's 2014 Horror Write-off:

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Submitted by Emma G.

I guess it... it started with me needing help with a game I was playing. On my, my Game Boy, one of those Zelda games, d’you... Nevermind, it’s not that important. I was stuck at one part and couldn’t figure out how to get past it, so I went looking around the internet and found a forum where people... y’know, talked about the games and helped each other out. So I joined up and everyone there was so friendly... Really just, very nice, really welcoming. Besides the games talk, they had an off-topic section, and one of the threads was a... a selfie thread, you know- Pictures of yourself, yeah. It was nice, and I’d hang out in there a lot and tell people what I liked about their pictures. Couple people I got close to kept telling me I oughta post one, and I told ‘em about the accident, and how my face got all f-fucked up, can I say that? Okay, sorry. Sorry.

I did post a couple with just, my eyes showing, with a scarf or something else over the rest, cuz I was real self-conscious and you know how the internet can be... I didn’t want anybody taking it and putting it somewhere to get laughed at. They got whole sites for that. It’s gross but what d’you expect.

One of them, I got real close to. Her screen name on the site was LammyDance, and she went by Lammy. I was Smiles, some... some number, I don’t remember. And she was just, the sweetest person. Real warm and helpful to everybody... We started talking on Skype some, and we’d even voice chat. I believe she really cared about me, always told me she thought I was beautiful, and we exchanged Christmas cards and everything so I... I took a picture of myself for her. My whole face. She’d wanted to see if for a long time, got a little bit pushy about it, and I didn’t want to disappoint her. Didn’t even really look at the photos at first cuz I knew I’d just get all upset and change my mind, so it was all off-center and not lit too well... I sent it to her, and only her.

That part really scared me cuz, for a while she didn’t respond. Didn’t go offline or anything, just wouldn’t talk back to me. I typed stuff to her, said I was sorry and I knew it was bad and ugly, freaky-looking... Then I got to worrying, but she’d always been so nice I couldn’t imagine she was doing it all just to make fun of me. I don’t believe that was why, I think she really did mean well, but... sorry. I’m getting all- I’ll keep going.

Lammy did come back eventually, said she got an anxiety attack and that she was okay, and promised it wasn’t cuz of my face. I believed her cuz I knew she had problems with that, but she didn’t say anything more except that she wanted to go relax and... and that was the last time we talked. She got offline and didn’t come back on.

Couple... days later, I’m getting worried, since it’s been a long time since I heard from her. I had her real name because of the cards but I wasn’t on Facebook too much. I went to look at hers and she... she put my picture up there. Not in like a, “hey look at this freak” kinda way but just. No comments or anything, not by her. Just posted on her wall thing. Couple of other people going ew gross, and that hurt but mostly I was just confused. I went and asked her to take it down, thinking maybe it was a mistake, that she meant to put something else up there and clicked mine instead, but she didn’t get back to me. Nobody I knew could get ahold of her.

Another online friend told me someone had put my picture up somewhere else, got it from her facebook. Posted it on some other site, tumblr I think. I didn’t use it so I didn’t know much about how it worked but I went to message the person anyway and ask them nicely to take it down... Maybe report them if they wouldn’t. Really I was just panicking at that point. It had taken me so long to even get to the point of wanting to show myself to people and it seemed like someone I really trusted had gone and shown off my picture to a bunch of strangers so they could all laugh about how gross I was... I still didn’t quite believe that. I didn’t want to.

I went to all the blogs that had reposted it, that I could find and sent them messages. I sat there clicking refresh, waiting for hours in hopes that any of them would get back to me, not sleeping or anything. I even... I gave them my Skype if they wanted to talk there, but they just... It seemed like after they posted the picture of me, they’d either stop or they’d make a couple posts saying they weren’t feeling good and had to go away for a while... Eventually I stopped trying to contact everybody sharing it cuz it was just too many, hundreds of them, and I... I knew they’d forget about it eventually, and it’d die down. It’s just a picture. None of those people knew me and I didn’t know them, and never would. I stayed off the internet for a while and that helped me feel a little better.

Lammy’s Facebook was the first thing I checked on when I finally got back on. I didn’t know what to expect, since she hadn’t come back on Skype either. Turned out she’d killed herself... The, the page was full of her friends and family saying how sorry they were, how she’d be missed, she was beautiful, y’know... And my photo. She’d never taken it down. I didn’t really look at the comments but I bet it’s still there if you want to. Then it just, hit me out of nowhere. That this might be my fault. That she did this cuz she saw me, and the other blogs, that all posted it. I looked at some of them too when I calmed down a little, and it was the same. The photo and then a... either nothing or a couple posts. Sometimes they said goodbye, but mostly the posts just stopped. Everywhere was just, people saying they couldn’t sleep, that they were sick, or anxious or feeling scared... I knew it was ridiculous. I mean, I’m... I look awful, I know that, but I didn’t think people’d kill themselves just for looking at me. I did go outside, sometimes, and I’d see people and nothing happened to them. Hell, y- sorry. You’re looking at me now and you’re not...

I even thought a couple times that maybe if I was dead the effect’d stop, but I couldn’t know for sure, so I... and I don’t really wanna die. Sometimes I think I do but I don’t, really. I hadn’t thought about it in a long time. Mostly I just, I didn’t know if anybody’d come for me, and I’d just rot in my bathtub or whatever... Seemed too sad to go through with.

I dunno what to think... I know it’s crazy but I think it was the photo. I got rid of it but I can’t take it down from anywhere else it’s been posted, and more’n more people are gonna see it and I can’t do anything. And that’s all I gotta say about it. I haven’t gone back to any of those places or taken any more photos since then.

I’m not a bad person. I never meant to hurt people.

I just wanted to feel good about myself.

That’s all anybody ever wants.