An original short story
Keisha woke up to the sound of her phone blaring WAP. It may be as filthy a bop as it gets but as far as alarms go, this one actually perked her up in the morning. Like most 16 (almost 17!) year old girls, the first thing she did in the morning was check her socials and throw a 15 second vid out into the world. Filter : cat ears. Greeting : peace, love, and good vibes from KeishaKittyKat0604😸. As routine as brushing her teeth and getting dressed for the day.
Despite the school’s strict no-cellphone policy, Keisha was able to surreptitiously check her socials between classes – or in class, if it was math. She was already on a calculus level when the rest of her class was struggling with algebra. Makeup trends, dances, true crime stories, she had her favourites. She was also a whiz with analytics, which was as much fun as the content itself.
By the time the final bell sounded, Keisha was on her way home to go spend more time on her phone. Extra-curriculars weren’t an option. “We don’t have money for that!” became such a repetition that she didn’t even bother to ask her parents anymore. Not like they noticed. They were too busy fighting.
Her parents always fought but it had gotten much worse lately. It turns out that grown ups use social media too, but they tended to use it for airing the family’s dirty laundry. Embarrassing. Most nights now ended with raised voices and slamming doors. Her sister, Chloe, was two years older than her and often just cranked up her music. Megan Thee Stallion, Rico Nasty, Playboi Carti, King Von…Chloe only liked the freshest of the fresh on her playlists. Keisha would sometimes tag team content with her sister. They had some good sibling rivalry happening on social media. Everyone knew they were sisters. Keisha always reminded Chloe that she had way more followers, but it was all in good fun. They were pretty tight and often tagged one another in videos and posts.
The videos were a good distraction from the fact that their world was falling apart around them.
It was a Friday night when their Dad finally packed up his tattered suitcases and left the house.
That’s the night Keisha went live to pour her heart out to her followers. She received the usual love and support she was used to getting from half a world away. A few new people joined the live stream but one name stood out. DemiGod666 😈. Keisha found it hard to believe they’d have anything in common. “What if they listen to like, Marilyn Manson? Ew.” It just made her uncomfortable. Mixed in with names like PinkPixie99 and Fairy_Felicia, it just seemed out of place. After she told her her followers what just happened at home, she let them know she’ll likely be making some different type of content to take her mind off things.
“Drop you suggestions in comments Guys, I need something different to take my mind off all this crap. Have a good night fam.” She flashed the peace sign, offered a pout and ended her stream.
She joined Chloe in their shared bathroom. Time to scrape off the day’s makeup. They’d usually talk about their videos, cute boy followers that slid in their DMs, giggle and sing. Tonight was different though. The mood was somber. Chloe didn’t even have music playing on her phone. Just silence.
“How was your night? Did you go out?” Keisha broke the silence.
“I did for a little while. Me and Jasmine went over to Darrell’s house but then the boys showed up and it got boring so we jetted. You?” Chloe answered.
“Nah, I just stayed home in case Mum needed anything. She hasn’t gotten out of bed much today. I got her to eat some toast and tea after school, but she just went back to bed. Didn’t want dinner. I just made some KD. You should see her hair right now. Don’t think she’s showered in a few days,” Keisha said.
Chloe responded, “I know. She looks awful. I feel so bad for her. I’m really mad at Dad right now, I really don’t want to see him but he says he wants to see us this weekend. Ugh.” She wrinkled her nose.
“He’s still our Dad.” Keisha reminded her sister.
“Whatevs, let me be in my feelings right now,” Chloe retorted.
Chloe wasn’t one to hide her anger. She was a bit of a hot head. Typical Aries. They both recently watched a video that explained the traits of the zodiac signs. Chloe was her birth sign through and through. Keisha was a Gemini – she thought meant that she had this deep dual personality, but the video she watched said that she’s simply addicted to drama. Touché.
Keisha went to bed, face lit by her phone as she checked her stats and messages. Over 110 000 followers and counting. One comment suggested she start doing some scary videos as part of a little series. Like dare videos. Keisha always saw herself as being pretty tough and she enjoyed the creepy side of the internet. She liked true crime stories and scary movies. She watched all those paranormal shows where the people hunt ghosts with special equipment.
She let the idea roll around in her head, coming up with scenarios while she drifted off into an unrestful sleep.
A few of her followers suggested she partake in some 3:00am ghost hunting challenges where she and her sister would play with a spirit board and various apps on her phone. They played Charlie Charlie, which caused both girls to scream and end the video. The creepier the content she shared, the more followers and comments she got. It was a rush. She went deeper. Keisha was aware of a new trending app that mixed adventure, creepiness, and coincidence. As long as you believed…
Rando-Journey insisted that the user try to “manifest” their end result. Want to find money? See a dog? A colour? Think hard, set your intention and then generate a location through the app. The girls started small. “Show me purple,” Chloe said, rolling her eyes. This was one step above a child’s treasure hunt. She was sure she had better ways to spend her time right now. The app generated a location, and off they went.
