Sunday, November 30, 2008

Untitled

I have often wondered what it would be like to die. I think about what it would feel like. Whether it would be like going to sleep, whether it would be blissful like getting really drunk and passing out, whether there would really be a big ol’ white light, and whether your whole life would indeed flash before your eyes like a PowerPoint presentation. But a touch more spiritual, of course.

Wondering doesn’t matter anymore. Soon, I will find out. I don't have much time left. Right now, I am marvelling at how I am lucid enough to type this. And right now, I am marvelling at the fact that I’ve started babbling about nothing before I even get my message across. It’s an important message. If I tell you, it won’t be like I died alone. If I manage to type it quick enough, that is. It’s not that I don’t already feel cold and still inside, I do. I just want people to know what happened to me.

I have a friend from home named Alex. Today, Alex told me a story. He’d been living with his grandmother ever since he was younger, and today, he found out how his parents really died.

They’d been living in Kettering when one night, Alex’s Dad ran into the police station, screaming about a white woman having killed his wife. The police ignored him, of course. Alex lived in a tiny village were urban legends were rife, and the White Woman was just one of them. After the police tired of his ramblings and threw him out of the station, he went to see the local vicar. But at the first mention of the White Woman, the vicar threw him out of the church and locked up.

No one saw Alex’s Dad after that.

The White Woman, well. The urban legend says that she is just that. A young girl of sixteen, dressed in a long white dress. The dress, like her, has the appearance of something that was once exquisite, before its beauty was destroyed by some unknown trauma. Her black hair is long and lank and obscures her features. No one knows what her face looks like. Rumour has it that her eyes are like pits and her mouth is locked permanently open in a soundless scream.

She moves without moving her arms and legs, gliding across the ground at speeds only slightly faster than her victims can run. Once someone learns of her existence, she follows them home, whether they notice her or not. Once she gets to your house, she starts knocking on your door.

Sixteen knocks.

Sixteen slow, deliberate knocks on every door she must pass through, and every mirror she must pass by. She does this until she finds you, and then, you die. And so does anyone else who sees her or is unfortunate enough to otherwise learn of her existence. Sometimes it can take days, even weeks, for her to get to you. But she never stops. She won’t stop.

This is the story that Alex told me in a choked up voice over the phone, not five minutes ago. I listened first with incredulity, which turned into derision, which turned into amusement, right up until the ambulances sped past my window and Alex told me that his grandmother was dead.

“Why are you calling me?” I asked. “Call the police, get out of there!”

And then I heard the knocks. The slow, methodical, calculated knocks, audible even over Alex’s panicked breathing. Sixteen in all. “It’s too late.” He sobbed.

That’s when I heard the door splinter, followed by Alex’s screams. I heard the phone fall, and I stood paralysed for the silence that followed, my knuckles turning white from gripping the receiver so hard. I didn’t snap out of it until a female voice rasped one word into my ear. “WITNESS.”

Then the connection was severed.

This was ten minutes ago now.

Eight minutes ago, I heard a knock at my front door. Feeling sick with fear, I stood and listened. I waited for about twenty seconds, and heard nothing more. Relieved, I told myself that I was hearing things, that my frenzied mind was suffering from auditory hallucinations, that this was all some horrible horrible joke and –

There was another knock. A further twenty second pause, and another. I didn’t need to hang around to know that there would be thirteen more.

I ran into the bathroom and ripped the medicine cabinet off the wall, placing it in the hallway outside my bedroom. I then ran into the spare room and dragged the full length mirror out into the hallway, and placed it next to the cabinet. Finally, I ran back into my room, and tore drawers open and flung the contents onto the floor until I found the hand mirror that I knew was in there somewhere. Placing that next to the other two, I stood upright and listened. The knocking at the front door had stopped. Suddenly, the temperature dropped by a few degrees and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I ran back into my room. I had bought myself minutes. I collapsed at my desk, and began to type.

Since I placed the mirrors outside, my only goal has been to type this as clearly and coherently and as quickly as possible. I will not listen to the knocking at my bedroom door and I don’t know how many have passed and it’s so cold in here and my heart’s turned to ice and my only solace is that I am using my last minutes to tellllllll;kg


























WITNESS

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This is what I Feel Inside my Head

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Mother vs Technology Part II

I hate it when people who know nothing about computers or internet culture speak about computers or internet culture. When I rule the world, there are several people on TV who I am going to feed to my crocodiles.

Has anyone seen the show 'The Sarah Connor Chronicles'? For anyone out there who has a black hole where their Science Fiction knowledge should be, it is part of the Terminator franchise. And it's actually really very good. However, one of the screenwriters is on my crocodile list, for the crime of heinously misrepresenting both the internet and the 'yoof' culture.

