Channel X

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As a rather poor, living on my own college student, you make ends meet by any means necessary. Two of my chairs have coasters under them, my apartment isn’t air-conditioned, and EVERYTHING is held together by duct tape. I’m practically the college version of MacGyver. So when a creepy man comes to my door, stinking of cologne and something bitter, offering me a TV antenna for 6 bucks, you better believe I would take the offer. Sure my conscience told me, “No you idiot! It’s probably some kind of tracking device or something! Throw it out!” But it was the part of my conscience that told me that dating Alex was a good idea, so I ignored it.

It was a flat black object, shaped like a rectangle. It was about the size of a textbook, with the logo “MARS TV” stamped in the center. I struggled when hooking it up as there were many different cords and wires that did not match up with any TV in my apartment. I ended up finally attaching it to some old TV from the 80s. (I found it in a ditch while dumpster diving on the outskirts of the science building.) While hooking it up, I heard buzzing already coming up.

A few minutes later, I could finally see colors coming out of the TV! I had all the major public access channels! And… one more.

This channel, let’s call it Channel X since it didn’t have a name listed, was filled with all the common public access stuff, but everything was off. First, there was this Sesame Street rip off called “Harry the Hermit Crab.” There was this huge hermit crab puppet that took up an entire wall and would talk in a gravelly, almost elderly voice to a group of children telling them life lessons, except with no visuals. So all it was was staring at a giant hermit crab while the hermit crab stared back at you with no facial expressions. This was the first show I watched, and I couldn’t stop my curiosity from taking over.

I left my DVR recording the TV as  I went to class. I was so focused on the channel that I’m pretty sure I botched my last exam. When I got home, I found three shows had played while I was gone. The first was a talk show with a man in a pirate costume. He was talking nonsense babbling something like, “Turn off the TV now, or face the consequences.” I promptly went to the next show.

The second was a home improvement show with a woman dressed in a dress. She had no idea what she was doing and instead was babbling just like the pirate man. “Escape now! Don’t watch the next video.” I clicked on the final video.

It was my apartment. From a camera outside pointed directly at me, I turned and looked but there wasn’t anything there. My body moved the same way on the camera as it did in real life. I was the one on recording now, and I could feel something staring at me, it felt like something was staring at me from the wall. Harry?

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Channel X