art by Ron Sanders
Amanda Who Went Before
by Rebecca L. Brown
He shifted in his sleep. His growling snores reduced down almost to a sigh. A whisper. Wordless--although maybe if she leaned in close she'd understand. A whispered monologue of dreaming.
Amanda wondered how it felt to sleep. How it would feel to close her eyes then, eight or ten hours later, open them again and keep on living as if it hadn't even happened.
"Like before you came here," Mark had told her. She had nodded, although she'd been with him so long now that she barely remembered what came before.
"It just fades away, replaced by one of Compandro's sixty two pre-written backstories or whatever custom history you provide them with." The blonde haired salesman on the adverts said that.
"Can we get one?" Amanda had asked--it told her somewhere in her programming to ask him that, although she knew. Although she still remembered.
Mark had smiled. "Maybe." He'd said. No, not smiled; smirked. Amanda who had come before had hated the Companions. Over-programmed sex dolls, she had called them. Mark had left that out when he had given her her story--though he'd mentioned it from time to time to friends when he had thought she wasn't listening.