We’d only been dating for three weeks — and I’m using the word dating loosely. We met over Bumble, video chatted a few times, and had plans to meet up after the holidays were over (he was visiting his parents during the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Years).
In the meantime, we did what any set of 20-somethings would do. We followed each other on Facebook and Instagram. Sent Snapchats with silly filters. Texted about everything and anything.
And then, one lonely night, we sexted for the first time:
Me: Wish you were in bed with me.
Him: Doing what?
Me: Cuddling. Pressing your chest against my back. Wrapping an arm around me so you could caress my breast. And then slipping off my thong and sliding your dick into me.
Him: Mmm. I would love to dig my fingers into your waist and thrust until I left bruises on that perfect skin.
Me: I would love it even more if I felt your hands in my hair while you kissed my neck.
Him: Of course. I’d kiss up your collarbone, nibble and suck on your shoulder, and then I’d bite down on your neck so hard I’d draw blood.
Him: After I lapped it up, I’d flip you onto your stomach, pin your hands behind your back, and see how loud you’d scream when I cracked a paddle across your ass.
Him: And if you liked that, I’d twist you back around so I could come across those beautiful breasts.
Him: And, while your head was still thrown back in ecstasy, I’d take out a knife and slit you from your chin to your belly button.
Him: You still there, babe? Or are you busy touching yourself?
I don’t know if he was joking around or dead serious. Honestly, it didn’t make a fucking difference. I didn’t want a guy that thought like that, that teased like that.
I made a lame excuse to end the conversation and blocked his number. I had relationships that lasted longer and ended more abruptly, so it didn’t bother me all that much. I had other options. Safer options.
I actually was wearing a thong like I’d told him, but I decided to slip into the comfiest pajama pants I owned, no longer in the mood to feel sexy. But, as I was hitching them up my knees, the open laptop on my desk flashed on.
And a face was there. His face.
I didn’t remember opening Skype. Didn’t remember hearing the blu-blu noise. Didn’t even remember turning the computer on.
“Hey there, how’d you do that?” I asked cautiously, like I was calling out to an animal I didn’t want to be attacked by.
No response. His face stayed stuck on the screen, unmoving except for the eyes that darted left and right and left again, like a GIF.
I scuttled over and X’ed out the window. Instead of seeing the puppy-dog-in-a-basket picture that I set as my background when I bought the computer, his face was the fucking background.
Did he hack into my computer?
I opened my browser, planning to ask Google how the hell something like that could’ve happened, but there was an error message. Not the typical one about not having internet connection. One with a shit-ton of 1s and 0s that I would never be able to decipher.
When I gave up and X’ed that out too, there was a new folder on my desktop. It was labeled: “Letting You Off Easy.”
When I double clicked it, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach and let out a little yelp. The fuck? I hitched up my pajama shirt and saw the red mark across my pale skin. From my chin to my belly button.
It felt like a threat, but I wasn’t going to unblock his number. I wasn’t going to give in. I wasn’t going to settle for a man like that — man? Or was he something else? Was it something else? I’d only spoken to him over electronics. Maybe I was dating an AI. A ghost. A fucking demon.
The folder he’d left behind was empty. I checked his Facebook (on my phone, which was still fully functional), but it was gone. And his Instagram was gone. His Snapchat handle had disappeared from my account and his name had vanished from my phone’s contact list.
Even the sexts he sent me were gone. Like they’d never existed in the first place.
But the mark on my stomach never faded away.