By Andy Tu
Click again. Dig a little deeper.
You’re scared shitless, you’ll admit that much, but no one ever got anywhere listening to that voice inside their head, telling them to stop when things become difficult. And this is difficult, searching for the sickest things out there, but it becomes less so with each suicide, each murder, each picture that you view. They are studies of the human mind, who we truly are below the surface.
You are 32 years old, and you are an addict. But this is not an AA meeting, and you do not abuse a physical substance, although perhaps the acceleration of the heartbeat and the numbness of the face could be labeled as physical dependencies. But you know you could live without them. What you can’t live without is wondering what else is out there in the deep web, waiting for you to uncover.
This website is called Regina’s Reactions. Regina is 10 years old. There is a grainy picture of her with her arms clutching the metal bars of a cage.
According to the FAQs, they do not hurt Regina. Not physically, at least. Or even on purpose. They do not explain what they mean, or what they actually do. They know that whoever finds this site has already become a slave to their curiosity, an adventurer who will only be satisfied when they see something more disturbing than before.
You pay the .314 bitcoins for access. A new window pops up, a grid of videos. The titles are single-worded: Clown, Fire, Gore, Porn, Suicide, Torture, Snake, Spider… on and on… 54 videos total. At the top of the page flash neon words: Click to see how Regina Reacts!
You click on Clown, and the video begins.
High definition. Regina is sitting in the middle of the cage with her arms around her knees. The camera zooms in on her face. It surprises you how skinny she is. Her hair is a tangle of black curls that has not been combed. Her eyes are wide, blank spaces.
Everything becomes black, but you hear her; a microphone amplifies her nervous breathing, the whimpers that stifle in her throat. A bright red light turns on, illuminating the room in its glow. A loud siren startles both you and Regina; she looks like she’s in a horror movie.
Regina jumps from the floor, her arms clung around herself, her breathing heavy. You see the clown by the gate. The axe in his hand. The frown on his face. He opens the gate. Regina screams as she is chased around the cage, running from his swinging arm and deep, uncontrolled panting.
But nothing happens to Regina. She just runs around the cage until the camera cuts away. You don’t know if you are disappointed or intrigued. They are such conflicted feelings, the desire to watch someone suffer until they want to die, and the desire to watch someone die, which ends their suffering.
You click on the other videos.
They release them into the cage. Tarantulas and long vipers, crawling toward her as they blast music and set them on fire so that they spaz in coils toward her.
They always start by turning off the light, then flipping on that red glow that reminds you of bloodshot eyes. Regina has become conditioned to these cues: she screams when the siren begins. Her reaction does not seem to diminish over time. This is the power of novelty.
Some of the videos start with her tied to a chair, her eyes pried open by a helmet made of kitchen utensils and clothes hangers. They project a video onto the wall in front of her.
Your computer screen is split in half. The right shows the video she’s being forced to watch; the left displays the way her pupils expand and cringe at each finger that is broken, each man who gets a thick needle shoved through his flesh.
On the 54th video, Regina is forced to watch a puppy being boiled in a large, glass bowl of water.
She is in the chair, her eyes forced wide in high definition. But they do not wince or waver; they are still and calm.
Like a corpse’s stare.
The video is cut off early. Because Regina is no longer reacting.
You wonder why it took so long.
Andy is currently pursuing his first novels.