This is the next in my ongoing horror serial. Enjoy!
Elard finished his jog and stopped outside the library to cool down. He felt bad for Melanie. He didn’t know exactly what happened, but he knew one thing. She was no liar. He’d do some snooping on the library computers and see if the guy bugging her had left any trail. Then he’d take it from there.
He walked into the library and headed for the computer that Mel used. She was a creature of habit. If the computer she wanted wasn’t available then she’d wait. Elard was a different creature in many ways. The computer she always used was occupied. That just wouldn’t do at all for his purposes. He walked up to the baby faced young man hammering at the keys. “How you doin’ sweetie?”
The guy didn’t even flinch.
Elard touched him on the shoulder. The white button down shirt the hammerer wore was lightly starched. “I was talkin’ to you sugar.”
This time he flinched. “Huh?” He looked up at Elard with big blue eyes. “Can I help you?”
Elard nodded. “This computer has some viruses on it. Seems like someone was looking at baby porn on it. Pictures of naked little kids. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?” He stared at the man-child. Poor thing couldn’t have been more than six months out of high school.
“Shit no.” His fingers practically shot away from the keyboard. “I was just working on my term paper.” He scooted back and adjusted his thick framed glasses. “You go ahead and do what you need to do.”
“Thanks.” Elard nodded. “You toddle on over there.” He watched the young man walk away, taking note of the tightly fitting trousers. “Too young and innocent for me.” Elard turned his attention back to the computer. He plugged a usb stick into one of the available ports and powered it off. When he turned it back on he waited for the right screen and forced the computer to boot from the stick.
“Excuse me.” The voice came from behind Elard.
Elard turned to see the young man had come back. “Yes, sweetie.”
“Did you save that document? The one I was working on.” He pointed at the computer. His hand trembled slightly.
Elard shook his head. “Fraid not. You weren’t working in the cloud?”
“The what, now?” The young man cocked his head.
Elard sighed. Young and not too bright, in spite of the nerd chic look. “Google docs or some such?”
“No. I was going to save it to my USB thing when I was done.” He looked at the mostly dark screen. It looked for all the world like he was going to start bawling right here in the middle of the library.
Elard put a hand on the man’s stomach. “You sit right over there. When I’m done I’ll recover it for you.” The stomach underneath that shirt was hard and flat.
His eyes cleared up. “That would be awesome. I don’t know how I can thank you.”
Elard flicked the fingers of his other hand. “We can talk about that later. You go sit down and let daddy work.” He swiveled in his chair. He hadn’t been a dancer his whole life. Computers and anything electronic gave him a sense of control and power. When he’d get beaten up, he’d spend hours in the school computer lab healing and hanging out with the other rejects. He didn’t get the hang of them right away, but now everything about them made sense.
He sifted through the computer logs and the files on the PC and then moved out to the network. Every computer in this building had a chunk of code that could turn it into a zombie with one string of nonsense put into the right folder. The person that had taken these machines over would know nearly anything the people on the computers did. Key loggers would store anything that was typed and another piece of malware would grab screen shots periodically or if certain keywords were typed in. Go to a bank’s website and he’d have your balance and login information. Download smut and he’d know it. There was even a bit that used the webcam as a spy eye.
None of that mattered right now, since Elard’s homemade bootstick kept all of that cordoned off. All the mystery person would know was that this computer was down for a while. He could possibly guess why, but Elard wasn’t making any changes. At least not yet. He took his own screenshots and copied the bots of code that he could without tripping any alarms.
It was no wonder that this person knew Melanie well. He or she would have been able to cyber stalk her for at least the last year. What she didn’t do on her laptop she did hear. Hell, the person likely had her laptop owned as well since the girl used the same USB stick here and at home. She didn’t update their antivirus as often as Elard recommended, not that most AV programs could keep up with people like the one who was doing this. He was no script kiddie. Those pseudo hackers were no better than trained monkeys. Some of them very well trained. No, this person was on Elard’s level, if not above it.
Thinking better of the notion that his own stick was “invisible” to this person, he pulled the power cable and the USB stick. He’d be careful about the next place he plugged it in and then he’d destroy it. If there was anything nasty on there he’d minimize the damage and then make sure no one else got infected.
“Can you get my file?” The voice coming from behind him was timid.
Elard turned and really looked at the person. He could see the binding now under the white shirt that kept his breasts constricted. Whether the guy was a pre-op trans or a cross dresser or any number of other choices on the gender spectrum, he was good and would fool most people. Hell he’d fooled Elard. He held out a hand. “Name’s Elard. Sorry about all of that garbage I fed you a few minutes ago.”
“You can call me Gus, Elard.” They shook hands.
“That computer really is fucked. You don’t want any part of any file that you had on there. I wasn’t feeding you a line about that.” He pulled the guy’s USB stick from the computer and handed it to him.
Gus got that cry-baby look again.
Elard felt more than a little bad about how he’d treated Gus earlier. He’d turned on the creep factor pretty high. “Hey, look, I know shit is hard. You lost your paper. We’ll get you fixed back up.”
The look disappeared like Gus’s flipped a switch. “Gotcha.” The young trans person winked.
Elard laughed. “You played a player. Well done. But I really can help you out with that paper and I can introduce you to some friends.”
Gus narrowed his eyes. After a second he nodded. “I’d like that.” He grabbed his things and they walked out into the chilly afternoon.