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It’s strange, really, viewing it from an outsider’s prospective. Looking back with clear vision, rather than the distorted lenses that my childhood provided, seemed to have shown me how it all started. It began when I was of the young age of 11, going on 12, right before the turn of the millennium, 1999. This had been around the time I began to be more entranced with the Internet, specifically an AOL chat room.  From the time I discovered the chat room to very recently, I had this insatiable feeling of dread. I can’t exactly pin point how it felt; all I know is that it started out very small, and for the most part it stayed relatively so.

The computer I had been using for the AOL chat room was in my family’s finished basement. My family, consisting of my father, mother, and sister, hadn’t used it very much, and neither did I until a friend of mine introduced me to the chat room. I had created an account under my username tommyC100. The posts that had been put up had fascinated me. The computer began to be my primary source of entertainment. I would be glued onto it until my bedtime. After my family would go to sleep, I would sneak downstairs to the basement, only to log back in.

It was 12:30 at night when I went downstairs to log in. The chat room seemed to be pretty empty. Which seemed unusual, but this wouldn’t keep me from staying online. I ended up falling asleep at the keyboard. I woke to see that there was a new message, it was 2:00 now.

Onlinehost: tommyC100 has entered the room.

Onlinehost: davecanon808 has entered the room.

davecanon808: hello is anyone still here?

davecanon808: helo?????

tommyC100: oh hi.

davecanon808: im glad to see someone is up. how are u tonight?

tommyC100: im ok.

davecanon808: that’s good. ive seen some of your posts during the day. i think they’re pretty funny.

tommyC100: thanks. im not sure ive seen you active in the chat.

davecanon808: yeah im not that active. how old are u

tommyC100: 11. ehy

tommyC100: *why

davecanon808: no reason. u just seem mature is all.

The first seed of that feeling of dread and disturbance was planted in me when the conversation with this user, davecanon808, whose name in real life had been Dave Canon, had begun. I had continued to chat with him through a private chat for the next couple of weeks or so. We traded personal interests, and he and I became rather good friends; however, the feeling had never subsided. I ended up bringing up this feeling to my father. Whenever I had any questions or concerns, I always brought it up to him, because I had great reverence for my father. He was kind, wise, and very articulate. When I brought up this feeling to him, I, being a kid with less than admirable social skills, had explained it in a way that caused great misinterpretation. My father seemed distressed. He sat me down and gave me the talk. He diagnosed that feeling as my lust, and told me how it worked. He advised me in my decision making for the future with this feeling in mind. Since I didn’t know anything about sex or about this feeling that I had, I merely accepted it as truth. While he and I were talking through it, I neglected to mention anything about the chat room, because to me they had no relevance, and the fact that the feeling came about whilst in the chat room was only a coincidence.

I got on the chat room at 12:30 as I usually do. I was in the midst of a private chat with Dave again.

davecanon808: so where do u live?

tommyC100: in north carolina. in mint hill

davecanon808: cool! we should meet up

tommyC100: do u live near here?

davecanon808: sure do. do you know the park on wilgrove?

tommyC100: yea. i live next to it.

davecanon808: nice. wanna meet there this friday?

tommyC100: no. how about sunday?

davecanon808: cool. and you can walk there?

tommyC100: yup. see u then. where will u be?

davecanon808: by the sign. ill have on a cowboy hat. be there at 2:30

tommyC100: ok see u then.

Onlinehost: davecanon808 has left the room.

I found this to be a bit odd. Our whole conversation was a miniscule 35 minutes. We normally chat for a solid hour and a half. I shrugged it off, and powered down the system and went to bed.

For the next half-week or so Dave was not messaging me, and, despite this, my feeling of unsettledness continued to grow greater and greater day by day, up to Sunday.

My family and I came back from our church service, and we had just entered into the family room. Normally after our church services, we had a “family time” as we call it. I asked my mom if I could go to Wilgrove with a friend. My mother said yes, which was a little surprising, as she never let me do anything during family time. Looking back on it now, I see that she was happy that I was finally getting out more, since I had been on my computer all the time.

