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It was a really boring day. In fact, a rather boring week. But that's high school for you, right? I was working around the neighborhood, doing odd jobs for nearly a year; I was working to save up enough cash for an iPhone. I still wasn't at that goal, but being the impatient guy I am, I was willing to settle for an iPod touch, which I could afford.
I had browsed Amazon, ebay, the usual places, without much success. To be fair, there were plenty of iPod touches. They were just all out of my budget. So, with it being the first day of Spring Break and not really having much else to do, I decided to check out the nearest thrift store. Being a relatively small town, it labeled itself a "used furniture store," but had VHS tapes, Game Boy Color games, DVDs, older and newer stuff.
I walked in and checked out where they keep the MP3s and tablets, and sure enough, there was one iPod touch there. I'm not an Apple connoisseur or anything, so I couldn't tell what generation it was, but it was dirt cheap, just ten bucks. I'd still have money left over. I never really liked buy from the place, it had the habit of selling games that didn't play right and scratched CDs; it wasn't exactly very good in its reputation with electronics, but I didn't want to miss out on a good offer. After all, I doubted I would find one this inexpensive at a department store.
So I asked the clerk about it. He told me what the previous owner had said, that it worked good, connected to Wifi, it had been cleaned and taken care of. The claims made me a bit suspicious, why dump an iPod that worked so well? But I, being the idiotic teenage boy I was, bought it anyway. I figured that if I didn't like it I could always sell it to some middle schooler for more money than I'd paid. So I forked over my money and headed home.
I took the charger for my old iPod nano that had broken years ago, and plugged up the iPod. I messed around on the computer for awhile until it was charged up. I turned the power on and went to unlock it, and was met with an unnerving picture. It was a girl with long black hair and a black tank top, who looked like she'd just been swimming in her clothes. Her skin gave off a pale blue glow, and the back ground looked like a lake. Some text on the wall paper read "Marcia's iPod," I figured the guy had an affinity for horror movies or photo editing and made this for his ex-girlfriend or something, and unlocked it. The wallpaper was much more normal, and I relaxed. I noticed, though, that the previous owner hadn't disconnected from their account. It was odd though, because it just had the normal, basic apps the thing came with, and one really odd app.
It was titled "Witching Hour Has Begun". I tapped on it. I began to read the text that faded on screen, along to a menacing tune that played along with it.
Hello. Welcome to "Witching Hour Has Begun".
Two buttons appeared, "Yes" and "No". Nothing more to indicate what I was agreeing to or declining.
I tapped yes.
The instructions are simple.
Closing the game out, I saw the iPod's wall paper was now the image from the lock screen. The icon images, and pictures from the iPod, anything. I could only figured that the game had totally corrupted whatever part of the iPod displayed images. I decided I had to fix it, naturally. After all, I had spent money on it. Even if I could sell it off, I wanted to take a shot at fixing it.
I tried to delete the app. A message appeared, "That's cheating." That sent me a feeling to toss the iPod away right then and there, but, not too very worried, I tried again. "I said that's cheating," putting the iPod down for the night, I decided to get a fresh start in the morning.
I woke up at about one in the morning, to the Apple product playing an eery tune mixed with gibberish for the lyrics. I picked it up groggily, still not very awake. I was certain there had been no music on the iTunes before.
I tossed the iPod across the room after reading that the title of the song was "WITCHINGHOURHASBEGUN". That shut it up for awhile.
Unable to fall back asleep, I started my morning routine, until I heard another song playing. I slowly, cautiously, moved back to my room. It was the same song from before, but sounded sped up. I picked up the iPod. A message appeared on screen, with a space to type an answer. "Are you scared?
"No" I typed in, lying, not wanting to be scared of a toy most fourth graders at this point had.
The song sped up again. The title changed to "YOUSHOULDBE". The lyrics stopped. The music continued. The title changed to "RUN".
I didn't need to be told twice. I dropped the iPod and bolted out the door into the chill of the early hours, and didn't go back until my mom made me come in at about eight in the morning, half dressed and shivering. Against my better judgement, I picked it up again, when it started to make noise.
"You didn't run fast enough," a message read. The song rapidly slowed down. "I see you. Do you see me?" The video part of the iPod opened.
It just showed me, with a girl with black hair and a back tank top, jeans, and boots, who looked like she'd just been swimming in her clothes and who had skin that gave off a pale blue glow. I looked behind me. She wasn't there. Just in the iPod.
The internet opened to the Wikipedia page on Witch Hunts.
And that brings me to now. Running to a house, and unknown one, one with someone I don't know in it, to put this iPod on them. Ironic, typing this on the device that caused the problem. But I don't care. So if you see an iPod with that odd lock screen, get rid of it, fast. Don't unlock it. Don't tap the app. Because whatever this "Marcia" girl was seemed to play witch hunt, but with the witch hunting you.
Witching hour has begun.