Men of Bronze
A minute or so later one of the spider-machines crawled forth into the tunnel twisting its grotesque head as it passed. It was then I struck grabbing a rock from the ground before pulling the arm gauge with all my might, striking and striking again the metallic beast until it was northing but scrap. This made quite the noise and I knew all would now know of my presence. The other abomination of legs and coils turned the corner much like the first and in the narrow confines of the passage I yet again smashed it to bits. Only this time it was followed by four men, two armed with hand muskets and the others with rifles of a model I had never before seen.
”Freeze, ” Shouted one the men who wore a black bowler cap. ”You may not know it yet but these babies can rip right through that armor of yours and I recommend you come out now with your life. ”
I froze not knowing what to do. After a moments consideration I pulled a lever and with a hiss of steam the hatch on the back of the bronze-man crept open. I was soon helped down by the two men with hand muskets with quite some force. After escorting me to the drilling area I could now see more clearly, the wood was not stacked as arbitrarily as I had once thought, it had been placed in such a way as to wall off a small interior. I was bound in a mechanical device with my arms forced behind my back and my wrists locked into a machine which ticked just loud enough to hear over the noise of the rock being ground to dust at the end of the room.
One of the two men then pushed with quite some force as to create a crack in the wall and let me into the wood pile before closing it behind me. It was rather dark in the pile with almost no light making it through the upper cracks. The noise of ticking now echoed throughout the room to a maddening extent. As I adjusted myself against the stone floor of my prison I accidentally nudged what felt like a leg.
”Jarvis leave me be. ” said a voice in the dark.
”I haven done a thing. ” called out anorther.
”Jarvis, Derek? Is it really you? ” I cried.
”Deckard! ” said them both in unison.
I caught them up on the events of my arrival and they informed me of how they had been jumped by the spider-machines at camp without warning. They were both quite happy to hear that they wouldn have to worry about them ever again. But despite the reunion the topic soon came to the machines on our arms and the circumstances of our escape.
I knew northing of the contraptions which bound us and neither did the others. It wasn much easier in the dark but what I could not fathom was the reason for that blasted tiking. Tik tik went the devices on and on with no feeling or sensation both inside and out. More maddening still was the query of its purpose other than the noise itself. Why not tie us up with rope or use normal cuffs instead, why such a machine as this?
”Enough of this, ” said Derek. ”The others most likely won be coming and there is no use sitting here like lambs awaiting slaughter. ”
There was a moments pause before the noise of metal smashing stone broke the air. Then screams, a screaming like I had never heard before, worse than the muffled screams of Franke burned into my brain, like the shrill cry of a beast drawing its last breath. It was followed by more and more screams, like the drilling and the tiking it never ended, joining their chorus knocking about my head.
I then felt a jab like a plank of wet wood prodding my side again and again until the wetness had covered me. More and more until I realized it was the stub of Dereks arm, cut clean off by the machine. It must have been rigged to chop at his wrists upon any tampering.
I recoiled in disgust, there was northing I could do for the man but listen as he continued his screams. They only stopped when I presumed he had bleed out as the floor was now wet with his blood. Throughout all of this Jarvis said northing.
And like that it stayed for a long while, with the both of us sitting in the silence of the tiking and drilling alike.
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