Of course, after my experience, I made sure to tell absolutely everyone what had happened. I told my parents, my sister, the kids at school, and even made a huge post on that message board I frequented. For obvious reasons, no one I told believed me. (Well, a couple of people on the message board believed me, but you can find people to believe anything on the internet.) Honestly, I couldn't blame them.
As the weeks turned into months, even I started to question what I’d seen. It was so nonsensical, how could it have happened? I do have vivid dreams, sometimes, and scary ones too. I’ve had dreams where I’d get shot or stabbed and be absolutely certain I was going to die. I would feel energy slowly leaving my body, start lamenting how I never properly said goodbye to my family, try desperately to think of how to get the most out of my final seconds…and then my watch would go off and it’d be time for breakfast. I’ve never suffered a wound that severe in real life, but somehow, it’s like my mind knew how it feels to die.
I’m…getting sidetracked here. My point is that I wondered if the incident with the video game was just one of those vivid nightmares. It felt about as real. I didn’t remember waking up afterwards, though.
After about six months I just kinda dropped the whole thing. No one was listening and it wasn’t worth the effort anymore. I hadn’t had anything like it happen since, so I stopped telling people my video game ghost story and went back to leading a normal life.
Seven years passed. (This has nothing to do with Ocarina of Time and the similarity is complete coincidence.) I was now a college student struggling with a degree in film. I’d always wanted to get into video games, truth be told, but I just never had the head for programming. I’d programmed exactly one video game in my life, and all it boiled down to was watching four circles race from one side of the screen to the other. It was less fun than it sounds.
Completely out of the blue, seven years since I'd thought of that afternoon, I received a message on Instant Messenger. (This was a few years ago, when people still used Instant Messenger.) The following conversation occurred. This is not a transcript and is instead done from memory. When you read it, keep in mind that the actual person’s grammar was much, much worse.
Person: You’re not alone.
Me: Thanks. Who is this?
Person: Remember that incident seven years ago?
Me: I think you messaged the wrong person, guy.
Person: No. Ocarina of Time. The girl with the red hair.
At this point I had to pause for a second. I hadn’t even thought about this for years. I became very agitated for some reason, more than I probably should have. Still, polite to the last, I repressed my urge to type “HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT?!” in all caps and tried to hear him out.
Me: Where did you hear about that?
Person: We found your old post. It’s archived. Everything is. We’re good at finding stuff.
Me: Why? And who’s “we?”
Person: She’s real.
There was about a thirty second pause here. I think the person was expecting me to reply with something like “What!?” Or “No fucking way!” Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to respond.
Me: Go on.
Person: You really saw what you think you saw. She’s called “The Princess.” We’ve all seen her.
Me: Again, who’s “we?”
Person: We need you. Come here.
He then posted a URL. I was dubious, but if he knew about my story, at the very least he wasn’t some spam bot trying to get me to buy cheap pills. I took a breath and clicked. I probably should have taken a deeper breath, because I was immediately confronted with an image of the girl I’d seen seven years ago. It was a screencap of her from the game. The red hair, the white dress, the creepy arms-out pose, the face…no, wait. In this picture, the polygons for her face were simply missing, allowing you to see inside her head. Her hair and dress looked different, too, and it looked like she might be missing a hand. Was it the same girl?
It took me a second, but I finally noticed the background of the picture. There was some kind of building behind her, but not anything I recognized from Ocarina of Time. It wasn’t even the same style. SThis screencap wasn’t from Ocarina of Time at all. It was from Megaman Legends.
She was in Megaman Legends.
I shook my head. I wanted to wake up. This wasn't possible. I'd spent six and a half years convinced it was all just a bad dream. Now I was seeing it in front of me, but not just what I'd seen seven years ago. This one screenshot implied something far worse, something that would soon be confirmed.
My eyes moved down the page, and I finally realized what I was seeing. This image was the header for a message board. It was a crappy-looking board, using some ready-made template, and with only one forum called “The Meeting Room.” Inside, a stickied thread with an all caps title begged for my attention. “NEW HERE? READ THIS!”
So I read it. This is a direct copy-paste of the thread’s message, which remains on the forum to this day. Pardon any spelling and grammar issues. I didn’t write it.
If you’re here, it’s because you’ve seen her, the girl with red hair and a white dress. She appeared to you in a video game you were playing, perhaps recently, perhaps years ago. Either way, you are now one of us. We are “The Princess Society.”
First, let me make one thing clear. She’s real. It wasn't a dream or a hallucination. You aren't crazy. Second, she’s dangerous. You should consider it a blessing that you saw her and lived. It means you had the sense to shut off the game. Not everyone can say the same. We know of at least two cases where players who encountered her did not shut off their game, and they are no longer with us.
Here’s what we know: We know she appears in video games. I don’t know what game you saw her in, but she isn’t confined to it. She can appear in any video game. There are some types of games she seems to prefer, and some from which she seems to stay away, but it can be any game, on any system, from any era. She never looks exactly the same twice, but her red hair and white dress are constants. We know she usually gives an “unfinished” appearance.
We know she calls herself “The Princess.” We know she can alter and glitch games in unpredictable ways. We know that if you allow this to continue for too long, something happens. We don’t know what happens, but those to whom it happens turn up dead, often in ways that suggest they died in great pain.
This is not a ghost story or a game. This is a very real danger. At any time, anyone playing a video game could encounter her. This is why we exist. We have to stop her. Somehow. Someway. We’ve all come together to put an end to this and try to keep her from claiming anyone else.
Now, there’s some bad news we must break to all members. You’re a target now. We have reason to believe that thinking about her or being aware of her makes her more likely to appear. As such, if she appears to you once, she’ll be increasingly likely to come back. This is also why you must never tell anyone about her. Just knowing about her puts people at greater risk. It’s too late for you, but not for those you care about. Please, tell them nothing. Delete any online posts you’ve made about her. Don’t tell anyone or you put them in danger.
We’re trying to find a solution. We’re trying to find a way to either fight her or communicate with her or do SOMETHING to put an end to all this. The more minds we have, the more chance we have to stop her. We need your help, and you need ours.
You don’t need to be afraid. You have our support now. You don’t need to stop playing video games or hide in a shack or anything crazy. She can’t hurt you if you remember one thing.
IF YOU SEE HER, TURN OFF THE GAME.
My life was never going to be the same.