Recently, in my school, there has been some huge hype over this process coined as "jailbreaking". I'm sure you've heard of it; it's a method to make iPhones open to third-party data. It basically bypasses the Apple filter and opens the phone to a wide variety of options.
The point is, recently, there had been a major spike in interest in jailbreaking. All of my friends were getting it done, and pushing me to go through the process as well. I was quite concerned about taking any risks with my phone, so I found myself being rather reluctant to do it. However, after relentlessly provoking me, my friends eventually convinced me to go through with it.
When I got home, I looked up many different pages on how to jailbreak. Many were just ads or traps that would spam your e-mail. I noticed hours passing before I discovered any indication of a viable jailbreak. I swiftly grew indifferent to undergoing the process. I decided not to allow this whole jailbreak hype to devour my precious time on a Friday night.
My finger was just inches from the computer's power button, when a video flashed on screen. I found it rather odd, I was indeed on YouTube, but I had not clicked any video or any links. It looked like any other tech geek talking to the camera. He was recommending a jailbreak that he called "Red Balloon", however, it was spelled "R3d Bal00n".
I was surprised, as it looked authentic and real, and decided to give it a try. I clicked on the link and was pleased to find no surveys or ads, only a download button that I quickly pressed. The download started and took no longer than a couple of minutes. I followed the instructions, which were quite simple. They, in fact, juxtaposed what my friends had told me; apparently I was supposed to put my phone in DFU mode – basically make it open to new software – but the video instructed me to simply plug my phone in.
Instantly, the screen on my iPhone went black, and a red balloon popped up in place of the apple symbol when it rebooted. I recall waiting for hours, seeing no change in the screen, only that red balloon. It wouldn't fade; the light emanating from my device had no alteration, just the same red balloon logo. I decided to give it sometime and went to bed.
When I awoke in the morning, I went right away to check my phone, and as I expected, it had finally changed screens. The display now was the same normal lock screen I was accustomed to. I was discontent initially, expecting the jailbreak had not worked, but I quickly noticed something different. The standard slide to unlock had now switched to a button that read: "pop the balloon."
I tapped the button and a simple prompt flashed on the screen. However, this prompt looked strange, it wasn't iOS, that was the first thing I noticed. It looked more like an older version of Windows XP, it was extremely bland looking, a perfect square colored in gray and filled with black text. I read the text which simply asked, "Are you sure you want to pop the balloon? The changes may not be reverted. (Yes/No)."
I felt a little threatened for some reason, but I went ahead and pressed Yes regardless. The lock screen disappeared and I was greeted with the same home screen I had before, except now the background was that red balloon I had previously seen during start up. My apps had vanished from the screen, the only visible sight was a red balloon. I tried to click on some basic icons.
I opened up the App Store icon and waited, as it displayed a message saying, "blowing the balloon." It finally opened on the screen. However, to my surprise, it looked nothing like an App Store, the layout was the same, but rather than selling apps it was selling items. It listed a pair of Asics shoes, a red polo, jeans, and some socks. I was bewildered at the results. Had this jailbreak turned my App Store into a clothing department?
As I continued to scroll, my emotions shifted from confused to concerned. The next items paralleled products you might find on the black market. It listed a pair of kidneys, a liver, pounds of flesh, and even a heart. I was rather discomforted at this moment, and attempted to click on one of the items. The phone wouldn't allow me to and just displayed the message, "It’s too late to claim it once you've popped the balloon."
I had no clue as to what my device was attempting to relay to me. I pressed the home button and left the peculiar App Store. I opened my clock app next, trying to see if even the simplest of programs were running in a standard form. The clock opened, but was rather odd and different from normal. It displayed a stopwatch with no other option. Above, it read, "Time since pop." I tried sliding to the next option and the only other choice was now an alarm. It showed a countdown, which read "01:45:34" at the moment.
