Author: Logan Thrasher Collins
Anabelle and Enrique lived on Mars in a prim antebellum cottage with white walls. Each morning, Enrique emerges and dusts away the maroon regolith which accumulates on the walls during the nighttime. He typically wears lime green overalls and uses a long-handled broom. One crisp Sunday, Enrique pauses in his work to look out across the Red Planet’s rusty hills and marvel at the dawn. He inhales the morning air and grins like an adolescent boy. The sky is blue.
“Enrique Darlin?” Anabelle’s voice swims out from the home’s foyer and curls round Enrique’s ears like an ethereal ferret.
“Yes sweetness?” Enrique asks, still beaming at the landscape. “Ya really should see tha mornin light. It’s beeyewtiful!” He removes his crumpled cap and folds it absentmindedly in his hands. Annabelle emerges from the doorway, her pale skin blazing incandescently as it converts the dawn’s photons to internal fluorescence. Her movements more resemble cascading spring water than flesh and bone and nerve.
“Ah’m afraid ah’ve some bad news mah love.” She exclaims dejectedly. “This life… Ah can’t live it forever.” Enrique’s smile fades. “Ah’ve got ta move on sometahm.” She interlaces her gossamer-gloved fingers.
“But Annabelle, this life… it’s a good life. Ya got no reason ta end it all sudden like this. Sides, I don’t wanna die. I like ya. I like living with ya and lovin with ya.” Annabelle regards her husband with genuine remorse, a tear meandering over her flawless cheek.
“It’s been quite a long tahm Enrique. Ah should’ve programmed you ta get tired of it eventually. But Ah didn want you ta stop lovin me. Ah was selfish. Ah’m sorry.” She steps towards him and kisses him tenderly on the lips, locking him in her embrace. The scene begins to evaporate. Even as his simulated nerves disassemble, Enrique trembles with vivid, desperate love. After all, his wife was responsible for all the joy he’s ever known. Then Annabelle’s synthesized existence is gone and Enrique’s soul deleted. Annabelle remains, encoded in neuromorphic neutronium.
As her sensor arrays look out at the glittering infinity of realspace starlight, Annabelle wonders if she made a mistake in ending her existence with the man she created. After all, they had been together for eighty thousand years.
A good read with some nice projections of current concepts.
Starts like something by Ray Bradbury – I assume that was intentional – but then changes into something very different and contemporary in style. And yet ultimately it’s yet another variation on the Pygmalion story from Bronze Age Greece, 3,000 years ago. So many threads in such a short story!
That was an awesome read. Really wonderfully constructed and I am now all the wiser for Googling “neuromorphic neutronium”.