Mechanical Heartbeat

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Short story about saying goodbye to a piece of technology

aine james
Age Rating:

Mechanical Heartbeat

My husband’s heart hums with a mechanical rhythm. I place my ear on his chest, so cold it is, and listen. This subtle whirring from within his heart is what tells me he’s alive. Gears desperate to breathe, clinking against each other, trembling at the slightest touch. He is asleep now. Tomorrow he will be hauled off to the factory in a cardboard box too small for him to stand. If I stare into his eye, all black except a faint red light, he is stained with my fingerprints. These little remnants of my caresses. For as long as it is possible, I will trail my fingers again over his face, flat and without features, for I cannot yet say goodbye. If I tap on him, there’s only a flutter of light, briefly illuminating the crack that strikes through him like a bolt of lightning. A little click goes off within his chest. The gears are moving within, he is making it do so. My husband’s cold beating heart hums so softly for me. A stifling, hesitant pulse now flickers in his eye. He clicks again. Then a whirring stills. Please die with me now, because my heart cannot bear if you died before you forget how. Tomorrow, he will be stripped of his parts. His screen removed, limbs unscrewed, and all chips and all memories stored in his data will be wiped, for he is to be recycled from his body and recreated into wherever it can be utilized. So, please, let your light die reflecting on me, and let your beating heart fade at last. This is my goodbye to you, my dear husband, please say it back to me if you can. His chest still hums. Whirring, gears clicking inside, clinking and tapping. These sounds let me know he is still alive.
The red light shuts off.
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