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You’re relentless, really. I wish you would just leave me alone. You’re going to get caught. You’re good, I’ll give you that. A commendable caitiff, a skilled scoundrel. I don’t know how you’ve managed to get this far and make my heart eager to escape the walls of my chest. I swear I’ve never been this terrified for my life. You will get caught, you will. I’m going to make sure of it, even if I end up dead.
June 8th, 8:02 AM. That was the dire morning when I found the first little note you left me. I remember exactly how you placed it. The faded yellow Post-it was partially stuck on to my torn copy of A Clockwork Orange. The sticky and curled paper was slightly angled towards the left corner of my home office. You knew my eyes would fall right where you wanted them to. You know everything about me and it scares me senseless.
There, in smudged black ink, were the biting words: “ERNEST R. WELSH. YOU ARE BEING WATCHED.”
How ironic, that was the first time someone left me a note in 55 years. Back in 1962, when I was around eight years old, my mother used to leave me messages on napkins inside my lunch bag. Nothing was more warming than to reach in the brown paper bag, listen to it crinkle like sparklers on Independence Day, and pull out a handwritten note from mother. Nobody ever cared for me as she did. My mother had the most beautiful, kind, but broken soul. I was all she had left for God’s sake; my disgusting excuse for a father left her before I was born. My lovely mother worked a steady job playing the piano at fancy funerals in Orlando. I would often wonder why she chose ceremonies of death over performing at weddings or parties, but it seems to make sense now. In 1964, she killed herself on my tenth birthday. All of a sudden I was alone. I had no remaining family or friends. I don’t blame her though, she was in tremendous emotional pain and leaving me to care for myself was the best thing she could have done for me. Ever since that dark year I’ve preferred to be alone. I went from foster home to foster home, but I always isolated myself from any emotional connection with anyone else. Relationships always have seemed like a waste of time to me - why in the world would I share my darkest secrets with someone just to lose them in time? When I turned 18, I took the large mass of money my mother left me and I moved to the outskirts of Los Angeles. Things are better this way...I do better by myself.
I still recall how you made my heart sink with that first note. Unlike my late mother’s, your messages weren’t loving or comforting. Each word was devious and appeared to come out of a monster’s mind. How did you know my pen name? I had just started my first book last week and I hadn’t told a soul about the name I intended to publish under. Hell, I never even wrote it down. Why wouldn’t you refer to me as Ralph McMurphy, my actual name? Do you know what it’s about too? That would be ironic. I’m writing about the greatness of solitude, and here you are invading my beloved space. You’re in my thoughts. How are you in my thoughts?
That night, I felt an intense pressure penetrate my chest, almost like your presence was there pushing down on it. Paranoia followed me like a lost puppy down the hallways in my secluded Los Angeles home. I wasn’t alone anymore in my isolate 3,164 square-foot hideout. I checked every window, closed. Every door, locked. Gates, shut. You couldn’t have broken in, there was no way you possibly could have managed. I haven’t even been able to sleep for the past four nights. Surely, I would have seen you infiltrate my safe space and leave a disturbing present on my favorite novel. And surely, I would have heard you leave through my heavy, rusty doors.
Over the next week, more ominous notes started to make themselves present in my home. On a wrinkled paper inside the bathroom, you told me that I wasn’t safe living here. On a Post-It placed on my phone, you threatened to kill me if I called the police. Similar threats appeared day by day with no trace of you leaving them for me. You were playing a game with my head. How brave you must be to invade a struggling writer’s mind. As much as I was horrified, the adrenaline was like no other sensation I had ever experienced.
Throughout the next few days, I still couldn’t touch the tip of slumber. I gave up my routine morning cup of coffee. You probably poisoned it. You wanted me to drink it, didn’t you? You knew my daytime routine already. I didn’t need it anyway. Despite my lack of rest, I was wide awake like Vegas during the night hours. My mind was buzzing with determination to find you and put an end to your madness. I made the decision to carry a red kitchen knife by my side when I traversed the rooms of my invaded home.
I spent the early hours of today in my office working on my novel, attempting to distract myself from you. I was barely able to type three decent pages. I’m not in solitude anymore. I’m not in peace. How could I possibly begin to write about the beauty of being alone when I’m not? I keep catching myself looking behind me, terrified that you’re standing there. You have a hold on me like no other. Suddenly, I feel a rush of heat flow through my body. My head is pounding and my vision is fuzzy. I feel my dry, sticky mouth drop when my sight falls on the beige wall in front of me. There it is, your dark shadow slithering through my room like the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The devil drums in my chest and rattles my bones like deadly maracas. As I force myself to turn around and face you for the first time, the room becomes a shade of blood red and my knees buckle from under me. You snatch the air from my lungs and shrivel up my tongue. I gasp for a last breath as I fall to the floor and lose consciousness.
