I made her from junk. From scraps of metal sheets, old chains, nuts and bolts, clasps, hooks, wire. Whatever I could find. She was never meant to be beautiful, a work of art, a marvelous design.
I meant her to show the world what we, as a people, a species, have become. How mechanical. Fake. Artificial. Shallow. With no hearts. No souls. No minds. And no freedom. With nothing left to us, or of us. Except the machines we had created.
Machines like our economies, our societies, our nations, our companies and corporations. For which we were simply human resources. Not humans. Not living, thinking, feeling, priceless life forms, with hearts, and souls, created by some miracle.
Human resources. Parts to the machines. Where you shut up, and you did what the machines told you to do, lived how they told you to live. As a tiny part of a large machine. No longer human. No longer worth anything. Easily replaced, if you broke, or wore out, or a stronger, better made part came along.
Not even like our bodies, our flesh and blood and bones. As humans, as life forms, we were colonies. Macro organisms. Made from billions of separate, individual, cells. Living together, for the benefit of each other. To help each other, support each other, provide for each other. How our nerves told us of danger, fire, sharp objects, things that would hurt us, or kill us.
How our blood moved nutrients throughout all our parts, organs, fingers, toes, heads, and collected waste products, to be expelled from our bodies.
How our digestive systems processed raw material, and pulled from it the things our colonies needed.
Everything worked together.
Sometimes, we got sick. Sometimes, one system, or another system, broke down, and stopped working properly, or even stopped working at all.
That’s when we were our most human. When one of us helped another. When one who could find food would find food for one who could not. When one who could see would try so hard to explain colors, and shapes, and clouds, and waves, and hills, to one who was blind.
But, you see. We failed. We failed ourselves. We invented things. Machines. Societies. Money. Politics. Power. Nations. Companies. And in the process, we turned ourselves into replaceable parts. If one part needs to see, and that part’s eyes stop working, our machines discard the blind one, replacing that human being, that life form, that gift from the universe, with another person who can see.
And then the machines, the companies, never look back. If the part that was defective dies, they don’t even notice. The don’t care. They don’t shed a tear.
I made her because of what we have become. I made her for the people like the man who told me, “You can’t afford to care.” For the many who told me, “Get your act together, and be what they need you to be, or they’ll replace you.” I made her to show them, and to remind them, of what we have become.
For all our greatness. All our achievements. All our glories. We have lost the only thing that mattered. We’ve lost our humanity. And become like her. A collection of parts, made to look human. That can be replaced at any time. And no one will notice. And no one will care.
And having made her, I wonder, and I always will, why did I bother. Why did I expend the effort. Why did I put so much time, so much work, so much of me, into creating her. When I knew. I knew. All along. No one would see her for what she is. When I knew, all along, she would be seen as a work of art. A beautifully crafted piece of sculpture. And nothing more.
For I knew, all along, too many hearts, and too many souls, were gone.
And too many empty, soulless, cold, unfeeling machines, those human resources, were all that was left of us.
It’s week 117 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.