Incite Magazine - February 2016

Page 15



he android with my sister’s face winks at me from across the dinner table and I pretend not to notice. Mom notices, she always notices. “Don’t ignore your sister Annie,” she scolds, so I ignore her too, keeping my attention on my leftover spaghetti, swirling the dinner into a red mess on my plate. Mom sighs audibly and turns to the android, the two share a look and laugh. “So, do you girls have any big plans tonight?” The android smiles (Jane’s smile) and twirls her brown synthetic hair around her pinky finger (like Jane). “Umm…I dunno, I was thinking maybe a movie?” It turns to me, so much like Jane that for a moment I can understand my parents’ ability to accept the droid as their daughter. If I only pay attention to Its voice, Its movements, Its small habits that mimic Jane perfectly, maybe I could be manipulated by it too. But unlike my parents, I refuse to play make believe and stare right back, watching the small amber twinkle in each pupil that marks It as machine.

private place I thought I’d buried. “Ever since you brought this thing home you’ve just played pretend that this was Jane even though you literally unboxed her in the living room five months ago.” “Don’t talk about your sister that way Annie,” mom warns. “This isn’t Jane, Jane slit her wrists almost a year ago and now you’re just pretending that nothing was ever wrong.” Without waiting for another scolding I leave the table and rush up the stairs to my room, feeling the android’s yellow lights follow me up the stairs.  The android sits at the foot of my bed, the way Jane did whenever I was upset. “I read your manual.” The android is quiet, just sitting and listening the way Jane used to. “I know you live in some sort of paradox where part of you believes you’re Jane and another part of you recognizes you’re just a bunch of metal with a human face.”


“Annie, stop playing with your food and answer your sister,” Dad joins in the scolding. “It would be nice if you two did something together. You two haven’t done much since-” and Dad makes that choking noise like he’s dying but catches himself sooner than he did a year ago. Mom hovers in place, half-out of her chair, ready to comfort him if necessary. The android ignores the mini-crisis like it’s programmed to and sits smiling at me, patiently waiting for “normality” to resume so it will know what to do next. My voice comes out of nowhere and I finish my dad’s sentence, “Since we bought an android or since Jane killed herself?” My parents sit in stunned silence as the android looks at me oddly, yellow pinprick pupils flashing, as if It’s trying to prove It’s really Jane. Dad murmurs, “Please don’t.” But I can’t stop these words, they come from some dark and VOLUME 18, ISSUE 5

It chuckles and my heart aches, “You always were a bookworm.” “You don’t know me.” “I have memories of you. Memories of all the fun we’ve had throughout the years. Memories of how much I love you.” The android answers. “I’m here to provide comfort, support, and love to mom, dad, and you. I make them very happy.” “You make them forget.” We sit in silence in the darkness of my room, the tiny yellow lights of Its pupils the only light in my room. “I don’t remember the suicide. I thought you might be wondering that, you seem to think of it more than mom and dad. But I wasn’t given those memories.” “Just like mom and dad wanted.” I mumble and curl into my blankets with my memories of Jane.  15