Why was it so hard to live it up?
At the time she’d left home, Samira had thought it a great idea. She had graduated school with the high spirited desire to travel the world, live it up! Her plan had been to live her life like all of those bloggers out there who seemed to love nothing more than to tell the world of how great their lives were. Samira had simply wanted to have and express as much fun as they had.
So, she’d started a blog.
Straight out of school and ready to live it up.
She had been so ready for the life of a blogger. A perfect, fun, enticing life.
But of course, nothing that perfect is ever as great as it seems.
The reality of her situation was that she was not living it up.
Samira, in actuality, was bored, depressed, and lonely.
She had to admit, her acting skills exceeded even her expectations. She appeared to be having a good time, she really did! And all the people who followed her blog thought so too. They were the easiest to fool. It was harder for Samira to convince her close family of her positive outlook on her life.
She did it though, even if each new lie killed her a little bit inside.
Her family loved her, she knew this fact like no other, but they had their own lives to attend to. She couldn't bother them with her meager problems. They had other things to deal with.
The gist of her predicament was this: Samira was alone.
She lived alone in her small empty apartment.
All of her exciting adventures only ever included her, and only her.
This fact haunted Samira constantly.
What would become of her when her loving, supportive parents finally withered away. They were old, and this also plagued Samira almost worse than the haunting sense of solitude.
Her parents were all she had.
She did not have any friends or siblings. She was an only child.
Alone and opressed.
The days started off easy enough. Samira simply started her mornings sliding open her much-to-stellar designer curtains to reveal the smoggy sunrise.
This is where she would record her early morning routines.
As for the rest of the day, Samira only recorded the most interesting parts for her blog.
At the end of the day, before she was free to relax, she would stop her extended recording of the day's oh-so-fun events.
Then she would post it.
The immediate reactions of viewers and comments that followed should have made her feel elated.
People enjoyed watching her fail at life! Wasn't that just great!
It wasn't though. Not to her.
These people did not know her.
They were merely strangers believing every lie she spat out in their overshadowed, unseen faces.
Samira did not pay much attention to these people.
The only reason she kept up the act was to provide her with somewhat of an income. She had to survive somehow, and if this blog was her work then so be it.
At the end of the long day, Samira would power down and finally go to sleep, get the rest she deserved.
This she did day after day.
Week after week.
Month after month.
Year after year.
Until the day she rewatched her first video.
The day everything changed.
It was uncanny!
Things like this only happened in those mystery-action packed fake movies that Samira hardly ever watched.
Sketchy looking strangers did not follow unsuspecting bloggers around as they moved through recorded lives.
Especially not every day.
And yet… Here Samira was, watching in eerie silence as this faceless figure followed her around in each and every one of her videos…
For two years.
Samira never rewatched the recorded days on her blog, why bother? She already knew what would happen that day, and had little time to go back and review it all.
And now she wished she had.
The reason she’d gone back and watched her fist post was because of something her mother had said.
Samira’s parents had come over to her lonely apartment for a visit, much to her dismay. She’d made them dinner and been kind to them like any good host. The most of dinner had seemed like a blur to Samira. She responded to her parents' inquiries about her with reassuring, short answers.
Only, she was snapped back into focus when her mother had mentioned her blog.
Not just the general “How’s the blog going” or “Anything cool on your blog recently?”
No. None of that, instead her mother had asked an entirely new question.
A strange question.
“So who is this friend you have helping you with your blog?” she had asked Samira with a twinkle in her eye.
Samira had been awestruck. Nobody helped her with her blog. It was just her.
Her and her alone.
“Excuse me?” She’d frowned.
“You know the guy who’s always been in the background?”
Samira had simply stared at her mother in shock.
She was quick to find an excuse to get her family out of her apartment ASAP after that.
Sure enough, when she’d gone back to watch her videos in confusion…
He was there.
A guy, always in the same back hoodie, pulled over his head, obscuring it, with one bold word printed on the exterior.
It made Samira laugh, because that’s just what he was. A stranger.
A stranger who stalked her in each and every single video.
He was always behind her.
No, definitely stalker-like.
For once in her life Samira did not feel alone, and it definitely was not a good feeling. It wasn't a relieved one either.
