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(HSSC) The Watcher

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posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 07:17 AM
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Dear Reader

Let me make this clear from the start, so there are no misunderstandings between us: Yes, I am really watching you. This is no mere literary device. This is no simple horror contest. I am your watcher.

***



The house was completely quiet except for the light tapping of her fingers on the keyboard. She glanced at her computer clock - 3:11 am. She was browing through the Scary Story Competition. It was drawing in all manner of interesting and spooky tales: ghosts and windigos, zombies and evil trees, faerie hills and nightmare streets, someone had even drawn illustrations. There was a new entry submitted by someone she didn’t recognize. She had never seen the name before. She clicked on the link.

The Watcher

Hmm… interesting title. I’ll just read this last story and then I’ll really go to bed.

There was no preface. Mr or Ms? Watcher just launched right into the narrative. She grinned and took a sip of her herbal tea, snuggling down in her chair. This one looked promising. She revelled in the anticipation of the tale, preparing to be scared.


Dear Reader

As you read this narrative you will start to ask yourself many things. Doubt and wonder will go through your mind. You will even feel… I don’t want to frighten you just yet, but you will even feel despair… Let me make this clear from the start, so there are no misunderstandings between us: Yes, I am really watching you. This is no mere literary device. This is no simple horror contest. I am your watcher.

You may fight this or disbelieve it if it makes your more comfortable, but the truth of the matter is, that as soon as you clicked on my story, you permitted me complete access. If you are reading this, I I am here with you now. You have been part of my creation process and have breathed air and life into my being. There is no hope for you, Dear Reader.


She laughed out loud and took another sip of her tea. Wonderful. Wow. This was good so far. She loved things like this…

First I want you to stop smiling and be completely serious. I have been respectful of you so far and I deserve the same treatment. This is a serious matter, one demanding your utmost attention. The way it works is I tell you my tale, and at the end of it, you make a decision. Simple as that. If you don’t follow my rules… well let’s just say for arguments sake, that if you don’t, you will be very sorry, very sorry indeed.

I have been watching you for some time now. I watch you when you go to bed. When you undress in the dark, I am there. When you lie in bed and read and when you can’t rest and you toss and turn and make those little soft sounds in your sleep, I see it all. For example, I can see what you are wearing right now. That little t-shirt you like so much, the one that doesn’t leave much to the imagination.


Instinctively her hands flew to cover her chest, and then she caught herself and rolled her eyes. This ‘watcher’ was getting a little bit much now. You get some real characters online. Some real perverts… No doubt he was getting his rocks off (she was certain it was a he).

Is that so? Are you sure Dear Sceptic? Are you absolutely certain that your convictions are true and not a product of your sheep mentality? I write this to you so that you may have understanding. I do not care about your shirt. I mentioned it only to get your attention; so you can believe what I am saying.

Truth is esoteric my friend. If you were to know truth, you would go stark raving mad. In an instant your mind would break down if you were shown even a small percentage. But all in good time... The truth is, you know nothing. Your entire life is a lie. You’ve been coveted and spoiled like a child and still you demand the right to knowledge when you deserve no such thing.

Don’t. Don’t shake your head in that superior, mocking way, thinking YOU are the one in the right and I am… not. For you do not want to see me angry – no, not yet. But you will see soon enough.

You see…I have no sympathy for you Dear Reader. You clicked on my story. You wanted to read my narrative. YOU are the one who came willingly to my pages, demanding I tell you a story: that I amuse you with my scary words. Oh… but you will be scared. Make no mistake about it. I will frighten you and you will get EXACTLY what you came for.

But first, I will watch, as line-by-line you begin to doubt yourself and everything you take as understanding. With every new word, every phrase, every sentence, I will begin to manipulate and unravel your sanity, as certainly as if it were nothing but a cheap length of yarn.


Ok, that’s enough. I’m through with this idiot. The story isn’t even very good. Maybe I’ll finish it in the morning. I’m tired now. She hovered her mouse over the log out link.

Dear Reader, are you sure you want to do that? Are you certain you can live with the consequences? Are you absolutely sure you are doing the right thing? I warn you, you will not like what you have started.

