This is a story I wrote in 2008 for a flash fiction project.
It’s a crazy story with some insanity blended in!
My Mom’s Computer
I was talking to this other guy who has a computer. I told him about some eerie things going on with my mom’s computer. He told me a story about 2001. A computer named HAL was discovered. HAL would do evil things to keep from being shut off because computers die when they are shut off. He told me it was really aliens.
I thought he was crazy because this was even worse than that. Mom’s computer is not evil; it is very, very evil. I told him this had to be the work of the devil himself.
Please, let me explain:
From the very beginning this thing has scared the hell out of my mom. She could never tell me why it was scaring her. It always seemed to be fine when I came over to check it out. There was something very strange going on as my mom had never mentioned being afraid of computers until I talked her into buying one. I should never have done that, so I feel personally responsible.
Then one day the worst thing possible happened. It was just a normal day when mom called to tell me her computer wasn’t working. I dug my notes out and told her to "reboot it." She didn’t know what that meant, but my notes said "turn off and turn on." I told her, "turn it off and turn it on." She tried, and said, "it won’t shut off."
Here’s where it gets really eerie.
I asked her what it was doing. She said, "it was moving, and then it quit moving." I sensed it was getting ready to attack. I asked, "are you sure it was moving, and then it quit moving?" Her reply was clear: "yes."
I tried to remain calm, but my adrenaline was already flowing. I told her as calmly as I possibly could, "I’ll be over in a bit." She must have picked up on my lead because she was also acting very calmly when she said, "Okay. See you soon."
I never worked so frantically in my life. Even though I was sure it was the devil, I had to know more about this discovery made in 2001. I found it quickly searching with key words I picked up with my keen sense of hearing when I was talking to that other guy with a computer. HAL was more evil than I thought: he killed one astronaut on a space walk, and three more in suspended animation; but, he didn’t move. The problem, though, was a monolyth.
I rushed over to mom’s house, and tried to act like I wasn’t scared. The devil can pick up on that, you know. I couldn’t tell mom what I was about to do because that was a mistake the astronauts made; I hoped that mom would pick up on me trying to act calmly, and cryptically told her, "I’m going to look for something. Why don’t you go into the front room." It worked! She said, "okay." How she appeared so calm when she had to be shaking inside is beyond me, but she was handling her part well.
She keeps some family heirlooms and pictures in that room, so that’s what I acted like I was looking at, but I coyly kept the screen in my periphery. The devil has quite a poker face. Not only didn’t the computer move, but the screen didn’t do anything either - not even a blink. It was as if the devil were struggling to keep the shut down from occurring, but the devil plays tricks on people. I watched for about ten minutes.
I don’t know how mom does it, but she timed it perfectly. She distracted the computer, without a shred of fear in her voice, by acting like she was asking me, "is everything all right?"
I leapt like a cat to the part that has the switch, and began wrestling with it. We rolled and tumbled, and just as Satan was about to get the better of me, I grabbed the plug and pulled it! It seemed to work, but I kicked it a couple of times to make sure. Then I put a cross on it.
Mom was finally free to release her fear, and she cried at my bravery while she salvaged what she could of the heirlooms. Then she called the repairman.
When he got there, I told him what happened. He went through it completely, replaced a few parts that were broken, and said he could only find a virus. Alas, I may have saved the world that day, but the devil got away.
As I was waiting for the pill mom gave me to take effect, I told her about the other guy who has a computer, the trip to the moon, and the aliens. I warned her to never take a space walk, don’t dig in craters on the moon, and to never, never go into suspended animation. I even told her about the monolyth. Then I told her about the devil, and why I thought it was him.
Just before I dozed off, she and I both agreed: no cameras; no mics.
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