📅 Published on May 7, 2020


Written by Max Voynich
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Luis Bermudez

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. Luis Bermudez)


Rating: 9.00/10. From 8 votes.
Please wait...

My wife tells me she’s cheating on me about halfway through dinner.

I work my way through the potatoes, the beans, and most of the meat before replying.


“That doesn’t matter.”

It very much does matter, I think. I imagine a 6’4, muscular, chiseled Greek God of a man fucking my wife. I think about the way he holds her – is he gentle? rough? – and the noises she makes for him – is she quiet? does she scream for him?


I’m working on the last of the chicken at this point, wondering if she’s ever fucked both of us in the same day-

Michael. Listen to me. I want a divorce.”

I watch her for a while, her jaw, the hollow of her neck:

“Is he better?”


“Is he better than me?”

She purses her lips. I think she’s going to tell me that he’s just different, that she’s sorry it had to be like this and that she still loves me, really, deep down, that it was a mistake and no-one could be better than me, but instead she replies.

“Yes, Michael. He’s better than you.”

She tells me that she’s staying in the house until she finds a place to rent whilst we sort this out. I say that maybe I should have the bed, and she tells me that, trust me, you don’t.

“In our bed?”

“Sleep on the couch, Michael.”

And so that’s where I find myself, working my way through a bottle of expensive Scotch I’d saved for a special day, and browsing the internet. My browsing is aimless, filthy, meandering – I lurch from website to website going nowhere. That is, until I see an ad.


Do you want to live out your most disgusting, most depraved fantasies? Do you want to see yourself do it?

Using state-of-the-art deepfake technology we’re able to show you what your deepest desires actually look like. See them played out across the screen – the things you’ve only spoken of in whispers, that you’ve never even admitted to yourself.

Take control of your life. Be the best version of yourself you can be.

This is your face, your porn, your reality.

I’m in a fuck it sort of mood, more than a little drunk, and I think that this might be the best way to get back at her. I don’t even have to leave the comfort of my home, and I can see what I’d look like doing whatever I want. All those things I never told her, the things she’d never do – I can see it.

The ad is blank aside from the text on the white screen, that, and a tacky gif of red lips blowing a kiss, before running their tongue along their teeth.

I watch the mouth on the ad blow kiss after lurid kiss at me, and start to feel convinced.

They’ll superimpose my face, convincingly into any situation, and I’ll watch myself carry out my darkest, deepest desires.

There are different packages: celebrity, fetish, slice-of-life, narrative, and on and on – but one, in particular, catches my eye:

“Surprise me.”

And so, squinting so that I can read the numbers on my credit card, I subscribe. I fill out a quick form, what I’m into, my kinks, my age, name, that sort of thing. It then requires me to take a video of my face from different angles, then makes me cycle through a few basic facial expressions, takes a sample of my voice saying a few basic sentences.

Not long after, I pass out.

I awake to a vicious hangover, and a notification on my phone. An email containing the first video.

it’s really me! or at least, it looks exactly like me. it’s night, and fake-me seems to be followed by a camera. fake-me spends the evening going into various shops around town and buying tape, and an apple from each store. he seems to make the cashiers nervous, and one girl even starts shaking whilst she tries to find the code for the tape when it won’t scan. he is impatient, raps his knuckles on the desk, calls her a bitch under his breath as he leaves.

wide-shot: he walks down the street past the glass window – the cashier is crying silently inside.

That’s it. I try to click forward, to see if there’s anything else, but that’s it. I watched the whole thing expecting it to be the build-up to something, but no. Instead, all I see is something that looks exactly like me drive around town and buy apples and tape. I try to see if I can find the website again to cancel my subscription, but I can’t find anything. I try and look through my history, but it’s not there – in fact, there’s just an empty gap between 1 and 3 am.

Whilst it isn’t porn, the technology behind it is still amazing, the person on the screen looks exactly – exactly – like me.

