Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
So the other day the library calls to have my department do some computer work for them. Usually they have their own IT staff, but sometimes our department will go over there to help setting up machines and stuff like that. When I got there they had just purchased five storage servers and a couple of data entry terminals that they wanted set up for two graduate students. The graduate students were going to be working on a project to take a bunch of old archived stuff and convert it into a digital format for safekeeping and for analysis and research purposes. It was supposed to be a really cool project and apparently the government had given them quite a large grant for the equipment.
They had already unpackaged the computers downstairs in the sub-basement by the time that I arrived and the only two people down there were the two grad students. Alicia looked a lot younger than she was and had curly strawberry blond hair and was a little too cheery for my tastes, Max was the other grad student and he seemed to have a much more gruff demeanor. They introduced themselves to me and we chatted for a little bit until the head librarian came down to greet us.
The head librarian and I had talked quite a few times before and she and her husband had a private book collection that was worth several thousand dollars so she knew the value of the historical nature of books and proper handling and care. She was explaining all of this to the overly peppy Alicia and the under peppy Max and then she turned to me.
She said, “Listen this equipment is very expensive and the government has paid top dollar to see that everything is set up perfectly. I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but please be careful with everything.” Then she showed me where the computers went and explained the set up to me. She explained how each student would take documents and use a light scanner to scan the pages of documents or pictures into the computer and then use the editing features of the software to correct any mistakes the scanner might have made.
It was a fairly straightforward set up so it wasn’t difficult to get it set up in just a few hours. During that time Alicia told me about how she was planning on becoming a librarian too, but that she really wanted to write for a living and Max droned on for hours about how history was the only important thing on the planet. They seemed like pretty cool people and when I wrapped up I left them to their work. I gave them my card and told them that if there were any problems they could call me directly and I would come take a look at it.
Everything went fine for the first couple of days, but one afternoon I got a call from Alicia. She didn’t sound nearly as peppy this time and told me that the scanner wasn’t working at all and she was having to put most of the data from the documents in manually.
“It’s just a bunch of scribbles,” She said.
I told her that I was busy right then but I would check on it when I got off work at five. Since the grad students had classes they usually didn’t start work until 2 or 3 in the afternoon anyway and worked through most of the night. That evening I went down to the sub-basement and took a look at the scanner. It seemed like everything was set up okay and I told them that I would talk to my manager about setting up a service call from the manufacturer to check out the light.
Now I wish I had just told them to shut it down until the technician could look at it, I should have known when I first saw those “scribbles” but it was late and I didn’t want to waste my whole day trying to figure it out. I did give my manager the information and she scheduled a work order for the following Thursday, but it doesn’t look like that will do any good to anyone now.
The next morning I got a call on my personal cellphone at about 6 in the morning. It was Max. He just said, “Listen goddamnit, I’m not doing this anymore until stuff starts working.” I tried to calm him down but he was completely irate. I told him to wait there and I would be over to see him as soon as I got in. When I did get to the office Alicia was eerily silent and she seemed to have fixed a scowl onto me. I wrote it off to stress of working with faulty machinery and I brushed off the problem as a manufacturer’s defect because Max had pissed me off so badly. If I had just taken the time to look again maybe we could have avoided what came next.
That same night I got a call from the head librarian about the scanner not working correctly. She seemed pretty shaken up and told me that Max had called her up and screamed at her about unfit working conditions and about the noise that the machine was making. I had noticed that when I was there, but the dull humming of the scanners and the quick sliding sound as the light bar swept across the page was normal. I told her that it would be best if we just waited on the manufacturer to fix it, but I did tell her that I would go back to see if maybe it just needed to have some firmware updates or something like that. I honestly just said it to get her off the phone.
I went out that evening at about 9 at night but when I got there things had gotten much worse. All of the lights were off except for the scanner and the noise wasn’t just the normal mechanical noise of the scanner but something so much worse. Looking back I know that it sounded worse than just broken, it sounded hurt and angry and alive. I plugged the main terminal into the ethernet and tried to go online to see if there were any software or firmware updates, but everything seemed to check out. All while I did this Alicia barely spoke at all but her scowl had turned from just a nasty look to a downright evil gaze. She slammed her keys on the keyboard to type in corrections and she cursed under her breath. Max was also more intense, when I explained that there was nothing else I could do he grabbed me by the collar and I swear for a moment when I looked into his eyes I thought he was going to kill me.
His face had twisted into this evil frown and his eyes had seemed to grow wide. I don’t think either of them blinked at me at all. Needless to say I was pretty freaked out. I told Max to back off and continued blaming the manufacturer, I left them with a “don’t call me again. If you hate it down here so much then you can just quit and go home. It’s not my problem anymore.”
I don’t know what it was that really set them off, but I know that we got an alert not to come in to work the next day. When the technician from the manufacturer had a cancellation he’d come in early and the librarian let him in. When they got to the sub-basement they found that Alicia and Max had a confrontation. Max had been killed and his body mutilated. Alicia had broken every one of his fingers and used hair pins to poke his eyes out. The doctor’s said that he was probably still alive then with the cause of death being severe trauma to the brain. Alicia’s hands had been completely shattered, probably from beating in Max’s skull Alicia was still barely alive but her entire body was cut up. It may have been the blood loss but they said she just screamed gibberish at the top of her lungs until the EMTs arrived and then she managed to fight them for a long time until they were able to get her into the ambulance. She died of severe blood loss on the way to the hospital.
Federal agents came in quick and they confiscated all of the equipment, but they also confiscated all of the historical documents. I heard someone the other day say that some of the documents that they lost dated back hundreds or even over a thousand years old. They were part of some of the earliest occult work known.
I don’t know if scanning those documents made the computer equipment start to freak out or if the computer and Max and Alicia got possessed by some evil spirit or if reading that stuff was enough to make them crack. Maybe it was all just coincidence that the both happened to snap under the pressure of grad school and jobs and their personal life. Maybe it’s nothing, but I can’t help thinking about going there to fix those computers and plugging them all into the internet.
Credit To: L. Sullivan