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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2275240
Carver has his hangover attended to. Winner of Weekly SCREAMS!!! 06.24.22.
Gladys to the Rescue

Carver awoke with a pounding headache. He lay still for a while, in the hope that the ache would fade if he took things easily. This seemed to have some effect, for his attention slowly shifted to his left arm. It had begun to throb with pain. Waves of fire ran over his skin as if he had thrust his arm into the jaws of a furnace.

He opened his eyes to see what was wrong, only to squeeze them tight shut again as the light stabbed deep into the back of his eyeballs. As darkness soothed the pain, he risked raising his eyelids until he had a narrow slit to see through. The world was bright, too bright for his narrowed vision, but the pain was bearable this time. The world about him seemed unchanged.

The best approach would be to enter existence slowly, in carefully controlled stages, so as not to induce the sharp, deeply-tearing agonies of too hasty a reawakening. He concentrated his energies and tried to sit up slowly.

And failed. Something was holding him back, preventing him from any of the required movements. Looking down at his body, he realised that he was strapped to the bed around his neck and stomach. His arms and legs too were immobilised with the straps that he recognised as being part of the equipment to his operating table. The solidity of the cushion beneath him, so much more severe than the softness of his bed, confirmed that he was indeed laid out upon the table as though to be operated upon.

Then the looming, silver and metallic shape of Gladys, his household care robot, appeared next to him, beaming down with her best mechanical smile.

“Ah, you have awoken, Doctor Carver,” she said. “And how are we this morning?”

“Bloody awful,” replied Carver. “My head is splitting with this headache and now my arm hurts as though on fire. But why have you strapped me down like this?”

The robot had turned away from him to busy herself with a tray of instruments that now appeared next to her. “Still no improvement then,” she muttered, deep in her consideration of the implements. “It was clear that you needed attention, Doctor, and I was the only one in a position to see to your repair. You have been prepared for inspection on the operating table and I am ready to commence now.”

“What do you mean, repair?” A horrible suspicion had begun to seep into Carver’s awareness.

Gladys smiled again. “It’s alright, Doctor. I am more than the sum of my parts and know just what to do. I took copious notes when you repaired my damaged leg last week. Your arm should be off in a few moments and I can have it fixed very quickly in the workshop. And then we can have a look at that broken head of yours.”

Word count: 500
Weekly SCREAMS!!! 06.24.22
Prompt: The sum of its parts.

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