A numbness that was almost an aura these days engulfed every aspect of Dr. Bernard’s humanity. He remembered, at times, the pleasant thrill he got from going down what the populace whimsically called ‘rabbit holes’ when he conducted his experiments.

The methodology brought him solace and stability.

The successes, and yes, even failures, gave him a sense of purpose.

Things had changed since the failed crossing of Freedom Bridge.

His work was under microscopic scrutiny now.

With their unblinking eyes in shiny faces, the robots watched every nuance of his work.

It was then tested, analyzed, re-analyzed, verified, and ran again.

He had to wait until they said he could leave.

It left him confused. As robots, androids, synthetic whatever-the-hells, he had no idea what they were after so there was no way for him to sabotage their goal.

He wondered if he’d have the courage if they did let him know.

Hate filled him, fueled him, and the methodologies of his pursuits, despite their vagueness, kept his impotent rage under control, gave him sanity until the light finally turned green over the door that opened to grant him freedom for another night.

Dr. Bernard desperately wanted to be a rebel, but how could he be when he cried tears of gratitude for his release, and regret for his cowardice?

He swore he felt pinpricks of heat when the lights in their eyes passed over his face or looked at his hands. The urge to rip their boneless, wired limbs off them came up whenever he saw the precise,measured motions of their testing his work.

He longed to feel their wired guts draped across his trembling hands, dump the circuit boards and brain chips into the trash can fires dotting the landscape warming the huddled human masses, their faces full of fading hope and embers of defiance.

Those who worked for the robots were as sterile as the shiny, silent labs they worked in every day.

Those who didn’t were as filthy and disposable as their surroundings.

The light over the door turned green.

On the way out, Dr. Bernard swore this time that he wouldn’t shed any more tears on his way out.

But he did.