"KILLER APP" -- Software designers' jargon, referring to a
not-yet-written software application ("app") which everyone will want
to have and which will make its creater a billionaire overnight.
She awoke, not remembering going to sleep. There was a slight dizziness, a tiny buzzing in her ears. She felt coolness all around her, and a floating sensation. Her mind started to clear, but the floating feeling remained.
Did he drug me? she thought to herself. She couldn't remember anything like that. Her vision was confused, but starting to clear. Her awareness of her surroundings sharpened.
She became aware she was literally floating, vertically, in water up to her neck. The water was cool, but not uncomfortable, actually it felt nice against her naked body. She tested her ability to move. Her hands were cuffed behind her, her feet somehow restrained down below. She was used to the handcuffs, of course, used to being unable to move. They played bondage games often. She usually had some idea what was going to happen before it started, but she liked surprises.
Her consciousness returned to her fully, and she saw that she was confined to a glass-sided water tank, about five feet wide on each side and around ten feet high. She wondered how he could have gotten it into their basement, without her knowing. Or how he'd gotten it down there, period. Maybe he had brought it down in pieces and assembled it.
Her feet, she found as she wriggled, testing the limits of her movement, were held by chains wrapped around each ankle. Looking down, her face breaking the surface of the water as she did, she saw that the chain from each ankle was attached to the side of the tank on either side, about 18 inches below the foot. The chains held her legs spread, her feet perhaps a yard apart. There was one more chain, this one running from one ankle to the other, preventing her from spreading her legs any wider, and from reaching the sides of the tank with either foot. She tried to reach behind her to touch the wall of the tank, and could barely brush it with the tip of her longest finger.
She saw one other thing, down there below the surface of the water: the fullness in her sex was caused by a thick dildo at the top of a pole, running vertically from the bottom of the tank.
Above her, there was one more detail to her bondage, one that sent shivers through her, with a small thrill of excitement.
The rope. The noose. She could feel its snug hold around her neck, feel the hangman's knot just in front of her left ear. She had always been fascinated by hanging, but afraid to try anything approaching a real experience with it. She laughed with delight, the whole plan becoming clear to her now. She was hanging! Her feet and her hands couldn't reach anything that would support them. He had found a way to hang her without danger! She floated almost weightlessly in the water, putting almost no pressure at all on her neck. She could hang here indefinitely, letting her asphyxia fantasies run wild. How long had he been planning this? She'd have to find a way to thank him later. It was so unexpected -- she'd been thinking he was mad at her. He'd been so distant lately. She had been thinking for several days about asking him if he was mad at her, or if anything else was wrong. Maybe he'd just been busy planning this surprise for her.
She wriggled with a sudden feeling of frustration. She wanted to be able to move up and down on the dildo, but she had nothing to push against. It was thrust up deep inside her, and she felt tingles all through her, knowing the stimulation the dildo could give her. If she could only move!
Well, it was still a great plan, anyway. Not perfect, but if she could do it again someday maybe they could get some of those loose details worked out.
Speaking of him, where was he?
She tried bending at the waist, and sighed in satisfaction: there, that did it. Using her stomach muscles to bend forward and then straighten up, letting the noose lift her as she bent, she found she could slide slightly up and down on the dildo. Not really as much as she wanted, but she could tell it could get her where she needed to be, in time. She could feel the increased pressure on her neck from the rope each time she bent, which only helped increase the excitement. It would take awhile, but she knew her body, knew she could reach an orgasm this way.
The basement door opened, startling her. She looked at him and smiled, feeling the sweat on her forehead from the approaching orgasm. Or maybe it was just the humidity.
He gave her his little one-sided smile, that she hadn't seen in awhile. "Having fun, Paula?" His image wiggled slightly, seen through the glass sides of the tank.
She held herself still with difficulty, the tingling in her sex now driving her crazy. She didn't know why, after everything they had done together, she would feel self-conscious about masturbating in front of him. This situation was the fulfillment of such an intensely personal fantasy; maybe that was the reason.
"Honey, where did you ever come up with this idea?"
"From you, sweetie."
She frowned and shook her head. "I never talked about anything like this. I can't remember it, anyway."
He smiled a little more fully. "You may not know which idea I'm talking about. You haven't really seen what this is about yet."
