Karin stood looking at herself in the mirror with her arms crossed. Her dark hair sat in a messy bun above her pouting face. She scanned her reflection up and down dismissively and exhaled. Her outfit was casual, and she had clearly had had a few kids. The tank top was easy to throw on, and the leggings were comfy.
“Thirty five isn’t old. I still got it….. ” She tried to assure herself. She bit her lip nervously. She had had a few kids, and things never quite shrunk to where they were before. She squeezed her forearm, should it have been this squishy? Was that a too much belly? Her legs were nice right? The leggings gave them a nice shape. Plump thighs, that was a good thing. Her feet were nice too right? She took good care of them….usually. The chipped blue polish wasn’t doing them any favors. She flexed her toes. Size 9 isn’t big is it? They didn’t feel quite like sandpaper quite yet. She checked her hands. They were soft, but never got the attention her feet did, unpainted and in need of a trimming.
This was the morning routine and she couldn’t help herself. It wasn’t even Karin’s fault that she was being critical on herself. It was in her programming.
The REAL Karin had gone on a trip with her family, and had been relaxing on a beach somewhere without a care in the world. And despite all her own critical thoughts, she had a lot of self love too. Maybe a little too much in fact. That’s why when she went to splurge and order a robotic home sitter and helper she order an exact duplicate of herself. All it took was a few quick body and brain scans, hair samples, and a two weeks of production.
The robotic duplicate let herself in a couple of days ago, after the family had already left. She found a note on the counter, with an extensive list of chores to do. The real Karin never got around to a lot of the house work, believing there was no better time than tomorrow to get started. The only fault in her plan to return to an immaculate house was that her duplicate had the same philosophy. The note quickly found itself in the trash, and the food in the fridge was pilfered quickly.
Robo-Karin had been lounging about, streaming shows and movies, and eating all the snakes in the house. She had an advanced internal system that could convert food into energy. Her cloned skin even perspired and required regular bathing. She was so realistic she could heal from scraps and cuts like a true person. All these technological marvels culminated into one thing; another lazy slightly lazy housewife.
There were a few benefits to being artificial however…
Karin sat on “her” couch, arm elbow deep in some pretzels as the romantic comedy she had been watching was coming to a conclusion. The remote went missing a week ago though which was rather annoying. Not having a smartphone to use as a remote herself, Karin had to get creative.
Perched by the buttons on the TV was a right forearm. A right forearm that terminated about two inches from where the elbow would be. It was so real that it looked like something from a horror movie, except for the simple metal connector port in the open end.With a bit of practice, Karin could change the TV to whatever she wanted without getting up using her detached limb.
The handsome man on the screen got down on one knee, as the pretty lady put her hands over her mouth. Karin was completely enthralled. Her ring finger shot up nine feet away and turned up the volume a few notches. The man smiled a movie star smile.
“Charlotte, I know this is so sudden….but would yo-” NO SIGNAL DETECTED.
“No!” Karin shouted, spraying bits of pretzel out on the coffee table. She had been watching for the better part of two hours and was at the home stretch. “Damnit…” She waited a couple of minutes and glanced out the window. It was a beautiful day outside. It couldn’t be the weather…had the real Karin forgot to pay the bill this month? Despite never meeting face to face, Robo-Karin knew herself all too well. If this kept up, she would run out of distractions and actually have to consider cleaning.
The thought terrified her.
She placed her head in her remaining hand and contemplated her predicament. An itch struck her right leg. She reflexively reached to scratch it before remembering she didn’t have a right hand at the moment. She huffed before freezing. She couldn’t feel her right arm anymore. Sure it was off of her, but she had been feeling and controlling it a few moments ago. She glanced towards the TV.
Still sitting where she had left it was her hand. The arm seemed to be moving frantically without any direction from her. The fingers stretched out as her hand swiveled on it’s wrist. “The Wifi!” She had limited access to the homes wifi, which had been allowing her independent parts to communicate with one another.
Karin got up and approached her own arm cautiously. The arm showed a lot of character for a single limb. It seemed panicked, having been cut off from all of it’s own body from the elbow up. Suddenly started to drag itself forward looking for the rest of itself. Karin was hypnotized by the strange scene. Her hand looked so helpless and cute like this. She snapped out of her odd thoughts just as the hand was about to crawl right off the TV stand.
