Maya tilted her head back. Her wide brown eyes were dull as she stared at her babysitter.
Swallowing down her worry, Iris ran her clammy hand over Maya’s forehead. “Honey, what’s wrong? Come on. Snap out of it.” She lightly tapped each cheek. “Shit, don’t do this again.”
There was no response, no flicker of acknowledgement in the child’s eyes.
“Ten past five,” Iris checked the clock. “Damn it!” She knew there was nothing she could do but wait for quarter past.
Iris moved away from the small yellow plastic table and the sitting child, and brought out her phone. Tapping record, Iris began to speak. “This is the third day in a row at exactly ten past five that Maya, a three year old kid I babysit in the afternoon, has done the exact same drawing and then just sits there staring into space. I have tried everything from yelling and splashing cold water on her to bribery; she won’t snap out of it. Not until the time is up.”
Iris chewed on her bottom lip.
Quarter past, Maya blinked several times got out of her chair and trotted over to Iris. Smiling she pointed and said, “Iri.”
Iris sighed and dropped to her knees. “Yep. Right here.” Holding the phone out, she continued filming the whole thing. “Maya, what did you draw?”
“Did you do a drawing?”
“But you don’t know what it was?”
Maya shoved her fingers into her mouth.
“Did you just sit there, doing nothing?”
“Iri, biscuit.” She hopped up and down, chanting.
Iris sighed and stopped recording. “Sure thing honey.Biscuit time.”
After, when Maya’s parents had gotten home and sent Iris off with her cash in hand, Iris set herself up in front of her laptop in her bedroom. She opened up the bookmarked page.
Thousands had uploaded their videos and pictures over the past three days. Each one an eerie replicant of the other; children drawing the same picture, the exact same with, then just stopping and staring into space.
Beside her on the desk was the latest drawing; a face.
Iris’s stomach knotted. Just what was going on? If she hadn’t seen Maya doing the exact same thing she would’ve said it was a hoax. But how do you organise so many kids from so many countries to do the same thing? Not possible. “It has to be something the kids are picking up on, like they’re on the same frequency...” Iris muttered as she waited for her video too load.
That’s when she saw the latest news of an audio recording, uploaded ten minutes before.
Listening, she first heard music and the happy chatter of a radio DJ. Then static and... “Chadwick Hossack.” Over and over, the name was repeated.
Iris shook. “It can’t be him.”