Device

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Steven wakes up in a concrete room. All there is, is a device that he can't use. Through the device, he watches all the apps on his iPhone being used by a doppelgänger.

Submitted: October 16, 2016

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Submitted: October 16, 2016

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I open my eyes. Everything is dark. I look up to the ceiling, blurry eyed. I try to turn over, but I'm too stiff. Turn over, come on. I press my hands against what I realise is a bare concrete floor.  I furrow my brow, totally confused. Confusion turns into panic. I start to pant.  What the fuck? Who the hell put me here? I squint my eyes and move my eyes around the pitch black room. I can't make out anything at all. In the corner of my eye I catch a door with a long metal handle. Oh god, where the hell am I? I look up the ceiling, panting. Any minute now, someone's gonna come out. They're going to open it slowly and shut the door precisely and drag their feet, creeping over. They'll tower over me and with the darkness and my eyes being this blurry I won't even be able to see who my murderer is.
But they're not here yet. I have time. 
After about 20 minutes, I press my hands against the floor and stiffly, slowly  lift  my body up. I try to look around but my eyes can't focus. I start to become dizzy. I clench my eyes and breath in and out. In and out. 
What's going to happen to me? 
All I can hear is my own breath. 
Get it over and done with whoever you are. There's nothing I can do.
I slow my breathing. I stop. 
Listen. All I can hear is silence. Start breathing. 
I open my eyes. I see more clearly now. I look around.
The room is completely bare, grey concrete apart from this door and an old wooden table and chair. 
I turn round to face the floor. I heave my knees onto the hard concrete. I lift my right leg up and steady myself. Now my left leg. Whoops. Almost. I push myself up. I stagger  slightly and catch my balance. 
Right, ready. I look over to the door. I take a breath. 
I lurch over to the  metal door. I push down on the handle. Locked. 
“FUUUUCK.” My growl turns into a scream. 
I lean against the door, unashamedly pressing my face against it. I turn around, my head against the wall. I look around the room for any other forms of escape. A vent or something, anything you'd find in a video game. I see a wooden table and chair in the corner. In the middle of the table is a black, plastic device.
Maybe it's a phone.
I'm saved.
I stagger towards the table. It scrapes against the floor as I bash into it. I fall into the chair and grab the device. I press the screen. Nothing. 
I search for buttons around it. Nothing
I pick it up and look at the back. I twist and turn it. Nothing. 
I place it back down on the table. What now? 
No, this device is here for a reason. It's not useless. It's probably my only lifeline. I start to breath more deeply. My breath becomes almost jagged. I look around the room and glare at the fucking door. That cold, taunting metal door. I clench my teeth and I can feel myself tense up. I spit at the door. 
“You fucking cunt. You fucking arsehole.” I screech. I grab the device. I lift it up. No. I can't throw it. I put it down. I shake my head in spite. “Fucking kill me already. Come on.”
I throw my arm over the chair and turn to the side, away from the door. I stare at the wall blankly. I don't know how long I've been here but, intuitively, I can tell I've had a long sleep. It's been more than a day. Maybe three days? 
Jane has probably called the police by now. They'll be out looking for me, either in Granton where I live or at my usual hangouts like the pubs at Grassmarket. They'll be asking shopkeepers, old biddies, anyone trustworthy about whether they've seen a pale, 5”9, mid forties man with pointy features.
Jane will be at home calling up everyone we know. She'll be stoic. Calm and composed, asking everyone without trying to concern them I bet. “Hi, have you seen Steven? Oh no, nothing to worry about. I thought he might have been round to yours. Aye. No bother. Bye.” In between phone calls she'll remember a place that I might be and write it down on her notepad next to her. 
It's not over until she knows it's over. 
I've become more calm with Jane in my mind. God I wish I'd have said a proper goodbye to her, you know, have her hug into me while I stroke her blond, bushy hair. Arms wrapped around her. Taking in the moment. 
A flash of light.
I jump around to the side. I'm staring at the door. No. It's not open. 
I look down on the table and a pale white light from the device permeates throughout the room. I grab it, almost hugging it. Its light pierces into my eyes, hurting them. I look at it and I can see a typical iPhone screen. I tap my fingers vigorously against the screen. Nothing happens. I wipe my fingers against it. Still nothing. I look at the apps, Facebook, whatsapp, Instagram. I catch the calendar. It's the 18th I can see. Three days have passed. I shake my head in disbelief. I keep a hold of the device and I just watch the screen, waiting for something to happen. 
