I don't expect any of you to believe what I'm writing here. What happened to me, what I went through... it never reached any mainstream media. It never got reported in any way; it wasn't even touched on, not even in a quick scroll-by on the news sidebar. It's been about a week now, and nobody seems to be talking about it anywhere on the internet. Either it's been covered up completely, or everybody involved has already decided that it's better if it flew under the radar.
I'm not ready to give up on this story. People need to know what happened, the families of the victims deserve closure for their loved ones.
It started a couple months ago, though the incident didn't occur until just last week. I worked at a small convenience store, a mom and pop place called Smoke Stop. Classy, I know. It was a tiny place, more of a corner store than a convenience store; still, it served its purpose well enough, and we had a decent local customer base. I remember my manager, Gary, looking for new tech to help out with the day to day business operations: new registers, automatic doors, stuff along that line.
Not even a day after he began toying with the idea of updating the store, NewGen Tech showed up at our doorstep. I'd never seen their brand before, much less heard of it. A representative from the company arrived at the store, pushing his way straight into Gary's office in the name of urgent business. A couple of us tried listening in on what they were talking about, seeing as how my coworkers were just as clueless about NewGen as I was; whatever they were, none of us had ever heard of anything related to that company. It rubbed us the wrong way, and we wanted to get to the bottom of it; try as we might, we couldn't pick out any concrete info from Gary's conversation with the representative. The representative left just as quickly as he had come, and Gary didn't leave his office for the rest of the day.
The next morning, NewGen was back; this time, they were making a delivery. I was working an opening shift that day, so I was the one who had to greet them at the door.
"What's this?" I remember asking the delivery man as his associates wheeled several rectangular boxes towards the door.
"New sound system," the man said without looking up from his clipboard, "says here that your manager Gary already signed for it. These guys bringing it over are gonna install it for you. Sign here, so the higher ups know you got the package?"
I signed, and the man nodded for the other men to bring the boxes in. They quickly set to work, removing a set of sleek black speakers from the boxes; there were four in total, and their plan was to put one in each corner of the store. It's what Gary had been talking to the representative about, apparently; the speakers would play popular music as a way to subliminally keep people inside longer.
Speaking of Gary, he never showed up for work; one of my coworkers received an email from him, saying that he had been pulled away for a family emergency, and that he could very well be gone for several months.
Great, I thought to myself, just one more problem for the rest of us.
As the weeks passed and we struggled with the issue of not having a manager, I began to take notice of the positive effects the speakers were having. The music did seem to entice customers, and regulars who would previously only make quick stops were staying much longer than usual. One odd thing I did notice, however, is that I didn't actually recognize any of the songs being played. The guy who installed them had mentioned popular music, and admittedly I'm not the most die hard pop fan, but I couldn't tell you what any of these songs were. They all seemed to follow the same, simple drum beat, with synthesized electronic beats overlayed and very quiet vocals. The mix of contrasting noises would often give the songs a low droning effect that would drag on and on throughout the day. It drove me and my coworkers insane, but the customers didn't seem to notice. We never got any complaints, with a lot of people insisting that it made the store a thousand times better; at the time, it seemed like almost everything was looking up for our little store.
More time went on, and we began to notice that the faint buzzing noise in each song was getting stronger; not only that, but the people could discern it now too. Customers became more quick tempered, and though not outright aggressive, there was definitely a big spike in anger or frustration from almost everybody who entered the store. We chalked it up to people finally getting wise about how shitty the music was, but we didn't know the half of it.
Then came the day. It makes my hands feel cold just to write that, having to remember it all...
It was about a week ago. The store was packed, which, for a small place like ours, meant ten people. The music was playing like it always did, its unrecognizable lyrics and pounding beat filling the tiny space. I was working the cash register, ringing up a guest's Cherry Coke, when the speakers all cut out. All at once, the music stopped; right away, I noticed that the familiar buzzing was still playing, even though the music had stopped. The drumbeat came back, but it was different in rhythm; it pulsed in two quick beats, then a lull. It sounded almost like a heartbeat.
Then... then came the voice. It spoke firmly across all four speakers, the buzzing and drumming continuing under it.
