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submitted by calidor_bitcoin to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

What I see when I see a student with ADHD

I have ADHD.
I was diagnosed at age 12. What happened is I got to middle school, and my life fell apart. It came on like a typhoon. Things seemed alright as I started, but I still remember that October when my family went to sixth-grade check-in.
My twin sister went first. The meeting lasted about four minutes. She and my parents left with smiles all around and talk of getting In N Out on the way home. Then it was my turn.
Every teacher I had stood in a circle. They seemed...different. One by one, they went around and told me that I was shit. Some were nicer than others, but everyone had the same message to convey:
Doesn't complete his homework all the way
Distracts others trying to learn
Unable to follow along in class
Not sure if he can keep up
I then heard my grades: C-, D+, C+, A in PE, C, and an F in Social Studies.
I don't remember being ashamed or embarrassed or anything. I remember being confused. I had gone to school every day and tried hard and thought I was doing what the teacher asked. Nope. Guess I wasn't.
Nobody had much advice for me. They just wanted me to know that I sucked. And that my parents should understand so. I don't know if my parents freaked out or punished me or what. But they weren't happy.
The last to go was my social studies teacher, Sven.
He asked me if I knew how to read.
I politely nodded my head.
But he wasn't sure. He talked about all the symptoms he had seen from me. To counter, I pulled a grad-level book on the Cold War off a shelf and read a page aloud while trying not to cry. People were even more confused.
Some estimate that a child with ADHD will receive 20,000 more negative comments before the age of 12 than a non-ADHD child will. I can't speak to that exactly, but I can say that this was not the only time I've had a room full of people upset with me for reasons I never saw coming. It doesn't get much easier.
Sven caught up to us as we walked to the car. He was cagey with his reasoning, but he told us that there might be something up with my brain. He recommended I get tested by a psychiatrist and see what she had to say. I've since come to my conclusions where he got such an idea.
The testing was fun. I've always liked tests. Didn't mention it, but they also thought I couldn't read in 2nd grade. Lol. That one went away after I took a standardized exam and scored in the 99th percentile of the nation in reading. I thought standardized tests were fun, you see.
I moved a bunch of colored balls into colored holes and tried to remember what color things were after 10 minutes and everything else you might expect. I didn't know what I was even doing, but I felt I could hang.
Three weeks later, I got my results. The only part I remember is that my psychiatrist noted that in her entire career, she had never met someone who scored higher on specific tasks and yet lower on others. My chart looked like OJ Simpson’s polygraph.
I could keep going, and in another article, I will. But this is how I got diagnosed. And the key to all of it was Sven. Everything makes perfect sense after the fact, but only when you realize that a single teacher served as the link that completes the narrative. I do not know where I am today without him.
I got lucky that this story takes place in 2003, and at a private school with teachers who genuinely cared about me. For reasons a lawyer in the comments needs to help me understand better, public school teachers seem loath to alert students of disabilities of any kind. This includes ADHD but also things like autism, dyslexia, and mood disorders. Things that seem apparent to me in a way that makes it seem impossible that no other teacher in the past 13 years hasn’t also picked up on them.
That means many students go through primary schooling while having no idea they have a problem at all. When I mention to a student they might have ADHD, they are first confused, but then some memories come back. The first is that someone, usually a sports or music coach, had once told them the same thing. The other is that they remember a lot of teachers saying weird stuff they didn't understand at the time. Stuff like, "You’re so talented. I just wish you could be better focused. Have you talked to anyone about why you could be having trouble?" To me, those sound like hints from a teacher who has been told by her bosses not to put the school at risk.
I am not a teacher. I'm a private consultant and can pretty much say whatever I want. I am also not a doctor - people would die - but I am a concerned adult who has taken courses in spotting learning disabilities. I'm also someone who will do absolutely anything to make sure his students have the best chance for success now and in the future. I'm also someone who asked both my ADHD-psychiatrist (hi!) and ADHD-therapist (hi!!!!!) if I had the right to tell students if I suspected something; they both went, Ya, dude. Totally.
So I try to be Sven. I try to pay attention to what my students do and say and provide feedback that can help them. I'd like to note what that feedback is here to make sure people don't miss it because my pieces go on for way too long.
If you are a high school student who suspects he or she has ADHD, your best course of action is to talk with your parents and look into being tested by a professional psychiatrist who specializes in the topic. These tests are expensive, and mental health insurance in America sucks balls. But this is the fastest, most straightforward route to getting the help you need.
Option two is to try and work with/through your public high school to get them to pay for it. This site has some good info. My guess is that this method will suck. Public schools don't have a lot of funding and will not want to spend it on you. That's not your problem. You will almost certainly need your parents to back you up on this one and sit through a lot of boring meetings. I assume a lot of people will tell you a lot of reasons why they can't help you. Your response every time should be some version of, "Sure. But I need help with this. And I'm not going to stop until I get the support I need. So what do I do from here?" Then you blankly stare at them and refuse to leave until they get you at least to the next step. I'm not sure how well this will work. If you do attempt or have attempted this method, please DM me or contact my Email with your experience. I want to know if this is even worth my student's time.
If you can not afford traditional testing or do not feel your parents would support such testing, your best option is to wait until the day you turn 18 and then register for a telehealth company specializing in ADHD. The one I use and recommend is HelloAhead.com. They're neat. They do not take traditional insurance, but their rates are much lower than most doctors. They are cheap enough that I feel an average 18-year old who wants help could find a way to afford it on his or her own. The downside with these sites is the waiting times can be long. Took me like five months. Other such sites are popping up, and while I can't vouch for them, they all seem to offer a similar service.
Those paragraphs are what I want every student here to know. I'm much more comfortable having a trained doctor tell you what the deal is than I am trying to do it myself.
But I have to see something if I want to be Sven. The question then is, how do I see it? For spotting ADHD, it's shockingly simple. And I'll get to the real reason at the end. But for now, here is what I see when I see a student with ADHD.
The best way I can describe their lives is "endless chaos"
The chaos isn't always bad! Rarely it's fun chaos, but often it's just chaos chaos. This chaos exists in both physical and mental forms.
Physical: Their shit is such a mess. Everything. Most of the work we do is digital, so I see the Google Doc version of their mind. Folders make no sense. Things are labeled inaccurately or not at all. Schools get combined, or separated, or forgotten altogether. It is not a single type of error, but instead a collection of small mistakes and poor decisions that make the work impossible to corral. I have some kids that are messy or lazy, but this is different. It's like if the original folder system I built for them was an amoeba in a petri dish. Leave that dish out for a weekend and come back. The patterns will be remarkably similar to the organizational gore that they then try to utilize.
Mental: There's always a story. "I was late because my car has a flat tire, and the guy was late, so I had to take an Uber." "I didn't know my music essays were due a month early because the form only mentioned there being a recital." "My friend is mad at me, but it's only because she didn't tell me we were the first group presenting, so I spent more time preparing our project".
These stories make sense at first. But after a few weeks, they start to pile up. Then I become the one hearing a story about why they didn't do what I wanted, and I stop being so forgiving.
ADHD is a neurological disorder. Not a mental illness. It's closer to diabetes than it is bi-polar. "ADHD" is a fairly garbage name for the condition because A) it has a stigma, and B) it isn't even accurate. Both attention deficit and hyperactivity are symptoms of ADHD, but they are not the problem itself. It would be like calling clinical depression "low energy and excessive guilt disorder". ADHD is actually an issue involving improper dopamine regulation in the brain combined with under-activity of the brain's executive function component.
The executive function center is the part of your brain that is in charge of making sure all the other parts of your brain play nice and communicate. When the executive function center breaks down...those other parts don't. The result is a failure to plan or coordinate + a need for impulsive stimulation, thus resulting in endless chaos.
This is what I’ll ask you if you DM me, btw. Is your life endless chaos? Sometimes do you like the chaos? Sometimes do you get bored and create the chaos yourself just to see what might happen? But when that chaos stops being so fun, can you make it stop?
They're very, very intelligent
You've probably heard about the "gifted ADHD genius" thing before. I don't think it exists.
My theory has always been that the "gifted ADHD child" is a victim of survivorship bias.
The research states that ADHD has either no or a negative correlation with intelligence.
There is also a startling overlap with ADHD and incarceration.
