Sometimes talking to a complete stranger is easier than talking to a loved one.
Erin sat back, staring at the screen. Her fingers twitched at the keyboard, hovering just above the letters. She was trying to start her own chatroom through a popular website. So far she wasn't having much luck.
Erin was lonely. She was an only child who had watched her mother commit suicide when she was just eleven years old. She was now seventeen, but the memory of that day still haunted her. Doctors had poked and prodded her, asking her a million question in an attempt to see how disturbed she was from the tragedy. When they couldn't get a straight answer they decided it was better to place her on anti-depressants.
Now she was a recluse, only venturing out of her room to go to school. She had no friends at school and spent most of her time online. She had a Facebook and Twitter account, but no friends or followers. She had tried to make herself seem interesting in hopes that someone would talk to her. Sadly, no one did. Her profiles remained bare.
Unable to take being lonely any longer, Erin decided to create her own chatroom, linking it to a very popular game that she played. She wanted to name it something that would garner attention. Chewing on her lower lip, and spitting out a piece of broken skin, she typed Misfits into the name box. She quickly pressed backspace and changed the s to a z. She half-heartedly smiled. Misfitz was perfect.
Now she just needed to let people know what her room was about so they could flock to it and discuss the topic she selected. For a brief moment, Erin thought about making it about the game, but realized she wanted to make friends that shared more interests than just that game.
Her fingers lingered above the keyboard. What could it be about?
Then before her brain could registrar what she was doing, her fingers began swiftly moving across the keyboard, punching in letters until she had her topic. "Anything and everything that is relevant to what makes you, you." she read aloud.
Before she really had time to question it, her hand moved to her mouse and clicked on the approved button. That was it. Her chatroom was up and running. Now all she had to do was wait.
Erin glanced at her desk clock. Only ten minutes had passed. It felt like hours.
Her computer beeped and Erin jumped. Someone had not only entered her chatroom, but had sent a message.
Hey, is this room open to anyone?
Erin smiled, a strand of her hair falling in front of her eyes. She quickly pushed it aside and typed a response.
Yes. I'm Erin. The room's founder.
Her heart pounded as she groaned. How dorky could she have been.
Her computer beeped again.
Cool. I'm Tom. Your room's first guest : )
Erin giggled. Tom had a sense of humor. Her fingers began moving again.
So what would you like to talk about?
There was a long pause before Tom replied.
I don't know. Let's find something in common. We both obviously love Battledome Warriors, so let's see what else we like. What do you like in the way of music?
Erin's fingers became a blurred motion as they scrambled across the keyboard as she replied to all of Tom's questions.
She was just typing her own when someone else entered the chatroom.
Hi Dave, I'm Erin. Welcome to Misfitz.
The computer beeped. Someone else had entered the room.
Welcome to Misfitz. I'm Erin.
I'm Jack. Cool chat name.
Erin beamed with pride. People were talking to her.
They continued chatting for the next few hours until her father called her down to dinner. For the first night since her mother's death, Erin slept well.
The next afternoon she rushed home from school, dropping her bag by the front door and raced upstairs to log into her chatroom. The boys were already there, talking about the football results from the weekend.
The moment she entered the room, the boys turned their attention to her.
It was like this for the next few weeks. Erin would neglect her homework and chores before eating her dinner at a record pace. She spent every waking moment with the boys online.
The one day it was just Erin and Tom. She wasn't sure where Dave and Jack were but it was fine because Tom was really into her. Despite never having met him, she could feel how much Tom cared for her because of his words.
Tell me something real.
Erin reread what he had just said.
I don't understand.
Something about you that no one else knows or ever took the time to understand.
Erin chewed on her lip, her stringy brown hair falling in front of her face.
I watched my mother commit suicide.
That's terrible. How did it happen?
Erin paused. Did she really want to tell a complete stranger what had happened to her mother? She never told the doctors what really happened. She had tried, but they just hadn't seemed interested. Tom, on the other hand, did.
She suffered from depression. She never told me why she did, or how she came to suffer from it. I always assumed it was because she never really wanted children. Dad didn't believe in abortion so she had to have me. In the end, Dad couldn't part with me to put me up for adoption so I stayed.
Then when I was 11 I got sick with mono. Dad was working and Mom wasn't so she was trying to take care of me. Instead she grabbed my father's gun from his desk in the study, went up to the attic and proceeded to blow her brains out.
She waited with baited breath for Tom to take in everything she said.
