I Still Exist

I Still Exist

I wrote this story well over a year ago. The only other place you can find it online is on the Tumblr page of fifteenhours-creepystories. I really love that blog, and often go there to get my fix of original horror stories. This version of the story is slightly different than the original that I wrote so long ago, and I think the ending is much better and less anti-climactic. I’ve also changed the title of the story. I also originally posted this story on an old, cold, dead WordPress I used to have before I deleted the entire thing. 

If anyone is reading this, I can honestly say that I’d be surprised. Not surprised that someone was reading this, but surprised that my words managed to reach someone. It would mean that in some way, I’m still here, and I still exist. It’s the only thing that I want. It started years ago; before I was aware of it. I faded away, and I’m not sure if I’m really still here, and the world is ignoring me, or if I really don’t exist anymore. I want someone, at least one person, to know my story, and I’m scared that it’s too late for me.

Like I said, it started happening years ago, before I was even aware of it. When I entered my sophomore year of high school (I’m in my late 20’s now), I had friends. I was happy. People knew who I was, and even though I was exhausted from all the after-school trips to the mall, I was grateful that I had people to talk to. Up until that point in my life, I didn’t have a lot of friends, and seemed to just blend into the background. In junior year, people didn’t talk to me as much, and I started staying home more often. That was fine, though, as it was more my speed, and I had time to recharge. I had always been a little introverted, after all.

In my senior year of high school, even less people talked to me. I had a tight-knit circle of friends, of whom I had almost every class with. We didn’t hang out too much outside of school, but that was fine with all of us, since we got to spend almost the whole school day together anyway. Teachers mostly ignored me, unless I specifically sought them out. At least I wasn’t called on during class, even if I was actually paying attention to the lesson. Sometimes, everyone in class would get their work handed back to them with their grades written at the top, but I wouldn’t get mine back. Nobody asked me to prom, which was fine with me. I didn’t feel like going, anyway. At the end of the year, I only got my grade for one of my end-of-the-year projects, and that was only because I had an oral presentation on it, which forced everyone to at least pretend to pay attention. It was odd, but I didn’t actually care that much. The weirdest part of the year, though, was at my class’ graduation ceremony, my name wasn’t called. I received my diploma in the mail a few weeks later. I brushed it off as an error on the student list, seeing as I was often mistaken for a younger student.

It’s normal that after high school, sometimes, friends drift apart. We all go to different colleges, different towns, sometimes even different states or countries. Social media keeps us all bound together, so at least we can always see what our friends are up to. I, like most of my friends, applied to a bunch of different colleges, and we hoped that at least some of us were accepted into the same schools. Out of the fifteen schools I applied to, I only got seven letters in response, and all of them denied my application. Again, I brushed it off. It was entirely possible that there were just so many applications, that mine would get lost; or maybe my other letters got lost in the good ole reliable United States Postal Service.

Ultimately, I ended up going to an online college, living at home, and got a part-time job working as a cashier at a large department store. I was perfectly fine with the arrangement, since that meant I didn’t have to pay for a dorm room, and I could still haunt all my old hangout spots from when I was in high school. Plenty of people I knew stayed in my hometown, and over time, I managed to befriend a couple of them.

Over the next year, some more odd things began to happen to me. After six months at my job, the automatic scheduling program on the computers stopped scheduling me completely. I asked the managers about it, and they just shrugged, saying it was probably a glitch, and that someone would manually go in and type in my hours. This worked for a couple weeks before I stopped being scheduled again. Every time I asked about it, they said that it must have slipped their minds, and someone would get on it right away. None of the managers ever got around to giving me any hours, so I stopped going to work. Nobody noticed.

Another thing was that my friends were hanging out with me less and less. We all worked around the same area, and since it wasn’t far from my home, I would still go visit them even after I “quit” my job. We would chat for a while, and then I’d ask them when they were off work, and if they wanted to hang out. I’d get a cheery smile in return and a “Sure! I can’t stay out too late, but I’ll be hungry when I get off, so I’m down to get a quick bite somewhere” or a “Yeah, I just gotta go run an errand first, is that cool? Can you meet me at Starbucks around six?” I’d always say yes, that’s fine, I’ll see you then. They rarely ever showed up, and when I would text them asking where they were, I wouldn’t get a reply. I stopped asking them to hang out with me.

I had online friends, and began turning to them to hang out with me. We would skype, watch movies together, or play online games. Sometimes we would just sit and shoot the breeze, talking about our days. I’d complain about my job search, and how I never got callbacks, interviews, or even an email. Maybe I just didn’t seem appealing as an employee. After all, I had only ever had one job! Desperate for cash so I could pay for my classes, I started working online. I got a couple clients, for things like photo retouching or drawing commissions, but it wasn’t sustainable. I started selling things on eBay, but within a month, I never got bids on anything, even if it was a popular item like a gaming console or a pair of expensive, name-brand shoes that I never wore.

