I had finally gotten into bed after several wasted hours off The Office re-runs and homework procrastination. It was already past one, and I knew my future self would hate me in about 4 hours.
Not gonna look, not gonna look… ugh it could be something important though. I grunted and leaned over to grab my phone. The sudden bright screen felt like an x-ray on my retinas, but I countered with the pirate-eye maneuver. It was an Instagram notification.
“Mr. Marvelous started following you.”
I nearly hurled my phone across the room after that. I groaned once more and nestled back into bed, setting the phone back down. I heard it buzz several more times, but I didn’t give in to curiosity again.
The annoying jingle of my alarm began, burrowing into my ears like some over-anxious mole creature and tearing me from slumber. I slapped it a couple times, before my brain activated enough to successfully disable it.
Despite the crippling exhaustion, I forced myself onto my feet and grabbed my hoodie. The apartment was cold and dark as I made my way to the coffee pot. The sun had yet to crack the horizon, and my two roommates had yet to emerge from their tombs.
A long yawn escaped my lips as I waited for my caffeine fix to brew. The smell of sweet Colombian filled the air as I took my phone out. My updates list was absolutely swamped by Instagram notifications. All of them said the same thing.
“Mr. Marvelous liked your photo.” This dude had literally gone through every single Instagram photo on my profile and liked them. I’ve had people like a few of my photos in quick succession before, but never to that extent. As I was looking through them a new message suddenly rolled in.
“Wanna have some fun?” The message was of course, from Mr. Marvelous. Instead of replying I decided to finally click over to his page. He had no followers, activity or posts of any kind. The only person he was following was me. His profile picture looked like a painted rendition of a black and white butterfly.
As I stared, another few messages rolled in.
“You are so beautiful.”
“I want you.”
“I can’t wait to meet you.”
“Do you like art?” Before I could do anything a series of pictures rolled in one after another. They were all abstract, black and white pastels painted in bizarre patterns. Most held some kind of humanoid features, twisted mouths, eyes and distorted faces.
I saw the silhouettes of women in compromising situations like bondage and being held down by someone. They got more intricate as they came in, and also more disturbing.
They just kept coming, one after another without any sign of slowing down. The final one I saw looked the most disturbing. It was a tall man, standing in a field of white and black flowers. His arms were long with sharp claws. He wore some kind of hat, almost like a sombrero but smaller. His face was pale-white, distorted in abstract, and with his eyes being asymmetrical black splotches and a twisted, grinning mouth.
I blocked him. Thoroughly creeped out and running behind schedule. I chugged down my cup of coffee and hopped in the shower soon after. After stepping back out, I found a new notification of a Facebook message.
“That wasn’t very nice.” The profile that sent it was someone named Mr. Marvelous. Goosebumps sprouted all over my skin, and I recognized the same exact profile picture as the one from Instagram. I blocked it immediately, feeling my hands begin to tremble.
I really should’ve reported the profiles or something, but I just thought he was some incredibly persistent creeper. Plus, as usual I was already behind schedule.
I quickly got dressed in my work uniform and headed out, just as one of my roommates; Alissa had begun to stir. I greeted her and exchanged a few words before departing, doing my best to push the weird events out of my mind.
I parked behind the coffee shop, and mentally prepared myself for the day. The sun had only just begun to rise, but the line of customers already extended all the way around the parking lot.
I was just about to exit my car when my phone rumbled again. Nervously I pulled it out, but was relieved to find it was only a text from Alissa.
“Hey, have you heard from Lea?” She wrote.
“No, why?” I texted back as I began to walk inside.
“She didn’t come home last night. I was just wondering if you had heard from her.” The notion made me nervous, but after thinking about it, I suspected that Lea had spent the night at her boyfriend’s house as she often did. It was a bit strange though, because she usually told us she was doing that.
“She probably spent the night at Eric’s.” I texted back as I entered the store. I began my shift, and took my place at the window as the endless line of customers rolled through. For a couple hours it continued, with me receiving and doling out orders from the drive thru as always.
Around 10AM the steady flow began to dwindle, and I had a chance to take my break. I then saw another text from Alissa.
“Yeah false alarm, she just texted me. She lost her key again so I left one out for her lol.” I breathed a sigh of relief at that. The rest of the work day went pretty normal and at 4PM I finally clocked out. I went to the gym for a bit afterwards, and then returned back home to resume studying.
Upon returning home I realized neither Alissa or Lea were there. I was kind of glad for that at first, as it meant I could focus on studying with few distractions. I proceeded to begin studying while listening to some podcasts. About an hour in, and my phone rumbled with a new notification.
“Are you at home?” The text was from Alissa.
