He used FaceApp, sure. It seemed harmless enough. And it was fun to see an older version of himself staring back from the screen. He felt in touch with some deeper layer of his identity. He felt that he could see mistakes he hadn’t yet made—and learn from them.
Then he FaceApp’d his elder image. He FaceApp’d himself again and again, producing contorted carbon copies of great-grandfatherly incarnations. His face disappeared into folds of time and liver spots. His silver eyes drooped below the crag of his nose. The computer began to sag under the pressure of it all. He continued the overlapping FaceApp experiment through the night and realized with a start that a whole week had passed by. He was starving. The face was detached from written history, a blur of centuries and atavistic yearning.
“If this is really me in there,” he thought, “then who am I?”
When his boss sent the summer interns over to make sure everything was all right, he was gone. They found the computer toppled on its side in the dining room, belching infinite lines of binary code on a cracked screen. The room stunk of sulfur and rotting kudzu vines.
One kid, a junior from Ball State, snapped a picture of the strange tableau for his Instagram followers. They need to see this, he told the others. I need to show them how the story begins.