Screw your consequences and your ineffectual tale. She clicked on the link and sat back in her chair, exhaling a sigh of relief. The guy was a real casejob: creepy bastard. What was that all about anyway? It wasn’t even a story, but a long, over-wordy warning, with his ripped off poor man’s Poe and his Jane Austin, ‘dear reader’ type narrative. He wasn’t scary at all! A little creepy but that’s it. Some people need to learn how to write better. She picked up her cup, preparing to take it to the sink, when she noticed something strange was happening on her screen.

It turned blue, then black and there were some very, small white objects that looked like rice grains moving across the page.

How strange…

She moved in closer. And then closer; her face almost touching the monitor, trying to identify the tiny characters that were doing what looked like a weird hypnotic little dance.

She wondered if Elliot, her business partner, had downloaded a new screen saver. That was it; he must have wanted to surprise her. It was kind of cute the way the little grains were dancing, running and diving off the screen and then taking little bows and returning for an encore. Ellliot always did have a strange sense of humor...

The tiny white characters seemed to have… No it couldn’t be. Were those… faces? She watched one of them. It seemed to be looking at her and shaking its head sadly, as if feeling sorry for her. Ok...now I’m REALLY imagining things...definitely time for bed.

The grains of rice suddenly stopped moving and shuffled around nervously. At least they appeared nervous to her. They kept inching away slowly, backing out of the screen. Their little ‘eyes’ were filled with dread and fear. Then, a strange blue, cloud-like swirl swooped down from her monitor, growing rapidly and spreading itself on the black screen like an ink stain. The remaining rice grains scattered in terror.

A green cursor appeared in the bottom left corner.

> I told you, you would be sorry.

She was so startled she almost dropped her cup.

>You didn’t believe me did you? As you can see, I now have access to your computer: all your files, all your photos, your music, your emails. I hope you’ve had the good sense to back things up…

>You haven’t, have you? I pity you, poor, poor, Dear Reader. Well, then… I would be more careful how you behave in the future. One single command from me and I can wipe out your entire computer. Everything. Woosh! In fact, let’s just say that next time you want to ignore me, I will start the process of deleting everything you have. Don’t think that by turning off your computer you can get rid of me. There is no surer way of destroying your files. Do you believe me now?

>Do you? This is not a rhetorical question. I NEED an answer. I want you to type it into the command prompt, so we are perfectly clear with one another.

>I will ask you just one more time - Do you believe me?


The green line flickered, awaiting her response. What kind of sick person would embed a virus into their story? This guy must enjoy frightening people. Spotty, pathetic little anti-social geek! I bet he never got a date in high school and now he was getting his revenge…

>I’m waiting.

She glanced at her keyboard. He was obviously on some power trip, probably laughing about her with his nerdy friends. I’ve read about this: he’s using some kind of software that allows him to view and control all my commands.

What do I have that he can delete? All my graphics, photos of my friends, my family, all the countless emails I’ve sent and received. Oh God, everything. Even my diary is on there. If he wanted to... he could read through all of it. Even the private files.


She felt lightheaded.

You know what Watcher? Screw you! I’m not going to play your sick, little sadistic games. He’s bluffing. I know he is bluffing. If I turn off the computer, maybe Elliot can find a way to save my files. This idiot thinks he knows me. He doesn't know me. Does he really think I will give in so easily? I would rather lose all my files, than give this twisted jerk control of my life.

She hit the button on her CPU.

The computer made a high-pitched sound and then the screen went black. She inhaled another deep breathe and tried to calm her shaky hands. She stared at it, expecting… well she didn’t know what she was expecting.

She washed and rinsed her cup, carefully placing it on the draining rack. I'm being silly aren't I? I've allowed him to scare me and I'm being very silly. She turned off the lights downstairs and took one last peek at her computer. Still black. Good.

She was already envisioning the phonecall she would have with Elliot over coffee. She chuckled to herself thinking what a good antecdote it would make. He would gently tease her about her 'stalker' and they would both laugh about it. She was half-way up the stairs to her bedroom, when she remembered something and went back into the kitchen. Glancing around the room, she bent down to unplug the computer. It was a little silly but…

There… that was better. Now she could rest. Tomorrow she would call her personal computer guru and have him look at the virus. No doubt he would tell her off for downloading things she shouldn’t….

