I’m a YouTube gamer. Mrgameplan. I play games and upload them every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. However, when Saturday came, I logged onto my YouTube to see I had made a new upload; except, I didn’t remember ever doing so.
It was titled “1988” and listed as private. It was not a gaming video. I clicked on it, just out of curiosity.
The video began to play and I saw myself; 9 months old and taking his first steps. My grandpa was holding me up at first, then he goes, “watch this.”
My momma gasped and to her surprise, I started walking on my own. It was quite an achievement. Seeing it made me smile. The video ended in happy laughter.
My nostalgia quickly dissipated though. I definitely didn’t put that up but I couldn’t bring myself to delete it. I left it posted.
Three days later and it was Tuesday. I had just come out with a new video yesterday, yet I had a notification stating I had uploaded again.
What the fuck? It was titled “1993” and the description said “watch this.” Fine. Screw it. I clicked the video, my armpits getting a bit sweaty. Who had uploaded this?
“Hey, momma, you watchin’?” a five-year-old me asked.
“Yeah, go on, now before my soap comes on,” my mom said, from behind the camera.
I smiled big. I was on a bike, no training wheels. I remembered this. I had finally learned to ride one without the extra wheels and wanted to show off. I scooted forward and lifted my feet onto the pedals and began to move my legs. I was doing it. I started riding my red and blue bike that I had nicknamed “Spidey.”
This was some old ass footage.
I stopped the video and stared at my screen. This video was private as well, but I know I didn’t upload it. I didn’t even have access to those videos anymore. They were at my Nanna’s house, in some box in her garage. Could it have been a coincidence? I waited another two days to find out. No, it was not.
Another private video, that I know I didn’t upload, appeared. This one was titled “Birthday of ‘99.” I remembered this moment as well.
I was ten and my father had come back into my life after leaving my mother high and dry. He was allowed at the party though. I watched myself, surrounded by family. My smile was tense and hiding the fact that I wasn’t comfortable with my father being so close and friendly with me. He felt like a stranger.
They all sang happy birthday and I blew out the candles.
“What did you wish for, little man?” my father asked.
I gave that nervous smile, eyes looking for an out. I wished for a happy family. A normal life.
“He can’t say or it won’t come true, Derek,” my mom said.
I stopped the video.
It was seriously messed up. Someone had to have hacked my account, but why?
Someone also had my videos and the only thing I could do was wait for the next upload. I began to feel watched. Someone wanted me to see this.
Friday came and I didn’t even record or upload a game. I was too nervous. I couldn’t sleep at night. I started to notice things like weird, offhanded comments from users with names like Bob or Joe. Single, anonymous names with no user profile pic, commenting on my videos. They would always say the same things. “Good job, little man” or “Is anyone watching this?”
Saturday came all too quick. I hadn’t gotten any sleep. I stayed up all night and day, waiting for the upload. When it came, I clicked on it immediately. This video wasn’t private. It was public and the title was “2007 prom night” with the description “watch this.”
I knew what was going to happen yet I still watched it.
The video started.
I had taken out my phone and had it tucked against my leg while I made out with Sharon in the backseat of my cousin’s car.
Sharon puled down the top of her dress for me and I exposed one of her breasts, kissing it. This was my first time with a girl. I slipped my hand up her dress, trying to keep a good angle with the phone but I dropped it and she noticed.
“What was that?” she asked.
But she pulled her top back up and bent down to see the phone. She looked at me, outraged, then slapped me.
“What the fuck, Maurice?”
I just wanted to prove I wasn’t a loser. She was beautiful. No one would believe that I scored with her. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I was a young idiot.
“Fuck you, Maurice. If I ever see that video on someone’s phone or laptop…”
“I would never do that to you. I swear.”
She gave me the finger and asked me to take her home. I cut the camera off and the video ended. I looked at it in horror. The views were going up. I began to get comments like:
“Is that really you?”
“Man, that was messed up.”
“@Mrgameplan, you’re actually a piece of shit huh?”
“Unsubscribing from Mrgameplan.”
Who was doing it? That video was from high school, lost on some USB I had tucked away in a box. I had to take it down but suddenly got another notification. It pinged and told me my latest video had finished processing and was ready for viewing.
This one was private again. Its description had changed to say “2019.”
It was titled “The Operator.”
I clicked on it, heart pounding. The video was all black at first and then the cameraman moved. It was black because he was hiding in a closet. Through the slits I could see someone sitting at a desk in front of a computer. The cameraman, this “Operator,” opened the closet door very slightly and leaned the phone out.
I found myself looking at footage of me from behind. From the shirt I wore, I could tell it was taken two days ago.
I glanced behind me, forehead sweating, but I saw no one. I turned back to the screen and a comment popped up. It was from my account. I read it.
“You know, they say right before death…”
I waited and another comment appeared below it.
“Your life flashes before your eyes.”
And then came a soft creaking from behind me.
A breath of warm air.
And something cold against my neck.