Friday! This is a last excerpt before the drawing on Sunday. Still time to leave me a message if you'd like a chance to win a signed copy of Tales From Imagination's Closet. Leave me a message here or on my Facebook page.
Today's exerpt is from the book and its about Henry Ratcliff-- a man on trial for the murder of his robot (AI) family.
Murder~ of the Future
The spectators in the courtroom sat silently. The chair legs
screeched against the hard wood floor as Henry pushed
backwards and rose from his seat. He calmly walked to the front
of the room to take the stand in his own defense. He cleared his
throat and raised his right hand. Beads of sweat formed on his
balding scalp and shimmered under the luminous lights.
“Do you swear to tell the truth...” the Bailiff’s voice droned
on, “so help you God?”
“Yes, I do.”
Henry Ratcliff’s attorney, Larry Rice, paced in front of him,
his hands folded in the small of his back. “Mr. Ratcliff, did you
murder your wife and two children?”
Henry cleared his throat. “No, I did not. I only disassembled
“Mr. Ratcliff, please explain to us why you believe you are
not guilty of murder.” Larry glared at the jurors.
“I didn’t kill anyone. I only disabled and took apart the AI
family that I purchased some twelve years ago. They were only
Gasps floated throughout the room.
The judge banged his gavel three times before the room
Larry took his seat. “I have no more questions, Your Honor.”
“Your witness, Prosecutor Kamen...” The judge motioned for
him to come forward.
Henry studied the prosecutor. Kamen's hair was perfect.
Each strategically placed strand and his flawless skin, almost
doll-like, told Henry that he was one of them.
Kamen uncovered an easel that sat in front of the courtroom.
A huge crime scene photo showed several sizes of limbs sticking
out of a cardboard box. “Mr. Ratcliff is this what detectives
discovered in your basement after neighbors reported your wife
and children missing?”
“Yes,” Henry whispered.
“Speak up, please.”
“Yes, yes it is,” Henry’s voice escalated.
“So, you dismembered your family, removed their memory
chips rendering them unable to live, and shoved them into a
cardboard box?” Kamen strutted in front of the jury using over
exaggerated hand gestures as he spoke. “Then Sir, did you hide
this box in the basement of your house?”
“No!” Henry jumped up. “They were only robots. I, I didn’t
need them anymore. I met Janice, a real flesh and blood woman,
don’t you see? I wasn’t lonely anymore, I found human
companionship.” Henry sat down and covered his face.
“Mr. Ratcliff, I am an AI. So, if I feel you aren’t needed, can I
murder you because you are different than I?”
“No, or course not. I’m a human being, flesh and blood. I
have feelings… emotions.”
“I’m sure the AI’s here today would agree that we are more
than mere robots. Yes, we have artificial intelligence, but we
have also evolved, and now possess the same emotions as
human beings.” Kamen stopped in front of Henry. “So, I ask you
again, Mr. Ratcliff, are you guilty of murder?”
“No, I did not kill anyone, they can be brought back, but a
Kamen stood in front of the jury box. “That’s where you’re
wrong. Lucy, Tommy, and little Ellen cannot be brought back. As
our computer specialist explained earlier, once you’ve taken out
their memory chips they can’t be replaced. Yes, some of their
parts can be recycled, but your family will never live again.”
Henry whispered to the judge, “Your Honor, I didn’t kill
anyone. Please, you’ve got understand–”
“That’ll be up the jury, not me.”
Kamen took his seat. “The prosecution rests, Your Honor.”
After two more witnesses testified to about the kindness of
Henry and the closing arguments, the judge gave the jury their
instructions and sent them to deliberate.
The officer shackled Henry’s arms and legs before leading
him back to his cell. As he awaited his fate, he asked the guard if
he could have a book on new laws. Henry was unfamiliar with
this Eye for an Eye law they were trying him under.
The guard brought the book and slid it through the cell bars.
“Here ya go.”
“Thank you.” Henry whispered.