Chain Letter

He stared at the disk in his hand. It was a light shade of green, pale and sickly looking; the pallor of his skin as he stared at it. It had been in his computer when he’d arrived home that day from work, hiding and waiting for him like a snake. Now it had struck, and he could already feel its venom crawling through his blood stream.

                No one else lived in his apartment. For more than three years he’d hidden himself away from the world, avoiding family and friends, cultivating his ideas. All this, ruined! He’d been found out. For the last 18 months he’d been making his way through the back alleys and corridors of shady business, getting ready for the heist.

                Someone had in turn infiltrated him now. Having gotten through his protection, all things were theirs. How many were there out in the van right now? For how many months had they watched him while he tried to sneak in from the side doors and purchase his supplies through a multitude of intermediaries.

How had they gotten in? What secrets had they found? Was he still safe? The disk didn’t speak for itself, but his mind supplied the words. They had it. All his plans were finished; soon they would come for him. Already the echoes of their footsteps moved closer as they made their way up the stairs.

                Gone. He had to be gone by the time they arrived. Nothing could be left. Any minute his door would burst open and they’d come pouring in to take him away, and he must not let them. Bags were packed. Computer was destroyed and smoldering in sink. What else was there?

                The disk. There is was, still sitting quietly on his desk blaring out its alarms. At the door? Too soon, it was too soon for them to arrive. He grabbed his bag and the disk. Where to escape too? The window. The fire escape wound up the side of the building. He was on the sixth floor.

                Out and down he went.

One floor, a closed window flashed by. The curtains were white and lacy. A flower sat in a pot staring after him with its yellow eye.

Two floors. No curtains, but it was still closed. A family inside watched a movie together on a faded orange couch.

Three floors down and he paused. An open window faced him, green venom clutched in his hands. Dark inside, no lights, no one home, a computer monitor. Freedom. The disk clicked as it slid home into its slot; the screen came to life, bathing him in white light. He must be away before it was too late; they’d be starting down after him soon.

Disk found.

The mouse moved of its own accord and he opened the file. Dumbfounded he stared as he saw the contents. It was all there. Click, drag, delete. Now they would have no proof. They’d claim he deleted it to hide his guilt. Even worse.

From the new computer he copied random files and folders. Then he was gone again. Out and down once more. Disappearing into the early evening chill.

Someone had been in his home. The green disk was clutched within his white knuckles, laughing and teasing. Did it know his secret?