Tom seemed to be taking forever to reply. Erin felt her stomach knot. She had just confessed something that was close to her chest.
You're probably right.
She paused, staring at the screen. What did Tom mean?
What? she typed back, chewing on the ends of her hair nervously.
You're probably right about the reason why your mother was depressed. She probably hated seeing your ugly face everyday.
Tears welled up in Erin's eyes as Tom's hateful words flooded her screen. She thought she had a real connection to him. She thought he was someone she could trust.
Tom continued to torment her, telling her that her mom would have killed her at birth if it hadn't been for her Daddy. Erin began to sob, her shoulders shaking violently. How could someone who was so kind suddenly become so vicious?
She shut off her computer. When her father told her it was dinner time, Erin refused to move from her bed. She told him she was sick and he believed her.
She stayed home from school for the next week, occasionally logging into Misfitz to see what was happening. Dave and Jack were also ganging up on her, telling her that she should be like her mother and just kill herself as it would be better for everyone. Jack even asked if her father kept the gun because it would be poetic that both mother and daughter died by the same weapon.
Every night Erin cried herself to sleep. Maybe these boys were right. Maybe she should just kill herself. She was, after all, responsible for her mother's death.
As Monday rolled around, Erin dragged her tired corpse out of bed and headed off to school. She was more withdrawn then normal, refusing to talk in class, or even do any school work. It wasn't until lunch time that she spoke and that's only because Missy, the most popular girl in school, sat down at her table.
"Yes?" Erin asked timidly, staring up at Missy.
Missy had beautiful long blonde hair and deep blue eyes. Her skin was perfectly tanned and her body was toned. She was always well dressed and presented an aura of perfection whenever she walked past.
"I think you should do it," she said, tilting her head slightly and licking her lips. "Just kill yourself."
Erin was shocked. What did she just say?
Missy leaned a little closer so her lips brushed against Erin's ear. "I can't believe you thought Tom was interested in you. You're nothing. You're nobody. And for the record, I'm Tom."
With that Missy got up and laughed, tossing her hair back. The other girls who she normally sat with at lunch joined in laughing.
Peeking out from under her messy hair, Erin got a sneaking suspicion that two of Missy's friends were Dave and Jack.
Picking up her school bag, Erin ran out of the cafeteria and headed for home.
Her dad was at work so Erin had the house to herself. She dropped her school bag and raced into her father's study. Using the key from the top drawer, Erin unlocked and opened the bottom one. She reached in, her hand shaking, as she pulled out her father's gun. The same one her mother had killed herself with six years earlier.
It felt cool in her hand and was a lot heavier than expected. Gripping it tightly, Erin went back into the hallway. She dropped it into her school bag, zipped it up and slung it over her shoulder before marching out the front door, heading back to school. She sat down in the park directly opposite the school grounds and waited.
When the final bell rang, Erin waited for Missy and her friends to begin walking home and quickly slid off the stone wall and began following them at a distance.
Missy and her friends were laughing, talking about how easy it was to fool someone like Erin, who was so lonely and desperate for friendship that she'd do anything.
"She was, like, in love with me!" Missy exclaimed cackling loudly.
They rounded the corner and entered the tunnel that passed under the road. This was it. Erin sped up, fishing the gun from her backpack.
"STOP!" she screamed.
Missy and her friends turned around, a bemused look on their faces.
"Ooh the loner has a gun. What are you going to do, kill yourself?" Missy taunted, hands on her hips. "Go on, pull the trigger. End your pathetic existence."
Erin's hand shook, the gun wobbling from side to side. "You lied to me," she said, her voice shaking as much as her hand. "You pretended you were someone I could trust."
Missy and the other girls laughed.
Rage filled Erin. With gritted teeth she held the gun with both hands and squeezed the trigger.
She did it again.
Missy's friends slumped to the ground, the bullets penetrating their hearts.
Missy screamed and turned to run.
Missy fell to the ground. Her body twitched, blood seeping from the wound in her back.
Erin walked over to her, pointed the gun into the back of her head and pulled the trigger again.
Missy's lifeless body lay sprawled on the ground.
Calmly, Erin placed the gun back into her bag and walked home.
Once inside her house, she removed her father's gun from her bag and returned to her bedroom. She took a clean piece of paper and her favorite purple pen and headed up the attic.
That's where her father found her, a single gun shot wound to the temple and a piece of paper pinned to her chest. No sorry, no reason. Just a simple, single sentence.
How well do you really know someone?