The Human-Thing

Copyright 1992, 1996 by Leigh Husband Kimmel

Through the crumbling building two elves scrambled over toppled bookcases and overturned desks. Before them starlight gleamed upon metal. They stopped to pull away the choking of kudzu, revealing a silvery figure.

"What is it?" The first elf stared wide-eyed at the ovoid head with its jewel-eyes each the size of a walnut.

"A thing the humans made, while they still ruled here." The second elf pulled away the remaining vines.

"Surely it cannot be a statue. It is far too crude a representation, even of their ungainly figures."

The second elf shook his head. "No, not a statue. See how the arms and legs are jointed. It was meant to move."

"A golem then." The first elf wrinkled his nose. "Yet I sense no magic upon it."

"No my brother elf." The second elf laughed, his melodious voice echoing upon the ruins. "Remember, the humans knew no magic. Before we came, they even denied that magic exists. This is a thing of science, of technology." He spoke the final word with distaste.

The first elf hesitated, then pulled his hand away from the rows of jewel-buttons upon the thing's chest. "Then it would be nothing we should desire to have traffic with. We seek elsewhere. Perhaps we will find something that will help us read all these old human books."

As they walked away, the light of the rising moon shone on the plate that was fastened to the robot's chest. The enameled letters were still plain to read -- CLSI 3000 Automated Reference System.

Copyright 1992, 1996 by Leigh Husband Kimmel

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