I'm quite sure you've heard of the 3AM Challenge. The 3AM Challenge is, or was, a YouTube trend where people did things at 3:00 A.M and the outcome was bad. However, these videos were certainly fake, an obvious stab at clickbait.
What you're about to read now is the closest thing in the world to a real 3AM Challenge.
It all started when I was messing around in Facebook. I was having a lot of fun reading posts until I came across one that got my attention.
It was posted by a user with no profile picture and a name consisting of completely random letters, and this is what the post said:
I'm sure you're aware of how digital clocks work, right? When one of them is at, let's say, 8:59 A.M, and a minute passes by, instead of switching to 8:60, it switches to 9:00, because there are only 60 minutes in an hour.
Well, there's one occasion where that's not really the case. There is such thing as 2:60 A.M, and I'll tell how to reach it.
The first thing you need to do is wake up around 3:00 A.M, but before, preferably around 2:50, or if you really want to make sure you don't miss it, 2:40. Then, you must find your computer (it can be any type of computer) and turn it on.
When your computer starts up, search for a program named 2:60 A.M. Of course, nothing will show up, unless you named something that. That is, nothing will show up until 2:59.
During the last ten seconds of 2:59, a program with a blank icon named 2:60 A.M will show up in the search. Double-click the program with haste - you only have ten seconds before it becomes 3:00 A.M and the program disappears again.
When you double-click the program, it will simply vanish, but that does not mean you missed your opportunity. In fact, if the program disappears from you double-clicking it, that means you've done what you are supposed to.
And then, things get strange. After you've double-clicked the program and it's disappeared, the digital clock on your computer switches like it normally would, but instead of switching to 3:00 A.M, it switches to 2:60.
When this happens, all clocks in the world come to a halt. Time itself stops. Everything becomes immobile, unmoving, frozen in time - except for you and your computer.
After a minute, the digital clock then switches to 3:00 A.M. Time resumes, and everything returns to normal.
You can spend this minute of frozen time waiting for it to be over, doing something to pass the time, etc. After it becomes 3:00, your life returns to normal.
Or, you can do something else.
Whisper to your computer this phrase: "Take me within you." Then, search for a program with that exact name. If you have whispered the phrase, another program with a blank icon should appear. Double-click it.
You'll find out what happens next.
It might have been fake, but this ritual, as I shall call it, got me a little interested.
I wasn't the only one interested by it, though. There was a long thread of replies. Some users said it was quite obviously fake, while others believed it was true. Some of the replies mentioned how similar the content of the post seemed to something from the 3AM Challenge.
But there were a few replies that really stood out.
A user named Eddie Goldsmith, which was most likely his real name, had said Omigosh, tried this and it worked.
Another user named RenaissancePig had replied to him, saying Rly?
Yes, Eddie had clarified.
Did you try the Take me within you thing? RenaissancePig had asked.
No, but I did do the first thing.
And time actually stopped?
Yeah, Eddie had answered. Don't think you noticed, though.
Definitely not, RenaissancePig had said.
At this point, a third user named PlaneXero had said He'd better be telling the truth. Not sure what to believe about this.
I stopped reading after that.
I decided I would give the ritual thing a try that night. I set my alarm clock to 2:50 in the morning so it would wake me up in time, then went to sleep.
The alarm clock rang, waking me up. I felt tired, but luckily I had gone to bed early (7:00 P.M) to make sure I would get a good amount of sleep. I got out of my bed and quickly went downstairs to the computer, making sure not to wake my family. I got to the computer and started it up.
When I logged on, I did as the post had told me to and searched for a program named 2:60 A.M. My computer was a Windows 7, so I used the Windows Search Menu. Then, I waited until 2:59. I opened up the computer's clock to see the seconds pass one by one, until finally, it came: 2:59:50. The last ten seconds before 3:00 A.M.
I mostly expected absolutely nothing to happen. To my surprise, a program with a blank icon called 2:60 A.M did appear in the search menu.
10, 9, 8...
I considered not clicking it, thinking it could have a negative outcome, but Eddie Goldsmith seemed just fine after doing it, apart from being shocked. That is, if he really did try the ritual.
There wasn't much time left before 3:00 A.M. I had to decide what to do fast, but my mind was conflicted.
It was now or never. If I didn't click the program, I'd miss my opportunity.
I clicked it.
Then, the clock on the computer switched, not to 3:00, but to 2:60.
I saw out of one of the house's windows that a passing car had simply stopped moving. Time had indeed frozen.
Then I was faced with another choice - wait for the minute to pass or continue the ritual. I considered stopping there, but my curiosity got the better of me.
"Take me within you." I whispered to the computer.
I then searched up that phrase in the search menu, and sure enough, there was a program with a blank icon named Take me within you.
One last choice. I could stop, or click the program.
What I was doing could have a very bad outcome, and this was my last chance to turn back.
I took a long time to think about it, and then I made my decision.
I wish I wasn't so curious all the time.
I clicked the program.
The first thing that happened was the program disappearing.
Then, the computer screen glitched. Everything disappeared and was replaced with a black screen. In the middle, there was text. It said, You'll wish you hadn't done that, human.
I felt a tug on my body, though there was nothing that could have caused it. Then, I felt myself being drawn towards the computer. And not just mentally. I was literally starting to move to the front of my chair with no will of my own.
My right arm began to move towards the computer screen. I tried to pull it back, but with little success. The rest of my body continued to move towards the computer as well.
The text flashed, changing into a different message. Welcome to my world. Have fun!
My right hand touched the computer screen, and then it began to sink inside. The screen seemed to have turned into vertical water. My whole right hand became engulfed. My left arm was being pulled to the screen too. I desperately tried to pull it back with slightly more success than with the right arm. I started to rise of the chair and literally float towards the computer.
My left hand had almost touched the screen when the minute passed.
Several things happened at once. The screen glitched back to normal, the digital clock now reading 3:00. I fell to the ground in total shock. Then, I screamed when I saw the empty stump where my right hand had once been.
Then, I screamed even louder when I looked back to the computer screen and saw an icon of my right hand on the desktop.
Still screaming, I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a meat pulverizer with my left hand and ran back to the computer room and began smashing the computer, both the monitor and the hard-drive, with the pulverizer. The computer easily stopped working, probably forever.
The screaming had awoken my family. They rushed down the stairs to see what was wrong and saw me lying on the ground in total pain, clutching the empty stump on my right arm and screeching. I was rushed to the hospital instantly. I was in so much pain I couldn't even tell anyone what happened, and after the incident, I didn't tell anyone either.
I got a prosthetic hand later, and my life went on normally, but I could never forget what happened. The computer had literally almost absorbed me.
I had almost been taken into its world, and I'd lost my right hand. The thing that scared me the most was the icon of my hand on the computer screen.
And it didn't help when I found a note written next to our new computer a couple days ago, saying this haunting message:
The switch to 3:00 A.M only postponed your fate. It didn't stop it. I took your right hand, and I'll take the rest of you.