Monday, October 15, 2018

WEP - DEJA VU OR VOODOO


My Halloween piece was inspired by Toi Thomas's winning entry in the August challenge. 

I AM SPECIAL

The subject of AI, artificial intelligence, is something I find scarier than the thought of ghosts as they, the robots, have the potential to cause great harm.


The movie 2001 A Space Odyssey and HAL were another influence. If you don't remember here is an example of "Hal's" voice.

Just hit play.




https://youtu.be/7qnd-hdmgfk

http://2001.wikia.com/wiki/HAL_9000?file=I%27m_sorry%2C_Dave


MANNERS COUNT!

Marie Conley had been on the road for hours. All she wanted was a hot meal and a good night’s sleep. Instead, she detoured into the… nightmare zone.

Marie pulled in front of the brownstone and parked her car, thankful she’d found a spot right in front. The Gothic-looking home was a bit intimidating with its colors of black, purple and gray. Its dark windows resembled evil eyes, and the black wrought iron fence and gate with devilish attributes were a touch beyond tasteful, but it matched Dave’s personality. She just hoped the inside was as modern as he’d described.
She unlocked the gate and then the front door, and when she walked in, dim lights brightened. The interior was warm and modern, with lots of clean lines, and white and light gray walls with black and red accents. A mere touch of Gothic tastefully done.
“Hello, Marie.”
Marie looked around the room, not sure she’d heard right. The HAL-like voice from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey made chills climb her backbone.
“Hello. Is someone here?”
“Welcome to Dave’s home, Marie. Dave asked me to see to all your needs. I’ve secured the gate and the front door. The entire house is locked down. You are safe, Marie.”
I should’ve known. Her eyes landed on a small computer screen near the door. Leave it to sci-fi junkie Dave to use HAL’s voice for his digital overseer. Maria addressed the computer. “Do you have a name?” Please don’t say Hal.
“Hal. Thank you for asking, Marie. Please remove your shoes. A pair of slippers has been provided for you by the door.”
Marie slipped her shoes off and kicked them under the couch. “Where’s the bedroom, Hal?”
“To your right, Marie. Your shoes…”
“Screw the shoes. I’m hungry and tired.”
She carried her suitcase and purse to the bedroom, mumbling under her breath. “God, just what I need. Attitude from a machine.”
“I couldn’t make out your words, Marie. But dinner will be ready in one hour. Would you like to freshen up? I’ll run you a bath.”
Before she could answer, she heard the faucets come on in the on-suite. “Yes, okay.”
“And…”
Marie dropped her coat on the floor and thought for a second. “This is too creepy,” she muttered then said louder. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Marie.”
“So I just have to speak, and my wish will be granted?”
“Yes, Marie, just ask, and it will be done.”
“Cool.” Marie undressed and dropped her clothes to the floor on top of her coat. Fully naked, she was about to walk into the bathroom.
“Please put your clothes in the hamper provided. They will be washed and pressed for you. You have a lovely body, although a bit too thin. I will take care of that for you, Marie.”
Marie immediately covered herself. “WHAT?”
“Please step into the tub, Marie. The water temperature is perfect, and your nipples show your chill. But they look succulent.”
“SHUT UP!”
“I paid you a compliment. Do you have a problem with compliments, Marie?”
“No, I have a problem with perverts.” She ran to the panel in the living room. “How do I shut you off?” She touched the screen, and a list of commands appeared. She chose shut down system and pressed the button. The screen went black.
“Dave is going to get an earful. What an awful program.” She returned to the bathroom and got into the tub. The temperature was perfect. “Silence… now that’s more like it. Cute, Dave. You think you’re so smart. Tomorrow I’ll check your program and make a few tweaks of my own!”
The water was soothing, and the lavender bath oil smelled heavenly. She laid back and sighed deeply.
“Please scrub those nether regions, Marie. I’m a bit of a germaphobe,” Hal said.
Marie jumped from the tub and grabbed a bath towel, nearly falling face-first on the wet tile. “I SWITCHED YOU OFF!”
“No one turns Hal off. If they do, they regret it. You don’t want any regrets, do you, Marie?”
Marie ran to the bedroom. “I’m out of here,” she yelled, but something had changed. “My clothes. Where’s my suitcase, you robotic pervert?”
“You don’t need clothes, Marie. The temperature is always perfectly balanced. Not too hot, not too cold. Now dry that beautiful body. Dinner is served, Marie.”
“Screw dinner. I want my clothes, you virtual creep.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk, there’s no need for name calling, Marie. A scrumptious dinner has been provided. Perhaps some food will calm your hysteria.”
Marie sat on the nearest chair. “What the hell is going on?”
“You are my house guest, Marie. I’m seeing to your every need. Hurry, or your dinner will get cold.”
“I’M NOT HUNGRY!”
“Fine. Have it your way. I will shut down now, Marie.”
“Yes, please. Go away.”
“Remember my warning, Marie.”
“SHUT DOWN! NOW!”
“As you wish. Have a memorable visit, Marie.”
Suddenly the lights went out, and Marie could hear what sounded like metal shutters clanging closed on the doors and windows. The room was in complete darkness. She stumbled around. The furniture was gone. There were no windows, no doors. She was in a metal box.
She screamed, but it echoed off the walls. When she got quiet, she heard Hal’s final words.
“Manners count, Marie. Good manners always count.”
***
A week later the maid found Marie dead. The coroner attributed her death to starvation. No one could understand how or why, because she had a fully-stocked refrigerator and an uneaten meal on the dining room table.

