John was already up. I hadn’t heard the alarm. He was keen to get an early start, breakfast on the way. I started down the stairs, determined to at least have a cup of tea before I got dressed. I stopped halfway down, John was talking to a stranger, a man in a black polo shirt with a scarlet logo AID, he looked like a plumber or an electrician, maybe he had got the wrong house. But they were talking intently, John hadn’t noticed me. Irritated I listened to what they were saying. The other man was doing all the talking.
‘We usually advise counselling Mr. Anderson, a week at our clinic to adjust.’
Something was wrong, why hadn’t John told me? The man continued speaking.
‘…but with your daughter’s wedding tomorrow, there isn’t time. Nobody will ever guess, her big day will not be spoiled.’
Of course her big day would not be spoiled, what was this stranger talking about? Over a year in the planning, we all knew what we were doing, John had his speech off pat.
‘John, what’s the matter?’ I called out.
He didn’t hear me, I felt frozen to the spot, nerves perhaps, I hadn’t felt well last night.
At last John was speaking, but not to me.
‘What will happen… upstairs?’
‘All taken care of,’ said the man in black ‘we’ll lock up after. It’s time you set off, are you ready to meet her?’
The living room door opened and John gasped. ‘Linda?’
‘Who were you expecting, come on, are you ready to go, are we all locked up?’
I clung dizzily to the banister; the woman my husband was talking to was me, Linda Anderson, his wife of twenty eight years.
‘Are you feeling better, you said you felt ill last night.’
‘Fine, never better, I feel like a new woman.’
She put her hand on his chest, I felt the warmth through his shirt in my finger tips.
Tentatively John put his arms loosely round her waist, then smiled, tightening his grasp. I felt his strong familiar hands in the small of my back. I turned to look behind me at the empty stairs, I was obviously dreaming. I mounted the few stairs to the open bedroom door.
I halted in confusion. Two strange men were in our bedroom, two men in black polo shirts, bending over something on the bed. Angrily I stepped towards them, they did not turn their heads. I screamed, but no sound came out.
On the bed, motionless, was a body, a naked body, my body. The men were pulling off wires, electrodes. Next to me was a suit bag, no it was longer, a black vinyl bag. Deftly they inserted their arms under the body and lifted it up. I caught a glimpse of my face, pale, eyes closed, before the zip reached the top of the bag.
Oddly detached for a moment, I read the logos on their shirts AID, then noticed an unfamiliar piece of paper on my dressing table.
AID Emergency Call Out
I skimmed down the page.
Android Intelligence from Donor – Resurrection for the Digital Age