The Warrior (short fiction by Iris).

September 27, 2014 | By | Reply More

As the soldier crept through the shadows of the abandoned factory ,the only sound was a low hum coming from his walkie talkie, that echoed of the walls making the silence seem all the more ominous. Seeing as he had no need for it, he held it warily at arm’s length and turned it off  True, soldiers in the army had only been issued with vintage edition equipment straight out of the turn of the millennium, before technology was clever enough to think for itself, but you could never be too careful.

Robot spies could be in any technology, and in the middle of a war it was better ending up paranoid than with a bullet in your back.  It didn’t seem that any danger here was likely though, people had complained about strange noises coming from the supposedly empty factory, but he suspected the army had only sent him to investigate to keep the townspeople happy than because they believed in any threat.  He wasn’t complaining though, it beat  dodging bullets and watching your friends have their legs being blown off by landmines on the front line.

He turned towards the door to leave, the factory was getting stuffy and there was something about the horrible musty smell that clogged up his nose, making him long for the gentle breeze outside. He realised with a start that the door was different to how he had left it, it was closed. Anticipation welling up inside him, he rattled the handle, it was locked. He racked his brain for an explanation; could the wind have closed the door? He knew inside him that he was just denying the obvious, wind doesn’t lock doors , and the ony wind was the slight breeze he had longed for anyway. Suddenly the cold , harsh lights overhead flickered off, leaving him in complete darkness.

It was like something out of the horror novels he read at night in the trenches when there was nothing better to do; he was trapped in a factory, it was pitch black, and he had a feeling he was not alone.. He froze, someone, or something, was right behind him, he could sense it. He spun round, but it was too late. He felt something cold touching the back of his head, with his last conscious strands of thought, he remembered his home,his family, his sister, he would never see them again, and then…darkness.

*****

Light rippled through the canopy, illuminating the clearing in a green glow.

“Things are different now…” The boy spoke with a faraway look in his eyes.

“Not everything though.” His sister continued relentlessly, refusing to be put off by his mood. It was the first proper conversation they’d had in weeks since he’d returned “Mum says we’re one of the lucky ones; nobody’s been killed, we’ve hardly been affected at all.”

“Yes, well…” He spoke gruffly, turning so he wasn’t facing her. “War changes everything.”

“At least you’re alive and back,” she smiled, basking in the suns rays. “ You can’t complain about that. The colonel figured you must have been the first soldier to ever escape from a robot death camp.”

The boy’s eyes turned dark. “ Too many people asking questions, they’re getting suspicious,” he muttered .

His sister tilted her head to one side. “What do you mean?”

“Nothing.” He stood up, brushing the dirt from his jacket. “It’s late, we should be getting back”  He started walking in the direction of the house.

“Careful! Watch out for the root.”, she shouted, but he had already fallen over. “Here, let me help.”

“No!” He pushed her away. “ I mean.. I’m fine.”

“Don’t be silly” She reached over to help him up, then froze. Where there should have been blood, there was just a clear blue liquid.

She blanched and took a step back “You’re not….”

Seeing no need to keep up the disguise, what she thought to be her brother flickered, only to have his skin replaced with metal.

He smirked with cold, lifeless eyes “Not human? You see, I told you things had changed. I was captured, but I never escaped. At least, your brother didn’t. He died when his use ran out. The escape was just a cover story. Soon I won’t be the only escaped soldier. Soon my kind will infiltrate the world. But of course, to the point. I can’t let you tell anyone this, so I’m afraid its time for you to join your brother.”

A panel on his chest slid open  to reveal an array of weapons. Knives, guns, a grenade, the aura of death was so strong it was almost tangible.  He fingered them playfully, enjoying the look on the girl’s face. He selected a long curved blade, the tip stained with something that looked worryingly like dried blood.

“This one’s my favourite see?” He held it up to the light, pointing to the stain. “People always think we robots stick to mechanical things like guns, but I find them unpredictable. You never know when they’re going to backfire. Whereas with a good old knife…” He smiled coldly at the girl, “they’ll always get the job done. It’s a bit messy true, but by that point you’ll be beyond caring.”

She unfroze and turned to run, but the knife slashed across her throat. She fell over,her blood mingling with the dry earth. As the life drained from her, the cyborg turned without any remorse, and walked away, to a new era for robots.

TheWarrior

Category: Readers' fiction

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