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Statement #0180910: Onlooker

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Statement of Devon Ramos, regarding an incident that occurred in a coffee shop on May 29th, 2018.

Statement given in writing presumably on October 9th, 2018

Statement Begins:

 

I tried to find someone to take my statement, but no one was here, and the secretary (Rosie, I think her name was) looked so stressed that I didn’t want to bother asking her. I’m actually not sure I’m allowed to be down here, with all the papers and yellow tape about, but I just… I need to get this down. I don’t know how old these blank statement papers are, or where I should leave the statement when I’m done, but I’ll figure it out. 

I don’t have any evidence to support what I’m about to say, so if you guys do follow-up, I can’t really help you there. It doesn’t seem like you have the facilities to really do any follow-up anyway, or the staff. This place is completely dead. Just know that I am not prone to hallucinations, or flights of fancy, nor was I on drugs or alcohol when this… event occurred.

For context, I have always been a closed-off person. My mother used to say that I was introverted, but I don’t think I was. I like joining in on the fun just fine, I just don’t contribute much. I prefer to listen. Any time I went to a party, or a family reunion, or a date, I always just let the other people talk. You always know more that way. For example, I could tell you all about the soap my great-aunt’s watching, or an acquaintance's crush on “the cute guy at the coffee shop”. On the other hand, you also get to know all the grisly details of your second cousin’s divorce, or your coworker’s worries about her children not liking her enough. If you listen, people talk

And the thing is, none of these people really know anything about me either, not really. They might think they do, but when you rarely say anything to anyone, and they get asked to describe your life, they’ll be hard pressed to think of anything substantial. 

All this being said, it makes sense that when I realized I was non-binary, I didn’t really tell anyone. I didn’t really feel the need to, if I’m honest, and I’m not the type to formally come out like I’ve seen others do. I don’t think any of the people I’ve told in passing even remember my name. 

I was going through a rough time when I realized, as my mother had just died. She was really the only person who really knew me, but also, you know, she’s my mom. She was a mom worth missing. I don’t know why I never told her I was questioning my gender though. I shared nearly everything with her, but then again, nearly everything I had to share was other people’s dirty laundry. I think I just wanted to be sure it wasn’t a phase, or just a passing feeling, but she was gone before I got the chance to tell her. 

A few weeks after she passed away, I found myself in a coffee shop after a particularly rough day at work. I mainly went because I wanted to people watch, and all the regulars at the old coffee shop I used to go to had become too boring. The coffee shop was hiring, and I had been thinking of picking up a second job to cover hospital and funeral expenses. It was a nice enough shop. I remember the date, because I had to put it on the application: May 29th, 2018. 

There were a few people in there, but there were two that caught my eye, a woman and a man. They were sat a few tables apart, the woman clearly waiting for someone and this person staring at her. She fidgeted under his gaze a little bit. I went back to my application.

After a handful of minutes, I started to feel watched. I thought maybe the woman was looking for something else to look at, anywhere else to look but this creep staring at her every move. But out of the corner of my eye, I could see the creep in question, staring at me . I looked up at him, but he was looking at the woman again. She was a little less nervous then, as a man came in and sat down across from her. I think it was her date. If I called the strange person out on his staring, creepy as it was, I would be a hypocrite, so I just minded my business. 

Then it happened again. I started feeling watched, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see him, staring at me. I look back, ready to stare at him right back, but he’s looking at the woman again. The thing is, I don’t think it’s humanly possible to move your head that fast. You see, I was already facing somewhat in the direction of the woman and the creep, I always did like to sit sideways in my seat. This resulted in a triangle: Me facing both the creep and the woman, the person facing the woman, the woman facing her date, who was directly in between me and her. I was facing the creep more than the woman though, so when I looked at him it was a simple movement of my eyes rather than a movement of the head. He was facing the woman head on, so if he was looking at me , he would have to move his entire head at least a little bit to do so. I would think that maybe he had somehow moved his head that fast, but there was no sign of movement from his position. The thing I especially noticed was the fact that his hair didn’t move. He had hair a little longer than shoulder length, so it would have gotten stuck on one side of his shoulder if he had moved his head. You know what I mean?

Anyway, this happened a couple more times before he got up and talked to the woman. Her date had left, and she seemed more angry at the person than scared of him at this point. I thought she was going to hit him or something. And honestly? I would have backed her up, he was being super creepy. But once he started speaking, it was like everything else in the shop went quiet. He just commanded attention with his words, even if you couldn’t tell what he was saying. 

