Please do not read further if you are easily frightened!
Seriously, unless you know you can handle horror, do not read further.
The following is purely fictional, and is a poor attempt at a r/nosleep story.
I had thought that I wouldn't ever think of finding a job before I hit 20; that life would be all good, and that I'd be able to cruise to college and get my scholarship easy. Turns out, being gifted didn't necessarily mean that life would be good, and the me who thought that four years ago was too naive for this world.
I took to researching possible ways to make money, as I knew that I wouldn't be able to afford a scholarship with my terrible grades. There were a few interesting options online, but the pay just did not cut it for me. I knew I needed a job whose pay could save me from the mess I've put myself in.
I remember at like 3 AM, I noticed an opportunity which I hadn't seen before, and which catered to my interests. The job advertisement had needed someone to watch over three different platforms during the night for about a month. I hadn't known anything about the platform in particular, but at this point, I knew I needed cash badly. I didn't really care if my own mental being was going to suffer as I went on with the job, but the pay was coincidentally high enough to pay for my tuition. I was pretty much sold on the idea, and the only second thought was if I'd be able to negotiate the time, because I needed my sleep then.
I'd managed to send in my application right before the deadline, and oddly enough, I felt like there weren't enough questions. Additionally, some of the questions had asked about the condition of my earlobes and how well I could see in dark spaces, and if I was easily swayed by homeless people. I'd tried to answer as honestly as I could, but it was from then on that I began to wonder about my own safety, if I managed to get in. The next morning, I realized that submitting that application was a mistake, and I prayed that it would get denied.
As it turns out, I had been the only person who applied, as I received a notice of acceptance from an anonymous email. Lucky me, I get to work on moderating some online websites for a few hours and get cash out of it, but even then I wanted to back out. Unfortunately, I couldn't trace the source of the email, and all I received were some credentials to log into the site, along with a singular document. Even though the application didn't require me to write down my phone number, my phone buzzed with a notification; I found that I had been added to a group chat, even if I'd never written down my phone number. I checked the time; it was still relatively early as far as the night was going - 8:38 PM. There were too many coincidences happening tonight, and it wasn't even 3 AM yet. Assuming that I'd needed to read everything before I went to work, I checked upon my classes to see if I had any homework due this week, and, upon finding that I didn't need to turn in anything tomorrow, I opened up the document.
In bright red and bold letters, the document warned that the pages needed to be printed out in blue ink; any other ink would render the document hazardous and would need to be disposed of on site. Skeptically, I'd wanted to scroll down, though a warning advised against it, this time written in blue, so I went and printed the entire document in blue ink.
Right away, I noticed on the first printed page that this page did not reflect the preview on the screen. This page had contained a note, printed in black ink, and had just been labeled "Life and Death". Looking back at the time, thirty minutes had just passed, and my family was chilling in the living room, so I knew I had some time to kill before I'd needed to prepare for bed. I read the note. There had been a few notes scribbled down on the bottom, as if someone had just written those notes last minute.
Good afternoon, welcome to the moderation team! Before you get started tonight at 1:00 AM, keep note of the following numbers on the attachment you're printing at this minute - red numbers mean that you may have to dispose of this page. Please keep the preview open for as long as you'd need to, you can access those same pages safely on the preview. However, any other pages have been proven and have been deemed harmful for virtual viewage - therefore, it is imperative that you know which pages to access at which given time.
Keep pages 27, 32, 41. The rest outdated. They evolve. These pages evolve. Keep these pages.
Look at the 11th page on screen only in immediate danger - otherwise refer to it when moderating only.
The rules are immensely outdated, get a weapon. Keep a weapon in every room. If you can't find a weapon, take headphones off. Otherwise, keep them on; you wouldn’t want something else covering your ears."
Immediately after reading the note on this page, I immediately counted the pages already printed - I had printed a good sixty pages or so. What a waste of paper. I doubled back to the note just to make sure I was grabbing the right pages, and to my surprise, I ended up with three blank pages. Great, my own job is messing with me.
The thought about getting a weapon in every room was preposterous. I didn't even think that we even had enough knives to suffice, and there was a doubt in my own mind that I wouldn't even survive past the first night. Still, I kept reading - I did have a job later tonight, and I still had three hours and a half to read it and prepare.
"This manual does not have a table of contents - I should fire my editor later tonight - however, I'm sure you'd be able to figure it out on your own.
