“Another p-pancake, sweetheart?”
Jordan swallowed against the lump in his throat and eked out a smile. “No thank you, um…mother.”
“Y-you sure? You’re not yet t-twelve. A growing boy needs nourishment,” her voice sang. “I made your f-favorite, chocolate chip. You’ve loved those since you were a t-toddler, remember?”
Her mechanical grin made Jordan’s insides grimace.
“It’s fine,” his father, Carl, said. “I need to get the kids to school anyhow.” Carl’s brow creased as he looked at Jordan’s younger sibling, Sissy.
“They were…erm…good,” Sissy said. “Thanks.” She bit her lip. “Mother.” The third grader stood and shouldered her pack, followed by her brother and dad.
“We’ll see you after school.” Carl hesitated then leaned in to give Mother a kiss, cold metal against his lips.
“Bye!” Mother waved. “Maybe this weekend we can go to the F-fun Park like we did when the kids were l-little.”
Carl and the kids mumbled a goodbye as they stepped outside in silence.
Once they were out of earshot, Jordan turned to his dad. “Do we have to keep her? She’s weird. And she thinks she’s known us our whole lives. This has been the longest six months of my life. None of my other friends have a Mother like her.”
Carl frowned. “Give it a little more time, kids.” He looked back at her as she stood on the front porch, her smile frozen in place. His gaze drifted to the sign attached to her side, the one that read Artificial Intelligence. Brown & Company. “In the meantime, try to be nice.
“After all, she thinks she’s alive. It wouldn’t be fair to tell her she’s not.”
©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017