Amidst the pitch blackness of a disheveled, drafty bedroom glowed the pale blue light of the screen. Devin’s eyes drooped as he attempted to follow the Youtube video. It was the latest installment of Georgyistoblame’s “Lost Media Iceberg” series, this being the eighth and most obscure tier. Devin liked to think of it as a little treat at the end of the day, for having to deal with shitty customers at Stops & Shops and the biting winter air.
Devin wrapped his blanket tighter around himself, thin fleece rubbing against exposed, eczema-ridden arms. Georgy’s monotone voice droned in his snug headphones about the current subject, a children’s puppet show from Soviet-era Hungary, most of its episodes missing online. Devon didn’t bother to catch the title. The solitary black-and-white image shown was rather adorable for the time, cat and dog hand puppets frozen mid-conversation. Devin would’ve found them cuter if their beady button eyes didn’t appear so buggy.
His eyes fluttered shut, catching more snippets of this supposed show before falling into a brief, dreamless rest. As quickly as they closed, his eyes opened up to a one-word slide, the iceberg in the background hazy.
Devin immediately sat up straight, blanket falling off. A cool sensation ran down his spine, as if someone dropped an ice cube down his shirt. He let out a shaky breath, visible in the drafty bedroom. A pit of dread formed in his stomach, a sensation he couldn’t quite understand. The other entries barely even phased him, and they contained actual murder cases and alleged government experiments. What was so different about this one? The mouse hovered passively over the close button.
Georgyistoblame began the tale, after what felt like hours of silence. “‘Shakka’ is a disturbing video that made its rounds on the website 4chan sometime in early 2005. The original was posted by an anonymous user, with the caption ‘Found this on a flash drive a few days back, anyone know what the fuck this is?’ It was passed around the site for a very short time, before the post was suddenly taken down. Before it disappeared, users were able to save a small snippet of the video. While doing my first round of research, someone actually emailed me the clip, which I’m going to share with you now.”
For the entire segment, Devin barely made a sound, mouth slightly agape. That pit in his stomach grew wider, yawning. Something was…wrong about this. Usually when there was a fucked up video online, from 4chan no less, actual evidence never surfaced. Just hearsay. Stories your big brother told you to make you stay off the internet.
This time there was proof. The screenshot of the 4chan post was grainy, and the screencap of the alleged video was too dark to show anything, besides a body shrouded in shadow and big red eyes, practically glowing.
Devin gulped. His fingers hovered over the mousepad, but he still didn’t close the tab. He had to know what this was. He needed to see those glowing eyes for himself.
The snippet was just as grainy as the screencap, the fidelity no greater than 144p. It opened into a bedroom, as normal and unassuming as Devin’s own, with white oak dresser drawers, slightly water damaged ceiling fan and yellowing light bulbs. A band poster was peeling off on the left side of the wall, the name unfocused in the video. For a brief moment, Devin confused the bedroom with his own before remembering that it wasn’t. It couldn’t possibly have been.
A girl sat by the corner of the screen, blindfolded, bound, and gagged, frantically shifting in her seat. She looked to be around Devin’s age, though her features were obscured. She muttered something unintelligible, muffled in Devin’s ears, before collapsing into desperate sobs, her shoulders shaking. Her wavy brown hair stuck to her tear-ridden skin, strands falling forward with her quivers.
That’s when the tapping noises started, so faint that Devin hardly heard the first few times, coming every two seconds. It was soft, like someone lightly knocking on a door. Something shifted in the background, inky black rippling like ocean waves. The eyes peered from the darkness,
The girl must’ve sensed this wicked presence. She began to scream. Her shifting became even more frantic as the figure’s face became clearer. Cartoonishly large, sagging eyes. A gruesome, unwavering wide smile. A spindly hand reaching over the girl’s throat to—
A thud. Shakka’s spindly fingers knocking on the door. He screamed, jumping out of his seat. In a flash, he turned on his desk light and spun around, abandoned headphones swaying. The textbook lay solitary on the itchy beige carpet.
A textbook. It was just a textbook. How it fell from its snug place on the bookshelf, Devin didn’t know, but the house was shaky and old. Shit fell all the time. Right. That’s what it was.
Georgy’s voice continued in his signature tone, rumors about the video being a snuff film and other irrelevant comments from old 4chan users. Devin barely paid attention, panting like he had run a marathon before slowly sitting back down and turning off the light, plunging the room back into the dark.
He continued to watch the video, unaware of the large red eyes in the corner of his room.
Art by Avery Slezak