By: Set3

The human mind is an incredably powerful thing. With it great cities have been built, the atom had been split and the world before us will unfold in the most magnificent way. The same can be said to how the human mind can produce the worst causing the yet unknown future to creep towards us in the most undesirable way. As it has just been said, the human mind is a powerful thing. The world is what the human mind makes of it, good or ill.

The human mind of one person, while good in nature, was feeling very ill. Gilles Degagne was sitting at his table with his head in his hands quietly sobbing to himself.

"I can't take it anymore," he wept with a shudder. "No matter what I do it's never good enough," he pounded the table with a fist. "Any mistake I make brings me back to zero. No matter how far I get, just one mistake, and I'm back to nothing. I'm never good enough," He picked up a cutting knife he had laid in front of him on the table and looked at it. He wiped at his tear stained cheek before tossing the knife back on the table. "I don't want to kill myself but I can't go through this anymore."

Gilles clenched his fist to his face as he gritted his teeth as he dropped to his knees. It was all too much. "I don't want to live in this world anymore!" he shouted with his eyes closed.

And the seemingly impossible happened. Gilles' form began to fade. Little by little, his crying form evaporated until there was nothing left. Slowly, every item in his apartment followed suit. Like footprints in the sand on the beach, every article of clothing, every morsel of food, every piece of furniture, every item he ever owned, vanished.

The laws of nature or the laws of physics, whichever one wants to believe in, still applies. And the universe would not have a vacant slot...

Sata Bishop was just returning to her apartment from her jog. She removed her hairband as she shook her pony tail from her long blond hair. At twenty-three years of age she had to admit that she had a good life so far. With a great family who encouraged her she got good grades and made it into one of the best universities in the country. It was tough but she worked hard and her efforts paid off and she graduated just within the top ten of her class.

"It was good seeing Emily," she said to herself as she grabbed a bottle of water to cool down before she went for a shower, "I wonder if I can get her to come jogging with me next time," she mused. She smiled to herself before shaking her head before tossing her bottle into the trash, "Ha, as if, she complains when the escalator is out of order." she was about to strip for her shower when the was a knock on her door. when she answered it, there was a man standing there wearing a beige trench coat and matching fedora. He reminded Sata of one of those detective movies. "Yes? Can I help you?" she asked.

The man nodded, "My name is Sam Tryffle, I'm a private investigator," he said handing her his card, "May I come in please? I'd like to ask you about a person that has gone missing in the area."

Sata looked at the card. It 'looked' legit but that didn't mean anything. Still, she did have her self defense lessens her dad had her get to fall back on so if he tried anything... Having made her decision she sent a quick text to one of her friends that lived nearby before he let the man in, "Okay, just for a few minutes though, I'm expecting a friend over soon," she half warned/welcomed.

"Don't worry, I'll just ask a few questions and then I'll leave," he assured as he pulled his fedora off as he entered.

Sata lead the man to the kitchen and offered the man a seat to which he politely declined.

Sam pulled out a notepad from his coat, "I'm investigating a missing person," he explained, "Do you know a man by the name of Gilles Degagne?"

Sata thought about it. The name did sound vaguely familiar but she couldn't remember from where or having ever met a guy with that name. She shook her head no.

The PI jotted something down in his notepad, "Tell me, have you ever heard of the Mandela effect?"

Sata gave him a quizzical look.

Sam continued, "The Mandela effect originates from a rather famous man by the name of Nelson Mandela. He was a rather famous political man who was a renowned revolutionary and philanthropists. He lived a long successful life until eventually passing away. Here's where the Mandela Effect comes in. Earlier in his life he spent some time in jail. Naturally he was released because of reasons that aren't important here but, a large amount of people claim that they knew for a fact that Nelson Mandela died in prison, a large portion even going so far to say they had seen his execution on television despite actual evidence to the contrary. Essentially, the Mandela Effect is a term used to describe mass events where large groups of people misremember events. One you may recognise is that you may remember The Berenstain Bears as Berenstien Bears." He looked up at Sata, "Can you tell me what your parents names are?"

