Left Behind

A short story by Tayfur Aydın

The world was lost. By the year 2073, colonies had been established in space and by 2085, new habitable planets had been found. The earth was sick. It was dying and they left it to rot. By the year 2100 the earth had become their giant trash can. Everything that is shiny was taken and whatever left was not worth the trouble. Including their own kind.

The population was the biggest threat. Humankind became nothing more than oversized ants. Everything humans gave to earth, they have taken back ten times more. Civilisations turned into epidemics; their technology poisoned mother earth. Every step they made forward was followed up by a step back. Society was divided yet again. Two classes, and a promised land for the righteous, for the ones who deserved it. The earth was sick, so they left the unworthy ones to rot with it.

The earth belonged to the unfortunate, the cursed, the wicked. Whoever was deemed unfit was left in the dumpster. Standards were based on pure luck. Beauty, IQ or even last names. Gates of the newly found heaven were open for the rich and the poor had to live in the stinking concrete hell with wastes and outdated robots.

–Liam was an ordinary man left behind for being ugly and old. He had a thin, long nose curved down to his upper lip, dim round eyes like a dead fish and a skin with hundreds of holes like a muddy bee hive. He wasn’t the brightest of the folk either, but he was happy. He had a friend for what was a month now, a friend he met in the swamp. Liam lived in the swamp. Things looked ok for Liam. This little friend of his was not fit for the swamp, he was not programmed for it. Deene was a small translator, a robot. He looked like a small, metal trash can with two arms and one leg; the missing leg was the reason he was sentenced to earth. He had some rust here and there but for the most part, he was in a pretty good shape compared to his kin on earth. He didn’t have any issues with his programming either, he was the perfect friend to pass time with. Liam was a lucky bastard.

“Can you get drunk?”  Liam asked with a faint smile. “No, Liam, you know I can’t, stop asking that”, Deene replied, he sounded like a 20 year old boy talking through a walkie-talkie.

“I mean, like, isn’t there a kind of fucked up oil that screws with your hardware or something? I really need someone to drink with right now bud. Too bad you can’t get drunk.”

“I can act drunk if it makes it better for you, it’s not hard to figure out how your brain functions under the influence of alcohol”

“I can act like I’m the queen of England and I have a sore back and a hangover from screwing with Johnny Duvall all night long mate but that wouldn’t make me grow tits now would it?”

“That, was an awfully explicit description Liam, don’t ever do that again please.”

“You know what mate, they don’t give you the best things about being a human. The sensitive things man.. You can’t get drunk, you can’t masturbate, you can’t put your scar under hot water oh and that’s the best part mate. Hell, you can’t even get scars. Scratches can’t be like scars man. Can a scratch look badass? You can’t do all those”

“I can speak in 42 languages, and I doubt you can even name 42 languages.”

“I probably can’t” said Liam, chuckling “God I should have been a robot too, at least you guys can’t be ugly”. He lit a cigarette after ending the sentence, there was a sad truth behind that sentence. Liam would prefer anything other than being himself.

“You could be a cripple, Liam. Be careful what you wish for”, said Deene. Liam burst into laughter and Deene felt like joining in, but his vocal chords weren’t programmed for high pitched laughs. He could only imitate short sounds of laughter, so he did.

— They would come down from the heaven every ten years, to take what could be repaired and drop their dump. It was the tenth year and a ship was landed 500 meters from where Liam and Deene were chatting two weeks ago. This was never a joyful visit for people on earth. They could lose something or someone that was dear to them, every ten years. They were there to take.

–“And how did you end up here Deene? You look perfectly fine to me to be honest, well, other than…”

“Yeah… ten years ago, the day that my owner was going back, I was getting ready for the road and preparing his speech he was planning, translating it. Then as I tried to move, I noticed my leg being gone, we are not strong with our nerves, you did not want us to feel physical pain. Honestly, you are no one can steal your leg from you while you are sleeping.”

“Hah! You want what you don’t have I suppose. God, I wish we could switch our lives right now right here, bud”

As both were taking Liam’s stupid joke seriously and considering the possibilities for a minute, Liam stopped a man with a rifle approaching to them. Clean shaven, clean clothes -uniforms, brown camouflage suits-. “Shit, Surely he should be one of them, god damn it!”

“Good day mister, and little man. I am here to inform you that, unfortunately, I have been ordered to escort the robot to the ship. I would appreciate if you co-operate and we can do this without any problems,” said the man in uniform with a cold-blooded and calm look in his eyes.

“Wait! What? Wh..why ?” Liam jumped from where he sat. He never anticipated the day would come. He was panicking, and drunk.

–Liam was never a man with much to lose. He never had enough to be afraid of losing. This moment, however, was the first moment in his sorry life that he felt the pain of losing something dear to him, and he was not used to the feeling. He chose to fight for it.

–“Sir, I must repeat, please do not cause any trouble, we are here with strict orders to take the robot. Unfortunately, his owner, Mr. Flint has ordered for the robot to put into sleep. The reason is being kept personal. Let’s go little chap, I’m sorry”

Deene was frozen, unable to utter a word. He was not programmed to rebel. He could not do anything about it. As he was getting ready to obey the order, as he was created to do so, one last cry of desperation came out of his electronic voice; “Liam, please”

At that moment, the fighter in Liam took over the moment, he pounded on the soldier and grabbed the gun and they both fell in the ground. Two started wrestling and grunting in the ground turning over and over, and then the moment froze for Deene. He could feel the urge to do something to help Liam, but with his tiny body he figured his chance of success was close to zero and his missing leg wasn’t much of an advantage, either. The sounds of grunting and the grass rustling were getting louder and louder like a drumroll every second and BAM!

After the echo of the bang cleared came absolute silence. Liam was shot, lying on the ground. Blood was pouring from the hole in his head like a crack in a champagne bottle. His fish eyes were looking into Deene, fully open, and dead. At that very moment, Deene spotted something, falling from Liam’s jacket; a small piece of a robot leg was shining under the sun.

 

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