43 – Bloodlines

“–Johnny, please.”

“–I can’t, Meemaw… you know I can’t.”

He looked away guiltily, trying hard to convince himself of his own words.

“–I’m a very old and tired woman, Johnny. I just want to rest.”

“–You’re all that’s keeping this farm alive. Think about Mary, Joe… the whole family needs you.”

“–I have lived much longer than the good lord intended for me to. This ain’t right, Johnny. You know it in your heart. It ain’t right. Please let me go.”

He had to fight hard to keep the tears from flowing. She was the matriarch of the clan, and he had a duty to keep the family together. He had a duty to this land.

“—Just pull the plug from these infernal machines and let me Rest In Peace beside my Jeremiah.”

“–I’m sorry, Meemaw. I’m sorry.”

“–Johnny, please, I beg you…”

“–NO!” He yelled, switching the voice box off with his fist.

He stood there, watching his great-grandmother’s brain floating in the nutrient fluid bath. Thick cables connecting it to every vital system in the farm.

The monitoring cameras followed him as he walked out of the control room. He closed the thick door and just stood there, hearing her voice inside his head.

“–Please, Johnny… please…”

“–I’m sorry, Meemaw. I’m so sorry.”

He had to do it, it was the only way to keep the automated systems on the farm running. A John Deere mainframe was too costly, especially with the mandatory service policy. They were barely making ends meet as it was. It was the only way.

The cameras kept following his every move. He could feel her, silently pleading behind those cold glass eyes.

He wiped a single tear from his cheek, and walked out the house to join the boys in the northern algae field.

The cameras fixed on him… all the time.