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Lorraine

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I used to be an avid watcher of YouTube. I had subscribed to literally hundreds of channels and watched probably thousands of videos. I especially loved channels that featured spooky content. Short films, disturbing facts, lists, scary story readings – you name it. I was hooked on that stuff, a real horror junkie. There was nothing I liked better than ending a long day of school or work curled up in front of my monitor, headphones cupped around my ears, watching an amateur creepypasta flick or learning about creepy videogame glitches.

One day, while browsing through the site, I happened to click on a certain video in my recommendations. Nothing particularly special about it – I was just kind of going down the line, and that one was up next. I could’ve easily skipped over it or watched it first. Anyway, the video was made by a YouTuber called loonylorraine713. In the video, Lorraine, a youngish woman with frizzy brown hair that hid more than half her face, did a basic outdoor vlog pertaining to some urban legend. She spoke with locals, trekked through daytime woods, and scouted out a small playground at night, all the while sporting a very playful, entertaining attitude very unlike the average horror host. Her editing wasn’t bad either, making the vlog seem more like a story than just a person talking to a camera. At the end, she had this cute outro where she made a sideways peace sign over her left eye and said, “Stay spooky!”

I knew I liked her immediately. I quickly subbed to Lorraine’s channel and started watching all of her videos. She mostly did solo mystery hunting stuff, but there were a few skits in there, a couple Edgar Allan Poe readings, update vlogs, etc. Each one ended with either her or a drawing of her making the peace sign over her eye and saying, “Stay spooky!” I became a big fan of her work, never failing to post a comment on a video or click the Like and Favorite buttons. I even had my phone send me text alerts when she uploaded a new video, I was that hooked.

Nearly six months of avid watching passed, and I started to think of Lorraine as a friend. Now, don’t get the wrong idea – this isn’t a story about how I became a stalker. I just mean that Lorraine and her content became a big part of my daily routine, something fun and exciting to look forward to when I got home. Bad day at work? I’d watch Lorraine carve a really bad Freddy Krueger pumpkin. Finished two hours worth of schoolwork? I’d listen to Lorraine read “The Raven” for the umpteenth time. Her videos were something that made me happy, and, at the time, I couldn’t thank her enough for that.

Sure, I wondered what it would be like to meet Lorraine, to actually talk to her and tell her how awesome she was, but I doubted that would ever happen. She never said where she lived in her videos, and she didn’t go to conventions or public events for signings or meetups. She didn’t even like to show her whole face on camera, one side of it always covered by her perpetually messy brown hair. I accepted this, though. I was content with being just a fan. As long as she kept making neat videos, I was perfectly happy.

Then things started to get strange.

At some point in Lorraine’s vlogs, I began to notice something in the background. What looked like a pair of orbs, flat, glowing a dull red. It was indistinct at first, hardly catching my attention at all, but, with each video, the orbs seemed to become clearer, to move closer and closer to Lorraine. By one video, they were right beside her head, though she didn’t seem to notice. I wasn’t the only one to see this – the comment section was often filled with others asking what the heck those things were. Lorraine replied to a few of those comments, saying that it was probably something wrong with her camera filter or a trick of the light.

This explanation made me suspicious. This girl thrived on conspiracies, urban legends, and the paranormal. The reaction I’d expected out of her was that they were the presence of some ghost or alien laser pointers or some other ridiculous, pseudo-paranoid idea. Why would she be so quick to disregard something that, for all intents and purposes, seemed even more real than any ghost she’d hunted or Bigfoot she’d chased?

And something else about the videos bothered me. As time passed, Lorraine’s content changed. She didn’t do as many legend hunting treks as she used to. Her readings seemed flatter and less involved. Even her vlogs, which pretty much became her primary content, seemed so different from just a couple months before – for example, one of the later videos consisted of her sitting in her office chair before the black sheet she had draped behind her for all her at-home vlogs, just staring off to the side, her hair-veiled face looking incredibly blank and sad. The orbs were also in this video, hovering just behind her head like red eyes peering down at her. When a full two minutes of silence had elapsed, she glanced up at the camera, made the peace sign over her eye, and said in a perfect monotone completely unlike her, “Stay spooky.”

I grew very concerned, as did the rest of the small fan base she had. People constantly asked in the comments if she was alright, if something was wrong, or if she was playing some joke on us. Lorraine never replied, never gave any indication as to what was happening. Even the descriptions of her videos were left blank.

Her uploads grew fewer and far between until, after probably three months of strange behavior, they stopped completely. No vlogs, no skits, no updates. More questions from viewers, myself included. Are you dead? What happened to your daily videos? Is everything okay? Not a single response.

Then one day, completely out of nowhere, all the videos on her channel disappeared. Each and every one of them – deleted. You could search the entire spectrum of the Internet and not find a single trace of them. The channel became an empty shell, with even the profile page and photo slot wiped clean.

