Disconnected, Part 3

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Sorry for the delay everyone, here’s part 3 of my short story, Disconnected. I promise to deliver Part 4, the final installment by the end of the week.

And in case you missed them, here’s:

Part 1

-and-

Part 2

Tristan stood up with his chest puffed out, feeling good. Then, the memory of the strange messages came barreling back and knocked him onto the couch. He sat there for a moment, and then he took his phone upstairs and turned on his computer. Once it’d finally fired up, he logged into his e-mail account again and went into the chats folder. He opened the message from earlier and brought up the text message. As his eyes went from screen to screen matching up the numbers, his heart began to pound harder and harder. Both had come from the same set of eleven numbers.

He googled the eleven numbers but they bore no significance, and nothing came up for the term ymail either. He debated responding to either with a “Who is this?” but figured it best not to perpetuate the situation.

Hopefully, it would just go away.

He got to tidying up for when Abby arrived later.

 

His head popped up off the pillow. He glanced over at the clock.

1 a.m.

He rubbed at his eyes and sat up. Did he just hear someone knocking?

He listened for a minute and heard it again—a light knocking at the door.

Abby’s face popped into his head. He got up, still dressed. He must have passed out while waiting up for her. He glanced at himself in the mirror. Ah well, she’d have to deal with the tousled look. He’d hoped it might have ended up looking that way shortly anyway.

He opened the door without checking through the peephole, which was not typical for him. He really must be out of it. But no one was there.

Tristan frowned. He stepped with one foot out and peeked around.

Nobody was there.

The cold air sent a chill up his spine, so he stepped back in and shut the door behind him,

scratching his head.

Maybe he’d imagined it?

He looked around the living room and listened to the hum of the refrigerator, waiting to see if she’d come back.

Still nothing.

He shrugged and went back upstairs, wondering what happened to Abby.

Now he was up. He looked at his computer and didn’t waste a second before gliding into his chair and over to his desk. He clicked on the Favorites tab, and there he sat for the next three hours.

 

Monday morning rolled around way too quickly, and Tristan’s classes started practically at the crack of dawn. He grabbed a pile of mail he’d forgotten to take out of the mailbox on Saturday and trudged over to his car, making a mental note to himself to schedule only afternoon classes on Mondays next semester.

“Hey, Tristan!”

He peaked over his shoulder. It was his neighbor across the courtyard, Maxwell.

Tristan smiled politely back. He actually liked Maxwell.

Because he left him alone.

Maxwell came trotting over.

“Hey man, uh, I’ve been meaning to let you know something. The past couple nights there’s been this girl just standing outside your place.”

Tristan scoffed.

“A girl? What do you mean?”

“Yeah. Actually the other night there were two other people with her. It was kind of creepy. They were just standing in front of your door.”

“When?”

“It was late. I’ve been up working on my thesis project, and a few days ago I’d gone to make myself some coffee, ya know? And I came back to the window with it, peaked out, and she was there. That was Thursday I guess. I noticed her again Friday. I was out Saturday, then last night, Sunday, there were three of them.”

Tristan looked away for a minute, trying to process this.

“And they were just staring at my door?”

“Yeah from what I could tell. I couldn’t really see too well, but the girl seemed a little disheveled, so I thought it could have been a homeless person. But then I kept seeing her. Them. So I thought maybe you knew them?” Maxwell asked, giving him a searching look.

Tristan shook his head. “What time was this?”

Maxwell shrugged. “Had to be around 1 or 2 a.m.”

Tristan stood there for a moment then mumbled, “I gotta go. Class.”

“Alright,” Maxwell said. “Well, be careful man.”

Tristan sped out of the parking lot. As he drove over to campus, he remembered Abby. She was supposed to come over Friday but never showed. That was the night he heard the knocking, and Maxwell just said that was one of the nights he saw the girl. He’d looked out around that time though, and there was no one there.

Could it have been Abby? he wondered.

It didn’t seem like her to do something so strange. Then again, he wouldn’t put anything past anybody. If the conspiracy theorists he followed had taught him anything, it was that. He was thoroughly creeped out but decided to try not to think about it for now and get to class. He pulled into a spot at school and sat there a minute to collect himself. He exhaled deeply and looked over at his passenger seat where the pile of mail he’d grabbed was still sitting. He picked it up and started to flip through the various letters and bills.

He passed by it at first, and then he flipped back to a plain white envelope.

It didn’t even seem like there was anything in it. He broke the seal and peaked in. There was one small slip of paper. On it was written, in a distorted handwriting:

We can see your devotion.

