Author : Bronwyn Seward
“I-, I-, want….you to die my boy.”
“Famous last words, eh Grandpa?”
My father’s father fidgeted under the covers, twisting his toes with creaking bones. A shaky hand reached for mine, as I jutted away from it.
“Come here, don’t be afraid now.”
Pawing closer, the shriveled, weather-beaten hand with mangled nails grabbed a hold of my freshly polished mitt. An almost-pleasant warmth from his tenderness hit me first, and then chills tickled my spine as I noticed that his sweat smudged the luminosity from my extremity.
“This world’s made you eh….hard Jimmy.” Knocking on my chrome encased bicep, he cackled until it turned into a dry cough. “You ain’t the same as you used to be.”
“Ha ha, you bet I’m not. And thank God I’m not, otherwise I’d be where you are in fifty years. I’ll never understand why you didn’t do it Grandpa. You are probably the last man to die. You’ll go in the record books as a fool, I tell ya.”
“Of course you don’t understand….and won’t, my boy. You can’t think straight anymores. The little Jimmy that used to make me taste all his food before he bit into them, thinking they might be poisonous is gone. You ain’t him. You just have his thoughts, but he’s gone.”
He frustrated me when he brought up old stories of my weakness and inadequacy. Times had changed, sure I wasn’t that little kid anymore, heck I didn’t even look like him. I didn’t even have his body anymore, but what am I to do with a decaying and decrepit body, waste away? I still was me, there was nothing artificial about me, my soul was intact but my body was gone. Did that make me any less of a person?
“We can throw these old stories and jokes back n’ forth for centuries on end. There’s really nothing to lose, it’s not even painful. Just upload your mind onto the Genex software-”
“That’s a death in itself. Life ain’t the same when kept in a metal cage . Look at you, talking all smart, you’re the fool, ain’t yourself anymore. You’re all metal, cold to the touch, cold to others, plain cold, cold, cold. I don’t think you feel anything other than coldness anymore.”
“Gramps I only feel the good stuff, the pleasant sensations, and the best memories. I can picture grandma as if she were here right now.”
“You’re grandma’s dead, son, her and her body. Why would I just want the memory? You’re a computer, a programmed computer, that’s all you are.”
“No I’m not! Look I’ll show you your Jimmy–” I flashed open my chest cavity to reveal my inner core, a labyrinth of wires, cords, and a piercing light, my life force, never threatening to fade, pulsing through me, an evolved specimen. Inside the machine, my soul on display within a robotic frame.
He curled away from the electricity, with a gasping voice he wheezed “Eh, you creepy robot, keep your clothes on. There ain’t nothing normal or glorious about that. You’ve stripped yourself of anything that sets us apart from those old televisions and computer things. Only thing that makes you my grandson is your name.”
I raised my hand at him. Still out of breath he whispered “You’re half dead. I want you to die my boy….” His hand went limp and then fell off my polished fingers, now empty. Both thoughts and emotions evaded me, all I could feel was cold.
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