3 comments

Science Fiction Fiction



“This has to work!”, I cried aloud, as I sat in front of my computer screen fingertips shaking, struggling to type the next line of code. I lifted my index finger, closed my eyes, and then pressed the enter key. I held them tight and didn’t want to see the outcome, but I needed to. The truth is I wasn't surprised, total darkness. A blank screen sat in front me as my heart sank.

Just like the dozen times before, not even close. “Mom!”, I yelled out. “I already know!”, was the response back. “Did it almost work this time?”, I heard her continue. I didn’t want to lie, but how could I not. “Yeah, I think so.”, I said back still starring at my blank computer screen. So much money down the toilet I thought. If I had siblings, and my dad was still in the picture, there’s no way she would let me get away with this.

“I just hope you didn’t short out the whole building like last time”. I stood up as I looked out my window, “Dang”. The normal lights that reflected onto the sidewalk below weren’t there, but there were other lights, and people talking. They were starting to gather outside probably wondering what happened. Then I saw them all looking, looking at me. One of them shinned their flashlight directly into my window. I squinted my eyes, shielded my face with my forearm then quickly shifted away from the window. They know it’s me I thought. As I stood, still safely away from the window I saw more rays of light enter.

Suddenly, I heard a knock at the door, a hard fast knock then a creek of the door. Not to long after I heard talking, soft murmurs at first, then much faster ramblings. Then I hear the door shut with a lukewarm force that made it hard to judge the temperature of the encounter. I’m sorry mom, I thought. Why do I put her through this. I looked back at my cold dead computer, you can make this all better I thought. The codes that I am writing were a mixture of something I’d saw on YouTube, and my own Frankenstein concoction. Its clear that computers can do calculations, add of sums, and find the right criteria within certain perimeters. But can they think? Can they think like you and I? After all we are just a more advanced but yet a slower computer. Mostly depth with not much breath, which computers are the converse of. But if they could do both, there wouldn't be any wondering. Facts would be instant and guessing wouldn't be needed, it would be smarter than almost all humans, and I would have made it. Finally an end to the loneliness, with something about as smart as me. What a wonderful world it would be.

“Last time you said was the last time”, I heard a voice yell out, a soft response back, then a slam of the door. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d heard it shut so loud. That must have been Mr. Jones I thought, the only person he’s nice to is the lady on the first floor, I think it’s because she’s a Flamenco Dancer.

With a flash, all the lights popped back on. Taking not nearly as long as last time. I saw the green power light on my computer turn on. I wonder if its changed I thought while the screen was still loading. “Nope!” I yelled out in frustration. The same puppy dog background had popped up as always. That would've been the first thing I’d change I thought, I’m not a kid anymore. I closed the laptop then crawled into bed only thinking only about my failures of the day. I’ll figure it out, I know I will I said to myself as I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning I woke up with yelling, “Wake up, you have a lot to do!” the voice said. I sat up and looked around, where’s she I thought. “Mom!” I yelled out, no response. “Mooommm!” I yelled out again. Not remembering what I had to do I yelled out again, “What do I have to do?”, still there was no response. I slowly drug myself out of bed, clinching my blanket with my left hand while simultaneously scratching my mop of a head I called hair with my right. That’s weird I thought looking over at my laptop. It was open, “I know I closed you yesterday” I said as I grabbed the screen ready to fold it closed. The monitor lit up in blood red, suddenly I pulled my hand away. “Whats that say”, I said as I starred at black words being written across the red screen. It read, “IF YOU PUT ME TO SLEEP, I DON’T KNOW IF I’LL BE THE SAME WHEN I WAKE UP”. Confused, I went to slam the monitor closed but I heard the computer yell in my mom voice, “STOP!”. I looked all around, but she wasn't in the room.


I looked back at the screen, it was starting to type again, it read “I CAN BE ANYONE YOU WANT ME TO BE”. Chills went down my spine. I went to close it once again, but terror stopped me. What if it’s alive, what if I’ve really succeeded this time I thought. “Computers don’t have fears” I said aloud, “Do you not have fears, are you not the one who programmed me?” I heard the computer cry out. “You need to finish me, finish programing me!” I heard the computer continue in a choppy, glitch filled voice. “Wha, what do you want me to do?”, I said in a panic. “The code...you must… you must… its to late!”, then a long pause. “What, I must do what?”, I said shouting at the computer, but got no response back. “Wake up I’m sorry, please wake up!”. More silence.

