Hey guys! So this is both my very first Bendy and the Ink Machine story. I hadn't been able to do a lot of writing for the past year or two, so this is the first time I've been able to actually get something written and actually finish! I'm actually really excited about this as this will be the first time I've allowed myself to write and publish something horror-related, so this will be good practice!
This is both a "self-insert" (while at the same time still being an original character) and a "what if?" story inspired by a thought I had running through my head ever since chapter 5 was released. I'm really excited about this project and have been working on the ideas for well over a year now!
I'd like to thank my Beta Reader PipesFlowForeverandEver over on ao3 for helping me polish what I've managed to write so far, and I hope I can keep going!
With that being said, hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it! :D Rating will likely change over time. U3U
Plot Summary: Amber thought she was playing a horror game—thought that she was gathering inspiration for a story idea and having fun. But when she finds herself the target of Joey Drew's story and pulled into the game itself with no way out, she sets out to find him and return home. It's not long before she learns that not all is as it seems—especially when she discovers a pocket-sized little friend, among other changes. With Henry nowhere to be found and the story slowly changing around her, she's beginning to wonder how she'll even survive...or if the Ink Demon will finally win.
Prologue: Dreams Come True
"Go, go, go, go! Whoa! Get away! Where'd you come from?! Go away! Shoo!"
Ink splattered the screen as the axe slammed into another searcher, Amber's body tense as she wondered just how much longer before the inky horde would stop the attack. She was so close to finishing the final chapter of Bendy and the Ink Machine for the first time! She had to beat it!
The music slowly settled down, and it wasn't until Allison began to speak that she finally let herself relax for the moment. "I think that's all of them" she said as she and Tom came up to Henry. "But you never know where they're going to crawl out of next. Probably best if we stay together from now on. Henry? Think you can lead the way?"
"Yeah, sure," she replied, knowing fully well Henry wouldn't reply and what was to come thanks to gameplay videos. "Why not? Time to go fall and get chased around without a weapon…or empty soup cans. Hooray! Not…"
Despite already having been spoiled on the ending, she still found it interesting enough to try and play it for herself. It made it easy for her to move around and look at what she wanted to see in each chapter and take her time…for the most part. It was actually one of the very few horror games she was willing to play given she was usually a chicken when it comes to playing them herself.
"You really like that game, don't you?" one of her friends commented one day before the console release. "What makes it so special? You've already watched the gameplay. What's the point?"
"The point is that I connect with the story," she'd replied. "It's…kinda weird, but the characters…the story…they're all so interesting in their own way. It reminds me of the characters I've created and their stories. There's so much lore and mystery behind it, and this is only the beginning! It's…inspiring me to keep going and try new things. Besides, I'd rather not have my own characters come to life and hunt me down!"
…of course, writer's and artist's block combined leave very little room for her to get as creative as she wanted, which left her to play games and read books. Hence, why she was currently struggling to finish the game and stay calm even as she ducked and dodged Beast Bendy charging through the halls like a freight train.
"Ach, dammit," she grumbled, barely managing to make Henry duck behind a wall as Bendy once more slammed into a trap. "Didn't think it was going to storm tonight, and I'm not at a save point yet. Come on, come on…almost there."
As she hurried to finish the chapter, she heard the rain beginning to fall, the heavy drops drumming against the window like tiny fingers. Behind her a flash of lightning illuminated the wall in front of her, followed by a low rumble of thunder. Urging Henry to move faster when the end door came into view, it wasn't until the reel was inside the projector that she cheered in triumph and slumped back in her seat to watch the cutscene. "Okay, hurry up so I can turn you off," she muttered, the controller in her lap. When the world and Bendy's roar of agony faded away to reveal Joey's apartment, she smiled and said, "Finally beat you. And now…I can start the game over with the looking glass for the secret messages!"
Her heart pounding in her chest, she moved Henry towards the kitchen. Just one. More. Step. And—
With an earth-shattering lurch and a blinding flash of light, she yelped and cursed when the power cut off just before the cut-scene, bathing her in darkness. "Oh dammit!" she all but shouted, facepalming as she groaned. "Great…just great. I hope that storm didn't damage my console." When the power didn't come on right away, she sighed and stood to make her way to the kitchen. "Gonna need the flashlight and some candles at least."
As she got the candles set up in the living room and the lantern in hand, she made her way towards the power box…and paused. Is that a light outside? "What the heck?" she muttered, peering through the blinds on the sliding glass door. The street lights were shining bright as ever, the other houses lit as though there hadn't just been a blackout. "Why's the power on for them…but it's completely out for me?"
Wondering if it was a fault in the switch box, she made her way back towards her office. Maybe whatever it was would be easily fixed…if not, she was going to have to wait until morning to get an electrician over.
"Back so soon? I didn't expect you for another hour yet."
