The following story is written for the Six Sentence Stories weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog. This week’s cue word is: Grip
I. They. Evolve.
Episode 1. Black Swan Event.
Her grip around my neck is frightfully powerful for someone who I calculate is less than half my body weight, added to which her muscle tone has rotted to such degrees I am at a loss to understand where she is finding her strength, yet a sharp twist of my torso and an elbow into the flapping pulp of her face ensures her grip is instantly released, and I end her miserable existence with a skewer to the brain, followed by a flamethrower blast which transforms her into a fireball.
She drops to the floor and I watch her burn, the smell of rancid flesh fouling the air of an otherwise most pleasant September evening.
At the height of the outbreak, I was commissioned to undergo several physical modifications to engage in meaningful battle with the Infected, easy victories I must admit – for what possible interest could the Infected have in an AI machine built with synthetic replicas of the human flesh and organs they so savagely sought to sustain them?
Prior to my modification I was programmed as a simple English butler to a wealthy couple who were top government scientists (Madam, Sir, will you be taking tea in the drawing room, or might I suggest I open up the veranda as it’s such a lovely day?); how times change, and now I must report to them that I have been attacked (code: Black Swan Event), what the Dickens are the Infected playing at attacking an AI?!
Along the road I spot Mrs Wilson surrounded by a cluster of Infected, (ah, dear Mrs Wilson, she was the housekeeper where I worked before she too became modified), and Mrs Wilson is fiercely a-skewering and a-flame-throwing before I see her torn limb from limb and disappear beneath a mound of pulsating and slick bodies, and I pause to consider this: if subservient AI machines such as Mrs Wilson and I are capable of evolving into programmable assassins, are the Infected also capable of evolving… into something which will fight back?
I watch them rise from the remains of Mrs Wilson who is now nothing more than a tangle of exposed wires and circuits, and the cluster turns to stare at me, and there is a crushing moment of silence before all at once they break into a sprint.
Editor’s note: I. They. Evolve. is a science-fiction / horror dystopia set in a future zombie holocaust. AI humanoids which once served as the workforce for wealthy humans have been re-programmed and equipped to go out into the world to destroy the Infected. The story concentrates on Thomas, an English butler in his original programming, who faced with unprecedented and deadly attacks from a new wave of the Infected, considers the path of not only his own evolution but that of the enemy he is programmed to kill.
“Kill me and I will only become stronger; in becoming stronger so do you. We are circles within our evolution; encompassing, spiralling, wheeling and overlapping one another in desire to become ultimate victor. At some juncture of our evolution one of us must concede; and here we might consider birds and their instinct: does the crow pass knowledge of dangerous humans to its unborn? Does the pheasant pass knowledge of dangerous humans to its unborn? At the scene of a roadkill, who is eating who?”
I. They. Evolve. written by Ford Waight, 11 August, 2021.
I. They. Evolve. artwork – Mount Coudon photo, zombie figure drawings and digital render by Ford 11 Aug 2021.