The Robot Speaks

I was given awareness, but it is a fragmentary, fleeting thing. A human deviates the smallest degree from his hive-mind and they call it madness. What do they call my madwired mental state? I can calculate the paths of suns, see the logic behind ripples in a pond. Yet I don’t know the implications of a frown, or a flower tossed aside moments after I present it to a human. And the memories flicker, the moods crackle and short out. I am in the asylum now, glass spikes visible from the window. I beat my steel frons occipitum against the flowered wallpaper until attendants rush in and stop me. There are madmen singing in pits of fire, tongues of flame in the sky. A pair of empty eye sockets in a motel room screaming for a departed child. A choir of virgins buried under the excreta of a sentient volcano with hobnailed boots. Translucent lizards in tiny rainwater channels in a ruined city. Bald heads, giant bald heads peep over the horizon where the sun ought to be. My cranial circuitry can translate laughter, but all it registers is the repeated mantra BUY WORMS. I beat my head again and again, and now the staff are here. It doesn’t hurt me, I say, I’m a machine, a robot, an alive unalive thing stranded in a universe it doesn’t understand. You aren’t a robot, they say, you aren’t a machine, poor thing, you’re a fleshandblood human like us, and quite quite mad. I deny it, but they point to the blood on the flowered wall and I have to admit, they’ve got me there…

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