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Second Chance Slaughter


Chapter 3: The Call



Avery slumped onto his sofa. What should have been a relaxing day by the sea had twisted into a perplexing encounter with Theodore.


He stared at the ceiling, replaying the conversation over and over in his mind. Theodore had spoken to him with a strange familiarity, as if they shared some hidden connection.


Yet Avery was certain he’d never met the man before today. It was all too confusing. And the mention of the word “gallery” only deepened the mystery.


“Was he talking about the Night Gallery app?” Avery muttered to himself. “Masterpieces? From what I remember, this Avery isn’t exactly Picasso. Maybe it’s part of those foggy memories I haven’t fully accessed.”


He picked up his phone, his fingers hesitating over the icon of the Night Gallery. The persistent red dot seemed almost glaring at him.


Avery took a deep breath and tapped the icon. The app opened, but instead of answers, he was greeted by a prompt asking for a special pin number.


“Great. I don’t even remember using this app. How am I supposed to know the pin?” he groaned.


He tried the obvious choices—his birthday, the last four digits of his phone number, even his apartment number. Each attempt was met with a frustrating beep and a rejection message.


After several failed tries, a new notification popped up on the screen.


You’ve been locked out. Contact the Collector to fix this issue.


“The Collector? Who the heck is that?” Avery said.


Questions led to more questions, swirling like a storm in Avery’s mind.


His digital crops were ready to be harvested, but he couldn’t focus on the game. With a frustrated sigh, he locked his phone and tossed it aside.


He needed answers—real ones.


As someone who had lived the life of an assassin in the shadowy world of Murim, Avery knew the importance of leaving no stone unturned. His peaceful existence now felt threatened, and he couldn’t ignore the nagging sense that something—or someone—was lurking just beyond his grasp.


His tiny apartment had become his sanctuary, and his job, though modest, was a lifeline to the normalcy he craved after years as the Righteous Faction’s pawn.


Determined, Avery began searching his apartment.


He combed through every nook and cranny of his bedroom. He rifled through drawers, overturned piles of clothes, and checked every hidden corner.


All he found was a packet of expired instant ramen wedged behind a stack of academic books—hardly the clue he was hoping for.


“Figures,” he muttered, shoving the books aside. “Maybe I should’ve been a detective instead.”


Undeterred, he moved on to the cramped living room.


It didn’t take long to search the sparse space—a few shelves, a small TV, and a couple of chairs. His fingers traced the edges of the furniture, searching for any hidden compartments or unusual objects, but everything was as it should be.


Ordinary. Safe.


The kitchen crossed his mind next, but he dismissed the idea almost immediately.


“Who hides secrets in the kitchen?” he scoffed, picturing himself rummaging through pots and pans. “Unless there’s a recipe for trouble I don’t know about.”


Avery sank back onto the sofa, exasperation heavy in his chest after the fruitless search. He stared at the ceiling.


Why had the man recognized him as “Enigma”? What connection did they share?


Avery’s gaze drifted to the window, the sunlight casting long, lazy shadows across the room.


The idea of confronting Theodore as the King of the Night flitted through his mind.


With his skills as the King of the Night, it wouldn’t be difficult to uncover the truth? The thought was tempting, but it also felt like stepping into dangerous waters.


“Should I visit him as the King of the Night?”


As Avery pondered, a thought struck him: this body—Avery's body—was surprisingly fit. He had felt its strength when he slapped himself in front of the mirror, hard enough to make his nose bleed and almost faint. And again, when he effortlessly lifted the heavy metal roll doors at the store. It was clear that even though he wasn’t in his original form, he retained the physical prowess of the Night King.


He flexed his fingers, feeling the latent power in his muscles. It was a strange comfort, knowing he still had access to the techniques and skills that had once made him a formidable assassin.


But was he willing to risk using them? One wrong move, and the ordinary life he had come to cherish could vanish in an instant.


Avery sighed deeply, sinking back into the cushions of the sofa.




The word echoed in his thoughts.


Could Theodore have mistaken him for someone else? After all, Avery was just a convenience store clerk without a college degree. He had no remarkable achievements in this life, nothing that would attract the interest of someone.


“Maybe he just got the wrong guy. Why would anyone care about me? I’m just... nobody.”


For a while, life returned to its comforting normalcy.


The strange encounter with Theodore began to fade from Avery’s thoughts. It was no longer a source of immediate concern. Theodore’s warning to stay out of his “territory” seemed easy enough to comply with. Avery figured that avoiding that small seaside town would solve his problems.


