Desk work

Today I have read the entire story about The Mechanical Man (7422 words). There is one last part to write. At least I think it is only one left to be written. Therefore I felt I needed to read it all, to see how it began, and get some hints about what I have to write now. Generally, I know how the story will end, but I also have to tie the beginning and the ending together.

What I noticed – and that is not uncommon at all, on the contrary – is that the beginning does not fit with the rest of the story. On the whole – Yes! But there are details… I am in good company, though. After Stephen King had finished his story about the Dark Tower, seven volumes, he had to rewrite the first volume. I think he wrote “The wind through the keyhole” after doing that revision. Am I right?

(I actually have a copy of that first one. The Gunslinger. In Swedish translation. Lucky me. Yey! 😀 But I have not cross-examined it against the revised one. Too bone-idle to do that.)

I don’t think I have to change much though, in Part One. I would not reveal too much of the story already in the first pages, would I? But here and there, either add something, change something, or delete something.

So! A good deal of desk-work in front of me. Though I have begun to write on the ninth and, probably, the last part.

Apropos desk-work! Last week I deleted my gmail/google account and instead bought a host/domain for my emails. Perhaps I someday will create a homepage there too, but not now. But I will also use it as a storage place for my writings.
I also changed as well the username as the password to my AppleID, and all this took a lot of time and effort. Let me just say – that is not something I long to do. But once in a while, one has to.

Today I have been working with writing and sending a couple of invoices. Not mine, I don’t have that need, No, I help my daughter with those things. I also created a new template from scratch on Excel. Have so far been using one of the templates offered by Excel, and been more and more fed up with irritation over how it is to work with.

Okay! It took me a couple of hours, but when finished I felt really good about it!

And now my stomach tells me to have dinner. I thought I now should keep on writing about Andrew Millbourne. But okey, okey! A bit of new energy first.

Into the Darkness – TMM8

Image: Pixabay


The Mechanical Man 8 – Into the Darkness

Inspiration image: Pixabay

’Odd’, Andrew thinks.
It is pitch dark around him.

All the other times he had been in surgery, it had become pitch dark, and the next second there was light again and he had been on the table for hours. And now?

”What’s going on?” he says out in the blackness.

”What do you think is going on?” A dark voice timbres.

A voice in the dark?
Cold tears run down his spine and his heart makes a triple beat.
”Am I … dead?”

He had come to think of all the stories about dying and seeing light in the dark, like a tunnel, and then some angel or something. He didn’t remember clearly since he had never really believed those stories and therefore never put them into his memory bank.

”Do you think you are dead?”
’Oh Jeees…. ’
Flickers of thoughts run through his head.

It is really something odd going on. He should be lying on the operation table, and he should know nothing, experience nothing.

”You are lying on the table, but do not bother about that now. Come on! I will show you something!”

A small light appears and quickly grows larger. Just like a tunnel. He gets curious and forgets about being dead. If that is what he is. Instead, he starts walking along the tunnel to what seems to be an opening.

”Why do you not fly instead?” The dark voice again.
”Fly? I can’t fly!”
”Have you ever tried?”

No, of course, he has not. He is a human being, not a bird. Humans do not fly.

A deep belly laugh fills the air.
”The air?”
”Rather the Void.”

”Can you read my thoughts?”
”Uh…uh… How about flying now? You just need to think you do it.”
”Like a bird?”
”However you like it.”

And suddenly he is floating along the tunnel which is growing wider and brighter every second.

Soon Andrew lands on a field. A beautiful field. Green grass, trees, blooming bushes. Beside him stands a green person. If it is a person. He, she – he can’t decide whether it is a he or a she which is quite irritating. Can not think of it as an ”it” either. The he-she is, anyhow, quite small and dressed in a green outfit that mostly reminds Andrew of Peter Pan.

”That was a good one!”
The deep belly laugh fills the surroundings once again.

”Surroundings?”
”Void.”
”Okay. Void.”

”Why is it like this?”
”How?”
”Odd!”
”Don’t bother, it is as it is, and I am about to show you something.”