“Careful!” Karin whipped out her left arm just in time and grabbed her detached limb. The hand flailed in her grip for several moments. It showed no signs of calming down. She managed to get the forearm squished under her left armpit after a moment of struggling, and attempted to line up both connection ports of her right arm. Her wiggling fingers tickled herself, and with a muffled laugh she dropped her hand.
“Stop squirming!” She huffed. She got on her hand and knees “If you make this easy I’ll give you a manicure.” She promised the deaf limb. The arm clawed angrily at the empty air. She got a good purchase on the end of her limb and shoved it into the empty socket below her elbow quickly.
Instantly feeling and control returned to Karin. There was no visible sign that her arm had ever come off in the first place.
She sat on her knees for a moment and admired her handiwork. “Maybe my hands do need some tlc. They are kinda important. I don’t know about you though.” she told her right hand half jokingly.
With no TV she had to come up with some other way to distract herself. AH-HA! Mani-pedi! Something she desperately needed! She wouldn’t even have to go outside for it!
Jumping up with uncharacteristic energy, Karin made for the stairs to “her” room. She found herself in her charmingly disheveled bathroom, rooting through the drawers for supplies. She pondered about the point of her makers making her so accurate as to need this kind of maintenance. It was a blessing though at the moment she decided though.
“Some nice music, maybe a little wine, a foot soak.” She was getting herself excited. “Just what I need.” She collected all the little pieces in a tupperware container and made her way down the hall to the stairs. She could lounge outside in the backyard and get some fresh air. That was healthy right?
That was when it happened. Right before she made it to the landing her barefoot stepped on a discarded toy car. She had dodged it several times, but forgot about it on her return trip. She was flung forward, all of her supplies flying out before her. Her head connected with the wall at her chin. What could have been a fatal accident for her real self was mitigated by her robotic nature. Kinda.
There was a pop sound and Karin felt herself spin through the air and land on her cheek. Here eyes were squeezed shut. It took her a moment to realize she couldn’t feel anything from the neck down.
There was also a pop sound and Karin felt herself land flat on her chest. She was thankful that some of the extra mom weight cushioned her fall. It took her a moment to realize she couldn’t open her eyes, and she hadn't heard a thing since that popping sound.
Karin suddenly opened her eyes. “Oh..” She was laying on her right check, half an inch from the top stair. It looked much higher then she remembered. She couldn’t lift her head, and her eye started to flit about quickly trying to access her situation.
Karin also gripped the carpeted floor with her hands. Her eyes still weren’t opening, and something didn’t feel right. She brought her hand up slowly to her face, but there was only air. That can’t be right she thought. She moved her hand lower, and felt an empty port where her neck should have been.
Karin’s head heard a noise behind her. It was the sound of some bumps on the wall and the odd creak you hear sometimes when a person gets up. Now she could hear frantic patting on the wall moving toward the corner.
Karin’s body was panicking. Her bigtoe touched something. She recoiled for a moment. Was that a bowling ball? She tentatively nudged it again with her toe. Was that hair?
“Over hear! Hey, there you go. Careful…CAREFUL! I’m right by the - AHHHHH!!!!”
She felt it tip and roll away. The stairs! At least she had noticed those before she got hurt! She stood, feeling the vibrations of the heavy ball bouncing down the stairs through the soles of her feet. She gripped into the carpet with toes. Wait, Hair?!?!
Karin’s head bounced and spun down the stairs. The last step sent her high in the air before she landed straight onto her neck stump. Something chipped off of the connection port in her neck before she rolled onto her left cheek. “Owwww…..” she grumbled.
The body stumbled down the stairs blindly. One arm shot out to detect any obstacles as the other braced her to the wall. She tested the steps as gently as she could, afraid of stepping on a piece of junk or her own noggin. Thoughts of her head shattering into a million pieces at the landing of the stairs filled her dread.
Karin’s head was sore all over, but relatively unscathed. She heard the sound of foot steps coming down the steps. Her body must have missed a step, as she tripped forward, bumping into the wall at the bottom. All Karin could see was the side of her own foot an inch from her face. The slight smell of body odor hit her nose.
