Free Wifi is a scary story about a young girl whose family can’t afford the Internet. She hears about a new service that allows you to connect to the Internet for free.
My name is Masha and I’m 16 years old. I live in a small town in Russia. My father doesn’t make a lot of money and my family isn’t very wealthy. There are a lot of things we can’t afford. One of those things is the Internet.
One day, while I was in school, one of my friends told me she had heard about a new service that gives you free access to the Internet. She said all you had to do was connect to their network, which was called “Free Wifi” and then you could browse the Internet to your heart’s content without having to pay a thing. It sounded almost too good to be true.
That evening, when I got home, I decided to try it out. I opened up my laptop and searched for the network called “Free Wifi”. The signal was excellent, so I selected it and clicked “Connect”. My Internet browser popped up and, on a black background with sinister red letters, there was a message:
“Welcome to Free Wifi! Thank you for visiting! We don’t require any payment. We don’t require any registration. All we ask for is some basic information about our visitors. Please answer the following question.”
There were four pictures on the page. A bus, a boat, a train and a plane.
Underneath, there was a question:
“What is your usual mode of transport?”
I cycled to school, my father didn’t own a car and we could never afford to go anywhere on holiday. I didn’t use any of those modes of transport, so I just chose the train at random and clicked on it.
A “Thank You” message appeared on the screen and then, I was able to browse the Internet. I was delighted. This was the answer to all my problems. Now, I could set up a Facebook account and keep in touch with my friends on Twitter and Instagram.
The next day, however, as I was watching TV, the show was interrupted by a breaking news alert. The local news reporter was saying that there had been a terrible accident. A train had derailed and come off the tracks just as it was crossing a bridge. Several carriages plunged into the river below and almost everyone on board had been killed.
I was horrified. That’s when I remembered the website I had visited the night before. I had selected the picture of the train. I tried to tell myself it was just a coincidence. I mean, what would have happened if I chose the picture of the plane. Would there have been a plane crash the next day? The idea was ludicrous.
That evening, I needed to use the Internet again. I connected to the Free Wifi network and again, the same page popped up. This time, the question was different.
There were 4 pictures of houses: A bungalow, a two-story house, a three-story house and an apartment building.
Underneath, in big red sinister letters, was the question:
“Which type of house do you live in?”
My family lives in a bungalow and I was about to choose that option when I stopped myself. My finger hovvered over the mouse button, but I couldn’t click it. What if my suspicions were true? I wondered. It was a silly thought, but I just couldn’t take that chance.
Instead, I clicked on the apartment building, just to be safe. A “Thank You” message flashed on the screen and I was able to connect to the Internet again.
The next day, the apartment building near my school burned down. Luckily, the fire happened during the day, so most people weren’t home. About 20 people perished in the blaze. The police said they suspected arson.
I was worried. It was starting to seem like more than a coincidence. No matter how crazy it seemed, I had a sneaking suspicion that somehow, the Free Wifi was causing these tragedies. I decided that I would be better off if I just left it alone.
However, that night, I began to doubt myself. The more I thought about it, the sillier it seemed. Was I just being paranoid? How could connecting to a Free Wifi network result in the deaths of over 100 people. Who would ever believe such a thing was possible?
After mulling it over for almost an hour, I was convinced it was just an insane coincidence. I took out my laptop, turned it on and connected to the Free Wifi.
My Internet browser opened again. There were 4 more pictures. When I saw them, I let out a gasp of horror.
The pictures were of my mother, my father, my little sister and me…
Underneath, in big sinister red letters was the question:
“Which of these is your favorite family member?”