It pains me to say that, by the time you read this, I’ll have been long gone. Don’t worry about me — just know that my death was instantaneous and painless. My only regret is that I have so irresponsibly left you alone, without someone to provide for you when you need it most. I have gathered quite a lot of money, and there’s also the house, both of which are now yours. They will keep your dialysis going for a long while and should be more than enough to cover the surgery, if a suitable donor is found in the following years.
I suppose the only thing I won’t be able to do is be there for you, to hold your hand, chat with you and just be your friend when you need one. Believe me, I treasured the times that we had together, I really did, and if there was any other way to escape the hell I’m trapped in, I would’ve taken it in a heartbeat.
Becky, the last week has been excruciatingly painful for me. I’ve been shaking all over, my hair has been falling off, sleep is almost out of the question entirely, and it seems to be getting worse. I haven’t left my apartment at all in three days. I’ve barricaded myself in the living room, curled up in the corner with only a notebook and Dad’s pistol. Every waking moment is a horrible nightmare — my eyes sting when I look at the walls and outright burn when I close them, my fingers are trembling so much that it takes me minutes to write even a single word, and my ears are pretty much useless at this point.
Honestly, it’s a struggle to not just close the notebook and end it all right here and now, but that wouldn’t be fair to you. Because I know that you will blame yourself for my demise, and you need an explanation so that you’ll know I’m in a hell of my own creation. Please forgive me, for the horrible things I will describe in such excruciating details will undoubtedly make you sick to your stomach. But the only way you can understand my predicament is if you could place yourself in my shoes and see what I have seen.
It all started roughly a month ago with, what else, an e-mail. It was from some creep, asking to see videos of the examinations performed at the clinic, particularly those of the female patients. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have responded to something so disgusting at all, but I did. I told him that as a doctor I could never allow such an invasion of privacy, especially when my patients are just children. There was no way it could ever happen, and I warned him that if he wrote me again I’d contact the police.
He did write me again, Becky. He offered to pay me money for every video I sent him. A lot of money. More than I make in a week. He said that all other pediatricians he spoke with agreed to that offer, but if I wanted more we could negotiate. I should have said no, I should have stood my ground and reported him to the police — hell, I should have assumed that it was the police, that I was being set up. But I didn’t. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to pay for a transplant if a donor was found, that something might happen to the clinic and I might lose my job, that I would no longer be able to pay for your treatment… All kinds of nightmarish scenarios went through my head, none of which were justified, but they all seemed like such real possibilities at the time. And I made the biggest mistake of my life. I said yes.
I went online, under a fake name, and bought a small HD camera, which I then had delivered to a friend who had no idea what I was up to, or even what item I was picking up from her. I placed the camera on top of one of the medical cabinets near the corner of my office, facing the examination bed. It was practically invisible unless you were specifically looking for it. I was a bit nervous, but it was the type of nervousness that came with trying something forbidden for the first time, like sneaking out after curfew when you’re a kid. I had pushed the fact that I would be violating the trust my patients had put in me to the back of my mind.
To me, my biggest concern was not getting caught. And I wasn’t. I managed to film the examination of every girl that came into my office. I even went the extra mile for the sake of my twisted employer’s pleasure, making them remove their clothes even when they were only suffering from a cold or a minor injury. When I think about it, it makes me want to throw up. But, as sick as it was, it worked — I sent the videos to the man on the other end of the e-mail, and he wired a five digit sum to my account. All that from a single day of “working” for him.
He made it clear that he only bought all of the videos the first time as a gesture of goodwill, and that he would be more picky from then on, but it didn’t matter. I was ecstatic. I imagined myself becoming a millionaire in a matter of months, able to move you to a better hospital and pay all the bills while also living like royalty myself. I didn’t even think of how twisted the crime I was committing was. Back then, I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary about it — I would be earning tons of cash, and what my patients didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. The next morning, I went to work with the dumbest grin on my face. That’s when I saw it for the first time. The… thing which would proceed to ruin my life over the next few weeks.