The next second they are standing at the top of a hill looking down on the landscape before them. It is a desert. A vast, arid area with two suns oozing their heat upon it. In the middle, there are a couple of dots moving.

”We have to zoom in a bit.”
The dark voice streams out of the small, green person. Andrew looks amazed on … him? and realizes that most of the earlier conversation has been in his head. But every time he tries to figure this out, he just gets dizzy and gives in.

”Oh! You may not need a zoom, but I do.”
Again that laughter.

The dots appear to be four human beings. An elderly man with a big bushy beard, a black-haired woman of undefinable age, one young woman – really cute Andrew thinks – and then…
Andrew gasps! Before him, he sees himself, but without the implants. He has a lot of scars though, which indicates there have been some.

”What is this?” He says in a small voice.
”A possible future.”

The four in the desert struggle along. Seem to be heading to… a city?
”Yes. A city. The City”
”The City?”
”Yes. The city where the final battle will occur.”
”Oh…”

The next second they are in the middle of the city. It is dark and cold. The sun is covered by something huge and black.”
”A solar eclipse?”
”Maybe. Maybe not.”
”Where is the other sun?”
”Magic. Deep black magic.”
”Oh…”

On one of the streets, a young boy with a horse is striding towards…
”What? I can’t see. Where is he going?”
”He is trying to reach the Tower.”

The Tower. Way back in the city, leaning against the steep mountains that disappear among the clouds. He can see it now. The Tower. He gets cold as ice in his chest and stomach. He does not want to be here. He does not want to see this. Does he really have to know about this? Does he really have to come here? He understands he is shown a piece of his future, but he does not want this future.

An image of the girl suddenly stands before him. The cute one from the desert.
”You got to help her. She will need you.”

The images fade away and they are back on the green hill. The desert before them is gone, and all he can see now are gardens with apple trees and grape wine.

”When you wake up after the surgery, your mind will not remember anything about what you have seen now. But your heart will remember, and lead you. Trust it. But until that time is due, you must do your best with what lies upon you. You are blessed, Andrew.”


Andrew woke up with a splitting headache and a body as if a truck had hit him. He didn’t care about the pain. But before he even opened his eyes, he gently stroked his arm and chest. Then he smiled. The golden armour was gone.

”Are you all right?” A voice said. The robot.
”Yes. Now, I’m all right.

 


To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.

Planned part:

  • 9.) (If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end…)

 

About “The Mechanical Man”


The inspiration image

When I wrote the first part about The Mechanical ManBeing another you – as a reply to Diana Wallace Peach’s #writingprompt at Myths of the Mirror, for May, I had absolutely no idea it would be  anything more than a fairly short story about someone who called himself Andrew Millbourne.

But he grew on me, and I wanted to know more about him. How come he was on that planet in the first place? Why? So I wrote part two – Andrew Millbourne’s big secret.

Now! It would be it then?
Nope! It wasn’t!

Well, I thought, three parts. That’s a good number. Then the story will be finished. I already had a brief hunch about the ending. Andrew needed a bit more before he could reach the end. So three parts, I said to myself. One, two three. Got it?

Oh! HAHA! Little did I know!

Up til now, I have written seven parts and am yet not at the ending. Oh, it’s closing up, no doubt about that, but there are a few more things Andrew has to go through before we reach the end. One more part, or two? Well! Let’s just see what Andrew has to say about that. It’s after all his life we are dealing with.

I love immensely to write about this! It’s fascinating to learn to know a story and a character (or more) like this. It’s thrilling to start a writing session without knowing anything about how it will unfold itself. I might know a little bit in beforehand, or I get an image in my head, or a sentence. About the ending, for example, the only thing I know  right now, is where, geographically, Andrew will be. (And a tiny bit more.)

So! Che sera, sera….


At last, here and now, remember this:
The ending – is just another beginning.

