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A Digital Pandemic.

A prologue.

By Billie WhytePublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - April 2024
A Digital Pandemic.
Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

After a long day in the department, Emily dropped her worn and tired dark leather bag on the counter before navigating through the small and disordered kitchen to grab a cold beer from a contrarily empty fridge. She hadn't had a chance to unpack since moving from Newcastle to Glasgow, let alone shop for sustenance, except for cold brews naturally.

She navigated around the cardboard boxes, still strewn across the small, gloomy studio apartment, before settling on one of the few empty spaces to remove her trainers. She threw her jet-black leather jacket beside them and reached her toned, slender arms up to remove her long, unkempt brunette hair from a bun held in by a stretched and worn hair tie. She struggled to make her way towards the once grey sofa, stained, aged and looking increasingly duller than ever, whilst opening her beer with her teeth. As her exercised buttocks hit the unsupportive cushioning, she let out a long sigh of relief. Emily stretched across the coffee-stained table to pick up the TV remote and scoured global news channels for further updates, as she always did each evening.

It wasn't long before a particular news clip caught her attention. She leaned back into the depths of the sofa, lifted her short and slender legs to the table, and took a small sip of the beer in hand whilst listening as the story emerged. 

"Hello, my name is Elise Michaels, and you're watching Fox News. In today's story, another body has been found. This time along Cobus Creek in Elkhart County. A local couple walking their dog noticed the body in the water amongst the Aquatic plants before dialling 911. We're reporting here today with Janelle Owens, who is on-site with local authorities, Elkhart PD. Janelle, can you tell us more about what's unfolding?" 

Emily leaned forward abruptly, placing her feet on the ground, ice-cold brew gripped tightly in her hands and took another sip before setting the bottle on the coffee table in front of her. She watched intently, waiting for the story to develop, and as she did, she rolled up her sleeves, almost in preparation to fight. Emily knew that the latest string of murders had shaken the global public, but she was grossly unaware yet of the extent to which she was facing fear and anticipation amongst herself. 

"Thanks, Elise. We're here with local authorities who are just starting to consider now removing the body from the water. As you can see behind me, at least 3 dozen officers are here at the scene, following previous reports of similar incidents, not only here in Elkhart but across the globe. Local authorities cannot confirm whether this case is connected to any of the numerous reports we're seeing across the globe. As you can see behind me, Elkhart PD is currently examining the site for any evidence that could provide a lead or connection." the reporter on the scene responded. 

"And have they found any evidence to suggest just yet, or is the search still ongoing?" the newscaster asked inquisitively. 

"The search is very much still ongoing at the moment, Elise. We've spoken to Detective Howell of the Elkhart Police Department, who claims that the department IS tackling every case with extreme caution given the circumstances surrounding the bodies found over the last two weeks. They're making no assumptions just yet as to any connections, and at this moment in time, there is no cause to believe that there are any links between this death and any of the other murders. I have also spoken to the local Sheriff, Amanda Wilson, who has stated that both local and international authorities are working together in every way possible to ensure that each case is handled with dignity and that public safety remains of the highest priority whilst investigations are ongoing, and the killers are still within the public."  

"Thanks, Janelle. To those of you watching at home, we can now see that Elkhart PD is starting to remove the body from the water, so please be aware that viewer discretion is advised." 

Emily watched as the body slowly began to lift from the water. She was still very much baffled at the fact that the woke brigade managed to fight for such global transparency amongst reporting stations that she could witness a dead body being excavated from a stream via live television. 

"You couldn't have fought for equal pay, no?" she said aloud.

Her thoughts turned back to the story as the police began to hurriedly clamour around the body, voices prattling loudly in what appeared to be a desperate and rushed attempt to get the body into private view. Despite all attempts to get the body away from reporters and cameras, the victim's right hand fell from the trolley, revealing definitive evidence to suggest that this case, much like the others, was interlinked once again. 

"Shit," Emily whispered loudly, an air of annoyance in her voice directed quite obviously at the carelessness of the officers attending. Her thoughts turned to the fear that the public would yet again face, to become distracted by the trilling of her phone ringing from the kitchen, almost immediately upon the event she had just witnessed.

"Morons," she uttered under her breath, still aggravated by the carelessness of the officers and the ignorance of those that fought for such dehumanising laws. Laws that would come to make her life a PR nightmare, it would seem.

She hurried to the sullied kitchen and scrambled through the decrepit bag to find her mobile. 

"Hey, we have another body. Elkhart..." said the voice on the line before she cut the caller off. 

"...Elkhart County. I know, I was watching the news. Idiots and their transparency laws, man. It's going to be a nightmare reassuring the public again. I'll be there in 15 minutes." Emily said before hanging up the phone abruptly. 

She scrambled amongst the boxes in a hurry to return to the place where she'd taken her shoes from her feet before placing them back on her aching soles. She flipped her hair and manhandled it back into a messy bun before taking one look in the mirror.

"Christ..." she muttered under her breath.

"...I look like death warmed up."

Emily finished the last of her beer in three large gulps. She was so desperately looking forward to a quiet night, but when had there ever been a quiet one since the murders first started two weeks ago. She placed the empty bottle back on the kitchen counter, now making a second attempt to find her keys in the bag. 

"That makes 38 dead bodies across the globe with another dead body and a missing QR tag. What the fuck is going on?" she asked herself.

Emily jogged to the large black PVC front door, closing it behind her and locking up, all the while preparing herself for another evening at the station fuelled by coffee and vending machine sandwiches.

"Fuck." 

Young AdultTrue CrimeThrillerPrologueFictionDystopian

About the Creator

Billie Whyte

Forever wingin' it.

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Comments (10)

  • Christiana 2 months ago

    Congrat

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • D. D. Lee2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • Shaun Walters2 months ago

    Congratulations! Love to see the ineptness of my home county on display 😉 look toward to the next part

  • Jarrett Smith2 months ago

    Got me hooked, I'm ready to see what happens next. Although I'm confused about the "38 dead bodies and a QR code" line. I mean, I understand the dead bodies part, but did miss something about a QR code in this piece or is it setting up something for later?

  • Gabriel Huizenga2 months ago

    You have such natural and instantly compelling writing! I want to read the whole book that inevitably stems from this prologue :) Congrats on Top Story!

  • Esala Gunathilake2 months ago

    Congratulations on your top story.

  • Flamance @ lit.2 months ago

    Amazing job congratulations to your top story great story

  • Cyrus2 months ago

    Congrats on TS!!

  • Tania Hossan2 months ago

    Your righting is so nice

Billie WhyteWritten by Billie Whyte

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