Congratulations to Amiya Tess for winning the Write it Down! Short Story Competition of 2021! Her story, Loser, told a gripping and relatable story of cyber-bullying and is featured here.
I gritted my teeth in anger as I looked at the message. The first demeaning message, I could take. Hell, even the second and third ones rolled off of my back. But this person had decided to take advantage of their anonymity and tell me what they think of me at least a dozen times in the last hour.
I typed back,
Who are you?
What do you have against me?
I got a swift reply.
What do I have against you?
Well, for starters, your makeup looks like
it was done by my dog.
Why would I
After a series of messages, I slammed the laptop shut in frustration, wincing as I heard how loud the smack was. I got up and walked in mindless circles around the pile of dirty clothes on my floor. As I paced, I wondered why was this person taking shots at me? What did they have against me? It’s not like I put much online, just videos of me singing, and that person’s attacks weren’t even centered around those. Instead, they insulted me about my appearance and threw generic insults at me. The blandness of the comments didn’t stop them from stinging me at my very core. My laptop dinged with a new message.
“I’m blocking them,” I grumbled as I went to open the laptop. Then I froze as I saw the notification. The message was not from the same account as the first troll.
Your sister’s a slut
Are you the same person as before?
You don’t know my sister
Who are you?
Your number 1 fan
No one else comments as much
as me on your posts
This left me confused because no one commented on my posts besides a few close friends. That’s when I saw the other notifications. I had 20 unread comments.
You sound like a dying cow
Please, never open your mouth again!
I wish I had dementia so I could forget how bad you are at this
I stopped reading. That was as far as I could go. I spent hours deleting them all to stop myself from looking at them out of morbid curiosity, even though I had a huge test to study for. I re-opened the chat.
Who are you!
Who are you!!
Don’t hide in anonymity you coward!!!
I may be a coward, but at least
my singing doesn't sound like a
broken lawnmower lol
USER 8093820 HAS BEEN BLOCKED
I needed a break from everything online. I closed my laptop for good this time, laid under the covers of my bed, and fell asleep.
When I woke up, I almost forgot about yesterday’s events. In fact, I was considering what to sing and post next. There was a beautiful Italian ballad I had learned with the piano that I wanted to record, but I wasn’t sure whether my followers would be interested in a song written in a different language. That’s when I remembered the events of yesterday and how some of my followers made it their business to discourage me from ever singing. I sighed and stood in place for a few seconds, contemplating whether or not to open the laptop. Eventually, curiosity stepped in to decide for me, and I opened the laptop.
Three-hundred notifications? Usually I opened my laptop to one or two, if any. Where were all of them from? I shook my head as I realized that I forgot to block the troll from yesterday. They must have been busy, I thought as I opened the inbox. To my surprise, the messages were not all from one person, but at least a hundred.
You look like a troll, but no troll could ever sing as bad as you
USER 793237 HAS BEEN BLOCKED
George Washington called, he wants his dentures back
USER 578943 HAS BEEN BLOCKED
USER 6594243 HAS BEEN BLOCKED
Why did all of these people hate me? How did they find my account? I don’t even get three views on my covers, much less three hundred. My heart began to pound harder and harder in my ears. Three-hundred people hated me. Three-hundred people thought I was ugly. Three-hundred people invested their time and efforts into telling me that I sucked. My vision became blurry and a lump formed in my throat, but I shook my head, hard. I would not cry, not while they were right here. It felt too much like letting them win.
I looked up at the screen, and my eyes caught on a notification. It was from the same troll as yesterday. My cursor hovered over the “read” button, but I forced myself to hit report, then delete. I would not let these comments get to me, but little did I know they already had. One by one, I reported and deleted all of the chats, until my inbox was empty. I looked up at the clock and sighed. It had been nearly twenty minutes. I needed to stop giving these trolls my time. I needed it to stop. My cursor moved to my profile picture, then to settings.
ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DELETE THIS ACCOUNT?
ILOVESINGING74 HAS BEEN DELETED
And just like that, I never dared to sing again.
About the Author:
My name is Amiya, and I am from Massachusetts, USA. I like to read, sing, and debate. I am also a part of many groups/clubs in my area such as mock trial and social/political activism club. I decided to write a story about cyberbullying because it's a side of bullying that isn’t talked about quite as much, and when it is, it’s almost always quickly brushed over. While I have not gone through it to a great extent myself, I used instances of cyberbullying that I’ve seen perpetuated by internet trolls and I put myself in the shoes of the person being bullied. I hope that this story helps to raise awareness about cyberbullying and if you are going through a situation similar to the main character in “Loser”, or any other form of bullying, don't be afraid to reach out to someone for help.