Back in 2012, I went to Las Vegas for a couple of weeks to blow off some steam, along with my severance package after I was laid off.
It wasn’t an absurd amount of money, but it was enough to have fun for a few days which was all I wanted.
I was staying at a casino hotel, and one morning I woke up with what I initially assumed was just another hangover. I felt nauseous and slightly dazed, and it took a couple of minutes for my legs and arms to regain their normal levels of sensation.
It’s almost as if my body had slept for a really long time.
Didn’t take long before I realized I was missing a finger.
My left index finger, to be more precise.
I started freaking out and panicking as my vision gradually turned to black, threatening to make me pass out at any given second.
I didn’t lose consciousness, but I still struggled as I looked all over the room for my missing finger.
Something I was quick to notice was that there wasn’t any blood at all. None that I could see, at least.
Of course it could’ve just been my drunken, drugged up and panicked self that couldn’t see or think straight, but the investigation confirmed it later on: no traces of blood were found, and the weapon/object responsible for the deed was also missing.
It appeared to be a clean cut, and the wound had somehow been cauterized.
To me it looked like the finger had simply fallen off.
I know this makes no sense at all, but that was my train of thought. I mean, if you woke up one day missing a finger, you’d certainly look around first, right? So that’s what I did.
I mean it’s a part of you, part of your body, something that’s just not supposed to disappear like that.
I eventually called for help, and to say it was a total shit show doesn’t even come close.
So many cops, casino security and nosy patrons trying to understand what the hell was going on.
I didn’t know what to say, or even what to think.
I was missing a fucking finger and had no idea how or why that happened.
The cops didn’t seem to care all that much. One of them implied something along the lines of me borrowing money from a loan shark or the mob or something like that.
Another one said “it’s just a finger, you should be grateful.”
I was disgusted beyond words, but before I got to defend myself from those accusations, everyone seemed to accept it as the truth.
“When in Vegas,” someone said.
I still filled a ton of paperwork but it was worthless in the end. No clues came up and I could tell it was pointless to bother them about it.
It was fucking Vegas after all, right?
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” and my finger sure as hell stayed there for all I know.
I threatened to sue the hotel, and the guys in charge ended up giving me some hush money.
I guess having your patrons lose body parts without a good enough reason would be bad for business.
Who would’ve thought?
I think this goes without saying, but the whole ordeal and its aftermath fucking sucked.
Of course things are much different now in hindsight, with me not knowing at the time that it would become a regular thing, but even then it was enough to nearly ruin my life.
I know it was “just” one finger, but how do you come to terms with something like that?
It’s one thing to be involved in a freak accident or even a fight.
But not only did I not know how I had lost it, I also didn’t know why, or even who would want to do something like that to me.
How do you explain that to friends and family?
How do you even begin to wrap your head around something like that?
Imagine waking up every single morning and being reminded almost instantly that a part of your body has gone missing.
If you think you could’ve easily moved past it, then good for you. You’re a better, stronger person than I could ever hope to be, but in my case?
It nearly destroyed me.
I didn’t leave my apartment for months.
I couldn’t think or function normally because the thought of my lost finger was always on my mind. I mean, it USED to be attached to me, and then it disappeared overnight, so it was only natural to be reminded of its absence constantly.
Whenever I reached to grab something, whenever I used or looked at my hands… it would mess me up for the rest of the day.
I hadn’t become fully used to it yet, but thanks to therapy I was on the verge of making peace with it and finally moving on with my life.
And then I lost something else, exactly one year later.
* * * * * *
I woke up with a very familiar sensation, one that had plagued my nightmares as well as my sleep paralysis incidents for the past year.
I felt sick and numb, my whole body struggling to move and wake up.
Sensation slowly came back to me, followed by pain.
I screamed for my life, as I had done hundreds of times right before waking up in a puddle of sweat, but it was no nightmare.
My right ear had gone missing, in the exact same circumstances as my finger.
No blood, no tools, nothing left behind.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that both incidents had happened on the exact same day of the exact same month.
There was a pattern.
There was, in all likelihood, a reason for this madness, and someone had to be behind it.
And yet absolutely nothing came from it once again.
“Absolutely nothing”… that’s what the cops had to work with, and I was left exactly the same as the year before, except that now I was missing an ear as well.
The cops suspected my then girlfriend at the time. She was a nurse – I think you can guess in under which circumstances we first met – but everything checked out; she had been working all night and dozens of hospital staff accounted for her, as did video surveillance.
While she provided some emotional support at first, she bailed after a few days.
I couldn’t blame her.