The most troubling event was when the professors for my classes stopped paying attention to me, or my work. On the website we used for class, each “classroom” had a tab for the current assignment, the instructions, and a message board where the students could post and talk to each other about it. My questions were rarely answered, even if I flagged a new topic as ‘urgent’. Every time we submitted our work, the teacher would grade it, leave their comments, and then there was a comments section for other students. It was required that for every assignment, we had to comment on everyone else’s work. People started commenting on mine less and less, until I got no comments at all, and just the professor’s notes. I still commented on everyone else’s work, however. Out of the blue one evening, I got an email from one of my professors asking me why I hadn’t been commenting on other people’s work, and reminding me that it was required for participation credit in the class. I didn’t answer. Within a month, the work I turned in stopped being posted to the website, with no professor’s notes. I emailed them all about it, but got no response. Eventually, I began calling all the professors, and even after several voicemails, I would get no response.

Eventually, I was locked out of the classrooms all together, and couldn’t even log into the websites. All of my calls, voicemails, and emails went unreturned. It just didn’t make sense! This online college was one of the most popular out there, and was accredited, with many awards. I supposed I would just pay the bills for it, and re-apply, since I already had a bunch of work done. I never received prompts to pay for my classes, and debt collectors never called me. I reapplied anyway, and never got back into the school.

By the time I was twenty five, I stayed at home all the time. Nowhere would hire me. I couldn’t find any sources of income, no matter how hard I tried. My friends acted as if I didn’t exist. My Facebook posts went ignored, just like they were on Instagram and Twitter. I didn’t have anything to share anyway. I knew my parents felt bad for me, since every time they would ask me how things were going and I would say “Still the same as always. I’m trying every day, though” and they would press their lips together and shake their heads, sadness filling their eyes. After a while, my dad started asking around to see if any of his friends needed help with anything, or if their employers were hiring. My mom was doing the same. They would give my number and email out to their friends, talking about how hard of a worker I was, and how eager I was to get back into the workforce. When prompted about why I hadn’t worked in so long, they would just say I was focusing on my studies, or say that I had been ill. It seemed to promise a lot of “Yes, thank you, I’ll call. I could use another worker!”, or maybe a “I think my uncle needs another set of hands. I’ll pass on the information.”, or even a “As soon as I get off work, I’ll see if I know anyone that needs help.” Nobody ever called or emailed me.

I went into a depression. It was understandable. My days were spent in bed, looking at my phone, or just reading. It was a classic case of depression. I slept all day, and my meals became smaller and less frequent. My room became my cage, and it was hard to make myself leave. In an act of trying to inspire some life back into me, my parents would dip into their savings in order to take me on weekend getaways. I went with them, of course, as to not disappoint them. They were trying their best. Even so, I was overlooked when we were on our little family trips. My parents would leave the itinerary up to me, and I would comply, but they always seemed to forget about that, and wake up before me in order to go have the vacation by themselves. Fine. Whatever. The hotel rooms had room service, but for some reason, my orders were never brought up to the room for me, and I would have to go out by myself in order to eat. After another year, the weekend getaways and the daytrips stopped happening. Or… at least, I wasn’t told about them, and would wake up to an empty house.

At this point in my life, I knew something was seriously wrong. I was an only child, and was the apple of my parent’s eyes. They had always showered me with attention, and always supported every endeavor that I had. They were always on the border of being overbearing, but not quite. My mind would wander, and I started putting the pieces together. Employers. School. My friends. My parents… it was as if I didn’t matter anymore. I started to test my theory, and would knock over my mom’s potted plants, dump all of my dad’s shaving cream in the sink, and even intentionally create huge, elaborate messes in the kitchen. I was never questioned about it, and would just hear my mom say something along the lines of “How did this happen? Weird…”

When my mom stopped calling me down for dinner, I got even more worried. I would hear my mom setting the table and smell the delicious scents from the kitchen, but she never called me down. I would go down anyway, only to find that my mom had set out two plates instead of three, and was making less food. Hurt, I started marching right past them in the dining room, and would make a bowl of noodles or something simple, and carry it to the dining room table and loudly eat right in front of my parents. They didn’t acknowledge that they hadn’t made a place for me at the table, or that I was eating something completely different than them, but would still ask me about my day, if I had read any interesting books lately, and if I still wanted to go to Yellowstone over the summer. Eventually, they stopped speaking to me at dinner. They stopped speaking to me all together. I could run naked through the house and they wouldn’t notice. Trust me, I tried it.

