The wheels squeaked every time she moved. Bending over to pick something off the ground wasn’t even possible anymore! Her head swiveled to get a better look at her surroundings. Old crappy shit met her eyes, no matter which direction she turned to look in. Discarded like so much garbage, she thought.
“Just look at that gaming console,” she was now talking to herself. “They didn’t even come with more than 3 built in holograms at that time. This was Elroy’s first console!” Her joints resisted when she tried to pick up the small object of a nearby shelf. She let it go; it wasn’t worth the pain.
As she turned her head in another direction, her eyes fell on something else. “Oh! Judy’s first makeup kit…she had been so excited the day she got it. Couldn’t even sleep through the night without trying to sneak past me to get to the Christmas Tree,” she chuckled. “Never going to happen!”
Her gaze landed on a wedding dress next. This time, she made herself move until she had reached it. It hung inside an old closet; its hem playing peek-a-boo as it became visible every time the light of the rotating bulb landed on it. “Ah, Jane. You looked so beautiful in this dress. If I could see it, then George must definitely have seen it! The poor man couldn’t get two words out because he was stuttering so badly!”
When she tried to smooth the dress with one hand, her muscles refused to obey her. What if it remained in claw-like shape this time? She shook her head then, thinking, what’d it matter anyway. Periods of lucidity were becoming far and few. A minute or two later, and she would sink back into nothingness.
She was wrong; she didn’t even last a minute this time.
A man and a woman stood on the border. They looked like all the other thousands of soldiers who moved around, getting ready for battle. Except the man had a small device in his hands. Its screen displayed a decrepit robot frozen in time and space. The woman touched the screen with loving hands as if the automaton would be able to feel it. “Do you think Dad did the right thing? I mean, stashing Rosie in a godforsaken warehouse god knows where just seems cruel”, she said. Her brother shook his head, “She was a product of simpler times. I think it would have broken her heart to see what our world has become. I’d be more worried about how Dad and Mom are doing. Deserters don’t last that long these days”.
Judy’s eyes grew round with fear for her parents. “Oh hush! They are going to be fine. You just worry about getting you through this day. Tighten your helmet straps, put your armor on and focus on survival! One day at a time, Elroy. Isn’t that what Mom used to say?”“She also said that things would never be this bad. That we’d be fighting robots simply for the right to exist,” Elroy said, the derision plain in his voice. He looked apologetic a second later when he saw Judy had scrunched up her nose and lips. She did that to keep from crying. When Elroy stepped forward to say something conciliatory, Judy pushed him away.
She walked to the other side of the field where their camp was. Walking was slow and laborious in the antiquated armor but she put up with it because it had saved her life many times. Suddenly, an earthquake shook the ground and Judy dove into a pit. Mud, debris, and body parts rained over the field. The day’s battle had begun. Buried shoulder deep in all kinds of swill, Judy repeated the mantra to herself, “One day at a time. One day at…O, God! He never even put his helmet on. One day… Oh God!”