What is even more confusing, is the fact that I am 99% sure that the majority of the crew of The Sarah Connor chronicles are nerds. And those that aren't nerds are instead hardcore nerds. And nerds like the internet. So how is it possible for a show created and broadcast by nerds to make such a grievious error?

Oh right, the error. Well, picture this. A eight year old boy is sitting at a TV, playing an RPG on what is presumably an XBox and speaking into a headset to another RPGer. So far so good. Right up until the moment the boy speaks. What, gentle reader, does the boy utter to his friend across the headset?

"No, what are you doing, are you a noob? You don't want to get owned! Ah, brb, I gotta afk for a minute."

No. just no. That is a bad scriptwriter. Very bad scriptwriter! Bad! No snausage for you!

When I saw this I grabbed my head in my hands so fast that I accidentally slapped myself. Who did the research for this child's character? Have they been alive for more than five minutes? Who out there honestly thinks that internet abbreviations and slang are really spoken out loud? The day people start saying 'brb' 'afk' and 'lol' in civilised conversation is the day that I 'foatemano'*. What's even more disturbing is the fact that this was written, proofread, edited, printed, distributed, rehearshed, acted, filmed, edited again, and put into the final cut, all without someone stepping in and simply saying "Er, no."

However, the fact that the little boy had to ay eff kay because there was a Terminator at the door about to fill him with bullets is FRICKIN' COOL enough for me to forgive the above error. You get away with it this time, Terminator franchise, because you give me cyborgs.

But. There are others. Oh yes, other criminals who need to meet my crocodiles. Another such offender can be found on the show 'Grumpy Old Women'. It was an Xmas special, and the grumpy old women were complaining about the complexities of giving computers as Xmas presents. All well and good, I suppose that the concept 'plug and play' is just a bit too much for these ladies. I was willing to overlook their technophobia, right up until one of them had the audacity to say -

"And then they give you a playstation that's not compatible with your software and it all goes horribly wrong from there..."

Wot? Wot?! Not compatible with your software? It's a playstation! It's a separate entity! That makes no sense! You plug one end into the wall, you plug the other end into the TV, and you're goddamned off!! Don't you old people start making up problems that don't exist now, or I'm going right outside and getting the hose. There is no software incompatibility anywhere in this equation, except in your miiind. Your mind! A mind soon to be ingested by crocodiles. Crunch.

Now. I realise that I have just spent about ten minutes just ranting about two tiny small teeny misrepresentations of computers in the media. It's not like anyone died. But, it is things such as this that are the reason why people such as my Mother are currently running around yelling about identity theft.

Yes, there is a link, I swear. Allow me to explain.

My Uncle has spent months conducting research, and has created an online family tree for my famiily. It is on Myheritage.com. Now, since my Mother knows as much about technology as chavs do about their ABC, this has been causing her some grief. And by extension (read: her getting scared and yelling at me), it's been causing me grief too.

She is convinced that we are going to have our identities stolen and that we will all be replaced in our sleep. For the tree (which you must be invited specifically by my Uncle to see) lists each family member's name, date of birth, and city/town of birth.

EGADS! Are you shaking yet? I am. Sort of. Well, not really. Okay, no, I'm not shaking.

Naturally, my first response was to say "Tell him to take us off the tree." to which she replied "I don't want to cause offence." no, no of course not, you don't mind shortening my life-expectancy by waking me in the middle of the night by shouting "REPLICANT" but we mustn't cause the distant Uncle offence. No. That would be stupid.

So I tried to tell her that no one has ever had their identity stolen from having someone know their birthday. Foolish, I was, foolish. The conversation played out as thus -

Mum: "Alice, If you were going to steal someone's identity, where is the first place you'd look?"

Me: (is almost knocked unconscious by the obvious rhetoric) "Mum, if I wanted to steal someone's identity, I would go straight to Myheritage.com. So then I could find out that you were born on the 29th May in Nottingham. I would then go straight to the hospital you were born in, and demand that they give me a copy of your birth certificate. AND THEN I WOULD BE YOU."

Okay, I didn't say that. I said

Me: "I would go through your rubbish, because a surprising amount of people throw away both their bank details and national insurance numbers without destroying them first. Then I would spy on your house to determine when you left it, then I would break in and steal your important documents. But it would be much simpler to just phish you, because you don't know what that means and there is a reason I do not let you check your emails unattended." (cue explanation that has nothing to do with fish)

But this was not the right answer, children. The right answer is 'Myheritage.com'. I am an ignorant scamp.

Please. Every time you misrepresent computers in the media, a technophobe goes mad and a Raevyn gets shouted at. Please, think of The Raevyns.

*freak out and tear every mother**cker a new one