25 July 2010

I, Robot (Resisting Arrest)

"Come out, Robot. We have you surrounded! Come out with your hands up!"

Helmet pressed harder against the wall he hid behind. They did indeed have him surrounded; police cars cornered off each intersection of the block and a helicopter swirled overhead. They waited, waited for him to make his move or to stop his resistance. This was the moment of decision, where the Robot would have to end his now three hour police chase. The jig was up, they would say, the Rubicon crossed. He had provided a good fight but there was little left to do. It was time to turn himself in.

Or not.

Fighting all the fear and trepidity welling up inside his metallic chest, Helmet pivoted out from behind the apartment building that barely hid his frame, much to the relief of the residents. He dove out into the street in an attempt to dodge any police fire or something (Helmet wasn't really sure, it just seemed the right thing to do). He crushed a few dozen square yards of asphalt and knocked over no less than three telephone poles and endangered an overpass in the process.

"Shit, here he goes again," was the response from the police captain. "Open fire!"

Again the brave fools of the Atlanta Police Department released a blaze of hot lead against their monstrous steel perpetrator, but it may as well have been a window washer trying to do his job in a rain storm; an exercise in futility. Helmet charged on, away from his assailants and finished the job of destroying the overpass in the process. Most major roadways and surface streets in a 20 mile radius had been abandoned since the start of the chase so there was little danger of manslaughter but the city was quickly approaching the point of disrepair. The police heard the loud, low grumbling that must have been his voice. It was unintelligible but he might as well have been yelling "You'll never take me alive, coppas!" as he fled the scene, stomping down Monroe Drive and clipping the side of a strip mall. Bits of concrete and glass rained down upon the abandoned cars in the parking lot.

"Captain," started one of the officers.

"I know," he replied with growing irritation, "Shut the hell up."

*****

Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack.

Noise, awful noise rang in his head.

Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack.

The same sound over and over. What was it?

The Robot stirred groggily. He could not move, neither could he see. Panic struck him momentarily, then surprise at his own emotion, then the realization that he could not see because his eyes were closed. He opened them. Much to his relative surprise (he had not reason not to believe he was where he was) he was bound, tied down to some strange and heavy slab in a very confined place. He deemed it too dark to determine his actual location. The Robot blinked and the room turned green. Suddenly he could see that there was not much to his little space; it seemed to be built just large enough to contain him. The walls of this box, if box it was, were adorned with curving inlays and strange symbols he did not understand.

His panic had faded. He felt rather calm but could not decide what to do next. Somehow he was stuck in this box with a damned clicking sound looping over and over in his head every few minutes.

‘Well, let’s see...’ he thought.

With minimal effort he lifted his arm and the strap crossing his arms and chest snapped off.

‘That wasn’t so bad.’

Next he bent his knee, which touched with the roof of his box and caused the second strap to pop off with a twang. He wondered what came next.

Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack.

At long last he verbalized. To you or I it would have sounded like a whale gargling wet cement but the meaning was something like ‘That bloody noise...’ Panic began to rise up in him again. The Robot felt trapped. His eyes searched the pitch black space, flipping this way and that for some kind of way out. His eyes stopped on some symbols he could read. Helmet it read in the bright green of his nightvision.

‘Helmet’ he thought, ‘What could that mean?’

This new information distracted him only slightly from the task at hand. Remembering that he was meant to be panicked he swung his great arm up and punched the roof of the box. It gave immediately, leaving a large cracking hole above him and bits of rubble tumbling down. The effect did not register quickly but after a moment or two he punched again and then kicked and then punched until a flurry of blows dug away at the roof of the box and into whatever lay above him. Out of patience and thinking there was room enough, he sat up quickly. Earth shattered and crumbled away, up and up went his torso and within moment desperately bright light blinded him. The Robot shut his eyes and emitted a horrible moan. He went to shield his eyes with his hand instinctively but could not get them out of his box.

Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack.

This bondage was soon remedied as something struck him and with a start he popped out of the box, eyes still closed, startled by whatever had attacked him. With another great moan, this time for effort, the Robot rose to his feet shedding earth and concrete. Great relief took him for his new freedom and the ability to rub his eyes. He remembered something. Blinking, the Robot now saw his surroundings properly; he had risen from a massive hole in the ground. His attacker was not some unseen enemy but a train; he had been lying underneath a train track. Robot rubbed the back of his head with a large metallic hand, causing a great scraping sound, as he focused on the train that had hit him. The first two cars were tipped over and strange, tiny things were running away from it. It was lettered on the side with MARTA. His head hurt so he kept rubbing it.

‘Head...Helmet...I am Helmet,’ the thought struck him like lightning, ‘Helmet is me!’

Overjoyed by his new sense of identity and freedom, Helmet took to exploring his new surroundings.

2 comments:

Andrew Isley said...

Just wanted to say I dig this.

shipwreck said...

Thanks, dude!

Yet another short story destined for shelfdom.