Masquerade of Madness

And Then Came the Screams...

If one had to describe the person named Sebastian Alaister, one would use the words lazy, fickle, narcissistic and someone who likes to do things at his own pace.

Putting it gently, he was a laid-back person. Laying it on thick, he was a selfish absent-minded fellow who only cares about himself. With such a twisted personality one might wonder whether he was some sort of anti-social loner.

Surprisingly, this being could be found possessing two best friends Ronald and Damien. Best friends are strange creatures. Likewise, these two creatures that claimed to be the best friends of Sebastian Alaister had their own set of eccentricities.

Despite their differing personalities and the fact that they were all pursuing different majors within the university, they were somehow, undeniably best friends.

Since their bond was so strong, it was only natural that they would celebrate all occasions with style.

And today, was Sebastians special day! His 21st birthday. They were celebrating it within his studio apartment that he was renting downtown.

For some reason, the small studio apartment was really crowded this time. Right next to him were his best friends.

A little to the side were his mother and father who had come all the way over from the next town. Even his 19-year-old little sister was there. They had a rough patch and didn talk much during their teen years but now they were closer than ever.

Sebastian really doted on his little sister, even though it wasn at the level of being a sis-con, it was still quite a bit. So, seeing her come all the way to celebrate his birthday was a very joyful moment for him.

If it were just that then it wouldn have been so cramped. Somehow, almost all his friends from his high school were in town today and managed to make it.

Sebastian was surrounded by all his loved ones on this joyous occasion. Perhaps, was it that his best friends had plotted behind his back? That was awfully nice of them! Either way, it was a very happy celebration, despite it being so cramped.

As Sebastian blew out the candles and started to cut the cake, everyone started to sing the Happy Birthday song for him. Albeit a little childish everyone had big smiles on their faces.

It was a really happy occasion…

Not only, was it his 21st birthday, but he had also managed to get an internship in a major game development company. His paper on game design and player psychology had really impressed the bigwigs.

That called for even double the celebration.

So why?

Why was Sebastian not smiling and laughing as well?

He bent down and blew out all the candles on the cake.

Then he picked up the knife.

Sebastian glanced at everyone around him taking in their faces and expressions.

Ronald had a wide mischievous grin on his face as he watched Sebastian slowly cut the cake. No doubt planning to smash Sebs face in it the moment he drops his guard. After all his personality could be summed up with the phrase act first, ask questions later. Impulsiveness ran within his blood.

Damien on the other hand had his trademark composed smile as he elegantly clapped at the festivities. As usual, not even the devil would have an idea of what was going on within his mind that he hid behind a casual smile. The man was too steady for his own good. Even if the world were to collapse around him he would probably just raise an eyebrow and then go back to smiling.

Either way, it was clear that they were both having fun.

His two best friends were celebrating with him, he should have been happy too.

But Sebastian was not smiling.

He turned to his parents to see them holding each other and looking at him with proud smiles on their faces.

He saw his sister smiling at him with a hidden smirk on her face. She was probably up to no good as well, but you could still see the genuine happiness she had on her face.

Sebs family was with him on this special day. It was a long time since the whole family had been together.

Yet Sebastian was still not smiling.

His friends from high school were all laughing merrily, the sounds of laughter drowned his ears, and the smiles on their faces were etched into his sight. It should have been the happiest day of the year.




Nonetheless, he was not happy.

On this day, Sebastian Alaister was not smiling, he was not laughing, he was not smirking, nor was he grinning.


On this day, Sebastian Alaister

was crying…


Tears spilt down his cheeks leaving stains as they dried on his skin.

He choked a little as he struggled to keep his breathing even.

He looked around him once again, he had cut off a slice of the cake and raised it up. The song was coming to an end.

Thats when he opened his mouth

and fed himself the slice of cake.

He roughly swallowed down the cake, coughing a bit as he almost choked during the process before he finally uttered the first words since he had come back today.

”Happy Birthday … to me! ”

He wiped his tears and forced out a weak strained smile.

He raised his head ahead and looked around him.

This time he wasn greeted with the sound of laughter, nor the sight of countless vibrant smiles.

After all, how could they?




Most of them …




were already dead.




He was all alone in this cramped little studio apartment.

There were no people, only heaps of trash and laundry littered all over the place.

There was no sound of laughter, only the sound of silence filled the room.

The smell wasn the scent of countless colognes mixing together into an unholy tragedy, but that of mouldy laundry and unwashed dishes.

He was all alone.

His little sister had died ages ago when she was just 12 years old, she would have been 19 if she were still alive, but she wasn .

His parents had divorced not long after, unable to deal with the grief. His mother had singlehandedly raised him and sent him to college.

He hadn seen his father once since that day.

His friends from high school had all died when the school bus crashed.

They were going on a school trip; Seb had stayed home because he was sick that day.

