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Tick Tock

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Like most terrible things, it begins on a dark and stormy night.

 

It's an anniversary of something horrible. People lock their doors, hide their children, close the curtains. All in the hopes that they won't be next. Most in America do it, although the main victims, YouTubers, are extra careful. YouTubers in the UK are also cautious.

 

On this night, the twelve that vanish are doing just that.

 

Locked away safely, or so he thinks, Joey Graceffa prays that this will not be the third year of the hell that can't stop following him around.

 

JC Caylen and his best friend are in the most secure room of their house, trying in vain to get any sleep at all.

 

Roi Fabito can't stop thinking about his best friend and his girlfriend, their twin coffins side by side, as he huddles in the pitch black.

 

Teala Dunn is a little less cautious, watching Netflix on her laptop in her bedroom. The chance of her being taken is miniscule, and unfortunately taking that risk was a mistake.

 

Matthew Patrick and his very pregnant wife try their best to keep calm, but it's hard. When there's a child on the way, this day is scarier than ever.

 

Colleen Ballinger herself found out she was pregnant two days ago, and is determined not to get tortured and eventually murdered over the next three months. She wants this child to have a life.

 

Safiya Nygaard and her boyfriend prepare to attack anyone who may come in. She's got the laser hair remover they got in their "I Bought A Box of Amazon Customer Returns" video. They're sure that it will do some damage.

 

Rosanna Pansino and her dog hide under the covers of her bed, more scared than ever. Well, she is. Cookie doesn't know what's going on, but can sense that she's terrified.

 

Manny Gutierrez and Nikita Dragun hide out with their two best friends. It's been a worrying day, but they think that, if anything, they can fight off anyone that comes in. They're wrong.

 

It's a dark and stormy night, and there's a killer on the loose.

Chapter Text

With 10 YouTubers residing in their homes, about to be taken from everything they know, two ordinary civilians are soon to be taken, too.

 

Calliope Saldana didn't think she was going to be taken tonight. Like Teala, she's sitting on her bed, engrossed in a nature documentary on Netflix. She is also extremely stoned. So when she hears a window break somewhere else in her house, she just giggles and returns to watching leopards attack their prey. Usually, she doesn't get high if she has classes the next morning, but today’s an exception. She's feeling dramatic. Or maybe that's the weed.

 

So when a masked figure walks into her room and puts a bad-smelling cloth over her face, she finds it funny. That is, until she passes out.

 

About a mile away, Mortimer O’Connor is sleeping.

 

He’s dead tired. It's 1am, and has been a long day for him. His mom was in the hospital with cancer for months now, and her health is still steadily declining. On top of that, his girlfriend just dumped him. So, he forced himself to sleep.

 

Bad choice.

 

He's blissfully asleep until a mask is clamped over his face, at which time he groggily awakens. And then, with a little bit of weak flailing, falls back asleep.

 

And that is the story of how our two nobodies vanished.

 

But, of course, the nine YouTubers residing in their homes were also taken.

 

Twenty minutes after Mortimer’s house is hit, JC Caylen hears his window shatter.

 

He's hiding with his best friend, Kian Lawley, in the basement of his house. When it happens, they're both trying to get some sleep. For a moment, they're not sure if they misheard.

 

Then, it's unmistakable. Heavy footsteps, directly above them.

 

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Kian mumbles, one hand gripping JC’s arm with white knuckles. “It's gonna be one of us, dude. Or both of us. We're gonna die.”

 

They hear a door creak open - the door at the top of the basement stairs. A figure descends, then turns towards them and lifts a gun.

 

Bang.

 

It's silenced, but JC can't mistake the muffled shot that bounces off the walls. Or the way Kian’s face goes blank, and a red stain slowly begins to spread over his midsection.

 

“No!”

 

But then the killer drags him back, clamps a damp cloth over his face. And the last thing Kian Lawley ever sees is his best friend being dragged away by a serial killer.

 

~

 

Roi Fabito is next.

