Chapter 1:

Stale Birth

The Land Called Myself


Doctor Eve Redmond was a patient man who knew very many things. However, nobody but him knew this, or anything else about him for that matter, as he spent the entirety of his time each day utilizing these boons within his own personal laboratory. In this small wooden hut, built upon an oil mine by himself using the trees nearby, he worked tirelessly. He tinkered away each and every day, seeking out something impossible as he formed his sense of self through his eyes alone.

As such, the world was blind to Dr. Redmond, for they could have no perception of who he was. To them, he did not exist. He was not so much as the dirt they walked upon or a far-off star in the sky. To them, he was well and truly nothing. But Dr. Redmond did indeed exist. And had he desired, he could have existed to those people as well. But at the time, he was preoccupied with other things.

“Another failure... well, I suppose I’ll have to start over.”

Each day he spent in his lab was for the purpose of creating a machine he could truly say that the world had never seen before. It was for this he lived- it was for this he was willing to “not exist.” Perhaps, in fact, he did not wish to exist until he could do so as the creator of such a machine. And it was when he pondered this possibility that he came up with the idea that would finally carry him to fulfilling his dream.

Dr. Redmond had taken it upon himself to create a machine able to “exist,” in a way not unlike himself- a machine able to think and speak like a human.

Its development was a long and frustrating process that lasted him many years.

When he first began, he had called himself young, and by the time the project was over, he could no longer do as such. It was also an endeavor that required him to create many other inventions just to reach his final goal. The first of these inventions was a brainlike object, that instead of requiring oxygen through way of blood, burned and ran on the chemical power of petrol. Pieced together from the brain of a goblin, it was an ingenious invention that underwent a strenuous creation process, with the doctor still being somewhat uncertain of its functionality once it was complete. This was followed by a heart in order to pump the gasoline to the brain and around the body he would create soon after- a fresh heart, stolen from a pig, that would be gutted and rebuilt to function as intended. And he even built a series of muscles, that he cobbled together from many animals and even a few ghoul’s parts to be as efficent as possible in holding and keeping gasoline. Throughout all this he also made many “suits of armor” from iron in order to serve as the creation’s external “skin” and body- suits that would never drop its inside pieces. Suits that would protect it from the harsh outside world. Suits he wished he would’ve had.

Each of these components took from the man a decade of his life or more as he constructed them. At the time, he believed himself insane. A mad hermit just like the ones in books and literature. He would frequently stare out the window at the town below, shining with lamplight in the dead of night, and wonder to himself whether or not he would die before he finished his creation.

Why didn’t he just go down there?

Maybe those people could help him.

No use wasting all this time just to die here alone.

But alas, he thought to himself. He’d spent this long up here already. What’s another decade?

However, the despair set in eventually.

As much as he could try to ignore it, he’d put a lot riding on this invention. The stress and fear of failure got to him eventually, threatening all he had done so far as well as his very will to continue. So, without any other solution, the man stopped thinking about whether or not it would work. There came a point in which he had to forget about the town entirely to continue. He stopped caring what happened to the machine or himself or anyone else, and just worked at his own pace for the sake of working and nothing else.

It didn’t matter anymore. He had never existed to begin with. He never really thought he had. He believed himself a character, and in a way, he was a right- a person such as him was almost too great to exist in reality. For one day, when he was exactly sixty-three years old, he placed a complete system of artificial pieces into his fifty-third iron body design, and filled the man-sized machine to the brim with fuel.

Having spent so much time in isolation without hearing so much as a whisper of the world at large’s technological strides and trends, it resembled nothing that existed at the time nor had ever existed in the past. It was an alien, uncanny thing, with glowing eyes hidden beneath a red glass visor. It resembled neither man nor woman in form, merely being practically assembled to live, think, and nothing else.

As it sat laying in front of him, he was not the least bit excited or curious. He was not anxious in the slightest as he went to pull the ignition. He did not even consider that what he was about to do would work.

But he did it anyway.

First came the sound of flames as the gas was burned. Then, a sharp puncture. Then, seconds later, a faint beating. And finally, the metal construct lying on his table gave but a tiny convulsion. Dr. Redmond walked back slightly, his existence rushing back to him. He stared down at what he had done, and felt terrified by the beating in his heart. He could no longer forget this beating. He ran up to the machine, and tears in his eyes, he pleaded…

“Please, please wake up!”

“Move!”

“I don’t want to fail!”

“I don’t want…”

“To have wasted all this time!”

“I don’t want…”

Suddenly, it felt cold on his wrist. Opening his weary eyes, he saw it.

A metal hand resting on his own, as if to comfort him.

“It…” he murmured.

Dr. Redmond felt for the first time in all his life as if he truly, absolutely existed. It then gave its first sound.

“…”

Low and raspy, it was the sound of profound sadness. But to Dr. Redmond, it was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. His tears dropped onto the metal of the robot’s torso as he realized that he truly loved this thing. He had spent an eternity with it already, known it far longer than any person. And here he decided that he would continue to love it until the day he died.