Writing (in reverse chronology)


Monday, January 18th, 2010

This is the junkyard. This is the path.
This is the way back to luxury.
These metals, these alloys. These are hundreds of years of hard work by humanity, mining and melding.
This journey, though it seems to have only begun, has left me wanting.
Now I envy the past. Until this point I could only speculate on what the world might’ve been like before but now it is all in front of me.
Pieces of mechanisms and devices that have no practical use for human survival- if they did I’d take them, but most of what is here is indistinguishable to someone of my generation. All of it luxury.
This is part of my journey. I needed to see it. It all seemed normal to me before- this world I live in. Painful, but normal nonetheless, though looking at this junkyard and everything in it, I feel cheated. I was born into this world. I didn’t have a choice.
Suddenly I feel as though I have a broader purpose. Cid can help this. The robots- they can help this.
I’m not out here just to save them, I’m out here to save myself.
The restoration of luxury. That’s my purpose.
Humanity evolved. We earned these luxuries, yet we’re living well below the standard.
I don’t even know what enjoyment I’d get from these things, but I at least want the choice. I want to chose to say “no” and not be forced to.
I didn’t think I’d be able to find my way back to Cid’s shop, but now I question if I’ll even be able to navigate out of this junkyard.  It’s a dungeon.
But I suppose every adventure has its dungeons.
This will be my first.
Or maybe my last.
I wish I didn’t still smell like that vile stream

A Sore Sight

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

No more than five minutes later my wits begin to return.
First I sit up…
Another five minutes or so and I stand…
How? Surely I was near death.
Five more minutes and I feel almost perfect- at least as perfect as I’ve ever felt. Absurd.
It must be in the fruit.
Complete rejuvenation.
The pungent smells persists, but alas, I can see it. I’m only about a hundred feet closer than I was on the bridge, but it is clear:
That is a junkyard.
A sore sight for sore eyes.


Thursday, December 10th, 2009

I wake to the stench.
Putrid. Noxious.
I gag a few times before I realize where I am.
I reason that I cannot be. Whatever death is, it won’t be as bad as this place.
I can’t stand. I struggle to even sit.
Face up, I reach for my pack and extract my canteen and a fruit.
First the water, then the fruit.
It seems like hours before I can swallow.
A faint memory tells me it’s not good to eat while lying down.
Something about digestion…I wake to the stench.
Putrid. Noxious.
I gag a few times before I realize where I am.
I reason that I cannot be. Whatever death is, it won’t be as bad as this place.
I can’t stand. I struggle to even sit.
Face up, I reach for my pack and extract my canteen and a fruit.
First the water, then the fruit.
It seems like hours before I can swallow.
A faint memory tells me it’s not good to eat while lying down.
Something about digestion…

The Bridge

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

The Bridge

Here it is.
Not a metaphorical bridge as I anticipated.
Instead, just a bridge. Plain and simple.
I’ve been walking for hours and just as a potential location for robotics graced my view, a massive bridge did as well- stretching across the murkiest contamination I have ever seen.
Of course the middle of the bridge is bombed out.
Briefly I consider swimming across, but the smell alone is enough to warn me against it. Forget engulfing myself in that fluid.
So what now?
I walk out to the unstable edge. The other side must be at least forty feet away. Not even close enough to throw my pack over.
I can see what looks like a junkyard in the distance, although admittedly everything looks like a junkyard around here.
I sit down and stare down at the infested water, layered with a thick film of some unknown substance.
A piece of driftwood bobs rhythmically below.
I stare for a minute.
I can build a raft… Maybe.
With what?
Ahead there is nothing…
To my left there is nothing…
Ditto to my right…
Behind me…
Behind me stand four husky, unfriendly looking men.
How did I let them sneak up on me? Stupid. How long have I been staring at this river?
“Drop the gun.” One says.
Instinct grabs hold of me and I squeeze the trigger on the submachine gun.
“That was a mistake.” Another says.
Cid, what kind of a fucking engineer are you?
A brick smashes the side of my head and I hit the ground
“Get his bag.”
Luckily I’m still conscious after the blow. Barely.
Only one option.
I slide of the bridge.
Malicious laughter as I drop.
I feel blood slide upwards across my forehead.
“He’ll be dead soon anyway.” I hear, “If that water doesn’t kill him the infection will.”
I panic and swim frantically to the other side.
Infection? I can’t remember what that means…
First I smell the blood, then the sewage, then the vomit as I pull myself onto the shore.
Then I collapse…


