You trip and stumble, cutting your one fleshy hand on a jagged piece of machinery. Blood spurts down onto your jumpsuit, labelled R-3417. Your original name was lost so long ago, you can’t remember it.
The R, you presume, must have meant something to you once.
It stings. Your bandage barely covers the wound, as it seeps down your arm a strange green colour. It’s been so long since you’d last seen blood. Since the invasion, since the Solaars arrived, the machinery grew so vast and endless, nobody ever retained enough humanity to bleed. Not blood anyway, a fluid instead; an oozing, pulsating green fluid what corroded away through your very core, slowly ebbing away the last of your humanity.
But I am still human, you declare to the silent world around you, as the smoke makes your eyes water and stomach churn, even if I am the last one.
I’m still human. They cannot take it away from me.
You say that, but you can already hear the cogs winding in your chest. The process has already started to take shape, as it did with everyone. Once your heart stops, the machinery takes over. Fusing bone with bits, you awaken, revitalised and reprogrammed.
You do not want this to happen. Not while you are still searching for her. You know she is still here, waiting for you. She won’t give up, because she is the most kind and loving person you know and she will never succumb to them.
So you press onwards.
You reach the city, blinded by the lifeless, sterile whites and greys of the senphine walls. Patrollers fly to and fro, red lights traipsing between the shadowy buildings. Any intruder will be shot immediately through the skull, left to bleed to death on the fibreglass pavement. Then mere seconds later, they would be reconfigured, and would traipse across the land once more. Sargasso eyes and flooded machinery merely masquerading as their former selves.
The fenced-off building on the left must be where she is, you muse. But how will you get in there, past the patrollers?
They had increased the security since the last incident in the city. When floods of humans escaped, they had to resort to drastic measures to keep the remainders in line and subdue the riots. There was simply no way of stealing your way inside.
You sigh, staring at your hand. Not the one still bleeding, but your right hand. The one that doesn’t bleed anymore. The hand who’s flesh was eaten away by the cannibalistic circuitry over years and years of exposure to the xixine rays. It was heinous and disfigured, but it had its perks.
The throbbing display in the back of your hand lit up, with a list of binary code you used to be unable to decipher, until your brain fell to the same predator as your arm, and you felt the code beginning to make sense, with its eerie, wavering numbers shifting into familiar letters and symbols. So slowly and subtly, you barely even noticed it.
The screen displayed a variety of useful functions, from grenades to flashbangs, you could even alter your own genetic code and render yourself invisible for a limited time.
This would be the only way inside, you think, but it must be done.
Every time the display is used, your body alters that much more, accelerating the process by, well, who knows how long? The first few humans who got their implants used them so much, it took mere months for their vulnerable, fleshy hearts to stop and for starving circuitry to replace them. The rest of humanity soon took the hint and considered them curses, to be hidden away and used only in the direst situations.
But this was dire, you had to get to her. To check she was alright, was still… human. She had to be. Without her…
You get as close as is safe to be, the relentless humming of the patrollers making your frail, human heart race. A machines heart would never race like this. The patrollers would sense this, and recognise the threat approaching.
But there’s no choice. You can feel it as you press the button on your display and mutate just that extra inch further. You don’t have long left. You must see her. Know that she’s safe.
The pain surges through your every cell, as they receive the influx of chemicals.
Fuck it, you think.
You press the display once more, triggering the enhanced speed button. In this state it takes mere seconds to bypass the security and jump over the fences to the front door. Getting closer, the pristine ivory city has grown murky and dismal. Frayed wires, pumping crimson smoke through the atmosphere, lay tangled on the floor. The sooner you are inside the better.
The doors open with utmost silence. Not a creak or squeak. In fact, as they close and leave you in the dark, you realise just how very silent the entire facility is. Nobody is left. Broken machinery and flesh blend together in heaped masses on the floor, you traipse over them with haste.
It hurts still, the mutations are taking longer and longer to recover from.
You start to panic. This feels different. There isn’t much time left. You call her name, your voice breaking. It echoes in the abandoned facility. Running through the empty halls, you cry out for that special person you have spent so long searching for.
You hear her voice. Down the hallway. Those sweet, sultry tones from the tender lips you remember kissing as the sky grew dark and the invasion came.
Your eyes blur, then suddenly sharpen. Human tears fall from your robotic eyes as you zoom in to see her down the hallway. She turns around, mousy hair swinging behind porcelain skin. The same two scars running down her cheek. You could never notice it before with your human eyes, but there is in fact a third scar. It trails down her nose to her upper lip, and it’s beautiful. It’s her. You desire to rain little kisses all over her perfect face.
The tears won’t stop. But they aren’t clear, salty raindrops anymore. They are oozing and green and they blur your vision and corrode away at your polished skin. You try to run to her, but your legs collapse under your weight. Flesh burns away, sticking to the filthy floor, resulting in a foul burning smell. You know it should hurt, but everything has stopped hurting. You can’t even remember why you were crying anymore. But you keep looking at her. You gaze at the figure running towards you and you can’t stop. If you close your eyes they won’t open again, and you want to see her one last time.
She is with you. Motioning her arms around you, but as you choke up more oozing bile you wrench yourself away. Spitting it out onto the melting ground, you try to call out to her. But your larynx is no longer there. It is all burnt out.
She moves close to you, crying real, human tears. Human snot running down her nose and into her mouth along with human spit and drool trailing down her chin. She is human.
Your last mortal sensation is that of utmost happiness and contentment, as your vulnerable, fleshy heart gives off one last beat, and the machinery works its way through your system.
This is one of my first real sci-fi stories, and I’m pleased with it! I’ll have to try writing more of these later ^_^
This story is based off Madeon’s song Goodbye to a World. You can check out the rest of my musically inspired stories here!
Copyright © 2017 Rebecca Sherratt