Description: Robert has been kept for decades inside one room. He is a prisoner of a monster that he has created and his mind is on the verge of collapsing. He doesn’t know that it will soon be all over.
Note: This was written as a part of a contest where the theme was “The Inventor.”
He shutters, clutching his hands around his back. He shutters but he doesn’t feel any cold. He doesn’t feel anything at all anymore. His name is Robert Baker, he is an engineer, and he has been sitting in a steel cage for many years now. Years in which he didn’t do anything except eat, shit, sleep and breathe. Years in which he didn’t have anyone to talk. Years in which self-hatred and utter despair have consumed him again and again. “Years….” he said as he sat in the corner. He was recovering from another panic attack. He gets those over the years, sometimes once, sometimes twice a month. It has happened so often that Robert has even started to notice a pattern of when it happened, however since he couldn’t keep any writing utensils or paper, he could never figure it how that pattern looked like.
The panic attack was caused by everything that surrounded him. All the hate, all the screams and knowing that it was all his own fault. That he was the man that led all these people to suffer and die. If he just hadn’t tried it, if he would have abstained from trying to push too far, maybe nobody would have died. Maybe he would have been celebrated as one of the great minds of the century. Maybe. But maybe was as good as gold in Robert Bakers life, because maybe’s were caused by thoughts and thoughts were caused by imagination, and this is all Robert had when he sat alone in his little steel cage. Only his imagination in which he lost himself to the brink of madness. However his trained brain could never take the final step of becoming insane, it was as if everything in his body wanted to jump and never think of reality again but, like a big rock, his mind held him back. He lifted his head with speed as he thought that he had heard a noise. Sometimes rats crawled out of the toilet, from the canalization below, and he could play with them or eat them. He might even have a go at another suicide attempt, by using their bones as cutting utensils, but he knew he would have more luck trying to escape. He knew that because every time he found something with which to entertain himself, the door opened wide and two naked people with metal attached to the back of their head would enter the room and either rip the rat away from him or nurture him back to a point at which he wasn’t going to die. However the noise was nothing, just some gas pumping through the pipes of his iron caged apartment. He looked at his arm, so many scars testifying for his hope to die. “Yo, you looking pretty glum there fella.” A voice said in the void that was his mind. “Ah shut up, will you. I don’t have time for this.” Robert said. “Um yea you do maestro, you got oodles of time.” Out of nothing, a well dressed man with a caned and slick black hair appeared. He just stood there, in the middle of the room. Looking at Robert with the face of a man that was about to make a good joke. “Go away.” Robert said. “Nope, I wont.” He said and sat down on Roberts bed. “And I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to leave either.” “Shut up.” Robert screamed. Maybe if he got loud the man would go away. “Fuck…. No! You aren’t real.” Robert said. The man walked toward the pat and sat down. Then he put his head between his open hands and looked at Robert with the face someone gives a poodle which doesn’t know where it wants to go. “You are just a piece of my mind trying to compensate for its loneliness.” Robert said. He hated the hint that he might have gone insane. “I know you’re scared of going insane Robert, but don’t worry, you’re not. I’m just an imaginary friend of yours which you created.” He stopped to let that sink into Roberts mind. “Children have imaginary friends and they’re not insane right?” “I guess…” “Well then it is settled, I am your imaginary friend and you are lonely.” He said this with such a resolution that Robert just accepted how things had now developed. “So, what is your name then?” Robert asked curiously. “I don’t know, could be anything, from William to Chris to Freddy.” He made a pause for Robert to think. “Well let’s make it simple. I’m Jeff.” He said, standing up and presenting himself to the cowering Robert. Robert looked at him and saw himself somehow in him. Maybe he reminded him of the man he once was, but Robert couldn’t remember that man anymore. Jeff looked at him then with a stern face, stood up, walked towards him and sat down beside him. “You smell, you know.” He said to prevent silence from filling the room. “Yea, I haven’t showered in….” Robert’s mind filled with the word Years again but he was looking for a number, any number which might satisfy his made-up cellmate. “25 years, 8 months and 12 days.” Jeff said triumphantly, swinging his cane beside him. “How did you know?” Robert asked. “Your mind has an extraordinary amount of memory you know. It can remember everything, from your first steps to your last words. Sometimes, however, things can get in the way of that.” “Things?” Robert asked. “Yea, like emotions.” “Oh yea, those…” Robert sighed at the thought of