THE SAD, SAD TALE OF FRANKENCAT

A 9 shortfilm fanfic

[FRANKENCAT]

Are you reading this?

That's not a rhetorical question. I'm asking, are you really seeing this handwriting? Is it on paper? On stone, perhaps, or an old preWar computer screen?

And if it is, are you the one it was intended for?

If you're not, I take no offense to your prying eyeballs. Read on. Correct my spelling and punctuation if you wish. But know that these words were not meant for you.

This is an explanation. A method to the madness.

I am the maker of the monster, and I felt someone ought to know.

I'll make one thing clear. This is not a confession. There will be no lacy hankies, no political correctness, and no cakes and iced tea served afterward. If you think I'm writing because I'm sorry, you'd best quit while you're ahead, because I'm not.
But I wanted to explain that Itwas not made to do what it did. Like a spiral into madness viewed from outside, I cannot say why it happened, only bear witness to the course of events.

As an example, let's compare it to, say, watching... let's call him Alfred, slowly becoming convinced his toes are trying to communicate with him. At first, all you see is a queer shift in behavior; there he is, toes to his ears, ferociously concentrating in a very odd way. Then his behavior shifts some more. He memorizes the 'This Little Piggy' song. Suddenly he starts drawing faces on his toes. It all seems bizarre but harmless right up to the moment he tries to hack his toes off with an oyster knife.

And now you're thinking 'that wasn't an example as much as a non sequitor,' but the point is, my machine gradually changed. I watched Its behavior shift until it was no longer the harmless thing I made, but something new, a hybrid of computer and beast and something else.

...This is not to say I was literally following the thing around with a clipboard like a man-version of Jane Goodall. I was dead long before my machine became a monster. I know everything that happened, though I do not understand how. I don't understand a lot of the things that happened after humanity vanished from the earth.

And now you're thinking "Wait, that makes no sense. You can't be writing this if you're dead."

And that sounds rather presumptuous, don't you think, to assume this is all madness and that this madness is all my fault? Honestly now. Perhaps in reality this is nothing but a blank page and you're the one that's CRAZY.

Hear me out. I don't know why this is possible, myself. The world I could explain was shut up like a book. And in this new world, the moment Humanity's collective back was turned, new rules peered out and cried "Finally, they're GONE" before they leaped forth to inherit the earth. But I shouldn't speak too much of the new before I explain the old.

In that old world that was shut up like a book, I created It.

It was not a monster then. It was a machine. No, not even that much. A glorified computer with legs. Almost a toy.

I was different then, as well. In that world I was a student, almost a graduate. My machine was a project I chose in my early career. I challenged myself by creating a learning machine. I programmed it to do only one thing: to find life, and to imitate it. Its only purpose. Its fatal flaw.

My machine's mind was versatile, its body, analogous. It performed well, analyzing and then imitating for my superiors, all manner of four-legged mammals. I spent the rest of my education period refining it. It was my mindless masterpiece. I used it for shallow things. It entertained my peers. It impressed girls.

In my youth I called it Frankencat, and thought myself witty.

After that, I'm not sure what happened, exactly. What happened to me. What happened to everything else. It would seem we all gave up the great human race and jogged off the asphalt to buy a drink and talk about what a mistake thatwas. In other words, Humanity disappeared. How, I would not know. I was probably dead before it happened, but suffice it to say, we as a species were gone, and we left behind an awful lot of junk.

Among that junk lay my machine.

I cannot say how many years it must have lain there. Hundreds, perhaps, or thousands. The world no longer aged in a way I understood. Bacteria seemed to have disappeared. Time and weather took up new roles. Plastic and metal no longer corroded the way it used to. The meek, inanimate things of the world inherited the earth, and at first they put on a great show of lying still, as though playing dead and waiting for the End of the World to get bored and wander away.

And perhaps it worked, because all those years later, my machine got back up.