Lore Speculation

The Ultimate FNAF4 Guide – Part 3

Welcome to the third part of the Ultimate FNAF4 guide. In this part I will go to go into one of the more relevant short stories in the franchise and how it applies to FNAF 4 and what it informed us of. If you haven’t read the first two parts it is worth doing so as I may refer back to their contents rather than re-cover already established ground.

Part 1 is here
Part 2 is here.

The first of the short stories and probably one of the most impactful for me is The Real Jake. This story in the Blackbird book of the Fazbear’s Frights is a very heartfelt and thoughtful look at childhood cancer, interwoven with a thematic nod to how death and undeath operates in the world of FNAF. It’s a difficult story for me to re-read, even knowing what it contains because it is so emotionally raw, but I feel like it informs us of many pertinent things about FNAF4.

Since this is such a substantial story in regards to FNAF4, I will dedicate this whole part to discussing it and do Dittophobia and any others in the next part.

The Real Jake

The short story opens with a line which almost immediately links this story to the emotional potential that William is consumed with.

“The child’s bedroom was crowded, even though it held only two people. It was crowded because it held so many hopes and so many regrets. It was crowded because it held the potential for so much more than what was.”

Jake is the main character in this story, and he is cared for by his care nurse “Margie” as his mother was killed (murder isn’t really an incredibly common cause of death) four years prior to this time. His father Evan (a name that is very heavily linked to the crying child as a fan-name incidentally) is very frequently away. He has some neighbours named the Hendersons who he thinks on fairly frequently and another unnamed family who have twin children who put me in mind of Henry’s twins and Jake is a strong parallel for the crying child.

FNAF4 Easter Eggs

Though we don’t know exactly what happened to the crying child after the bite, we do see some easter eggs in the game that hint at a less than rosy end for him. When looking at the bed, there is a chance to see the below images.

FNAF4 bed

The first shows a vase of tulips on the bedside table, which could simply be tulips if they weren’t contextualised as most likely a “get well soon” gift by the other easter eggs showing the bed.

The next has an unmistakable pill bottle on the side table, which is the first hint we receive that the crying child was sick and this bed was theoretically a sickbed at some juncture.

FNAf4 bed with IV

The final teaser shows an IV bag, which is far more substantiative than just the pills and the flowers. People do not have IV bags at home for anything short of some sort of chronic or substantial illness and this implies that the protagonist of the game was potentially very sick and remembers this in some subconscious fashion. Taken together with the events of Dittophobia that we will discuss later, it starts to make sense that the events of FNAF4 are so blurred, showing what seems to be a long-ago childhood in a more present time, with dreamlike and slightly unreal hints scattered throughout.

In The Real Jake, Jake is dying of a brain tumor and at the point of the story, he appears to be in declining health but shows an awareness of his situation and maintains a relatively optimistic attitude. He is generous and kind, even when he seems to show intelligence and awareness beyond what his caregivers expect. Margie reassures him that his father thinks about him all of the time and Jake argues that he doesn’t, asserting that to be good at his work and not come to harm and that he couldn’t think about him all the time.

The most unusual thing about Jake is his friend Simon. Simon lives in his cabinet and “visits” Jake now and then. Jake speaks to Simon who is inside the cabinet and says he’ll be there until Jake got well enough to walk over there and find him.

There are numerous comments in this story which could be linked back to the overarching theory of remnant as an emotional energy, alongside its deep connection to plants. Margie thinks the following.

Sometimes when she looked at the brittle grass and withered plants surrounding the house, she felt like the foliage was tuned into Jake. As his light dimmed, so did everything else on the property.

This implication that emotions and individuals can impact the world around them is intrinsic to the series and to William’s research.

Jake has a baseball bat he sleeps with. He declared he was “too old for teddy bears” and then regretted it right after, he seems to want to impress his father with choosing something a little “manlier”.

FNAF4 – Little Man

He mentions his father calls him “my little man” which is familiar to players of the game.

FNAF4 bullies with "give this little man a lift"

The crying child’s brother seems to deride this familiar term, either out of jealousy or simply considering it “babyish” which is a shame because certainly to Jake, being called “little man” by his father is a source of pride and a drive to become more grown up.

We see this in Security Breach also where Vanessa explicitly calls Gregory “little man” in the final and rather strange conversation she has with him as we ride the elevator down at 6AM

“Hey little man, do you know what time it is? The doors are open! Why are you still here? You plan on moving in, or you just want a job? Maybe join the internship program. You would make a great security guard.”

