Friend Request
By: L. Alan Russo

A cellular phone which rested atop a stone counter top buzzed as it computed a new notification from one of its social media applications. Tara Stone, a mother of two, snatched up her device curious to view what proclamation it had in store for her.

"A friend request," Tara announced, and placed it back down on the counter. "Five minutes, kids!"

The two children Richard, 8, and the oldest child daughter, Arson, 14, rushed down the hall from their respective rooms into the kitchen. Each grabbed a dish with breakfast and a small glass of orange juice that accompanied it. While Arson leaned against the counter eating the meal her mother made, Tara's phone buzzed once again. Quickly, the eldest child's attention was directed to the mobile device: "Mom, your phone buzzed!"

"See who it is." Tara asked from another room.

Arson picked up the phone and saw it was the same friend request from earlier that her mother never responded to. With the flick of her thumb the screen came alive, and a picture of a man greeted her.

"Ooh, he's cute," Arson said toward Richard's direction, but her brother was completely lost in the social media app of his own phone. With no conscious thought, the oldest child accepted the request of friendship and handed it to her mom as she walked back into the kitchen.

"Who was it?" Asked Tara.

"Just some guy, who wanted to be friends."

Richard finally looked up from his small illuminated screen and said, "I think Mom gets more friend requests than I do."

"It's because you're not a MILF, Richard."

Tara looked at her daughter in shock, and glanced over at her son and awaited his reaction.

"What's a MILF?"

Tara attempted to hold back her laughter, as she picked up her purse and headed for the door.

"All right, come on, enough silliness for now or you two will be late."

#

Tara was on her way back home, after she dropped off her children at their schools. Without warning her windshield was flooded with a downpour of rain. It wasn't uncommon for that part of Arkansas to have flash-floods in early spring, but it was a nuisance nonetheless, that and Tara hated driving in the rain.

Tara reached over and turned off the car radio, and slowed her speed to a crawl. She gave serious thought to the idea of simply pulling over and waiting the storm out. But, she knew it was only a few miles from her house and felt it was a possible task to accomplish as long as she was careful.

Her cell phone rang with another notification, which in turned cause Tara to release a bloodcurdling scream. Immediately she realized what it was and halfheartedly laughed at herself for such silliness and the unnecessary anxiety she had in the flash-flood.

As the car inched along, Tara's phone continued to notify her of incoming messages. It wasn't the same sound as a personal text message from someone who had her phone number (and if so, she might had pulled over to read what it said), but rather, it was the sound of a message that was sent through the social media application. Tara was almost home, so she decided to ignore it until she was safely parked in her driveway.

The cell phone signaled new messages four more times, before Tara got to the house. Before she got out of her car, she searched around and found an unread newspaper in the backseat and held it over her head as she got out of the vehicle.

Once inside the house it was dark and chilly, though it was twenty minutes until Ten O'clock it appeared to be closer to dawn because of the storm. As Tara closed the door behind her, her attention shifted to the nearby calendar. It was a Monday, which was errand day, but it was perfect sleeping weather and Tara could not pass up that opportunity.

Tara heard the phone two more times in her purse, she placed it on a table near where the calendar hung and walked back toward her bedroom.

#

It had only been a short time after, when Tara's eyes shot open with complete terror to find a man on top of her holding her down. She tried to struggle, but he had her wrists pinned down above her head with his right hand. In his left, he held a serrated hunting knife and ran the tip delicately over her thin lips.

"Shhh... Be a good girl and don't scream, okay?"

Tara nodded in response.

"That's a good girl," her assailant whispered and made one more pass with his blade across her lip, then moved it down her chin, along the median of her neck and stopped at the beginning of her cleavage. The pressure of the blade never changed, it was soft and gentle, almost a caress. Goosebumps arose as he maneuvered the tip of the steel in a circling 's' motion between her clavicle and breasts. "Oh, that tickled, huh?"

She nodded.

He smiled, which surprised her. It wasn't that act of smiling that troubled her, it was how non-threatening it was. She was well aware of the dangerous situation she was in, but, something felt off. What was it, she thought.

"You're not much of a talker, are ya?" The predator said, Tara made noted that his breath smelt like winter-mint.

"Not really," Tara replied softly. "Especially when my life's in danger."

"You do what I say, and you won't be in any kinda danger."

Tara stared into his gray eyes, there were no sign of anger or rage, but rather it was loneliness she saw. With his weight on top of her petite frame, cause her to shift in discomfort. The man immediately noted the body movement and asked, "Am I hurting you?"

Again, she nodded.

He took his right knee and pressed it up against her inner thigh what caused her to open her legs and the man's weight shifted to the lower part of her body.

"Is that better?" He asked.

She nodded again.

"Say something."

"Yes," Tara muttered.

"Good," he said with a smile, "No reason for this to be unpleasant."

"What do you want?" Tara hesitantly asked.

"I just wanted to get to know you, that's why I sent you that friend request."

Tara glared at his face, his time long and hard. It was the same guy that Friend Requested her this morning. But, I rejected his request, didn't I, she thought.

I saw you the other day at the market, and I was taken aback by your beauty," he paused and examined her body beneath him, before he continued, "I asked the clerk who you were, he told me about you and said that he followed you on social media...where I found you."

Her face contorted in confusion.

He smiled in amusement, "Once you accepted my friend request, I had access to what information you had listed, like your home address."

Tara reflected back earlier, she never opened the application and concluded it must have had been Arson who accepted the invitation.

"I surfed your page all day yesterday, before I worked up the nerve to send you a friend request. I tried to learn as much as I could about you," he smiles again and said, "but let's face it, you don't give a whole lot to work with when it comes to social media."

"What are you going to do to me? Tara finally worked up the nerve to ask.

He exhaled with force and let her hands free.

"I know what I want to do, but I don't know if I have the nerve to do it," said the man, while he traced Tara's underwear through her yoga pants with his knife. "I never thought I'd get this far."

"You've never done this before," Tara asked with a sheepish tone.

He looked her deep into her eyes, his gray eyes strong, yet full of sadness. For a moment, Tara felt a small taste of his sorrow from his eyes, they became swollen and red as if he were about to cry.

"N-no," he said with a barely audible tone.

"Why me?" She asked.

He sat up from her and leaned back on to his knees, he did not respond right away; finally he ran his hands down his face. "Because I've never seen a creature a beautiful as you before."

He back off the bed and stands to his feet, but Tara knew better to move and remained still. The man paced the length of her bed, he eventually paused and said, "I know the bible says it's a sin to fornicate or have premarital relations, but come on! I mean shit!"

Is this what this is about, Tara thought to herself, because he's a good little Christian boy and is starved for a sexual relationship?

"I'm sorry," the man said as he looked down at her. "Please forgive me for my trespasses against you."

Feeling rather confused about the entire situation and how it unfolded, Tara sat up and replied to the man in an equally confused tone: "I... I forgive you."

"Thank you," he said and sat down next to her. The man placed the blade next to him and lowered his head between his legs as he begin to weep. "I'm going to Hell, now, anyway though."

At first, the crying was soft and transformed right before Tara's eyes into a full-blown emotional breakdown. Once Tara was certain her safety was no longer in question, she quickly snatched up the Man's knife and with all of her might drove the long and sharp blade downward into his skull.

Almost immediately, his tears ceased and an odd gurgle escaped is mouth and with a loud thump his body dropped dead to the ground.

As she stepped off the bed and over the man's copse, the rain had stopped and the clouds begin to part. The Sun's light and warmth penetrated the crack between the curtains in Tara's bedroom. In that moment she knew that the nightmare was over and everything was okay.

THE END

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