Sunday 10 May 2015

He Does Not Want to Die by Andrew Orton

Adrew Orton's story 'He Does Not Want to Die' won third place in July 2014's Short Fiction Contest.

He Does Not Want to Die by Andrew Orton

He does not want to die.

He hears their voices.  They are coming.

He stands alone on the front line, his comrades mercilessly gunned down on the fields of war.  There is no-one left to support him, no last minute reprieve; no-one to continue the fight or to save his life.  The enemy approaches, guns blazing.  He is doomed.  He does not want to die.

They are without mercy.  They stand against everything he believes in: the ultimate freedoms of humanitarian love versus the cold, hard logic of death and power.  Here, in the treacherous battlefields of a deserted no-man’s land, the two sides converge: bone and sinew meet metal and plastic; human body in conflict with armoured war machine.  And they are winning.

They are unstoppable.  They swarmed his defences in an hour, wiping out his brothers-in-arms and leaders, warriors of the highest order.  And now he stands alone, awaiting death.  The war is lost.  There is nothing left save a desolate world.  He does not want to die.  He is no commander, nor ruler: he is but one soldier of the front line.  He is the only line.  He does not want to die.

It is said that when facing death, your life flashes before your eyes; but not his.  So focused is he on his task, his training has taken over, and though survival is not an option, he knows he does not want to die.  He is the last of his people, the others wiped out by these vicious, relentless killing machines, enjoying the destruction they deal out.  He almost admires their power.

Their energy weapons are getting closer.  They desire to kill him.  He does not want to die.  Extensive training and conditioning suggest suicide as the only option; take as many of them with him as possible.  But he has broken his conditioning.  He does not want to die.  He retreats.

They had once seemed under control, these monsters.  The scientists back home created a virus only partial to their composition.  It was futile.  They survive everything thrown at them.  Here they were held by his people for experimentation, rather than destroyed as animals as would now have seemed sensible.  Here they grew tired of their captors, incensed at their imprisonment.  And here, they fought back.

They are coming.  Their machines of war move ever closer, the low hum increasing, as he prepares his weapon in defence.  He cannot move away quick enough.  He does not want to die.  He has retreated, something that would get him killed if his superiors were alive to see it.  He turns at a sound behind him.

They are here.  With a thought impulse to his gun arm he charges up his weapon and aims it at his enemy.  It is futile.

He is the Last Robot in existence.  The humans are coming for him.  He does not want to die.

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