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A Robot's Gift

A boy makes a new friend.

By Matthew DonnellonPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

The old house creaked as the boy’s grandparents walked up the stairs to his room. Neither of them was as quiet as they thought they were.

He had just moved in three days ago. They were still getting used to having someone in the house again.

“Owen?” his grandpa said, knocking gently on the door.

“I’m up,” Owen replied. He hadn’t been getting much sleep lately anyway.

His grandpa’s tall, thin frame appeared in the room and his much shorter grandma followed. They both sat on either side of him, the bed sagging a little with the extra weight. The bed was quite old. It had once been his father’s.

“Do you need anything, dear?” his grandma said. “We know it’s been hard.”

“Have you heard any more from the university?” Owen asked.

“No,” his grandpa said. “The department chair said that after the experiment…”

‘That the situation was still precarious?” Owen finished the sentence.

“Isn’t that a big word for someone so young?” his grandma asked.

“I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m intelligent for my age.”

His grandpa smiled, “Well that is certainly true,” the old man tousled the boy's hair.

His grandma kissed him on the top of the head and the two of them headed for the door. Just before they exited his small room, his grandpa turned, “Owen, they’re going to find out what happened to your parents.”

“I know Grandpa,” he said.

His grandpa flipped the switch and the room went dark.

Owen still sat up in his bed. He hadn’t wanted to sleep since he found out his parents were missing. It still didn’t seem real. The police and his parent’s co-workers from the physics department were at his grandparents when they brought him there, He was ushered from the room, but not before he heard them telling his grandparents about his parents’ experiment and how they just disappeared.

His bedroom lit up when a white flash came from the backyard.

200 years into the future.

Two people are in an all-white laboratory working furiously. Their clothes are rumpled as though he’d been sleeping in them and neither of them looked like any of the robotic beings near them.

“Do you have the calculations yet?” the man asked.

“No, it’s taking longer than I predicted,” the woman replied.

“We need to hurry. We need… we need…” he said.

“I know. We need to get back to Owen. He’s going to be so worried.”

They both turned to the glowing portal at the back of the lab. They spent their careers trying to open one. It was the basis of all their research—a passage to the future. But so far, it was only one way.

A small white robot zipped around the woman’s legs. He beeped repeatedly.

“What’s he saying?” the man asked. The small robot, named Kuri, was the first thing they saw when they landed in the future. He brought them to a lab and even though he was quite small, the little thing was astoundingly useful.

“He says my qualifications are correct. He’s run the information a hundred times. It’s accurate.”

“So we can calibrate the machine to get back to the exact time we left?” the man asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m plugging them in now.”

“But how do we enter the portal? Have figured out how to get around the other problem?” he asked. So far, the portal from this time wouldn’t let anything biological through the portal. Everything they’d seen in the future so far had been cybernetic.

“We need to let Owen and my parents know we’re okay.”

“Maybe we could send a message,” the woman said. The two of them searched for some type of recording device.

Suddenly, the little robot beeped repeatedly. His eyes opened wide as he tried to get his message across.

“He says he’ll deliver the message,” the woman said.

“Kuri? You’d do that for us?” the man asked.

A soft, blue light emanated from the robot’s center, and they determined it was a sign of affection.

“You’re wonderful, Kuri,” the man said. The little robot let out a series of beeps that had to be the robotic version of a blush.

The little robot rolled over to the portal.

The man and woman set the coordinates and were about to hit the activation button.

“Kuri are you sure?” the woman asked.

“Beep,” Kuri said, and his eyes smiled.

They hit the button and the little robot rolled into the portal which caused a white flash to fill the room.

Present Day

Owen crept to the back door after seeing the flash. At first, he didn’t think there was anything out there until he saw a small, white robot rolling around the yard.

“Hello?” Owen said.

The little robot rolled up to Owen, beeping excitedly.

"Who are you?” Owen asked, but Kuri just kept beeping.

Finally, he stopped. Kuri’s eyes momentarily changed.

In the future, Owen parent’s saw him on the monitor. They were crying and holding each other as they watched the images Kuri sent them.

Owen reached his hand out as though he was petting a dog. When he touched Kuri’s head, the little robot beeped again and rolled up next to the boy, nuzzling him. It was the closest thing to a hug the robot could do.

Kuri rolled back and suddenly he played a message.

Owen knew the voices immediately. He heard his mother talking.

“Owen. Owen, we’re so sorry. We didn’t mean to leave you. We’re doing everything we can to get back to you.”

Then his father said, “Son, this is Kuri. He helped us in the future and he volunteered to find you. He’s going to stay with you until we find a way back.”

“We love you, Owen,” they said together.

“Oh wow,” Owen said, staring at the little robot. “So you know my parents?”

“Beep, beep,” Kuri said and his blue light glowed.

“This is so cool. Grandma and Grandpa are never going to believe this,” and Owen turned to go in the house. The little robot stood still.

“Hey Kuri, come on,” Owen said. Kuri beeped excitedly and followed the boy. Owen and his new friend went into the house.

#KuriStory #HeyKuri

science fiction

About the Creator

Matthew Donnellon

Twitter: m_donnellon

Instagram: msdonnellonwrites

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