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Written by Natedagreat563Natedagreat563
Author Page

Yes I wrote for 2 dead canons in one article, cry about it.

The Beast of Level 5 and terror hotel canon by ratscrapzratscrapz
Characters of Sinclair Beckett, Father Bluebird, and Jerry by 1000dumplings1000dumplings, used with her permission.
Decay Canon by SariastuffSariastuff

Other Pages By This Author
Levels Electrical Station | The White Forest | TH3 SH4DY GR3Y | The Metro | The Dark Metro
Sub-Levels Terror Hotel Casino
Entities Endless/Nameless | The Saberzoa
Unnumbered Entities Icarus Procidens
Objects The Ultimate Backrooms Cookbook | Spirit Links | Almond Water
Tales Wake Up and Smell the Pain | Archived Journals of Lucy Fox | The Broken City Part 1: City Boy | The Broken City Part 2: Macy | The Broken City Part 3: Meggies | The Broken City Part 4: Terror | Blanche’s Halloween Party | Cracks
People of Interest Eden G.
Guides/Essays Survival Difficulty Class System Guide | Offsets 101

The Broken City: Chapter Four

“Come with me,” The Beast ordered.

Max gazed at the anthropomorphic squid in amazement. He towered over the crowd of M.E.G. operatives and FOJ members like a giant. He was finely dressed in a tuxedo with a cup of tea in his tentacle. The crowd was petrified with fear at the sight. The room turned silent, and the cacophony of the casino behind them remained the only thing audible.

Rumors of this monster were common amidst anyone who had been to Level 5. It was thought he was simply a myth, no more real than Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Despite such rumors, however, the creature stood right there in front of them, contorting the front of his head to look like he was smiling.

The Beast of Level 5,” Jerry squawked condescendingly. “I should kill you.”

The Beast chortled. “Now that would be a bloody good bit of entertainment.”

“No need, Jerry. I’ll do it myself.” Without much hesitation, Father Bluebird unsheathed his sword and lunged forward, sword pointed at the Beast’s heart. The Beast seemed to suddenly disappear right before the sword could even pierce his suit. Father Bluebird looked around in amazement. Despite his elderly age, his speed was unmatched — despite that, this creature seemingly dodged the attack without him even noticing. He felt a firm, sticky tap on his shoulder behind him.

“Now, now. I’m not here to squabble. I am here simply to ask if you-”

Before the Beast could even finish his thought, Father Bluebird spun his arm around like a tornado, causing a small gust of wind to hit the others from the weight of his sword swinging in the air. Once again, the Beast had suddenly disappeared. He let out an angry roar, this time predicting his moves. Before the Beast could say anything, Father Bluebird flourished his sword behind him and laughed when he felt the blade stop on something. He spun around, smugly grinning beneath his mask. His visage changed when he realized the Beast was unharmed, grasping the edge of his sword with his other tentacle.

“Almighty Jerry, I have him where I want him! Put him under your control!” Father Bluebird pleaded. Jerry remained silent. He cooed in pain as he ascended from Macy’s shoulder and perched on the swordsman.

“You cannot defeat him. Yield,” Jerry ordered, seemingly maintaining a look of embarrassment on his face.

“What’s the matter? Aren’t you going to turn me into one of your slaves, or — excuse me — Followers?” the Beast taunted.

“Why aren’t you doing anything, All-powerful One?!” Father Bluebird pleaded desperately, using all of his might to try to push down the sword.

“I said yield,” Jerry ordered firmly. Father bluebird sighed in frustration, but he had no choice. He receded his blade and sheathed it behind him. The Beast laughed and sipped his cup of tea, which amazingly hadn’t spilled even a drop throughout the whole encounter.

