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I really don’t want to write this right now. I've been trying to compress this memory for years now, but I feel like it’s the right thing to do to tell you about this. I want you to be aware of the horror I had to witness. I’m not forcing you to believe me, in fact, I really don’t blame you. I even doubt it myself sometimes. It all felt like a dream, a rather vivid and messed up dream. You see, I was an elementary school teacher for about 8 years or so. Aside from this experience I had, my job wasn’t too out of the ordinary. I was pretty good friends with some of the other teachers and would talk in the teachers’ lounge during lunch. My students, while slightly reckless and ditsy, were very important to me. It was honestly amazing working with other people. Even after this, I’m still incredibly thankful for all that career did for me.

One thing I loved to do in my class was have my students play an educational game. I taught math, so it was games like IXL, Prodigy, Desmos, etc. While my students didn’t enjoy it per-say, I could still tell they were thankful that I would do something a little more fun for a change. I didn’t really check what the games contained, I only picked the ones that seemed the most trustworthy. Foolish, I know, but back then I didn’t really care as long as it involved math. I would eventually learn my lesson on one fateful day.

The sign in screen from the game.

One Saturday night, I was surfing through the web, trying to find a good math game to introduce to the class that Monday. Most of the games I found were overall below average or just looked bad. Before I gave up however, I saw something that caught my attention. It was a little game called “Math Magician”. I opened the page and it showed the login screen. It contained a piece of artwork of a cartoonish magician holding up a wand in the sky with math equations coming out of it. It had a blue sky in the background with the sun rising up behind some silhouetted buildings. On the  side, it showed the logo which said “Math Magician” in bubbly blue letters. Below that was some text saying “SIGN UP TODAY!”. It also had the boxes where you enter your username and password, and a big green button with the word “GO!” In white letters. It actually was of pretty good quality despite being on the more obscure parts of the internet. I was relieved because I finally found something decent in this pile of below average content. I bookmarked the page and went to do my other daily activities. What an idiot I was. I would’ve never imagined the horror that lay behind that innocent login screen.

That Monday, I introduced my students to the game. To my surprise, they seemed interested. They liked the overall esthetic just by the sign-in screen. I gave them their password and let my students make their own username as long as it was appropriate. Of course, being my dumb self, I never saw what the game looked like. I was just on my computer browsing a random website I don’t remember. When the bell rang for the next class, I looked up from my computer. What I saw puzzled me. All of the students had these frightened looks on their faces. They were looking around a lot and I even heard some people whispering to each other. They all had their laptops closed and a few of their faces looked more pale than usual. Still confused, I ordered them to go to their next class and they all got up and walked out the door. For the next few hours, I pondered to myself. “Why did they look frightened?” “What exactly scared them?” “Was it the game?”.

After a while, the principal spoke over the intercom, he was calling me down to his office. This, mixed with my slight anxiety that I might have done something wrong, made me realize that I may be in big trouble. I made my way over to his office, my mind still swirling with worry. Once I arrived there, the principal was there, glaring at me. The conversation I had with him was not very fun to say the least. I can't remember exactly how the conversation went out, but I can remember the feeling of my heart beating rapidly in my chest. He basically said that some students came down to his office and reported me for showing them disturbing content. Now I knew it was the game. That was probably the first time of my life where I felt guilty for how oblivious I was. My idiocy could’ve potentially traumatized my students I hold dearly. Even through all that, I somehow managed to keep calm for the most part. Luckily, he realized later on that I just didn’t know and just let me off with a warning. A huge wave of relief came over me when he said that I wasn’t in serious trouble.

Once I got home, I continued to sink into my own thoughts. Ultimately, I decided I should give the game a try since I hadn’t before. I got onto my computer, went to the page, and signed in.