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Back Again is a prologue centered around Parker Gage and the Five Nights at Freddy's series, and is part of Lissa's Soft Reset series. It can be read below.

WARNING for some mentions of violence, albeit all offscreen.

Back Again Edit

It was a sunny day. The air was bright, if a bit thick. The concrete was covered in silly little chalk drawings, making up hopscotch boards and smiling faces and words in shaky writing. The chalk stuck to the black tires of a bicycle, smearing the lines as the bike moved across the pavement. The boy on the bike rung his bike’s bell a few times to alert passers-by of his presence, and he smiled and waved to them as he rolled down a hill.

He was going to see his father.

At least, that was the intention.

As long as he could remember, his father had been working the same job. It used to not be so bad. He’d still come home when he could, taking him to boy scout meetings and even chaperoning on their big camping trip. But ever since the time he missed the pinewood derby race--Which seemed like such a long time ago--He’d never come back from those long night shifts. Suffice it to say, the boy was worried about the state of his father, and he wanted to see him again, at least one more time.

His bike came up to the quiet little pizzeria, and the boy hesitated. There was something different today. Cop cars, all parked in front of the building. He locked up his bike on the bike rack, then turned back towards the building, wringing his hands. Was he supposed to go in? Gently, he made his way up to the front door of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, pushing it open and peering inside.

Everyone seemed...On edge, for some reason. There was a birthday party going on, and some guards and cops meandering the scenes, making sure everything was okay. The boy crept in, the door shutting loudly behind him. A few of the police officers turned to look at the boy, and one of them approached. “...I’m sorry, kid, the place is closed. We’re not supposed to let anyone else in--”

“Excuse me. I’ll handle this, officers.”

The cop didn’t seem willing to relent, though he and the rest paused as another man came up to the scene. He was tall, with hard but tired eyes, a fading purple business shirt (part of the uniform? Parker wasn’t quite sure), and a name tag with some of the sticker-letters missing on it. The man bent down a bit to see the boy eye-to-eye, putting on a big smile. “What’s your name, lil’ guy?”

“...Parker. P-Parker Gage,” Replied the boy meekly. “I-I’m looking for m-my dad, he works here, and…”

“Gage?” The man straightened up, rubbing his chin. “Yes, I think we have a Gage working here.” He looked over his shoulder, referring to a man keeping watch close to Toy Bonnie, the blue rabbit. “You! You used to be the night man, right?”

The other guard gave a squeak, as though not expecting to be referred to, and then he nodded.

“That’s the one who called you on the phone, right? Gage?”

He nodded again.

The man seemed satisfied with this, and he turned back to Parker with a big smile. “Well, there you have it. He does work here. Now, unless you’re invited to the birthday party--”

“Can I see him?” Parker didn’t mean to interrupt, and his face went a little red when he did. The man crossed his arms, clearly opposed to being interrupted, but Parker swallowed and hastily went on, “I...I haven’t seen him come home in a long time. I just...Wanted to say hello.”

The man gave a hum, and he looked over at the policemen for approval. Before the cops could say anything, though, the man held out a hand to the boy. “Just don’t get in the way, okay, kid? I’ll lead you over to his office.”

Parker smiled, reaching out and taking the man’s hand. The man nodded, turning, beginning to lead Parker through the pizzeria.

It seemed more...Empty than usual. Even though the birthday party seemed cheery enough, it was a small group: only five kids (insofar as Parker could count them), plus parents. The robots all had dayshift employees near them, always watching them, nervous. “...Get in th-the way?” He finally found it in himself to ask, listening as Toy Freddy and the rest of the band began one of their stage shows. “In the way of what?”

“We couldn’t cancel the party. An’ yesterday, someone took one of the spare robot suits--A yellow one--And did something bad.” The man looked over his shoulder, smiling. There was something weird about this smile, though, something that made Parker’s stomach uneasy. “So the police are here to investigate and keep everybody safe. But just between you and me…” His head turned back around and he tugged Parker forward, forcing him to keep in step, “I think I know who did it.”