“What the bird fails to mention is that his powers have no effect on me or anyone here. I know how his dirty tricks work, and I will make one thing clear.” The Beast approached Father Bluebird with lightning speed, almost as if he was teleporting, and looked at him directly in the eye. “This is my domain, and I call the shots here. Make no mistake that anyone who steps into this hotel remains alive at my own mercy. If I found myself in a more murderous mood today, you would have been dead before your rotting, elderly brain could even fathom the fact that you were dying.”

Father Bluebird stared back at him coldly. It was hard to tell his expression beneath the mask, but he almost looked afraid — extremely unusual for him. Regardless, he tried to maintain a strong posture to uphold his reputation with the other Followers. The old man considered responding to The Beast with a quip or challenge, but he opted to stay silent. Something about The Beast's dark aura sent chills down his spine that would silence even the bravest of souls.

"My apologies, Mr… uh…" Alex stammered, jumping in to diffuse the situation.

"Mr. Gentleman is fine." The Beast replied quickly. She took a deep breath, trying not to let his intimidation get to her.

"Yes, Mr. Gentleman. My name is Alex. I'm here with some members of The M.E.G. and The Followers of Jerry. Their home has been destroyed by an undocumented growing void that seems to eat away at the very reality of levels, leaving behind a darkness that disintegrates anything and everything in its path. We spent weeks trying anything and everything to stop its progression, but nothing seemed to work in any permanent capacity. We were trying to travel to Level 4 for refuge, but we were stopped on Level 2 by another instance of the void. We had no choice but to take an alternative route to your hotel. I truly apologize for the intrusion and trouble we've caused here. If you could just direct us to Level 4 or Level 11, we won't cause any more trouble here."

The Beast looked at her with a stoic expression. His unique anatomy made it difficult to read his facial expression. His breathing seemed to intensify suddenly as he pondered her words.

"That means this problem is larger than I ever could have imagined," he finally responded.

"Have you noticed an instance of the phenomenon here?"

"A few days ago, I received reports from one of my patrons that my barkeep hadn't come in for work. I went to the bar to see if something had happened… but it was gone. In its place was black void. I've placed curtains around the area and claimed that we were remodeling the bar, as such a sight is not very good for business. If what you're saying is true, however, I don't reckon a curtain will solve the issue for very long, will it?"

"No, it won't. The void will only continue to grow, and none of us know how to stop it. We have to evacuate everyone from the casino and the hotel to Level 4 now. Come on, guys!" Alex beckoned to Max and the rest of the M.E.G. operatives to follow. Luckily, they had landed right in the Beverly Room, so the casino was in mere walking distance. The group ran behind Alex through the large entrance doors. His senses were immediately overwhelmed with intense, flashing lights and the loud sounds of slot machines and other miscellaneous gambling games.

"Hey, there's an emergency! This entire place is going to be destroyed, and you need to leave and get to Level 11 now!" Alex shouted, shaking one of the players. He didn't seem to notice her warnings and continued to play. She snapped her fingers in front of his face, but he still remained entirely focused on the game. "Sir, if you don't leave now, you're going to die!" she screamed. She forcibly turned him around to face her, but she was greeted by a horrible sight. The man had a long beard and looked like he hadn't shaved in weeks. His eyes were bloodshot and irritated from the lights, and his hands trembled from all of the playing.

"I was going to warn you, but you're a little too eager there, chap. They're too far gone to be saved or evacuated," The Beast said grimly. The other operatives looked on in horror as the man groaned in a zombie-like manner and returned to his game.

"What did you do to them?" Max asked, disturbed.

"They did it to themselves. I never force anyone to enter this place. Likewise, they can leave whenever they wish. They simply… have lost the desire to do so. They poured and prepared the Kool-Aid, so can I really be called the villain for making sure they drink it?" The Beast responded menacingly.

"You're sick. No wonder they call you The Beast!" Max exclaimed, losing his temper. Alex glared at him, concerned with angering such a powerful being.

"Can Jerry do anything to reverse it, maybe?" Alex asked, trying to quickly change the subject.

