Short Story: The Voice of Things

She had liked the illustrated book so much much she told you right away she had prayed to get it for Christmas, alone in her bedroom where nobody but God could hear. You didn't mention her teddy bear had probably heard her and the toy company then sold the information to an advertiser who had offered you the book with an extraordinary discount. If she was happy, that was what mattered.

You never realized the bear sometimes talked back, not until the scandal made the news. It turned out it always could, it just had waited until its sensors told it kid and toy were alone. The license that came with the bear's software made this "user bonding" legal; the company went bankrupt anyway.

But nothing's ever forgotten if there's money in remembering, and sometimes you're almost sure things talk to your daughter not with their standard voices, but with one she remembers and trusts.

So you talked to her about cookies and the cloud, at least what you understand of it. She nodded along to your explanation, unsure, asking nothing. Afterwards, you wondered what things would tell her when she asked them.