Red Rooms

There have been a chain of murders across central Manhattan. All the victims are teenage introverts, as described by their parents. Never going out, always contained within the same four walls, scrawling ironically through social media. Police are dumbfounded as to what caused the many deaths. Allegedly they were the repercussions of an internet link, but the men were apprehended. Investigator Carrie McKee has been fascinated by the mystery of the case itself, and takes it on with the few leads she has. Little does she know that she was entering into something far deeper than she had first anticipated, that could cost her things she never knew she had. This wasn't a small case. This was something global. It was all over the internet.

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6. Victim #1: Alice

Alice had never really liked Jane Spellman. She wasn't exactly an outspoken bigot preaching Jane's sluttiness to the public but inside she was laughing. Jane had posted a picture of her and boyfriend number 7 onto instagram, referring to him as 'her world'.

Jane Spellman was evidently the owner of an entire solar system, Alice discovered. As you scrolled down her wall, the same pose was re-created with several other men, as Jane pouted unattractively into the discerning eye of her iphone camera. Alice almost felt sorry for that phone. Having to harbour the life of Jane Spellman, conveyed in a thousand pictures a day. In all honesty, Alice was sick of Jane's bullshit. She used all these guys, and Alice knew she'd target Mark if she got desperate enough, i.e. remained single on facebook for more than three days. She wasn't going to let Jane Spellman take her best friend away, no matter how petty his crush for her was.  Alice was no martyr, but she had to end the boyfriend recycling program. She'd break Mark, if she got the chance.

 

Clicking on the 'new account' button, she filled in the appropriate details, desperately trying to come up with a subtle username.

'Come on Al'...something generic...' she whispered to herself before it finally hit her. Instagirl1998. Perfect. And also disgusting and putridly mainstream at the same time.

She has to be told by someone, she thought, proceeding to follow Jane's page. She brought up the image of Jane and her new toy, proceeding to type:

'How many fucking worlds do you own? Lol, you're just using him like every other guy.'

Of course she felt guilty, but...maybe it would make Jane realize that her boyfriend's had feelings. Laughing, Alice pressed enter, and watched as people commented after her.

'Yeah, isn't this like the 6th guy this week? Lol, ratchet!'

'Just treat this one like an actual human being, you know, because they have feelings?'

'#fridayboyfriend'

'#whoremuch'

Alice paused, the grin collapsing into a look of horror. She had never intended for it to get that bad. How could people say things like that? That was way too far. Suddenly more notifications beeped, as more comments flooded in.

'Fucking bitch, you ruined my brother's life! What a fucking waste of space.'

'KILL YOURSELF.'

Alice gasped. 'Oh my God what have I done!' she exclaimed, before trying to delete the comment. The button had vanished.

'Oh shit. Oh shit-what the hell?' She panicked.She closed the page down instantly and logged into Facebook, trying to pretend she didn't just do that. As she scrolled down the newsfeed, Mark inboxed her.She smiled sheepishly; talking to her best friend was exactly what she needed right now. She opened the message string.

'Watch this video.'

Alice looked at the link with disapproval. Was he serious? What a lame conversation starter. She proceeded to type 'wow,not even a hello aha? What is it?'

'Watch this video.'

Seriously. Ugh. 

Defeated, Alice clicked the link, and it brought up a window. In it, she could see a pink bedroom. It was disgusting, way to lavish. Silk pillows decorated a four-poster bed, with candles on the shelf above it. A pink iphone lay on the pillow, before a girl sat on the bed in front of her, looking at the screen whilst biting into a sandwich.

'I wonder if anyone has liked it..' The girl mumbled, her mouth full of food.

It was Jane.

Alice almost fell off her chair, but clearly Jane couldn't see her, or if she did, she was choosing not to react.

'What the hell?' gasped Alice, waving her hands at Jane. 'Hello?'

There was no response, so instead Alice watched as Jane brought up her instagram page, which was reflected somehow on the camera lense for Alice to see. Suddenly she felt the huge wave of guilt crash into her. She was going to see the comments. The hate she started.

As Jane scrolled down to survey the comments, her facial expression changed. She dropped the sandwich as tears rolled down her cheeks. 

'It's not my fault they don't want to stay with me!' she shrieked at the page; it was loud and piercing and Alice tried to close the window, but all she did was increase the volume. She watched unwillingly as Jane began to scream and cry, cradling herself whilst deleting all the hateful comments. Her facial expression was dark. She went into a drawer to the left of her, and pulled out something too small for Alice to see.

Jane rolled up her sleeves, to reveal hundreds of thin, red strips, branding her soft, tanned skin. She was still crying as she lifted up a small razor blade. 

'Jane! No! Please Jane! I had no idea!!!' screamed Alice, beginning to freak out. She hit the laptop screen, shook the lid, did everything she could think of as Jane began to slice into her skin with the blade, her once beautifully precise eye makeup bleeding down her cheeks in streaks of emotional suppression. Jane was shaking, her eyes tightly closed as she hurt herself. Again, and again, and again, the razor pierced her skin. Alice could do nothing but watch as the thin blade cut across Jane's flesh, drawing little spurts of blood that dripped onto the silk duvet. The soft, pastel colors were tarnished crimson as the broken girl kept on breaking.

Alice began to weep, and Jane turned to face the camera, looking directly at her. No expression on her face. The screen began to flicker, and Jane's face distorted into what Claire could only relate to that of a melted plastic doll's. Jane screamed at Alice, before the laptop went dark. Alice jumped backwards. 

The laptop slowly came back to life, revealing a chat room-like setting. All Alice could see was...

 

Her reflection. 

 

And someone was behind her.

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