It might be time to revisit Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza…
In Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones — Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley’s already best-selling follow-up to last year’s just as popular Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes — Charlie is attempting to move on from the events of the previous book. But despite her starting a new school, she still suffers from nightmares of a masked murderer and four gruesome animatronic puppets.
Things get worse when dead bodies are found near her school with wounds that look not unlike the ones inflicted by her father’s horrifying creations. And worse yet, whatever twisted thing is responsible is now coming for Charlie — and it’s not going to let her go.
The book series is based on a video game created by Cawthon that sees the player take the position of a night security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza (a Chuck E. Cheese-like establishment). However, the four animatronic creatures (Freddy, Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chicken, and Foxy the Pirate Fox) come alive every night and come after the player, who must then defend themselves by shutting their office door, while also conserving what little power they have left so they can check the security cameras to monitor the four creatures’ approach. Players win by surviving the five nights they’re required to work. Five Nights at Freddy’s has since spawned four sequels and is currently being adapted into a feature film.
With the second book set to come out on June 27, EW presents an exclusive excerpt from the first chapter (below).
Excerpt from ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones‘ by Scott Cawthon
Don’t trust your eyes.” Dr. Treadwell walked back and forth across the platform at the front of the auditorium. Her steps were slow and even, almost hypnotic.
“Your eyes deceive you every day, filling in the blanks for you in a world of sensory overload.” An image of dizzying geometric detail lit up the canvas screen behind her. “When I say ‘sensory overload’ I mean that quite literally. At every moment, your senses are receiving far more information than they can process all at once, and your mind is forced to choose which signals to pay attention to. It does that based on your experiences, and your expectation of what is nor- mal. The things we are familiar with are the things we can—for the most part—ignore. We see this most easily with olfactory fatigue: your nose ceases to perceive a smell when you’ve been around it for a while. You may be quite thankful for this phenomenon, depending on the habits of your roommate.”
The class tittered dutifully, then became quiet as the image of another multicolored design flashed onto the screen.
The professor gave a hint of a smile and continued.
“Your mind creates motion when there is none. It fills in colors and trajectories based on what you’ve seen before, and calculates what you should be seeing now.” Another image flashed onto the overhead screen. “If your mind didn’t do this, then simply walking outside and seeing a tree would consume all your mental energy, leaving no resources to do anything else. In order for you to function in the world, your mind fills in the spaces of that tree with its own leaves and branches.” A hundred pencils scribbled all at once, filling the lecture hall with a sound like scurrying mice.
“It’s why when you enter a house for the first time you experience a moment of dizziness. Your mind is taking in more than usual. It’s drawing a floor plan, creating a palette of colors, and saving an inventory of images to draw on later, so you don’t have to go through that exhausting intake every single time. The next time you enter that same house, you’ll already know where you are.”
“Charlie!” An urgent voice whispered her name, inches from her ear. Charlie kept writing. She was staring straight ahead at the display at the front of the lecture hall. As Dr. Treadwell went on, she paced faster, occasionally fling- ing an arm toward the screen to illustrate her point. Her words seemed to be falling behind as her mind raced on ahead; Charlie had realized by the second day of classes that her professor sometimes broke off in the middle of one sen- tence, only to finish an entirely different one. It was like she skimmed the text in her head, reading out a few words here and there. Most of the students in her robotics class found it maddening, but Charlie liked it. It made the lesson kind of like doing a puzzle.
The screen flashed again, displaying an assortment of mechanical parts and a diagram of an eye. “This is what you must re-create.” Dr. Treadwell stepped back from the image, turning to look at it with the class. “Basic artificial intelli- gence is all about sensory control. You won’t be dealing with a mind that can filter these things out for itself. You must design programs that recognize basic shapes, while discard- ing unimportant information. You must do for your robot what your own mind does for you: create a simplified and organized assembly of information based on what’s relevant. Let’s start by looking at some examples of basic shape recognition.”
“Charlie,” hissed the voice again, and she waved her pencil impatiently at the figure peering over her shoulder—her friend Arty—trying to shoo him away. The gesture cost her a moment, put her half a step behind the professor. She hurried to catch up, anxious not to miss a single line.
The paper in front of her was covered in formulas, notes in the margins, sketches, and diagrams. She wanted to get everything down all at once: not just the math, but all the things it made her think of. If she could tie the new facts to things she already knew, she’d retain it much more easily. She felt hungry for it, alert, watching for new tidbits of information like a dog under the dinner table.
A boy near the front raised his hand to ask a question, and Charlie felt a brief flare of impatience. Now the whole class would have to stop while Treadwell went back to explain a simple concept. Charlie let her mind wander, sketching absently in the margins of her notebook.
John would be here in—she glanced restlessly at her watch—an hour. I told him maybe someday we’ll see each other again. I guess it’s someday. He had called out of the blue: “I’m just going to be passing through,” he said, and Charlie hadn’t bothered to ask how he knew where she was. Of course he would know. There was no reason not to meet him, and she found herself alternately excited and filled with dread. Now, as she absently sketched rectangular forms along the bottom of her note paper, her stomach jumped, a little spasm of nerves. It felt like a lifetime since she last saw him. Sometimes, it felt like she’d seen him yesterday, as if the last year hadn’t passed. But of course it had, and everything had changed for Charlie once again.
That May, the night of her eighteenth birthday, the dreams had begun. Charlie was long accustomed to nightmares, the worst moments of her past forced up like bile, into twisted versions of memories already too terrible to recall. She shoved these dreams into the back of her mind in the morning and sealed them away, knowing they would only breach it when night fell again.
These dreams were different. When she woke, she was physically exhausted: not just drained but sore, her muscles weak. Her hands were stiff and aching, like they’d been clenched into fists for hours. These new dreams didn’t come every night, but when they did, they interrupted her regular nightmares and took them over. It didn’t matter if she was running and screaming for her life, or wandering aimlessly through a dull mishmash of the various places she’d been all week. Suddenly, from nowhere, she would sense him: Sammy, her lost twin brother, was near.
She knew he was present the same way she knew that she was present, and whatever the dream was, it dropped away— people, places, light, and sound. Now she was searching for him in the darkness, calling his name. He never answered. She would drop to her hands and knees, feeling her way through the dark, letting his presence guide her until she came to a barrier. It was smooth and cold, metal. She couldn’t see it, but she hit it hard with one fist and it echoed. “Sammy?” she would call, hitting harder. She stood, reach- ing up to see if she could scale the slick surface, but it stretched up far above her head. She beat her fists against the barricade until they hurt. She screamed her brother’s name until her throat was raw, until she fell to the floor and leaned on the solid metal, pressing her cheek to its cool surface and hoping for a whisper from the other side. He was there; she knew it as surely as if he were a part of herself.
She knew in those dreams that he was present. Worse, when she was awake, she knew he was not there.