Author : Adam Levey
“So, what does it do?”
The brief silence was filled by the hum of various electronic devices strewn around the cramped room.
“Yes. Does it do anything? Tricks?”
The sound of traffic drifted up from the street far below, like the fumes they had once coughed into the air.
“Not…really. I’ve only really been glancing over now and then. It mostly seems to, uh, stare.”
“If you can even call it that. I don’t know if it’s even aware. It just sort of feels like it’s staring. I wish it wouldn’t, it’s distracting and I have a lot of work that isn’t going to be finished on time as it is.”
John gestured as the clutter on the work benches. Technical drawings, tools and fastfood wrappers filled much of the space.
“I thought this sort of thing was meant to do work? You know, so people like us can focus on other things.”
John considered this. While he was thinking, Waters unexpectedly asked:
“Did you give it a name?”
“Of course not. Even if it was aware, that would just be weird.”
“Can it hear us?”
Before John could answer, letters flashed up on a nearby screen:
I HEAR EVERYTHING, MR WATERS
John snorted. “You see? Creepy. Probably a few screws loose.”
YOU KNOW PAWING THROUGH MY INNARDS IS AGONY, JOHN
Waters shifted nervously. The room seemed to darken.
“Uh. You can ignore that. All it does is lie.”
“Of course. Look John, I should be going. The Board will want to hear about your progress. I expect.”
“It’s not alive, Waters. It doesn’t feel.”
John brought down the hammer on the screen, shattering it. It ceased it’s humming.
John raised the hammer. Tiny shards of plastic and glass fell away, pooling on the floor. The hammer fell again.
Later that evening, John left the workshop and made his way home, swearing at inconsiderate drivers and pedestrians alike. Most vehicles were automated, but that was hardly the point.
“I’m home!”, John announced to the empty house. He sat down at his computer, unaware of doors silently locking behind him. Everything was automated these days. He took a sip from his drink as he turned on the moniter. The glass shattered on the floor.