There’s a picture on the internet that if you look at, can temporarily leave an afterimage for hours, days, weeks or months. It’s nothing unusual, just red and green squares with black vertical and horizontal lines running through them. I won’t link to it, you can find it yourself. But I must warn you first, by telling you what happened to my friend Neil. I thought it would just annoy him, at best.
I watched the YouTube video and decided to message my friend. Within minutes he replied.
Neil: Holy shit, you’re right. It does work.
I felt happy for him. It didn’t work for me, but then nothing ever does, white and gold dress anyone?
I didn’t think any more of it until I received another message. It was late, I was already in bed.
Neil: Shit, Simon, I’m seeing some weird things now.
Me: Like what?
Neil: Shadows and stuff.
Neil: In the corners of my vision. When I look at them, they are gone.
Me: Sounds cool.
Neil: It’s not fucking cool. I’m freaking out.
Me: I’m sure it’s your imagination.
The messages stopped. I thought he was trying to wind me up and I hadn’t fallen for it. I went to sleep.
I woke in the early hours and used the toilet. I noticed the light on my phone was flashing. I picked it up, the screen burned my retinas.
Neil: Jesus man, this is really surreal. I turned off the lights and now I can see colours. Really trippy.
Neil: Are you there man? This is getting a little intense.
Neil: Fuck man. It’s like spiderwebs now. Isn’t this what LSD is supposed to be like? I never signed up for this. Reply ASAP.
Neil: One, two, three… Three, what I can only call entities are now in my field of vision. I close my eyes and they are still there. I’m freaking man. Where are you.
Neil: Hahaha. They’re sitting on the bed, looking at me. This is fucked up bro. Please respond.
Neil: Simon! Wake the fuck up! I can barely read to type anymore.
I read the messages. Holy shit. This was ridiculous. All that was supposed to happen was a silly afterimage that would last for a couple of hours.
Me: Neil, what’s happening? Are you okay?
I had no response in five minutes, so I tried again.
Me: Dude, nothing you have said was supposed to happen from that video I sent.
Neil: hashsa. Doint thiinmk it wssa thast idveo.
Neil: Rwelasted oines
Me: I don’t know what you mean…
Neil: Relsatted visdeos.
I rang Neil and waited.
“Neil, is that you?” I asked.
“Dude, I’m so sorry, whatever is happening wasn’t supposed to.”
The line went quiet.
“Are you… are you playing me?” I asked.
Neil sniggered again.
“You little shit, you had me worried!” I said angrily down the phone.
“No, no, no, no, no. Not your fault… Mine… Followed a few too many…. related… videos…”
“You don’t sound well, man.”
“Do I not?”
His laughter had now turned sinister.
“I know… how to… stop… IT!”
“What do you mean, Neil?”
“It’s my… eyes… that are… all… wrong.”
“Don’t do anything, I’ll come over and help.”
“Shhhhh, you’ll… disturb them. I… can… make the…m dis…appear.”
“I’m coming over right now. Stay where you are. Keep talking.”
I put on my clothes and raced from the house. He was only a block away.
“One…” Neil said, as he winced, before giving out a large exhale, “oooh… tha.t was mo…re messy tha.n I’d… expected…”
“Neil! Don’t do this!”
“Tw.o…. Oooooooooh,” Neil said satisfied.
“Man, what have you done!” I shouted down the phone between breaths.
I stopped outside his house, hearing heavy breathing down the line. I wondered if it was my own. The breathing turned to sniffs.
“It didn.t… work… I can… sti.ll see th…em.”