Meet Tom, a simple minded guy who loves anime and Japanese songs so much that he has become too attached to his laptop. 24/7, he watches re-runs of his favourite cartoons and listens to music that he himself finds hard to understand.
Life is crappy, he thinks. Many of his friends make fun of him because he doesn't really get out that much. It's okay for him. He doesn't really care what other people say about him. As long as it doesn't involve the things he likes most: his cartoons and favourite band!
Most of the time, he just lays in bed, with his laptop on his stomach, watching episode by episode of more than a hundred gigabytes of cartoons until eventually he dozes off. When not watching any of his collections, he wanders off into the cyberspace, finding solace and a place where he thinks nobody will judge him.
See, the thing is with Tom is, he tries so hard, but forgets what is important- originality. Sometimes, he imagines he is one of the characters in the cartoons he owns and acts like one. You can pretty much say that he is a nerd.
Tom is quite good looking. Unlike his older brother, Tim, who is fat and works at a comic book store. But, much to people's surprise, his brother is nothing like him. Tim is a more well mannered and extroverted person. He loves hiking outdoors. Rarely does Tim stay at home, lazing around doing nothing. He goes out for walks and, sometimes, goes on camping trips on weekends.
The other day, Tom decided to find a girl on a matchmaking site. He found on one of his forums online. So, long story short, there he found Erika, a cute girl who lived right next door in his neighborhood. How convenient, he thought. They could go on dates often. So he decided to meet up with Erika and hoped that Erika would agree.
Later that night, Tom received an email from Erika, saying that she would love to meet him and asked where they should meet. Upon receiving this mail, he jumped with joy and suddenly, for the first time in his life, he felt that something was more important than his lifetime collection of anime and songs.
The day came and Tom went to the park, just as they'd agreed. He was wearing a green T-shirt and jeans, casual as always. Hoping that Erika would dress cutely like a girl from an anime, Tom couldn't wipe off the smirk on his face, imagining Erika in a Japanese maid costume.
Tom suddenly realized that he had nothing to start a conversation with Erika! That would result in a guy like him messing things up! It wasn't like he talked to girls all the time. He listed down all the things that could move a conversation, nothing fancy, just the typical stuff. Tom tried to avoid talking about anime, because that could give Erika some clue that Tom really was, a nerd.
After everything was sorted out in his mind, he sat there, waiting patiently for Erika to arrive. It could take her a while to get there, he thought. I will try not to be a creepy person, he warned himself, because he knew for sure that sometimes, he could be one! From afar, he could see Erika waving from a distance. Wow! She's sure excited to see me, he thought. He waved back, not letting her feel awkward.
"Hi!" the smile on her face said it all. She was pretty much excited to see him.
"Hi!" now Tom was feeling a little bit shy.
They chatted for a while and decided to go out for a movie. Tom wanted to see a love story, to play with the mood a little. But Erika insisted that they watch a horror film instead. Interesting personality, Tom figured. They spent the whole day together and it was fun. For Tom at least. But for Erika? It was a whole different story...
Tom went back home, happy and satisfied. He felt like a normal person, with normal feelings. He had never felt better. For now.
Days went by and their relationship escalated quickly. Quicker than he'd imagine! It seemed to him that Erika was much more desperate for having a relationship than him. Tom? Well, he was just plain bored actually. He had never tried having a relationship before. Eventually, Tom got bored of Erika and sought sanity back in his old collections.
Apparently, Erika didn't notice and still thought Tom liked her. She kept sending mails, text messages until eventually, she gave up when Tom did not reply or respond to any of her mails and messages.
Years went by, Tom finally settled down with his new adult life, and got out from the life he had before. He did quite well actually, having a desk job, a beautiful wife and two wonderful kids.
One night, Tom was watching a movie in the living room alone.
The front doorbell rang. Who would come to my house this late? Tom thought to himself. He got up from the couch and walked straight to the door. He opened the door, and no one was there.
"That's weird.." Tom said silently.
Down on the floor was a parcel. Wrapped in red ribbons. And a smiley drawn on it. A large smiley. Tom was dumbfounded when he saw the parcel. Inadvertently, he took the parcel inside and closed the door. Before closing the door, he peeped once again to make sure no one was outside.
He took a knife and cut the ribbon. He tore the paper wrapping the parcel carefully, to not destroy the wrapper totally. He unveiled a white box. With his name on it. Carefully he opened the box. What was inside shocked him.
Inside was a set of pictures taken of him sleeping from when he was twenty-one years old. Pictures of him getting married snapped from a distance. Pictures of him on his honeymoon. Pictures of his wife when she was pregnant at the hospital. Pictures of his two kids when they were still in the incubator in the hospital. There was also a note in the box. Tom unfold the note and read its content.
Dear Tom, you may have noticed that I took some of your pictures to remind me how you cute you are.. I decided to share "some" of my collections of you with you Tom. I hope you liked it. There are plenty more where that came from love.
Tom was speechless. He kept staring at the pictures, not realizing that a pair of eyes were watching him by the window outside his house. Scared to his bones, Tom went to bed shivering under his blanket.
The next day, he decided not to tell his wife about the pictures he got the previous night. His wife noticed he looked pale that day and asked why. He just kept quiet and looked away. For the next week, he kept getting hang up calls and receiving pictures of him and his family, recent ones. Unable to stand the suspense, he reported the incident to the local police. The police checked to see who the person was who had been threatening Tom and his family. Tom insisted that it was Erika. The police then checked their database to see where Erika lived.
The case lead them to an old, abandoned apartment near his old neighborhood. This must be it! He thought. He entered the apartment with the aid of the police, of course- he would never enter alone. When they reached the place where they thought they would find Erika, they did not find anything, except some notes left on the floor. Notes clearly meant for Tom.
"Please open the drawer," one of the notes said.
Tom opened a drawer in a room that he believed to be Erika's. There he found an A4 envelope. He took the envelope and opened it to see what was inside. A set of pictures of his wife sleeping and his kids at school. This is getting creepy, he thought.
A policeman that went with him received a call from the station. After a while, he went to Tom and said something which horrified Tom.
"Sir, I'm afraid we're looking for the wrong person. The Erika you're looking for is dead." This left Tom puzzled, and more scared than ever.
The letters he received stated that they were from Erika... if they were not from her, then, who?