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It all started when I came across one picture, posted on one of those shock boards meant to get you to gag or freak out. I was your typical edgy teen back then, looking for the sickest gif’s that I could repost to our little group to reap the benefits.

And I’d seen it all, creepy/sketchy porn, animals being killed, people being beheaded/stabbed/maimed, people straight up just dying in accidents, it was like a sick drug and I couldn’t stop because it meant admitting I wasn’t edgy enough.

The picture was a classic meme template that just made me cringe a bit internally when I saw it, because it was so fucking shit. “Oh fucking hell how damn laaaaaame” I thought to myself as I looked at the picture of what seemed like a piece of styrofoam someone had drilled some holes into and photoshopped some bugs onto. Man that didn’t even fucking look real for a second.

And then the words “Observe the picture and then you’ll see them. But your mind forgets.” Like.. seriously that is the shittiest text for a meme ever. I reported the picture as “not gore” and kept browsing and later down in some posts it came up with someone responding “WTF it’s real?!”.

I smirked at the post, goddamn newbies trying to push memes. I fucking hated them, they always thought they had a creepy idea and that making it into a shitty meme template would somehow make it popular. Ech, I needed to take a piss. I got up and headed towards the toilet and stopped dead in my tracks in the hallway.

… oh god it was real. My hands started shaking uncontrollably as I saw it sitting straight in the hallway. White.. spongy, fucking shitty styrofoam texture. About knee-height too, just sitting there impossibly white and like some fucking weird termite nest. It couldn’t be… it .. no .. it had to be a fucking joke right? They were putting me on. But .. how? Had they remotely accessed my computer? I let out the air that I’d been keeping in my lungs and giggled to myself. They’d almost gotten me. Mother … fuckers.

Man, top tier troll that one. I was still shaking like a damn leaf when I went up to the thing and kicked it. Ow.. like fucking concrete! … as I recoiled from it a single thing crawled out from it.. it looked like an oversized bug… it chittered at me and suddenly I felt like shitting my pants.

That .. getting bugs into it would be too much. besides, it wouldn’t have stayed. Couldn’t have.

The phone rang and I looked away from the nest at it. What?! … I picked it up and it was a salesman ranting about insurance, I told him to go fuck off and hung up and looked again at the nest.. except now it wasn’t there. I walked over to the area where it’d been, expecting to bump up against it.. but it just .. wasn’t there.

I rubbed my eyes with hands that felt clammy, my entire body was shaking… this couldn’t be real. Fuck no… This .. no.. I was going crazy. Yeah this is how it started with delusions, first you saw shit that wasn’t real, then the voices would start. Oh god I was going crazy, I was losing it.

With legs that felt like pieces of wood, I made it back to my computer and opened up the post again. Deleted. Fuuuuuuuuck.. the panic set in for real. If I didn’t have the picture, I couldn’t see it right?

A few minutes later, it became apparent that the picture was completely gone from the board. Even clicking the other link references or checking the profile of the person posting it didn’t lead to anything. I tried the waybackmachine too, but it hadn’t have time to index either. I had to stop for a moment since my hands were shaking so damn bad. It felt like a nightmare, except SOMETHING was sitting in my damn hallway. Something I couldn’t see, or touch or.. even smell unless I had that picture!

Then relief washed over me as I remembered my browser cache. I silently thanked myself for being a lazy fuck as I headed into my temp directory and looked through all the cached pictures. I started shaking and feeling nauseous the second I got it up. I quickly mailed it to myself and copied it onto a USB memory as fast as I could. Shit.. shit shit shit.. it was real. It was actually fucking REAL!

I printed the picture and it came out a bit blurry, but otherwise OK. I slowly made my way into the hallway and looked at the nest again which was back. Shit… fucking shit… OK OK.. breathe.. I thought to myself, gotta keep it together, can’t freak the fuck out. If these bugs were dangerous they’d killed me by now right? … how long had they been there? Had they always been there?

As I made it into the hallway, the nest was back again, I gently touched it with my shoe again, just to convince myself that it wasn’t a joke. Nope, hard as concrete and stuck on my damn floor. I very carefully made my way past it and headed into my living room where I stopped dead in my tracks, pure panic flooding my system. Fuck fuck fuck fuck mother … fucking .. dick ass shit bitch fuck my brain ranted in a sort of dispassionate panic as I surveyed the room.

