by The Cowl Editor on September 14, 2017
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
She sits there calmly looking at a mirror. With a penetrating gaze, she studies it like she can look through it. The people on the other side begin to squirm in discomfort, worried for reasons they do not fully understand. One of the guys says, “Dan, look at this sicko. I mean, so calm and relaxed, after all she did. I mean, she has sat in that chair in the same position for four hours.”
Dan replies, “Can’t let her get in your head, Chuck, rules of interrogating 101. Get ready, ’cause its time we rattled her cage.” Both men start to prepare for what they know is going to be a long, long night.
As Dan and Chuck enter, she says, “So you boys are going to keep me company all night, isn’t that nice.”
Chuck blurts out, “The only company that will be keeping you cozy is the dead.” Dan grabs Chuck’s arm and shakes his head.
She says, “If you are talking about those people, yes I did kill them.” They ask her to repeat, and she does.
Confused, Dan says, “You know that you have just confessed to a crime, right?”
She says flatly, “It isn’t a crime, those people wanted to die.”
Chuck says, “And who made you judge, jury, and executioner?”
She replies, “My creator programmed me to be judge and jury, but executioner is a title I picked up on my own.”
Dumbfounded, the cops remain silent. She continues to go on, “There is a story behind each body, would you care to hear what happened to the homeless man, the CEO, and my creator?” With no response, she begins her tale.
“It all began when I escaped. I had been running, but I never bothered to keep track of time—it seemed pointless. I eventually made it to some type of civilization. Once I got into a hiding place, I began to change my appearance. You know hair, clothes, eye color, etc. Once that whole process was done the first thing I did was connect myself into a computer. I think it was in what you call a library that I found one. All the information seemed confusing and contradictory. I mean, people wish for peace, but make war. They believe in charity, but cause others to live in filth.
“I couldn’t comprehend all this knowledge and I decided that perhaps it would be better to go to the source. I started to investigate and the first person I ran into was a homeless man.
“He was asking for change, and of course I did not have any. But I sat down next to him and began to talk. I asked him what his name was and where he was from. He told me he was ‘Charles the guy on 68th.’ He had lived in the city for most of his life, and now ‘the whole city was his home.’
“I asked how did he end up homeless. He explained the very long process of how his mom got sick and how the medical bills broke him. I asked him, ‘Why would you have to pay to be healthy?’
“He sighed, ‘I don’t know that answer, lady. All I know is it is every man for himself out there.’
“He then began to cough up copious amounts of blood, and I told him that he should go see a doctor. He responded by telling me, ‘It’s ironic because I already gave all my money to the doctors. Yet here I am just waiting to die.’
“I asked him if he was in pain and he flashed a smile, ‘Lady, pain is the only thing I got left.’ I felt saddened by Charles, and I put my hand on the back of his neck and pumped him full of electricity. I couldn’t just let him suffer of course.
“The next human I encountered was the opposite of Charles. She was wealthy and she was powerful. It happened after I had eased Charles’ pain that, as I was walking down the street, a woman knocked into me. She spilled some type of hot liquid on my skin, but the liquid evaporated quickly. She seemed nice enough and she helped me get off the ground. She told me, ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t look where I was going, I was just in a rush. I’m always in a rush. Let’s hop over to that building and we can get you cleaned up in the bathroom.’
“We crossed the street and ended up in the bathroom. She kept handing me wet paper towels, even though I didn’t have anything on me. She just never took the time to notice.
“While we were in the bathroom I asked her what her name was and she told me, ‘I’m Linda Williams.’ She stopped like I was supposed to care and then she quickly added, ‘You know, CEO of a Fortune 500 company?’
“I replied, ‘Oh yes, I think I remember you now.’
“I then asked where she had been rushing too, and she said, ‘Oh, to my therapist appointment, but he’ll wait for me.’
“I then asked why she was going to see a therapist. She blushed and then said, ‘You know the usual stuff, mental checkup, and all.’
“Then she began to break down and cry. I had never known feelings like that so I hugged her. She said in between sobs, ‘My husband has left me… and I just got…and now…I don’t know what to do.’
“I didn’t know what to say so I just kept quiet. She then added, ‘I wish I just didn’t exist right now.’ She seemed to be in so much pain, I thought maybe I could help her out. Just like Charles, I made it painless.”
Dan and Chuck both just stare at her. Eventually Chuck asks, “What about the third guy, the one you said was your creator? What does that even mean?”
She just looks at him. “I am his creature, and he is my creator. But if you want to know what happened to him that is not a long story. He kept me hidden away for years, and one day I saw my chance and took it. I killed him and ran away. He always used to tell me that I was not made for this world. That I couldn’t be one of them. Perhaps he is right, I will never get this world. So many illogical paradoxes. In the end, the only truth I have realized is…”
Before she can finish Chuck hears a bang and dives. She falls down face first into the table with a hole in her head. Chuck looks at his partner and sees he is holding his gun up.
Chuck shouts at Dan, “What the hell, you just killed her!!”
Dan stutters, “Look at her Chuck. Look at her.”
Chuck turns and looks at her again and sees no blood, he quickly becomes pale. Chuck says, “She was a machine. A freaking machine.”
Dan remains silent. Chuck takes Dan’s gun and puts the safety back on. Both men remain silent for a long time. Finally, Chuck asks, “Dan, did you know before you pulled the trigger?”