The Printer That Never Stopped Printing

“The package has arrived.”

That was all that was heard on the voicemail. It was a muffled, deep voice - almost like the voice was fake. 

He hurried down - with the anticipation of a large, hefty box awaiting his presence at the front door. Each step down was a moment closer to opening the package. He seemed curious and anxious, despite the confidence that this was what he was waiting for. Not much really got him excited in life, for he always had a resting grumpy face, unaware of the opportunities that life presented at his doorstep. 

This however, was something special. His fascination for typography led him to purchase an advanced, high-power laser printer, in order for him to experiment with different typefaces. His house was empty, only a sofa and a small 4:3 aspect ratio television, the kind you might find at your old grandmother’s house. 

Wealth was non-existent in this family, despite this, he worked hours a day to hoard money in order to make his dream an utter reality. As each week passed by, he gained more and more money, and this had direct correlation with his happiness. Unfortunate - but sympathetic for him. 

He frantically unlocked the door, and pulled the handle back. The moment had arrived. He was face to face with the box. A large smile gradually grew as he escaped his existential vacuum. He had been trapped for a while, unsure of his true purpose in life. But this special new gimmick put all of that to bed. His mind was finally back where it belonged — reality. 

He ripped open the bag like a bear tearing at a piece of fresh bloody meat, inconsiderate of the mess, only caring of what truly mattered. Dust exploded and flew high in the air, and he sneezed frequently. 

Inside it, lied a massive printer. The printer was glistening and shining pure white, as white as the brightest angel in heaven.  He emptied the contents of the box and assembled the printer in an instant. 

As he plugged the socket into the wall, the small LCD screen on the printer lit up. The printer roared into life and the sounds of gears and springs started rattling throughout the room. In no time, the first page was printed - a typical test page - testing the colors and alignment of the cartridges. 

The young boy had nothing more to print, so he instructed the printer to turn off. The printer says shutting down

Moments pass by…

The LCD on the printer continues to say “Ready”. 

The printer is still running and is ready to print. Below the LCD on the printer screen lies two lights, one to indicate the receiving of data - which shines green, and one to indicate an error - which shines red. 

The boy walks away to grab a snack in the kitchen. He joyfully strolls there, excited to spend some time exploring his new and fascinating possession.

Unbeknownst to him the green light on the printer starts to blink. 

Once again, the gears and springs cry into life, and paper gets sucked beneath the cartridges.  

A page spurts out in an instant. The text is large and clear, impossible to misread.

“I knew it was you”.

Adjacent to this room, the boy is busy relaxing and grabbing his snack. Little does he know, what is occurring behind him in the nearby room. 

As he has finished his snack, he calmly walks back, unsure of what to expect. He enters the room, and is shocked to find this page on the printer. He picks it up. His eyes are stupendously shocked. Confusion rapidly fills all levels of his mind.

Before he can process it, the printer starts to run again. This time, a new page comes out. The words are large and they each take up their own line. The boy can only read the message word by word.

“Why” 

“did”

He is startled. He believes that something is inside the printer and he spanks it hard. Regardless of this action, the printer continue with its task. 

“you”

“do”

“it?”

The boy gets even more confused. He has absolutely no context for this message and has no entire understanding of its meaning. The gears continue to run, and the printer continues to spurt out pages.

It’s not stopping now. The pages continue to print. Bit by bit, each line reveals a greater meaning, yet the boy is unable to grasp the entirety of it all.

“I’m getting you back for it”.

It makes no sense, whatsoever. 

“Oh well, at least you tried”.

No sense at all. Baffled and appalled, he shook his head.

“Be careful, I am watching you”. 

He looked around, interpreting that phrase literally. He is terrified, unsure of what to expect in his surroundings. He swallowed his saliva, and rubbed his finger against the palms of his hands to release the perspiration that gathered as a result of his thoughts. These thoughts increased his heart-rate and gave him sudden bursts of anxiety and bone-chilling stress.

A page continued to come out, but the boy unplugged the printer, causing its life to die. He was unable to come to a consensus of what was going on. 

Upset and disconnected, he returned to his room, trying to understand the situation he found himself in.

