A/N: This is a one-shot that I wrote back in August that had many sources of inspiration, most of them were urban legends and horror stories, as well as the old myth about pictures carrying demonic messages or cameras catching and imprisoning souls.

I hope you all enjoy my random, horror one-shot.

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happy . jpg

By: Melissa Norvell

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"They say that the Devil's Visage can make even sane men mad." – Unknown

I remember that day.

It was a sunset's even when she was found. Her body hung from a large, old tree with twisted branches that was located a couple of blocks from her place of residence. There, her best friend Amemiya Kurasato laid sight upon the horror that took place only hours ago.

Amemiya had been out for her evening jog, when she stumbled upon the horrific sight. A lean girl's body hung by a noose. She had been adorned in an ankle-length, flowing white skirt and a yellow, spaghetti-strapped shirt and white heels that fastened with straps. Her glazed eyes shot skyward and her long, brown hair flowed behind her, nearly masking the rope that was pulled tightly around her neck.

The deceased girl in question was Amano Fusako. I had known her since grade school. After her funeral, Amemiya received a strange letter that was inside of a yellow envelope, like one you would receive business letters or pamphlets in. It had her address on it, but it was void of any return information. Amemiya found it very strange, and opened it out of curiosity. The contents within was a simple disc that was red and white. On the label was the name happy . jpg.

The next day, the pink-haired girl called me and informed me that she recalled Amano having a similar disc. She ignored her when she inquired the contents of the disc, and when she insisted on seeing what it contained, Amano flipped out on her in a fit of hysterics, yelling at her to never go near the disc or even have it laying beside of her computer. According to Amano, she 'never wanted to see what was on it, because once it was looked at, it would drive you into the depths of insanity and make your life a living hell.'

Knowing this information, I was bewildered on why this would be given to anyone, much less Amano. As someone who researched legends, I decided to do a bit of delving into this 'happy' image.

I came up successful, and from my sources I determined that this image was spread just the way this one had been. It was contained in an envelope with that file name on it.

Viewing the image on the disc was said to incite insanity, and there was no true image that lurked within the confines of the web. However, there were similar imitations. The true happy . jpg was only defined on how it made the viewer feel. The most notable reaction to the image was that whoever viewed it ended up committing suicide, or died by a mysterious cause that could not be defined by medical science. Giving the image to someone else, or 'spreading the truth' was the only way that someone could save themselves from happy . jpg. There was a rumor that the original image that was going around back in the early 80's was actually the face of the devil himself.

This was an interesting case. I've actually heard of similar things, more importantly there was an unexplainable phenomenon where a demon appeared in a strange image, over a man's shoulder. It was in the shape of a dog's dead. The 'demon' as it was called was in the same grain as the rest of the photo, and it was an old picture from a Polaroid camera. There was no evidence of double exposure or anything. The findings of that scientific study of two people came to be inconclusive. It was bizarre and unexplained.

In order for this particular image to have its true effect, it has to be downloaded off of the disc and onto your hard drive. Various websites say that it was even featured on television, and it's known as an internet urban legend. It is said to affect those who are prone to, already have or have a history of mental illness. Adverse reactions were mental trauma, night terrors and some were unable to sleep after looking at 'happy'. Some victims had strange, paranormal occurrences, heard screams or wicked laughter. Some claim the image is a photo manipulation or a strange double exposure. The real image is impossible to trace and it has been banned from many places on the internet.

Many have claimed that it was not something that was supposed to be studied. Making images that alter someone's state of mind was highly forbidden and dangerous. Optical subconscious mental projections affect the mental stability of even the strongest willed people, and change their mood significantly.

These 'psychological effects' were those that were associated with a condition that is known as sleep paralysis, in which you experience nightmares in a realistic way when you are awake. These images from your nightmares appear in the room with you and they seem very real.

During my months of research, I was dedicated to the happy . jpg case, and Amemiya slowly grew distant from me. Soon after, we lost all contact, minus me sending the occasional text message to check on her state. She stopped relying two months into our text conversations. During those two months her changes were rapid and odd. She didn't want to go out and she stopped visiting me. People wanted and asked but I could tell them nothing in response, because I honestly did not know either.

