Tears of the Cyborg

I walked through the empty rooms, no footprints visible but mine in the soil-thick dust covering the floor. My steps echoed thinly from the metal cabinets lining every wall. My ears tingled from a faint hum that could be felt more than heard, and an occasional click or whirr felt like a church bell in the silence.

Double doors, windowless and cold, jerked on clogged tracks into the wall, exposing thick darkness tinged by a faint red glow. I took a ragged breath, my chest aching with anticipation that bordered on fear. Two agonizingly slow steps carried me over the threshold, and I strained for every shred of light to illuminate the room’s contents.

The whirring and clicking surrounded me here, along with the faint gurgle of some sort of liquid, and a steady drip against a puddle. As my eyes adjusted I could make out the source of the red glow, clear tubes filled with a luminescent fluid snaked toward a single point against the far wall. I walked toward it, a shape materializing slowly as I drew near.

The whirring grew louder, and I could make out exposed gears, wires, and pulleys against a narrow strip of white somehow untouched by the dust that pervaded the place. A little closer and something moved; I jumped backward with a compulsive squeak as a pale, expressionless face rose to view, colored only by the glow of the tubes that culminated behind it.

A crack appeared at the edges of the face, and a light breeze fanned the loose hair at my neck, obviously the reason for the lack of dust on what I could now see was an old-fashioned dress collar. A drop of blood-red liquid spilled from the corner of a dark eye and rolled down the delicately human cheek to drip on the floor. Another followed it, then another. The lips parted with the whir of gears, and a mechanically female voice spoke incongruously through their stillness. “Is it the end?”

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