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Remember this: Behind the eyes of the Statue of Liberty in the ancient City of New York lies a dodecagon with a terrifying power - whosoever looks at it will perish violently, for it does not wish to be seen.

New York City, Statue of Liberty

I'm not gonna lie, I've been staring at this prompt for a few days, and it's really hard to work with.

See, I have to follow the prompt or I can't post the story, but I also wanna tell the story a certain way so I can finally get it off my chest. So prepare to throw away everything you know about New York City.

I bet your first question is "Why do you have to follow the prompt?" Well, like the prompt says, there's a dodecagon which hates being seen, and it's behind the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. That dodecagon is vetting every single word I type.

You might think it's not true. Great, that's fine, because it's not. The point is that the dodecagon needs you to picture that specific set of ideas. Imagine New York City - the skyline, the smells, the steam. Imagine staring into the Statue of Liberty's eyes and seeing a dodecagon there. That's the entire point of this story, the message it wants to send, so you can stop reading here if you want.

Thank god it's letting me keep writing. The only caveat is that I have to keep up the whole New York City shtick. Bear with me, because I don't know that much about New York City.

You know people think there are alligators in the sewers of New York City? Imagine if, instead, the myth was about the Statue of Liberty. Yeah, alligators in the Statue of Liberty. On the 11th of March 2020, a group of five teens from my borough (it's forcing me to use this word, just assume it's like a small town) went out to the Statue of Liberty to find the alligators. I don't know why they did it, or if they were the first, and I can't ask anymore. It took a long time, so they must've looked all over the Statue of Liberty until they managed to get from the crown into the head. They were running through the streets as they came back into the town, telling everyone that they shouldn't go to the Statue of Liberty and that they hadn't seen anything there. One of them ran up to me and grabbed me by the shoulders. "Please don't go into the Statue of Liberty, okay? There's no point to doing it." He was a head taller than me. His face and voice were insanely calm, considering how fast he was running and how he was squeezing my shoulders too hard, like he was trying to anchor himself to me. His pupils were subtly changing in size almost every second, and he was twitching like he was about to jump sideways.

I don't even remember how they died, because of everything that happened afterwards. I think they were all dead within a week, though, which made people suspicious. Maybe if there had been more time between the deaths, this would have been the end of it. I wish it had been. Instead, a bunch of adults went out to the Statue of Liberty later to figure out what had caused all of this. My mom was one of them, which is why I know the exact day everything went out of hand - the 24th of March, 2020. She told me they'd picked that day because they were planning to scout out the area for further action on the weekend. I tried to talk her out of it, and I wonder sometimes if that's why I'm lucid right now.

The dodecagon controls people by slipping thoughts into their head. It's doing that right now, making me think "I want to mention the Statue of Liberty here" only to snap out of it a few seconds later. The first time it did that, I was in school when I felt like going back home. I stood up, and so did everybody else in class. The teacher let us all go, and I went to my room and shut the door after "realizing" my door was locked from the outside. I say "realizing" because it wasn't actually locked, and it couldn't have been locked. The dodecagon just made me think it was.

After a day and a half of staring at the wall like a statue, no thoughts at all in my head, I opened the door and went to the town square, where everyone in the borough had gathered. There, the people who had launched the investigation were sitting on their knees in a line with their heads bowed. The dodecagon's hold on me was so strong that I couldn't even recognize my mother at first. When I finally could, I noticed someone was coming towards them with an axe. Other than him, everyone else was standing stock still with their eyes darting around. I watched in horror as the person started hacking at each person's neck, slowly beheading them. Nobody else was able to move anything but their eyes until the executioner turned the axe on himself. At that point, people ran to the road, their houses, the woods, but I just ran to my mom. I sobbed in her lap, wishing I'd convinced her to stay. But nowadays, I think she would've been killed early even if she'd stayed. Cold comfort, I know.

You might be wondering how this could happen in an entire borough of New York City without anyone noticing. If that's the case, I want to clarify something. The dodecagon doesn't care about logic, only vibes. It wants me to use New York City words, and Statue of Liberty words, and the word "dodecagon" over and over again, to create an image in your brain. So instead of trying to type something that it immediately deletes, I'll just say that my "borough" wasn't actually that important, and everyone in my "borough" moving away wouldn't register as a problem. As long as it happened somewhat naturally, people would just assume everyone had moved away or passed away.

It was a project that took years. They hacked apart old people and small children and dug empty graves to keep up appearances. I watched them give transorbital lobotomies to each other or even themselves. All the while, when someone came from out of town, they'd act completely normally and pretend that people had died naturally or moved out. Sometimes I was the one participating in the slaughter, tearing off a five-year-old's leg as she stayed eerily silent or cutting up someone's old clothes and burying them in someone else's grave, but I was never on the receiving end. At one point, I stared in the direction of the Statue of Liberty and asked, "Why are other people getting lobotomized while I'm completely fine?" After a few seconds, I had the thought, I never tried to go to another borough or town and talk about what had happened, and I never tried to go into the Statue of Liberty to see the dodecagon. I'm not sure if that's my thought or if the dodecagon planted it there. Maybe I've just gone insane, or maybe the dodecagon likes making people feel that way.

Take my theories with a grain of salt, but I think I know why the dodecagon is doing all of this. You may have heard of an antimeme - something that erases itself from people's minds. I guess you could describe the dodecagon as an antimeme, but that's not quite right. The dodecagon wants to be an antimeme. It hates being remembered, hates being in people's minds. But it can't actually erase itself from people's minds, so it erases the minds, so to speak. It destroys the town, slowly murders all the people in a way that makes it look like nothing really went wrong to any outsiders. It lets only one person live, in order to send the following message: New York City, Statue of Liberty, dodecagon. A tangible image of exactly where and what it wants to convey. The banal truth doesn't matter when the story is that vivid.

There has to be a better way to escape detection than killing everyone who can see it, but I don't think the dodecagon cares enough about people to figure it out. I wonder sometimes if it would kill all life on this planet if enough people knew about what the "dodecagon" in "New York City" in the "Statue of Liberty" actually is. Even I don't know exactly where it is, because I've never looked for it. I don't think anybody should see it, and I'm pretty sure that's why it keeps letting me live. Even when I'm lucid, I act like its puppet. I tried to stop my mom from looking at it that day. I never tried to go anywhere outside the town, either to escape or to see where the dodecagon is in the Statue of Liberty. I never even tried to stop what it was doing to the town. I want to take responsibility for everything I've done no matter how much of my thoughts have actually come from the dodecagon. It just seems right to blame myself for this somehow. Maybe that's why I've kept writing this for so long.

New York City, Statue of Liberty

The lobotomized shell of my father is keeping me alive, cooking and cleaning for me. Every day, I wake up to his unsettling grin as he says, "Are you done?" That's the only human interaction I've had in months. I keep writing and writing, not sure whether I want to stay alive in this decaying borough or die like everything else. I guess I'm finally willing to do the latter. Everyone has to die sometime. I'll finally post this, and I'll go into the Statue of Liberty, and I'll put an end to this whole horrible affair.

Remember this: Behind the eyes of the Statue of Liberty in the ancient City of New York lies a dodecagon with a terrifying power - whosoever looks at it will perish violently, for it does not wish to be seen.

Cc-zero Squidmanescape has released this story under the CC0 license. This text has had its copyright protection revoked and can be freely distributed and modified by anyone who wishes to use it, depending on the laws and restrictions of their jurisdiction.