Back in the summer of '09, just after I graduated high school, I found myself out of work and without a single college that would accept me. I was stuck at 19 in my parents house. Not a dollar to my name. Of course I would do odd jobs where I could. I'd fix computers or cellphones for a couple dollars. Simple stuff under the table, as any young adult who needs to scrape together cash would do.
A friend of my dad had some computer trouble and so he was sent my way. He had no idea what was wrong with the computer, but he said it was acting strange. I assumed he had downloaded some malware by mistake from a pop-up. He certainly was... technologically inept. So I took the computer and put it on my desk to get to it when I could. At the moment I was busy coding a MineCraft mod for a friend of a friend in exchange for cash. Less than legal, maybe, but easy and quick. Well I was up til about 2 o'clock finishing the code. By that point I was ready to sleep, but I figured I should at least look at the laptop first. Just to know what I might have been dealing with. Maybe I could even fix it before I went to sleep.
The computer booted up normally, showing a Windows XP logo and little blue loading bar animation. I smiled to myself; XP was always my favorite operating system for PCs. The computer showed that of the three accounts one was logged in. The two inactive ones were "Jason" and "Emily" and the one logged in was "Infinity" with one program running. The first two, "Jason" and "Emily" had normal thumbnail pictures that were stock images on XP, but the third had an infinity symbol. I clicked it, pulling up a password screen. This was a little off putting. My dad's friend, Jason, had said there were no passwords on his computer. I lifted the laptop, examining it to find anywhere that might have hid a password. I was about to just go and log into one of the other accounts when I decided to try and guess a password. Without even really thinking, I typed "INFINITY" in all caps. To my surprise, I heard the familiar log-in chime.
The one program running was Internet Explorer. I cringed at the idea that anyone would even open this software. It's like the cardinal sin of the internet. The window was minimized in the toolbar, so I clicked it and pulled up the browser page. It was a site with the URL "Infinity.∞" and the page was all glitched out. Colorful symbols were scrambled and flashed in nonsensical patterns. The scroll bar was flicking up and down, but the page itself was still. I just figured Internet Explorer forgot how to internet.
I closed the browser and it popped up a window that said "are you sure you want to quit?", but it was scrambled and the buttons said "no" and "no". I clicked the left button and it closed the browser, thankfully. It would suck if I had to reboot the computer because of Internet Explorer. I pulled up Fire Fox and typed in the same address, but it gave me and error 404 message. I tried it on the other accounts, and even my own computer, using Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explore, but no luck. This must have been a virus that disguised itself as a web browser. I went back to Internet Explorer on the laptop and instead of giving me the normal home page for IE it gave me the Infinity site again. I opened a new tab and, to my surprise, it let me go to other sites. I could use New Grounds, Reddit, and Youtube perfectly fine. Well, fine for Internet Explorer's standards.
So this was actually a web page. I figured maybe that there was a file on this user that allowed access to the page which other computers and other users on this computer lacked. There was one last thing I wanted to try before going to bed. I opened up the coding for the web page. No wonder the page was fucked up, the code was random letters and numbers. There were html commands mixed it with the gibberish. The word "infinity" was sprinkled it with odd capitalization and spacing every couple of lines.
And at the very bottom of the code it simply read "Welcome to the end of the internet".
Not even five seconds after I read that line, the computer shut down. I tried to boot it back up and was meet with a terrible screeching sound and the monitor went crazy. It flashed random images. Not like disgusting, gore images. It looked more like pictures that had a glitch when they compressed and some looked like when a .gif "melts" and leaves a streak of movement on the screen. When it had finished it's boot up it put me straight into user Infinity. There was nothing on the desktop now except for a folder and Internet Explorer. I clicked on the folder and it showed all the pictures that had flashed on the screen before. Looking closer, something horrifying struck me. These were pictures of me. Pictures of me on the computer. I could barley make it out because of the horrible compression, but I was sure it was me in these images. The computer promptly shut down again.
There was no point in me staying awake anymore. I laid in bed and let myself drift to sleep. After all, it was 3 AM and I needed to get some shut eye. When I dreamed that night, I had a pretty disturbing nightmare. It was me, as a kid, playing in a large field. And while I was running around, stumbling every few feet as I had not gotten used to using my legs yet, I turned around to where I thought my parents were. Instead, I saw a tall figure. It was all black, stoic and motionless. I would say it looked like that Slenderman, that thing that is all the rage on the internet right now, but it wasn't faceless and it wasn't wearing a suit. Nor was is very slender. I was about to get a good look when I snapped awake. I pulled my body upright panting and gasping for air. My heart felt like it was pounding out of my chest. My pulse was racing. I looked over the the laptop sitting on the desk. It was open and facing me.
The webcam light was on, a small green light illuminating in the room. And the screen was on, but all black light. Slowly, like someone was typing, white text appeared on the bottom corner of the screen. I stood up and walked over to the computer, squinting my eyes to see what it read. There was a single sentence, written in Times New Roman. It read, "Did you sleep well?"