Jos Crane

Official website of Jos Crane, author.

Matt had completed his morning shower and stood in front of the mirror ready to hate himself, but instead found a yellow sticky note addressed to him.

“The hell?” he pondered as he rubbed his buzzed-brown hair swiftly to dry it. It was in his own handwriting, and the realization of that forced him to pause and think when he wrote it. “I didn’t write this,” he said to himself out loud. It was undeniably his handwriting and he knew it better than anyone. If he did write it, when? And, more importantly, why didn’t he remember writing it?

The note was nothing more than a bunch of scribbles following, “Dear self.” He was able to make out some of the scribbles with the first starting off with what appeared to be a “G” and and “h” somewhere later followed by either a “p” or “q”. It was a circle with a line underneath it, so he assumed it had to be one of those two.

He crumpled it up and threw it in the trash bin by the sink. He brushed his teeth, combed his hair, and removed the white towel wrapping his lower body before dressing himself. Matt proceeded to have a typical day like any other day while going to work and returning home afterward to sit in front of the television after he fed himself.

The next morning he woke up and returned to his normal routine thinking nothing of the day prior. He showered, wrapped the towel around his waist after he got out, and returned to the mirror. Again, a note appeared. This one was more illegible than the last. He only found a few letters within its contents with the second line having something akin to an “s” and either a “k” or an “x”. He remembered his note from the previous day and wondered if the started words and letters resembled those, but they did not. There was no “Dear Matt” this time as opposed to a few scribbles with a giant slash across them.

The day continued much like the previous day, though he went out to dinner with a friend where they caught up on their careers and his friend informed him that he was was proposing to his girlfriend. Matt congratulated him and they clinked their beers in joy. His friend, Mark, asked Matt if he would be willing to be part of his wedding. Matt agreed even though he wasn’t sure what part it was, but he was more than happy to be invited to this wonderful event. Once he returned home, he lay down on the couch as he watched television.

When he woke up this time he realized a pattern: he was waking up from the couch three days in a row now. What happens after he started watching television? Did he just pass out on the couch and never make it to bed? If there was a sticky note again today, did he write it while on the couch? How did it get itself to the mirror? He had more questions than he had answers. Instead of taking a shower first, he walked straight to the mirror and saw a sticky note on the mirror again. Coincidentally, it was more legible than on previous days. To the best of his knowledge it read, “Get out. Seek help.”

This isn’t something he would write. Was it a ghost? Or was a friend playing a trick on him? He had to verify that it was his writing.

That evening, Matt set up an old cell phone he had lying around to record a video of him in the living room right before he sat on the couch to watch television. He thought that he could capture the culprit behind the sticky notes.

It was Saturday when he woke up again and he didn’t have to go to work. He ran over to the cellphone and watched the video of the living room. After about two hours he noticed that his recorded self sat up wobbly and stood, before sitting again. It appeared he struggled standing up, almost as if he was possessed by a demon. He fumbled around in the drawer of the coffee table and produced a note. He could see himself writing a note, but almost as if he was a drunken fool. He stood up and stumbled to the bathroom while embracing the walls to keep him on his feet. He stumbled back to the couch and collapsed.

“What the fuck?” he exclaimed out loud. He sent a text to Mark asking to get together for lunch or dinner. Mark responded only if his girlfriend, Vanessa, could come along, which Matt agreed to. Matt grabbed his light coat and decided to walk to the cafe. The spring weather brought cool evenings and morning, while the midday brought warm heat. A light coat was the most appropriate attire for this changing weather.

At lunch, Matt proceeded to tell Mark and his girlfriend about the sticky notes. Vanessa asked, “By any chance do you have a carbon monoxide monitor?”

“A what?”

“Carbon monoxide monitor. This sounds kind of similar to a patient I once treated.”

Vanessa was a nurse who worked at a local hospital. She had seen someone in the past who had been originally diagnosed with hypoxia, but it turned out to be from carbon monoxide poisoning.

After conversing about a variety of topics including potential wedding venues, Matt stopped at a store to purchase a carbon monoxide monitor. He inserted the battery and sat the monitor on the counter while he ate dinner. It was quiet. He lay down on the couch and again, it was quiet. He got up and moved it around the house: placed it on the floor, placed it above the stove, placed it in his room, placed it in the living room, and it was quiet.

He was beginning to wonder if it was functional. He turned on his gas stove and placed it on the counter nearby, and the alarm went off within a minute. It clearly worked. Could carbon monoxide really be removed as an option? Was he getting possessed in the middle of the night? Was it a demon? Was some evil spirit inhabiting his body?

He sat on the couch to watch some television to get these thoughts out of his head. He was too worried and too scared to fall asleep. As dusk settled in outside, his body began to feel funny as he felt dizzy, almost nauseated, as he forced himself to stay awake. The carbon monoxide monitor sounded the alarm . It scared him enough that he jolted off of the couch.

He walked in circles trying to figure out what was causing it to go off now and why not before. He opened every window as he stumbled between all the rooms. He placed his nose on one of the window screens to breathe in the cool evening air. It was at this moment he realized the culprit: the central heat was on.

Matt called a local HVAC company the following morning and asked for someone to come out immediately. Once the technician came by, he confirmed there was a leak in the flue pipes. Any time the furnace turned on, the carbon monoxide would leak into his home. The technician resealed the pipes and the sticky notes never returned.