Hope you enjoy it. I'd love any feedback you might have lying around... (Hint: Check under the sofa's cushions. I know I always have some feedback under there.)
I struggled up through the night's spider-web coat of dreams and pulled myself to shore against Paul. As I got up to close the blinds more completely, my body ached for the loss of his warmth. With a flick of the wrist I shut out the new day's first light. I padded through the house, a pair of blunt nosed pliers in hand, ultimately coming to the front door.
Still locked, still on its hinges. I plugged in the fridge as I went back to bed. We'd have cold water when we finally decided to wake up. When I crawled back into bed beside him, Paul was still asleep.
I didn't dream the second time, which is rare in itself. When I came to, the covers were damp and empty and I was curled in on myself like a fractal regression. The fridge's electric hum dominated the old building's auditory landscape, broken only intermittently by more welcome sounds, Paul moving around. I tried to slip away again, to some friendlier hellhole.
"There is someone at the door." Paul's voice drowned the fridge's whine and contained the same depth of emotion.
I had him unplug the fridge before hiding in the bathroom. I figured he'd be able to escape out the window and maybe make it, if something happened. Bye Paul, is what I thought, pulling the door open until the chain stopped me.
If the old lady's a bot, they've won. I can smell the empathic flashes coming off her, harsh as wood smoke in a thunderstorm. The inside of her head smelled like the house, a patchwork broth of madness and neglect. "Can I help you?" I said, wrinkling my nose as her scent, her real scent, flattened me.
"Glass of water." She seemed to be aware I had some, and what the hell, what I have is too much to carry away with me. When it came time to move on, the glut of it would be left behind.
"Just a second." I closed the door, hoping in some way that her madness would take her from my door. I suspected however that madness which leaves you able to ask for water, would also give you the patience to wait for it.
I gave her a clean glass and let her keep it, partly because the abandoned house was full of them, partly because she didn't return it. I slid the deadlock home and let Paul out of the washroom.
With the fridge off again, the only noises were the sounds of our bodies as we ate, mechanical sounds of the human machine refueling. It was good though, to eat, just like it was good to have Paul. Paul the dead boy, Paul who doesn't think so loud that I have to suffer his life as well as mine.
I had asked, when I first met him, why he was different. He said he was just built that way, and shrugged. I figured that was good enough for me. I loved him like I loved the air, as unable to live without one as the other.
It was a mystery to me, why the bots hadn't caught us yet. I imagined it was harder with us, a simple function of who we were. I could feel them when they were bots, because they didn't feel like anything. They were like Paul inside, hollow men, straw men, smelling of null and void.
I fell back into bed, pulling Paul close to me. As the bone deep weariness repossessed me, I remembered last week. When he’d said he loved me, I couldn't stop smiling. I hadn't felt a thing.