I don’t go to work. I watch TV, drink beer, smoke inside. My wife – and she is still my wife – complains.

I don’t listen.

Around 6 pm I receive another email.

the camera is focused on the me-that-isn’t-me sat at a table. he’s answering questions. it’s my voice! my voice! he says he is sorry. he says he does not know, no, he never knew. he is fiddling with something in his mouth. above his teeth. he has never heard that name before. he says if they insist but it’s not like he’ll like it. the voice behind the camera laughs.

close-up of his mouth: there is a thick, black hair protruding from his gum, just above his teeth, and he is trying to wiggle it loose. it isn’t working. until. until it does, and he pulls out a knot of tangled hairs from his the pink of his gum, and they keep coming and coming and coming until there’s nearly a foot of hair, and with each tug it wobbles his front two teeth a little.

he says this has never happened to him before. the voice behind the camera laughs again.

I don’t sleep that well that night. Something about the videos has unsettled me. They’re too realistic, and, watching that fake-me fiddle with his gums made my mouth hurt. I say nothing to my wife when she comes in, make no effort to tidy the take-away boxes from the table. She looks at me for a long, long time, as if something is building up inside her, some thought or opinion about me she’s always wanted to tell me, and I watch as it almost bursts out her lips – and then, nothing.

I hear something looking through our bins as I try to sleep. A raccoon? Someone homeless? They disappear when I get up to look.

The notification wakes me up: another video. I try to reply to the address that’s sending me these, telling them I want them to stop, but the email bounces back. I have no choice but to watch.

the me-that-can’t-possibly-be-me is eating at a new table. but the whole table is covered in trash, dirt, empty cans, pizza boxes, rotting fruit, bones, tiny crawling things etc. etc. there are flies buzzing aimlessly about. he is shoveling as much as he can in his mouth, coffee grounds spill down his chin and he coughs. he keeps looking to the left of the camera after swallowing. he winces, pulls something from his mouth: a razor.

he has bitten a razor.

his blood is dark and thick, and mixes with the coffee grounds that dribble down his chin so that it looks lumpy and black. it coats his shirt, and his hands as he attempts to wipe his face.

he looks to the left of the camera again, and continues eating.

At this point I consider deleting my email account. Something is wrong here, there is something in these videos that’s beyond unsettling. I don’t remember pulling half those facial expressions, and his reactions are just like mine. It’s too real.

That’s my wince. That’s the wince of pain I know I do when I stub my toe, or stand on a thumbtack, or bite my tongue.

But when I get up to fix myself a drink I find my wife’s car gone, and I know that she’s with him, with this guy she’s fucking, and I feel a stab of self-loathing that goes so deep it pierces my stomach and makes me retch.

I watch the video again.

Evening comes.

he is carrying a bunch of grapefruit in his arms in the street. a small, old man bumps into him and the fruit goes flying. they make this wet pop as they hit the floor, and in the noise you can hear the fibers that held the fruit together tear. the man is knocked over. the-me-that-looks-too-much-like-me sees someone nearby drinking from a thermos, and, grabbing it, empties the scalding water all over the fallen man’s face.

close-up: the-me-that-shouldn’t-be-me spits on him, and winks at the stunned crowd watching. the fallen man moans, and spasms.

I don’t know why, but I sort of like this one. The noise of the fruit is so satisfying, so visceral, and there’s something triumphant about the way fake-me snatches the boiling water and pours it over the man. Fake-me is in control.

That evening my wife tells me that she doesn’t think she ever loved me, not like the way she loves her new man, and that, come to think of it, I’m not much of a man at all. She says this whilst I try and wipe ketchup from my shirt, but only succeed in getting some on the couch.

When she goes to bed upstairs I watch over and over again.

I doze.

With my eyes half-open, the-me-that-isn’t-me, the fake-me winks at the camera.

