“What are you doing to it?” You are screaming with a sudden maternal instinct you never knew you possessed. “Please. Please help me,” you beg the machine, as the screen of a face begins to flash, and the tiny body writhes to be released.


“Your time is almost up,” the voice chants, “ insert another token to continue.”


You are somewhere between panic and rage as you fumble through your pockets for the tokens you haphazardly stowed somewhere. You suddenly regret not picking up a steak knife, or at least a fork, because the impulse to stab the machine and run has finally kicked in. As your fingers rummage in the deepest crevice of your jeans pocket, you consider for a moment what the consequence might be if you let the game end, if it is a game. The weeping sore on the back of your head suggests otherwise. The tiny, pus-covered body in front of you seems very real. The only way you will know if this machine can help is if you feed it another token.


You feel the outline of a circle. A token has strayed into the fifth pocket. The tiny, useless piece of fabric sewn inside the actual pocket for no apparent purpose. You pinch your way in and grab the token in your fingers, twisting in out, and without hesitation you shove it into the mouth of the machine.


Immediately her face reanimates.


“I’m not here for your amusement,” she barks. She is a cheeky robot, and it gives you great pleasure to raise up your fist with what little strength you have and smack the side of her head.


“Help me!” you scream again, throttling the vessel’s clammy throat. The machine releases the tiny body from its arms. You watch it fall to the ground and scamper away like a cat running from a toaster.


“Now you’ve done it. The midwives will be very unhappy about this. I can’t help you with them, but I may be able to save you from yourself. That is, the small you that has just escaped. You suggest you run.”


this installment was written by rebekah robinson