Level 280
rating: +27+x

It's raining. The wet ground squelches under my feet, making it easy for the creatures following me to know where I am. At the same time, I don't know where they are, and I am too afraid to look back. I probably wouldn't see them anyways, as it's too dark in this level. Maybe the creatures are right next to me, ready to end my miserable journey. Maybe I have successfully lost them in this forest, which seems to go on forever.

Even though this forest is anything but normal, it still reminds me of my childhood. I feel an odd sense of nostalgia, recalling how my parents had always taken me to the forest. It was calm and peaceful, and while I didn't like picking mushrooms and berries, the food my parents made out of them was always delicious. Even when it rained, I always felt safe, as my parents were there, holding my hand and keeping me under an umbrella.

However, my parents aren't here. I am in an infinite forest, possibly being chased by a horde of monsters. I am completely exhausted. However, in my darkest moment, I see a light in the distance. It brings me joy.

On closer inspection, the light seems to be from a lamp on a small hut, alone in the middle of the forest. On the side of the hut, there is a single door. I barely have a choice, I can either enter or die. I choose to enter the hut. I swiftly close the door behind me, and I am thankful for it, as only moments later I hear loud banging outside. However, the entities do not succeed in breaching the door.

I begin to examine where I am. It seems like I am in a stairwell leading down into a massive dark room filled with fog. I am hesitant to go there, but hearing the loud bangs on the door is more than enough to convince me. As I descend, I realize that I am not actually in a room. Instead, it seems like I am in a massive void filled with fog and stairs. I have arrived at a new level. When I look back, I notice that the entrance to this level has vanished.

SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class 2

  • Dangerous Heights
  • Obstructed Vision
  • Low Entity Count
darkstairs.png

An artist's recreation of Level 280

Level 280 is the 281st level of the Backrooms. While most of the level is hazardous and uninhabitable because of its unique properties, the bottom platform of the level is considered safe. A single M.E.G. outpost, maintained to research the level and help wanderers, is located there.

Description:

Level 280 is a large void that is filled with a dense, thick fog, which makes it extremely hard to see far away. Additionally, staircases, made out of an unknown type of rock, are present in the void; while the texture of said rock varies, the invidual stairs are always of similar shape and size from one another. Together, they form larger staircases of various lengths, which are then joined by small, flat platforms. Often, more than one staircase will be connected to these flat platforms, allowing wanderers to choose which direction to follow.

Abnormal Effects

However, wanderers are not able to freely move throughout the level. This is because ascending the stairs is almost impossible. When a wanderer tries to climb the stairs, they are filled with a feeling of extreme reluctance. Even if the wanderer is able to combat this feeling, ascending even a few stairs has in all known cases proven extremely tiring. Because of this, it is not recommend to attempt to climb the stairs. All known attempts to do so have ultimately proven futile.

Well, there seems to be only one path I can take. As I descend the stairs, I hear weird noises reminiscent of wind and see that somewhere deep inside the fog, something is moving. However, I cannot see very far.

Suddenly, I arrive at a small, flat platform. The path branches into several ones. There’s a deep desire inside of me to descend the stairs down into the darkness and fog, and I almost do so, but then I stop. It’s almost like descending would be disgusting or like a betrayal. As if I’ve already been there and seen what it has to offer. So, I decide to go up. I feel a weird sense of laziness, a feeling of not wanting to climb, but I overcome it.

The first step upwards is easy, but feels oddly boring, almost pointless. I shrug at the feeling. However, the next step is a lot harder. It’s almost as if the stairs wouldn’t want to let me climb them. Well, that’s a weird idea. I take a third step.

Suddenly, I am exhausted. I try to stay standing, but I fall and land on the platform, facing the descending stairs. Maybe I should go there. It must be dangerous up there, or maybe climbing is just otherwise too hard for me. As I descend the stairs, I feel disgusted. I feel powerless. I stop.

The Fog

Level 280 is covered in dense fog. The fog makes light sources ineffective, and greatly obstructs visibility, making navigating the level difficult. However, the fog is also somewhat useful, as it faintly glows, making it possible to see in the level even if one comes across it without any light sources.

The layout of Level 280 is ever-changing. However, the fog masks this by limiting visibility in the level. While the stairs near wanderers seem to always stay still, by looking deep into the fog, it is sometimes possible to see stairs rotating and moving around. Sometimes, entities appear to walk on these stairs.

Somehow, this feeling is familiar. It’s almost like I am hit by a truck — not physically, but emotionally. And I feel powerless to do anything about it. It’s like standing still is taking more effort than walking. And so, I take another step down, as I feel powerless to do anything else. I am getting sucked deeper into the fog, deeper into uncertainty. However, when I look up, I also see uncertainty. It’s like I am surrounded by uncertainty from all sides.

I once again take a step downwards. It makes me feel terrible, but I do not know why. I feel worthless. I feel unable to fight. Maybe I am weak. Maybe resisting is not for me. I don’t know what is down there, but I feel like it’s calling for me. And I am following, like a bug being led into a trap by a spider. A disgusting bug.

