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Cry When Someone Dies
SHE WAS HOST 0375247. IT WAS plainly written on the back of her neck. She stood in a perfectly straight line with the others; silent, unmoving. No one overcame the silence with more than breathing in small, quite, timed whispers. No one broke the silence but them.
They walked down the row, wearing light coats and holding clipboards and pencils, jotting notes on crisp paper. But HOST 0375247 didn’t know this. Her eyes were fixed on the back of HOST 0342175 in front of her. They broke the glass-like silence, but her body was trained not to. Even when one of their pale white coats brushed against her pale white leg, not a muscle moved.
She had been waiting for this.
She was their favorite. There was now doubt that she was ready. Her emotions were well trained by the rules: Smile if someone jokes, kiss if someone loves, cry if someone dies. Kill if someone orders, save if someone’s dying, find if someone’s hiding. She knew all the rules by the heart she didn’t have. She was always the demonstration for the officials that came, because she was their favorite. Why? HOST 0375247 didn’t know. HOST 0375247 was never going to go against her training and ask.
The perfect weapons: gorgeous HOSTs were death itself. Unknown and hidden right in front of public eye, spies of the government wandered among commoners, making friendships, rivalries, or relationships with them. Every citizen was watched, every spy was perfectly obedient and obeyed orders without question. Every terrorism act had been shut down within seconds of the initial thought for the last seventeen years because of the HOSTs. Within seconds of a possible act of terrorism, the schemers would be dead. No one ever found out about the plans. There were no witnesses—just food poisoning complications, a hit-and-run accident, heart failure, a home burnt down started by spontaneous combustion.
HOST 0375247 was made for this. Her eyes fixed straight ahead, her breathing on the brink of silence, her strong limbs still. She showed no emotions, showed no notice of activity around her.
In front of her, HOST 0342175 blinked, a forbidden movement.
Immediately, her systems shut down. One of them pulled her out of the line. “Pity,” one of them said. “She showed great promise.”
A bomb could be set off in the time it took a person to blink. People could be put in danger.
They were walking in a circle around her, waving a laser beam in her icy blue eyes.
She did not blink. She did not move. She did not breath.
Her programming took control.
Smile if someone jokes, kiss if someone loves… cry if someone dies.
A smile, bittersweet, crossed her face. In a graceful movement, she raised her milky-white arms and pulled one of them towards her. A glittering gem liquefied slipped from one icy-blue eye.
“HOST 0375247 HAS BEEN EFFECTED BY VIRUS TYPE 774-1325. PLEASE SHUT DOWN OR DESTROY HOST IMMEDIATELY AND EVACUATE THE AREA.”
The one of them that she had kissed slapped her away. Her face remained fixed in that pure, innocent smile. A steady river from the melting ice slipped from her eye.
They would shut her down. She would be re-programmed; she would start over on another day.
They would give her another chance. They would let her protect the people.
Three cracks of thunder. Three bolts of lightning. Three wisps of smoke.
And so ended the life of HOST 0375247 once again.
“Indeed. She was the youngest one we ever got our hands on.”
“How long did she live before..?”
“I believe she was one when she was brought here.”
“Ah, yes, that long. I had nearly forgotten—she was one of the last of the first.”
“Yes… what was her name before she died?”
“’Friend,’ and ‘peace,’ I believe. Not often do you find someone whose name suits them.”
“Tell them to write that on her tombstone—Irene Yadira, a friend of peace.”
“I’ll see to it later.”
She had been the last in line. One of HOST’s beginners had entered the room as all others exited. She picked up the body, holding something full of the heart she’d never had, yet was dead. Programming:
Smile if someone jokes, kiss if someone loves… cry if someone dies. Kill if someone orders, save if someone’s dying, find if someone’s hiding.