No. Instead Samira felt the horror inducing sense that she was being watched.
For the first time ever Samira clicked on the white square button that would lead her to read her comments.
As she read them terror fell over her nervous face. Every other comment seemed to mention the stranger who stalked Samira. These people thought it humorous! Like it wasnt life threatening and terrifying.
It was then Samira realised that they did not think that “Stanger” was an actual stalker or real stranger to her.
These figments of people had the impression that Samira had planned this, like some kind of inside joke in all of her videos.
Who is this “stranger” that follows Samira everyware like a stalker! HAHA what a funny little touch of excitement!
Samira had spent countless hours filming her blog and found herself sporadically wondering how in the world she had not once noticed this “stranger” before.
How she could have been so stupid.
This man who seemed to always know where she was and what she was doing could be anyone.
And he could be dangerous…
It took Samira forever to fall asleep that night, and once she had, her head was filled with tormenting nightmares and afflicting worries.
Samira could not go out and film today.
There was no way she was about to take that chance. It was possible that her stalker would only strike once she figured out he was there. Or maybe he’d never planned on her noticing him, so his plans would be forced to change and he would… he’d…
She didn't know what he would do but she definitely wasn't going to walk right into anything that had to do with any creepy stalker.
She couldn't die now. Samira couldn't die because she…
She was alone…
she was depressed…
And she could not think of a reason for her to remain alive other than the fear that haunted her.
The fear of death.
And of this new strange man who could probably take her out far too easily.
She had never known much about self defence.
As these thoughts swirled in her head, something inside of Samira snapped.
All the fears and doubts she had always kept pushed down inside her came to the surface, and for the first time in a long while, Samira began to cry.
It wasn't a small hiccup of tears that trickled down her face as if to calm oneself down, it was more.
Samira’s sob’s seemed to reverbarate off every wall and tear her body to bits. She wailed and fell to the floor in an attempt to bundle what had burst out of her mind and soul and into her shaking body away and hide it again.
As she fell a sharp pain exploded in her head and her body went motionless.
Her head tucked onto the kitchen tile with a loud thud.
Samira turned her head to look up at whatever had assaulted her with a loud groan and saw the sharp corner of her messy counter she’s never bothered to clean up after dinner with her parents not long ago.
Made more messy with, Samira realized with a terrifying shock, her own blood.
It hurt to think so Samira closed her eyes and reached for her head.
“Help.” she squeaked when she felt the unmisstakable warm stickiness that was most definitely her head bleeding.
She attempted a meager call for help again but knew it was useless.
She was alone.
A stray tear fell down her cheek and her vision began to fade to black.
The last thing Samira remembered was the darkness. The cold empty loneliness of the black. She had been alone and helpless.
Nobody had been there to help her.
So why, she wondered as she lay down in the soft white covers of a hospital bed, was she here? Shouldn't she be, she didn't know, dying in the sad confines of her lonely apartment building? Maybe she was being too paranoid.
A neighbor might have heard her ruckus and came to see what was going on.
But that thought was strange to Samira. Her only neighbors within hearing range were a guy who only lived there a few months a year and some fellow teenagers who were always out extremely late and didn’t give a crap to whatever their neighbors were up to.
She’d gotten lucky?
Or maybe… a thought crossed her mind, a terrifying thought.
Maybe the stalker had hel ped her. Had he been watching her?
The mere idea of it made her shudder.
“She seems to have taken a severe hitting to the head and passed out.” She heard a voice saying outside her door. “You can go in and see her if you’d like, but she probably won't be awake. She’s been sleeping since she arrived.”
Her door opened, and two figures rushed in.
“Sweetie! You're awake!” They cheered simultaneously.
Samira tried to smile but it felt more like a grimace.
“We were so worried.” her mother went on, “ we couldn't imagine losing you! And neither could they!” her mother gestured to Samira’s nightstand.
She slowly turned her head in confusion towards her nightstand.
The small wooden table was overpiling with thousands of cards, gifts and signs adorned with hearts and phrases like “Get well soon” or “We miss you!”
Samira stared at them in awe.
“Who- what… ?”
“It’s your followers and fans. They all love and miss you. They got worried and have been leaving things for you since the doctors won't let them all in.” Her father offered.