It feels good to give up. I descend more and more stairs, when I suddenly come across a platform. Several staircases lead into it, but only one goes down. I descend, as always, but only get roughly ten steps down, when I hear something weird and stop. Looking upwards, I see something moving in the fog. The something descends several stairs and arrives on the platform I just stood on. It stops, and I see its shape. Or I would, if it had any. It’s just a black silhouette.

Dangerous Heights

It is recommended to exercise caution while descending the stairs. As the stairs have no railings, falling off is extremely easy. Sometimes fallen wanderers may safely land on a staircase close below. However, the nearest staircase can sometimes be so far down that landing on it can severely injure or even kill a wanderer. It is also possible to miss all of the stairs after falling, leading one to end up in the possibly endless void full of fog below. It is not known what happens to the wanderers who end up there, though many theorize that they die from suffocation as thick fog and high speeds make breathing increasingly difficult.

Entities:

Level 280 is only known to have a single, native type of entity. However, sometimes, entities from other levels enter Level 280. Their stay is only temporary, though, as the native entities are hostile towards entities from other levels.

The native entities are called ”chasers.” Sometimes, when a wanderer is walking down the stairs, a chaser may appear. The chaser will stand on the top part of the staircase the wanderer is on. If the wanderer stays still, the chaser will also stay still no matter how long the wanderer waits. However, if the wanderer takes even a single step down, the chaser will begin chasing them.

The best way to deal with chasers is to flee them. This can be done by running down the stairs or by jumping off to a physically lower staircase. All known attempts to defend against a chaser have proven futile, though it has been theorized to be possible with specific equipment. While escape may seem impossible at first, it is not. The chasers are unable to make sharp turns, and if the wanderer manages to flee for long enough, the chaser will fall off by itself.

I stare at the creature, looking at any hints of familiarity, but there are none. It stands above me, menacingly, staring down at me. The silhouette is featureless, made out of nothing other than darkness. I feel a strong urge to move, to escape the shadow. Confusingly, the creature itself seems frozen, almost as if it’s waiting for something.

I’m getting tired of standing. It is just easier to descend. However, the moment I take a step down, something happens. The creature starts moving rapidly, heading toward me. I begin to run down the staircase. Fighting back seems like a hopeless endeavor.

Step after step, I go deeper into the depths of the fog. The chase has now lasted for a minute and shows no signs of stopping. In despair, I come across a small platform. I quickly switch my direction, turning my head at the same time. I see how the chasing silhouette fails to make the tight turn, and gets launched deep into the fog.

I sigh in relief. I can finally have a small break. However, my legs do not comply. They continue descending the stairs as they've done for many minutes. I have to focus to make them stop. Only after stopping do I realize how physically exhausted I am. However, when standing still, I'm mentally even more exhausted.

These feelings are familiar. I don't know where I am going anymore. The fog lurks everywhere, leaving me in the dark. There seems to be only a single path left. And so, I prepare to take a step down.

However, just before I do so, I feel a gust of wind blowing behind me. Looking up, I see that another dark silhouette stands at the end of the staircase. It looks slightly different, but still so similar. I don't want to get chased again. However, it seems like I don't have a choice.

I manage to stay still, for now. I feel a call. The void below is very inviting, and I want to descend the stairs and disappear into the fog. However, in this level, there's another call as well. It is like the light on the hut, giving me a feeling of safety. It reminds me of my childhood. When it rained, my parents were always there, keeping me safe under an umbrella.

This other call is different from the one from the void below. It is fainter, but when I focus, I can hear it more clearly. Unlike the call from the void below, this one comes from above, from a place of safety. However, there's something in the way. The shadowy figure. It has stayed still for this entire time, but I know it is ready to chase me.

Maybe I can become the pursuer. I struggle, but I manage to take a single step up. However, the creature still stays unmoving. Staring right at the silhouette, I take another step upwards. It is a lot easier than the past steps. Slowly, I begin to walk. Then, I begin to run, but the silhouette is still frozen.

Finally, I am standing right in front of the silhouette. It’s terrifying, but somehow almost calming. However, it is also blocking the path. I stop in fear, but I manage to do it. I push the silhouette. It falls backward, off the staircases, never to be seen again.

Bases, Outposts, and Communities:

The Café

After walking down the stairs for long enough, they all begin to converge and get closer together. Eventually, they reach a large platform with a surface area of around half a hectare, under which there are no stairs. While the platform is made out of stone, the top of the platform is covered with dirt. Grass and trees grow on the platform, regardless of the eternal darkness. Additionally, the amount of fog on top of the platform is greatly reduced. The chasers try to avoid the platform, and they are known to be unable make contact with it; instead, they noclip straight through.

On top of the platform, there is an M.E.G. outpost that takes the form of a café. It is unknown whether this café is part of the level or whether it was built by humans. The M.E.G. outpost has an average population of 10, but if manpower is needed elsewhere, it can function with a minimum of five people.