Sata stiffened, "Wha-what does that have or that Mandela thing have to some missing guy?" she was beginning to feel nervous and debated on calling her friend to come asap.

Sam waved his hands, "Sorry, the Mandela effect is a personal interest of mine as for me asking about your parents, well, let's just say that the life of a P.I. has a lot more bureaucracy than you first expect. If I had've known before choosing this career I'd have picked a different profession." He made a show of waving the matter off, "While my line of work is largely tedious and boring, fact-checking and the like. There are some elements of danger so this is just to appease the insurance company."

"I guess... that makes sense," Sata replied, not completely convinced.

"Good, so, your parents names are..?"

"My mom and dad's are..." her brow furrowed. For some reason she couldn't think of their names. While she always called them just mom and dad she knew their names so why was she hitting a wall trying to think of them?

"What do they do for a living?" Sam asked seemingly oblivious.

"They work at..." Another wall.

"Where do you work?" Sam asked further.

"I... I work at..," Sata's breath quickened as she brought her hands up to her head trying to remember. How could she forget where she worked? She was just there yesterday. Her heartbeat started to pound in her chest as fear started to creep up into her.

Sam closed his notepad and put it away, "Would you like to know why you can't remember anything?" he asked as he tried to put a comforting hand on Sata's shoulder to which she batted it away and took several steps back.

"S-stay away from me!" she spat, "What did you do to me? My friend is coming soon and when she sees you here she'll call the cops," she tried to threaten but it came out as more of a desperate plea.

Sam remained where he stood making no effort to move from where he stood, "I can assure you that I haven't done anything to you. Now, the next question I have you don't have to tell me but, what was the last thing you remember doing with your friend?"

"We...," yet another wall, "Shut up!" she screamed as she grabbed a chair and threw it at him. He caught it easily but made no further action but to look at her. Sata was hyperventilating now.

Sam then began to speak very softly, "The reason you can't remember anything is that before today, you didn't exist," he told her quietly but firmly.

Sata clenched her eyes shut as she fell to her knees. Her form actually began to flicker out of existence at random intervals. At the points where she flickered out a shadowy form of another could be seen underneath, "Please stop it," she begged sniffling. As she said those three words she flickered and during those brief flickers another, male voice belonging to the shadow form replaced hers before she flickered back in.

Sam continued to look down on her, "Before today, you were Gilles Degagne," he stated.

This caused Sate's eyes to open wide as she shot straight up and screamed a soul shattering scream. Her flickering form finally faded allowing the concealed shadowy form to come forth and solidify revealing Gilles as he collapsed to the floor, now once again solid.

Finally, Sam walked over and knelt down to Gilles who was breathing hard, he put a gentle hand on his back and began rubbing it slowly, "It's ok Gilles, you're back now." he was about to explain himself when Gilles' arm shot out grabbing Sam by the throat.

"What gave you the right to bring me back?" Gilles queried in a low voice as he brought his head up to face Sam as he struggled to breath. "For the first time I can remember, I was happy! And you took it away from me!" he shouted as he shoved Sam back.

Sam quickly scramble to his feet standing back from Gilles as he got to his own feet.

"You had no right!" Gilles shouted at him.

"Sata wasn't real Gilles," Sam said back, "You think that if you become some one else, that's it? When ever some one disappears like you it leave a hole in the world. It leaves a hole in the people around you. You might no longer 'exist' but people who know you will still remember you at a base level that they don't understand. They don't even know it but they miss you dearly," he told Gilles.