And lastly, Ronnies death was still fresh before his eyes. It hadn even been six months since that incident.

Damien had disappeared silently after that.

The trauma from the incident had left Seb in shambles and it had already been 3 months since he last spoke with his mother.

So there was no way in hell that they were all gathered together in this cramped apartment celebrating his birthday with him.

It was impossible.

They had all left his life after all.

On the day of his birthday, the happiest day of the year. Seb was crying alone in his apartment.

He wasn celebrating with his friends and family.

He was celebrating with the ghosts of his past.

”If only, it were all real… ”

Seb wasn sure when the hallucinations started but maybe because he had found solace in them, he hadn tried to look for help.

One could describe him as a person with both incredible fortune and incredible misfortune.

He was fortunate because despite having gone through countless misfortunate encounters, he had been able to stay alive and survive through its horrors. He was misfortunate because the sheer amount of tragedy that he had witnessed in his life was way more than anyone his age should have gone through.

”In the end, I always end up alone… ”

Sebastian sighed as he put down the knife and collapsed onto a chair.

Ever since the day of the incident, he had felt this strong sense of alienation from reality.

There was this feeling that he was no longer a part of his side.

Maybe the hallucinations played a part in it, but Seb was no longer capable of living what one might call a normal life.

His gaze drifted across the room and settled onto an abyss-black invitation card with blood-red writing on it.

It had been almost a week since this stupid card was sent to him.

Even though the word ”sent ” is used, it was impossible to tell where it came from.

It just appeared next to him out of the blue.

He had tried to get rid of it multiple times by throwing it away, ripping it to pieces, and burning it with fire. However, it always appeared back next to him as if it had been there all the time.

He had no way of telling whether it was but another one of his hallucinations.

Seb would have thought that he had finally received his letter from a certain school of witchcraft and wizardry, if not for the creepy words written on it –

”Welcome, dearest Sinner –

Do you feel that this reality is restricting you and you are not able to be true to yourself? Do you feel the need to break free and find a place where you belong? A new reality where you can achieve your true potential?

If so? You are in luck! Purgatory is the best place for your future!

If you accept this invitation, you just have to say so out loud, and we will take care of the rest!

Offering you the best for your future

Yours truly

#@$!^%!*@! [Data Corrupted] ”

On the back of the card, there was a symbol of a snake eating its own tail. A symbol representing a circle of eternity. Or was it infinity?

”I believe its called an Ouroboros ”

Seb lightly ran his fingers over the symbol, thinking of the possible implications of accepting an invitation that was most likely another hallucination of his.

Sebastian took the card and waded his way through the mess to his balcony.

His apartment was on the 44th floor of his apartment. It was quite high up indeed.

He leaned over the railing to look at the bustling street and nightlife below.

”I really don belong to this world anymore, do I… ”

Whenever he felt this feeling of alienation, Seb was also assaulted with intense purposelessness and feelings of futility.

It was as if … nothing in life truly mattered.

Even if he were to jump down on a mere whim, he still wouldn be able to muster up the energy to care about it at all.

Seb slowly stopped looking down and turned his head upwards. The full moon shone brightly in the night sky. Despite the light pollution, its white brilliance wasn shrouded at all.

It seemed that even if the whole world would come to an end the moon would stay ever shining in its spot, looking down on the world from up above, unmoved by the tragedies being written out beneath it.

Sebs eyes seemed to look far into the future. They were no longer wavering but were steady.

It was as if he had come to terms with himself and had made an important decision.

He opened his mouth and spoke with an unmoving and determined voice.

”Ouroboros, I accept the invitation! ”

For a second nothing happened before the scene in front of him suddenly changed.

The words on the invitation erased themselves before new ones started appearing on it.

[Invitation Accepted!]

[Welcome New Sinner! Purgatory Awaits You!]

[Initiating Extraction Protocol]


It seemed as if the world had suddenly changed. The peaceful night was but a facade and the hidden fangs had been unleashed upon the world.


The moon turned scarlet. The white magnificence seemed to have been stained red with sin. Tonight, the moon was bleeding onto the entire world.


The crimson rays seemed to corrupt reality itself, terrifying monsters and eldritch horrors hid in every shadow.

And then it happened…


Sebastian felt someone push him over the railings.

It seemed as if time had slowed down for a bit.

As he fell, he somehow found himself facing upwards towards the balcony he was pushed off from.

There he saw something that he wouldn forget for the rest of his life.

It was a pitch-black silhouette with its arms outstretched, still in the pose of having pushed him off.

The silhouette had no defining features and seemed to just embody the basic concept of a person.

Even though Seb couldn make out any features, he was able to tell something.

It was that the silhouette wasn smiling in glee, snorting in contempt, or even scowling in rage.

No, it was completely devoid of all emotion. Looking down indifferently at the world below, as if it were but a passing dream.

And then Sebastian lost consciousness and his world cut to black.

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