Author : K.L. Kelso

I first noticed the owl while I was out chopping wood. Slowly, it circled overhead. It’s movements seemed odd. Not quite natural. I continued working and watched the strange creature from the corner of my eye. I could not let on what I suspected.

Eventually, the owl landed on a nearby limb. I hefted my axe onto my shoulder and walked past it, doing my best to appear that I was headed into the woods to look for another tree to down. When I was close enough, I struck.

One hard hit was enough to reduce the owl to a pile of smoking junk. Truthfully, the android bird was junk before I hit it. The Project must be pretty desperate.

With its primitive servos humming like an old refrigerator and barely functioning artificial intelligence, the owl was a crude machine at best. It was nowhere near the beautiful android prototype I had built, and later stolen, from the Project.

Crude or not, They had found us once again. I felt more sorrow than fear. I had hoped, this time, we were finally free. I’d learned over the years of running to be ready. Everything I needed to leave behind one life and start another was already packed in the trunk of my car.

I hurried back to the small farm house that I had called home for the past year. While getting into the car I gave three quick honks of the horn, our prearranged signal. My beautiful little girl burst from the house, as usual, carrying her favorite doll.

“I’m sorry Eve. We gotta run again”, I said.

“That’s OK Daddy”, She replied.

She gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and buckled herself in. I couldn’t help but smile with pride. Her servos never made any noise.

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