When Jake speaks to Simon, he is supposed to talk about his day to him the way it would be if he was a normal kid, able to do normal things. Simon doesn’t entertain him talking about the chemotherapy but instead zeroes in on more positive things. Jake tells him of how he played in the sprinklers and played with other kids, whatever he says Simon says that he also did too.

Simon also has some interesting comments, when he mentions “can of corn” as a statement to describe an easy fly ball in baseball, Jake asks the origin. He gives him the explanation that clerks used to catch cans off of shelves in their aprons, looking this up this is the standard explanation for this particular term. However, he goes on to give a secondary definition where games were played in cornfields and says –

“Yeah, but I think it would be way hard to find the ball under those big, tall corn plants. It would be like playing baseball and hide-and-seek at the same time.”

I couldn’t actually find much if any reference to this origin, but the mention of hide and seek, William’s favourite game and cornfields harks forward to the maze in Help Wanted, which in its original iteration was literally a corn maze and William has a cornfield on the property on the hill.

An early version of the Help Wanted Foxy maze

An early version of the Help Wanted Foxy maze

Margie speaks to Evan and passes his father over to him to speak to. His conversations with his father are different than Simon, who asks him about his aspirations and dreams. Simon also builds up a picture of various superficial injuries and marks that Jake might have sustained while outside playing with his friends, asking him about splinters, scuffed knees and other things that “The Real Jake”, the one out living his life sustained. He reminds him frequently that when he’s well enough to come get him, they can leave together.

In the story, Brandon, Jake’s old best friend comes to the window and tries to coax Jake out of the house, even though he’s not supposed to go out. He asks him if they could do to the arcade, because Jake loves racing games.

It’s worth mentioning here that Jake’s love of arcades and racing games sets him in line with the archetype of the crying child and Gregory in Security Breach and GGY, we have every impression that he is skilled at game driving (and in Gregory’s case, literal driving)

However, as you might imagine, in the story this plan does not go well and Jake can’t get beyond the tree, where he sits watching Brandon leave. When he’s asked why he did it, he says “I thought I could be the real Jake.”

When Simon speaks to him later, Jake says that instead that he and Brandon DID go to the arcade, and that they played the racing games, discussing the prizes that they earned, directly relating it back to the prize counter and the ticket prizes we talked about in part 1.

They also have the below conversation.

Simon asked. “I got one. I got grape. It turned my tongue purple. Did you get one?” Jake laughed. He stuck out his tongue and imagined it was purple. “Yes! My tongue’s purple, too!” “Purple power!” Simon said. “Purple power!” Jake repeated.

Which – given the Afton family’s association with purple – I think is pretty interesting.

The Magician

We find out that Simon is voiced by Evan, Jake’s father and that he speaks to Jake through the backup baby monitor. They speak almost every day and the entire plan was devised after Jake became sullen after his failed surgery. Evan said they needed some “magic” to turn it around, and Simon was the creation. This link with magicians and magic once again has several threads that relate back to William.

There is the magician figure in Sister Location, the magician bot in Security Breach and William himself describing remnant as “pixie dust” and generally using this phrasing directly as Dave.

“All right,” Dave said. “I’ve been here a few times before; I think I can work some magic.”

It turns out that Evan has been using a voice distorter to make himself sound like a little kid. The plan worked and Jake was willing to speak to and confide in Simon. Evan’s explanation for the decision was that “The more he imagines himself to be a normal little boy, the greater the odds he can be one again someday. He has to have hope.”

This mantra might also apply to a robot or machine learning to be a human being, as potential food for thought.

In The Real Jake, there is discussion of Evan’s brother, Michael. Scott doesn’t often use the names of his central protagonists of the series without reason, and here it is interesting that we see that a character called Evan has a brother named Michael, when for a long time the fandom has considered that Evan (Crying Child) was the sibling of Michael (The older brother) In the story Michael lives in Europe and is described as a serious guy who was really good at making money.

“He’s a numbers genius, manages money for wealthy people and has made a killing doing it.” She wiped her face. “He’s not a bad guy. He just doesn’t know how to connect. He doesn’t feel the way we do.”

In the story, they joke about him being cold or strange and that he can seem like he’s not human. There is some degree of implication that he might have some kind of diminished empathy. Jake compares him to “A cyborg with bad programming” and the fact that Michael warned Jake not to get chocolate on his suit in a serious manner is the origin of the “very very bad” joke that they carry throughout the story. The character of Michael in this story is also a curious blend of some of the more negative traits that William also seems associated with and Evan is forced to ask him when he needs money.

