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In the fall of 1981 there was a 23 year old student named Peter Barnsley living in California. He studied philosophy and physics at Stanford University which he was keenly interested in. He was in luck today, as he would be taught the best philosophy lesson for the entire year. It would be better than his previous one, which was quite creepy instead of amazing. That time he read about some scientists in the past trying to develop time travel and disappearing under mysterious circumstances. For this class, his professor spoke about a mind-blowing theory called phenomenalism. The theory of phenomenalism says that physical objects need to be sensed to be in existence.
For example, if there was a music player near you, you could touch it, see it and hear it. However, if you were nowhere near the player and no other living entity or at least none with any senses was near it, how could it exist? It can’t hear its own sounds, feel itself or see itself as it has none of the five senses, it’s just an object. So what happens to it? It disappears until someone or something senses it again. For Peter, this theory was so amazing he finished his worksheet on it in a matter of minutes, and his professor was pleased to see he had enjoyed it.
“I’ll expect another A+ from the next test we have on this!” he complimented the student.
Some students didn’t like the theory, saying it was overly-mind blowing and it had permanently changed their perception on everything. After class when Peter headed to his dorm the phenomenalism topic had taken over his brain. He smiled in excitement as he shut his eyes then opened them when looking at his bed, was it there when his eyes were closed? No because there is nothing to see it! One of his roommates came in and asked him what he was doing with an annoyed expression.
“You’re wondering what happens to objects when we’re not around them? Oh I’ve done that only once, and won. I closed the fridge door while looking into it to see the light go off, that’s all.”
And he left; clearly he didn’t seem to be in a good mood, but that didn’t stop the aspiring Plato junior from having more fun with the theory. At that point Peter wondered if it was really possible to “observe the unobserved” and prove if this theory was right or wrong. It sounded even conceptually impossible to do such a thing, as if you observe the unobserved it’s not unobserved as you’re observing it, but Peter dreamed on. He had heard other brain twisting theories similar to time travel, such as one that says you can see into another universe without being there, could that theory work? He asked his professor that evening, but he said nobody can prove phenomenalism right or wrong as you obviously can’t “observe the unobserved” no matter what universe you’re in or if you go into a black hole and so on.
Peter however kept on thinking about the theory for several hours as it had certainly lodged itself deep in his mind, he thought about undiscovered ways to prove it correct or incorrect. But later that night he decided to calm his head down and watch a movie. He watched a classic cartoon film he had loved since a kid, “The Treasure Hunters” a Disney one from 1966. It was like Indiana Jones but starred a family of hamsters who went on an adventure to find their owners long lost jewellery. It was here where Peter’s mind would be occupied with something totally different than phenomenalism. At exactly thirty-nine minutes into the movie, the hamsters were flying through a city on homemade glider plane to catch up with some villains.
In one shot that lasted from the twelfth to the seventeenth seconds of the minute, the hamsters fly past some buildings. Peter paused the film at that shot, as he spotted something among the buildings for less than a split second that didn’t fit in. He rewound and played it frame by frame to see what it was. His TV was quite old and blurry, but whatever caught his eye must have been really out of place for him to see it, not to mention the speed it shot by. The cartoon buildings had many windows that were all rectangular shaped, and on his screen the size of small matchboxes. The windows were either lit up or black, but in one of the windows something was there that made Peter drop his jaw in confusion and shock.
Visible in the window or perhaps covering the window was an image that did not look cartoon in anyway. It looked immensely photo realistic, and the scared student was quite sure it was a live action photo. The image showed a cream colored headless humanoid figure that had outstretched arms. It looked like a mannequin you would find in an abandoned clothes shop. Around the figure in the rest of the window space were just dark red and black blurs and smudges. Peter zoomed in and saw the image got even fuzzier, so zooming in could not show him what the mysterious figure was. The image appeared in only two frames, first in the bottom left hand corner of the screen then at the top. True it appeared for an immensely short time, but Peter had watched this movie countless times, why did he only notice it by now? His eyesight had always felt the same, so he couldn’t understand this at all.
“…the hell is that thing…?!” Peter asked himself.
He tapped on the screen, wondering if the chilling photo was just a strange dead pixel glitch, but it stayed the same. Thoughts flashed about in his head. Who or what was this figure? How had he not seen it before? Was it just the TV? Was someone playing a trick on him? But how? And why? Then his attention darted back to phenomenalism.
“What if that creature appears when nobody else is around?!” he questioned to himself.
“No, no, no that’s got nothing to do with this where am I at?!” he gasped.
Suddenly he heard a voice speak in the deep back of his head. A voice that sounded nothing like his own, it was not one of his own thoughts.
“Come to the room of the window of the building,” whispered the voice.
He could not tell if the voice was male or female, nor the age or if he could work out if it was his mind playing tricks on him.
“God…dammit what the hell is going on…?” he shuddered, scratching his head.
“What was that damn voice am I high or what?”
