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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #590319
An account in the exploits of the life of the unseen...

Bartleby Thomas was twenty-one years old when he discovered he was one of the unseen. For others it might have set the staging grounds to commit a slew of heinous crimes--like larceny--or to engage in the sexually immoral activity of a peeping tom, but for Bartleby it was different. He detested being unseen because it caused him sorrow, mountains of sorrow. Thus were the fruits of his condition: sadness and loneliness slept with him at night, and grief greeted him in the morning. "Out of all the Bartlebys in the world, why me?", he thought. "Why must I walk unseen?" His gripe was legitimate. He had walked unseen for nearly two months now, and this was--he felt sure--not some phase he was going through, it was to be indefinite. Indefinite! His heart sunk so low at this morbid, foreboding thought that it met with his intestinal juices. Indefinite indeed.

He lived in a rather shabby apartment complex, alone of course (he was--after all--unbeknownst to the human eye). His apartment was populated with the prerequisites: a couch, a recliner, a television, microwave, and a stove oven. He had scarcely used the latter two in the past two weeks, on account of the extremity of his situation, and even receiving images from the television was becoming a thing of past activities. Mostly, he would lie on the couch or sit back in his recliner (which is what he was doing at this very instant), or walk the empty hallways of the apartment complex, always with his head bent toward the ground in miserable reflection. He had not known good, wholesome sleep in almost three weeks. Many times he would just lie in the bed with his eyes closed, tossing and turning--trying to fall asleep--but never quite being able to. Three hours of sleep a night is what he normally managed. This was a most perplexing situation indeed.

He worked of course, there was--after all--rent to be paid. Whereas one might find problems with this arrangement, considering his condition, he managed his work quite easily: he was the maintenance man of the apartment. Whenever something was reported broken, he would show up to fix it at times when the tenets weren't there, so as to avoid complications. He did, after all, possess a copy of the master key. No one ever complained about how he did his work either. This was, in his own estimation, the only way he could live on without causing mass hysteria. He was--to be sure--very sensitive to the nature of his condition, the fact which being if anyone discovered it he would most likely be wheeled off somewhere in a science laboratory. This, too, is linked with his decision to ban talking completely. He did not want to frighten anyone, least of all little children. And he was never really one for talking in the first place, so this didn't upset him in the slightest.

He had family: a mother, a father, no siblings. The thought had come earlier on that perhaps his parents would know what to do, but he later rejected it on the basis that they would most likely try to have him committed, not that they would be able to find him of course, but still. Living in anonymity for however much longer (if need be for the rest of his life) is what he chose to put up with, rather than risk an episode of remarkable strangeness in revealing his condition to his parents. He had not thought much on how he was going to avoid them for the rest of his days though. He could always relocate across country, but there was the problem of his being imperceptible. He would have to somehow come up with a way to work around that. Then, too, he could have very easily sent word that he was joining the military. His father was himself retired from the marines and always wanted Bartleby to succeed him. That scenario would, in the very least, buy him some much needed time, not that he was committing wholeheartedly to it, but he liked to have options. Regardless of whatever it turned out to be, it didn't concern him overly at this point. As time went on, he was sure he'd think of something competent. And as for friends, well, he could scarcely tell you what a friend was, because he had none. Not of his own volition of course, but rather of forces he could not contort.

At the present he lay in his recliner, thinking--as always--on his condition. "How did I become like this", he thought. Truth be told, he didn't know. He had not wandered into any science labs and in the process exposed himself to experimental agents, that was for sure. But as for the root cause of his condition, he could not see it. It was blind to him, as blind as he was to everybody else. It is perhaps important to note at this time that Bartleby's condition was such that he could see himself, but others couldn't see him. This he was wholly convinced of. The problem lie not with himself, but with others. He performed several experiments to justify this hypothesis (these experiments were conducted at times when he was just discovering what had become of him). Once, while walking, he spotted a fairly attractive young women approaching him, and decided to use her as a test subject. He glanced up at the woman, hesitantly at first, then he stared blankly at her and she did not return the gaze. Not even a hint of the acknowledgement of his existence was given. Then, after browsing through a local library, he stood in the checkout lane for a good five minutes while the librarian was busy chatting it up with an old acquaintance of hers who stood in front of him. Impatient as he was that day, he decided to just return the book where he had found it and go about his way. This incident gave him the indication that whatever he held must also not register with the human eye, for no one addressed the odd occurrence of a book floating past them down aisle ways.

So he lay there in his recliner, staring up at the ceiling, wondering if there was an end to this madness. When the thought came to watch some television, he dismissed it almost immediately. There would be nothing on that would keep his interest, not while he was like this. "But I am hungry", he thought. I think I'll try to eat something today." Presently he stood, and headed for the refrigerator. When he opened it he let loose a sigh. He was in a troubling predicament. Apart from his condition, he was out of food. "I'll have to walk to the grocery store", he thought. So, throwing on his coat, he headed for the door.

There wasn't a soul to be seen in the hallway, and so he made his way out of the complex without having to feel the sting of being unseen by his fellow tenets. It was chilly outside, typical of mid-Decemeber weather, and a strong wind blew to help enforce it. Bartleby had not thought much on how he was going to pay for his items. He had previously left the money at an unmanned station and simply went about his way. That scenario seemed like the wisest course of action this time around, and he would follow through with it without an inkling of concern. When he arrived at the grocery store the doors automatically opened before him. "At least machines recognize my existence", he thought. There was a great many people there, typical of grocery stores at almost any given time. Bartleby headed straight for the frozen section (he was very fond of the frozen food). He picked out what he wanted and headed for the exit. Just as he had done previously, he made his way to an unmanned station, took out some money, and left it on the conveyer belt. He felt very proud of himself. Despite his condition, he was still living with a conscience. As he was making his way through the door, a security guard approached him, and bade him return.

Bartleby was so overjoyed that he didn't care whether or not he was being charged for shoplifting. He hollered and danced and shouted and carried about with such energy that people were concerned for their safety. There were whisperings of course, but none knew like he knew: he was unseen, but now he could be seen. Thus ends an account on the behalf of one Bartleby Thomas, who--by no means of his own powers--lived his life in ostracism.
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