There is another moment in the story where Margie looks around Jake’s room and the author explicitly mentions.

Her closed eyes blocked out the evidence of Jake’s illness. They erased the IV stand lurking in the corner of the room. Jake didn’t need it right now, but sometimes, when he couldn’t keep anything down, they had to hook him up to receive fluids and nutrients. Her closed eyes removed the hospital bed and the line of prescription medication bottles marching across the top of the chest of drawers.

This harkens directly back to the easter egg images of the bedroom in the section above.

FNAF4 – The Doll

Margie also has some interesting Henry parallels to me. I want to state at the outset here that I have zero interest in the sex/gender of a character in regards to if they are a potential parallel. In literature it does not matter if someone is the same sex or even the same species (as in fantasy/sci fi literature or animal parables) for them to be an applicable parallel for a character. Margie takes over in a caretaker role for Jake while his father is away and his mother is dead and entertains him. It would have been narratively simple for the author to make Margie Jake’s mother but they markedly do not, bringing in a more complex element with her as an outside force.

Evan is the one who uses the baby monitor to coax Jake towards wellness, but Margie is the one who creates the Simon doll. I don’t need to point out that this creation of a doll as a vessel of belief is a last resort that Henry turns to in the novel trilogy.

Although she could take her project out of the cabinet and work on it in her room, it never seemed right to do that. Her project lived in the little cabinet. Moving it felt wrong.

Margie updates the doll with the things that Simon says with Jake and carefully maintains it in line with what he thinks is happening.

The text is not subtle at all with the comparisions between the doll Margie creates and the study of belief, emotional energy and life.

This doll was Evan’s brainchild. Almost three feet high, plain white (at least originally), and now covered in evidence of the adventures Jake was having in his mind with Simon, Margie’s project was an exercise in hope. Or maybe even more than hope. It was an exercise in belief. If you were to infuse an object with enough love and intention, would it have life? Evan apparently thought so, and maybe Margie did, too, now.

Art by Shockburnt

The doll is described as a rich testament to Jake’s other life and his imagination, covered in the scrapes and stories of a normal child’s life. Margie takes notes of his adventures and adds them to the doll to make him more alive. He was white and flat initially but now tells a hundred stories. One of the interesting ones is “The blackened eye, for example, represented the day the real Jake stood up to a school bully.”, Jake as a parallel for the crying child learned to stand up to a bully, while the crying child never did. Jake retains this personality streak throughout this story and into the epilogues, where it is him who stands up to William Afton, Eleanor and Agony.

Maybe she was missing her calling: She should have been a Real Kid Doll Decorator.

Reaching into the first box he’d set on the table, Phineas pulled out a three-foot-tall white doll covered in drawings done in colored markers. The doll was truly an abomination of decorative overkill. It had rainbow fingertips, green knees, brown smudges on its body and legs, and various bibs and bobs glued to it, one of which appeared to be a smiley face eraser.

Its worth mentioning that when the doll is taken by Phineas later in the epilogues that it is once again clarified that Simon is three foot tall, which is very large for a doll. I always imagined him smaller, but instead he really does stand at around the height of the Ella doll as we see it in the silver eyes trilogy.

There is also a scene where Jake throws a tantrum over not being able to make out board game pieces properly due to the complications of his cancer and Margie jokes at him when he says sorry he was frustrated “You don’t say? I just figured your wires got crossed or your circuits were frying.”

Jake tells Margie that he loves her too and she comes to consider her place in the household, she finds herself a little put out by the dismissal that she is “just the nanny”

Someone had asked the nurse if she was Jake’s mom, and the nurse had said, “No. The mom’s dead. She’s just the nanny.” Sometimes, Margie wished she was like one of the robots Jake liked so much. She’d have no bothersome feelings to deal with.

She finds herself realising that she loves Jake like a son. She also at first dismisses how she feels about Evan as not romantic, but comes to realise in the course of the story that she wants her relationship with Evan to be something more, comparing herself more to a lovelorn stalker and deciding that when she told herself she loved him like a brother that she had been lying to herself. I don’t really need to say anything else about how this might project onto Henry and William.

FNAF4 – Evan

In the story, Margie is making cookies for Jake when the call comes in from Michael that Evan is dead. Michael informs him that everything has been left to her and she has been named Jake’s guardian.

