Now I knew I didn’t have the phone by accident. It was left outside of my apartment in hopes that I would find it. It made sense, didn’t it? That silly little flimsy case would never have protected the phone from the hard concrete. So why did they want me to have it? Clearly they wanted to harass me. Ok, but for what reason? I thought back to my dad. He was a cop, maybe it was someone he’d pissed off? Although it seemed unlikely, as I was pretty far from my hometown. Had I pissed anyone off lately?
I wracked my brain but came up empty. I didn’t have enough daily social interactions to piss anyone off, if I’m being honest. But they had to know who I was. They’d followed me to the club, they’d taken my picture…and they’d sent the picture right when I picked up the phone. Just as this thought registered, the phone went off again.
BEEP BEEP BEEP. Restricted. This time, there was no hesitation. I picked up the phone and said in a strong, angry voice, “Who the fuck is this? I don’t have time to play your fucking games. Do you think I’m scared of a shitstain like you?” The expletives continued to pour out of my mouth. Silence. “Are you there?” That same, toneless, emotionless voice. Click. Call ended. I’ll admit, I was pretty freaked out by this. I made the decision in a split second. I grabbed my backpack and filled it with a few necessities, grabbed both the phones, and ran out to my car. I jumped in, locking the door behind me, and sped off down the street, my eyes trained on the rearview mirror to ensure no one was following me. I drove through town for a few hours, taking every turn that I could. In the meantime, I formulated a plan. Whoever this was, and whatever reason they had for doing this, I wasn’t going to be victim of this stupid prank anymore. Once I was sure I wasn’t being followed, I pulled over and called Anna. I explained the situation to her over the phone and she agreed to let me stay at her place. “I’ll help you catch this fucker,” she said. About 20 minutes later, I arrived at her house. “Ok, let’s catch him.”
We sat in her living room and I took out my phone. If we were going to find out who this guy – or girl – was, we were going to need all the help we could get. And all that help consisted of this weird phone. I slid the phone to unlock it and we stared down at it. Where do we start? “Pictures,” tried Anna. “Right.” I clicked on the photo icon and started from the beginning.The first few photos were… normal. A teenage girl with long blonde hair, a toothy smile, and some leftover acne from her preteen years. She had taken a lot of selfies and stupid pictures with her friends. Judging by her appearance alone, I figured I had been right in the first place, that she was a high schooler. But why would a high schooler be doing this? Could she even pull it off? She would have needed a pretty good fake ID to get into the club. And I think I would have remembered seeing someone so young. This just didn’t make sense. I continued scrolling. Pretty soon a guy started appearing in the pictures, with messy brown hair and a dangerously charming smile. They seemed to be getting pretty close. Her friends slowly disappeared from her pictures and were all replaced by who I could only assume was her boyfriend. And then the pictures turned black.
That was it, just blackness. Assuming it was a dud, I went to the next picture. Black. We scrolled through a few like this. Anna shrugged. “This is totally weird.” I swiped right again, and the screen seemed to explode with color. I saw the blonde teen again, but this time she was lying on the ground. Her hair actually looked like it had turned strawberry blonde. It took me a moment to register that it was matted with blood. Her head was crooked to the side and her right arm was twisted at an odd angle behind her. Blood had pooled around her and her formerly bright blue eyes had dulled and were staring out into nothing. Dead. Anna let out a scream. I threw the phone down and ran to the bathroom. I was sick for a few minutes, before I returned. Anna was shaking on the couch, staring at the phone, still lying where I’d left it a few minutes earlier. “Are you okay?” Anna nodded. “What the fuck is this?” she asked. “I don’t know,” I admitted. “We have to find out who this girl is. And if her boyfriend did this.” I nodded. Gingerly, I picked up the phone again. I figured the remaining pictures might give us more clues. Without looking, I swiped past the gory catalogue of the girl’s death. Next was another black picture. And another one. And another. My anticipation and anxiety grew with each swipe.