#BlogBattle Week 55
‘Tis time once again for a weekly writing prompt, hosted by Rachael Ritchey.
It has been a while, not just since I participated, but since I’ve felt well enough (?) to write anything anywhere.
I had been invited to join a blog hop with a Spring Time theme, but had to renege and withdraw from participating. Something is going on within me, and I know not what.
Be that as it may:
I’m here this week to offer another Thriller of a tale, but this one could be said to have a happy ending. You be the judge, and let me know in the comments, if you please.
Evil In Technology
By John T. M. Herres, (c) 2016
Most people think they know about Evil, but in reality, they only have a vague idea. They also think the Evil is elsewhere. It’s not. Case in point:
The day started as most every other day in recent memory.
Joseph awoke alone, made a pot of coffee and sat at his computer to begin his daily routine.
Quiet reigned, and he noticed even the outside noises were absent.
While he waited for his favorite game site to load, he walked to the window and pulled aside the curtain to see what type of day he would face.
Utter blackness met his gaze. The sun should be out by now, he thought, or at least a slate grey sky warning of impending rain.
He squinted as his brow crinkled. Nothing showed past his front porch. He walked to the door and flipped the switch to ignite the outer lights, as he peered through the diamond-shaped window.
The bulb flared, brighter than its 75 watts allowed, then exploded with a pop and a shower of sparks.
“Great,” he mumbled as he returned to his computer. The browser window had opened, but displayed the infamous “Page Not Found” warning. “No Internet Connection. Please check your modem, and try again,” it said.
“What now?” He went back into the little kitchen to fill his cup. The carafe clicked as he poured.
Returning to his desk, he sat and began looking for the source of the problem. He could find no background activity, and by all accounts the internet showed to be clear and ready for surfing.
A page opened unannounced and uncalled for. Not a web page, for the browser had closed itself, but it looked like a document of some kind.
The letters seemed all jumbled, he could not make out one string that spelled an actual word.
“What is going on here?” he asked no one. When he tried to click the red x to close it, nothing happened. He tried to open the task manager to see what processes were running, hoping to find the culprit and first end it, then delete all traces of the rogue program. Somehow, a pirate file must have found its way onto his hard drive.
All his efforts were for naught. The document would not go away, nor did any of the strings of letters make any more sense than when he first saw them. He couldn’t even open a translate program to see if another language had been used.
He held down the ctrl and alt keys with his left fingers, but as his right hovered over the delete key, he could swear he felt an electrical charge.
He yanked his hands from the keyboard. “What the…” The spaces behind the keyboard began glowing, soft at first, then intensifying.
Joseph stood, rolling the chair away as he backed up. Eyes wide, he stared at the screen as the letters began rearranging. They clumped together where letters should not be, overlapping and congealing into a solid, black picture.
A pair of eyes, opened, for lack of a better word; the iris yellow with jagged red streaks stretching to form a flaming pupil.
The face grew, expanding from the screen and solidifying into an horrific leviathan. Joseph had reached the wall farthest from the computer, still trying to backtrack.
The black form with yellow eyes kept enlarging, forming muscular arms and chest as it loomed over the man.
“Wha… what…?” He could not complete the question. Words failed him at the fear he felt racing through every limb. His legs trembled with the desire to turn and high-tail it away from there.
A deep-throated laugh rumbled from the specter as its mouth leered, sharp teeth on full display. “You will not leave, Joseph. I have plans for you.” The laugh came again, pictures on the wall rattled and several fell from their places.
“What do you want? Why me?”
“All ask those questions. I shall tell you as I tell them; ‘I want you,’ and ‘Why not?’ I need no reason. I do as I please when I please, to whomever I please.”
Joseph looked around, trying to find an out. The form towered above him, threatening to overshadow every source of light. He somehow knew if all the lights went out, it would be his end.
A flash of inspiration ignited him into action. As the apparition swung its clawed hand, he tucked to his right and rolled into the kitchen. Thumping against the cabinet, he yanked open a bottom drawer. His searching hand latched onto the flashlight.
The flare hit the darkness, a million candle watts smashing into the spook and causing a section to burst and vanish.
Sneering, Joseph stood and advanced with caution. He swung the beam in arcs to hit all he could. Wherever brightness hit, part of his room came back into being.
At last, he vanquished the last parts of it. The mirth mixed with outrage in a cacophony of shrieks as the poltergeist disintegrated.
He turned off the torch, leaving his finger on the button in case the demon returned. Walking to the computer, he grabbed the cord and yanked it from the socket.
The screen went blank. All flashing and scouring noises ceased as silence again reigned.
Through the curtains, he could see brightness from the sun returning. Sounds of birds and lawnmowers rose beyond, so Joseph tip-toed back to the window. As he drew the fabric aside, he had to avert his eyes and give them time to adjust.
The familiar view greeted his gaze, and he exhaled a breath he didn’t realize he held. He returned to his chair, which had landed in the far side of the room.
Staring at the offending hardware, he almost lamented as he came to the decision to get rid of all electronic devices.
One couldn’t be too careful.