His room is as minimalist as can be. There is one small mattress on the floor, surrounded by a teak floor-mat, the kind you might find in a traditional Japanese ryokan. One small lamp hangs down from the ceiling, providing the room with a source of light. It’s not so bright, but it’s adequately sufficient. On the far corner, lies a notebook titled Do Not Open. It clearly has something secretive and malicious in it. Why would a notebook be title that anyways?

He glances over at the notebook, contemplating whether to open it or not. His deepest thoughts and memories are recorded inside this notebook, and opening the cover could release all the memories that have been suppressed by the unconscious mind. 

He’s in deep thought. A state of unattainable, collective focus. As his mind is ripped into two, he does his best to hold it all together. He follows the part of his mind that demands him to peak in and to find the truth. It’s almost like he has lost control of his muscles, and they have succumbed to the pure irresistible force of curiosity. He takes a few steps closer to the notebook. He slowly reaches his arms out, every muscle in his body tingling with anticipation. His hand slightly shakes as it resists the force of gravity. 

Perspiration permeates throughout his neck, and his pupils dilate. It’s the moment of truth. He places his hand on the notebook and opens it. The text is large and clear, almost impossible to misread.

January 19, 2005

I miss him. I remember getting a phone call in the middle of the night, and being largely undisturbed by the sound of my phone ringing at 2am. 

I picked up and heard screaming. It was loud and chilling to the spine. I heard one distinct word.

“HELP”. 

And that was it - silence. 

I thought I panicked, but at 2am, I couldn’t care less.

It only made sense when I woke up. 

He was now gone.

He panicked and starting gasping for air. The pure revelation of the events of that faithful night shocked him to the bone, and he was filled with disbelief and denial. He slowly realized that this person was his friend - someone really close to him.

It was over ten years ago, so it was stored away in the depths of the unconscious. It was a painful thought to understand. He didn’t want to think about it, but he was left with very little choice. He was inconceivably confused, his mind was surely messing with him. 

How could he have been at fault for the death of his friend? It couldn’t have been his fault - he wasn’t even there. He was confused - but before he could fully understand himself,

The doorbell rang. It grabbed his attention aggressively - almost like getting grabbed from the back and put into a headlock, forced to stare at something.

He wasn’t in a great rush, but he passively rushed down, full of sorrow and guilt. His arms hung down his sides, lifeless and purposeless. Occasionally, sudden misfits of anger took control of him, and he stomped down the stairs. As he reached the door, he was reluctant to open it. He asks the age-old question,

“Who is it?”

His mind ponders on endless possibilities, each one more frightening that the previous. He wasn’t sure as to why it mattered who it was, his depression was getting the better of him.

“Why does it matter?”

Reluctance. Pure reluctance. Should he open it? He’s tired of dealing with curiosity - he opens the door. The door slowly opens and light arrives through as the cascading warmth of the sun shines through the small passage opened by the door. A shadow of a tall slender man encases the boy. Fear grips him by the throat and suffocates him. His heart-rate sharply rises.

The mouth of this tall, shadowy figure opens. The boy braces himself for the force of uncertainty. 

“So. Why did you do it?”, he muttered.

He pleads his innocence.

“I didn’t do it! I wasn’t even there.”

The tall shadowy figure shakes his head. He reaches for his pocket, inside his dark wool coat. A reflective surfaces shines bright against the boy’s eye. His hand slowly comes out of the coat.

In no time, a gun is fired.

BOOM

The boy falls to the floor and is lying face up. His eyes gaze open - lifeless. Blood seeps from his scalp, permeating the ground beneath him. It’s a horrifying sight - it makes you sick. 

The tall shadowy figure steps over the laying corpse, without any physical sign of remorse. He enters the house, taking large gaping steps towards the printer. 

The sounds of grinding ramble throughout the house. Apparently, the printer has turned back on. It continues grinding out pages, each of them filled with utter nonsense. 

But then, a blank page spurts out, but beneath the vast emptiness of pure white, lies a bone-chilling message. It’s a message that’s hard to swallow for us, but for this man, it’s all he wanted to see. 

“Thank you”.