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  • - [Narrator] "Evening, hon," Bethany chimed.

  • - [James] "How was work,"

  • - [Narrator] he responded in an unenthusiastic manner.

  • "I know you don't actually wanna know, James,

  • so don't pretend to care," she teased.

  • "Besides, we have more important matters to handle tonight.

  • Why haven't you gotten dressed?

  • You know it's Ritual Night tonight."

  • James sighed as he rose form the couch.

  • - [James] "Do you think they will

  • actually have someone for us to slaughter tonight?"

  • - [Narrator] "Well, they can't exactly just continue

  • picking up people from within town, now can they?

  • It would become too obvious that people would be missing.

  • I was talking to Heather about the issue,

  • and I think I have a solution for it.

  • An easy one, at that.

  • I doubt Andrew would be willing, with his recent

  • high-hose attitude, but I don't really care at this point.

  • - [James] Jeez, Betty, relax.

  • You're way too high-strung about it.

  • We aren't the first set of members,

  • and we don't be the last.

  • You know I love it when you're angry.

  • Especially while in your ritual clothes.

  • - [Narrator] "Really?

  • Why do I bother with you?

  • You're all about the kill, but you don't seem to grasp

  • the real meaning of all our hard work.

  • Remember, we introduce chaos to disrupt the banality

  • of life, to make aware what is truly important.

  • I swear, Andrew only brought you in because

  • you may as well be a lumberjack."

  • - [James] "Are you ready to go?

  • We're gonna be late."

  • - [Narrator] He responded quietly, sounding hurt.

  • "Yeah, I'm ready for another evening

  • full of excuses," she grumbled.

  • As they drove up the ranch-style house,

  • they noticed there were fewer vehicles than usual.

  • "See, the people are already starting

  • to slack with their attendance.

  • I'm going to take charge of helping us acquire

  • new, deserving targets for the ritual."

  • - [James] You keep going on about this.

  • I know you were just itching to tell me

  • what your grand master plan is.

  • - [Narrator] She took that opportunity to step

  • out of the vehicle and awkwardly accept the hug

  • Darlene was holding her outstretched arms for.

  • This was probably the most unsettling

  • part of the whole meeting.

  • It wasn't the fact that they stabbed people to death

  • or strangulated them, but rather the

  • potluck aspect that preceded the ritual.

  • The dining room table was always

  • filled with food beforehand.

  • It was Vicky's smoked ham, Jimmy's scalloped potatoes,

  • and Jane's prize-winning rhubarb pie.

  • Bethany always showed up with the drinks.

  • She was no housewife, no cook.

  • She was the local dentist.

  • Beyond that, no one knew too much about her.

  • She didn't even know what made the family

  • invite her for the first time to begin with.

  • The extent of their interaction

  • was that she was Darlene's dentist.

  • Everyone piled inside of the now-cleared-out family room.

  • - [Andrew] "Welcome, everyone.

  • I hope you have all had a productive month.

  • First, I must thank all of you wonderful folks that

  • contributed to our feast tonight.

  • Everything looks delicious, per usual."

  • - [Narrator] Andrew, the host and

  • head of the chapter, called out.

  • "It involves the internet," Bethany whispered

  • to James while Andrew tried to move the attention

  • from the questions of sacrifice back to the food.

  • - [James] "What does?"

  • - [Narrator] One glare from her was all it took

  • for him to understand that she had gone

  • back to the pretentious plan.

  • - [James] "Oh, can you please stop beating

  • around the bush and just tell me already?

  • This is getting annoying.

  • I know how much you love to hype things up,

  • but you're starting to bore me."

  • - [Narrator] By that point, everyone was starting

  • to disperse, and most were lined up at

  • the dining room table, ready to eat.

  • She pulled him outside to the garden.

  • The moon was half full, and the air was beginning

  • to get chilly early in the evenings,

  • since summer was coming to an end.

  • Andrew's home was unremarkable.

  • It was just another home in a small suburb.

  • Two stories, three bedrooms, no kids.

  • The basement had seen plenty of

  • activity in the last few years.

  • A rummy tournament, a ping-pong showdown,

  • a sacrifice here and there.

  • The walls of the basement had never been stained with blood.

  • Darlene, Andrew's wife, made sure of it.

  • But the floor couldn't be helped at times.

  • Bethany focused on the gardenias

  • that were failing to bloom in the yard.

  • "Do you know how easy it is to meet people on the Internet?"

  • - [James] "Yeah, Einstein,

  • tell me something I don't know.

  • If you're gonna propose that we lure someone

  • off the internet, then you are lost.

  • We have discussed this as a family for months.

  • Jeez, for a second I thought you might

  • actually have a novel idea."

  • - [Narrator] "Would you just listen

  • before you make any rash judgements?

  • I'm not talking about going on the internet

  • and luring some sap off a regular dating site.

  • I'm talking about going a little deeper."

  • The last part was barely audible,

  • even to James, who was standing next to her.

  • "I've been doing some research on the deep web.

  • They have their own version of dating sites down there.

  • You find some really putrid and

  • disgusting excuses for humans on there."

