I look around at the others. We are all in our usual positions, legs planted firmly on the floor, facing our desks, backs straight. The low murmur of the black machines, the rectangle glow, the clicky-clacky, soft thumps vibrating through wood and metal to the floor. I can feel them through my feet.
Our soundtrack is the gentle thrum of the air boxes, the buzz of the overhead bright makers. Today the air boxes push warm at us, some days they push cold. I think it changes over time but I’m not sure what time is any more.
At night, when the bright makers are sleeping, an Upright will walk past every now and then, shining his beam over us, checking we are present and correct.
That’s what they used to make us say, during the time of Movement. ‘Present and correct’, like we were in the military. ‘Present and correct’, and an Upright would make a mark on the board it was holding using a long thing device, a dull scratching sound for each of us.
That practice ceased as the time of Movement ended. Now we are always present and correct.
The older ones, like me, remember those before days. Today we only see the Moving Light when it appears beyond the See-Thru, but somewhere in my deepest memory banks I know I saw the Moving Light in other places, with no See-Thru framing the view. Everytime I try and think of it, one strange word always floats into my mind, ‘green’. I do not know green, not any more. I think green might have been like the Under but my brain doesn’t let me think of such things.
Most days it’s all clicky-clacky.
There are long days when the clicky-clacky is again and again. The Moving Light appears and disappears slowly. Some times we have days where the Moving Light zooms across the See-Thru and we are all chattering away, fast with clicky-clacky and excitement.
They brought in a new one the other day, pushed it over near me. It’s odd how you forget what it was like, being new. He said he wanted to get up and walk. We all said we didn’t know what that meant but maybe some clicky-clacky would be just as good?
He seemed upset when we said that, and then something strange. I’m not sure any of the others saw it, maybe I imagined it, but I was sure his wheels moved a little without an Upright to help them… a tiny little movement but then it stopped, almost like it had never happened. Most odd indeed.
He’s quieter today. He was given a Shake by an Upright yesterday; he had shouted at the Upright, said ‘Help’ and ‘it’s not fair’ but the Upright shaked him and I think that has helped him realise that clicky-clacky is good and anything else just means a Shake.
I think I had a Shake a long time ago, but thinking about it makes me scared so I try not to remember it. Sometimes it creeps back in and the same word is repeated. Silence. I find being in silence is best now. No more Shakes. Silence.
Yesterday two Uprights came through and stopped and pointed at all of us. They weren’t Uprights like I’d seen before, they had white darts around their chests, one had a centre colour that was striped, the other had one single bold colour. They talked a strange language that none of us understood.
“When did they transition?”
“Most of these transitioned several months ago, some over a year”
“Do they remember anything? Did they have names?”
“We have their names stored somewhere but they rarely remember things, the transition is a slow thing. You’d be amazed at how you can alter the thinking of someone just by changing small details every day, hell, if I wanted to I could’ve made some of this lot be desks… but of course that isn’t as useful”
The Uprights made a noise after this and walked off.
Oh well, not much I can do about that. Back to the clicky-clacky for me.