I don’t think I have a lot of time, but I need to get this message out to anyone willing to listen. It’s going to sound crazy I know, and I don’t even expect anyone to believe me. I just need this to be out there, maybe one day someone will know why.

About 18 hours ago, I got up at the crack of dawn to prepare myself for a routine international business trip. I’m a financial consultant for a large tech firm, and I regularly take trips to various destinations all over the world.

I got to the airport, went through security and got onto the plane without anything unusual happening. The flight was scheduled to be just short of twelve hours, so to prepare I took some Benadryl to hopefully help me get some sleep. A young couple sat down in the center and window seats in my row. They were kind enough, and the man was wearing a Chelsea jacket. We got talking about football a bit and exchanged small talk as we prepared for the flight.

The flight attendants conducted their rounds, and not long after the plane began to taxi onto the runway. My mind lingered on the brink of sleep as the plane ascended into the heavens. Maybe an hour or so later and I was awoken to the urge to relieve myself, so I got up and shimmied my way down the aisle to the lavatory.

I did my business, but before I left the bathroom a sudden headache struck me out of nowhere. It was beyond intense, like someone was jabbing an icepick between my eyes. I fell to the ground in the cramped room, and felt like my head was about to implode.

My mind began to spin, and my heart was racing like crazy. I felt a sense of impending doom seep into the very cortex of my being, like I was on the verge of death. I’ve never really had any history of severe medical issues, but in the moment, I thought I was having an aneurysm or seizure of some kind.

An altogether inexplicable feeling then struck me. The only way I can really describe it was like a wave of chills rolling through my body. It just completely discombobulated my mind for a moment, and suddenly it felt like everything had just stopped being real.

I was seconds away from crying out for help, when it suddenly stopped. I felt my mind recompose itself, and the headache and other symptoms faded in an instant. My legs were wobbly but I managed to regain my footing; still a bit confused and panicked, but relieved the symptoms had abated.

After a couple minutes I stepped out of the lavatory and shuffled back towards my seat. The young couple in my row were both fast asleep, but I noticed the man was suddenly wearing a different jacket.

His jacket – formerly embroidered with Chelsea, now bore the name Liverpool on it. I thought maybe I was just misremembering things, or that the guy was only interested in the aesthetic look or something and didn’t care much for the sport. Either way I sat back down, without giving it too much thought. That should’ve clued me in then that something was off.

The rest of the flight I felt really odd, like something horrible was going to happen to me. I sort of psyched myself up into a panic as I wondered whether the feeling was a premonition of some kind. It was like all the latches on my mind had suddenly been released, spewing forth a miasma of intrusive thoughts and anxious worries.

I drank a bunch of water, and popped several more Benadryl, hoping it would be enough to ward off the mindset and calm me down. It got moderately better as time went on, and things remained the same. I tried to sleep some more, but every time I closed my eyes it was like I was seeing something. These horrible invasive thoughts were just flooding in, and I didn’t know how to make them stop.

The rest of the trip was damn near the worst experience I’ve ever had, and I began to think it would never end. I kept feeling like something was watching me. The shadows in the corner of the cabin seemed to twist and conspire against me, like there was something sinister hidden just outside my peripheries waiting to strike.

Finally, my soul breathed a sigh of relief when the pilot announced over the intercom that we would be landing in Tokyo in about half an hour. The couple beside me finally stirred awake, and the guy gave me a smile.

“You manage to get any sleep?” I hesitated at his question, because I could’ve sworn his voice was different. Just a tad deeper, and with a more exaggerated Wales accent that I hadn’t noticed before. Again, I quickly shrugged it off, but froze before I could answer.

There was something standing in the row a couple aisles ahead of us. I say ‘some-thing’ for a reason, as it looked human-shaped, but with no features. Just a shadow lingering in place of a person.

“Hey… you okay?” The guy beside me asked. I looked away, and in the split second I broke eye contact, the thing vanished.

“Uh yeah… yeah sorry. Been a long flight and I’m just tired.” I tried reassuring the man, and he seemed to buy it. I wasn’t really paying much attention to him to be honest; I was just worried about what I had seen.

