Narcissus is a story written by Iron Eater. It ran in Issue 57 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/319917.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/narcissus/.
A typical night's work uncovers something very unusual, and it's probably too late to do anything about it.
I was looking over the recent uploads to make sure the children weren't trying to post grainy titty pictures again when I saw the face again. It was in a photograph someone was trying to pass off as being of a giant Russian spider, and while the "spider" was center frame the face was part of a crowd. It had that same expression. The face's owner was getting around more than I thought. At the time I assumed I'd missed a meme somewhere, since I avoided them as much as possible for personal reasons, and maybe pasting this weird-looking person into things was a fad I just didn't have the context to understand. On a whim I compared when it was uploaded to my own records of when I'd had my own little run-in with the mysterious stranger.
The timestamps were identical down to fractions of a second.
This is a horror story first and explicit M/M story second. Everything is going to be fine.
This story has no connections to other stories or characters.
This story has no related links.
My goal for this story was to write something with both feet firmly in the horror pool, and based on the feedback from my reader and editor I've succeeded. I was heavily inspired by the works of Tsukizubon Saruko (particularly All The Way and The Wilderness), the Edmund Vaughn stories on Cave City Sink, as well as some aspects of Kentucky Route Zero (although shortcuts aren't quite the same thing as the Zero). I'd been sitting on the idea of someone who keeps seeing the same face in map data for a few months, and I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate the modern culture of online scary-story-swapping but actually bringing it into existence resulted in something wholly unexpected. Isn't that always the way?
I was worried that I wasn't going to get this done on time since October 2015 proved to be a hectic month, but I managed to hammer out what I did in the course of a few days and my beta reader was kind enough to do an eleventh-hour readthrough and commentary session.
The wiki the narrator works for doesn't exist, but it's strongly based on various "creepypasta" repositories around the net. As the story ended up being a monologue I wanted to make sure its issues weren't solely based on poor typing skills. Another goal of mine was to present the piece as Badly-Written Fiction without implying the author is stupid or incompetent for being inexperienced. In regards to whether or not I intentionally skewed his opinions to appeal to a certain webzine's editor, I choose to take the fifth.
I haven't done photomanipulation-heavy illustrations in a while and these were pretty fun! The crowd scene is adapted from a Wikimedia Commons photograph of a Dutch train station (original), and the base tunnel image is taken from the same place, though not the same user (original). Both are remixed and distributed using the images' original CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
The game Cheryl refers to is Phantasmagoria: a Puzzle of Flesh, an FMV-heavy adventure game with an otherworldly horror flair. Her summary is both incorrect and spot-on.
The handle "poeticus" is taken from the species name of a certain breed of narcissus flower. The narrator is unnamed but presumably answers to "Narcissus" or "Narce" in public.
I am forever grateful to the first person perspective for allowing me to rely entirely on pronouns without ever naming major characters. I wasn't expecting to be writing a star-struck kid ("kid" being a very relative term here), but that's what happened, and I think it worked out for the best. Career shadowing can be good for everybody!
As to the nature of certain characters, it's intentionally left up in the air who they are and why they do what they do, but the worse your imagination can make it the more accurate it probably is.
- fairyninjas.wordpress.com: " This one is fun. It starts like it might be a ghost story, then just… let’s say the creepiness builds until you realize what’s going on, and what’s been going on, and the world no longer looks like it ever did before, and I think they’re going to kill you. Better run. Oh no wait, it’s too late for that…"
- http://harmless-one.livejournal.com/41201.html: "In this mysterious yarn, the narrator is not what he seems and encounters another mysterious man on a secluded mountain. A slower, detailed story."