Author : Glenn Blakeslee
Janie and I sat on the rocks in the afternoon sun, overlooking the shallow valley and, beyond it, Gordon’s face on the mountainside. We waited until the sightseer buses left the parking lot, and walked down the path to the viewing area.
It was impressive. Gordon’s face was a quarter-mile across, set amid slabs of granite, tilted back at a forty-five degree angle. Foreshortening made his brows appear heavy, his nose overbearing. His eyes were closed but it was still obviously Gordon.
Janie stopped almost to the interaction kiosk, her hands clenched on her chest, but I continued. I stood for a while, and called Gordon’s name.
The eyes slowly opened, gimbaled up to the sky and then down at the viewing area. They blinked, slowly. The lips on the mountain moved, and the sound of his voice came from all over, rumbled through the rocks at my feet. Gordon said “James?”
“Yeah,” I said, “It’s me,” and the lips on the mountain smiled.
“And Janie, too,” Gordon said. Janie stood on the path, still, her hands clenched.
“You look… amazing,” I said, and it was true. “Your skin looks so real.”
“It is real. It’s my actual skin, cloned into a macro-analog, tougher, more durable.”
“Cool,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say.
“My eyes are amazing,” Gordon rumbled from the rocks. “They’re like real eyes, liquid-filled, with a billion charge-couple devices close-packed where the optic disk would be. I can see forever.”
“We’ve just heard about this, and came to see you,” I said. I moved from behind the kiosk, to make sure he saw me. “We wanted to know that you were happy.”
“I am happy. It’s wonderful,” the rocks rumbled. “Janie?” She raised her face to his. “I still love you,” Gordon said.
I could see tears streaming down her face. I started to walk to her, but she ran up the path. I followed.
“Janie?” Gordon said.
I came back a year later, alone. There were no sightseers, no buses or cars. Gordon’s eyes were open, staring up into the midday sun. His skin looked cracked and leathery, eroded around the sides of his nose. Crows sat on the expanse of his face, cawing, picking at loose pieces of skin.
Gordon was slow to answer. He recognized my voice but wouldn’t move his eyes from the sky. “I can see forever but there’s nothing to see,” he said, his voice lower than before. “We’re all alone here, I’m all alone,” he said, and then wouldn’t speak any more.
I made my third and last visit to Gordon three days after Janie’s death. It was dusk, the light gone from the valley, the stars rising at my back. I could see his profile, and glints of starlight reflecting off his eyes. He didn’t respond to me, but spoke continually in a rumbling growl. “I am your master,” he said, “Kneel to me. I am the lord of this land, you are my creation. Kneel to me.”
I stood there for an hour, and then started up the path.
“Hands!” Gordon screamed. “Give me my hands!”
The next morning I found four laborers in town. We used garden tools to chop and hoe the square mile of Gordon’s face to pieces. I severed the cable to his cold-fusion power supply. I split the aqueous humor of his eyes with a pike, widened the gap until the liquid ran down his cheeks. We dug to the embedded center of his analog-brain, and I crushed it.
It took hours. The crows came by the thousands.
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