An Alpine Fever Dream
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Am I finally outside ? This is it ?

Well, unfortunately, the answer was « no », and it didn’t take that long to figure it out.

I’ve been throught some serious shit in The Backrooms, made it out alive of Level 2 and even Level 6, I finally ended in Level 11 where I spent quite a lot of time because I didn’t wanted to play my life at diving into obscure and unknown levels that would probably mean the end of me in a matter of seconds, and honestly, I kinda got used to the Facelings being passive and acting like cogs of a broken society. This was until that last night, when I went to find a quiet and clean place to sleep. I quickly found a room that was… odd. I mean, everything down there is odd as hell, but this one was … odder, if I may.

The room was FILLED to the brim with air conditionners, they were all working and buzzing at a certain tone that might trigger PTSD for quite a lot of those poor souls that spent days or even weeks in Level 0. The temperature on the room was very cold, but it suited me well, as I always brought with me a winter coat just in case… Yes, I know, it was a complete burden in earlier levels, because of that sweet sweet pipe corridor heat. but hey, If I had to face an entity, I could just throw it on ‘em so it would go blind and I’d be laughing to the poor thing being attacked for the first time of its « life », eheheheheh…

So yeah, this room was great to spend the night within, for a moment it almost slipped of my head that I was in the Backrooms : most people would’ve gone mad and/or become an Insanity for all the time that I spent here, but I’m tough… At least that what I thought before I woke up next morning.

The first thing that woke me was the slap of freezing air on my face. Well, the air conditionners were already doing the work out quite nicely, but this time it was f*cking TOO MUCH. I mean c’mon, everybody gotta love some chill wind blown in the face, not freaking ice gas or something. I opened my eyes and the only thing that I saw was a streetlamp, a few meters away, lighting up the thin and gentle snow that was falling down. I was in the middle of a road, covered in the same snow. On my left, what seemed to be a forest, and on my right, a big alpine house made out of rock and wood like the typical one would be.

At first, I thought I was outside, outside of the backrooms of course. I slowly walked my way up the road to see if I could find any kind of people living there and ask the simple question of « where in the goddamn fuck am I ? ». Then, I noticed it.

The temperature was going down.

I mean, it was already like a solid 25°F out there, but the more I walked, the colder it got. It came to a point where I couldn’t even feel my legs anymore. Suddenly, I noticed something else that came with the freezing temperature : the absence of light. I was out of the light emmited by the streetlamp. « Well shit, It can’t possibly be linked», I thought to myself as I gathered all the energy I had left in my frozen legs to make my way back to the streetlamp.

It got warmer, and warmer, until I was directly under the light bulb, and it almost felt like a hot summer day for a second. Don’t ask me how it even works, but these street lights are incredibly efficient heat-sources. All I could do was wonder : If these lamps are heating under them, then what is the true temperature of this place. This impossible question almost froze my brain in place, and at the same time a realisation hit me on the face : I still was in The Backrooms.

This was just another level, another stupid level that probably was an infinitely repeating pattern of the same things, but this time you can die if you even step out of the light. Gosh I hate this place even more now…

Instead of going up the road in the arms of Mother Cold, I decided to walk downhill, following the line of streetlamps as much as I possibly could, and to no surprise, the temperature roughly stayed the same, whilst still getting a bit colder in the less-lit parts.

It took me quite a while before I stopped and had the thought of entering a house. If I truly was in a level of The Backrooms, then it was most certainly empty and I wouldn’t be in the awkward scene of breaking into the house of a family and scare the shit out of them. No lights from the windows, no cars, nothing that could possibly indicate any sort of human presence, other than the house itself. « I hope the Backrooms Police doesn’t find out » I chuckled to myself before giving an enormous kick at the wooden door, which slammed open on the first try. These things didn’t even have locks to begin with, what a waste of energy…

Hell it was cold inside here, not as cold as the time I almost walked my way into death, but still rather cold compared to the zone lit by the streetlamps… As I stepped inside, I remembered that there were actual entities in The Backrooms, and this level was most likely no exception to the rule. I was unarmed… well , I still had my coat, but I’d rather die from an entity than to throw away the only thing that separated my human skin from the inhumane frost. But it was none of these scenarii ; the house was empty. There wasn’t even any form of furniture, no outlets, no lamps to turn on, nothing. There was nothing. Not even almond water, and Gosh I never thought I could miss almond water someday…

I went back outside slightly pissed, but there was another next to the one I just broke into, and this one wasn’t empty : I could see furniture from the windows. There were a few chairs and a table, probably made in massive alpine wood. There was an old carpet on the ground, but I’ll stop you right there, it wasn’t moist nor yellow-ish : a gift from the Backrooms Gods… Making my way deeper into the house, I even stumbled upon.. food ?!

