Chapter 0:

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

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“Do you believe in ghosts?”


Or at least I don’t think so. I’ve never really given it much thought to be honest. Not until now at least. After all, why would I? I’ve never seen one before nor have I ever heard of anybody else seeing one either. And yet, here I was in the middle of the night pondering whether or not ghosts actually existed. They are just fiction, right? The result of our imagination. There is no scientific evidence out there to suggest otherwise.

So why did this question show up on my computer screen?

I was just browsing through a website about an anime I liked and accidently stumbled upon the website’s chatroom page. I wasn’t planning on staying. In fact, the thought of talking to strangers on the internet irked me. But before I could leave, something caught my attention. In the corner of my eye, there it was, the question that had me lost in thought for the last fifteen minutes.

It was the title of one of the many chatrooms on the page. Most likely indicating the topic of discussion. But what kind of discussion would you have about ghosts? Exchange ghost stories? Debate whether their existence can be scientifically proven? What’s more, there was only one person in the room so far. All the other chatrooms were filled with users talking about anime, roleplaying, or just chatting about random stuff. Not this one, however. It only had a single user with a grey icon by the name of Satou. He seemed lonely all by himself in that empty room.

Should I join? All I would need to do is choose a username and select one of the twelve different icons available. No personal information or email address required. Nobody would know who I am. Neither would I know who they are. It would just be this one time. There’s no harm in just having a look, right? But what would I name myself? I should definitely not use my real name, or anything that could relate back to me for that matter. I looked around the room for inspiration. There was a plate in front of me. It still had some leftover cake from earlier that day. I like cake. But that would be too simple for a username. Maybe I could use an acronym? How about Ckea? That has a nice ring to it.

As for the icon… maybe this yellow one? The character on it seemed to be wearing a scarf of sorts. It reminded me of one of the characters from that anime I liked.

Content with the choices I made, I scrolled back down. The chatroom was still there. To my surprise somebody else had joined in the meantime. A user with a red icon, the character on it resembled a girl with straight long hair. I guess there is no need for me to join anymore, is there? I wondered what they were talking about. What kind of people were they? Are they just some teenagers goofing around? Or do they genuinely believe in the supernatural? I had to know. Besides, I already picked a username and everything. It would be a waste to have a peak at least. I looked down at my keyboard, all I had to do was press a button. A single click was all that was keeping me from entering that room. I was getting excited. This wasn’t about the ghosts anymore, but about the people on the other side of that question.

I took a deep breath and clicked the enter button. There is no going back now. As the webpage loaded a shiver ran down my spine. Looking back at it now, never would I have imaged that this simple question would lead me down a rabbit hole I would never return from.

I looked up at the screen. It was all black. The only exception was a single phrase written in white:

“-- Ckea has entered the chat.”

Joe Gold

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