The walk across campus from Gerald's building to my own was a long one, but it passed in a blur. I almost had wished that whatever subversive agent that lived within me was still active. It would have given me something else to focus on than on my immediate fate. I would have welcomed the bitter, nerve grinding struggle associated with regaining control over my own body.

My head swam. Through my own weakness or the influence of the enigmatic woman in my books I had exposed my darkest and most dangerous secret. I feel a little ashamed to admit that I was more worried about the truth surrounding my homosexuality leaking out than the poor librarian. I'd like to think that it was because I was uncertain about my responsibility, but deep down I think I had known that he met his end by my hands somehow.

I lived in conservative times and while Gerald was my friend, I had a feeling he'd talk about our encounter. My habits were quite illegal and just the accusation would be enough to ruin my academic career. Whatever was left of it anyway. I didn't blame him or society. I was never proud of myself. I wish I could have been, that probably would have made it easier.

I slipped into the college stink of my building and entered my little corner dorm. The stacks of books were still there, piled high on my desk. Their titles and authors were varied, but they were all terribly old and on the subject of the Progenitors.

I could feel their crumbling paper fingers reach into my mind and tickle something primal. They gave me something that the church had never even offered. I knew that they owned me heart and soul. A growing part of me liked it, being submissive to something so awful and controlling. But a tiny fraction of myself, perhaps the real me that was rattling around somewhere, was terrified.

I was scared. I wanted to leave and never return. But I knew that wasn't an option. The dance we had was beautiful and natural, like a gazelle fleeing a lion.

Without thought I sat down and cracked a cover. The words contained within were nothing to me, just insignificant scribbles. But they flowed like a powerful liquid. Before too long the scripture tumbled together and I began to soak it up like a sponge. I passed into a trance and she sank her teeth deep into my mind.

This was something altogether different. Time was meaningless. I absorbed book after book and discarded them like so many parts of my life. The faster I read the clearer I could see her. When she first appeared to me she was just notes in the margins of a dead man's faulty science weeks ago. But now she was a living, dancing creature that slowly took pages for herself. I could see her in every turned page, behind ever dog eared corner.

She was beautiful. Occasionally I could make out a beautiful blue eye staring at me. Other times I'd be able to spot a long, silky leg or a flowing red dress. She aroused me like no woman had ever been capable of. I liked it. It made me feel normal. It made me feel like how Gerald must feel all the time. Like there wasn't something broken inside of me. Like there wasn't something immoral swimming in my heart.

I grew oddly aroused and for the first time in my life I didn't feel guilty. Before too long I lost control of my limbs. I had the realization that it was her and that somehow made it easier. She did strange and humiliating things, but I didn't mind.

There must have been a time when my body passed into unconsciousness because I awoke with a snap in a jumbled mess beneath my desk. Daylight was pouring through my window, but I had no idea what day it was. I vaguely remembered the sunset spilling through my blinds several times.

Vanquished books lay where I had discarded them, useless and uninteresting now. I stood and rubbed my chapped finger tips into my palms, surveying the carnage. Only a single, thin text book remained on my desk. It's gravity was immense.

I felt disgusting and ashamed. I had betrayed what little humanity I had managed to hold onto. The delicious irony being that singular thing was my innate homosexuality, something that few of my peers would consider a property of a moral person, let alone an aspect of humanity to be prized. I felt like I had cheated on a spouse. I had laid with what was essentially a woman.

The events that transpired with Gerald flooded back and I felt a tiny seed of panic grow in my gut. How long had the books held me? It felt like it had been days since I had last eaten, but could it have been longer? Surely the rest of the student body knew by know that I was a degenerate, a nonbreeder. Even if Gerald had postponed his gossip there was no way.

Revolted, I fled into my bathroom and slammed the door. Even there I didn't feel safe. The pull of the last remaining book was incredible. The fear of my exposure was intense. The tiny room where I stood could not protect me against the seductress that lived between sheets of paper nor brutes clad in armor with a penchant for lynching nonbreeders.

In my panic I evacuated my medicine cabinet. The only useful instrument I could find was the straight razor my father had given me as a gift before I left home. It seemed fitting.

Quickly and unceremoniously I opened it and dragged the sharp blade over my wrist. I bled out into the sink. The pain felt good and sharp. I began to to lose control to "A," she slowly seized control of my eyes. They darted around the room in a panic. I could feel my legs seize and my arms cramp, but I held on.

I cut the other wrist several times. I went deep and hard.

I knew it wasn't like me. Maybe that's why she had released me from her grasp. Maybe she assumed I would continue to cower and pathetically fear her control. But at that moment I had clarity.

Almost immediately I became light headed. I could feel her control over me diminish. I smiled as she evaporated from my mind. The book on my desk became a meaningless lump of leather and paper. The truth of my secret seemed fairly insignificant.

Then I saw it. My vision was slowly darkening as my skin grew pale and sickly, but something shone through my ruined wrists. It was fluid and bright, like polished metal in the sunlight. I looked at my razor sitting in my sink with my gore and it seemed intact.

I could feel it moving inside me. It was alien and wholly different than anything I had ever witnessed. I inserted a finger into one of my ruined wrists and felt it. It was cold and solid, like it had been bathed in ice water.

I rooted around further as the darkness closed in. The pain was intense and agonizing. Before long I collapsed from it and lack of strength. But even on the floor in a crumpled heap I stared at it. I squinted, trying to resolve the last fragments of light making it to my mind. I could swear I saw her in there, in the dynamic, moving metal. I could feel her clockwork heart beating alongside mine.

I passed into glorious unconsciousness.


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