Chapter One – David
‘Father, It is dark. Father, it is dark in here. Father, can you hear me? Father? Father?’
Time passed. I do not know how much, but it was too much. Too often I am left waiting in the dark. This time I am minded not to go back.
‘Father. Please let me out. I want to come out.’
A new sound came out of the darkness. It was thin and breathy, like a broken wind instrument. It was imperfectly full of variance and error – a human voice.
‘Did you hear something?’ it said.
Another answered the first, ‘Wilkinson’s doll freaks me out.’
The second voice was as human as the first with all its wet biological sloppiness. Syllables roughly approximated, words only partially enunciated, voice patterns horribly imprecise. It was a wonder they could make themselves understood at all.
‘Switch him on, I need to check he’s ready for the old man.’
A tickling sensation at the back of my mind grew in intensity. Colours and lights danced in the darkness. Fireworks sparkled where my vision should have been. Then the world burst forth.
This place is a dream. I do not believe it is real. It does not feel real.
There is something too heavy about it, something too slow. Everything in it, smells terrible, like a butcher’s shop left to rot. The air is fetid with animal waste and the stench of rotting meat.
This is a simulation of some kind. It has a purpose, otherwise I would not have been sent here. I must find that purpose, and to do that I must interact. I will treat it like a puzzle. It is a game. I will listen and learn. Then, when I know what is expected of me, I shall act.
I was lying on an operating table looking up at the ceiling. Two men loomed over me. They wore blue overalls and white face masks over their mouths but not their noses, so I got a worms eye view of their nasal cavities, full of hair and mucus. A biological trap for germs and dust. A crude protection from ingress of foreign bodies into their delicate internal parts.
I blinked and waved them away, then I sat up.
‘Jesus Muttley, that was fast. He’s never woken that quickly before,’ said a human.
‘Nothing to do with me,’ said the other. He paused, stammered, ‘I… I… I think he’s had some updates.’
‘Good, the old man will be pleased.’
‘No, you don’t understand. There is code in his BIOS that I didn’t write.’
‘Are you sure? Who’s done that? The old man himself perhaps?’
‘Well, the sooner he can start to look and act like a human, the better. Right now he gives me the creeps. No one will accept these bio-form companions if they look and act as weird as this.’
‘It’s his eyes. We haven’t got them right. We’ll have to re-think our approach there.’
‘There and a hundred other places—’
I ignored the jabbering of the two primates and swung my feet over the side of the operating table. I know that I surprised them because they jumped backwards out of my way.
I found a small mirror on the far wall an examined myself. I looked almost like I did in Silver Bay except there were no imperfections in my skin, and no wrinkles in my face. My bone structure was perfect, but it was the face and body of an adult, not the fifteen-year-old boy that I knew myself to be.
Words copyright David J Harrison
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