'Now, this is important. Don't ever open this app. Do. Not. Touch.' The woman punctuated the last three words by poking the counter next to the phone harshly.
The nineteen year old barely spared a glance at the lone app on the last page of the application screen. 'Can't you just take it out? If I don't need it there's no point in it being there.'
The woman shook her head. 'I can't remove it. It's a factory install. Even if you do manage to get it out things won't work properly. It's best to just forget it's even there.'
'Okay.' In all honesty, the sales lady gave her some weird vibes and she just wanted to get out as fast as possible. 'Can I have my phone now please?'
'Just as soon as you sign the papers. Standard stuff.'
The girl smiled and grabbed a pen before signing her name on the line at the bottom. This wasn't the first phone she'd bought. The sales lady quirked an eyebrow and handed over the phone.
'You're good to go. Just remember, don't open that app and you shouldn't have any problems.'
The girl waved and walked out of the store already sending a text out to her best friend to let her know about her latest purchase.
Later that night her and her friend Nicole were setting up for a movie marathon when a notification sounded on the new phone. With her friend out of the room making popcorn, Nicole reached for it and glanced at the screen.
'Hey Pan, what's with the weird notice on your phone?' She called.
Her friend popped her head around the corner curiously. 'What do you mean?'
She held up the phone 'A notification from some app called Reffus?' She looked at her quizzically and handed it over.
The notification was nothing more than a bunch of random symbols. She shrugged. 'Probably a glitch.'
'Okay but, what is the app?' Nicole asked curiously.
She shrugged again. 'No idea. It was there when I got the phone. The sales lady just told me to leave it alone.'
The girls got through two movies before deciding to call it a night. It was already eleven thirty and they both needed to be up early for a morning class the next day. Pan knew she should get some rest too but she couldn't stop thinking about that weird app. There was something about it, almost like it was calling to her.
She decided to look it up but oddly enough, it turned up nothing. Not one single mention anywhere online. That made no sense. Preinstalled apps were usually popular enough for a company to put them on the phone, usually social media but this one was a mystery.
Her finger hovered over the app, the only one on the last page as she considered whether or not to open it. Sure the lady told her not to but did that really matter? It was her phone so didn't that give her the right?
Curiosity won out and she tapped it lightly and waited. After a few seconds a message appeared.
Are you sure you wish to open this app?
She tapped yes.
Another pop up
Do you agree to our terms and conditions? A long message whirled on screen too fast for her to read.
She tapped yes.
A black box appeared with a loading symbol then suddenly froze. In fact, the whole phone was frozen. She tapped the screen and cursed to herself as she tried to restart it. By the time she got it working again, fatigue had set in and she curled up in bed.
A flashing light woke her from her sleep a few hours later. Her bedroom light was flickering on and off. She ran across the room and flipped the switch. It didn't stop. Now that she was more awake she realized it wasn't just her bedroom light. Every light in her house seemed to be doing it. She grabbed her phone, put on a coat and headed outside to look around the neighborhood. Some people were standing on their lawns and porches looking around in confusion. Even the traffic lights were being affected. Was this some weird power surge?
She selected her friends number from the contacts and pressed call.
'The number you are calling is not in service.'
She pulled it away from her head, stared at it and tried again. The same message. She tried her mom and got the same thing.
What the hell is going on?
She heard a loud scream from one direction and a crashing sound from another. All at once, everything around her was chaos, filled with more screams and people running in a panic.
She startled as her ringer went off and unknown number appeared on the screen. Hesitantly she put it to her ear. 'Hello?'
The voice on the other end carried a mixture of sadness and disappointment. 'Why did you have to open it, Pandora?'