Machine Man
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SOURCE P24 V1/5.
Machine Man (serial)

Final →V2

Date: Wed Apr 8 03:07:31 2009 +0000

Page 24.


I woke from dreams of being crushed to the sound of a baby crying. This wasn’t unusual, because there was some kind of intensive care ward for newborns down the hall from my room. I had glanced in one day, while cruising the hallways in my hospital-issue wheelchair, to see rows of glowing pink- and brown- skinned babies, little limbs clutching and flailing within plastic incubators. Sometimes worried-looking couples sat in the chairs outside, clutching each other. I stopped going that way, though, because one man looked at me like: Well, that puts things into perspective.

The baby this morning sounded frightened. Then another joined it, and another. Each seemed louder than the last, until I realized they were just closer.

Cassandra Cautery appeared in my doorway. She was wearing a snug gray jacket over a pinstripe shirt with a big collar, and a little skirt. It was a schoolgirl-meets-Wall-Street look. Her eyelashes flashed, like she was on the verge of tears. Her lips trembled with sympathy.

“Oh, Charlie,” said Cassandra Cautery. “You poor thing, look at you.” I could hardly hear her, over the babies’ screaming.


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