Level 253
rating: +13+x

SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class 4

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Level 253 is an expansive level compiled of 5 different types of areas known as ‘stores’, that vary in size and shape, but all have an underlying sense of unease. It is debated if these stores should be classified as one individual level,1 but the fact they all carry similar themes and properties is why they are all included in this article. The further the wanderer travels, the more dangerous and horrific the stores get. It is worth warning this level describes a graphic sense of unease, and focuses on topics such as body dysphoria, depression, anxiety and describes unsettling events. Reader discretion is advised.


Road Stop Shop

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A flyer found in the Road Stop Store.

The first store most wanderers encounter is the ‘Road Stop Shop’, a typical British convenience store found commonly next to gas stations in the Frontrooms. This store has a dark, dingy feeling to it. The walls are plain white, and the floor has a tile pattern. The lights are turned off, and no entity resides in this store. The Road Stop Shop is the smallest store on Level 253 therefore items on sale are very limited. The products include: newspapers,2 an affluence of Almond Water, Dumb Gum, Lucky O' Milk and confectionary items such as chocolate and bags of candy. It is important to note that a lot of the confectionary products in the Road Stop Shop are vile-tasting and mouldy, therefore as one would expect it is ill-advised to consume these foods.
The majority of people who have seen, held, or even tried to take a bite out of these foods describe a peculiar sense of self-consciousness wash over them. One anonymous wanderer reports the feeling as “Having the urge to gag and to throw the food away. Whether it was from the horrible smell of the mould or something else, I don't know!”
In the Road Stop Shop there is a small bathroom located in the corner behind the magazines. It has a distinct vomit stench, and is not an advised place to visit due to the general lack of hygiene.

The wanderer has two ways to leave The Road Stop Shop. They can either exit Level 253 as a whole by taking money from the counter, which will transport them to any unsafe level, or they can continue their journey throughout the level by opening a stiff grey door behind the counter which will take them to The Sartorial Stitch.


The Sartorial Stitch.

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A clothing rack.

The Sartorial Stitch is a two-story abandoned clothing store. This store seems to have been trashed by wanderers or entities, as clothing racks are on the ground and some clothes appear to be half-burnt, damaged, stained with mud, or destroyed completely. Broomsticks are found quite frequently throughout this level, and it is unexplained as to why. The floor is dirty, covered in dust, and plastic bags are torn apart and left on the floor. Any lightbulb in the store is smashed and unusable. However, occasionally wanderers can find in-tact clothes or even shoes. These include dresses, coats, boots, sneakers and scarves but are all very rare finds.
To get to the second floor of The Sartorial Stitch wanderers must climb a spiral staircase made out of rusting metal. On the second floor, as well as the damaged clothes and hangers, 10 small fitting rooms can be found down a long narrow corridor. The individual fitting rooms are claustrophobic, with peeling green paint and creaky doors that don’t always shut. In every room, a small mirror hangs on the wall. Most of the mirrors are stained with a strange orange substance, or cracked, but no matter the state of it, wanderers often feel a horrific sense of dread and unease when looking at themselves in the mirror- commonly described as something along the lines of “Suddenly being intensely aware of every insecurity you withhold about your body.”

Any individual with any type of body dysphoria is advised to not go into these fitting rooms or even go near them at all due to the amount of pure distress they have been found to cause.

There are two ways to go to the next store from The Sartorial Stitch. One is by climbing into a large vent that is in one of the fitting rooms, and one is opening a secret door behind a clothing rack stacked with dirty polo shirts. They will both lead the wanderer to the same spot.


Practical Provisions

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The first room in Practical Provisions.

Being the third store in Level 253, Practical Provisions is the first part of the Level that contains threats to human life. It is a cramped hardware store, consisting of three rooms. Wooden planks on the floor have been shown to be very creaky, counters have piles upon piles of sawdust, scrap paper, empty glue pots, screwdrivers and saws piled on top of one another. The store also is very cold, and people regularly report feelings of tiredness and dizziness.

Empty cardboard boxes are stacked on top of each other in rickety and unstable ways and wooden planks are laying carelessly on the floor. Due to all of this clutter, it creates many hazards for walking wanderers, despite the level not being as dark as others. Wanderers should walk carefully in this store. To add to the hazards, Practical Provisions has a very musty feel, the floor is covered in sawdust, and any surface is coated in a thick layer of dust.
In the corners of this level, particularly damp areas, a dense infestation of crawlers can be found. It is recommended to stay far away from these if possible, as they are highly infectious.

The actual store itself still has many intact items on the shelves. Plastic bags hanging on the walls are filled with screws, bolts, doorknobs, but when opened, items are damaged and have a suspicious green substance growing on them. The green substance is gooey in texture and can even bubble after contact. If you touch this green substance, wash it off immediately. The substance is highly corrosive and can kill a wanderer within two hours.