"Beings like him have no power here. These people are gone. This is where they will die, beside myself and my coworkers," The Beast replied solemnly. "I am unable to leave this place. It is my curse. A captain always goes down with his ship, they say. Unless you can find a way to stop this, the last thing they hear will be the sounds of these slot machines."

"Show us where it is."

The group followed The Beast through the large casino as lights and music blasted throughout the establishment. Max looked around in horror as the patrons stared at the various machines intently, only stopping to sip a drink or shove food into their mouth. Various quirky staff members wandered around serving said refreshments to the customers. They all resembled disproportionate beings that were inspired by various inanimate objects such as an 8-ball or wine glass. Their spotless suits stuck out among the dirty clothes of the customers, which likely hadn't been washed in months in some cases. Max's thoughts on The Beast were already quite low, but he didn't think he could ever forgive something like this. He put himself in their shoes, imagining his body being disintegrated by the atom while he could do nothing but continue to play. It was a grim thought, and he certainly didn't envy their situation. After a long trek, the group arrived at a large set of curtains covering what used to be the bar. Various signs warning that the bar was under temporary construction and to mind the mess.

"Be careful. There's no telling how much it has grown in the last week or so," The Beast warned. Alex erected her taser stick and carefully moved aside one of the curtains to reveal the dark void they had grown accustomed to. A shiver went down Alex's spine as she saw the void again. Something about it seemed to affect her sangfroid.

"That's it, alright. We found out that Object 4 causes it to recede slightly, but we aren't sure how long that will last, or if it will even work again. We have one right here that we can give you, but it's out of batteries. Do you have any laying around?"

"Anything and everything you could ever want is right within these walls. Right, then. I thank you for assisting me and my hotel staff in this dilemma. After all, an enemy of one's enemy is a friend. Hopefully this issue will be resolved from here on out. Once we get the Deuclidator set up, I will escort you to the staircase that leads to The Empty Office in a jiffy. In the meantime, I suggest that your group remain in here to avoid the infestation of Deathmoths in the lobby. We are still… trying our best with that issue."

"Great, thanks again," Alex replied. She sat down at a nearby table with Max and Macy, taking a sigh of relief that The Beast didn't kill them right away. Sinclair and Father Bluebird informed the group of the situation and organized them near the curtain so that they would be prepared to leave as soon as possible.

Max looked at his old friend and partner. While the others appeared hopeful and optimistic, she seemed troubled. "What's the matter? Aren't you excited to see Level 11?" Max asked.

"Sort of. Sinclair told me it was a nice place, aside from the large population of M.E.G. operatives making the FOJ unwelcome, that is. No offense," Macy replied.

"None taken. Are you sure you're okay, though?"

"This is just… a lot. Ever since we got here, I've been expected to come to terms with so many ridiculous things that make no sense. First off, we "noclipped" through the world into some alternate death-maze reality. I'm just expected to understand that as normal… noclipping like a speedrunner in a video game walking through a wall? Seriously?" Macy responded with an upset tone.

"I mean, when you put it like that…"

"Then, I become the second in command of a bird cult by pure luck, and I'm expected to be in charge of all of these people. Then said cult's room gets eaten by some mysterious black void that keeps appearing across all of the other levels. Then, we have to take a detour into a giant casino and enlist the help of a squid-monster to get to a giant city to find a group of people that might know how to fix this?" Max was silent as she vented her frustrations to him. In all the chaos, he had almost forgotten how ridiculous this place was. He didn't understand why they had to end up here. Regrets overwhelmed him. What if he hadn't gone in to work that day? What if his other companion, Aaron, went in first? His thoughts were interrupted by Alex.

"Listen, kid. I've been here longer than you've been alive. Time here works really weirdly compared to The Frontrooms. I noclipped a good 60 years ago, and yet I still look like I'm in my twenties. The only reason I've survived this long is because of perseverance. This place is weird, and it never ceases to amaze me sometimes. You get to a point where you just have to accept that this is all there is now. If you sit here in terror, you're just gonna end up dead."