Snake/eternity-symbol from png.only

 

The Surgery – TMM7

Image from Pixabay


The Mechanical Man 7 – The Surgery

Pixabay image, from Myths of the Mirror

At 8 AM on the dot next Friday, Andrew stood in front of the clinic counter waiting for announcing his arrival. Oddly enough, he thought, the entire reception area was empty. As a matter of fact, the whole clinic seemed to be empty. The silence was ear-splitting, and only a few lamps were lit. He wondered about the emptiness, after all – the door had opened and let him in! At least someone ought to be here.

He did not know what to do, so he went over to the couch, sat down and thought he must be early. He reached for his pocket, got his hand-unit, and tried to concentrate on his favourite game. Ten minutes later a swosch-swosh sound came nearer, and then a small, elderly man all dressed in white peaked out through the door behind the counter.

”I’m so sorry,” he said, walked towards Andrew and reached out his hand. ”I’m doctor Fredriksen. You are Mr Millbourne, I presume? I wasn’t notified until half an hour ago that… hm… your procedure… hm… was due this morning. I’m so sorry I’m late. I was asleep when the phone rang.” He kept on pumping Andrews right hand up and down while examining him closely with squinting eyes.

”I don’t understand…”

”The entire clinic personnel is at a Congress. Learning new things, you know. The entire day. Been booked for ages. Was really surprised when I was notified about you. There shouldn’t be any bookings today. Must have been a mistake.”

”A mistake…”, Andrew thought and frowned internally. He very well remembered the receptionist that day. He knew he should have booked the surgery online instead of coming here in person. What had he been thinking!!!
”I… don’t… under… stand…,” Andrew said out loud. ”Then… why are you here?”

”Oh! I’m retired and don’t have to attend such nonsense any longer. But I still do help out with surgery once in a while when needed. Halda is very efficient in keeping track of those things.”

”Halda?”

”The computer, of course! It keeps track of everything that is done and said here. And this time Mz Libstic must have forgotten to add the booking into the calendar. Lucky we have that listening program installed as well.”

”Mz Libstic?”

”The receptionist, of course! It’s odd when I think of it. She never makes mistakes or forgets. Hope she wasn’t coming down with a cold or something.”

Andrew mentally shrugged his shoulders, shook his now freed hand, and sighed. He understood very well what had happened. Furthermore, he wondered whether this old man standing in front of him still was able to perform surgery. His hands shivered slightly, and the way he was looking at him… and shouldn’t there be at least one nurse to assist during the whole thing?

”Well! Shall we go on then? Better get over with it, don’t you think so?”
”Oh yeah… yeah…”

Andrew followed the doctor through the door behind the counter and along a brightly lit corridor that seemed to go on forever. Then he stopped in front of a door, pushed his left thumb against a silvery plate, added a number frequency, and then finally gazed into something that looked like a pair of binoculars.

”Iris-reading”, he said, ”that and the thumb manoeuvres are very handy.”

The door opened and revealed a huge surgery room. The light appeared to come from everywhere, and Andrew jumped in surprise when suddenly a man stood in front of him. The next second he saw it was not a man, it was a robot.

”At your service, Sir.” The robot said. ”I will be assisting throughout the entire procedure and make sure everything will be as pleasant as possible and totally pain-free. Is there anything you wish for before we begin.”

”No thank you, it’s quite all right as it is.” Andrew said, though his stomach was growling for something between breakfast and puking. But no breakfast this time. Oh no.

”Then let us begin”, the robot said, helped Andrew on to the operating table, and just a few minutes later Andrew vanished into the darkness.

 


To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.

Planned part:

  • 9.) (If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end…)

 

Living in pain – TMM6


The Mechanical Man 6 – Living in pain

The implants had been a huge success. Andrews co-workers admired the mechanical arm, got jealous and wanted one or two for themselves. The shiny ribcage was a total triumph – and he did not mind showing it to those who asked. And the whole lot was for sure a lady magnet. But he himself suffered.

First of all – he didn’t like it. No! He hated the shiny armour that squeezed his body together. He was in constant pain, and all the time at least one area, often several, were inflamed with swellings and pus. No painkillers seemed to work for him, and each day became more or less a plague.

Several times he had to go back to the clinic and the doctors really tried to help him. They cleansed the abscesses and gave him stronger pain killers, but nothing could beat the torture.