After a couple more months, I came to her house and while inquiring on her mental health was part of it, I actually came there to talk to her. During our prior texts, I asked to come over and talk to her about the disc and she initially agreed, but she's changed her mind a day before I was to come over. Amemiya locked herself in her bed room and refusing to even look at me.

She uttered things from behind the door that didn't make any sense to me. I tried to calm her down, not really knowing what was wrong with her or how she got so bad. Now that I thought about it that made sense as to why she didn't keep in contact with me. Something happened between the death of her friend and now, but what? She was crying and her words were centered around diatribe on dreams that she'd had.

I came looking for a story, and it looks like I got just that. Whether or not it was centered on happy . jpg or not, I was reduced to a curious girl in search of information, rather than someone who went around researching urban legends. There was no doubt that this sparked my curiosity because I know that Amemiya got that disc and her psychological condition may have been a result of it. I didn't think she would actually look at it after being reprimanded by Amano so much.

I was finally let in, and we both sat at a small kotatsu in her room. When Amemiya first encountered happy . jpg it changed her life forever. She was one of the few people who got an actual disc containing the image. It was estimated that only 70 people received the disc itself, but she has been the only one to talk about it openly. The rest keep their identity a secret or they are possibly dead.

When I thought about it and observed what she said, I faintly remembered happy . jpg or happy child as it was so nick named. The picture was sent in a forward that gained popularity as an internet phenomenon. No one could prove the validity of the image due to the lack of information that existed on the web. The information was so little and so vague that the image was rumored to not truly exist or it was labeled as a hoax.

This phenomenon is about an image file that is not found anywhere; there are many simulations. They show up on popular image boards and forums. These so called 'fakes' don't render any psychological affects to their victims. Supposedly, the real one can also give you epilepsy and anxiety attacks.

One of the reasons this phantom-like picture is frowned upon are the reactions it gets from its victims. Some say that those who are reluctant to acknowledge happy . jpg are in fear or disbelief. Neither image happy kid nor happy . jpg is mentioned in reputable internet encyclopedias. Any attempts to create a page to this image have been deleted.

This is the stuff urban legends are made of.

The image first came about on a forum; it was spammed with happy . jpg image that rendered nearly all of the forum users with anxiety disorders, sleep paralysis, epilepsy and hallucinations.

The one I remembered going around in my younger years was a forward with the title 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' or happy . jpg. Some joke went around about not saving it because it was just a junk forward, but the stories are all the same.

The image is described as a child, male appearing to be six years old or younger that is illuminated by the flash of the camera, and standing in a dim background with a rectangular lighted area that resembled a door. The only background details that are visible are a blood stained hand that is resting on the boy's shoulder and a background shadow of a male with an axe swung over his shoulder, staring down at a body lying on the ground. When someone concentrated on the child, the back ground details morphed into a creature that resembled a Cerberus. This is gathered recollections from victims of this happy . jpg image. They claim that this image is constantly in their head, playing on repeat. This could be a result of epileptic fits or sleep paralysis, which give way to vivid nightmares.

Maybe Amemiya suffered these conditions and had not been prescribed the proper medications. I requested the help of urban legend newsgroups, websites and mailing lists in order to find someone who was less hesitant to tell me about happy . jpg. Nothing happened and my fruits were bearing no seeds, until the next week when Amemiya sent me an e-mail.

TO: urbanlegendsresearch aol . com

FROM: AsimpleFlower yahoo . com

SUBJECT: About Last Year

I'm really sorry about what happened during your visit. I know it's my fault, and my problems that made me act like that to you. I should have calmed down, but I was just so scared.

I've been haunted by happy . jpg. That man with the axe comes to me in my sleep every night. That sounds dumb, right? It's true, though. These nightmares top even the most real dream that I've ever had. I can't move or talk. The only think I see is that horrible picture. That hand sets itself on my shoulder and I hear the footsteps and violent screams. That little boy, he talks to me. He tells me this rhyme:

Be happy.

It's good for you.

Let the truth be known.

Your world spins as I come closer.

I can sense your fear.

Let the truth be known.

Be happy.

Be happy.

Be happy.

…and let the truth be known.