They walked mere blocks before arriving at the location. The girls looked around and saw nothing but streetlights, a SLOW CHILDREN PLAYING sign, and the bus stop they used to use in elementary school. This was their neighborhood and they knew there was nothing purple around here. Chloe sucked her tongue, aggravated at the waste of her time when Keisha spun her around.
“Remember that tall-ass hedge around the property behind the bus stop?! We always wondered what was behind those bushes!”, she hissed.
Chloe nodded in the affirmative. And then she saw it.
What was once a thick, some-type-of-evergreen-looking hedge that completely disguised what lay in the offing was gone. Nothing but sawdust, and stumps that suggested whoever cut them down was a chainsaw rookie.
And a purple house.
How had they not noticed that before.
Keisha was pumped. Chloe was not.
“So someone bought the property, painted the house purple, and cut down the hedges. So?”, she said.
“It’s still purple.” Keisha said firmly.
Chloe knew her sister was right.
Subsequent journeys manifested a friendly dog, a not-so-friendly cat, and $40. Keisha figured they could have just manifested the chicken nuggets they bought with the money to skip a step, but Chloe reminded her that this way they got the nuggs – and got to keep the change.
The girls became more and more detached from reality as they spent almost all of their waking time online interacting with strangers. Retreating into their bedrooms more and more, the house itself became a ghost.
Struggling to fall asleep as ideas for new videos ran through Keisha lay in bed struggling to sleep, with ideas running through her head like a freight train. 2:14am. It was Friday night so there was no school in the morning. She sent Chloe a text.
K: 3 a.m. Rando-Journey? 🧭
C: Dude. No.
Sneak out with me?
TONS OF VIEWS GUARANTEED ☠️
They had agreed when it came down to these adventures that they would never do it alone.
An anxious Keisha broke the rules that night.
She carefully grabbed the car keys off the table downstairs, and left quietly through the back door. She had just passed her driving test making it legal for her to drive, although she was supposed to have a licensed driver in the vehicle with her. She drove down the street out of sight and parked. She had her iPad for the app to generate coordinates while she filmed inside her car. She hit the “Live” button.
“Ok Guys, so I’m going on a Rando-Journey, I know, I know, I’m by myself but my sister was being a wuss so…” She gestured to her virtual audience. “I’m going to document everything and take you all with me.” She proceeded to warn the hundreds of people slowly joining her live not to be stupid and do it alone. “I just feel confident tonight guys, I’m going to be careful don’t worry. I have my pepper spray with me. You like the 3am challenges so much that I thought, why not go on a late night Rando-Journey and see what happens.” She continued, “Tonight,” she spoke aloud, “show us something unexpected, no death, I don’t wanna die or anything, but show us something unexpected.”
A few moments later she had her coordinates, which she shared with her viewers. She narrated while driving, pausing only briefly to pull over and respond to comments. Some viewers were saying that they knew the general area she was in. Some people recognized a few landmarks nearby. Then she saw him again. DemiGod666 😈💀💀. He had added a couple of skulls. She never interacted with him, he never commented. She just all of a sudden felt a quiver of unease go through her. She knew she was being watched by more than a thousand viewers but this time, she actually felt like she was being watched.
The coordinates led her to what felt like the end of the earth. The pavement dropped off and all of a sudden she was on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Alone. It was then that Keisha concluded that this may not have been the wisest of choices.
“Guys, I’m a little creeped out right now, I’m not gonna lie. This road is so bumpy and dark. Ooof, my mother is gonna kill me if I bottom out in her car.” It was right about then that an old abandoned house came into view. Now, Keisha and Chloe grew up in this area their entire life. They’ve driven everywhere and thought they knew all of the abandoned creepy places in town. So how did this, too, not end up on their radar?
“Looks like an old abandoned farm house guys. This is unexpected most def. Chloe and I have lived here our whole lives and we’ve never seen this place before. Never knew this road even existed. I brought some gear, let me grab my flashlight.” She looked into the camera on her phone when she saw a shape coming up behind her. She felt something hit her hard on the back of her head, everything went black. The livestream cut out.
Chloe woke up to her phone buzzing with notifications. She tried to ignore it, thinking one of her videos must have just gotten a lot of hits. She looked at the time. 3:44am. The notifications kept coming and she got a sinking feeling in her stomach.
They were all notifications from “CLICK”, her video app. They weren’t notifications though, they were DMs.