My heart gets faster. I pretend to be asleep, and keep my eyes open just a sliver.

fake-me walks away from the crowd, right up to the camera. knocks on my screen a few times with his knuckles. it sounds like glass. he watches through the screen, smiling. his eyes are on me, I’m sure of it. he pushes his face against the camera, against my screen, and stares right at me.

there is something behind those eyes, behind that face.

something dark, and waiting.

he keeps watching me.

I think he knows I’m awake.

We stay like that until morning.

he knocks on mrs. tay’s door. he is holding an apple, and tape. she invites him in. he enters, the camera follows. in one movement he stuffs the apple in mrs. tay’s mouth and forces her to the ground where he binds her arms and legs with tape. someone from off camera hands him a hammer.

wide-shot: mrs. tay struggles on the floor. the-me-that-watched-me looks through her records, puts one on. it’s old and slow and the vinyl crackles as he drags her into the basement. the video continues for half an hour more, until the vinyl has finished and there is just a loop of a faint crackle, and then there are two thuds, a snap, and it ends.

I can see someone’s car I don’t recognize in my driveway. It looks expensive.

I go to investigate, but can’t find anyone near it, and so I decide to go and check on Mrs. Tay. I stumble down the street in my dressing gown, face covered in patches of stubble, and knock on her door. No-one answers.

Bill Roberts walks past, and I wave at him.

“Seen Mrs. Tay today, Bill?”

He shakes his head. I can tell he’s trying not to react to how I look, trying to be polite.

“Haven’t seen her in a week or so Michael.”

A pause. He’s finding the right words – I can tell.

“You doing okay? You don’t look so good.”

“Never better.”

The combination of emotions I’m feeling is hard to put into words. I am elated; there is a version of me, online, who is in control, and is acting.

I am, also, terrified. Whatever it is on that screen knows about me, knows something about my life. I don’t know if it is here, in this reality, or if it is just peering in. Either option makes my chest tight.

I’ve drunk the house dry, and have to make several trips to stock up on liquor. I even call a few old contacts and manage to get some pills, although I promise myself I’ll only take them when things get really, really bad.

the shortest video so far. the-me-i-wish-was-me pushes against his jaw, probing. slowly, surely, he slides his hand under the skin of my face, until I can see the outline of my fingers under the skin, like five giant malformed veins. he wriggles the fingers and the skin comes away from my face, my ring finger emerges from my eyelids. he pulls the hand out and it is covered in some sort of embryonic fluid.

he winks at the camera.

(at me?)

I try the same thing that evening after I’ve shaved, pushing my fingers into my face as if the skin is going to slip and I’ll be able to do what he did, but nothing happens. My long nails cut the tender, freshly-shaven skin, and I end up just moving my face the conventional way; I smile, then frown, then stick out my tongue, then puff out my cheeks.

Once I’m convinced my face still works, I go to bed.

I think my wife sneaks him in the back door: her lover, her casanova.

I can hear them fuck, I think. I can’t wait for morning, can’t wait for a new .mov. I watch on repeat to help me sleep, and when he is convinced I’m asleep he comes right up to the camera again, but this time he fiddles with the edges, as if testing the boundaries.

his breathing gets deeper, lustier, he cannot find a way out, so he just watches, cycling through expressions the way I did, convinced that I am asleep.

(am I?)

When I wake up, there is a note from my wife telling me that she’s moving in with him for a while.

There is a voicemail from work telling me I’m fired, and that there’ll be no severance pay.

he (I?) finds a couple of junkies on the outside of town. he shows them a huge stack of cash and they both nod. they have about 6 teeth between them and walk with a pronounced stoop, taking him to an abandoned building on the edge of town.

he says go in ahead of me I’ll be right in. they pause for a while, trying to work out what the catch is, why this seemingly average guy would offer all this cash upfront, but he hands them both small foil packages and they quickly dash inside.

as before, he slowly slips his hand under the skin of his face, working it up and up and up, until both hands are completely under the skin –

the camera pans down, to the rusty gate that borders the property.

he hangs something from the gate, before walking down the overgrown path into the house.

it takes me a while to realize that the thing hanging from the gate is a face.

my face.

like a mask, the mouth and eyes are empty, and the skin flaps like a heavy flag in the breeze.

there is the sound of cars driving past every few minutes – then, two noises like grapefruit bursting, fibrous and wet and sudden

he walks back down the path, and puts the face back on.

