Daily Distraction: DARK FIBER – a serial thriller, episode 29
Posted on August 18, 2014
Before he ventured on the net, Matt scanned and filed the fifty plus emails that had landed his inbox during his ride home. Most messages dealt with Dallas Bard and about Giddyap’s brightening future, ranging from covert inquiries to undisguised prying. He’d deal with them later. First he had to color in the life of his avatar. From now on Jonathan Groen was the illustrious Dallas Bard.
Pasting in pictures and uploading documents, forging chats and email exchanges, he thought back to the day Victoria suggested to recruit a total stranger for the job. He’d been skeptic, had preferred an actor, someone he could pay and ditch as soon as the job was done. Victoria had laid out the threats of his plan: a contract, a honorarium, endless drivel over expenses, not to mention the narcissistic personality of actors that would sooner or later make him brag about the gig. He had laughed at her remark about narcissism and she had scolded him for that, but in the end he had seen that she was right. No trails whatsoever, except for the ones that needed to be seen.
He moved a picture of the Dutchman to an older album in Victoria’s photo albums and altered the dates, both in the photo and in the upload track. A carefully selected loner would give him the freedom to end his game the way he felt would serve his purpose best. Victoria had argued that a stranger would easily fade back into oblivion, but he had other plans. Plan that involved the ruin of his avatar as well as the sure death of Matt Turing. He photoshopped more photos and dragged them into albums of recent conferences. People would only notice when they scrutinized the pictures, but when they did it would trigger them into thinking they’d seen Dallas Bard before. The brain was said to be the most powerful organ but it could be tricked without effort. The Internet had turned the world in a Palace of Make-believe. Make-believe is what he would give people.
Matt scraped the nail of his index finger along the edge of the keyboard, as if he could scrape away the invisible grains of sand that were forever lodged underneath. He shook his head. Maybe not forever. If it all worked out as planned, death would release him.
He shifted in his chair when Victoria pinged him again. He ignored her once more and scrolled through the pictures. Most were pics he had stealthily shot of the Dutchman, others were stills from webcam recordings. On every picture his avatar had the same resignation in his eyes that had gleamed in his mother’s eyes before the bullet penetrated her skull. He clicked the images away. Jonathan Groen lacked the survival instinct his mother had lacked. That had made him choose the Dutchman. That and nothing else. Victoria did need to know. Groen could and would never know why he was chosen, at least not until it was too late.
Death is not the end, sang Gavin Friday. Death had been the end of Matt’s bullying father, who killed his wife and son claiming he didn’t want them to live with the shame he had called upon them. Death had been the end of his docile mother, who hadn’t had the spine to stand up against her husband. Death would be the end for Jonathan Groen. But death had not been and would never be the end for him. To him death only meant the beginning of a new life.