“Hey, Daniel, come have a look at this!” A young girl’s voice called out.
“What is it, Mia?” Daniel huffed, pulling himself up from his bed, placing his book open, face-down on his bedside table. He walked out of his room and into his sister’s, which was right next door on the landing. His sister was stood inside, staring at her phone. She looked up when he entered, and thrust the phone in his face.
“I just got this new app, and…” She went to continue, but Daniel huffed and started to walk away.
“You know I’ve got much more interesting things to be doing with my time than playing phone games, Mia.”
“Daniel, wait! This is actually amazing! Please just have a look.” Mia held her phone out to her brother, who had dragged himself back into her bedroom and was slumped against the doorframe. He took the phone off her and looked down at it sceptically.
“Is… is that you?” To his surprise, Daniel found himself captivated by Mia’s screen. He couldn’t look away.
“Yeah! It’s an app called You. All you have to do is upload a picture of you and it creates a mini version of you on the screen!”
“The likeness is incredible. It’s even got your birthmark on your cheek.” Daniel adjusted his glasses to get a closer look. “Hey, look. You’re dancing.”
“Really? I haven’t seen that happen yet.” Mia reached to take her phone back, but Daniel batted her hand away with his.
“Hey! Give it-” Mia contested.
“I have to try.” Daniel interrupted. He looked up, but appeared physically strained in doing so. “How do I reset it? You know, so I can…”
“I didn’t think you’d be this interested, Dan.” Mia giggled. “Just tap the icon on the top right of the screen.”
“Got it.” Daniel tapped away. He paused to take a photo of himself, then continued with his tapping. This went on until eventually he grinned. Mia smiled.
“Are you finished? Let me see!” Mia grabbed Daniel’s arm. Suddenly, he dropped the phone, and walked out of the room without a word.
“Careful, Daniel! This is new!” Frowning, Mia picked up her phone from the floor. “Where are you g-” She looked at the screen, curious as to what could possibly have freaked out her usually so calm-and-collected brother.
On the screen was the virtual avatar, complete with Daniel’s face and a red t-shirt he had customised with a popular logo. But this isn’t what Mia noticed. Daniel’s persona was standing above Mia’s own avatar… pixel knife in hand, with the virtual Mia slaughtered and blood-splattered at his feet. She looked up, seeing her brother re-enter the room out of the corner of her eye. She looked up and searched for some form of comfort in his eyes.
“Daniel, what is this? What did you d-” She trailed off.
He was deathly white, staring intently at her. Mia saw the blade glinting in his right hand far too late to react. Too late to scream.
The last thing Mia saw was the crazed expression of Daniel’s on-screen avatar. The glee in the eyes that were nothing more than pixels.
As the last life seeped from the gashed wounds on her chest, the phone’s screen went black. The knife clattered to the floor.
It was then that Daniel screamed.