Meanwhile, he tried as best as he could to live a normal life. He went to work. Managed to do what he had to do. He went to cinemas and pubs with people he thought of as friends, and everyone supported him and tried to cheer him up.
”You’ll soon heal,” they said and offered him a second beer. ”For some people, it takes longer. You’ll be alright.”

Weeks came and weeks went by. They became months. And months. He smiled and he went on dates. He laughed and pretended he enjoyed himself. At least a couple of times a week some girl followed him home and felt sorry for him. They pampered him and could not hide what a turn-on the implants were. Especially the ribcage.

At times when everything was nothing but blackness to him, he used to go to the seashore and stand there for a long time gazing over the water until the sky turned dark and the halo from the descending sun made him forget the pain fort a while. Those hours he was intensely longing for going home to earth. He even missed his parents.

One day he could not stand it any longer. The pain and the swellings refused to let go, and the stomach had started to bother him as well, due to all the medications he had to take every day to at least ease the pain a bit. At that point, he had had the implants for almost a year. The only one that actually didn’t hurt any longer, though the pain had lasted for about nine months, were the eye-implants. As a matter of fact, he found them quite handy.

The sight was still razor sharp. He could see things very far away, as well as read any written material no matter the font size. He only had to push a small spot between the left eye and the nose in a special way and then a photo was taken, and for video snippets, there was a minuscule switch right above his right temple.
So who could blame him for taking photos a little bit too often, and in situations where a gentleman maybe shouldn’t take a photo at all?

On the other hand, it was impossible for anyone to see that he had a built-in camera anyway. Of course, he never told anyone that he had chosen that special perk, but he thought it was worth every penny extra he had to pay for that model.

Now, though, he wanted them gone. Both the ribcage and the arm extension. He did not care about being cool or attractive. He did not care about being a lady magnet. It was not him they were interested in, anyway, and claimed to be in love with. What they cared for, was those pieces of metal, that to him was no mere than worthless bric-a-brac!
And he could not care less, about the Thecnosians traditions and way of life. He was not a Technosian and he would never be!

Standing behind the counter at the clinic, the enormous woman with the bright golden metal plates all over her face had looked like stung of a poisonous tarantula when he had shown up just the other day to make an appointment.
”You want what?”
She pressed both her hands to her upper chest and stared at Andrew with eyes open wide. The golden plates on her forehead trembled.
”I said I want the implants removed.”
”I… I ..I.. d…don’t want to listen to this!”
”They are too painful, I can’t stand the pain any longer.”
”SO? What do you think? It’s metal plates sown to your body. IN your body even!”
She had raised her voice and breathed the words onto Andrew who crouched before the stream of spite.
“Maybe I’m allergic to them…”
“Piew….”.
“I could be, you know. I’m not really Technosian. I’m an Earthling!
“Tell me something else I don’t want to know.”
“I WANT TO GET RID OF THESE IMPLANTS!”
“Such a sissy” she whispered to herself while opening the computer.
“hmmm….” said Andrew.
“Okay,” she continued and shoved her large oblong hands in the air beside her ears. “Will Friday morning be good? At eight?”

 


To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.

Planned part:

  • 9.) (If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end…)

 

 

The shortest story ever?

Once upon a time…

… and then they lived happily ever after.

Future

There was a time, when I took a lot of photos,
then edited them, into either this or that.
Now when I see them, I begin to wonder
Where did that time go? How did I come to this?

There was also a time, when I wrote poems
I don’t seem to do that either, any more
Or?


the future is now
when you’re laying you’re puzzle
chunks, bits and pieces
in the choice of your own.

so don’t even think
of gluing them together
in a malicious pattern
you don’t even adore

an old poem of mine

 

The Appointment – TMM5

Yet another take on Diana’s Speculative Fantasy Prompt for May, at “Myths of the Mirror.

Andrew Millbourne is now at the planet Technos, have been told about the Technosian’s history, why they wear metal implants, and the importance of that.
Now there is something he has to do.