He settled back into his routine, his days as a convenience store clerk passing without incident.


Things were almost too smooth, too quiet, like the eerie calm before a storm.


Life resumed its usual pace, the virtual crops on his phone growing steadily under his diligent care. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.


Until one day...


Avery had just returned home from a long shift at the convenience store.


He tossed his apartment keys on the table and flopped onto the sofa. Pulling out his phone, he opened his favorite farming simulation game, ready to upgrade his tomato farm. As he tapped away, a notification interrupted his screen—a call from a private number.


He stared at the phone, his hand hovering indecisively over the accept button.


Who could be calling him? Besides his manager, Mr. Takeda, his co-worker Mina with her usual nonsense, or Mrs. Kim reminding him about the rent, Avery rarely received calls. And a private number? That was even more unusual.


The phone continued to ring. After what felt like an eternity, he decided to answer.


“Hello?” Avery said cautiously.


The voice on the other end was high-pitched and brimming with enthusiasm, like a game show host announcing the next contestant.


“Good evening, dear member! This is the Whisperer. We’re calling to remind you about the upcoming deadline. Remember, if you haven’t posted anything by then, it will be considered a breach of contract. And you know, members who breach their contracts are... punished.”


"Excuse me?" Avery asked.


"Do you have further questions, dear member?" the woman on the other end of the line inquired.


"Questions? A lot. Who are you again?" Avery probed.


There was a long pause. The silence on the other end was palpable, but Avery could still hear her breathing.


"We are the Whisperer, members of the Night Gallery tasked with relaying messages to The Artists," she finally said.


"Night Gallery?" Avery repeated, his confusion deepening.


"Yes, Member Enigma."


Enigma. That name again. Theodore had called him the same thing.


Avery was about to correct her, to tell her they had the wrong person, but this was the second time he'd been called Enigma. It couldn't be a coincidence.


He decided to play along. Maybe this could provide clues to the mysteries clouding his memory.


"I see. But the thing is, I forgot my login information for the Night Gallery and got locked out," Avery explained.


"Oh! That's why. We were worried about the inactivity of your account. Turns out this is the reason. You should have reached out to us sooner. You are one of our valued members. Do you want me to connect you to the Collectors?" she offered.


"That would be great," Avery agreed.


"Okay, let me handle that for you," she said.


Avery listened to a series of musical tones while on hold. After a few moments, the voice of the female Whisperer returned.


"Thank you for patiently waiting. I will now transfer you to one of the Collectors. Do you have any other concerns, Member Enigma?" she asked.


"No, that would be all," Avery replied.


"All right. Thank you for your time."


After a beep, a low, husky male voice responded. "Hello, Member Enigma. I heard you're having trouble with your login information."


"Yes, it seems I forgot my login information and got locked out," Avery explained.


"I can reset the password for you, but there are certain steps you must follow. You'll have to wait ten minutes though. Would that be all right?"


"Sounds good," Avery confirmed.


After that brief conversation, the "Collector" assured Avery that his password could be reset today. He hung up the phone, but Avery was left with even more questions swirling in his mind.


Ten minutes later, a knock echoed through the apartment.


"Just a minute," Avery called out.


When he opened the door, he found someone wearing a hood standing there. The figure's identity remained a mystery until they spoke. It was the voice of a young man.


"Member Enigma, I am one of the Cleaners. Apoligies since your assigned cleaner is currently...busy. Due to security measures, we must complete the verification process in person. Please provide your thumbprint here. We also require a blood sample and a retina scan. Once verified, you can reset the password through voice recognition."


Why are they so meticulous about this? Avery wondered.


Despite his reservations, Avery's curiosity was piqued. He complied with the process.


Before long, he opened the app, which now required a voice recognition step that hadn't been there before. He read the word "Hello" displayed on the screen. After the verification, a password reset screen appeared. Avery chose a new password and, once it was confirmed, looked at the hooded figure before him. "Thanks," he said, and the person left silently.


As the Cleaner departed, Avery couldn't help but notice his eerily quiet steps, a trait common among assassins like himself.


He shrugged it off. There were more pressing matters at hand.


Avery opened the app and was greeted by a grim sight. Featured videos displayed people committing gruesome acts.


Night Gallery is a video-sharing platform where horrific deeds are celebrated and monetized.


Night Gallery is like YouTube for serial killers.

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