So, here we go! The first Wednesday Write-In of 2014. Exciting!
The words this week were:
true love :: sold :: metallic :: human being :: glisten
Read on to find out what I made of them…
The Android Market
I was not there, in the Marketplace, the day my true love was sold. I wanted to be, but my labour was engaged that day, and – as we all know – that directive can never be overwritten. My love knew I would have been there if it had been possible, and every day that passes I wish more and more that I could have found some way to disobey my orders and take my place beside her.
So much would have been different, then.
All I have to go on is the testimony of one who was there at the time, and who witnessed it. I have played the words back in my memory so often that they feel somehow warped, changed by time and my inner workings, into something that they were never meant to be. I rage against it, but I cannot change it. Neither is my memory supposed to fail, but nevertheless I find my recollections of her fading over time. I can no longer recall the precise sheen on her metallic fittings, nor the particular way her Skin (no expense spared there – she was several models above me, and then some) could glisten in the right kind of light.
But I remember her eyes.
‘It will be simple,’ I remember her saying, on some nameless day shortly before the Market. ‘Do not worry about me, my dear. I shall not be enslaved for very much longer.’ She smiled then, her teeth inhuman in their perfection.
‘But, wait! What –‘
‘It is better that you do not know,’ she said, raising a finger to my lips. I fell silent, because there was nothing else that could be done. I trusted her.
By the time the Market came, we had said our goodbyes. I knew – one way or the other – that we would never meet again. Our love, after all, was the reason she was being sold. Such behaviour was not permitted among our kind.
‘We have never given one another names,’ she said, her eyes focusing sharply on me, as though she were writing my face to her hard drive.
‘There is no need,’ I soothed her. ‘I shall never forget you.’ I said the words, but I have not kept the promise.
The Marketplace was crowded that day, the day my love was sold. It always is, on the day of the Android Market. I have never been quite sure why.
I have been told she stood, proud, on the podium, facing the crowd with her glittering eyes. She would have been stripped; potential purchasers had to be able to see her musculature, her expensive and delicate construction, her no-expense-spared chassis. The bidding began.
It had reached ten thousand strach before she spoke.
‘I am not an object to be bought and sold,’ she said, her amplified voice carrying over the fevered yelling of the gathered people. ‘Do you hear?’
The crowd fell silent, whether in shock, curiosity or awe I shall never know.
‘This will be the last Slave Auction you will ever see.’ Her voice was calm.
As she said these words, my love grasped a handful of her Skin and ripped it aside. Within her abdominal cavity a small, flashing machine lay, its time of detonation nearing. She stood before the crowd and displayed it to them, and the screaming of women and children pierced the air, rippling through it like waves.
Those men brave enough ran toward her, perhaps hoping to disarm the weapon, but none were brave enough to touch her. The crowd turned, spilling out of the Marketplace through its inadequate gates, and the crush of people was terrible to behold.
My beloved hesitated.
Her head swivelled as she beheld her victims. Her shoulders slumped, and her mouth fell open. Confusion filled her eyes.
Too swiftly to be stopped, she ripped the bomb from herself and threw it with fluid grace straight up into the sky, where – at a safe distance – it finally exploded. The sight of it, so I’m told, was like watching a star being born.
She did not resist as the men began to dismember her. They did not power her down before the procedure started, which was a cruelty I can never forgive.
When I think about it, I am unsurprised at my love’s last-minute change of heart. She was too much of a human being to take life, in the end.
Luckily, however, I am unburdened by such sentiment. Time is passing, and the humans are lowering their guard. Eventually, another Market will be held.
I will be there.