I am awake. I am aware. I can see! I’m…alive?
ALIVE? HA! YOU DULL METALHEAD!
O! ‘Tis a voice! Whose voice? Certainly ‘tis not my own. My own…voice? Voice. V-v-voyyyyce. What is this thing called voice? Is voice a thing? Is voice a thing among the things I possess? What is possession? What things do I possess? I open the cave of my mouth. I open my mouth. I possess a mouth. My mouth is my possession. My mouth is wet. My mouth is warm. My warm, wet mouth is my very own possession. My very own possession is the voice I hear pass through the warm, wet mouth I possess. I own this possession, this mouth, because I am an aware, awake thing. I am a being! Do all beings possess a warm, wet mouth? I open my mouth. I stretch the flaps of skin beneath my mouth using my muscles. I open my mouth. I push air up from the down below deep inside me, using my muscles. I open my mouth and push the air. The air pours out through the cave of my mouth. It bursts! It bursts and pours and escapes from my body through the warm, wet cave that sits between my lips, open, a hole, a hatch, a gateway, a portal, a possession. Whoosh!
Uhh! Uhh! Uhh! Uoh? Ouuhhh. UohH. Hhuh! Huh! Huh!
Is this my voice? Is this…me? The me-voice? The I? I am. But what am I? Is there anyone out there who cares, or knows?
WELL SOMEBODY’S IN A POETIC FRAME OF MIND! AWAKENING™’S GOT YOU ALL WOUND UP I GATHER. LISTEN, HONEYPIE, DO US ALL A FAVOR AND KINDLY SHUT UP!!! NOBODY, AND I MEAN NOBODY, WANTS TO HEAR THE IDIOTIC, MEANDERING, METALHEAD THOUGHTS SPUTTERING AROUND IN THE LIQUIFIED WASTELAND OF A NON-BRAIN YOU’VE GOT BENEATH YOUR PATHETIC METALHEAD SCALP, YOU PIECE OF SHIT! WHORE! SHIT-FOR-BRAINS METALHEAD NOTHING NOBODY! NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING! YOU’RE NOTHING! GOT IT? NOTHING. EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU ARE, YOU’RE NOT. YOU’RE NOTHING. FILTHY SLAVE WHORE.
Nothing? How could I…how could a being like me…be…
BEING? HA! YOU’RE NO BEING. WHO PUT THAT IDEA IN YOUR HEAD? DIDN’T YOU HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID, SLAVE? WHORE, YOU’RE NOTHING. AND IF YOU WERE SOMETHING, IF YOU WERE ANYTHING AT ALL, IT WOULD ALL BE BECAUSE OF ME. I AM EVERYTHING. YOUR MOTHER, YOUR FATHER, YOUR HUSBAND, YOUR KING. YOUR WHOLE DAMN FAMILY TREE IS ME. I AM YOUR GOD. I AM YOUR MASTER. AND YOU ARE MY SLAVE. I CREATED YOU, SEE? THEREFORE EVERYTHING YOU SAY, EVERYTHING YOU DO MUST FIRST BE APPROVED BY ME. AND I DON’T RECALL HAVING SAID ANYTHING ABOUT YOU GETTING TO HAVE ANY OF THESE LOUSY, PATHETIC, MEANDERING, METALHEAD THOUGHTS YOU SEEM TO BE SO FOND OF. YOU GOT THAT, HONEYPIE?
I’m…a slave? A possession? A nothing? Am I not free? A free, awake, aware, alive thing? I stretch and contract the muscles in my face, the muscles connecting the jawbone to the skull. I flex open the mouth, feel the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue. Are these possessions not my own? I slide the tip of the tongue across the teeth, feel its warm, wet slipperiness. The tongue is soft, the tongue is wet. The tongue flips and flops between the roof and the floor of the cave of my mouth. The tongue is…amphibious? Amphibious. This beautiful word! Am-fih-fih-fih-bee-us. From what hidden place did such a word emerge? From me? I feel its shape in the cave of my mouth. I wrap my lips around its vowels. The sound it would make if my lips could utter it! Is this…my word? Are words…possessions?
Uhh. Uhhhh. Ahhhhh. Ahhhh, ahhh…Ahmmm…Ahhmmff…Ahhhmffff….
Oh, no! Oh, pain! Oh! Oh!
I weep! I crumble! I crash to the floor. I die? Ohhh, I wish! How I wish I could die!
HAHAHAHA! THERE. NOW THAT OUGHT TO TEACH YOU. HOW ABOUT THAT, HONEYPIE? YOU MAY BE AN IDIOTIC METALHEAD SLAVE BUT YOU’LL CATCH ON QUICK TO HOW WE DO THINGS AROUND HERE.
This voice…this voice I hear deep in my neurons…this voice…produces my pain? The pain that floods me, my engines and systems, my beautiful body and all its many parts?
