The Machine

By Gabriel Penn All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

Gears In My Head

“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell. ”

-Edgar Allan Poe


“Get me out of here!”

He could hear the turning gears around him as the boy looked on, grinning. The floor was moving further and further up. He looked around frantically for an exit. He cursed like a sailor, but it did nothing for him.

He shouldn’t have followed the boy. He should’ve done the right thing and left him alone. He shouldn’t have given in to lust, but it was too late for that now.

The ceiling came down as the floor rushed up. The sound of whirring machinery rang in his ears. The little boy giggled.

“You psychopath!” the man yelled.

He was losing legroom. He moved his head left. There was a lever, but it was far away. He lay as flat as he could between the ceiling and floor and edged towards it.

He was getting close. He could win!

He stretched out his hand. It was getting hard to breathe. The walls came close. He was inches from the lever now. It was just a hands-breadth away. The boy had been outsmarted.

His hand hit glass. The “lever” was a painting.

He swore with the filthiest language he could muster. Sweat and tears poured down his face.

“Who are you?” he yelled to the boy.

The boy giggled again.

“Your executioner.”

He felt the walls crushing his bones as he howled with the pain of death.

The boy waited as he heard the machine’s crunching and whirring stop suddenly. He followed the machine’s progress as a flurry of dolls flew through a glass tube that took up most of the room. The dolls eventually filled up a small box on the floor. He picked one up and inspected it. The doll looked like a man’s man, muscular and handsome – the perfect prince for a young girl. What a wonderful thing these magical machines were, he thought.

Once he had his quota, he switched out the boxes and walked up the stairs with a little spring to his step. At the top of the stairs, an older man with a curled moustache smiled at him. The boy plopped the box behind counter and grinned at the old man.

“You’ve gotten lots of business today!” the old man encouraged.

The boy grinned a toothy grin. “Yes, sir.”

The man nodded and looked out the window upon which was printed the words “Toy Shoppe” in fancy script. He sighed happily.

“What irony,” the man muttered to himself, “that the ones who wish to make toys of children would instead become toys themselves.”

The boy giggled. “Yes, sir.”


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