This means that students who still manage to succeed despite their disorder tend to have advantages that keep them in the game. Namely that they're smart as hell. The other saving grace is that they come from secure support networks that prevent them from unraveling completely. I've heard from such students that their mom or dad works tirelessly to keep their life in order and to make sure they're getting things done. I do not think it is a coincidence that when ADHD students leave for college, things often fall apart.
The fact that there are ADHD kids that others know and still like makes some think ADHD isn't so bad or comes with natural cognitive advantages. Those same people do not become friends with the ADHD dumb kids who would disprove those perceptions. Do you remember that kid in elementary school who was his own worst enemy? He never had friends, and everyone was kind of afraid to even talk with him? He was kind of a bully but mostly just awful? He invited you to his house one time, but your mom wouldn’t let you go? That is my best guess of what a dumb kid with ADHD is like. It sounds cold writing it, but you know which kid I'm talking about right now. Where do you think that kid is today?
I end up with the smart ones—the ones with parents who care. And God damn are these kids smart. They're brilliant, and funny, and likable, and charming. They have something different about them that makes them undeniable. And it's not just me. I worry I play them up too much in my mind, but then I chat with a teacher or coach of theirs. It's always the same thing: Oh, she's brilliant. She can be so frustrating sometimes, tho.
They can be so frustrating sometimes, tho
The word is frustrating. Now bad. Not nasty. Not unlikeable. Frustrating.
I have some students I just don't like that much (no, not you). What tends to be the common theme with them is that they don't have much interest in my help and display a work ethic to match. On the other spectrum are the world beaters (totally you). These kids kick ass and not only follow my advice but often take that advice to the next level in ways that awe and inspire me.
And then there are the kids I think have ADHD. They don't do stuff all the time. They don't finish an essay, or they forget to spell check like I asked, or they write about something that has nothing to do with the outline we built the week before. That's not necessarily the frustrating part. You kids are 17; you make mistakes. Early on, I try to spot these mistakes and point them out. Even the students who don't like me seem to get my point after enough prodding and the problem goes away.
With these kids, the problem does not go away. Or if it does, another problem pops right back up to replace it. It makes me feel like there's nothing I can do. It would be easier if the student was just a brat. Then I could either become a brat myself or mentally check out because "hey man, your future”.
I need a name for kids I suspect have ADHD…"MaybeHD"?
Ya. That’s super funny. Say it out loud and try not to laugh.
But these MaybeHD kids do like me. And they do want to get into school. And they do feel bad when I get upset with them. I end up in long, drawn-out conversations with them about why this is important and why they need to make specific work a priority to get into the schools they want to go to. Then they nod meekly and head home. Then they come back next week, and it's the same story.
Frustrating.
They are randomly awesome at the weirdest things
I love weird talents. Things that no one offers up immediately, but then you're chatting, and it comes up naturally. "Oh ya, I love animals! I raise baby pigs in my backyard!"
"You do?"
"Ya!"
At some point, the MaybeHD kid read something or watched a Youtube video that he or she liked. Then they wanted to try it. Six months later, they're making 4k a month selling custom bathrobes on Etsy. There's rarely any logic.
"Do you like baths? Or making clothing?
"Not really. I just thought it looked fun, so I bought a sewing kit and started making things."
There is a noted link between ADHD and entrepreneurship. I see it with my MaybeHD students. They have an insatiable drive and passion for following up on curiosities that other students don't possess. Passion is the wrong word. They have obsessions with mastering concepts in a way that feels beyond their control. The obsession itself drives them to be great.
The literature on the subject is cloudy. But there exists a term in ADHD circles called "Hyperfocus". If you know what "flow" is, it's kind of like that. Only more intense and less controllable. I often see the remnants of past hyperfocuses in their stories. They used to run that pig farm. They used to sell bathrobes. They used to be really into getting good grades at school. But then one day, just as quickly as they picked the skill up, they dropped it. They can seldom tell me why.
Their priorities are completely out of whack
The downside of hyperfocus is that it can be so all-encompassing that other priorities fall by the wayside. One of my favorite students ever is named Elleway. We chatted in our first meeting, and I was instantly intrigued by her background. She said she had designed and prototyped a unit that would automatically roll under parked electric cars for hands-free charging. I hear a lot of impressive stuff in my job, and a lot of it ends up being not that impressive. But then Elleway showed me the prototype video she made back when she was a high school freshman and it blew my mind.
https://youtu.be/Y5Ap2uMbWL4
Can you do that? I sure as hell can't. She wasn't even an engineer. She calmly explained that she had partnered with several older male engineers who had helped turn her idea into reality. Then she had done all the promotional and marketing work herself. Then she got second out of 300 students at a young entrepreneur contest held at Columbia University. Shortly after, a tech CEO came up to her and asked if she would like to work with him to file a patent for the invention. She agreed and is now a trademark holder.
That was all in our first 10 minutes. She then went on to share the half dozen corporations she had worked for. And the three businesses she started. And the graphic design work she made for her website. She told me how she was a Nationally ranked fencer until she lost interest. She was now merely a Nationally ranked golfer.
Then I saw she had a 2.9 GPA and thus zero shot at getting into NYU like she hoped.
I did not initially think Elleway had ADHD. I thought she was a pathological liar. It seemed impossible to me that this same girl who had already taken a grip on the world was then unable to keep up her grades in math. That just isn’t how any -any- of my other ultra high-achieving students behave. Then Elleway showed me pictures of her casually hanging out with Andrew Yang. And then her LinkedIn With a lot of people who do not accept your request unless they want to. I had to figure out what the hell led to all this.
Elleway’s patent and ambition to work on it had taken up all her time. She was so singularly focused on doing what she cared about that the world behind her didn't seem to exist. She was hyperfocused on a goal, but once she reached it, she woke up to a reality that punished her for ignoring everything else.
That's the longing writer's version of the story. The more popular one is that she didn't give a shit about school, was warned repeatedly about the consequences, and ignored them. She got what she deserved. That’s the version the rest of the world had for her.
It goes back to frustrating. I've gotten kids into NYU that don't show a fifth the potential that Elleway did. Those kids went to all the camps their parents paid for and entered competitions with a tech doorbell or something lame, and they're just fine. But MaybeHD students are often world-beaters in ways that make them seem so special. They talk endlessly not just about what they're into but how they figured it all out and why it is all so important to them. I believe them, and I want to fight for them. So I give them as much assistance as I possibly can. But then they don't do the increasingly easy tasks I ask for them to complete. Then they suffer the consequences.
Elleway didn't get into NYU. She didn't get in much of anywhere. It eats me up inside, and I feel like I failed her. I don't know how many other people in my position would feel the same way. That's why I have to be Sven.
This is getting long, and I'm getting depressed. Here's the TL: DR of what I see when I see a student with ADHD
...
Me. I see me. And it can hurt really bad knowing what a condition like ADHD does to a young person's life.
My life is endless chaos. I've been out of food for nine days. My house looks like Badger from Breaking Bad bought a loft in Palo Alto. I am still writing this at 3:25 AM when I have to be up for work at nine. My cat has started doing this thing where she sleeps in her food bowl when it gets empty. It's equal parts adorable and humiliating.
I'm smart as shit. I know it. I made up half-ideas. That article is absolute fire. I got published on Cracked.com five times in 2011 when that meant something. I went to Tulane on a half-ride merit scholarship, used to win creative writing contests, and have done a bunch of other writery stuff that made people stand up and go, "Woah".
But I only made it to college because my mom carried me there, kicking and screaming. She packaged my life together, and I held on for the ride. Then I got to school and made it two months before she got an Email alerting her that Tulane was planning to revoke the remaining $70,000 of my $80,000 scholarship due to my grades. I barely scraped by and survived. But the shame and frustration in her voice when she read me that letter over the phone haunts me to this day.
I analyze handwriting. And I turned a Reddit account into a successful business in four months. And I collect college T-shirts from schools my students go to. And I own Bitcoin I bought in 2011 for $4.50 each. And I'm teaching myself piano with a video game. And I'm exercising with a video game. And I'm ranked 42nd in Northern California at Super Smash Bros Ultimate. And I’ve tried the nachos at over 100 Taquerias in the Bay Area. And I own a really cute cat.
But I've spent 15* hours this week writing this instead of a sequel to that Costco piece. I have one coming where I edit my Common App essay from 2009. It's a great idea and a great article. One that will drive significantly more business to my site than this piece will. Hell, I predict this piece is likely to lose me business because I come off like a mess in it. But it's what I want to write, so I feel like I have no choice.
