's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" The Photobomber "

Submitted by Elliott Avery

My bathroom has no windows. I've locked the door behind me.

It might seem strange, but I'm almost 30 and this will be the first time I've ever taken a "selfie".

God, what a stupid word...

I never really had a reason to. People rarely asked me for pictures, and if anybody ever did, I'd just send them one a friend took while at a party or something. It always seemed kind of narcissistic to me, how obsessed some people these days are of taking pictures of themselves and posting them all over the internet. Not that I'm going to complain if it's a pretty girl doing it, mind you. Pretty woman, rather. At my age I try to avoid looking at anyone under 21. I don't even care if some young girls like men my age or older, nothing they can do for me is worth being one of THOSE guys. But, I digress.

All that said, you're probably wondering why I'm taking one now.

It all started when I noticed something strange one day while looking back over all the photos that people had tagged me in on facebook over the five or so years I'd been on there. In each and every photo, there was a man I didn't recognize. He didn't stand out in any particular photo, he was always in the background, nothing strange about him. It's just that it was clearly the same man in every picture. Here he was sitting at the bar while I was partying with some people from night school at a pub, in another he was walking by in a park that time my friend Dan Sakamano threw a frisbee at my head, or waiting at the bus stop outside the window of an ex-girlfriend's house while I played with her cat. Awful woman but I'm going to miss that cat 'til the day I die.

Weirder still, this man, a tall, lanky fellow who looked to be in his early 40s with wild, dark hair and a roman nose, was always wearing the same outfit, a white-collared shirt under a grey jacket and courderoy pants. In every single photo. Even ones taken years apart. I asked around if any of my friends knew him, but nobody did. I got a bit paranoid about the whole thing. I wondered if maybe this person was stalking me. I started glancing around for him wherever I went, but I never spotted him. I even spoke to an acquaintance on the police force, but he told me there just wasn't enough evidence to pursue any kind of investigation. He wasn't even sure it was the same guy in every photo. In some his back was turned, it could just be somebody in a similar outfit.

Eventually that's how my brain rationalized it, too. Lots of people look alike, it was probably just some weird coincidence. Still, I've always been nervous around cameras in the two years since I first noticed the mysterious stranger. I always try to avoid them. Politely excuse myself when somebody's about to take a picture. Avoid looking when I get a message somebody's tagged me in one.

But again we come to the question of why I would take a selfie now. What's changed?

A few months ago my mother died. As I was settling her affairs and putting away her belongings, I found several old family pictures I hadn't seen in years. A sudden wave of dread came over me, but morbid curiousity drove me onward. I just had to look. Lo and behold, he was there. In every picture that featured me, and only the ones with me. Even in one of my mother pregnant with me, I saw a man in the window of a building in the background that could have been him.

A man. That's the weirdest part. Assuming he was in his 40s when I first noticed him, he should have been a teenager then. Of course, looking at the old photos it was hard to tell how much he'd changed between them and the newer pictures. And that's when it hit me.

He was a lot farther away in the older ones.

Maybe I just don't care what happens now that I don't have any family left. Maybe I'm just sick of waiting for the axe to fall. All I know is I want this, whatever it is, to be over.