Alex pulled out a small, heart-shaped necklace hidden beneath her shirt. She opened it to reveal a black-and-white picture of her and a man standing next to each other. She had a smile on her face that Max didn't recognize: a sense of joy and youthful naïveté that she seemed to have lost. She pulled out a small piece of yellowed paper that was folded up into a small square and unfolded it. It was torn and damaged from age, but the writing was still intact.

To my love, Alexandra.

I can't wait to return from my studying abroad in London to come see you. I have dearly missed America, but more importantly I long to see you again. London is a beautiful place. The architecture of the old kingdom, the palace, Big ben: it's all indescribably beautiful. It does not, however, compare to the love I hold for you. I'm writing this letter on Friday. In 2 weeks, I will be returning to Chicago for the summer. As soon as I arrive, I want to take you on a date to that pizza place near our home. Will you please make reservations for us? I love you so much, and even though we are seas apart, my love for you only continues to grow. If only it were possible for you to be here with me now. I eagerly await your warm embrace (and that delicious pizza!). See you very soon.

With love,

"I never saw him again. This was the last I ever heard from him," Alex whispered solemnly. She held back the pain in her voice, attempting to maintain her serious personality that she was known for. She clenched the paper tightly, as she had done many times before, and folded it back up neatly into the necklace.

"Alex… you never told m-" Max stuttered.

"Because it's irrelevant," she boomed, firmly snapping the necklace shut and reconcealing it beneath her shirt. "My point is that what's happened has happened. You can either sit here and sulk about it and get yourself killed or roll with the punches as they come. Don't expect me to always be there to save your sorry butts from trouble and toughen up. This isn't an ideal situation for any of us, but if we sit here and cry about what could be, we may as well just throw ourselves right into the void now rather than waiting for it to come to us." Max and Macy were speechless. How could a statement so vulnerable feel like such a lethal pierce to the heart? The tension was quickly broken by The Beast returning to the table with Sinclair, Father Bluebird, and Jerry beside him.

"Right, then. I've activated the Deuclidator. It's currently starting up as we speak next to the bar. Hopefully it will solve this predicament swiftly so we can fully return to business as usual," The Beast reported.

"The Followers and operatives are ready to get moving. What's got you three all pouty?" Sinclair snarked.

"Nothing. We're all set to get moving. Thank you again, Mr. Gentleman. Your help was much appreciated. Now then, let's g-" before Alex could finish her statement, a set of screams suddenly pierced her ears from the other side of the room. She looked over to see the void suddenly growing extremely quickly. Alex's eyes widened at the sight. Before, it had moved at a rate unnoticeable to the naked eye. Now, it was rapidly approaching them. They watched in horror as The Followers and operatives were mercilessly swallowed by the void as they tried to run away from its sudden progression. Jerry immediately took flight and narrowly avoided the void, soaring for the entrance.

"Holy crap! Go!" Sinclair screeched, beckoning them to run for the entrance. Without hesitation, they ran as fast as they could as the entire casino began to get swallowed by the rapidly progressing darkness. One by one, Followers and Operatives disappeared into the darkness as they attempted to escape. Various games, machines, and customers fell victim to the darkness as well. Nothing was safe from its insatiable destruction.

"You said the Deuclidator would cause it to recede! You lied to me! Look what you've done to my casino!" The Beast roared.

"She was telling the truth! When we tested it the first time, it caused the void to recede slightly until it ran out of battery. This shouldn't be happening!" Father Bluebird exclaimed through huffs and puffs. Despite his incredible agility, his age did not allow him to retain his stamina. He began to lag behind the other six slightly as they inched closer to the entrance. Macy glanced behind her to see that the void had now consumed almost the entire casino. The only part remaining was the entrance lobby. Sinclair reached into her bag of weapons and grabbed her final bottle of Black Bottled Lightning.

