“Yeah, I figured out she was the Social Media Killer from day one,” Courtney Trudeau tells Karina and me. “We were best friends in middle school and we told each other everything. Jones was always a quiet girl, but when we were together– I think I spent more time at her home than mine back then.
“And then I screwed her over to get new friends.”
I didn’t realize we were standing on an information goldmine with this girl. “And you never told anyone else?”
“Of course not,” she says, slumping back into a defensive position. “She’s just doing what she thinks is right. If I stopped her it’d make me even worse than I already am…”
“You’re not…” I stop myself from reassuring her that she’s not a bad person. I HAVE glanced over the chatlogs she was involved with. They were pretty bad.
But she does seem in a bit more penance than must most would assume.
“You know what I did?” she asks, hopefully rhetorically. “I didn’t just insult Jones. I insulted her little sister Kylia. The sweetest girl in the world.”
“Then why’d you say such bad things to her?” I ask.
Karina looks at me and blinks a few times. I mouth “sorry” and let her continue.
“Because I was a teenager trying to flirt with a boy and wanted him to think I was a bad girl? I don’t know. It doesn’t even matter anymore.”
She’s hiding something, but I don’t want to butt in again so soon.
Karina pulls up her personal computer and flicks open a file– the chatlog itself. I didn’t know Karina had downloaded the Social Media Killer’s hacks as files; that’s pretty useful.
“I apologize for this, but… You say here in this chatlog that the girl is a ‘putrid whiny–” Karina gulps. “Uh, ‘c-word’ and that nobody in the world can be as heartless as her.”
Courtney groans. “Kylia… told the boy that I liked him even though I was trying to keep it a secret. I was really angry. And… Jones didn’t post it, but I also did something a lot worse… I called her parents and outed her as a bisexual. They didn’t take it well.”
That’s pretty terrible, I have to say.
Especially when Kylia’s what, fifteen?
Courtney continues. “Anyway, I told you I’ve been trying to forgive myself for a long time, but now I realize that’s probably useless. Nobody else is too keen on forgiving me either. I lost my best friend, insulted her little sister, and now she’s like a completely different person. And anything that happens is all because I drove her away and ruined her only friendship.”
“That’s… really sad, Karina says.
I would have to agree. She’s on the basketball team and in the debate club but I guess she’s the type that wanders through her classes only speaking when spoken to, looking out the window during class… I know the type. The type that would end up carrying out serial hacking attacks on everyone around her. It’s not lashing out for some sense of flawed justice. This must have been a long time coming. She’s been preparing for this for a while.
“Do you have any idea what she might be planning next?” I ask.
“Well, she’s got one big target I think she might want to… I don’t know if I should tell you. It’s really… I shouldn’t even know about it.” Courtney buries her head in her knees. “I’m sorry, Jones.”
“We need to know,” I say. “We have to stop her from getting herself hurt, or worse.”
“Well, you remember that casting director guy that she did the other night? I think that was just a practice run for the real thing. The real guy.”
Karina and I look at each other.
“Shit,” Karina says. “Martin Quartermaster flew into Atlanta last night. He’s going to be shooting more scenes for Mega Busters this afternoon.”
“We should probably hurry,” I said.
Karina turns to Courtney. “Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy Wuthering Heights.”
Courtney smiles weakly.
We leave just as the lunch bell rings.