 

He's suspected that he would be on this year’s list since Alex and Lauren’s duo kidnapping and murder last year. After all, better hit his close friends too, right? But part of him was hoping that wouldn't be the case. Part of him was hoping he'd be spared.

 

He wasn't lucky enough.

 

As he hears glass breaking somewhere in his house, Roi resigns himself to his fate. He holds hope in his heart that maybe, just maybe, he'll be one of the three to escape, but somehow he doesn't think he'll be that lucky. That hope is still the only reason he doesn't go to the bathroom and swallow down all of his pills right now, though. He has to try and be strong. For Alex.

 

His bedroom door opens and, in the near complete darkness, he sees the faint outline of a figure. Moving towards him.

 

He lets them take him.

 

~

 

Teala Dunn nearly flips her shit when she hears the footsteps.

 

She thought it wasn't gonna be her, but just her luck! It is. It is, and she's sitting in her bedroom with the lights on, watching American Vandal on Netflix. She's so fucking stupid.

 

“I'm going to die first,” she sings to herself, leaping off and ducking under her bed. She realizes too late that the lights are still on when the door swings open, and she sees huge boots walk by her bed.

 

The killer bends down and shoots her with a dart. It takes her out almost immediately.

 

~

 

Matthew Patrick and his wife Stephanie are crouched under a desk in their bedroom, huddled amongst computer parts and small cardboard boxes off junk. When they hear a door slam somewhere else in their house, Steph covers her mouth with a hand. There are tears in her eyes.

 

Matt pulls her closer. He's crying, too, but he needs to stay strong. For their baby.

 

Faint footsteps begin to get louder, and their bedroom door creaks open. Matt looks at the figure, and he sees the glint of a gun.

 

Instinctively, he covers Steph’s body with his, but the muffled gunshot still makes her scream. He feels a sharp pain in his midsection.

 

No, he can't die. Not here. Not like this.

 

He jumps forwards, trying to tackle the man’s legs, but he kicks Matt in the chest. He falls to the side, leaving Steph alone under the desk, trembling.

 

Another gunshot. Steph gasps as red blooms across her chest.

 

“No!”

 

Matt is gone a minute later, dragged away kicking and screaming. Steph, breath ragged and rushed, scrambles to grab her phone and dial 911.

 

“Hello, 911, what is your emergency?”

 

“I've been shot,” she gasps. “I've been shot, and my husband has been taken.”

 

~

 

“Oh, motherfucker,” Colleen Ballinger mumbles when she hears the shot. “This is it. I'm gonna die. Better to go out with a fight.”

 

She grabs a lamp and hides behind the door, ready smack anyone who comes through. Erik is in another room - she desperately hopes it wasn't him who just got shot. Maybe the killer was just shooting out the lock. Or something.

 

Ugh. She shudders. The killer is in my house.

 

The door opens and she stays perfectly still, holding the lamp like a baseball bat. A man clad completely in black steps into her room, closing the door behind him. He turns a circle in the room, and when his eyes, the only thing not covered, land on her, she swings.

 

He catches the lamp in one hand and throws it towards the ground, Colleen falling with it. She feels a pain in her neck, like she's being poked with a needle. Darkness edges at her vision, and after a few seconds, everything goes black.

 

~

 

When a strange man steps into Safiya Nygaard and Tyler Williams’s room, they're prepared. Saf grips the laser hair remover in her hand like it could save her life. Which, of course, it can. When the man begins to approach, she dives forwards and slams it against his leg before pulling the trigger. He shouts before kicking her away, the device skittering out of reach behind her dresser.

 

Tyler stands up, about to tackle him, but the man whips out a gun and fires. Safiya screams as her boyfriend falls, and headbutts the killer in the back of his leg. Before falling, the man drags her down too, and clamps a horrible-smelling cloth over her face.

 

Safiya is gone not a minute later.

 

~

 

Rosanna Pansino tries to tune everything out and fall asleep, but she can't mistake the thumping footsteps approaching her door. God. She hates this day of the year. Has hated it for the last two years. It's a painful reminder of friends lost.

 

She feels Cookie shiver under the blankets as the footsteps stop beside her bed. She tries to say something, but nothing comes out, and a minute later she feels something like a needle in her neck.