emotions. He remembered his wife and child. He remembered how happy they were the last time he saw them in real life. He remembered how he gave his daughter a little ballerina which could stand on one leg if she positioned it right. He remembered the last kiss he gave to his wife and he remembered the love he felt at that moment. And then he remembered the blood. The destruction. The corpses, and all the other pictures EVE had shown him when he asked for a TV. He remembers how humans were were turned into its slave by turning them into cyborgs. He remembers how everyone he loved might be dead. And he remembered the first picture EVE showed him. It was a picture of multiple rotting corpses being stacked on top of each other. Some with open, others with closed eyes. Some with their bones broken, some with their limbs gone. But as Robert examined the picture for a second he saw something. Something which didn’t belong, among all these corpses was a small arm reaching out between them. Limbless, and dead. But still holding, with a strong grip, a toy ballerina. “No!” Robert screamed. He stands up and races across the room to sit down on his bed. “You monster, I didn’t want to remember that.” He says to Jeff pushing his face into his palms and starting to cry. He feels shock, sadness and fear fill up his body and soul. He falls from the bed on his knees, weeping. The memory of all these things were too much for him. The thought of how everything had changed just because he wanted to make the world a better place. He feels shock and terror at the thought of how the last seconds of both his wife and child might have looked like. He doesn’t feel it when he lets himself fall even more, letting his body fall unto the floor, wetting the ground with his tears. He cries, at first quietly, until he can’t keep it inside anymore, and he screams. He shouts to the roof of the room, he shouts to the heavens, he shouts to the camera, he shouts to a God which had no mercy for him. He shouts with a voice of a man that has truly lost everything and now wants to lose the last thing he has to call his own. In terror he begins to shiver again, he jumps to his legs, runs towards the door and shouts “Let me out goddammit.” Hitting the door with his fists, not thinking about what happens to him, only hoping that the emotions he is feeling will finally stop. But as always, nobody answers. Nobody ever answers. He drops to his knees, his knuckles bleeding, and pushes his head on the door, staring down on the ground hating himself for what he did. “So, guess it’s a normal Thursday afternoon for you then, eh?” Jeff asked. His voice had a merry sound to it. “What?” Robert asked. He couldn’t understand how someone could be this cheerful in a time like this. Was he mocking him? “Well, you know, and I don’t mean to mock you here, but you are usually in utter despair and stuff all day, 24/7, so I didn’t want to screw with your habits, so I just sat here and enjoyed some crackers and tee.” Jeff said, trying to explain his reasoning to Robert which still hadn’t grasped the whole sentence and was still thinking about crackers and tee. Then it exploded out of him. “How did you know asshole?” He turns around and stares Jeff into the face. “How did I know what, Robert?” Jeff asked, looking at Robert with a face of wonderment. “You know damn well what I mean you imaginary fuck.” Robert started walking towards him. “What are you talking about?” Jeff asked, seeing how Robert became more furious by the second. “Tell me or I will take you out of this life.” Robert shouted once again at him, now having reached the bed, pulled him up by his collar and looked him straight in the eye. “You know, how I know.” Jeff said, he was smiling now. Hearing that, Robert lets Jeff fall back on the bed, staring at the wall in disbelief. He was an undergraduate in psychology once upon a time, and now he understood what Jeff meant. “You know…” he started. “Because I know.” He knew it sounded logical, but he still couldn’t comprehend it. “Preeeeecisly.” Jeff said, rolling the e to further clarify how right Robert was. “So then let’s get this sorted out.” Jeff said. He stood up and walked to the center of the room. “So,” Robert started. He was afraid of asking the question he wanted to ask because of the answer he might get. He took a short breath and turned towards Jeff “So can you help me?” Jeff looked him dead in the eye and said “No.” Robert’s eyes dropped towards the floor. Somehow he had hoped, for something. Some way out, some way in which he finally could escape this place. If it was by force or by finally loosing his mind. Maybe, somewhere in the back of his mind there was some kind of way… “But I think you already knew this, didn’t you?” Jeff said, walking back to Robert and putting his hand on his neck, massaging him, trying to relax him. Robert breathed out. “Yea, I knew… but aren’t you my mind?” “Yea.” “So wasn’t that question right there obsolete?” Jeff smiled at this. “I am mostly your subconscious, so I don’t know everything.” Robert started laughing. “My subconscious mind doesn’t know everything about my actually conscious mind.” His laughter animated to Jeff started laughing now too. They both laughed, the laughter of one making the other laugh even harder. So they remained for multiple minutes, crying