“...Who?” Parker asked, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know the answer. The man didn’t reply. Parker held the man’s hand all the tighter, eyes darting back and forth. The two of them went around a back hallway, Parker observing all the sloppy children’s drawings in crayon and sometimes tilting his head down to look at his reflection in the tile, hearing the children’s laughter get fainter and fainter as they went. The two of them made a strange turn, and Parker looked back up to the back of the man’s head. “Is this the way we’re supposed to be going?”

“I know the ins and outs of this place,” The man remarked, but he stopped in his steps, Parker following suit. “This is it,” He said, and he let go of Parker’s hand in order to reach down to a keyring on his belt. He took one of the keys and used it to unlock the door, pushing it open and letting the light from the hallway illuminate the darkened room.

...It didn’t look like an office. The light wasn’t much, but it still showed shelves and metal shapes, and shadows danced around some larger forms in there, too. Parker began to take a step back, trying to say that there had to be some mistake--But the man let out a laugh. “C’mon, kid, you don’t believe me? See for yourself,” He said, and he put a hand on Parker’s back, stopping his retreat.

He shoved Parker into the dark room, shutting the door behind him.

Parker stared into the darkness, his eyes widening. He turned around, frantically trying to open the door, but he found it’d been locked in his moment of hesitation. He began to pound his hands on the door, calling for help, but he was answered by a sharp BANG against the door, like someone rammed their elbow on it. “Kid. Word to the wise? I think it’s best you’d be quiet right now. You don’t wanna interrupt anything. And I don’t want to have to deal with you.” Quietly, the man began to walk away from the locked room, leaving footsteps and a small chuckle as his only departing noise.

Parker was alone.

For a long, long while, the boy could only stare at the back of the door. One trembling hand rose up to his mouth, and he covered it. He was almost scared to breathe. Even though he heard the man leave, he couldn’t help but fear that he was just behind the door, waiting to ram it with his elbow again and scare him half to death. But then his hand raised a little higher. This smell was permeating the small room, a tinny sort of smell, but also kind of like...Snot? Whatever it was, it made his stomach turn. Softly, he took some steps backwards, only to stop again when his heel hit something hard. He squeezed his hand harder around his nose, looking down, blinking a few times to make out the dark shape. It was--The bear? Freddy? An older model, certainly, lying prone on the floor. Parker held his breath, swallowed, tried to get a grip on the rest of his surroundings. Behind him, judging by the length of the ears, was an older Bonnie model (why was it missing a face?); towards his left, an older Chica model (too much mouth and missing it’s hands and not Parker’s cup of tea); and if Parker squinted hard...There was his father’s favorite, Foxy, slumped amongst boxes, metal parts, and empty costume heads. This had to be some kind of parts and service room, Parker realized. That’s why the door couldn’t be unlocked from the inside. But if that was the case…

Parker lowered his hand, pausing to pick at a scab on his arm in nervousness. He shuffled around the bear on the floor, then made his way to the back, next to Foxy. He looked down into one of the boxes. Maybe if he found something thin, he could figure out how to pick the lock. It was a long shot, but he didn’t want to stay in here--The smell alone made Parker want to throw up, not to mention his nerves. He knelt down beside one of the boxes, starting to sort through the hodgepodge inside. A plastic bag full of screws, some electrical tape, an old yellow rabbit doll--Parker gave a yelp when the doll pinched his fingers with it’s mouth, and he sat in terrified silence for a while to make sure nobody had heard him. Must be one of those Plushtrap toys. Dad had told him about them. Parker took the toy out of the box and set it aside before digging deeper. Ultraviolet flashlights, a rubber hand stamp, cassette tapes...A screwdriver. Maybe he could unscrew the doorknob? He wasn’t so sure that that would work, but he was willing to try. He stood up, turning around, walking with quiet and deliberate steps so as to make as little noise as possible.