  • Her playful tone was now frigid, matching the look

  • in his eyes while he stared down at her.

  • - [James] "What were you doing on a dating site, Bethany?"

  • - [Narrator] "Really?

  • That's what you're going to focus on,

  • out of everything I just told you?

  • That is what you're hung up on?"

  • Silence filled the air, as one of the

  • family members waved to them from inside.

  • Both quickly feigned their brightest smile back at him.

  • Through the fake smile, she broke the silence.

  • "First of all, I was not looking for anyone

  • to hook up with on the deep web.

  • You already know what I go on there for,

  • and it isn't to replace what I

  • already have at home," she blurted out.

  • Being vulnerable was not something

  • she was good at or cared to do often.

  • The wind was beginning to pick up,

  • and the trees in the backyard were

  • rustling too much for comfort.

  • It gave both of them the feeling that they were

  • being watched by something hiding in the dark.

  • "Back to the issue we were discussing,"

  • she continued as they moved back into the house

  • and into the dining room, now that most

  • of the members had made their rounds through the table.

  • "I was on the deep web making my usual rounds,

  • and some guy under the name Goon324 PMed me

  • asking if we had met out in the abyss.

  • Before you roll your eyes at me, trust me.

  • I know how it sounds.

  • How corny was that name?

  • I thought the same thing.

  • I was curious, though, so I indulged the loser

  • for the sake of the entertainment brought to me

  • by a pathetic deep-web dweller.

  • I responded that it was quite possible,

  • because I run through many addresses on the web.

  • He responded by sending me the link.

  • I already knew that whatever he was

  • referring to, I had never visited.

  • You know me, I don't socialize

  • in the deep unless it's for business."

  • James listened intently while they stood

  • in the corner of the dining room nibbling on some muffins.

  • To anyone observing them, it must have looked

  • like they were having fun with

  • whatever they were discussing.

  • He took a sip of the strawberry lemonade,

  • and responded while smiling at one of

  • the family members who was across the room.

  • - [James] Okay, and?

  • - [Narrator] "Well, I should've not been

  • surprised, but truthfully I was.

  • It was a deep web dating site, online cafe.

  • Whatever weird fetish you're into,

  • they have groups to help you find a significant other.

  • One doesn't really think about the

  • deep web as a centralized anything.

  • I mean, I know they have their cannibal websites

  • and their crush lovers, but I was surprised

  • to find it all conveniently located

  • in one place for them to find each other.

  • It was some morbid and twisted version

  • of matching and cupid."

  • Bethany shuddered at the thought

  • of all the freaks in one place.

  • - [James] "Ah, so this is where you want

  • to acquire the sacrifices?"

  • - [Narrator] "Yes, Captain Obvious, that is the place.

  • What better place to reach people that need

  • to be taught the value of life

  • than the cesspool that is the dark web?"

  • She ardently declared.

  • A few family members were starting to

  • shoot suspicious glances their way.

  • Andrew called out to everyone.

  • The evening went by as both Bethany

  • and James expected it to.

  • Another month, and no sacrifice.

  • Bethany knew that she had to implement her plan

  • before more family members drifted away.

  • The following night, James found

  • Bethany with her laptop out.

  • "Ready, babe?"

  • She pulled up the Onion browser.

  • "Look, since I know you're territorial,

  • how about you talk to these losers instead of me?

  • You probably know more of what they want to hear than I do."

  • He pondered that for a second before

  • vigorously nodding like a child.

  • - [James] Sure.

  • I'll be sure to make this fun.

  • - [Narrator] He smiled mischievously.

  • "Okay, well, you do your thing and

  • I'll go catch up on my Hulu.

  • If you need anything, just let me know."

  • 30 minutes later, he had his victim,

  • which just so happened to be Mr. Goon.

  • He handed her the laptop.

  • White letters shown on the dark screen

  • detailing all sorts of obscene acts,

  • and describing the connection he felt

  • with James, disguised as Annie720.

  • Bethany read the glowing screen.

  • Chat log: Annie 720: Hey there.

  • Fancy seeing you around these parts.

  • Goon324: Do I know you?

  • Annie720: Yeah, we talked on the Silk Wold Remains.

  • Goon324: Uh.

  • Annie720: You thought we had met on here before

  • because my avatar seemed familiar?

  • Goon324: You're into the bitcoin trade, right?

  • Annie720: Funny how you call it that.

  • Yeah, I guess I am.

  • Goon324: So, what's good?

  • Were you looking for some of my goods?

  • Annie720: That depends on what you mean, haha.

  • Annie720: What are you into, anyway?

  • What kind of partner are you looking for on here?

  • What's your fix?

  • Goon324: A little bit of torture here and there,

  • if you know what I mean.

  • Annie720: Fun.

  • If only you were closer, then we might

  • be able to have some fun.

  • Goon324: Closer.

  • You don't even know where I am.

  • I could be watching you through the window

  • right now as we speak.

  • Muahaha.

  • Annie720: Nah, I know more about you than you realize.

  • You're approximately 300 miles away from me.

  • Goon324: How you know that?

  • You freak, that's not cool.

  • Annie720: You know, for someone who dabbles