Welcome readers. During the month of October we here at the ESG have decided to indulge you on a tiny trip of horror if you will. In appreciation of this fall and Halloween season, we will be presenting you with two stories of fiction.
Each stars the ESG staff and SC4 students and faculty, they are written purely for entertainment, but in the dark and twisted sense of the word. Without further ado, here is our first tale of crypt.
We submit to you: The Deadline a tale of paranoia of the digital age, and this is The ESG.
We had been working at the paper late that night, like usual. We were true journalists, over worked and under paid. Burning both ends of the candle for one lousy credit. Everything had been going fine that night, business as usual… until we opened that e-mail. It was nothing, or at least it should have been nothing. It was just spam, we told ourselves. It’s just the result of some creep. But no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t shake the shiver from our spines.
The picture was of us. Us from last week more specifically. Taken from outside the window, it was just us working. Nothing actually sinister about it, but we couldn’t help but feel unnerved. It was the caption that was the worst:
“Hard at work?”
We tried to forget it, put it out of our minds and move on with our lives. It was a Halloween prank by a student, probably a friend of ours… right?
Things only got worse the next day. None of us got any sleep. How could we? We tried keeping our minds off of it, but there was no use. On Tuesday, we kept looking over our shoulder at the windows, waiting. And then, like clockwork it happened again. Angie got the E-mail. Recipient: Unknown.
The image this time was more disturbing, it wasn’t all of us this time. This time the picture was just of Angie, a picture of her alone in the office. We didn’t know what to say. Furious and terrified Angie replied: “Who is this?”
The response was almost immediate: “Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this? Who is this?”
Angie rushed out the door to get campus patrol, I’ve never seen a face so filled with terror, and I’ll never forget it. Angie never came back.
We all assumed that Angie went home and we quickly left. Leaving was the worst part, walking alone to our cars, calling our loved ones to calm us down, checking and double checking the back seats of our cars.
The next week it was only Chico, Emily and myself that showed up to the newsroom. One by one we had been picked off, by whoever, or whatever this was. I don’t know why we came back, maybe it was to prove to ourselves that we didn’t have anything to be afraid of, that maybe we would just wake up and this nightmare would be only that; A dark and twisted dream and nothing more. Or maybe it was because there wasn’t any point in avoiding it. The e-mails seemed to reach us wherever we were at now, increasing in number, the lapse between each email getting shorter and each beckoning us back to the office. Just like before, we received the e-mail. None of us wanted to open it, but we felt like we had no choice. It felt like an eternity, a terrifying cycle with no end.
Trembling as Emily clicked the e-mail, our blood ran cold. There we were, gathered around Emily’s desk logging onto her computer mere minutes before we opened the e-mail. Out of shock we spun around, expecting to see our harasser, but there was no one. Chico ran outside, hoping to catch a glimpse of whoever this was. Emily and I stood there and read the caption: “When’s your deadline?”
I don’t expect you to believe me, after all not even the administration did. I just had to write it down, I don’t have much time. I got this e-mail about an hour ago: “Tic tock” I haven’t looked at the window since, the door is locked, but I don’t think that will work. I’m the only one left and I need someone to listen, I just need someone to believe me, I just need someone to beli…