by J. A. Buxton
This still can strike fear in online users.
Being on the computer can be a dangerous thing these days. What with cyber-stalkers, computer viruses that delete your hard drive, and just the standard odd-balls you run across, it's enough to make a sane person crazy. On that note, write a short story or poem about something dangerous that happens to a person online. It can be anything you want, as long as there is some kind of danger to the person.
Okay, Kathy, here’s the email I owe you. While saying this to myself, I sat down at the computer table and turned on my laptop. When I called up the blank email form, the laptop’s screen suddenly showed the infamous blue screen of death.
Anyone who has owned an older PC knows the horror that fills a person on seeing that beautiful shade of blue pop up. It means major problems with possibly a burnout of the computer’s innards.
I was about to turn off the laptop when I heard a voice coming from one of the speakers. The sleeping cat lying next to the speaker must have jumped six feet in the air because of the loudness of the male voice. Even after I hurried to lower the megaphone icon on my bottom taskbar, the voice continued at its original volume.
“You have been ignoring us too long, Judity.” My eyes widened in shock when the voice sounded exactly how I had imagined Vulcan’s voice would sound: Impatient, slightly arrogant, that of a god, even though I’d made him human. If you don’t continue your story about my wife and me, you will regret the day you refused this demand. Throughout my original story about him, I’d treated this ancient deity with love and respect. I knew deep down, however, he still wielded awesome strength.
I stared at the blank blue screen while frantically trying to mute the taskbar’s volume icon. Whimpering, I next tried to type I would do as he ordered, but the screen refused to acknowledge my words. “Please, I’ll get to it today.” Even as I said this out loud, I heard another voice coming from the speaker.
This voice was also male, and I knew down to my bones it was that of Walker. This gentle, middle-aged bachelor had a deep voice, which reminded me of cuddling under a soft thick comforter on a cold winter night. While Vulcan’s voice was autocratic and demanding, Walker made me feel safe and protected.
Vulcan, you will not threaten our creator. Like Vulcan, the multibillionaire expected instant obedience when giving orders. You will remove the blue screen and let her get back to what she was doing. Despite this, the blue screen remained.
I leaned closer to the laptop when the two male voices became softer, as if they were walking away from me. When I couldn’t make out what they were saying and hearing the anger in Vulcan’s voice, I was unprepared for what happened next.
My fingertips, lightly resting on the keyboard, started to itch. Now, pain I can handle, but the insistent itching began to drive me crazy. No matter how hard I tried, it was impossible to scratch my fingertips enough to stop the feeling of ants crawling under my skin.
Judity, I can’t stop him. Walker’s voice returned, sorrow in every word. He’s too powerful for me. I’m so sorry. Even before I heard him, I knew Vulcan had triumphed over my other gentle creation. The itching now was moving down my fingers, through my hands, and past my wrists. My bottom lip was bleeding from chewing it in panic since the itching, by now, was continuing up my arms.
Vulcan’s voice, once again loud and strong, came out of the speaker. Well? Are you ready to bring us back to life again? There is still that item of evil I left back at the forge to be rediscovered. Make up your mind quickly before I have to… His voice ended there, leaving me to guess what horror would befall me if I resisted.
When the itching reached my elbows, causing tickling of my funny bone, I couldn’t help shrieking in terror. What next? I thought, sniveling like the coward I am. If the itching continues through my body, my poor knees will be defenseless against the tickling. Everyone knew the curse of the Buxton family is to be devilishly ticklish at our knees and the bottom of our feet.
Add tickling to the increasing itching, and I would have done anything to stop the torment. I wasn’t sure if someone could die from excessive itching and tickling, but I wasn’t about to risk the danger of being the first.
I yelled out, “Uncle! Uncle! I give up. I’ll get back to the sequel about you if you’ll just stop before you drive me mad.” For long, excruciating seconds, there was complete silence. Slowly, ever so slowly, the itching started to recede. The feeling of creeping ants went back down my arms toward my wrists, causing the tickling at my elbows to fade away. I sat there sobbing in relief, knowing I would live another day thanks to Vulcan’s magnanimous generosity.
When the blue screen of death started to flicker, I waited motionless with tears still streaming down my face. Finally, the familiar blank email form came into view. My laptop was back to normal, and I quickly deleted the unwritten email. Switching over to Word, I brought up the member entitled “Seraglio of the Gods – Revisited” and typed:
Microsoft Word count = 851
"The Writer's Cramp" daily contest winner for 03/12/08