Be kind, rewind

Wednesday Write-in #52.


Sometime later (indeterminate and indeterminable because, as rational as Robin is with things like the passing of time, every day spent with Marie has warped the linear progression of seconds, years, months, heartbeats), after she learns that Marie is dead, they get Robin into an interrogation room for a ‘full debrief’. This consists of a basic memory dump of everything that’s happened since she left the facility back in January.

The investigator is a sweet girl in her late twenties – probably chosen to coax out the learned tendency in Robin to respond to kindness over cruelty. She delicately wipes her brow as they come to the end of another tape. Robin is, of course, able to self regulate her body temperature but the investigator – she hasn’t introduced herself and is unlikely to ever do so – is struggling in the stuffy basement bunker room.

Robin’s been talking for almost four days straight – literally describing every waking moment she’s had from the beginning to the end. This is completely beyond her: her creator foresaw the need for a memory capture function for a number of different scenarios she was destined for and after that, it’s a matter of a few drops of this and that in an IV while she’s unconscious and she wakes up prepared to tell them everything – everything – even the excruciating first moments leading up to and following their first kiss. Three investigators rotate in and out, in and out, tape in, tape on, tape out. They need sleep, rest, sustenance. She is able to function for an entire week before her functions drop to 85% effectiveness. She had become so used to lying by Marie every night, just to make her feel like she wasn’t the only human in this.

Eventually she falls into the pleasant rhythm of it and is only mildly curious when she blinks and wakes up back in the hospital ward, the IV being fed back into her arm. “What is that?” she hears herself ask. The doctor only glances up at her before going back to his perusal of his chart which seems to be telling him something about the dials on the drip.

“It’ll help you to forget. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt. You’ll feel sleepy soon.”

Robin blinks up at the ceiling, every drop and lift of her eyelids over her eyes signifying the passing of another level of the last year that she is leaving behind as she descends deeper and deeper into sleep –

-the first weeks, hiding in plain sight and planting misleading clues so they could make a break for the border when they would least be expecting it.

-France and Spain and Italy – eating themselves silly and bouncing around between cash only hostels, paying cash for all of the things they needed for the next steps

– dark nights spent in poor lighting with a bottle of something sweet and intoxicating between them (Robin’s superior liver and kidney function prevented her from losing any motor control at all but Marie had been incredibly beautiful when doing shots of brandy in flickering bare-bulbed light.

– repeatedly and scarcely escaping all the people who had been sent after them, dropping everything and heading in the opposite direction

– fevered admissions, confessions and promises as they hid in the filthiest, grimiest of holes –

The doctor gentle covers her flickering eyes and she slips sweetly, slowly, ever lonely, gratefully and finally to sleep.

Then the hospital door is kicked open.


Ham & Eggs

Wednesday Write-in #51.

I’m going to go ahead and admit to serialising this story over the past few WWIs. I’ll do the appropriate linking later today and hopefully will remember how to write other things.


Somewhere between a tiny Greek island and Turkey, things go very, very wrong.

It’s early morning and they are boarding what they have been told is the safest and most reliable ferry transport between Greece and Turkey (but which, in reality, looks 20 nautical miles away from collapse) and Robin and Marie are about to have a fight. It’s been coming for a while. Robin is muttering all sorts of statistics about sinking ferries, careless crews and unthinkable sanitary conditions and Marie’s disregard for them thereof and Marie’s had enough.

“Have you ever heard of the fable of the Chicken and the Pig?”

Robin replies that she has not.

“A chicken and pig decide to make breakfast for their owner. The chicken lays the eggs and the pig provides the bacon. The chicken walks away without a mark because the chicken is only involved and not committed like the pig is. That’s just like us. I’m the pig and you’re the chicken. When I took you from the facility, I risked everything, I continue to risk everything. I don’t have a convenient control-Z function to use here – I can’t take backsteps. The second we walked out of there it has been my neck, my life on the line but you are the bloody prize hog – all they want is to get you back but they’ll crucify me on sight and it absolutely drives me up the wall the way you keep criticising everything I’m doing to keep us both away from there. Please don’t ever forget, it was you who asked me to get you out. If you’ve got a better plan, then speak up.”

They share long, furious seconds with eyes locked before Robin says. “Technically it would have to be a hen to lay eggs.”

A hen is a kind of chicken you stupid, selfish, ungrateful idiot,”  hisses Marie. She is so angry and feels so helpless and so panicked that this might have been completely the wrong thing to do – teaching a semi-Alien, semi-engineered sentient being how to be human? She must be out of her mind. It’s all she can do to stumble away to the other side of the boat so she doesn’t strangle her with hot shaking hands.

Five minutes later and they are speeding across the Mediterranean Sea when a speed boat pulls up along-side them and a dozen stocky, masked men forcibly climb on board. They’re yelling in a combination of Greek and Turkish and Marie is scrambling for her basic translation book when Robin turns up from nowhere.

“Put it away; put it back in your bag. Don’t speak,” she mouths hotly into Marie’s ear. “They’re here for us, they’re looking for me. Don’t do anything illogical or you’ll be killed. We can both be the chicken.” Marie slowly puts the guide back in her bag. The men produce fire arms and gesture for everybody to line up along the side of the boat. As everybody crowds and screams, Robin takes her hand, skin still so impossibly soft, so impossibly elastic and strong as well, so much so as to be able to stretch right over the Port side of the ferry and drop her into the warm water below.

“Wait,” she mouths, Catherine Wheel of hair flying around her face.

Share and share alike.

recycled  ::  hindsight  ::  manic  ::  pair  ::  button up

via Wednesday Write-in #50.

“I continue to be appalled,” begins Robin haughtily at the makeshift breakfast bar at the cash-only hostel, “by the levels of waste which humanity not only tolerates but perpetrates.” She calmly peels back the skin of her banana before consuming it in five crisp bites.

Marie elects to remain silent.

“Over 75% of household waste can be recycled but only 30% of it ever is. It’s illogical. This planet is living on — borrowed time?” She looks at Marie for reassurance. Marie nods. “Yes, on borrowed time.”

Marie continues to remain silent. Soon after the poetry, Robin had (disastrously) happened upon Critical Theory and in a desperate attempt to bring her back to the real world, Marie had naively introduced her to the concept of politics and national debate.

“It is wholly illogical, therefore, that the inhabitants of the planet would willfully destroy it without any meaningful contingency or regard for the future. And food waste, don’t even get me started.” Robin pops the stalk of a now demolished apple into her mouth and swallows easily. They’re standing side by side on the three foot deep balcony which opens straight out onto a filthy, noisy street. Robin’s arm brushes Marie’s as she drops her arm again.

“Really, waste is part of the overall internalised rhetoric of The West regarding their tolerance of shame and inactivity. If you buy something which is reusable, you should reuse it. If you see a kindness being committed, then repeat it. If you have something which can be shared, then share it. I am fully resistant to inactivity. If I see something which can be done which will bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, I must do it. If I don’t understand something, I must work to understand it. If I feel something, I have to express it. I am, fundamentally, an animal. If I have an urge, I must fulfill it, surely?”

For a moment, they share a look and it seems as though Robin is going to lean a little further in and do something. But then the moment stretches into 30 seconds, then 45 and then Marie looks away, smiling to herself and making a point to teach Robin how rife hypocrisy is in politics.