You’ve Got Mail by Diane M Dickson

typewriter

I didn’t know, I had no idea, if I’d known I would never have opened the inbox.

I was just checking the emails, sorting out the junk, the ads and the spam, click, click, click.  That was when I saw it, for the first time, the first message.

Do not delete this.

Not very original and I was going to press the delete key, I was, I promise you but fool that I am I opened it.  I read it.

Tonight. it will be tonight.

I thought it was just spam but even then it felt weird.  It was a spooky feeling reading those five words.  I had already answered some of my messages, you may have had something from me, you who are reading this.  If you did I’m sorry, I don’t know if I sent it on, I pray that I didn’t.

I switched the machine off then but I couldn’t keep away, it drew me back.  There was my need to keep checking, my addiction, the urge to keep logging on, to see if there was any more.  I just couldn’t leave it.

I meant to look at You tube to watch something to take my mind off it, something to settle me down, to calm me, some meaningless fuzz but I had to keep going back and back to the inbox each time the stupid chime rang, I flicked over to it.

There was more, much more – lines and lines and lines of it.

Tonight.
Later tonight.
It is coming.
You cannot escape.
Soon it will be time.

I should have deleted them immediately of course I don’t know what stopped me.  I tried to follow the links back, I couldn’t find the thread, you won’t be able to – don’t even try.   The “from” box was full of gobbledygook and the harder I tried the more the machine fought me,  taking me down routes I didn’t want and twice closing down completely.   I could have left it shut down, I should have gone to bed, but I couldn’t shake it – “What is coming?  When will it arrive?  Where is it from?”

Each time I turned it on there was more until it was literally flooding in more and more and more – endlessly filling the screen.

Tonight
Escape is not possible
Are you ready?

I tried to call Peter, he’ll have a message on his machine, don’t blame yourself Peter, don’t feel guilty for not being in.

It will be soon.

By that time I was a gibbering wreck, I think I yelled at the machine, “Stop it, whoever you are stop it.”  I dragged the plug from the wall, twice I did that and still something made me come back.  I tried I promise you all I tried to stop it but each time I ended up back at the inbox and then suddenly there was nothing.

Just a grey screen, rubbery looking – nothing.

Slowly, slowly it began, like it was creeping from the depths of well – somewhere – a shape, a shadow, a wavering figure.  It moved, and grew and was created.  Its eyes opened, they burned into mine, and its mouth gaped and drooled.

Don’t look at it, perhaps if you don’t look at it  – oh I don’t know.

The screen wavered and rippled.  There was a noise, it started as a tiny whine but it grew and grew until it became unbearable.  I thought my brain would explode, I pressed my hands over my ears, it didn’t help.  Then the room started to spin as I watched them, the hands and arms sliding out from inside the machine, the bony fingers flexing and bending.  Once they were through the scrawny hands crawled towards the edge of the desk and began to pull the creature through, it was a ghastly delivery through the electronic conduit that my machine was.

I don’t know where it is.

I don’t know how much longer I have, as I type this skin sloughs from my fingers.  I am weak, I can no longer stand and breathe rattles in my chest.  There isn’t much pain but as I watch my body disintegrate  I need to let you know – my family, I need to let you know that I loved you.  I wish you were here now, I wish someone was here now,

I don’t know where it has gone, I don’t know what it did to me as it passed through me, I can’t remember what it did but it is out there now, it is roaming the world.  I just hope someone finds me and this message before it’s too late.  I’m sorry I didn’t mean to let it through but I just couldn’t keep away from my machine.  I’m sorry.

 

Diane M Dickson 

10 thoughts on “You’ve Got Mail by Diane M Dickson

  1. Hi Diane, an enjoyable funny read, although I should have been horrified. Do we really spend too much time in front of our computers? This story to be was the portrayal of the worst kind of technostress possible. I also was reminded of your novel ‘Ghostwritten’, which had a similar hair raising theme.
    James.

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  2. I tried to edit my last comment, but it seems to have got lost. Swallowed by the system.
    However, I enjoyed this tale of Technostress. Do we really spend too much time in front of our computers and will they take over our minds? This reminded me of your novel “Ghostwritten”, which I also enjoyed.

    James.

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    • Thank you so much for the feedback – I think if I was going to have a haunted computer I would choose the one in Ghostwritten – at least it was productive rather than downright mean!!

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  3. A scary-good story, Diane! It will be remembered every morning when I first turn on my computer. One never knows what devil lurks i none’s email. I would advise newcomers to the computer world to read this story because it offers a very necessary warning: Better to delete than take a chance! And if you’re one who can’t keep the plug pulled, get help because the devil always wins if you don’t! June

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  4. Hi Diane, eerie and relevant in this day and age of the continual checker…Hopefully a warning to all to just ignore all forms of communication every now and again!
    This story is up to your usual excellent standard.
    Hugh

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