If he said his name, I didn’t hear it. He did say he was from Magnus… something, and he wanted to hear the woman’s story. At the time I thought he said Institution, because an espresso machine behind the cafe counter went off at that exact moment and made it hard to hear the last bit of his words. That’s part of the reason I didn’t come to you guys sooner, because there is no Magnus Institution, but there is a Magnus Insti tute . I looked up the Magnus Institution for snooping purposes, but it didn’t occur to me that he might not have said “institution” at all. The other reason is because I didn’t have my name changed on all of my legal documents, and I read somewhere that you had to show ID to make a statement here. Even though I have pretty much been proven wrong, if the emptiness of this place is anything to go by, forgive me for wanting the right name on my paperwork. But all this is besides the point. 

The woman looked like a deer in the headlights, like all she wanted to do was run, but she sat there with the most calm tone of voice and told him about an experience she had. Even with her calm tone of voice, she seemed like she would rather be doing anything but tell this person her story. I didn’t catch most of it, as she was a quiet speaker, and the coffee shop became a bit louder after a couple minutes of her telling her story, but the bits I did catch were… terrifying. There were a couple points where I could vividly see in my mind what the woman had gone through, but I just chalked that up to over imagination. I honestly thought it was a really elaborate and completely fictitious story, or a publicity stunt for something.

At this point, I was well done with the application, and I had gotten a cup of tea so I had an excuse to sit back and listen without intruding. Once a snoop, always a snoop, I suppose. 

After she was finished, she bolted. It was like she broke through whatever was holding her there and just wanted to get the hell out of there. The person sat back like he had just had a good meal. It was creepy as all get out. 

The creep got up, and began to walk out not long after. I quickly looked away, as I had been not so subtly staring at him right after the woman left. I was in between him and the door, so he would have to pass me in order to leave. He didn’t look at me.

I suddenly thought about how much I would have loved to tell my mother about this very strange interaction. Just as the tears started to well up, he stopped next to the table, and I turned up to look at him. A beat passed, and in that beat I saw how utterly exhausted he looked. He had pockmark scars everywhere, and a scar across his throat, like someone had tried to cut it. There might have been other scars, but those were the only ones I could see out of the corner of my eye, as I couldn’t break my gaze away from his. In that beat, his pupils grew at least three times the size they previously were, like he was on drugs. And, granted, he might have been, but he wasn’t acting like it. There was a period of time in college where I hung out with the… rougher sort of people. A lot of them were on different kinds of substances, and he just didn’t have the same vibe I guess? I’m not sure, it just didn’t seem like he was high. He seemed closer to satisfied, like he had just had a big meal. And then he said the words I might not forget for my entire life. 

He said, “Devon, I’m so sorry about your mother.” And then he left, as though nothing had happened. 

I don’t know how I looked to the outside world, but in my head, every single alarm went off at the same time. How the absolute hell did this stranger know about my mother’s passing? Had he somehow hacked, oh I don’t know, the hospital I suppose, to find out my mother died just to mess with me? Had he been stalking me, and I just hadn’t noticed? If so, how long? Why hadn’t I noticed?

After about ten minutes of solid paralyzing fear at the prospect of being exposed, I thought more about what the perspn had said. More accurately, the name he had said. He used Devon, which convinced me that he wasn’t a stalker, funnily enough. This was mainly because at the time I didn’t have my name changed on anything . No medical documents, legal documents, IDs, anything. If he was a hacker or a stalker, there’s pretty much no way he could have known that I preferred Devon to my legal name at the time. I also, like I said before, hadn’t really told anyone . I thought for a moment that maybe I had put the wrong name on the application, which was still sitting in front of me, but I checked it. It still had my birth name, the one that matched my driver’s license, and just about every other official document I had. 

If this… person? Being? Was anything to go by, I think I definitely believe the short snippets of the woman’s story I did hear, no doubt about it.

I did end up handing in the application, despite the weirdness. I really needed the job, and I got it a few weeks later. Unfortunately, this comes with the caveat that something weird might happen again, but nothing too out of the ordinary has happened. Probably the most note-worthy is that we sometimes have a guy come in who looks almost translucent. I don’t know if that’s quite supernatural though, I think that could be put up to the fact that your eyes just kind of slide off him, you know the type. Plus he’s super quiet. Like, quiet to the point that you can’t really hear him ordering over the ambience of the coffee shop. (He usually gets a different kind of tea every visit.)

But anyway, I digress. I left my contact details, but I would rather you not call unless you need extra information. I personally don’t need closure, I kind of worked that out myself in the months since this incident, but I don’t mind answering questions if needed. I’m gonna leave this on the least messy desk I can find, which might be the dusty one in the back.