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Thank You for Your Cooperation

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Ivan came home from school on a hazy, spring afternoon. It was the last day of school of his junior year. He made a promise to himself to finally do something productive for the entire summer vacation. Preferably something that would benefit him financially. He walked along his driveway and noticed a package on the step of his porch. He looked at it then picked it up. He found the shipping label on the side, and it read his name.

He became overjoyed. The GoPro Camera he had ordered came today. He wanted to open the package right now, but he needed to get inside. It was starting to get abnormally cold outside. He got out his house key and put it into the knob where the lock was. He heard something... strange. From outside, it sounded like muffled talking. This may have been normal for most people, but Ivan's parents don't get home until seven... and it had always been like that since Ivan was in grade school. Chills seemed to creep down Ivan's spine. He listened more, then he finally swung open the door. To his relief, it was only the TV. Ivan sat on the couch with the package still in his hand. He remembered that the TV automatically turned off after 2 hours, so no one could have accidentally left it on this morning. Ivan dismissed this and watched TV for a little bit.

The channel was on PBS and the show was reshowings of old episodes of Bob Ross. Ivan smiled, as this was his favourite show from when he was young. He shrugged this sense of nostalgia off of him, as this show was intended for rehabilitation purposes. He looked down at the package in his hand. He went to the kitchen to grab a small knife from the drawer so he could open the package. He sat back down on the couch. He was about to cut open the package containing his GoPro Camera, when suddenly the TV switched to an emergency broadcast.

This practically made Ivan jump out of his skin. The broadcast started to make the infamous bleeps. Ivan thought for a moment. The day was only a little hazy and cloudy, and the news this morning said it wasn't going to rain so this couldn't have been a thunder storm or a tornado warning. The broadcast went silent for a minute. Then the message moved horizontally across the screen. It read, "Dangerous criminal in the area." There was a long silence as Ivan's eyes widened. The nearest prison was only a mile away from his own house. The screen then blinked and quickly switched to a different message, "Nuclear Attack Warning."

This both confused and frightened Ivan. Why would there be any type of nuclear attack? So many unanswered questions filled his mind. He was on the edge of his seat. The message changed again. It changed back to the first message. This was very odd. The message started to blink from "Nuclear Attack Warning" to "Dangerous Criminal in the Area" every second. This put Ivan in a pool of confusion. This had to have been a joke. Ivan's town was very rural and full of jokers and broadcast hijacks were incredibly common, unlike most places. This may sound ridiculous but the staff at the broadcasting station in his county were incredibly lazy. Hijacks happened far too often.

The voice message finally, yet abruptly, started causing Ivan to jump once more. Ivan had sort of developed a hatred for himself to be startled so easily. The message was in the female bot voice. "THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS ISSUED A WARNING IN THESE COUNTIES: BOONE COUNTY, KENTON COUNTY, CAMBELL COUNTY, CARROLTON COUNTY, BOWLING GREEN COUNTY, GRANT COUNTY." That last county was the one Ivan lived in. This made his heart sink.

Another voiceover came on and, this time, this was from an actual person. The voice was notably calmer than the female bot voice. She calmly stated the situation. "An escaped animal experiment of unknown origin has been spotted in your area. It is advised that you lock all doors and windows and turn off all the lights in your home. DO NOT make eye contact with the suspect. Keep your house in full lockdown until the authorities give the "all clear". Thank you." Ivan was frozen in his seat. He had to act quickly, even if the broadcast was real or not.

It was too real to be fake, after all, most hijack broadcasts were in low quality. This one happened to be in a more official resolution. Ivan quickly got up and locked the door. He went to all of his windows and locked them and he turned off all the lights in the house. All Ivan could hear was the immense sound of his own heart beating in his chest. He turned off the TV, grabbed the package and knife, and rushed upstairs to his room. Ivan did this so quickly it started to make him sweat, along with all the stress and fear this put on him. He sat on his bed and took a deep breath.

He decided that this whole "lockdown" issue would give him the motivation to teach himself how to setup and use his new GoPro Camera. He took the knife and cut the tape causing the box to open. The glorious moment he had been waiting for. After all the money, blood, sweat, and tears he went through to buy this camera. He pulled the GoPro box out of the package. He examined the package closely. It was very shiny. He opened the box and pulled out the inner packaging containing the camera. He took out the product and held it. It was awesome to finally hold this amazing piece of equipment. He looked in the box for some instructions or any type of manual. He didn't find any. Figures. He knew it had to have been a packaging mistake, it happens all the time.

Ivan then proceeded to fiddle around with the camera. Then he heard something from outside. A seemingly quiet, leer noise coming from the far distance. The tornado siren had turned on. Ivan thought that it was actually going to storm and the broadcast was a total hoax. Then he heard the siren abruptly turn off after four seconds of listening... then turn back on... Ivan then realised the siren patterns were a signal for 'attack mode'. The broadcasts were no joke then... Ivan started to breath heavily. If it were this important then the "suspect" was sure to be known for homicidal tendencies... or something of the sort. Ivan took a deep breath and reassured himself. The chances of this... "thing" finding him were very slim, his house was obscured in the rural part of his town due to a lot of trees in the area. He then directed his attention to his camera.

Hours had passed. The siren never turned off. Ivan ignored it, although it was starting to get to his head. He couldn't hear himself think anymore. Ivan kept fiddling around with his camera, trying to figure it out. He put the camera on one of his helmets that he would wear when he played airsoft. His room was lit orange because of the sky outside. It started to get darker and darker. It got a little colder than before. The TV in his room suddenly turned on on its own because of a sticky power button. It was on the emergency broadcast from before repeating the same messages and beeping very obnoxiously. It wouldn't stop repeating the same message over and over again. Strangely enough, it was louder than before. Ivan's heart pounded. He just wanted to get his camera figured out first and then deal with the TV.

More hours passed. Ivan was on the brink of insanity... The attack alarm never turned off, neither did the emergency broadcast. Ivan's room was very dark with the lack of electricity. He furiously tried to fix his camera, fighting to ignore the noises of the siren and the broadcast... and to save his sense of reality. Ignoring the sirens and broadcasts was almost no use. Ivan was violently messing with the camera so much, he thought it was about to break in two. It must have been subzero temperatures outside because Ivan's bedroom felt like a freezer. The sounds of the siren and his TV had progressively gotten louder as the hours passed, and were now as loud as shotgun blasts. Ivan looked at his digital clock. It was past midnight. Ivan's parents hadn't gotten home yet. He was thinking of just dropping everything and just sprinting out of the house, despite the ominous warnings. He just wanted all of it to stop.

Suddenly... The siren and the TV went silent... Ivan couldn't even hear ringing in his ears. Just. Silence. The GoPro Camera had finally started to work, capturing the creature that Ivan saw at the end of his bed in only a few frames. He could barely make out some of the facial features. Faintly glowing white, threatening eyes that stared into Ivan's sentience... and a smile, not demonic, but... normal. Too normal. Its complexion seemed all too perfect. Artificial.

The silence broke with the television. The fear-inducing, artificial quell had changed to the calm, natural female voice. Her voice sounded a little shakey, as if she had been crying. The creature made no movement as the TV stated the final message, "The authorities have given the "all clear" you may return to your normal routine. Thank you for your cooperation."

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