Everyone has a story to tell – you just have to find someone who’s willing to share. Most of the time, the stories that are left untold are the ones worth hearing about. These kinds of stories hold world-shattering secrets, guilty crimes, and unspeakable desires. For these reasons, many of us are not granted an audience for those stories. We’re left with the same, generative conflict or plot that doesn’t have its own voice even though it’s a story.
So, how can we search for an untold story? Do we force it out of someone, squeeze our way into his or her lives so we become a part of it, or hope for a miracle? Well, believe it or not, everyone is connected in some way. Our stories interact with each other. What if we can hear about an untold story through other people’s stories that coexist with it? Then that changes everything.
Let’s say there is a young boy. He’s twelve, and he’s sitting on his bed with the blanket draped over him. He holds a small flashlight and in the other hand, there are photos of naked women. His eyes stare at each photo for a long time while his mouth stretches into a grin. How did he get these photos? Someone anonymously sent them to his house. He doesn’t know if they’re for his dad or his older brother, but neither has asked him if he’s seen anything in the mail for them.
The women in the photos are all different. He wonders who took the photos and why they’re being mailed to his house. His mom lives with another man so he doesn’t have to worry about a woman in the household grabbing a hold of the explicit content.
Across his room, there’s his older brother who’s seventeen. He sits at his desk with the computer screen lit up and he speaks with his girlfriend over video chat. His eyes don’t meet the screen. They linger on his cell phone, which he keeps off the screen so his girlfriend doesn’t see. He texts someone and the girlfriend asks why he’s not looking at her. He responds by saying his eyes are tired and he wants to sleep soon. She complains but complies. She tells him she loves him and he only says, “Good night.”
She disappears from his screen and he moves to his bed. He still texts the same person on his phone and then he puts it by his ear. The phone rings and when it picks up, a male voice speaks. He automatically smiles and says softly, “Hey.” He speaks to the guy on the phone until they both fall asleep on each other.
The girlfriend doesn’t sleep at all. She tosses and turns in bed with the thought of breaking up with her boyfriend. They’ve been together for almost a year, but she feels that they’re falling out of love. For what reason, she wants to find out soon. The alarm goes off for school and she slowly gets out of bed. As she heads for the bathroom out in the hallway, she peeks into her twin’s room to find her still asleep.
When she finishes washing up, she checks up on her twin again and still doesn’t see her move. With a heavy sigh, she knocks on the open door and calls out her twin’s name. In response, her twin groans and moves in bed a little. She tells her twin that they’ll be late for school if she doesn’t get up soon. After that, she goes back to her own room and gets dressed.
The twin sister stumbles out of bed and feels a hangover. She should not have snuck alcohol into her room late last night. There’s a lot on her mind and she doesn’t want to deal with it. Her twin doesn’t know about her drinking problem because all she cares about is her boyfriend. It’s her turn to get ready in the bathroom. She notices that her twin sister is on her period. In the trash bin, there is a tampon wrapper; it explains why her twin sister has been so bitchy lately.
She’s hammered. She doesn’t know how she’ll go to school with a hangover. Maybe she’ll ditch. After she gets dressed, she goes back to the bathroom to do her makeup. She puts on heavy eye shadow and thick, black eyeliner. Then she colors in her lips black. She tugs her long sleeves over the scars on her wrist.
Downstairs, the twins’ mom prepares breakfast. She already has plates of toast and eggs on the dining table. She cuts up fruit while she hums a melody. She can hear her daughters getting ready and is glad she doesn’t have to go wake them up herself. They’re almost graduating and she can hardly believe it. Pretty soon, the house will be quiet and she knows for certain that she’ll have Empty Nest Syndrome. It will only be her and her husband in the house, although that’s exciting news for her husband.
When the girls come downstairs, it isn’t unusual to see one of the twins wearing all black with heavy, dark makeup. She doesn’t look like she’s in a good mood so she doesn’t pester her daughter. The other one doesn’t look so happy either. She watches her dump her gym bag on the floor that has her cheerleading uniform and pompoms in it. She asks her what’s wrong but of course she doesn’t answer.
Her husband comes downstairs and he wears his suit and tie. He pecks his wife on the cheek and greets his girls. They all sit together at the dining table and eat their breakfast quickly. He tries to make small talk with his daughters but neither of them seem like they want to talk. Knowing it’s best to leave them alone when they’re in that mood, he decides to talk to his wife. He reaches over and runs his hand over her thigh but she quickly stops him and gives him a pointed look. Discouraged, he grows silent and only half-listens to whatever his wife is saying.
When the bus comes and the girls leave for school, he goes to his car and heads for work. He greets everyone before going to his office. Setting down his briefcase, he sits on his chair and warms up his computer. Someone knocks and he tells them to come in. It’s the new intern and he’s informing him about some lost files that have been recovered from the filing cabinets.
