Companions

I started writing this years ago and am just now resurrecting it. Have a little bit of fiction to start the weekend.

“Why is there hair on your pillow?”

She ignored the question, slowly walking across the boudoir and entering the bathroom to check her makeup. Sallow skin bled through the foundation she had patted carefully from neckline to hairline. Pink stood out on her cheekbones, and the only saving grace was that her hand had been steady as she’d applied her eye makeup this time.

She almost looked healthy. Almost.

When the question came again, Baron was standing in the doorway, blocking out the natural light that the bedroom windows provided, and holding a small handful of blonde hair in his perfect hand.

“Why is hair on your pillow? It should be in your scalp.”

The cadence of his voice and the use of correct terminology rather than colloquialisms were what actually gave it away, and she stood back, a hand on her hip, and contemplated her creation.

Baron wasn’t a real human. He looked like one. Perfect synthetic skin and real hair covered his body. She had paid top dollar for the materials. The wiring and fiber optics that allowed him to move and speak and interact with her were so delicate and advanced that you would only think he had a twinkle in his eye or had placed his hand too near a light when you saw a glimmer of a flash through his palm. He was nearly perfect.

How could she make him more perfect?

“Well I suppose you’re as good as you’re going to be today,” she mumbled under her breath before moving towards him. He stepped back a pace, an arm still cocked and fingers still clenched around the hair that had come out of her head last night.

“Don’t worry about it.”

Proceeding back into the bedroom, she saw him drop the hairs precisely into the garbage can near the door, and turn towards her smoothly to follow. The benefit of a robot was that he did actually do everything that she told him to when she told him to do it.

“Are we going out today?” he asked smoothly, his voice a perfect balance to her own.

“Yes, I am.” She did not include him in the sentence, knowing that she could not take him with her no matter how much he had begun to want to see the world outside the walls of the apartment. Without looking into his eyes, she gathered her purse, slid her feet into the flip flops by the door and checked to make sure her car keys were still at arm’s reach on the hook by the door.

“I will be back in a few hours. You may rest.”

Anyone passing in the hallway would have seen only an attractive woman, perhaps wearing too much makeup, exiting her apartment and a handsome man sitting down on the sofa within and closing his eyes. They would not hear the soft whir of his joints compressing or the faint beep that signaled his brain had gone into hibernation mode.

She knew he would forget the hair by the time she returned. Well, he wouldn’t forget it because he forgot nothing, a benefit of a hard drive instead of a brain, but his powered down self would not move the pieces of hair he had picked from her pillow back to the front of his “brain” unless she brought it up. And post-treatment, the hair loss she was fighting to hide more and more these days would be the last thing she wanted to talk about with her companion. It was really quite amazing in her mind that she could create a robot to service her every need, but scientists and doctors had yet found a way to prevent or cure cancer with a single pill.

The human body was infinitely more complex than the any robot, even one as perfectly detailed as hers.

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