I really love Instagram. It’s probably the app I spent most of my time on.
I don’t have a big following or anything, but I love to share pictures. Guess, it’s pretty normal for a teenage girl like me.
In my time on Instagram, I saw my share of weird things.
There was, of course, the spam bots and fake accounts who would comment on your content. Then there was nudity and pornography. For a site that has a strict policy against this, you sure stumble upon a lot of it.
There was one thing that was a bit creepier. There was a guy who had a crush on my friend Lisa. We found his Instagram by accident and saw that he’d shared dozens of pictures of her on the account.
Two weeks ago though, I found something else that was way more creepy.
It was an account by the name of cutzieee52. It didn’t have a lot of followers, but it had posted a fair amount of pictures.
At first I thought it was a regular account. When I scrolled through the pictures, I saw that they were all of young girls. Probably the account of some guy who posted pictures of girls he found attractive, I thought.
As I continued to scroll through the account, I realized that they were all my age or even younger. After a while, I noticed something even more unsettling. All the pictures were unprofessional and seemed to have been taken in secret.
Here was a picture of a blond girl on her way to school. There was a picture of a brown haired girl on a bus. It continued on like that. What the hell was this? Was this the account of some creepy stalker or something?
I decided to check out the comments on the newest picture. It was of a young girl with dark hair at a train station. I already knew what I’d find: lots of perverted comments.
When I started to read through I found none of that. All I saw were smiles and thumbs-up. I’d have written it off as nothing but spam if not for the numbers. In-between all the spam a random number would be posted. The first one was 300, followed by 500 and going all the way up to 1200.
When I clicked on one of the many posters all I found was either an empty profile or a suspended one.
I continued on with the other pictures, but all I found was more of the same. Spam and numbers, nothing else.
In the end, I told myself it was the account of some perverted creep and left it alone.
To be honest, I’d completely forgotten about it until today.
I’d gotten home from school and was about to check my emails. I use one of the popular German email providers. It’s one of those pages that is stacked with news bulletins and other ‘recommended’ articles. Most of it is rubbish or celebrity gossip.
Today though I saw that one article was about a missing young girl. As I clicked it, I read that young, fifteen-year-old Emily H. had been missing for a few days now. The girl had apparently vanished near a train station on her way to school. There was something about her picture though. I had seen it somewhere before, but I couldn’t say where. Maybe in a newspaper?
It was later that day, in the evening that I went on Reddit to search for something interesting. It was half an hour later that I had found a thread about one of those weird internet mysteries. When someone mentioned Instagram, I suddenly remembered the creepy account I’d seen two weeks ago.
It took me a while of searching through my history, but I found it again. I was about to copy the link and start a thread when I noticed something.
The latest picture of the account. The dark haired girl at the train station. As I stared at it, I knew why I’d recognized the fifteen-year-old girl in the news article.
This was her. This was Emily H. the young girl that was missing. I checked the comments once more, but it was all the same, spam and numbers.
What the hell was this? I was so utterly crept out.
I copied the link of the profile and sent it to one of my friends via WhatsApp, but she didn’t read it.
“Damnit, Nicole, check your stupid phone!” I cursed.
It was half an hour or so later that she finally read the message.
Oh, miss popular has got another stalker, hasn’t she?
As I read it, I didn’t know what she was talking about.
Wait, what do you mean Nicole? Do you know that girl?
No reply. I sent her another message and then another one. Finally, I called her.
“Oh Marie, what’s up?” she answered the phone.
“Nicole! What are you talking about? You know the girl in the picture?”
“Well duh, dummy, I’d recognize you anywhere!”
As she said this the phone almost dropped from my hands.
“What the hell are you talking about!?”
“That picture of you! Guess some creeper has a crush on you. Isn’t that just like what happened to Lisa back in…?”
I didn’t listen anymore. What the hell was she talking about?
“Marie, hey, you still there?” I heard her call out to me.
With shaking fingers, I clicked on the link again. With each passing second, I cursed at my computer to load the profile. When it finally did the phone dropped from my hands. Right there, at the top of the profile, there was a new picture. It was me standing in front of a store in the mall. It was from this afternoon.
When I checked the comments, I saw the same thing I’d seen before, smileys and numbers. They were all posted recently. I refreshed the page and saw the numbers climb up.
Finally though, after I refreshed it again and again, I got an error message.
Sorry, this page isn’t available.
Whatever I tried, nothing turned up anymore. Searching for the account name on Google or any other information, nothing turned up. For all, I know the account, the account is completely gone.
I’m sitting here now typing this out. I can’t make sense of what I found there. I keep telling myself that this was just the account of some pervert or stalker. That picture of Emily though… Those numbers… It’s all way too strange. I’m starting to think that there’s something terrible going on.
Please, everyone, tell me that it’s just my imagination. Tell me that nothing is going on there.
Tell me that I’m not in danger.