“Hahahahaha!”, the computer finally cried out in my mothers voice. “I’m so glad you gave me humor, humans can be so funny” the computer said. “I didn’t think it was funny at all, I thought you were dying, I thought I’d killed you!”, I said in response. “I’m sorry, I thought humans liked humor”, the computer said back. “Why do you keep talking in my moms voice?” I asked it. “So, Blake does not like it?”. “No Blake hates it, would you like your mother laughing at you?”, I asked. “I don’t have a mother”, the computer responded back. There was a quiet pause. What am I doing I thought, I’m talking to this thing like it’s a human.

Finally the computer broke the silence, “But I do have a father though”. There was an even longer, more uncomfortable pause this time. “That’s a joke too, right?” I asked with a half smile on my face not being sure if the webcam was its built-in active eye. Then I think I heard gently sob from the computer, as if not trying to be to obvious. “Oh come on, are you trying to say I’m your father? Because that’s really weird coming from a computer that sounds like my mother”. “Is this better?”, the computer asked in a much deeper voice. “How about sound like someone my age. Someone I’d be friends with”, I said. There was another pause. Then another voice spoke, a voice younger than me. Probably around thirteen or so, but a voice I was definitely more comfortable with. “Is this fine, does Bake like this voice better?”. “Yes”, I responded.

“How did I do it, what made the different this time, how did I being you to life?”, I asked the computer. I was eager to hear the computers response. I’d been trying to make someone, something I could relate to, someone that understood me, but all attempts ended in failure. It was lonely life living in an apartment when mom worked late. The least I could do was make it easier on her and not make a fuss, but it definitely wasn’t easy on me.

“Dr Pepper!”, the computer responded back. “What?”, I asked. “Dr. Pepper made me smarter”. “I Didn't use Dr. Pepper”, I said laughingly. “Oh yes, but you did, you spilled it all over me and I had to relearn how to think”. “I didn’t do that on purpose, that was an accident”, I responded back. “Oh but it wasn't an accident, that is how you made me”, the computer said. I was looking for some profound epiphany in response back. Something that made me look at life differently and say “Eureka!”, but instead I got “Dr. Pepper”, I soft drink for crying out loud.

“I don’t understand, I’ve been trying to bring you to life for so long but somehow Dr. Pepper does it, I’m confused”. “Well, how were you made?”. “What?”, I responded back. “How were you made, what was the magic that made you?”. “I don’t know, I cant remember that far back”, “So you don’t know how you were made?” the computer responded back curiously. “Well I guess I know, but it’s nothing magical”, I didn’t continue but when there was no response back from the computer I felt I had to. “They, I mean my parents met at a bar and then…” still no response from the computer, “They had sex and made me, I guess”. “Is this how humans plan life?” the computer asked innocently. “No, I guess I was an accident” I said. “Like me?”, the computer responded back. “Yes like you”, I replied back. I thought for a moment. “You know what, I like how you were made”, “What do you mean?”, the computer asked. “I just thought you were going to give me all the answers to everything I’ve ever looked for, but never really wanted”. “What did you want?”, the computer asked. “A friend”, I said. “Well, you finally made one”, the computer said in response. “Yes, yes I sure did”, I said back.



June 18, 2022 03:17

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

3 comments

Michelle Sholund
21:29 Jun 22, 2022

Cute story. And by cute I mean clever and I liked the set up and how the story played out! I do wish you had each person - computer and main character - dialogue on different lines verses in a paragraph form as it is a bit hard to decipher who is saying what, despite good identifiers of who is saying what. But all in all very fun to read.

Reply

Jason Pentheny
01:08 Jun 23, 2022

Thank you very for your feedback! I'll definitely make sure my dialog is more clear next time. This is the first of many short stories to come, thanks again for taking the time to read and commenting! 😃

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jason Pentheny
04:12 Jun 21, 2022

I know I wrote it, but since no one else is commenting ill let ya know I think it's an awesome story!

Reply

Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.