This short story was inspired by a prompt. Your best friend has been arrested for illegally downloading. While he is in jail, he asks you to go his house and delete the files from his computer. As your deleting files, you notice one with your name on it….
Intrigued, but also slightly concerned you start rummaging through the drawers of his desk hoping to find a thumb drive, USB stick, or anything else to copy files onto. He had told you to be in and out as fast as you can as they would be coming for his things.
Three drawers later stuffed right in the very back you find one. Without thinking, you shove it into the computer and transfer the file over.You realize it angers you immensely to be staring at a file with your name written on it.
It takes only moments to copy, and you delete the original file. You look one more time at the computer to make sure there are no hidden files you might have missed. Feeling confident that you erased everything illegal, you empty the trash can and recycling bin, clear the web history, and eject the thumb drive from the computer. You gather your things and are out the door faster than you can say 25 to life.
As you walk down the hall and wait for the elevator, you roll the thumb drive around in your hand. You feel like a fool for not knowing that one of your supposed best friends illegally downloads. What other things could he be hiding from you?
You contemplate whether or not you should have helped him wipe his computer and try to recall what type of punishment you could be facing if you get caught. You wonder what sort of things he could have in this file with your name on it. When the buzzer dings you let it drop to the bottom of your pocket and get into the elevator.
Twenty minutes later you arrive safely at your home. You realize your heart has been racing and find it interesting how much of a rush merely deleting some files could be.
Upon entering the house, you immediately go to the computer and plug in the flash drive. Just as you are about to open the file, you pause. Do I honestly want to open this file, you
wonder to yourself?
For several moments you just sit there frozen, staring at the black screen. You find that an
enormous part of you desperately wants to know what is in the file. However, another large part of you wants to hold onto the hope that whatever reason there was for him to have this file is the first place is a good one. You wish to believe that he is a good man. The man you have known for most of your life.
Finally, you decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and not look the file, at least for the time being. When he calls next, you will inquire into it and see what kind of reaction you get from him. You pull the drive from the port and tuck it safely in your top desk drawer. You are just nicely closing the drawer when your husband walks in.
You greet him with the usual kiss hello and small talk, inquiring about each others days. He asks about the children and you tell him they’re playing upstairs while they wait for dinner. He goes off to find them and seems unaware of how distracted you are.
As the night goes on, you find yourself continually thinking about the little thumb drive tucked in the drawer. You so desperately want to know what is in that stupid folder. Several scenarios run through your mind, almost all of them horrible. All throughout dinner, you are thinking about it. You’re thinking about it while you bath the kids and read they’re bedtime stories. It is always on your mind.
You crawl into bed beside your husband and dim the lights while you both read. He still has not seemed to notice how distracted you are, even when you toss your book aside because you’re unable to concentrate on it. You shut the lights off and roll over trying to get comfortable.
A short time later you can hear him start to snore. You lay there for a while listening to the rise and fall of his chest. You toss back and forth, uncovering one body part and recovering another until finally you can’t take it any more.
You quietly sneak downstairs and pull the drive from the drawer, gently sticking it into the computer. You had hoped your friend would call tonight so that you could ask him about it but he hadn’t. You knew it would be impossible to let it go until you knew what was on it.
You take a deep breath and double click the folder with your name on it. Expecting the worst you have covered your eyes. Now that the moment is here you are second guessing yourself.
All of a sudden, several things started popping up on the screen. Lights started flashing, and something began to chime. You uncover your eyes and scan the screen. It’s full of pictures of you and your family, photos of your favourite foods and restaurants, images of seemly random activities that are some of your favourite things to do. You lean back in the chair and take in all the things displayed on the screen.
A little link at the bottom of the folder catches your eye. You click to open it, and it reveals an invitation to a surprise party that they have been planning, it appears, for quite some time. There are lists of activities and food, the dates and time, a huge guest list, and several decoration and game plans. You had never felt as silly in your whole life as you did while sitting there at the computer. How could you have ever thought so poorly of one of your best friends? The things that went through your head were almost unforgivable.
You empty the screen and delete the file, shut off the computer, and shake your head. How silly of you to stress so much over this, how silly it was to let it get to you so. You wander back up to bed, feeling quite ridiculous, and fall asleep almost instantly.