Along a highway in the middle of the United States, a unassuming gas station resided on the side of the road. It was quiet most if not every day, besides from a few locals from a bordering town that would drop by every morning or night to pick up cigarettes. It was run by three people at the time, a manager named Rob, a day shift worker named Amy, a night shift worker named John.
One evening in June, the store was robbed as Amy was switching out with John for the night. John was badly injured and the perpetrator could not be identified, but thanks to an old security camera in the store, Rob could view the incident over with police. Upon first viewing, he wrote down the events of what he could see through the monitor to better keep record of the event.
Man enters the store with knife pointed towards John, Amy is by the back and is oblivious to the situation.
Man moves toward the counter as John unloads the cash register.
Amy comes back and sees what’s going on, she creeps behind the Man and attempts to disarm him, and fails.
Attention is turned to her as John stands still for a second to get his bearings, they’re both wrestling and struggling to take control of the knife.
John finally takes action and leaps out from behind the counter and charges the Man to assist Amy.
The camera didn’t capture what happened in full, but John was stabbed in this process and fell to the ground. Amy was thrown to the ground at knifepoint as the Man took the money and fled.
Afterwards, he filed a police report along with a copy of the tape. Amy seemed to be much more on edge after all of this, and John was still recovering, so Rob had to pick up a lot of the slack. As a result, he would have to spend the night and overlook the security footage to ensure that there was no suspicious activity inside the store. Once the exhausting day had ceased and Rob began watching, he started to doze off about halfway through the tape, only to be woken up by the static that displayed after the tape finished. This routine continued every night for a few days, however one night the static woke him up earlier than usual. The tape was shorter for some reason, meaning that either an employee or customer turned it off somehow. Rob didn’t think much of it at the time, but as the night progressed and he was counting the night’s earnings, he became more curious.
He turned the tape back on and found that the static playing wasn’t signifying the end of the video, in fact the recording had two more hours left on it. Fast forwarding through the tape revealed that a majority of the two hours were still static though, but right as he was going to stop the tape, something appeared on the screen. It was the original footage. Amy was behind the cash register once again.
Rob froze. Something was off about the footage, it had been tampered with. The transition between the static and the footage was instant, meaning it had been spliced somehow. A customer walked through the door on the tape wielding a knife pointing towards Amy, he moved toward the counter as Amy began to unload the cash register. Rob was pale, he didn’t want to see this happen again, yet if this did happen, wouldn’t Amy have reported it?
Suddenly John enters into the frame from the back.
Rob immediately ejects the tape from the VCR, visibly shaken. He leaves the manager's office and goes home immediately, even though he wasn’t done with all of his work for that night. He had to go home, he had come across something that his brain told him to instantly get away from due to lack of comprehension. He started praying that it was a nightmare, that he would wake up from this shaken, not scared like he felt at that moment.
The next day, Rob came in early to talk to Amy to get to the bottom of what happened. She reportedly had no idea what he was talking about, in fact she had no idea that there was even a camera in the building to begin with. This made him sick to his stomach, he excused himself and went outside to get some fresh air. He dreaded the night ahead.
Sitting in front of the monitor, Rob starts fast forwarding through the entire thing to arrive at the end, hoping that the same thing wouldn’t happen again, which Rob was highly content to find that it didn’t. In his mad dash to the end, he hadn’t taken account some of the details of the tape though, mainly that it wasn’t Amy working the counter over the course of the day, instead it was John. So when he went back to fully look over the footage after his suspicion, he was shocked to find this alternate reality again. He didn’t turn the VCR off at this point though, he wanted to see what happened. To his horror, his visit earlier in the day had a wildly different outcome, he began talking to John and soon after John started crying, Rob had a look of sorrow on his face as well.
Rob was in a state of panic, he felt like his grasp on reality was loosening. His mind spun with ideas of destroying the camera, the tapes, the VCR, and more, but he just wanted this to end, he wanted everything to be normal again. He came to a conclusion that he would get a new security system put in place, or try to contact the company to see what they could do about the old camera. He finished his work and went home, barely getting a wink of sleep.
The manager decided he would call the company first, but when he did, he just got static. He didn’t think anything out of the ordinary about that, the system the store had was about a decade old so the company must have gone out of business or changed their number, so he hung the phone up. He grabbed a phone book and looked for a new one, but didn’t find anything there either. He felt defeated. He went into the store with a toolbox from his car and began to remove the camera. Once it was off of the hinges, he disconnected the wires and took it into his office to get a look at it.
Nothing seemed to be odd about the camera, everything was in working order on the outside, and he didn’t feel comfortable opening it so that was all the troubleshooting he was going to do at the moment. Right as he was about to take the camera back, the phone rang. He answered it and heard a woman say, “Hello, we received a call from you a few hours back and were wondering if you needed any assistance.” Rob responded saying, “Hi! Yes, I have been experiencing some... weird things with this security system, it’s fairly old though and was wondering if you guys could help me.” “Yes, of course! What seems to be the problem?” “Well, as odd as it sounds, it just keeps playing tapes of things that didn’t happen, or at least I think they didn’t. Maybe they’re getting messed up in the camera?”
There was a strong beep shortly afterwards, followed by static. Rob had enough at this point and slammed the phone down in anger. He was done running in circles trying to get an answer. This situation had to be resolved, and fast.
He grabbed a hammer from his toolbox, the camera, the DVR, and the tapes that had been playing these weird alternate events and went out back. He threw each of them down and smashed them one by one. Bits and pieces of the electronics littered the ground, there was nothing out of the ordinary that he could find. With a sigh of relief, he went back inside and called Amy to call her in to work.
But it instantly went to static.