The Disappeared by Irving Belateche is a short story invitation to the reader to explore the concept of invisibility. Watch Robert Grayson as he completes the process of disappearing; invisibility is just an earlier step in the process. Robert realized he was becoming increasingly invisible ever since his university graduation. He joined a company he didn’t like and worked in a job he didn’t want. The company downsized and Robert was one of the first fired. Many in the company didn’t know he existed. When he joined a Brown and Kling, he made a few friends but they drifted away as his realization grew that he was becoming invisible. His girlfriend left him after he insisted too many times that they should stay home and watch TiVo. Why leave home when everything he wanted was there? He was comfortable shuttling between his home alone world and the office world where none but old people acknowledged his existence. Even the old employees acknowledged him with monosyllabic grunts while looking at their cellphones.
One day, he found a note on his car inviting him to a URL that looked like a YouTube video. Following the link, he discovered a dark, mysterious video that showed a mysterious group of friends in a circle chanting. In the center was a vaguely recognizable figure. After the chanting stopped, the group disappeared. Robert hit rewind but the video, like the group, had disappeared. Robert looked in the comments section (NEVER READ THE COMMENTS) and found an address. On arrival, the house was dark and mysterious, just like in the video, but there was no chanting circle of people. There was only the person who had been in the middle, a former best friend of Robert.
Let the explanations begin.
As the reader travels through the rest of the story to find a solution to Robert’s mystery. There is time to reflect on invisibility in a society where reality is defined by social media. This is a crisp, short moral dilemma tale if the reader chooses to interpret the story that way.
I gave this five Amazon stars for the impact it made on me. Your tastes may differ.