Something happened to Keisha! Exclaimed one user.
Someone’s got Keisha. Another user.
Call the police now! A regular viewer.
Call the cops, I recognize that area. Another user in their circle.
I think I may know where that house is. From Pixie_Girl19, which was not just a random user but a friend of theirs from school.
Chloe’s heart raced as she checked her sister’s empty room with its unmade bed and then dashed into her mother’s room shaking her awake. “Mom, something’s happened to Keisha, she went LIVE and people are saying something happened to her”, Chloe blurted out. “We need to call the police.”
In that instant, Donna sprang out of bed and threw on some clothes, all while dialing 911. Chloe hadn’t seen her mother move that fast since she tried to do one of the girls’ dance videos with them – the time she popped her knee out and had to stop.
Within minutes it seemed the police were knocking on the door. Chloe pulled up her CLICK app and hit the LIVE button.
“Ok Guys, I need your help, I need to know what happened during Keisha’s Live. Fill me in, the police are here now and we need to find her.” She pleaded on the screen. A few eyeball emoticons started popping up in the video.
“She was driving down the old highway that cuts off near Elmsdale,” advised one user.
“She was heading north towards the old Oak pass,” another person chimed in.
Chloe was watching the comments closely and relaying the info to the police officers at the same time. She heard them radio an alert for the area, and a BOLO for Donna’s Toyota.
“I think she could be at the abandoned Fairclough Mansion, I’m almost sure of it. Someone came up behind her and hit over the back of the head. She’s gotta be there!” Thank you, Pixie_Girl19.
The police sped off to investigate. Officer Browne and his partner Cruz responded first and found the old road that led to the Fairclough property.
“Man this place has grown wild over the years,” remarked Officer Browne.
They parked further down and turned off their headlamps ready to walk.
“Wait! Is that the Toyota?”
The two officers got out of their car, flashlights in one hand, the others resting on their pistols.
It seemed to be the girl’s car. Her purse was still in it and her cell phone on the ground nearby.
The two men kept walking, approaching the doorstep of the creepy old house. Weeds had taken over the stairs now. Browne motioned for Cruz to go around back while he went through the front. The front door wasn’t locked.
Cruz cautiously stepped around the back of the house trying to not step on any twigs to make a noise. He went in through a busted old window, landing in the kitchen. He met Browne in the lobby.
To the left, at the end of the hall there a soft glow of light. The two men approached, floor creaking beneath them. When they approached the lit room at the end of the hall they drew their guns and entered yelling, “Police!” The room was empty other than a small woman’s pink an black hoodie draped over a lone chair. The only other thing in that room was a lamp on the floor with no shade on it, giving off a harsh blinding light.
The officers scoured the rest of the building and called for backup to search the nearby road and fields. The GPS had been turned off on the phone making it impossible to ping and locate. The last known location was this house.
For three weeks volunteers from the community led that search, stapling posters of a smiling innocent Keisha in her favorite pink and black hoodie. No one had heard or seen anything. Leads went nowhere and the trail simply grew cold.
Donna and Chloe tried their best to keep it together although a large piece of them was now missing. Chloe was still trying to get ready for college but had major hesitations about leaving her mom. She had been accepted with honors to the Sciences program. Her plan was to become a microbiologist and Keisha would have been the mathematician, always with her stats. God, Chloe missed her sister, the pain weighed so heavy on her heart. That night she cried herself to sleep and dreamt about Keisha.
Keisha tied to a chair, being beaten, abused, starved, or worse. Keisha’s colorless face looking up at her through lake water with dead eyes. Keisha with worms and snakes coming out of her mouth and eyes. Keisha’s dismembered body being found in a suitcase somewhere. The nightmares were always the same. She figured she’d have them for the rest of her life.
Eight months later. Chloe’s home making dinner for her and her mother. While she waited for the lasagna to bake, she opened an app she hadn’t opened since shortly after her sister disappeared.
The bright light of CLICK opened, with a video immediately playing. Right away she noticed messages that had gone unread. She went through them one by one. Friends sending their love and regards. Sending prayers to the family. She was even tagged in a few videos made by fellow creators discussing the case, still trying to find answers.
When she got near the bottom of her message list. There it was. KeishaKittyKat0604😸 with a video attached. Only the video was dated three months ago. Chloe’s heart raced as she opened it not knowing to shout for her mother or not first. The video was only 60 seconds long. You see a dark warehouse with one lamp on, no lampshade. A male voice is heard, “Welcome to the show Chloe, by the way… You will NEVER find her.” He followed that up with a loud obnoxious, maniacal laugh. The video ends with one close-up large brown bloodshot eye and, “I see you…”
Chloe dropped the phone.