Black Petals Issue #97, Autumn, 2021

Terry and the Techno-Frog
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Win-A-Burger-Fiction by Glenn Dungan
Counting Time-Flash Fiction by Ramon F. Irizarri
Terry and the Techo-Frog-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Epistolean-Flash Fiction by Harris Coverly
Labelled Rocks-Flash Fiction by Holden Zuras
Along Side of the Road-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Beneath the Weeping Willow-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
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Liquid Darkness-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Lost-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Succubus Seductress-Poem by Carl E. Reed
The Crime of Frankenstein-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Brother's Keeper-Poem by Cassandra O'Sullivan Sachar
Razor Beak-Poem by Jessica Heron
The Fall of Vampire Hunters-Poem by Matthew Wilson

97_bp_technofrog_mdavis.jpg
Art by Michael D. Davis 2021

Terry and the Techno-Frog

 

Hillary Lyon

 

 

I wasn’t always a pile of bones. I once was a real person, flesh and innards and all. I used to sit on the sofa, walk to the store, work at a desk. Wore shoes, I did, and combed my hair. That was all before I came across the techno-frog. My curious new pet.

Saw it outside the window at work. Sitting in a flowerbed in the dappled shade of a gardenia shrub, metallic green like a big scarab beetle. Big amber LED eyes aglow. Somebody lost their very expensive toy. Somebody’s gonna be in lots of trouble, I told myself. How about I go out and retrieve it, post a notice on the company bulletin board and in the monthly newsletter, lost and found section. Or . . .

How about I just keep it for myself.

It was about as big as a toad, actually. That is, about the size of my fist. When my fist had flesh and muscles and tendons. Hold it in your hand, this techno-frog, and it vibrated, made a pleasingly soft “brrrrr” sound. Make eye contact with it, and its eyes dilated and their yellow melted into a lovely shade of amethyst. How could anyone misplace this delightful little machine? I slipped it into my insulated lunch bag.

At home, I placed it in a crystal bowl, one that belonged to my Gran. Then put the bowl in the center of my coffee table. What a conversation piece it will be! I imagined friends and neighbors oohing and cooing over it, as I slapped their greedy hands away. I picked it up, turned it over. Where’s the little hatch for batteries? Where’s the tiny port for a USB jack? How does a techno-frog charge?

I held it up to my cheek. It purred. The vibration sank past my skin and went deep into my bones. How very soothing. It made me drowsy, so I stretched out on the sofa, with the techno-frog resting on my chest. I dozed, deeply.

Next week was the same old routine: sleep, work, eat, sleep, work . . . you get the picture. Except the sleeping was the best part. Such intricately detailed dreams I had, sleeping with Ophelia. That was the name I gave my techno-frog. I hear you asking: How could it be male or female, if it’s a bot? Just felt that way to me, that’s all. You can name yours whatever you want; I won’t judge.

Co-workers commented on my weight loss. That was good, at first, as I was a bit on the heavy side. Seems I was sleeping more and eating less. Eventually, and not surprisingly, my work suffered, as it was more and more difficult for me to concentrate on anything. Anything other than getting back to Ophelia. And sleeping with her on my increasingly bony chest.

She hummed all through the night, little dynamo that she was. She’d accrued such a reserve of power, that she could hop out of the crystal bowl, and bop around my apartment, always just out of my reach. It wore me out to chase her down, but I loved that game. When I couldn’t play anymore, I’d lay down and she’d come hop-hop-hopping back to me. Plopping down on my chest as my eyes closed.

Soon, my clothes hung on me like I was a forsaken scarecrow in the middle of a neglected cornfield—so I just quit wearing them. That was after I stopped showing up at work, or answering my text messages, email, or phone. Communicating with the outside world was just too much trouble; besides, I was quite comfortable down here on the floor.

Then some nosy someone called for a welfare check. When the investigators knocked, of course I told them they could come in. I guess they couldn’t hear me, as they popped the lock on my door and rushed in like a crush of sweaty footballers. Ophelia watched from the darkness under the sofa, her amber eyes flashing an unintelligible Morse code.

I heard the policewoman gasp. Had she spotted Ophelia, and was smitten by the exquisite physique of her green metallic body? Was she hypnotized by my techno-frog’s glorious amber eyes?

I wanted to pat my sternum, to call Ophelia to me, so I could show her off to the cop. But my bones refused to move. The policewoman leaned close to me and whispered, “Dear God.”  I wanted to laugh at that, because as beautiful and perfect as Ophelia is, my techno-frog is nowhere near being a god. A demigod, perhaps, if a bot can be such a thing. I couldn’t laugh anyway as my throat and all its baggage had dwindled away to nothing, leaving just a stack of neck bones.

When the copper stood up and pulled out her radio to make her report, Ophelia hopped out from under the sofa, bounced over my rib cage, and skipped out the open door. On her way to find a new owner, I suppose, a really juicy one who would last longer.


With an MA in English Literature, Hillary Lyon founded and for 20 years served as senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. Along with her poetry, her crime, horror, and sci-fi stories have appeared in numerous print and online publications, as well as in multiple anthologies. She is also an illustrator for horror/sci-fi, and pulp fiction sites. She’s lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the U.S.; she currently resides in southern Arizona.




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