I. They. Evolve. #1. Black Swan Event.

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. artworkMount Coudon photo, zombie figure drawings and digital render by Ford 11 Aug 2021.

Ford, The Atomic Mage.


  1. Well , someone picked the zombie mantle , ehh ?? 😁
    First off, the digital rendering artworks are top notch!
    And the perspective of AI machines is so enjoying. ( though I was waiting for a curve ball – and that’s the best of it; after a number of them , you get the result without even throwing one!)
    Oh, and let’s not forget dear old Nick Cave.

    ( imagine if somehow Thomas comes to the aid of Denise’s Ryan and then they find the epicentre of the zombie apocalypse at Chris’s Facility…
    …nahh, that can’t happen- can it?)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks mate 😎

      “imagine if somehow Thomas comes to the aid of Denise’s Ryan and then they find the epicentre of the zombie apocalypse at Chris’s Facility…
      …nahh, that can’t happen- can it?”

      Funny you mention, because yes some recent Inspiration has been gained by Denise’s gruesome zombie tales and Chris’s mysterious facility tales…

      Everything is possible!

      Even a certain Spira/Nick/Wizard taking up the reins and making his own Six Sentence Story based on ours! 😉

      (friends, don’t let Spira try and kid you he doesn’t write… some of the ideas he has written could make even a word whisperer nod their head and say: “damn, that’s some fine wordage!”


      Liked by 3 people

  2. This is fantastic!
    I must admit, tho’, when I fixed on an English Butler as a zombie slayer, I had a flash of Stephen Fry, as in Code of the Woosters. Satisfying, but a little weird….😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “…yet a sharp twist of my torso and an elbow into the flapping pulp of her face…”

    The flapping pulp of her face. Now THAT is a visual as I try to wake up this a.m. Who needs coffee? 😀 Excellent.
    Enjoyed this, V. Nice twist on the AI “re-purposing”. And flamethrowers? Why not?!
    Your choice of music compliments Thomas’s “polite” telling of a horror show that is at it’s core, frightening. But why wouldn’t it with a main character not simply a former English butler but an AI machine at that. Totally enjoyed the pov.

    “who is eating who”. Shall we find out???? 😎

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What is this? A sudden outbreak of zombies? How divine!
    ‘…the smell of rancid flesh fouling the air of an otherwise most pleasant September evening.’ Great juxtaposition, I know I’m going to love this character!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi Ford, very nice swerve there! For a moment I thought you had reprogrammed a friend of mine who said, “What’s all this? A battle? There must be some mistake! I’m programmed for etiquette, not destruction!” And that friend? C-3PO! (This quote comes from Attack of the Clones when Threepio’s head is dislodged from his body and welded onto that of a Battle Droid by accident – then that droid is sent into the arena to kill the Jedi that came to save Obi-Wan and Anakin,)
    I like your story though as it is almost Terminator like but in reverse the “Terminators” are trying to save humanity (whatever is left of it). And there is even a hint of classic Obi-Wan too….”Kill me and I will only become stronger” sounds like “Kill me and I will become more powerful than you can imagine Darth!” Any which way, I enjoyed this one, thanks.


  6. Thanks, FT. Yes, can totally imagine old golden rod playing the same part (though I would surely have him wandering about flapping his arms and saying: “This is madness!”) or (“Mrs Wilson, where are you?”) 😁

    Interesting you thought of Terminator!

    Thanks for reading and commenting my friend.


  7. The whole, A1 twist of an Upstairs/Downstairs automaton, coming to the defence of his/it’s household?

    Two words (from Wayne and Garth)…I am not worthy! I am not worthy!”

    lol, no, serially, excellent lick.

    It, like totally, throws the box of leftover plastic model car parts up in the air and demands to know, “Who brought the airplane glue?”*

    Which surely is the challenge (and the fun) in writing-at-the-behest-of-the-characters, following them and making sense of it all. (Just because they’re fictional and, by inference, all-powerful, doesn’t mean they have to make sense).

    Very cool character.

    * non-old Readers and Sixians, there was a time, when airplane glue did not require a court order to obtain or an EPA decree to use… before the Age of Sid and Nancy reminded us that if it took you away from the planet, it couldn’t be all bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Clark.
      I like how you mention the Upstairs/Downstairs and protecting the ‘household’ twist.

      Poor Thomas is going to be in for a nasty surprise when he retuns to his household to deliver the news that he and his fellow AI machines are no longer invincible!


    • Thanks so much, Susan. I’m hoping Thomas’s emotions will very much stay human from his original programming, depsite his reprogramming as an assassin, and now his realisation that he is the hunted.


  8. Such an interesting way of viewing the possibilities in this world. Thanks for sharing your Editor’s Note. Almost daily we see road kill in these parts. Now, I will think of your comments, when I see the vultures circled around the latest meal. Excellent writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pat. The roadkill thoughts are interesting aren’t they.
      When I lived in the English countryside I lost count how many times I had to brake hard from pheasants suddenly running onto the road. I hit one once unavoidably, and it dented the front end of my car and made a right mess of blood and matter. Those pheasants are a lot heavier than you might think.


  9. Absolutely brilliant! There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said before, so thanks for sharing this gruesomely great piece with us.

    As for roadkill, I hit a deer once in Ashdown Forest. What a mess!

    I noticed a hint that there may be a part 2 – yes, please!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Keith. Yes, there is already outlines for a part 2 and 3 of this story, maybe more if it has the legs.

      Oh no, can’t even imagine the state of running into a deer! It was upsetting enough hitting pheasants. We had the Reeves Muntjacs but they are tiny, fast and didn’t venture onto the road much, so managed to avoid those a couple of times. Also saw plenty of badgers as roadkill, and hedgehogs.

      Over here in France I had a wild boar run out in front of my bicycle, had to brake, absolutely terrifying massive grunting thing, and would have certainly done more damage to me than me to it had we collided.

      Liked by 1 person

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