I’ve grown accustomed to hearing a certain ding from my computer, every time one of my friends messages me. Every time someone mentions my username, every time someone messages me personally, and not on a server. I’d almost grown fond of that sound.
But there are and always will be exceptions.
Today that sound felt more like an anchor, dragging me down into the farthest reaches of the ocean, where the grasp of sleep and forgetting seemed like heaven to this hell caused by being awake.
Maybe that was a bit of an overstatement, but you understand my point.
Days ago, a friend of mine contacted a friend of hers to help me get back in contact with one of my oldest friends. Chills was what he went by online.
Now, blaring on my screen monitor was a message from Chills friend, the one that helped me get in contact with him. His alias was Rose.
“I’m so sorry, I went somewhere I never should’ve gone. I’m so sorry, I should have just been happy, should have just lived and not tried to do more. I’m so sorry, goodnight. Bye.”
Thoughts scrambled in my mind, each one trying to grab hold of the steering wheel my mind was, looking for the correct response.
In all honesty, I didn’t know what to say, I was terrified.
“What? What happened? Are you okay? I- did I interfere? I’m sorry, what happened?”
It took forever and a second before a new message popped on the screen.
“Bad bad turn of events I wasn’t prepared for but put myself in I guess. I just don’t understand.“
“I don’t understand what’s happening, are you alright?”
The message flashed on a screen, and Rose seemed to hesitate before he continued.
“Can I ask you a few questions that might make you feel uncomfortable?”
My hands fidgeted quietly on the table, as my response weighs on me.
Karma was going to get me back for this, wasn’t it?
“Go ahead, I won’t press further.”
“Who am I?”
The question caught me off guard and left my mind reeling for an answer for a moment. Scrolling through our message history I saw countless messages flash by in a hurry, but I didn’t know who he was. I simply referred to him as “Chills friend,” for the longest time.
I had a face and a name, I had a history with this person, as indicated by our message history, but nothing more.
“This answer may make you feel awful, but I have no idea. I have our past message history, but in my head, you’ve been ‘Chills friend’ for the longest time.”
“Hm.” Was his reply, meagerly.
My fingers hovered over the keyboard for a moment, my common sense screaming at me that I was about to get myself into something huge that I didn’t want to be a part of.
“Are you alright? Is there anything I can do?”
“Do more questions work?”
“What do you know about Chills? Just info dump me.”
“Well, a couple months ago we found his twitter,” Was what I started out with.
I mean, it had his art, his music, it had to be his.
“Name? Or Link?”
I linked the page, an invisible weight pressing on my chest further as if the pain of having this gut feeling that this wasn’t right would prevent me from nose-diving deep into the cold depths of something I probably didn’t want to know.
“Mouthsprout, huh? “””21”””.”
“The age on the profile. He’s 14, I’m sure you know that.”
“Yes? Maybe he was just lying for traction.”
I could imagine Rose merely shaking his head on the other side of this digital connection.
“So he’s 12, 13, 14, 15, and 21 all at the same time, huh, now is he?”
I paused, unable to respond. The blood in my fingertips ran cold, slowly building its way up to me as I felt frozen in my spot, unable to look away, unable to respond.
“What about work, relationships, where he lives, any of that stuff?”
I told him all I knew. Why was he asking this? What would he do with this?
I made sure to leave out specifics, didn’t need a random stranger on the internet knowing all about my closest friend.
“Bf info if possible? Though I doubt there’s much.”
“I don’t know anything about his bf, actually, just that his name is Morgan. I found that out like last week.”
“Gotcha. I’m sorry if I’m coming across as pushy I just,”
“No, don’t apologise.”
“I don’t know what to do, because I want to be as honest as possible right now. Or if I took something wrong and god forbid and smite my soul. I was lurking on the server,” I owned a discord server, a chatroom if you will, “and I got really worried about some of the stuff that I found. I don’t like digging through people’s personal stuff, in fact, I hate it, but, or as Chills refers to it as a joke, he is the “bluff king.” I wanted to check if he talked about me at all and it sort of… spiralled.”