And then Parker heard a sound.

He wasn’t sure what it was. He just heard a loud, sickening crunch sounding from beyond the walls. But more noises soon followed. There was a lot of loud rabble, and people were crying, and some were shouting, and he could make out the sound of the policeman who’d first approached him trying to keep calm and organize the situation. Parker’s heart began thumping hard in his chest, feeling like it was pumping thick molasses through his veins and not blood. What had happened!? He wasn’t sure. He wasn’t sure he really wanted to know. His hands tightened around the screwdriver, and he made some hasty steps towards the door, staring at the doorknob. Just get the knob off and run away. Get the knob off and run away. Knob off--Run--

Something squealed against the floor.

Parker’s eyes widened. Something heavy was moving, and unlike the crunching noise, it didn’t sound so far away. Shaking like a leaf, the boy turned around.

The bear was sitting up.

His heart stopped beating.

With creaks and clicks and other noises accentuating it’s every move, the bear stood. It’s eyes were faintly glowing. It’s head turned towards the door, and it’s eyes flicked down, locking onto the trembling boy. Some more noises followed, and Parker’s eyes darted around to try and see all that was happening. Chica’s jaw moved up and down a few times before the chicken slid itself up the wall to stand. Bonnie had no eyes, but a red light softly blinked as the rabbit rattled and tilted it’s head upward. They were all looking right at him, and Parker was trying his hardest not to look at any one of them.

It was Freddy who took the first step towards Parker.

With the bear having taken the lead, Chica began to creep nearer as well; Bonnie finding the time to stabilize itself and come to a standing position. It was only now, in the dim lighting of their glowing eyes, that Parker noticed something. The darker stains on the outside of their suits. Like they had been in a fight with someone, or (and here Parker noticed how it seemed particularly dark around the neck seam) something had been pushed inside. Parker pointed the tip of the screwdriver towards the animatronics, his breaths now beginning to come in as shallow gasps. The three of them came, closer, closer--

Parker wasn’t even thinking when he began to run. There was nowhere to run to. He was trapped in the parts and service room, these things coming after him, with nowhere to hide. When he blinked, tears began oozing down his cheeks, tears he didn’t even know he was building up. He pushed past Chica (he’d grown used to the disgusting smell but getting so close to them seemed to make it worse) and began to scamper off to the back of the room. He blinked a few times so the tears would stop blurring his vision--But he didn’t make it far. He’d completely forgot about Foxy. The fox was standing, snapping his jaws (as a warning or as a threat?), and Parker reeled back in an attempt to avoid the sharp teeth. He lost his balance. He fell backward, crashing into a metal shelf full of spare costume bits and empty heads. The shelf shook, the force of his crash causing some of the spare parts to fall to the floor. The noise made Parker freeze in place, quivering, his cheeks getting sticky from silent tears. That man who pushed him in here had to have heard. He was going to be dealt with. Parker looked up, seeing all the robots around him in a semicircle, staring at him. “St-stop it!” He said in a quiet rasp, trying to move further backwards, but finding himself unable to.

All of their eyes dimmed a bit. One of them, he wasn’t sure which, made a garbled noise from the interior of it’s chest. Freddy awkwardly came lower, leaning in closer to Parker, reaching out a hand.

There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Panic clutching at his heart, he looked back and forth for anything that could provide him some safety. He found it. Parker let go of the screwdriver and grabbed one of the spare robotic heads, putting it over his own head, like a mask. He pulled his knees to his chest and closed his eyes, praying that they’d leave him alone.

