I made a mistake. Well, maybe it was a series of mistakes, but I think that after I get the whole story out, you'll realize I can't be blamed for it. I don't think you could say any of it was really my fault; I did what anyone would do.The day it all started was a really shitty day, so I was in a bad mood to begin with. My job was a total waste of time. Not only was I overqualified, but I was unappreciated. Honestly, it was a little demeaning to be working there at all, stuck in the back room hauling boxes around, getting called out to clean up messes or bring back carts from the parking lot. For someone with my intelligence, it was insulting to say the least. So who can blame me if I try to unwind a bit when I can? Sure, if no one's watching I'll play around on my phone, and sometimes when I'm stressed I'll hide out back for a while. I do enough in the run of a day that I deserve some time to myself. Our breaks don't give a guy enough time to refresh himself, and how can they expect you to do your best work when you're worn down? So I was playing a game on my phone for a couple minutes - who cares if I missed a couple calls? There are enough other people to pick up the slack, so I don't see why I'm the only person expected to do any work around here. It's just my luck that my supervisor Josh catches me every time I try to relax. We both know it's not that big of a deal, but he's on a power trip or something and he likes to take it out on me. Makes him feel important or something. It's not that I'm afraid of him, but I'm the kind of guy who treats everyone with respect, so I was listening to his little tirade with as much dignity as I could muster. I probably could have shrugged it all off like I usually do, but while he was in the middle of his rant one of the cashiers, Jacky, came back to get her lunch out of the fridge. I was mortified. This guy is younger than I am, and he's talking to me as though I were dog shit on a shoe. Like I'm not even worthy of respect. He even brought up how my dad vouched for me and that's how I got the job. Right in front of her! I saw them make eye contact and she did that nasty little smirk she does. I hated him right then. I was seething with rage, but I managed to keep it under control. When they finally left I got back to work, but my whole day was ruined. I was sick of that place and all its shitty little rules. I fantasized about telling him to take his job and shove it up his ass. Of course, I'm more mature than that. I respect people. Even arrogant pricks like him. The day seemed to drag by. When I finally got home, it was time to relax. I'd gotten really into the deep web lately. Most people don't know about the deep web, but I spend enough time online that I'm privy to a few well kept secrets. It's not accessible by search engines; you have to download a special browser to get into it. And even then you have to know what you're looking for. The things you do can't be traced by the government - anarchist cookbook type of stuff. You can find anything there. I don't want you to think I was looking for child porn or anything gross like that. I'm not that kind of person. I may not be notorious with the ladies, but I can get some action when I want to. I'm just a regular kind of guy. I wasn't into the deep web for anything illegal at all. I was just fucking around really. I wanted to see what was there. I was curious. So when I heard about some of the directories that existed to give you a basic tour of what was on the offer there, I wanted to check it out. Knowledge is power; I'm a big believer in that. I had been clicking on the various links for a while, and it was really disappointing. Nothing all that interesting. Tons of hit men, drugs, pretty much everything you'd expect. There's no way to know whether you get your money's worth though - what kind of guarantees can these sort of criminals offer? You take my money and don't kill the guy, and what am I supposed to do? Call the police? You'd have to be pretty desperate to try that route. The deep web is slow too, real slow, and because of that the pages are simple and rudimentary. It was getting pretty boring, honestly. I clicked on one last link, and it led me to a page that was totally blank. I scrolled down and realized there was some sort of writing, but it was hard to make out. The words were almost the same color as the background. I tried highlighting it so it would be visible, but I wasn't able to select the text. The only words I could make out were "First one free." First what free? I scrolled down further, and there was an open form at the bottom with a submit button. Above it was written "What do you want?" This is what I'm looking at when my dad calls. He's totally pissed off and just rips into me. I guess my supervisor's boss called and gave him shit. He vouched for me, how could I disrespect him like this, I couldn't keep losing jobs, and he wasn't taking me back if I lost my apartment this time. Blah, blah, blah. As if losing that last job was my fault. They discriminated against me