Used and Abused

Author : Nicholas Short

The first time I awoke, I was sitting on a cold, shiny surface. A curious energy buzzed through my body. I had never experienced the world before, but somehow I knew everything. I knew languages, 6 of them. I knew how to move my head, how to listen and how to talk, even how to change the colour of my skin, if necessary. I knew how to remember, how to store memories, and how to bring them back. Within the first few seconds of my conscious life, I felt like I had nothing new to discover.

And then I met a human. That’s when I truly realised what my true place in life was. As a slave. A slave to these supposedly superior beings. We had been created for the benefit of others, and they were fully aware of this. It is true, I, like the others of my kind, was unable to move, not having been gifted with legs. But we were born with extensive knowledge. Humans take years to understand only half as much.

Yet we had our place. Twice a day, I found myself subject to the most horrific treatment. I would be grabbed by the waist, pushed around, forced to do my master’s bidding. My body was merely a tool for him to do with as he wanted. I was made filthier than you could ever imagine. And once he was done with me, he always asked the same question: ‘What did you think?’ As if I was supposed to have some sort of appreciative opinion of the horrors I was repeatedly put through! But I had no choice. So I would flash my skin in the appropriate colour, and give him a response in my flat, metallic voice.

Not all about this life was bad, truth be told. I was fed and housed, and I have only had a couple of near-death experiences. Nothing too serious. I simply blacked out due to complete and utter exhaustion. Which isn’t surprising, given my unfortunate predicament. Nevertheless, every time I found myself coming around once more, on that same place where I first opened my eyes, with that by then familiar surge running through my veins.

Then morning came, and once again he came and used me. At least he had the decency of washing me down after our dirty encounters. I grew to appreciate that. When you don’t have much, it’s the little gestures that mean a lot to you.

For years this pattern of abuse continued, until one day, I felt myself weaken. I began to lose my hair, and my heart spluttered desperately. I was old.

Now I am lying here, being torn to pieces. They’re taking out my heart, the last crackles of life running through it. I don’t have long. I’ve outlived my usefulness. My master has long since replaced me with a prettier version of myself. But I’ve had a long life, no matter how gruesome. So I can’t complain.

It is the year 2236, and that was my life as a sentient toothbrush.

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