Steadfast is a serial short fiction piece.
To start from the beginning, go to part 1.
For the longest time I sat powered down. It was what Eunice referred to as sleep but I was never unconscious, only mildly aware of my surroundings. I heard showers of glass outside. Immediately I energized and saw three persons in black shattering the storefront window. My precious dancer thankfully ran back into the store to hide.
I ran outside and crossed the street, confronting the vandals. “This is private property!”
The three of them turned and faced me. The black cloth masks covering their faces made them appear as agents of death—the three ghosts of Christmas future.
“Here’s the clock,” spoke one.
The last vandal brandished a bronze stun device. “You’ll never get your heart now, tin man. The reverend says hello.”
I turned to run but jagged streaks of blue light skewered me. My every motor function ceased and my body gave way to gravity. I couldn’t move or talk. Yet I could see and hear while paralyzed on the ground. They set upon me with rope and were quick to their business tying me up and loading me on a cart. The finale came with a black burlap sack tied over my head.
The cart’s wheels clacked against the cracked asphalt below and I could sense they were taking me west to the bay. I wanted to strain against my bonds but none of my motors or gears responded. It was truly unnecessary that they even tied me up, so I listened upon their conversation.
“Where you going after this?”
“Gross. You know they got clocks dancing there?”
“Yes they do.”
The third one finally barked. “Shut your holes. We all got our coins; we’ll all spend them as we please.”
They lumbered on with the cart in silence until the final halt. The third one spoke again: “Alright lads, let’s do our business and be off.”
The burlap sack lifted from my eyes, pulled by one of the brutes but I couldn’t tell whom since none now talked. They all looked alike.
They hoisted me up together, carrying me like three men would a log and held me over a deep hole. It was darker than any blackout I’ve ever known and the sharp smell of methane arose from the abyss and assailed my nostrils.
“So long tin man. You’re finally home where you belong,” said the leader of the trio.
Heaved and tossed over, I fell into the hole, swallowed whole and watched as the indigo light of night shrank from the size of a gaping maw into a pinprick. Down. Further. Into the abyss I fell. Into the heart of hell I dropped. The last thought to roll through my mind like a marble through a Rube Goldberg machine was this: at least Eunice and my ballerina were safe.