Day 134: Rechargeable

“You’re cold,” she said, gliding her fingers along his skin.

He kissed her, and unbuttoned her shirt, and said, “So warm me up.”

Moments later they were in bed, stripping away the final layers of clothing. He pressed her body to his, feeling the warmth of her, touching her everywhere. Her perfect skin glowed in the moonlight that shone in through the small apartment window, and he wrapped her in his arms and sighed, and she sighed with him.

“I can’t feel your heartbeat,” she told him in a whisper, her breasts pressed against his chest.

“Maybe I don’t have one.” They kissed again. He raked his fingers along her back and her breath quickened dramatically. They stayed like that for a long time.

At last he finished, and she sighed one last sigh before collapsing atop him.

He pushed her away gently, carefully laying her lifeless form on the bed before covering her body and face with a blanket. His body felt alive, but his soul felt dead, even though he wasn’t alive and he had no soul. Every time this happened he hated himself, but he couldn’t stop it. He wanted to end it all, but he couldn’t. It would never end. The laws said so.

His only solace was knowing that she did not suffer. He did not hurt her. Maybe she was even happy before it happened. But it did happen, and it killed her. To cause someone to die, that had to harm them, even if they felt no pain, right? It just made sense. And yet, the law let him do it-made him do it-time and time again. Maybe the law just wasn’t specific enough. One law said he needed to keep himself alive. And the only way to do so was this… parasitism. Draining life through skin-on-skin contact in order for him to live. Some inside force made him kill to survive. Was murder not “harm”? 

A debate he had with himself every day. The one person who could have explained it, the one person who could have kept him from becoming what he has become, was the first one he killed. There were no answers for him now.

Every time it happened, he had no control. He would tell himself that this time he could resist, but once the hunger began he no longer had the freedom to choose. It was recharge or die, and the law said he couldn’t let himself die. That he had to protect his own existence. If only he could break the rules, just once. That’s all it would take. One time, then it could all be over.

He dressed himself and left the apartment. The body would be found soon enough, dead of natural causes, or so they would say, because they what else could they say? Nothing. There was no other explanation.

As he walked down the deserted street, his body felt rejuvenated, it felt whole. It always did after a recharge. He hated himself, but his body didn’t care what he thought. There was a spring in his step, but when he realized this he stopped it immediately. It was disrespectful, flaunting his new-found energy after what just happened.

“Money, now!”

He stopped walking and turned his head toward the alley next to him, where the voice came from. It was dark, but he could make out two moving shapes among the shadows. He heard sobbing. A woman.

“Now!” said a man’s voice, waving something in front of the other shape. A glint of moonlight shone off a silver barrel. The man had a gun.

It was a familiar sensation, not being in control of his actions. He sprinted into the alley, or rather, his legs carried him there. His arm shot forward and grasped the man’s wrist firmly, pulling it away so it couldn’t harm the woman. There were two deafening crashes like thunderclaps, followed by an unfamiliar pressure in his chest–and he felt himself crush the carpal bones in the man’s wrist before pulling the gun away. The man howled and fled, cursing and sputtering incoherently.

The pain came at last. He could feel parts of his body shut down, the recent influx of energy struggling to keep him breathing. His legs lost function first, and he hit the pavement hard. He could numbly feel fuel leaking out of the holes in his chest, dribbling down his body, tickling him for a moment before dermal sensation was cut off entirely.

He tried to laugh, but knew he couldn’t. It was funny, though, and he enjoyed the irony as long as his body let him. The laws said he couldn’t allow himself to die, so when he needed to recharge, he had no choice but to take the energy away from someone. A human. Animals didn’t have enough.

The process was painless for the victim, despite being fatal, and for some reason that registered as “harmless,” which is why he could get away with it. And yet the very same law also said he couldn’t let humans come to harm through his own inaction. The law that forced him to kill thousands of people over the course of one hundred and seventeen years just to keep him alive, now forced him to sacrifice himself for the life of a single human.

It was over. He no longer had any feeling in his body, but he knew that he would shut down in moments. The damage was too severe. He simply didn’t have the energy to repair himself. The nightmare would finally end.

His vision was fading, no doubt shutting down to focus energy on repairs. He could faintly hear sounds, but they came in as a low warble. Everything was going black.

“No!”

He couldn’t feel her hand on his face, not at first, but sensation began to return somehow. His vision was clearing, he could make out words being spoken nearby. He could see the woman he saved leaning over him, tears streaming down her cheeks. The process was automatic. She couldn’t feel it happening, because it did not cause pain. It did not cause harm. And all it took was a lingering touch.

She was shouting. “No! No, no, no! Stay with me, please, oh God, please don’t die, don’t die because of me.”

Both her hands cradled his face. They were warm, and trembling, and full of life.

 


 

Today’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Robot vampire,” “Mostly harmless,” and, “He’s got a gun!”

Those Three Laws, eh? Always causing more harm than good.

– H.

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