A grown man poses as a teenage boy online and coaxes teenagers into becoming killers.
As soon as Adam got home, he checked for a message from David. It was there waiting for him.
David1998: You home yet?
Adam was supposed to be doing homework, but he didn't care. He started typing.
Adventuretimefan16: I'm here now.
David1998: How are you?
Adventuretimefan16: Another sucky day in my sucky life.
David1998: I know what you mean. My parents are fighting.
Adventuretimefan16: Mine are still in Calcutta.
David1998: I wish my parents would leave me alone like yours do. They're always on my case. I wish they would just shut up.
Adventuretimefan16: At least they care. I could kill myself and they probably wouldn't even shed a tear.
David1998: You can't let them hurt you like that. Talking about killing yourself? That would be letting them win. You're better than that. You're smarter than them.
Adventuretimefan16: Whatever. I need to do some homework now. Talk to you later, man.
David1998: Come on man, you don't need to do homework right this minute. Let's keep talking. Tell me about Cameron.
Adventuretimefan16: You're a bad influence on me, David.
David1998: That's what I'm here for.
Adam was obsessed with Cameron. He'd been in love with her since 6th grade. He could talk all day about Cameron. What bugged him was that when he said hi, she acted like he was lower than dirt. Okay, so he didn't really have any friends. So what? That didn't excuse her treating him like he was nothing. The guys she went for were just dumb jocks. She could do so much better.
David1998: I hate girls like that. I know you like her and all, but man, sometimes I think someone needs to teach girls like that a lesson.
Adventuretimefan16: Whoa, man, you sound all aggro.
David1998: I'm just saying, if you can't treat people like human beings, you shouldn't be treated like a person. You should be treated like trash. Because that's what you are.
Adventuretimefan16: Cameron is not trash. She's an angel. She just doesn't see what's important in life. I could show her.
David1998: You can lead a girl to water, but you can't make her think.
Adam took a moment to stew over things.
Adventuretimefan16: Sometimes, I think what you're saying. But I would never hurt Cameron.
David1998: Right, because you love her.
David1998: But you'll have to do something to make her notice you. To make her understand how she makes you feel. To make your parents see who you are.
Adventuretimefan16: Everyone will just think I'm a freak.
David1998: They already think you're a freak. But if you pull it off, you'll be a god.
Adventuretimefan16: What exactly are we talking about here?
David1998: I think you know. What you've been waiting for. What you crave.
Adam's fingers hovered over the keyboard. He'd confessed to David before about the things he had done to the neighbor's dog, the dark thoughts and fantasies he had. David said he understood. But what he was proposing was a big deal. He wasn't sure he was ready.
Adventuretimefan16: I'm really going to do homework now. Talk later.
He closed the chat window before David could respond. He did actually get started on his homework, but the whole time his mind was somewhere else. Could he actually do it? He wanted to so bad. But if he got caught, he would be in prison for a long time, maybe the rest of his life. Was it worth it?
"Yes," said David's voice in his head. "Do it. You know you want to."
That was it. Adam got into his parents' liquor cabinet. Maybe he could drown the urge in vodka. It was worth a try.