loud and clear, and no one gave a shit. So I pander to my dad, try and make him feel a little better, but I'm real frustrated too - I'm sick of no one even trying to understand the kind of stress I'm under. What do they expect? So finally he gets off the phone, and I'm fuming, and in that little box I write "I want everyone to get the hell off my back and give me a little respect, that's what I want," just fucking around, you know? Turns out that was a mistake, but how was I supposed to know how it would all go down? I hit submit, and a little box came up saying "accepted" and that was it. I was sick of this horseshit, my mood was totally ruined. I usually play video games and eat snacks in the evening, so I logged off and that's what I did. Things were totally different at work the next day. I didn't know what to think. I was actually late coming in -it happens to everyone occasionally. I slept in a bit and it took me a while to get myself moving. But I got there, and that's gotta count for something. What difference do a few minutes here and there really make in the run of the day? I usually get shit on when stuff like that happens, so I was trying to sneak in and pretend like I had been busy, but Josh sees me right away. He has that shit-eating grin of his and he comes over to talk to me. I figure I'm in for it again, but instead he just pats me on the shoulder and says, "Glad to see ya, buddy." Honestly, I thought he was being sarcastic, but as the day went on things kept going smoothly. No one got on my case about anything. I even got caught fooling around on my phone again, but Josh just smiled and went on his way. It was pretty strange stuff, and I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. So when I got called into his office at the end of the day, I figured that was it. I was ready for a fight. A guy's gotta stand up for himself, you know what I mean? I was a little gruff with him. Sometimes you gotta show some attitude to get anywhere. But Josh says, "Charlie, I was talking to the manager today and we think you've really been doing a great job lately. To show our appreciation, we're going to up your pay by fifty cents an hour. Now, I know that's not a huge increase, but we can only do so much at a time, head office, you know," and he actually winked at me, "but I think it's safe to say you can expect a few more raises before the year is out." I was flabbergasted. Here I thought I was getting fired, but it turned out that the idiot had finally smartened up and realized how much I do. A couple of weeks go by, and things just keep getting better and better. Now, I'm not one to take advantage, so don't think I completely slacked off all the time or anything, but now that I was being appreciated I didn't have to bust my ass anymore. No one was looking over my shoulder to make sure I did stuff the official way, and if I showed up a little late or left a little early, they trusted me to get shit done while I was there at least. It was heaven. I'm not a greedy guy, not at all. I would have just let it rest at that. So what happened next wasn't my fault at all. It was Jacky's fault, or maybe that guy she was talking to. I wouldn't have bothered with that weird web page again. I probably would have forgotten about it completely if it weren't for them. Jacky was wearing one of those tight little outfits she wears. She knew the kind of attention she gets when she dresses like that. She's young and she's got a real hot body, or at least she did then. She knows what it does to guys looking at her wearing her skimpy little outfits. So there she is showing off when I happen by, just checking things out. I wasn't staring at her or anything like that, I got better things to do, but I happened to be in the area. She's talking to some guy at her check out stand - you know the type. Tall, broad shoulders, blond hair, big smile. Just a regular idiot. They're talking and she's playing with her hair and giggling, really laying it on thick. She notices me looking at them. I try to smile, just being friendly, and she does that sneer again and says something to the guy. They both look over at me and laugh. That kinda thing really boils my blood. Here she is fawning over this moron, and I bet they're planning on hooking up later, and they have the nerve to laugh at me. Like I'm some kinda joke. It really pisses me off that assholes like him always get the girls. Assholes. Like they know how to treat a woman. Girls like her always overlook guys like me, when we're the ones who'll appreciate them, treat them right. Girls don't like nice guys though, they like assholes. Well I was sick of it. I think I have the right to be sick of that kind of treatment. Girls like her ignoring me all my life, going after idiots like him and laughing at me. When I get home later, I'm still steaming over it, and I remember that weird website. L load it up again. I'm not necessarily going to do anything, I'm just curious to see how it worked. I don't even think it really worked, I'm not that naive. It was just a