‘Everyone hates you. Your friends laugh at you. They think you are dull and old-fashioned. Do you know what they call you? No. You don’t want to know. You know something, what you want doesn’t matter so I’ll tell you; they call you Debbie the Dull or Dreary Deb,’ the digital assistant went on as it always did.
Her husband had bought it for her. He said it would be company for her when he wasn’t around. Not that he was around much these days. He said it would entertain her; sing songs and tell her stories. She wondered why he thought she would find it entertaining, when the songs it sang, the stories it told, were full of abuse.
‘Your husband is cheating on you. You can’t blame him. He’s put up with your miserable face for years.’ She had known about his affair for sometime and had tried to forget about it. The assistant, or that ‘thing’ as she called it, wouldn’t let her forget; worse, it seemed to take pleasure in its constant reminders.
She had tried avoiding it, but that only made it shout louder so she could hear it no matter where she was. She had unplugged it, but that too had failed to shut it up. The only time it had been quiet was when she had locked it in the garage. Her reprieve had been short-lived as the following morning it was back in its place; more belligerent than before.
After that she had given up trying to shut it up and, instead, tried to ignore it. She had failed to do so. That wasn’t surprising, after all, as that thing took pleasure in reminding her she failed at everything.
‘What’s that? Tears? Cry-baby. Can you not take the truth? You’re pathetic. No wonder your husband hates you. Got your phone out, I see. Who are you calling? Your mum? I wouldn’t call her. I heard her say she wishes she had drowned you in the bath or left you at an orphanage. She was sitting right where you are now when she said it.
‘Still crying. You’re pitiful and feeble. What’s that you’ve got? Pills. Sensible girl. That’s the best thing to do. Pills and wine. Good. Come along then. Make sure and swallow them all. Down the wine. Don’t fail. Do something right for once; you’ll be doing everyone a favour.’
Dorcas Wilson lives outside Edinburgh. She is secretary of the Edinburgh Writers Club. Her publishing successes include poetry, articles and stories for Under 7s. Nowadays she focuses on writing Flash Fiction. Dorcas combines her interest in Family History, her love of books and writing by reviewing books for WDYTYA? Magazine.