"They miss using me," Gilles shouted at him, a bit of spittle flew from his mouth. "Oh, they might say they like me to people that don't know them but in private, behind closed doors, it's always 'what mistake did you make this time Gilles? Why couldn't you be better?'" He kicked at a chair that was near his feet, "I starved for a YEAR because my manager abused me and got me fired. The fucker was on vacation when I was told and he wouldn't even show up when I tried to have a meeting about his behaviour. I wasn't worth his shitty time. The next job I got, I was there for a week before some guy came in who acted just like him and I got scared and quit right there. I couldn't get my EI because I needed a written note from a psychiatrist that said I had gone through mental trauma but I couldn't because I was too busy trying to find a job so I don't starve and become homeless. And the financial aid was JUST enough to keep a roof over my head. I had to use the rest to pay for my cell phone bills just in case I got a call for a job. I would have to go for THREE DAYS between one small meal and those fuckers at financial aid cut me off several times because I didn't file a report saying I was job hunting. I was job hunting so much that people were sick of seeing me coming in every few days asking if they had considered me yet. And the last job I got was as a fucking janitor! They call it something else but that was what it was. And no matter what I did, how well I did that shitty job I was still abused. I do the best that I can do and it's never good enough, there's always something wrong I did. The other guys with the same job get away with doing less than me and they get the praise. I have to pick up after them and it's my fault I didn't do it fast enough. Five fucking seconds they happen to see me out of the corner of their eyes is apparently enough to deem me as being lazy."

Gilles started to pound on the table to emphasis his points, "Grow up Gilles, calm down Gilles. You don't have the right to be upset. Stop attacking us, we didn't do anything wrong. It's all your fault!" The last pound on the table caused a small but audible crack to sound from it. Gilles' fist was red and threatening to swell. For several minutes Gilles just stood there with tears rolling down his cheeks before he spoke again in a low barely audible voice, "No one wants me around unless they need me to do something for them or they want to use me to vent on. I'm unimportant so it's safe for everyone to abuse me." He abruptly sat down on the chair behind him. "I was already a ghost long before I became Sata Bishop," He said at last before staring off into space.

Sam rubbed his face as he looked around the room noting that all of 'Sata's' personal items were still in place, "All I can do is remind you of who you really are. And, if you truly wanted to come back 'Sata's belongings would have started to fade," he let out a long heavy sigh, "I can't force you to do what you don't want to do. But, if you do go back, there will be a part of you that knows the truth. That your life as this Sata girl isn't real. Sure, the longer you live as Sata the more... entrenched she will be in the world. It will be just like the Mandela Effect, most will accept her as truth but a noticeable level of people, people close to YOU will know that you are gone and that Sata is a lie. Are you sure?"

Gilles shrugged as he gave Sam a sad smile, "Like I said, I'm already a ghost to everyone already. The handful of people that truly cared about me have already passed away. I'll be gone either way," as he said that his form started to fade slowly.

Sam gave a nod as he headed for the door and placed his fedora back on his head, "Then this will be the last time you'll see me. I wish you luck and good day miss," he said as he left.

As Sam closed the door Gilles faded out of existence for the last time giving way to Sata once again.

Sata, now in control, had forgotten much of her encounter with Sam save for his initial inquires into a missing person. She had just gotten up to get another bottle of water from the fridge when she heard a knock at the door. When she went to open it it was her friend Britney that she texted earlier she looked around past Sata as if looking for some one.

"Hey Sata, everything ok?" she asked with a hint of concern in her voice.

Sata nodded, "Yeah, it was just some detective guy looking for a missing person. I told him I didn't see this guy and he left. Sorry for worrying you," she told her apologetically.

"Are you sure?" Britney asked a final time.

Sata took a cleansing breath before giving her a smile, "Yeah, I couldn't be better," she said.


Author's note:
I was working through some personal demons of mine by trying to exercise them by writing them into what became the second story (That's enough "by's"). So, the second story hits a little close to home for me. Despite how depressing I made it I hope that the little glint of hope I wrote in that there was some one that remembered all of the Gilles character and wanted to remind him that he meant enough to try bringing him back shown through enough. People who don't directly live with it or live with some one who does don't really realise how hard it is for someone who does. There's a big difference between knowing about depression and understanding it. Sadly, most often you have to have it to understand it. And surprisingly, a large amount of people don't realise how profound an effect it has when you let someone living with it know that they matter to you. I tried coming up with an appropriate title but nothing seemed more fitting than "Untitled".

