Contagion. If you are reading this, YOU HAVE BEEN TOUCHED. This story is a contagion. To survive it, you must add to it. Make it grow. Make it spread.
The letter said only: YOU HAVE BEEN TOUCHED in a simple, austere typeface. The paper was a heavy stock, no watermark. The envelope it had come in was blank; no return address, no postmark. It had obviously been hand-delivered, but there were also no prints. The letter itself was an enigma. And everyone who had received one—seven, so far—was dead.
Detective Maia Chase was examining the letter inside a sealed polybag. The lab had come up negative on any infectious agents; known ones, at least. and the bizarre thing was that all the victims had died of different things: heart attack, stroke; all natural causes. But that's what was so unnatural; the ages varied wildly. Some were in their 60s, some in their 20s, and, Christ, even a young kid. As far as they could tell, the child had been home at the time the letter was delivered, and, absent any addressive information, the boy thought it was for him. And now there was an otherwise healthy 6-year-old dead from a stroke.
The phone rang. Maia groped for it, intent on the letter, checking for fibers, identifying marks, anything. She put the receiver to her ear: "Chase." The voice that came through the line was like none she had ever heard—like nothing she had ever heard. "yOU gOt My lETTeR. i'M ToUChEd. YoU HaVe 24 hOUrs." There was a click and the line was dead. Chase's attention was drawn away from the letter and she noticed the time: 12:01AM. On Halloween.