The Crucible: Fractured Souls

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     So before we begin, I'd like to make one quick comment. Because it's so hard to see the real action right away, I've posted two additional unfinished chapters, just to give you a taste for the rest of the story. I'll be picking up at chapter 2 as soon as I can. Thanks for bearing with me!

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 Introduction

 Here we are, at the very beginning. An introduction seems necessary, as this is far from your average bedtime story. This book is based on the adventures of a few friends of mine. By that I mean actual adventures. The story you are about to read is based on real people. "But, how could this be real? Some of this could never happen in real life!" That, I can gladly answer. This is the story of an alternate reality game and the people who chose to participate. Little did they know how it would change all of their lives forever. 

 Alternate reality games are a great deal like roleplaying, in some respects. One may find suddenly that they are consumed by the story and it becomes their life. It becomes a new way of thinking about the world, almost a living, breathing story. That is the goal of these games and the reason for every ARG's motto: "This is not a game". As I like to put it, a movie draws you out of yourself for a couple hours, while a book can last a few days or possibly a few weeks. A game like this lasts for months. They often involve puzzles and interaction with other players, creating a sense of "immersion", as they begin to genuinely care for the characters of the story, as well as the rest of the participants.

 This particular story takes place in an IRC chat and on the players' tumblr accounts, as well as occasional use of email and twitter. Major plot points can also include texts of both pictures and audio recordings. Please, take a moment to look at these when they show themselves. It adds color and helps you truly understand why the players reacted the way they did. In addition, as the game goes on, it quickly becomes clear that there is some difficulty in telling who is really a character and who is not. That is for you, as the reader, to decide. 

 Just imagine some of these events happening in the middle of the night, when it is dark and rainy outside. You could swear you can hear the sound of someone moving slowly down the hall. Perhaps if you have a little brother, you can hear him singing nursery rhymes to himself in a sweet, child's voice. Do you notice how cold it just became? It's still fall, but you feel a chill run through you. Be careful, or you may find yourself freezing to death at the hands of the Cold Boy...

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