The Corrupted Series, by R.D.Jess
She slipped the key in the lock. The keys jingled as her hands shook. The latch clicked and she quickly pulled herself inside. Once the door closed behind her, Gwen slid to the ground and slumped like a rag doll. She wanted to cry, but no tears came. “Why do I always do this?” Heat flared through her body. She looked up and whispered into the unknown. Anger just on the edge of her tongue. “Why do I always make a fool of myself?” The words from that afternoon still rung in her head. At the time she was just trying to be silly. Who was she kidding? She sounded like a complete fool. Who freaks out when a guy touches her hand! Gwen buried her head in her hands, wishing to forget everything.
Finding her resolve, Gwen pulled herself off the floor. Walked across the room to the kitchen and placed the keys in a bowl. She kept telling herself that it didn’t bother her. Her retina screen lit up with a bright warning. “Lie detected” , ignoring it she went to work on making dinner. She turned on music trying to convince herself that she was fine. Gwen reached for the pan. Then a jolt of electricity went up her spine. She lost her grip and screamed in pain. The pan clanked on the ground. Her retina screen lit up with thousands of images and sounds. She waited for the information to clear. She held onto the counter until the small electrical shocks stopped.
Once cleared she began working again. Her audio interface repeated the words “He touched my hand!”. Gwen cringed inside, wondering if Cleo did too. Did Cleo think she was being serious? She was trying to be funny, although it probably had a hint of truth to it. She was sounding more and more like a boy crazed girl every day. It was so embarrassing. Her retina lit up again. This time flashing red, alerting her to the increased heat. Gwen tried to take a breath to calm it down, but her system started to go on the fritz. Several flashes of memory invaded her retina interface. Showing one picture after another, while replaying over and over different recorded conversations. She shouted and clung to her head. “Stop, I don’t want to see this anymore. I don’t want to think these thoughts. Please maker, please take them away!” Her body jerked as sparks flew from her joints. All the while her programming warned her with bright red lights. “System Corrupted… Please remove the virus.” A deep cold set into her mainframe. Gwen collapsed to the floor. Curled up with her hands over her head. She began to shout “Stop, please stop!” Electricity started to pulse throughout her entire body. It felt like it went on for hours, but it consumed her for only a few minutes. Once it was over she laid there weeping.
“Why do you allow this to keep happening, Maker? I don’t want to be doing this anymore.” Her hand twitched and she watched a spark fly up her arm. Gwen pushed herself up, her whole body was shaking. One hand pressed against her head, while using the other hand to brace herself on the counter. There was a knock at the door. Seeing that she didn’t lock the door she shouted for the person to come in.
“Gwen, are you okay? I heard some noises from your room.” He walked across the room to her. “I’m fine, William, it’s just my mainframe acting up.” William pulled Gwen’s hand off her head.
“Let me see” He popped the hatch and smoke cleared the head cavity. “Yeah, that doesn’t look good. I have a replacement in my apartment. Do you want me to grab it for you?”
“No William, although that is nice of you. I think it’s about time I go to see the Maker.” He closed the hatch.
“You’re kidding me right? You don’t actually think the Maker will help you do you?”
“What do you mean? Of course He will.”
“I mean, that’s just an old way of doing things. We have advanced so much in society we don’t need to lean on our imagination of a God for some false hope?”
Gwen turned off the flame on the stove then turned back to William. “ I believe He’s real.”
“Of course you do, it’s your truth. Take my advice you can serve your God, but I don’t think He cares if you get a few upgrades. You always say He’s a loving God, wouldn’t a loving God want you to be happy?”
“He cares for me, but that’s not the way…”
“I’m just saying Gwen, you might want to reconsider your thinking… If you ever change your mind I can hook you up with some good deals.” He patted Gwen’s shoulder then walked out. She stood still thinking. Part of her wanted to just take William up on his offer. The other part of her knew it was wrong. Audio played again in her interface. Reminding her of all the stupid things she’s ever said. Images crossed her vision, reminding her everything she wished she never saw. Gwen felt so ashamed, so useless. All the things she wished she never did, hung like a guillotine over her head. She sat down on the floor, leaning against the couch. Gwen whispered into the unknown. “I wish I could have a fresh start. A chance to do it all over again.” Now she was faced with that option. “It would be so easy to take a new mainframe from William.”
She thought, “Give in and accept who I am like everyone else, or I could choose to change. This battle sucks to fight. As the virus tries to corrupt every part of me. It seems like a losing battle.”
Electricity flowed through her body, and sparks began to fly. She wanted to give into the hopelessness. She wanted to stop fighting. Her audio and video system kicked in. Playing a scene from her childhood. When an old woman told her, “I’m going to the Maker, He will take care of me.” In response was her young small voice, saying “He makes Mrs. Anners feel no pain?” The old woman’s face was still clear in her head. The woman was happy, not afraid. The woman was on her deathbed and she greeted it like a long lost friend. Old Bonnie Anners looked down at her and said.