I showed up at the park. I was incredibly worried about it all, being that he hadn’t messaged me for the past 4 days. I also didn’t know what he would be like in person. I walked around for a little bit looking for him, but I couldn’t find him.

I decided to turn back and go back to my house, but as I turned I saw a tall man with pale skin, a potbelly, and a big cowboy hat reading a tiny black book. I knew it was he, so I approached him.

“Dave?” I sheepishly asked him.

“That’s right,” he replied in a heavy southern accent, to which I was relieved, “You seem even better than I thought.”

“Um, wha-“

“How ‘bout this, Tommy. You and me take a road trip. I got somethin’ real special for you at my house.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a surprise! Now c’mon, quit dilly-dallyin’.”

We walked to a pickup truck that was in a very worn teal color. I jumped inside the passenger seat and sat on the leather seats. They were old and cracking. We went on our way. I wasn’t sure where exactly we were going.

4 hours has passed. I must’ve fallen asleep. The setting sun was lingering behind the mountains, making the sky illuminate an orange-pink color. We were venturing down a 2-lane road with many potholes. The road was empty, and eerily so. The disturbing feeling I had continued to wax as the moon in the sky. We approached an old single-story home on the side of the road.

“You awake kid?” asked Dave.

“Um, yeah.”

We got out of the truck and proceeded to head inside of the house. As I stepped foot into the house, I was met with a foul odor. It was gut wrenching. He led the way through the old house. The walls seemed stained, and the carpet was a dark shade of beige with dark spots here and there. He navigated us to the basement. I saw many candles lining the unfinished basement. In the center of the room was a wooden table, and a strange star shape was painted in dark red on the back wall.

“Now lay down there, boy. We’re gunnuh play a lil’ game here in a second.” He gestured towards the table.

“What’s all this for?” I asked.

“Our game. It’s all very important. Now lay down.”

I had lay down. I was there for a solid 5 minutes. He was facing the back wall whilst he continued to read that little black book he had in the park.

“What’s that book?” I asked, confused.

“The instructions.” His voice seemed different. I became terrified, and that uneasy feeling was dramatically exploding inside of me.

He turned around approached the table. I saw a massive head of a dog with rows of small, sharp teeth. His eyes were black holes, sucking up any emotion he had ever had. He wore a grin that can only be described as pure evil. He had a knife in his right hand, and proceeded to lift it in the air preparing to stab me.

I seemed to have gone unconscious and immediately I started to dream. I was strapped in a chair and Dave’s new incarnation was pacing back and forth in front of me.

“Thomas, how would you like it if you never saw you family again? And what if they will feel the pain and guilt of your coming death for the rest of their lives? What if I personally kill them myself? Or what if that can all be prevented? Which one would you like? Pick one, you’ll make the right decision,” I remained silenced. The  dreadful feeling was dramatically multiplying. “You’re a waste of life. You’re going to go to Hell with the rest of your family. Unless… you repeat after me: ‘Ego sum Deus’.”

The feeling that had been building had suddenly surged throughout my body. I bellowed out as loud as I could, “No! Fugare diabolus , ad infernum!”

I woke up quickly, only to see that I am in the exact same position. Dave was still above me with a knife, about to impale me, its as if not a single moment passed by. The only difference between the pre and post dream was that Dave no longer had the look of a demon. Instead, his face went back to the pale southern man he was. His expression was empty and he looked like shell of a being. I also was relieved of that feeling of dread. I felt almost at peace. He proceeded to thrust the knife towards my chest.

And here I am now. That’s the last thing I can recall before I woke up here in the afterlife. It’s strange, really, viewing it from an outsider’s prospective. Looking back with clear vision, rather than the distorted lenses that my mortality provided, seemed to have shown me how it all started and ended.

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