This is what happened next.
I’ve been up for three nights. Energy shots and cold showers help. I don’t want to sleep. It’s been much worse lately—the dreams, and the voices.
I won’t smoke anymore of these things, I’ve decided. I need answers first. And I need these maddening voices and whispers to stop barraging my nights. I have to listen to music, TV, something, at all times. Or I start to hear them.
So far, I’ve only told Mike about what happened.
“Why didn’t you call the police?” Mike had asked me.
“I wasn’t exactly thinking straight.”
He still thinks I’m brainless for not having dialed 9-1-1, but I hold to the belief that even if I had thought to during that time I spent bathing in madness, the phone probably would have screamed at me, or god knows what.
“Well, what about patrol cars? At my station there’s always a couple cops hanging around.”
“You’re not listening to me. This happened in the span of ten minutes.”
No matter how many times I tried to explain it, he just never seemed to grasp the absolute terror I’d suffered through.
So, I don’t confide in anyone. I research. I follow every lead I get, though, I haven’t found many. Even if it was a drug that caused all this… it doesn’t explain away everything. Why it’s still affecting me. And then there’s the cameras. They didn’t capture any of my experience. My boss said they shut off.
I had to see for myself.
Thus begins my decent into psychosis. I’m well aware.
After a lot of persuading, my boss—former boss, now—let me take a look at the tapes. And sure enough, right as the truck pulls into the parking lot, the camera distorts, statics, and then cuts to a blue screen. It resumes at 2:39.
There are a lot of ways to trick cameras, I’ve learned. They could have used a jammer—this little device that can block wireless signals. But, the cameras at Sunshine America are wired, and everything they record is fed right to the back room—my boss’ office.
And who exactly are “they”? Who do I think is responsible for all of this? That’s the question I’ve been at a complete loss to answer. Whoever, or dare I say “whatever”, did this had no license plate and I never got a look at them.
I was ready to give up. Subject myself to the maddening dreams and the relentless whispers—dreary white noise—when I stumbled upon something three nights ago.
I wrote off the username as nonsense until I read a few of his articles—which, to me, came off as conspiracy theories. But at this point, I’m reading anything I think might have even a sliver of information I can use. Turns out he’s well versed in this thing called TOR—the Onion Router—which provides internet anonymity.
OnionMaster had a ton of articles, blogs, and videos about something called the Deep Web. From what I understand, the visible web—what I’ve been using to do all this research on things unknown—is only what we can easily access. The Deep Web is the underside of the iceberg we call the internet. And Google and Bing can’t delve into the abyssal waters.
What’s down there, under the water? From what I’ve found, there are databases, city records, archives, stuff that wouldn’t need to be accessed practically. But, it’s what grows in the darkness that got me looking into the Deep Web.
Weapons. Drugs. Human trafficking. Hitmen for hire. And if you thought there was some fucked up porn that you could get to just by searching Google… Jesus. Some of this shit…The pedophiles and sadists rejoice. The Silk Road got my attention for a moment—OnionMaster described it as the Amazon.com of illegal substances—but it was something else that pulled me in even deeper.
And before I go on, let me say that I didn’t browse through any of this. The Deep Web doesn’t work like that—you need to know where you’re going before you go there. And for that reason, it initially seemed like a dead end. After all, searching the depths of the ocean, looking for one bit of treasure is pointless if you don’t have coordinates.
My coordinates were sent to me.
I was getting out of another icy shower, around two in the morning. I remember feeling a sort of dizziness overtake me, and I had to sit down on the edge of the bathtub. I was having trouble breathing.
This kind of thing happened once in a while, ever since I smoked the blue king, and I’d usually start to hear whispering, or start smelling rotting fruit. That didn’t happen this time, though; something far more horrible came for me.
It was crouched in the corner, behind the door. It looked like me. Barefoot, with no face, no features, except for that thin smile that stretched from ear to ear.
When I saw it… I don’t know how to put it into words. A part of me was almost… excited; excited to see it, in existence, not just a blurred memory. This part of me was insignificant when compared to the pure terror that overtook me in that moment.
Claustrophobia set it as I realized, I was cornered. I could have died as soon as it got its hands on me. Maybe that would have been too merciful, now that I look back on the bathroom incident.
It came for me, though. I had nowhere to go, and I don’t think I truly believed it could touch me.
But it did.
The thing grabbed my shoulders pushed me into the bathtub. When it leaned in, all I could see was
the sickly canvass of flesh where its face—my face—should have been. And it stunk. Christ, it was like chemicals. My warped reflection whispered to me three words, before it vanished without a trace.
In a voice like my own, twisted with a strange mix of both agony and happiness, it whispered to me, “God Must Die.”
…I ran to my closet as soon as it had vanished, and I stayed there for what felt like hours. I know, I was no better than a frightened child. It was the only place I felt safe.
I couldn’t think straight for a long time after that.
Whatever that thing was, I’d seen it before; in the cooler, at the gas station. But this was different. There’s no way anything from that cigarette was still in my system. This was something more than a drug. This was something tainted—something evil that I’d brought forth.
When, eventually, pure exhaustion overtook me, I dreamt horrible visions. I was in a warehouse, where headless men and women dangled from chains. And I kept seeing some thin, wide-eyed entity in my peripheral vision. To this day, I can’t explain that, whatever that thing was. I never got a good look at it. Just more madness. That’s all it was.
This nightmare seemed to drag on and on and on, and when I finally woke up in my closet, my head was swimming. I checked my phone and found, with horror, that it had been less than ten minutes since I’d taken my shower.
That was the worst part of it—of all of it. No matter what I’d see, hear, or smell, nothing was as god-awful as knowing that there was no quick way to suffer through it.
When I found the courage to exit my little haven, I found something that made me want to go right back in and pray, yet again, for an end to all this. My computer monitor was flashing from a pure blue screen to some sort of black page covered with blocks of unstructured white text.
It didn’t look like a website, or a document. It looked like something you’d find on the Deep Web. The text, I noticed as I shakily took a seat, was all either backwards, upside-down, or in some language with characters I couldn’t decipher. But a good amount was in English.
I tried to scroll down, but the lag was horrible.
The picture that eventually loaded on my screen is one that truly hammered the final nail into my sanity’s coffin. It was a poor resolution image of… a warehouse. People, headless people, hung from chains and there, in the center of the picture, I stood, faceless with a wide smile.
Beneath the image were the words, in upside-down text, “God Must Die”.