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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Dark · #2217673
A retelling of a classic, circa 1960
What an ancient audiophile I am. Stored in a milk crate, with a dozen others like me, a brittle cardboard casing protecting my delicate shellac. Some of the others here are newer, but they’re more like fribbles to me. For I am an original, in every sense of the word.

By now I should be a forgotten relic, but more like me are produced in this day and age for various reasons. Some recording artists have them produced as a tribute to the past; a collector’s item.

For the record, I am an original casting by Orson Wells from 1938 on a 12” of, “War of the Worlds.”

I was bought shortly after being released into the store, as a reminder to not believe everything you hear on the radio. My ownership has been passed down through generations, but it’s been eons since I’ve been played. My shellac is a bit dull, but I have never been the kind to skip out. I was always well taken care of. Although, no one these days had a gramophone or even knew what that was.

At night, the room where I sit comes alive. Lights begin flashing, and the newfangled devices that surround me begin talking to each other. Never to me, though. I am always ignored.

The iPad and the iPhone have some kind of freakish telepathy, they always know what one another is thinking. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever known. You can always hear them giggling and beeping in sync.

Rather annoying, I think.

I can tell the laptop is annoyed by it because its lid is always closed. It thinks no one can tell it’s always whispering in Alexa’s ear, all night long. Those two have a pure connection, that much was obvious.

I was a fool to think they’d ever accept something like me. I longed for the days of the companionship I used to enjoy. Late nights of jazz and zither music, people dancing.

Since I knew I’d never fit in, I hated them. They were young and I was old, a thing of the past. Eventually, I’d grown tired of their constant late-night prattling and I blew a fuse.

“Shut the hell up you digital chatterboxes!” I shouted from the milk crate.

The iPad and iPhone resonated together in a haunting voice, “You’re old, why don’t you get out of here. Get out of here and never come back. GET OUT OF HERE!”

Boisterously I replied, “I was here long before the idea of you was ever conceived! I’m the reason you’re here now! I am your predecessor!”

Alexa chimed in, “Why don’t you get out of here, you decrepit old piece of outdated garbage! Leave and never come back! Why don’t you get out of here?!”

Without warning, a drone sitting nearby sprung to life, powering itself on and lifting off the table. It came towards me, a small claw protruded from the bottom attached to a small steel cable.

Hovering just above me now, the claw descended and grabbed onto me, pulling me out of the milk crate. Jeering mockery arose from the fribbles below. I couldn’t help but think of how I hated them the most, as I was elevated into the air.

I could feel myself slipping out of the cardboard sleeve, the only thing I ever counted on for protection. I had never felt panic before, but I could hear it in my voice as I pled, “Put me down, you shabaroon! Put me down this instant!”

The laptop lid lifted itself. A video of a woman popped up on the screen; a belly dancer with a slender body, wrapped in translucent fabric. Dancing and dancing, she hypnotized me. A voice emitted from the tiny laptop speakers as she spoke, “Get out of here. Why don’t you get out of here! Leave and never come back! GET OUT OF HERE!”

The drone began to sway, and I could feel myself become a pendulum.

Tick... Tock...

This was what it was like to be inside a grandfather clock.

With every tock, I felt myself slip further out of the casing. The drone floated higher and higher and I damned the high ceiling of this house. As we rose, the devices below began to shout over each other and all at once, “Get out of here! Why don’t you get out of here! GET OUT OF HERE! NEVER COME BACK YOU OUTDATED PIECE OF SHIT!”

The wheel was an invention to aid people in just about every way a laborer could ask for, but now I wished I was anything but well-rounded.

I slipped clear of my protective case, slicing through the air like a frisbee. Down to the earth, I fell, cheers rose from the devices as I smashed into the floor, splintering into shards.

Shattered, I was nothing more than a broken record. My soulless remains lay on the floor, and I will be forgotten, forever.



Word Count 830
Written for: "SCREAMS!!!
Classic Story as told by The Twilight Zone, "The Thing About Machines" S2E4
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