My name is Chloe. I am a twenty-two-year-old college student from Minneapolis, and I am addicted to the internet. I keep a YouTube channel that I update every month with parodies of popular TV shows and the occasional video in which I address my viewers directly. Lately, however, something truly bizarre has been disrupting my channel.
It was the morning after I had uploaded a new video to my channel. It had been a thank-you to my viewers for helping me reach 100,000 subscribers, along with a montage of myself doing silly things my fans had suggested in the comments. So it came as a surprise when I checked how many views the video had and found it had more dislikes than likes. I had always put a lot of work into my videos, and my subscribers were fiercely loyal, so I failed to see how a video made specifically for them could be received so poorly. Looking through the comments, I saw dozens of phrases like "I don't get it" and "What's this supposed to be?" When I scrolled back up to the video, I realized it was not the one I had uploaded last night.
The video I had uploaded was five minutes long, with the title, "THANK YOU!" The video on my screen now was sixteen minutes long, and its title was just a time stamp. I went back to the previous page and saw that the real video was indeed on my channel, but this anomaly had been uploaded since then. Curious to see what it was, I clicked on the video and began to watch. My screen showed a girl busily typing away at a computer: me. Nothing happened for the entire duration of the video, and it ended abruptly and without explanation. I realized I must have left my camera running while I was editing "THANK YOU!" and somehow uploaded the junk footage with the intended video. After posting a comment apologizing for my mistake, I grabbed my textbooks and went to school for the day. I would delete the video when I had time that evening.
When I got home, I spent the next few hours finishing my homework and tidying my room. I ate a quick supper cobbled together from random stuff in the fridge, and got right back to work on my channel. I glared with frustration at the screen when I found that another unwanted video had been uploaded. This one was just over three hours long. It began with me lying on the floor, flipping through a textbook. Later, it showed me walking around my room, reorganizing my bookshelf and picking up the clothes I had worn yesterday. Near the end of the video, I walked out of the room, probably to get some supper.
What was going on with my computer? I had not even touched it since this morning. I had to do something about that camera, or it would only have been a matter of time before a video was posted of me changing my clothes or drying off after a shower. I delved into the innards of my laptop, trying to find the cancerous bit of code responsible for those accidental videos. I must have gone through every program and file three times over, but everything seemed to be in order. I gave up around midnight. I had a class at 8:30 the next morning, and I needed sleep. I put a sheet of paper in front of my camera so that, even if it did upload another video, my viewers would not see anything I did not want them to see. Exhausted, I turned off the lights and went to sleep.
I checked my channel before school the next morning. For some reason, it was exploding with activity. Every time I clicked the refresh button, the latest upload on my channel had a hundred new views. But how could a six-hour video with a solid black thumbnail and a time stamp for a title be so popular? I started the video, but nothing appeared to be happening. I looked in the comments for an explanation:
"Have you lost it? Why would you post this?"
"What happened to the old videos? Is this some kind of joke?"
"I don't know what's going on..."
(Reply) "Do you see it?"
(Reply) "See what?"
(Reply) "30:18. Watch closely."
I skipped half an hour into the video, staring hard at the seemingly dead screen. Suddenly, it looked like something was moving. It was a hardly visible black-on-black shift that only lasted a few seconds, but when it was over, I could recognize the faint outlines in the darkness. It was my room, and the movement had been me, shifting in my sleep. How could the camera have seen this? Was the paper I had put in front of it not thick enough?
When the Chloe in the video shifted again, I froze. The camera angle in this video was different from the others. My bed could not be seen from my camera. This video had been taken from my bedroom window.