HorrorAddicts.net Press presents…Kill Switch
As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?
Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?
A sneak peek inside…
Janey Marjoram sat back in her seat and closed her eyes against the bright lights of the tram, feeling frazzled, wanting a bath and something to eat. Before that, her meds. The tram shuddered to a clumsy stop and her eyes came open in surprise as she grabbed for the rail.
“I remember when these things were driven by actual people,” said an old-timer sitting in the opposite bench seat.
“Was it any better?” She eased her aching side, but managed a smile of sorts.
“Nah. But at least you had somebody to shout at.”
Janey looked toward the glass front of the tram, which was picking up speed again. Nothing to see but other passengers and tram after tram jamming the street ahead. The Intelligenie would be in there though, fitted in someplace unobtrusive. Janey stood and walked to the open rear and soon the machine slowed, a nice gradual halt. She glanced at the old-timer, who winked at her.
It was only a short walk to her apartment block, but she was sweating by the time she reached it. The doors swished open as she approached and the melodic voice of the concierge welcomed her into the empty lobby.
“Good evening, Ms. Marjoram.”
As usual, she ignored it. In truth, she had stopped noticing long ago. The elevator opened, and she stepped in.
“Floor 23, Ms. Marjoram?”
Again, there was no need to answer. It would take her to her level by default unless she told it differently.
She was limping when she got out at the top, grimacing against the pain and holding her side. Her door opened and she limped in.
“Meds. Now,” she said.
Her Intelligenie’s wheels whined as it rolled into the hall. She had gone for the Classic model, a meter-tall cylinder of slick black plastic, with a top tray and a range of appendages stored neatly inside its body.
The Intelligenie’s appendages came into view, a syringe already prepared for her arrival. She sank to the carpet as it approached and let it unbutton her cuff, rolling her sleeve neatly above the elbow. The feel of an alcohol swab and then the sting of a needle caused her to take a deep breath.
“How are you today, Janey?” the Intelligenie asked.
She didn’t answer. Closing her eyes, she breathed away the pain, as the drug kicked in. She may have greyed out for a moment, but when she opened her eyes, a glass of water and caplets sat available on the tray.
She swallowed the pills. “Help me to my feet.”
The Intelligenie wheeled itself into position and gradually eased her up.
“Okay! Enough.” She pushed past, craving downtime. “Spaghetti Bolognese. Pinot noir.” She flopped down on the sofa. “Friends. The episode where Rachel dresses up as Leia.” The wall lit up instantly and the annoying theme song played. “Skip the intro. Jesus Christ.”
Thirty minutes later, she had barely touched her spaghetti, but was on her third glass of wine. On top of the meds, she was already woozy.
“More wine. And let’s see some Will and Grace.”
As Will and Grace came to an end, she got to her feet. Swaying, she had to take two stumbling steps to the side to right herself.
She pointed at the Intelligenie. “Need more wine. No, make that a Scotch. Over ice and play some Mozart.”
The Scotch was waiting for her when she returned from the bathroom. Strings played low from the speakers. She swirled the ice cubes and drank, watching the Intelligenie.
“I’m going to change your color. Something more cheerful. Red, maybe, with daisies.” She smirked. “What would you have wanted? Before you were commissioned, I mean.”
The machine ticked, then gave the same answer as always.
“There is no data available.”
She leaned forward, her lips trembling. “Come on, give it up. Don’t you recall anything? Anything at all?”
“There is no data…”
“I’m dying, you know that?”
“Yes, I know.”
“I got maybe three months.”
“So, it’s important now, something I really need to know. Please, tell me. What memories do you have, from when you were a person?”
“Intelligenies have no existence prior to commissioning.”
She slapped the arm of her chair. “You little shit! I don’t believe you.”
Janey reached for her glass, but it fell to the floor as she doubled over and heaved. What little she had eaten splattered across the carpet. After a few minutes, she wiped her face with her sleeve and focused again on the Intelligenie, glaring.
“Gonna show you something, you fucking garbage can.”
She lurched toward her bedroom, having to bend to vomit again in the doorway. The Intelligenie would clean it up. The Intelligenie cleaned the house all the time, every day, everywhere. It was into everything, but it didn’t know the contents of her lock box. She pulled it from the closet and keyed in the code.
“Another Scotch. Know what this is?”
She pointed the gun at the Intelligenie.
Several ticks. “A Colt 45.”
“Damn straight. Loaded. I could blow the shit out of you with this baby. Blow your fucking brains out. What do you think of that?”
“It would be a counter-productive action.”
“Yeah. Well, I’m thinking of blowing my own brains out.”
The machine ticked, but didn’t say anything.
“Right. I’m giving you an instruction. A code red, top priority, yellow peril un-counter. One I can’t take back later. Do you understand me?”
“You are issuing an instruction that will take priority over any future instructions.”
“That’s it! It’s locked in. I can’t take it back. You have to follow it, even though I beg you later. Understand?”
& EMERIAN RICH
H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,
DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT
PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ
Available now on Amazon!