My thoughts came crashing in at a thousand miles an hour, but it was like they were all muted. My mind froze and yet scrambled for an answer at the same time.
The…” bluff king?”
“I’m still a little confused, you’re his bf, right? Or his friend? I can’t really tell anymore.”
Its almost as if I could hear the sharp laugh probably drawn from him over the other side of this fragile digital connection. “I’m not quite sure where I stand anymore either.”
“Oh. I… I don’t know what to say.”
He paused again. “May I short vent or are you uncomfortable with that?”
“Oh no not at all, go ahead.”
He took a moment, but eventually a long message scrolled onto my screen.
“Chills says a lot of stuff. And I don’t mean that rudely, but a lot of it is lies for whatever reason I can’t get behind until you find out and he jumps back to change, and he’s changed for me quite a bit, some of the music he shares with me I believe to be his it’s just, a lot of it is, well, lies. And it makes me really uncomfortable sometimes, but usually, he changes. He’s a really nice person at heart, he’s pretty damn determined to do stuff and holds himself up well despite being headstrong and defensive at times. But he’s a human, and humans tend to do dumb stuff, which I expect- but it’s not “perfect” all the time.”
“I do art, I enjoy doing art and I share a lot with him I talk a ton with him, but there’s someone else that also does different art and different stuff that sometimes he talks about AND TALKS TO IRL which makes me really uncomfortable”
“And that’s the exact thing I’m talking about, he’s so good at bluffing it’s hard to tell. Mothsprout isn’t his handles at all by the way, at least from what I know. About a year ago he was sharing Moth’s stuff with me and I eventually found out about the account and confronted him about it. And what I want to get across to him is that I’m fully capable of loving him without all of this but I don’t know if he listens and now learning about this someone else really…really scares me.”
“Thank you.” He finished off.
I breathed. This was a lot of information to take in. “I’m not sure if anything I say, a stranger on the internet with a name, would help you calm down, but it’s not your fault. By any means. I… I’ve been so helplessly oblivious to this it’s sort of a shock to me to find this out about my best friend of over two years, but I imagine you’re having a more difficult time. Just breathe, okay? I’m here to listen.”
“Sure, yeah, thank you, I imagine this is a lot for you.”
“Quite, but it’s okay. I’m certainly opposed to being in the dark about this.”
Then a different chime, a chime I knew all too well.
Chills had messaged me.
I felt my heart plummet into my stomach and felt a sudden wave of nausea overtake me.
I wasn’t ready to talk to him, not yet.
“Basi.” That’s all he said. Just the name I go by online. In fact, he gave me that nickname.
Now the nickname sort of fell flat in the air.
“Did Rose join the server?”
I’m a terrible liar, just saying. Especially when it comes to people I trust. My heart was still focusing on gathering up the scattered pieces of my trust. and I was too vulnerable to reply right them. But I had to lie.
Honestly, I didn’t know who to trust anymore.
“Yes. Only for an hour, and then left.”
“Shoot.” He paused. “I told Mimi,” a friend of mine, “that this would end in catastrophe, I told her not to invite him into the Server. It’s already going to hell, isn’t it?”
I hated acting as the oblivious, the stupid one. But right now I couldn’t confront him. Not yet.
“I don’t understand, what do you mean? Are you okay?”
“No. I feel like I’m going to puke.”
“Just breathe.” Just breathe. It felt more like I was reassuring myself rather than him.
“I need to fix this.”
“Alright. Stay safe, talk to you later.”
I heaved out a heavy sigh of relief, thankful that the conversation was over. The entire time I felt like my head was ducked underwater and I was holding my breath.
Like the longer I talked to the person I used to know, the longer I felt like I was drowning.
“Chills messaged me.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s smart, he’s probably caught onto everything already.” Rose replied near instantly, Still, even though I couldn’t see him I knew we both felt the same thick air, caked with worry and nervousness. The longer I breathed in this air the closer I felt to throwing up my insides.
“He has. He’s still unaware I know what’s going on, but he went off about how this is all a ‘catastrophe.’”
