by Matthew Jeffrey


I’ve always been drawn to ephemeral things. We live in a culture of records; every expression saved in some file, stored on some server. I see the beauty of the transient, the mortal. Performance art. Flash mobs. Poetry chalked on the sidewalk. I live for this.

It was natural I would be drawn to Snapchat. You take a picture, make a video, and send it to someone. They’ve one chance to see, then it’s gone. With videos they have to participate. Hold down the play button and don’t let go.

I found a willing recipient; started with simple, spooky pictures. Got his attention. Dead woods in the night-time. Bloody symbols carved in the ground. He didn’t know who I was, where I was from, but he bought in. Sent replies of similar kind. Made a game of it. Silver masks. Black gemstones. He sent a novelty skull. Plastic. Store-bought.

I sent one back. Freshly flensed. Still wet.

I’ll never see his face as he gets it. As he gets it. It makes me smile, to know a fleeting experience has the power to imprison; to trap a man with the memory of something he saw, but can never share.

About the author

Matthew Jeffrey is a British former writer of the month on Reddit’s r/shortscarystories and is flattered to be here years after passing into myth. These days he enjoys collecting paperback fantasy novels and running Dungeon Crawl Classics character funnels.

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