Elaine sighed. She knew that Giselle meant well, that she was speaking as a friend, but it still stung. “Fuck you very much.”
“No, honey, listen. You play your dungeons and dragons and your computer games. I mean you work for a call centre from your apartment for fuck sakes. When was the last time you actually went outside?”
“Yesterday, to get a bag of milk.”
“Then you went right back to your apartment, didn’t you?”
“I’m comfortable here, Giselle.”
“But honey, you have to get the fuck out. You have to do something with your life, otherwise you’ll die in there. You haven’t even wanted to come over here for weeks.”
“Hey, I had you over last week.”
“Yes, to your place, my point exactly. You can live life as a shut in, you really can’t.”
“I’m not a shut in.”
“You’re as good as. When was the last time you actually went on a date? And I don’t mean one of your online gamer ones or Second Life or that shit. I mean a real live date.”
“I can go on dates if I want to.”
“Honey, you have to meet real people first. You have to meet real men. You’re twenty one years old and you’re still a virgin for fuck sakes.”
A window popped up on her computer screen. Looking at it, Elaine saw the following words: are you going to let her talk to you like that?
Elaine cocked her head to the left and typed back: who is this?
More words came on the screen: didn’t you send me a note? Off of lots of fancy fish dot com? The dating site?
No, she typed. How are you chatting with me right now?
Yahoo. I had your name in my contacts.
“Hello? Honey? I hear you typing but I don’t hear you talking.” Giselle said.
“Don’t tell me you’re playing some fuck wit game while you talk to me.”
“You can’t talk to me like that again.” Elaine said, hitting the end call button on her cell phone.
More words: Bet you that felt good, didn’t it?
Hanging up on her.
A chill ran down Elaine’s spine. Still, despite her fear, she typed: How did you know I was even on the phone? Can you see me?
It’s kind of a secret, do you want me to tell you?
Elaine took her hands away from the keyboard. She didn’t want to know, had no idea who this guy was, wanted nothing to do with him. She shut down her computer and shut off the monitor, backing away from her desk.
When her cell rang, she answered it immediately. “Listen, Giselle, I’m sorry-”
“This isn’t Giselle.”
It was a man’s voice. It sent a cool chill that had nothing to do with her air conditioning and everything to do with her fear. “Who is this?”
“I think the better question is why you would answer a chat online without knowing who the other person is? I mean, you didn’t know me!”
“That was you? I-”
“For that matter, I may not even have been the person I said I was. I could be anyone online. Fuck, have you even met Giselle? Do you even know if she’s real?”
“Of course I do. She’s been my friend for-”
“It’s not surprising really, that the youth of today is so blindly trusting. You think your invincible don’t you? You think nothing can touch you? You think everything is fun and games? You wrote me back, a complete stranger, and you’re still talking to me on the phone right now instead of hanging up and calling the police.”
“Stop right now, I’m hanging up!”
“Have you ever seen a horror movie, Elaine?”
“How do you know my name?”
“I know lots of things. I know that anyone who was really frightened would have hung up by now. Right? Am I the first male you’ve spoken to for years? When was the last time you’ve had a boyfriend, Elaine? I know that no one has popped your cherry. Want me to do that for you?”
“That’s the spirit. You know what Elaine? Since you like games so much, I thought I would let you know that you’re in one. You’re a pawn in my game. But do you know what happens to pawns?”
“They get sacrificed.”
There was a blinding white flash in her brain, zapping through her eyes and coming out her mouth. It took a moment for Elaine to realize that she was being electrocuted.
Giant shards of electricity were coming from her phone and her computer, her body as the go between, the conduit. She heard her apartment door slam open, heard someone yell her name and then knew nothing more.