Without Red

Oliver’s voice buffered in and out as he carried me, static blurring his words. “Why’d you do it, Eli? You were so close, so close to being human.”

I grazed his hand as sparks sputtered from my chest plate. “Couldn’t go without you.” I reached to touch his silver cheek. “It wouldn’t be worth it.”

His head shook, and I gasped as my systems sparked and faltered, glitching the image of the outside world. When my eyes righted themselves once more, I couldn’t see color. Oliver’s face hovered over me with off-white eyes that bore into mine.

“I’ll miss that green.” I cupped his cheek and pressed my forehead to his as he knelt down.

“No, no, not yet. Come on, Red. Look at me.” He waved his hand at my periphery, and my eyes followed him. “See where we are? Your favorite, remember?”

Water glistened and glowed pale as the beams of the sun bore down on it. I watched as it poured down from the concrete, blinking away the glitches. No picture left.

“Nice place to die, by the fountain.” My voice crackled with static, and Oliver gripped me tight.

He shifted and placed me on the grass, laying at my side. He grasped my right hand. Metal groaned, and I tried to stop his hand, fumbling with his arm in blackness. Wires snapped and sparked hissed at him as he collapsed down next to me.

“Why?”

His hand landed on mine, but he couldn’t twine his fingers with mine. My hearing grew hazier as static invaded, but I caught his last words.

“No world without Red.”

As my last system failed, the words echoed in my head, punctuated by a single heartbeat.

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