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Of Machines and Flesh

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"When you grow up, you can be anything" 

I spend a lot of my time wondering when I stopped believing that. When I was a kid, I had so much hope; motivated to be the best person I could be, I couldn't wait until adulthood. Now, however, I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with my life. My grades in school have begun to slip, and the motivation I once had is now but a distant memory. I could train for years to become a surgeon or an engineer or a businesswoman, but by the time I've finished the course there will be androids who can complete any job given at a fraction of the cost.

It's already begun; the smiling baristas that once served me fresh coffee have been replaced by empty husks simulating human behaviour, my teachers have been replaced by these machines that are experts on every subject. Just give it a few more years and we'll get psychologists that understand emotions but don't have them, doctors that understand injuries but aren't able to feel pain... An entire workforce unable to feel. I guess that could be when it started, when they started to take our jobs- the introduction of androids was a step forward in the technological department, hell... it was a big step forward for most departments, but it was a massive step back for humanity.

If you go back around twenty years, there apparently used to be jokes about how 'you would end up in McDonald's' if you failed to do well in school, but now you'd be grateful for any job regardless of how well you've done. Unemployment is at an all-time high, as are crime and suicide rates, but those who have all the money don't care as caring 'isn't profitable'. As for those without any money, it's hard to kickstart anything when you barely have enough to feed yourself. 

So here I am, skipping school for the third time this week, hoping for a change that will never come. If I still had real teachers, I'd imagine they'd be chewing my ear off about how I'm throwing my life away, but what was once considered a 'life' can now only really be achieved through inherited money- a few notable exceptions being artists, actors and authors, but it's not like I'm going to get far in any of those fields. Even relationships are now but a distant dream, with people resorting to androids as an easy path to 'love'... but I have to question how you can love a machine. 

Letting out an audible sigh, my eyes fall to my ever-loyal companion Beau, the one thing in this world that I still care about... and he's a dog. Bending down, I run my hands through his fur as he yaps in delight. "Who's a good boy?" I smile. Pets were becoming far rarer nowadays, with people being far more content with their androids and not bothering with anything that would require responsibility, but I wouldn't trade Beau for the world. Ever since I found him digging around in the trash outside of my 'house', I haven’t left his side, even sneaking him into school on the rare occasions I actually bother to show up. Returning my gaze upwards, I walk through the busy Friday-morning-Detroit hoping for at least something eventful to occur.

I run my hand across a wall, allowing the weathered bricks to scuff up my fingers slightly. Sometimes I have to be reminded that I'm still human- some androids lead better lives than half of us out here, but the stinging sensation in my fingers let me know that I'm more than just a machine. Closing my eyes, I momentarily imagine myself in another life- another universe free of these over-glorified kettles- but as always, reality soon hits me like a truck.

Something collides in to me, causing me to jolt out of my daydream. Going to apologise, I hold my tongue as I notice a familiar light flashing on his temple- it's temple. "Fucking tin cans..." I murmur, looking over the android that stood before me. Reading its uniform, I take a mental note of its model: HK400... it's pretty old, but that just makes me hate it even more. This android was one of the stepping stones to where we are now. My eyes fall to its arms and, by the looks of it, its Friday morning hasn’t been the best either. Blue liquid trickled out of multiple holes in its skin, staining its once pristine uniform. This wasn't done by any protesters, they couldn't afford to damage an android, so it seems likely that its owner did this. Clearly it did something wrong, just going to show that androids aren't as 'perfect' as they seem, causing a small smile to appear on my face.

For a brief moment, it continues to stare at me, almost as if it was about to say something. If it wasn't an android, I'd almost mistake that for a look consisting of both fear and confusion. "The fuck you looking at?" I ask, venom lacing my words as my smile quickly fades. My eyes dart up, level with the lifeless orbs of the android. It responds by blinking a few times, before running past me and off into the distance. As the figure shrinks, my eyes widen slightly at the splash of crimson on its uniform- that's... blood. "What the fuck?"

Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I pause for a moment as I get the dialler up. Some small part of me was resisting the urge to call the emergency services to report a deranged rust bucket on the loose. "What do you think, Beau? What's wrong with me?" I grumble, looking down at the ground only to see an empty space. "Beau?" My voice begins to raise as I spin around, looking for any sign of my four-legged friend. For a second, everything goes quiet and my vision begins to darken. My pulse skyrockets whilst my hand slowly begins to lose its grip- the sound of glass shattering echoes throughout the silent void that was once there. It looks like I won't be calling anyone, my phone is in pieces, but that doesn't matter now- I have to find Beau. This wasn't the 'eventful' thing that I wanted... I can't lose him.

He's the only thing right in this world.