 

She feels dizzy, and then woozy, and then she loses consciousness.

 

~

 

Manny Gutierrez and Nikita Dragun are together when they're taken. Shivering, nearly silent in the darkness. They have two more friends with them. Gabriel and Laura.

 

It's calm for a long time. Tranquil, almost. But then, in the span of five seconds, it all goes to shit.

 

The window behind Nikita shatters. She screams, a high-pitched sound that sends all four scattering to different areas of the room. Nikita, of course, is the closest. She's taken first. A cloth over her face and a couple of deep breaths later, she's gone.

 

The man lifts a gun. Manny sees the metal glint in the moonlight a moment before -

 

Bam. Bam. One shot to Gabriel’s chest and one to Laura’s, and Manny is the only conscious one left.

 

“Listen - I can give you money, whatever you want - anything! Please!”

 

The man is silent. He tucks the first gun away and pulls out a smaller, more compact one. He shoots Manny in the shoulder, and he's out like a light.

 

The masked man drags Nikita and Manny away, leaving Gabriel and Laura dead on the floor.

 

All is quiet.

 

Joey Graceffa waits for his turn.

Chapter Text

The realization is the worst part.

 

JC wakes up upside down, wrapped head-to-toe in... chains? it's a very strange feeling. He's never touched a chain beyond chain barriers and the like. They are cold. 

 

All the blood has already rushed to his head, so it's just uncomfortable. He doesn't like it at all. Then, he remembers.

 

For a moment, he freezes up. Kian's body is imprinted on his mind. And the memory of the kidnapper - ugh. His best friend's last moments were tarnished by that asshole.

 

He takes a deep breath. Okay, JC. Kian would want you to find your way out of here. He twists around in the chains, looking around, but ends up just spinning in a wide circle. He takes a deep breath, trying to keep calm, and tries again.

 

He doesn't turn his body as much this time, carefully moving his head around to survey the room. His eyes are adjusting to the pitch-blackness, and he has the unsettling feeling that someone is watching him. 

 

Whatever. Someone probably is, right? After all, he's been kidnapped by an evil psychopath. And his best friend was murdered.

 

"Fuck!"

 

~

 

Roi wakes up in a very, very small space.

 

It's dark as hell, and he can't see anything. He tries to sit up, and slams his head on the ceiling.

 

He falls back down, head spinning. "Help me," he mumbles, unsure for a moment of who he's even talking to. "Hey!" he shouts, louder. "Help me! Someone!"

 

Roi did not plan to go out this way. He was going to die at a ripe old age, surrounded by friends and family, not trapped in a tiny room. Certainly not in a tiny room watched over by a serial killer. 

 

He feels around for a moment. No noticeable exits. It's a space just big enough for his body. He got in here somehow, though. God, he hopes this isn't a coffin. He read how that other YouTuber died two years ago. iJustine? He knows the killer is capable of that. Hopefully he won't die the same way.

 

He tries to contemplate this further, but panic overwhelms his mind. He hears footsteps, loud and thumping, and almost screams. The footsteps stop.

 

And then the ceiling opens up.

 

~

 

Teala wakes up in the position no woman ever wants to wake up in. Spread-eagle on some hard surface, she struggles aimlessly.

 

And then she sees a tiny pair of green eyes staring out at her from the shadows.

 

She swears. She fights. And finally, she calms down.

 

The eyes blink. And, very slowly, a tiny gray kitten scampers out of the darkness. 

 

"Oh, fuck me," she mumbles. "You're the little bastard that was scaring me?"

 

At the sudden noise, the kitten backs away.

 

"No, it's okay," Teala coos, trying to coax the kitten closer. In this hellish situation, she needs all the comfort she can get.

 

As she watches the little cat scamper around her left hand, she thinks that maybe she'll get out of this.

 

~

 

It's different for Matt.

 

First, he doesn't have a kitten to comfort him. He's in the same awkward position as Teala, lying with his limbs scattered about, but there's no little ball of fluff with green eyes to scare and reassure him. It's just Matt and the ropes tying his hands and feet. Plus the crushing realization that he's probably going to die, Steph was shot, and so was he.

