Every day this year I’m challenging myself to publish one blog post and write 1000 words towards a short-story. This post is part of that challenge. You can check out my live word count here and send me encouragement or give me a kick up the rear. You can also check out all of the blog posts so far.

Imagine the scene.

You’ve setup a new website. It’s not been online long so there’s no content; and because there’s no content the site isn’t listed in Google, therefore there’re no visitors.

While carrying out some basic testing you open up the website’s hit statistics page; you just want to check it’s working properly.

But when you do, you find this message waiting for you:

This actually happened to me today.

As far as I can tell the phrase “karl rivers dies” doesn’t exist anywhere on my site, so I’ve no idea how someone arrived here based on that search term. Well, now it does, of course, because I just typed it, and I’m probably going to get even more hits on that specific search term. In fact I might rank top for anyone search it. The irony.

But what this means is that someone opened Google, searched the specific phrase “karl rivers dies” and Google presented my website to them. It’s so specific that it’s hard to imagine how it couldn’t be connected to me in some way; after all, there aren’t that many famous dead Karl Rivers’.

The closest potentially related result I can find is this obituary from 2013. Maybe someone was intending to search for RIVERS, Karl Wayne, 62, food broker, of Lubbock and came across my website instead, but it seems unlikely. The rest of the search results relate to Joan Rivers. Unrelated.

I’m pretty sure there’s the plot of a Stephen King novel in this somewhere; if only I were clever enough to write it. The protagonist would be a former teacher and struggling writer, thrown out of their job due to alcoholism. In it the teacher/writer/alcoholic would find people searching for phrases and landing on his website which appear to predict the future.

They would start innocuously enough; things like the words “broken window” would appear, and the man would arrive home to find a brick had been thrown through his front door, shattered glass covering the floor. But soon they would escalate to things like “wife’s lover”, and “lost cat”, and “house burned down”.

Then one morning the phrase “karl rivers dies” would be the only words displayed and the protagonist would go insane with the realisation that he was going to die.

The big reveal would be that his neighbour was deliberately searching for those phrases with the intention of messing with him. Little did he know when he started out that it would end in the man taking his own life, thereby fulfilling the prophesy…

Rest in peace Karl Wayne Rivers of Lubbock, USA.

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