I do not manage to see what lies under that face, but I desperately want to.

I think my hair is falling out.

I take a long walk around the block. When I return I find my wife staring at my laptop as if she’s seen the devil. She turns to me, slowly.

“What the fuck is this, Michael?”

The laptop is positioned behind her back, so I can see the screen and her at once. I remember the contents of and start to panic, if that fell into the wrong hands, with no context-

“I can explain – the videos, they’re not me, all of the places, the situations, they’re fake, I think-”

She shakes her head.

“What situations? Jesus. Michael – it’s just hours and hours and hours of footage of you whispering to the camera. It’s just your face. What’s fake about that?”

I can tell she’s a little scared, her disgust at me slowly morphing into something uglier, nastier. She takes a couple of steps back, as if seeing me for the first time. Behind her, I can see the-me-that-isn’t-me, the fake-me smiling at the camera on screen.

The footage is paused, but he’s still moving, closer and closer to the camera, his eyes wide and with a rigor-mortis smile – a smile as if he’s just learned how to control the musculature of his face perfectly – and he’s holding a finger to his lips.


She takes another step back. I try and warn her but no words come. Instead, I’m frozen in fear, seeing the fake-me grow closer and closer to the camera, to the screen as her backs turned and-

He’s pushing against the glass of the screen, trying to find a weak point, a crack that will allow him to move from his reality into ours-

She can’t take it anymore, she turns around and without looking at the screen she picks my laptop up and smashes it on the floor.

“You’re sick.”

She leaves.

The thought of the screen smashed for some reason terrifies me. It’s as if whatever barrier was between me and that thing is broken, and although I can’t see anything I feel him leaking into our world, like the soft hiss of gas through a broken pipe, or air escaping a valve.

I take the laptop to be fixed – pay extra to make it happen as fast as possible.

As soon as the screen is fixed I take it home, desperate to turn it on, to see if there are any new videos – to check on the old ones.

I try loading – the first video I was sent.

A familiar scene plays, except there’s no fake-me. It’s the exact same footage, I’m sure of it, but the me-that-isn’t-me isn’t there at all. The cashier still weeps silently, but it’s not due to any version of me scaring her.

I try loading

The same. The exact same video but the fake-me isn’t there. The man still falls over, coffee is still poured on his face, the crowd still reacts – but there’s no me. is now just footage of two junkies walking to a crackhouse, and entering it. They still don’t leave, but there is no face on the gate. Nothing. No sign that I was ever there.

The house suddenly feels so empty.

I can hear the faint tap-tap-tap of the branches against the upstairs window. The gurgling of the drain. The way the old wood creaks ever so slightly with age.

I am alone.

And I know then that the reason he’s not on the screen because he’s here.

With me.

As I feel sweat start to run down my back, I receive one final email.

wide-shot: me, but the real me this time. alone. the room is full of trash, rotting food, empty beer bottles, liquor bottles smashed on the floor, pill bottles, crumpled clothes. the real me holds up a hand, waves it.

this is live. this is real time. this is happening. now.

the room is dark. objects are obscured. in shadow.

something moves behind the window.

a curtain rustles.

bottles clink.

he is in here, somewhere.



I am alone with myself,

And I have all the time in the world.

Rating: 9.00/10. From 8 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. Luis Bermudez)

Written by Max Voynich
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Luis Bermudez

🔔 More stories from author: Max Voynich

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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3 years ago

the moral of this story is that johns and coomers get the guillotine

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