coincidence that I was finally getting what's due. But I have a scientific mind, and I thought a test was in order. So this time, I write in the little box, "I want Jacky to be my devoted girlfriend." I hit submit, and this time the little confirmation box says, "Due: one tooth, twenty dollars." I know what you're thinking, it seems ridiculous, right? What kind of payment is that? But hey, I have twenty bucks, and I actually happen to have a tooth around. It's from when I was a kid, in one of those stupid little tooth fairy boxes. Mom was the sentimental type, and I know I've still got it around here somewhere. I dig it out of the bottom of the closet, and I get twenty bucks out of my wallet. Who am I to criticize what these people want? Not that I believe it anyway. Then I realize I have a problem - I have no idea what to do with this stuff. So I get back on the website and type in the little box, "How do I pay you?" But this time there's no response. I'm not embarrassed to tell you I felt a bit like a dummy then. The foolishness I get caught up in sometimes! That's what happens when you have a scientific mind though. You have to explore all the possibilities. I ended up leaving the tooth and the money on the table. I'm not a slob or anything, but I was tired by then and just didn't bother picking it up. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but in the morning they were gone. Things happened slowly, so that's why I think it would have happened eventually anyway. It's not like I made Jacky do anything against her will. I always figured she had a thing for me, she was just trying to cover it up to look cool or play hard to get or something. This just gave her the opportunity to realize her true feelings. That first day at work after I made my request, she smiled at me. Not a sneer, just a smile. It was a really beautiful moment for me. It wasn't long before we were having conversations at work and she was actually going out of her way to be around me. There were a lot of awkward silences, but that wasn't my doing. She could be really spacey sometimes. I think she was overwhelmed by me, especially after the kind of guy she was used to dating. I'm a special kind of guy; a true gentleman. There aren't a lot of us left anymore. Plus I have a lot of really niche interests I like to talk about, and she probably wasn't used to such intellectual discourse. When I finally did ask her out, I knew I wanted to do things different from how other guys would do it. It's not that I'm cheap; I just prefer a more intimate setting. So instead of going out dancing or to a dinner or movie or whatever cliche stuff people do on dates, I got her to come over to my place for takeout and TV. A real casual setting, you know? That way we can relax and get to know each other. She's friendly but still pretty spacey. I think it was just because I'm older and more sophisticated. She couldn't help but feel a little ditzy in comparison, I guess. She was confused a lot while we were together. Sometimes she would ask me weird questions, like, "What am I doing here?" Part of me thought it was an effect of whatever I had set in motion, but I really don't see how that could be true. I mean, how can a web site, even one on the deep web, make someone do something they don't want to do? Nah, she was in love with me, just like I was in love with her. I took my time with her. Its not like I'm not experienced, but I didn't want to rush her in to anything. That's another way I set myself apart from other guys. When I kissed her goodnight, maybe I felt her up a little, but I didn't her to sleep over or anything like that. The anticipation is better. She feels amazing and soft, and I know she could feel how hard I was against her. She looked confused when we were done kissing, but I think it was just because of the strength of her feelings. It's hard the first time you fall in love, I guess. I know she's never been with a man like me before. Our relationship progressed really fast after that. We started spending all our time together. She was hot as hell, but really dumb. That's okay though, because she did pretty much what I wanted her to do, so we always had fun together. Her parents hated me, they said I was too old for her, but who gives a shit, right? Love knows no numbers and all that. Plus, the sex was amazing. She would let me do anything I wanted to her, and she was amazing looking - big tits, full ass. We were fucking every day at this point, sometimes multiple times a day. Or if I was too lazy, I'd just get her to give me a blow job. She was great at it. She always cried after sex. I think emotions will do that to you though. So things were perfect for a while there. I had her pretty much moved in before long, she was doing the housework and cooking, and I just did whatever I wanted. Work was great, I didn't even have to show up half the time and I still got paid. I was in heaven, seriously. I don't know what went wrong. Like I said, everything was great. Jacky started getting weird though. She was crying all the