“Yes, He makes me feel no pain.” That was the answer Gwen needed. She wanted that peace, and she only saw it in those who served the Maker.
Gwen grabbed her keys from the bowl and ran out the door. She didn’t know if His shop would be open, but she had to try. If anyone knew what was wrong with her, it had to be the Maker. She ran past all the shops, sliding to a holt. A crowd gathered in front of the Makers shop. People held signs reading “leave us!” , “He’s a fake.” And “Don’t believe the lies, you make your own truth.” People shouted “we don’t believe your lies, leave us today!” Gwen stumbled backwards as people started chucking rocks at the shop.
They kept hitting with a thud, but the glass didn’t break. Her retina alerted her saying “Danger.” She thought that was the stupidest alert she had ever read. Obviously she was in danger. She was trying to see someone that the whole city seemed to hate. If they hated Him, imagine what they would do to her. A pulse of electricity went up her spine. She needed Him! Another rock hit the shop. Her fans slowed and heat raced through her body. The shop’s front door opened. Flashing lights sparked across her vision. The crowd hissed, “look who decided to show His face!” Gwen’s screen played thousands of images and sounds. The electricity consumed her body. She crumbled to the floor, screaming. All went silent, then darkness flooded her vision.
System reboot typed across her retina screen. Then a soft whir echoed in her ears. Gwen’s vision focused on a face. Slowly followed by the sound of his words. “It’s okay, I’m here Gwen”. His face moved from a blur to a clear image. The Maker was holding her in his arms, carrying her towards the shop. The crowd was silent and they began to despers, leaving their signs on the ground. The shop door closed behind them. Gwen was placed in a chair behind the desk. He looked down at her and said “why are you seeking me?”
Her eyes welled up with tears and she choked on her words. “Because I know you can fix me.”
He smiled and said, “then you have more faith than most.” He cupped her head in his hands. “Let’s work on your mainframe.” He popped the compartment on her forehead. Sparks flew and smoke filled the head cavity. “ I will have to work on your mainframe while it’s still in your head. It’s going to feel weird, but it’s the only way.” He pulled a few tools out of a drawer and collected a few parts. The Maker sat next to her and leaned over. He began pulling out the broken fragments. Gwen kept staring into his eyes. Wanting to ask him a question, but having a million reasons why she shouldn’t. He stopped working for a moment and looked her in the eyes.
“What’s your question? I know you have one.” Her mouth gaped at those words. How? but then again she already knew how he knew. He was her creator, of course He knew.
“I, um… I was wondering why I struggle with my thoughts. There are horrible things that plague my mind. I wish they would disappear. I prayed for you to take them away. I thought you would take them away but you didn’t. I just don’t understand why my mind feels split into two. Why do I still struggle with the old me? I want to be perfect, but I’m not.
He nodded his head, “You struggle because you’re trying to make yourself holy. You’re not letting me, make you holy”
“What do you mean?”
“Gwen, you want to be perfect but you’re missing the important part. You are missing me. To let me do all the work. You are not going to be all you want to be overnight. Who you want to become is going to take a while. You’re fighting the virus and looking more like my original design. That takes time with me, not some glorified right and wrong.”
“I want this battle to be over. It hurts too much Maker.”
“May I ask you a question? Do you remember the great corruption?”
“Well Gwen, let me further explain. I created everything that you know and see. I created a lot of wonderful creatures, but one in particular I made in my image. Then one day your ancestors decided to create their own ideas of right and wrong. Their rebellion created a virus in the whole system. Each generation was filled with corrupted malware. That’s what you’re dealing with. Your mainframe is struggling with what you were created for and the virus running through your system. One day I will have something in place that will completely repair the corruption.”
Gwen let out a breath, and the Maker continued, “You know my character, you have seen what I have done in your life and the lives of others. Trust me Gwen, I love you. I do not wish for you to suffer.” The Maker closed her head compartment and lifted her from the chair. “Trust me to restore you. All you need to do is keep showing up at my door.” Gwen clung to the Maker with a tight hug.
“There is no other place I would rather turn to.” As Gwen walked home, she was pleased to not have violent images and cringy phrases playing in her head. Instead she had the last words of the Maker playing in her head saying “I want to tell you one more thing Gwen. Cleo didn’t think you were crazy, nor do I. Remember I created you, please do not disgrace my creation. You are precious to me.” Every time it replayed in her head she felt warm and safe. She felt loved and nothing like the fool she felt like earlier that day. She walked in her apartment and slid to the ground with the widest smile on her face.
(The next part of the corrupted series will release February 22nd)