It was .. FULL of the nests of different shapes and sizes. Some were stuck on the ceiling above me, some even had this weird glow coming out of them. I stared at them, again almost absentmindedly thinking to myself that maybe .. just maybe I was going crazy. I took a long shaky breath and backed away. Oh god, I had to somehow get out of my apartment in some way without going into that room. Going in there meant death, I knew it, I’d seen enough creepy bug movies to know that. They’d wait for me to get to the middle of the room and then I’d be swarmed and .. eaten or something.

My phone.. yeah my phone, I got back to it and called my sister, who of course had her fucking phone turned off AGAIN. Shit shit shit, who else? I called my mother, no reply, I called my friend Kyle who almost immediately answered, thank fucking god. As I heard his voice go “Sup man?” I started explaining and after three seconds I heard “AHAHAH Psych man!” and a beep.

M-O-T-H-E-R-F-U-C-K-E-R!

I even briefly considered calling my dad at that point, but I decided that whatever this was, I couldn’t call the cops. Someone upstairs had to know about this shit. Had to have deleted that link to keep it secret. As I tried another friend, my mind started thinking about it, how could you keep something like this secret? WHY would you fucking keep this secret?

As someone finally answered, I silently thanked lady luck for not being a bitch for once. It was Baj an old Indonesian guy I’d met in a chat ages ago. Thank god for Baj. He sounded sleepy as he asked who it was. I told him it was me and that I needed him to see something right away.

He groaned, saying that it was 5 in the morning. Oh fuck, I’d forgotten about the time difference. I told him it was a matter of life and death, he groaned and told me I stopped needing to be so fucking dramatic. But after some more persuasion, he agreed to get online on chat so we could talk.

I hung up and made it back to my computer, never taking my eyes off the nest in my hallway, that fucking impossible thing. How.. why.. fucking hell. I tried to keep my thoughts from spinning out as I got my chat online with a giggle that didn’t exactly feel entirely sane. Again the thought of me having gone simply insane washed over me and I thought to myself that if Baj couldn’t see them.. then I’d call the cops and turn myself in as suicidal or something.

My thoughts kept spinning as his chat lit up with a “Hey man, are you OK? .. what did you wanna talk about?” without hesitating I sent him the picture immediately as an attachment and wrote “This is serious shit, once you look at this picture, you can see some freaky bugs and their nests. But somehow you can’t keep seeing them unless you look at the picture for a few minutes. Please tell me you can’t see them.”

A moment passed and then the reply came back “LOL, you seriously woke me up to fucking troll me bro? That’s the shittiest photoshop I’ve ever seen man, seriously you’re so fucking lame. Damn drama queen.”

I typed back at him, trying my best to convince him, to print out the picture and take a look around his apartment. After moment, he started figuring out that I thought it was real and told me he’d do it. I sat there, staring at my screen as the seconds ticked by. I looked out into the hallway, hoping the nest had gone away, but since I’d looked at the picture, it was still there. Almost feeling like it was defying my senses just by existing.

As the minutes started to pile up on me, I typed at him and asked if he was OK. No response. Then it became a quarter, then it going towards half an hour. oh god oh god oh god, oh god, fuck no.. something had happened to him.

I looked out into the hallway, still no movement from the nest. Whatever the bugs were, they were calm ones at least. What did they eat? I mean, for them hunting must be easy since nobody could see them right? I shivered. I had to do something. Fucking hell.. what was I supposed to do? I couldn’t go out there could I? They’d eat me like in one of those mummy movies. I knew it.

Then the most stupid thought hit me: “Ignorance is bliss”. I let out a shaky laugh, oh god that’d be the most stupid shit ever. I took a breath and shut down my computer and looked down into the desk. OK .. OK.. so.. I’d been living with them for god knows how long, but without dying. Clearly they didn’t think you a threat unless you could see them. Alright, if I could just get out of my apartment, thing’s be OK. Then I could tell everyone and warn them and get the cops on my side.

Once the lid was off the whole thing, they wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret. Fucking government and their sicko shit. They probably came up with it somehow in some crazy experiment.

I stopped my thoughts right there as I looked out the hallway, where again the nest had vanished. Good.. good.. out of sight out of mind. I laughed again nervously and thought to myself about how many shitty quotes I’d recited to myself until this was over. I went into my hallway again and got my coat and headed for the living room which was again the old familiar place where’d I’d spent so much time.. best not to think about them. Maybe even remembering them would make them show up again.