The plane touched down a little while later, and I had never been so relieved in all my life. My behavior was probably a bit rude as I cut past several other travelers to leave earlier. I just wanted to be off that damn plane as soon as possible. I stepped out of the tunnel and into the main concourse where that familiar sign was displayed once more for the new travelers.

“Welcome to Japan. We hope you enjoy your stay.” I didn’t recognize the second stanza being there from my memories of previous trips, but once again I just brushed it off as another weird thing. By that point I just wanted to get to the hotel and sleep for a while.

I got to the customs agent, and begrudgingly waited a good twenty minutes before being called up to a window. The booth agent greeted me with a smile and I handed her my passport and declaration form.

I watched her look them over, and her head tilted slightly to the side as if she were confused about something. She glanced between me and my passport several times before holding it out to face me.

“This is… where you are from?” She asked pointing to the name of my country on the document. I nodded, hoping to get through the ordeal as quick as possible.

It seems it really wasn’t my lucky day, as the next thing I know, I’m being escorted by several customs agents into a separate room. The eyes of other travelers stared inquisitive daggers into my neck as I went. The men opened a small windowless room, and beckoned me inside. I thought then that maybe I should call my lawyer, but just hoped the situation would be sorted out without that hassle.

One of the customs agents asked where I was from, and I told them the truth. They eyed each other with confused glances. Another man then stepped forward, brandishing my passport and opening it to the page with my picture.

“This is you, yes?” I nodded. He flipped through the booklet, and I saw the stamps of dozens of other places I’d visited throughout the years. That seemed to confuse them even more.

“How did you get these?” He asked.

“Because I’ve been there before, how else?” My tone heightened in irritation, and I tried to swallow it back down, knowing it wouldn’t help the situation.

“With this?” I nodded. The men then looked at one another, before a third man stepped in. He appeared like the more senior agent. He snagged the passport from the other man, and looked it over for a moment. His stern eyes then wandered back to me.

“This document appears official. You have proper format, registry and even a collection of stamps proving you have used it before. The only problem is this.” He pointed to the name of my home country.

“This is not a registered sovereign state within our records. This country does not exist.” I couldn’t help but scoff, and stammer for a moment in confusion.

“What? What do you mean it doesn’t exist? I was there this morning.” The man seemed unconvinced, and I offered to prove it by calling someone back home. They were hesitant, but eventually they agreed. I took my phone out and dialed my branch manager.

*The number you have dialed is not currently registered. Please try your call again.*

I nearly dropped my phone. I tried dialing others. My wife, a few coworkers, the front desk, my own mother… none of them worked; none of them went through.

“What the hell is going on?” I sat back down in my chair, mind beginning to spin similar to how it did on the plane. One of the agents began to say something. I looked to him and recoiled in my chair. His face was gone, replaced only by shadow.

I stumbled back, slamming into the wall behind me. The men jumped up from the table, eyeing me with odd, contorted faces while they raised their non-lethal stun guns in defense. I just pressed my hands to my face, and tried to make it stop.

“Sir… are you okay?” One of them asked, and I felt a hand touch my shoulder. Slowly I lowered my hands, and found that things had returned to normal. I apologized profusely to the men, and told them it had been a long flight and I was severely exhausted.

They asked me a few more questions, but none of us were able to make sense of the situation. Luckily for me, they were kind and patient, viewing me less like a threat and more like an anomaly. I’m guessing they’d never really come across someone with a situation like mine.

After all, if I was some terrorist or something and made myself a fake passport, then why the hell would I choose a country of origin that didn’t exist? I’d have to be the dumbest terrorist in the world to do that.

After about an hour of interrogation we weren’t any closer to figuring things out. The agents told me they could not yet grant me access into Japan, but they offered to put me up for the night in a local hotel while they tried to sort things out. I was just happy to be leaving that room, and the prospect of finally getting some sleep was more alluring than anything by that point.

They gave me an escort to the hotel that was adjacent from the airport. They escorted me all the way there – which would’ve been slightly intimidating, but they did not seem overtly hostile. If anything, they were every bit as confused and interested in my case as I was.