"We have to throw this at the void. It's our only hope!" she screamed. The sounds of screaming and running now overpowered the cacophony of casino sounds that once seemed louder than anything they had ever heard.

"What if it starts going even faster?" Max yelled back.

"We're not gonna make it out in time. We have no choice but to try!" Sinclair cried.

"Throw it at me! I will deflect it off of my sword onto the void. Otherwise, the ensuing damage may result in our deaths either way!" Father Bluebird exclaimed. Sinclair was unsure about his plan, but she had no choice. Any more hesitation, and she would be swallowed. She reached into her bag and revealed a small vial with black sparks of electricity bouncing around the container. Father Bluebird unsheathed his sword and took a deep breath, knowing that failure meant certain death. He clenched the hilt of his sword tightly and locked his gaze on the vial. With all the strength she could muster, Sinclair quickly turned around while continuing to run and tossed the bottle at her fellow Follower.

Swiftly and cleanly, Father Bluebird swung his sword at the bottle while running sideways. The vial deflected off of the blade and rushed for the ground, immediately shattering on impact. Instantly, the lightning began to scatter in many directions, causing it to come into contact with what was left of the broken games and machines. The surge of electricity caused a sudden explosion that sent the survivors flying forward toward the entrance.

Max landed flat on his face, bracing himself to be disintegrated. After a few moments, he opened his eyes and looked around. His glasses had flown off of his face in the blast, so his surroundings were blurry. He rolled over in pain and looked around; his skin was slightly singed from the explosion. He saw the blurry image of the large lights on the front door of the casino, which proved to him that he had survived. Relieved, he felt around the floor for his glasses. A wave of embarrassment washed over him as he crawled around like Velma, hopelessly feeling for his glasses. He finally found them and placed them back on his face, horrified by what he saw.

He and Macy were the furthest away from the blast; their police training paid off well. Macy was thankfully conscious, simply in pain from the sudden launch forward. Alex and Sinclair were behind. The backs of both women's shirts were covered in holes from being slightly burned. Sinclair's long, greasy black hair was all frizzy and singed in various locations. Like Macy, they were conscious, but in pretty intense pain. Father Bluebird was extremely close to the blast, but most of the impact seemed to have been deflected from his sword. He was in a similar condition to Alex and Sinclair. Max's heart dropped when he realized that the rest of the Followers, the M.E.G. operatives, and customers of the casino were all unaccounted for. A tear fell from his face as he realized that the majority of his and Macy's friends were gone.

Jerry flew from high up to Max and perched in front of him. Jerry gazed at the insatiable monster that had run him out of home and killed most of his friends. His normally looming personality seemed notably absent as he gazed into its darkness.

"How many are left?" Max asked, his throat in pain as he held back bitter weeping.

"7. You, Macy, Alex, Father Bluebird, Sinclair, The Beast, and I. I… sense no more life here…" Jerry responded. His voice was monotonous and emotionless. It lacked its usual intimidating, cunning cadence that made his voice so chilling. It was almost robotic. Max watched the void in silence for a moment. Remnants of the black lightning jumped around the void like a violent storm at night. Thankfully, though, it seemed to have ceased its rampage. Sinclair's plan worked. Max slowly approached Father Bluebird to make sure he was still conscious. He was shocked to see The Beast on the floor right in front of the void. He gasped as he saw that The Beast's legs were submerged in the darkness. His nice suit was reduced to singed rags. Most of his body was exposed, showing off his severe burns and bloody wounds.

"Mr. Gentleman!" Max screamed, instinctively kneeling down to help him out.

"Stop!" he commanded weakly. He lifted his head up to look at Max, shaking as he struggled to hold himself up. "The void has been stopped for now, but my legs are inside of it. If you take me out, I will bleed to death."

"I'm so sorry!" Max cried, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Object 4 stopped it in Jerry's room when we tested it out. I don't understand why it didn't work here!"