Margie is left stricken with how to tell Jake that his father is dead and if it will be too much for him to handle. They decide to tell him anyway.

Margie is telling Jake a story about “the shy robot” that night, which is a relevant story given her predicament, considering that she has to inform or warn Jake about the situation around the change to their family arrangement.

“The shy robot knew he had to speak up about the glitch. If he didn’t, the ship would crash. But he couldn’t find his voice. All he could do was make little beeping sounds.”

Jake dislikes the shy robot, finding the concept stupid and boring, which is interesting as even though his negative feelings could be exacerbated by his unpleasant situation, it seems that he has little tolerance for the inaction of the protagonist.

At this late point in the story, Jake is struggling to breathe and with the weakness that wracks him and is fixated on getting to speak to Simon, determined to tell him that he’d been on the beach. Margie is forced to tell him that Simon won’t be visiting that night and that she’d been listening through the door. He takes the information with disappointment and goes to sleep.

Margie goes to Evan’s bedroom, which he’d said she could have the whole time and is overcome by the weight of his absence. This is a heavy scene and one which is given more gravity if one considers the possibility of a grander scenario with these characters.

She never went in Evan’s room while he was gone. When he was home, she’d go in the room to vacuum or put away laundry or whatever. When he was gone, though, coming in here felt like an invasion of privacy. Now he was gone. And this house was hers. She still couldn’t believe that. Evan’s room would be her room. He’d wanted her to take it from the beginning. “It makes sense,” he said. “You’d be right here next to Jake, and the bed’s bigger, and it’s cooler in the summer.”

Sister location’s labs would certainly be cooler in the summer and it is very likely that Henry experienced them, but would he ever want to inherit them?

Margie starts to hear sounds at night, like voices where she can’t make out the words. She can’t tell if the voices are male or female. There is something ominous about the evening and she hears a distant dog barking, much like we do in FNAF4 itself.

When the time comes to send Jake to the hospice care center, Margie is obviously really struggling with her emotions. There is a very grim but potent scene where she sits and cuts up all of her smiley face t-shirts with scissors. She’s not only sad but incredibly defiant and angry about the situation. Once again, I have to point to the parallels with Henry who is character we have who goes from the utmost depths of loss and depression to incredibly heights of unrestrained anger. His anger is what creates baby.

She felt resentful. Angry. Enraged. How could all the love and caring and positive expectations have brought Jake here? Margie had been so sure she could get him through this. Outside, an ice-cream truck went by. The tinkling music sounded strangely ominous.

They go to retrieve Jake and realise that he is gone.

Margie, as you might expect collapses into abject despair at this finding, never having been able to inform Jake about his father or Simon. The description of the ferocity of her grief is deeply impactful too. This also gives us some insight into the depths of Henry’s emotions at the loss of his own daughter.

Margie nodded. For once, her eyes were dry. What she was feeling was too much for ordinary tears. What she was feeling called for a screaming fit or a total mental breakdown. Since now wasn’t the time for either of those, she had no response to offer. She was a human void. She wanted to fold into herself and fall into that void. She wanted to let it suck her from this room, from this reality. But she knew she couldn’t escape so easily.

The Real Jake – The Conclusion

The three medical professionals wouldn’t have had reason to see anything amiss. For all they knew, it was normal. Even Gillian would not have commented on it. She might have seen it, but she wouldn’t attach any meaning to it. Margie, though? Margie would have. But she didn’t see. Nobody saw. Five people. Five sets of eyes. And none of them noticed the little cabinet door was wide open.

The final paragraph of the story, set on its own is the most interesting of all.The story ends with the cabinet in the corner of the room open and the implication that Simon the “Real Jake” is gone. He did not die but simply flitted over to a new body instead. This ending would be ambiguous if we did not find out that this is exactly what has happened, with Jake coming to inhabit the doll and then become part of the Stitchwraith alongside Andrew. His spirit transfers into an entirely mechanical entity, powered by an endoskeleton and wearing the mask-like face of his favourite doll. This confirms that within the FNAF universe that this is entirely possible and there is little to no reason to think that with this precedent that it could not have also happened to the crying child.

Many people dismiss the crying child transferred into a mechanical body theory out of hand without taking time to understand the sheer mountain of evidence that underpins it. The Real Jake, even taken on its own is a hugely informative story. However, as we’ve established over the last two parts and this one, it is a hundred miles from the only evidence that we have.

In the next part I will look into some of the other short stories and what they tell us about FNAF4.