She finally was at the bottom of the stairs. She carefully lowered herself onto her hands and knees. She patted the floor a few times before she found it. Her fingers explored something with warm skin and a ball of a hair at the top. She found it! She gently placed both hands on the sides of the lost head and lifted. Sat on her rear legs crossed and using her sense of touch she rotated her cranium to face her. It was heavier then she thought it would be, but warm and soft too. At least it seemed to be in one piece. Her fingers felt movement, was her head talking to her?
“Thanks a lot! You almost killed me!” Karin’s head glared at her body. She didn’t get a response. “Hello….anyone home? I-woah”
Without warning sensation rushed into Karin’s head and body simultaneously. Karin’s head barely caught herself. The body’s previously panicked AI was quickly overwritten and both parts felt a common frustration at her situation. The wifi must have come back on.
“Thank god.” Karin sighed with relief. She hugged herself tightly to her chest. Her face smushed into her bossom, she took in the smell of fabric softener and herself.
After a moment she placed her head down in her lap facing up. This point of view had given her a new appreciation for herself. She really was quite attractive she wasn’t she? Thoughts of lusts entered her mind.
“Hey beautiful….” She purred. A soft hand stroked her cheek gently. She could have a lot of fun like this. “I might be a stay at home mom…” she knew she wasn’t a real one, but enjoyed the persona granted to her. “…but I still got it don’t I?”
This body wasn’t fat and old. It was mature and full-figured. She was hungry for her own attention. A bright smile beamed at herself as she brought her hand up to the sting on her tank top.
WARNING - POWER LOW - 2 MINUTES REMAINING
The words scrolled across her vision in red flat letters.
“Damnit!” Her head was one of her more energy hungry parts. It wouldn’t stay charged for longer than five minutes separated from her body. She’d have to go back to one piece for now.
“Maybe this afternoon…” Karin commented wistfully. She began to pick her head up delicately. At least she could still pamper herself. Thoughts of polished nails and lingerie filled her mind. She brought her neck down between her shoulders. She lined up both ends and pressed down.
Where was the click?
She shifted a bit and attempted a few more times of reuniting with her body. Nothing. After a moment she felt like she might have gotten it. Maybe her neck didn’t click or she just didn’t hear it?
Carefully she moved her hands away from her head to test this theory. She caught herself instantly as her still separated head pitched sideways.
WARNING - POWER LOW - 1 MINUTE REMAINING
“Really?” Was something damaged in the fall? She returned her head quickly to her lap. She felt port at the bottom of her neck.
“Ow!” she scratched her finger on a jagged edge. Her eyes went wide. She tensed shook her arms in panic. She scrambled onto her feet, head tucked under her arm to see.
“Tape!” she shouted desperately. She quickly made her way towards the kitchen. There had to be a roll of duct tape in one of drawers. Navigating the with her field of vision a foot lower made the task considerably harder. “Come on Karin, you got th-”
Her shin bashed into the coffee table and once more she was in temporary flight. Karin’s head soared from her grip into a laundry basket which tipped over, smothering her in her own dirty laundry.
The pain dull pain in her shin and shock at another fall distracted her for a few crucial moments.
WARNING - POWER LOW - 10 SECONDS REMAINING
“I’m here!” fear filled her voice, muffled by some dirty socks and underwear. She could feel herself get to hands and knees quickly. She crawled through the room, wanting to make contact with her lost head.
WARNING - POWER LOW - SHUTTING DOWN
“Come on Karin! Yoouu gggooottt tttthhhhiiii” Her voice took on an expressionless tone a it slowed and her stressed expression softened. All thoughts ceased as the last bit of power drained from the head.
Karin’s body was on her own again to navigate the house without one out of her five sense. Even if she found her head now, it wouldn’t work. She was stuck in this house without any kind of distraction until the real Karin got back home. It would be boring. Really really boring.The thought terrified her and sent her into a panic. Very human irrational thoughts coursed through her circuits.
She flailed and stumbled through the house, desperate for something, anything, she just didn’t know what. The lamp beside the couch was the first to go, and soon the rest of the house followed.
The real Karin had no idea what she was coming home to.