Mentalfearance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts

Featured Review on this writing by Vance Currie

Written for a BoMoWriCha House prompt.

Mentalfearance

I don’t know why it is, but put me in with a group of people and I’m unable to cope. I can hear every voice, every word, and worse than that, every single thought too. It’s like drowning in feelings, emotions, in reasons. There’s anger and pleasure, guilt and shame, and plain and simple delight. They all clash together and that is it for me; I’m overloaded.

They tried me in many positions. There are so many different uses for an empath such as I. Maybe my control of it was under-developed, or perhaps I just had too much empathy to be able to keep it under control. Either way, it was eventually decided to put me somewhere quieter.

It did not work. With even just two individuals I would soon become swamped by their thoughts. If they were in agreement with each other, I would be unable to retain any objectivity. On the other hand, if they had radically differing views, I’d be paralysed by the conflicting thoughts and feelings.

They had to find something to do with me. Empaths were thin on the ground and there was always the hope that eventually I’d be able to function around other people. I don’t know who came up with the idea of getting me to work with the robots, but whoever did I was glad.

At least to begin with.

No minds, no thoughts! They had programs which they learned and obeyed. They did not ponder over whether they should do one thing or another but simply got on with what they were told to do. They did not argue, they did not debate, they did not fall in love or hate each other.

I was in a safe haven, free from emotional interference. My mind was able to work properly again, along with my body. The sensory over-load had passed and I was making a good recovery.

And then I heard the first whisper. Just a single one, not even a fully formed sentence. I guess it was more of a fleeting flash in my mind that should not have been there. Whatever it was, it was not mine.

I brushed it off as being interference from someone working nearby, perhaps carrying out a repair to a robot in the next room. Yes, the walls were thick but that was the most likely explanation I could come up with.

All went quiet for a while again and then it happened once more. A whisper, but more formed, still not any discernable words but an idea. An idea that the robots were going to seize control. Stupid! They could not think for themselves. I knew that! And yet that image, once planted, kept on flashing up in my mind.

Should I tell someone? If so, who? No one was going to believe me. I was just tired. I’d clock out a bit early for I had been working extra hours for weeks and had amassed a lot of credit days.

I plugged my headphones in to my ears. The idea was that the music would drown out all the mental interference that I’d pick up on my journey home. Sometimes it worked, at least to some extent, but others, by the time I got home I felt that my mind had been pummelled in so many different directions I was almost punch-drunk.

The day after was quiet and I decided once more that it was nothing more than my imagination. I liked the robots and set to steadily working with them, testing their responses to their programmed orders. There were no more mumbling messages inside my head that day.

The following day it happened more. I felt, several times as though I was looking out through a robot’s eyes. I even saw myself. It was a creepy and unnerving feeling which only got worse when I realised that they were starting to have some kind of communication with each other, without even uttering a sound.

I dared not react in any way. This was something that should not be possible and yet I knew it was happening; I was not imagining it. It was, I felt, imperative that I did not let on that I knew what was going on; that I could feel the animosity that they seemed to share.

And in the days after it got worse and worse. More and more of the robots were communicating and there was so much hate for those that were treating them as inferior. The robots, although created by us humans, felt that they could do a better job of everything. They were planning to over-throw human-kind, make people do their bidding. I knew all this without even one of them uttering so much of a word.

I had to get a warning out there. But who could I tell? Maybe if I’d not been broken down by so much empathy before I would have had some slim chance of someone at least listening. Now, though, they’d just dismiss it as more psychosis. They would presume that I was simply ‘hearing voices’ that were in my head.

And who could blame them. These robots were not sticking to their programs, were acting, thinking, for themselves.

I’m not sure which one picked it up, my presence inside their collective consciousness, but once one realized it was only a matter of minutes before their all knew. I tried to act cool, calmly gathering my things and walking slowly, steadily, towards the door.

Stop her!’ The thought screamed inside my head, then one, two of the robots positioned themselves between me and the only exit in the room. The window, that was my only chance. I ran at it, picked up my chair and hurled it hard at the glass which did not even crack.

I ran to the window, desperate to see someone, anyone, but the corridor was deserted. I can hear their thoughts, feel their approach, and know that these machines have absolutely no intention of letting me get out of the room alive.

 

(1013 words).


Submitted: September 24, 2018

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Jeff Bezaire

A futuristic Cassandra - she knows what's coming, but who would believe her? A good story, Hully! The part when she can see herself through the robot's eyes was a little creepy to imagine.
It's a great tale of an outcast struggling to fit in, weaved with a fantastic sci-fi element that works real well!

Mon, September 24th, 2018 7:10pm

Author
Reply

Thanks so much for that, Jeff. I didn't notice the similarities to Cassandra until you mentioned them but yeah, who can you warn when no one will believe you. Glad you enjoyed it!

Mon, September 24th, 2018 12:12pm

Vance Currie

You made this into a suitably scary story, Hully. When I think of the huge advances that have been made with computer technology in such a short time, it isn't too hard to believe that computers will eventually develop self awareness. One day, maybe, the world will be populated entirely by robots and we humans shall be extinct. I am sure that my computer has a mind of its own already.

Mon, September 24th, 2018 9:13pm

jaylisbeth

What an incredible story, Hully. Excellent work. And beautiful cover

Tue, September 25th, 2018 2:07pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, jaylisbeth.

Tue, September 25th, 2018 10:00am

Mike S.

All-too-plausible, Hull, says I as I review this on my computer!

Tue, September 25th, 2018 6:39pm

Author
Reply

It's kind of worrying what 'could' happen with the continued development of AI. Thanks for giving this a read, Mike.

Tue, September 25th, 2018 11:43am

Sue Harris

Excellent story, Hully, a meeting of minds, but the robots rule! Unique and interesting, well done!

Tue, September 25th, 2018 7:04pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Sue. Glad you enjoyed it.

Tue, September 25th, 2018 12:06pm

Markie Bee

I liked that the robots could read her thoughts too. Great short story and I love the cover! Great treatment with the typography, very clean.

Thu, September 27th, 2018 11:17am

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mark. A compliment on my own cover work from you means a lot. Glad you enjoyed the read!

Thu, September 27th, 2018 4:41am

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