What seems reality is not reality

Submitted into Contest #200 in response to: Write a story about someone trying to track down the source of a rumor.... view prompt


Mystery Fiction

Raymon Diggins was found lying dead in the middle of a busy road in his hometown of the state of Washington. Nobody knew what happened, except for Raymond was exiting his apartment with his poodle to walk on their daily routine. Only a civilian saw Raymond stop in the middle of the road and stare at something in front of him when there was nothing in sight. The civilian noticed that Raymond reached out his right arm to what appeared he was grabbing a shoulder. It was reported that the civilian tried to get the attention of Diggins, but the man seemed he didn’t hear a word. In fact, Raymond was having his own conversation with the empty space around him. Then, he collapsed falling straight down to the ground. As people reached him, his eyes were open, but his breathing was stopped. He was pronounced dead as soon as he hit the ground. Some say it was because he was suffering from the heat, others say he hit his head on the concrete too hard from the fall. That was the day the rumor started of a new disease that would hit a person rarely without a cause. The rumor having a name of mind effect.

“Oh please, some random person simply does not walk outside and then stops in the middle of the road to stare at nothing only to fall dead at the exact spot” my friend Jacob exclaimed to us at the lunch table that we were sitting at. The friends I sat around loved to find stories on the internet about cases that seem out of the ordinary. Their case today was of a man named Raymon Diggins. The man was reportedly seen as staring at nothing, and then falling on the ground dead. It was a story that didn’t make sense that gave people the right to have all sorts of ideas for the case. That was when the rumor of mind effect came out. “Normally I would agree with you Jacob, but did you hear about how the civilian saw him reacting to what was in front of him? It was as if he was having a conversation with somebody, and then collapsed” our other friend Dillon remarked. While those two argued about ghosts and the possible outcomes of what really happened to the man, I got on my laptop to research more about the rumor called Mind Effect. I found several cases of the rumor, but I didn’t believe it to be true because the reports seemed bizarre to me. 

   A 8 year old girl is found playing with chalk in her driveway when her mother sees her running away from the house. Her mother reports she was chasing after a ball as the girl was yelling the word ball, but the mother saw nothing on the road, but her little girl. Luckily, the mother was concerned because the girl kept going down multiple roads until her mother caught up to her. The 10 year old girl said she was chasing after a ball that another 8 year old girl in the neighborhood lost. The mother reports that they have not had another young child in the neighborhood for 5 years after one went missing in the woods. 

Gary Franklin was a 45 year old mechanic who was working on a car when a runner passed by his shop to see him giving a set of keys to thin air. The runner reported that the man didn’t hear the keys drop, and seemed that the man was reunited with an old friend. Eventually, the runner would pass by only to see an ambulance pass by 5 minutes later heading in that same direction. The man was found dead lying in the spot the runner saw him. 

I didn’t think it was ghosts, I didn’t know what to think of it. It all seemed like it was made up stories to grab the attention of several audiences. It certainly did as the rumor was spreading through the local towns even the small town that I lived in. I told my friends goodbye that day as I headed out into the hot sunny day of Floral Acres, the 5,700 people that reportedly live here. I didn’t live far from the school as it was only a couple miles, and being the runner I was, it would take me no time at all. 

I reached the front of my house to see a bright red Honda car parked on the side of the house. There was no driver in it, but two kids in the backseat. Both looked to be 10 years old and had gaming devices on them. One had a bright blue shirt with blond short hair while the other had brown long hair that seemed to cover his face. “Hi, who are you guys?” I asked politely as I didn’t want to scare them. I wish I just left them alone because their next reaction sent a chill down my spine. They just stared at me with their blue eyes and did nothing. Whatever they were playing was not on their mind anymore because they acted as if they were zombies and I was their dinner. I ran to the front of my porch to go get my mother and see what was going on when suddenly, the kid with the blue shirt was close to my front porch standing there with those same blue eyes. The other kid was still in the car now looking down at his feet. I asked what was wrong, but the kid just stood there. I stepped down from the porch steps to confront the kid, but he darted off towards the backyard of my house.

  The other kid started to take off, but my mind was on the other one. I chased him where I eventually caught up to him and put a hand to his shoulder to ask what was going on. The kid simply stared at me with soulless eyes. Then, the world shifted on me. “Keith honey are you okay? Is the heat getting to you” a familiar voice said to me. It was our neighbor who was an old sweet lady who always gave us fresh cookies on Sundays. I noticed I was on the ground with one knee with my hand in the air towards a shoulder. “Did you see that kid? Where did he go, he was right here in front of me” I asked her. She gave me a concerned look, “Honey there was no kid over here, just you. Oh dear, the heat must be getting to you today” she replied, but I was lost in my own world now because when I reached the front of the house there was no red car, and no tire marks to prove there ever was one. I know what was there, I ran inside hoping it was the heat that was bothering me. 