Before he switched off his TV, he remembered that the city the movie took place in was his home city of Stanford, which was why he loved it so much as a kid. He heard all the buildings that appeared in the film where based on real ones, so that room with the eerie mannequin figure in it must have been real, and the message in his mind had to refer to a real place for him to get there. This heart began to thrash as the voice now clearly wasn’t his own thoughts. Feeling too overwhelmed he decided to ignore it, the unknown figure was simply enough; he did not need anymore creepy shit. Peter then lay down and tried to rest. He successfully dozed off, but he suffered a nightmare. In this dream the voice continued saying the same phrase over and over again, he could hear the voice, but not see its owner just like in reality.
Peter awoke, flickered his eyes and scratched his head. He leapt off his bed, realizing it was only a nightmare. He also thought the whole TV thing was also part of the nightmare and that he had fallen asleep after finishing thinking about the theory. He switched on his TV, which was followed by Peter falling to his knees and pulling his hair.
“C’mon…I’m not going mad…” The TV incident was real.
He continued to deny it, but with no success. And then unfortunately he thought of all the insane philosophical theories he had covered in class.
“Arrrgh!” he cringed.
They certainly didn’t help when they erupted into his head, as they felt badly mind-blowing instead of interesting. His hair pulling turned to clawing.
“Come to the room of the window of the building,” the intruding voice uttered once more.
“FINE!” he yelled.
He switched off the TV and rushed out his dorm. “Hey Pete!” called some of his friends. “Get outta m’way!” he snapped to them, he started to run. He had been bombarded so badly by the strange intrusions he didn’t think to ask anybody for help, he just went on his own path. Peter got into his car, and before starting he clawed at his head.
“Where is this fucking building?” he asked the voice. “Where the fuck is it?! Tell me whoever the fuck you are!” he hissed.
Then without answering, Peter abruptly knew the location of the building. He didn’t have any clue, but the exact location of the building just popped into his head as if the voice gave it to him. The room was also given, room #103.
“Okay…okay…” he calmed himself down. “That’s where I ‘ave to go…the Westfish Hotel on 14 Tyler Street…” he drove off.
Upon reaching the hotel, he rushed inside past the receptionist who was busying talking to some guests. He ran right to room #103. Peter knew he had no key, but spotted a cleaner on one floor he passed, who had the master key. “Hey you I need that key!” he yelled to the cleaner.” “S-sorry?” called the cleaner. “That key y’have I need it NOW!” Peter yelled even more aggressively. “I’m sorry that is not allowed,” the cleaner answered. “NO! I need it NOW!” Peter roared. In one blow he hammered his fist into the poor hotel employee’s face and knocked him out. He stole the key and went on.
He found the room, all by itself at the end of one of the highest floors. This was apparently the very room that the nightmarish humanoid appeared in. As he turned the key in the lock he pushed the door slowly, peeking out from inside. He shut his eyes, and then opened them.
“Phew, thank fuck,” he breathed a sign of relief.
The room looked just like any ordinary hotel room, two made beds, a fresh smelling bathroom, open curtains and a spotless floor. He started to manically chuckle, thinking he was a complete idiot for thinking the creepy figure and voice were real. His victory however, was short lived, as the voice tormented him once more.
“Come to the cornfield outside the city.”
Peter cringed once more, and his heart thrashed even faster than before.
“Why?!” he begged, punching the wall and leaving a small dent with a bloody fist. “ARRH! God…I just fucking came here? Who even the fuck ARE YOU?!” he bellowed, looking to the heavens, then around him, then below.
There was no reply. Before anyone in the hotel could complain over his ranting he left and began to drive out east of the city towards the large cornfield located in the farming district. It was hard to drive with his sore bloody fist, and his car kept shaking from side to side. But the deranged student drove on.
“You better fucking tell me who you are,” he scratched his head.
Night had fallen, and the inky black sky had taken over the blue. Peter’s car went down a bumpy desolate road towards the field, usually only driven on by tractors. “I have no idea who this person shittin’ on me is but I’ll get them for sure for this!” he ranted to himself. Just then, Peter slammed his foot on the brakes. He stared at the road ahead of him in his car lights. There, sitting in the middle of the road were two large red objects. Both were about the size of medium dogs, though one was slightly bigger than the other. Both were irregular in shape, he couldn’t tell if they were round or not. They had several tubes coming out of them at the top and side. Blue and red veins were visible on the rounder part at the bottom of them. They both moved around their spot slowly like snails, and constantly made pumping sounds. They were giant human hearts.
“MOTHER OF CHRIST WHAT THE FUCK?!” he screamed.
He drove backwards in panic. His eyes were glued to the over-sized organs as he couldn’t move them. “ARRGH!” he shrieked. The air suddenly filled with the twisted hitch pitched sounds of crunching metal and shattering glass. He had driven his car into a large rock by the side of the road that was invisible in the darkness. His car was now wrecked; the impact smashed all the windows and dented the gas tank. Peter was unharmed other than some scratches and bruises. He coughed and brushed some glass of his head, but then felt some terrible pain in one side of his mouth which went away once he kept his jaw still.