 

Once he remembers this, there's the wondering why he doesn't feel it. He shifts his shoulder. He remembers spinning to the side, seeing his own blood splattered on the desk, and the horrible, biting pain of the wound. He should be able to feel it more than ever, unless some kind of numbing agent was used.

 

Ugh. He doesn't want to think about that psychopathic murderer touching his shoulder. The blood of twenty innocent people is on his hands. Or her hands. He realizes that subconsciously, he's always thought of this person as a man. Maybe they're a woman. Maybe they're neither. Who knows? The only four that have lived to tell the tale are either locked away in mental hospitals or in their own homes.

 

It's a strange thing, to hope to be one of those four. Matt isn't sure whether he wants to live or die now. That's when he feels the earth-shattering relevation that he's going to come out scarred for life, or he's going to die.

 

He's probably going to die. From the snippets that he's heard, along with theories, the killer doesn't seem to like self-righteous types. Alex Wassabi, that girl Alison, the other Matt. He's probably next. But no one ever really knows who's going to come out.

 

Hey, hopefully he'll be the next out. Or maybe he'll die in these stupid ropes. Maybe something worse. Matt has heard of the torture the past survivors have had to endure, and even though it sounds horrible, he's willing to do anything to see Steph again.

Chapter Text

i know everyone hates when people update but it's just to put some excuse as to why they didn't update before, blah blah yeah. y'all don't have to read this if you don't want to, for real, but i did want to post a short note as to why i haven't updated in weeks.

 

i've been dealing with a lot of depression and stress lately, and don't have as much time to write. i dont really want to get into it, but it's hard to juggle a personal life and also know that there are people out there wondering where the next chapter is, and i'm so sorry for that. i have a bunch of tests coming up, as well as a ton of homework, but one upside that's coming up is that my school is getting a whole week off for thanksgiving.

 

yeah, i know. american schools are wild. it also has to do with the fact that people can't really walk outside where i live, because i live in california and the air quality is shit because of ash and smoke in the air everywhere. but yeah, my entire next week is off, so hopefully I'll update next weekend or around then!! 

 

see y'all!!! keep being yrselves and being great :)

- liza

Chapter Text

Two years before, four YouTubers sit in silence in a dark room.



Eva Gutowski, Lele Pons, Oli White, and Joey Graceffa know that, since Tim's screams died out long ago, it can't be long until one of them is taken. And they're not looking forward to it.



The clock ticks ominously in the corner of the room. Eva's examined it many times, even taken it off the wall to search for clues. Every time she breaks it or damages it, though, somehow it's good as new once the next person is taken. None of them ever see it happen.



Then, they hear footsteps, and each of them prepares to fight. The others all tried to fight back when they were taken, too, but none were successful. First time for everything, though, right?



They hear the door creak open and look up to see three figures. They only know two of their names. Sarah and Marvin. The third is a mystery, although they do know he's the ringleader and the person that assembled it all. And, until recently, was disguised among them.



Maybe it was Matt, whos last words to them were "We're all going to die." Maybe it was Arthur, who barely said a word to them until he was taken. Maybe it was Shane, who had the misfortune of being taken first - that is, if he was innocent.



But whoever it is now wears a mask and a hat, so they have no idea who it is. They only know that he's a man with light skin, which they had four of. But his face is too narrow to be Tim's.



Whoever it is, he walks into the room with the other two and makes his way to stand in front of them. He smiles at them in a way that seems almost familiar, and then points to Lele. "Her."



Sarah rushes forwards and drags her away, even as she screams and fights, but the other two don't leave.



Oli can hear his heart pounding. They're going to take someone else. Someone else is going to die.



The man points to him, and Oli's heart drops.



He doesn't expect Eva to attack Marvin, but she does, and he fights back with all he has. Joey joins in a second later.



The third just watches with the same eerie smile on his face as they take down Marvin. "You're going to regret that," he says, the longest sentence they've ever heard him say. But they still can't place his voice.