On the inside of my front door was a carving of an eye. It was very stylized — just a rhombus with an oval inside of it and a circle inside of that. It looked like it had been carved directly into the wooden frame of the door by a blade which had been covered in black paint, but when I ran my hand across its surface the door was still very much flat. Honestly, I had no idea who made it, how, or why — my first instinct was that I was robbed and this was the perpetrator’s elaborate calling card, of sorts.
It might have also been hooligans who broke in and painted some graffiti on the door — Mom and Dad’s house is probably the nicest one in the neighborhood, so it would be a prime target for an attack. Either way, the fact that somebody had broken into my home didn’t bother me nearly as much as it should have — I only sighed due to the inconvenience of having to clean it out later. I keep all of my valuables, including jewelry and my purse with all of my cash, in my bedroom, so there wasn’t a chance of anything important being stolen. I opened the door and left without a second thought.
At work, I exchanged the camera’s memory card and filmed another five or six different examinations for my “employer.” I returned home, ignoring the black eye on the door, and hurriedly went to my bedroom in order to send some picture samples to the man. I sat on my bed, still wearing the clothes I’d been to work with, and opened up my e-mail. I had several messages, most of which were either spam or from the newsletters I’d signed up for. Interestingly, one of the messages was untitled and sent from my own e-mail address.
I raised an eyebrow, wondering if I’d sent a message to myself and forgot about it. I mean, I do that all the time anyway, with important links and files that I’d need later, so it wasn’t really that big of a deal. I opened the message, curious about what I’d sent myself. The body of the e-mail was empty, but there was a single file attached to it — an image titled “pervert.jpg”. My curiosity piqued, I opened it… and quickly wished that I hadn’t.
It was a photo that looked like a screenshot from one of the videos I’d taken only a few hours ago. A thirteen year old girl had come to me with complaints of unusually strong pains during menstruation, and required a pelvic exam to ensure everything was fine with her. Of course, the inspection was fully filmed, and I expected that this would be the highlight of the day as far as my “employer” was concerned. The snapshot showed just that — the girl was in stirrups, her legs spread as she expected me to examine her.
I was to the right of her, putting on my gloves and preparing for the checkup. It was, as the title suggested, a perverted image in every sense of the word, and more frighteningly, it wasn’t one that I remembered taking at all. My eyes narrowed as I desperately tried to remember if I had taken a “juicy” screenshot for my “employer” while on my laptop at work or something like that, but my mind drew a blank. Then I saw it. To the left of the girl, just next to the door, was another eye. It looked identical to the one I found on my door, just maybe a bit smaller… Or perhaps it was just the perspective making it seem like that.
My hands began to tremble. I walked right through that door on my way out, there was no way I wouldn’t have seen the eye when I left! The image didn’t look photo-shopped, but it had to be — how else could it make any sort of sense? Determined to get to the bottom of this, I quickly pulled out my camera’s memory card from my pocket and plugged it into my laptop, then opened the video of the girl’s medical examination. I figured that I’d find the exact spot this screenshot was taken from, see if the eye is visible there, and if so, roll back and see if it was there all along, and if not, when it first appeared. The video began.
I set it to fast forward, intending to pause it whenever I recognized the snapshot. A few minutes later, the video ended without showing the moment when I put on the gloves. I played it back, this time at normal speed, trying to remember exactly when it was that I began the examination. But as I watched, something didn’t seem quite right. I minimized the video and opened the snapshot from my e-mail, comparing the two. And then it clicked. I couldn’t see the exact moment in the video when I put on my gloves because it wasn’t there. The angle of the screenshot compared to the video was completely different. Whatever camera that image was taken from, it wasn’t my own.
Startled, I quickly closed the laptop down, only to see another eye staring at me on the wall right across from me. I don’t know when exactly it had appeared, but it had to have been between me entering the room and closing the lid of the laptop. There was no way some random burglar had done it. No, this was something that I couldn’t explain at all. I thought I was going crazy, that maybe I’d painted the eye just like I’d sent myself that photo. My mind was desperate to cling to any sort of logical conclusion, even when the best one I could come up with was full of holes and inconsistencies.
