Digital Bedlam

Reads: 133  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


A story about a young computer hacker who finds out their family is not all that was expected.

Submitted: December 06, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 06, 2017

A A A

A A A


DIGITAL BEDLAM

The computer screen flicked across her blue eyes and she smiled looking over her evening’s work. Lily, a 17 year old final year high school student, glanced appreciatively at her large luxurious bed and study room. Her father’s substantial wealth allowed her to move into this private basement for her to pursue her passion for computers. Several monitors and hard drives cluttered one area of the room contrasting sharply with the neat, immaculately made bed and clean white wardrobes of school and designer clothing. Dolls and stuffed animal, awards and family photos sat on overcrowded shelves. To an outsider, this was the domain of a well-behaved young lady.

 

Her large black cat was the only company in the room. Her father, a busy security software executive, would often call from behind her doorway to see how her school work was progressing. Her mother and sister refused to come into the room, which suited Lily fine. She had important work to do that only her father knew about.

 

Lily was told she had an angelic, innocent face. Her school teachers regarded her academic achievements with pride, but her peers viewed her as a lonely computer geek. Lily ignored those who ostracised her and dismissed it as jealousy. She had the awards, the designer clothes and a driver’s licence. They did not.

 

Her father had not been home the past two weeks. Lily wondered why. He was not always strict with her and he favoured Lily over her sister.  The considerable wealth he had built up kept the family happy, so her sister was too preoccupied with other things to antagonise Lily over favouritism. They were viewed enviously by others as the idyllic family.

 

Lily, sweet and innocent to many was keeping a secret. She was a skilled computer hacker, capable of causing harmful electronic bedlam to individuals, corporations and the government that impressed the most hardened of cyber crime gangs and criminals. She delighted in causing uproar and confusion what she called digital bedlam. Looking a Phreak her cat, named after a phreaking a computer hacker activity, she smiled. After tonight her future would forever be comfortable.

 

Lily sat in front of her computers feeling the anticipation of victory. Four monitors flicked constantly with computer code and hacker chat programs where criminals swapped advice. Keyboards and other hardware all coloured black resembling torture devices. She grinned at the screen. Tonight was to be her crowning achievement that all those in her underworld. Father was going to be very impressed.

 

 

Lily’s father had asked her to hack his former employer’s computer system in order to transfer millions of dollars into his private account. He felt she had enough skill after the hours of tuition on how to hack computer systems and cover your tracks. Lily was old enough to comprehend the risk and danger of being caught. Her previous hacks netted her thousands of dollars and lots of disruptions to peoples’ daily lives. It was time to step up to something that only her hacker mentors, convicted criminals themselves, would admire.

 

Her eyes moved over the rows of zeros and ones, green against black, as the password cracking software easily granted her access to the bank’s customer database. The virtual protector software she used prevented tracking her activities. The financial accounts fell easily, and the firewall effortlessly crumbled under her keyboard strokes. Tonight’s hack was to pay for her mother, sister and father’s Caribbean cruise and private island villa. She was also unhappy with her old car. She wanted a Porsche and she was going to have it.

 

Phreak yawned and purred, stretching across the bedspread with his black paws flexing. Lily could hear Mrs Jones, Lily’s elderly, kind neighbour, chatting loudly outside the open window wondering where Phreak was. Like hacker Lily, Phreak would cause bedlam by disappearing for a couple of days, turning up purring and smiling oblivious to the harm it caused. Oh but the dreams to be fulfilled clouded her mind as she drifted off seeing the luxuries to come.

 

A large hand slamming on the hard drive brought her back to reality. “What are you up to?” Her father grinned looking at the open screens on the computers. “Wow, I’ve taught you well. I’ve booked that yacht for the Caribbean. It’s only one million dollars for all of us.” He added quickly, “of course your cat will be staying in luxury with Mrs Jones when we are away.”

 

Lily laughed. “Thank you my mentor in crime, the master black hat hacker you are. I’ve been practicing, Father. What’s one million dollars these days anyway? ”

 

He smiled and nodded. Another million dollars in the bank was easy to love, especially when it was someone else doing the dirty work, he thought.

 

 “Well, you need a new car. I know you hate your current one”. He smiled, almost grudgingly. “I can read your mind. It’s now time to step up to a new level. I have a bigger target to hack in mind, one that will set us all up for life”.

 

 

His lecherous laugh took her aback. He had made enough money to retire many times over as a computer security expert for a global financial company. Yet the day he left the company he secretly transferred twenty million dollars, unnoticed to this day, from the company’s bank account. Despite strong suspicions, management who fired him had no proof he had done it. His voice deepened at the memory of his firing from a job he loved. “Let’s create some digital bedlam for some old friends”.

 

Her father typed in the commands to open his former employer’s system, hammering the keys as if to let out repressed aggression. On a second screen the familiar company logo appeared. This was a company with computer security that had fooled expert hackers who had been caught and jailed for their transgressions.

 

Lily sweated while he was calm.

 

Her father effortlessly entered passwords to bypass the security layers. “I have something to do, dear daughter, so I will leave the rest to you. Don’t mess this up.” Then he leaves silently. She thought he was like a phantom.

