A strange thing happened at class tonight.

Apr 8, 2020

I told a little creepypasta tale on Twitter last night, and it’s proven pretty popular. I’m posting it here for posterity. It all started with this tweet:

You can click though there are read the yarn as I unfolded it on Twitter, or here it is below, still in the bite-size Twitter format:


You guys know I’m also a martial arts instructor, huh. I’ve been running my classes online during this pandemic. But something weird has happened.

I go into the studio because I don’t have the space or the bandwidth to run the classes at home. But I’m alone in there, so distancing is no problem.

I was teaching tonight, watching my students in all the little screens tiled across my laptop. I get them to keep their mics off to avoid noisy confusion.

They tap on the mic if they have a question, but otherwise I demonstrate, they follow. Then I count them through and watch them to give feedback. It works okay.

One of the tiles is me, of course. I can keep an eye on my position in the room, make sure everyone can see all of me, and so on.

There’s always a bit of lag, of course. Sometimes I’m counting and my students are a second or two behind. But it’s easy enough to manage.

Sometimes even my own image that I’m keeping an eye on lags or stutters. Or I do a Nightcrawler and teleport a few steps with no movement in between. But this time it was different.

I noticed myself in the top left tile moving out of sync. I waited a moment for it to catch up, but I kept going.

I started doing techniques I hadn’t got to yet.

As I watched, dumbfounded, me on the screen carried on with the class while I stood still in shock. I watched my students following him.

“Hey!” I said. “Everyone wait a minute!”

Everyone paused and I had a moment of relief, but then realized the me on screen was still moving. His mouth, at least, as he explained something. Some martial theory, no doubt.

“Can anyone hear me?” I said, my voice a little wavery now. The me on screen gestured, laughed. A moment later my students laughed too. All in silence. I couldn’t even hear the wrong me.

I yelled again, tried tapping up the chat and typed WHAT’S HAPPENING?

No response.

The class carried on, the wrong me leading them through drills again. He… I was teaching the stuff I’d planned for this class. But I wasn’t doing it!

I tried hanging up the meeting, ending the session, in a panic to just make it stop, but my laptop was unresponsive.

I sat on the floor, sweat drying on my skin, watching in horror as the class went on.

Then everyone was bowing out, waving. Some tapped their mics on, said “Thanks, Sifu!” and “See you next time!”

The wrong me said goodbye, smiled and waved, but I couldn’t hear him.

When all the students had logged out, the wrong me leaned right up to the camera, his face… my face too close and out of focus as he tapped at the keyboard or something. Then the whole screen went black.

I couldn’t understand what the hell was happening. I couldn’t shut down my laptop, so I just closed it and put it in my bag.

Then I realised all the space behind it was kinda dark. I can’t see the back of the studio, the darkness starts before that. I can’t see the door.

One end of the studio, that my laptop camera could see, where I was training, that’s fine. Normal. There’s an emergency exit in one corner there, but it’s jammed. I can’t open it.

The other side of where my laptop sat is just a sort of deep shadow. Like there’s absolutely nothing there.

I’m trapped inside the box of what my camera saw. There’s nothing else.

If I press my ear to the wall, to the emergency exit door, I can’t hear anything. Not a single sound.

No cars, nothing. I know we’re all staying in, but there are still some people driving around. Like me, having to work from somewhere other than home. Or out for food.

But there’s nothing. No sound but my breathing.

There’s not even an end to my studio. Just darkness. And the dark is cold.

I can’t get closer than a metre or so from it before the chill is so icy it drives me back.

I don’t know what to do. Do I rush into the frozen dark, take my chances I’ll break through?

I don’t even know if these tweets are getting out. Is anyone reading?



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