Lillian Jamison stands on the sidewalk
appraising her home. After she'd bought it, Lillian had hired a
designer to pull the house together. They'd consulted for hours,
discussing color charts and throw rugs and plush pillows. One piece
at a time, she and her designer had constructed perfection.
Only one thing was missing.
“Soon,” she tells herself.
She pushes the code on the entrance pad
and the doors glide open silently. She hangs her coat in the hall
closet and walks into the kitchen. The walls here are lemon, bright
and cheerful and warm. Her heels click on the ceramic tile, and this
sound pleases her. Lillian takes a prepared meal from the freezer and
pops it in the microwave. She sets the timer for five minutes.
She passes through the living room on
her way to her bedroom. These walls are rouge and her decorator spoke
the word with a perfect French accent, which Lillian also found
pleasing. The color complements the sages and sorrel woven throughout
the furniture. A Persian rug covers the floor: Lillian picked it up
on her last trip overseas. The shelves are lined with artifacts from
her digs, things slipped into her luggage when the boss wasn't paying
attention. She looks at the gold vase, the funeral mask, the coins,
the pottery, the jewels. She adores the past. She adores history.
She continues to the bedroom and is
stopped short. There. On the edge of the Persian rug.
Her child had been delivered.
No one had been there to sign for the
She's astonished to see him lying
there, no assembly required, apparently. There are no instructions;
no accessories except for the little denim jeans and the red pullover
sweater. She scrutinizes the child. Blond hair, just like she'd
ordered. He opens his eyes. One is hazel, the other blue. Precisely
what she'd wanted. “Hello, Mother,” he says.
“Hello,” she replies and smiles. No
need to teach him English.
She tosses him a phrase in French and
he responds in what sounds like German. She is satisfied. She had some
of her brain installed in him, but at the last minute added a booster
pack. It was on sale, after all, and guaranteed entrance into all the
ivy leagues. “Do you need anything? Maybe a diaper change?”
He rolls his eyes. “I found the
She nods. Parenting is so easy. What
was all the fuss people were always going on about? “Have you been
“I played some games.” He holds up
“Oh. You did come with accessories.”
She looks at his hands. The child is fingerless. He is literally all
thumbs. Two thumbs.
“Excuse me,” she says. She heads to
her bedroom and closes the door behind her. She calls the 800 number
she memorized weeks ago.
“My model is defective,” she
“No, madame. You have the latest
model. We call it evolution.
Texting thumbs. That's all he needs.”
want to return it.”
can't return a human.”
She screams and storms from her
“Is everything OK, mother?” The
She seizes the iPhone and throws it
across the floor. It smashes a Greek vase before falling to the
floor. She jams a thin black heel into the phone, launching Angry
Birds and Temple Run simultaneously.
As she watches, the child's hands begin
to grow eight little nubs that lengthen into fingers; reaching like vines into possibilities.
“You can't manufacture perfection,
Mother,” it says and the paint on the perfect walls begins to weep
From the kitchen, the timer beeps.
“Dinner is ready, Mother.”
For the Scriptic.org prompt exchange this week, SAM at http://frommywriteside.wordpress.comgave me this prompt: The inside of the home was rarely, if ever, spotless. Crumbs lined the edges of the kitchen cabinets, dust bunnies haunted the crannies of the entertainment center, but none of it mattered, for when you stepped into this home, the first thing that grabbed
I gave Eric Storch at http://sinistralscribblings.comthis prompt: Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I took this prompt and turned it on its head.
Labels: dystopia, flash fiction, scriptic.org