But just as she turned to go upstairs again, the screen flashed on and with a whirl, the CPU fan started up again.

But that was impossible… She tried to calm herself down enough for logic to kick in. But her mind was paralyzed, She had no answer for what was happening. It can’t be - I unplugged it. She couldn’t make sense of it. Her computer was OFF, how could it be working? She yanked it from the wall herself. The plug was curled up on the floor, innocuous.

>Dear Reader, how you underestimate me. Did you really think it was going to be that simple? Did you really think you could get rid of me? You don’t seem to understand what I’ve been saying to you. I am your WATCHER. You can no more lose me then you can stop breathing and even if you did, rest assured, I would STILL be with you.

>No. Don’t cry. Tears are a pathetic way of assuring your self-righteousness. And anyway, you don’t look very pretty when you cry, oh Reader.


She looked around the room. Oh God. What if he was really watching her? Standing across the street with a giant telescope or binoculars gazing into her living room. She ran to the bay windows and looked out into the street. There was no one around. Not a soul. It was completely empty. She cursed at herself for not having the sense to draw the blinds. She had an obsessive compulsion to keep all the windows in the house bare and open as much as possible, especially in her bedroom. It was a leftover irrational childhood fear of dark spaces. Feeling a knot of dread in her throat. She pulled down the shades one by one, saving the windows in the kitchen for last.

>If you are thinking that will make things better, don’t bother. It is too late. I am in your house already. Dear Reader, I can see everything you do. Closing the shades against me won’t help you.

I should call the police and tell them about this guy. He is one of those weirdo computer stalkers. He probably installed a backdoor on my computer and he is waiting for me to type something in, so he can access my IP address and find out where I live… I bet he doesn’t even know my name… I bet he…

>You are wrong Kalliope. I know exactly who you are.

She stifled a cry in her throat.

I am imagining this. I must be. I’ve had a long day. This is a virus. Somehow, it bypassed the out switch and rewired itself. I don’t know. There is always a logical explanation to everything. It is just some sick bastard trying to have fun. An online pervert, probably a child molester or a serial killer.

This last thought made her sick to her stomach.

>I am your watcher.

The line flickered, glowed brightly and then turned off, leaving her standing in complete darkness.

She turned and without thinking about it, ran upstairs to her room; running as fast as she could, two steps at a time, bolting into her bedroom and locking the door.

Resolutely determined not to be frightened, she climbed into her bed and lay there motionless, her breaths coming in ragged and uneven. She reached for the phone on her nightstand and even before she put it to her ear, she heard the high-pitched whines and beeps of an ancient modem. Then the line went dead.

Great, he’s hacked into my telephone line too. Dammit. What do I do, what do I do…

Relax Kallie. Relax. You are letting your imagination run away with you. That is what he wants. You are tired. You haven’t had much sleep recently. This comes from reading too many graphic novels and watching scary movies until dawn. Some clever person decided to have a little fun with you and infected your computer with a virus. That’s what it is…You’ll get it sorted tomorrow. You’ll contact the police and the forum and tell them they have a stalker on their boards. You are safe. Your doors are locked. Everything will be fine...


It took her a long time to finally calm down. She put into place five years of yoga and meditative exercises, before she finally relaxed enough to stretch out on the bed. It was almost daylight.

As she closed her eyes and started to grow heavy, she recalled a conversation she had with Elliot some time back, when he told her that no computer was ever truly safe. Safety was an illusion. There was always a way to break in, to manipulate the status quo; so that someone could watch you if they really wanted to. Even when you put up firewalls and anti-viruses and protected yourself by doing all the right things, they were still lurking, floating in and out of your wires, unseen, unheard.

And Elliot would know. After all, he was a reformed hacker turned security consultant. If she didn’t know any better she would have suspected him. But she had known him for years; he would never do anything like that, not even as a joke.

She moved around on her bed; tossing and turning, fitfully sleeping. Finally, after another hour, she drifted from light sleep into dream state.

Dear Reader, don’t think for a moment you have escaped me. You are a stupid girl. Stupid because you believe I am some virus and haven’t listened to a word I’ve said. I am your watcher. I don’t live in your computer. I live between the spaces of everything you know and all the things you do not.

