"After their mother pointed detectives and investigative journalists digging into the abduction of Shawn Richards towards his brother, X found himself yearning for revenge. A revenge that led to the creation an app to lure his own victims to their doom. But Randonautica and Scarenoia beat him to it. In order to learn how it works and how to exploit them for his own purposes, X takes a team out to play with an app with a map to the middle of nowhere… what could possibly go wrong?"
About ten years ago I outlined a story in which a serial killer used an app to lure their victims to their doom. At the time technology for such a feat did not yet exist. It was simply something fanciful that captured my imagination.
Initial drafts at the time indicated that quite a bit of storytelling would need to happen in order to get to that point of the tale, one where death and mayhem would occur. In the long run, the content was something that like the killers in White Moon Paranormal Mysteries, gave me nightmares in both writing and in research.
Fast forward a decade. Times and technology have changed and we exist in a period where apps like the one my killer crafted and promoted are no longer fantasy. They're here and they're real.
Randonautica, Scarenoia and similar apps are ones that encourage people to get out and explore the world by giving them random destinations to find. With these apps come a wealth of content. Some excursions seem to be validly prepared for adventurers to stumble on, others staged like the young man who continues to find the same missing little boy and calls the police to return him to his parents. Sometimes ridiculous or even random abandoned buildings are pinned for people to explore or the worse.
In June of 2020, teens out exploring using Randonautica while escaping the boredom of quarantine, found bodies in a suitcase while live on TikTok. Did the person dumping the bodies have anything to do with the fact these teenagers were lead to it? The answer to that question is, definitely not.
At the time of writing this forward, several of the content creators I’ve been following have been on a wild adventure across the country, following clues that involve a bizarre love triangle. While I can’t help but believe that these events are entirely staged, there is still the possibility that they were not. What we do know as viewers is that the content creators themselves have been shot at on more than one occasion and even chased out of the locations they’re exploring.
For the most part, the set ups appear to be innocent. Mostly dolls, stuffed animals, masks, things that are normally innocuous and uninspiring staged in a way that is meant to inspire a fearful or emotional reaction. Sometimes the stagings include people dressed in unexpected ways, wearing masks, or behaving unexpectedly.
While I can tell you hat my own experiences have never been something to write home about, that doesn’t mean that terrifying things don’t actually happen as a result of using these apps.
The point of all of this is that we live in a crazy world where bad things like drug and human trafficking exist. With the number of people who go missing every day, the moral of the story is simply this: One does not Randonaut , Scarenoia or adventure using any similar app alone.
Remember that the locations you are being sent to haven’t been vetted. They are ‘completely randomly generated’ and can lead you to private property or even into the path of wild life. One of my favorite paranormal investigation teams came very close to a run in with a bear. So… not all of the things you encounter may even be man made.
That and know if the situation is crazy and probably dangerous, unless it’s an obstacle course race, I would avoid it myself.
Most importantly, stay safe out there.
Randonautica is real. While the events depicted in this Vella are entirely fictitious, it has been an adventure in writing unlike any I have ever been on. From clowns to content creators being shot at and chased out of the forest and abandoned buildings to finding tracking devices on their vehicles after being out Randonauting.
Join X and Z in accidentally solving the disappearance and murder of Z’s childhood best friend, Shawn all the while honing their skills to lure their own victims.
The Explorers is currently available at Amazon.com and also on the Kindle App for iOS for readers in the United States and will soon be available on Android OS and distributed with the Kindle Vella service as far as the app will reach.
Releases are scheduled on the first and third Monday of the month with occasional bonus episodes.
Find out why The Explorers was a Top Fan Favorite in September, rising to number 109, 92 in October, and 144 in November, and why this Vella remains on the charts.
I can’t wait to show you what happens next… but for now, here’s a teaser:
I know! Just a little creepy. Unfortunately, we all have to wait a little bit to find out what exactly is inside.