DeterminationMature

Slowly, still half-asleep, she rolled over, mumbling quietly. Moving her arm subconsciously, she stroked the fabric sheets.

 

She stopped and opened her eyes. Carefully she swung off the bed and looked around. Alice was sitting in an unfamiliar room, opposite an old window, which was too dirty to see through clearly, with cracks running through it. The floor was a dusty brown, but patches of olive hinted at the original colour. The walls looked an unnatural white, as if someone had cleaned them but ignored everything else, and the ceiling matched them. To her left, she noticed a shadowy figure lurking in the doorway and reached for her knife, but found nothing. The figure stepped forwards into the pale, sickly light, revealing himself as a thin, tall figure, face draped in shadow by a large brimmed hat, and wearing mismatched clothes that looked like he’d raided the surplus at a charity shop. The jeans were torn, held up by a worn belt with hundreds of tools hanging off of it, and his shirt was covered in oil. He was wearing thick industrial gloves, which looked almost comical on his spindly arms. He cleaned a wrench with an old rag before tossing it aside and tipping his hat to Alice. She bowed her head in response, but didn’t take her eyes off of him, feeling uneasy. He reached out with a gloved hand.

 

“Jake,” he began, his voice quiet, but powerful and soothing, with a hint of melancholy. “How’s the arm holding up?”

 

Alice stared blankly in response, before her eyes grew wide and she looked down at her left arm. She now had a sleeve, although in the broadest sense; the grey fabric that had been hastily and messily sewn on didn’t quite match the rest. Her hand was encased in a black glove, a nice colour…

 

She stared in disbelief; she remembered losing it, losing her entire lower arm. Without taking her eyes off of it, she removed the glove. Her hand had been replaced and, as she pulled her sleeve up, she took in the silvery metal that now fitted snugly. Experimentally, she flexed her hand and moved her arm. It felt natural, but was strange to watch. A thick glove rested itself on her hand, and she looked up into the man’s eyes. He’d removed his hat, and she noticed in his long hair, shoulder length, stained brown with oil, but hints of red seeped through. His green eyes were a mix of sincerity and sadness, and his face was blackened with soot. He wiped away some of it from under his eyes and smiled. Alice felt herself smiling back, although she was still unsure about him.

 

Jake looked down at her metal arm and ran his fingers along it. She couldn’t feel him, confusing her slightly, but she’d have to adapt to that. Continuing to watch his face, she realised he was staring intently at the arm, a look of intense concentration. He tutted.

 

“Oh for…” he grumbled to himself while reaching to his belt and retrieving a screwdriver. Moving around, he undid some screws that held a metal plate and removed it. Curiously, Alice peered inside. A jumble of wires and flashing lights filled it, and at the back was a small panel with lots of buttons. She noticed Jake was poking at it with a long rod, pressing a sequence of buttons. The arm suddenly jolted, hitting him in the face, stunning him as he tripped and fell over. Alice covered her mouth and leapt up to help him. She held out a hand.

 

“Ow…” he groaned, before noticing the outstretched arm. He chuckled and blushed slightly. “Heh… y-you don’t have to worry about me” he smiled “I’ll be fine.” Taking her arm, she pulled him upright. He scratched the back of his head.

“Well… that wasn’t supposed to happen… I wonder…” Again he reached for her arm, but stopped and peered up at her face. “You don’t mind, right?” he asked, waiting eagerly for a reply. Alice felt herself go red, and found she was unable to reply. She shook her head in response.

“Okay…” he replied, going back to his work. He prodded around a bit longer, before retrieving the plate and screwing it back on. “There!” he announced. “All done.” He stepped back and watched Alice intently. She stood there, dumbfounded for a few seconds.

“Well go on then!” he cried excitedly. “Try it out!”

 

Carefully, Alice swung her arm round, trying out a few combat movements, throwing a few punches. She ran her hand along the metal arm. It felt cold, but the machinery inside made it hum subtly. Noticing a few wooden boards, she walked over to them, and picked them up experimentally. “Go ahead” she heard from the Jake, who was still watching from the other side of the room. With that, she punched at it. It was a thick board, probably 4 or 5 inches thick. Her new metal arm shattered it, sending shrapnel flying. The far wall was coated in debris. In shock, she stared at her hand and flexed her fingers, before looking over at Jake, who had his hands over his face to protect himself. He looked at her and then smiled. “Like it?” he asked her. Alice nodded in response. “Good” he moved towards the bed and sat down. Alice followed suit and sat next to him, still testing out her arm. He leant over.

 

“By the way, you never told me your name” he whispered in her ear.

 

She blushed, wiped the soot off one of his cheeks, kissed it, and then replied.

 

“I’m Alice. Hi.”

The End

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