With clicks and groans and other such noises, Freddy did retract it’s hand. It stood up again. It stared at Parker, as though unsure of what to make of him. The faint, muffled sound of sirens got the attention of the four robots, and they all looked up at the wall. The rabble outside had quieted down. Authoritative voices were taking control of the situation. Everything was going to be alright, said somebody. Foxy began to move again, back to it’s little corner, only pausing to kick the Plushtrap doll over to Parker and watch for his reaction. The toy hit his ankle, and he let out a small ‘eep’, pulling even more into himself. Foxy tilted it’s head, uncovered eye flickering.

There was a long, long while, where everything was silent.

And then the door opened.

Even with his eyes closed, Parker could make out the difference in light. He opened his eyes, looking up. The robots were still in front of him, staring at him. But the door was open. Although Parker’s knees felt more like gelatin, he forced himself to stand up, and taking advantage of the hole in the group Foxy’s leave had made, he scampered to the open door. For a moment, he seemed terrified to cross the threshold into the hallway--What if the man was there? He looked behind him, seeing the robots that had somehow already turned around to look at him, and he looked back in front of him, seeing the thing that had unlocked and opened the door: a thin, tall, and terribly uncanny puppet animatronic, the prize corner’s caretaker.

Then he bolted.

He hadn’t really noticed he stole the empty head as he ran into the hallway, turning a corner, going into the main dining area and lobby. He couldn’t see many faces, but the ones he did see looked shaken, terrified. Parker took a quick look behind him to ensure that nothing was chasing after him--Oof. He crashed into an employee. He rushed out an apology to the woman, hearing a small laugh from his left. He didn’t need to look to know just who had laughed. It was the same kind of laugh that that man had left him with when he locked him in.

He pushed open the door of the pizzeria and he ran.

He ran through the parking lot and he ran past his bicycle, not even remembering it was there. He ran over chalk drawings on the sidewalk and he ran up the hill. He ran, and he ran, and he ran until he was back home. He unlocked the front door, he closed it when he was inside, made sure it was locked tight, and he ran into his bedroom. Only now did he really realize he was still wearing the robotic head, and in haste, he pulled it off and threw it aside. Parker hopped into his bed, wrapping the big quilt around him, trembling. He almost died. He almost died. He didn’t know what had happened while he was in there, but the sounds he heard were all too fresh in his memory, along with the sight of the empty animatronic eyes (like walking corpses!) and the smell of metal and mucus...It was all far too much for his mind, too much playing on his fears.

Parker didn’t sleep that night. No matter how hard he tried, when he shut his eyes, he couldn’t quiet his mind. He kept waking up, staring at the furniture in his room, sometimes swearing he could see the shadowy shape of Bonnie or Freddy in the corner. He made himself some warm milk in an attempt to calm down, and he set up a makeshift nightlight by leaving a flashlight on in the corner, but it didn’t work. He couldn’t sleep.

At midnight, the phones in the house began to ring. Parker didn’t dare get up to answer it, fearing what voice would be on the other end. After a few seconds, the answering machine kicked in. His father’s familiar voice explained that nobody was home and that they should leave a message after the tone, and someone would try to get back to them soon. The tone played. Whoever was calling left their message.

“...Hello? Uh, hello hello? Hey, kid, I--Today was really busy, I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner. I heard you stopped by today! Uh, I’m really sorry I didn’t see you there. There’s...There’s been a lot of things going on with me and with the place. But I don’t, uh, I don’t want to worry you any more than I really have to. You’ll never get any sleep that way. Uh, Mister Afton talked to me, apparently you met him? That’s...That’s great. Uh. M-Mister Afton, he’s--He’s--He’s a good man, I mean, he...He means well. I, uh. I think he does. You have to give people the...The benefit of the doubt, sometimes, I think. Yeah. You’re--You’re probably in bed by now. I hope you sleep well, kiddo. I’ll see if I can...Be home soon. Call me back whenever you can, alright? You know the number. I’m always here for you, kiddo. I love you. Be good. I love you, Parker. Good night.”

The house was silent once again. Parker swallowed.

He was never going back to dad’s job ever again.

He could only hope dad would be home soon.

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