*The 15 hours is a guess. I have no idea how long it takes me to write and edit these things. I start typing and X hours later look up and realize how hungry I am and how much I need to pee. The writing controls me.
I see myself in my MaybeHD students. I see their unfettered curiosity and flair for taking as much good from the world as possible. I see their infectious enthusiasm and ability to quickly forgive others because they know too well how it feels to want forgiveness themselves.
Yet I also see their inattention to detail, their weak excuses, and their general confusion that makes me realize they couldn't fix some problems if their lives depended on it. I see their sadness and shame when those mistakes pile up. I see when the chaos stops being fun, and they want out, but they don't know how. I don't know what I, as their consultant, can do. But as Sven, I can recommend they go talk to someone else...
Hey, so, I was considering hiring you and all...but you seem kind of bad. Why should I trust you?
Because a couple of years ago, I got back on my medication and turned my life around. You aren't reading this if I don't reach out for help and trust a trained psychiatrist to guide me. There are no groups of friends in Delaware or Connecticut comparing their half-ideas lists. There sure as shit isn't a CollegeWithMattie.com.
I still have ADHD. But one of the greatest things about ADHD is that it is -without rival- the most treatable form of mental illness or dysfunction known to man. It is not curable, but there are endless medical and non-medical options available for those willing to reach out and get the help they need. My story is that it was only by getting re-medicated that I then could learn and use coping mechanisms that allow me to achieve the type of life I've always wanted.
Christ, 4,400 words. You know, I'm also submitting this for a class I'm in. That's why all the backlinks are to actual sources instead of links herding you into my website. Hi Amy! That's one more thing. ADHD people are hyper-efficient...Kind of.
Alright. If you're still here reading this, you might be suspecting some things about yourself. My DMs are open if you want to chat, but again, I am not a doctor. I will say that right now, as you prepare to head to college, is a really good time to get this all figured out. College is a giant reset button on your life. Figure these problems out now so that by the time you head off for your next chapter, you will have given yourself the best possible chance to succeed.
Endless chaos.
Here is the bold part again:
If you are a student in high school who suspects he or she has ADHD, your best course of action is to talk with your parents and look into being tested by a professional psychiatrist who specializes in the topic. These tests are expensive, and mental health insurance in America (still) sucks balls. But this is the fastest, most straightforward route to getting the help you need.
Option two is to try and work with/through your public high school to get them to pay for it. This site has some good info. My guess is that this method will kind of suck. Public schools don't have a lot of funding and will not want to spend it on you. That's not your problem. You will almost certainly need your parents to back you up on this one and sit through a lot of boring meetings. I assume a lot of people will tell you a lot of reasons why they can't help you. Your response every time should be some version of, "Sure. But I need help with this. And I'm not going to stop until I get the support I need. So what do I do from here?" Then you blankly stare at them and refuse to leave until they get you at least to the next step. This will suck and I'm not sure how well it will work. If you do attempt or have attempted this method, please DM me or contact my Email with your experience. I want to know if this is even worth my student's time.
If you can not afford traditional testing, or if you do not feel your parents would support such testing, your best option is to wait until the day you turn 18 and then register for a telehealth company that specializes in ADHD. The one I use and recommend is HelloAhead.com. They're neat. They do not take traditional insurance, but their rates are much lower than most doctors. They are cheap enough that I feel an average 18-year old who wants help could find a way to afford it on his or her own. The downside with these sites is the waiting times can be really long. Took me like five months. Other such sites are popping up, and while I can't vouch for them, they all seem to offer a similar service.
Update: The lines aren't that long anymore! Monday was Elleway's 18th birthday. She sent me a screengrab of her upcoming Ahead appointment in early September. She told me she spent the entire day crying because all her friends were going off to great schools and that she was stuck at home. I've told Elleway that I plan to help her reapply to NYU this year. I doubt I will ever want to see another student succeed as much as I will with her.
submitted by CollegeWithMattie to ApplyingToCollege [link] [comments]

READ ME: Part 3


READ ME: Part 1
READ ME: Part 2
It was a few days of me relaxing just taking in the mellow mood that our Cecily- turned sea creature left me with her musical talents. Cecily also gifted me with a relaxing feeling.
It helped my anxiety in a way I can’t explain. I fed Doby, the fish I confiscated from the magical book, and bought him a new tank for my kitchen. I think he was another gift from Cecily. I was just happy I was able to put her soul to rest.
I spent all that Saturday setting up the sea salt tank fit with plants. Typically, it took time to set up a tank, but I didn’t exactly have time to do that with Doby. I even got him a few companions to keep him company.
Then a few days later, as I was feeding Doby admiring the new purple and turquoise blue decor, I felt a sudden need to cut my wrist. I felt like I was in a trance.
I walked over to the kitchen, opening the drawer pulling out a sharp knife, I began slicing my arm. I didn’t bleed much, but I had this overwhelming, depressing feeling coming over me. Then I heard my television pop on all by itself.
There was a news story about a young girl about sixteen years old that had gone missing. The report was dated three years ago. I knew then it was the book. Dropping the knife, I ran to get a paper towel and some alcohol to clean the wound I created.
I heard guns firing lasers, and I saw a blue light illuminating from the book. I took a big gulp; what was I getting myself into?
I opened the book to THE MURDER SHOW, which was the next story I was to read, and took a deep breath. I looked down and could see a tiny television featuring two teenagers playing a video game in a room. It was like I was watching a movie. One of them had short bleach blonde hair, the other had long black hair, and I recognized her as the missing teenage girl from the news that had just been featured on my television.
Instead of reading this story, I was watching it. I was hearing her voice inside of my mind, or maybe it was out loud. I couldn’t tell anymore.
I looked at the pages before me. They were turning on their own like an old fashioned picture book. I watched a girl as her eyes turned and faced me.
She had black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. She had a black t-shirt on with a ton of bracelets. Her thin face was pretty, but she didn’t smile.
Instead, I could do nothing except listen to the story titled:
THE MURDER SHOW
My name is Andrea Becker, and as long as I could remember, I wanted to die.
I know it sounds strange, but I looked at death as that permanent nostalgic return to your soul.
I swear I’m not a freak. I know I look the part, don’t get me wrong. I am cliche for someone my age.
Let me begin by telling you how it all began.
When I was ten years old, my grandparents were visiting from out of town. My grandmother was taking a shower, and when she got out, she screamed for my mother as she was having chest pains. She fell over onto the bathroom floor. The EMT’s were there in record time; maybe it was slow- I just know it was all a blur. I watched them trying to bring my grandmother back. My grandpa wasn’t home; he had gone shopping with my dad and older brother. So, I had a front-row to the tragic end of a woman I had loved so much.
Then I knew the exact moment she died. I saw her ghost or her soul, whatever you believe. It floated out of her body, and it LOOKED at me! My grandmother’s spirit looked at me and smiled. I knew then everything would be fine, but it wasn’t about me. It was about how at peace she was. I longed for that peace.
I lost my grandpa a few years later, but my grandmother’s death stuck with me. I started reading everything in the end. I knew it wasn’t simple science like some claim. You do leave your body when you die. Where you go is anyone’s guess, I just know what I saw that day my grandma died.
I had never considered killing myself. That was too weird. Then one day, my best friend, Carla, told me she liked to cut herself. She showed me her scars on her wrists. I was taken back by her self-harm.
“What if you go too deep?” I asked her.
“I have a couple of times, but I have gotten good at stitching myself up,” she smirked.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” I asked her.
“Yeah, but sometimes it is the only way I can feel things. I just feel like the world gets to be too much sometimes, and I want to escape it. I just don’t want to die.”
That is when I looked at her. “I have always wanted to die,” I said tears in my eyes.
“What you mean, like kill yourself?”
“No, just be at peace.”
“I feel at peace after I feel that rush. Like I get a rush from the pain for a second, and it makes me less - I dunno how to explain it.”
“I get it,” I said, and my friend had become my best friend.
I never told her, but I started self-harming after that. I had to know if it would give me the peace that I longed for when my grandmother showed me that look in her eyes. Like AT LAST, she could rest!
Sadly, over the next few years, Carla and I stopped being so close. She started hanging with a posh stuck up crowd. I still craved death. There was little in common with the mean girls' squad.
At seventeen, I had become close friends with a guy named Paul, whom I had a lot in common. We both enjoyed Mr. Fraziers English class, played tons of video games, and enjoyed hacking.
