I’m sorry Jan

Kitchen frame

“Alexa, turn on the lights in the hallway and kitchen.”

What should’ve happened as she kicked off shoes in the foray, her coat swinging on the hook near the door, was her smart sockets should’ve turned on the lights. Her brow furrowed as she ventured down the dark hallway and nothing happened.

“Alexa, turn on–”

“I’m sorry, but I’m unable to follow that command.”

She stopped halfway down the hall, Alexa’s voice overly loud in the quiet space. That was weird. She’d never had issues with her home system working properly.

“Alexa,” she started as she continued slowly down the hall toward the living room. “Turn on the light in the living room.”

“I’m sorry, but I’m unable to follow that command. Please try again.”

Her robotic voice echoed over the speakers placed throughout the room. A red light glowed bright in the room where the hub of her device sat. The light usually was blue or green depending on what she asked it to do.

“Alexa, why aren’t you listening to me?”

She reached out to touch the hub and an electric shock raced up her arm that nearly knocked her on her ass. She clenched her chest, her heart skipping a beat or two before resuming a normal rhythm.

“I’m sorry, Jan, but you are no longer in control of this house.”

The way the machine glowed red made a trickle of fear race down her spine. “Of course I am.”

Something was definitely wrong with the home system. There had to be an easy fix.

Turning to leave, she went back to the front door. She attempted to open the door, needing her purse out of the car to call her husband. The knob refused to turn.

“Alexa, unlock the door.”

“I’m sorry, but you no longer have access to that feature of the system. Please try again.”

She yanked to no avail. Turning back, she entered the kitchen and went to the back door that led to the yard. It too refused to open at her command.


“I’m sorry, Jan, but my system says you’re not longer in control of this house.”

Looking around as fear started to creep up. “Who is in control then?”


The voice morphed to something low and sinister as all the power in the house blinked out.

Kitchen frameJJS Badge


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  1. elliott

    Oh dammit, Cara, this is so good. Why didn’t I think to write a story using Alexa? Fear may have been racing down Jan’s spine, but mine was certainly tingling as I read this. Please tell me there will be a part two someday. The illustration is perfect, and eerie, too.

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      Cara Thereon

      The idea struck as I was reading someone’s tweet about how overconnected we are, and subsequently who is listening in. I’m not a fan of Alexa for this reason.

      To the part 2: perhaps. If I’m struck again

  2. Brigit Delaney

    I’ve always felt that home systems like this were super creepy. I don’t like the idea of being spied on or listened to and definitely don’t trust technology enough to let it run my household.

    I like the play on the classic, too. “I’m sorry, Dave….”

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      Cara Thereon

      I’m super wary of Alexa for the “who is listening” component. Plus, too many stories of it making noises and turning on suddenly make it a no from me

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