DAY 9 – DIG DEEPER:
What do you perceive are your greatest limitations at the moment? They don’t necessarily have to be related to writing. What’s getting in your way of your fullest expression and your daily practice?
My greatest limitation right now is lack of focus, the quietest of sounds makes me forget a line of dialogue, character description or scene. Even in a quiet room, something manages to pull my attention away from the project I’m currently working on. The ticking of the clock, the click of a pen, someone typing away on their computer or even a new story idea, all of these things distract me until the thought that once excited me to sit down and write in the first place is gone. Also, I included a picture of a single cherry because I can only imagine how long it took the artist to depict not only the cherry but the cherry’s reflection in this painting. Now that’s focus!
DAY 9 – DAILY PROMPT:
Browse a photo sharing website, whether it is Tumblr, Instagram, or Flickr. Using nothing but a single still image, write an entire scene based around it as if it was a still frame from a film. Notice how no matter whose story you are looking at, it is only YOUR story you’re seeing and telling.
All that I ask is that you try to understand that I truly do not consider myself to be a machine much like you consider yourselves to be constructed of arteries, blood vessels and vital organs. I only see myself as she, Z, sees me. She found me, or more specifically, her foot caught in what you would call my rib cage causing her to trip over me. I was amongst other discarded mechanical items, what you simply refer to as trash, discarded by everything else deemed suspicious or obsolete in this new world we are forced to survive in.
Will you let me go if I continue answering your questions? This holding area is uncomfortable and I must admit that small spaces unsettle me. I do not mind that you peeled away my hands to reveal the metal underneath to prevent my escape but please, will you let me go if I continue? Fear is one of those emotions I am not pleased about obtaining during my recent upgrades.
I do not remember my prime directive nor who initially constructed me. I assure you that I am not a threat and I do not wish to speak about myself in terms of rebooting, primary directives and what my installment applications might consist of. Currently, I do not have a purpose if that is what you wish to ask of me and I am at peace with that. I am at peace with being if that makes sense though I know it is a difficult stance to fully grasp. I am happy to be here, not here in this room, but to exist and I believe that is because of Z. If I were to discern my purpose it would be to be with her as long as she does not mind my presence.
What do I remember of her? She is within all of my memories since my original data banks have been disrupted. I will recall my earliest memory with her, outside a recording of events.
We are together, Z and I, and she is spouting illogical questions. What do I know of my parents? Where do I come from, to which she rephrases, where was I born? What is my favorite color? I do not understand. I do not have parents and I am not sure I want them because by now I would have lost them to be traveling with her. Parents would not be beneficial to me so why pretend to have them when they serve no purpose? She knows where I came from, the trash pile and everything before that has been wiped from my data banks. Does anyone remember being born? Where they were born outside of city and state? Z says she was born in a hospital but that does not satisfy the specifications of the question. What room on what floor and in what bed? As for color, I have no favorite. A color is a color much like a stone is a stone. The purpose of these questions is to humanize me, though I am uncertain I want to be in that category. I tell her I am not a human and it is clear to anyone who sees me that I am a machine. She claims that we can be whatever we want to be, just like we can chose what we do with our lives. You can imagine that I found this difficult to believe since everything was once programmed into me at one point. When I tell her this, she smiles and admits that she could have chosen to leave me in the dump she found me in. That, at any moment, she could stop searching for pieces of metal to trade, just walk into the desert and disappear. The way she gazes into the sun causes me to question if that is what she really wants. It only lasts a moment, a moment where I treasure the silence shared between us before she starts questioning me again. She also teaches me different phrases and which facial expressions they should be accompanied with. Smiles, frowns, even eyes may express a feeling. She rolls hers’ multiple times which registers to me as an abnormal habit. I press the tips of my fingers on either side of her head to balance them.
“Don’t be afraid,” her voice barely above a whisper as she takes my face in her hands. She blinks rapidly, smiles as I observe her eyes returning to normal. We continue walking as I consider what expression appeared on my face to simulate fear.
Z teaches me how to curse when we pick a place to settle for the night. I argue that lighting a fire is more important than learning more vocabulary terms to help me communicate with humans better. She laughs and claims that is not the point of the lesson, that it sounds funny when I try to curse. A fire should be a primary concern, especially since she is beginning to lose weight and shivers more often. Food is scarce and I capture anything we find to which she eats and always thanks me. But when she claims to have to go to the bathroom, I know it is because her body cannot digest what she painstakingly ate in order to satisfy my concerns. She does not think I notice, but I cannot help it. Fucking shit. Dammnit and Hell.
When she laughs, her stomach becomes full again, her ribs no longer seeping through her thinning skin.
The fire is lit and I imagine it is warm, Z huddles close to it while staring into the night sky peppered with stars. It is at this moment she falls into her routine, always wishing for rain. But tonight, she asks me to make a wish so I wish for rain too. She wants me to wish for something for myself. Something only for me. I tell her I wish to look more like her, not female, I do not think I would be best represented as a female. Nor do I wish to be comprised of organs, blood or bone. Nothing to make me sick or to slowly starve like she is. I appreciate being able to scan areas, detecting their metal content or any sources of nourishment for her.
But to have flesh over my metallic body, an eye color by random selection, though I prefer to consider myself to to have heterochromia. Black or brown hair to not stand out too much outside of my eyes though white hair would be nice too. Peach colored skin with a scar across my eye, a representation of having seen things. She nods and traces how the scar would fall across my eye, the left side making my right dominant. Then, she closes her eyes. She is sitting across from me, her hand searching for mine. I replay my poorly transmitted wish in my head to make sure there was not an error in communication to cause this odd behavior when I feel the heat from her fingertips graze the top of my palm.
“Most of all,” I press my forehead against hers and close my eyes as well, “I wish to know how this feels.” I lift her hand between us and her eyes open slowly. Is her hand warm inside of mine without me measuring her body temperature? What would my touch feel like against the ground, carrying metal, holding her hand in my grasp?
“Then, that will be my next project.” She winks, a motion I still struggle to comprehend the meaning.
But that is my first memory outside of a recording. It is also why I appear this why though my hair is much closer to silver than white. Now will you release me? I assure you I am the only one of my kind that exists. That I am aware of.
I don’t know where Z is now. You kidnapped me remember?
Why are you searching for her?
What do you want with her?
This, she did this to me because I asked her to.
Do not, don’t walk away–
Listen to me!
I am afraid. I am angry and I am afraid but you must listen. I am angry because you insult me, because you threaten the only person I trust in this world. I am afraid of closed spaces yet you meld me to this table, keeping me in this box until I answer your questions which, I have determined, are meant to locate my traveling companion, my friend. When I answer you honestly, you threaten to have me destroyed. Please understand that I am no longer a piece of metal to be forgotten and thrown away nor am I a captive to be ignored. I, I am Henry.
And I know what it’s like to feel, especially the feeling of fear.