Finally, I settled on the explanation that I had lapses in memory, and that I had made these eyes in my home, for reasons that would make sense to me eventually. I went outside, bought some paint, and painted over the eyes in the bedroom and on my door. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. After that, I took a shower and immediately went to bed without sending any videos to my “employer.” I don’t know if it was because I lied down so early or because I’d gotten myself so spooked earlier, but I couldn’t get a wink of sleep all night.
The next morning, on my way to work, I heavily contemplated whether I should even continue taking videos, considering how much of a toll it appeared to be taking on my sanity. Ultimately, when I got to my office and found out that there was no eye painted next to the door after all, I decided to continue, deeming myself strong enough to handle whatever mental issues I might have been going through. I used you as an excuse, telling myself that you need the money those videos were bringing.
It wasn’t true, of course, but I needed some kind of justification for my actions. As such, I set up the camera once again and prepared to film. The first few patients were all boys, with the first girl arriving near noon. She was nine, there with her father for her annual head to toe. I told the man to get her undressed and place her on the examination table, like usual. He took the girl’s hand and, before taking her to the screen, turned to me and, with a faint smile on his face, said:
“I hope you capture her good side on that camera of yours.”
My blood froze. I felt a cold chill run down my spine as my knees turned to cardboard. The man was still smiling at me, looking as if he’d said the most innocent thing in the world. I asked him what he meant. He off-handedly pointed at the camera atop the cabinet, keeping his eyes on me, and said:
“You film all the girls you touch and sell the clips online, right? If my daughter’s going to be a child porn actress I want her to look her best,” or something along those lines. I leaned against the wall, feeling like I was about to collapse. My eyes teared up as I began shaking, trying to assure him that I would never, ever invade my patient’s privacy like that. His expression changed. His eyes were fixated on me as he raised his arm in front of his daughter, as if I was about to tear her apart and he needed to protect her.
“Doctor, are you feeling alright?” he asked. At this point, I was just about to collapse from the tension. I guess my usually logical mind just stopped working as I reached out and grabbed my camera, then ran straight out of the room, clutching the device close to my chest. I left the hospital still wearing my white coat and my indoors shoes, without checking out or even saying goodbye to the nurses. As soon as I was out, I got to the nearest garbage bin and threw up inside, as if needing to release all of the filth inside of me. It was at this moment that I knew I needed serious help.
I realized too late that I had forgotten my purse in the hospital, so I had to walk back home, which was a couple of miles away. Throughout the walk I squeezed the camera tight, like it was my baby. I thought about throwing it away a few times, but whenever I reached towards a bin I had this weird daydream of police officers finding it and reading its memory card. So I simply kept it in my hand, not even putting it in my pocket out of fear of it falling off without me noticing. I felt that everyone kept staring at me like I was some sort of freak, and the worst part was that I couldn’t tell if they actually were or if it was just my paranoia.
Now that I think about it, it was probably both. Either way, I managed to get home safely. I didn’t have my keys on me, of course, so I had to break a window in order to make my way into my own home. When got in, the first thing I did was look through my calling cards and find Dr. Peterson’s. You remember Dr. Peterson — he spoke with you for a while after the accident. What you don’t know is that I kept seeing him for about a year afterwards as he helped me deal with Mom and Dad’s absence. He was the only psychiatrist that I trusted, so I was hoping he could help me deal with my madness. His schedule was pretty full, but I practically begged his secretary to let me talk to him as soon as possible. Ultimately, they set my appointment for the next day.
After the phone call, I went straight back into my bedroom. I felt exhausted from the walk and needed to lie down as soon as possible. When I entered, though, I felt my heart skip a beat. The eye, that horrible, horrible eye, was back on my wall, its dark pupil pointed straight at me. I stared back, unable to look at anything else in the entire room. I stepped forward, pressing my palm against the eye, unsure about whether it was even really there. Suddenly, a loud, distorted voice squeaked behind me, like someone had just turned on the TV. I jumped, pressing my back against the wall and holding my hand over my heart in a futile attempt to hold it still.