"They're coming to kill you," it said plainly, "they're on their way right now. Right this very moment."
I glanced nervously to my coworker, but she met my gaze with an equally confused look and mouthed "what the fuck?" to me. The customer I was ringing up, he had a different look in his eyes: he looked violent, to put it simply. He was clenching the counter and grinding his teeth, with a wild look in his eyes as he nervously eyed up the other customers behind him.
"You know that you're in danger," the voice persisted, "they're going to catch you, and they're going to kill you. You understand, don't you?"
The other customers began growing restless. One man accidentally bumped shoulders with another, causing them to nearly begin fighting. They stopped, however, once the voice picked back up with a new message:
"They just got in!" the voice exclaimed. "They're all around you now. Can you feel them sizing you up? They're looking at you because they want to find out how your skin tastes!"
"Stay back! You won't kill me!" a woman screamed, shoving a man down as she ran towards the door. She pulled at them endlessly, screaming something about us all being locked in.
One of the last things I remember from that day is looking at my coworker once again- no longer out of confusion, but with the most genuine dread I'd ever felt.
"They look like people," the voice continued, "they act like people! And now they've locked you in with them. There's only one way out..."
Almost against my will, I could feel my blood beginning to boil. My vision began greying out as I felt a surge of anger overtake me.
"...kill them all to save yourself!"
The last thing I remember is vaulting over the countertop, landing on one of the customers as we both screamed in rage.
When I came to, I was laying across a pile of bricks. The front facade of the store had been completely ripped apart, and a limp body hung halfway out of the broken glass window. I soon realized that I was surrounded entirely by corpses; from what I could see, they all died from attack wounds. The man next to me, the man I remembered attacking before I blacked out... his throat had been torn out, his white shirt soaked in his own blood. I looked down at my hands, also caked in blood, and the connection nearly made me vomit.
"Ok," a voice called out from outside the store, "psychosis experiment #003 looks to be a success."
A man stepped into the building, carefully stepping over a corpse splayed out in the open doorway. He wore a black tactical suit and a white hazmat mask, and he carried a notebook that he continuously scribbled on.
"Subjects resorted to hand to hand," he remarked, "all subjects dece-"
He stopped, turning over to look at me. I couldn't see his face through the mask, but his body language gave off an air of disbelief.
"Scratch that," he said to himself as he crossed out some writing in his notebook, "test subject #009 is alive with minimal injuries."
He walked over to where I was laying, and crouched down, placing the notebook in front of me.
"Sign this, please." he said casually, forcing a pen into my bloodied hand and guiding it along the paper. It was sloppy and not at all my signature, but the man seemed satisfied with it.
"Thanks. Now, let's get you cleaned up."
He helped me to my feet, guiding me out the door and past the bodies that lay crumpled all around the store. There were other men dressed like him waiting for me; as they loaded me into the back of a black van, I noticed that they all had an insignia patched onto the left shoulder of their uniforms:
Like I said, this all happened last week. I thought the guys in the van were gonna abduct me, or extradite me to some secret lab or something, but they just... drove me back to my apartment building. I'm not sure how they knew where I lived, but they acted like nothing had ever happened. Somehow, I imagine that's how they wanted it to seem.
I've had a full week to think back on that day, and the big questions are still floating around in my head: what happened in the time that I blacked out? Did Gary know that this would happen with the speakers? The man who found me said "psychosis experiment #003..." have there been others? Will there be more?
The only question I've sort of solved is the question of what the man made me sign: I'm almost certain it was some kind of non-disclosure agreement to keep me quiet about all this. I don't care if I'm breaking that with this post, I need to tell somebody, anybody, about what happened.
Like I said, I don't expect this post to gain traction; if anything, NewGen has probably seen it already and is going to get it deleted before circling back to my place and making me disappear. They knew where I lived after all, a thought that continues to keep me up at night.
If nothing else, please, please just take my word on this: do NOT trust NewGen Tech. Don't solicit any offers from them, don't make any deals with them, just DON'T.
It's too late for me, but it doesn't have to be for you. When they see this, and I know they will, there's no telling what they'll do to me. But I know that it's worth a try to get this message out there, and I know one other thing for certain:
They're coming to kill me.