I was caught between disappointment and concern. Lorraine and her videos were my escape, my home away from home, and to have them just… vanish the way they did broke my heart. I constantly wondered what happened to her, what made her change and drop off the face of the Earth like that. More than anything, I wondered if she was alright. Those weird orbs in the background of her videos kept coming back to me, filling me with unease. Something to do with them… but what? I had a dozen horror-inspired explanations for that, but I didn’t really believe any of them. Whatever happened with Lorraine was real, not some nightmare written on Reddit NoSleep.

So what could it have been then?

I got my answer when, after an entire month of inactivity, Lorraine finally posted a video.

I was shocked when my phone informed me of the new vlog. I think I even said something out loud like, “She’s alive!” Quickly, I found a quiet spot to sit, plugged in my headphones, and opened YouTube. The video was first up on my subscriptions list, entitled simply, “I'm Sorry.” I felt a wave of relief wash over me. So she was alright after all, coming back and apologizing for whatever happened with the old stuff. She didn’t have to be sorry; I was just glad she was back.

Smiling, I opened the video.

It was nothing like her normal vlogs, where she pops on screen with her arms spread wide and her wide grin partially covered by her hair. It cut straight to a very, very close shot of Lorraine’s face, the lens practically pressed against her chin, her camera phone the only source of light. Her breathing was very loud, obviously too close to the mic. It made me jump a little. She then pulled the camera away so that I could see her whole face and not much else. It was completely dark around her, though I thought I could make out bathtub tiles behind her when the light moved. Her face was half hidden as always, but her expression was jarring. She looked terrified, her brown eye wide, her jaw trembling, her skin white as cheese.

When she spoke, it was in a whisper so quiet that I had to turn my volume way up to hear it: “Heh… hey, guys. L-Loony Lorraine here. Uh. You’re… you’re probably wondering why… why I haven’t posted in a while, or… or why all my videos were deleted. Um, well… you see… things have gotten a… a little strange and, um…”

She paused to glance around herself, her camera dipping down to let me see her chest moving furiously up and down with her frantic breathing. A moment later, she readjusted the camera and resumed speaking.

“There’s… there’s not a whole lot that I can explain. I don’t have much time. But, uh… all you really need to know is that I, um… I fucked up. Yeah, I fucked up… big time.”

I blinked when she said this. If there was one thing I knew about Lorraine, it’s that she never, ever swore, not even when she got scared during a ghost hunt or haunted house run. This added to the feeling that something wasn’t right. I listened on as she nervously whispered to the camera.

“Um, I don’t know… when it happened or… or what I did exactly, but… I… God, this is going to sound crazy, but I need… I need to tell you. Uh. Do you guys remember my old ‘cheating death’ videos? The… ones where I play supposedly haunted games and creepy rituals? Well, uh, I think that, during one of them… I don’t know which… I think I… unleashed… something. Something very, very bad.”

Again, she paused to look around as if trying to spot something watching her in the close darkness. She swallowed and wiped her brow with her sleeve before continuing.

“I, um, didn’t really notice it until it was… was too late. I just started getting real… tired for a while. Like I had no energy, no drive. I thought I was just, uh… getting sick or something, but then it just got worse and worse week by week. Then the nightmares… God, those horrible… I fought sleep for weeks on end to avoid seeing those… awful images. I can’t even begin to describe them… I don’t want to. I can’t.”

A tear rolled down her cheek, and she wiped it away, sniffing hard. I was locked on the video, her pain seeming so real, her terror so genuine. Where was she? What was happening to her?

“By the time I, uh, realized what was going on,” she continued, “I’d stopped making videos. I barely left my house or… spoke with my family. I… had blank spells, I… lost time. I started seeing my nightmares when I wasn’t asleep… in broad daylight. I thought… I thought I was losing my mind.”

She paused to take a deep breath, the exhale coming out in a long shudder.

“Guys… do you remember those orbs? Those weird, red, floaty things that kept appearing in my videos?”

I felt a cold chill pass through me. I think I knew what she was going to say before she said it.

“I… lied to you. Not at first, but… towards the end, when I said I didn’t know what they were. You see… they’re not lens flares or specks of dust or whatever… They’re actually eyes. I know this because I’ve… seen the same eyes in my nightmares, attached to the face of something… too terrible for me to describe. When I finally realized this, that… whatever was haunting me… was actually real, I got scared. I took everything off my channel, deleted everything that had to do with me, thinking it might help, but… I think it only made it angry. So I packed a couple bags and left town. I’ve… been running for at least a month now.”

She closed her eyes and pursed her lips for a moment, looking almost childlike in her terror.

“The nightmares are non-stop now. I haven’t slept in a couple days, but… the eyes… and the images… Guys, I don’t know how long I have. I’m at a motel now, hiding in the bathroom… it’s in the room. It’s stronger now. I’m gonna wait it out until morning and… try to head out again, find another place to… to spend the night. But… I just wanted to make one last video before I did in case… well, in case.”

She looked at the camera, her eye bloodshot, her lips trembling with a soft smile.