I know what he wants. He wants me to show other people. I could. I still have that disc that was sent to me after Amano's death. I now know exactly what's on it. I considered my options for a while. I even wondered if Amano's death had anything to do with that picture. I could show anyone: you, my other friends, a stranger or even my brother. But what would happen after that? If the boy told the truth, I could get my sanity back. If happy kid lied, would it do something worse? I didn't do anything and the happy kid kept pushing me to 'let the truth be known'. I was strong and I refused to do a lot of things that he kept tempting me with. A lot of people I knew who had told me that they saw happy . jpg stopped talking about it or they just disappeared. I worry about them…so much.

I'm so sorry. When you came to my house, I was already so far gone. I told myself that I would give you the disc and I didn't care if happy kid was lying. I just couldn't take it anymore. If you find the real truth behind it in your research then it would seal your fate and prove your curiosity would do you in. I can't stand it. I just can't take it anymore. I'm so ashamed and I feel sick. Please, listen to reason.

Please, I'm saying this as a friend. Stop while you can. This isn't meant to be researched.

Amemiya

A month after I received her letter, her brother, Ryou got in touch with me and informed me that Amemiya had hung herself from the same tree that Amano did. His voice quivered with overwhelming sorrow upon mentioning the incident. While he was closing out her online profiles he had stumbled across her letter and was devastated to find out what he had. Ryou begged me to take his sister's advice through choked sobs. He requested that the envelope Amemiya sent to me be returned and left unopened.

I did as he advised, fulfilling Amemiya's last request, and he promptly disposed of the disc. I scanned the obituaries and found that my friend truly had died. I was in disbelief. Amemiya had been serious and it wasn't a play just to get to me. The cause of her death was an unexplained suicide.

I decided not to further my investigation on happy . jpg. Her death rattled me in many ways, and maybe it was best to simply leave some things left unexplained.

However, fate had a strange way of throwing curve balls and testing our ability to deal with them. A full two years later, after I closed my case on happy . jpg, I received a bizarre e-mail.

TO: urbanlegendresearch aol . com

FROM: messenger_pigeon gmx . com

SUBJECT: happy . jpg

Hey there,

I found you through a paranormal forum and your profile said that you were fascinated by happy . jpg. I've seen it and I really wasn't affected by it. I have it here in this message. I'm trying to finally let the actual truth be known.

That final phrase sent chills up my spine.

Attached was a file called, of course, happy . jpg.

I considered downloading it for days, often glancing at the e-mail. Maybe it was a fake. It didn't affect the sender, but I was never truly convinced of happy . jpg's powers. Amemiya's suicide screwed me up a little but something else had to be up. How could a picture do what happy . jpg was supposed to accomplish? What could break your mind that much at a single glance? If it wasn't true, why did the story exist?

I finally decided to download it. What if I looked at it and my friend was right? What if happy kid came to me and recited that eerie poem? What would I do? Would I live like Amemiya did and fight a mental war every day until I killed myself, or would I let the truth be known and put it to rest? If I did, how would I do it? Whose life would I screw up?

If I went through with my research and wrote about happy . jpg, I could put it out as evidence. Anyone who read my article would be affected. Anyone who was interested would look at the picture. If happy . jpg was in my article and it was the real deal, would I be that selfish as to save myself at the expense of others? Would I sacrifice lives for my own safety? Could I let the truth be known?

Be happy.

It's good for you.

My presence will haunt you in your dreams.

Let the truth be known.

Be happy.

When darkness falls, I will come.

Your world spins as I come closer.

I can sense your fear.

Let the truth be known.

Be happy.

Be happy.

Be happy.

There was no doubt about it.

I definitely could.

…and let the truth be known.

-THE END—

Written: 8/12/12 3:37 p.m.

Typed: 12/9/12 1:11 p.m.

A/N: I hope that everyone enjoyed it. I was really proud of all of the research that I put into it. I took inspiration from many things. Also, the bit of information about the man who had the visage of a demon on his shoulder is actually on Youtube. It was a real case that was on the news. If you want to look at it for yourself, then go to Youtube and search for Demon appears in photograph. It should be the first result you get and the uploader of the video is Robin Swope.

Please review and I shall return the favor!