Written in response to Michelle’s writing prompt which you can see here.
A shrill scream pierced the night, and had Adam scrambling from his bed before he was even properly awake, heart racing. He flew from the bedroom calling for his wife, his head spinning and not daring to guess what had happened.
“Oh god, In here” came her voice, barely recognisable, “I’m in the babies room.”
Adam ran to the room and stopped in the doorway. Jane was sat in the dark, quite still in an old rocking chair in the corner. In her arms, wrapped in the blanket her mother had bought for them, was the baby.
He hurried over to her. “What’s wrong, is she okay?” he pulled back the blanket that he could see her face. He knew straight away that she was not. Her eyes were wide open, unblinking, and her expression unchanging and her body motionless. “Jesus, her eyes Jane – what’s happened.”
Jane couldn’t reply, she simply sat holding the bundle tightly in her arms.
Adam took a closer look and realised that all the colour had disappeared from her eyes and they were completely black.
“I’ll call an engineer” he said placing a hand on his wife’s shoulder. “It will be okay Jane.”
“I don’t want a fucking engineer” she screamed, “I want my baby!”
“Jane please” Adam said, not really knowing what to say, “They’ll know what to do”.
He didn’t wait for a response, and after a few minutes returned to the room. “They’re on the way it won’t be long at all” he said, but she was not listening, she simply sat staring at her baby, crying.
After what seemed like an eternity a tall man in a sharp black suit arrived at the house and Adam lead him upstairs to the nursery.
“Mrs Goodwin” he said, reaching for the bundle in her arms, “time is of the essence, Please.”
Not looking up she allowed the stranger to take her baby and watch him leave the room with it.
“I will be in the next room” he said, “If you could just wait in here I will need to run full diagnostics.”
Adam stood next to his wife, nodded, and watched the engineer take the baby from the room.
Neither of them spoke, simply waiting for the engineer’s return. Adam reached for his wife’s hand but she pulled away sharply.
“Mr Goodwin” came a voice “Could you come through please.”
Jane looked up at him and nodded. “I’m okay. Go” she said.
Entering the guest bedroom his stomach lurched as he saw his daughter lying on the bed, a panel in the side of her head open and a connection from her head leading to a small tablet that lay on the bed next to her.
“What’s happened “He asked calmly, “what’s happened to our daughter.”
The Engineer paused struggling for words.
“I …” he hesitated. He needed to put this into terms Adam would understand. “There’s been a catastrophic failure” he said rubbing his chin “the main learning core went into overload and the emergency backup overwrote the last good file and we’ve lost everything. All her memories and learning are gone”
He waited for Adam to reply but Adam stood silent.
“I’ve checked for an offsite backup but it looks like you never paid for the service – so I have nothing to work with.”
“We only just had enough for the basic model” Adam said, his face now pale. “I thought it would be okay” he continued “I never told Jane, we just wanted the baby so badly. Surely there must be something we can do?”
The engineer placed his tablet back into his bag and packed his tools away. “Mr Goodwin, I am sorry sir” he said, “but there really is nothing that can be done to restore her to her last known state. The best I can do is to flush the bios and do a factory reset but you will have to restart the whole programme and the last three months learning will be lost. Even then I cannot guarantee this won’t happen again. You should have taken the extended warranty sir.”
Photo courtesy of Kuloser @ pixabay