in Fiction, Short Fiction

Hey Siri!

Photo by Malte Fleuter on Unsplash

Vishal heaved a sigh of relief. It was after midnight and it had taken all day but he had managed to move everything into his new house. Even more impressive was that he had managed to put everything in its right place. He could sleep content tonight. Heck, he could sleep well into the day tomorrow because he had no more chores left this weekend.

“Hey Siri, what is the time?” Vishal said to his phone, as he got ready for bed.

“The time is 12.20 AM,” Siri responded.

“Hey Siri, set an alarm for 11 o’clock.”

“Setting an alarm for 11 o’clock.”

A quick hot shower to get those aching muscles to relax, a clean bedsheet spread across his new bed and Vishal was in his bed texting his girlfriend goodnight. He put his phone down, closed his eyes and gently wafted off to sleep.

The first night passed without incident.

In the morning, Vishal woke up to his buzzing phone. Lazily, still tucked in bed, he picked up his phone to call his friends and see if they wanted to catch a movie. He unlocked the phone and saw that the browser was open. A google search result of his name. He did not remember doing that but he had been quite tired the previous night. Whatever. Vishal closed the browser, made plans with his friends and went out for movies and drinks.

The next morning, when Vishal woke up, the browser was yet once again open on his locked phone and he didn’t remember searching for that question. “What frequencies can a mobile microphone pick up?” It was a weird question but Vishal shrugged it off and proceeded on with the day.

His girlfriend had come over. As Vishal cooked breakfast in the kitchen, he could hear his girlfriend talking to someone in the bedroom. The eggs fried, the orange juice chilled, he set out the table. His girlfriend came back into the living-cum-dining room.

“I think there’s something wrong with your phone,” she said.


“It’s randomly playing music. Then stopping. Then, doing random searches.”

“Ok. Let me take a look.”

Vishal and his girlfriend walked back into his room. His phone lay on his bed, charging, the cord hanging off the side of his bed and a song playing on its speakers.

“Did you leave the music on?” Vishal asked.

“No, that’s what I am talking about. I definitely shut it before I came out.”

The music stopped, and Siri said out loud.

“Abraham Thomas Lincoln was an American statesman, politician, and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.”

“That … definitely … is weird,” Vishal said. “I’ll take it to the store later when I am going to the movies.” Vishal moved to unplug the phone, but what Siri said next made him stop mid-action.

“There’s enough blood in the human body to fill a bit more than a 1-gallon milk jug. The average adult has about 1.2 to 1.5 gallons (4.5 to 5.5 liters) of blood circulating inside their body, said Dr. Daniel Landau, a hematologist and oncologist at the University of Florida Cancer Center — Orlando Health.”

He glanced nervously at Neha. She had a scared look on her face. A pot clanged and fell down in the kitchen. She jumped up and both of them turned to look towards the kitchen. It suddenly felt colder. Siri spoke up again — her voice calm and matter-of-fact as always.

“How long can it take to die by suffocation? This comes under the general rule of 7’s. It takes the average human 7 minutes to die from complete loss of oxygen intake. Meaning, it is generally possible to resuscitate them at six minutes.”

There was an eerie sound of groaning that reverberated throughout the house. A wind rushed through the house along with the groan. There was more clanging from the kitchen. “Vishal! What’s happening?” Neha asked, the panic clear in her voice. It had sounded like everything from the cabinets in the kitchen had been pushed out onto the floor. The door to the bathroom flew open and the shower, washbasin — everything turned on.

“I have no idea,” Vishal said and started to back away from his bed and his phone as if it were a live animal — threatened and waiting to attack.

“Do you think it’s a spirit?” Neha had always been slightly spiritual. He hadn’t.

“There’s no such thing,” Vishal said but kept backing out the door, Neha now behind him. He closed the door, turned around looked at Neha, and the kitchen — which was completely as they had left it. No pots on the floor, no cabinets flung wide open. It didn’t ‘make sense but before he could say anything, Siri spoke again from inside the room. They should not have been able to hear the phone, but they were. The sound was being mysteriously amplified.

“Sure, there is,” Siri said simply. And then there was silence which seemed to stretch on and on. Vishal could feel the unease building up inside of him and Neha was clearly scared. “I think we should go out for breakfast, yeah? Just to be safe,” he said.

Neha nodded and they hurried out of the apartment.

* * *

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