3:20 in the morning. The cold pasty light of the computer monitor was splashed against the cheaply wallpapered walls of my dorm room, casting thick shadows that clawed at the corners of my eyes. My fingers gently ran across the keyboard in front of me. The biology paper was due for tomorrow, and I had foolishly decided to leave it until now. Desperate to finish, but equally desperate not to wake up my room mate, who was annoyed at me enough already.
I pressed on with the paper, eyes straining against the harsh text on the screen. I was slipping into drowsiness, when a clicking echoed through the room, jolting me awake like a gunshot. I turned around, and saw my printer was printing something out. Figuring I pressed print by accident, I stretched over to the printer to hit cancel, but my shaky hand hesitated when I saw what was being printed out.
It was just some kind of test page. Color charts, and grey-scale sections adorned the crisp white paper. At the bottom, a short line of text read:
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG.
I breathed heavily. On one hand, it was simply a test page, but on the other, it was a waste of valuable ink and paper. I placed it down again, and tried to press on with the essay. 15 minutes passed, until the same clicking sound once again emanated from the printer. I swore, and watched with dismay as it printed out another sheet. Figuring someone was sending me test sheets over the network as a prank, I pulled out the network cable, and inspected the sheet.
The qu7ck brown ‘jumps over the lazy dog.
THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG.
In rage, I screwed it up, and threw it into the bin. After stopping for a break and to calm down, I flushed rage from my body, and sat down once again to work. The printer whirred as soon as I started typing.
I flung my keyboard to the ground, and swung a punch at the printer, denting the front.
We are the qu7ck Brown Fox.
QU7CK BROWN FOX.
Confusion replaced my anger when I looked at the third sheet of paper. This wasn’t a test sheet. This wasn’t some prank over the network.
Perhaps I had a virus, or someone had hacked my computer to print these things? That seemed like a logical explanation.
At least until the next sheet printed.
Were the only legible words on the sheet, the rest was garbage, just random patterns of letters.
Testosterone coursed through my veins, and I tore the printer away from the wall and flung it across the room. It wasn’t printing anything else anymore.
When my fit of childish rage was over, I ran my hands over the battered printer. The casing was battered, and the screen cracked, but it looked otherwise intact. I went back to the computer, and out of curiosity, typed in the address into my web browser, forgetting all about the pending biology paper. The website I got was a poorly formatted thing that belonged in 2003, not 2013. It was cluttered with crap; more random letters and numbers. More interesting to me was one paragraph clumped in the middle of the page. It read.
And so shall the armies of Satan emerge from the pit and devour the earth and make war up unto God Let us be joyful for the reign of the tyrants is at an end When the blood of the one man shall not tell When the blood of the one man shall not tell We are the qu7ck brown fox.
To me, it seemed like some kind of religious fanatic bullshit. I didn’t care how they got in my printer anymore, I was bored. My hand moved for my mouse to exit the page, when I spotted a video. I played it just to see what it was like. This was a mistake. It was shaky camera footage of a roadside in the late afternoon. The camera man wasn’t visible, but I could see the corner of his car. He walks over to a bundle of something by the side of the road. As it gets closer, I see it’s a dead fox, probably hit by a car. The mans hand extends, and he gently strokes the foxes face. Before whispering:
When the blood of the one man shall not tell
There is a clinking elsewhere in the dorm room, possibly the kitchen. I cursed myself for waking my roommate. I walk into the kitchen to apologize for the disturbance, and my heart drops through my feet.
On the sparkling tiles is the fox from the video stretched out crucifixion style in front of me. A printed page in front of the fox, soaked in it’s congealed blood, reads:
The blood of the one man shall not tell.
I look up at the kitchen, and I see scrawled in the fox’s blood
We ARE the qu7ck brown fox.