       After that day, I convinced myself that it was the heat that was getting to me, and not that stupid rumor that was going around. Today I decided to take a simple 3 mile run around town. The first half went fine, and the heat was noneffective today. I got to 2.5 miles when I somehow ran to a familiar area where I noticed a house that I lived in with my father before he passed away 6 years ago. I got closer to notice it was that same house, and I had the strong urge to knock on it. The door opened to my father standing there with a smile on his face seeing his son. I almost cried right there because I haven’t seen him in 6 years and now to see him with that same hat and attire was just astonishing that it took my mind off why he was here. He went on to talk about his usual complaints of the neighbors, the town, and the whole world. It was just like him. Although when he got to my mother, I knew instantly in my mind I had to hear the same speeches again about how she left him and whatever else. Then he went on to talk to me about how I grew up and how I should eat more. It was all too much, and I went up to hug him. As the hug embraced, I felt the love that me and my father had, and then the world shifted to me once again.  

I jumped at the sound of a horn as I was in the middle of the road staring into nothing and a car waiting for me to move. I remembered everything that happened, and realized that day that rumor that was spreading around was not a rumor any more. It was my own living hell. I had to track down this rumor and find out how to stop it before it got too late. 

Looking up info for a rumor and how to stop it on the internet is not an easy task. Apparently nobody in the world knows how to beat the disease called mindset, only how it happens to people. Then I decided to see a doctor, see if they would see anything wrong with me. “It’s clear to me that you're simply a normal high school boy. You could use some more rest though, and that could be the problem with your mind” the doctor explained to me one day. Rest? The doctor said I was fine, and all I needed was rest. I got plenty of rest every day, I should've known I would not get the answers I needed. I decided that I was letting the rumor get to my head, and would put it to rest in my mind. Literally. 

The next day at school I headed into the cafeteria to meet all my friends at the table for breakfast. Of course, they were talking about some new rumor they found on the internet. It was as if the previous rumor was old news to them. While the conversations my friends were having were not in my particular interest, I searched the web for articles on old cases through the years. That was when I found the article that I wish I never found…

10 years ago two young boys at the age of 10 and their mother were found dead after getting hit by a semi on the interstate. The semi driver suffered multiple wounds, but was able to breathe again. The semi driver explains how 10 years later how the accident still haunts him to this day, and wishes the family of three in that car was alive.

After I read that part, I convinced myself it had nothing to do with what I saw the other day until I scrolled further down to see the pictures of the two kids that I did recognize the other day. I didn’t have time to react because as soon as I looked up, the whole cafeteria was a blur besides what was around me. Then, I saw the two kids near me in the cafeteria. The same two kids that died 10 years ago. I was going to say something when I felt a hand from the back of my shoulder, a hand I knew well from my childhood, “Son come with me over there where the light is showing. It would be more comfortable for you there” my father said in his compassionate tone. I didn’t argue because all I felt was an indescribable urge to be with my father and these kids that were going to this bright light in the middle of the cafeteria. Everything else was still a blur. I followed my father as I always did, and then everything went away from existence… 

As Jacob was talking about aliens again to the group in the cafeteria, he was not expecting one of his friends to suddenly collapse on the ground. His friend Keith was found dead where he collapsed where it said he was dead as soon as he hit the ground. Jacob noticed his eyes though, and saw they were far from reality as possible. His friend was truly lost in another world. The rumor mindset was no more a rumor, it was a rare disease that showed no mercy without a definite cause of reason.     

June 02, 2023 17:22

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Sylph Fox
07:56 Jun 24, 2023

Hi Stephen, you skilfully thread suspense throughout the story, making it so compelling that I can hardly wait to reach the thrilling ending! I hast an audio book podcast and looking for stories like yours for my next season. I'd really love to feature your work. If you’re interested in having your story read by me I'd really appreciate it if you'd contact me at SylphFoxSubmission@gmail.com. I invite you to listen to my podcast and see what you think. Apple Podcast : https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/codename-sylph-fox/id1667146729 S...


Stephen Lake
10:08 Jun 25, 2023

Hello, I am glad you liked my story and would be honored to have it on your podcast. I am the original author of this short story and I give you permission to have this chaotic story on your podcast! Thank you for your interest in my story, means a lot to a writer!


Sylph Fox
05:52 Oct 15, 2023

Hey there! I have uploaded your stories. Thank you again for writing this lovely story. Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/codename-sylph-fox/id1667146729?i=1000631340653 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/77C5figr6PEVMN72PcTsms?si=2f8a19ff6a624e84 Thanks, Sylph


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