The intern sets the files on his boss’s desk and leaves the room. He goes back to his cubicle and sits in front of the computer, taking a sip of his hot coffee. Throughout the morning, he takes calls and does his best to make a good impression on his fellow coworkers and his boss. When lunchtime rolls around, he gets up and heads for the lounge area. On his way there, he sees his boss and a fellow coworker heading somewhere together. He recognizes the coworker as the pretty blonde who works next to his cubicle.
He sees them disappear around the corner at the end of the hall. He doesn’t follow. After seeing the picture of his boss’s family on his desk, he hopes that his boss is a good husband and father. He doesn’t need to indulge in his boss’s family affairs, if there’s any. He goes to the lounge and eats his lunch.
Inside the storage room, a heavy box is moved to sit in front of the door so no one can come in. She welcomes her boss into her arms, waiting for this moment all morning. He’s like an animal, hungry for her skin and kisses. He strips off her blazer and unbuttons her white dress shirt while planting kisses along her collarbone. She runs her hands through his hair and gasps for air whenever she can.
She sits on top of a large, cardboard box and starts to unbuckle her boss’s pants. As they drop, she could see how much he’s longing for her and desperately pulls him in close. She feels his hands pull up her skirt and pull down her panties. In seconds, both of them are panting and moaning while the box shakes from the thrusting motion the two of them are caught up in. Minutes later, they both cry out in ecstasy. She keeps her arms wrapped around her boss and whispers in his ear that she loves him. He stiffens but doesn’t pull away. She knows he has a family and that his wife isn’t keeping him satisfied.
She watches her boss move the storage box away from the door after collecting himself; he leaves without saying anything. It’s typical behavior that she’s grown used to. She tidies herself up and starts to count. After five minutes, she leaves the room. When she goes back to her cubicle, she notices the intern’s lingering gaze. She hopes she doesn’t give anything away, and if the intern does have suspicions, it’s none of his business to spread rumors.
A person wearing a snapback holds a camera and looks at the picture he’s taken. He has one picture of the company’s manager with the blonde employee going into the storage room together, and another of them both leaving at separate times. With a victorious smile, he heads for the elevator and presses the button to go down to the lobby. With this, he’ll earn enough money to pay for his younger sister’s medical bills. All the while, he’s helping reveal a love affair between an employer and employee.
When he exits the building and goes to his car in the parking structure, he heads for the hospital first to visit his younger sister. There, he finds her room where she’s been staying and knocks softly on her door. When he sees her resting, he greets her warmly and asks how she’s been doing. She responds faintly and tells him that the doctor has been keeping a close eye on her. He’s relieved that she’s cared for so closely but he hopes to see her discharged soon.
He leaves the hospital and sits in his car. The phone rings and he answers even though the number is unknown. A mysterious woman’s voice fills his ears, telling him that he should watch his back. He ends the call immediately and stares at his phone screen. His heart pounds fast and he doesn’t know why someone is threatening him. He wants to call it a prank but he’s been getting the same threat for the past few weeks now. With shaky hands, he heads for his corporation where they pay him generously for his photos.
A woman watches the car leave the hospital, the tires screeching as if escaping. She smiles and sets her cell phone down and begins to follow the car. It’s fun watching him grow unsettled and she enjoys the chase. He doesn’t know of her, but soon he will. She has a plan and it is set in motion. Her hands become sweaty at the thought. Throughout the day, she watches from a distance. He gets his money from a tabloid company, goes back to visit his younger sister, and then goes back to his apartment. She sits in the car and stares up at his window.
An elderly woman who lives on the first floor of the apartment building looks out of her window to see a strange woman staring up from her car. She turns away from the window, cooks and cleans for a couple hours, and then looks outside the window again. The woman is still in her car and she still stares up at the building she lives in. The elderly woman is worried but hopes the strange woman will be gone by nighttime.
She decides to call her son who is traveling abroad somewhere in Europe. They talk for about an hour and then she goes to check outside the window again. The strange woman is gone and she sighs in relief. Whoever the strange woman is, she hopes that she won’t come back.
After getting off the phone with his mom, he rolls over in bed to face his fiancé. She’s sleeping and the morning sunlight strikes her face. He brushes his fingers along her cheek and she stirs. She’s been through a lot, having gone through a divorce with her husband who takes care of her sons. But she’s here with him, and that’s all that matters. He will make her happy.
He gets out of bed and gazes out the window. He could see Big Ben and the skies are gray and gloomy. Putting on some clothes, he quietly opens his laptop and sends an email to his half-sister who’s been working at a major company. He’s been away for so long that he doesn’t have her number so he resorts to emailing her. It’s not like she replies anyway since he assumes she’s busy.
He scrolls through his emails and a new email pops up with a strange subject heading. He opens it and is shocked when he sees various photos of his half-sister having an affair with the manager of the company she works in. At the very bottom of the email, it reads, “If you don’t want your sister to lose face and get fired from her career, send $5,000 to this address.”
With a curse, he rubs his face with one hand. How could his sister be so stupid? Someone is blackmailing him and now it’s his decision whether to keep her sister from losing her career or letting her eat off his money. It seems everyone wants his money nowadays. He’s a famous actor after all.