A few seconds after entering this store, wanderers develop a cough that slowly gets worse throughout the store. The longer the wanderer stays in the store the worse the cough and cold gets. Even staying for just about 30 minutes can have the wanderer coughing non-stop, feeling dizzy, and becoming sweaty and cold. A few cases even show wanderers passing out from tiredness. To exit and progress to the next store, wanderers must crawl through one of the cubby-holes stationed in the last room of the store.


The Rustic Diner

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A part of the Rustic Diner.

The Rustic Diner is an abandoned 1960s themed diner that is infested with very hostile Facelings. It is in an extremely dangerous condition- the chequered floor has questionable brown stains on it, the ceiling is on the verge of completely caving in, doors don’t work and glass is shattered all over the floor and counter. Behind the counter, a small kitchen is found- but this, once again, is damaged and unusable.

When entering this store, the cough developed from Practical Provisions is lost and an extremely high level of anxiety takes its place.

In this store, no Facelings make themselves apparent straight away, not until the wanderer ventures a little further into the store, where the Facelings jump out from behind walls to just ‘watch’3 the wanderer. Most Facelings do not lay hands on the wanderer straight away, but if the wanderer steps too loudly, or gets too close to a Faceling they start to attack. When this happens, Jazzy 60s music that’s slightly off-tune starts to play loudly from an unknown source right into the wanderer’s ear. The longer the Facelings attack the more overwhelming the music gets, a few wanderers report even seeing hallucinations of the diner when it was working and open. These hallucinations come in quick flashes, according to wanderers, of “neon blue and pink light accompanied by menacing laughter”.

The only two ways to escape The Rustic Diner is by jumping into a dark, bottomless hole in the kitchen that’s perfectly circular in shape4. The second way to leave this store is to go to the bathrooms and shut yourself in the stall, and wait for the Facelings to leave. This is no easy task. Facelings often bang on the door and attempt to climb over the door, and anxiety levels are reported to be unbearably difficult at this point in the level. Once they have left, the wanderer is teleported to the next store.


Child’s Play.

Child’s Play is the last store in Level 253. and the hardest to escape. Depending on the way wanderers exited The Rustic Diner, they will end up in different spots in the store, but they are both areas relatively near a small wooden workshop. In this 3-story-store there is an abundance of unstable wooden shelves, crammed with wooden toys. These tend to consist of toy cars, wagons, horses and other animals. Marble sets are also found in these wooden shelves, generally in a dismantled state with small marbles on the surrounding floor.

On the second story an old oak shelf crammed with old dolls rests against the wall. The dolls often have eyes, limbs, and clothes missing. Next to these dolls, fake instructions clearly allocated towards children explain how to take care of the doll as if the child was their mother. Baby milk bottles are placed next to some of these dolls as well as chewed-down pacifiers. These dolls have been known to fall in an unexpected manner off the shelf.

In the corner of the second story a rocking horse is found. It is a rosy-pink in colour, with a cream-coloured mane and tail. DO NOT go near, touch, or look at the rocking horse too closely. Any wanderer who has done this was found dead within the next hour, either due to entities, illness, a sudden organ malfunction, and in one specific case, a heart attack. Before passing away wanderers are found in a state of severe distress, often rambling on as if they were insane about the aforementioned rocking horse.

Much like the Practical Provisions, this store has a severe pestilence of crawlers this time inhabiting what feels like every nook and cranny of the store. Wanderers are highly recommended to not touch many surfaces in the store for this reason.
Child Facelings roam this store. They are exceptionally hostile, attacking the wanderer if they make any slight sound.

Whenever a person ends up in the top story with 5 or more child Facelings a distinct sound of crying children can be heard from behind a rickety red door labelled ‘the workshop’. The children can be heard screaming and banging on the door, begging for their mom and dad. The sound is ‘dread-inducing’, according to wanderers; an anonymous wanderer reports the sound “making my head physically hurt, it made me want to scream and run away, I felt as if I was trapped in a hole.” Even after the wanderer leaves the child Facelings the hysterical bawling can still be heard throughout the store, and much like the Rustic Diner, it only gets louder the longer someone stays in the store. The childFacelings can get even more agitated by the constant noise, and start to attack wanderers even more.

The only way to leave is by heavily injuring a child Faceling or killing them. By doing this, the wanderer is teleported to any safe level.


Bases, Outposts and Communities

There are no Bases, Outposts or Communities on this level.

Entrances and Exits

Entrances

  • Consuming any food or drink on Level 11 has a small chance of bringing you to this level.
  • Falling asleep on Level 480 takes you to Level 253.

Exits

Wanderers can choose to leave Level 253 early in the Road Stop Shop by taking any amount of money from the counter, transporting them to an unsafe level, typically Level 3. However if the wanderer 'completes' the level by escaping Child's Play, they are transported to a safer level, often Level 11.


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