I do hope you have your headphones with you, because you may have to listen in on voice channels and make sure all conversations are appropriate and safe.
When in doubt, call this number : [REDACTED]
Basic survival: 9, 11, 27, 32, 41.
9 = warnings [red]
11 = expectations and duties [red]
27 = FAQ
32 = security
41 = deadlines
everything else should be used to look busy.
they like that. Never look at anything on a page containing a 4. 4 is VERY bad.
crossed out phone number : talking = bad
voice = bad
never join VC unless they are watching. Don't speak, and as soon as they notice you, leave the room."
I went ahead and charged my headphones for the night, still wondering what or who "they" were. It had been around ten that time, and I prepared to go to bed, wondering this question. I made sure to leave the printed pages face down, with the ones I needed for sure safe in a folder. I then took my phone, and noticed that I had multiple messages from multiple people, most of them random names. Then, I just received another one, this time from one with a random number - it asked if I read the manual.
I replied yes, to which the number responded with a bolded "ALL OF IT?". It seemed immensely concerned, so I specified that I only just read the pages with the comments. It began to type, then paused for a few moments, then said it was relieved. As I took the phone into my room, I received a message, before I left the phone to charge, to keep a watchful eye tonight. I remember that it kept typing before I left it. Sure enough, when I returned to my phone a few minutes later, there had been another attachment waiting for me - within the attachment were pictures of my family, pictures taken from a third party’s perspective, but pictures taken around the same time as the pictures in my own home. I stood there looking at my phone, shocked at how they managed to take these pictures, and I then wondered if I was then targeted. There had been an additional message. “You want to protect them, right?”
I gulped. Soon after, the number had requested to call me. Reluctantly, I went ahead, locking the door behind me and grabbing my earbuds, and accepted his request. On the other side was a man - whose voice I could not discern as either maniac or desperate, but was concerned at the very least - who wished to give me a full breakdown of the job I had just accepted, I wanted to say something, but the man advised that all questions should come later, if there is time later; he pushed that he needed to get this information out for my own safety, so I left the matter to him. “From one human to another, believe me, if your full name isn’t being said, you know you’re talking to a human. There is information sensitive to this job that even I cannot disclose to you, for your own safety, but know that these may be the last human words you may be hearing in a while, so listen closely. The job requires you that you’d need to be on your computer to do the job, but as long as you’re showing some sort of activity every five minutes on all three platforms, you’re perfectly doing your job. Note that even though the job hours explicitly are set between 1 AM and 5 AM, the influence of the creatures won’t subside until around 5:30 AM, and that is the hardest time.
If you have people living in your household, it is advised that you restrain them, to slow down their attempts at catching you. You don’t want to be caught. There are many ways to be caught by the creatures, and while I won’t fully say in detail, know that any communication after the job starts may and can be compromised. Keep your identity safe - even if they tell you your name. Any interaction with the creatures or any of their creations is strictly prohibited for your own safety, even if they seem human. I will assure you that I will attempt to call three times during your shift to update you on any changes in behavior, and whether you should be concerned. When the phone rings, make sure that the AC is on in the room to drown out your voice. Using an electronic fan will not work, sound will still travel through the vents. If you sense something watching you at any time, do not open or close any lights during this time and don’t move. If I call when you receive this feeling, close your eyes, and keep them closed, even when you feel something sniffing on you. If I call, take note of the first words I say. If I say anything pertaining to your identity, hang up immediately, even if you’re only suspecting. Otherwise, pick up the phone call, and keep me on line for no more than forty seconds, even if I have to say something at the very end. After you hang up, check the phone battery. If it begins to fluctuate between the range of 30% and 70%, keep working, but if it goes outside that range, immediately charge your phone. Battery fluctuations are normal during this job. Keep your battery up, it will be life or death from then.
If you have to do the job on your mobile device, keep one tab open to the digital pages. If something attempts to enter the room from the outside, immediately hit the floor and switch to page 11 and read it. The sounds will cease faster if you keep your attention on this page, but the creature will not move. You may begin to move when the sounds stop, keeping your attention to the page no matter what you see inside the room. From this point on, make your way to the door. If you still hear breathing, stay near the door, but if you hear whispering, get as far away from the door as possible. If you don’t hear anything at all, you’re safe, and you can look away from the page.
