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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
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June 4, 2015, late afternoon

"Hey, Edie," Christian said, looking into the fridge. "I think you're running low on milk. I was going to run out, would you like me to get some?"

"Oh, you shouldn't have to get that," Edie said.

"No, it's no problem. It looks like we could use more butter too and maybe some-"

"What the hell is this?!?"

Christian and Edie froze. They had been in the kitchen minding their own business, with Edie at the table reading a magazine and Christian looking in the fridge for a drink. It had been a quiet day in the house, but that cry from the other room had been the moment the levee broke. Angie stormed into the kitchen, her phone clutched in her hand. Christian closed the fridge and approached her.

"Ang? What's the matter?"

"Look at this!" she shouted. "We left Ella alone in Noah's room, and this is what she did while she was in there."

Christian took the phone from Angie's hand. Edie got up from the table and walked over to Christian's other side, peering over his shoulder to see the phone. There was a video on the screen, and Christan pressed the screen to start the video.

The image was of Ella sitting in Noah's chair. From how dark the room was, it had to be late last night. There was only a single lamp illuminating the room, showing Ella's round face and big, brown eyes in the darkness.

Hi. My name is Ella Whitley, and I want to talk about my brother.

"How did she even-" Edie began to ask before being silenced by Angie.

So, I know a bunch of people probably only know him for the videos he makes and for how my mom and his family talked about him in that other video. But none of you really know him. I see a bunch of people writing terrible things about him in the comments, and I just want to know who you are to say any of that. Like...let me see...

Ella had moved forward and grabbed the mouse on the desk. After a few clicks, she began to speak.

Okay, here's one. NicoleLuvsPizza42 said 'If anything good can come from this incident, it's that fags like this guy can be wiped out. I bet if you shot him, he'd bleed glitter.' Well, NicoleLuvsPizza42, I bet if someone shot you, no one would even care because you're such a heartless piece of crap.

Then there's this guy. Kaaarkat Kiiiiiler- 'real' great name there- said 'Noah Whitley is such a pussy. Nancy should have killed his ass so we wouldn't have to deal with him.' Well, your mother shouldn't have dropped you on your head as an infant, but here you are.

You all think you can watch these videos and act like you know my brother and can pass judgement on him based off makeup tutorials and stupid accents. And yet, you don't know what he's really like.

Let me tell you some things about Noah. He doesn't like mayonnaise because he says the texture reminds him of melted Play-doh. He once ran into a glass door because he was chasing me and slipped on the floor. He keeps a lot of bottles of lotion in his night stand. His favorite color is blue, his favorite movie is Blazing Saddles, his favorite dessert is chocolate peanut butter pie, and his favorite time period is the 1960s. He wants to open a bar someday if he can't be a comedian, and he said he'd probably call it "The Ark," which he also said is a working title.

"Wait, what's wrong with this?" Christian asked Angie.

"Just wait."

In fact, none of you know anyone in our house. You all saw that video where my mom, Noah's mom, and Noah's grandma cried and pleaded everyone to not watch the video. Well guess what? It's all a lie. Noah's mom has been locked in a room for three days watching the footage. Noah's grandma saw the part where he was nearly shot. Even my mom has secretly been watching the video. They don't want anyone to watch my brother or any of those other kids die, and yet they're happy to watch it themselves and act like it's their right to.

Heck, even my dad and Noah's grandpa aren't better. They're liars too. They've been lying to their wives since the video appeared. It's all a mess here, and they want to act like everything's okay or that they can keep things going the way they are. But it's not going to be normal. It's never going to be normal. I don't know if I can ever trust my mom and dad again. I don't know what's going to happen to Noah's grandparents or his mom. I don't even think Noah is going to come home.

So yeah, keep calling Noah a 'fag' or a 'pussy.' Keep acting like you're clever for dumping on his channel or his character. Keep acting like it's amusing to watch the stream or you're so much better than everyone else because you're not watching the video. But it's awful here. Everyone in this house is going mad. All anyone can do here is argue or lie to one another or cheat or lie. So yeah, I hope you're enjoying this all, because our lives are awful, and if you want to make things worse, then you're no better than those terrorists.


Ella reached forward, and the video stopped. The video held on an image of her face, turning red from her rant, a few tears falling down her cheeks.

In the kitchen, the trio remained silent. Edie had a hand over her mouth. Angie was turning red, while Christian turned slightly pale.

"What did she mean you were watching it?" Christian asked Angie.

"That's not important!" Angie said. "I found out about this when a bunch of messages starting appearing on Noah's Twitter. She posted this late last night and it picked up some traction."

"Oh my," Edie muttered.

