Dating Strangers

wall-667156_640I’m waiting for the cops.  It’s been a terrible night.  It’s been a terrible month, really.  I need a distraction.  Hell, I need a new place to live, at this point.  I just want a different life now.

Here’s what has happened so far (I’ll have to update what happens in the future; it might not be pretty):

I used to live in the capitol city of my state but then had to move to a smaller city for a really good job.  Okay, I didn’t have to move but I did so that I could be closer to work.  Night driving is not exactly my forte.  I chose to move away.  I moved away from my friends, the entertainment, the night life, and most of all, the amount of single men that the largest city afforded.  I moved to a crappy city populated with old people, gang bangers, and married men.  Not exactly optimal for a single person.

As perpetually single people are wont to do, I posted an ad on Craig’s List.  You know, the standard “Skinny woman, mid-30’s, life revolves around work, no kids, looking for fun and potential outdoor adventures, thrill seeker, tries to live healthy but loves dark beer, seeking someone similar.  Pic for pic.”  You know the drill.

After filtering through the many responses in my (what I not-so-lovingly now refer to as my) dick-box, I actually found a couple contestants that weren’t too bad.  One that really caught my eye was a former Marine, Allen.  Tall, dark, and handsome.  Good with words, entertaining, funny, no kids, just what I was looking for.  He was also a little kinky.  Just what I was looking for because, at this age in my life, I’d realized there’s more than just vanilla sex.  Of course, I waited the customary six to eight hours to reply and things were off.  Man, I wish I’d never done that.

Allen said he had to invest a lot of hours at work because there was a major promotion for a new department coming up so texting and chatting via email was really what worked best for him, for now.  He did want to meet but, with both of our work schedules, we just couldn’t seem to make that happen.  Now I know why and I wish I hadn’t.  Sorry, I know – “I wish, I wish, I wish”.  I’m literally shaking and I need to tell someone my story.  This story.  I need to get these facts and details straight because there are going to be a lot of questions and I need to be able to speak clearly without the ums and uh’s of someone that may be guilty.  I’m not guilty but I sure as shit don’t want people to think that I am when the moment comes.

So, after about a week of texting Allen, and smiling every time I received any type of correspondence from him, I wanted to see more photos of him.  He didn’t have any social media profiles (yes, odd) but he said it was because he was more of a firm believer in actual photographs shown in person because photos are supposed to tell a story.  In his opinion (jesus.. his? Opinion?), he believed that the story of a photo was always lost if the person that took it couldn’t tell you the story.  He felt that social media was disingenuous and that people utilize to hide who they really are or, conversely, show who they really are and you determine rather quickly that you don’t want anything to do with that person.  He did admit to looking up my page but found that there wasn’t much to see since I keep my personal profile private.  Not a ton to learn from work events about who I am as a person on my professional page.

He says that the photo was a self-portrait.  I am far from being considered an artistic person but I could see a sort of fucked up beauty in the pic.  His message had read, simply, “Without You”.  The photo showed him in sepia sitting on a dirt floor, hands tied above him, abs nicely clenched with no shirt and his biceps bulging to almost the point his hands wouldn’t have been able to touch his shoulders if he tried.  He had this weird pained look on his face but his eyes were truly beautiful.  His lips (that in regular color pictures were generally light) were extremely dark.  Like a lot of blood had rushed into them.  He was wearing camo cargo pants (yes, I thought it was sexy, at the time) and it was pretty clear that that wasn’t a banana in his pocket.  It looked like he was sitting up against a concrete wall and on a dirt floor.  “How avante gard.” I thought.

Now, I do want to clarify here that I am not exactly into BDSM but I’m a grown woman and I know what that it is.  I’ve also learned about myself that I do prefer to be the “bottom”, rather than the top.  I don’t know what it is but, a lot of career woman seem to really like getting to just do what they’re told, in bed, rather than have to be in charge all the time.  While the photo seemed enticing, it wasn’t exactly my kind of thing.  Maybe on a random Thursday but not necessarily the day I received.  Don’t get me wrong, I looked at it again when it felt like a random Thursday but that isn’t the point.

My curiosity had been satiated but my interest-to-seeming-like-a-stalker-ratio was fighting a neck and neck battle.  I wanted more, I wanted to meet him, I wanted to see if he was “The One”.  We continued to chat, text, talk on the phone, and email.  I’d send him a few pics, I’d get one or two in return.  I’ve got some pics that turn heads so, by the nearing end of week two, I was starting to wonder why this man hadn’t just made the damn time to meet up with me.

I was getting tired of the foreplay, in a sense, and wanted to meet up.  There were always reasons.  Too busy at work, had to travel, sister is sick.  All signs pointed to “this dude is married”.  Until I told him what I thought and I received another image in reply.  “Don’t Go”.  Single caption to a single image.  Allen had lost weight.  Allen was posing again in that same area with the concrete behind him and the dirt floor beneath.  Allen also had some bruises.  His abs were still tight, the cargo pants were gone and replaced by boxer briefs, a snaking tendril of blood ran down his left arm from the wrist to the armpit.  Allen looked scared.  I got scared.  I stopped replying to the messages, started ignoring the texts, and started being a little more aware of my surroundings.

The pictures… Oh god, the pictures.  They got worse.  Underpants were replaced by nothing but an erect man that resembled an anorexic, eyes sunken in with no spark and only defeat as their bastions, abs changed to resemble that of a 16 year old boy that has just discovered gym class with the words “I’ll Always Be Here” carved above them into the chest.  It was sickening.  That’s when I called the cops.  I told them my story but they said that there was nothing that they could do.  Allen hadn’t threatened to harm me, we’d never met in person, he didn’t know where I lived.  They can’t inforce what creepy shit people can and can’t do when they meet someone on the internet if it doesn’t break any laws.

Then… Last night.  Last night I received another.  I wasn’t going to look.  I wasn’t going to open it.  I just couldn’t help myself.  It was from a different email address, this time but I just had a feeling.  I clicked the message and the image was before my eyes.  It took me a moment to understand what I was seeing.  There was Allen.  Wasted away to almost nothing.  But.. No, it wasn’t exactly Allen.  His arms, still bound above him, same concrete wall and dirt beneath, his face now tilted and resting against his upraised right arm with no real expression to speak of, his once beautifully crafted torso now blackened with the dried blood of his message, but.. that was it.  His lower half was no longer there.  I’ll admit that I started to freak out at what I was looking at.  With a shriek, I threw the phone across my office once everything registered.  I, shaking, got up, gathered my things, and let one of my late night bosses know that I was going home for the rest of the night but I would be in early the next morning.

I got home, locked the doors, and just cried.  I cried for maybe an hour, maybe ten minutes.  I don’t know.  I felt horrid and weird and violated.  I drank a bottle of wine while some asinine tv program played on Amazon Prime.  I just let go of being ‘me’ and veged myself into a state of nothingness until I woke up on the couch the next morning.  I got up, had some coffee, tried to shake that weird, eerie feeling that kept trying to sink in, and just went to work.

When I got home tonight and was thinking of calling someone to explain what had been happening, I noticed it.  I noticed the smell.  I searched through the entire place (not large since I live alone).  I couldn’t find anything.  I went back to the kitchen where I’d left my phone and thought maybe I needed to just take out the trash or something.  I pull up the trash bag, careful to not get the old coffee grounds on my fingers, and get the bag out.  Before I even tie it, I remember.

There’s a crawl-space hatch in the closet of the guest room.  Allen had been “my guest” the entire time.
If you like this and want more stories, try out my novel series Discernment, available on Amazon.  Please and thank you.

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About lacysereduk

Writer, reader, video game lover, and Batman.
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