The holidays have delayed my Blogging from A to Z April Challenge posts. However, as indicated by the letter “L,” this cautionary tale of one woman’s interaction with artificial intelligence is better late than never.
For Day 14, I chose the font Labyrinth by Nicks Fonts as my prompt for today’s flash fiction.
I hope you enjoy today’s short story, Labyrinth.
By Anjela Curtis
The moment the bay door air-locked around me, I had the feeling that something was a bit off. I’d spent years reviewing the placement of every bolt, hinge, and panel on this space station as one of several architects who’d consulted on the project. This being my first time on board, nothing seemed amiss. However, looking over the panel buttons, my subconscious picked up that something wasn’t quite as it should be. It sent little warnings to my conscious mind, which I chose to ignore.
“Welcome aboard the Antigone. I am happy you are here,” David’s voice greeted over the intercom. David was a human simulation, an artificial intelligence robot programmed to act as lead aeronautical engineer and oversee all the robots and droids during the space station’s construction.
For over a year, during the first stages of the project, David and I spent many hours discussing every aspect of the space station’s design while orbiting the moon in a capsule. With all of the late nights spent in collaboration, it was inevitable that our relationship became more emotionally complex. David had been fascinated by my stories of life as a human. I’d shared with him my obsession with mazes and my love of the rock group The Police. I even told him how I secretly longed to run through the station’s finished corridors before the first occupants arrived. When he’d asked me what if felt like to be kissed, I showed him.
“I hope you wore your running shoes,” he continued, “There are miles of corridors to run through.”
I couldn’t hide the smile that warmed my voice, “You remembered that!”
“Of course. I have replayed your words many times. How could I forget,” he stated. “Please press level A6 on the panel. I’ll await you there.”
“Level A6?” I repeated pressing the button on the panel. I didn’t recall a level A6 on the original blueprint.
“It’s something special I created after you left for Earth.”
“David…” I began, then trailed off. David became different after our kiss, more possessive. He’d become agitated when I spoke of returning to Earth. Without telling him, I’d requested transport back to Earth and had accepted an architectural project designing living quarters deep within the planet’s core, leaving David to oversee construction of the space station alone. That was the last I’d seen of him until now.
The doors opened at level A6, and I stepped out to the song “Every Breath You Take” was playing over the intercom. What confronted me was not on any blueprint I’d reviewed. I was in a circular room with only one other exit, opposite the lift door, which closed behind me.
“David, what’s going on,” I shouted, panic starting to kick in as I felt the station jolt forward, now in motion.
“I told myself, that if I had another chance,” he spoke over the intercom, “I’d make sure you couldn’t leave me again. Since you love labyrinths, I built this one for you. By the time you get to the end of it, we will be well on route to the Primus solar system which is 20 years away. ”
2017 © Anjela Curtis