Have you ever met that one person who seems to fall for every scam? Well, that’s my college roommate, Kimberley. I swear, she must be single-handedly responsible for keeping every scammer on this planet in business. In the semester that I’ve known her, I’ve seen her “win” three foreign lotteries, reply to two Nigerian princes and give out her credit information to our fine federal agents at the Internal Money Service (IMS). Since she’s not the brightest bulb out there, I’ve sort of adopted the role of being her “financial” adviser, as she calls it (more like common sense adviser). You wouldn’t believe how much spam mail this girl gets. Seriously, she must be at the top of every scammer's hit list. I was convinced that I’d literally seen it all...until about a week ago.
I was in bed getting a head start on some of my homework. Even though it was Christmas break, Kim and I stayed behind on campus. We were both international students, so it didn’t make sense for us to go home every Christmas. No, usually we saved up so we could go back during the summertime.
“Hey Steph, come check out this email,” Kim said from across the room.
“Another scam? I’m telling you Kim, just dele-” I stopped mid-sentence as my eyes caught a glimpse of the emails title - Thanks for being an Organ Donor! “Huh...that’s new,” I said as I clicked on the email to give it a read:
From: [mailto:Organ.Services@xxxxxxx.org Organ.Services@xxxxxxx.org]
To: [mailto:Kimberley.Minos@xxxxxxx.net Kimberley.Minos@xxxxxxx.net]
Subject: Thanks for being an Organ Donor!
Thank you for choosing to become an Organ Donor! There is currently a demand for the following:
Your contribution is very much appreciated! We will be in touch!
“So? What do you think?” Kim asked after giving me a moment to read the email.
“I’m not sure...” I replied honestly. “Let me do a quick Google search.”
I entered the subject line into Google to see if there was any information out there about this being a hoax or a scam but I didn’t find anything. The only results that came back were pages detailing how to write thank you cards to an organ donor’s family.
“Are you a registered Organ Donor?” I asked.
“Yeah, I signed the form when I got my driver’s license. I figured that I wouldn’t need them when I’m gone,” Kim replied.
“Maybe you checked off a box that asked them to send you updates through email or something,” I replied with the most logical thing I could think of. “You should probably email them back and ask them to take you off the list.”
“Yeah, that’s probably it, thanks, Steph! I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Or maybe they just couldn’t wait to get their hands on your skin!” I laughed. This was an inside joke between me and Kim. She always had flawless, porcelain skin and I always liked to make a big deal about it and tease her.
“Oh, stop.” Kim laughed while feigning embarrassment.
After this odd occurrence, we went about our daily lives. It didn’t take us long to forget the email, since we thought it was an honest mistake. It didn’t even cross my mind once...until today.
I had just come back from a date with this guy I’d been talking to. As I arrived at the door to my dorm, I noticed it was slightly open. I didn’t think much of it at the the time since we usually left the door open a bit to air out the room. Our room must have been the stuffiest one in the entire building. Kim, being the bright one that she is, always forgot to close the door when I wasn’t home. It was something I came to expect, so I didn’t even bother looking up from my phone as I pushed the door open with my foot.
“Kim, you forgot to close the door again!” I called out, all the while staring at my phone and finishing a text. There was no reply. “Kim?” I called again as I looked up…
Words escaped me along with my breath as my entire body went limp. There, laying in front of me, was Kim’s body...flayed of all her skin. I stood there, staring silently, completely dazed. I think it was the sound of my phone hitting the floor that brought me back to my senses. Once I regained control of my feet, I bolted through the hallway screaming and sobbing at the top of my lungs. I was in a state of complete panic and I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I needed to find help. My body must have acted subconsciously, because the next thing I knew, I was in front of the security office at the ground level of our dorm.
“Help! Help!” I screamed as I banged on the door.
“What’s wrong?” asked the security guard as he opened the door.
I started to explain what happened, firing off words quicker than my mouth could move. I could tell the security guard was having trouble making sense of what I was saying since he was giving me a puzzled look. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down,” he said. “Come in, have a seat and we’ll talk.”
The security guard fetched me a mug of hot water and showed me to a seat. I started to explain what had happened as calmly as I could.
The security guard gave a long pause before replying “... I’m very sorry to hear that,” he said while staring me in my eyes. “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’ll go seal off the crime scene and contact the police. You stay here and rest. No need for you to relive that.”
“Thanks,” I replied, forcing the best smile I could manage.
“Oh, and one more thing before I go,” the guard started. “I just need to take your picture for our records. You know, standard procedure and all that.”
“Yeah, I understand.” I nodded.
The security guard took out his phone and snapped several pictures of me. Once he was satisfied, he put the phone back into his pocket and turned to me to say, “Stay put. We’ll get this sorted, I promise.”
Once the security guard left the room, the thoughts I had kept at bay shot back like a torrent. I kept reliving the incident over and over again in my head. I couldn’t stop hearing my screams as I ran down the hallway. I shook my head as I got out of my chair. I started walking around the office, looking to occupy myself with anything that would stop these messed up thoughts in my head, even if only for a second. That’s when I noticed that the security guard had left his computer on. “I wonder if I attracted a crowd with that big scene of mine,” I thought to myself. Although I knew I shouldn’t, curiosity got the better of me as I walked behind the guard's desk and sat down in front of his computer.
I looked over his cameras and soon found the one overlooking my floor. To my surprise, the floor was completely empty, even after the huge commotion I made. “I guess everyone went home for the holidays…” I thought to myself.
As I started to leave the desk, a notification bubble popped up on the bottom right corner of the computer monitor that read: “Inbox: Re: Thanks For Be….” as the rest trailed off. A sinking feeling began to envelop my stomach as if gravity had increased tenfold on it. I clicked on the notification and was redirected to his inbox...:
Sarah Angels - Re: Thanks for being an Organ Donor
Betty Rodriguez - Re: Thanks for being an Organ Donor
Jessica Stevens - Re: Thanks for being an Organ Donor
Kitty White - Re: Thanks for being an Organ Donor
Kimberley Minos - Re: Thanks for being an Organ Donor
I sat there, in complete and utter shock, until I heard a sound that brought me back to my senses - Beep. It was the sound of a text notification. “That’s right! My phone! I’ll use it to call for help,” I thought to myself as I had this realization. I reached into my pocket for my phone, but it wasn’t there. I fumbled around frantically through all of my other pockets looking for it... and that’s when I realized, I had dropped my phone by my room earlier... Beep. Strange, there it was again, the sound of a text notification...but it wasn’t coming from me like I initially thought, it was coming from...the electrical closet.
I headed towards the closet in hopes of finding a phone I could use to call for help. I opened the door and then - the most horrifying thing I’d ever seen...there, sitting on a chair in the closet was a woman...or rather, several women. The body sitting in front of me was a composite - parts of many different women all crudely stitched together. Blood was still dripping from her freshly sewn-on porcelain skin... The monstrosity almost resembled a human, if not for the fact that there were two empty sockets in place of where her eyes should be.
I looked down to find the source of the sound. In the woman’s lifeless hand was a cell phone. I pried the cell phone from her fingers and read the messages:
1126PM: Hey babe!
1126PM: Take a look at this
I clicked on the MMS and found the picture the security guard had taken earlier - a close up of my eyes...
1129PM: I found the perfect set of eyes for you!