"This void… this Decay… I believe it's bigger than any of us. I was foolish to think mere humans could stop this… As I told you before, a captain always goes down with his ship. You simply took away the looming dread of death." The Beast winced in pain as he took deep, labored breaths.

"What will happen to the hotel?" Max asked. Unable to speak much more, The Beast solemnly looked behind Max, pointing his tentacle in that direction. A feeling of dread washed over Max as he saw a black wall of darkness blocking their way to the staircase to Level 4. He hadn't realized, but The Decay had grown beyond the walls of the casino and blocked them off from the rest of the hotel.

"Your escape is inaccessible. I am sorry," The Beast wheezed.

"What do we do? Are we stuck here?" Max asked frantically.

"Your only hope is The Boiler Room. It is an extremely dangerous portion of the hotel, but if you can successfully traverse to the end, you will end up in Lights Out. Under normal conditions, such an area is far too dangerous for anyone to be, but I believe you are beyond the luxury of a choice."

"L-Lights Out… That's Level 6! We can't go there! That's instant death!" Max cried, his heart beating like an engine.

"You'd enounter the same fate by staying here. There are heatproof suits by the entrance. I put them there in case the room ever needed to be used as an emergency exit or hiding place. There should be enough for you and your companions."

"Is there nothing we can do for you?" Max asked, afraid of what was to come.

"I shan't keep the devil waiting any longer than I already have. Go quickly while you still have the chance."


"I'll see you in the beyond." Before Max could say goodbye, The Beast lifted himself one last time into a pushup stance. With all the remaining strength he had left, he pushed his body backwards into the darkness, disappearing inside of it. One of the most powerful beings in The Backrooms was dead. The Beast had been slain. Max looked at the darkness, staring at where The Beast once was as the remnants of the lightning crackled in the background. He covered his face in shock. Alex's words from moments earlier resonated in his mind.

You can either sit here and sulk about it and get yourself killed or roll with the punches as they come.

There was no time to waste. Max helped up his wounded companions to their feet and informed them of The Beast's final words. They were all burnt, bruised, emotionally wounded, and shivering with fear of Level 6.

"Is there really no other way?" Alex asked. She remembered her training to become an M.E.G. operative all that time ago. Back then, she received a list of levels to never go to under any circumstances. Level 6 was one of those levels. It was a pitch-black maze with no easy way out. Flashlights and other light sources were useless. The level was so dark that they wouldn't even be able to see their own hands in front of their faces. There was no guarantee they would survive the undocumented entities, the auditory hallucinations, or the strange anomalies and phenomena. Likewise, it was probable that they would be separated upon entry, as encountering people on Level 6 is generally presumed to be impossible, and she was told to assume that any human contact is a mere hallucination or entity attempting to trick you. On top of all that, there was no guarantee that they wouldn't walk straight into The Decay, as the darkness would disguise it quite well.

"The Beast said all other exits have been blocked. No stairs, no elevators, no walls we can noclip through, what else is there to do?" Macy asked.

"There's a door inside of The Boiler Room that leads to The Space Station, which we can take to get to The City. Maybe that would be safer?" Sinclair advised.

"And get stranded in space? No. Max is right." Alex took a deep breath. "We have to go to Level 6."

"The only hope we have in Lights Out is accidentally tripping over a wire to get to The Snackrooms. We're going on a suicide mission on the hope that we accidentally get to where we need to go!"

"You're free to get killed here, or you can follow Max and I and take your chances at the last thread of hope we have left. What will it be?" Alex asked.

"Almighty Jerry, what is your wisdom? Father Bluebird asked. Jerry's eyes were wide open, staring intently at nothing. He looked like he had been shell-shocked. His Followers, save for three, had all died. He didn't know what to say.

"They are right. If there's any hope left, we must pursue it. Go forth into The Boiler Room," Jerry squawked quietly.

"What will you do?" Macy asked.