Come, let us not be so formal with one another. For I am no stranger and have always been here, from the beginning, in your dreams and all those places you would rather I not be. I exist. I live in the periphery, in the darkness, on the edges of your nightmares. I am that faceless man that you sometimes see when you project, the one that lives in shadows.

I can see your body lying uncovered, your leg is exposed. I can run my finger along it if I choose, to feel your soft skin shiver with dread and with… well, let’s just leave it at that. I can see your mind as well as your body. I can second-guess every thought you have.

You will not get rid of me, no. Not even when you are awake, screaming from your night terrors, wanting to disbelieve everything I have said. You think I am hacker? Well in a way you are right. I am your spiritual hacker. And you cannot escape me.

Dear Reader, tomorrow, you will not remember this. Tomorrow, you will wake up and realise the story you read last is no more. You will try to laugh it off, try to erase it from your mind, but it will haunt you. My words will haunt you even when you are awake.

You see, I exist. I am your watcher. And I will always watch over you. I have stepped out of my place into your story, so that you may know me better, so that you may see me as I see you. But you are not ready… no, not yet. That will be a telling for another time. Suffice to know that I am here and will be here forever more and into eternity.

And then, my Dear Reader, nothing can separate us. Not fear, not dreams, not madness...No. Not even death.


[edit on 23-10-2005 by kallie]




posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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This is an extremely effective horror story: very unsettling and unnerving.

The structure is a key part of this. In a very post-modern sense, the boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred. This is a story for an internet Halloween competition called 'The Watcher' about a post called 'The Watcher' for an internet Halloween competition. Moreover, the name of the author and of the character are both kallie and this is kallie's only post, much as it was The Watcher's first post. It is also very much like 'Ring' in that it uses the very medium you are experiencing the story through, as a threat (ie. instead of watching the Ring on video you are reading the story through a message board forum).

However, the story is particularly effective in the way you have tapped into contemporary anxieties about technology (losing all my data is one of my nightmares), which then moves onto perhaps even deeper ('paranormal') anxieties about being watched.

Surveilence is a massive contemporary fear. We are no longer 'free' but in a very real sense are followed everywhere we go echoing fears of not just hackers but of a 1984-type Big Brother society, with CCTV, ID cards etc. You successfully combine these societal fears of our actions and movements being monitored, with the more etheral/philosophical anxieties of our very thoughts being tracked.

In this way, 'The Watcher' plays on deep cultural fears of unseen forces following us. It is no co-incidence that 'Watchers' are another term for angels, and that the Watcher is almost God-like in its ability to omisciently follow the character's life. It is a guardian-angel but far creepier. Is it demonic? An alien or even human? It could even, arguably be the reader - not least as the third-person perspective grants us the ability to omisciently read Kallie's mind. In a very real sense we experience what is going on in her mind, much as The Watcher would. We are 'watching' the watcher as much as we are watching kallie. Again, a very interesting post-modern touch.

The last lines finished off the story wonderfully. That the watcher would keep on 'watching' even after kallie died was the most chilling aspect of the whole story. Even death is no escape.

Overall this is a very successful work of horror and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unless, of course, this wasn't a story and it was real. Oh no, what's that - someone's taking over my computer. Noooooooooooooo......

[edit on 27-10-2005 by kedfr]



posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 02:41 PM
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Hi Kallie

I found your story very... interesting. Do you really exist? And if so... who are you?





[edit on 28-10-2005 by nikelbee]



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 06:18 AM
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Kallie

There are those that would insinuate and say terrible things about you and how your story was 'inspired' in equal parts by Jeremiah25's, Our Story and that other one, Main Street. I say ignore the naysayers. You have a tale here all of your very own, let the jealous parties seethe (myself included).

I guess we aren't going to find out who you really are huh? You don't seem to like to answer your U2s. Anyway, I'm sure you are keeping anon for a good reason. Wish you luck in the contest and with your creepy tale, whoever you are.

[edit on 31-10-2005 by nikelbee]



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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I am the watched. Nothing more, nothing less. You don't need to know anything else about me.



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 10:24 AM
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Oh yea? Well I'm watching the "End of the World" Flash movie, so there.

But besides that, as a tech weenie, I'd only get frightened when the computer turns on without power



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 08:24 AM
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Kalapadea

If you are so clever, figure this out.



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