The heartbreaking story of a couple



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Automobile.

"Come on. Move."

Automobile's hands throbbed with pain. If she clenched her fists, blood would seep out of the tired tissues, aching with each pulse of their circulation.

She was getting nowhere. The traffic had nowhere to go. It was stuck in the same gear, just moving forward at snail's pace. It wouldn't budge.

She felt the sting of an ant crawling in behind her ear, the steady intrusion crawling through the smooth skin, tickling her before descending into the soft ground of her ear lobe. She flew into a frenzy.

Throwing her sleeves up, she slapped at it with her bluish hands. It drew back, frightened but not enough. Automobile flung her hands forward, the knuckles cackling against the ant's thorax.

The ant stopped, still frightened. Automobile had to reach further to grab it. Her fingers neatly grabbed its exoskeleton and she swiftly pulled it from her ear.

The ant was gone. Automobile felt nothing.

Now, people were getting out of their cars. People were running to her, to do her further injury. She didn't even hear the humans. She couldn't hear them at all.

The ant had said something to her, she could have sworn it. How it spoke to her, she could not say. The ant was gone.

Automobile was fine.

She would have to move though. Someone would be coming to check on her soon.

There was a name she could recall. A name lost in her hazy memory.

It was a name she would need to move.

She looked at the people coming toward her. They didn't look like anything in particular.

As they ran to her, Automobile smiled and waved.

Let me see, she thought.

Automobile brought her hand up.

She ran her fingers against their faces. Automobile savoured the feel of the skin. She liked a lot of it. She continued to stroke their faces. She liked how soft one of them was. Another was dry, the skin dried out. She enjoyed its skin too.

People glanced at Automobile, apparently ignoring her. She had one of her hands up to her mouth, imitating their action. She waved as they passed her, some of them smiling back at her.

Automobile had never imitated anyone before. She wasn't sure if she enjoyed it. Automobile wasn't sure of anything these days.

Automobile followed those people running away from her. She ran to catch up with them. She had to. She had to run faster than them. Automobile ran with as much energy as she could muster. Everything was different now. Everything was falling apart.

Automobile ran without a body, without a face or a single cog in her mind processing the world. She had to move.

She stopped as the road curled round a building. Automobile saw the road curve to the left. A single red ember stood alone in the curve. It was colored different to the rest of the road. It was a jagged line slashed across a stretch of pavement. The red was dull and ashy in the middle of the road, as if it had been there for weeks.

It was a wilted flower stem, a living flower stem. It had been rolled onto its side and smashed against the asphalt. The stem was withered. The petals had flaked off and lay across the ground. The stem had been crushed from the impact.

Automobile took the stem in her hands. She showed it to everyone passing by. They didn't look at it so much. They couldn't see it. They ignored it, not knowing of its importance.

Automobile ran her fingers against the stem, feeling every bump and every groove in its texture - the texture of its skin. She pulled the stem to her. It was cold and a little bit hard. Automobile brought it to her lips. She wrapped her lips around the stem's end. Automobile coldly bit the middle of it. She rolled the stem around.

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