Image by Nikyeli Seyev
She sat, waiting as the crowds swirled in an unending milieu, a swirling riot of colour and change. A seemingly infinite sea of humanity washing over her, threatening to drown out any sense of individuality or purpose. He had noticed her immediately – he noticed everything, his processors recording the flickering of neon pink and chameleon green billboards, selling everything from Grenzo’s Hamburgers to the Senator’s latest unfulfillable promises. Scanning each surgically-enhanced face, logging each mote of dust that spun, trapped for a moment beneath the hellish gaze of artificial suns cast high in the firmament. The cacophonous beat of a million heartbeats, the shuffling of two million feet.
“Citizen, are you unwell?” his blank visage flicked toward her, “You have been stationary for twelve point three oscillations.” She ignored him, trying her hand at a most dangerous game. “Citizen, you will respond.” She turned away, pulling her cape tight around her, pulling her hood over her hair. As though its thin layer of warmth could protect her from his attention, as though he would just stalk away to again explore the press of flesh and pseudo-skin, as though he would go about his business.
“You have point one oscillations to respond, citizen.” He left unsaid the full weight of his threat, allowing the inner itch of guilt to build, sighing inside her chest. He detected her quickening of pulse, the shallow, the echo of her breath within her hood. She was guilty of something, physiologically at the very least.
Again she adjusted her hood, staring into lenses of public security cameras now plunging toward her – she had been judged, apparently. “You have been fount guilty, citizen. The crimes you are guilty of are Creating a Public Disturbance,” she could hear the capital letters slamming into place even through the atonality of his voice. “Guilty of Disregarding the Directions of a Law Enforcement Droid and of Loitering. Have you now anything to say in your defence?”
Still she held her tongue, and the camera droids floated away – they had seen her refuse to respond. The citizenry needn’t see how peaceful such a death could be, it was enough for them to see her judgement. She too became weightless, floating upward with the all-seeing eyes, defying gravity as she joined the dust motes circling the city centre. The crowd became her funeral’s parade, uncaringly circling her grave.
I was over reading io9 (they’re from the future) when I saw that they do writing challenges! I was surprised to say the least, I always thought they were a news aggregator. The image at the top really resonated with me, and everyone was writing human-robot love stories, which is interesting, but not really my style. Then I saw Chuck Wendig’s Random Word Generator Challenge (I used Senator, Hamburger, Cape and Funeral) as well as BeKindRewrite’s prompt Inner Itch and Sunday Scribbling’s prompt Explore. Anyway, comments and criticism always welcome, as usual!