Author : Colm Scully

When Henry hit the curb he knew it was over. The sun had got in his eyes. He had bent his left wish bone badly and knew he could not walk straight. He called the recovery service and they lifted him into the van. He tried to keep upbeat, chatting with the driver as they headed for the depot.

He sat there in an armchair surrounded by old robots, all de-energised. He saw the look in his owner’s eyes as she talked to the engineer. He over-heard “no parts available” and “not much point”.

“We’ll be back tomorrow Henry. We’ll see you then”

He avoided her gaze, within twenty four hours the information would start draining from his memory banks.

He began to think back over his long life, his being switched on, the journey from the factory. He was a prototype, first in a long line of models, built to last. Before they cheapened the materials. That was back when robots were King, could do no wrong. He worked hard for all his owners, helping them with human life’s practicalities: childcare, car maintenance, adult education. He sniffled slightly. He now wished he’d been more careful, worn those sun glasses Margaret had given him.

She’d been good to him since the anti-revolution; the Advent of Sameness. Took good care of him while others were thrown on the scrap heap. He moved in his chair to ease the pain, reaching down and rubbing the human like skin across his leg. His ankle was skewed ninety degrees outwards. He looked around him, he was just an old machine. Gone out of production since the technology cap. No one cared for his kind any more. People lived as people now, happy with what they had, and Margaret had no money to repair him. Even if she could scrimp it together, he knew there was no way back.

He thought of all the changes that he had known in his life: Omni–science, Suicide Rights, The trips to Mars, Zero Warfare, The Cybernetic Bulge, and then the changes stopping change. It was strange he thought, as some one dimmed the lights,how the smallest event can alter everything. Like when parents were arrested for stealing sweets from their children’s party bags. It made all the humans stop and think, where were they going? Like hitting a curb at four miles an hour, that you always knew was there, your eyes blinded by the sun.

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