The Human Arcade


The amusement arcade is at the far end of the pier, a remnant facing the sea, paintwork
windswept and faded.

Despite it being summer season the building is deserted, the air inside like stale bread. Arcade cabinets line the walls, tightly packed and arranged in a maze-like formation. Some are still operational and fill the room with colour, with multiple jingles competing against each other.

We find the first body inside the Frogger machine. The cabinet has been emptied of its
electronic innards and is now home to a human corpse, its face held against the glass and staring outwards. We open the cabinet and the body slumps out onto the carpet, with wounds suggesting it has been hit multiple times by a vehicle.

We find more bodies in the other empty cabinets – the Asteroids cabinet (head crushed and propped up by rocks), the Donkey Kong cabinet (victim suffocated by a tight barrel around the head), the Centipede cabinet (the corpse riddled with bugs, a centipede crawling from nostril to mouth).

Just as we discover a fifth victim we hear the owner enter the building. Quickly we find an empty cabinet to hide inside, which immediately proves to be a mistake. The figure locates us easily, moving with an unnatural speed and locking the door shut behind us. From inside the cabinet we watch as he paces back and forth, jangling with the sound of loose change, his features distorted by the glass.

Wriggling for an escape we find a jar at our feet containing large, round pills. The label on the jar reads GOBBLE ME UP in a familiar font. As we open the jar the owner thuds his face up against the other side of the screen, smearing the glass with his skin as he nods in approval.


This was originally written for the Zeroflash August competition. You can read all of the entries here.

One thought on “The Human Arcade

  1. Gross… I don’t want to picture this…but yet again…what an imagination…
    And again I don’t even want to think what happens next…sad that I read it before sleeping…


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