Friday, November 20th, 2009

A part of me wishes I was home…
That ruined excuse for a house in the wasteland suburbs. At least it was safe. Familiar.
Yet, I feel obligated to carry out my search for new life.
“Life”, as I put it, is artificial. Robotics which, in fact, have little life left in them.
It’s what I wanted after all- to help them.
To save them?
I look around my new landscape and question for the first time what I could possibly be saving them from.
Their time is short and I will likely only prolong the inevitable.
I know death will take them as it will me.
But it’s not fear I feel, it’s quite distinctly hopelessness. As of this moment I know where I am, that is, my location, however, in perhaps an hour or two I will surely be lost…
I suppose it’s not worth my energy to worry…
Everything is so strange here. New, but nevertheless, expected. New words on wrecked signs in characters unrecognizable.
Will I be capable of finding my way back to Cid once I’ve recovered these machines?
The answer is obvious:
But I will cross that bridge once I get there.


Friday, October 30th, 2009

I feel like a ghost.
Caught halfway between here and there and I know there’s a chance I won’t be back for a long time.
I am nervous yet ready for a new adventure- My first real adventure.
I’ve packed what I hope to be a year’s worth of Sweaty Squid Jerky and the special fruits, along with the necessary tools I’ll be needing for the job at hand.
Cid hands me the gun.
A vulgar weapon of brutality.
“A sprayer of sulfuric acid and a machine gun combined with a bayonet. For the extinguishing of all forms of organic and inorganic materials.” Cid cites.
“Is this necessary?” I ask.
“Maybe not. Do you want to find out without it?”
He gives me a brief tutorial on the usage of the weapon. Quite advanced for such an ugly thing.
“Who made this piece of shit?”
“I did.”
“Oh… Sorry… But it’s just pretty heavy for a knifegun, don’t you think?”
“It’s not a ‘knifegun’.” Cid tells me, annoyed. “Just take it. And please do not break it. I only have one.”
He shows me to the door and draws it open into the dusty ruins.
“Will you take care of my birds while I’m gone?”
“Yeah… Sure…”
I sense slight sarcasm in his voice, but it doesn’t matter.
“I suggest heading south. I’ve had the most luck there. If you get lost, remember the big triangle mountain will always be north of you.”
“What mountain?”
“You’ll see it.”
“Well… I’ll see you… When I see you, Cid…”

And here I was thinking all luck was good…


Thursday, September 17th, 2009

After a few weeks of recovery Cid made me an interesting proposition. Being nothing but a vagabond, I was offered a sort of employment. In exchange for me venturing out in search of scrap metals, computer parts and destroyed robots, Cid would let me live with him and feed me regularly. At first a bit reluctant, I was soon accepting at the prospect of saving Sally’s life.
The food could save my own life.
Or at least keep me alive…
“How do you get the food?” I asked?
He promptly led me downstairs into a storage room…
“I found boxes of them when I was searching an old factory for parts.” He said, handing me a plastic package of something called “Sweaty Squid”. Inside appeared to be dried, stringy tentacles. I wasn’t sure what a squid was but it the most delicious thing I had ever eaten- the taste was so new and flavorful. I could get used to this stuff.
“How much of this do you have?” I asked.
“Enough to keep you alive. Don’t worry about that. You can take as much as you need when you go out collecting too. Who knows how long you’ll be out there.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, in case you get lost or encounter any problems. Have no fear- I will give you a gun.”
A gun…
What am I getting myself into?


