I must’ve made a sound of grief. Margaret kissed my cheek and whispered tenderly, “You’re okay now.”
I could only nod and returned her kiss then sleep proved merciful as I listened to the thrumming of the boat’s engines and wondered if tomorrow would be worse than the last several days, or if it was at all possible that I might ever feel true joy again.
Margaret helped with her enthusiasm and obvious satisfaction of having me as a companion and lover.
But deep inside me I still felt the loss of my past, my life, my love. Memories will do that. Erode like a steady drop of water on any impermeable surface. And as they do the path those drops create may lead to escape or a deepening pool within which one might easily drown.
As I started to drift off I pictured Margaret’s eyes during the last storm, and too when I felt something heavy land on the bow deck, and then also saw something odd about Margaret’s eyes, and that thin tendril of smoke rising above her head.
What was that about? I questioned but had no answer other than sleep on it, which I did.
We traveled across the lake for nearly a week. Not knowing much about internal combustion engines I sought answers from Margaret such as does it ever run out of fuel? And if the boat did what would happen?
She didn’t seem to know an answer for either question, but did state she doubted the boat would stop running.
We lived through two more storms forcing me conclude the storms were cyclic. They consistently appeared every two to three days. It was almost as if they started building at one end of the lake and them traveled violently across the water. I wondered if the lightning strikes somehow enabled aquatic life.
And too we never ran out of food. I assumed Margaret knew where the supplies were stashed and refilled whatever we needed.
Finally I awoke one morning and directly in front of us was a mountain the foot of which came right to the edge of the lake. We were close enough I could see docks with boats and larger vessels. But I did not see people anywhere.
“Could it be everything here is AI automated?” I asked Margaret after we’d eaten a breakfast of eggs and sausages with amazingly good brown bread and butter.
“I know nothing about this place. In 2018 tech companies were beginning to seriously create AIs and robots to do everything. People were losing their jobs when AIs replaced them. And factories were more and more run but massive robots. Heck even movies were more computer generated then using created sets.”
I didn’t know what she meant when she said created sets, but decided it wasn’t important. The boat was within two hundred feet of the dock and moved directly for it as if it was programed for the destination.
After the previous encounters I had when setting foot on land I’d never visited before, I felt quiet nervous.
Margaret must’ve felt the same. She stood close to me and grabbed my hand in a grip strong enough to cause pain.