Author: John Chadwick

He lays his hand upon the lever, the cold metal sinking into his palm as his fingers slowly wrap around the handle, feeling as though the rigor mortis was already settling in. Thoughts swirl and smash inside his skull reminding him of the mechanized calamity he unleashed upon existence – invention born ignorant of bone and flesh.

Everyone, no, everything that he knew…

“The reality of what I’ve done…I cannot- No, will not, survive with its constant torment.”, he thought.

His arm slams forward, squeezing a fist around the contraption, feeling it engage and lock into its place. Behind him, in its man-made metal womb, he hears the machine sputter and spur. A sporadic buzzing of programmed hate, awakening inside the cold, copper vessel.

A deep breath, and a moment to accept the moment, passes when he finally turns around to face his companion. Its dimly-lit visage was mostly blank, save for a pair of dull lamps behind clouded, amber-stained portholes. Never did he think that this familiar face will be the last he sees.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” He asked firmly.

Seconds after his inquiry, the automaton lurched forward, as if it was breaking free from ice. Its right knee bent with a mechanical screeching stutter and clomped its foot down upon the metal floor of the bunker. Then, methodically repeating the motions with the left leg as it took its first step of “life” out of the shroud where its creator prepared it for animation.

Another step, complete with a symphony of metallic friction as alloy joints scraped upon each other followed by the thud as each foot contacted the floor, seemingly shaking the room. This second step led the golem to a distance where the cables connected to its head and limbs drew taught and disconnected forcefully from its metallic body, causing them to swing back under the hooded platform where it previously stood.

Now, only feet from him, he stared into the yellow lamps that existed as its eyes, the only relatable part of its anatomy that resembled a human. It gazed back soullessly, the only noise to be heard was the humming of the reactor core within its torso.

He closed his eyes and tried wetting his mouth though it was as dry as the scorched landscape of the surface above.

“Do it..” He muttered in a deep exhale.

The creature’s arms rose in a jerking manner accompanied by a loud whir. Its hands outstretched in a clasping pose, it lurched forward.

He inhaled sharply as the cold, metal claws of his creation made contact with his skin, enfolding around his neck. The pressure increased as they tightened with a high-pitched buzz.

Then it stopped – hands frozen in place. For some reason unknown to him, it ceased its murderous grasp.

“My God…” he thought. “It’s refusing its order. It’s rethinking its decision – No, it’s making a decision!”

“I can fix this.”, he whispered, looking into its glowing eyes. “I can fix it all.”

He pulled his arms up and laid his hands upon the golem’s arms, still frozen in place, stretched out with its hands around his neck. Just as he had done so, the motors within its gripping hands began to buzz again, continuing to tighten.

Struggling in panic, he drew one more breath, “No, wait!”