Not like professional hacking, just silly stuff like the local website to our local pizza shop. We hacked into it to say that all the prices had been reduced to 99cents. Silly kid stuff. We were never caught.
Then one day, Paul came over with two of his laptops.
“I have to show you something.” He said to me, excitedly.
“You ever been on the dark web?”
I shook my head. “No way!”
“It isn’t all weirdos; I buy stupid shit on there like electronics. Lots of black market stuff. It isn’t all organs and creepers doing things to people.”
“You aren’t messing with those sites, are you?” I asked him, concerned.
“No, I just found one, though. I can’t tell if they are serious. It’s called THE MURDER SHOW.”
“What the hell, Paul?”
“No, I have everything blocked. They can’t find us. I wanted you to see these comments. It freaked me out.”
“You are on the DARK WEB PAUL!” I retorted.
“Listen, just look at this. Can this be real?”
I hesitated and then took his laptop and looked at the site. It was a chat room.
I read a few of the posts they talked about murder and the best way to do it. Then I read on.
Der786: YOU READY, RANDY? One poster asked.
RANDY01: YEAH JUST DON’T HURT ME TOO MUCH. Another user name responded.
Der786: YOU GET THAT INSURANCE FILLED OUT?
RANDY01: MY WIFE WILL NEVER WANT FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.
What the hell?
Paul grabbed the laptop. “They let themselves be murdered for entertainment.”
“On purpose?”
“Yeah, one guy had cancer and didn’t want to live anymore. It even says on the disclaimer that this is the Doctor Kavorkian of murder sites. It is all pity kills. They won’t do it to healthy, happy, or well-adjusted humans. You must prove you are worthy, and they will do the cleanup, so no one ever finds out.”
“It is real. Turn it off, Paul.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just thought you would think it was at least interesting.”
“It is scary and unfortunate if I’m honest.”
Paul’s cell phone rang.
“Sorry, mom, yes, I forgot. I’m with Andrea. I’m coming.”
I looked at Paul, and he ran out and left.
He was gone, and so I continued playing a new video game that I had bought with my allowance.
I wasn’t paying any attention when I heard someone say, “I see you.”
Huh? I said to myself.
“You there! Girl with the black hair!”
What the hell? Then I realized that Paul had left his stupid laptop on the floor of my bedroom, and it was still on that silly murder site!
I peeked over my bed and looked down at the laptop, and just as I was about to close it, a man spoke again.
“Don’t close it yet; you had to come here for a reason. Why don’t you tell me what brought you here.”
“I- I didn’t. My friend found it by accident, and we weren’t interested in the site.”
“That is okay, so you were curious. Can I answer any of your questions?”
This was getting too weird for me.
“I am good. I think I get it.”
“Look, I get it. It’s real live dark web shit. I’d want to close the laptop and burn it too. Only I have seen you. How do you know I haven’t already tracked your address? How do you know I am not using facial recognition to figure out exactly who you are, Andrea Becker.”
He said my name. How did he know my name?
I was going to kill Paul.
I picked up the laptop and looked at the man who didn’t look like your typical weirdo. He was sitting at a desk wearing a polo shirt. He had a friendly smile and kind eyes. Suddenly I felt comforted instead of creeped out, and I didn’t know what it was.
“My name is Milton. I founded this site to let people let out a little bit of carnal steam. Tell me about yourself.”
“This is weird. I don’t know you.”
“Okay, I’ll begin. I’m married. I am a father of two kids. Jessica and Jenna. I work in management. This is just a side thing. I can assure you I am every bit as human as you are. So tell me, why do you wish to die, Andrea Becker?”
At that moment, it was like he had spoken to my heart. No one had ever spoken so honestly to me before. It was like having someone see your soul. At that moment, I thought, this is fate.
“Peace.”
I found myself speaking honestly, and even if I regretted it later, I couldn’t help it. It was nice to see that someone could read my mind. At least it felt like that.
“I think most of us who are empathic to the ways of the world feel the same way you do.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I sat up straight and leaned into the screen on my laptop.
I was beginning to feel much more comfortable than I had thought I ever would. It was strange to trust someone on the dark web like this, but there was something about this man. He had a hold over me.
“Tell you what, we are holding an event tonight at eleven, and I hope you will log on to join us to see what we are all about. I promise it isn’t what you think.”
“I will have to check it out,” I said, partially wondering if I wanted to have anything more to do with this man.
The screen went black, and I shut Paul’s laptop.
I decided to go downstairs to grab a wine cooler out of the fridge. It was almost ten o’clock, and my parents were asleep, so I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I drank the crappy drink, thinking long and hard about what had transpired and wondering if I wanted to know what went on in this so-called murder show.
It was five till eleven, and my cowardice was in full force, so I turned on the television.
“A WHITE VAN IS THE SUSPECT IN THE MISSING TEEN’S DISAPPEARANCE IN FRANKLIN COUNTY. WITNESSES SAY THEY SAW YOUNG JAMES MADISON TALKING TO SOMEONE DRESSED AS A CLOWN AS HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO SCHOOL FRIDAY MORNING…”
I turned off the disturbing news program deciding I would see the big deal with this “murder show.” There could not possibly be any reason for this nice man I had talked to be part of some sympathy murder thing.
The screen was still black, and then I saw a small room come into focus. The chat room was coming alive with flower emojis, and last-minute thank yous and best wishes from viewers who were donating bitcoin to the website’s owner.
Then I saw a man sitting in a chair and typing away at his computer. Something oddly terrifying about it was because the viewers seemed to see it, but the man didn’t seem to have anything to do with the viewers as though he didn’t even know he was being watched.
I watched as some of the viewers suddenly were also aware of this fact.
RHONDA24: Do you think he even knows this is the last night on earth?
Davtelly45: Nope, that is how it works.
RHONDA24: I know, but I thought he would be more prepared. He has been with us so long here.
Davtelly45: He will die soon, but he will be better off.
RHONDA24: No more cheating wife, no more debt, and no more anxiety about what tomorrow will bring.
Sassy-maria: I’m so happy for him.
Davtelly45: Me too, girl.
IVANfist: I hope this one is bloody, though. I like them with a little bit of gore.
RHONDA24: I have to admit I do too. Maybe he will get slashed on the throat.
Davtelly45: I just want our boy to be happy.
IVANfist: Fuck that gore all the way!
I read the chat, and then I watched as the man sitting at his computer seemed to be working on something very intensely. That is when I heard what sounded like a doorbell ring. The man everyone was watching got up, and walked away. I guessed to answer the door.
Then I heard the sound of someone yelling. A man with a black mask on was soon dragging the man who had just been sitting at the computer into his office.
“No, I have changed my mind! Please, I don't’ want to-”
His throat was slashed in front of the computer. The slash was so deep it nearly decapitated the man who was only moments ago typing away at his laptop.
I gasped, watching the scene unfold before me. Then the chat room exploded.
RHONDA24: Bye, Randy. We will miss you.
UNKNOWN: no, we won’t.
Davtelly45: SO long, Randy. I hope you can now be at peace.
UNKNOWN: Randy will never be at peace now. Hope he rots in hell.
Davtelly45: WHo is this?
RHONDA24: I will miss Randy, but anything will be better than dealing with a cheating wife, too much debt, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I long for my day to rest.
UNKNOWN: You should just put yourself out of your misery.
Davtelly45: Seriously, what the hell? Guy, this is pretty insensitive. We are celebrating the life and death of a warrior.
There was some strange interference, and I shut off the laptop, unplugging it.
I texted Paul to get his stupid laptop, and he told me he would be over tomorrow to get it.
I was sick to my stomach.
Had a real-life murder just taken place?
I knew without a shadow of a doubt it had.
I was paralyzed with fear and yet oddly jealous. I secretly wished I would be able to feel that peace that Randy felt. It terrified me, though, to no end.
\***************
I woke up the next morning and prepared for school. I had strange dreams of the people on the computer screen. I had dreams of them talking about me the way they had Randy.
I was sweating when I got out of bed, and I readied myself for school and what the new day would bring.
Paul came over after school to get his laptop, and I made sure I didn’t mention what happened the night before. I just wanted that website out of my life.
Paul seemed unphased by the fact I had his laptop. He had a few, so what was one going missing?
Following that incident, I stayed off my computer as much as possible. Then I had to log onto my own laptop to finish a school project about two weeks later.
When I logged into my email, there were many messages from a person that called themselves FALCON.
