Prologue: Safe Haven
The video starts with nothing but a shot of an open palm, and sounds of shaking and wiggling. As the hand moves away, it uncovers the face of Jason Brown, a little smirk upon a slightly unshaven face.
“Finally got the damn thing to work. So! This fun little series I'm recording –”
Air quotes were made to emphasize how little enjoyment was had.
“– will not be just 'cause, like usual. This is an electronic will, which means that when I die, what I say should happen to my stuff after I die will happen. Pretty cool, ain't it? Now, you may be thinking, 'But Jason! You've never worried about death 'n all that stuff before! You're a big strong man –”
The arms were raised, not a bit smug, to show a trim, but well-toned physique.
“–, death should be afraid of you!' Thank you very much, and I would've agreed before now. But, as it so happens, I got a job! I know, I know, what about all that rebel against government, rough 'n tumble attitude, well, plans change. This job allows me to stay here, I've even got a roommate, Nathan- Hey! Nathan!”
As Jason leaned over his own shoulder, Nathan was only noted by his absence.
“Eh, he might be asleep. He's a bit quirky, but survivable. Anyway, the job's a bit... dangerous, as one of my seniors so aptly put it, and I quote 'You might wanna, I dunno, make a vlog or somethin' every week – kids do that these days, right? Right – 'cause although these guys have been cleaned up, there might still be accidents, and you could go... missing.' I'm not kidding, he said it like that! As though 'going missing' was worse than being filleted alive, instead of a jaunty walk in the woods. Anyway, you got your wish, Mr. Schmidt! Here I am, blabbing to a camera.”
“But to say it started when I got hired would be wrong. I guess – well, I guess it started on Thomas' last birthday.”
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April 9th, 2017
“Oh goodness! You're soaking wet! Come in, come in! We can warm up your clothes in the kitchen, if you'd like?”
It had been around six years since Jason had heard that voice, and it was still comforting. If you asked him, he'd admit: it is a bit weird to be comforted by an animatronic, but hey? What're you gonna do?
Freddy Fazbear's Funhouse was just the latest incarnation of the so-called “Faz's disasters”, originally a duo of rabbit and bear, later reboots adding a chicken and fox. However, unlike the previous struggles, this one was owned by Animatronics, Inc., driving yet another blow towards Afton Unlimited by proving they were better at seemingly everything; even at marketing Afton's own robots.
One of their more radical decisions was deciding to move the “Toy” animatronics to the forefront, while keeping the “Originals” strictly bound to the stage. The Toys were supposed to be cute, more kid-friendly versions of the Originals, but after an incident in which a patron was mangled not two weeks after being introduced, they were quickly taken out of commission. However, Animatronics found that the Toys were more pliable and better suited to their new job demands: Eddie, formerly Toy Freddy, taking that of greeter.
“Oh, yes, thank you!” said Gene, Jason's dad. “Uh, we're with the party for Thomas? Turning ten today?”
“Yes! Just follow me please” the bear replied in a cheerful tone. As they turned to the right, Jason noted several booths and tables where children were chattering and squealing, thanking their parents for the opportunity to be there, or hanging around the stage near the back of the room, where the curtains were drawn until the next show, starting in about eight minutes.
A sudden hug from the left intervened Jason's thoughts. As his head quickly panned, he noticed he was in a room with a long table before registering the small, cone-wearing being giving him comforting pressure. Thomas Jameson was only ten, so the prospect of Jason, a whopping nine years older, coming to his party was understandably thrilling.
“Hi Jason!” Thomas exclaimed. “Wow, you're really wet. What happened out there?”
Despite being now damp on his had and his party hat squishy, nothing deterred the boy's widening grin and astonished gasps as Jason described the way the storm seemed to engulf the out of nowhere, while Mr. Brown and Mrs. Brown talked to the other adult chaperones.
“Yeah, those guys at the station think they know everything!” Jason snarked. “I swear, this morning he was all 'Today you can expect sunny, sunny sun, with only tiny amounts of cloud.'” Jason's exaggerated nasal voice and wild pointing brought more than a few giggles to the slowly growing crowd of children.
His story was cut short, however, with a drumroll near the back of the restaurant, the house lights dimming slightly, and two spotlights shining on the purple curtain that separated the backstage from the main area. The sounds of small fries squealing and shushing each other as they sneaked towards the stage only supplemented the setup.
“Oh boy! Here comes Mr. Fazbear!” Jason seemed to dismiss all the hustle, but he too moved so as to get a better view of the show.
Suddenly, from the left side, on a platform all his own, came a familiar “Dum dum diddly doom dum da dum”; the curtains pulled back and a rust-red fox came strolling out of the cabin at the back of his pirate ship-themed area. He moseyed over to a chest conveniently on the edge, waved “Ahoy!”, and started to return.
Then he realized what he just did, slowly pivoted his head back to the anxious children, and gave a small grimace of realization. “Uh... I'll be wit' ye in a mo', ye hear?” A few giggles were given, and many more nodded, wondering what the swashbuckler would do next.