“I, um, just wanted to say… I’m sorry for… letting you guys down. You supported me in all my weird adventures and stupid shenanigans… and I repay you like this. By making the biggest mistake of my life. I just… hope you guys can forgive me for… what I did and… what’s going to happen. I hope you’ll remember me… for who I was. I hope that… I made some of you out there… a little happier for a while.”

I had to cover my mouth to keep down the choked sob that wanted to get out. She sounded so scared, so helpless. I wanted to do something, wanted to help her, save her, but I didn’t know where she was or what was really happening. Demon, maniac, whatever – she was in trouble, but there was nothing I or anyone else could do.

Especially when, from the dimly-lit darkness, four little arms as black as ink started to reach out from behind Lorraine. They weren’t special effects; they weren’t props on strings; they were real, extending out from the shapes of small figures pressed against the tile, figures with red, orb-like eyes.

I started screaming at my phone, calling out for Lorraine, telling her to look out, to get out of there. Of course, she didn’t hear me. This was a prerecorded video. The young woman with her face half-veiled with hair only sniffed, made a peace sign over her left eye, and whispered, “Stay spooky,” as the hands wrapped around her face.

The sound of her scream, amplified by the volume increase, made me tear my headphones out and drop the phone. On the little screen, I saw her do the same, the view bouncing and blurring for a moment before the camera came to a stop propped slightly against the wall. In the faint phone light, I could see the edge of a white bathtub and Lorraine’s thrashing legs being pulled up into it. I could still hear muffled sounds coming from the dislodged headphones. Screaming, banging, and something else that made my skin absolutely crawl: a wet, meaty tearing that reminded me of a turkey leg being pulled off. Before long, something red began to drip down over the side of the tub and pool on the linoleum. Seconds after that, the screaming stopped, and all I could hear was that awful, grotesque tearing. Then the screen cut out, and the video ended.

It’s been about a month since all that happened.

They found her body about a week after “I'm Sorry” was posted – one Lorraine McDermont, age twenty-five, resident of some small town in southern Wisconsin. She’d been staying at a motel about fifteen miles north of Chicago. A maid had stumbled upon her in the bathroom of one of the rooms and was quoted as saying, “I’d never seen so much blood in my life.” Her family was contacted immediately after the remains were identified. No clues as to what had killed her were ever found.

I never met Lorraine. I never spoke to her or contacted her in any way. But, seeing that video, learning of her death, I felt like I had lost a good friend. She may not have known it, but she was important to me, important to a lot of people. She was a good person. She didn’t deserve to die like that. She didn’t deserve the torment that led up to it.

I made a page on Facebook in dedication to her. Some of her old subscribers liked the page, but there isn’t much I can do with it. About fifteen minutes after that last video was posted, Lorraine’s channel had been deleted for good. So, if you were thinking of finding it or that video after reading this, you’re out of luck. You can’t even find screen caps of her content. To this day, I don’t know who did it or why. People I’ve talked with online said that only a couple dozen people actually saw the video, and that there’s no copy of it anywhere on the Internet. Someone had even tried to call the police after seeing it, but no one could find the link afterwards. There was no way to explain what had really happened without sounding like some lying horror junkie. Hence the reason the case went cold.

There’s really not much more I or any of the others can do besides keep her memory alive on her page.

Maybe it’s better that way. Having her videos gone, especially that last one. I think about it often. If they hadn’t actually found her, I’m sure most people who saw it would’ve said it was faked. Even a diehard believer of the paranormal might’ve played the skeptic card. I remember the fear in Lorraine’s eyes, the tremors in her voice. That’s probably what clinched it for me and a lot of the others – you can’t fake a level of fear like that. And those… things behind her. I still can’t say what they were. Without the old videos, I can’t deduce which game or ritual she played caused them to… I guess “awaken” is the only suitable word. Did they disappear after they… got Lorraine? Are they still out there?

What exactly did she mean when she said she was sorry for “what’s going to happen”?

I don’t know, and, frankly, I don’t want to know. I’ve pretty much had it with the strange and unusual. I don’t even go on YouTube much anymore. It reminds me too much of a dead friend.

I think I might delete Lorraine’s page. I think I need a break from all the creepiness for a while. After all, it’s not helping that people keep talking about the eyes from her videos. They’ve been posting troll comments like how they’ve seen them in real life and how weird shadows appear in their pictures. Some have even talked about having nightmares. This is probably my fault because I wrote a few status updates about how I’ve been having really bad dreams lately. A little accidental suggestion on my part, I suppose.

Still, it’s disrespectful to her memory to keep this kind of talk going. So, yeah, I’ll delete it later today. I think Lorraine would understand. She wouldn’t want anyone to end up like her.

Anyway, I’ve said all I wanted to. And, I’m really tired. I think I’ll try and sleep. Hopefully, there won’t be any of those nightmares this time. I don’t think I can take another night without closing my eyes. I might go insane.

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