• I opened my eyes ever-so-slightly, just enough to see the world around me engulfed in flames. I coughed, attempting to free the smoke from my lungs, but it was no use. The strong scent of burning flesh hung in the evening air. This world resembled those bonfires I had been to as a child, although, this occasion was more melancholic than joyous. It was some time before I realized that I, too, was captured by the fire. However, I didn’t feel a thing. I must’ve too sleep deprived to. All of this was for the sake of war, I reminded myself, even as I burned. Although none of us country folk had wanted anything to do with the war, we were dragged into it just the same. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I closed my eyes one last time…

    As I relived this dream, I jerked and shrieked so violently that the ground beneath me crumbled. I desperately tried to escape this nightmare, but I just couldn’t find the strength. Even in the dream world, I could hear the monitors beeping incessantly, crying out to the laboratory scientists. As always, the scientists, all clad in their white coats, scrambled over, injected me with some sort of sedative then retreated…All except Mrs. Bonnefry.

    “What’s wrong Model 001?” she said simply.

    “… Nothing. All systems are functioning normally,” I replied as only a cyborg could. “Actually… Mrs. Bonnefry, can cyborgs dream?” I asked finally.

    “Of course not,” she scoffed. “You may look human, have a heart, a brain, an esophagus but that’s all decoration. On the inside, you’re cold, hard machinery. I should know! I helped rebuild you all those years ago.”

    I refused to answer her and let her go on her way. It really irritated me that I was expected to be a machine and nothing else, especially since I was once human like them. During the third world war I had died. As one could expect, the experience was so traumatic that the memory survived even after my death, which explains why I kept having nightmares about it. The scientists were ecstatic when my pulled me from the brink of death by sewing my remains into this robotic body. I, on the other hand, could not feel the same joy. When I woke up, I was in this synthetic body with rubbery skin and cold metal pressing against my organs. My organs had long before given up, but those gears inside me forced them to keep on going. I never asked them to bring me back, they just did. It was because of them that I was confined to that dull laboratory.

    As they say, misery loves company and Model 002 was my company. He, too, was rescued from some battlefield in God-knows-where, but he was the tamer one. He became exactly what those scientists had wanted him to be; obedient with no humility. I spoke to him frequently, but he barely spoke back. In fact, he never spoke more than he needed to. Even so, I came to see him each day. This particular day, he looked as if he were hurt, as if the wires plugged into him were suffocating him, but that was silly. A cyborg didn’t need to breathe.

    “Are all systems functioning normally, Model 002?”

    He hummed. He was processing my question. Sometimes I wondered whether or not he was ever human.

    “There’s a strange sensation in my anterior region closely related to ‘pain’,” he said as he shook his head. “I must be malfunctioning.”

    “Impossible.” I looked at my fingertips. How long had it been since I had felt anything?

    “Yes, me feeling ‘pain’… The idea is almost laughable, but I’m sure it’s just little glitch.”

    “Negative. I meant that you malfunctioning is an impossibility. You’re functioning normally. Pain is a common sensation among humans. Did you forget that on the inside you’re still human?”

    “How absurd. How could we possibly be human? We’re cyborgs.”

    “You’ve forgotten, we still have our free will and our feelings. They’re hidden under this metal exterior, but they’re there, regardless of what your stupid database says,”

    “Why don’t you prove it, then?”

    I sighed as I placed my hand over his heart. “You can feel this, can’t you?” He recoiled under my touch. “Just as I thought.”


    This word didn’t compute. Neither would “love”, ‘happiness” or “grief”. He seemed completely empty inside. Would I never reach his human part?

    “Model 002, do you know why you are here? Do you understand why you’re still alive? You can remember it, can’t you…? Your death?”

    He glared at me. At last there was a trace of emotion.

    “I… I’ve repressed that memory. It’s in a locked file in my hard drive.”

    “I wish I could do that. No matter how hard I try to forget, I keep dreaming about that night. It’s paranormal, watching myself die then I wake up and remember that I’m a machine. There’s really no reason I should be dwelling on such memories,” I explained. “But I do. Somehow… I still feel human.”

    He hummed. He was processing what I had said yet again.

    “You asked me why I’m here. I’m here because those scientists brought me here… And that I thought by being here and serving them, I could erase my past sins and avoid death. I have to admit, I was afraid to die,” He buried his head in his hands, his thick, darks locks cascaded between his fingers. “It’s difficult to pull up these memories again. They really mess up my system.”

    “Being in this lab just reminds me of that night. Sometimes I wonder if I would keep having those dreams if I lived anywhere else but this ugly monochrome lab…” I said.

    As I spoke, he ripped himself from the wires that had bound him. He smashed the monitors and flipped his bed over. But, he didn’t look angry; he looked like he was in pain. Those “files” he had repressed for so many were finally getting to him. Like a lion in a cage, he desperately wanted to be freed. I had finally reached the human within him. It was then that I decided to use his rampage to my advantage. I grabbed him by the shoulder and, together, we threw ourselves against the wall. We foolishly hoped to see the outside world at the other side of this wall. However, the scientists wouldn’t allow us to find out. Instead they shot at us using the latest military technology. Model 002 continued, unphased. A surge of resentment ran through my systems. Freedom felt so close, but these scientists had to get in our way. No matter… I’d make them regret ever making me a cyborg in the first place.
    I lunged toward them as they continued to fire. The scientists panicked. No college seminar could’ve prepared them for me. I chuckled as I leaned forward to pick up a surrendered gun. As I touched the tip of the barrel, there was a sharp pain in my hand. What a shame it was that the first thing I had felt in years was a bullet. I pulled back, facing the assassin. It was none other than Mrs. Bonnefry.

    “I’m very disappointed in you, Model 001. I expected much more from you.” She said solemnly as she pulled the trigger once again.

    This time the bullet pierced my chest. “Argh… What… How can I feel this? Why does it hurt?” I managed to say as I coughed up blood.

    “New technology, dear. And I’m afraid you’re obsolete.” She aimed for Model 002. “So’s Mr. 002 over here.”

    There were six or so loud bangs, then a long, painful silence. I lay on the floor, paralyzed. We were so close… Yet so far…With that, Mrs. Bonnefry abandoned us in the lab’s ruins. We littered the floor with our mangled bionic forms. I whimpered. When did I become so… human? I stretched my neck and tried to face Model 002.

    “We’ve lost…Klavier…”

    “I know… Aya.”

    “Are you in pain still?”


    I didn’t worry about the frayed wires spilling out of my neck or the fact that my leg was halfway across the room. I worried more about the sparks of flame around me. The mere sight of fire was unsettling. Fire just reminded me of my death. I prodded at the flame until my mechanical hand sparked. The feeling I had when I touched the spark was so familiar. Like déjà vu. It was exactly how I felt at the climax of my dream, no, the last day I was a real, breathing human. At least this time, I wasn’t alone. This time, Klavier was beside me. All was well.