She sighed. She knew how hard it was to get things out of him when he being playful like this. "Honey, just tell me."
He folded his arms across his chest. "Paula, remember that time you said you wanted to be the first person to die on the Internet?"
Her blood ran completely cold. Frozen.
"H-Honey, quit kidding." Her lips felt numb.
"Did you or did you not tell me you thought about that all the time? That it was one of your favorite fantasies?"
"Mein Gott!" she said, shocked into German. "B-But look, I... you know, people have fantasies. That doesn't mean they want to DO them." She felt her body quivering. Her legs felt weak -- she knew if they had to support any of her weight, they couldn't have done it. But at the same time, she felt something bubbling up from the deepest, darkest hiding place in her mind. Something that once, in the past, had dared her to speak her fantasy, had made her say it out loud to him. Something that was quivering with excitement now, that she could feel under her terror.
She watched him wide-eyed as he pulled away a canvas sheet revealing what looked like... a camera. She had seen one like it, offered on a Web site, just days ago. The latest version of the live Internet camera. Designed to send streaming video from a Web site out to anyone with RealPlayer on their computer. Recent versions had the clarity of a television broadcast. She knew, obviously, what this one was going to be broadcasting.
"No, look, honey, I'm sorry, I'm sorry for everything. Anything that I've done, whatever it is you've been mad at." She still had no idea what that might be. "We'll do those things I haven't wanted to do. That I've been too tired to do. What about... honey, what are you doing now?" He had gone around behind the tank. She couldn't turn her head far enough to see him.
She could hear something scraping a short distance along the floor. He gave a small grunt, and she could hear his breath sounds coming up closer to her. "Honey, no, please, stop now, let's take time and talk about this." It has to be a joke, she thought. Her fear grew, it filled her body, she could feel her fear in her fingers and toes... mixed with that same excitement, also growing. She tried to understand where the thrill was coming from -- what part of her didn't understand the terrible danger she was in? He could really mean it. It fit with the way he'd been acting.
His voice came from above her. She bent her head back, and saw him looking over the top of the tank. He'd obviously used their stepladder. "I figured I'd need to do this. Open your mouth." The ball gag hovered in front of her face.
"NO! Stop, honey, PLEASE, just listen, okay..." She closed her mouth tight then, trying to turn her head to avoid the gag.
He reached down, bracing her head against his arm, and pinched her nose shut. As she opened her mouth to breathe, he pushed the gag in, tying the straps behind her head, working quickly from long practice. He covered the ball quickly with wide strips of heavy tape, pushing the ball back farther into her mouth, making an airtight seal. If he held her nose now she wouldn't be able to breathe at all.
Her jaw strained as she tried to push the ball out with her tongue, grunting, trying to continue pleading with him in a voice that could no longer speak meaningful words. She usually was able to say something with the ball in her mouth, but it was in so deep it completely pinned her tongue to the floor of her mouth. Everything she tried to say came out as the same animal-like grunt.
She quieted, knowing she could not make herself understood now, and tried to calm herself. He had to be joking, she thought. He must just want her to know how upset he was. And then he'd let her go. She wished she had just talked to him earlier. She wished he had talked to her about it too. They had always shared their feelings with each other before.
He had climbed down behind her, and walked around to stand in front of her again. He stood with his hands behind him, with a satisfied "I've got a secret" smile on his face.
"Want to hear the best part?" He stood watching her, as if he was waiting for her to nod her head. She refused to move, knowing he would say what he wanted to say anyway.
"I improved on your idea a little. You're really going to make history. You won't just be the first person to die on the Internet. You're going to be the first person killed by the Internet."
She searched his face for any sign that he was kidding. She could see he was amused by something, but she was afraid she wouldn't be able to share the amusement.
"There's a Web server behind you that's going to handle everything. Literally everything. I'm just going to sit back and watch, as soon as I put it online."
She waited for him to continue, trying to ignore the hard knot in the pit of her stomach. She felt she needed to listen carefully to every word he said.
"A few of our friends from #Gallows know what time this will start. They'll tell their friends, their friends will tell friends. I don't know how many people will end up linking to my Web page here. Maybe hundreds, that would be pretty exciting." He smiled again, at the thought.
"When people come to the page, they'll see you, here in your tank, and they'll have four buttons at the bottom they can click on: "Raise water," "Lower water," "Vibrator on," and "Vibrator off."