Friday, August 28th, 2009


“Sorry about this Sally.” The engineer said as he pried the chest piece open on my robot friend.
Gin started intently on some wiring inside. Sally’s face twitched.
Her expression was unmistakable.
“Cid, is she in pain?” I asked.
“Yes” he answered coldly.
“But why would you program her to feel pain? That’s just cruelty.”
“No. You don’t understand. In order for them to learn and develop their minds and memories they must be able to feel pain. Without it they would remain sterile, gargoyle drones not fit for humanity’s companionship. Humanity’s needs.”
Sally withered back and forth. The sting of electricity intensified. Her arms and legs rattled on the table. Cid held her down and proceeded with the repairs.
I waited near, watching every jolt through the body of the bot.
“It’s no use.” Cid said.
“What’s wrong?”
“She’s missing too many parts. Parts that I don’t have. Expensive parts. I’ll figure something out in the morning. I’m burning out.” He said.
“Yeah, I should get some sleep too. I’ve been hallucinating lately.”

The Engineer

Friday, August 21st, 2009

The city is much quieter than I expected…
Buildings all around, but almost no sign of life. Perhaps everyone hides indoors. Underground? No robots either. Except Sally. Sally is a good robot.
She leads me to a back alley door. She knocks.

The engineer is not what I expected. He is dressed strangely and surprisingly young. Maybe almost as young as me. The patterns on his sweater remind me of the visuals I had after the mushroom soup.
He appears extremely mellow. Relaxed. Is he rich?
He greets me but pays little attention to Sally.
We walk inside into a robotics lab seemingly twice as big as the outside of the building. Robots are strewn about everywhere- In boxes, hanging from the ceiling, on the walls. Sally walks over to a table and lies down. She begins to unhinge her limbs.
The engineer introduces himself as Cid.
I explain to him where I found Sally, smashed to pieces.
“It’s those terrorists again.” He tells me. “There’s a lot of technophobia out there. Robots aren’t exactly appreciated.”
“That’s terrible… Sally helped me get to the city. Her companionship alone kept me from going mad.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t. You look like you need a rest.”
“I do.”
“You can stay here until you feel ready to leave.” He says, “You’ve been good enough to bring Sally back. Thank you.”
He picks up a pipe and lights it, taking a few short puffs.  He seems to fall into a deeper state of relaxation.
“There’s a spare bed in the next room. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some repairs to make.”

Third Variable

Monday, August 17th, 2009

She tells me her name is Sally.
I feel embarrassed that I didn’t ask her sooner.
But why should I feel embarrassed? She’s a robot.
She obviously isn’t affected by it. She tells me we’re only a short distance from the city. Twenty minutes pending any more variables.
And then a loud scream. A predatory scream. Maybe an animal, but I wasn’t going to find out. I darted for the nearest hiding place.
Inside was a staircase leading upstairs. Destroyed. My only other option was downstairs. I hurried into the basement where I was engulfed in darkness.
The screams carried on, vibrated the building above me.
The basement was cold.
With only a slight crack of light seeping downward, I could see my breath pulsating in rhythmic waves.
Faster and faster as the screams got closer.
The perpetual steam engine of my mouth twisted shapes in the dark air. A face. A demon. Fear struck my heart. The screams above amplified the terror of this devil, maddened glowing eyes, floating towards me.
I was told cautionary tales as a boy about cannibals who fed on human flesh. Was this one? Was I to be consumed by this beast?
Where was Sally?
Why hadn’t she come for me yet?
Had she been offended earlier? She couldn’t have…
The screams faded out of audibility as I drifted away.
I woke up to the sound of my three birds chirping and made my way out of the basement as quickly as possible.
Just outside was Sally, standing guard and ready to continue the trek.
“What happened?” I asked, “What were those screams?”
“Four men. Dementia seemed to have taken over them. They appeared vicious.”
“Are they gone?”
“Yes.  Three hours ago.”
“How much more walking to go?”
“My master’s laboratory is two kilometers from here.”
What had happened down there? More hallucinations? My mind keeps playing tricks on me. Hopefully it’ll stop once I’ve got some proper shelter. Some proper sleep.