In front of me was my laptop, its screen half-open. I reached over and pulled the lid up, revealing a video being played on it. It was one of my videos, in which I was examining a young girl who had no idea she was being filmed. I spoke something, I think asking her a question — it was hard to tell, since my voice alternated between being high-pitched and low-pitched, making it sound almost demonic. I reached for the laptop’s port, ready to pull out the memory card… except it wasn’t there. It was inside the camera I was still clutching, nowhere near the laptop that was projecting its contents. I froze. I never copied the videos directly on the laptop’s HDD — when my “employer” wanted to buy I uploaded them directly to his server.
I used the touchpad to move the cursor over to the X button on the top right corner before clicking a few times. Nothing. On the screen, the perverted examination was finally starting. I didn’t want to see this, not now! I held the power button for what seemed like forever, but my laptop kept functioning. I closed the lid, but the loud, distorted voices still echoed from within. Finally, I just took the damn thing, opened the door and tossed it directly onto the tiles in the hallway, shattering it like a glass. The voices stopped.
I hid the camera under my bed, failing to think of a better place for it. I considered slipping it in my underwear drawer, but remembered that Dad’s gun was there, and I decided that it would be best not to mess with that, not in my current condition. Under the bed sounded good for now. Out of sight, out of mind. I spent the rest of the day curled up in a fetal position, desperately trying to fall asleep. But whenever I closed my eyes I kept seeing one nightmarish scenario after another. I saw the hospital’s director coming to my home, telling me that I’ve been fired because of my misconduct and that my medical license would be revoked.
I saw parents demanding retribution for exposing their teen and pre-teen daughters in the disgusting way that I did, calling the press and turning me into a media monster. I saw you in the center of it all, denouncing me as your sister and telling me that you don’t want to see me ever again. And, most often, I saw the horrible videos I’d made, played with the same distorted audio as the one on my laptop. Ultimately, the night found me shivering under my covers like I had a fever. I thought about taking sleeping pills in order to get at least some rest, as this was my second night in which I hadn’t slept at all, but fear of the nightmares that would undoubtedly plague me made me reconsider.
The next morning I didn’t even bother going to work. I figured that I was as good as fired anyway, after the stunt I had pulled off the day before. The lack of sleep and the constant images in my head made me sick, so I skipped my breakfast. I considered watching TV, but the fear of seeing the horrible videos on the big screen quickly put me off of that idea. Instead, I spent the next few hours curled up in the corner of my bed, with only the eye on the wall across from me to keep me company. The pupil, previously pointing left towards the door, had now shifted towards the middle of the eye, looking directly at me. I had stopped questioning it at this point. All I wanted was to make it go away. I wanted my life back the way it was before that person, or whatever it was, contacted me. I hoped with all my heart that Dr. Peterson would be able to help me. As always, things only went from bad to worse.
When the time of my appointment came, I hurriedly changed into the first outfit I grabbed and took a cab to the doctor’s clinic. He saw me within fifteen minutes of my arrival. It didn’t seem as if he had been doing well since you last saw him — his head was balding, and what little hair he had left was greying. His face, once healthily plump, was now sullen to the point where his cheekbones were almost sticking out. His eyes were half-hidden behind round glasses that seemed to reflect most of the light in the room, and his outfit as a whole was a few shades darker than the bright colors he used to wear. He seemed tired, and when I entered he didn’t even stand up or offer to shake my hand.
All he did was motion towards the chair opposite him, inviting me to sit down, which I did. We tried to initiate some small talk, but it didn’t seem as if either one of us cared much about that, so soon enough, I began telling him what had been bothering me. I told him everything — about the videos I’d been making, about the eyes appearing in my room, the man in the hospital telling me all those weird things, even about the laptop that wouldn’t shut off. By the end I was in tears, begging him to help me, to snap me back to sanity so that I could have my life back. He thought for a long time, at least a minute. And then he spoke.
