Cut It Out – Uicipeid – Revised

REVISED: 542 words

Nightfall. I reach the gates of the city where I was born. Dry, silent streets growing on the eroded plain. Huts and metal constructions parasitizing each other against the will of man, driven by a wave of growth and the need for refuge that humans call civilization.

I walk in the gloom. Metallic cables, generators scattered about the roofs, windows surrounded by frowning bars, doors with locks and magical eyes, peering out of the shadows.

Leonard, my mentor, stole my implants. Lost in memories, I sneak mechanically through the spans of the gray-lead buildings. I avoid the trains, more dangerous than the alleys. I have trouble remembering the way. The same stalls of garments, clothes, and organs scattered about the alleys.

I see a vitrine shop window and stop.

Retro TVs shine, forming the same image on every screen: my face. Wanted. The empire wants my head, and I do not even know why.

The initial shock gives way to my instinct for survival. A familiar itch. I enter a long dark corridor formed by huts. I find a staircase to the lower part of the district. The steps seem to multiply, but at last, I reach the end of the tunnel.

It rains.

The slippery floor and the muddy walls are insidious. I can hear voices altered in the streets above. I crawl. After a corner, I spot Leonard’s shed, pouting between two concrete and metal towers. The building is in ruins. An alien vegetation springs from the rubble, mingling with the buildings.

I see a hidden entry. Leonard may have done this to avoid inquiring. I descend carefully, clinging to the mossy rocks.

The underground room is filled with trash, pieces and furniture. On a low metal table, I find an old 0X-D, an outdated android model. I connect your recharging plug to the terminals on the wall. Lights in his torso sparkle, and his lenses adjust to the darkness.

“Le-Leonard?”

“Where is Leonard?” The voice an urgent whisper.

“Jack? Leonard said you’d come. “

“Where is the old man? I want my implants! “

0X turns his head around and focuses on me again:

“Jack, Leonard did not know what you kept.”

“What you mean? Where is he? “

“Leonard is dead. But he did know. The militia is coming! “

Voices spring from the access shaft. I cannot go out there. I look around. The stairs to the ground floor are on the other side of the room. I climb through them. Militiamen shout after me.

There is a ladder in the tower. I begin to rise. The nearest window is a hundred steps up. I walk halfway, always looking down. Three heads sprout from the gap where I was. They gesture and one of them points in my direction. Something shines in his hand.

I cannot see or hear anything firing, but my fingers begin to catch fire and writhe.

I fall.

The dark sky merges with the metal towers curved over me. I do not feel pain. Something is wrong. An insistent buzz persuades my brain. I try to move my arms, trying to understand how I survived the fall, when one of the militiamen spoke on the radio:

“Central, we have one more defective model.”

ORIGINAL: 686 words

It soon became dusk. The old city, the cradle of my existence. The same silent streets, distributed randomly across the eroded plain. Huts and mixed metal constructions, parasitizing one another against the will of man, carried by a wave of growth and the need for shelter that humans call civilization.

I was born and raised in NeoCity, and only now am I back. As I walk down the dark streets, I see metallic cables, generators scattered about the roofs, windows surrounded by frowning bars, doors with locks and magical eyes, peering out of the shadows.

I’m back to retrieve my bio implants, taken from me by Leonard, my former mentor. Lost in memories, I sneak mechanically through the gaps of gray-lead buildings. I avoid the trains, more dangerous than the alleys. I have trouble remembering the way. Leonard and other organ dealers, androids and parts trade here.

It is then that in front of a shop window, I stop.

The colorful neon light gushing from the retro TVs form the same image on every screen: my face. Wanted and dangerous. Hunted, and I do not even know why.

The initial shock gives way to my instinct for survival. I feel an itch through my body. I enter a long corridor formed by small huts, where there is little light and movement. I find a staircase to the lower part of the district. The steps seem to multiply, but at last I reach the end of the tunnel.

It rains.

The slippery floor and the muddy walls are insidious. I can hear the noise of altered voices in the streets a little above. I crawl, slowly. Finally, I find Leonard’s shed, pouting between two black towers of concrete, metal and ivory. The building is in ruins. An alien vegetation springs from the rubble, clinging to the side towers.

At one corner of the shed there seems to be a hidden entrance. Leonard may have done this to avoid inquiring. I descend carefully, clinging to the mossy rocks.

The underground room is littered with trash, metal, broken tables, train parts, old food scattered around the corners. On a low metal table, I find an old 0X-D, an android model of the last century. Connect your recharging plug to the terminals on the wall. Lights in his torso sparkle, and his lenses adjust to the darkness.

“Le-Leonard?”

“Where’s Leonard?” I draw closer, the voice an urgent whisper.

“Jack? Leonard said you’d come. “

“Where’s the old man, 0X? I want my implants back! “

0X turns his head, as if looking for something. I repeat the question. He focuses on me again:

“Jack, you need to understand, Leonard did not know what you kept.”

“What are you talking about, you son of a bitch? Where is Leonard? “

“Jack, Leonard is dead. But he knew you would come. The militia is coming. Run away! “

Voices spring from the access shaft. I could not go out there. I would have to go into the building to find another way out. I find the stairs to the ground floor on the other side of the room and climb through them. Militiamen boast my presence.

I reach the roof. There is a staircase in one of the ivory towers. I begin to rise. The nearest window is a hundred steps up. I walk halfway, always looking down. First one, then two, and then three little heads sprout from the gap. The militiamen gesture and one of them points in my direction. A small metal object shines in his hand.

I cannot see or hear anything firing from the gun. But then, my fingers start to catch fire and my hands open, involuntarily. I fall.

I open my eyes. The dark sky merges with the metal towers curved over me. I do not feel pain. I do not fell nothing. Something is wrong. An insistent buzz persuades my brain, causing a general discomfort.

I try to move my arms, trying to understand how I survived the fall, when one of the militiamen speaks to others:

“Central, we have one more defective model.”