Instagram comes on. The camera comes on. There’s a table. A plate of food. A glass of wine. The camera twists to selfie mode.
What the fuck.
There I am. I can see my pointy nose, brown tuft of hair, my freckles. The eyes are green. Not brown. But that's definitely me. 
I move the device around. Nothing's happened. The camera is still in the restaurant on me, no, him. I look around. I'm still trapped in this coffin of concrete. Who is this guy?
He puts the camera to the side and leans over the table. He has all of my features down to a tee.  From the other side I see blond, bushy hair come onto the screen. Jane... They're smiling together. He's saying something. He puts the camera further away to get them in more. He tilts the camera down slightly to get their beaming faces and the food and wine in altogether. 
Click.
I stare at the screen. The picture is changing before my eyes. Black and white. Noir. Chrome. Instant. Click.
I see him typing. Me and Jane out at Chez Jules.
Posted.
The screen goes black. I stare at it.
“What the fuck” I say, startled. 
How come he looks like me? How did he get like that? I shake my head. I'm in total disbelief. What is he trying to do? 
I stand up. My head flits from side to side in a giddy intensity. I start pacing maniacally.  I clench my fist. I look at the metal door. I launch over and kick it in a total melee. Thud. Thud. Thud.  It doesn't even vibrate. I punch against it.
“You better not fucking touch her you cunt.” I scream.
Flash. It comes on again. I run over to the table and stare down at the screen. I pick it up. I pace with it in my hand. 
It's on Facebook. I can see the news feed. It scrolls past a news story about Trump. An AJ+ video plays where the camera rumbles and Syrian men running in panic, cutting to rubble. It scrolls past a stupid cat meme. It reaches Jane McCowan. There's some pictures of him and her at dinner. It clicks onto a picture of her kissing him on a bus. He's smiling in a sinisterly serene way as she does this.
Black. 
I stop in my tracks. I check the device again for a button. I start pressing the screen. I start hitting it more forcefully. I sit down in the chair, defeated. 
I wait, watching the screen. Watching it for a flicker. 
It flashes on and I lean forward excitedly. Whatsapp comes on. There's messages from some of my friends, Daniel and Ian. It clicks onto the box in the corner. It starts scrolling down the familiar list of all the people I know. It goes down to the bottom to X. 
Click. 
‘Almost time’ it says followed by a winkey face smiley. 
Black.
Time for what? I check my pockets, pressing down to the bottom, searching for a phone that I know isn't there. 
I start pacing the room. I kick the chair to the ground. 
Time is passing. I don't know how much time. One hour. Two hours?. But the device hasn't come on for a while
Flash. 
Beep beep. Beep beep. I look over from a distance. It's calling X. He answers.
‘Ha ha ha ha.’
The laughter is maniacal, guttural. ‘You should see her.’
‘Send us a pic mate,’ comes the reply. 
‘Haha, alright, I will do. You'll love this one. Better than the last time.’
Beep beep. Black screen. 
I lurch for the device. I grab it tightly, almost strangulating it, trying to dig my nails into it. 
 I imagine Jane tied up in bed, with a cloth in her mouth. He's on top of her, thrusting into her. 
No. God no. 
He's got a cricket bat, she's pleading on the floor, screaming for her life, crawling away. He bats her face. She lifts her arm up and he swings the bat her. She cries out in pain. He stops and smirks. He lifts up the bat. With full force lunges it down, breaking her hand. I can hear the bones break just thinking about it. Bash. Bash. Bash. 
The device comes on. 
Snapchat.
Click. 
The camera screen comes on. I can pictures of me and Jane on the wall. It's our bedroom. The camera goes fuzzy. It's twisted onto the selfie screen. I can see him. He's laughing silently on the screen. I stare into his murderous eyes. He walks over to the bed beckoning to the camera. He tilts it towards her. She's soaked in blood. It's still fresh. She's sprawled out on the bed, naked. I can see the gashes all over her body. The long cuts on her leg. The slight indent in her skull, where he's probably tried to stab into her. Finally, there's the knife in the centre of her body, just under the ribcage. 
He presses onto the circle, holds on and it starts taking a video. He sniggers. He pouts in front of her and blows kisses to the screen. 
Black.
Tears well up. My cries sound hollow in this box. I groan out, I wail. What did Jane ever do to anyone? What did I ever do for that matter? 
The pale light comes on. 
He's calling X again.
‘How'd you like it?’
‘It was well funny,’ comes the reply.
I hear him cough. ‘So, you gonna sort him out now?’
‘Aye.’
I hear the door unlock. I freeze. I stop breathing. I look behind me. The door opens. Light floods in. It searingly pains my eyes. Someone is standing in the doorway. I can't distinguish any features against the light. I don't say anything. Neither does he. Slowly, he walks forward. 

 


© Copyright 2017 Thomas Moreton. All rights reserved.

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