I can’t help but feel it all began around the time I found that damn tape.

It was one month ago, that I was looking through my attic and found an old dusty VHS cassette case on the ground labelled, November 1993, the time I was born. How curious I thought, and it had a tape inside. I took it down to my room and popped it in the VHS player I had hooked up to my TV. It was blank until thirty0three seconds in, when it showed old black and white footage of a beautiful pregnant lady dancing around in the park on what looked like a lovely summer day.

There was the sound of her giggling shyly at the person operating the camera only to fade out to a quiet static sound. After eight seconds of this, it became disturbing. It cut to a close up of a dead lady lying peacefully in a coffin dressed nicely and decorated in flowers. Her face was covered in a veil and in black and white you couldn’t make out who she was, perhaps a distant relative.

It must have been shot at a funeral. After about three seconds, it switches back to the lady in the park, only this time she was lying down motionless until the camera drops to the ground. Once again, it switches back to the lady in the coffin, only more zoomed out, this time with the sound of sobbing. Then it ends. It was two sets of different footage taped over each other and that’s all I could make from it.

My parents had always been strong independent people, so that’s why the day I came home to see them acting nervous like they were trying to hide something made me truly scared. I went to my room and the tape was gone. I asked them but they denied knowing anything. I knew they were lying. After all, I was their child and who would know them better than the person who was half of each of them combined. I couldn’t be fooled that easy so I persisted in asking until my mother snapped and sent me to my room. I haven’t seen the tape since.

My mum left me and my dad after that night and she didn’t even say goodbye. It was so strange, they had always been so happy together, why would she just leave? Things became even scarier when it dawned on me that every trace of my mother in the house that I ever had known was missing.

Photos of her, appointments on calendars, awards, all disappeared. There only remained a few photos of her and dad from long ago, before I had known them. She had taken everything with her. Why? Come to think of it, she had taken everything of me with her as well.

My father just didn’t stop crying. I’d never seen him cry before, but I knew I’d heard it before. He became so distant after mum left, never speaking to me and just avoiding me altogether. About three days later he committed suicide. There was just an empty noose in the attic as his body had been removed before I ever had to witness it. The noose looked so old. My world started slowly fading before me. I came home to see that dad had gotten rid of any recent photos of himself as well, just leaving the old ones of him and mum. Dust had covered all the furniture in the house so quickly…

The tears were uncontrollable now; they wouldn’t stop streaming down my face. I can’t help but feel it all began around the time I found that damn tape.

Until one moment, a sudden realisation shot through me, stopping my tears, along with everything else I thought I knew. I flashed back to a place of darkness that I knew all too well. I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear that familiar sound of someone sobbing begin to reach my ears.

It was my father. He was speaking to my mother from outside of the darkness I was held within. “Please get up, I love you. I can’t lose you. Not now, not ever. Not with our baby inside you. Oh God, someone call an ambulance…”

Suddenly, there was nothing.

I think I finally understand now… I’ve never even existed.