He came back to the chat room an hour later. It was empty. Somehow he knew she would also sense this, or guess this, and return. He only had to wait about ten minutes. Her nickname appeared.
Vlad: Clever trick of yours… I tried to go back to the chat logs and they don’t exist
Schadenfreude: No, they wouldn’t..nothing directly interactive lasts..
Vlad: You know how to work computers then..are you a hacker?
Schadenfreude: No, I’m not, and I actually know nothing about the technical requirements of such an art…
Schadenfreude: No, it’s not..have you thought about what I said?
Vlad: I’d have thought much more if I could review it..but yes..and you’re playing with me..again..again..Lisa..for Christ’s sake!
Schadenfreude: Ah ha..there’s the rub.. I’m not Lisa.
Vlad: Then are you Andrew?
Schadenfreude: LOL..that Neanderthal? I’m not him. And I’m not Lisa
David shook his head and then a fist at the screen. He was going in circles. She was incapable of direct discussion, she led him down pointless avenues. But she could protest all she liked, try to make her real life existence as Lisa as ephemeral as her skilled internet persona – hell, perhaps she had some deep trauma that made her need to do that, to be a ghost rather than a person – who cares? But she wasn’t going to get away with it. He’d met her in real life. She shouldn’t forget that.
They’d almost had sex, for Christ’s sake. He knew what was real and what wasn’t.
Vlad: The bloody hell you aren’t, what sort of sick game..
Schadenfreude: I’m not Lisa. I never said I was Lisa. Think about it, remember if you can. You just thought I was. Just like Lisa thought I was you…
David felt sick. Suddenly a whole new possibility appeared before him. Schaden wasn’t Lisa, as she said, nor was she Andrew, or Norman for that matter. She was a player who had played them all, and they all were victims equally of her. If she was a she. How could you tell anything?
He steeled himself to find out the truth, no matter how horrible. He considered that this meant Lisa’s disappearance was as portentous as Greg had suggested. He had to know. He had to know.
Vlad: What are you saying?
Schadenfreude: I’m saying that you both presumed I was the other..because you never really checked.. you just thought you knew something and filled in the blanks..that’s what people always do..you can be relied on for that..you never check the assumptions you like with any rigour…
Vlad: What kind of a sick joke were you playing?
Schadenfreude: The kind you wanted me to play..the kind you were asking for…
Vlad: How can you say that?
Schadenfreude: You asked for all of it..you people always do..I can’t provide what isn’t requested and what isn’t in you..it isn’t possible..
Vlad: You make no sense..
Schadenfreude: Oh David, do you want to know the truth? Do you really want to know?
(c) Helen M Valentina 2016, All Rights Reserved