It was a murky, tempestuous night. I was home alone, curled up on the sofa engrossed in a survival horror video game called Forbidden Siren. Set in a secluded Japanese village, the game entails eluding vengeful phantoms and the undead using stealth and cunning. Though chilling, I found it an enjoyable thrill.
Around midnight, the wind began howling outside. All of a sudden, my power went out, plunging me into pitch blackness. I froze in place, my heart thumping. The sounds from Forbidden Siren seemed to echo around me – the anguished moans of zombies, the shrieks of tormented spirits. The storm had somehow brought the terror of the game to life.
I fumbled for the flashlight in my phone, shrinking from every resonant creak of the empty house. Shadows flickered and warped in the wan light. My riotous imagination conjured specters in every corner. I very nearly screamed when I glimpsed my wan visage reflected in a window, mistaking myself for an apparition.
Mustering my courage, I cautiously ventured up the creaky stairs to investigate the circuit breaker, my trepidation intensifying with each step. Was that a scratching sound behind the wall, or just the wind rattling tree branches outside? I entered the attic with misgiving, bracing for an unearthly fiend to leap from the darkness. By the grace of providence, I located the tripped breaker and restored power without event.
As the lights came back on, I heaved a sigh of relief. My house looked reassuringly mundane again. I felt rather foolish for becoming so disquieted over a power outage, even if the circumstances seemed tailored to unnerve an ardent horror gamer with an overstimulated imagination.
While I resumed playing Forbidden Siren, now in the reassuring glow of electricity, a valuable moral had been learned. Namely, that immersing oneself in terror, virtual or else, can make the familiar appear strange and amplify one’s susceptibility to fright. I shall be more chary in future about indulging in horror media during a dark and stormy night, alone in my secluded and creaky little house! The forbidden sirens of the condemned are best left confined to the game.