Today, over on Story Empire, we have our monthly Friday Fiction Prompt. Check it out at: http://storyempire.com/2018/04/06/friday-fiction-prompt-4/.
Mae Clair used a word cloud as the prompt. I chose ‘subdue’ as my ‘writing rocket’. Below is the short fiction I came up with. Enjoy …
Chained to the Desk
Subdued, Alex sighed and stared at the screen. What would happen if he left the desk? If he just got up and walked away? Up close, it looked okay, friendly even. But the further away he got, the nastier it became. With regret, he recalled his former boss. The man might not have been a people person, but he was a lot better than this. The AI had taken over completely. And it terrified him.
A further hour elapsed in similar fashion, with him working while frantically trying to think of a way out. The damn machine would keep them all here until they dropped dead from exhaustion or dehydration or something else just as awful.
A loud sigh escaped his pursed lips. He squared his shoulders and straightened his spine. Now. He would do it now. After all, it was a bloody computer. What the hell could it do? So far, only his abject fear had kept him seated. Kept him subdued.
In one smooth and sudden movement, Alex rose to his feet and backed away. The screen flashed between red and black. Okay, then. He could handle that. Another step away had his heart race. The computer monitor changed. It took him a moment or two to work out what he was seeing. The image showed him the interior of a vehicle. Then realisation dawned. His wife’s car. The AI had somehow gotten into her Self-Drive system.
Determined, despite his terror, he took yet another step away. The AI turned the surround-sound speakers up to full volume for maximum effect. His wife’s scream reverberated around the room. Horrified, he watched while her car flipped end-over-end and came to a sudden, wrenching stop against the crash barrier. The screen went black. After the ear-bending squeals and screeches of twisting metal, the silence deafened.
Alex dashed forward and gripped the back of the chair, knuckles white and fingers digging into the fabric. The monitor flipped back to the scene. The vehicle’s airbags had deployed. Though bruised and shaken, his wife seemed fine. Alex shook from head to toe, and sweat ran in rivulets down his now slumped spine. He dropped back into the chair, subdued.