Machine Learning by Sylvia Heike

I know Ayla misses him—the husband she lost. Wishes he were here instead of me. In his image, I was created. Beneath the skin she touches, craves, I’m gold and wires and a neural network of signals and impulses, trying to be what she needs.

She says my name. I call her my sweetest, my darling, my only one. She rests her head against me. I hold her close. Her whole body trembles as she creates her silent rivers, making me freeze.

I’m still learning how to be him, but I think he would say, I miss you too.

Sylvia Heike is a speculative fiction writer from Finland. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online, PodCastle, and elsewhere. When not writing, she likes to go hiking and looking for birds. Read more at or follow her on Twitter @sylviaheike

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