Tristan threw the mail to the passenger side of the car, papers flying everywhere. He opened the door and broke into a light run toward campus. He picked up speed as he jogged alongside the football field to the classroom buildings. He started to run faster and faster as the crowds of students filtering in and out of the buildings started to come into better view. He started to feel a rising sense of urgency to catch up to them.

When he finally reached the lawn at the bottom of the hill leading up to the Biology building, he used his momentum to run up and onto one of the pedestrian walkways that slithered in between the buildings. He slowed his pace but still walked quickly, winding and weaving his way through the weary, some tweaked out on caffeine, Monday morning attendees. He gasped and jumped back as the yellow eyes of one flashed at him. He tripped backward over his own feet off the sidewalk and onto the grass, stumbling to gain his balance. Some stopped to look, wondering what was going on.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked the guy who’d thrown him off. He only paused for a moment before moving on.

Tristan pushed past the others and kept moving. He ducked past two girls a little too quickly and knocked a bag off of one of the girls’ shoulders.

“Hey, asshole!” she yelled after him.

As he moved, he zeroed in on the face of a guy with a closely cropped crew cut, whose eyes glowed back at him. He shouted and began to run.

A taller brunette locked eyes with him as he passed, and her tongue slithered out of her mouth and then tucked quickly back in.

Now he was in a full sprint back to his car, knocking into anyone who got in his way. He jumped in, revved the engine, and peeled out of the parking lot back to his townhouse. He burst through the front door and took the stairs two at a time. He landed hard on his desk chair and pushed the power button on his computer tower—his mouth set in a tight line.

Somehow the computer started up right away. He pulled back a minute, confused, his brow crinkled and hands up and off the keyboard. Then he pushed forward and clicked his Favorites tab.

He started on a new one this time—bhndthecurtain.com—and began to shake.

Pictures of him were plastered all over the site. The pictures were of him leaving his condo, getting out of his car, and sitting in the library. Above that one read, “The New Zombie: Secret Societies Prey on the Information-Obsessed.” It was an op-ed written by David Iecken himself.

Tristan clicked it immediately:

Campuses used to be hotbeds for activism and change.

Those days are becoming a thing of the past.

America’s universities are being taken hostage by a digital world completely saturated with information—news, theories, opinions, discussions, and histories, all composed by an unaccountable press that has absolutely no responsibility to tell the truth or to be diligent in their reporting. The finality of print is not a danger they have to fear anymore.

And our students are submerging themselves in all of it and drowning to the point of immobility.

“They have access to so much information at all hours of the day, and it’s resulting in young people who are incredibly knowledgeable about what’s happening in the world but have absolutely no desire to stand up and do anything about it; to get their hands dirty; to show up,” said a director of student development at a Virginia state college who asked to remain anonymous.

Which of course perpetuates the grip of control the global elite has on our future groundbreakers. As the idea of the responsible press this country was built on continues to fade away, the Illuminati’s ability to rewrite history, direct what news and information is put in front of our youth and what isn’t, has only become exponentially stronger. And it will only continue to grow.

            “They like to talk about change and constantly complain about how it needs to happen, but are completely inactive in trying to establish any,” the anonymous source said.

“No,” whispered Tristan. “No, that’s not me!” he seethed.

But he truly froze when he came across the following headline:

Victim of International Adoption Black Market Breaks His Silence

The mouse rattled under his shaking hand as he moved it to click the article link. The opening line read as follows:

Tristan Manville was about sixteen years old when his mother started to withdraw.

Seeing his name on the screen made his breath catch in his throat.

What in the world is this? he wondered.

“She’d just cry a lot, and I’d overhear a lot of hushed, heated arguments between her and my father,” he said.

Finally one morning after another silent breakfast had by the three of them, and his father had left for work, she came clean.

“She told me that my adoption from Vietnam was not legitimate.”

The young man’s parents had paid the human trafficking underground to have him kidnapped from his birth mother when he was just five years old. When she resisted, she was beaten to death.

Manville was locked in a room she’d placed him in, but her dying screams stayed with his fragile little mind all the way back to the United States. There, his new parents dumped a small fortune into therapy to erase the experience from his memory.

For a while, it worked.

“She told me, ‘You adapted and were doing really well, and my wild desperation for a child that had eaten my heart away for so long had allowed me to overlook what we’d done,’” Manville explained.

But eventually the guilt consumed her, and she couldn’t live with herself anymore until she came clean to the boy she’d been falsely calling “son” for the past sixteen years.

“My dad didn’t want her to tell me. Obviously. But mainly because he was afraid of what might happen to them . . . to all of us.”

Tristan pushed his chair back, and he hopped off of it once it’d rolled into his bed. He ran his hands through his hair and pulled at it.

Then he started to turn his home upside down.

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