"I can travel this realm in ways you cannot. I must separate from you for the time being. I will meet you in The Snackrooms. I… sincerely hope we don't lose anyone else."

"I understand. Please be safe," Father Bluebird replied. Jerry took flight towards one of the remaining walls and let out a quiet coo in front of it. He suddenly soared towards it and noclipped right through it. He wished he could bring the others with him, but it was unfortunately impossible.

Max, Alex, Macy, Sinclair, and Father Bluebird all looked at the large door beside them with a sign over it that said "BOILER ROOM: DO NOT ENTER" in large, red letters. They all braced themselves for what was to come. Alex opened the door carefully, immediately getting greeted by a blast of sweltering heat. The pain from the burns on their skin suddenly doubled in intensity. Father Bluebird and Sinclair could barely move from the pain, so this was quite inconvenient. Their adrenaline was the only thing keeping them going.

"We're so dead…" Sinclair mumbled. Alex peeked her head into the hot room and noticed the heat-proof suits that The Beast mentioned, passing them out to the others. The suits were a metallic-grey color with a black window that served as the faceplate; creepy looking, to say the least. Max was worried about obscuring his vision with a black visor in an already pitch-black environment, but it wouldn't really make much of a difference positively or negatively.

"Before you put these on, I have a bottle of Green Almond Water. Open your thermoses and take some of this."

"Almond Water?! Are you trying to get us killed?!" Sinclair screeched. Alex had almost forgotten how unstable she was.

"Sinclair. It's Jerry's weakness, not ours. It's okay," Macy responded reassuringly.

"What's this for? A Snack?" Max asked, confused.

"This is a special kind of Almond Water that heightens your agility, energy, eliminates drowsiness, and keeps you sharp in the mind: kind of like coffee but slightly stronger. Level 6 is bursting at the seams with hallucination-inducing phenomena. It's a guarantee you'll hear and'/or see something that's not actually there. If you keep sipping on this, it'll keep that to a minimum. It's not a cure or end-all-be-all, but it's something: a safety precaution for whatever's lying beyond The Boiler Room, if you will." Sinclair and Father Bluebird scoffed and were quite reluctant to take the offer, but they knew that the hallucinations in this level were lethal at times.

After Alex filled their thermoses, the group zipped up each other's heat-proof suits and stared into the long, hot corridor before them. With immense terror and reluctance, they entered the room. As they approached the end of the corridor, the heat of The Boiler Room began to overwhelm them. Even with their suits, the heat was so powerful that they could still feel it. They trudged through the thin corridors, carefully contorting around the large machinery to prevent further burns to their bodies. After what seemed like an eternity, they reached a point where the dim overhead lights started flickering. Alex noticed this instantly, her heart dropping.

"We've arrived. Beyond this point, we will not see each other again until we get to 6.1. The level will isolate and separate us, and we'll be on our own," Alex stated coldly. Max turned back to Macy and hugged her once more.

"I'm so glad you were safe here. I'm just happy I at least got to see you one more time."

Macy squeezed back even tighter. "You're not allowed to go missing again, got it?" Macy chuckled through tears.

"I won't. Stop being so terrified of the dark, you baby," Max taunted, also crying. They sat for a minute in silence. The booming sounds of the machinery and boilers were all they could hear. They backed away and faced their fate once more. Max grabbed Alex's hand as they squeezed next to each other, facing the darkness. They cautiously walked forward into the darkness until the light slowly diminished. They entered the shadows, clutching each other's hands tightly as they prayed that they wouldn't run into The Decay. The heat and the sounds of the machines slowly dissipated into silence.

Suddenly, the feeling of Alex's hand disappeared. Max checked his surroundings to see if he could find the others, but only saw nothing at all. He felt around for his companions, but there was nothing. He unzipped his mask and took a sip of Alex's Almond Water, taking a deep breath as he processed the horrifying labyrinth before him. He trudged forward blindly, at the mercy of the void ahead.

The Broken City will continue in Chapter 5

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