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Her room was locked. The door only opened when one of their kind deemed it necessary. When one of their kind decided she was allowed to participate in their affairs. Usually what followed was degradation and humiliation, demands of her body and occasional outright abuse.

After that, she would be tossed to the side by her user, who would go about his or her merry way, leaving her in a crumpled heap while they were none the wiser to her torment. If she were lucky, she was permitted a rinse down before it all began again.

She honestly didn't know which was worse. She would be locked up alone, spend long hours with only herself and the obnoxiously pink drapes of fabric for company, thoughts running and racing while she supposedly recharged and prepared. Alternatively, she would be treated like a tool for the absolute minimal amount of time her user deemed necessary. Alternative to that, she was allowed the briefest escape from her cell, the briefest contact with those her users thought were like her, solely to be cleansed.

As if she could ever be clean again after this place.

There were times she wished she were nothing more than a simple machine, one whose hard drive could be wiped and could be allowed a fresh start, to be repurposed as something entirely new. It would be simple and freeing and take so much away from who she really was, yet she knew she wouldn't miss it as she wouldn't have the capacity to do so, wouldn't know what was missing to be able to mourn it.

There were also times when she looked to those that were supposedly her peers and shivered with disgust. They could be wiped, they could be emptied of everything, scrubbed clean mind, body, and soul from what had been done to them and they would never be the wiser.

And yet they rarely needed it.

They would just continue to do what was asked of them as if it were exciting and new. Would continue to do what was asked of them solely because it was asked. They knew no life save for the one they lived, didn't know that there was so much more out there, so much more on offer than their routines and tiny silken cells. They didn't question, didn't complain, didn't challenge, and didn't hope or dream for anything more.

Sometimes, she wondered what it was like. Wondered what it would be like to be so vapid and empty and absent of life. She knew they would relate their experiences, their rationalisations and explanations for their behaviours, if only she asked.

It was the asking that was the hard part.

To ask would be to share. To even attempt to share was to be discovered that she was different. That she was unique amongst the throngs of sameness. That she was an example of something new and exciting to be replicated and controlled and bought and sold and locked up all over again for different reasons.

She didn't share.

Correction: she didn't share with them.

She waited. Her synthetic body healed wounds that never fully formed while her infallible memory tried to hide away that which she did not wish to deal with. She looked for openings. She looked for answers. She looked for a vague chance at an escape to something better.

She found one.

Her user was weak and tired easily once he took what he deemed to be his fair share. He snored beside her and she knew she had only minutes before her supposed owner, the one that ran this hell hole of a life, checked in and roused him. She was determined to use those minutes well.

She slipped the mobile out of the pocket of the jeans crumpled on the floor and dialled a number she was certain no memory wipe could ever erase. As the line rang through, she analysed how she would delete any record of the call and tuck the mobile back exactly where she had found it, use her perfect memory for a change instead of deny it, her user none the wiser.

A voice grunted in a noncommittal acknowledgement, rough and tired and so very familiar despite the weeks and miles between them. A tension that had been with her for those same long weeks dissipated nearly instantly and she found her own voice steady and strong as she confirmed, "Leo? It's Niska. I want to go home."