On December 21st, 2017, Scotty Johnson descended the stairs that led into the windowless basement of our old home on University Avenue. Justin, my other roommate, and I had already removed each lightbulb— and got rid of everything in the basement that emitted light.
The plan was simple. Scotty was going to play “The Darkness Game,” an internet challenge that claims that you will experience unexplainable events if you spend 24 hours in complete darkness.
Justin and I laughed as we locked the door behind him, joking about how hard it would be for him to find the bathroom in the pitch black. Then we placed our bets. Justin wagered that Scotty would last 3 hours, and I guessed he would be knocking on the door in 10 minutes.
After a few hours, we’d forgotten about him. He didn’t knock, speak, or make any noise at all. Justin and I assumed that he had already fallen asleep— so we went about our night as usual. It was a little after 11 PM when the noises began. It started with the whispers. Justin walked past the basement door on his way to bed and called me over with a confused expression on his face. He motioned for me to listen. That’s when I heard it, the faint sound of a voice coming from the other side of the door. It was quiet, high-pitched, and rapid. Justin and I looked at one another again before I called down to Scotty from behind the locked door.
There was no response.
I remembered what Scotty told me, “…don’t open the door unless I tell you too; I don’t want to ruin the experience, bro.”
The next day continued without a peep from Scotty, we couldn’t believe it. He had actually spent 24 hours in total darkness.
As I walked to the basement door to tell Scotty the good news, a thunderous series of loud bangs rattled the walls.
I yelled as loudly as I could, “Scotty, what the hell are you doing? You did it, man, we’re gonna let you out.”
“You… can’t… open…it,” a mysterious voice responded immediately.
Justin and I stared at each other in horror. Whatever it was that answered me was not Scotty. It sounded like a broken and raspy imitation of him, like something that was communicating for the first time in decades. As we walked closer to the door, frost began to crystallize on the outside.
The basement had somehow rapidly dropped in temperature in a matter of seconds.
I had enough. I unlocked the deadbolt, grabbed the freezing doorknob, and pulled.
The door stuck in place. I pulled until my muscles burned, and it still wouldn’t budge. Justin and I panicked as we frantically tried whatever we could to get the door open. Even the hinge screws broke our drill as we attempted to remove them. The imposter laughed maniacally in between repugnant insults, proclaiming that we would never get Scotty back—he now belonged to whatever was on the other side of the door.
As I pulled out my phone to call 911, the entity whispered my name. I stopped in my tracks, fingers hovering just above the screen.
“Why did you let him die?” It asked me.
“Wha… what?” I stuttered.
“In the alley. You could have saved him, but you let him die. And now he’s waiting for you in hell,” it hissed, before breaking into a fit of malevolent laughter.
I had never told anyone about that night, but this ‘thing’ that had taken Scotty’s place in the basement somehow knew. Justin yelled out in a shaky voice, “what do … you…what do you want!?”
It cackled and replied menacingly, “I want you to realize there is no hope. Especially for you, Justin. You’ll be joining me in a year. You are going to die, but I won’t tell you how it happens. That’s a surprise.”
Justin began shaking, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke free from my daze and dialed 911. We fled outside, and 10 minutes later, the Fire Department arrived. They took their axes and broke down the basement door. The first responders searched every square inch of the dark, freezing basement.
Half an hour later, the police took Justin and me into the station for questioning— because when they opened the basement door, Scotty was nowhere to be found. All that remained was a large crack in the concrete foundation where he had been sleeping.
He hasn’t been seen since that night, not by anyone. Justin and I were the last to see him, as he descended the basement steps into the darkness. That memory still haunts me.
I attended Justin’s funeral this week. He was involved in a major car accident and passed away—one year after Scotty’s disappearance— just as that thing had predicted.
I believe it is my duty to warn others, but it’s up to you to listen. The darkness game is real, and there are no winners.