“Andrea Becker, this is FALCON, Milton wanted me to let you know that he knows you logged on to watch Randy transition, and he wanted to see how you were since viewing our little show.”
I deleted the messages. I didn’t want anything to do with these weird people.
As I had this thought, I got an instant message from MILTON.
Milton: Andrea, I am sorry you seem alarmed by Randy’s transition. Tell me, how did that make you feel? It is okay to feel scared, terrified, sad, angry, or all of the above.
I looked at what he was typing, and that same sweet consoling man made my guard go down. I would have asked him how he got my email, but I already knew that if it were easy for them to get my name, how much harder would it be to get my email?
Milton: Andrea?
Me: Hello, Milton. I don’t know how I feel about what I saw. I don’t think I want anything to do with this.
Milton: Andrea, talk to me.
Me: I don’t know what to say. You killed a man.
Milton: Yes, but he wanted it. We helped him transition. We can help you.
I looked at what he was saying. I had wanted so badly to feel at peace and lose all of my earthly worries, but this was too much too fast.
Me: I have to go to Milton.
Milton: Andrea Becker, reconsider. You don’t have to participate, but we are people that understand you. I read your online diary, your poetry, and I know what you wish for.
I was stunned and felt violated. How did they hack into my online diary? It was private thoughts on my blog site I never made public. I was terrified, and then Milton said something else that made me reconsider.
Milton: I have seen your interactions with others. We have watched you interact with your friends. We know it wasn’t you that initially found our website. We don’t care. We welcome you. We only ask that you keep our little secret to help others like yourself, and like Randy.
I don’t know what made me do it. I began to trust Milton. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel weird about my feelings on death. These people seemed to understand.
Me: I feel so weird talking about it.
Milton: It is hard to acknowledge your feelings at first, but once you do, you will begin to understand.
Me: Are there others like Randy?
Milton: We try not to allow too many transitions at once. We give people time to mourn in our community after someone transitions. We have another coming up at the end of the month. This person has yet to be named.”
Me: How does it work?
Milton: We take a vote on who is next. Once the vote is in, the nominee gets contacted through a congratulations email to give them time to tie up loose ends. Then they are not told the day or time of their death. We feel that it would ruin the transition.
Me: What if they change their mind?
Milton: They are given no way to back out. It is in our clause. If you are on track for transition, which I feel you are, just being a part of our community is an agreement. You have already witnessed a transition - an illegal act. So you have already agreed to the clause.
Me: What about you?
Milton: What about me?
ME: Can you transition?
Milton: I will in time. My agreement was after my children will be old enough to understand. Once they are, then I will join others like Randy and you.
“Oh,” I typed
Milton: I have to go now; it was nice chatting with you. Remember, if you ever need someone to talk to, we are here. We understand how you feel.
He logged off the chat, and I sat in front of the chat. Then another name popped up.
RHONDA24: Hello, Andrea.
I didn’t respond right away.
RHONDA24: I just want to let you know if you ever need a friend. I am not much older than you, and I get how you feel. You can reach out to me.
Me: Thank you. I have to go now.
RHONDA24: Have a great evening, Andrea.
I logged off the computer.
#############
As time wore on, I realized that I enjoyed the community. I had made a few friends within the community. I had several bad days in the last month; one of them was that I had a falling out with Paul. He was angry with me for spending time online in the “transition” community as I had learned to refer to it as.
The community helped me overcome some of my anxieties, so I didn’t think so much about dying anymore. If anything, I wanted to live because I felt relieved that I now had a group that understood how I felt. After all, they felt the same way as me.
Then the day came out of nowhere. I was planning my graduation speech, as I had been elected by Mr. Frazier to give my class a short address. I typed, re-typing, and over-editing everything I was writing when I got a ding on my computer.
My email popped up, and I recognized the email address. It was from FALCON.
CONGRATULATIONS ANDREA BECKER YOUR COUNTDOWN TO TRANSITION BEGINS 5-4-3-2- NOW.
I gulped reading the email because I didn’t feel the way I had before. I didn’t want to panic. This had to be a mistake. I was no longer depressed; I had things to live for now. Why had they voted on me transitioning?
I saw that Milton was online.
ME: Milton? I think you made a mistake. I am the least qualified to transition. Especially that now I feel so much better!
Crickets could have chirped from the computer. Instead of responding as Milton had hundreds of times before, he ignored me and logged off.
This was a nightmare. I stood up, looking around my room.
Indeed, I’d have time to graduate. I was at the disadvantage of being home alone. My parents were at some Union banquet because my father was on the teamster's board. I got up from my computer desk and locked all of the doors and secured the doors.
I turned on the radio to think. There was a story on the radio about a White Van and how another child had been missing. Another witness saw someone dressed as a clown talking to the child.
Ugh! Not something I needed to know to hear right now. I flipped the station to some soft music. Sarah Mclachlan came on, so I left it. I needed to think. I logged into the chat, and I could see all the congratulations Andrea comments in the chat.
ME: Hey guys, I think there is a mistake.
RHONDA24: Congratulations, Andrea!
DAVTELLY45: I hope you have the best transition.
UNKNOWN: I hope you bleed into the camera for daddy.
ME: WHAT?
Who would say such a thing?
UNKNOWN: I can’t wait to cut you from ear to ear.
RHONDA24: DUDE! Get out of here!
I got a private chat request from Rhonda24.
I accepted it.
Rhonda24: Don’t sweat it, Andrea. The guy is some weirdo that has been harassing a bunch of us. We can’t block him. He has this crazy firewall system. Just please know how happy I am for you and how much I will miss you.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I was about to log off when there was a bang from outside my house.
Before I could do anything, a stranger wearing a black mask burst through my bedroom door. I stood in pure terror and shock.
It was happening now!
I did the only thing I could think of and grabbed the desk chair in front of me, and flung it at the stranger.
He was tall, thin, and didn’t seem to have been prepared for my sudden means of survival.
He lurched forward and grabbed me by the throat. I could feel his large hands trying to suffocate me. I looked over to the computer and saw it had popped back on - all on its own accord. A red light flashed on the screen. I realized I was being recorded for someone’s amusement.
The darkness engulfed me in this very moment, and I sprung up, kicking the man in the groin.
He growled in pain, and for a moment, I had time to run but not for long before the man stood up and shut my bedroom door so I had no means of escape.
He pulled out a knife from behind him, and I looked around my room to find something else I could defend myself with. I saw a coffee mug, grabbing it and throwing it at his head. To my luck, he stopped to rub his head, and I barreled past him towards the door.
Then I was caught off guard by a swiping of the knife to the back of my leg, causing me to scream in pain.
I hit the ground, and he went for my throat with the knife. I rolled over quickly, causing him to stab the floor instead of me.
I kicked him in the head this time as he struggled to get the knife out of the wooden floor. He fell to the ground, and for a moment, we both worked with the knife. Finally, I managed to grab it and stab him inside the chest.
The struggle was over. Someone had transitioned tonight, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t going to be me. I had far too much to live for. I took a deep breath and then took off the mask of the man.
To my utter despair, it was Paul. How had Paul gotten involved with trying to kill me?
It all made perfect sense now how they all had known so much about me. Still, Paul had been my best friend for years. I ran downstairs to find my cell phone and call for 911.
The dispatcher said they would be sending for someone as soon as possible.
I saw a large white truck coming towards my house, barreling down my street. I jumped into the road, flagging them down.
There was something strange about the truck. I realized when the headlights were no longer blinding my vision that it wasn’t the ambulance. I backed up onto the sidewalk and continued to look down the street for the ambulance. The truck did something strange, though. They stopped in front of me back up, so my view down the road was blocked.
A door to the back of the truck opened up.
There were two tall men dressed as clowns. One had blue hair and a red nose with what looked like blood around his mouth and dirty teeth. He grinned big at me. The other had on a red and yellow wig with green makeup. He looked more sinister than the other clown.
They stood looking at me, and then circus music began to play. I was annoyed by whatever joke they were trying to play, especially at a time like this. I could hear the ambulance now as it was making its way down my street. I tried to walk around the two stupid clowns. It was all so ridiculous to me.
That is when one of them grabbed me. I screamed for them to let me go! I had to help Paul! Then the other one helped get me by the legs. Before I knew it, I was no longer breathing.
I, Andrea Becker, died that night. I won’t bore you with the details. It was gruesome, and it was horrid. I have been missing for three years. I hope someone can see my story and relay what happened to me.
I’d like my parents to be able to have peace. We all deserve some peace.
