Author: Eric Fomley

“What are you doing?” Sammie asks.
Bo is slicing through the artificial flesh on the back of her neck, folding the plastic material away and exposing the circuitry.
“I’m packing you up,” Bo says. His chin trembles and he chews the inside of his lower lip.
“Have I done something wrong?”
“No,” he whispers.
He reaches into his tool bag and produces a pouch of fine tipped tools.
“Please,” Sammie says, her synthesized voice quieter than Bo has ever heard, “if I’ve done something that has upset you I will change it going forward. My programming is adaptive based on your feedback.”
“You haven’t done anything wrong,” he says.
The bot turns to face him, brown artificial eyes meeting his. “I don’t want to be packed away. I want to help, especially now that Mrs. Anderson isn’t—”
“Please don’t. Turn around,” Bo chokes out.
Sammie turns.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
“Me too.”
Tears roll down Bo’s cheeks. His hands tremble. He pauses before he snips the wire to the power coupler, reconsidering his decision.
But he can’t.
He cuts the wire and Sammie crumples to the floor with an electronic moan, auto packing into a square no larger than a suitcase.
Bo looks down at her and lets out a ragged sigh. Maybe one day he’d unpack her again, power her on, and tell her he was sorry. But Sammie had always been his wife’s bot, and right now, she reminds him too much of her. A walking, talking reminder that his wife is gone forever.

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