Ray Seymour was a postmodern monster.

But if you asked he would say he was just having a little harmless fun.

“All right, let’s see what slaves are online today,” he said, cracking his knuckles in front of the massive self-built computer rig that took up a whole corner of his tiny apartment. Built with parts scavenged from his minimum-wage day job at Best Electronics, the rig was Ray’s whole world. Everything else was going out for groceries or the pennies needed to keep the lights on.

They weren’t real slaves, Ray would have been quick to point out if cornered. It was just the jargon that people in his circles used for people whose computers had been hacked with a remote access tool–a RAT, the same thing that system administrators used to take control of the poor old Susie’s computer in accounting when she couldn’t figure out how to eject a thumb drive.

“Only one? Shit. Well, at least that makes my choice easy.” Ray brought up his RAT’s interface, which gave him full remote control of a laptop two counties away. Like most of his “slaves,” the person behind the computer had downloaded a trojan file that Ray had seeded onto file-sharing sites and torrents–in this case, the copy of Sex in the City 2 they thought they’d downloaded had been a screen for giving Ray’s RAT root-level system access.

From there, he could browse and copy personal files, access the screen and volume controls (which he usually did only to spook the “slave” on the other end), and, most importantly, access the built-in webcam and disable its “on” light. “I have access to everything they have, everything they are,” Ray had written on an internet forum for RAT hackers like himself (of which there were surprisingly many). “I could steal their identity or ruin their life, but all I do is take a few pictures. It’s harmless fun.” The person in question had been outraged to find their vacation photos on the forum; Ray had made his pronouncement and then banned the user (as he was an admin) before they could respond.

“Just doing what the NSA already does,” Ray muttered to himself as he remotely activated the “slave” webcam. “But she won’t end up in Gitmo.”

He opened up the webcam in a separate window, ready to capture any screens that piqued his interest. It was never the kind of salacious things you’d see on an episode of CSI or NCIS, naturally–those were always in JPEG form on the hard drive, never from a live feed. But the voyeuristic thrill, the endorphins that came with Ray’s smugly self-satisfied outsmarting of women who–he assumed–would not give him the time of day…that was the real money shot.

The screen fuzzed into being, and Ray witnessed the same “slave” he had watched through her own webcam on and off for weeks. She was kicking madly, desperately, as an assailant in a black ski mask attempted to drag her off.

Ray Seymour was a postmodern monster.

Someone upstairs had apparently decided to lay a test before him, to see how deep and wide that monstrous streak actually ran.

Based on this news story.

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