We had just left the terminal, when something curbside caught my eye. I nearly jumped as I saw yet another shadowy silhouette looming in the distance. This time, it looked clearer than before, yet still there was next to no features. Just a blank, human-shaped hole in reality.

No one else seemed to notice or be concerned by it’s presence; but the longer I stared at it, the more consumed with panic I became. I desperately hoped it was just some strange side effect of me being exhausted, but I think part of me knew the truth.

The posse of agents finally allowed me into my room, and told me they were going to continue to investigate and meet with me the following morning. I thanked them and apologized for the whole situation, and closed the door behind them.

I wanted to do nothing more than fall asleep then, but I knew I couldn’t. I dialed my wife for like the fiftieth time, but again the number was unlisted. I texted too, but got essentially the same response.

Desperate for answers, I turned to the internet, and tried finding her or anyone I could possibly contact. There was nothing. I found no one from my home country, but I did find something else.

There was no official record of my home country ever existing, but somehow, there was mentions of it. Apparently, back in the 1950’s a man landed in Tokyo with a story eerily similar to my own. He was from the same country as me, and had a virtually identical experience with the customs’ agents; right up until the point where they put him up in a hotel for the night.

I tried verifying the story, but from what I was able to gather, no one really regarded it as more than fiction. There was no actual documentation of the event actually happening. Despite that, I found it incredibly odd and horrifying how similar to my case it was. The story ended with the man inexplicably disappearing from the hotel by the time the agents returned the next day.

I spent hours researching everything I could find about it. Somehow, I managed to get sidetracked when an unrelated article on a web search caught my eye. It was something about the “9/11 memorial parade”.

I had no idea what that was, and searched the term only to find literally hundreds of stories involving a terrorist attack almost twenty years ago. Almost three-thousand people were killed by hijacked passenger planes crashing into the twin towers of lower Manhattan.

I’m sure anyone reading this is thinking, ‘yeah duh, we know all about it’. After all it was a historic tragedy which altered the Unites States of America forever. I don’t mean to sound disrespectful when I say this, but I have absolutely no memory of this ever happening.

I’m 38 years old, and I would’ve been alive when it happened, but I don’t remember a thing. If someone would’ve asked me about this event, I’d have denied all knowledge of it, because I would swear to you it never happened.

Something clicked in my mind then, and on a hunch, I began to search for other historic events. There were more inconsistencies, and it didn’t take long to pinpoint them. The Soviet Union collapsing in 1991, the moon landing by the Americans in 1969, the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Lebron James signing with the Lakers, Wayne Gretzky passing Gordie Howe’s points record, France winning the world cup in 2018 and Nelson Mandela being released from prison in 1990. All things which did not happen, or happened differently than how I remember them.

I understood what was happening then. All the inconsistencies and blurs of memory pointed to one thing. It sounds completely insane I know, but those events never happened. Not in my world anyways, but then again, I’m not in my world anymore. I’m in yours.

Those shadowy things that I’ve seen; demons, phantoms… whatever they are. They’re right outside the door now, waiting for me. They’re here to take me; just like they took the man in the story from my home country. I can’t prove that’s what happened to him, but I’d be willing to bet everything I have on it.

Those shadowy fiends are not just hallucinations. They are watchers; they are the vanguard of this reality, and are here to silence me for breaking into it. I can hear the whisperings through the door, and I know it won’t be long. They’re waiting for me to fall asleep, and I am so very tired.

I don’t know how this happened, why I’m here or what it means in the grand scheme of things. I suppose this will be the last time anyone hears from me. I hope that my presence is not detrimental to your world. I didn’t mean to come here, I never wanted this.

If ever you discover a way; please tell my wife; Yenna and daughter Allisone that I love them both dearly. I don’t suppose I’ll get the chance myself. Please somebody, find out how this happened, and prevent it from ever happening again. It’s all I can ask now. My name is Anders Liam LeMarison and I just want to go back home to Taured. The country I love, and the one that doesn’t exist.

taured