I saw the book close on its own then. There were tears in my eyes as I read the last words of Andrea Becker.
I wasn’t sure how I could help, but I went over to my computer. There were numerous reports on the sightings of clowns in connection to missing children. I decided to search for the area combining missing person cases from around the region. I didn’t know how I was suddenly able to hack into systems using multiple databases, but I was doing it. For Andrea Becker’s sake, I was doing it.
That is when I found something very crucial. There were several sightings recently in my neighborhood. There were also six missing persons in a five-mile vicinity. I clicked, I typed, and I searched until I put the connections together. In all of the disappeared persons, there were three bodies found. One was of a seventeen-year-old female.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it would be the remains of Andrea Becker’s young body. I forwarded the information to the detective working the case. How had they not put it together on their own, I had no idea. I did now have gifts now that helped me help those who could not help themselves.
Later that night, there was a break in three of the missing person cases. No thanks to me. I was tired after Andrea Becker’s story.
That book never rests, though. Last night in the middle of the night, I heard music coming from somewhere.
It woke me from a dead sleep. I decided to find out what the matter was. It sounded like circus music.
I walked into my living room, and parked in front of my house was a white van with clowns in the driver's seat. I stared at them for a long while and then opened my front door.
Two maniacal clowns got out of the back, and as they slowly made their way towards my house, I let out a deep breath. Then I yelled.
I was using my new found thunderous gift their windows to the van all burst. They both held on to their ears as though they were in pain. I had no doubt why they were here.
I heard someone yell, “HELP ME, PLEASE!” It was a woman.
I became momentarily distracted by the sound of wailing behind me. Sad, painful wailing.
I looked away from the clown van towards the READ ME book on my couch. When I looked back toward the street, the van with the clowns was now long gone. I would see to it they were punished, but until then, I had other pressing business.
I picked up the book, and inside it, I read the chapter to the next story.
I was the Youngest Member of the Lunatic Asylum...
submitted by blackfridayswitch13 to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

READ ME: Part 3

READ ME: Part 1
READ ME: Part 2
It was a few days of me relaxing just taking in the mellow mood that our Cecily- turned sea creature left me with her musical talents. Cecily also gifted me with a relaxing feeling.
It helped my anxiety in a way I can’t explain. I fed Doby, the fish I confiscated from the magical book, and bought him a new tank for my kitchen. I think he was another gift from Cecily. I was just happy I was able to put her soul to rest.
I spent all that Saturday setting up the sea salt tank fit with plants. Typically, it took time to set up a tank, but I didn’t exactly have time to do that with Doby. I even got him a few companions to keep him company.
Then a few days later, as I was feeding Doby admiring the new purple and turquoise blue decor, I felt a sudden need to cut my wrist. I felt like I was in a trance.
I walked over to the kitchen, opening the drawer pulling out a sharp knife, I began slicing my arm. I didn’t bleed much, but I had this overwhelming, depressing feeling coming over me. Then I heard my television pop on all by itself.
There was a news story about a young girl about sixteen years old that had gone missing. The report was dated three years ago. I knew then it was the book. Dropping the knife, I ran to get a paper towel and some alcohol to clean the wound I created.
I heard guns firing lasers, and I saw a blue light illuminating from the book. I took a big gulp; what was I getting myself into?
I opened the book to THE MURDER SHOW, which was the next story I was to read, and took a deep breath. I looked down and could see a tiny television featuring two teenagers playing a video game in a room. It was like I was watching a movie. One of them had short bleach blonde hair, the other had long black hair, and I recognized her as the missing teenage girl from the news that had just been featured on my television.
Instead of reading this story, I was watching it. I was hearing her voice inside of my mind, or maybe it was out loud. I couldn’t tell anymore.
I looked at the pages before me. They were turning on their own like an old fashioned picture book. I watched a girl as her eyes turned and faced me.
She had black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. She had a black t-shirt on with a ton of bracelets. Her thin face was pretty, but she didn’t smile.
Instead, I could do nothing except listen to the story titled:
THE MURDER SHOW
My name is Andrea Becker, and as long as I could remember, I wanted to die.
I know it sounds strange, but I looked at death as that permanent nostalgic return to your soul.
I swear I’m not a freak. I know I look the part, don’t get me wrong. I am cliche for someone my age.
Let me begin by telling you how it all began.
When I was ten years old, my grandparents were visiting from out of town. My grandmother was taking a shower, and when she got out, she screamed for my mother as she was having chest pains. She fell over onto the bathroom floor. The EMT’s were there in record time; maybe it was slow- I just know it was all a blur. I watched them trying to bring my grandmother back. My grandpa wasn’t home; he had gone shopping with my dad and older brother. So, I had a front-row to the tragic end of a woman I had loved so much.
Then I knew the exact moment she died. I saw her ghost or her soul, whatever you believe. It floated out of her body, and it LOOKED at me! My grandmother’s spirit looked at me and smiled. I knew then everything would be fine, but it wasn’t about me. It was about how at peace she was. I longed for that peace.
I lost my grandpa a few years later, but my grandmother’s death stuck with me. I started reading everything in the end. I knew it wasn’t simple science like some claim. You do leave your body when you die. Where you go is anyone’s guess, I just know what I saw that day my grandma died.
I had never considered killing myself. That was too weird. Then one day, my best friend, Carla, told me she liked to cut herself. She showed me her scars on her wrists. I was taken back by her self-harm.
“What if you go too deep?” I asked her.
“I have a couple of times, but I have gotten good at stitching myself up,” she smirked.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” I asked her.
“Yeah, but sometimes it is the only way I can feel things. I just feel like the world gets to be too much sometimes, and I want to escape it. I just don’t want to die.”
That is when I looked at her. “I have always wanted to die,” I said tears in my eyes.
“What you mean, like kill yourself?”
“No, just be at peace.”
“I feel at peace after I feel that rush. Like I get a rush from the pain for a second, and it makes me less - I dunno how to explain it.”
“I get it,” I said, and my friend had become my best friend.
I never told her, but I started self-harming after that. I had to know if it would give me the peace that I longed for when my grandmother showed me that look in her eyes. Like AT LAST, she could rest!
Sadly, over the next few years, Carla and I stopped being so close. She started hanging with a posh stuck up crowd. I still craved death. There was little in common with the mean girls' squad.
At seventeen, I had become close friends with a guy named Paul, whom I had a lot in common. We both enjoyed Mr. Fraziers English class, played tons of video games, and enjoyed hacking.
Not like professional hacking, just silly stuff like the local website to our local pizza shop. We hacked into it to say that all the prices had been reduced to 99cents. Silly kid stuff. We were never caught.
Then one day, Paul came over with two of his laptops.
“I have to show you something.” He said to me, excitedly.
“You ever been on the dark web?”
I shook my head. “No way!”
“It isn’t all weirdos; I buy stupid shit on there like electronics. Lots of black market stuff. It isn’t all organs and creepers doing things to people.”
“You aren’t messing with those sites, are you?” I asked him, concerned.
“No, I just found one, though. I can’t tell if they are serious. It’s called THE MURDER SHOW.”
“What the hell, Paul?”
“No, I have everything blocked. They can’t find us. I wanted you to see these comments. It freaked me out.”
“You are on the DARK WEB PAUL!” I retorted.
“Listen, just look at this. Can this be real?”
I hesitated and then took his laptop and looked at the site. It was a chat room.
I read a few of the posts they talked about murder and the best way to do it. Then I read on.
Der786: YOU READY, RANDY? One poster asked.
RANDY01: YEAH JUST DON’T HURT ME TOO MUCH. Another user name responded.
Der786: YOU GET THAT INSURANCE FILLED OUT?
RANDY01: MY WIFE WILL NEVER WANT FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.
What the hell?
Paul grabbed the laptop. “They let themselves be murdered for entertainment.”
“On purpose?”
“Yeah, one guy had cancer and didn’t want to live anymore. It even says on the disclaimer that this is the Doctor Kavorkian of murder sites. It is all pity kills. They won’t do it to healthy, happy, or well-adjusted humans. You must prove you are worthy, and they will do the cleanup, so no one ever finds out.”
“It is real. Turn it off, Paul.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just thought you would think it was at least interesting.”
“It is scary and unfortunate if I’m honest.”
Paul’s cell phone rang.
“Sorry, mom, yes, I forgot. I’m with Andrea. I’m coming.”
I looked at Paul, and he ran out and left.
