'Maybe today…' Abby wondered, blankly staring at the loaf of bread she'd picked up from the shelf. Somehow she knew she'd been standing there awhile, probably from the way her arm muscles were beginning to ache from prolonged use. Still, she felt no motivation to move from her spot.

A young mother and her small boy walked by, and out of the corner of her eye she saw him point at her, turning to his mother to ask her something. She looked over and hurriedly shushed her child, tugging at his hand to follow her. They disappeared behind the corner. Sighing deeply, Abby placed the loaf of bread into the metal shopping cart and began walking towards the next aisle.

The wheels squealed, and the body rattled loudly as it was pushed throughout the supermarket. She hated loud noises. Gritting her teeth against the sound, she tried her best to push forward and get out of the store before too long.

Finding a few more essential items, she made her way to the checkout stations. It was a Saturday, and so all the stations had a line at least two people deep. Though, that's what she got for waiting so long to buy food. Now she had to wait even longer.

'Hurry up…' She thought, eyeing the old grandmother slowly take out the items from her cart and place them on the plastic conveyor belt leading to the cashier. The woman in question looked as though she couldn't see five feet in front of her, with eyes narrowed and pinched face inspecting every single can she procured from her cart.

Abby felt her anger rising. Why couldn't these people see that she was trying to get out of here? The constant beeping of the register wasn't helping her fragile mood. Beep, beep, beep. Over and over again. It almost seemed to be getting louder, or maybe that was her own mind playing tricks on her…

Eventually, the middle aged man in front of her began placing his items on the belt, much quicker than the old woman. And he didn't have nearly as much as she had.

Most prominently in his cart were dog toys and cans of wet dog food. The toys were small. Perhaps a puppy or small breed. Next were several packages of formula, and a bag of diapers. A new father.

Abby's half-lidded eyes saw he looked rather unsure of the amounts he was purchasing, hesitating and counting before he placed them completely on the belt. Yes, a very new father indeed.

'Lucky him.' She thought, wondering if her own non-existent husband would have felt the same way after having their first child. Maybe fumble with his wallet a little at the unexpectedly expensive total. And he'd bustle into the house, arms full of plastic bags, and she'd laugh at him as he stumbled with a goofy smile on his face.

Huh. That was a nice thought.

Finally, all his things were scanned and he promptly paid the cashier for his stuff. Abby began piling her own items onto the belt, doing so quickly to try to get going as soon as possible.

"Did you find everything you needed?" The middle-aged cashier asked with a resting frown. Her voice was monotone, as if she was reading from a script she'd recited a thousand times. When Abby didn't answer, she shrugged, simply swiping her loaf of bread and toothbrush across the scanner. Beep. Beep. Abby's eye twitched.

Once all of her groceries were scanned and placed in plastic bags, the cashier pressed several buttons on the register, and the total appeared on Abby's side. "$43.79 is your total."

Digging into her wallet, she took out two twenty dollar bills and a ten, tentatively handing them over to the cashier. Several key taps later and the register opened with a ding.

"Here." The woman said, handing over Abby's change and receipt. Taking them silently, she stuffed it all in her purse and began placing her bags in the cart. She could feel the stares of others behind her, waiting for her to leave.

'I'm sorry…' She unconsciously thought. Pushing the cart away as quickly as possible without suggesting she was stealing something, she exited the supermarket and headed towards her car.


Unlocking the door to her apartment, she pushed through with all the plastic bags dangling from her arms. Her foot reached back and shut the door behind her. Stepping into the dark space, she instinctually went to the kitchen, needing no light to find her way through the familiar layout of her home. Once her tennis shoes hit the tile of the kitchen, she reached to her left and found the light switch. Switching it on, the old rod light flickered to life, buzzing as the electricity began to flow through the bulb.

Abby placed the bags on the floor and began to put them where they belonged. The task seemed menial, but at least it took her out of her thoughts. Something mindless was just what she needed. At least, she thought. She never really knew what she wanted nowadays.

After the food had been put away, she gathered the things for the bathroom and sauntered off to the room in question. It was small, having nothing but a sink, toilet, and bathtub with a shower attachment, but it was functional. The walls were a soft green, probably a renovation from the previous tenant. She left it that way, not because she liked it, but because she'd never gotten up the motivation to actually change it. Abby set the plastic bag of toiletries on the counter. She was tired. She'd put them away later.

Moving to her bedroom, she quickly changed into her pajamas and walked back out into the living room. Her ages-old tv sat on a stand that didn't seem sturdy enough to support it, but not once in the years she'd lived there had it fallen.

The remote sat on the arm of her stained faux-leather chair. Snatching it up, she collapsed into the seat and curled her legs up beside her. She pressed the power button, watching as the screen turned to a lighter gray, and then the colored picture of a news broadcast. The reporter, a man carrying a microphone, stood in front of a modern building.

"-new reports of the AI system have spread across the world, catching the attention of investors and inventors alike." He stopped talking and a moment later, the screen changed to a preview of some computer program. The narrator spoke over the soft music.

"S.A.M., or Sentient Autonomous Machine, is one of the most advanced computer AI ever conceived." The tv showed a robotic arm picking up objects that scientists verbally instructed it to. "Compacted into a chip no bigger than your thumb, S.A.M. is portable and completely unique. Each unit holds a certain independence for itself due to the fact that it bonds with its user." It showed many steps in the creation process as the chip was manufactured, as well as a few more examples of its uses. "This technology paves the way towards a future we'd hoped to achieve but never knew how. The age of smartphones has passed. Welcome to the future. Meet S.A.M."

The screen ended with showing a computer chip being placed into a package, and that package being placed in a box. Then, it switched back over to the reporter from before.

"The creator of S.A.M. was asked in a recent interview what sort of audience it was intended for. He responded, 'S.A.M. is fit for all people, and has been outfitted with a program that is designed to adapt to the environment or conversation as it sees fit. This will allow it to interact with users on a personal level that no other program has even been able to do.' Right now, the microchip is available at large store chains for $799.99. They hope that the public will share their enthusiasm. Back to you."

It switched back to the main news anchor, but by then Abby had lost interest in the program. She changed the channel, setting the remote back on the arm, no longer really watching the tv. Her thoughts began to wander, and she tried her hardest to reign them back in.

'Stop thinking. Just…stop.' She rubbed at her temples, willing the emptiness to fill, the pain to go away. God, why couldn't this void just go away? Why did it linger? Why did her memories have to still affect her this way? Sighing, she curled in tighter to herself, ignoring the sounds of the sitcom that now played.

'Maybe tomorrow…'