Do You See It Too
Some Pictures Truly Are Captivating...
A few days ago, I found an image when I was browsing memes. It was a picture of an empty street with a caption that read, “Do you see it too?”
I was expecting some cheap jump scare, so I didn’t bother really looking. I scrolled down to the comment section to find it surprisingly vacant. Typically a post that had this much traffic would have had more involvement.
Among the brief and sparse comments I saw one saying “There’s nothing actually in the picture.” It was from the original poster (OP).
Someone had responded to him saying “Yes there is, you just haven’t seen it yet.” It was the most upvoted comment, with no responses.
I thought it was kind of a funny prank, so I sent the picture to my roommate, Dylan. He’s a pretty neurotic dude, so I figured it would be hilarious to watch him meticulously scan the picture over and over, in an attempt to find something out of place. Only now am I realizing how much of a terrible mistake it was.
It started off being just about as funny as I’d imagined. Dylan sat there, eyes glued to the screen in silence, for about 5 minutes before I said anything.
“Maybe you just need glasses dude. Do you want me to tell you what you’re looking for?” I japed.
“No, I just need to look a little harder...”
I shrugged and went to grab myself a beer from the fridge.
While I was in the kitchen, I got a bit distracted when I saw the pickle jar, in the fridge. I decided to make a sandwich. In total, I was probably out of the room for 15 minutes. I’d completely forgotten about the picture by this point.
When I went to go check on Dylan, I noticed his door was closed. I knocked.
“What?” he rudely responded.
“Put some pants on, I’m coming in.”
When I entered, it was as if he hadn’t moved a muscle. His eyes were peeled to the screen. It was almost confusing as to how he’d closed the door in the first place.
Silently, I shuffled toward him, staring at his face. His eyes were beginning to redden, and looked quite dry. I started to grow concerned.
“Dude, it’s just a joke. There’s nothing in the pic…”
“Yes,” he sternly interrupted, “there is. You just haven’t seen it yet…”
It made me think of that one comment that stood out to me, from the original post.
“Maybe it wasn’t smart to play off of his obsessive side.” I thought to myself.
I stood watching in silence. My shallow breaths were the only sound.
“Can I get some privacy?” he spat out as he took his gaze away from the computer for, presumably, the first time since he saw the image. He leered at me with wild eyes. For a second, he looked different. Not my roommate, not my friend. A broken shell of a man, lost to his fixation.
“Yeah, alright man,” I said as I began to retreat. “don’t lose any sleep over this, okay?”
There was no response from him. I left the room, and closed the door behind me in silence.
Dylan was never the kinda guy who one would consider ‘private’. He disliked closed doors. Despite his occasional awkwardness, he was a very social and outgoing guy. Little did I know, it was a subtle hint as to how bad things were going to get.
The next morning, I was up a bit earlier than normal for work. I didn’t see Dylan for the rest of the night, which wasn't usual.
I decided I’d make us both breakfast, since I had extra time before work. Dylan worked from home, so he didn’t need to get up as early as I did.
I’d hoped the symphonic aromas of coffee and bacon would have roused him, and summoned him from his room. No dice though. As I approached the door, plate in hand, fist poised to knock, I heard him.
I tried to ignore it. Maybe he wasn’t talking to me?
“Hey man, I made breakfast…” I began.
“I’m not hungry.” he firmly retorted.
I hesitated for a moment as I reached for the doorknob. After taking a deep breath, I grasped it firmly and pushed the door open.
He didn’t so much as twitch. Dylan was still in his chair, face damn near pressed against the computer screen.
In the early morning light that barely penetrated the undrawn curtains, he looked like some kind of grotesque. Hunched forward, head lurched at an awkward angle. There was even a slight trembling in his hand.
“I think you need a break dude.” I said, but my words fell on deaf ears.
I stood and watched him for a few seconds. I could feel something welling up inside of me. My stomach was in knots. I felt queasy. What have I done?
He then pushed his swivel chair back from his desk, swung to face me and yelled “Can you get the fuck out?!”
Having never seen him lash out like this, I was more than happy to oblige.
My whole way to work, I couldn’t help but wonder what I could do.
Maybe it will fix itself, or he’ll burn himself out? Should I call his mother? His sister?
