow coloration. After the second figure had passed, the curtains once again settled- though this time they remained parted a bit further than they had been before.
Foxy continued to stare out into the hallway through the enlarged gap and replayed the previous moment in her head. Given the color, there was no doubt that the second shadow had been Chica… But what about the first? It couldn't have been the night guard, could it? No… No one had ever escaped once the animatronics got to them. Unless...
What if the guard wasn't in the office when they were spotted? Her eyes widened in realization. That might have given them just enough time to get away!
She smiled to herself and silently hoped that this guard would be the first to escape the other animatronics. It wouldn't be easy, though, and they would have to be extremely lucky to survive the night like this...
Especially if Freddy found out that they had left the office.
Thank you all for your continued support. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but you all continue to blow me away.
So, my process for revising these chapters seems to be that I rework and read them, post them, then re-read them over the next few days. This way I can see them from different angles. A few issues tend to slip through my fingers initially, though I fix them in an update as soon as I catch them. With that said, these chapters are subject to very minor changes as I refine them over time. They're small changes that you might not even notice, though I just wanted to let you know that this chapter is still technically in the revision process. It's, like, 99% accurate to how I ultimately want it, though.
Alright, time to give thanks so I can get started on the next chapter! Thank you so, so much to Sword of the Maelstrom, Vicimus, Wolfanddragon42, Unknown 7105, PyroFox117, thykingdomecome, AncientofDayz, Aguion12, Blue Dragon 77, Mr Black and White, Mark-Paul77, and NecrorexSparda Juubi-No-Kishin for your touching reviews! Leyenda is appreciative!
Thanks for reading! See you in the next one?