Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)
TITLE: Creepiest sound
By Jack Taylor
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“The creepiest sound that I have ever heard is nothing at all.” That’s what Russell Moore said of his experience.
I thought I could relate to him on the day I walked into my office and saw the blank screen on my computer. I was sure that just a few hours before I had been uploading a new cheap program guaranteed to help me speed up my video game files. The sound of silence was creepy, alien, out of place.
My good friend Bob had guaranteed this would solve all my problems and I’d shared it with dozens of my friends. I’d stepped out for a quick dash to Starbucks and I couldn’t wait to hear their gratitude at helping them increase their capacity for gaming.
I realized that sitting down at Jenna’s table with my latte was likely a mistake when I saw Amy walk by and give me the evil glare. There would definitely be silence coming from that direction for a while. When my fifteen attempts at calling her later went unanswered I knew this was going to be a long day.
When I walked back into the office, the sun was reflecting off the screen at just the right angle so that I could see my furrowed brows as I began to tap on the space bar and press on the return key. My frown was obvious as I took another prod at the start button.
I reached up and pulled the cord to shut the curtains letting in that bright light. There was still nothing on the screen. No response. No image. No sound.
Pulling out the plug and refitting it into the socket didn’t help. Checking the cords didn’t help. I checked for signs of mischief and there was nothing.
I pulled out my laptop and fired it up. The usual options showed. I checked my email and there I saw the damage. Thirty emails from friends complaining about a virus I had somehow spread to them in the last hours.
I called up Jim. “How in the world could I have sent you a virus. A virus is a program that multiplies itself and spreads. I didn’t lend you a DVD or a USB drive.”
Jim wasn’t impressed with my excuses. “You obviously had an infected file in that game program you sent. Until you get it fixed, don’t bother sending me any more emails. Furthermore, you’ve crashed my computer.”
I noticed my laptop was suddenly blank. I hung up with Jim and started trying the same restart process I’d just been through a few minutes before. Nothing.
I knew most viruses were just nuisances. This was annoying. Worse than usual. The tech store was closed today.
I picked up the article Jenna had handed to me when I’d made my excuses and tried to run after Amy. I never did find her and I still haven’t made a connection.
The article was about a trip that Russell Moore and his wife Maria had made to an orphanage in Russia to adopt two one year old boys. He talked about the squalor and stench of the building that housed all these little ones. Little ones that lay untouched and uncared for in their crude little cribs.
He talked most about the strange silence and then he learned. He learned that infants learn to stop crying when no one responds to their calls for food and comfort and love. No one had ever responded to these children. Russell Moore considered the silence the creepiest sound of all.
As the tears coursed down my cheeks and splashed onto the grainy image of Russell and Maria with their two little sons, I suddenly realized that I had very little to complain about in terms of my computer.
In my heart, and in my society, was a virus of apathy that ignored the 140 million orphans that struggled to survive in conditions like this. It was passed from heart to heart. From family to family. In my quest for video gamesmanship and a better program I hadn’t even thought about children who had long ago learned not to cry anymore.
The computer games I played were filled with noise and action. They were filled with life that didn’t matter anymore. Unreal life. It took a hacker and a virus to bring me the silence to turn my attention toward the cry of silence of life that did matter. The silence of babies no one loved.
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