This all seemed quite strange, and it filled my heart with discomfort and dismay as it sank in. I decided my best bet at this time was to go onto YouTube and re-watch the review of this jailbreak. I hadn't recognized it the first time, but this time as I scrolled through the comment section and noticed a repetitive structure. All of them had said something nearly the same as the last: "Great one! Be sure to pop the balloon." or "Loved it! Pop that Balloon and enjoy!" I didn't think this meant much; most likely the developer had created multiple accounts and wanted to boost his views.
I concluded that this jailbreak was nothing more than some sort of strange scam. I almost turned my PC off and left the room at that point, I almost did. Something caught my eye and provoked my curiosity, forcing me to stay. I recognized the man speaking on YouTube and realized it was a broadcaster who I had recently heard news of his death. I had only heard rumors via eavesdropping so I hadn't confirmed it.
I decided to look the issue up and discovered his passing was just weeks ago, but I couldn't find many details on his actual death. As I perused from page to page, I had trouble finding any sort of information on it, but had little trouble in allowing a sense of fear to creep in. I soon found he had died nearly two weeks ago; however, the video had been posted, apparently, four days ago.
I was panicking and had no idea how that damn video could have been posted. I opened my iPhone which, once again, was on the clock. At this point, it read "00:57:24". I was now worried about what would happen when that timer reached the end. I didn't want it to, and I didn't want to know. I waited in fear as I gazed at the floor. I noticed, resting on my feet, were my pair of Asics tennis shoes, on my legs were a pair of jeans and my torso was dressed in a red polo, all of which were up for sale in the "App Store".
A rather unsettling feeling remained in me. I was unable to detect what the exact purpose of this was. There was absolutely no way that my clothes matching were some sort of coincidence. I then recalled what else was for sale; the organs. I questioned now, if the clothes listed were mine, were the organs mine too?
I no longer felt protected by the screen that lay between me and the contents of the phone. I got some sort of notification. I opened the phone to discover something disheartening. On the screen was Google maps, and there were listed directions; "point A" was a spot at an intersection, "point B", was my current location. I stared at the screen as my ability to move escaped me. I waited and waited in silence, praying and hoping it wouldn't get worse, but it soon did. The dot at the other end of the route began to move. It slowly sped past the intersection and down the country road leading to my address.
The dot continued to move closer and closer as I lay there praying this was some prank or nightmare. I ran to a closet and locked myself in. I pulled my phone out of my pocket as I felt it vibrating in my hand. The timer was over.
I heard a creaking noise below me, I wondered to myself; was this some sort of mafia? Did they harvest organs and sell them on the black market? What was the real purpose behind all of this? I laid on the closet floor listening to the noises emanating from the hall.
I heard a drip that gradually began flowing at a more frequent rate. Pounding steps accompanied the odd sound of this drip. Whatever it was it had a limp and seemed to struggle and stumble in its attempt to walk. It was moving fairly slow, but the rate of this drip was now not. I could distinctly hear the noise of this fluid spilling onto the ground. The being's clamor grew louder as it approached.
Beneath the door I saw a shadow break the crack of light that pierced through. The knob creaked as something turned it from the other end. As the door peeled open the figure became clear.
With a pale gray tone to his skin a child no older than me, battle to retain his heavily slouched posture. His hand covered a blotch of blood surrounding his abdomen, though it was futile in its purpose as plasma continued to pour through. His expression looked fearful and contemplative.
He looked to me and tried to speak, "Lo-, loo--k ma-an, th--they, to-took, my gallbladder."
I was unable to respond, still in shock of what I was witnessing.
"I-I'm so-sorry," he muttered.
Bewildered, I looked down and saw him jab a blade into my stomach. Never before had I felt such a sharp pain. As he made his incision something must've told my brain I couldn't it because I passed out.
I woke up, drenched in my own blood. I felt unable to move because my body was echoing with pain. My clothes were gone and there was a gaping hole in my stomach. Running my fingers down my back I felt two sutured wounds; they took my kidneys.
Laying across the floor was my phone buzzing. Though weak and exhausted, I reached my arm over to grab it. When I opened it up it went instantly to Google Maps.
The map showed my location now as "point A" and had dropped a pin miles away for "point B" labeled "location of most recent pop".
Written by Pacersnation16