Donations Desperately Needed (UPDATED 02/25/2020)

Thank you to those who donated! I received enough to cover my internet bill and to put a little bit towards next month's server bill
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Title Pending

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    [Incomplete] Title Pending

    This is my first attempt at writing a story in well over a decade. While I hope you are kind, I know I could also use some help.


    Chapter 1

    "We are Fayd. We request permission for contact."

    That was the entire content of the bizarre email which had somehow managed to slip by Jasmine's spam filter to join the slew of donation requests, petitions, and other social justice milieu that formed the bulk of her inbox. Her usual morning routine had her snugly ensconced in bed surrounded by favorite stuffed animals and scanning through her emails on her phone to see if any actually demanded attention while pretending that a second alarm wasn't going to go off in half an hour or so to demand she get out of bed and start getting ready for work. Typically, she would press any "sign with a click" petitions that seemed reasonable, open any articles that seemed interesting in a browser tab, and mark everything else for deletion.

    This, however, was so weird as to give her pause. There were no attachments or images in the email to hide a virus in. If it was a fishing attempt, it was by far the strangest she had ever seen; what was it even asking? Permission for contact? As if the email itself were not contact.

    Her phone began playing the cheery tones of her alarm and she grimaced, tapping the button to shut it off and marking the odd email as unread to be looked at again later. Rolling out of bed and onto her feet, she rounded the corner of her tiny, L-shaped, bachelor apartment and crossed through the kitchen, noting for what felt like the hundredth time that she really needed to clean the stove top, and entered into her little bathroom.

    The figure in the mirror glared back at her, a mess of straight black hair framing a pair of green eyes which looked severely unimpressed with being awake. The hardness of eyes softened as she glanced at the baggy blue sleeper adorned with little yellow ducks she had worn last night for pajamas. It was one of her favorites. She stripped down and made quick use of the toilet before stepping into the shower to fight with the knobs in hopes of finding a comfortable temperature. The building's ancient plumbing seemingly knew only freezing cold and scalding hot water but with a little fiddling she could usually find something at least tolerable.

    As she enacted her daily ritual of soap and too hot water, her thoughts strayed back to the odd email. Who or what was Fayd? What were they doing emailing her and what could they mean by permission to contact? After turning off the water and drying herself off, she wondered back to the other end of her apartment to hunt through the pile of clean clothing at the base of her dresser for a pair of jeans and one the dark green polos that formed the uniform for the grocery store she worked at. Morning shifts were always a pain in the ass, but at least she could grab a free breakfast of yesterdays left-over muffins in the bakery section.

    She glanced at the time on her phone and realized she had spent far too much time zoned out in the shower, again. A surge of adrenaline had her in shoes and a light hoodie, purple and pink plaid, her wallet, phone, and keys stuffed into her jean pockets, and her running out the door in the space of less than two minutes. She was down the three flights of stairs to the lobby of her building before she realized she had forgotten to brush her teeth; she would just have to hope the pack of gum in her hoodie pocket would be enough to cover for her. One of the few perks of apartment was that the building was less than a block from her bus stop so even though she had to run, she could at least know she wouldn't likely miss the bus altogether.

    When she reached the bus stop, she had a few moments to catch her breath. She paused and considered, 'if thinking about this message is going to distract me enough to be late, maybe I should just reply and see what they say back. It will probably prove to be a fishing attempt and I can just delete it.'

    She opened her email again and reread the odd message. "We are Fayd. We request permission for contact." She dashed off a quick reply "Who is this." and pressed send.

    The reply came almost instantly. "We are Fayd. Permission accepted."

    Suitably ominous. More, more ...