Millions of questions are racing around my head quicker than the particles in the Hadron Collider. With each conclusion I come to I find another question to ask. How does this person know me? Why would they have something I wrote on my personal social media account and hand it to me? Is this merely a coincidence? This process is similar to nuclear fission, and it becomes a never ending cycle. Suddenly I don’t feel safe in this dark alleyway, I am exposed from both sides, front and back. I just want to be on my own in a place where nobody can see me. With no consideration towards how shifty I look running out of a dark alleyway I feel as though I am alone despite being surrounded by hundreds of people in the city centre. Out of breath I make it to the bus stop, anxious that there doesn’t seem to be a bus in sight. I hunch myself on the notice board as I read the timetable, which shows me that the next one should be here in seven minutes. I need to calm down. So I close my eyes and count to ten.
As I reach ten I open my eyes and take a deep breath. Even though I look distressed, nobody seems to be noticing me. Everybody has their face buried in their mobile phones, and if they’re not looking at them they’re wired up with earphones or headphones and completely oblivious to the surrounding environment. Suddenly a loud noise can be heard from behind me. On my guard I jump and turn my neck around, similar to the way a wise owl would do. Much to my relief it’s just a baby in its pram crying. It becomes clear that the baby’s mother dislikes the sound of the crying, so in protest she takes another phone out her pocket and hands it to the distressed baby, whos face lights when the theme song of probably their favourite game rings out.
I must’ve been fixated on this baby and its mother for quite a while because the seven minutes that just passed seemed like mere seconds. After paying and running upstairs to the top of the bus I feel exposed again. I feel exposed sitting on a vehicle that travels on a set path, surrounded by glass windows that allow people from all angles to see me, even if I can’t see them. To pass the time, I conform with the rest of the people on the bus and put my earphones in.
After the zoned out bus journey, I find myself walking through my jungle of a garden and into my home. Ignoring the mountain of letters in the doorway, I pull out my phone to have a quick conversation with myself on social media as I walk upstairs to my room.
“Wow, something very weird happened to me today” I type, as I slump on the bed. As I get caught up in reflecting upon my bizarre day and scrolling down the timeline, a heavy tiredness grabs my body and before I know it I’m in the midst of a deep sleep, however this satisfying sleep soon stops as my phone starts to ring out loud.
Fearing the phone call might be an important one, I rummage around the bed searching for the vibrating phone and to my horror, I see the caller ID shows my own number. This oddity sparks a reaction in my body. My temperature which was as stable as a dormant volcano feels as though it’s slowly beginning to rise due to a dark fear. With my fingers sweating, I swipe to answer the call. I try to speak but my voice has been kidnapped. The other end of the line is also silent. The mutual silence speaks a thousand words.
“So you think I’m weird?” an ominous voice mutters in a low tone, “There’s nothing weird about me”.
At this point, my temperature has soared to an unbelievable height. The torrent of fiery blood has erupted and my body has been engulfed in a blaze. I frantically try to ask who the other voice is but the only words I can say are unrecognisable.
“There is nothing weird about me” the voice responds, “I am merely a creation of you”
Before I can ask one of the many questions buzzing around my head, the voice speaks again.
“Every time you share information online, I grow. Whenever you update your personal data, I find another way to manipulate you. When you speak your mind on social media, I learn about the way your subconscious mind works. I am not a virtual representation of your online personality. I am a living being who feeds off your every move. There is nothing you can do to terminate me.”
The phone call ends and I am left with a deafening silence.