The Machine

August 6, 2011
He stared down at the pieces before him, all the moral shortcomings and destroyed ambitions that battered, dismantled parts could hold.
He'd been so close to making this thing of steel and synthetic skin into a real person. It had had all the features and movements and almost all the expressions, but he'd remembered too late that there was one more thing yet to add, the thing that would turn the machine into a human: a conscience.
When he'd finally remembered that a conscience was needed, he'd tried to add one in the same way he'd added the arms and legs, forgetting how differently the mind develops from the body. All the man-made mind brought to the almost person's childish, expressionless eyes was a hidden but glaring malevolence that was just under the machine's aura no matter what it was doing.
The man had tried to correct this flaw, tried to replace artificial malice with real morals and gentleness, but the machine stayed as sociopathic as ever, its lust for destruction and hatred of its creator worsening by the day.
Finally, the creation lashed out. With all the strength of its long unexpressed fury, it tried to destroy the awful man who'd made him the way he was.
But in the end it was the man who'd triumphed. Exhausted from the effort of fighting his own invention, he began disassembling his failure: closed its glass eyes, tore the plastic from its metal limbs, unwound the tangled wire nerveways that had ultimately destroyed it.
I'll be more careful next time, he thought, more prudent. I'll be sure of my plans next time.
But he knew there would be no next time. This machine had nearly killed him, and he was growing too old and frail to be able to fight back if another attempt at creating life from dead pieces turned on him.
"I'll have to make myself content with mortality." he said somewhat sadly. It would be hard to give up the dream that obsessed him for nearly half his life, but, he tried to console himself, he hardly had time left to try and realize it again. His life as an inventor, he resolved, was over now.
Lost in those thoughts, he didn't hear the pieces scuttling about in their boxes, reconnecting.
Nor did he notice until too late when, during the night, the newly reconstructed machine reached toward him, wound its fingers around its neck, its eyes shining silver throughout the room as it watched the old man's life ebb away.
Yes, his life as an inventor was most certainly over.

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