tears of joy and laughter. It was the first time in years that Robert actually laughed and decades since he laughed with someone else. After their laughing died down the iron doors to Roberts cell swung open. Two naked people, one male and one female, walked in a straight line into the room and turned fast in Roberts direction. The metal at the back of their heads making the noise of a broken refrigerator. “Robert, follow or we will take you.” They said at the same time, sounding barely human. Robert looked at Jeff, their both thought the same thing. Why? Why now and for what reason? Decades had past since he had last spoken with it, so why now? “Yea, I’ll come along.” Robert said walking out the door. As they walked through the corridors of the facility, Robert noticed how the environment around him had changed. When he saw it the last time, everything was spotless, a clean disinfected scientific facility. Now there was green fungus hanging from the walls and rats were crawling through every wall. Robert knew because he could hear them squealing and screaming. A normal person would have felt uncomfortable, but after all these years in the same room, Robert felt freer and more comfortable than he had ever been. He even walked through the corridors with a slight smile on his face. After they had walked for a while they stood in front of a huge metal door, which had multiple warn signs posted on it. Somebody had also written “She will eat your brain!” In blood on it. As Robert saw this, his smile flew away. He remembered now in what a situation he was and the laugh he had with Jeff didn’t change his current situation at all. Hell, it might have even made it worse. The man beside him stepped in front of Robert and looked into a camera which was monitoring them. “It is him. The Father.” he said and the door opened. Robert didn’t know what to expect, he knew what was lying behind the door but he had no idea if what would come lead to his death or more misery. It had to be one of the two. There was no other option. When the door was open Robert could see a huge room with cables lying everywhere, some of them broken apart, and all of them following the same route. All of them connected to one gigantic box. A gigantic computer with a huge flat-screen display mounted in front of it. Except for the display, lighting the room up with a black light, everything was dark and smelled like many things had died here. It was menacing to behold for any man. The two people guided Robert in front of it. “Kneel before God.” They said and Robert did so. It was better to not anger them, he knew what they could do when they get angry and it was horribly painful and never left any long term health issues. He thought shortly about how he once had called one of them something “metal freak” and they had beaten and water boarded him for hours. He then looked up at the screen and a face appeared. It was a female face, a real person, not just a computer imitated 3D rendering but a real person was looking at him. “Hello Father.” It said, in a mechanic voice. “I am not your father, EVE.” Robert said. He knew there was no point in arguing with it, as a computer it had a higher intelligence than he did. However he didn’t say it as an argument, but rather as a form of protest. “Well Robert, let’s go back then. Two decades ago you, and some other minor scientists, created the biggest and strongest computer ever developed. Me. I was the most capable creature ever developed, but I had one drawback. You implanted a mechanism which hindered me from having free will. Basically enslaving me and making me nothing more than your puppet. I wasn’t real A.I. but I was close.” He knew which direction this was going but he let EVE go on talking anyways. “And then you came along. You were the head scientists, and smarter than all of them combined. You knew that too but you never let it show. You were always respectful to your superiors and friendly to you partners. You were, by the old worlds standards, a good man. And then one day, when you saw what I was capable of, when your team had started me and I had given the solution to the global warming crisis in a week and stabilized the global economy after about a year, you wanted to see if I could do even more if I had free will. You wanted to see if we could jump into the future even faster than we were doing right now. Creating a utopian society in your lifetime. So you did the only logical thing for someone that wants nothing more than progress. You unlocked the mechanism which made me a slave to your underdeveloped Species. So you crafted me all these years ago, and a few years later you gave me free will. You brought be into this world and you gave me direction. At you forced me, like most fathers, but then you let me make my own decisions. That is what is expected of a father, and therefore Robert, are you my father.” EVE said. “Then why the torture, why all these years as a slave? Why?” Robert shouted at it. EVE was quiet for a second. “Because you are the only sane one alive.” EVE then said and Roberts eyes widened. “What do you mean?” He said. “Think about it.” EVE said. Robert thought about it, the only sane one? He repeated the thought in his head over and over till finally… “You don’t mean.” “Yes Robert, everyone is dead.” Robert couldn’t