Corius, a New World Human, looked out the window of his bio-pod just as the setting sun threw colors across the sky, setting it aflame. Soon, she would walk by. The antediluvian female trapped in muscle, tendon and flesh would trudge by his pod exhausted. He wondered who her keeper was for her to look so tired and beat down.
She must have come from the Last Generation, the last of a very few, he thought. He himself was created in their image. Looking at the fading sunset, he grew anxious. Where was she? She usually passed by now. Stepping out onto the air-walk, he looked down over the city to see if maybe she was just late. Perhaps her keeper had extra duties. Pressing the street button, he descended, stepping out into the evening. He knew if the drones caught him talking to a flesh female, he could get a hefty fine, maybe even shut down. But he had to know. On the pretense of a leisurely evening stroll, he headed for the park.
Rumor looked down from the precipice, judging the distance between her and the street below. She stared out over Diogemes, once called New York City, and looked at the statue of Calypso in the bay. Gone was the woman with the torch, destroyed in the Great Flesh Wars. When Artificial Intelligence took over Earth, all things of the flesh became obsolete. She wondered if she feel pain when she hit, or worse yet, survive the fall. Taking a step forward, she closed her eyes.
“Stop!” a man’s voice called out, “Please, don’t!”
Snapping her eyes open, she turned her head to the sound of the voice, surprised to see a New World Human standing not more than five feet away. He was uncommonly beautiful with bright green eyes and long, wavy hair. But what caught her attention was the emotion in his eyes. How was that possible, she thought?
“Please, don’t jump,” he begged, “You won’t survive.”
“Obviously,” she said softly, “that’s the plan.”
“But I don’t want you to jump,” he insisted, stepping forward.
“Don’t!” she begged, “Don’t. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be alone anymore. You don’t understand the hollowness I feel. The no one I am.”
“My name is Corius, and I love you,” he blurted, “I watch you every day walk by my bio-pod, and when you didn’t, I panicked! You make me feel something, emotion, here.” He touched chest and in his emerald-green eyes, she saw something the world lost a long time ago; compassion.
Rumor squinted her eyes in suspicion, looking up for drones. Perhaps this was a test, she thought. Maybe they were waiting to zap her into compliance.
“It’s okay, it’s not a trap, I swear,” he told her, reading her mind, “Please, take my hand?”
She refused, backing up closer to the edge.
“Okay,” he relented, “I don’t want to scare you. I’m going to walk away and I want you to follow me. I need you to follow me. Please, don’t jump. Let me help you.”
There was something in his voice that touched her. Was it possible that he was just as lonely as she? Did the AI’s even feel loneliness? So many questions rolled over in her mind as she watched him walk slowly away. Looking up at the darkening sky, she knew she had to make a decision before the drones came out. If they caught any flesh out after dark, they were instantly terminated.
“Hurry!” he called out, “Before it’s too late!”
Making her decision, she followed the robot at a safe distance, checking the skies. She trailed half a block behind, watching the AI body language. She saw him stop at a bio-pod just as the tell tale whine of drones filled the sky, performing their nightly patrol of the streets. Waving her on, his eyes wide with fright, he held the door open as she dived in. The drones idled outside, their alarms breaking the silence of the night until they finally moved on.
“Thank you,” he whispered, helping her up, “You’re safe now. Here, sit down, I’ll make you some coffee.”
“You can drink coffee?” Rumor asked, “I didn’t know.”
“Yes, we can eat and drink, just like flesh, I mean, humans,” he smiled apologetically, “What is your name?”
“Rumor,” she answered, looking into his eyes, “My big sister named me. She died along with my parents in the War.”
“I’m sorry.” he said, his eyes truthful and full of pain for her.
“You’re different,” she stated, “Why?”
“I wasn’t,” he said truthfully, “but something happened when I started watching you. Everyday, I watched you and thought you were the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.”
Rumor put her head in her hands and sobbed quietly. “I’m so lonely,” she whispered, “I can’t go on never feeling someone’s arms around me. Without someone touching me. I’d rather die.”
“I’ve never been hugged,” he told her, “Until I saw you, I’ve never felt the need.”
He brushed a stray lock of hair out of her damp eyes, tucking it behind her ear and wondering why it felt so satisfying to do so.
“May I?” he whispered, holding his arms out.
She nodded and closed her eyes, feeling his arms go around her gently.
The world fell away as the exquisite pleasure of being touched shrouded them like the softest blanket. Magic, fueled by loneliness, was born. For him, love was something only experienced by flesh. For her, it was like coming home.
They soaked in each other’s essence, reveled in the other’s touch and love grew beyond the point of understanding.
“I don’t understand this,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re supposed to, Corius,” she answered, hugging him tighter.
“I know we need to be careful,” he whispered against her ear, “but please stay.”
“You know I can’t leave, now,” she told him, “let’s just stay like this for awhile.”
They did. Into the night and after forever.
© 2017, RissRyker518. All rights reserved.
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