Me, online

I’d heard all those internet safety talks...but what do you do when your name and picture have been stolen, without you even putting them online in the first place? It was like the blog was reading my mind, and then somehow spilling it out onto the web for everyone to see. *Runner up in the Solitaire competition* Cover by Paper Mahogany Hearts


4. Exhaustion

The next morning passed in a haze of bleary eyed television and cheerios. By the time my mum announced lunch, I had managed to pull on something amounting to clothes, but still somewhat resembled a homeless recluse. A combination of the sleepless night and the now ever-present worry meant that appearance was the last thing on my mind.

Mum was in an irritable mood. “Come on, what are you doing today then? I’ve got an important client coming round, and I need you to take Bethy out from under my feet.”

Mum did make up in her studio for up-themselves blondes with more money than sense. Ever since an unfortunate ‘Bethy discovered the lipstick drawer’ incident, the studio was strictly out of bounds for my darling sister.

 Muttering darkly, I slouched upstairs while Mum located Bethy. I went straight to my laptop, and opened the browser to find the blog preloaded. Feeling a peculiar mix of anticipation and déjà vu, I clicked on today’s entry; still no title or text.

But, I realised, leaning closer to the screen, there was a difference. The picture, which had been of me in the middle of the night, had changed to one of me wearing my baggy hoodie with messy hair. A picture of exactly how I looked now.

Something else was different as well. Last night, the picture had been clearly focused, as had all the others, and well lit by the laptop screen. This picture of me was slightly blurred and murky, like it were not fully developed. Or as though it were fading into the background.

Shaking my head, I slammed the laptop shut and recoiled, as though it had bitten me. Cautiously, I scrambled to my feet and backed out of the room.



I could understand why Mum had wanted Bethy out of the house. As we made our way towards the park, she was running, jumping and skipping, chasing the pigeons along the street. I trailed behind, grateful of her preoccupation, using the time to think.

I found my hand drifting toward my pocket, and my phone. I pulled it out, and found my way back to the blog.

Once again, the picture had changed. Now, it was me standing against a backdrop of trees; the park. It was even worse quality than the previous picture, as though it had faded even more.

Once again, I felt the beginnings of panic rising in my throat. I hadn’t realised how much I had begun to rely on the blog, and now what? It was stopping? Malfunctioning?

An overwhelming feeling of weariness washed over me, and I sank down onto a park bench, letting the phone slide back into my pocket.

Bethy was still chasing the pigeons. She would run at them, and they would fly away, and then, stupid creatures, they would return. As though they had forgotten, immediately. What would it be like, I wondered, to live like that, totally in the present. Barely remembering what had just happened, and not caring at all what was to come.

Unlike the blog, predicting my day, controlling it, and now....not.

Whatever the blog was doing, I had no control over it, so instead I just sat there, sleepy and scared, and the pigeons scattered before me.



I sat there for later than I should have, until Bethy, finally wearied, crawled onto my lap and pronounced herself ‘Hungy’.

I sighed and slowly staggered to my feet. What had come over me? I felt exhausted, as though I had just run a marathon, and as I began to walk I felt as though my feet were weighed down with lead.

Despite the late hour, the sky was still bright as we made our way home. My feeling of tiredness intensified, and I was glad beyond measure when we turned into the bottom of our road.

Out of habit, I pulled out my phone, still open of the blog page, and as I look at it, I couldn’t even be bothered to register surprise when I saw how the picture had changed to reflect the dull brick wall behind me. What did slightly more than disturb me was the fact that the picture had faded almost totally into black, my face barely discernible behind a thick, dark mist.

Bethy flung the front door wide just as my mother came out into the hall. She pulled Bethy up into her arms and turned to smile at me. Not that I noticed; I couldn’t tear my eyes from the picture.

It had faded enough that I couldn’t make out the background, only my face staring shell shocked back at me. Even as I felt fatigue wash over me, threatening to drown me, I saw my eyes in the picture flutter closed. The phone slipped from my hand, and I saw my mother shout; no words reached my ears as I finally gave into the crushing tiredness and let my legs relax.

Had my mother bothered to look at my phone screen, she would have found the picture entirely black.


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