SOFT MACHINES

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‘She was the first witch I met,’ he said, securing the iron studded door, locking it, and dragging the heavy chain in place.
‘There were others, then?’ she said, with a half smile.
‘Of course there were more. But not that many. She was certainly the first proper witch.’
They both made the place secure as they could, grateful the shutters were braced with steel. With the heavy curtains pulled across the window, and the candles alight, it began to look almost like a home.
‘Well… what would happen if you met a zombie? Would you run away?’ she said.
‘I would not run.’
‘Well, would you collapse in a heap, like a normal man would?’
‘Who are you calling a normal man?’
‘You. You’re pretty close to being normal.’
‘I take that as a slight compliment.’
‘Maybe you’d simply faint?’ she said.
‘A zombie you said? There are no zombies. No such thing. I might feign a faint. But-‘ and he smiled at this point, ‘if there were a zombie about I guess I’d probably keep it. As a pet.’
She smiled, too.
He laid an oilcloth on the kitchen table. He put the large, and still warm, automatic on the cloth. There were small bloodstains on the stock, but most had been washed away. The place even managed to smell fairly clean. He carefully reloaded the clip, and snapped it back into the hollow chamber with a satisfying click. He took out a large saw toothed dagger from the complicated harness he wore beneath his kevlar tunic. The dagger had an alarming hook on the end, and it glittered in the candle light.
‘Are we just fragile beings, us humans?’ he said.
‘About right. Fragile, liquid, bags. With bones here and there.’
‘It sounds demeaning. No brains, no thought.’
She whispered, ‘Are you and I real?’
He moved close and took hold of her waist, pulling her against him.
‘Real. You’re real enough,’ he said. No hint of a smile.
‘Real? Really? Aren’t we both soft machines, easily damaged?’ she said.
He held her so tight she could not even shake. She felt vulnerable and it was obvious he wanted her to feel that way. And as he looked over here head he noticed her hair riffling. But there was no wind. What was causing this movement? Was she a - witch? If she was he had no fear of her, but then he was always the sceptic, the first one to doubt.
She melted from his grip, the room was in darkness, and his last thought was a lonely one…

About the Author: 
Fond of physics... especially bongo playing Feynman.