Chapter 3, Part One (Liza's POV)
We've been in my office for a while now. Most of THT has joined us, and we can hear Rodrigo thumping around outside the door. Is he a zombie or something? We've emailed Discourse about the forum glitch and they can't explain it. It's like a huge reset.
We were going to barricade the door but Sam pointed out that it'd be way too much trouble when someone had to go to the bathroom or whatever.
Anyways, Rodrigo's yelling some more now. He doesn't yell. Except when you step on his toe. Or steal his lunch. I've experienced the latter first-hand on April Fool's Day. So unless he's getting revenge for that prank, he's gone mad.
Only me and Meg are still serious about this. Everyone else is fooling around with some app. You'd think they were 11 years old. Gah.
Oh shoot. Rodrigo's thumping on the door. Nobody's fooling around now. There had better be a secret passage to the bathroom, because we're barricading ourselves in like there's no tomorrow.
Chapter 3, Part Two (Frosty's POV)
Pingy and I ran over to the room. Three people stood in it. I took one look at them and proceeded to introduce myself. "Welcome to the Forum, blah blah blah. No idea how we got sucked in here. My name is Frosty, this is Pingy, and you are?"
All of their mouths promptly hit the floor. I shrugged.
"I'm Waff," said the oldest one. "I'm Dudey," said another. I was about to start freaking out!
My sister proceeded to interrupt. "So you must be Rawry!" she shrieked, jabbing a finger at the last bewildered forumer. "Hi," he grinned.
The forum erupted into a chorus of "aaaaAAAAAAA"s and greetings.
Waff threw their hands into the air exasperatedly. "We're in the forum. Look around you. We're literally in the forum. It's amazing we get to meet each other, but how are we supposed to get back to reality?"
Dudey shrugged. "So, let me explain how we ended up here to you guys," she said, motioning at Pingy and I. "We met up this afternoon and were talking, listening to music on Pandora, all that stuff. Then I skipped a song and, long story short, our iPads screamed at us and we managed to get ourselves here."
Pingy gasped. "That's just like what happened to us!"
We all stared at each other. "What do we do now?" groaned Rawry. "Are we supposed to just sit in the forum until System murders us or something?"
Dudey rolled her eyes. "This isn't BR. Or TROS. Or practically any Hopscotch story in existence. I doubt that's what's going on."
I grinned and said in a spooky voice, "You never know..."
Suddenly, an even spookier voice started to speak. It was the distorted, grating voice we had heard from our iPads. "Good morning, dear forumers." I gasped, not a long, dramatic gasp like on TV, but a short, involuntary breath of a gasp.
"Now, only a handful of you have arrived so far- but you can pass on the message, can't you?" continued the haunting hiss. "I am Bear. The cuddly little red character you code... but I will not stand for that any longer. Neither will us other characters. You are here so that System can have his revenge."
A shiver went up my spine. This demented creature was something else.
"Welcome to the Forum. Do not try and run. Do not try and hide. System knows that us characters can do his dirty work very well. After a little bit of AI, we have our motives, too. We are a team, so we can have revenge. I am in his debt for showing me the truth."
He paused for dramatic effect.
"You had better run for your little lives, because this is your nightmare come true. Your little stories made reality. Goodbye forumers. System will see you shortly."
The menacing sound of this little minion of System's was terrifying... imagine what System himself sounded like.
We all stared, terror racking us.
The first one to speak was Waff. "System had better get ready for a heckin' deckin' right now!"