The light...it’s so bright. I squint my burning eyes in pain as the ceiling of my office becomes less blurry and stops spinning. I’m lying limply on my dirty carpet in the middle of my workspace. My heart jumps, remembering the events before I seemingly blacked out. My head swivels around, scanning every corner for remaining traces of you. Your shadow is gone, of course it is. My shaking hands feel a horribly familiar object stuck to my pectorals. My weak fingers grasp the singular Post-It on my body.
“YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL, ERNEST R. WELSH.”
For the first time in many decades, tears begin to spill out of my glassy blue eyes. As the salty substance runs down my unshaven face, a sharp pain caresses my cheeks and neck. I grimace in agony and dizzily hobble over to my bathroom, holding my face. When I approach the dirty mirror above the sink, the tired old man staring back at me had deep scratches on both sides of his face. As I look closer at my injured flesh, I feel sick to my stomach. Each of my cheeks were pierced by what appeared to be large claw marks that dragged all the way down to my collarbones. I looked like I was crying eight streams of ruby red blood.
A mouthful of bitter vomit fills my cheeks and I throw my head into the sink. Stomach acid burns my throat as I scream in pain and expel my sickness into the rusty bowl below the mirror. It seems to go on for ages and my body shudders, covered in a cold sweat. I feel my conscious slip away from me and I fall back onto the tiled floor, smashing the back of my head on the hard surface.
I wake up with a throbbing headache and an ocean of blood surrounding my shaking body. I groan in discomfort and shut my eyes to block out the yellow light shining in my bathroom. The vile stench of my vomit and blood seizes my nostrils. I slowly rub the back of my skull, my fingers becoming covered in blood and my raw flash. As I examine the crimson gore soaking my palms, I begin to feel faint and nauseous. The room is filled with a buzzing sound and my walls vibrate with your evil whispers.
“Not...safe….Ernest...not alone....dead...kill you...not in control...I’m right here…”
A bloodcurdling scream leaves my mouth when your murmurs tickle my senses. I forcefully take both of my hands and cover my ears to try and silence you.
The ominous whispering doesn’t stop, “In your head...skin...will not live...mine now...will not leave...dead…”
I sense your satanic song echo inside my skull and trickle down my neck. My skin crawls around my face. The sensation gets more and more intense as you keep whispering. I can physically feel you under the skin of my right cheek, slithering slowly through my warm flesh.
“You die now...die...in your body...I am here...will not leave,” you continue humming inside of me.
“Dead man...dead man...dead man… dead m—”
“SHUT UP! GET OUT OF ME,” I cry, pulling at my balding grey hair in frustration. My heart races and a sweaty panic shoots through me.
“In your skin...won’t go...never…”
I can’t take this anymore. I won’t take this.
“GET,” I take a sharp breath and prepare to explode, OUT!” My nails slam into my face and penetrate my wrinkly profile. I violently drag my hand down my cheek and scream as the leathery surface is ripped and peeled off. The manic adrenaline pumping through my veins allows my frail hands to pry the skin off my face. I keep clawing and ripping as I watch my raw flesh become exposed in the mirror.
“Leave me alone,” my bloody lips whimper as I pull on the skin of my eyelids. I turn on the sink faucet and splash my burning face with the frigid water, listening to the sizzling sound it produces.
This is the end. You win. How did you do it? How did you get away with it? Please leave me alone. That’s all I want. Let me suffer here by myself. Please. I’m begging you.
For the first time in two weeks, there is silence. It is the most wonderful silence to ever touch my heart. It is a bandage that covers my wounds, an ointment that heals my scars. I am finally alone...truly alone.
Man Found Dead in Los Angeles Home
65-year-old Ralph McMurphy was reported dead in his Los Angeles home due to a severe case of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. His body was found by police on Tuesday, January 15 after his home appeared to be flooding from the inside. Lab reports show that his body had been lying there unnoticed for around two weeks. He was covered in what seemed to be a series of self-mutilated injuries, including nearly his entire face being scratched off. After the house was searched, over 100 Post-It notes in McMurphy’s handwriting were found in various areas with messages addressed to his pen-name (Ernest R. Welsh). The bathroom faucet was left on when he died, which was the cause of the flooding in the home. After further investigation, police discovered that the novel McMurphy was writing before his death had been replaced with the phrase “help me” over 5000 times.
The buildup of Carbon Monoxide in a confined space can cause intense hallucinations and illnesses. Ultimately, high exposure to the colorless and odorless gas will lead to death. The police and fire department wants to use McMurphy’s story to remind everybody to make sure their Carbon Monoxide meter is functional, and to go to the hospital immediately if they’re exposed to the deadly gas. It’s crucial to be aware of this silent killer.