12 Hours After - Chapter 2
There were only two lines in the email.
[Politics Economy Society Life/Culture World IT/Science Entertainment Sports]
[You can subscribe to only one news item a day.]
The eight categories above were, in a way, categories of a newspaper. The category was a dark blue color, which seemed to be a moving link when I clicked it. I unintentionally moved my cursor over ‘Politics, which was at the top, but the phrase below it bothered me.
[You can subscribe to only one news item a day.]
‘Only one news item a day?’
Just one line of explanation, there was nothing else. I moved the cursor left and right with my chin in one hand.
‘If I have to see one…’
I clicked on ‘Entertainment’ without thinking about it. Soon, a linked article appeared on the window.
[The cause of death of the king of pop, Roger ‘Knight’ Jackson was assumed to be a drug overdose.]
[The king of pop, Roger Jackson was found dead around 8 p.m. Korean time today. According to the U.S. coroner’s autopsy…]
‘What? Roger Jackson is dead?’
I was surprised. Roger Jackson, the king of pop, better known as his stage name, Knight, was one of the most influential artists in the world. As a fan of his, I, had never missed putting “Blue Rain”, one of his hit songs, in my music player’s playlist since college, when I had learned about him.
I looked for the media that had sent out the article, because sometimes the tabloids that were targeting celebrities, especially in the United States, often posted ridiculous fake articles. However, it was strange. In the news, there was nothing about it, such as the name of the press, the time of the upload, and so on.
I looked down at the bottom of the article.
[… there is a wave of memorials of fans who honor him all over the world.]
There was no name or email address of the reporter who wrote the article at the end of it. It was absurd.
‘An article is basically written based on trusting the reporter. Even tabloid news that writes stories about UFOs or 911 conspiracy theories as facts, also states where the article was published or who wrote it.’
Nevertheless, this article did not have any such thing at all.
‘What is this?’
I left the news on, clicked on the new window, and pulled out another window. Then I hit ‘Roger Jackson’ on the search engine. Soon an article about him popped out.
[The concert tickets of Roger Knight Jackson in Korea were sold out in three hours. -Union News]
[The old man is not dead. Roger Jackson earned $40 million during his World Tour. -Today’s Media]
[The pop star Roger Jackson, who is about to visit Korea, will release a new song a week from now. -Koryo Daily News]
Most of the articles were filled with stories about his concert in Korea, and his new songs. There was not a single line of articles about his death. I returned to the original article via Alt Tab. The article was clearly reporting Roger Jackson’s death. It was in great detail.
[The direct cause of the death of Roger Jackson was an overdose of Fentanyl, an opioid…]
I read the article again. But it was a fake news, no matter how I looked at it. It was a very well-made fake news article.
‘If it’s a fake news, they don’t need to make it this well…’
I thought so, and suddenly I panicked.
‘Oh, my God! A Virus!’
At the thought, I hastily turned the page off. As soon as I turned the window off, I launched the vaccine program.
‘This is definitely a spam email, given the fact that they made the fake news so sophisticated. At the same time as clicking, a strange program such as a virus is installed to destroy the computer.’
‘What do I have to do? If I lose my work documents…’
I first unplugged the Internet line, plugged a work USB into my computer, and moved important documents to it. Then, my feet shivering, I waited for the virus protection program to run through the computer. Using three different vaccine programs, I had it virus tested, and I looked at a message on the monitor an hour later.
[No viruses detected.]
“Hoo-oo…” I breathed a sigh of relief.
‘This is enough… there may be no virus.’
After this much work, even the most difficult virus would have been caught in the net. Then a question came to my mind.
‘If it weren’t for delivering a virus… then what was that article?’
I was thinking of it and someone called me.
“Hey, Han Sang-hoon.”
As expected, it was the employee Kim who joined the company at the same time, and who told me about the hospitalization of the section chief Heo.
“Section chief Heo is going to be out of the hospital this evening, and we don’t need to visit him, so let’s go have a drink with the guys who joined the company at the same time.”
I had not had a good drink in a while since I was afraid of Heo. I readily agreed. “Okay.”
I woke up from sleep and grabbed my head in the way.
The sound of pain came out of itself. I sat on the bed and looked back on yesterday, the first round at the beer pub, the second round at the nearby Tripe restaurant, taking an hour off at the karaoke, and a third round at the folk tavern. I could not remember much after then. I looked around in a hurry. Around the bed, were my cell phone, my wallet, and my briefcase for work. I could relax then. I must have come home safely after drinking too much yesterday.
‘Hoo-oo… yesterday I had beer, Soju, Makgeolli… I drank too much mixed liquor.”
I got up, grabbing my head with a splitting headache, but my stomach hurt. I came to the kitchen, holding my stomach, and put water in a yellow brass pot. It had been eight years living apart from my family. Now I could cook ramen even with my eyes closed. I laid on the sofa, but at the sound of the water boiling, I put in the staple fiber and noodles and waited for it to be cooked. Ramen was soon completed. I took it and put it on the table and drank a spoonful of soup.
Finally, I felt better. I took my phone out of my pocket and started to use chopsticks. I picked up the hard-boiled noodles with my right hand, and turning on my cell phone with my left hand, I opened the Internet window. Then, at the exact moment I brought the noodles to my mouth and started to chew, I spat out them out, because the front page of the portal site was covered with the news that I had seen yesterday.
[Pop star Roger Knight Jackson was found dead in his house…]
[The cause of death of Roger Jackson was Fentanyl…]
[An undying wave of mourning of the world through Blue Rain…]