So, all I have left to say (and I'm sorry for it sounding so cliché): As I've had to tell myself this, time and again, I'm telling everyone of you who have read this and have depression: You are not alone and there is always someone who you mean something to. Always!

Original review:


...seemed rather intriguing. (Not sure why you left it untitled, you all but titled it "The Mandela Effect" within the story itself.)

I understand the hole, as you put it, where Gilles used to be. But I couldn't figure out where Britney really fit: obviously she has the feeling, as the saying goes, that there's something wrong with this picture. But is she just reacting to having a best friend who didn't exist before, or did Sata will her into existence, along with Sata's new parents and employer? And are they all going to be as vague as Sata is when it comes to recalling past events? Will they have to wait for her to invent those?

And of course the other question is whether Gilles's depression has really gone away with the change of identity, or is Sata going to go through the same things before long, but with less of an idea as to why?

Actually, the notion of the Mandela effect, as a name, reminded me of the final chorus of Peter Yarrow's The Great Mandala (The Wheel of Life), as sung by Peter, Paul and Mary:

Take your place on The Great Mandala
As it moves through your brief moment of time.
Win or lose now you must choose now
And if you lose you've only wasted your life.

Certainly seems to support Sata's decision - though the song as a whole is about dying for a cause.


-My response to Eric's review:

I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

First, about the title. Well, it would seem perfect to just call it "The Mandela Effect" but that was only used as an example to explain the situation. The story was about Gilles choosing to become Sata and aside from the similar situations they aren't directly related to one another. I could have just as easily called the story: "Is it Barenstien or Barenstain?". Both are similar examples of what happens in the story; people swearing something was this way, remembering it perfectly as that way, when irrefutable evidence shows it another way. And yet, somehow, people only give token gestures of shock to this realization. That's what makes it so hard to find a title and for some reason, "Untitled" seemed the most appropriate. Sorry, I kind of ran off on a tangent there and didn't really answer your question of why I choose the title as is.

Britney, and all of Sata's friends, even her "parents" are real. The only illusion is Sata herself as she never originally existed. In the case of Britney, I thought her actions were understandable. She received a text from whom she thought was a friend telling her that some weird guy is at her apartment and she was feeling uneasy about it. So she came over not knowing if her friend was ok or not. As far as if they will be just as vague of answering specific questions in regard to Sata. The fact is Sata had only just came into being and reality, as it were, was still being rewritten. Events can be forgotten but never erased so inevitable contradictions will occur. Especially when faced with the contradiction. However, it's often the case that people will glaze over the contradiction. Think of a pothole in a road that was patched. You can see it there but since it fulfills the purpose of covering the pothole you'll barely acknowledge it.

And in the case of Gilles' depression carrying over... I'm sure Sata will have lingering feelings that she can't put her finger on. She still carries the tattered soul of Gilles after all and the remnants of Gilles' soul could become frustrated that Sata has it so much better than he did. But the same could be said that Sata would have underlying feelings that she may not deserve what she has which would cause her to strive forward but never feeling like she's earned it. Or, she could very well revel in it, having what Gilles felt he never had he now has in Sata.

That's the question that I would like to leave up to the reader and their views.

-Jamie Lee,

Gilles never had a chance to gain self respect or self confidence thanks to the treatment by his parents. Because they ran him down at every opportunity, he became what they told him. Had he had better role models maybe his life would have been better.

It's understandable why Gilles ran away from his real life, and maybe for a while it will help. But at some point his old life will catch up to him and he will once again have to deal with it. His real need is a counselor who specializes in his condition and who can help him undo all the crap heaped on him over the years.

Others have feelings too.

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