Yep, actual food, some cans written in an european laguage, probably french, that I could not understand. But the pictures aren’t lying : there was meat in there. Next to the cans also was a bottle of wine whose label faded away over time. It had to be really cold in there for the wine to turn into ice… I took everything I could in my cold, shaking hands, and I went outside, walking up the nearest streetlamp to « heat » myself up a bit. The cans still were too cold to be opened without tools, and I wasn’t even thinking about the wine bottle… Then it struck me.

« You’re a god damn genius » I thought as I took the cans and raised them as high as I could to make them the closest from the light bulb as possible. I kid you not : the thing heated in seconds and I was able to open the cans to reveal… beef and beans. The food was good tho, and it almost reminded me of a childhood dinner I may or may not have had in the past, almost withered away in a long-lost memory. The wine heated up pretty well too, it was old and definitely not a good year (I like to pretend that I know stuff about wine) but the myth was true : alcohol heats a man up, and I quickly made my way down the road, looking for another home, another can of beef and beans, and another bottle of wine.

If it sure is easy to lose track of time when you’re stuck in randomly-segmented rooms with buzzing neons and such, but it’s even worse when there’s constantly a wrong information about time hanging out in this black, starless, spotless night sky…

I’ve been around in this mountain village for at least a solid month, always on the brink of hypothermia and constantly looking for new houses to pillage. This level of the Backrooms doesn’t have this « effect » that drives you insane when you stay too long in it. But the incredibly heavy feeling of loneliness here is everything that you need to turn the happiest man on Earth into a body hanging down a rope.

I took my marks in here, it’s almost like a home. And home doesn’t change : it still is a seemingly infinite alpine village with a faint snow gently pouring from the sky and streetlamps providing you with a « heat » shelter. During all this time I’ve been there, I grew more and more ingenious to make my life easier.

First of all, I found a big square of wood that was left over on the side of the road, after tying it up with a rope, it became a way to transport more stuff around without always having your arms full of frozen things… I’ve been in more than a hundred houses now, and i’d say that approximately a third of them have stuff in them, like furnitures, clothes, tools, food, wine… I even found a fireplace, but sadly there were no matches around. Sometimes I find old-looking bookshelves with odd books in them, they are all written in french, but I force myself to read them so I can still make use of my freezing brain. I ripped off all these empty pages at the end of each book and I used the coal found in the fireplace to draw myself a map of my immediate surrondings. But a map was of no use if I couldn’t find a place that had something « more » to settle in and find my way back to.

That’s why I’m telling you this today, because today I found a house with something « more », something that I never thought I could see again, something that I can trust, something that could bring me as much love as I could give it back to.

A bed.

Tonight, I will be sleeping in a bed. A real one, with heavy sheets and blankets. When I slipped in it for the first time, it felt so warm that I literally broke into tears, I never thought I could experience such a wonderful sensation again. I wanted to dive into the sheets and never come out of here again, like the hug a small child gives to his mother before his very first day of school, the kind of moments you wish that never stops.

For the first time since I arrived here, I felt warm.

For the first time, I felt loved.

For the first time, I felt home.

And it was good.

I thought I was alone…

I’ve been in the mountain village for quite a while now… Even if it was hard before, I’ve stopped counting what I thought were « days » when it became apparent that, well, it didn’t served any purpose. Could’ve been months, could’ve been years, who knows ?

Each time I went out in search of food, it took longer to get to a new house I didn’t already visited. The house with the bed where I settled in was located in some sort of « dense » area, with more houses around than the usual. A full hour of walking was now necessary to find food and those sweet bottles of wine. I also noticed that, the more I ventured from my house, the more I witnessed form time to time « broken » streetlamps. They were just turned off, standing there, and providing a wall of freezing air that I had to cross as fast as I could to reach the next one. It became much more of a problem when I started stumbling upon dead-ends, wasting a good 2 hours or walking for nothing. The other… day, when I came back home with supplies, I even noticed that one streetlamp very close from my home wasn’t working, and I could’ve sworn that this one was working when I left earlier.

And it all made sense today ; when I entered once again in a new house. This one was really far away, I think this was the furthest I’ve even been from my bed so far. The houses were becoming really sparse and I started wondering if food could become a real problem one day… I found almost nohing there : just a few chairs and maybe one or two weird paintings, hanging on the wall, representing landscapes I doubted were even real.