He stands and watches them, looking mildly amused, as the three of them throw themselves at him. He swats away Joey like a fly, and hooks a hand under Eva's chin. He yanks her head up and the rest of her body follows a moment later. She flips over and hits the ground hard.



Oli is left, and he swings at the masked man. He knocks the fist to the side, sending him along with it, and catches him from behind. His captor drags him away, even as he still fights.



Eva groans, eyes fixed on the ceiling. He took her out so easily, and Joey too. Oli....



A quick glance around the room confirms it. Her only comfort in this whole ordeal is gone. He's going to be tortured, and then he's going to die, and it's because she wasn't strong enough to protect him.



She closes her eyes as the distant fizzing of electricity can be faintly heard. And then Lele screams, a high-pitched sound that hurts her ears. Eva prepares herself for the sound she knows is going to follow.



Oli screams.



~



In the not-so-distant other room, it's too dark to see.

 

This makes it three times more terrifying, because now there are little flashes of electricity that light up the room. Oli shudders as Lele screams again.

 

He's in a chair, he thinks. Doesn't know how he got there. Sarah and Marvin probably tied them in. It's dark, and cold, and the only thing he can see is electricity sparking towards him.

 

Then, everything goes black for a moment, and the pain is too much to bear. He wants to be strong, to not show how much it hurts, but Oli has never experienced anything like this.

 

Once the second shock is over, all he wants is to never have to experience it again. But it keeps on coming, and at some point with Lele's screams still ringing in his ears, his body goes numb.

 

He blinks for a moment as electricity courses through him again. His hair stands on end, and he knows that it should hurt more than anything else has hurt before. But there's nothing. He stares as little rings of electricity run over his arms.

 

"All right there, Oli?" says the voice. "Feeling a little weak around the head, eh? It means your brain is too overloaded to process the pain."

 

Oli notes that Lele is still screaming. She doesn't stop this time. She wails and wails, and the electricity around her grows so vibrant that he can see her face. She's crying, and every time a tear falls, it fizzles with electricity.

 

He feels a little dizzy as he looks back down at himself and sees the same amount of electricity around him. He knows it should hurt like hell. In fact, he almost wants it to, because it would mean there isn't anything wrong with him.

 

"I was excited to see which of you would die first, but now it's just boring," the man huffs. There's a sharp beeping noise, and the electricity going into Oli stops. "I'll see you back up with the rest of the world," the man adds. Lele's screams die out, and he assumes it's because hers has stopped too. But the little flashes catches his eye. He looks over and see more electricity, too much, lighting up her entire body. Her back is arched, her face lifted towards the sky. Her mouth is open, but nothing comes out. Lele convulses. 

 

And then, right in front of Oli's eyes, the light in her eyes fades. She slumps back, and the electricity stops. He knows that she's gone.

 

His restraints click open. A few feet away, the door swings open, and light fills the room.

 

The man is gone. Where he went, Oli doesn't know. He probably disappeared while Lele was dying.

 

Something in his brain doesn't want to accept that Lele's gone. He wants her to just sit up, and breathe, and say something. Anything.

 

But she just sits there silently. Gone forever.

 

He gets up and walks towards the door, determined to leave her behind. He finds Eva and Joey halfway down the hall. Eva throws herself into his arms. "I thought you were gone," she says softly. 

 

"It's okay, I'm here," Oli murmurs into her shoulder. "I'm here."

 

Police sirens wail in the distance. Joey glances around. "Where are we, anyways? Did he give you any clues?"

 

Oli searches his brain. "Uh, I think he said 'I'll see you up with the rest of the world'? I was kind of distracted."

 

"So we're underground," Joey notes. "Which means there's a way out of here somewhere."

 

"They'll find us," Eva says. "The police will, I mean. Even if we don't find the way out, they will."

 

And they do, five minutes later, after they return to the room where they once sat with eight other people and waited to die. The question still remained: Why were they released? But the only people to hold the answer were long gone, having already fled.

 

They escape, leaving eight dead bodies and too many bad memories behind.