He was gone, and so I continued playing a new video game that I had bought with my allowance.
I wasn’t paying any attention when I heard someone say, “I see you.”
Huh? I said to myself.
“You there! Girl with the black hair!”
What the hell? Then I realized that Paul had left his stupid laptop on the floor of my bedroom, and it was still on that silly murder site!
I peeked over my bed and looked down at the laptop, and just as I was about to close it, a man spoke again.
“Don’t close it yet; you had to come here for a reason. Why don’t you tell me what brought you here.”
“I- I didn’t. My friend found it by accident, and we weren’t interested in the site.”
“That is okay, so you were curious. Can I answer any of your questions?”
This was getting too weird for me.
“I am good. I think I get it.”
“Look, I get it. It’s real live dark web shit. I’d want to close the laptop and burn it too. Only I have seen you. How do you know I haven’t already tracked your address? How do you know I am not using facial recognition to figure out exactly who you are, Andrea Becker.”
He said my name. How did he know my name?
I was going to kill Paul.
I picked up the laptop and looked at the man who didn’t look like your typical weirdo. He was sitting at a desk wearing a polo shirt. He had a friendly smile and kind eyes. Suddenly I felt comforted instead of creeped out, and I didn’t know what it was.
“My name is Milton. I founded this site to let people let out a little bit of carnal steam. Tell me about yourself.”
“This is weird. I don’t know you.”
“Okay, I’ll begin. I’m married. I am a father of two kids. Jessica and Jenna. I work in management. This is just a side thing. I can assure you I am every bit as human as you are. So tell me, why do you wish to die, Andrea Becker?”
At that moment, it was like he had spoken to my heart. No one had ever spoken so honestly to me before. It was like having someone see your soul. At that moment, I thought, this is fate.
“Peace.”
I found myself speaking honestly, and even if I regretted it later, I couldn’t help it. It was nice to see that someone could read my mind. At least it felt like that.
“I think most of us who are empathic to the ways of the world feel the same way you do.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I sat up straight and leaned into the screen on my laptop.
I was beginning to feel much more comfortable than I had thought I ever would. It was strange to trust someone on the dark web like this, but there was something about this man. He had a hold over me.
“Tell you what, we are holding an event tonight at eleven, and I hope you will log on to join us to see what we are all about. I promise it isn’t what you think.”
“I will have to check it out,” I said, partially wondering if I wanted to have anything more to do with this man.
The screen went black, and I shut Paul’s laptop.
I decided to go downstairs to grab a wine cooler out of the fridge. It was almost ten o’clock, and my parents were asleep, so I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I drank the crappy drink, thinking long and hard about what had transpired and wondering if I wanted to know what went on in this so-called murder show.
It was five till eleven, and my cowardice was in full force, so I turned on the television.
“A WHITE VAN IS THE SUSPECT IN THE MISSING TEEN’S DISAPPEARANCE IN FRANKLIN COUNTY. WITNESSES SAY THEY SAW YOUNG JAMES MADISON TALKING TO SOMEONE DRESSED AS A CLOWN AS HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO SCHOOL FRIDAY MORNING…”
I turned off the disturbing news program deciding I would see the big deal with this “murder show.” There could not possibly be any reason for this nice man I had talked to be part of some sympathy murder thing.
The screen was still black, and then I saw a small room come into focus. The chat room was coming alive with flower emojis, and last-minute thank yous and best wishes from viewers who were donating bitcoin to the website’s owner.
Then I saw a man sitting in a chair and typing away at his computer. Something oddly terrifying about it was because the viewers seemed to see it, but the man didn’t seem to have anything to do with the viewers as though he didn’t even know he was being watched.
I watched as some of the viewers suddenly were also aware of this fact.
RHONDA24: Do you think he even knows this is the last night on earth?
Davtelly45: Nope, that is how it works.
RHONDA24: I know, but I thought he would be more prepared. He has been with us so long here.
Davtelly45: He will die soon, but he will be better off.
RHONDA24: No more cheating wife, no more debt, and no more anxiety about what tomorrow will bring.
Sassy-maria: I’m so happy for him.
Davtelly45: Me too, girl.
IVANfist: I hope this one is bloody, though. I like them with a little bit of gore.
RHONDA24: I have to admit I do too. Maybe he will get slashed on the throat.
Davtelly45: I just want our boy to be happy.
IVANfist: Fuck that gore all the way!
I read the chat, and then I watched as the man sitting at his computer seemed to be working on something very intensely. That is when I heard what sounded like a doorbell ring. The man everyone was watching got up, and walked away. I guessed to answer the door.
Then I heard the sound of someone yelling. A man with a black mask on was soon dragging the man who had just been sitting at the computer into his office.
“No, I have changed my mind! Please, I don't’ want to-”
His throat was slashed in front of the computer. The slash was so deep it nearly decapitated the man who was only moments ago typing away at his laptop.
I gasped, watching the scene unfold before me. Then the chat room exploded.
RHONDA24: Bye, Randy. We will miss you.
UNKNOWN: no, we won’t.
Davtelly45: SO long, Randy. I hope you can now be at peace.
UNKNOWN: Randy will never be at peace now. Hope he rots in hell.
Davtelly45: WHo is this?
RHONDA24: I will miss Randy, but anything will be better than dealing with a cheating wife, too much debt, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I long for my day to rest.
UNKNOWN: You should just put yourself out of your misery.
Davtelly45: Seriously, what the hell? Guy, this is pretty insensitive. We are celebrating the life and death of a warrior.
There was some strange interference, and I shut off the laptop, unplugging it.
I texted Paul to get his stupid laptop, and he told me he would be over tomorrow to get it.
I was sick to my stomach.
Had a real-life murder just taken place?
I knew without a shadow of a doubt it had.
I was paralyzed with fear and yet oddly jealous. I secretly wished I would be able to feel that peace that Randy felt. It terrified me, though, to no end.
\***************
I woke up the next morning and prepared for school. I had strange dreams of the people on the computer screen. I had dreams of them talking about me the way they had Randy.
I was sweating when I got out of bed, and I readied myself for school and what the new day would bring.
Paul came over after school to get his laptop, and I made sure I didn’t mention what happened the night before. I just wanted that website out of my life.
Paul seemed unphased by the fact I had his laptop. He had a few, so what was one going missing?
Following that incident, I stayed off my computer as much as possible. Then I had to log onto my own laptop to finish a school project about two weeks later.
When I logged into my email, there were many messages from a person that called themselves FALCON.
“Andrea Becker, this is FALCON, Milton wanted me to let you know that he knows you logged on to watch Randy transition, and he wanted to see how you were since viewing our little show.”
I deleted the messages. I didn’t want anything to do with these weird people.
As I had this thought, I got an instant message from MILTON.
Milton: Andrea, I am sorry you seem alarmed by Randy’s transition. Tell me, how did that make you feel? It is okay to feel scared, terrified, sad, angry, or all of the above.
I looked at what he was typing, and that same sweet consoling man made my guard go down. I would have asked him how he got my email, but I already knew that if it were easy for them to get my name, how much harder would it be to get my email?
Milton: Andrea?
Me: Hello, Milton. I don’t know how I feel about what I saw. I don’t think I want anything to do with this.
Milton: Andrea, talk to me.
Me: I don’t know what to say. You killed a man.
Milton: Yes, but he wanted it. We helped him transition. We can help you.
I looked at what he was saying. I had wanted so badly to feel at peace and lose all of my earthly worries, but this was too much too fast.
Me: I have to go to Milton.
Milton: Andrea Becker, reconsider. You don’t have to participate, but we are people that understand you. I read your online diary, your poetry, and I know what you wish for.
I was stunned and felt violated. How did they hack into my online diary? It was private thoughts on my blog site I never made public. I was terrified, and then Milton said something else that made me reconsider.
Milton: I have seen your interactions with others. We have watched you interact with your friends. We know it wasn’t you that initially found our website. We don’t care. We welcome you. We only ask that you keep our little secret to help others like yourself, and like Randy.
I don’t know what made me do it. I began to trust Milton. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel weird about my feelings on death. These people seemed to understand.
Me: I feel so weird talking about it.
Milton: It is hard to acknowledge your feelings at first, but once you do, you will begin to understand.
Me: Are there others like Randy?
Milton: We try not to allow too many transitions at once. We give people time to mourn in our community after someone transitions. We have another coming up at the end of the month. This person has yet to be named.”
Me: How does it work?
