They Only Move When You Do

By J. W. Wright

It all started when I was in a car accident. It was a few months ago, and it was pretty bad. What they told me happened is that I hydroplaned on the highway. It had been raining pretty hard and I was driving on this highway that goes up into the mountains. All the water was just rushing down the hill and it was already pretty slick. I guess I hit one of those potholes on the road and the puddle was extra deep. It didn’t help that I was going about 75 miles per hour. But I lost control of the car. The car flipped a few times, and then I slammed into a rock. Thank God for seatbelts.

All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I remember fading in and out of consciousness. I also remember that I died. That’s right. I died on the table. They somehow resuscitated me. I remember my eyes being wide open. I remember that I was unable to breathe or to even move. And my heart it was stopped. I remember in fleeting moments, that when everything was still and I wasn’t moving at all... neither was anything else. None of the nurses or the doctors moved. There was no sound. Their unblinking eyes stared into mine. And even though this moment lasted a fraction of a second... because the next thing I knew I was back in the hospital bed, feeling like complete shit... even though it lasted a fraction of a second it’s what I remember most clearly.

It sounds so dumb now. It really is stupid to just think back on a life changing accident like that and to think that the thing I remember most isn’t the accident, or the pain, or how I died... but the thing I remember most is the unblinking eyes of the hospital staff.

See I had a lot of time to think while I was in the hospital. A lot of time to sit and reflect on the blank stares and the time I spent being dead. They told me it was only for about a minute that I was dead. I thought that maybe that moment with everything standing still was just a side effect of me dying. And I guess in a way it was. Because when that happened, I discovered the truth about everyone. The truth is that they only move when you do. If you sit completely still and don’t move. I’m talking not even your eyes. Don’t even breathe. They won’t move. But if you do anything... hell if you even fart... they’ll move.

So why does this matter? Well somehow or another one of “them” found out. Found out that I knew they only moved when I moved. I guess they told their leader or someone. I mean... who would their leader be, anyway? I mean these are all just other normal people for Gods sake. People who just previously passed by in the background of my life. I mean yeah I was a loner, but I’m pretty fucking sure I would have gotten the memo about only moving when other people move!

Anyway, these people they found out that I knew that they only moved when I moved or whatever. I guess it pissed them off. Something unnatural about knowing I guess. I mean most people don’t even pay that fact any mind so I’m not sure why they even care.

Anyway, they find out and at first they tried talking to me about it. They sent me these letters in the mail. I’d get these angry worded letters addressed directly to me with no return address. Told me not to tell anyone about it.  I was pretty damn pissed about it. I started leaving letters in the mailbox back for them. Told them to “Fuck off.” I figured that would get the message across. I guess in a way it did.

See, the next thing that happened was everywhere I’d walk or anywhere that I’d go everyone would just stare at me. They wouldn’t talk or move, or anything like that. They’d literally just stop whatever they were doing and just stare at me. They would move their heads and follow me, so it wasn’t like they were statues or anything... but do you know how creepy it is to have everyone just stop and stare at you? I’m talking about cars stopping. Cars! Like what the actual hell. I was freaking out. I couldn’t take it anymore. I would just yell at them asking them what they wanted. What kind of a joke they were playing on me? I mean I could even push and hit them and they wouldn’t respond! They’d just keep staring. It was insanity! Finally I had enough. I decided I’d just stand still with them.

That was the first time I actually started to put two and two together. I remembered so vividly the time I spent in the hospital. It had been months since then. But I remembered the time I spent dead and how I woke up and the doctor’s unblinking eyes. Those unblinking eyes just staring into my soul. Only now, it was literally everyone.  Everyone was staring at me. And when I stopped and stared back at them, they just started freaking out.

At first it was all normal. We just stared at each other, frozen in each other’s gazes. It was actually kind of funny. But then... then they started to scream. Whenever I would move or take a breath or blink, they would move and just... scream. Scream at the top of their lungs. But they would stop screaming whenever I stared. The sound cut off so abruptly it actually made me think my ears stopped working. But no, as soon as I blinked or took too deep of a breath, they resumed all action.

They started frowning. Making the angriest expressions I had ever seen.  Slowly swinging their heads at me. Looking toward me; their faces full of pure hatred. But they only moved when I did. I took a few steps back and they moved at normal speed but as soon as I stopped they did as well.

I stopped and stood as still as possible. I had no idea what to do but at least by not moving I had more time to think about it. I closed my eyes. I heard the screams resume for that split second that my eyes shut. And then it was blackness. I felt their stares. Even with my eyes shut I felt their hateful stares cutting right through me. I wondered what they would do to me if they reached me. I wondered how long that would take. I thought about it. Wondered how much it would hurt as they ripped me to shreds. I opened my eyes. More screaming. They were everywhere now. As far as I could see, there were people now. I was in a crowded city block, and everyone hated me. I could feel them looking down at me from the high rises. The businessmen and women of the world. Dressed professionally, with scowls on their face as they 

looked down at me from their skyscrapers.

I had to find a way out. But there was no way out of this situation. There were too many people around. I was in the center of a large group of people, and there were millions more in this city. I gasped in horror at the realization. I heard glass panes break overhead on one of the skyscrapers. My head shot up to look in that direction. Everything around me shifted. I cursed myself for my error. But it was undeniable. They were breaking the windows now. Throwing themselves out of them in order to get me. If I stayed still, their bodies floated in midair. They gave no notice to their obvious death from falling. They only looked at me with hate filled eyes.  I was fucked.

I made sure to stay as still as possible. I looked around me slowly. Trying not to move my eyes as my gaze shifted, looking for somewhere to go. Somehow to get out of this situation. Behind me I saw a store. Staring at it long enough I realized it had one of those metal shutters to keep out potential thieves. It also had bars on the window. It was my safest bet for the moment. I made a break for it. As slowly as possible. I didn’t have to run, I had the ability to plan my route. To react to anyone or anything. As long as I stopped moving I had plenty of time to respond. Using this strategy of starting and stopping I made it to the store. It was some shitty convenience store. The same one I’m inside of now. There was only a clerk inside when I entered. He looked at me with the same hatred as anyone else.

I didn’t want to do what I did but I had to. I killed that clerk. I’m not proud of it, but he was reaching for me. Just screaming. I don’t know what he wanted, but I didn’t want to find out. I killed him, and barricaded myself in this store. God only knows how long I’ve been in here. I feel like it’s been a few days in actual time since this first happened. But it’s been night time outside forever it feels like. I guess time also doesn’t move unless I do.

Ever since I started writing this journal I’ve heard them banging on the door... I’ve heard them smashing through the window. With each stroke of the pen I hear their screams. They know that I know they only move when I do, and I still don’t know why that matters. All I know is I wasn’t supposed to find out. If you find this journal... please always keep moving. Don’t let on that you know they only move when you do. Because as I finish this up, I sit alone in the middle of the store. They’ve all broken in now. They’re screaming. Surrounding me. I sit in a single spotlight, illuminated from the small bulb overhead. In the light you’d swear they were nothing but hands. Reaching for me. There must be hundreds of them in here now. Staring at me. Their hands just grasping towards me. They’ve broken through into my light from the spotlight. So all I see is their hands.

Thousands of hands all reaching towards me. I can only imagine the twisted faces behind those hands. Screaming furiously as they come towards me.


I can feel their breath when they scream.

They’re so close. God help me.

They’re touching m—