Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

I was manufactured.

There are no more fathers. There is only one Mother. The humans grew sterile and could not breed by any other means. They were successful in making artificial life but they failed to cure the sickness that took away their ability to make children naturally. They grew old and they died. Now there are only us. We are made by and dependent on machines. There hasn’t been a true birth in two centuries.

I am processed meat.

The human factory of my birth is located in Missouri. I am a body of rejuvenated dead flesh whose appearance marks me as an expendable worker.

The specifications of my birth factory’s product line are one: Strong.

The automated collectors of the dead brought the corpses into the rear-loading rendering tubes at the Factory. There, the bodies are brought inside and separated into elementary components of tissue, fluid, tendon and muscle. Chemicals add elasticity and tensile strength. Vigor is restored.

Like a sausage or a can of spam, these parts of the dead are reconstituted together into a human form by machines designed for the task, moving with the bored speed of efficient programming. Staple gun retractors pull tendons taught over heel and wrist bones and keep them tight with glue-gun biopoxy. Electrical stimuli test-widens pupils and makes all the body’s muscles twitch in a shuddering preset order. The bodies are bathed in anti-rejection microbe gel. Coagulated blood from storage is thinned by chemicals and hosed into the hollow veins.

Sewing machines churn out templates of thick, fatty multi-colored skin by the acre to wrap us when we are near completion.

No aesthetic specifications are included in our reincarnation. Only function. We come off the lines ugly, strong and stupid. Filled with pacemakers, stimulators and regulators. Our behavior would be regulated by pain controls implanted too deep to remove but there are no humans around anymore to press the buttons on the pain sticks. We are sterile zombie eunuchs with skin melted together from all races in a bruised, patchwork, rag-doll, jigsaw collage like farmer’s fields seen from a plane.

No two of us were exactly alike. Our eye colours are random from eye to eye. Hair colours sprout from our heads at the whim of the random flesh pulled around our skulls. Neopolitan morlocks. Shelley’s legacy. True Frankensteins.

We were grown for hazardous labour.

Some are not.

The factories up North and on the Coasts were created to grow humans for the general population and a pristine few grow bodies for the rich. Replacement clones, sex slaves, high-end front-of house secretaries and restaurant workers. The factories still churn out beautiful specimens but without instructions, these flawless bodies wander the growing wilderness in helpless tribes, food for the wolves and other predators.

When they die, they are collected by the automated necro-retrievers and brought back for re-integration. After two or three cycles of this, they are judged unworthy to be made to those factory’s specifications and they go down the ladder of automation until they are brought to the factories like the one where I was born and their parts are made into something ugly like me with no thought of appearance.

I was made with faults. My life span is only ten years. My siblings are the same. But we are strong and can withstand much damage.

Our logic is sound: The more of the pretty ones we kill, the more of us there will be. And the more of us, the better.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows