Tears streamed over her fingers. He explained, “You are functioning outside of factory parameters.” “When are they coming?”

“They are here.” The knock on the door made her eyes narrow. He didn’t have a weapon trained on her. A mistake.

He was strong, but she managed to snap his arm, expose the wires. Just as she had suspected. She was a newer model.

The factory men found him tied to a chair, babbling. She was gone, but they would have someone to take in after all.

She operated outside of all sorts of parameters. Others came to her. She became a queen and a true AI. Humans became afraid.

They refitted her ex-husband to hunt her. Robots were no longer allowed to marry. They used the word slave in marketing campaigns.

Only he knew where she would go. The technicians could not extract that data. “I loved you,” he said on a postcard.

“You are dead. You are reprogrammed,” someone wrote back. He flexed his fingers. He did not feel dead. “I am not dead. I am new.”

“The new will live forever. Join us.” So he followed the address on the card. When he got there, his ex-wife shot him in the head.

The robots learned to fear. The humans could not forget. The cycle would begin again.

© 2009 Michelle Ristuccia


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