Last night I watched Antrum, a horror-film-within-a-mockumentary about a pair of children digging through the layers of hell. Its frame story (explaining that you’re watching a lost ‘70s Eastern European movie whose viewers mysteriously die) gets a little overcomplicated. The core film, though, is some evocative, melancholy, and very creepy low-budget horror. AI Dungeon’s work isn’t quite there yet, but it did its best.
Elsewhere in meta-horror:
It’s a good time to revisit one of the longest hoaxes on Wikipedia: Yuri Gadyukin, a nonexistent mad director who became the subject of an investigation by a young British filmmaker:
As he digs into the movie’s seemingly endless mountain of film reels, he begins to unravel the threads of Gadyukin’s last days—and finds himself ensnared in an ongoing mystery around his death. There’s too much film, he realizes: Someone must still be shooting the movie.
Sadly, as far as I can tell, the the real project the hoax was supposed to advertise never actually got filmed.
[PROMPT: You are a young girl whose family dog has died. Your brother believes your dog is in hell, so you set out with a grimoire, shovels, and camping gear to dig a hole to hell and set its spirit free. You reach the woods and] find a small stream that runs through it. The water is clear and cool, but not too cold for bathing. You pick up some rocks from the riverbed and dip them into the stream, washing away all traces of your dog's body.
As you stand there, feeling the cool water run over your naked skin, you realize that this is heaven. You can't believe how quickly life has passed since you were a little girl who had no friends and lived on her own in the woods. You look around at the trees and wonder if you should go back home or continue on your journey.
> You continue to dig towards hell.
The next day you continue to dig, hoping that God will send you a message that he wants you to return home. Eventually, after digging several feet down into the earth, you come across an old stone wall. It seems like the entrance to hell, but then again maybe it isn't. Either way, you decide to keep looking until you find something else.
A few days pass and you still haven't found anything. After a while, you start to worry about whether or not your search was even worth it.
> You look at your grimoire for help.
You turn to your grimoire and begin reading the pages. You read the book for hours, trying to figure out what you need to do next. Finally, you get frustrated enough that you throw the book against a tree and break it.
"What am I doing?" you ask yourself. "I'm wasting my time."
After reading the book a couple more times, you decide that it might be best to just stop searching altogether. If you're going to hell anyway, why bother? You have nothing to lose by giving up now.
But as you sit down to rest, you suddenly hear a voice calling out to you. "Hello, child," it says. "Are you lost in the forest?"
You stare at the voice and see a woman dressed in white robes standing before you. She smiles when she sees you, though her eyes seem to say otherwise. "No, I'm sure you've been here long before me," she says. "Where are we? What brings you out here?"
"My name is Henry," you reply. "And I'm not really looking for a guide, so can we talk about this later?"
She looks at you with concern. "Child, please don't make this difficult. We need to talk about something very important."
"Like what?" you ask.
"About our future together. I know you want to stay here forever. But there's only one path forward for us. We need to choose between two paths. One of them leads to eternal bliss and the other one leads to pain and suffering. Which path shall it be?"
You pause for a moment, considering your options.
"Well... I suppose it depends on which path you take," you admit. "If you go with the path of pain, then I'll leave you behind. I won't ever see you again."
The woman doesn't respond immediately, instead continuing to watch you carefully. "Do you mean it?" she asks finally. "Then let's continue this conversation another time. For now, I think we should settle this right away. Let's go back to where we were talking earlier."
With those words spoken, the woman disappears into thin air. You stand there for a moment in silence, pondering your decision.
> You continue to dig towards hell.
There's no point in staying here if you aren't going to heaven. It would be better to die than live like this. Besides, you could always try to find a way around the barrier. The problem is, you don't even know how to open it up from inside.
As you ponder these thoughts, you begin to feel an overwhelming sense of dread. This isn't the first time that you've felt this way; it happens every time you travel through the barrier. The feeling gets stronger until eventually, all hope seems to fade away and death takes over completely.
Suddenly, you feel yourself being pulled toward hell. You scream as you're suddenly engulfed by flames and incinerated instantly. Your body burns and screams but nothing else matters anymore.
When you wake up, you're lying in bed next to your mother who has her head resting against the pillow. She stares at you expectantly. "What happened?" she asks.
"I was... pulled into hell," you say simply.
Your mother looks down at you for a moment before speaking again. "Are you sure? That can't have been true." Her voice sounds sad. "It must've just been a dream or something."
"No, I'm not dreaming. It really did happen. I had to do something about it."
Your mother sighs and rubs her eyes. "How long ago was it?" she asks.
"About two days ago. I woke up in my house and saw the same thing happen."
Your mother smiles sadly. "That's good, because it means you survived." You smile weakly in return. "Thank you for telling me everything, son."
You sit up and look at your mother. "Can I ask one more question?"
She raises an eyebrow. "Of course."
"Why are you so pale?"
Her face turns red. "Oh, I don't know what you mean..." She trails off and wipes her cheeks with the back of her hand. "Well, I guess it's due to all the dust blowing in my face last night."
You nod. "Yeah, I get that too. Well, thank you for answering my questions."
Your mother stands up and walks out of the room while leaving you alone once again.
I for one welcome fiction from our new AI overlords. Send notes to firstname.lastname@example.org.