I was just in it for the piracy, really. Okay, maybe the piracy and a little bit of drugs.

Back in the day, it was tough to pirate any really big filed because of how slow the internet was. It was even harder to buy illegal things because there was no PayPal. But enterprise always flourishes, and by diligently looking through troves of sites no one linked to and trying login screens with no identifying information, you were always able to get somewhere. That was the deep web primeval, back then; kids today don’t know how lucky they have it.

I eventually stumbled into a directory of encrypted files after guessing the password. I still have no idea what the files were, but I scrolled through them anyway, looking for movies to download. Eventually, I noticed that a text file had appeared just ahead of where I was, alphabetically, in the file structure.

Its title was WE_SEE_YOU.txt.

A moment later I got disconnected. It spooked me good, but not enough to really change anything. Felt kind of shook up, so I went to McDonald’s for a bite and stayed there for a bit.

When I got home, I had a new email. The ‘from’ address was a petty clear spoof, but the subject line caught my eye.

“WE SEE YOU.”

There was an attachment, which I opened. Dumb move, by the way, never open attachements if you don’t know where they came from. But I did, and what I saw made me yank the modem out of the wall hard enough to break the socket.

It was a grainy picture of me eating my Quarter Pounder in McDonald’s on a time-stamped CCTV still.

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