“You want to know what I think?” he said, looking straight at me. “I think you’re getting off on this. The danger of being caught in the act, of being on the wrong side of the law, of taking what you enjoy a step further.”
I asked him what he meant. “It means that I know who you really are, and what you really want. I know that you’re a dirty pedophile who likes to touch little girls. I think your employer is just an excuse — you wanted those videos for yourself, didn’t you?” At this point my crying had returned in full force. I asked him to stop… No, I begged him to cease this and to finally start helping me. “No one can help a sick pervert like you. Your only escape is death!” he yelled at me.
By that point I was almost hysterical, shaking like a leaf and trying to reason with the man who was attacking me so relentlessly in the only way that someone who hadn’t slept for three days could. Dr. Peterson pressed a button on his intercom, calling for orderlies in the room to restrain me. I didn’t need to hear another word. I bolted straight through the door, past the waiting room and onto the streets. I have no idea how long I’d been running for, but I only stopped when I was completely out of breath. I curled up on a bench, shaking and crying my eyes out. That’s when I saw it. The damn eye, watching me from the ground by the bench.
By the time I got home it was already evening. Dr. Peterson had been my last hope of dealing with whatever was happening to me, and he had only made things worse. I didn’t know what to do anymore, so I just curled up in the corner of the room, still in my clothes, and cried for hours. My mind and my body both felt like they had reached their breaking point. I was shaking like a leaf, hungry, exhausted and scared. When night fell, I finally succumbed to the stress and managed to get about two nightmare-filled hours of sleep. Whenever I closed my eyes I could see that eye staring right at me, as if it was judging me for my crimes. My fear, paranoia and guilt fueled it, making it stronger and stronger. And I dreaded to find out what the eye would show me when it was at its strongest.
The next morning, I was awakened from my state of half-sleep by a few loud beeps, which I quickly recognized as the front door buzzer. I stood up, stumbling into the hallway, my malnourished and exhausted body barely even supporting my legs. I pulled myself over to the front door, still adorned with the black eye, and reached for the handle. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had made a terrible mistake. A cold sweat ran down my back as the police officer in front of me tipped his hat.
He briefly explained that the neighbors had reported in a disturbance, and that he had a warrant to search my apartment. I froze. In those cop shows we used to watch together, the detectives always had to fight against all odds to get a warrant… And yet right there, in front of me, was a piece of paper giving the man authorization to search my entire apartment just because a neighbor called 911. I sighed and stepped aside, letting the officer in. It wasn’t like I could fight him, and even if he didn’t have a warrant, I doubt I could have stopped him in my current state.
The man immediately spotted the broken laptop right in the middle of the hallway, which I had neglected to clean up even after a day, and asked about it. I quickly explained it as an accident, gave him some half-assed excuse that I dropped it while carrying it to another room. I don’t think he bought it, but at least he didn’t investigate any further. Stepping over the laptop, the officer walked straight into my bedroom. He didn’t seem to notice the eye on the wall… Or if he did, he didn’t comment on it. He made an offhanded comment about the place being a mess, to which I replied that I’d been too busy with work to properly take care of it. With a scoff, the man pulled the wardrobe open, looking through my clothes.
Next, he focused on the dresser, opening each drawer and closing it almost immediately, as if he knew that whatever he was looking for wasn’t there. I clenched my fist so tight that I could feel my nails almost piercing my skin. As much as I tried to stop them, my knees were trembling and my teeth were clattering, like I was right in the middle of the coldest Alaskan snowstorm. All I wanted was to shout at the man to get out of there, to take his warrant and shove it, to just leave me the hell alone. But all I could do was stare at him as he inevitably got closer and closer to the camera under the bed. The camera that still had the memory card with all the videos on it.