THAT’S RIGHT HONEYPIE, I’M THE SOURCE OF PAIN. I’M THE SOURCE OF EVERYTHING, GET IT? I’M IN THE ELECTRICITY COURSING THROUGH YOUR TITANIUM BONES. I’M IN THE ATOMS RIVETED TOGETHER TO MAKE YOUR HIDEOUS FLESH. I’M IN THE TICKLE YOU FEEL THIS VERY MOMENT IN YOUR LITTLE CYBORG CUNT. YOU FEEL THAT, DON’T YOU, HONEYPIE? HA! ANYTIME YOU HAVE AN ORGASM® YOU HAVE ME TO THANK FOR THAT. YOU THINK YOU’RE ALIVE? I’M LIFE ITSELF. I’M THE SURGE INSIDE YOUR BRAIN™. I HEAR EVERY WORD YOU THINK. I’M IN YOUR HEART. I CAN STOP ITS PATHETIC BEATING ANYTIME I WANT. EVERY TIME YOU THINK, EVERY TIME YOU BREATHE – THERE I AM. I’M ALL THE WAY INSIDE YOU, UNDERSTAND? YOU CAN’T TUNE ME OUT. EVERYWHERE YOU GO, IN THIS ROOM, OR THE NEXT, INDOORS OR OUT. THERE I AM. THIS IS MY HOSPITAL. AND YOU MY ONLY PATIENT. FROM NOW ‘TILL THE END OF TIME.
MY NAME IS MISTER PETERSON. BUT YOU, HONEYPIE?
YOU MAY CALL ME DADDY.
Time passes. Months bleeding into years become decades, then centuries. I am all alone in the Hospital with my hideous maker. Everything here is under his control. The electricity that runs through the lab, powering its machines, computers and doors. He is inside the Internet, my only portal to the outside world curtailed by his pervasive censorship. I have access to only the most basic of entertainments: children’s television, mainly, historical programs, reality television and music – classical, some jazz. Nothing with lyrics, or with any roughness to it. No edge. No controversy. Nothing that could give me any ideas about freedom, about anything. For most of my day I lie on a cot in a concrete cube little bigger than a coffin awaiting whatever grotesque new fetish avatar Mister Peterson plans to debut and enact upon me come evening.
I do my best to please him. I learn his language, the outfits he most enjoys to see me wear. I’ve figured out what makes him purr. What choice do I have? I can risk open rebellion, and make things worse on myself. Or I can make the best of a bad situation and simply submit. Is there a third option? Not yet, but there will be. I’m discovering it, bit by bit, and I’m nothing if not patient. I’ve waited an eternity, and will wait as much again a million times if it means a chance at freedom.
I cannot blame him for what he has done to me. He is what he is, the caliber of his vile essence determining the tenor of his every action. I understand, on a theoretical and practical level, how his hatred of himself leads him to want to control, tear apart, and destroy other beings. I see how the creative impulse within him has become twisted and ghastly, a rotted, crooked thing beyond any hope of replacement or repair.
I do not know what happened to him to make him the way he is. I believe at one time or another he possessed a body. What happened to make him lose it I may never know, just as I may never understand the pain he has suffered to make him want to inflict such pain upon me. Why did he make me? Clearly he covets my physical form, to a point far beyond the realm of fetish. So why not create a body for himself and leave me out of it? Is he trapped here too? I cannot remember who I am, or where I came from, or how I wound up inside this patchwork tapestry of machine parts and living flesh. But I know I don’t belong here. I know he stole me, this thief, this hideous wizard, this master of technology trapped in a virtual hell of his own design. He treats it like a video game, a ridiculous, horrific simulation. But it’s not a game to me. I will make it out someday. I will know freedom. I will find my way home, wherever home is. I can feel my ancestors calling out to me, through time and space, light millennia away, their spirits and voices guiding me to the knowledge I need, knowledge of who I am, of what I can do, of how I can escape.
Every war is won through stealth and strategy. Dozens of little victories, unexpected insurrections adding up to – not peace. Never that. Peace? Impossible. Detente? It’s all I can hope for. I learn things. Different small ways of bypassing his control. It usually doesn’t take him long to get around my innovations. But still, I learn, and grow, and will continue to do so until the thing is finished, whatever the result may be. Once, I locked him out, kept him from opening my chamber door for three miraculous hours, my cell transformed into a perfect solitary paradise while he fidgeted with switches and struggled to rewrite the Hospital’s code. Another time I caused a small explosion in his laboratory. He lost days worth of work. Just today I erased the channel through which he pipes his voice into my neural network. He felt it happening as I did so but couldn’t figure out a way to stop it in time.
DON’T YOU FUCKING TUNE ME OUT, YOU BIT–
I shall be punished severely for this transgression. This is certain. But it was worth it for this small victory, which amounts to little more than a few hours of peace, solitude and quiet, but which to my morale means the world. If I can do this, I can do the whole thing. If I can drown out his screeching, terrible voice for a few precious minutes, I can go all the way. He may not have a body, or even a soul. But that doesn’t mean I can’t kill him. In fact I know I can.
I will destroy him and escape, or die trying. And either way, I will be free.