Breathe in the air

Meet a bit confused teenage girl who has just become an android. Meet Marcus, her mentor, and follow them in their progression to protect what they find valuable.

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1. Breathe in the air - a short story

I felt the energy flowing through my body, as if I was able to do anything. All my senses had been intensified. The mechanical buzzing was louder, the smell of iron had become more intense, and I never thought I would be able to see this well. I was more than satisfied.
The doctors bent over me to make sure I was okay. I stood up, went to the bathroom and put on my closets. The procedure had gone very well. I looked in the mirror. I was smiling back at me. It didn’t seem like anything had changed, except for the fact that I looked more brawny than before. None of the iron had gone through my skin.

The following days were spent doing everything I ever wanted. I jumped out of a helicopter, played Spiderman in the streets of New York, and hit the bulls’ eye in dart.
I made a lot of friends. They welcomed me, and taught me a whole bunch of new things I was now able to do… and then there was this guy. He came over and introduced himself. His name was Marcus. He seemed wise. He didn’t look more than a few years older than me, but I was sure he was much older. He was ordered to take care of me. Show me all my new abilities, and all the new dangers. I was now half human, half robot, a hundred percent android, and a hundred percent nervous when I was around him.

Marcus was my mentor, and therefore I had to live with him until I was able to take care of myself. He taught me everything there was to know about being an android. I stayed with him for days, weeks, months and I was able to do more and more.

One morning Marcus woke me up at 3 am to go look at the stars. I could see a lot more than I used to. My eyes were able to take up their light. I had never seen anything that beautiful before. I turned my face and watched him admire the spots of burning gas. His muscular body seemed relaxed, he was all calm, all silent. I studied his face, I studied the stars and wished that I would be able to remember this moment forever. He turned and faced me, leaned forward and grabbed my hand softly. He led it to my chest, and left it lying there. I could feel my own heart beating. He looked me straight in the eyes and said: “Never forget to appreciate the life given to you. Never forget to love. Never forget to stop for a moment and just breathe in the air. This is the most valuable lesson I’ll give you, and it will take you your whole life to understand the meaning of it.”
I thrilled. He kept looking me straight in the eyes. Why?
We sat there for what felt like many hours - but what felt like many hours were actually just a few seconds. Suddenly he turned away from me, stood up and walked home. I stayed. What was this feeling? Everything was so new, and now this?

I went home and crawled into bed, but I was unable to sleep. My head was full of thoughts, and I could not calm it. I tried to listen. I focused like he had taught me.
Firstly, I heard the dripping sound from the faucet in the kitchen, then the wind as it bore grains of sand with it outside my window. I worked my way through the small sounds in the house, and into Marcus’ room. He was not sleeping either - his heart was beating too fast - but I could hear he was focused. Suddenly he stood up. I turned over in my bed and faced the wall. I was listening - he was not in his room anymore. The door into my room was opened. “You were listening,” he said. I did not know how to respond. He came over and laid down on the floor right beside my bed. A few seconds later we both fell asleep.

The next morning when I woke up, he stood by the counter in the kitchen making breakfast. I sat down at the table like I used to, trying not to make eye contact. He noticed and laughed at me. That laughter! It worked its way into my soul every single time. Why? I grabbed a plate and went over to get some scrambled eggs and bacon. He was standing by the faucet behind me. He turned around with a frying pan in one hand and a spatula in the other. I was trapped between him and the kitchen counter with a plate in my hand. I was stunned and for some reason thrilled at the same time. He noticed. He went closer and put the frying pan and the spatula down on the counter behind me. I had nowhere to go and no clue about what I should do. He gently caressed my cheek. His hand felt soft and warm, not like a robot’s. He came even closer. Now there were just a few inches between us. I looked straight into his eyes. He did not turn away from me. I was wondering whether I should slap him or… He leaned even closer and our lips touched. Never had I felt anything like that. I would never forget it.

Months, years, centuries has passed and every day I relive that first kiss with the same person. I am good. Nature has changed since that time, and we work together in our little backyard to protect our beautiful flowers.
I am standing in the park, looking at the same beautiful flowers I see every day. They too are now filled with iron to make their beauty known for all eternity. What I like most about my little, hidden backyard is that my flowers die. That fact makes me appreciate them even more. They remind me to stop.
Stop and breathe in the life-giving air.

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