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The Journal of Gabriel Orwell

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I'm writing these entries to keep what little sanity I have left in me. Each day I feel it slipping away, like trying to hold water cupped in your hands. Writing about my predicament is much easier than explaining it to people, especially when doing so quickly leads to the label of insanity.

No, I am not insane. At first, I didn't know how to deal with it. In fact, I still remember the first time I saw it... or rather, when it saw me. I had a long drive ahead of me. It was already approaching 1:00 AM. Having virtually no sleep from partying the night before, I thought the best idea would be to stop at a motel.

After a slightly awkward conversation at the front desk, I was sitting in the bed of room 250. The mattress was springy, the television was an antique, and the room smelled awful; this place was a shit hole. I didn't complain, though. Exhaustion was beginning to take its hold, and I would only spend one night here, after all. I quickly fell sound asleep.

What was that noise? I awoke, not to the sound of my cell phone alarm, but to static. My eyes focused on the digital clock; it read 3:33 AM. The room was slightly illuminated. I sat up to find the TV displaying that all-too-familiar black and white static. I must have rolled onto the remote. I searched frantically for it, wanting to return to my peaceful slumber. I lifted the covers and looked around, but to no avail.

Placing the covers back down, I jumped. The TV was no longer showing static. It, instead, screened a black and white middle-aged face, cropped to show only its eyes; it blinked. The eyebrows did not suggest any sort of malignant demeanor. However, I was inexplicably terrified of it. It seemed the remote had made its way to the floor. I picked it up and immediately attempted to change what was on screen. Green numbers - representing the channel - popped up in the top right-hand corner. The number changed, but the image did not. Without further investigation, I turned the television off.

I had difficulty sleeping for the remainder of the evening. At first, I just thought it was some kind of joke. It couldn't be real. No fucking way. At the front desk, while returning the key, I noticed a TV behind the owner. It was displaying that same face. It blinked. I asked the man what he thought about what was on screen.

"Yeah, I tell ya, the weather looks pretty bad if you have a long drive."

My blood ran cold. Did he not see those glaring eyes?

"You feelin' alright son?"

On my drive to my university, I rationalized. It had to be the cable in the motel. Maybe it was the only thing showing, and the owner was playing some nasty trick on me. It had to be. This was, of course, before the sounds started.

Trying to get my mind off of what happened, I turned on the radio. Static. Maybe I'll just pop in a Frank Sinatra CD instead. Static. Great, I think. My car's sound system is fucked. Oh, how I wish it was that easy. I only started to question my sanity when I got to school.

In the dining halls, every TV was displaying that face. In the computer labs, every monitor was displaying that face. My roommate's new HD television was showing that face. It blinked. Of course, I asked everyone about it. They just gawked at me, confused. Some laughed, thinking I was toying with them. I have never felt so desperate.

It had been three days since my stay at the hotel. I walked past my floor's lobby; people were huddled around the big screen, occasionally laughing at whatever it was they were watching. All I could see was that face. It blinked. All I could hear was roaring static. My MP3 doesn't play music. I can't hold conversations on my cell phone because all I can hear is static.

Static... that's what it was at first.

Soon, the sounds started to change. One day, instead of static, I hear a man saying a series of random numbers in a monotone voice. A week later, I hear a woman screaming as she is stabbed to death. I can hear the blade cutting through her flesh and the footsteps of her killer. The sounds change, but the images on the screen don't. All screens just show that face. It blinked. I'm losing my fucking mind. Today, I hear a man mumbling gibberish. I sit in my room, staring deep into the eyes that stare back at me on my computer monitor.

Now I understand why I'm going crazy. It's not the sounds or this face staring at me, it's why. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Was it because I stopped going to church? Was it because I stayed at that motel? Whose fucking face is in every screen I see? All of these unanswered questions are what are picking away at my sanity. I can't take it anymore. I can't take the sounds, that face (it blinked), or how I pretend everything is okay. I haven't slept in days. I yearn for the alluring sensation of peace and quiet. No more assault on my senses. I thought of Van Gogh.

These handwritten pages were found scattered around the room of Gabriel Orwell - the same location where he took his own life. Investigators found him lying on the floor, his eyes gouged out, both his tympanic membranes in each inner ear punctured, and his wrists slashed. There were also two HD monitors in the room; both were shattered and damaged beyond repair by Orwell's fists.

Original author unknown

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