It was a typical Tuesday night crowd at the Roadhouse Bar. The loner crowd. The weeknight-drinking crowd. These people hadn’t come with friends, they hadn’t come to score - these people had come to forget. They sat sparsely about the bar, tipping back shots of hard liquor, staring blankly at the counter - no words exchanged. I knew this crowd well.

I was one of them.

After walking in on my girlfriend of two years in the act of cheating on me with my best friend, I found myself a regular at this particular bar. All of the people here were familiar to me; we had a silent understanding of each other. We suffered in silence, seeking salvation at the bottoms of shot glasses and respecting one another’s desire for solace. We were together in our pain, but no words were ever exchanged.

However something would happen that night that changed this all-too-familiar nightly ritual. A new face entered the bar. A girl. A girl with dark eyes, dark hair and high heels. Her perfect curves fit nicely against the black and yellow-striped pattern of the evening dress she was wearing; I remember thinking that she wore the stripes of a bumblebee.

The girl sat next to me and ordered some sort of girly drink, I forget the name. She turned to me, just looking at me for a moment. She looked down at the series of empty bottles and shot glasses in front of me and after what seemed like an eternity of awkward silence, she finally spoke. “So...What’s the deal with you?”

I suddenly felt as though I had just been waiting for someone to ask me that, all this time. I don’t know whether it was the need to connect with another human being or the massive amount of alcohol I had consumed that evening, but I found myself pouring my guts out to this complete stranger.

We talked for what seemed like hours. I felt as though I were talking to an old friend. For the first time in months, I had truly forgotten about my pain and just became completely engaged in conversation with this girl. I didn’t even know her name. After we had both consumed plenty of drinks, she leaned in close. She giggled and spoke in slurred drunk-speak, “Sooooo...Do you have snapchat?”

I had absolutely no clue what Snapchat was, and she did her best to explain it to me. “See, you sign up and take pictures. You can put a caption on it if y’wanna. Then...” She grinned with drunken mischief, “You set a time limit. After the time has expired, the picture is gone forever. It’s like it never existed.” I caught the drift. After she helped me set up my Snapchat account, she grinned, standing and walking towards the women’s restroom, looking back over her shoulder and almost whispering, “I’ll be right back”.

Within minutes I got my first Snapchat notification. I opened it and was immediately greeted with a close-up picture of Bumblee’s cleavage. The caption on the photo read “There’s much more to come ;)”. I grinned, making my way towards the men’s room. I had Snapchat photos to take. We spent the next several minutes sending and receiving increasingly racy photos of one another. It escalated quickly, and in my drunken stupor, I felt absolutely no inhibition. I decided to send her a photo of my manhood. It’s hard to get it up when you’re drunk, but it had been a long time for me so I eventually managed. After several minutes of trying to frame my cock at the perfect angle, I sent a picture I was satisfied with.

I waited several minutes for a reply. None came. Feeling a little insecure and silly now, I walked back out to the bar, taking a picture of her chair and captioning it with “missing you”. After several more minutes, I received another photo. It was a picture of the outside of the bar, from behind the driver seat of an SUV or something. The caption read, “cum and get me”. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I ran outside just in time to see a white SUV speeding off down the dark road. I received another photo. This time it was completely black, as though someone had covered the lens with their finger when they took the photo. It was simply captioned “Too late”.

I was frustrated; I had never gotten this girl’s name or number. But I was friends with her on Snapchat so I knew I had some form of contact with her. In an effort to play “hard-to-get” I waited a day, sending her a shirtless photo of myself laying in bed (as seductively as humanly possible) that morning, with the caption “Miss ya”. I set the timer for four seconds. I figured it couldn’t hurt. Within a couple minutes I received a full-on photo of her bare breasts with the caption “Miss you too handsome”. the timer was also set for four seconds. It disappeared rather quickly.

Do you know that feeling you get when you know something is wrong but you can’t put your finger on exactly what it is? I got that feeling when I saw the photo. Something was just wrong. The angle was strange for a self-photo. She seemed pale. Then again, the lighting was rather dim in the bar - it was possible that I did not get a good look at her complexion. And at the bottom corner of the photo I could have sworn I saw that all-too-familiar bumblebee pattern. Had she been wearing that dress since the night I met her?

I couldn’t shake the unsettled feeling that the photo had given me. I took a random photo of my bedroom window simply so I could caption it with the message, “When can I see you again?” It was a long time before I got a response. It was a photo of a familiar lake, with a sign in the lower right-hand corner that read “Glenndale Park”. The caption on the photo once again read, “cum and get me”.

