I just finished a short story for the upcoming anthology – Twisted Nightmares, that involves robots, so I had robots on the mind. As a result, here are some thought provoking pictures of robots for your Tuesday enjoyment:
Tag Archives: robots
Together, these stories are less than three pages long. Both of these short stories have been published together on more than one occasion. I wrote these early on and they are related. They are a bit dark and more on the R side than PG-13. I don’t want to give away how they are related, so I will just post them here for your enjoyment. They are not horror, or traditional Halloween fare, but hopefully, they are a bit creepy.
by Michael Bradley
Elizabeth dreaded his return. He would be home soon. He called her Liz; he was too lazy to even say her full name. First, he would be drunk. He always spent what money he had on gambling, tobacco and alcohol. His breath always smelt of cheap liquor and ashes.
Elizabeth pressed her hand against the shoddy door. The blue flashing light of the sensor at the door sill reminded her she could not leave. The azure tint revealed the black tattoo markings on her wrist, put there by the slave traders. Her world was 700 square feet of gloom that became Hell when he was home.
She wondered how he ever found the self-control to save the money to buy her. The slave trade was expensive, especially for a beautiful young blonde. Perhaps he had some luck at the casino one day and used his winnings to buy her before he squandered it like always. However he accomplished it, now she had to wait for him, for whatever perversion he dreamed up in his drunken mind.
Elizabeth had spent the day as usual, cleaning up after him, doing the dishes, the laundry, the bed linens. He lived like a pig, wallowing in his own filth. Despite the small size of the apartment he managed to make a mess of it every day. Perhaps out of spite. She would have left or thrown herself out the window, but the band around her neck kept her from it. It was forever bound to her and if she moved more than a hundred feet from the apartment, it would explode and kill her. They were forty floors up in the slum high rise, so she would not even hit the ground. Still, more and more she thought about the peace that oblivion would bring her.
He stumbled in, fumbling with his keys. He dropped off his shoes in the hallway and threw his dirty socks onto the floor. The place reeked of his stench. She wondered why he bothered to pay for a place with a shower. He saw her and lurched over. Disgusted, she flinched back, but he pointed to his wrist. The device looked like a watch, but one touch would send terrible pain through her neck band. She came over submissively. He whispered disgusting things into her ear. She wondered if he researched his depravity on internet fetish sites or if it came to him naturally. He pulled her to the bedroom and the freshly made bed and tossed her onto it. “Get naked Liz!” He commanded in a slurred voice.
After, she lay there, humiliated. His snoring was deep and raspy. The satisfaction on his face enraged her. It was the tipping point, the final impetus. She went to the kitchen and grabbed the largest knife. It was a bit rusted and the handle chipped. Crap, just like everything else he owned, just like her. She was damaged goods, abused by her owner. She went to the bedroom and saw the master lying in his own puke. He had vomited in his sleep and was choking. He had done so before and managed to roll over and survive. Elizabeth could not leave it to chance; she finished it with several strokes of the knife through his chest. Blood shot out and soaked her.
She stood there, free at last. Unknown emotions filled her and she was overwhelmed. If she stayed in the apartment, they would come for her. She would be punished, or worse, sold to another master. Her catharsis had put her on a path she could no longer control.
She went to the window, broke the glass out with her bare knuckles. She did not wince as the glass shards stuck in her hand. She climbed onto the sill and dove. Free at last. Elizabeth exploded about ten stories down. The windows beside her fall shattered inward. The remains of her body littered the tenement street.
Police arrived, glad not to have to enter the crime ridden building. The body parts were in the street. One of the officers scanned the barcode on the arm lying on the sidewalk. “Looks like another Elizabeth model malfunctioned and thought it was human. Somebody must have bought this domestic robot off the black market. All of these were recalled.”
His partner sighed. “People are always looking for a deal.”
by Michael Bradley
Wally squinted at the dingy clock, waiting for his shift to end. He was drunk as usual. The boss didn’t seem to care how much he drank as long as he was able to bartend and water down the customer’s drinks. It was a strip joint, kept dark to conceal the low quality, older dancers. In truth, it was a brothel, with hand jobs in the VIP room for two hundred bucks. The customers did not care if the beer tasted like piss and the mixed drinks were mostly melted ice. Wally knew he deserved to be here, he was a loser.
Once he had worked at a big firm, doing accounting, but he always screwed up the numbers. He invited his boss over for dinner to try to win back some points; just another mistake. His boss was impressed, but with his wife. A month later he was fired and his wife was screwing the boss. The divorce went quickly and badly, she took everything. He was not an attractive man and not bright. He tried to compensate for his depression with pills but they cost too much.
Finally, he found this job. He received little pay, but free cheap booze. He chain smoked now and would take his check to the casino to try to get lucky. If he lost his money, so what? He never made enough to live on anyway. Mostly, he lost. The rent on his tiny tenement apartment was three months over due and he had no food in the house. Life was closing in on him, and he had given up caring.
The only thing left to him was Liz. One time he had actually won some cash at the tables and made the only good decision in his life. He was approached by some guys who frequented his work who saw him staring at the women. They told him they could take care of him with a black market robot. Impulsive as ever, and not having had sex for years, he agreed. They sold him an Elizabeth model. They looked like beautiful young 25 year old blondes, but Wally knew from the news that they were defective. The men told him not to worry. Just keep the collar on her. If she acts strange, tap the button on this wrist band that will reset the bug.
Each evening he would stumble home and find her waiting for him, his one island of peace and happiness. Today, he fumbled his keys in his drink numbed fingers and opened the door. She was there, pretty as always. He managed to kick off his shoes and take off his socks, his feet sore from standing all day. He came over to her, but she made a strange face and jerked. He pointed at his wristband, and she became normal again. After using the button the first dozen or so times, he found that she reset without having to actually press it. He did not understand why.
He whispered in her ear things he had seen at work and wanted to try. Unlike his wife and other women, she was always there willing to please him. Liz was so sweet to him. After he had sex, he rolled over content for the moment. He hoped the alcohol or malnutrition would kill him before the bill collectors caught up with him. He couldn’t imagine the Hell of prison and the forced sobriety. He smiled at Liz and passed out, snoring drunkenly.
He awoke choking. He had vomited in his sleep, not for the first time. He always wished to die in his sleep, painlessly, but he managed to fight for his miserable life by reflex and roll on his side.
Liz came into the room and stood over him. She held one of his old broken knives. His wife had only left him things that were of no use to her. Liz stood poised to stab him. He was so pleased with her. She loved him so much and knew his misery; she would help him end it all. He tried to speak to encourage her, but his throat was gagging on the remnants of his bile. She struck, deeply and mercifully. He felt his life leaving him and seemed to float above his body.
He saw Liz from above, standing still for a few moments. Then she headed to the window and broke it. No! Don’t! You will die if you jump! She could not hear him of course, and she jumped. The poor girl, she could not go on without me. His spirit dissipated, free at last.