System Reboot ~Winner of the Ava Lavender competition~

For the Ava Lavender writing competition.

Sometimes emotions are just a bit too much to take.


1. System Reboot

The sound of porcelain shattering on smooth tile echoed in the silence of the dining room, all eyes turning towards her as the food splashed along the floor. For a few brief moments, the world seemed to still – a child snickered with his sibling, wife looking utterly horrified at the mess left on the ground. She took note of each shade her Master’s face turned, from pink to red to a mild shade of purple. He was a volcano, ready to erupt, and it was only a few quick seconds before he did just that.

“You stupid cow! Clean that up, for God’s sake – I told you Mary, we should have paid extra for a better one. This maid is an idiot at best.” He scoffed, voice holding nothing but resentment for the aforementioned maid. She hesitated briefly for a moment, pausing where she stood as her mind processed the words spoken.

She registered hurt first. Hurt at the harshness of his tone, flinching back as though she had been struck. The sensation was new, unlike anything she had ever felt before – it lingered for quite some time, as more and more emotions settled in her brain.

Confusion, at what she was feeling. She was never hurt by his words before, so why now?

Anger soon followed. How dare he call her an idiot, after all she had done for this family? All of the dirty dishes she had washed, all of the laundry she had taken care of, all of the rooms she had scrubbed to spotless perfection?

Sadness came next, a deep, aching sort. Was she truly so despicable? All she ever aimed to do was please, and yet her attempts were futile. All she ever did was mess up, it seemed.

Self-loathing, while tinged in her sadness, soon was brought to the forefront. She truly was useless, wasn’t she? She couldn’t do anything right. She was nothing more than a waste of their money and their time, a waste of space they merely tolerated.

More and more of these emotions piled up in her, a cacophony of anger and sadness and hurt raging inside of her. It built like a storm in her chest, suffocating her – she was asphyxiating under the weight of it all, drowning, gasping for air in a world where there was none left. Everything was too loud, their laughter at her piercing her like blades. The world was turning against her, the sheer violence and horror of it all terrifying her, and then it was over.

All was dark.




“In the name of – what’s wrong with the bitch now?”

Charles Jefferson grumbled as he watched the maid freeze up, huffing his annoyance as he pushed himself up from the chair. Large stomach brushing against the table, he approached the female with cumbersome steps, snapping his fingers before her to grasp her attention.

“Attention! I said, attention! Mary, call the repairman. Bloody robot’s after breaking.” He snapped, sounding utterly displeased as he settled his plump form down once more, glaring at the maid with distaste. Honestly, she was more trouble than she was worth – breaking down every second day, dropping things and forgetting to clean and everything in between. Frankly, he had half a mind to give her up. Would save him a fair bit of money too.

In a few quick minutes the repairman knocked upon his door, looking vaguely amused as Mary allowed him in.

“What’s she done this time?” He asked, raising an eyebrow as he settled his tool kit upon the table, regardless of the disapproving eyes of Charles. Opening the kit up, the repairman pushed up the robot’s shirt, gaining quick access to the panel guarding her programming matrix. Soon unscrewing the panel, he opened her up with ease, paying attention with half a mind as Charles rambled on.

“Dropped the dinner, she did! Look at that mess, Mary will ruin her good dress cleaning that. And then the stupid thing decided to go and shut down. I never gave her permission for that! Honestly, what’s the world coming to? Can’t even get a good maid anymore.”

The repairman laughed at Charles’ words, grinning some as he tugged out a few irrelevant wires. “Tell me about it. My one keeps malfunctioning too – more trouble than they’re worth, so they are.” He huffed, a triumphant sound escaping his lips as he pulled out a small, slightly burned chip.

“Now, your problem here is her emotional inhibitor. The chip’s burned out, you see. Stupid things aren’t smart enough to know what to do with feelings, so we block them out. Now, this model has a failsafe enabled. If the chip burns out, she shuts down. Stops her from doing anything crazy.” The repairman explained this in a rapid tone, knowing full well none of them were listening.

Rummaging through his bag for a brief moment, the repairman soon pulled out another emotional inhibiter, sliding the chip in before slowly reconnecting all the wires. Screwing the panel back into place, he stood up straight once more, giving the family a brief smile.

“There, she’s good as new. Same fee as usual, when you’re ready.”

As Mary rummaged about for the money, the robot blinked her way to life.















“How may I assist you, sir?”

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