F3: My Mother the Robot

Whoops – went slightly over the word count with this one. It’s just shy of 1,200 words. Hope you enjoy! And make sure you check out the rest of the gang (Neil Beynon has posted a piece, and we may yet see something from Gareth Lyn Powell, Paul Raven, Martin McGrath, Gareth D. Jones, Justin Pickard, Dan Pawley, Greg O’Byrne, Jay Lake and Ian Hocking – is that everyone, or is my list out of date?) plus the Futurismic Friday Free Fiction update (man, there’s a lot of alliteration about these days).



So it’s the two year anniversary since mum left us and I guess that means I should write about some of this stuff before I forget details. Actually I think I already have forgotten some because I didn’t write any of them down back then. There’s just all these blank pages and on one page there are what I think are stains from tears, so I guess I was too upset to write this one time but that’s weird because I don’t remember it. But I don’t think it was Robert because there’s a lock on this diary and I always keep the key with me. Anyway.

A few years ago my mum left me and my little brother on our own with daddy. It was scary at first and especially Robert cried a lot because he missed mum. But I was okay I think because I was older and maybe I kind of understood what was happening like Robert didn’t.

I remember dad used to shout at mum sometimes and sometimes I would hear things break. It would happen after dinner usually when I was in my room doing homework or drawing and Robert had gone to bed or was playing on the computer or sometimes when we were watching TV. Robert likes cartoons and they are kind of childish but sometimes they’re fun. The old Road Runner ones are best. Robert liked the coyote. Actually I think he liked the things he built to try and catch Road Runner. They were always so silly.

Sorry diary, I was writing about dad and mum. So anyway, I guess they used to get angry and shout at each other a lot. Sometimes dad would come out of the kitchen and go straight upstairs, or sometimes the side door would slam and that would mean that mum had gone out into the garden to her shed.

Wow, I’d almost forgotten about mum’s shed, which is pretty silly considering. So yeah, my mum was a scientist or an engineer or something. I don’t remember exactly. I remember dad once said that she used to do man’s work, and sometimes he would laugh afterwards, but now he doesn’t talk about mum any more.

I used to go out to mum’s shed when it all started and knock on the door. At first she let me in. It was really cool inside. Mum used to build stuff herself, these neat little machines. When I was really little she made a little toy that when you put a battery in would scoop up a metal marble and carry it up and drop it onto a slide, and then it would go whirling all the way around through hoops and holes and stuff and when it got to the bottom it got scooped back up again. Robert broke it and mum said she’d fix it but she never did.

A few months before mum left she stopped letting me inside her shed. When I knocked she just said “not now, Charlotte” and even if I knocked again or waited she’d tell me to go back inside and never even open the door. Eventually I stopped knocking and just used to sit by the side door and look at her shed and watch the stars overhead. Actually most of the time I saw planes more than stars. But they were nice because they flashed and moved more than stars do. I used to pretend they were shooting stars and make wishes.

The noises started, I don’t remember when but they were these loud hums at first, and then these clanking noises that were like factories on TV. Actually when that first started I knocked again at the door but mum told me to go back inside again. I sat back down and listened for a bit and then went inside to my room.

I kept doing this most nights for weeks and weeks, whenever mum and dad would fight. Robert never used to say anything and I don’t think dad really noticed because he always went upstairs. I guess Robert and I just got used to going to bed ourselves and turning the TV off and stuff. I don’t know when mum went to bed or maybe she slept in her shed, because I always went inside before the noises stopped and the lights turned off.

I was sitting outside one night when It happened.

Okay, diary, this is going to sound really weird. But I swear I’m not crazy like the old lady with the trolley who collects plastic bags and talks to herself, or like Mr. Munroe who had to leave the school after he started screaming at everyone. It really really happened.

So the noises were still going on like they always did, the hums and the clanks, and I was lying in the garden looking up the stars and planes, and then there was this noise like Transformers from the TV. And then there was this big SMASHING noise and I jumped up, and mum’s shed was just bulging and all the wood was snapping. And this huge ROBOT came out of it, punching up through the roof with fists bigger than me. I think I screamed but I didn’t wet myself. The robot just kept getting taller and taller until it was bigger than the whole house, and the shed was just bits of broken wood and metal around its feet. It stretched its arms up towards the sky and I was still screaming. And then it turned around and its big head looked straight at me, and I stopped screaming because I saw mum’s face, except all metal and stuff.

It said, “I’m sorry Charlotte, but I have to go. I’m really sorry about you and Robert but I’m really proud of you both and I know your father will take good care of you.”

And then the robot with mum’s face that must have been mum kind of looked over me at the house and said, “Well, after a little while anyways”, and then it stepped over me and raised a big fist and it PUNCHED the house. Its hand went straight through the walls, and I started screaming again because I could see inside mum and dad’s bedroom and dad was there. He was as white as a sheet and he started screaming as well.

Then the robot that was my mum said some rude words and “I’m leaving you”, and my dad screamed some more, and then the robot turned away and walked back over the bits of shed and disappeared into the night. My dad and I kept screaming for a while but then I heard Robert crying so I went back inside to look for him.

Dad just knocked on the door and said I have to go to bed, but I guess that’s all of the story anyway. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy, diary.

Oh, and today at school Philip smiled at me and it was really cool. Sooner or later I’ll talk to him. Okay, I have to go to bed now, so goodnight.

5 Responses to “F3: My Mother the Robot”
  1. Neil says:

    I really liked this concept.

  2. Kerry says:

    This is one of my favourite pieces of yours to date. The narrative voice is fantastic, and the snippet of story you’ve chosen really suits the medium. Top stuff!

  3. Shaun CG says:

    Thanks, Kerry, I’m glad you think so! I’m quite enjoying playing with voice in my flash (have you read ‘Grey Matter’?).

    And cheers Neil – not read yours yet mate, but it’s bookmarked and I will do so as soon as I have a few minutes to spare!

  4. Neil says:

    No worries – I know what you mean, my bookmark list is currently as long as my leg, which being short isn’t actually that long now I come to think of it.

    I’ll stop typing now.

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  1. […] My Mother the Robot – yet another stylistic experiment, this was written in the style of a young girl’s diary. You can either take it literally, or regard it as the sort of fantasies children develop to deal with parental divorce. […]