At the store, cashiers wouldn’t acknowledge me standing in line, and would skip over me, or leave the register all together when I was the last person in line. I would get my own bag, leave the money on the counter, and leave with my purchases, and nobody would say a word to me. I broke store rules by going in shirtless, without shoes, and once in just my underwear, and nobody would try to stop me. One day, I went to the gas station with my sleeping bag and a few books, grabbed something off of the shelf, and settled down by the entrance to read. It was as if I wasn’t even there.

At first, I thought this sudden freedom was awesome. I could go anywhere I wanted, and do anything that I wanted. I could live in a department store if I felt like it. I marched past security guards wherever I went, and even if they looked right at me, it was as if I were invisible to them. Maybe I was. I started going into people’s homes, staying with them for days, sometimes weeks on end, and nobody would even notice that I was bundled up on their couches, wearing their clothes, eating their food, and using their wifi connection. I would stay away from my own home for months, and every time I went back, my parents wouldn’t even look up from whatever they were doing. I was invisible.

Another year went by, and I was cripplingly lonely. Yes, I could do whatever I wanted, and go wherever I felt like. I could take anything I wanted, and use whatever I felt like. But.. nobody would speak to me. The most human interaction I was with strangers on chat sites like Omegle. Even then, the conversations were short. I would stand in the middle of crowded stores and scream, and people would walk right by me. I approached people and try to talk to them, and introduced myself. They ignored me, even when I physically touched them.

I had reached my breaking point when I was in a Starbucks, observing the baristas so I could finally learn how to make my own coffee. One of the new girls, Cassie, tripped over me while carrying a cup of scalding hot coffee. It landed all down the front of my shirt, the liquid soaking through and scalding me. I screamed, scrambling away from the baristas, and pulling off my ruined shirt. Cassie just looked down, noticed her shoe was untied, and tossed away the old coffee cup before re-tying her shoe and mopping up coffee that had gotten on the floor. A rage that I hadn’t felt in a long time filled my chest as my skin burned, and tears were furiously welling up in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks. She didn’t even fucking notice that she burned someone with that coffee. She didn’t fucking notice. Nobody noticed. Nobody ever notices.

I ran over to her, and pushed her down onto the ground with all of my might. Her head bashed against the counter, causing her to scream out in pain. The scream was cut short by her injured head hitting the floor, and she passed out. The other baristas, and the customers, rushed over to the counter to see what happened.

“Oh fuck, she must have lost her balance and fell! Someone call 911!” Another coworker rushed to her side as blood pooled on the floor, and started examining her. I screamed out with all of my might, telling them that I fucking pushed her, it was me, she spilled coffee and burned me, she didn’t just ‘lose her balance’, it was me. I did it. My screams fell on deaf ears.

The only thing I could think of to do was run out of the Starbucks, and keep running. I ran until my legs were rubber and I could only feel the burning pain from going so fast and so far. When my legs finally gave out, I fell to the ground, sobbing. People on the street walked right by me. I laid there and cried until I couldn’t cry anymore, and fell asleep on the street.

When I woke up, my legs ached, and I could barely walk. I forced myself to go home. I was at least fifty miles away from home by then. It was easy to travel when you didn’t have to pay for transportation, though, and I hitched rides with complete strangers, got on the bus without the driver prompting me to pay my fare, and went as far to steal some kid’s bike.

I arrived at the street that I grew up on, and started trudging down the street until I reached my childhood home. I stood outside, staring up at the dark windows, the neatly singled roof, and … the bright blue car sitting in the driveway.

We never had a bright blue car.

I ran over to it, peeking inside at what was laying in the passenger’s seat. There was a computer bag that looked empty, a couple of t-shirts, and some old coffee cups. My parents were never this messy with their cars. What had happened here?

The front door of the house was unlocked, so I let myself in, the door clicking behind me when I closed it.

“Hello? Anyone home?” I called out, mostly out of force of habit, but also because a little shred of hope remained inside of me. Maybe someone, somewhere, would hear my cry for help. Nobody answered.

I took a walk through the house and everything was.. different. New furniture, a cat whose ears only twitched when I walked by where it was napping, and … photos of other people. It took a while for it to fully set in, but my parents had moved away. I didn’t know where they were, and they had forgotten all about me, their only son. I cried for quite a long time before I picked myself up and went to find a computer. That part was easy, since whoever lived here now seemed to be quite the techie.

Now I’m here, dear reader, crying for help once again. This is my last hope. Please tell me that you can hear me

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