I hope you’ve brought the pages with you, at least the ones that you need. There will be a cat that will enter your room at random intervals starting around 2:40 AM, and he loves your company. This cat is safe, but while it is in your room, you need to focus on doing work. Ignore everything else, forget everything that I have said, this cat is watching you. You will need to work until it gives a satisfied purr and completely leaves your sight. Do not look at the cat as it leaves, just know that it won’t be watching you and you should be good. If anything happens while the cat is present or if the cat makes a noise other than a satisfied purr, watch the screen intently until a pop-up appears. This pop-up appears even when you have an ad-blocker or an antivirus, so don’t rely on human protection for when this comes. If the pop-up contains themes of happiness, immediately reboot the device without hesitation before the screen bluescreens. Otherwise, just close the pop-up and continue working. If you are required to join a voice channel after 4 AM, do not do so unless the cat is present. The cat will expect you to speak, but whatever you do, do not speak. The cat will not be pleased, but at least your mind will be safe. Additionally, calling the provided number on the document is strictly forbidden - you don’t want unwanted attention and unforeseen events that even I’m unaware of. If you have to join a voice channel, take a look at the channel name. If the channel name contains a 4, you must deafen yourself; otherwise, you may mute, and listen on in the voice channel until the cat leaves. The people in the voice channel will not notice that you have joined, though on your later nights, they will. If they do, leave the room, even if you think something is waiting for you outside. It will be empty outside. Wait there for a good thirty seconds until you start feeling a light giggle build up in your body, then reenter the room and check the phone if you have disconnected. If you have not disconnected, rinse and repeat. Once you disconnect from the call for inactivity, you may resume business.
You may notice that your connection to the internet may range from stable to an intolerable level, and you may find it difficult, especially late into your shift, to do your job effectively. If this happens, and only if you must, you are to prioritize fixing the connection to the best of your ability while being aware of your surroundings. Your last resort would be to physically restart your router, to which I might advise placing outside the room you’re working in. You’d ideally want to do your tasks within the next five minutes first before you’d go to fix the connection directly.
Should you go out of your workspace for any reason at all, you are to keep the headphones on at all times. You will feel a tap on your shoulder, with varying pressures, from an entity. If you feel a tap on your left side, ignore the feeling, but if you begin feeling taps on your right side, book it, especially if you start to hear maniac giggling. If the taps intensify in pressure, know that you have to prepare to book it as soon as you hear the giggling, even if you don’t feel any tapping on your right side. Do not turn around for any reason unless you're running away, and turn to your left when you do. It’s important to note that the entity will attempt to grab you at this point, and while you may be able to break away if it grabs your arms, you’re doomed if it takes away your headphones.
One last thing. Once your shift is over, the internet will turn off for good until they leave your property. Your phone will begin to fluctuate heavily in battery, and it is only when it runs out of battery for good that you know that you’re safe. I will not call during this time. Under no circumstances, do not check the time during this time. It’s only thirty minutes.”
I glanced at the time. 11:42 AM. I then decided to check the email attachment again, to see if I missed anything on the attachment. Then, as soon as I did, static ripped out my eardrums as I violently took off my earphones, in order to preserve my poor ears. I could hear a conflict on the other side, despite the loud and consistent static, and I could only make out a few words from the man before the line went quiet. I was still connected.
“Emergence” “Elucidation” “Changing” “Extra one” It wasn’t until I took a look at the email attachment again until I realized, as my heart sunk as deep as it could sink within my body, exactly what had happened. Fear filled my body, and I had begun shaking immensely, not knowing what to do at this time. He didn’t tell me what to do if I was forty-three minutes late to my job.
I heard a crackle from the call, and I was so scared, I was so damn scared, but I realized, as I listened to the man’s soothing words, as he chanted my name and offered to bring me to the light, to everlasting happiness, that I can bring everyone to salvation. That I could save everyone from this damned world, and that I could bring them all to the new world with me. They praised me as I stepped into the new world, past the confides of mortality and into the unknown. They patted me on the back, and laughed alongside me. They told me appearances aren’t everything, and that our imperfections are truly perfect, and in order to enter the new world, everyone would have to embrace their imperfections. So I enlightened and freed my family. They are free. I am happy.
Come to the light, my friend. It is so beautiful in the new world, where everyone is free. There is no war, there is no famine. We are all happy, and we all have one big smile.
Oh yeah, by the way, this was a dream hahaha.
Like I literally had this as a singular dream, and decided
"hahaha story go brrrrrrrrr"