Samira started. People missed her. Wanted her to get better?
Cared about her?
But she was alone…
Her followers were just random people who she would never know.
Or maybe, something inside her head told her, maybe the reason they were all nothing to her was because she had never taken the time to get to know them.
She had always ignored her fans and saw them as a way to get an income. The more followers, the more money.
But each and every person who watched her videos, she realized, had a life, a personality. They watched her for a reason. They cared about her because they wanted to. Not because they knew it would give her income.
Maybe Samira was just overthinking everything.
But maybe her thoughts, her fears and doubts, were… could it be possible that none of them were real? That she had conjured them all up from the depths of her jumbled head.
Was she even alone? Had she ever been?
No, she realized suddenly, she wasn't alone. There had always been people that cared about her in her life, and she’d ignored that.
Heck, her parents were standing right in front of her, practically shoving their heaps of relief into her awestruck face.
They had always been there for her,even if they were busy sometimes, and now, she knew that she wasn't alone. In fact, she was quite the opposite.
She had an entire fan-based family supporting and caring for her wherever she went.
...wherever she went.
A thought struck her hard.
“Mom?” she asked. “Who helped me get to the hospital?”
Her mother smiled. “A kind boy who said he heard you.. Uh... crying in your room and came to see if you were okay.”
Samira’s smile dropped.
“Do you know what he looked like?”
“No, only the doctors saw him. Why?”
Samira shrugged, feigning nonchalance.
“Okay? Your father and I are going to leave now, let you get some rest if that’s okay.” her mom said.
Part of her wanted them to stay, to leave her with a physical reminder that she was not alone, but she knew that she did need to rest, and her parents probably had other things to attend to, and she found that she was fine with that.
“See you later! Love you.” she called to them as they left her room.
“We love you too!” Her dad called back before the door shut behind them, leaving Samira with her thoughts.
“Thought they’d never leave.” a cool voice laughed from the closet Samira’s hospital room.
A boy pushed his way out of the closet. He looked about her age and had fluffy locks of chocolate brown hair
“Hi.” he said.
Samira’s eyebrows raised.
“What the heck are you doing in there?” She tried to hiss, glaring at the boy.
That’s when she noticed the hoodie.
A very familiar hoodie that had haunted her ever since she laid eyes upon it.
A midnight black one with a single white word sprawled across it’s center,
“Glad to see you feeling... a lot better.” he said in a way that suggested he meant more than just her physical health.
“I…” she began but was cut off.
“Well. Guess my purpose here is fulfilled” The stranger said, then his voice dropped a level “Oh! And as far as you, or anybody else for that matter, knows...” He looked straight at her.
His eyes startled her more than she already was. They were glowing bright yellow and seemed to pierce her very soul.
“I was never here.” he finished and winked at her.
His wink sent a blast of neon yellow through the air and then he was gone.
Her pocket grew warm and Samira fumbled around in it for what had to be her phone, she had no idea what was happening.
As she shakily typed in the passcode to gain access to her phone, a yellow flash blew over her screen. Her first video from her blog opened.
Except, it was different.
The “stranger” was gone. It was as if he had never been there…
After a while Samira wondered why she was watching her blog so intently. She could do that later, for now, she needed some rest.
Samira’s first thought the day she was released from the hospital was a shout of joy. She was free! No more lumpy bed and cheap cafeteria food! YAY!
Her second one though, was of excitement as crowds of people came to greet her and make sure she was okay.
People who cared about her.
A girl who jumped up and down squealing in happiness to have finally met Samira. A few boys who had sheepishly asked for a signature. An entire family who seemed overjoyed that she was okay! Countless others approached her, expressing their admiration and joy.
Samira felt overwhelmed, but in a good kind of way. A definitely-not-lonely way.
It felt like it had been forever when the crowd finally dispersed, leaving only a few stragglers.
Samira smiled as she walked to her car. (her parents had brought it in for her) But stopped short when she saw someone standing there.
Something about him was familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on it.
He was wearing a black hoodie with the word stranger on it. It made Samira chuckle, because a stranger was exactly what he was.
He turned to look at her and Samira raised her eyebrows.
His eyes were yellow, it was so uncommon that Samira found herself staring at them.
The boy smiled.
“Hi.” he said.