Several small bags were found in the café when it was first discovered by the M.E.G. The contents of the bags were revealed to be small crushed pieces of brick. Through human error, the contents of one of the bags were accidentally disposed of on the ground outside of the cafe. The next day, an unusual formation was discovered in the location. It was decided that the location should be monitored daily. A log was compiled from the events.




I feel like a weight has been lifted. For the first time, I truly believe I can do this. I can climb these stairs. I do not know what I will find, but I am hopeful. I resume my slow walk up. I see stairs moving far away, concealed by the fog. On them, there are moving silhouettes, which still terrify me. However, I feel safe.

After walking upward many staircases, all of them slightly different, and crossing many platforms, I finally arrive somewhere different. I am at the end of a large platform. Dozens of stairs connect to it from below. However, only one leads up from it. This staircase is larger than any other staircase I've seen on this level. I can't see the end anywhere. The staircase continues straight into the fog.

Out of options, I begin climbing the staircase. Thankfully, the stairs aren't particularly steep. However, after only a few minutes of climbing, I hear a gasp of wind from behind me. Turning around, I see a dozen silhouettes emerging from the fog, chasing after me. To escape, I begin to run away. However, the silhouettes are too fast. Even as the stairs are flying past me, they're slowly gaining on me. Suddenly, I feel something cold taking my foot in its grasp.

Panicking, I try to run with the other foot, but only fall on my face. The silhouettes grab the other foot as well and begin pulling me down the stairs. However, I hold tight on the staircase, and even though I still feel them pulling on me, I've come to a halt. With all my power, I pull myself to the next stair. And then, the next. Even though dozens of silhouettes are pulling on me, I'm still stronger. With only my hands, I begin ascending the stairs again, not caring about my circumstance.

Suddenly, I manage to slip from their grip. I don't wait for a moment. Instead, I immediately continue my run up. The silhouettes are still chasing me. They're still gaining on me. However, I know it doesn't matter. Slowly, the fog starts getting less thick. Everything starts getting brighter. Then, unexpectedly, I emerge on the surface of the level.

Light flows into my eyes. The fog is gone, and the bare sky is visible. The stairs continue over the sea of fog I was just in. Turning around, I see that the creatures are trying to follow me. However, as they emerge from the fog, sunlight fills them, and they fade into nothingness. I am finally safe. After a short break, I continue my walk upward. I don't see the end of the staircase, but I feel like it is close.

Entrances And Exits:

Entrances

There are doors in Level 54 that lead to this level.

In addition, it is possible to find doors to this level in certain levels such as Level 39, Level 129, or Level 563. These doors are often attached to small huts.

Exits

On the bottom platform, near the M.E.G outpost, there is a small cave. Going into the cave leads to Level 8. This is currently the only known exit from Level 280.

I have finally arrived at the end. The stairs cut off abruptly. An umbrella is hanging from the edge, and I sit next to it.

I pick up the umbrella

The bare sky is beautiful. It is different from the sky of the Earth; it is far more colorful. I look around in awe.

I feel the wind blowing on my face

I see the massive layer of gray fog under me. It stretches as far as the eye can see, and the top part of the fog is moving around in the wind. Afar, I see several pipes of factories. Grey fog is leaking from some of them, which makes me wonder if once there was no grey fog at all.

I stand up and lift the umbrella

Staring into the world, I sink into my memories. I remember the sounds of the traffic. It's almost like I am there again.

The car is flipping upside down and downside up. Hopeless, I pick up the umbrella on the seat next to me. I try to open it to desperately try to defend myself, when I am interrupted, as the spinning stops. My car has hit the wall. The umbrella impales me, but I am surprised when it passes right through me. Or I pass right through it. I feel myself falling backward. Or forwards. I am falling in all directions, I am falling through everything.

Suddenly, I see a yellow floor, and I hear a quiet buzz of lights.

Waking up into the present again, I look forwards. I was a fool, the stairs never ended, they just continued differently.

The beautiful sky surrounds me everywhere. However, I look past it and see where the stairs lead. I see silhouettes, like the ones that chased me, but white. They're of the purest white I've seen, and look like massive bright sparks flying around. I feel a sense of belonging and joy. I know they're completely different from me, but we are still alike.

Suddenly, a small, grey cloud of fog rises from the sea of fog under me. It passes through me and fills me with an urge to go back down. However, I stand still.

After the fog has passed, I feel the warmth of the sun again. However, I feel an urge I always felt before, but it is now stronger. I feel the desire to become something greater.

I try to open my umbrella, but I fail. I try again and fail again. I am confused until I realize the truth. What I was holding was never an umbrella. Suddenly, as there is no handle anymore, the object falls from my grasp. It lands on the edge and begins hanging again, leaving everything like it was when I came. Then, just as I lost the grasp on the umbrella, I lose my grasp on reality. I am scared, but I know this is the only way I can proceed further.

I try to open myself, and I succeed. The wind blows hard and lifts me off, sending me far past the sky.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License