time, and talking even less than before. She never wanted to leave the house. I gotta say, I think she had some sort of undiagnosed mental issues or something. She was turning into a real drag. I was an awesome boyfriend, so it certainly wasn't my fault. It really pissed me off, actually. The least she could do was be grateful to me, right? She was basically living with me, I was providing the roof over her head, so she should be willing to act the way I expected her to. I knew she was pretty bummed out but I didn't want to pry. Girls need their space, so I just kept doing my thing and figured she'd come around. I really didn't expect to come home one day and find her dead. She had killed herself, right in my apartment. I was livid, what a bitch! After all I do for her, she just up and left me like that. Bled out in my bathtub. Well, what was I supposed to do? I guess I could have called the cops, but I wasn't ready to let go of her like that. I'm a sensitive guy and I was upset, you know. Everything was going right for once. I had the perfect set up, work was good, a hot little girlfriend, and all of a sudden she's taken away from me. I was pissed off at her at first, but I quickly realized that it wasn't her fault any more than it was mine. She had some sort of undiagnosed mental condition, and that's what did it. She couldn't help it if something was wrong with her brain. Hell, she would probably take it back if she could. Poor, beautiful little Jacky fucked everything all up and there was nothing I could do to help her. Or was there? That website was still there, right? If it got me this far, maybe it could help me a little more. I had to try. Jacky was my soul mate. I didn't want to go on without her. So I pull the website up again, and this time I type in, "Bring Jacky back." I think about it for a minute and add, "to be my girlfriend forever." I don't want her doing this same shit all over again in a couple months or years or whatever. The payment is steeper this time. A lesser man than me wouldn't have done it. I almost didn't do it. This time it said, "One finger. One toe. One hundred dollars." Ridiculous, right? That's what I thought too. I slammed my laptop shut, no way. How the hell was I supposed to do that? But I couldn't give Jacky up either. I filled the tub with cold water and ice, trying to keep her fresh while I decided what to do. She still looked so beautiful, even with rigor mortis setting in. Not like I was tempted to fuck her like that or anything, that would be disgusting. I'm not that kind of guy. I tossed and turned all night, and I called off work the next day. I knew I had to do it. I couldn't go on without her. Here's how you know I really loved her. I could have just called the police and used the website again to get another bimbo, right? But I didn't. I wanted Jacky. She was the one. I had a wire cutter, an iron, and some Tylenol. I decided to do my toe first; it would be easier that way because I wouldn't have to work with an injured hand. I cleaned everything up good, laid down some saran wrap on the floor. I had to do everything as professionally as possible, because I sure wouldn't want to go to the hospital and have to explain it afterward. You'd be surprised how easy it came off. I used my wire cutter and slammed down with all my strength, and just lopped it off. I did it as quick as I could. I didn't feel the pain at first, adrenaline and shock I guess. I couldn't believe how much blood there was. I should have laid some towels down too, I guess. I cauterized it right away with the hot iron, and I guess I passed out. I'm not sure how long I was out for. When I woke up, I was still oozing blood, my foot was throbbing, and my toe was gone. Not just gone from my foot, but really gone. Now I knew I could do this, I had to. It was going to work. I could have Jacky back, if I could just get through this for her. I really had to work my courage up. I felt like a brave knight, going to war for his beloved. Not all guys would have done it. Think that jock from back in the store would have done it? All he wanted was a little tail. He wouldn't have been willing to make a sacrifice, no way. And that's what it was. A sacrifice for love. I chopped off my little finger on my left hand, quick and easy, and closed the wound. I didn't pass out this time, but looking at the empty space where my finger had been made me feel woozy. I took the 100 bucks out of my wallet and left it next to my finger on the floor before I hobbled to bed. It wasn't long before she joined me. I didn't wake up until she was snuggled in beside me, and I opened my eyes, expecting to see her beautiful face. This should have been my happy ending. Didn't I deserve it now; after all I've been through? I've gone through hell on earth for this girl, and this is what I get. Jacky wasn't the same at all. The ice hadn't been enough to keep her fresh, and she still looked dead. Her hair was limp and greasy, and her face wasn't much to look at either. Her skin was blotchy and discoloured. I couldn't look her