From the author: This flash piece appeared at Gamehole Con 2015. Jennifer plays a location-based, augmented-reality mobile game called Ingress. In this game you hack into towers and gain points and badges via various events and missions. Most of the time it's pretty tame... but sometimes, well, you'll see.
“The portal is just over here.” Sarah pointed towards a dark alleyway. “I guess it’s the graffiti at the end?” She didn’t sound sure.
“I see whoever set up this mission didn’t think about two women running around Madison at midnight.” Jennifer shrugged. “Such is the journey of an Ingress Mission Day.”
Sarah grinned. “It’s just like Gen Con.”
“Just less hot…” Jennifer looked around. “And less people.”
“Only because it’s not an official Mission Day. The Madtown crew set this up just for us.”
“Which is awesome. So many uniques for me. For us?” Jennifer glanced at Sarah as they headed down the clean alleyway. “Have you been here before?”
“For Ingress? No. But I’ve been to Madison before. Met a lot of great people. Like the ones you met tonight.” Sarah gestured with her chin. “This is one of the things they set up.”
The artwork on the end of the alley wall was of a mixture of the Resistance key symbol and the Enlightened eye symbol. Underneath were the words: The glyphs hold the answer.
Jennifer looked around. “That explains why it’s so clean back here. Pretty portal. Level 8. Nice.” She took a picture of it. “Glyphs hold the answer,” she read aloud and shrugged. “I’m going to glyph it before we go to the next one.”
“Okay.” Sarah took a couple steps back as she spoke. “Me, too.”
As soon as Jennifer finished the set of five glyphs, she knew something was wrong. The wall in front of her cracked open and shone out. She tried to back away but was frozen in place.
“I’m sorry!” Sarah had to yell over the growing sound. “I really want the exclusive Madtown badge but it takes a sacrifice. I really like you, enough that I’ll miss you, but not so much that I’ll stop playing. I’m sorry, Jenn. If you can, tell me what’s on the other side.”
Jennifer screamed as something huge looked at her from beyond the wall and a tentacle snaked out just long enough to wrap itself about her and yank her into the light. The crack in the wall closed, cutting off all sound except the clatter of Jennifer’s phone hitting the asphalt.
Sarah picked it up and sighed. “Thanks, Jenn. The least I can do is finish this mission for you. It’s a pretty badge, too.”