So it seems the formula here is to
open up with some expository personal details right? I guess it wouldn’t hurt.
Let’s call me John. I suppose someone could pretty easily hunt down my IP and
figure out who I really am. And I’d be pretty naive to think no one will try to
do just that. But I’m in way over my head now and at the very least, I need
someone to listen.
call me John, like I said. I’m a college senior and a lifelong victim of
relatively crippling anxiety and depression. In case you didn’t already know,
“college senior” and “anxiety and depression” make for a
particularly excellent stress cocktail, so things have been especially rough
lately. Up until the last six months or so, I’ve always known what I wanted to
do with my life. It hasn’t always been the same thing, but I’ve always felt
pulled in one direction or another. So, of course, now that it’s time to
actually know what I want to do with my life, I’m at a loss.
I do have an
incredible support system however; my parents are totally understanding and
compassionate when it comes to my anxiety. The same goes for my wonderful
girlfriend. I worry I’m putting them in danger by writing this, but they
probably were already anyway.
one thing I’ve always enjoyed doing is writing. I had planned on being a
journalist before I recently realized I’m petrified of talking to strangers.
I’ve always liked the idea of screenwriting, for TV and movies and the like. I
know I’ll still have to talk to strangers, no matter what I end up doing, but
at least this way my job doesn’t depend solely on the cooperation of strangers.
They say if you want to be a writer, you just have to start writing. Doesn’t
matter if no one ever reads it, you just have to do it. That’s always been
brutal for me. I don’t see the point in doing something for myself. I need the
validation of others to be happy. Always have. So I guess I’ve just been a
little scared to just sit down and write. I’m not scared of that anymore. Not
after this morning. I’ve got much more to be scared of now.
was at the library grinding out homework, around midnight. I spend a LOT of
time there. We have little private study rooms called carrels here. Sometimes I
post up in one late in the morning and don’t leave until after midnight. It’s a
peaceful place on a busy campus.
Once I finished, I decided I would finally
start writing something. Instead
I chose to procrastinate, which I excel at. I opened up gmail to take inventory
when something caught my eye. I had a new email, except it didn’t seem to be
from anyone. I shit you not, the space where the sender’s address usually is
was instead just blank.
The subject line read “A Little Inspiration”.
I figured it was spam; I’m not too careful about streaming websites so it
wouldn’t have surprised me if some sketchy site had gotten a hold of my email
in the hopes of hacking me. I figured I could open the email and be safe as
long as I didn’t click any links.
email read as follows:
got something very special for you, Johnny. I think you’ll like it very much.
Maybe I’ll have something more for you later.
who knows me knows better than to call me fucking JOHNNY. This was some
weird-ass spam. I shrugged and deleted it. I didn’t have time to blink before
another email, apparently from no one, appeared at the top of my inbox.
crippling anxiety I mentioned started to kick in, but not for the reasons it
should have. I thought I’d certainly been hacked. I’d have to wipe the hard
drive. I’d need a new computer. I could feel tears forming behind my eyes. I’ve
always compared my anxiety disorder to being buried alive. It sounds a bit over
dramatic but that IS what it feels like. You’re trapped, with weight pushing
down on you from all sides. But I couldn’t help myself – I deleted it again.
it’s time to pack up and go home for the night I thought. I was on the 3rd
floor, so I took the stairs down to the 1st. The worst kind of chill ran up and
down my entire body once I opened the stairwell door. The library was fucking
empty. For context, I go to a pretty big school on the east coast. We have
about 40,000 students. Never at any point in my time here have I been in an
empty room, save for those 8×8 carrels.
No security guards. No library
assistants. No kids. Complete silence. But it was late at night, around 2.
Maybe I happened to come downstairs the exact moment the entire staff decided
to use the bathroom. Whatever the reason, it only convinced me more to get the
fuck out of there. Only the front doors wouldn’t budge. I felt my phone
vibrate. Guess who.
text was from 000-000-0000. The fuck? At this point my chest is legitimately
sore from my heart pounding so hard. I tried a side door. Nothing. The fucking
emergency exit door was locked. Another vibration.
an anxious person, but not a stupid one. It was fairly clear that I wasn’t
going to leave the library until I addressed this message. Maybe it was just a
dream I thought, but it didn’t really matter. Time to sleuth.
the time I reached the 5th floor it had finally occurred to me that, being that
I was in a library, the number was part of the Dewey Decimal System. There was
no book labeled 917.23. But there was something crudely wedged between 917.22
On the cover were the words Fama Fraternitatis Roseae Crucis.
