A Remarkably Accurate Machine

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by K. Kylyra Ameringer

What should he do? What should he do? Relief flooded through him as he heard the soft click of the front door closing behind him.

"Oh, Sandra, my dear," he said, turning with tears in his eyes. He choked on his next words as the masked figure in black leveled a pistol at him.

"Sit down!"

Reggie sank breathlessly into his chair. The figure sidled towards the life clock, the pistol aimed at Reggie's head. A gloved finger reached out to change the display. The LED screen flashed to fourteen seconds, and counting.

The figure stood, and smirked at Reggie. "A remarkably accurate machine, don't you think?" The pistol fired.

"What is it? What is it? Let me through!" Sandra Parker struggled against uniformed officers and idle bystanders. One officer barred her way. "Let me through, this is my house!" she said.

"Mrs. Parker? Mrs. Sandra Alice Parker?" he asked.

"Yes, I'm Mrs. Parker. Where's my husband? What's happened?" Her voice began to rise to hysterics.

"I'm sorry, ma'am," the officer said slowly. "It seems your husband surprised a burglar. Your husband's been shot, ma'am. I'm afraid...he's been killed."

Sandra Parker looked at him with wide eyes and pushed her way past him into her home. The house was torn apart; glass figurines and lamps smashed, furniture overturned. The uniformed officer followed her in.

"Ma'am," he said, "I don't think you should be here right now. Ma'am," he gently took her by the elbow. She kept staring at the blood-stained chair. "Come on, Mrs. Parker, this isn't something you want to see."

Sandra Parker shook her head mutely. The blood in the room registered in her mind only distantly, like the cigarette smoke of the investigative team looking for clues. Only one thing burned into her awareness with amazing clarity. It was the life clock display. It kept flashing zero point zero zero seconds. Zero point zero zero seconds...

A Remarkably Accurate Machine by K. Kylyra Ameringer


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