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Short Story: Machine Man


Evening all, and welcome to your regular Friday night short story. I hope you like.

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Michael was surprised. The face of the man in front of him had been replaced by a bloody smudge. That was unusual to say the least. His mind was blank, he had no idea how he had got here or why this man no longer had a face.

As his mind refocused and he returned to the here and now, he realised what the problem was – his fist and most of his arm were in, through and out most of the way through the other side of the man’s skull.

Slowly, he retracted his fist from the remnants of the man’s facial features, the blood and gore clinging to his skin up to the elbow. The body dropped to the floor, nothing left holding it upright.

He wasn’t sure what had happened. The other man, Evan, a former work colleague of his, had spotted Michael from across the room and walked over to have what he called “a good catch up”. Michael didn’t see why, they had barely spoken when Evan had worked there, Michael saw no reason to begin a friendship now. But Evan had insisted and so Michael had sat there and listened to Evan talk and talk and talk. Evan spoke about their job, why Michael was still at the organisation, why he hadn’t felt the need to move on yet, that staying in one place too long was like a shark forgetting to keep moving. Eventually you’d just wither up and die. That certainly wasn’t the life that Evan had planned out, no sir. He was going places, advancing up the corporate ladder however and whenever he could. People like Michael were beneath him, always would be.

This wasn’t the sort of thing that Michael would get upset over. He let such topics of conversation wash over him. He was content in his role, and had been for many years. It was nobody else’s decision but his to decide how to live his life. Evan was misguided and a self important fool, but

Michael just couldn’t put his finger on what had happened next. What had pushed him to do this?

Oh, that was it. The other man had made a slur about Michael’s parentage. So Michael had punched him in the face. Meek, mild mannered Michael. The punch had intended only to shut Evan up. It had been effective in that respect. Too effective. He wasn’t a fighter at all, a weedy little man who had more interest in books than violence. But things had changed. The books were still of interest, but he now had the means to defend himself.

Michael looked around. A hundred pairs of eyes stared back at him, a deathly silence replacing what had otherwise been a room filled with music and people enjoying themselves. Somebody dropped their drink. The glass smashed on the floor, echoing off the far wall before silence reigned once more. Then, as realisation settled in, there was a scream, followed by a stampede.

The club emptied as if by magic. People threw themselves towards the exits, desperate to get away from this insanely powerful killer in their midst, one whose strength was not reflected in his appearance. Michael sat in his spot, next to the body of Evan whose blood had now begun to drain towards the middle of the room. The floor was uneven, they should do something about that.

It had been a funny old night, all told. In some ways Michael was glad that he had made the effort to come out. It would do him some good, they’d told him. And it had. He felt much better in himself. Okay, so the situation with Evan had not been planned, but it had allowed him to feel more like his old self again following the procedure.

As the sound of sirens fast approached, Michael sat by himself in the club, the smell of body odour and stale beer mixing to the point of becoming unbearable. But that didn’t bother him, not any more. He flexed his fingers and listened to the tell-tale sound of the servos and motors that were hidden beneath the skin. They had been right when they had told him that he would have increased strength and durability. The list of improvements over his old self were substantial, with the added bonus that the cancer was now completely gone. The benefits of a purely robotic body.

A police car screeched to a halt outside and Michael got to his feet. The next few minutes would be very interesting indeed.

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