Posted by Eric, Apr 7, 2010. 1320 views. ID = 3452
This post was written in 4 minutes.
|Something inspired by 'I, Robot,' written by Isaac Asimo.|
|This post has been awarded 12 stars by 3 readers.|
“Move on, son. Quickly.” The man’s voice carried through the rock tunnel as glitter does on the waves of the sea. “We’ve no time to lose.”
Usually, the man would be known by the sight of the reddish tint of his clear cut face, his short, black whiskers bristling beneath a dirt-stained white cap, but now there were only two piercing blue eyes and the Voice. It was a voice of artificial rapture; deep, resonant and masterly crafted; articulate, but lacking in warmth, expression, beauty; and yet it had the particular intonation that simultaneously compelled and denigrated.
“Let us go now, son.” The Voice was more imploring and less human. Something grabbed the child’s shoulder. Shook it. Hard. But there was still no movement from the child, for this same event had happened many times, and many times before that, and the child was accustomed to such circumstances. The Voice would not hurt him, but would not fail to persist, and the child was fine with that.
It had of course not always been like that, for change is a subtle and insidious creature. The child remembered when, during a time quite far and long ago, he had remembered the illusion of happiness. No, it was more a memory of a memory, but such facts are irrelevant. The man had once been a normal, law-abiding citizen of the United States of America. A long time ago, he could have stepped out onto the streets outside and not immediately been branded, odious and repugnant to the rest of society. There was once a time that the child could look up and the man and not be ashamed.
When he was young, they had gone on fishing trips. The man would stand in Serendipity, a small wooden dingy that when in the middle of the ocean looked like a white gem in the mirror of the sea. The child would stand up as well, resting in the muscular arms of the man, brushing his hair against the coarse mix of hair, cotton and sweat, and would look out at the water that stretched on and on until the wrinkles of the sea seemed to dissolve into the sky itself. “Daddy!” he would yelp as the man drew the tugging line in and masterfully guided the fish into the boat. The child would jump around like the fish, while the man placed his hands on the fish and gently calmed it. The expression on his face was of kindness as he covered its body and killed it, and the child squirmed with the delight the only children can possess.
The man stood in the blackness of the rock tunnel. Only his eyes were visible, as the place was truly dark, with the earthly cool of being underground and a steady echoing dripping emanating from somewhere. The man again tugged earnestly at the child, but the child simply looked up at the man with an expression akin to that of anger. He did not feel the anger, but he hated the man nonetheless.
It soon became legal to have the implant. It was ‘nothing drastic’, according to the man on the screen, ‘just something to ensure our nation’s technological growth and our citizen’s safety’. When the man came home that night, his son did not call him “Daddy” anymore.
The next fishing trip was different. The sea did not seem so marvelous; the sky was simply one of the thousands of pictures in the world. Serendipity rocked and swayed even though the water was still as solitude. The man caught a fish and the child smiled, but it was a fake smile. The child had never seen his father act this way, never since the implants came out. It was as if the man had become a tombstone, formless, silent and awful. He looked at the child in the same manner that he looked like a book. Could it be the implants? The child was still young and asked the man. The man smiled but did not respond. The smile was not false.
The child stepped away from his father. It was the first movement between the two for hours, and it was not unexpected. The man was cautious and reticent and gazed upon the child as one does when another had deserted him. The child could not understand the reason for being here every night of every day since the Father had changed, had become the Voice. The man was acting more queer and criminal every passing day. Sill the two of them stood with the iron hand of oppression between them, and the man closed his eyes, and then opened them. There was no difference in what he could see. He began to implore with the child again.
The day that the Voice came was the day that the fishing trips ended. The child would not have it. He could not bear the weekly implants any longer. The day that this happened was in fact a rather fine day, with the clouds overhead bringing to life dancing shadows on the ground – a feat that was utterly impossible with the atmosphere generators in modern households. When the man came home from work that evening, the child did not greet him. This was unusual, for the child had always unfailingly greeted the man, and when the man finally found the child, he was welcomed with only a piercing stare of daggers and a glare of immense scrutiny and churlish malady.
“Son, don’t worry. They’ll be gone soon. I promise.” The man’s voice was, to the child, no longer the voice of a human but of a machine. Like ice, like steel, it had the perfect articulation of a mechanized tone and it was beautiful and terrible. The implant, or ‘Citizen Wellbeing and Safety Module’ that had been issued today was beginning to take an effect.
The child had been hiding, and when the man had approached him, and spoke, he knew that the man was no longer a father and was simply the Voice. There was some sadness in the child. He was thinking, “These modern chip things….they’re no good. They should be – ” The child looked up and stared blankly at the man. The man was changing, and the boy did not feel any more compassion. In fact, he did not feel anything anymore from that day on. He only refused to accept that the Voice had once been his father.
The two of them are still standing in the tunnel when the rays of a flashlight flit around in the darkness. Elephantine footsteps echoed through the cave. The footsteps became louder, and a voice was heard.
“Any luck today?” It was the muffled, silken voice of a sailor.
The shill, robotic tone assaulted the ears of everyone around, and the stentorian pitch quivered the interior of the ear mercilessly.
It continued. “Under Section 494 of the Criminal Code, sub 1 (b) you are citizens escaping from and are persued by persons who have lawful authority to arrest you. Your rights are as follows: You have the Constitutional right to remain silent; anything you say can be held against you in the court of law; you have the right to legal counsel and that if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you; and if you choose, you may have a lawyer present during interrogation. Please understand that– ”
The flashlights and footsteps arrived at the two and cut the voice off, as they always did. The man and child turned around in unison. On the child’s metalloid face there were three cameras and a lattice of wires, and a small black patch where the voice was issued from. The man’s face was without sleep, and his arm was slumped around the metal frame of his child’s body.
“We can't do anything for him now.” There was a single tear on his face.Copyright 2010 Eric. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
|This post has been awarded 12 stars by 3 readers.|
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