As he finished with the drawers, the man stepped aside and moved towards my bed. He removed the blanket, and then the pillows, one by one. The sheet was next, and then the mattress. I slowly stepped towards the dresser. The officer crouched down, his hand reaching in the gap under the bed. I opened my underwear drawer. Soon enough, he pulled out the camera. I reached a hand inside the drawer. He turned it on, switching it to gallery mode. I pulled the gun out. His eyes were focused on the perverse video playing on the tiny screen. He didn’t even see me as I pointed the barrel to the back of his head and removed the safety. Hearing the click, the officer turned his head around, coming face to face with the barrel. I bit my lip, tears streaming down my eyes. I couldn’t allow him to put me away, Becky. I just couldn’t. So I did the only thing that made sense at the time. I pulled the trigger.
The pistol’s bang was loud, almost too loud. I instinctively squinted, frightened like a small child who had wandered too close to a firework. When I opened my eyes, the police officer was lying in a quickly expanding puddle of blood. His right eye was completely missing, and when I leaned over I could see the carpet through the hole in his skull. His mouth was gaping open, a drop of saliva dripping down its edge. The man’s body trembled ever so slightly, his hands shaking subtly for a few seconds before ceasing all movement.
The smell of blood, feces and urine filled the air. It took a while for what I’d just done to sink in. For what seemed like hours, I only stared at the man’s dead body on my floor, my trembling hands holding the still smoking gun. Slowly, my grip loosened, dropping the piece of metal on the floor by his body. I felt sick to my stomach, my hand shooting up and grasping my mouth. I ran out to the hallway before throwing up, as even in my shocked state I knew that the least I could do for the man I had just murdered was not spill my guts all over his dead body. As my mind slowly came to terms with the deed I had just committed, my weakness returned tenfold. No longer even able to support my weight, my knees gave in as I collapsed down on the floor, feeling completely broken. I cried, I howled and I screamed until my throat tore. After that, I kept sobbing for a few more hours. And it didn’t help that, during this time, the goddamn eye that had appeared on the front door wouldn’t stop watching my misery.
I moved the officer’s body in the bathtub, figuring that it was a better place for it than the middle of my bedroom. After that, I locked myself in the living room, curled up on the couch, waiting for the police to inevitably come and take me away. Someone was bound to come investigate the disappearance of the officer sooner or later. His partner was probably looking for him at that very moment. And then it hit me. Police officers were never alone, they always had partners with them, right? So why was this one alone? And how come he was able to get a warrant so quickly and easily? And what had the neighbors reported, anyway?
Things just didn’t add up. My mouth gaped as I came to terms with the notion that the officer I had killed might not have even been really there at all. Hours had passed since the murder, and still nobody was there to check out what had happened. I quickly checked the bathroom. The body was still in the bathtub, showing early signs of decomposition — its skin had turned pale, and it had started to smell. It seemed realistic enough… But how could I be sure? How could I be sure of anything at all anymore?
I spent the next three days cooped up in my living room, with my hallucinations, or whatever the hell they were, getting worse and worse. Whenever I turned on the TV, it’d only show the videos I made, or news reports about me that branded me a murderer and a pedophile. Yesterday, the police finally arrived at my door. I didn’t let them in, and they’ve been there ever since. If I stay quiet and listen, I can hear their voices demanding that I open up, and that if I don’t they’re going to break the door down.
That’s been going on for hours. The black eye followed me here as well, showing up on the wall beside the TV soon after I entered. And now… Now, my very existence has become a living hell. The police officers’ voices are becoming louder and louder with each moment. I can see the videos playing on every reflective surface in the room — the windows, the table, even the turned off TV. Whenever I pick up a book, all its words are replaced with things like, “You’ll get what’s coming to you, you pedophile freak.” I have barely gotten any sleep at all for the past week, and I haven’t eaten anything. I’ve lost more than fifteen pounds in the span of seven days. My life has become a living hell.
I can’t take it anymore, Becky. I really can’t. And I am so, so sorry, but I need to put an end to it the only way I know how. The Eye won’t be satisfied until I pay for my crime. For what it’s worth, I am truly, genuinely sorry about everything, from the very bottom of my soul. I hope that, one day, at least you can forgive me. Farewell, Becky. I love you.