The corrupted series.
William closed the side panel on his latest client. “There you go Mike. You should have no more problems with that sensor for a while.”
Mike threw on his hat, “Thanks man I owe you one! How much is this one going to cost?”
“Think of this as a going away present, to a faithful customer.”
“You’re kidding me, thanks!”
The two exchanged a firm handshake before Mike left. As soon as the door closed William gripped his side. He was in excruciating pain. It started being painful during Mike’s repair but he didn’t want to say anything. He pushed through and didn’t want to haggle prices. William stumbled to his work bench, rummaging for his diagnostic plug. He thought it was strange for such pain to Increase in such a short amount of time. He let out a breath of relief when found the plug.
When he plugged himself into the diagnostic system he fell into his chair. Wincing every so often. The screen lit up saying “corruption is critical.”
“What does that even mean?” He typed on the computer, looking for the specific point of corruption. William was only further confused by the screen’s constant repeat of the three words “Corruption is critical”. The screen glitched and the words covered the whole monitor.
“What the heck?” William smacked the side of the system. Sparks flew from the side and burned where he was still plugged in. He shouted and quickly clicked the safe ejection button. The screen briefly said “safe ejection could not complete.” Before returning to the three other words. William swore, then unplugged himself. The sparks burned the surrounding area. “What the heck is happening?”
A scream echoed in the hallway, then another and another. William limped over to the door, thankful that the burn numbed the pain. When he walked out to the hallway of the apartment complex he saw several cyborgs curled up on the floor. Each one in a different stage of pain and screams. Few among them were completely shut down.
Gwen ran out of her door, looking very concerned. “What’s going on William?”
“I… I don’t know.” He gripped his side and moaned.
Gwen reached out to grab William when he stumbled. “William! You’re in pain?”
“Yes,” he said through his teeth. “And you’re not?”
“No, I am not.” Gwen’s eyes lit up white. Sending shivers up William’s spine… or was it the corruption in his body? She let go of him “sorry William I need to go.”
“What? Where are you going?” He reached out for Gwen. Pleading with her to not leave him alone. “Please don’t leave me! Why don’t you feel pain? Please don’t leave me here.”
She turned to him, “I’m sorry William, where I am going you can’t come.”
“What?! Where are you going? Why can’t I come?”
Pity flashed in Gwen’s eyes. “I am going to see the Maker. He is going to restore his followers. You can’t come because you have denied him.That’s why you’re in pain.”
He grabbed at her arm, “please let me see the Maker, let me ask for help.” Gwen pulled his arm over her shoulder to help him walk. “I can take you to the Maker, but I can’t promise you anything. We need to stop at Cleo’s. She’s on the floor below.” It was a challenge to maneuver around the bodies that littered the stairwell. Some were dead, others reached out for help pleading for the pain to stop. It pained Gwen to watch them suffer, but she knew William was all she could carry.
They made it down to the next floor where Cleo was storming down the hall. “ What took you so long?! The Maker has called us.”
Gwen let William lean on the wall as she hugged her angry friend. “The stairs are pretty bad. People started to run for help before they found they couldn’t take another step. Plus my neighbor William asked me to take him to the Maker.”
Cleo glared at William before returning her gaze back to Gwen. “Are you sure about taking him? The time has come, if he didn’t choose the Maker before… What makes you think he will change his mind now?”
Gwen shrugged, “I figured it’s worth a try.” Cleo grumbled, “Fine, let’s take him.”
The girls took either arm and rested it over their shoulder. The stairwell got more cramped with Cyborgs the closer they got to the bottom. Cyborgs began to panic. Grabbing at the others, hoping to be dragged along. One man shouted “Why are you taking that man? Aren’t all of our lives just important! If we don’t get to go then no one goes!” The man pulled out a knife Aiming straight for Gwen. Her eyes went wide and she froze. At the last minute a hand smacked the blade out of the way. Charlie held the knife to the man’s throat.
“I’d suggest you leave them alone.” Charlie put the blade in his pocket. Then turned to the girls, “let me take it from here.” He lifted William over his shoulders and carried him the rest of the way. The streets were just about packed. Another man crawled across the ground saying. “Just one more drink before I go, that’s all I want. One more drink.”
William mumbled in Charlie’s ear. “Where are we going?”
“We are going to the Makers junkyard. That way both the followers of old and the current followers can be restored.”
“You mean where we put all the Makers dead cyborgs?”
“Yup, that’s the place.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence. The streets turned from cyborgs crying out in pain to hundreds of cyborgs walking together. All getting more and more excited to see the Maker. When they arrived at the junkyard Charlie put William down. “I can not carry you in, you have to speak to the Maker at the gate.” They waited in a line and William braced himself between Charlie and Cleo. Gwen couldn’t stand still, she kept shifting her weight and fidgeting.
Charlie went up to the Maker first. “Welcome Charlie, your mom is waiting for you inside.” Charlie’s face lit up, he quickly hugged the Maker and ran inside. He grabbed old Bonnie Anners who didn’t look old anymore. In fact she didn’t even look like a cyborg. Her entire body was made from a fleshy substance and her eyes were bright.
Gwen clung to the Maker, “Only you know how long I’ve waited to be here. We are finally going to be complete!” She looked up into his eyes, crying. “Aren’t we?”
He patted her head. “Yes, you are finally going to be complete.” Her whole body relaxed into one last hug, before she skipped into the junkyard. William walked up with Cleo by his side. The Maker reached out to Cleo “Thank you my dear, I’ll take care of him. Please join your friends.”
William was left with the Maker. “I changed my mind. I will follow you now, let me in.”
The Maker raised one eyebrow and said “You do not mean what you say. You do not desire to surrender your will. You only desire your own gain, that’s why you have come to my gate.”
William’s face burned red. “Didn’t Charlie have something to gain from this? He got his mother, and Gwen wanted to be complete.”
“They did not come to me for those things, they were only gifts. They came to me because they knew I had authority over everything. They humbly submitted to my authority over them. You ,William. Are still trying to have authority over your life; by trying to save what’s left of it.”
William threw his hat on the ground. “But don’t they say you are “not willing that anyone should perish?!” I am here, let me in! If you don’t, you prove to me that you are not a loving God.”
The Makers eyes burned with flames and the ground shook. “You do not test me, I am God.” William stumbled backwards. The earth stilled and the flames went out. The Maker continued “Have I not been patient to withhold judgment this long? Is that not a show of love? It was your choice to deny me, you chose this. I am a just God, I punish the actions of everyone. Although I gave everyone a second option, to accept my authority and go free. William, I gave everyone the option to choose either judgment or my love. You chose judgment. Now you have the Audacity to blame me for your decision?!” The Maker snapped his fingers and the gate to the junkyard closed. The ground shook and a dome rose from the ground. It encased the whole yard, glowing white.
Large holes in the ground opened up. Massive droids rose from the ground. Some took flight while others rode into town on horseback. William starred in absolute fear. He had never seen these creatures before, they were a force unlike anything he had ever seen. He began to crawl away, trembling. “No it can’t end this way, it can’t end this way!”
The Maker walked towards him, “but it must end this way. All corruption will be extinguished today. Those in the dome already have the antivirus software installed. At this very moment they are becoming who I originally designed them to be. My army is now heading into the rest of this world to remove what’s left of the virus. That includes you William.”
William started to chuck rocks at the maker. Trying to keep the maker away in vain. “Why didn’t anyone warn us this would happen?”
“They did William, you heard the stories from old Bonnie Anners growing up. Gwen drove you crazy with her talk. They all drove you crazy, but in the end this was your decision.”