"Left...left...left." Addy sighed while swiping away profile after profile on her dating app. "Everyone's so boring here Turnip." She said as she turned to her hamster, who could not have appeared less interested in her melodrama. He was curled tightly in a ball lying in a nice nest of bedding in his cage. As if annoyed by Addy's moaning, he stood up, turned to face away from her, and curled back up.
"Well jeez." Addy snapped. "I didn't realize I was such a nuisance." She rolled her eyes and chuckled. She turned back to her phone and clicked on her own profile.
New to Marsh Cove - Need a hiking buddy! Her bio read. It was only slightly less dull than every other profile she had come across since moving here a few weeks ago, but at least her photos were exciting. She had pictures of her scuba diving, rock climbing, and looking stunning in her opinion.
It was a small town she'd moved to, mostly made up of marshland and swamps. It really was the middle of nowhere. She'd come here for a fresh start, to escape the chaos of the city that overwhelmed her. Cliché, she knew, but she needed peace to get back on track with her writing.
The town was clearly not filled with other young like-minded individuals such as herself. Also, it appeared that it was home to virtually no gay women, which for Addy, who preferred to date other women, was wildly disappointing. Her app was set to show her profiles of both men and women, but so far she had yet to come across a woman's profile anywhere within fifty miles of her location. She'd make do, but the loneliness was beginning to get to her. At first, she appreciated the isolation, but now she longed for the comfort of human interaction.
Ready to call it a night, Addy turned her attention back to her phone and swiped left on one more boring profile that had been just like the last. Right as she intended to close out of the app, the next profile appeared and shocked Addy so much she nearly dropped her phone.
The profile photo was a sultry looking headshot of a stunning woman with long wavy red hair, pale skin, and dark red lipstick. She looked sexily at the camera, with her thick hair covering the sides of her face. She truly was one of the most gorgeous women Addy had ever seen. She would have been surprised to see any woman appear on the dating app, but Addy found herself in disbelief that this particular woman existed in this Podunk town.
"What do you think, Turnip?" Addy asked. "Definitely a catfish right?" She paused, staring at the photo. She looked at the profile details.
Deidre, 25 - Looking for my soulmate.
"Yeah right." Addy said. Only one more photo was on the profile. A silhouette of Deidre's body. Addy swallowed, she had to admit it was tempting. "I mean, no harm in just swiping right just in case. Catfishes usually give themselves up pretty quick. I mean, I'd hate myself forever if she's actually out there and I didn't even try." She took another moment to think it over. "Okay Turnip you talked me into it." She said as she swiped right. With that, Addy plugged her phone into it's charger and she went to bed.
Addy woke up the next morning to see a notification on her phone. It was from the dating app. She felt her heart jump as she saw that she'd received a message from Diedre;
Hi:) you're beautiful.
Skeptical yet optimistic, Addy messaged back.
Hey! Thank you, so are you. What is a girl like you doing in Marsh Cove??
Over the next several days, they messaged constantly. Addy found herself falling head over heels. She learned that Deidre had grown up here and now worked as a school teacher. It was the first decent human contact she'd had in months, and even though she still wasn't certain Diedre was real, she was enjoying herself. It was Diedre who made the first move.
Do you want to video chat? I wanna make sure you're real, you seem too good to be true;)
Addy was surprised, but this was a good sign! Certainly an imposter wouldn't want to video chat. She agreed, and with butterflies in her stomach, waited for the call.
Despite expecting it, Addy jumped when the call came through. She let it ring twice, took a deep breath, and answered. There was some static and a frozen pixelated screen at first, which was to be expected given their location, but after a minute or so, to Addy's joyous surprise, the stunning redhead came into focus. She was real. Addy breathed a sigh of relief.
"Hi" Diedre said with a confident smile. Addy melted. They talked for a few minutes about life and how happy they were to have found each other. Addy could have gone on forever, but Diedre interrupted their conversation to ask a question.
"Hey, I really want to meet you in person, Addy." Her smooth and low voice made Addy feel profoundly attracted to her, and something about hearing Diedre say her name gave her goosebumps. "Will you come over for dinner tomorrow night?" Deidre asked.
Addy felt a ping of anxiety flood her chest, but how could she even consider saying anything but yes. "I would love to!" Addy said, trying to hide the quiver in her voice.
With that, they said goodnight. Addy tossed and turned. A mix of excitement and nerves radiated throughout her bones. What should she bring? What should she wear? Turnip was no help.
The following day Addy spent more time getting herself ready than she had in ages. She picked up flowers and drove to the address Deidre had sent her. It was a bit of a drive from her place, but everything here was pretty spread out. The driveway was surrounded by the marsh on either side. Addy wondered how a house built this deep into the marsh could be structurally sound. As she approached it, however, it appeared just fine. It was a modest little cottage made of stone. Addy's nerves had mostly turned to excitement as she knocked on the door.