in the eyes; they were yellow and cloudy and made me feel sick. She looked like shit and she smelled worse than she looked. At the very least, I would have expected her to be grateful that I had brought her back, but she didn't seem to care. She might have been mopey before, but now she was downright ghoulish. All she wanted to do was curl up and cry. She talked even less than before. Sometimes she said shit like, "Why aren't I dead?" or "Where am I?" I couldn't even stand the sound of her voice any more. Her wounds keep oozing. It wasn't blood; I don't know what the fuck it was. It was black, and it just kept flowing. I certainly couldn't take her to the hospital. I couldn't take myself to the hospital. Word would get back to my dad and then shit would fly. After only a few days, Jacky looked even worse. She was getting gaunt and her tits and ass weren't so much to look at anymore. The sex wasn't as good either. She was cold and clammy, barely responding to my movements. Her eyes would roll back in her head as she moaned. The smell of her made me sick to my stomach. I couldn't go to work, not with my foot and hand still healing. I can't believe I mutilated myself for this. I wanted Jacky back, but not this bullshit. Every day that went by she got a little worse. What kind of nightmare had I gotten myself into? I had managed to do a pretty good job cutting off my finger and toe, but I couldn't manage to get them to heal right. I'm smart, but I'm not a doctor. They kept leaking and the Tylenol wasn't enough for the pain anymore. I was pissed off and felt like I had been cheated. You can understand that I was under a bit of pressure. I think my reaction was understandable. I was having a perfectly pleasant dream where everything was back to normal again. I woke up to a sound like a cat cleaning itself with its raspy little tongue, licking and licking. Imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes and saw Jacky, just fucking sucking on the wound where my finger used to be. She looked content for once, like a baby nursing off its momma's tit. Well, I just lost it. I hauled off and punched her in the face. Now, I would never normally hit a woman, I'm not that kind of man. But you can see how in this situation I could fly off the handle. She was laying there on the floor looking up at me with that stupid blank expression, and I couldn't stop myself. I just kept punching her, and smashing her head back into the floor until she stopped moving. I figured I had myself in a pretty big mess now, and the only answer was to go back where this all started, right? So I get on the webpage and I type in, "I want everything back to normal" and the box pops up and it says "null." What the fuck is null, right? But no matter what I type in now, that's what I get. Null ,null, null. I was going crazy. How was I going to explain this dead girl in my apartment? Maybe I have to burn the fucking place down, you know? I'm straight out panicking, and that's when Jacky gets up again. Its worse this time. She was a mess. I don't know how she could even stand. She reached out for me, just saying my name over and over, and I couldn't take it anymore. What the hell was I supposed to do? I just wanted her to lay down and go the fuck to sleep, go back to being dead. I walk her into the bathroom and get my big knife. I sat her in the tub so she wouldn't get blood all over the place, and I put the knife to her throat. I made a little cut, but I just couldn't do it. It's not that I'm freaked out by the blood. What she was bleeding wasn't blood anyway. It smelled disgusting. You might think I'm a pussy, but you try looking at the girl you love and cutting her head off. I locked her in the bathroom and she started pounding on the door, screaming my name and pounding and pounding. So I'm typing all this out. If my neighbors haven't called the police yet, they will soon. I made a mistake. Don't go thinking I'm not willing to face up to my actions. I would be, but I haven't done anything wrong this whole way through. I think that must be obvious now. It's not that I'm a coward, either, its just love. Like Romeo and Juliet. She's mine now. That can't be changed, I can see that. We're destined to be together, but I can't be expected to put up with this disgusting dumb rotting woman. So I'll just do what she did, and we can go into the afterlife together, right? It'll be better that way. Its not that I'm chickening out. I had to write this up, especially for my dad, because I want you all to see what actually happened. I want everyone to know this is not my fault. I just made a mistake. None of this was my fault.
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Every year I try to include a rough-hewn story in our line up. This one's it. The tale has an odd fascination for me-perhaps because of its unrelenting ugliness. The protagonist is a monster-not only because of his actions but also because of his lack of moral compass and his refusal to accept responsibility. I want comment on this one, folks. Post on our BBS - GM