Let’s Play (repost)
Megan didn’t have real friends, never mind a boyfriend or a date to the St. Valentine’s Day dance at school. Tonight, everyone was celebrating love with candy and flowers – even her parents, and probably kissing, she made a face; but she, like every other night, would sit at her computer playing games. Even so, she felt a little thrill of excitement as she sat down at her desk and typed in the password on her computer.
For a few weeks now, she’d been chatting with someone she had met in various gaming rooms online. At first, she thought it was weird that he, she assumed it was a he, kept showing up in whatever game she was playing, but then she started looking forward to seeing the familiar skull and bones icon pop up no matter what game she was playing. It was almost like having a friend. He seemed to want to be with her, even if it was only virtual reality. He would give her hints about how to get higher scores, or ask her how her day was and actually respond with more than, “that’s nice” or “I’m sorry.” She had started looking forward to the secret moments with SB, as she called him.
Megan stared at the computer, a little shocked, a little excited. Her normal home screen had been replaced by a black screen; in the center was a blood red heart laying on top of a white skull and bones. In the middle of the heart, in black letters it said Be My Valentine. Below the heart to the right was a button that said, “Let’s Play.” She hesitated a breath, giggled, and then placed the arrow over the button and clicked. Suddenly the screen turned a murky, swirling charcoal and gray and a hand began to emerge, covered with a shiny substance…as if the screen had melted and conformed to the new shape. Megan looked surprised but not afraid when it touched her hand. A gentle caress. But when she looked from the hand to the molten screen, a face began to form and, as terror struck, the hand reached up to cover her mouth and stifle her scream.