Not only was there still no logical explanation to the who, how or why, but someone had managed to make their way into our home, hack a piece of me and leave without seemingly breaking in or even leaving any evidence behind.
That would just about scare anyone into moving away to another state, maybe even another country – which I actually attempted to do at some point, but more on that in a bit – and not only that, but this wasn’t the first time that it had happened, and now all the signs pointed to this becoming an annual event.
And it sure did.
* * * * * *
Probably the hardest year I had to live through, knowing that someone was actively trying to ruin my life by slowly amputating my body, piece by piece.
I invested a lot in security and would change the locks every other week, but I was never satisfied.
It wasn’t enough.
I barely slept, knowing that each passing day brought me closer to that terrible date.
But what if it didn’t?
What if they decided to come that very night, or the next? Maybe next week, or two months later?
They had done with me as they pleased twice on the exact same day of the year, and the message was clear: they could do what they wanted with me, whenever they wanted, and get away with it.
It probably would’ve been smart to just move to a different place, but my anxiety dictated most of my decisions.
I nearly didn’t talk to anyone that whole year. That on top of my seclusion didn’t do me any good, although it did provide a bare-bones source of comfort.
I lived in constant fear for the first 2/3rds of 2014.
I thought it would get a lot worse as the inevitable date drew closer, but the opposite happened.
I became angrier, with a newfound bloodlust building up inside of me.
Someone was doing this to me, and if they wanted to keep on doing it, they would have to come for me again.
Only this time I would be ready.
I would be expecting them.
They couldn’t possibly get away a third time, and more importantly, I just couldn’t afford to lose anything else.
I couldn’t allow it, as I feared my mind and spirit would simply break apart.
I got myself a gun through some gangbangers, and made sure I’d know how to use it when the time came.
I was ready to take a life, and considering all that had happened to me, I knew I could probably get away with it.
In fact, if anyone had knocked on my door on that day, I would’ve likely unloaded a full clip through the door without thinking twice.
I just needed an excuse, the smallest hint of a threat… anything.
I know I took some pills to make sure that I’d remain awake and aware throughout the night, but my recollection of that evening just fizzles past a certain point.
I thought I’d taken enough steps to guarantee that I’d make it to the next day in one piece (or rather, without losing any more pieces) but I was wrong.
That year they took my right hand, but that’s not all they did.
The weapon I had bought for my protection?
It was left on my desk completely disassembled, with every single part and component neatly, perfectly arranged like it was something straight out of a fucking manual.
They had left a message, perhaps even a warning of things to come, the meaning of which I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you at this stage.
All I knew then is that it was all far from over.
* * * * * *
Living as a shut-in had done me no good, so I had to radically change my approach if I hoped to change anything.
I spent most of 2015 traveling the country, staying at motels and all kinds of sketchy places.
I never knew where I was headed next whenever I got on a cab or hitched a ride. Ditched my phone and made sure to never make reservations of any kind.
That sort of thing, you know, “not leaving a trail behind” and just get off the grid, or at least try to.
Figured that might be enough to lose whoever was after me, even though I had no idea what kind of resources they had available to them.
For a while, I think I really felt confident about it. I believed I could survive the year without losing any more pieces of me.
But as the dreaded date loomed closer, doubts and anxiety found a way to cripple me all over again. In doing so, it gave way for all that mental and physical fatigue to set in, accumulated from nearly a whole year’s worth of traveling around.
What if everything I had done wasn’t enough? Or what if it had all been pointless to begin with?
There was less than a week left at that point, and that’s when I decided to do something very stupid that probably undid all the “work” I’d done so far:
I bought a laptop and used the dark web to hire someone to protect me.
They took my money, but they never showed up.
I lost my tongue that year.
* * * * * *
I didn’t do much of anything in 2016. I moved into a new apartment every couple of months or so, but more out of necessity than anything else.
There was no point for me to move around as I had done the year before, considering how it turned out in the end.
Instead I tried my best to live a normal life as much as possible, despite everything I had lost and with my speech now severely impaired as well.
I kept mostly to myself. On the outside, I appeared to be coping and living with my disabilities as best as I could, but I hadn’t given up.
Every day I kept thinking of a way to stop something that, for all intents and purposes, seemed to be unavoidable no matter what I did.
I kept everything related to this issue bottled up inside my head. That was the only place I was sure they couldn’t look into to see what I was planning.
Even though I spent most of the year thinking of a way to keep it from happening again, I want to make it clear that I didn’t have a grand scheme going on.
I wish I had, but as you would surely understand, I wasn’t exactly in the best of places. Losing body part after body part every single year will do that to you.
All of this just to say that the best thing I came up with was getting on the longest flight available on that particular day. The destination didn’t matter to me.