As it turned out, he'd give a tiny “Thank ye”, turn around, and “whisper” in a voice louder than most foghorns, “Freddy! The wee lads 'n lassies be here!”
“Already?!” a voice grumbled, but it was mostly jovial, the same sounds you'd expect Santa Claus to make, if you believed in the overgrown fairy.
“Aye!” replied Foxy, scurrying backstage with the chest snuggled under his arm like some sort of linebacker.
There where no more hiccups after that, and as the band played one final song, Jason had a sneaking suspicion that Foxy's “mix-up” was all scripted, as the rest of the show was fraught with audience participation, and not one beat was skipped. Even when they invited a kid onstage, and she tried sneaking around the back and making comments on how the robots smelled (how could a robot have a smell?), they took it in stride, gently guiding her back.
Still, as the curtain closed and the band took a final bow, Jason felt a pang of longing. He couldn't quite explain it, but there was a definite tug, like the building itself wanted him. So once the house lights resumed their normal tint, he made a slight detour away from Thomas' party to a door marked “Employees only” and knocked.
To Jason's great surprise, Freddy Fazbear himself opened the door.
“Yes?” rumbled the bear in the same kindly tone.
“Umm... I'd, uh, like to speak with your manager– that is, if you guys have one.”Jason was immediately regretting this decision, but he figured he may as well go big or go home.
“Oh! Yes, she's right through here.” The bear gestured inwards, up onto the darkened stage, where the other three animatronics were resting on the ground, not moving except to note the teenager in their midst. Jason also noted a faint but peculiar smell: it seemed almost damp and meaty, but the building wasn't that old, and from the stage, you could hardly smell any pizza.
The bear lead Jacob through a door that he'd somehow missed during the show; looking back, he supposed Foxy's drum set and the fox himself had obscured it. Opening the door revealed a playful little hallway, with muted pastels interspersed with child-drawn posters and more professional work. Freddy cautiously explained “She doesn't like us to be in there much, so I'm afraid you're on your own.”
“I'll be fine,” Jason breezily replied, rapping on the door marked “Manager: Garcia Chavez”
“Come in!” barked a sharp, slightly feminine voice. Jason paused, ran his fingers through his hair, and entered.
A Latin woman with sat in a crisp business suit behind a meticulously organized desk, but the walls still held the same fare as in the walkway, including one hyper-realistic poster of Freddy. She appeared to be finishing typing something on a sleek laptop, and seconds later, a printer to the left started its repetitive, menial task. Jason glanced over and read the opening sentence.
“We are sorry to inform you that your current interests and skills are not quite what we are looking for at this particular locale. However, some of our other branches would love to take you on, if given the opportunity...”
“Dave, add that to the others,” she said, turning to the only other person in the room. He appeared much more like what Jason expected another employee to look like, dressed in casual, slightly worn clothes, greasy, chapped hands with yellowed and chipped fingernails, sporting a bit of a belly and a nametag saying “Hello! My Name Is: Dave White”.
He cheerfully lowered the dusting rag onto a bookshelf and went over to the printer, straightening and stapling the pages together before adding them to a considerable stack on the desk.
At this point, Ms. Chavez spoke directly to Jason. “Well? Which one was it?”
“Huh?” Jason said, having no idea what she meant.
“Maybe you don't know their names. The bear? The fox? The rabbit? The little boy? The mouse? The raccoon? The panther? Out with it, you're not in trouble.” She paused and glared. “Unless you did it.”
“I have no idea what you're talking about!”
“Did the animatronics harm you or someone else? Did you?” She talked slowly and carefully now, as though he was a good twelve years younger.
“That's not what I'm here for at all! I'm here to get a job.”
She settled back in her chair, with a slight smirk. Dave, on the other hand, stopped his jaunty whistling and cleaning tour and turned to Jason, astonished.
“Very well. Your qualifications?”
“High school, with two-year college credits in computer engineering and mechanics.”
“Any previous employers?”
“I can get that to you tomorrow.”
“I see.” She slumped back in her chair, crossing her arms. “So you, in fact, did not come here for a job originally, but felt so confident you could get on completely unprepared, yes?”
Jason, for the second time in his life, had nothing to say. That is, until, the Freddy poster turned a shiny yellow and its eyes disappeared.
“What the hell?!”
Ms. Chavez's head turned almost leisurely to look at the poster, but before her eyes met it, it disappeared with a light-hearted, girlish giggle.
Ms. Chavez sighed and turned back around. “I doubt that we'll hire you as a mechanic, if that's what you're thinking. If you can get your resume back here within twenty-four hours, I might, might, hire you. Are we clear?”
“Y-yes, but what was that?”
“I don't know what you think you saw. We've never put anything there.”
As Jason left, thoroughly rattled, Dave started giggling.
“Hope you look good in purple!” Dave called, gesturing at his own getup.
He still came back, though.