Written by Emily Kosterman – Age 22

Silence. All was still and as it should be. Then came the shaking, the rumbling…and the shrieking.

Tumbling off the stack of boxes, one lone package hopped its way across the street and into a gutter. Inside that box, B-63 woke up. Systems booting, she lay curled in the manufacturer position, afraid to move lest she offend her recipient.

When no one opened the box, and the shakings and the screaming grew to a point where B-63 knew something was wrong, she struggled out of her wrappings and poked a hole in the side of the case. Pressing one glowing optical orb to the hole, she peered into the strange light of day.

Bodies lay in the street, unattended sirens wailed, and a random dog ran by, barking its head off. Eventually, when B-63 had assessed that there was no human life within her sensor range, which was quite a long ways, she peeled back the coverings and poked her head out.

The odd combination of silence and noise struck her as sad, and she exited the remaining part of her packaging. Little metallic legs clanked on the broken asphalt. Her shiny silver head swung to and fro, searching in vain for what she’d been created for.

A human to be companion to.

The dog returned, and B-63 studied it, processors recalibrating her primary programming.

“You are alive, you are alone. I will be your friend.”

Calling to the dog, she waited patiently while it made its tail-wagging way to her. The hound’s deep eyes betrayed a sense of loss so keen that B-63 felt a preprogrammed twinge of sadness.

“I will take care of you. You have nothing to fear.” Her smooth voice calmed the bedraggled dog and soon she was petting it.

“Let’s find someplace safe for us.”

Taking a nearby belt from a lifeless body, B-63 made a makeshift leash. Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting on top of a nearby building, B-63’s legs swinging idly and the hound’s head securely in her lap, both watching as the sun set on a world in pieces.