“Yeah, why?” I texted back. Alissa didn’t reply. I didn’t think much of it, and about half-an-hour later I heard the front door to the apartment open. I heard footsteps walking on the hardwood floor in the living room.
I rose to my feet, and proceeded to go meet with who I thought was Alissa. Upon stepping into the hallway though, I found the entire apartment was dark.
“Alissa?” I called out. I got no reply. My heartrate then spiked in my chest. I called her name again but still got no response. I quickly scurried back into my room, grabbing my phone and taser. As I shut the door behind me, I heard heavy footsteps echo down the hall. They stopped right outside the door.
I huddled against the far wall, clutching my taser tight as I dialed the police.
“Alissa? Is that you?” I tried to keep my voice from shaking as I spoke. No response came as I waited for the phone call to connect. Then slowly, the handle turned and the door slowly opened. In stepped a large man wearing all black with a white porcelain mask. He carried with him a large duffel bag around his shoulder.
I screamed and began begging and crying as the man strolled towards me. I was huddled in the corner in what was basically a fetal position, keeping the taser hidden on my lap.
“Please… please no…” I begged through tears. The man was not swayed, and he lunged for me, reaching out his right hand. I quickly withdrew the taser and jabbed it into his hand, pressing the trigger as it made contact.
The sounds of crackling electricity and the screams of the man then filled the room. The man reared back, clutching his hand and falling to the ground as he began to convulse. I seized the opportunity and ran from my room as he writhed about. I reached the front door a second later, and threw it open.
I didn’t stop running until I reached the local supermarket a few blocks away. I went rushing inside the store, balling my eyes out. In the sudden commotion I had at some point dropped my phone.
A few store employees gathered around me, offering assistance and comfort. After a few minutes I managed to calm down a bit and reiterate that someone had broken into my apartment. They called the police, and an older lady sat beside me.
Police went to my apartment soon after, but found that the attacker had already fled the scene. They interviewed several other residents of our complex, but no one had seen him. The cops had a look around, but found only one thing in Alissa’s room. On the wall above her bed, was the spray-painted image of what looked like a butterfly.
Two officers later met with me to interview about the situation. I did my best to explain everything, and relay as many details as I could remember. I told them about the Instagram user called Mr. Marvelous, and how I suspected it was he that had attacked me that night. Alissa and Lea never returned, and it was assumed they had been taken by him.
The cops tried their best to reassure me, and promised they would continue investigating. After calling around to Alissa and Lea’s families and friends, they learned that none of them had heard anything from either girl. A manhunt has been declared, and the cops have been looking ever since. That was almost two weeks ago.
I’ve been staying at my parent’s house in the meantime, under constant police supervision. A few days after the investigation began, I received a Snapchat message from Alissa.
The message was a picture that showed a brunette-haired girl in pajamas tied-up in the back of a trunk. Her mouth was covered by a gag, and tears streamed from her eyes. My heart sunk like a rock as I recognized her. The caption on the message read: “Alissa Says hi”.
Police have theorized that this Mr. Marvelous is responsible for both disappearances. They think Lea was taken first, and that the abductor used her phone to trick Alissa into leaving out an apartment key. The suspect then proceeded to gain entry into our apartment, and wait for Alissa to return so he could take her as well.
Neither of them has been found, and the police are still investigating. I feel so guilty for all of this, and how stupid I was handling the entire thing. If only I would’ve called earlier, then maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess.
It’s really terrifying to me how much this guy was able to do from simply having access to Lea’s phone. He found our apartment, our contact information, learned our schedules and found all three of us.
I’ve been obsessing over the messages he sent me. Alissa and Lea have both posted on Facebook since their disappearance. At least on their profiles anyway, but it isn’t them that did it. It’s that bastard Mr. Marvelous, and all he ever posts are more of those black and white paintings.
Several times now, the police have managed to triangulate his posting location. They’ve tracked him down to a half-dozen places around the state, but each time they show up, they find only one thing. A crude, hand-painted picture of a butterfly.
I don’t know how he’s doing it, but I know why he’s doing it. He’s just toying with us, and trying to scare me. He wants me terrified, which is why he sent the message of Alissa after taking her. I’m sure I am only feeding his deranged ego by posting this, but I don’t know what else to do.
People need to know that people like him are out there. People need to know that he is out there. Please be careful with your accounts. Your phones are the goldmine that a sick person like him needs to learn everything about you and your loved ones.
I’m sorry Alissa, I’m sorry Lea. I hope that you are both okay, and I hope you are returned safe and sound. I don’t know what else to do. As the police suggested, I’ve deactivated every social media account I own, but last night I got an email from an unknown sender.
“Don’t worry beautiful, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ll be seeing you again very soon. By the way, tell your parents that I really like the flower garden in their backyard.”