Gearless: A Short Story

Connor T.

Staff Writer

I am Jeremiah Blackwood, The Flesh Child, The New King, and The Light in an ever-present darkness. Before man, there was nothing. After man, there was everything. The earth we had inhabited flourished with creatures that were once known as our greatest creation: mechanical men with handmade hearts and organic emotions. These machines had no names, but merely numbers. They lived in peace at one point, ruled over by a single king. This king was known by his people as Royal-314. He ruled over the new Earth for many years, before dying an untimely death. The king’s death was brought on by a virus known only as “Final,” for it was incurable and irreversible. Final was made by man and intended to be used as a weapon during the days of the Mechanical Rebellion. It was a rare and weak disease, but it was killing the king.
The king had suffered from Final since he was young, but on the day it finally took him, he was not ready. He stood in his palace and wept the few oily tears that would come. His virus had overtaken his gears, covered his circuits, and coated most of his internal mechanics. He had always known that he would die this way, but he had never truly accepted it. The king had never married and had no heir. He would die a lonely king. That simple thought caused man-made sadness in his man-made heart.
The dying king cried out to the heavens, “I don’t want to go,” repeating this over and over. One of the king’s servants heard his cries. This was the servant who helped the king. This was the servant who changed the world.
The king stood in front of his machine, with his servant at his side, not believing what he had told him. The servant had told the king of a prophecy, a prophecy of a savior. This prophecy was told in ever-changing whispers, but it always had the same outlying point: “a Child of Flesh who will rise to power and be the end of great despair.” The king knew that couldn’t be the truth, as the Flesh People had been extinct for generations, and yet, he knew there were no other options.
He hit a button, he flipped a switch, and he watched his savior materialize. He clung to his servant, embracing him for his good deed. Suddenly, the king collapsed, unable to support his own weight. His servant helped him back to his chamber, calling over more servants to assist him. Soon, every one of the king’s men was helping him, and none were watching the newly operating machine. No one was there to notice the boy forming in the glass cylinder of the machine, and no one knew the boy was there until he stumbled out of the cylinder and into the king’s chamber. The boy slammed open the metal doors, letting them swing into the walls. The servants parted with disbelief, allowing the king to see his savior. In that moment, the king drew his last shallow breath and died.
That is the end of the king’s story, and this is the beginning of mine.
I am Jeremiah Blackwood. I let the doors swing open, I shocked the servants, and I watched the old king die. That was the day that changed my life, the day that I left my old world and was brought to a new one. That was the day I became the king.
I had stumbled into the room, watching as the servants noticed, one by one, that their beloved king had died. They froze where they were, most still looking towards him, and wept. The hunched their iron backs and covered their leaking eyes. They stood perfectly still, reminding me of statues- weeping statues, standing as still as stone.
I had fled then; I had turned and ran from the weeping statues. I had run until there was no more running to do, until I reached the palace gates. I couldn’t open them. I tried every way I could think of but never got them open. I ran the perimeter to find a point of exit and was not shocked when I was let down. There was nowhere to go but back inside.
I walked into the palace, found the room I had first fled from, and confronted the nearest statue. This statue was a servant of the king, his greatest servant and the reason I was here. He explained it all to me that day. He explained why I was there: to be a savior, to bring this awful world back into glory, to protect those who need protecting, and to rule in place of his dead king.
In that moment, I knew why I was there, and I knew what I had to do. I turned and ran yet again.
To be continued. Look for the continuation of Gearless next month.

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