She looked down, recognizing at once the reference to the dildo buried deep inside her. So it was a vibrator! Of course, it was impossible to think about that now: her mind was struggling not only with the horror of what was happening, but struggling also with that strange voice inside her, the one shouting with excitement at the thought of dying in front of so many people, invisible people sitting in their homes all over the world. And all those people choosing how she would die! She understood exactly what he was saying, what those buttons on the Web page were for. Very easily explained. How user- friendly!
"There is a hose behind you, at the top of the tank, that can be turned on to add water to the tank. There is a drain in the bottom of the tank, which can be opened to let the water out. The Web server is programmed to operate both of these electronically, in response to the buttons the people are clicking. If more people in the last five minutes have clicked on "Raise water" than on "Lower water," the hose will be turned on; and of course, if it's the other way around, the drain will be opened. The vibrator works the same way: it will be turned on and off depending on which button people have clicked the most."
Her mind raced. Her friends... and friends of friends... friends of friends of friends... they couldn't kill her, could they? Would they? One moment she was convinced the people she knew, and the people they knew, could never try to drown her, or hang her. But... it might not seem real to them. They weren't killing someone, they were just clicking their mouse, as if they were playing a video game. But to some of them --- she knew which ones ---she knew it would seem very real to them. And very, very exciting.
As it was exciting to her.
That was the shocking part. She felt a growing arousal, almost an impossible level of excitement, and she knew it wasn't because of the dildo between her legs. Images of herself dangling helplessly, the rope holding her by the neck, squeezing the breath out of her, raced through her mind, and she felt her sex lips swelling, becoming so sensitive to the tiniest movements as they slid just millimeters up or down along the surface of the dildo. She wanted to see herself now, see what she looked like... there was the faintest reflection of her on the glass wall of the tank, her face from the surface of the water on up, and she concentrated on it, trying to focus on it, to see her head and the rope coming down next to her ear. She wished she could see it around her throat, but that was under the water. I'm going to die here, she thought. I am so, so scared... and I can't remember ever being so, so hot. Involuntarily she flexed her stomach muscles, trying to slip up and down on the dildo as she had earlier. No, she thought, stop. I can't let him see that. If she had any hope at all he would let her go, the worst thing she could do was show him how much this excited her.
He raised his watch, looked at it, and his smile grew a little wider. "It's time."
He walked around behind her again, and she could hear switches being flipped, hear the tiny crackle of a monitor warming and brightening, the clicks from a keyboard. It's happening, it's really happening. He's now turning my fate over to a world full of invisible people who will decide how I will die. Her stomach was tied in knots again. At last the tiny clicking sounds stopped, and a chair scraped the floor as he rose from the terminal and walked around in front of her, pulling the chair along with him. He set it a few meters away and sat, beaming happily at her. "There were two hits already, in the first few seconds. They're out there, starting to connect with us."
A moan escaped from her throat, one of fear, not excitement. She had been trying to pick up any sign at all that this wasn't real, that it was some kind of hateful game he was playing. There had been no sign, not one she was aware of.
She watched him closely. He sat with his legs crossed, his hands folded on his knee. When was he going to stand up and say, just kidding, honey. You didn't think I'd really do something like this, did you?
She closed her eyes tightly. It's not real, it's not real, she said to herself, again and again. Never mind that other voice inside me. That crazy person inside who got me into this. I knew I should never have told my secret, she thought. But I couldn't stop myself. She remembered telling him about her most private fantasy. How she had shivered, thinking about it. How wet she had been, imagining it happening.
It occurred to her that at least five minutes must have gone by. Nothing had happened. Probably something wrong with the software, some broken connection somewhere. She sighed with relief, her heart gradually slowing its pounding. Nothing was going to happen, and eventually he would let her free.
Her whole body jerked, suddenly, at a totally unexpected sensation, feeling confused, disoriented, not able to tell what was happening. At last she was able to focus on the feeling, determine where it was coming from. It was in her sex, a purring, pulsing, deep inside.
The vibrator. It was running, sending waves of tingles outward through her whole body. She had been watching him just as it happened, and hadn't seen him move a muscle. She knew he hadn't done it. Somewhere, someone had clicked their mouse, sent a signal. Someone in the world was watching. And wanted to see her dance.