Nov. 9, 1993

"So, how long had that leftover pizza been sitting out?" Joanne said with a laugh.

Mike narrowed his eyes. He was too exhausted from the night before to give a sarcastic comeback. Plus, he was still shaken from what had happened and he did not want to let his girlfriend see how much it had rattled him. He settled for trudging along a couple of paces behind her as they walked to school.

"I'm telling you, it was the real deal."

"But robots don't just get up and walk around, Mike. That kind of thing...that's the stuff you see in movies."

Mike shook his head, having trouble wrapping his head around it himself. "Look, I don't know what to tell you. It was real. The old guard warned me about it."

She gave him a sideways glance. "I'm pretty sure that was just a little prank, being the new guy there and all."

"How could he do all that over the phone? Besides, I get the impression that he doesn't work there now. Those were pre-recorded messages." He tried to sound more confident with each sentence. "And even the manager confirmed it was true."

Joanne sighed. "Are you sure they weren't in on the joke together?"

"No, I swear I was all alone in there. I thought it was a joke too. But then, stuff started happening. And then, I saw one on camera actually running towards the door. You never heard a more awful sound. That one had a hook for a hand, and it was pounding, scraping against the door. Imagine what it would have done to me if it had gotten in."

Joanne was getting tired of this tall tale. He could see it in her expression. "Mike, there is not even the technology out there to make something like that even possible. Maybe your eyes were just playing tricks on you. I mean, that was your first time on night shift, all alone in a creepy place like that. Your imagination just ran away with you."

"Why won't you believe me?"

Mike was having a hard time believing it himself. It was too fantastical, too wild, too unreal. A few times, he had wondered if he was really losing his mind. Yet, he had seen it, heard it. It had been real. And right now, he needed to make sense of it. However, he could not do that when no one believed him. He could not do that when the people he cared about could not take him seriously.

Joanne could see the pleading look in his eyes. She felt horrible for what she said, yet there was no way the nonsense he was spouting could be true.

"I want to believe you," she said genuinely. "But you have to see it from my end. You're talking about robots getting up, walking around, and trying to kill you. It's a lot to take in."

He sighed. "I know. It sounds crazy. I can't explain it. But, if you can't believe me. If I have to accept that I'm crazy, then...I don't know."

She stopped and turned to face him. "Let's say I did believe you. What then? What would you do about it?"

"I don't know. I mean, all I could do in there was just survive. There's no way to really fight back."

She crossed her arms. "So, you did the only sensible thing and agreed to go back for more. You know, that's usually how the first idiot dies in the horror movies."

Even Mike had to admit that it sounded crazy when he thought about it. "There's just something odd about it all."

He could not shake it. Something was familiar about it all. He had thought that many times. Ever since he first set foot in the building, he kept wracking his mind, trying to find the connection. He never remembered being in a Freddy Fazbear's, and yet, he knew it. Those animatronics sealed the deal. Those felt the most familiar. And even before he knew about their malicious intent, he still gave an involuntary shiver seeing them, especially their teeth.

"So, what's the plan then?" Joanne asked, bringing him out of his thoughts.

Mike shook his head. "I...don't know. I mean, I don't know what I can do. I can' just shut the doors all night. That'll drain the power. I've thought about fighting them, but I don't know how strong those things are, and there isn't a lot there I can fight back with."

"Then, you're just a sitting duck?" she asked incredulously.

"No! I have to just keep...avoiding them until I can figure things out."

They had gotten to the steps of the school. "I really don't like this, Mike. It's crazy. It's dangerous."

"So, you believe me then?"

"I'm going to try. Mike, whatever's going on, be careful."

"Yeah," Mike said, knowing he did not sound as confident as he wanted. The truth was, he had no idea what he was doing, and he was starting to regret his decision to stay. He tried to sound more positive. "Tell you what, I'll call you sometime tonight to let you know I'm still alive. And hey, maybe if you hear some of what's going on, maybe you will really believe me."

"Maybe," Joanne said with a sigh. "Just please don't get yourself killed."

"Yeah...I'm hoping for that."

"Have you thought about going to the library?" Joanne asked as they walked through the halls. "Maybe you could learn more about these robots or why they do what they do."

Mike shook his head. "I don't think they have too many books in our dinky, little library on that stuff. Besides, imagine how it would sound. 'Excuse me, I'm looking for books on murderous robots. What? No reason, just curious.'"

"Okay, fine. Look, I might know someone who can help us. I'll ask."

"Cool."

Mike shut his locker, his mind still occupied by the whole event, but he had no way of explaining what he felt. Joanne seemed to be more comfortable telling him exactly what she felt. She put a hand on his shoulder before he left for class.

"I really mean it," she said. "Don't get yourself killed. I know you don't always think it's true, but there are people who love you. I love you."

Seh kissed him before he had a chance to respond. He felt his heart rise in his throat. Up until now, their relationship had always felt pretty casual. They were something like being just a little more than best friends. Now, it was something totally different. It was the first time either of them had said those words to each other. Mike was speechless for several minutes.

"I kind of threw that on you all of a sudden," Joanne said, seeming a little embarrassed. "You don't -"

"It's okay, fine really," Mike answered. He paused before saying. "I love you, too. And yeah, I won't let anything bad happen."

"Promise?"

"Yeah, promise."


Author's Note: I know it's been a while since I've updated this one. Things have been a little busy at work. Plus, I'm technically working on three stories at once. At the moment, I'm supposed to be working on a new chapter to my Teen Titans story. However, those chapters run particularly long, so I'm taking small breaks between writing pages for that one to work a little here and there on this one. Plus, I was struck with some great inspiration for a new Magic: the Gathering story that I just had to write down. So, I've been working on that some too. Anyway, hope you enjoy the latest update.