The Mechanical Man 5 – The appointment

Early the next morning, Andrew Millbourne rushes through a heavy breakfast and then calls for an Uber. He gives the driver the presentation card with the unpronounceable address and asks him to take him there as quick as possible. He has an appointment at 8 AM. The driver reads the card and then give Andrew a huge smile.
”So! It’s time to get fringed now?” he says. ”Welcome to the family!”
Andrew mutters a ’Thank you’.
”Nervous?”
The driver doesn’t seem to have any implants at all, but when Andrew looks a bit closer at him, he realises the driver is not human at all. He is 100 % robot.
”Yes. I’m lucky, ain’t I?” The driver says a bit toneless. ”Not even one piece of human flesh here. Nopidopi. Never get a cold that way.”
He leans towards Andrew and winks with his right eye.
”I’ll tell you a secret,” he says in a small voice. ” There are other viruses and there is such a virus going on right now, that causes us to suddenly just shut down.”
Andrew takes a deep breath and grasps the armrests tightly.
”Oh, don’t you worry,” the driver says. ”I feel fine! Haven’t had a virus in my entire life.”
Andrew swallows and grasps even harder around the armrests.
”How old are you?” he asks.
”Oh, I’ll be three months on Friday. My forerunner suddenly shut down, so they had to put me together in a hurry.”
”Y…you wouldn’t mind stop here and let me off….”
”Oh, we are at your destination in just a few seconds. All in one piece.”
’That’s just what I’m afraid of… ” Andrew thought.

At that moment the car stops, and three seconds later Andrew stands at the sidewalk on shaky legs.

”You have eaten breakfast?”
An enormous woman with bright golden metal plates all over her face stares intensely at Andrew over the counter. Her voice timbres all over the clinic and the awaiting people lift there heads in curiosity.
“Don’t you know you mustn’t eat before surgery?”
”I’m sorry! I didn’t know!”
”The most common excuse ever,” the woman says. Her eyes narrow. ”Suit yourself. If you puke – it’s your problem and you deal with it.”
There is a vast quietness for a long time while the woman takes down notes on the screen. So long, that in fact it seems she is writing a novel. Andrew is drenched with sweat.
”So! What kind of implants are we talking about?” she finally says.
”I don’t know! What do you recommend?”
”Hm,” she mutters while she inspects him over her fancy eyeglasses. ”I would suggest an eye-implant first of all. That will enhance your eyesight immensely. Works as a camera in fact, and you can instantly send images and also short videos directly to your computer system.”
She continuous to inspect him.
“You appear to be bit hollow.” She pokes him in the chest with her index finger. Her nails are painted green, Andrew notices when he unwillingly burps.
The woman opens her eyes wide.
”Hmm… breakfast it was…”
Without stop looking at Andrew, she fumbles in a drawer beneath her and then presents a couple of brochures to him. Finally, she let her eyes go off Andrew and instead points at the pictures in front of them.
”I would recommend that ribcage for your chest. It’s really a lady magnet. Add to that this beautiful arm extension. You can test one of each, to begin with, and later add them to the other side as well. Right-handed?”
Andrew nods. He has absolutely no idea what to say. His throat is desert dry anyway.
”On the right side then! And I promise you will find that arm extension remarkable. It has so many practical tools. You will be a real Mr Gadget! Here you have the manual…” – she puts a huge pile of leaflets in his hand – ”… and now let’s go! The surgeon is waiting!”

Eight hours later Andrew is helped into his hotel room by the same driver who had taken him to the clinic.
”Oh, looking good!” he says. ”Have you got the eyes too?”
Andrew has only strength for a tiny nod. He is aching all over, can’t really see anything, is totally exhausted, and just wants to be left alone. The driver gently pats him on his left shoulder and says: ”Oh, you’ll soon be just fine.” Then he leaves.

Andrew manages to enter the bathroom. He opens his eye as widely as he can. Everything around him is razor blade sharp and glittering.
There and then he finally pukes.

 


To the other parts in order, can also be found in the menu.

Planned part:

  • 9.) (If the end isn’t good, it isn’t the end…)