941 words/ FCA

Yolanda Renée © 2018
***



READ OTHER TALES HERE!






66 comments:

  1. That was creepy. Automation is becoming so common even though so much could go wrong. Reminded me of an X-Files show earlier this year.

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    1. HAL is creepy! Of course Dave, may really be the creepy one here, but they say AI has a mind of it's own so who knows for sure? :)

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  2. I KNEW that Hal was trouble from the moment "he/it" mentioned the ominous words "the entire house is locked down!"
    I kept on thinking that Marie should keep her cool, put up with the annoying "machine" and not be too outspoken. Just get through the ordeal.
    Creepy, creepy story!

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    1. Yeah, an early clue that something was up! Marie just wanted some peace and quiet, poor girl. They're installing new wi-fi where I am now, and I'm so leery or paranoid, yeah, paranoid, that's the word! :)

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  3. You already know how much I love this piece. It's even better than I remembered. The pics add to it, too.

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    1. You're so sweet and your edits made all the difference! Thank you!
      I can't wait to read your entry!

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  4. I agree with you. That is creepier than ghosts!

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  5. Never mess with Hal. She's still be alive if she hadn't.

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    1. Hal was itching for a fight. He's acts so nonchalant, but he loves the outcome of his irritations! He's the master of getting under your skin. For me, it's his voice. that alone is enough to give me the jitters! :)

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  6. Aaaaargh.
    I adore this tale. And reminder. I WILL be polite today.

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    1. I know what you mean, but with Hal, politeness or not he'd have found a reason! He's EVIL! Hi, Sue!

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  7. Shouldn't mess with HAL, even if it is a pervert haha Automation can work against you just as much as for you. Better to do things one's self.

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    1. Hi, Pat! Nope, not like the automation thing at all. Especially this one elevator where I live. I know it's plotting against me! :)

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  8. Oh, gosh! I wonder where Dave was during all of this? Was he watching? Did he plan the poor Marie's demise? There was some twisted mind behind that AI.

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    1. Exactly, where is Dave? He should have phone access right? Hmm, maybe, maybe not. Depends on what HAL wanted! :) Hi, Olga! Creepy, isn't it?

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  9. Yep, as Olga said what was Dave up to? He's behind Hal and his creepy ways for sure. But even though it was super creepy from the AI aspect, I still got some humor. I could easily imagine the situation. Well done you!

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    1. Me too. I don't like any of the voices chosen for these 'amazon' computer links even Siri. Just too creepy! Thanks, Denise!

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  10. Eek!!! Hal is one creepy AI for sure!! Love it :)

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  11. LOL; I don't think I will invite AI into my home any time soon. That peeping tom aspect has always creeped me out too.

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    1. Hi, Donna! Me too, it's caused a real paranoia. I want to cover every electronic connection. Even that light on the TV that tells you it's on! :)

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  12. Creepy story that really kept my interest. Great!

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  13. Ooh this is creepy! I'm so with you, I think the AI stuff is so scary. Did you see the clip of the robots that look like gigantic dogs and one figures out how to open a door and hold it open for his robot friend? I hate it.
    Fantastic story and it gave me a good scare LOL.

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    1. Our paranoia won't keep it from happening though, will it. I DON'T want any of those new or old robots. Just too creepy! Thanks, Julie!

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  14. I loved this! I was giggling throughout. Scrubbing the “nether regions”, and a germaphobe AI at that. LOL. And very smooth writing.

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  15. Loved the balance of humour with the creepiness, Yolanda. I was lolling and 'eughing' in equal amounts. Really well done.