 

She focused on the flashing cursor on the screen nervous at the unprecedented level of trust he had placed in her to achieve this hack. A final password was required to access this Aladdin’s cave and riches it held. Working out the final passwords protecting the financial accounts was the problem. Her father had already cracked so many password levels. Why was this one left to her to work out, the most difficult?

 

The cursor blinked. It seemed to taunt her, hurrying her to guess the password. But what could it be? It was one she knew her father had created, but could not understand why the company security experts had not change it. A hacker is always suspicious, of everyone and everything. But the thought of the bounty and the satisfaction of cracking the final password were too tempting, as seeing the pleasure on her father’s face at getting revenge on his old company was intoxicating. When her hacker friends found out about this hack she would be a hero. She refocused.  

 

What was in the final password? Was it her father’s name and birthday? Or was it some obscure combination of human languages her father was fond of using to fool even the most experienced hacker. She typed in birthdates and other dates such as his wedding day, when he had his back operation, the day of the week he took the garbage out and even his shirt size. Numbers. Letters. Characters. She typed furiously, sweating even more, vaguely noticing that Phreak was looking at her oddly, like a television viewer looks in horror at events of an unfolding natural disaster.

Fifty tries and nothing. This was bedlam. She was supposed to be in the company’s financial accounts now leaving behind confusion and uproar about how they could be hacked. Phreak? She wondered if that was the password. She tried it. Open sesame. The account interface glowed dark green against a pitch-black background. The millions of dollars were right there for the picking. Glancing over the accounts it was not millions; it was over ten billion!

 

She opened the file transfer box on her screen and entered the full amount of ten billion into it, watching with euphoria as the money drained out of their accounts into her father’s secret account. She had no empathy for those who would lose their jobs over this hack. Too bad she thought. It was her crowning achievement and victory. She savoured it.

 

Suddenly, a black box with white writing in it appeared on screen.

 

I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

 

She jumped off her seat. Was this a joke? Suddenly, the message disappeared and she continued the hacking.

 

As she started the second transfer of funds another message appeared.

 

 I STILL KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

 

She deleted it. Probably some other hacker trying to gain access to the company’s accounts she contemptuously thought, resolving to deal with that person later. She gleamed with pride as the money continued transferring into her father’s rapidly expanding bank account.

But suddenly a message in blood red colour. I STILL KNOW WHO YOU ARE. THEY ARE ON THEIR WAY.

They?

The words begin flickering on the computer screen. THEY ARE COMING. She jumped from her chair and hid under the desk. Her cat hissed. Who was interfering with her progress? How dare another hacker interfere with her progress!

She gets up from under the desk angry. Yelling at the computer screen in an uproar and in confusion she screamed “you’ve turned my digital bedlam into your digital bedlam.” Hyperventilating, she had to think quick how to stop detection from other hackers and the company’s security.

 

The red words continue flickering ominously with more warnings. A thought crossed her mind. Hackers compete with hackers to cause bedlam to companies but also each other. She swears as she throws a book against the wall. I’ve been outsmarted, she realises. Who could have done this? Her father? No, she thought, learning from her master hacker father she had progressed so quick for someone so young. He wanted her as his protégée; so why did this feel that was this almost like a trap.

 

It dawned. It was a trap. The sirens wailed through the window. She hoped Mrs Jones was ok as she was elderly and prone to falls. Some humanity was in her she thought. It must be an ambulance.

 

She heard a loud knock upstairs then silence. Suddenly, the door to her bedroom burst open. Someone pointed something at her. A gun? She could not see clearly as bulky figures in black and blue uniforms barked orders at her to get down on the floor. “You are under arrest!” a figure bellowed.

Her cat hissed and jumped out the open window. Just as well Lily lived on the ground floor, an officer absently commented. Where was father she wondered? Suddenly she became a teenage girl in need of protection. But she could also see the computer screen. The message flashed on and off quick taunted her. CAUGHT – WELCOME TO THE BEDLAM OF YOUR NEW LIFE.

 

She closed her eyes, allowing the officers to cuff her. Although gentle with her, they muttered comments like ‘hacker’, ‘danger’ and ‘don’t be fooled by her age’. The neighbours stood outside their houses stunned as the street’s most well-behaved girl was escorted to the police car. Do they really arrest children from well-to-do families? Lily noticed as she was directed into the police car that Mrs Jones was taking notes on a computer tablet. Odd, she thought, she said she hated computers.

 

An hour later her father, mother, nanny and sister appeared in the driveway with Mrs Jones as a limousine arrived. They handed over Phreak to Mrs Jones, as the cat purrs loudly. “We will be gone a week don’t hesitate to call us if you need to. The security system on the house will protect it. After all we don’t want a burglar to cause bedlam,” her father laughed.

Mrs Jones appeared puzzled at the absence of her favourite family member. As the four got into the limousine Mrs Jones asks, where Lily is.

 

Lily’s sister put her head out of the car window, her grinning face almost looking more like a demon than a younger version of Lily. She looks at Mrs Jones as if giving a warning which Mrs Jones picks up quickly as she thinks of the money that will fund her future. “Who?” she giggled as the limousine moved off down the street, taking them to the warm sands of the bedlam free Caribbean.

 

 


© Copyright 2018 michaeln. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Mystery and Crime Short Stories