The pacmancer gazes into the arcade cabinet’s screen and sees his own death; someday, it will be hollowed of its digital components and repurposed as his sarcophagus. He watches the little phosphene phantoms dart about and sees something familiar in their wandering eyes. Perhaps he even knew them while they were alive. The shared border between the spiritual and virtual realms is thinner than either possess with the physical. That’s what makes the ritual work.

He thinks back to the Bardo Thodol, and the tunnels of colorful light that spirits must wander to find either enlightenment or reincarnation. He wonders if this is how it all appears from above, watching those ghosts wander aimlessly and be devoured one by one, only to eternally return. His pondering gives way to trance, and something outside his mind takes control of his hand on the joystick, a greater hunger than his own. A divine exchange takes place, and the contents of his stomach drain into another reality.

By the time the high scores table has appeared, he feels completely empty. He opens the door of his fridge to find jars of pickled cherries waiting for him, as well as transparent cutlets of indigo flesh.