**Bonus Scene**

89 4 6

A/N: There's not a lot of plot in this scene and it is better interwoven between the past two chapters, but for now it exists like this. Enjoy.


 The next day, just before dawn, I crossed the yard to our neighbor's. The rain was slowing to a drizzle and already the clouds were breaking apart on the horizon. I considered the beams of moonlight illuminating the far, dusty mountains as I knocked on our neighbor's red door.

Lucinda's house was not like our own. I mean, architecturally they were nearly identical, but it didn't share the same warmth as ours. She interacted with humans like someone who didn't have pets would treat animals: cordial and conscious, but not affectionate. She'd been a civil judge before and constantly tried to balance this new world with the old, but she wasn't above having servants.

A middle-aged woman opened the door, eyeing my silhouette against the dawn and wiping her hands on a gray apron. When she registered it was me, her demeanor changed to something softer, something more maternal.

"Why hello, Kit!" She beamed. "How are you doing, honey? Please come in. Ms. Lucinda is upstairs, would you like me to get her for you?" She offered, though Lucinda could hear us from wherever she was in the house. My own hearing found her easily, upstairs, futzing around with books. She must've been organizing again from the sounds of the thump as she tossed them to the ground.

"Not necessary, Doris. I was just wondering if I could borrow the car for the day. Mine's been acting up."

"Oh," Doris said, her thin lips pursing. "Well, I'm sure that'll be fine. I'll have Jupe bring it around."

"That would be wonderful, thank you," I said and Doris moved toward the back of the house. As she left, a creak at the top of the stairs alerted me to Lucinda's presence. She wore a rich mulberry silk robe and diamond earrings. Her presence reminded me of a widow whose partner left her a sum of wealth—though she'd never married and worked very hard for everything she had.

"Hello, Kit," she said in her unnervingly smooth, authoritative voice. For an android, her voice had an exceptional human-like quality. Believable and soft, a realistic richness.

"Good morning, Lucinda, I trust you are in good operation," I said, formal and a bit stiff. Our relationship was restricted to casual greetings over the fence and the occasional catch of another's gaze through open windows. We always flicked the curtain closed quickly when we were caught. At first, I thought she was spying us, but over time I realized it was much less sinister. Boredom plagued her just as much as the rest of us.

"Of course," she hummed and then descended down the steps with grace. "You are borrowing the car?"

"If that's all right?"

Lucinda would be heading to work soon, she took public transit like most androids in the city. Though it wasn't like the crowded, dirty system of before—but it did use up much of the same infrastructure. Nowadays, everything was much more efficient, but sterile and devoid of the creativity only imperfect humans provided.

Victor used to take a commuter train into work every day and on the days that I went with him, I got to experience the train too. I was able to look at all the strange people. Some played music, some begged for coins, others were trapped in their own worlds with headphones and a strong determination to get wherever they were going. Victor didn't enjoy the journeys that much, he hated being surrounded by too many people. It made him claustrophobic and sweaty. But I drank it all in, stuffed it into my memories to savor, to gnaw on later when I was alone and thinking of dreams. I loved being squished between the people, getting to hear snippets of conversations I wasn't a part of, the sounds of inexperienced guitar playing and murmur of the train conductor. It was over-stimulating, sure, but insatiably I drank it in.

Dead WorldWhere stories live. Discover now