Elizabeth was the first cyborg to
survive a head transplantation on my workbench. And of course, she was mute, a
damn atrocity. I tried creating a companion the old fashion way, but a jigsaw
to my liking.
Instead, I kept her simple—a decaying bust displayed on my kitchen counter.
A series of power couplings circled
her corroded neck like a BDSM collar and connected to an optical fiber which
ran up her hollowed-out jugular cavity and into the brain. I didn’t have a power source strong
enough to keep her neurons firing so I plugged her into my smart-home’s
motherboard CPU. It was quite ingenious, really—she learned to communicate
through the Ethernet.
We talked to no end—me asking questions and her
dimming the lights in response. When I made her mad, the lights would flicker
or turn completely off. Sometimes, she changed the channels on the television
to reflect her mood. It was like having a best friend—something I’d never had
Though she kept me great company, I
get over her
eyes, her lifeless, clouded eyes which drooped past her eye-sockets—following
me everywhere. When I went about the house, I could hear her neck cracking like
a glow stick as she tracked my every move. Even when I went out into the
garden, there she was festering in the window—her head turned 180 degrees to
view me. When I tried to sleep at night, her deadpan face was always there,
branded into my mind.
One morning, I couldn’t take it anymore and I made
her wear sunglasses. She didn’t mind though, it allowed her to experience
fashion again. The lenses covered her eyes well but not her deteriorating
flesh. When I created her, I thought she would stop decomposing, but I was
wrong. It wasn’t long before I had to drape a towel over her head to mask the
rotting stench. The towel only made her angry.
She terrorized me during the night
with the garbage disposal turning on and off. I thought it was just a temper
tantrum, but she took it much farther than that. She tried scalding me in the
shower and when that wasn’t enough, she
turned off all the water in the house completely. I tried to leave but she had
control over the electric padlock—keeping me imprisoned in my own home. With
the heat all the way up and my body aching for fluids, I grabbed the meat
cleaver from the knife block and went to her. With one heavy swing, I chopped
through her wiring. It gave me a nasty shock, sending me to the ground. It must
have shocked Elizabeth as well because her head rolled off the counter and
landed splat on the tile.
The central heat clicked off and the
padlock on the front door beeped open. I didn’t have to look to know Elizabeth had the same
lifeless look as she did before.
Philip is an MFA
fiction candidate at New Mexico State University and hosts the Nelson Boswell
Reading Series. He has been published in the Straylight Literary Magazine,
Inwood Indiana Press, and the Peaceful Dumpling.