A Reasonable Request
“I just— we’ve had so many spiders lately, I don’t know what to do.”
“There is little correlation between a mundane spider infestation and the presence of a spider demon. It is more likely that you are afraid of what may be hidden by the cellar’s poor lighting.”
Mem had been walking down a weatherbeaten road for nearly a mile when a man emerged from his house to ask her for help. Most people saw that she was unnatural, even from a distance, and kept that distance. Those who did ask her for help were often in immediate, life-threatening danger.
This man, in Mem’s mind, was somewhat different.
“Well, of course I am,” the man sounded incredulous. He tugged on the collar of his deep green T-shirt. “That’s where demons lurk. They usually leave us alone out here — not much of significance — but you never know. Those spiders looked hungry, I swear.”
“The number of recorded instances of a huge group of small spiders eating a human alive is in the single-digits. You have nothing to worry about!”
“That sounds like something to worry about. Look, it won’t take long. Please?”
Mem’s fans kicked on with a whirr as she began to consider the matter more deeply. If she were relying on her factory programming, she considered, she would ignore this request as an extraneous waste of time. The odds of the man being in danger were below one percent; moreover, he did not need access to his cellar and the cola he kept inside.
But that did not factor in a variable which she had become familiar with through observation. Fear. If she left him as he was, he would likely board up his basement, abandon his house, or otherwise behave irrationally. The threat he imagined, even if it was very likely not real, was bigger than his cellar.
To him, of course. Mem still didn’t believe that he needed this, but…
“After some consideration, I agree that it is reasonable to ask me to do a quick sweep of your cellar.” Mem’s pupils turned a deep, flickering red. “Please show me inside. I will begin the scanning process immediately!”