"Come in!" Deidre called from the inside. Addy didn't hesitate. In she went. Upon entering the cottage Addy's eyes fell upon a small table lit with candles.
There she was. The woman of Addy's dreams sat at the table, smiling sweetly at her. Deidre was even more beautiful in person. Her long red hair flowed to her hips. Her skin looked like glass, and her red lipstick filled Addy with desire.
"Come in." Diedre said, "have a seat." Addy found herself speechless at the woman's beauty. She walked to the table and sat down, eyes locked on Diedre's. Diedre giggled, "You're so pretty." She said as she stood up from her chair. A bottle of merlot sat in the middle of the table with a wine glass on either side. "Here," Diedre said, smiling as she picked up of the bottle. "Have some merlot. This is my absolute favorite. I think you'll love it." She poured just enough into each glass. She set one glass in front of Addy, all while never breaking eye contact. With a smile she picked up her own glass, and whispered "I'm glad you came. Cheers." Diedre took a sip of her wine.
Addy, feeling slightly overwhelmed yet also entranced by this welcome, mirrored Diedre's actions back to her. "Cheers." She smirked and took a sip. The merlot was smooth and cool as it ran down her throat. She felt herself relax. Just as she began to feel calm, she looked at Deidre to see her making a devious looking smile, as if she knew something Addy didn't.
"Catch me if you can." Deidre said suddenly with a grin as she stood up and ran from the room. She ran through a door at the back of the room that lead to darkness as far as Addy could see.
Addy sat in silence, stunned. What the heck was that? She thought to herself. Is this girl insane? She pondered. She seemed so normal up to now... Maybe she's just eccentric? Is this supposed to be her idea of a game? Is this some sort of weird power trip? Addy sat, dumfounded. She glanced at the front door. Should I just leave?... Although, she thought, chasing some girl around her house in some messed up game of hide and seek on a first date would be a funny story to tell. Addy pondered some more. She supposed she should maybe just try to see if she could see where Deidre went. But if things got any weirder, (but how could they, really?) she'd get out of there.
Addy got up and walked to the doorway Deidre had ran from. She stood just outside of it. It was open, but it was pitch black inside. Addy couldn't see anything in there at all. "Hey!" She yelled. "Deidre? What are you doing?!" She laughed awkwardly.
Silence. Confused and annoyed, Addy turned to leave. What a waste of time.
"COME ON ADDY!" Diedre's voice called. It sounded like it came from deep within the room she had run into. Addy snapped back around. "Hey um..." she called, "I'm not really into...whatever this is, I guess."
"You'll regret it." Diedre's voice called again. This time is seemed to be coming from a different direction. It floated around Addy's ears like a taunt. Addy was getting freaked out, but also found her curiosity getting the better of her. Diedre's not dangerous. I want to know what's going on.
On impulse, and against her better judgment, Addy squeezed her eyes shut and swiftly stepped into the black room, "Hey! What's going on!?" The moment she stepped in, the odor of bog water filled her nostrils. She felt her feet sink into something wet and squishy. Ew! She opened her eyes, Addy's heart dropped into her gut. She screamed.
Addy was outside, in the marsh. It was night, but not pitch black like it had been before she stepped inside. She turned around to face where she had come in, but to her horror, the door was gone. The cottage was gone. There was only marsh, for as far as Addy could see.
Panic set in. The swampy mud and water filled her shoes, weighing her down. The smell of rotting wood and muddy waters surrounded her, making her queasy. "Diedre!" She cried desperately as tears fell down her cheeks. "Help me! How did I get here?!" She was hyperventilating.
Okay okay, calm down Addy. Oh my god! What was in that wine? What is happening?! Okay wait, get a grip. Think. Okay, gotta get to solid land. Solid land.
Addy looked up, took a deep breath and surveyed her surroundings. No solid land in sight. Oh well, just move forward. Addy tried to take step. She struggled to lift her foot out of the mud. As she did, she felt herself sink deeper into the mud. Fear gripped her heart
Oh my god. I'm sinking! Addy screamed for her life. She struggled, ripping and pulling at the swamp weeds around her. With each movement, she sank deeper and deeper into the mud. She sank, unable to free herself.
She screamed until the mud covered her mouth.
Just moved to Marsh Cove, looking for someone to show me around! Franklin nodded as he finished typing his new bio. "I wonder if there's anyone worthwhile in this godforsaken town." He began swiping, each profile seemed worse than the last. "Yeah looks like this is a bust." He laughed as he swiped once more. "Oh wait." He said as he saw the profile that had just appeared on his screen.
Addy, 24 - Looking for my soulmate.