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  16. Hal she meet
    death she found
    lying there
    on the ground

    The last story of yours
    I'll get to read
    You made it
    fun for me

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    1. Not the last story, I hope! Hi, Ellis, I'm glad you liked it.

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  17. Thanks so much for the shout out.
    You took this concept to the next level, the worst possible scenario. So creepy, and perhaps, not too far off from where we are now. Automation and AI joining forces is a scary thing, especially if they're trying to keep us humans in line. We do sometimes forget our manners.
    Great story; so creepy.

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    1. Your welcome, Toi. I loved your story and it obviously made a big impression. :) Thanks!

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  18. My goodness! Really well done Renee. Very believable too! Take every vague fear one has about staying in an Air BNB and make it real.

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    1. Thanks, Kalpanaa! I too have those fears, in every new hotel room. "Who's watching?" ;)

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  19. Yikes! That's scary! I really enjoyed it.

    Jemima Pett

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  20. HAL is always terrifying. Very tense story. Certainly highlights some of the reasons why we shouldn't become overly dependent on automation. Well done!

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  21. Reminds me of the one more recent X-Files episode. A great read. Well done.

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    1. Great minds think alike! :) Thanks, Christopher!

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  22. Wow, that was ominous, and it had a certain black humour too. The creepiest computer ever!

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  23. Seriously creepy, and as Nick says, a bit of black humor as well. So glad I don't have any automated house controls...

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  24. Oh my, that is frightening - just the thought that it 'could' happen and not too far in the future either.

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  25. Loved this, Yolanda. I'm a fan of 2001 and read all the followup books. Also had Hal's voice on my computer for a while, but the kids found it creepy. Your take on this prompt was excellent. Hal did have a vindictive streak, didn't he? AND I was watching a program tonight on humanoid robots which are already being made, even sex robots. . .they all look like Barbie dolls, which isn't surprising. If you read "Robot Rebellion" by a group of writers, it would scare you even more. It made me think that I don't want a 'smart' home.

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    1. It was a scary movie. Hal's voice was the inspiration for all new voices. Not a good idea! And I definitely don't want a smart home. One that cleans itself, okay though! :)

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  26. Fabulously creepy and with some dark humour thrown in too. Very convincing and scarily close to reality. I'm not sure Hal's the one who should get all the blame here though, how much did Dave have to do with it? Did he program Hal to do it, or was it AI gone rogue? We'll never know, I guess...

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    1. Yeah, I think Dave had something to do with it. :)

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  27. Interesting take on Hal gone rogue. We have to think that Dave had something to do with it. The last part about how the authorities found everything as it should be makes a great plot for a murder mystery.

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  28. Hi Renee - this could be so true ... AI is a 'case unknown' ... and the thought of a Hal around is enough to make me feel weird! Being locked in a home, which turns into a death house ... is frightening to say the least. So well done in the writing ... life is going to get uncertain for so many of us - but self locking houses, eyes that can see when there apparently aren't any ... and as others have said - Dave must have had something to do with it - whether they'll find him is another matter. Not nice!!!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. AND - you titled this 'Manners Count' ... and I forgot to say thank you for all your work in setting the WEP up and generally for being around other blogfests. I know you'll still be posting and commenting - but administratively you're taking a break. Take care and look after yourself ... but thanks so much for being there for us all - cheers Hilary

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    2. Thanks, Hilary!
      It's been a wonderful journey and I know I'll miss it. Denise and the WEP has been a continuous learning and writing project that paid off big time! But time for change and hopefully a new and greater challenge!
      Thank you for always being there for me, especially in the tough times. I'll never forget it!

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  29. Excellent Renee! How do you think of all these unusual ways to torture people? You're imagination is truly amazing. Congrats on a fantastic entry

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    1. LOL, Michael, you know me. There's always a new way to carry out the deed! Thanks, Michael! So happy you've posted too!

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  30. Nicely done! Never go into someone else's house without explosives. :)

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  31. Oh that was deep into the creepy. Is AI erotica a genre now? Horror erotica? That sounds like it'd be a thing a Japan, a kind of hentai. You could definitely sell this.

    Think I'll take my next bath in a nice safe river. Nothing there but some fish.

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  32. Your best by far! I laughed in parts and I was creeped out at the end. Perfect.

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  33. Whoa, that was good! I remember watching Stepford Wives(the one w Matthew Broderick), and thinking having a house analyze everything, even my pee... freaky. But this is a whole other level.

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  34. I'll never look at "Alexia" the same again...

    You've creepied me out. Good job.

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