Author : Thomas Desrochers

“Hi Kristen, it’s your mum…”

Jaques picked up a picture of Kristin Trinket off of her bedroom nightstand. Twenty years old, red hair, stunning green eyes. Crooked, imperfect teeth at home in one of the warmest smiles he had ever seen. He set the picture down and it made an empty noise in the cold little room, like asking for help on a crowded city street.

“I was just calling because I haven’t heard from you in a few days.”

He looked at her body. She had been pretty once, but not any more. Now she was dead. Two lacerations with a rusty old razor blade, one down each arm.

Through the door in the living room Jaques’ two coworkers were busy packing up all of her belongings into little cardboard boxes. They had the easy job. Jaques picked up her bloodied, limp left arm in his hand and reached into the cut she’d made. He found the round piece of machine and pulled it out. It was maybe four centimeters wide, and one thick.

“I was worried when you didn’t come to our tea date yesterday. And now you’re not answering your phone. Are you feeling alright, dear?”

Poor Kristen had been feeling down one day, so her Pharmaceutical Assistance Unit had administered some antidepressants. One adverse reaction run amok later, and here she was.

Jaques lit a cigarette in his other hand, inhaled. Who cared about the deposit now? Nobody.

He let the ash fall onto the floor. The cigarette sat between his fingers, waiting. Jaques was looking at her picture again. When she had needed people the most, where had they gone?

“Your father misses you. Ever since he lost his foot you coming over has been all he’s had to look forward to.”

Everybody had an assistance unit. It was state-mandated for the sake of people’s health – you couldn’t refuse it. It monitored all your vital signs. It synthesized the drugs you needed when it decided you needed them, and the pharmaceutical companies sent the bill to the state. The condition that people accepted this on was that they worked, so failure wasn’t tolerated. Jaques looked down at the device, covered in congealed blood. There had been a failure, and that was why they were there, to prevent an erosion of profits and trust in the establishment.

“Anyways, it’s getting late and I still have to visit the market. I just want you to remember that I love you, and your father loves you, and if you ever need anything we’re here for you.”

They would say she had moved, if anybody asked. Went to start a new life.

They would burn her body and all her things once they had emptied the apartment.

Jaques finished his cigarette and ground the butt into the floor. Then he produced a body bag from a pocket in his coat and laid it out on the ground. Without any ceremony he flopped Kristen Trinket onto the floor and shoved her into the bag.

“I love you, honey. I’ll call again tomorrow, alright?” She paused. “Bye, dear.”

In the other room the antique answering machine shut off, done recording its message. One of Jaques’ coworkers pulled it out of the wall and put it in a box. Jaques hefted the body bag over one shoulder and carried it into the living room. Nearly everything was packed up now, Kristen Trinket’s entire life summed up in a bag and some boxes in the back of a truck.

And then she was gone.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows