Lessie shifts uncomfortably in the metal box that is her home. Metal walls, metal floor, metal ceiling, and a metal knob and pedal in front of her. She must sit with her knees crammed up and press the pedal and turn the knob and watch as money circulates, circulates.
The box was supposed to be infinite in her mind, but they let her sleep in a room. And sometimes they’d gather in a garage and watch the real world go by outside. Although it was no longer a real world. It was a post-human world, where life was artificial and cheap. Life was no longer valued. So she was a slave.
Push the pedal, turn the knob. Money, money, money.
There were no bathroom breaks. You existed for a single purpose. There had been a time Lessie dreamt of escape. She’d imagine herself running, her feet pounding the pavement, her heart pounding in her ears as she waited for them to catch up. Them. That unnameable and unknown entity that enslaved her.
But then Lessie had witnessed a couple, a man in a tank top, bronzed skin, sweating slightly, the woman just average looking. Her face was carved with pain, her hair full of knots and tangles. It blew slightly in the breeze as they exited the garage doors, the wide open garage doors, and stepped into the sunlight. It dappled their skin, it shone in the girl’s eyes. The man suddenly hesitated as the girl approached an old white Honda. It was a trap. Anyone could see that. Lessie believed even the girl knew that.
Suddenly the man shook his head, he wasn’t going to come. The girl cried wildly and threw out her hand, her body getting into the passenger seat already. She wanted him to take her out of there. Lessie knew what the man knew; they’d be caught and electrocuted.
The long lashes of black wire coiled around their chests, dragging them on the rough cement. The sun now seemed less friendly, it seemed sinister in its obvious delight in the pain taking place below. Or was it its obvious unconcern?
The electrocution was swift. The charred remains swept away by machines. By post-humans. Or some brand of them. Lessie didn’t understand their hierarchy.
This particular night was cold and a man came up to Lessie as the slaves were paraded through the grounds. This man was unknown and Lessie was on her guard.
“If you want to escape, throw this vial out your window.”
“Then they’ll see. They’ll know it was me that threw it. There’s only one person who could throw it from my window you see. They’ll see it and they’ll know.”
The man shook his head and handed me a clear vial with a clear liquid sloshing around inside it. A cork stopper was all that kept it inside.
When the moon grew round and full, looking plump enough to pick out of the sky, Lessie tossed the vial out her window and it shattered on the slick bridge beneath her window. Fear gripped her heart so strongly she nearly choked on the pain.
“Now they’ll see.”
But nothing happened. The hours passed and no one came for her, for good or ill. The rain began to beat down on her window sometime before the sun decided to wake up. Lessie looked out the window and found all remnants of the liquid and the shards of vial had been swept into the swift flowing river the bridge crossed.
The bridge had no railings, it was open to the water. It was made of slick rock and glistened after the fresh wash of rain. Lessie paused to consider this. She’d never seen it rain since she’d been transported here.
The tone in her room dinged and she marched to her metal box where her life was safely contained.
You will escape, a voice in her head kept repeating.