Christian handed the phone back to Angie. "Can't we take it down?"

"I want to, but the video's already been copied," Angie said. "I can't believe this shit."

"Angie, calm down," Christian said, putting his hands on her shoulders. "Let's talk to Ella and maybe-"

"Oh, I'm talking to her alright!" Angie said, breaking free of Christian's grip.

She turned and stomped out of the kitchen. Christian and Edie were close behind.

"Angie! Please wait," Christian said as they reached the stairs.

"Angie, let's think for a second," Edie said.

"No. I need to talk to Ella," Angie said as she marched up the stairs.

She soon reached the top and made her way to Noah's door. She grabbed the doorknob and began to shake it. When it didn't budge, Angie banged on the door.

"Ella!" she shouted. "Open this door now!"

"Go away!" Ella shouted from inside the room.

Angie banged on the door again. "Open this door!"

"Ang, she's not going to if you're that loud and furious," Christian said.

"He's right," Edie said. "Please, let's calm down for a moment."

Angie continued to try and force the door to budge. As she did, Arnold emerged from his bedroom. He had gone in there to take a nap a little while ago.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Oh, Arnold, I'm sorry, did we wake you?" Edie said.

"No, I was just getting up. What's going on?"

Angie banged on the door again. Christian moved over to her to grab her.

"Oh, Ella posted a video to Noah's channel condemning negative posters and all of us," Edie explained.


"Yes. She called us out for watching the stream and for lying," Edie said. "She even said you were a liar for some reason."

Arnold didn't respond. His attention was drawn back to Christian pulling Angie away.

"Angie, that's not going to work," Christian said. "Let me try."

Christian walked up to the door and knocked.

"Ella. It's Daddy," Christian said. "Look, I just want to talk about the video. Can I come in?"


Christian sighed.

"Ella, we understand your upset about Noah's abduction, but the internet is not the place you put your frustrations. You find better ways to deal with it."

"Like how you dealt with it by making out with Noah's mom?" Ella shouted.

Christian froze. Angie's eyes widened and her mouth fell open.

"What?!?" she shouted at Christian.

Christian slowly turned to Angie. She was getting redder and redder. He had no idea what he could say about this.

"I...I can explain..."

Angie raised her hand and slapped Christian. Edie and Arnold both gasped, with Arnold quickly moving to restrain Angie.

"Angie!" Arnold shouted. "Cool it!"

"You fucker!" Angie shouted. "You made out with Kelly?"

"It was just one time," Christian said.

"And that makes it okay?!? I can't believe you! I thought you were better than to do something so shady."

"Oh?" Christian asked, raising an eyebrow. "And just how did Ella find out you were watching the streams?"

"Everyone please calm down!" Edie said, getting between Angie and Christian.

"How much have you seen, Angela?" Christian asked. "Was it also just 'one time' or was it more?"

"Fuck you!" Angie shouted, struggling in Arnold's grasp. "I can't believe you'd do this again."

"Okay, this is over now," Arnold said. "Angie, settle down or I'm taking you into my room."

"No! Let me go!"

As they continued to bicker, no one in the hall noticed the door slowly creeping open. They didn't hear the sound of the woman quietly moving out of the room, a large bag on her shoulder. They didn't hear the sound of her slowly moving down the stairs. One of them, however, heard the sound of the front door slam.

"Wait, what was that?" Edie said, turning towards the stairs.

Edie then noticed Kelly's door was ajar. She walked over to the room.

"Kelly?" she said, peering in.

The room was empty. The laptop was still sitting on Kelly's bed. The stream was frozen of an image of Noah approaching a helipad. Edie moved out of the room.

"Kelly?!?" she shouted.

The others had fallen silent. Just then, Edie heard the sound of a car starting.

"Kelly!" she shouted.

Edie hurried down the stairs and towards the front door. She threw the door open just in time to see Kelly's Acura pulling out of the driveway. The car pulled into the street, the sped away. Edie ran into the front yard and watched as the car disappeared down the street.

"Kelly, wait!" she shouted.

But Kelly didn't return. Edie remained there in place, watching as the car got farther and farther away. Arnold, Christian, and Angie emerged from the house as well. Arnold walked over to his wife, putting a hand on her shoulder.

"Where is she going?" Edie asked her husband. "Where could she be going? Oh god, please don't tell me-"

"We'll find her," Arnold said. "We'll figure out where she's going."

Edie raised her hand to her mouth and started to cry. Arnold pulled his wife closer to him and let her cry into his chest. Angie and Christian silently watched the older couple, then went back inside. They didn't talk to one another at all. There was no way they could right now.
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