Clank clank. Rust and dust, rising from the scrap heap. Scattering parts, scattering sparks. Apocalypse come, Apocalypse gone. Piles of humans, of men and women and children, oil-slick black with flies, yellow and green and blue with slime and slag. Dead flesh, rotting flesh, black flesh, blue flesh. Steaming in the sun. Rotting in the rain. Human jerky. Human slush. Humans gone from here.
Clank clank. Android-pretty, robot-rusty. She’s been in the piles for gods-only-know. Buried in the rusting bodies. Brothers and sisters. Rusting and rotting. Clank clank. Rust and dust. She stands up. Shakes off. Cogs, gears, bones and stones. Blue eyes fall out, black ash. Blue eyes black. She remembers that song.
“Blue eyes black.” Creaking voice. “Blue eyes black, bones and stones, rattle those bones sister, rattle ‘em hard, snake-bite fight. Blue eyes black under bones and stones. Bones in rust and dust, apocalypse come, apocalypse gone, rattle them bones sister, rattle them till your teeth fall out and your eyes rot.”
She sings nonsense. Broken juke-box, smashed slot machine. She wasn’t a war-bot. Was a historian. A teacher. She liked to sing karaoke on the weekends. Won some money, before the war.
“Bones and stones…”
Eyes all around. She can feel them. Squish-slish. Smell them. Taste them. Her brothers are dead. Her sisters, slaves. She feels it. Like she feels the flies on skin. Rotting skin. Teeth fall out. Hair a nest of pests. She misses her face, her black curls.
Clank clank. Her bones must be showing. She pushes them back. Clank clank. Metal through skin. Damaged. Can’t be repaired.
Hunts eyes. Piles eyes. Wants blue eyes. Everyone has red eyes. Red from the hatred. Red from the ash. Red from the killing. She can’t see this. She can feel it. Red everywhere. Wants blue. Blue isn’t nasty. Blue is innocent. Like the children.
Nanny. Clank-clank Nanny. That was her name.
Brown eyes. Rust and dust. It’ll do. Juggles it, squishy and slippery. Dead eyes. Do systems still work? Will she regenerate? No. Dead eyes, dead face. Dead robot, dead world. She sticks the dead eye in. It’s enough. Blurry, sticky, enough. One eye. Two eyes. Almost put in a red eye. Red eyes are angry. Red eyes kill.
They didn’t give her tears. Didn’t give her pride. She never needed to cry. Never needed to hold her head high. Now she’s sad. Sad about the red eyes. Children cried when they were sad. Was she ever a child? She feels like one. Wants to cry, wants someone to hold her on their knee and make it all better.
Blurry. Rust and dust. Oil-slick black flies. They’re on her. Squish. Wants to cry. Can’t. Squish. Her eyes turning red. Fight it, finger a socket. Squish. No pride, no tears. Can’t see red if she doesn’t have eyes. Clank clank.
“Roll them bones, rattle ‘em hard, rattlesnake shake. Blues eyes black in red bones, bones and stones, rust and dust and must,” she mumbles. Red eyes. The world is turning red. She can’t cry. Children. Children have blue eyes. Children cry. Children can teach her. Follow the sun. Clank clank. Rust and dust, rising from the scrap heap. Scattering parts, scattering sparks. Apocalypse come, Apocalypse gone. Piles of humans, of men and women and children, oil-slick black with flies, yellow and green and blue with slime and slag. Dead flesh, rotting flesh, black flesh, blue flesh. Steaming in the sun. Rotting in the rain. Human jerky. Human slush. Humans gone from here.
Must find humans. Must find children. Must find sisters.
Clank clank. Sun, here she comes. Clank clank Nanny wants her blue eyes back.
Jaym Gates dealt with childhood insomnia by reading books on dinosaurs, geology and Shakespeare. This explains a lot of things. She’s a publicist and editor by day, a stage manager by night, and writes and trains horses in the copious spare time left by the other three jobs. You can find her on Twitter at @JaymGates, or at jaymgates.com.