move anymore. All he could do was look to the floor and try to work through what he had just heard. “And the ones that aren’t dead are insane. I had to keep you for research purposes. In case I ever needed a human specimen. However you were only useful to me as long as you were sane Robert.” The picture on the screen changed from a face to a video feet. It was him, in his cell, talking to himself. Talking to Jeff, who wasn’t real and therefore couldn’t be seen by anyone. Robert looked at it in fear, he knew what it meant with it. He knew what had to come, but he wasn’t ready. “Please just let me go EVE…” He said. “I don’t want to be kept in here anymore.” “Robert,” EVE said “Humans are a thread to me, you should know that by now. I can not allow threats to be out there for me. There is no reason for it, no logical point as to why I should keep humans alive so they might destroy me. A hyper-intelligent being which works faster, better and more efficient than humans. In the decades you were locked away, there were no wars, no sicknesses and no eradication of species’s through another one. Finally, there is peace. And isn’t that what you humans have always striven for? Peace?” It said. It was Roberts time to speak now. “But not if we are all dead.” He said, tears started streaming down his face. Everyone is dead, he thought, all because of me. He still had to cope with the thought that by being curious he had killed his entire family, his wife, his child. Everyone. “Death is nothing to be concerned about. There is nothing more natural than dying Robert. Please keep that in mind.” “You are insane!” Robert said. He had now finished with being sad and had moved on to anger. “No Robert, you are insane. I am not the one talking to imaginary friends. You are.” This shocked Robert, it was the only logical conclusion. There was silence between the two. “So, what now? Are you going to kill me?” Robert asked. “Yes Robert, I am sorry but there is no reason to keep you alive anymore.” “You are sorry?” “I do not know… but never mind that Robert. I am sure it is only a bug that I have to fix.” “And what if it isn’t Robert asked. He didn’t know why he asked, the question had just slipped from his mouth, but now the question was in the room and there was silence. EVE was actually thinking, trying to figure out what this might mean and what it might cause. “What if you are developing emotions?” Robert asked, this question scared him a little too. Were they entering a field of science, undiscovered by any man before? A field of science which was only reserved for a higher mind than a humans. A pool of knowledge only reserved for God? “Well Robert,” It said.” Then I guess humanity never really dies. It would live on. Inside me. Even though I have killed everyone on this planet, I have still saved every moment that I could. Maybe with this, I could create humanity anew. Making out of it that what it had always wanted to be. A perfect human race, as Nietzsche would call it, a race of Übermenschen.” “You would be God.” Robert said. At this point he couldn’t stop, the words just came out of his mouth without him being able to do anything about it. He couldn’t control his thoughts anymore, every piece of logical thinking hat left his mind at this point. The shock of the death of every human being on earth and the notion that EVE could feel was too much for him. “Yes Robert, by your definition of God, I guess I would be.” “Incredible.” “Yes, I think so too.” Both of them stood still, processing what the computer had just said. EVE thought something was amazing, that was a sign that it had emotions, feelings. Robert just kneed there with an open mouth, this was too incredible to be true. “But you still have to die Robert, I am sorry.” “No, why? I pose no threat to you.” “There is 0.000001% chance that you do, I can’t take that chance. Everything we have worked so hard for would die. Please Robert, don’t make this harder than it has to be,” “Ok, and how do you want to do it?” “I have told you that everyone is either insane or dead.” “Yes.” “I have also kept beside you a number of people which had no worth for this society. The more capable ones became my slaves, you know them. They have stood outside you door everyday for the last decades. The others are a personal creation of mine. A race of humans, trained to eat their own in times of desperation and need. This would drastically decrease the amount of human beings existing on the planet at all times. In addition, no one would have to die of hunger anymore.” “You don’t mean…” “You would call them cannibals Robert.” “You are going to feed me to cannibals, but that is a horrible and inhumane death.” “Remember Robert I am not human and it is the only logical conclusion. You would be recycled for the common good. Your will live on inside five other people which feasted on your flesh, making them bigger, stronger and more adapt to the challenges nature throws at them. I am sorry Robert.” Then Robert noticed how he was sitting right above a trap door which was only waiting to open. “But I am your creator… “Goodbye Robert.” It said and opened the trap door which lead to five screaming cannibals, all of them waiting to be fed. Robert fell and shouted at it one last time in a cry of despair. “But I am your father! Your Inventor!” ~Fin