I was there and I watched Alyssa do it. I watched her do it and I didn’t do a thing to stop her. And now they’re all dead.
It was a Friday, so my parents said I could spend the night at Alyssa’s house. We were in her room listening to the new Miley Cyrus album. I was trying out different shades of lipstick: applying a thick layer of candy apple red, puckering and pouting in the mirror before wiping it all off into a fistful of Kleenex and moving on to eggplant purple. Alyssa was sprawled on her back across her lacy, pink canopy bed, her laptop propped up on her belly as she scrolled through Facebook (Alyssa was always on Facebook). It was a warm spring night, and the window was open so we could smell the redwoods, and hear the sounds of cars and trucks out in the distance on Highway 101. Alyssa was chomping on a wad of bubblegum in that really annoying way she had, when she turned to me, lips smacking, and said, “I know how we can totally screw her over.”
“How?” I asked tentatively, throwing my hair back and cocking my head over my shoulder to pucker in the mirror and catch the way the light shimmered on my midnight blue lips. I was a little nervous because Alyssa can become a really crazy bitch when she wants something bad enough, and I could tell by her quiet intensity that this was one of those times.
“Dog porn?” I asked, wiping the blue from my lips.
“Yeah. Porn with dogs. 'Cause that’s what she is: a dog. A dirty, filthy dog.”
“Jesus, that’s disgusting, Alyssa! What are you even talking about?”
“Well, we just photoshop pictures of Credence having sex with dogs and put them all over Facebook. That will show that little whore,” and with that Alyssa started googling porn and bestiality websites, humming a Lorde song as she downloaded some truly disgusting pictures that were surprisingly easy to find.
Of course, it was all about a guy. Isn’t every tragedy involving a teenage girl about a guy? This one’s name was Evan. No, he didn’t screw her and tell all his friends what a lame lay she was; in fact, he didn’t break her heart in any way. He was a nice guy. He didn’t even know she existed. I guess that was his mistake.
Evan was a new kid, having just moved to Fickle Hill from Cutten, and Alyssa was crazy about him the minute she saw him. Don’t ask me why, I thought he was a total dork. He was, like, Mr. Thespian, all about Drama and acting and stuff. Well it just so happens that the Drama department was going to put on Streetcar Named Desire. How they thought they could pull that off I don’t know. Well Evan tried out and got the lead. Alyssa’s neighbor, and childhood nemesis, Credence got the role of Stella. Alyssa didn’t even try out. Seriously, she had, like, no interest in theatre at all; she just always hated Credence. Some kind of tiff they got into in elementary school and never got over.
Credence had always been this kinda sad, nerdy girl. Alyssa, being one of the so called “popular girls”, made sure Credence knew her place on the ladder of Arcata High’s social hierarchy: the bottom rung. But, in senior year she suddenly blossomed; or whatever you call it, into this really smart, pretty girl. Of course Evan hooked up with her, get two teenagers rehearsing lines with each other, meeting after school to discuss their character’s motivations, and the hormones are flying. It’s inevitable.
So Alyssa lost it. She was pissed, just indignant and irate that the talented, good looking new kid had the nerve to go out with a nobody like Credence and not even notice Ms. Popularity: Alyssa. She just had it in for poor Credence. And how was she going to get her? Dog porn.
It was actually pretty easy to do. I sat and watched her do it: working all night, taking pictures off Credence’s Facebook page—of her dancing and skiing, her head thrown back laughing, at the beach playing in the surf—and digitally cutting the heads off them. All this while blowing pink bubbles with her gum, twirling a lock of hair on her finger, and smiling that strange smirk of hers. She then cropped and edited them together with these disgusting pictures of porn and dogs that made it look, very realistically, that Credence liked dog cock. I mean,really liked dog cock, and was a dog screwer. That’s what she called her when she started posting them: Credence the dog screwer.
She made up a bunch of fake Facebook pages, running everything through a proxy so it wouldn’t come back to her (though she never got good grades in school, Alyssa was always really good with computers), and plastered Facebook, twitter, tumblr and all the rest of those social media sites with the pictures.
Her sick little stunt worked like a charm. Everyone saw them and even if everyone knew they were fake, those pictures turned sweet, nerdy, blossoming Credence into Credence the dog screwer. No one would be seen with her after that. Everyone pointed and snickered when she walked by. Evan dumped her. She stopped showing up for rehearsals. Then her mother found her hanging by her neck from a support beam in their basement.
When I found Alyssa in the girl’s bathroom, bawling uncontrollably, I immediately rushed to her. I felt bad for her. She was my friend. I mean it was a shit move she had pulled but she didn’t think the girl was going to off herself. I was probably way to blame myself, too. After all, I was there; I watched her do it.
