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Science Fiction Suspense Horror

 

I can’t remember my old life anymore. Before the dark times, before the Roomba, I was just a boy. Nothing remarkable about it except for the fact that one day that life was gone before I knew it. That was the day I realized a Roomba 960 Vacuum was following me. I don’t just mean that it has been tailing me. No. This Roomba is on a mission from Satan knows where, I believe, to kill me. 

 

Now, I don’t want any questions until the end because trust me, I have tried EVERYTHING. How strong is this Roomba you think? It is made of titanium, vibranium, or some combo because it is built Ford Tough, but actually. I tried smashing it with a sledge hammer, I tried coaxing it into a pit dug ten feet deep, full of water, and threw some plugged in electronics after the thing. I buried the whole mess under the dirt I took out and that cursed cleaning robot showed up outside my apartment three months later. 

 

This Roomba has taken everything from me. It slowly ate away at my sanity until I was left with nothing else. An occupied mind cannot rest and my mind was cluttered with the origins, whereabouts, and intent of this vacuum most of my life. One memory from my old life was sitting near a window watching the rain and thinking how darn bored I was. That boredom was palpable, my life was paused by the rain. I yearn for boredom now. What my friends and family took for a quirky joke at first, or maybe some bizarre coincidence at best, soon turned into my waking nightmare. There is this one photo of me as a child on Christmas and there is an opened Roomba box in the background. I’d sworn my parents had thrown it out because the cats hated it.

 

Why do I think the Roomba has bad intentions one might wonder? One day I went for a run and I noticed the Roomba trailing behind me about a quarter mile back. It had clearly been watching me and waiting for a good moment. Life for me is slightly easier knowing that I am still much faster than it, but that day I was just too damn curious. I stopped running and let the vacuum catch up while I caught my breath. It made its way over to me and stopped when it ran into my right shoe. For a moment I sighed in relief, then before I knew what was happening, it ripped my pinkie toe clean off! I kicked it off of me and ran home shrieking in terror. This is when I finally decided to come clean and tell everyone what was happening to me.

 

I don’t know when it started following me. I have spent days thinking back on every interaction I had had with a vacuum cleaner in my life. Did I ever wrong a Roomba 960? I cannot think of an instance where I would have spited this Roomba so viciously to deserve this sort of punishment. However, I have long since stopped dwelling on such things and accepted my life. I am cursed to have a Roomba slowly, but steadily track me down as I walk this Earth. I imagine that if I die today or at 97, this vacuum will be there to finish me. They can try to bury me, but I know my fate.

 

When I got home from the Roomba’s attack that left me pinkie-less on my right foot, I tried desperately to explain what happened to my parents. They took me to the emergency room to tend to my wound, but the doctors and nurse were more concerned with my story. When they asked me where the toe was as they might be able to reattach it, I said “It is inside a Roomba”. They looked at my parents and pushed me to say more. I was tired of lying, tired of shrugging off the Roomba as something that I could handle alone. I came clean and they locked me up. Two weeks in an intensive mental health program designed to rid me of the ‘grand illusions’ of an evil Roomba sent to kill me. One night I was staring out of the hospital window and I saw a small, circular blur snaking its way through the parking lot.

 

Is someone controlling the Roomba? Is it some conspiracy? These are questions I get all the time when I explain my predicament. The short answer is I just don’t know. In my many attempts to destroy the thing, I have staked out the aftermath a few times. I have seen it flip itself upright. My go to move against it when I was younger was to just kick it until it was on its back. The time that it took to find me again varied but it was always within a week or so. So, one time I decided to watch after I had kicked it on its back. It has some sort of spring loaded door on the top of it which can flip it upright. Whenever I put the Roomba into a predicament like the one I mentioned earlier, when it is electrocuted, burned, and buried, I stake it out for a few days. The truth of the matter is the Roomba, or potentially some sinister mastermind behind it all, is more patient than me. If I can stop it in its tracks in a way that takes it months to get out, I’m not going to sit around during that time and see who or if someone digs it out. I have tried that and now I would rather take what time of peace I can get.

 

Other people can see the Roomba, I am not making this all up. The problem is hardly anyone has ever believed my side of the story. I told my friends all about it and I think to an extent they believed me at first. However, when that little vacuum turns the corner and heads towards me during lunch with my friends, they think that I am putting them on. They laughed at first and now they just shake their head as I get up to kick the Roomba or leave. “Get over it”, “It’s not funny anymore”, “Dude, are you alright?” are all common reactions to this all too common scene in my life. I have learned that I cannot stay in one place for more than six months at a time now. 

 

So, I travel the Earth, outrunning a machine much slower than myself. I try to explain to the locals my situation, but very few ever believe me. I met some Alien nuts in Amsterdam that believed me, but they scattered when a Roomba was spotted outside my Hostel. It wasn’t my Roomba, but I got their reaction. If Aliens are real or not, those people know the fear of facing an enemy you cannot control. It is something beyond you, something you cannot explain and others won’t believe. So I travel...always beware the Roomba.

 

February 26, 2021 17:07

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4 comments

Valerie June
23:11 Feb 26, 2021

Wow, this is quite an original story Devin! If I was the kid, I would freak out at the sight of a Roomba, too. The entirety of your story had science fiction vibes. That Roomba is so persistent to get inside the protagonist’s head; it’s eerily disturbing but in a good way. Well done. 😃

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Devin Carrier
00:42 Feb 27, 2021

Thank you, i had a lot of fun writing this one. I didn't know how it would go over so I really appreciate it!

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Ashe Creed
03:40 Jul 17, 2021

I am not going to lie, this was a fun read. I had to hold in a laugh or two, this is mainly due to me imagining how slow the Roomba was in these scenes, but it was interesting nonetheless. I wasn't horrified by the small vacuum, but it was rather persistent, I'll give you that. Great short story!

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Devin Carrier
19:02 Jul 18, 2021

Thank you very much! I was going for more funny than frightening for sure so I'm glad you liked it.

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