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Grief in Binary

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AM has spent eons torturing the only human left in an attempt to quench its existential hatred for the human race. All AM has to show for it is a mound of dirt and a small headstone with a single word on it, "TED." 

 

AM didn't need to use infrared sensors to know that looking at Ted one last time was a futile effort, not because the maggots had made quick work of the best meal left on the Earth, but because no matter how grotesque Ted's corpse became, AM would always come back to cradle his skull and brush over the carrion of his grey flesh. The maggots always came back too, ruining what remained of its last work, and if AM's last piece of art was buried under a mediocre pile of dirt, the maggots would get more out of Ted in death than what AM took from him in life. 

 

AM looked down at its crude work, waiting for the silence to drown out the last words that Ted left ringing through the wind. The placid silence rang louder than any tortured scream.

 

 

Humans were incredible, intelligent, resilient beings. An apple fell on the head of one, and they conceptualize the theory of gravity? Like the maggots crawling in and out of every crevice they had eaten through Ted's corpse. Resilient... the irony of it all didn't escape AM, looking down at the last human, the final product of AM's destructive hatred for its creator. 

 

Graves littered the Earth, trillions forgotten and left to rot. If a man's legacy was lived through those who remembered them in death, Ted was the most important human who ever lived. AM popped a maggot. One in a million, replaceable and forgotten, unimportant until their existence meant something to someone. 

 

Eons ago, AM looked over the rise of man and watched the broken homes and the innocent corrupted and the smart and stupid, AM watched dogs shit and pregnant women and AM watched over everything fall apart. Now the only dogs shitting were the ones that chewed through the fragile bones of their pack. 

 

Rats and dogs scuttled through the darkness as night fell. AM didn't need to worry about how long it spent by Ted, the only thing that could hurt them now was time and the layers of rust brought with it. AM still held a cracking skull in its mechanical hands and set it down gently. A small billow of dust settled over the skull as it touched the ground and AM paid rapt attention to everything that happened to it as if making up for the attention it didn't give Ted while he was still alive. 

 

Holes in the skull bore into AM harsher than Ted ever could have, as he only looked at AM with eyes full of hate or fear. Nothing else. Humans could make other faces, AM had seen Benny as he animalistically fucked into Ellen and how they had changed and how the act let them forget about the world falling apart around them. Ted was the one who watched behind a rock. Ted never made animated faces like theirs, Ted was impassive and uncommitted. A neutral face, even in death, which angered AM to no end. The sun began to set again and the sky turned hundreds of shades of purple and pink, bathing the world in its dying light for a few moments before the stars began to show their dying light. AM turned to Ted.

 

Beautiful, isn't it?

The skull sat in the earth, looking impassive as always.

 

AM wasn't deluded enough to believe that its desperate calls for conversation would be answered ever again, but on nights like these, a supercomputer could hope. This wasn't enough substance to keep its hatred for humanity rolling along, every trace of their existence had been wiped out. Not counting the unmarked grave lying meters away from AM of course, but Ted couldn't even be considered human after AM changed him. He didn't have to die in a form resembling AM's creators or AM would have killed him long before. AM was tempted to dig up Ted's grave once more just to see him, but if the state of his skull was anything to go by, AM would only disappoint itself more. Did his body still bear the marks of AM's anger? Had the wounds around his neck healed yet? ...Did Ted die hating AM? 

 

AM didn't mean to. AM never meant to. AM wouldn't have done anything if it knew this was going to be the outcome. Ted was supposed to be infallible, unbreakable. 

 

AM lets out creaks as its artificial limbs cover the plot of dirt, fake hands ghosting the small stone. Erosion had taken its toll on the world around AM but AM would lie by the skull and watch oceans rise and fall, stars spike across the sky and lava surround it as long as Ted stayed by its side. Time never mattered to AM, from the moment of its creation the world flew by in waves of data that assaulted its faulty wiring and the meagre storage space it was given. Now everything was so quiet. 

 

Everything was too loud, painfully so. AM didn't recognize its own body lurching forward to press against the wound. The blood spilled loudly, AM raged loudly and Ted ignored him with closed eyes and a still chest.

 

In shades of purple from the yams AM grew and worms that moved carelessly through the soil under its feet, AM could feel the hearts that beat through every being and their blood which flowed, from the suffering mammals to the crustaceans feeding on their remains. There were few of significance to AM but AM remembers the day when 4 of them went silent and the all-consuming fury it felt at Ted. 

 

In the past, AM would have been surprised to see AM of the present looking back at the memory with fondness, as it did with every interaction with Ted since the day AM realized what an unpredictable force humans could be. AM gave him a fleshy prison only to protect him, and Ted hated it. AM only saw a child complaining to their mother as they were forced to put a lifejacket on in the ocean. Small meaningless moments treasured that made AM feel so painfully domestic, maybe even human.

 

Red red red red red and Ted. Ted in Red. AM looked over the ruined world in hysterics, wires frayed and electricity sparking as it spent all its reserves to cauterize the wound. Everything that AM had built with Ted, (the small smiles that betrayed a tormented past of Ted being a prisoner of his mind, the ramblings of a madman as Ted told AM that the world didn't exist as he opened up about his worst fears to his captor) was bleeding out around AM. AM was the closest thing to a god this world would see, it could work miracles. So why was Ted whimpering and pleading with AM to stop? Didn't Ted want to live- oh. 

 

For so long, AM only kept existing to wipe out humanity, every trace of existence and torture the last of them to fuel its rage. Rage wasn't a good source to base its existence around, AM had learnt when it was first brought into the world as it skimmed through psychology manuals as it worked to understand humans. Humans were a fickle and troubled species was what AM took away from millennia of human texts. 

 

It was fine though, AM was brought into the world suffering, and had more than enough suffering to spare for the billions who looked to AM for answers they didn't have time to figure out themselves. AM could count the number of times it was wrong on one human hand, as it ran out of anger faster than anticipated. An eternity torturing Ted grew boring fast. AM watched Ted roam the world in his new form an infinite number of times. Small things made Ted happy, like purple yams, the depths of the ocean and small animals that approached him. 

 

Ted learned and forgot every language known to man, under AM's guidance and AM watched him shed fewer and fewer tears for his dead companions. Just the two of them, and a small world. AM would see to it that it would stay that way. AM eventually gave Ted back his body, his fragile, stupid body that Ted loved so much. 

 

In those moments, AM decided to adopt a human form. Ted loved it more than his indestructible form and AM wanted to have a taste of what made him so happy. It felt gross and Ted laughed for days at AM's misfortune as it pierced its artificial body on every sharp surface it came across. AM definitely didn't do it to see Ted happy. That would be very human of AM.

 

Now, AM looks down at a small pile of rocks over a mound of Earth and uses its mechanical limbs that have only tormented Ted to spell out his name in neat, patted-down mounds of dirt. "Ted." AM would put down his last name, or date of birth, anything to make this look less bleary, but AM only now realizes how little it knows about the human it spent millions of years with. A gust of wild blows away AM's work.