Hello peeps. Back in 2011, I was an active member of a writing website. I used to write a story a day, and sometimes those stories were actually decent. Many of them (okay, the majority) were hot garbage, but today I want to share one I’ve always liked. It’s nothing special, writing-wise, but I dig the concept very much. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even expand upon it or completely rewrite it.
Without further ado…
Anonymity if Guaranteed
by Edward Lorn
It was smaller than I’d seen before, one of those little net-books cell phone companies sold. The thing didn’t even have a disc drive. There was one USB port, an empty circle where a power cable might go and a place to plug in headphones. The laptop was dark green in color and I almost missed it there in the grass.
I was on my way home from my friend’s house, cutting through the park, when it caught my eye. Though the top of it blended in with the ground, the standby light on the front showed a bright orange. Surveying the empty park, trying to find the computer’s owner, I bent down to pick it up.
The fan hummed softly and the bottom was warm. I was almost sure it wasn’t going to work when I opened it—the case was damp from its time in the grass—and was a little shocked when I saw the screen light up.
I sat down in one of the empty swings so I could check it out.
There was no start menu, no desktop icons, no background, nothing but an address bar and a blank, white window. I checked for an X to close the browser, but it didn’t have one. Now that I had the computer open, I could see, above the numbers on the keyboard, another light that showed a connection to the Internet.
I typed in Google and hit enter.
Every time I typed in a website and hit enter, nothing changed. The screen stayed white and the address bar reset, clearing my entry. There was a single arrow at the end of the bar, I clicked on it and was shown a history list with only one site.
Someone had a thing for sadistic material. Using the touch pad, I rolled the pointer over the website’s address and clicked it.
Finally, I hit pay dirt. The connection speed had to be 4G the way it moved. I wasn’t familiar with the web browser, but it was fast, loading the site quicker than I could blink my eyes.
The display showed a black screen with a single red word in the middle:
Moving the pointer over, I highlighted the word, selecting it.
The next screen said:
This text was still red, but these words took up the entire screen.
A small, gray window the size of a bookmark popped up,
ONCE YOU PROCEED, YOU CANNOT QUIT
I laughed at this. I’d just turn the damn thing off if I didn’t like what I saw.
A cold wind cut through the park. I pulled my coat tighter,
I was welcomed by a seizure inducing barrage of flashing reds, blues, pinks, purples, and greens, all in a rotating sunburst pattern. Rolling over each other, growing out of one another, the colors finally coalesced into a solid brown screen. The home screen, gold letters in bold italics, read:
CHOOSE YOUR OUT
HURT A STRANGER
and suffer no consequences
and suffer deservedly
HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE
and be rewarded
ANONYMITY IS GUARANTEED
I felt the smile I had on my face drain away. In the back of my mind I knew I must choose one of them. With a finality, like my own looming death clock, I knew if I didn’t, I would be punished. It was not a maybe; it was fact. I knew it.
My mouth went dry and my palms started sweating. Shaking, I watched the pointer make small circles on the screen as my finger twitched nervously. It was then I noticed the small print at the very bottom of the screen.
In the event that you cannot decide, you will be in default, resulting in the choice of all three. Copyright Hurt.com 2011.
You would think that the choice, as a human being at least, would be easy. Choose to hurt a stranger and suffer no consequences. Sounded like the right choice. All I had to do was click on that one and then throw this motherfucking computer like a Frisbee into the neartest tree. It would be done, and I would be free of this horrible plastic and silicon inquisitor. I could always lie to myself and convince that voice in my brain that I hadn’t really done anything wrong.
After all, anonymity was guaranteed.
Yet, there were other questions. Those ended up being the real problem.
Who would hurt themselves? What was there to gain from that choice? Some people got off on pain, but I couldn’t understand that lifestyle. Didn’t want to understand.
What kind of reward was one looking at for hurting the one they loved? Money? Fame? Therapy? Because you were sure going to need it if you chose that option.
And how bad was the hurt going to be? Were we talking a stubbed toe or severed limb? Concussion or compound fracture?
There were too many variables, and I wasn’t any closer to an answer when a timer popped up in the bottom right hand corner with a warning box:
YOU NOW HAVE 5 SECONDS TO DECIDE OR YOU WILL BE IN DEFAULT
Could I choose a stranger and live with the fact that someone out there was hurting because of me?
Would I hurt myself to save a loved one or someone I didn’t even know?
Hurting someone I loved for a reward seemed monstrous, but was I capable of it?
Was my finger moving on it’s own? Or was I making this decision consciously?
I made my choice, clicked my only option, because in the end there was only one; just one out. I slammed the lid of the computer closed and shoved it off my lap. I ran the rest of the way home, never looking back.
You want to know what I chose, don’t you? Well…
ANONYMITY IS GUARANTEED
See you tomorrow,
Pic of the Day