Short Stories →

Family bonds

July 3, 2023

“Johnny, please.”

“I can’t, Meemaw… you know I can’t.”

He looks 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 has to fight hard to keep the tears from flowing. She’s the matriarch of the clan, and he has a duty to keep the family together. They both have 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 yells, switching the voice box off with his fist.

He stands 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 follow him as he walks out of the control room. He closes the thick door and leans against it, 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 keep following his every move. He can feel her, silently pleading behind those cold glass eyes.

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

The cameras silent stare following him… all the time.

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