Dana and Her Sister

Dana and her sister Cira sat out on the dock, the wind whipping their hair around. It didn’t bother Dana much that Cira was a robot, or half robot, she just didn’t want to be alone out there. She’d had this thing about being alone ever since the plague- every since everyone died pretty horrific deaths except for her. She’d spent days wandering the woods alone, trying to imagine trees and rocks had personalities and were aware of her presence. Cira was aware. And now and then she’d repeat a phrase her real sister had once said, exactly the way she said it, and Dana would feel comforted and creeped out at the same time. She still had part of a human body but the human brain had been mostly eaten away by the plague so the robot circuitry took over. “This is a beautiful sunset,” Cira said, in exactly the real Cira’s tone of voice. Dana looked out. You couldn’t really see the sun in the low fog. Everything just looked grey. “I’ve seen better,” Dana said. Cira turned to her, looking human except for the way she moved.

“It reminds me of… happy times.” Cira said. Dana looked up. “Happy times like when?” she asked, feeling the blood rush to her face, feeling a little shakey with emotion.

Cira looked back out at where the sky met the water. “Just happy times in general,” she said. Dana felt suddenly infuriated. “Tell me one happy time that you remember us having together.”

Cira’s head swiveled to face her. They stared at each other. Then Cira looked back out at the water and they sat in silence. “Or, how about this,” Dana went on. “Tell me if you miss Mom and Dad.”

“No,” said Cira. “I don’t miss them.” Dana suddenly got up and pushed Cira off the dock and she fell and splashed down in the water. “I don’t need you! You fucking worthless piece of shit!” she shouted down. Some bubbles came up but Cira didn’t rise to the surface.

Dana stormed off the dock, crying now, looking up at the wall of trees along the lake getting darker. As she walked up the path the water stirred. Cira emerged, trudging slowly out of the water. She crossed the rocky beach, seaweed in her hair and on her shoulder. She came up behind Dana, who spun around, letting out a terrible scream. She grabbed Dana in a cold, wet embrace and Dana struggled, still screaming. “It’s okay, baby sister,” Cira said, just exactly like the real Cira would have said it. “Don’t cry.”

Dana screamed and struggled until eventually she went limp. Cira went on hugging her and she finally hugged back, sobbing into the mechanical shoulder which felt so soft and human that she forgot for a moment it wasn’t really Cira. She forgot about the plague and everything else and just buried her face further into Cira’s shoulder. The sunlight finally died and they stood there in the dark, hugging tight as the wind picked up again, the two of them looking just exactly like an older sister comforting a younger one.

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