Breaking Windows by Jan Kaneen

Dangerous things, windows — for their transparency and fragility, and soooo tempting from the outside in. I should know — spend my life gazing through them. Doing it now as I write this blog, staring into secret cyberspaces, peering into brave new bedrooms. There’s no harm. It’s only looking. Anyone can do it. It’s easy as breathing getting permission for Remote Administration Tools. I sneak mine in on free downloads – photos, clips, short-short stories. People never check the links they click. I mean, have you any idea what you just agreed to when you clicked on this? For all you know, my RAT just ran up your digital drainpipe and is taking control of your webcam and microphone at this very nanosecond.

It’s a great hobby, especially when you work from home, or live alone.

I’ve got three windows open tonight. My favourite – let’s call her – ‘Window-A’ has been tap-tap-tapping at her homework for hours, dull-faced like faces are when they think no-one’s looking. I love that lack of expression; it speaks of intimacy. She’s stopped tapping now and is leaning deep into her screen, revealing downy skin on her upper lip, the silky curl of her pinkish fringe. If I move closer in, my face is only millimetres from her delicious pixels and when we exchange an ecstasy of eye contact, it’s made all the sweeter because she’s unaware. It’s so intense I’m almost glad when she pulls back to coquette her head as she takes a selfie then smiles as the responses bing, chime and twitter in.

If I’m honest though, just looking was never going to be enough.

Dangerous things windows. You never know what’s going to crawl in through the tiniest crack. I’m biding my time waiting for this one to widen. Only need her surname now and it’s bound to be on one of her bags or books. It’s only a matter of time till she puts it in range, then the her-tailored avatar I’ve been building for weeks that’s ready and waiting on appropriate socials – eighteen, loves rap, studies English and Art will send a request. Quite exciting really, being one word and two clicks away from stepping into her actual world

[A version of this was previously published by Zero Flash]

Biography: Most recently, Jan Kaneen, who’s been writing flash for yonks and yonks, won the Bath Novella-in-Flash comp. She’s also a finalist in the inaugural Curae  prize and is currently floating round on a cloud of affirmation because her words were chosen to be in such a fab anthology whilst chewing her nails to the quick wondering whether or not she’s going to win. Her novella-in-flash A Learning Curve is forthcoming from Ad Hoc Books.