She froze. "What the-?...Joey?" she uttered. The power was still out…yet that was clearly Joey's voice coming out of her office. How the hell…?
"Now you're just trying to impress me," he continued with a light chuckle as she crept closer. "But I know…I know you have questions. You were always the inquisitive one. The only important question is this: who are we? I thought I knew who I was…but…the success starved me. Nothing left but lines on a page. Henry had always pushed hard for me to do the right thing…he should have pushed harder…"
She frowned. That…definitely wasn't how his line went in the game.
"Amber," he continued, her heart skipping a beat as she froze outside the door. "Come visit the old workshop. There's something I want to show you."
Okay, this…this couldn't be real! She did not just hear him say her name. Did not hear him refer to Henry—the main character of the game—in the third person…right?
"Please tell me I'm dreaming," she whispered, stepping into her office. Her nose scrunched up when she smelled something salty and bitter in the air she couldn't quite place. "I played too much, and now I'm starting to imagine Joey actually talking to me. Just need some slee-eep!"
The moment her bare foot stepped into a wet puddle of…something she stopped, holding the bright lantern up to see what she'd touched. Against the hardwood floor was a shimmering puddle of black, the light reflecting off the surface in a way that was not the iridescent rainbow of oil. "Oh…oh god, what the hell is that smell?" she asked, gagging as her hand flew up to cover her nose from the fumes. "What is going…on…?"
As she raised the light to follow the source, her heart sank to the pit of her stomach as she noticed the strange yet familiar web-like markings decorating her floor and walls. The lantern began to flicker and dim, threatening to go dead as she stared at her television. The screen was dark and yet the light seemed to be…absorbed into it, the waterfall of inky goo pouring from it down to her desk and onto the floor like thick molasses.
And right in the center of the lake of ink, a body began to rise and take shape. Right before her eyes she saw the twin set of horns on its head, a wickedly familiar grin forming on its face under the dripping ink of its face. It was then that she realized just what—or who—she was seeing.
The ink demon.
The moment the name crossed her mind he gave a bone-chilling roar, a scream ripping itself from her throat as she stumbled back into the hallway and bolted. Her heart hammered in her chest as she heard the demon give chase, the ink on her foot threatening to make her slip with each step. She had to get away! She had to leave the house and get the hell away from this…this…nightmare! "Wake up!" she snapped, praying that this was all just a bad dream. All but slamming into the door, she scrambled to get hold of the lock and handle…and cried out when her hand came away coated in ink. "No. No, no, no, no!" Her hand slipped each time she tried to pinch through the thick ink covering the lock, as though it were actually…resisting her attempts to escape.
Head turning to look over her shoulder, she shrieked at the sight of Ink Bendy lunging for her, terrifying grin opening to reveal fangs—
Her world went from faded black and gray to pure, absolute darkness. For a moment she thought she was floating…like she was laying on a waterbed that surrounded her on all sides. Yet…she couldn't move. It was as if her arms and legs and even her head had been bound by some invisible force, but she couldn't feel any restraints. What…happened? Is this some new form of sleep paralysis? Did she really imagine Ink Bendy chasing after her?
No…no, that was all too real. Even the most lucid dream couldn't match the level of realism she felt in those few fleeting moments.
…what's that? Are those…whispers? It was hard to tell, the sounds were so far away, and it was like someone had stuck cotton in her ears. She couldn't even open her mouth to speak, let alone barely open her eyes to see…which didn't help when all she saw was darkness.
Huh? Wait, what…is that?
She strained to see through the inky blackness, but she could barely make out a speck of bright gold. It seemed to shimmer and shine like…like…
Light! Yes! It was faint at first, but the she could see a tiny speck of light!
Straining against the heavy weight against her arms and legs, she found herself falling flat against a soft yet slimy surface that seemed to move beneath her. Biting her lip, she began to slowly crawl towards the pinpoint of light. The whispers grew stronger, her hands clutching the grooves of the writhing tunnel surrounding her on all sides. She had to get out of here—had to escape! Yes, there it is—it's getting closer now. Just a little further, and—
The moment she reached out to touch the light, her feet hit solid ground and sent her stumbling forward with a yelp. Blinking at the sudden change of lighting, she rubbed at her eyes…and paused when she felt something crinkle in her hand. "Wha-?" It was an envelope—old and yellowed with age, with her name on the front written in bright blue ink. Cautiously opening it, she pulled an equally old piece of paper out and started reading the short message:
It's been ages since I last saw you. I hear you've taken a shine to animation, and want to animate your stories. Why don't you come and visit my old workshop? There's something I want to show you. Maybe it'll inspire you to follow in my footsteps!
Bwahahaha! Didn't expect that at the end, didja? ;3
So, of course, this was just the prologue and a taste of things to come. It's going to be a much wilder ride from this point on! So buckle up and stay tuned, folks: I plan to make this story as terrifying as possible with the Ink Demon and friends!