I figured there was no way someone could get a piece of me while up in the air and with nowhere to run off to. It was impossible, no matter how many scenarios I tried to recreate in my mind.
And if I could spend enough hours up in the air, maybe I could make it, maybe for once I could go through one year without losing a part of me… and maybe the whole thing would finally stop.
I didn’t even make it inside the plane.
Airport security found me passed out in a bathroom, missing my left foot.
* * * * * *
I gave up entirely after that. How could I not?
When I asked for help, they took my tongue.
When I tried to fly away, they took my foot, as if to say that I wasn’t going anywhere.
I didn’t see the point to try and fight it any further, and even if I wanted to pursue some form of resistance, what could I ever attempt to achieve by myself?
What could I ever hope to accomplish in the condition I was in, which only worsened year after year?
There was nothing left for me to do but accept it.
Accept the fact that it was going to happen again, and that I couldn’t do anything about it.
So last year I didn’t do anything extraordinary.
Went to the movie theater in the afternoon, had dinner at the fanciest restaurant I could find without a reservation, and then went straight home.
I didn’t stay up pointing a gun at the door.
I didn’t bother with any last minute thinking that I knew wouldn’t get me anywhere.
I just went to bed and fell asleep, knowing that I’d wake up the following morning less of a man than I was the day before.
I didn’t do anything, except leaving a handwritten note by my bedside.
“Why?” was all it said.
“Why?” was all I needed to know.
I figured since I had accepted and stopped trying to fight it, that they would at least humor my request and just tell me why they were doing this to me.
An answer was all I wanted, and it wasn’t much to ask for considering everything that had been taken from me already.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect even if they were to leave me an answer, since nothing could possibly justify what had been done to me.
I never did anything to anyone that could warrant this kind of vengeance. No crazy people in my life or insane ex-girlfriends, none at all. And if this had been a case of mistaken identity, or misdirected revenge? I could never get any of it back.
What’s done is done, but I still had to know.
I needed something to go on, no matter how fucking insane or deluded it might me.
I needed to know the reasoning behind this slow process that was progressively erasing my existence from this world.
I woke up missing an eye and all I got was the following response, left on the same sheet of paper:
* * * * * *
That brings us to now.
I know that there might’ve been other things I could’ve done, other actions I could’ve taken.
Back when they left my gun completely disassembled, or even when they answered my note, I could’ve asked the cops to look for fingerprints or some kind of evidence, but did I think something would come from it?
No. They wouldn’t be so methodical and relentless unless they had no reason to believe they would be caught. I know it’s dumb to think like this, but I knew in my gut that it was pointless to dwell on it.
I understand that I likely committed some very dumb mistakes early on, but please try and see it from my perspective: I was alone through most of it all in these last 6 years, and every time it happened again, I started functioning less and less like a normal person.
I had no one to ask for help, and even if I did, my heightened paranoia would’ve made me believe otherwise.
I lived in constant fear and apprehension, afraid that whoever is responsible for this could literally be any person I come across if I were to step outside.
Please understand that things went down the only way they could because of the bad place I was put into, both physically as well as mentally, and please understand that I’m not here to ask for your help.
As I said, I’ve already made my peace with it, and I don’t mean to trouble any of you in trying to come up with a scheme or a plan to make this stop once and for all.
If you’ve read everything up until now, then that’s more than enough and I don’t wish to take any more of your time.
Thank you. Truly.
With this, I just want someone to know that I existed. I just want someone to remember that I, too, was someone at some point. I was complete.
I was a person.
I could share my name, even my mangled face, but even what’s left of it can be taken away if they want to.
But not these words.
You can’t take this away from me, and you won’t be able to erase me from people’s memories. I know it isn’t much, and I know I might not live on for long in this capacity, but for now it’s more than enough.
I know that whoever’s been collecting my body parts over the years will see this.
I know you’ll be reading this. Perhaps you’ll even leave a comment of sorts, wishing me luck or even offering your help and insight.
I know you will.
There’s only two days left until our next date.
Maybe you’ll finally show yourself to me?
Maybe you’ll put me out of my misery, once and for all? I considered doing it myself plenty of times, but since you’ve been through all this trouble already I figured I might as well wait for you to wrap it up.
Wouldn’t want to ruin your fun, and I, too, get some form of twisted satisfaction out of it by knowing that you will always have to come back for more.
You’re not done yet, are you?
And to tell you the truth, I’m actually quite excited for once. This is pretty much the only thing I have left to look forward to at this point.
And who knows, I might also have a surprise in store for you.
Or maybe I don’t.
See you soon.