The Cost of Happiness


“Why are you doing this to me?” Philip said.

William tightened his grip on his the knife. “I do it because it has to be done.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just kill me?”

“Kill you?” William shouted and slammed the knife at full force into Philip’s leg, and Philip screamed in pain. “Scream all you want,” William said. “No one will care here.” William exhaled as if he’d done a good job.

Philip shook in his seat, his hands tied behind him. The room was small, an old house off to the east of the city, one of the abandoned homes that were nearly falling apart. William had picked this spot because most people on the east side were like him. They hated what had become of the city because of Philip’s kind. But William was slightly different. Unlike many of the useless people on the east side, he decided to take action. He’d fix the problem from the source. If enough like Philip turned out broken, maybe then the companies would give up and leave.

“I’m not going to kill you,” William said. “Things like you can’t die.”

Philip shook uncontrollably. “Please, sir. Let me go. I’ll pay you whatever you want. I have money.”

William ripped out the knife, black liquid all over it. Everything in the city had gotten bad the moment these things showed up, but when they won civil rights, it all went to hell. How the hell were people like William supposed to get a job in a city when these assholes were willing to work for scraps?

To know that this thing would even dare offer money to leave pissed him off even more. “Fuck your money. I ain’t touching any money your kind touched.” William pushed the knife into Philip’s chest, and slowly slid it downwards.

“Please, God, stop. It hurts so much!” Philip pleaded.

William stopped. “God? You believe in God? You don’t have a soul. You ain’t going to heaven. God don’t like your kind either. He didn’t make you.”

Philip sobbed, his limbs sometimes twitching, more of the black liquid oozing out from where a person would have a heart. “I have a family. They need me. Please don’t do this. I promise I won’t talk. I won’t tell anyone you did this.”

William roared with laughter. “You things can’t have families. I don’t care what people say. You can’t raise children. That’s unnatural. And besides, I don’t care if people know I did this. The police in this side of the city don’t care if one of you turns out dead. They will praise me for it.”

“Why do you hate us so much?” Philip said under his breath.

“You know that already. You’re not human, and you’re making our lives worse.”

“We’re no different. We want the same things. I’ve never done anything but work and go home.”

“Your sole existence takes away space that a human could take. Because of you, more and more of us are unemployed. Because of you, I have seen families of homeless humans roaming the streets, begging for money from your kind. Because of you, we are slowly getting replaced. Your kind and my kind cannot exist in this world together.”

“We’ve never meant any harm. We only try to do our best and be happy,” Philip said, his voice slowly getting quieter.

“Your happiness takes away from someone’s happiness.” William took the knife out, and Philip groaned. “I’ll make sure to put you in the recycling bin,” he said and slashed Philip’s throat.

Philip’s eyes blanked, and his head fell limp.

William brushed some sweat off his forehead and cleaned his knife on Philip’s clothes. On his way out, he put on his gun’s holster and badge. He’d been gone too long from patrol, and he didn’t want to get in trouble with the chief. Glancing once more at Philip, William groaned. One robot down, but there were hundreds of more roaming the city with a civilian’s card to go.

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