Jonathan Deere stared at his laptop screen.
The number stared back, unflickering and true.
Within a second, there was a one in the hundreds place.
Three million and a hundred people followed his wood carving channel and all it took was a tragedy to happen.
He had the fame he had been looking for.
It cost him everything he wanted.
How should he feel?
He wasn’t sure if that was right. Emotions weren’t rational things to be told to come or go. They didn’t listen.
How did he feel?
He wasn’t sure he was feeling anything at the moment.
His laptop was showing a number and that was why he was staring.
Jonathan could see his reflection. He grimaced, disturbed.
Existential thoughts about life choices always seemed to only occur late at night and at the worst of times, when he could not suffocate those thoughts with present happiness.
He turned off his laptop, not wanting to watch the numbers go up.
He checked his phone. The background had already been changed, no cute pictures of himself with his fiance.
Jonathan stared at the picture of the old green forest on his screen. He turned off Do Not Disturb. Hundreds of notifications showed up, from people following him on social media and from messages sent to him.
He wouldn’t have been surprised if his phone glitched trying to keep up. He wished it would. He would have a reason to not respond then.
The most messages were from his ex-fiance. After his fiance revealed the secret of herself and his best friend Micah, Jonathan had broken up with her.
He felt justified.
He didn’t know his fiance Ariana anymore.
However, there was something very hurtful about all of this even with how numb Jonathan was.
The others were random people he vaguely remembered from collaborations or school, or old neighborhoods.
There was nothing from his siblings, his two younger sisters. The only people he really wanted to hear from. He cared if they hated him.
His phone rang and the familiar ringtone played, but Jonathan simply waited. It was his ex-best friend, who was at some photoshoot related to his successful career in international fencing—a career that his ex-friend had stolen.
How strange. If his world was a snow globe, then it had been turned upside down and shaken. Everything that wasn’t glued down had fallen into the void, stolen from him by coincidence and misfortune.
What would happen next?
Jonathan felt haunted, wasn’t that enough? His mother would have called for an exorcism with only those words. He didn’t know if he believed in those.
Today. It was still today, the same twenty-four hour cycle, when he had that disastrous conversation with his ex-fiance. The accident was only two days ago now.
Perhaps everyone who destroyed their relationship with their fiance and best friend on the same day would be full of bloated garbage, filled with gasoline and set on fire. He certainly did.
His whole sense of reality was gone.
Those he thought he knew were strangers. Those who knew him, their hatred was justified and his mistakes were unforgivable.
He would never stream online again.
He sighed and closed his laptop. He went to the shelf that ran by his kitchen and pulled out a can of soup.
He spent far too much time just getting the can open, so he just ate the soup cold. He played with the spoon some, and put it in the sink. He piled it up with everything else that he hadn’t cleaned yet. He could do it tomorrow.
His eyes started to droop. He needed to sleep. He always felt better in the morning after anything went wrong and he would need this, after everything went wrong. He would have the energy to be okay then.
Really, what could hurt him after this?
What could surprise him?
Jonathan collapsed into his bed with the lumpy pillows. He stared at his window, closed and covered as it had been the whole day.
He thought about running away. Running away again, from everything that went wrong. He might have prayed for it even,
…and finally closed his eyes.
What time was it? Jonathan cracked open an eyelid and stretched out an arm. He fumbled for his phone, but his fingers only hit air.
The young man furrowed his eyebrows, confused. He rolled over and stared at where his alarm clock should be. There was no sign of the neon green LED lights. He wanted to believe that it had just broken again—however, he was now awake enough to recognize that this was not his bed. These pillows weren’t lumpy like the ones in his apartment were. None of this was familiar.
New prologue! Don’t forget to reread chapter 1, since there’s some changes there as well.