A scrawny man chuckles to himself. No amount of money could satisfy the feeling of blackmailing a celebrity. He’s hacked many networks, found celebrities’ phone numbers and home addresses, as well as legal documents that are confidential. He makes his money off of exploitation and he loves every damn second of it. He hides himself among the annoying paparazzi who only seek surface news but he digs deeper. He not only gets information but he gets money from selling it, whether the buyer agrees or disagrees.
His phone rings and he answers. Someone asks for porn photos of celebrities and says he didn’t receive them when he asked for them a few days ago. Apologizing half-heartedly, he tells the person to wire half the money he asked before to his anonymous bank account and after checking that the money is there, he pulls up a few files on his computers, prints them, and seals the photos inside a manila envelope. He calls for the intern to mail it out at the post office.
The intern doesn’t question what’s in the content. He only knows that he must carry out orders without question. As he walks to the post office, he wonders if his internship is worth suffering for. There are some shady people but they have connections to the celebrity world and he wants a taste of it. After sending out the envelope, he pulls out his phone and smiles at the text messages he receives. They’re from someone who goes to his school and even though they don’t make contact there, they make a lot of contact over the phone.
He understands that the person he’s been talking to doesn’t want to come out of the closet yet. He has a girlfriend but he doesn’t love her – he can’t. He hopes that the guy he loves will be more open about his sexuality so that they can have physical contact. He yearns for him just like any girl who’s head over heels for her true love. Before he goes back to work, he encounters a crime scene. A crowd forms around the yellow caution tape and he tries to get a look as to what happened.
He overhears that a young man has been killed in his own home and an elderly woman reported a strange woman who had been stalking him for quite some time. With a heavy heart, he goes back to work and prays for the victim’s family.
A man comes home from work and immediately checks the mailbox. He sorts through it and doesn’t find what he’s looking for. With a sigh, he goes into the house and sees his son playing video games in the living room. He asks him where his brother is and answers that he’s out with his girlfriend.
Just as he’s about to go upstairs to his room, the doorbell rings. He goes to the door and wonders who it could be. Behind him, his son shouts in victory as he wins some sort of gun battle. When he opens the door, he’s shocked. His sister looks frazzled and her hands are covered in blood. Before anything else, he tells his son to turn off the game and go to his room. When he complains, he sternly tells him one last time. After hearing his son slam his door shut, he brings his attention back to his sister.
He asks what the hell happened and she just comes inside with a dazed look. She meets her brother’s gaze and begins to laugh. He grows fearful and has always known that his sister has had some mental problems lately. He asks her again and she continues to laugh. She then tells him that the police are going to find her and she’s fine with that. She says she carried out her plan and it was successful. He asks her what plan but she resumes laughing.
Not wanting to cause a scene where his son is home, he asks for his sister to leave. She refuses, saying she wants to stay until the police find her. He raises his voice, telling her to leave before he forces her to. The front door opens and his oldest son walks in with a bewildered look. He tells them there are a bunch of police cars parked outside.
On the street, the license plate on the car matches. She reports it to the chief officer and he gives the order to his team to hold fire. This is her first time on the job and she’s already witnessing an arrest of a murderer. She watches intently as the chief holds up a microphone and orders the suspect to come out of the house. Moments later, the suspect walks out and she holds up her hands in surrender. She sees the chief motion for his team to take her down and arrest her.
It all happens in a blur. They run toward her, tackle her to the ground, and handcuff her bloodied hands. When they escort her to one of the vehicles, she sees the suspect smiling and laughing to herself. She shivers. If this is the kind of work force she’s going to be involved in, she will have to get used to all sorts of cases, including mental ones.
The chief asks if she’s doing okay and she reassures him that she’s fine. It just takes some getting used to. Later that day when she’s home, she watches TV and sees the news reporting the arrest that happened earlier. Her boyfriend comes home and she asks where he’s been. He tells her he had dinner with his coworkers and sits down next to her on the couch.
They ask about each others’ day and she sees that her boyfriend wants to say something. She urges it out of him and he tells her that he thinks one of his coworkers is having an affair with his boss. She tells him not to dawdle in those kinds of things and to go shower. She continues to watch the news and a report of very famous actor wiring a lot of money to a drug dealing company comes up. She covers her mouth, surprised that he would do such a thing.
Eyes tired, she turns off the TV. She’s happy that all she has to worry about is to do well in her job. With everything going on in the world, so many people experience different kinds of things – good or bad. As she works her way toward solving crimes, maybe they will help her have a broader perspective of the world. She goes to bed and sleeps, ignorant of the world’s problems around her.
So there you have it – an untold story told by other stories. Who can say what’s true and what’s not? Who could these people possibly be? These are good questions, but no one really cares. As long as they hear a story that’s worthwhile, they’ll believe it regardless of the anonymity and ambiguity. What really matters is that these kinds of stories are floating all around us, dying to be told, but no one knows how to uncover them. And that’s the sad truth.