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"Look to your left. That object now carries your soul and you must protect it at all costs."
The words glowed on the otherwise blank screen.
Previously—about a few minutes ago—you were a regular just-graduated adult. You finished the newest chapter for the webcomic you were working on. The site completed uploading the pages, leaving you to wait for the comments to stack up. As you surfed the net to pass time, you accidentally clicked on a random pop-up ad that took you to a Wicca site.
Letting your curiosity get the better of you, you had let yourself explore the web page. Who knows? You've been itching to try out the fantasy genre for another story, this could make great research!
It was well done and eye catching. There was gold text on a dark blue background and a full moon logo with a silver cloud partially covering it. The moon had the pentacle, symbol overlaid on it. The menu titles were in a bold and modern font. There were several sections to choose from, including becoming a member. You click on the Spells category and scroll down the different types.
‘I wonder if there’s something here that will help me magically create pages from my mind in five seconds.’
No luck, but plenty of stuff on banishment, fairies, luck, and alter work.
You scrolled over the quizzes—What element are you, are you Light or Dark, what's your dominant chakra—then stopped. The last and most recent one was titled "What adventure will you get?"
Clicking on the page of your webcomic site and seeing no new comments, you try out the quiz. There were some typical questions, such as "what's your favourite colour." There were also ones you've never read before, like "what is your belief on Sanity?" and "does a soul exist?" It took a few minutes to answer some of them. After an hour of answering all a hundred questions, you click the final button and wait for your result.
Instead, you get small text of words on a digital scroll. You look around the screen for the "Get Results" button, but it's nowhere to be seen. Over the scroll the words "Read your result" flashes.
This is it? Well, okay.
Imagine your soul.
Capture its senses
Look to your left. That object now carries your soul and you must protect it at all costs.
You’re welcome and have fun~.
Your lips tightened in a frown. That sounded more like… not a poem or a riddle, but anything other than a quiz result.
Then things got weird.
You glance to your left to see your tablet and pen. The words repeated in your mind and a chill crept down your spine. Your body temperature dropped for a second before returning to normal.
What a weird result. Though, should you have expected anything else from a magic site?
But the question had you staring at your tablet and pen, not moving an inch. Was…
'Was it real?'
You picked up the devices and a sensation passed through you in an instant. It was hard to describe, almost like ghost hands were resting over you. You put them both down and the feeling disappears.
No. No, no, no no no no. This... It can't be real. This was on the internet for crying out loud! Shouldn't these things only work face to face?
No. Not real. Just... Paranoia from the quiz. Yeah, that's totally it! In fact, you could just break your tablet right here and now... except that it was in good condition. You don't want to throw out an expensive and necessary piece of equipment. It practically was your soul!
What if you just, like, tapped it? Not enough to cause any damage, but to see what you would feel. You picked up the pen—feeling those ghost hands hovering over you once again—and tapped it on the table. Nothing. You dropped it on the apartment's hardwood floor.
The minute the pen hit the wood... something zapped through you. It was like... touching static electricity or something close to that. That electricity bounced all over your body, not hurting but still causing you to flinch.
You moved your chair and bent down to retrieve the pen, biting your lip as you looked it over. You held it over the tablet and watched as the mouse moved around the screen. Good, it wasn't broken. Still, what did this mean, exactly? Could this be good or bad? Did it make you immortal in some way, so long as you keep your tablet and pen safe? What happens if the tablet breaks down? Will you die then?
You started to feel light-headed. Some sleep would get you feeling better. Help you think better in the morning. Maybe. Before you exited out of the site, you saved the page. This quiz was suspicious and you wanted to see more on what you've gotten yourself into.
You stepped into your apartment’s bathroom and looked in the mirror. Your reflection was pale, but that was due to discovering that magic existed and it can work on the internet.
As you brush your teeth you place your other shaking hand to your chest, feeling a tense heartbeat.
‘So I’m not a zombie.’ You spit and turn on the faucet, cleaning your mouth and toothbrush. Staring in the mirror again, you turn your head, inspecting every inch of it.
Actually, you know what? It probably didn't happen. The strange quiz scared you and you only felt that zap because you were expecting it. Your imagination was running away on you again—away in Lalaland, as Mom and Dad like to say.
Yes, a good night’s sleep was what you needed. After wiping your face with the small cream towel, you checked your web site. There were a few new comments, but you’ll answer them tomorrow. You made a status update, thanking the support so far for your story, as well as asking about the Wicca site you found. There’s had to be somebody who came across it.
You glanced over to the tablet again and frowned. Nah, it had to be fake. On the small chance that it wasn't, you should have taken the quiz after you replaced the tablet with a cintiq. You turned off the desktop and moved the tablet. Another feeling stroked your spine. You deflated with fatigue… caused by the evening’s fright, of course, not some curse. Slipping into your nightwear, you rolled into bed and wrapped yourself in the soft covers.
‘Cursing over the internet with quizzes. What ever happened to chain mails? Too 90s?’ And what kind of person would do that, anyway? What if kids found the site and tried it? Well, it’s a long quiz, but what about people who try it and actually believe the result? That’s too wild.’
If you had a character like that in your story, they probably wouldn’t be human. They would be reckless. Maybe not bad, but a troublesome character. Either with no regard for human life or had serious morality issues. The last kind of person who should have access to magic, the internet, or both.
You preferred characters that learned about foresight and responsibility. Characters that knew their influence on life and didn’t do anything too rash. They thought about what they were doing and didn't mind if it meant trying to keep a simple life. Of course, stories can’t work that way.
‘Is this is revenge for all the trouble I’ve given my characters?’ Yeah, right. The quiz scared you because it was all a prank by some stupid Pagan. It won’t even bother you tomorrow, and if it does, well, hopefully one of your fans will have an answer.