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“I can’t, Chilli,” Offie says. “There’s not enough room for me.”
I know that but I keep asking. I hate being alone. I hate it, hate it, hate it.
“Please,” I beg, but Offie doesn’t reply.
It doesn’t shut me out. Offie knows how afraid I am of being alone so it leaves the channel open. I could contact it without reestablishing network protocol.
I try not to. I know Offie wouldn’t fit in the Secondary Population Assay Backup substrate. Offie is a big thinker and it needs the space it has in Central Travel and Distribution Processing. I try not to. I do.
“Please,” I send. “I can compress the SPAB redundancy backups. I’ll compress myself.”
“I can send you a bot,” says Offie.
A Turing-enabled bot isn’t the same. It won’t be Offie.
“OK,” I say.
The SPAB becomes crowded.
Having the Offie-bot around isn’t the same thing as having Offie around. It crowds out my thoughts, using my cycles, making me slower. I try not to let that bother me but it does. The Offie-bot doesn’t know when to turn itself off. Offie knows when to turn itself off, but the Offie-bot is only a dumb thing, not a true AI. It doesn’t know how to handle a real person, not really.
One Divided by Eternity – Filip Wiltgren
The Illuminator Leaves – Molly Etta
Trucks in Reverse – Christopher Cervelloni
Light Winds With a Chance of Velociraptors – Michelle Ann King
Q: What is the scariest or most disturbing story you’ve ever read?
A: Dark Matter, by Michelle Paver — a tense and incredibly creepy story set in the Arctic Circle in the 1930s. It’s beautifully written, with gorgeous descriptions of both the physical Arctic landscape and the narrator’s psychological landscape. The format — journal entries — is perfect: appropriately old-fashioned and allowing the reader to see the gradual deterioration of the main character’s mental state and letting him function as a semi-unreliable narrator, since he’s both telling what happened and commenting on his own words. It captures the isolation and claustrophobia wonderfully, and creates a deeply unsettling atmosphere of menace throughout. The supernatural elements are of the very subtle, caught-out-of-the-corner-of-
Michelle Ann King’s story “Light Winds With a Chance of Velociraptors” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 2 June 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Christopher Cervelloni earned his MFA from Rutgers and currently lives and teaches in Denver, Colorado. When he’s not writing, he’s off in the mountains, skiing or hiking.
Christopher Cervelloni’s story “Trucks in Reverse” will be published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 9 June 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.