Ignoring the terrible state of his vehicle, he looked ahead again. The heart figures were not visible from where he was. His own heart was thrashing so fast now it felt like it would burst out. Buckets of sweat and tears were dripping off him, the murderous distress he felt just got more agonizing every second.
“Now, come to me,” the voice returned.
“Whhhyyyy…” he moaned in pain. Wiping his sweat and tears, Peter kicked open the door and emerged from the wreck. He paused upon thinking the hearts would be waiting for him, and then got out his phone to call the police, but it was dead. “Fuccck…” he cried. Driven too mad to try and escape, Peter threw his phone away and stumbled forward.
“Ahead of you…” said the voice.
“I fucking KNOW!” Peter echoed, regaining strength but then losing it by hitting his head.
The hearts were nowhere to be seen, but Peter saw something else. Standing in the road a few yards ahead of him was a gray human figure standing out vaguely in the blackness. It wore what looked like robes and appeared to float just a foot off the ground. Its most terrifying feature was its face that had eyes that appeared missing like birds had pecked them out. Its mouth was grinning at him, and it had a nose but no other facial features.
“W-who are y-y-you…?” he shuddered, going back to scared. “Are y-y-you the f-f-FUCKING voice in m-my head?!” he gasped.
“Yes,” answered the figure, its voice identical to the one torturing him.
“W-WHY d-did you f-fucking do this to me?! Peter exploded in a violent fit of blood spewing coughs. He spluttered out tiny glass shards that had got into his mouth, the cause of his pain from earlier.
“Awh…god f-f-fucking s-shit…” he wailed. “And WHO ARE YOU?!”
“I am the one who keeps order,” said the figure, sounding wise.
“W-what? What order? I want your fucking name! EURGHA!” Peter spluttered more blood.
“I have no name, only title; I am the one who keeps order of the universe and all that is beyond.”
“I don’t fucking know what that means you’re just a freak!” Peter protested.
He tried to approach the person, but he or she appeared to always get further back when he got closer.
“What was that creepy mannequin thing that was in my movie?! And that room you lead me to for no damn reason?! And those heart things?!” Peter begged angrily.
“The room of the window of the building in the film and reality was where a group of foolish scientists who attempted to create time travel met their ends in the past. I gave you one last chance to be forgiven there.”
“How?!” Peter asked.
“You did not notice, lying where the “creepy mannequin thing” was, a message I wrote telling you could repent.”
“That’s not fucking fair I didn’t notice that!” Peter snapped.
“Well, I believed one who is this interested in a theory such as phenomenalism would be more observant,” the figure looked down and shook its head.
“Huh? That? That was just a dumb theory I got interested in I didn’t try and do anything like actual time travel like those stupid scientists!” Peter showed he certainly would never be interested in his classes again.
“You should have been wiser, you should have accepted there is no way to “observe the unobserved” not even I can do that. You were supposed to just accept the theory was unanswerable, but you did not. You thought of other theories to try and answer it, and because of that, I had to lead you out here away from all the others so no one will know what shall become of you.”
At that point Peter had regained enough stamina to make a run for it. “Fuck you, you freak fuck!” Peter raced past his car to escape, but his run was interrupted when another humanoid figure emerged from the shadows and grains of the field. Peter paused; his courage to escape was now dead, replaced with intense shivering and heavy breathing. The figure was no longer in an image, but was real. It still had no head, outstretched arms and walked oddly towards him like a zombie.
Peter backed off from it as it slowly stepped through the crop to him; he turned around and screamed on the sight of two more repulsive entities, the hearts that came from no bodies.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE THINGS?!” he screeched.
The three creatures encircled him with the gray figure approaching as well. The mannequin and the hearts made him crawl up on the ground
“I have been around before the very universe itself, so have grown old, these loyal creatures aid me in punishing people like you,” said the figure.
“No…no…no…please no I didn’t do anything!” Peter begged, crying his eyes out.
“I’m sorry if I seem too harsh, but I have to keep the universe in order, theories like time travel and attempting conceptually impossible things threaten balance even if they are performed in the slightest, punishment should be the only result of breaking the law.” The universe keeper then vanished.
Peter could do absolutely nothing now. The mannequin wrapped its arms around his throat in a second, making it almost impossible to breathe. The hearts slithered onto his legs. Peter tried to kick them but his legs passed through the hearts like they were ghosts. That’s all he could remember before passing out.
Upon waking, Peter found himself inside a small white room just big enough for him to lie down and sit up. The room was lit by some small glows in the corners. “W-where am I?” he got up. “Where you shall be for eternity,” said the voice of the universe keeper. Peter’s jaw dropped, panicking, he tried to find a way out, but seeing quickly there was none he decided to commit suicide. He smashed his head on the wall. He felt searing pain as blood stains flowed out and soon big bruises would appear, but couldn’t be killed no matter what. He would be here all alone forever, disappeared completely like objects in the phenomenalism theory all for breaking the law…
Written by Death4