The Robot Accomplice [Storytime Blog Hop]

The Storytime Blog Hop is a quarterly event that provides readers with short fiction by a variety of different authors. There are links to the other participants at the end of this post. I hope to be a regular participant in this event moving forward, and I hope to begin posting here weekly once more.

Now, without further ado, please enjoy “The Robot Accomplice.”


Janie woke up and stretched. The sun was shining in below her curtains, and she could hear sounds of people talking in the back yard.

“Mommy!” she called.

No answer.

“Mommy?”

Nothing.

She stood up and braced her hands on the crib railing. Using her stuffed animals to gain height, she inched her right foot onto the railing and slipped over the top.

Once on the floor, she padded over to the door. It was closed.

She knocked three times. “Pee-vah!” she called.

The door opened and a four-foot tall black and chrome wheeled device rolled into the room. It looked kind of like a domed garbage bin like at the mall, only with long arms that looked like vacuum cleaner hoses and hands that looked like the claw clip Mommy wore in her hair. “Yes, Janie?” asked a metallic monotone.

“Hung-ee!” announced the toddler, running out the open door and down the hall to the kitchen.

Pee-vah followed, its three-fingered hands waving in the air as it went.

“Janie, may I assist?” it asked when it caught up to the child.

Janie looked down from her perch atop the cupboards next to the fridge.

“Mick!” she said, grabbing the fridge door handle and pushing.

Pee-vah took hold of the handle and opened the door once Janie had let go.

Janie scrambled down from the counter. She nearly fell a couple of times, but Pee-vah caught her.

Janie pointed at her red milk cup, set on a shelf just out of her reach. “Mick cup!” she said.

“Cup?” asked Pee-vah. “I do not know what you want.”

“Mick cup, mick cup!” said Janie, pointing at her cup. Finally she stomped her foot and said, “RED cup!”

Pee-vah retrieved the cup for its young charge. Janie turned to the fruit drawer and opened it, grabbing an apple.

“All done!” she announced as she moved away from the fridge. “Cose door!”

Pee-vah closed the drawer and then the fridge, and followed Janie into the living room. Janie set about building some elaborate block towers, so Pee-vah shut down.

After a while, an adult came into the room. “Hi there, Janie!”

“Mommy!” The toddler got up and ran to her mother, who gathered her into her arms.

“How did you get out of your room?” she asked.

Janie pointed. “Pee-vah open a door.”

Mommy looked dubiously at the remote control robot. “And I guess Pee-vah got your milk and an apple, too?”

“Yes!” Janie said gleefully.

“I see. Well, let’s go change your diaper and then we can go find Daddy at the party out back, and I can talk to him about locks and stuff.”

Mommy settled Janie on her hip and turned to walk to Janie’s room.

Janie looked back at Pee-vah. Its operating light blinked on, and it moved one arm to wave at her.

The controls were sitting, unattended, on the kitchen table.


This story is copyright 2019 Janna Willard. You may link it for others to read, but you may not copy it elsewhere. This may not be the final draft of this story. Any questions? Please ask!

Janie’s behaviour and speech in this story was inspired by my son’s behaviour and speech as a toddler. I just gave her a unique partner in crime.


Want to read other stories in this month’s blog hop? Here they are!

Progress March 24, 2017

I’m nearly half-finished collecting the themes I need for my special project! I’m really pleased with how this is coming along. Once I have all my themes I’ll have to get them turned into actual pieces. But the first step is definitely having the themes on the page.

This past week I’ve also been working on a clarinet quartet. I’m calling it a Concertino; it has four movements, and I’m currently sketching out the third one. I expect to have the sketches done by the end of next week.

I have excellent news regarding the space dragon story: I finished it yesterday! This means that I can now start working on Relevé, a young adult novel about a ballet dancer. I love this story and can’t wait to get back to the characters!

I have gotten more done on The Wolf & the Bear, and I should be able to move on to the next step of the revision process at the end of next week. I’m looking forward to that, as well!

This week’s excerpt is from chapter seven of The Wolf & the Bear:

Rudu pulled at the shackles that bound her. The cavern the trolls had brought her into was almost too dark to see in. She had no idea where she was or where she was going, just that she had expected to die and this was definitely not Valhalla.

She missed the stars, the moon, the sun, the trees, Modor, Snawa, Bera, Wulf… how she wished Wulf was with her.

Of course, if Wulf was with her, she wouldn’t be captured by trolls and a mad Dvergr, and she wouldn’t be on her way to gods knew where or her wrists and ankles secured with cold iron manacles.

Who are all of those people? How did Rudu end up captured by trolls? What’s a Dvergr?

That would be telling. You’ll be able to learn the answers to all of these questions when the novel is finished and published!

Progress March 17, 2017

I’ve been getting a lot of music written lately. I’m focusing on themes for a few different things right now. It’s a lot of fun! All I need to do is find time to work on the pieces so that they have harmony and stuff. Eventually I’ll figure out a good way to share snippets of music here, but until then you’ll have to accept my word for it: this is a fun project and it’s going to be great when it’s done!

Moving more slowly are my space dragon story — which is so close to being done, if I could just get to work on it once or twice more it would be finished — and my revision to The Wolf & the Bear — my retelling of “Snow White & Rose Red” with vikings.

Here’s an excerpt from my first draft of the space dragon story. I wrote this on Monday:

Laura stopped, forgetting about Ellie for a moment.

“Wow,” she whispered.

Laura realized that something looked wrong. She had been in the observation lounge with her parents before, and everything was always black outside the station, but nothing but space ships were moving.

There were things moving out there this time.

What’s moving out there, and what’s going to happen to the station? That’s what I need to write. It’s the finale to this story. I’ll let you know next week if I managed to get it done, though I won’t be giving away the ending!