This… book I guess… was barely holding itself together. Or at least it was,
before I dropped it. Remember, I’m in full on panic mode. I’m shaking, and
goddammit I am sweating. It more or less exploded all over the floor. The pages
strewn across the ground were mostly old and fragile looking with some strange
language I couldn’t identify. Except for one page. It was old, but not decrepit
like the others. It was a death certificate. A pretty standard one at that.
Except for who it belonged to. I recognized the name immediately. You will too.
Shit is about to get pretty weird so bear with me. Please, PLEASE bear with me.
victim’s first name was John. His middle name was Fitzgerald. His last name was
you still reading? I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t.
I was now holding the death certificate of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President
of the United States, and victim of the most famous murder in world history.
You’re thinking, “maybe it’s a different JFK?”. I thought that too,
but only for a brief moment before I glanced at the victim’s occupation.
someone fucking watching me? I spun around. No people. No cameras. I looked
back at the impossible piece of paper.
assassination was televised. We all know how JFK died.
eyes found Cause of Death. I expected to read “multiple gunshot wounds of
the head and neck”, which is what you’ll find if you google “JFK
that’s one way of putting it. Maybe it’s just a technicality I thought. Maybe
it means lead poisoning? I glanced over to Date of Death.
Place of Death
know JFK conspiracy theories. Maybe Oswald acted alone, maybe it was the mafia,
maybe it was the Russians, maybe it was Castro. But I’ve never read anything
about JFK being poisoned at the White House. If this was a legit piece of
paper, it was the most important paper in the United States. And it was in my
hands. At my library. Vibration.
he asking me what I thought about it? I thought it was fucking crazy; what a
stupid question. I began to type back. Vibration.
spun around again. I saw no conceivable way anyone could be watching me. Nor
was anyone close enough to hear; I was alone.
don’t know what to think. Who
am I supposed to do with this?"
a writer, aren’t you? Write.
about this situation indicated to me that it was the wrong time to get smart
with whoever the fuck this was. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t either have a
heart attack or plain shit myself. The moment was so surreal; I don’t think it
even registered to my body that it was time to kick the anxiety up a few
if I say no?”
I asked again. Nothing. I took the opportunity to quietly power-walk the fuck
out of there. The first floor was still empty. And the doors were still locked.
Or you will never leave.
or whatever this was hadn’t shown me any hostility yet. Cue the mental
breakdown. I could hardly breathe. I rammed myself full force against the door,
hoping it would budge just a centimeter. That’s when all Hell broke loose.
lights cut out. Every single one of them. The only things illuminating the
floor were exit signs, filling the room with an unsettling red glow. I would
say my heart stopped, but then I would be dead, and I unfortunately was very
much alive. Before I could exhale, I heard the laughter. It’s only been a few
hours since but I know I’ll never forget it as long as I live, no matter how
long that shall be. It was reminiscent of Jared Leto’s Joker laugh, only it had
a much deeper, almost inhuman cadence to it. That horrifying noise was
immediately replaced with the fire alarm, if the fire alarm were using a
megaphone. It felt like the noise was ripping through my body, violating me. In
the fetal position now, sobbing, I whispered to myself, “fine. I’ll
noise immediately stopped. The lights flicked back on. Vibration.
around 10 in the morning now. There are plenty of people here, going about
business as usual. This is what I wrote. I don’t know what whoever this is was
expecting. I wish I had more for you. I wish I had more for myself. But
everything as of right now is, apparently, normal. Aside from two things.
my window, about a hundred yards away, there is a man. He’s in a suit. This is
a college campus; there are plenty of dudes in suits. Only this one’s been
standing there, staring directly through my window at me. He hasn’t moved for
at least an hour. He hasn’t acknowledged anyone and no one has acknowledged him.
phone vibrated about 2 minutes ago. Guess who.
Good. Rest. More tomorrow.