Screen Time

Posted by David Kim on

The following is a work of fiction.

Screen Time

He had twenty minutes to kill in the bus. Like everyone else on the bus, he took out his phone and put on the app that he was watching until midnight. Other passengers giggled, frowned, and laughed out loud to themselves and the interior of the bus resembled somewhat of an asylum. He too starting scrolling and felt the endorphins and adrenaline run through, on that cold winter’s morning in the warm carriage of the bus as it negotiated the traffic towards the city. The algorithm of the app and the internet at large, caught onto the videos that he paid attention to for more than three seconds. For whatever reason, recently, he liked watching videos of car crashes from the dash cam perspectives. Something about it was exciting, scary and mildly entertaining. These videos came at him at lightening speeds, one after another. Time seemed to melt away. They were just harmless fun. His forefinger was getting a bit callused from all the scrolling all day, every day.

Suddenly, the bus came to a screeching halt making everyone, including him, to jolt forward and drop their phones. He then picked up his phone and way he went back to the crash videos. Not long now til he gets into the office for another mundane day of starting at the computer screen all day he thought.

He looked up to see where he was, few more blocks until the bus arrived at his office, great! The videos became increasingly shocking, but he couldn’t put the phone down. Suddenly, something very odd came on the video. He was watching himself scrolling. At first, he thought it was the reflection of himself on the screen or he accidentally turned on the camera. But it was the app, showing a video of him staring into the phone, sitting on the bus. Heart emojis popped up like machine gun bullets with comments scrolling up at speeds that he’s never seen before. He took a moment to see what was happening. The video was mirroring his actions as he moved. He scratched his head and the image in the video followed. He read few of the comments. His eyes felt hot, and he wanted to get off the bus.

The comments read in the likes of “that’s so shocking bro!” and “R.I.P”.

What he saw next was something out of a bad dream. A semitrailer t-boned the bus in the exact spot that he was sitting in, obliterating him, all caught on video. His hands shook uncontrollably. He looked around the bus. It was full of dead and mangled bodies all clutching onto their phones. He got up and ran to the driver. He too was bloodied, decapitated and dead. He looked outside. The bus was still moving but still few blocks away. He slammed his fists against the window to get help but the bus kept on moving toward the office, on a loop.


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