Buster slipped his head out of the partly open library doors when he heard the front door open. Maybe the Man had finally come home. The automations regularly refilled his food and water bowls and cleaned the litter box, but he missed the Man’s warm lap, his soft words, and the touch of his hands on the cat’s fur.
It called his name but it wasn’t the Man. In fact it wasn’t a man at all. It was one of the Man’s machines but this one walked on legs like the Man.
“Ah, there you are.” Buster cowered and then hissed. The man-machine squatted down and its almost man voice sounded kind. “I won’t hurt you. I’ve come to take care of you.”
Before Buster could run, the man-machine moved faster than even he could and scooped him up. The cat loudly protested until the fingers of the man-machine found the spot on his tummy where he loved to be rubbed.
“There, there, Buster. It will be okay. I’m sorry Dr. Lanning won’t be coming home anymore but we’ve got a mystery to solve. You, me, and Detective Baley must find out who murdered Alfred Lanning.”
I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner for 2018: Week #11. The idea is to use the image at the top to inspire the authoring of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.
A cat? You want me to write a story about a cat? I don’t do cute cat videos.
Okay, I’ll make this work.
Unfortunately, the first thing that popped into my head was the 2004 film I, Robot starring Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, and James Cromwell as Dr. Alfred Lanning.
In one scene, Detective Del Spooner (Smith) goes to Lanning’s house looking for clues as to Lanning’s death and in the process, he finds Lanning’s cat.
So I adapted the scene to this challenge using elements of the film and Isaac Asimov’s first “robots” detective novel The Caves of Steel. Technically, the events in that novel occurred well after Lanning’s death in the Asimov stories, but this is fiction after all.
The human detective in “Steel” is Elijah Baley and his humanoid robot partner is R. Daneel Olivaw (The “R” in his name indicates he’s a robot). In my story, I imagined Olivaw to appear completely robotic, something like the NS4 models in the 2004 movie (see above).
To read other stories based on the prompt or to post your own (please), go to InLinkz.com.