I had been to this place before and this time I knew exactly where she was. I wasn’t going to lose her again - I quickly drove over to Glenndale Park and approached the familiar sign. This was definitely where the photo was taken. No one was there. I stood there for a moment, confused. After a moment of looking around, I received another Snapchat notification. I opened it.

It was a photo of me. I was standing by the Glenndale Park sign. The caption once again read, “too late”. I snapped my head over to the direction that the photo must have been taken from. No one was there. After four seconds, the photo disappeared, like it had never been taken. I approached the area, calling out and looking around.

No one was there.

When a shattered soul is suddenly offered a glimmer of hope, they take it - in whatever form it presents itself. And so it was with me. My nagging gut feelings and underlying unsettledness were completely eclipsed by the idea of maybe, just maybe, moving on and starting again. Loving again. Living again. I didn’t even know this girl’s name and yet I found her strange games exciting. The girl in the bumblebee dress made me feel alive again. I was desperate. I was desperate to believe in a second chance. I was desperate to forget the past. It is very hard for me to share the things I am going to share with you next, dear reader. I continue my story with the sincere hope that you learn from my mistake. This is the last hope that I have.

Like an idiot, I took a picture of myself making a pouty-face next to the Glenndale Park sign, and I captioned the photo with “You tease”. I didn’t get a response. Throughout the rest of the day, I fought the urge to contact her again. I didn’t want to appear desperate, after all - I really liked this girl.

That night, I found myself in front of the TV with a fifth of whiskey and a bag of cheetos, watching old Star Trek episodes on Netflix. At around 2am, my phone went off. To my delight, I saw that I had a new Snapchat notification from Bumblebee. I hurriedly opened it.

The photo was set to disappear after 3 seconds this time, so I didn’t get a very good look. It was her, laying in bed once again. This time it was a picture of her face. Her eyes were half closed, her mouth was partly opened. The caption read “When I think about you, I touch myself”. 3 seconds was long enough. Something was very wrong with this photo. Her eyes weren’t just half closed, they were out of focus and sunken. The muscles in her face were completely slack, as though there were no tension in them whatsoever. Her lips just kind of hung opened. What’s more, there was a strange shadow cast over her. And she was still wearing that goddamned dress. The three seconds expired and the picture disappeared, like it had never been taken.

What the fuck did I just see?

I pointed my phone in a random direction and took a picture just so I could caption it with “Are you alright?” I instantly got a response. It was a completely black screen, as though someone had put their finger over the lens. The caption simply read, “Never been better”.

It wasn’t cute anymore. It wasn’t fun. I could no longer ignore the sick feeling that had been growing in my stomach since the night she disappeared so abruptly. I didn’t care if I never heard from her again. I shut off my phone and went to bed. When I turned on my phone the next morning, I was relieved to see that I had no Snapchat notifications from Bumblebee. I didn’t get any notifications the day after either. Or the day after that. Life resumed as usual.

A little over a week had passed since my last unsettling communication with Bumblebee. I was at the Roadhouse Bar, nursing a particularly strong drink. The miserable solitude that I found there was comforting somehow. I had my phone set on the table. I must have drifted off into a drunken stupor; the vibration of the phone startled me awake. A Snapchat notification. From Bumblebee.

While the image was set to be visible for only 1 second, I saw it for even less time than that; I dropped my phone to the floor.

Describing what I saw will require that I disengage emotionally and simply state facts. It was a spread-legged photo of Bumblebee. Still wearing the dress. It was a photo of her sex. Bumblebee’s body was bloated and blistered, with the skin sloughing off in places - She had clearly been dead for a long time. Fluid of decay was oozing from her, dried and sticky. But there was a fresher fluid, that trickled from the putrid mess, oozing onto the bedsheets. The corpse had clearly been freshly copulated with - And the bed sheets were unmistakably mine. This atrocity had occurred in my own bed, in my brief absence from home. It had happened just now. The caption read, “hurry home, cutie”.

I called the police.

Her name was Arianna. Arianna Harrison. It was nice to finally learn her name. Apparently she had been missing for over a week, and I was the last person she was seen with. It’s understandable that they would arrest and question me. They searched my house and found nothing. They continue to interrogate me, asking where she is. I honestly wish I could help them. They did find one thing though. They found the bumblebee patterned dress, laid out on my sofa where I always watched TV. It had been freshly washed and ironed - not a scratch or bloodstain on it.

It was such a pretty dress....