“I just can’t believe this is all happening. Thank you.”
There was a pause before I responded. “So, who really is Chills, or Eric, in any case?”
Even Rose paused. A frown crossed my face and etched itself in. I had that same frown stuck on my face for a while.
I felt utterly helpless.
“I don’t know. He’s such a nice person at heart and I… I don’t want to make him into the bad guy, I really don’t, I feel terrible about it.”
“Everything is telling me that this is wrong.”
“I don’t know what I can say, but just that it’s not your fault, truly, it isn’t.”
My mother yelled something along the lines of “GO TO BED” downstairs.
For the first time in a while, I didn’t fight with her. I needed to rest. My mind couldn’t take any more information.
“I have to go. Stay safe, and goodnight.”
I woke up the next morning with a pit in my stomach, a feeling of dread hanging over me. It was Sunday, yes, but I woke up abnormally early.
I hated feeling like this.
Against my better judgement, I opened my phone at 6 in the morning and saw new texts awaiting me. From both Rose and Chills.
I took a deep breath and launched myself back into the terrible mess I had gotten myself into.
“Good morning, how are you feeling?”
“A bit more level headed, so not better, but getting there.” Rose responded.
“That’s good to hear.”
I paused, deciding to address a concern that kept me up last night, staring at the ceiling.
“I’m sorry about this, but I don’t know if I cant trust you. Granted, I also don’t know if I can trust Chills, Eric, whom I’ve known for 2 years and has been my closest friend for as long as that. I’m just extremely conflicted.”
“I know, that’s totally fair. I wouldn’t trust me either by just saying ‘trust me’. There’s still a lot I need to work out with him once he’s awake first. If you have any questions, you can just ask.”
“Once you talk to him, do you mind if I talk to him as well?”
“Not at all.”
I paused. Figuratively and literaly,
I decided to address the situation in the announcements channel of the Discord Server. Chills was once an admin on said server, so I thought it would be te best course of action to address what was going on there, since he was now kicked from the server without any warning.
Since all of the admins were well aware of what was going on, I decided to personally address it. As the owner.
I breathed and hit the send button.
“To everyone in this server: I am going to outright say this right here right now: Chills is outright banned from ever reopening this server again. No more excuses will be made, nobody should, or will, stand up for him. I am completely and utterly disgusted with his behaviour and am totally infuriated that I didn’t see any of the things he’s done. He is a cheater, an art thief, a music thief, a liar. He’s lied to us probably Thousands of Times, and we’ll never know. He is less than a stranger, he is never to be allowed anywhere near anybody in this server ever again.”
“And if I find out he has been trying to coax someone into unbanning him or just generally talking to anybody in this server, I will speak with him personally. If he attempts to contact you, block him and tell me immediately. I am disgusted that someone I trusted so much was this horrible or a person. I am done giving out second chances, excuses, and unbanning him.”
“This is it, Now I draw a line that should have been drawn many years ago. He should have never joined this server and messed with the people here. He’s a toxic, manipulative person. I blame nobody here for ever being involved in any way with him. Please understand it’s not your fault. But he should’ve kept his things to himself. Or better yet, worked to fix himself. He’s allowed no more explanations, no more second chances, and no more excuses made for him. He’s worse than just a bad person. Never, is he allowed back into this server, or near anybody I know.”
“The line has been drawn.”
“Time is up.”
Noontime came by all too quickly, and eventually, the sunset and moon rose high in the sky.
Me and the other admins on the server had talked about the issue extensively, we all included Rose in on the conversation, allowing him to clear some things up snd explain everything.
In the end, everything made sense.
Eric was the liar here.
Now, the moon high in the sky and an important test for me tomorrow, I needed some form of closure before I cut contact with Chills.
With someone I thought I knew.
I had delayed this enough, I had enough information to be strong in my stance.
I needed to confront Chills about all the allegations against him.
Maybe a bit overdramatic there.
What can I say? I trusted a person that didn’t even exist.
Maybe I should run that by the person that caused it.