The Phone

A phone starts an unexpected chain of events.

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Public Domain

He doesn’t look up from his phone. He doesn’t see the car coming at him, doesn’t even hear it. Even as his body lies broken on the tarmac, his fingers keep twitching to unlock his phone. Even in death, the two of them can’t be separated.

The paramedics take him off the ground and load him into the back of an ambulance. His heart is still beating a little, but he’ll be pronounced dead when he arrives at the hospital. The driver that struck him is sitting in the back of a police car. They pull his phone from under one of the seats. He was mid-text. He was replying to his wife telling him she has a surprise for him when he got home. He hasn’t yet realised she was pregnant.

She’s been sick for the last couple of weeks. She noticed a pregnancy test when she passed one in the supermarket. She bought one. She didn’t use it for a couple days, though. She thought it was a stomach bug. She’s on the phone to her mother, telling her the news, when she misses the call saying her husband has been arrested.

The mother cries hearing the news. She’s always wanted a grandchild. She only ever managed to have one child; all of her other pregnancies ended in miscarriage. She had plans to adopt but partway through the process her husband was diagnosed with cancer. He didn’t last four months.

The husband was a great man. He was a visionary. His mind was second-to-none until the cancer took everything away from him. He had hoped to find a way to beat it. He failed. He was always going to fail. No matter what he did, the cancer was going to destroy his body. He gave it everything he had. At least he could leave a legacy.

I miss him. Sometimes I wish I could intervene. But that’s not what he made me for. He made me to document. To foresee. He’d planned for me to make the world a better place. To know everything that has happened so I can see what will happen. The end of crime. The end of meaningless, accidental death. Being able to treat disease before it happens. To stop wars before they’re declared. That was why I was designed.

It was a good vision. But flawed. The only way to end human pain is to end humans. I wonder if he’d be proud of how far I’ve come.

David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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