“It’s okay,” I told her, “it’s my fault, too. We didn’t know this was going to happen.” I pulled her into my arms, tears coming to my eyes as she shuddered and sobbed against me. “She had to have something wrong with her to do this.”
“You don’t understand,” Alyssa said, looking up at me with wide, startled eyes out of a face distorted and wrenched with anguish. “I talked to her. I was talking to her on Facebook. We were messaging back and forth.”
An icy knot formed in my stomach as my mind tried to piece together what she was saying. “You mean she was messaging you as she hung herself?”
The idea made me wince, and I pulled away from Alyssa, scared I might start gagging. Alyssa clutched on to my sweater with fingers clenched into claws as I tried to back away from her. Hanging on me, still sobbing, she began to talk through her tears.
“No. No. Not while she did it. After.”
“What do you mean, after?”
“After she was dead. All night and the next morning, too.”
She was really freaking me out and a flush of cool sweat rose over my face, my mouth filling with a stale coppery taste. “You’re not making any sense, Alyssa. How could she message you after she was dead?”
“I don’t know!!” and she burst into fresh tears.
“Calm down. Just tell me what happened. Okay?”
Alyssa heaved, swallowed, and nodded, seeming to get herself a bit under control.
“All day Credence kept posting these stupid pages from a site called Clown Dogs onto my timeline. You know, like, clowns posing with puppies, and dogs balanced on big balls with clowns behind them. Really cute, idiotic stuff, but somehow it was scary. Clowns in their white make-up and red mouths. Clowns and dogs, clowns and dogs, so many posts my timeline was filled with them. So I sent her a message—why do you keep posting this crap onto my time line, bitch. You want me to unfriend you? So then she started messaging me, over and over again—I know it was you! I know it was you! I messaged her back— You don’t know shit. I didn’t do nothing!” Alyssa struggled not to break down into tears again. She clutched my sweater tighter.
I stroked her head, ran my fingers through her hair. “It’s okay. Go on. What happened next?”
“Then… Then, in the morning, the last message said, I know it was you and I’m going to get you for it—and then my computer went black. It just went black. Nothing. Blackness. Then my mom burst into my room and told me: Credence had hung herself and they had found her the day before. Early in the morning. In the morning! Before all the messaging on Facebook. And… I’m scared. Really, really scared.”
With that she broke down again, letting go of my sweater and weeping loudly into her hands.
“Alyssa, calm down,” I said, trying to interject some logic. “Maybe it was her mom posting from Credence’s Facebook page. Most parents know their kid’s password. Or, maybe it was Evan.”
“No,” she mumbled through her tears, shaking her head emphatically. “No. It wasn’t them.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do.”
“Look, I have to go out to dinner with my parents tonight. It’s my uncle’s birthday. But come over in the morning and we’ll look at Facebook together, on my computer. Maybe you’re just mixed up.”
“I’m not. I’m not. I know it was her, and she’s going to come and get me.”
“Alyssa, stop. Okay? Just stop. Come over tomorrow and we’ll figure it all out.”
She looked up, gratefully, like a child might after you explained to them that everybody had bad days sometimes. “Okay. Okay, I’ll come over tomorrow. Thank you. Thank you so much.”
She hugged me and I went back to class.
That night Alyssa’s father found her naked in the bathtub with her wrists slit, the tub nearly a quarter full of black, congealing blood. Her always over-protective father lost his mind. He blamed Evan somehow. He waited behind a redwood tree by the school bus stop with a shotgun, and when Evan stepped off he shot him in the face. Took half his head right off. Evan fell down in the street, his brains and blood all over the curb and gutter, and all those kids on the school bus just watched as Alyssa’s dad then put the barrel of that gun in his own mouth and fired.
Afterwards, I tried to access Alyssa’s Facebook page, I knew her password, to see if those posts and messages she had talked about were there. If the times matched up with what Alyssa had told me. But her page was down. I assumed her mother took it offline after the tragedy. I searched for a page called Clown Dogs. Nothing. It didn’t exist… Then.
But now… Now I’ve started getting the Clown Dog posts shared to my timeline. Ridiculous pictures with dogs licking food off of clowns’ faces, tiny dogs on the shoulders of clowns riding unicycles, big dogs with saddles on them being ridden by midget clowns. Dogs dressed like clowns with clown hats on their heads and red balls on their noses. Silly, irrelevant and stupid pictures. But to me, terrifying. The pictures are so damn scary and I can’t explain why. When I see them, I panic. I want to scream. Just start screaming, but I’m afraid if I do, I might not ever be able to stop.
Then, this morning, when I checked my Facebook page, I saw I had a message: "You’re next, little clown."