I quickly made it out of the apartment and onto the street. Late evening, no people outside. I immediately got out of the stairwell and then got the picture up from my pocket and looked at it again. Yeah, cheap styrofoam fuck nest, fuck you, fuck all of you fucking bugs that had taken over my apartment. I looked back at my apartment complex which looked normal. I looked around where I stood and again, it looked fine. No nests. I let out a sigh of relief and went back into the stairwell. When I opened the door I congratulated myself with a panicked thought because it was completely sealed off by a gigantic nest. Yeah.. whatever these things were, they had some kind of semblance of intelligence. Or maybe instinct. They stayed indoors apparently. I went to the next stairwell and opened the door, same thing. Oh god that had to be some kind of deliberate shit right?

I went down to the basement door and opened it, same. I felt my skin crawl as I got back up again to street level. An old man came riding on a bike, I tried to get his attention by showing him the picture, but he just went past me and went faster, no doubt convinced I was some crazy hobo.

With determination I made it downtown towards the police station by walking, I laughed to myself hysterically a few times when I realized that I’d forgotten my phone in my apartment. Fuck going back for that, fuck EVER going into that place again or any other for that matter.

My thoughts went to Baj and what’d happened to him. Maybe he’d been eaten or something. My thoughts turned up one gruesome horror movie theory after another until I tried to mentally straighten myself out. This was reality, not some shitty gore flick. These things were real weren’t they? You could look at the picture and then see them. Whatever made them invisible also affected the rest of your senses too somehow. It was impossible it was insane, it was so crazy.

I stopped a woman and her two kids coming from somewhere and asked her if she’d please look at the picture and tell me if she saw the same thing as I did. She was skeptical as fuck, but still obliged. As I opened the door to a nearby stairwell and pointed at the nest covering the entrance, her and the kid’s eyes widened. Then she turned back to me and asked how I’d done it.

It took me a while to realize that she thought she was being pranked. As I tried to assure her that I was serious, her two kids had walked up to the nest and tried hitting it with rocks and screamed at it in delight. I watched in horror as they touched the surface with their hands which caused the bugs to swarm out from it and over them. As the kids screamed in terror and tried to run away, I backed off further into the street. Oh god, I knew it, I’d known it all along, fucking freaky shits!

The mother screamed at the top of her lungs and tried to get the bugs off her kids, but that of course just led to her being bit by them, ,one by one they collapsed onto the street as more bugs now came out of the doorway, pushing open the door with their insane flooding and just covered the bodies, no doubt eating them. My mind felt like it was melting away as I saw the bodies eventually being dragged closer to the nests. My whole body was shaking with fear, oh god, this was crazy, so fucking crazy. My palms were sweaty as fuck and I felt like passing out. No no no, I slapped myself back into reality. No fainting here. Fuck, no fainting at all!

I needed to get to the cops, so without wasting another second I made it the rest of the way to the station which was lit up like a damn christmas tree, assuming you had neon lights in it or something. I sighed in relief, I’d go in, show the cops the .. oh fuck…

I looked at the glass windowed entrance which was covered in yet another nest. Right. OK.. yeah that’d be a problem. I took another deep breath to myself and put the photo back in my pocket again. A few minutes later I looked at the entrance and the nest was gone. Alright.. great.. fantastic, awesome. That was their weakness too. Those fucking things couldn’t affect you if they couldn’t see you. It went two ways, it went TWO WAYS! I giggled to myself again as I went into the police station proper and walked up to a desk clerk that looked like he’d seen everything and then some.

As he asked me what he could help me with, I put the photo down on the desk and told him to look at it and then look at the doorway behind me. I told him not to freak out and to stay very still. I looked away from the photo as he pulled it up and looked at it and then at me and then told me with a bored tone of voice that pranks at this hour wasn’t really a cool thing to do.

I picked up the picture with hands that felt like they were a million miles away from my body and I looked at it. It was blank, completely blank. My mouth felt dry as the Sahara desert on a warm summer day when I looked back at his bored face in panic. I tried to say something but the shock of it all finally overwhelmed me as the darkness swept in from the right all of a sudden.

Next thing I knew, I woke up with a start and tried to sit up, except I couldn’t because I was tied down to a stretcher. I tried to say something but my throat still felt dry and I could only get out a weak croak. My clothes were gone, replaced with some kind of hospital scrub. Oh fuck no .. no no no no, not this, not here!

As the doctor came in through the door, smiling at me over his steel-rimmed glasses, I felt my mind again trying to freak out. For the next hour and a half, I tried my best to explain in as much of a rational tone as possible (with only minor giggling) what’d happened. Then he started asking questions about things, and with each question it became more and more apparent that he didn’t believe me. I told him that I still had the damn picture in my coat.. and then I remembered it’d been blank and I got silent for a long while.

I looked the doctor straight in the eyes as I asked him the dreadful question on my mind:

“Alright Doc, how fucking crazy am I?”

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