Concept Art Writing Prompt: A Boy and His Robot vs. The Police

Illustration for article titled Concept Art Writing Prompt: A Boy and His Robot vs. The Police

Two boys are playing with their robot in a sunny meadow when the police appear on the scene. Are they here to ruin their robotic fun? What happens when the police face off against this remote-controlled machine?


Simon Stålenhag created this illustration, via Geek Art Gallery. His site is filled with tons of gorgeous futuristic scenes; most feature robots, although a few dinosaurs have slipped in there as well. See what kind of story you can come up with based on this image and share it in the comments.

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Lauren Davis

"There they are," said Detective Brill. "Take care to stay this side of the property line."

Detective Lo put the van in park and turned the key. "That thing safe?" she asked, nodding at the robot trundling toward them. The taller of the two young boys was controlling the robot, a matching control pack on his back and a remote glove covering his left hand.

Brill tore off a fingernail with her teeth and spat it out the window. "Nope, but they'll keep it their side of the line. Prime's got 'em trained."

The two women stepped out of the van and into the sunlight. The robot stopped its march, but the taller boy flicked his wrist, sending the device into a threatening bob and weave.

Brill touched to fingers to her forehead in a mock salute. "You're pretty good with that thing," she said. "You got a name?"

"Is Sigmund!" the boy shouted from his position behind the robot. He nodded toward the smaller boy. "We all is Sigmund."

"Sigmund what?" Brill asked.

The boy pointed to his chest, causing the robot to mimic the motion. "I is Sigmund Fifteen." He puffed out his chest as he said it, as if his number were a point of particular pride.

Detective Lo peered around to the smaller boy, who crouched beside his brother. "And what about you?" she asked.

The smaller boy straightened, and it was suddenly clear that if he was shorter than his brother, it was only by a hair. He took a deep breath before calling back, "Fifteen-B!"

Brill and Lo exchanged a look. "You're twins?" Brill asked. "Brothers?"

Something flashed in Sigmund Fifteen's eyes and the robot sprinted right to the edge of the property line, stopping short just two feet from Brill. Brill didn't even flinch. "All Sigmunds is brothers!"

Sigmund Prime, formerly Sigmund Decker, had settled on the Volsung compound twenty-five years earlier and immediately set to work cloning himself. He'd swung many a young woman into his sphere of influence, convinced them to carry his genetically similar offspring, and sent them away as soon as the boys were weened. Now he had a whole family of Sigmunds.

Brill leaned sideways to peer around the robot. Her eyes locked on Fifteen-B. "Of course," she said. "But you two in particular. You shared a womb. You have the same birth mother."

Fifteen blew a raspberry at her. "'Snot like we've met her!"

That was their cue. Lo beckoned toward the van, and the door slid open. A slender brunette woman ran from the van, but Brill caught her arm before she could reach the property line. "Fifteen?" the woman called, her free arm stretched out at the boys. "Beta?"

"Mom?" Fifteen-B paused to look at his brother for only a moment before dashing toward the property line. But before he could grasp the woman's hand, Fifteen swung his left arm backward, causing the robot's arm to knock Beta back and send him sprawling to the ground.

Everyone froze. "Beta?" Fifteen whispered. He shrugged the control pack off his back and ran for Beta's body. The robot power down with a zipping sound and the brunette woman wrested from Brill's grasp. She leaped over the property line, the first breech of the Volsung compound in eight years.