Milton: We take a vote on who is next. Once the vote is in, the nominee gets contacted through a congratulations email to give them time to tie up loose ends. Then they are not told the day or time of their death. We feel that it would ruin the transition.
Me: What if they change their mind?
Milton: They are given no way to back out. It is in our clause. If you are on track for transition, which I feel you are, just being a part of our community is an agreement. You have already witnessed a transition - an illegal act. So you have already agreed to the clause.
Me: What about you?
Milton: What about me?
ME: Can you transition?
Milton: I will in time. My agreement was after my children will be old enough to understand. Once they are, then I will join others like Randy and you.
“Oh,” I typed
Milton: I have to go now; it was nice chatting with you. Remember, if you ever need someone to talk to, we are here. We understand how you feel.
He logged off the chat, and I sat in front of the chat. Then another name popped up.
RHONDA24: Hello, Andrea.
I didn’t respond right away.
RHONDA24: I just want to let you know if you ever need a friend. I am not much older than you, and I get how you feel. You can reach out to me.
Me: Thank you. I have to go now.
RHONDA24: Have a great evening, Andrea.
I logged off the computer.
#############
As time wore on, I realized that I enjoyed the community. I had made a few friends within the community. I had several bad days in the last month; one of them was that I had a falling out with Paul. He was angry with me for spending time online in the “transition” community as I had learned to refer to it as.
The community helped me overcome some of my anxieties, so I didn’t think so much about dying anymore. If anything, I wanted to live because I felt relieved that I now had a group that understood how I felt. After all, they felt the same way as me.
Then the day came out of nowhere. I was planning my graduation speech, as I had been elected by Mr. Frazier to give my class a short address. I typed, re-typing, and over-editing everything I was writing when I got a ding on my computer.
My email popped up, and I recognized the email address. It was from FALCON.
CONGRATULATIONS ANDREA BECKER YOUR COUNTDOWN TO TRANSITION BEGINS 5-4-3-2- NOW.
I gulped reading the email because I didn’t feel the way I had before. I didn’t want to panic. This had to be a mistake. I was no longer depressed; I had things to live for now. Why had they voted on me transitioning?
I saw that Milton was online.
ME: Milton? I think you made a mistake. I am the least qualified to transition. Especially that now I feel so much better!
Crickets could have chirped from the computer. Instead of responding as Milton had hundreds of times before, he ignored me and logged off.
This was a nightmare. I stood up, looking around my room.
Indeed, I’d have time to graduate. I was at the disadvantage of being home alone. My parents were at some Union banquet because my father was on the teamster's board. I got up from my computer desk and locked all of the doors and secured the doors.
I turned on the radio to think. There was a story on the radio about a White Van and how another child had been missing. Another witness saw someone dressed as a clown talking to the child.
Ugh! Not something I needed to know to hear right now. I flipped the station to some soft music. Sarah Mclachlan came on, so I left it. I needed to think. I logged into the chat, and I could see all the congratulations Andrea comments in the chat.
ME: Hey guys, I think there is a mistake.
RHONDA24: Congratulations, Andrea!
DAVTELLY45: I hope you have the best transition.
UNKNOWN: I hope you bleed into the camera for daddy.
ME: WHAT?
Who would say such a thing?
UNKNOWN: I can’t wait to cut you from ear to ear.
RHONDA24: DUDE! Get out of here!
I got a private chat request from Rhonda24.
I accepted it.
Rhonda24: Don’t sweat it, Andrea. The guy is some weirdo that has been harassing a bunch of us. We can’t block him. He has this crazy firewall system. Just please know how happy I am for you and how much I will miss you.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I was about to log off when there was a bang from outside my house.
Before I could do anything, a stranger wearing a black mask burst through my bedroom door. I stood in pure terror and shock.
It was happening now!
I did the only thing I could think of and grabbed the desk chair in front of me, and flung it at the stranger.
He was tall, thin, and didn’t seem to have been prepared for my sudden means of survival.
He lurched forward and grabbed me by the throat. I could feel his large hands trying to suffocate me. I looked over to the computer and saw it had popped back on - all on its own accord. A red light flashed on the screen. I realized I was being recorded for someone’s amusement.
The darkness engulfed me in this very moment, and I sprung up, kicking the man in the groin.
He growled in pain, and for a moment, I had time to run but not for long before the man stood up and shut my bedroom door so I had no means of escape.
He pulled out a knife from behind him, and I looked around my room to find something else I could defend myself with. I saw a coffee mug, grabbing it and throwing it at his head. To my luck, he stopped to rub his head, and I barreled past him towards the door.
Then I was caught off guard by a swiping of the knife to the back of my leg, causing me to scream in pain.
I hit the ground, and he went for my throat with the knife. I rolled over quickly, causing him to stab the floor instead of me.
I kicked him in the head this time as he struggled to get the knife out of the wooden floor. He fell to the ground, and for a moment, we both worked with the knife. Finally, I managed to grab it and stab him inside the chest.
The struggle was over. Someone had transitioned tonight, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t going to be me. I had far too much to live for. I took a deep breath and then took off the mask of the man.
To my utter despair, it was Paul. How had Paul gotten involved with trying to kill me?
It all made perfect sense now how they all had known so much about me. Still, Paul had been my best friend for years. I ran downstairs to find my cell phone and call for 911.
The dispatcher said they would be sending for someone as soon as possible.
I saw a large white truck coming towards my house, barreling down my street. I jumped into the road, flagging them down.
There was something strange about the truck. I realized when the headlights were no longer blinding my vision that it wasn’t the ambulance. I backed up onto the sidewalk and continued to look down the street for the ambulance. The truck did something strange, though. They stopped in front of me back up, so my view down the road was blocked.
A door to the back of the truck opened up.
There were two tall men dressed as clowns. One had blue hair and a red nose with what looked like blood around his mouth and dirty teeth. He grinned big at me. The other had on a red and yellow wig with green makeup. He looked more sinister than the other clown.
They stood looking at me, and then circus music began to play. I was annoyed by whatever joke they were trying to play, especially at a time like this. I could hear the ambulance now as it was making its way down my street. I tried to walk around the two stupid clowns. It was all so ridiculous to me.
That is when one of them grabbed me. I screamed for them to let me go! I had to help Paul! Then the other one helped get me by the legs. Before I knew it, I was no longer breathing.
I, Andrea Becker, died that night. I won’t bore you with the details. It was gruesome, and it was horrid. I have been missing for three years. I hope someone can see my story and relay what happened to me.
I’d like my parents to be able to have peace. We all deserve some peace.
I saw the book close on its own then. There were tears in my eyes as I read the last words of Andrea Becker.
I wasn’t sure how I could help, but I went over to my computer. There were numerous reports on the sightings of clowns in connection to missing children. I decided to search for the area combining missing person cases from around the region. I didn’t know how I was suddenly able to hack into systems using multiple databases, but I was doing it. For Andrea Becker’s sake, I was doing it.
That is when I found something very crucial. There were several sightings recently in my neighborhood. There were also six missing persons in a five-mile vicinity. I clicked, I typed, and I searched until I put the connections together. In all of the disappeared persons, there were three bodies found. One was of a seventeen-year-old female.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it would be the remains of Andrea Becker’s young body. I forwarded the information to the detective working the case. How had they not put it together on their own, I had no idea. I did now have gifts now that helped me help those who could not help themselves.
Later that night, there was a break in three of the missing person cases. No thanks to me. I was tired after Andrea Becker’s story.
That book never rests, though. Last night in the middle of the night, I heard music coming from somewhere.
It woke me from a dead sleep. I decided to find out what the matter was. It sounded like circus music.
I walked into my living room, and parked in front of my house was a white van with clowns in the driver's seat. I stared at them for a long while and then opened my front door.
Two maniacal clowns got out of the back, and as they slowly made their way towards my house, I let out a deep breath. Then I yelled.
I was using my new found thunderous gift their windows to the van all burst. They both held on to their ears as though they were in pain. I had no doubt why they were here.
I heard someone yell, “HELP ME, PLEASE!” It was a woman.
I became momentarily distracted by the sound of wailing behind me. Sad, painful wailing.
I looked away from the clown van towards the READ ME book on my couch. When I looked back toward the street, the van with the clowns was now long gone. I would see to it they were punished, but until then, I had other pressing business.
I picked up the book, and inside it, I read the chapter to the next story.
I was the Youngest Member of the Lunatic Asylum...
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