I gazed at the window, looking outside and down the street, trying to focus my vision on a single snowflake and following it until it touched the ground… and probably vanished. Because the level of snow never changed here, I couldn’t figure out how that was possible because the temperature would most certainly allow such snowflakes to stay unmelted on the ground.

This is when I saw it.

It appeared from nowhere, in the middle of the street. At first I could only see what was looking like a humanoid shadow, just standing there…. Then it turned around. I could see some sort of blue « cracks » on its face, a deep blue that was glowing and contrasting with the perfect black skin its body was covered with, It also had for only noticeable features a few fir-like branches pointing from the top of its head. I knew that, although this thing, or should I say, this entity had no eyes, it was looking at me.

Then, it disappeared, and at the same moment, all streetlamps down the road turned off.

«Oh shit, this is BAD» I thought to myself, those streetlamps were the only way I could leave the house without freezing to death and go back to my house.

I had to think, and to think quick. The door was shut, no windows were opened, I double-checked because I already did that in the past when a streetlamp was really close to a house so I could heat up the place a little more… Quickly, frost began to appear on the windows, growing faster and faster until couldn’t see anything from the outside anymore.

I sat in shock : I was obviously stuck inside that house until the light returned. By checking what I brought with me, I realised that I only had food for 2 days and one bottle of wine. I could survive around 5 days if I drank the wine efficiently, because dehydration is surprisingly fast in this level, believe it or not.

Now that I knew how much time I had left until I either died of dehydration or tried my chance outside in the antarctican cold, I couldn’t help but think about the bed, my bed, the only bed around. It truly was the best thing that happened to me in all these months I’ve spent into this mountain village, it was a relief, an achor I could grab to not completely sink into hopelessness. This bed was now far away from me, and I would spent my first night in a long time on solid wooden ground, without blanket, without a hug, without love. This simple thought destroyed me like you wouldn’t imagine.

Hell… who am I even talking to in the first place ?

Hungry… Cold… Thirsty… Hungry… Cold… Thirsty… Hungry… Cold… Thirsty…

This stream of feelings was the only thing that occupied my brain for the last 48 hours, when I finished the last can and the last drop of wine. I wasn’t even moving anymore, I just couldn’t find the strength or the will to do so. I was lying down, facing the ground, trying to keep my internal heat as much as I could, but even with those heavy winter coats I found during my countless burglars, this wasn’t enough, it just wasn’t enough…

I was going to die here. There simply was no hope left.

This level was most certainly a dead-end, a level which you couldn't escape, no matter how hard you tried or searched for it. I had previously successfully survived many levels, levels that meant the end of the road for many, many people. Skills had nothing to do here : you weren’t going to survive because of your abilty to pathfind your way inside neverending corridors, or knowing how to avoid and/or escape entities, you only survived because the unknown forces that ruled this world had mercy on you, and they could take away the only thing that helped you staying alive anytime they wanted, like a toy that you removed the batteries from.

"Alright, Backrooms, you won", I said out loud, talking to whatever the fuck would ever want to hear me down here. "I can't beat you, I tried, but I can't… But if I have to go, I'll go on my own terms".

I gathered all the forces I had left to stand on my shaking legs, I couldn't feel my hands anymore, or even move my fingers, I could've broke them by standing up the wrong way that I wouldn't even probably have noticed. The door was just in front of me, the only thing that separated me from lethally cold air. All I could do was hope, hope that the cold would burn my nervous system before it even noticed the pain, offering me the last gift this level would ever give to me : a painless death.

« Here goes nothing », I said as an epitaph as I finally opened the door.

Heat, there’s heat.

It’s the warmest I’ve ever felt in months, and it was even warmer than… my bed.

The light pierced through my eyes like a blade : fancy colors, golden-ish yellow, red, green… Plants, ceiling lamps, doors, and even… PEOPLE ?!

I can’t remember much of what happened directly after I opened the door, besides feeling an intense pain in all of my body. Next thing I know, I’m here, in what I can recognize from the pictures I saw to be Level 5.

Apparently, according to the few people who were present, I fell unconscious from one of the elevators, covered in snow and barely able to breathe. After I told them my story, they emitted the hypothesis that I had stumbled upon a new secret level, and that I was extremely lucky to have survived. I didn’t really know what to do with that information, but I’ll make sure to write that on my résumé if I ever get out of The Backrooms that held me hostage for months, or even years…

Finally, they gave me a mirror and told me to look at my face : I had been severely wounded from my journey in the mountain village. My skin had almost entirely darkened because of the horribly cold temperature I spent inhumane amounts of time being subjected to. There were also big veins crossing all over my face, veins that lacked oxygen and turned into a deep blue, almost looking like… blue cracks on my face.

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