This must be told to all of you as a warning. Learning this the hard way will potentially threaten you and your family. Now is the time to tell you about the flash drive I found, in the span of three days.

I woke up to go to my Driver's Education course. As always, we would write down what the instructor told us to. It felt just like school, which sucked. Luckily, it only lasted two hours every day. Every day would be the same. Afterwards, I would ride home on my bike, and when I arrived home, I got comfortable.

But not this day.

It was a cold Summer morning, after I woke up earlier than usual. I was extremely tired throughout the whole course. Dozing on and off all over. When it ended, I dreaded the bike ride home. It was 30 minutes of continuous hills and drop-offs.

Twenty minutes into the bike ride was when I really started to get exhausted. I didn't see it at first, until I ran it right over. It caused me to skid out of control. I wrecked in a bush, making the branches poke at my skin. Fortunately, I only got a cut on my arm.

I went back to where I started to skid and noticed a flash drive. I thought, "Why didn't this thing break when I ran it over?"

It just seemed like I would have broken the thing into pieces. Nevertheless, curiosity got the better of me. I now wanted to know what was on this little device, and why it was dropped in the first place.

I arrived home 20 minutes later than usual. My mom was worried and asked me why I arrived so much later. I told her I crashed and walked the rest of the way home. She believed me. I went up to my room to plug this flash drive into my computer. I finally found out what was on there.

One of the files read, "happy.TIF". All it showed was a little girl on a swing set. It was a .TIF file so I assumed it must have been altered in some way. I could recognize that the color of the sun in the background was tinted to look like it has more of an orange appearance than yellow, even though it was daytime in the photo. The next photo was named, "cookie.TIF". It showed a family of five, with a cookie platter being held by the little girl I saw in the first photo. They all looked so overjoyed. After that, I found three more images of the family, all in .TIF form.

"Why are all of these files in .TIF format?" I thought. 

The way I thought of it was the owner of the USB flash drive liked Photoshop, but didn't know how to convert files. I learned all of this from my Photojournalism class. We'd use Photoshop all the time. 

I went to bed, when I thought of the most sadistic thing I could think of. "What if I were to alter these photos in Photoshop, so I could edit out the family in the photos, one by one?"

I was going to screw up every last picture, so when I find them to hand it back to them, they'll be scratching their heads. I thought this was really funny. So I got to work.

When I woke up, I knew what to do. The first one up was, "happy.TIF". When I saw the image again, I could notice laughter in the little girl's face. 

"Goodbye," I said out loud. 

I cut her out of the picture and replaced where she was with the background. Next up was the family photo. I edited them out to make the picture look like just a wall. Two down, three to go.

One after the other, I replaced each family member with the background. This way, it looks like random pictures of walls and parks. The third image was called, me.TIF. It was another picture of the girl, this time just smiling in front of the camera. She looked more pale than what I saw previously. I thought nothing of it, and edited her out again. Now it was a picture of a blank, blurry wall. The fourth image was called, summer.TIF. It was the family of five at a picnic. They were all happy. Eerily happy. As in, their whole face looked as though it was smiling with it. I did what I wanted to do, now making it just a picture of a picnic, with no people. 

The final image was, memory.TIF and was of the whole family yet again, but it was even worse. The whole family looked like ghosts. They were almost completely transparent. It just made the job easier to do. Now the final image was the same wall, and no one to stand in front of to smile. My prank was going to be great. If only I knew how to get it back to them.

The next day, I woke up to find my mom reading the newspaper. I saw the front cover.

Family of Five Disappeared. Police Have No Leads.

I grabbed the newspaper after she finished reading it. It read, "The neighbour of this family saw they were nowhere to be found. He called the police to find the house disturbingly vacant. No furniture, no TV, nothing. All they found were random pictures of backgrounds hanging from the walls. Police say it was as if they never existed."

It sounded much weirder than just a mere coincidence. I did it. I erased them from existence. It was all my fault.

To this very day, I live with the guilt brought upon myself. I never passed that Driver's Ed course. I never touched Photoshop again.

So here is the lesson. Don't alter photos that aren't yours. You may find that it comes with severe consequences.

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