I kept hoping throughout my day at work that he’d be magically better by the time I'd get home. Unfortunately, things only got worse.
When I arrived home, I heard a hissing sound. I looked around to find the tap in the kitchen running. I turned it off, only to pick up on the tap running in the bathroom too.
As I turned the bathroom tap off as well, Dylan’s door swung open. He stood there, pale and manic.
“I need the noise so I can think!” he screeched as he abrasively pushed past me to turn the bathroom tap on. His movements were weird and frail. Almost skeletal. He looked like he’d aged four decades in a few hours.
I stood on the spot, astonished. He aggressively shambled to the kitchen to turn the tap back on.
“You’re paying the utilities this month if you’re going to be wasting water like this!” I yelled to him. He said nothing. He just hobbled purposefully back to his room, and slammed the door.
I didn’t feel safe around him at all, so I went to stay with my girlfriend that night.
I got the bright idea to try to reach out to the person who posted the photo originally. I went back to that site, and shuffled through my history. “It shouldn’t be too far back… I haven’t been on since I saw the post.” I said to myself.
Finally, I found it, or what it once was.
Instead of the picture, I was met with the typical “Content Deleted” message. When I looked for the OPs username, I was predictably met with [Deleted].
So they’d taken down the content, and deleted their account. After thinking about how to proceed, I sent a message to the admin, explaining why I was trying to contact the OP, and to see if I could get the email address they registered with. He still hasn't responded.
In an attempt to distract myself, I went to the site’s front page, to peruse some memes. What I saw was a first for me, and possibly for the site. There was no new content. In fact, there hadn’t been any new content since yesterday.
Early the next morning, at about 5:30 AM, I woke to my phone, buzzing from a text spam.
I wondered who the hell would be bothering me this early, so I sat upright, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and checked my phone. Much to my girlfriend’s dismay.
Almost a dozen texts, all from Dylan.
“I found it!”
“I know what it is!”
“It was hidden well but it’s really there!”
“You need to see it!”
“It was right in front of my face all along!”
“Where are you?”
“You’re not in your room.”
“Check the picture.”
“[Image] tap to open.”
“DON'T LOOK AT THE PICTURE, THERE'S NOTHING THERE.”
"Don’t look at the picture..." The one message contradicting the rest. Askew from the narrative. I saw the picture before, but maybe I didn’t really look?
I stumbled out of the bedroom through the darkness, closed the door behind me, and tried to call Dylan. But he didn’t answer. I tried a few more times, still no answer.
I poked my head back into the bedroom.
“Babe,” I began, “I’m gonna head out. I gotta check on Dylan.”
“Don’t go.” she mumbled.
“I’ll come right back, don’t worry.”
My last words to her were met with a grumpy sigh. I put my boots on, and stepped out into the cool winter air.
I arrived home to find the place dark. Not unusual, it’s just after 6, and the sun won’t really be up for another hour or so.
The taps weren’t on, which I took as a good sign.
“Dylan!” I yelled. No answer.
I made my way to his closed door, turning on the lights as I went.
I took a deep breath before knocking firmly on the wood. No answer.
Just then I received a text. Before checking my phone, I opened the door to Dylan’s room. The room was dim, lit by the mellow glow of the computer's screen. It looked as if the image was still up. Dylan was nowhere to be seen.
I looked at my phone, the text was from Dylan.
“Yes there is, you just haven’t seen it yet.”
My heart sank. The previous text's reassurance that Dylan might be getting back to his old self was now gone. And so was he, from the look of it.
That brings me to where I am now. Sitting on Dylan’s bed. I can’t help but feel that there’s some kind of allure to his desktop’s screen. I chance a quick glance. Something is awry.
I swear, I saw Dylan in the picture. Just for a second. Is he in there somehow? Does he need my help?
I sit in his swivel chair. Still warm, almost inviting.
I lock my eyes on the screen. Something was definitely there. Just for a moment. Maybe it hid behind a tree? It could be Dylan.
If I look a bit harder, I’m sure I’ll find it. I just haven't seen it yet...
About the author
"Tewahway? How do you even say that?" Honestly, so long as you try, you're doin' it right!
I mainly write horror fiction, but I'm here to spread my wings and soar like a literary baby bird.
https://www.talesbytravel.com/short-stories for more