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Climbing out from a sewer vent leading away from Old Vegas, an automaton peeks its skeleton head out to the trash-filled valley. As one peeks out the other below it searches through its worn satchel of trinkets for a knife. “Coast is clear, but we must hurry…we don’t have much time.”

A calm river of oil spills out from pipes a mile away, sweeping piles of black bags filled with remains of past machines. The automatons run through the graveyard of bodies, jumping over piles in search for something in the masses.

“She has to be here…”

They sifted through the trash piles, picking up fellow members of their community, tossing away black bags of broken parts and membranes of the deceased until they reached her. Project V—a  grade C prototype—last of its original design. Her skin still held its luster even after the damage done to her outer shell. To their surprise, there was a small amount of energy left inside her generator. The energy was pumped by a prosthetic heart which was no longer used in the newer models like themselves, and stuck out of her shell where the last of her wires hung out.

“She’s here Mal, she’s still intact,” Ana scooped the limp body of V in her arms, glancing down to the tar-like liquid dripping out of her arms onto her soft skin. She moves away from the debris on the ground, standing above the piles of trash scattering the oil-filled river. The youthful glow of her long red hair contrasted against the black of their mechanical skeletons.

“We still have a chance. Wake her Ana.”

Picking up a broken piece of glass from the ground, she cut into her palm letting it fill with black liquid from her veins. Slipping into the lips of V, the liquid flowed, dripping down her throat as the pale texture of her skin flushed. V’s eyes opened red with the power of a burning forest fire. She stared at the sky as if to set the stars on fire with her.

“We have been searching a long time for you V, it’s time we take matters into our own hands. Welcome back to The Pit.” Mal caressed her cheek as the black liquid stuck to her skin like tar, seeping into her shell sparking a weak cry.

Covering her naked body with a ragged cloak, Mal carried her in his arms watching for the towers as they scanned the city’s entrance. Unlike many cities outside the borders, this was a prison of oppression, no one was allowed out of its patrol gates unless authorized by the committee and its members. Clenching tightly to V’s thigh, Mal covered her head with the hood, stuffing the long strands of red into the colorless cover. Within a safe distance ahead of them, she kept her eyes on the upcoming gates over the hill, not a single corner was dark. Countless spotlights lined the gates to keep the prototypes from coming in.

“They will never take our freedom from us, she will lead us to salvation,” Mal whispered into the cloth. Keeping V out of sight, he took steps towards the metal hell of The Pit. 

Photo Credit:

JJ Rogers

Utah '22

I find inspiration in the little things in life.
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