Leave Her Be

I glance down at my newest project. Wendy. My first success. I’d never seen a more beautiful little girl in my life. A beautiful, broken little girl.
At first sight, she’s just like everyone else. Her long, dark hair hid her face from the rest of the world. Baggy clothes hid her body. But the closer you look, the more things seem wrong. While most of her face is just like he average child, some parts are greyer than the rest. It’s the metal shining through her new coat of skin. Her exoskeleton is clearly visible due to her lack of muscle. You can see that her glowing green eyes are indeed glowing.
If you stood too close to her, you can hear the creeks and groans that echo the rooms as she moves, the result of her old, rusty joints. You can tell that she doesn’t blink and that she never needs to take a breath. 
I swear I’ll protect her. I’ll watch her grow into something better than the humans who hurt her. The ones who forced me to do this, to keep her alive. I’ll raise her in the shadows. She’ll never face those horrors again.

***

She’s been maturing at an alarming rate. She’s gone through three skin suits in several months. I have no idea where she’s retrieving them, and I am not willing to ask her. I’ve seen the ways she looks at people when she watches them walk by in the dead of night. I see the resentment in her glowing red eyes.
She would never hurt a living being. I didn’t create her for that. I created her to better our world. To help those who were in her positions. It would break my heart if she did something so terrible. I know she’d never hurt another living being, because she’d never hurt me. 
She has also been growing rapidly. I don’t remember leaving her metallic core on the exponential growth setting. She’s stretched at least three inches in these last months.
It’s harder to hide her now that she’s grown. Her desire to obtain knowledge had only strengthened her desire to go outside. If she was younger, I’d take her, but that is no longer possible. She’s too large to carry, and without the ability to hide her face in my shoulder, people would surely notice her abnormalities. I’ve tried to explain that it is for her own safety, that I don’t want her getting hurt, but to no avail. I don’t know if she doesn’t understand or just doesn’t care, but her mind seems to be set on seeing the outdoors. I can only pray she realizes the damage being seen can do.

***

I’m now fifteen months into this project, and I can see success inching forward. I’ve never been prouder of my little Wendy than I have been in the last two weeks. She’s demonstrating immense knowledge about the development of human emotions and the inner workings of the brain. We’ve been doing exercises to improve her capability to show empathy. Needless to say, she’s been improving greatly. I now fully believe she will save us all. She’s the best child I ever could have asked the sky for. She’s a miracle walking amongst the people of our world. I only hope the others will see this the way I do when I eventually let her roam free.

***

I think our project is finally completed. She has made the ultimate step forward, the one thing we’ve been slowly inching toward since the start of this experiment. She told me she loved me.
I believe that by the end of this season she will be prepared to be placed in the public eye. I’ll be standing by her side, of course, but the work is hers. She must make them trust her. She must make them believe they are safe in her new world. She must show more feeling than she’s ever shown to get them to understand that she only means well. 
I informed her of this new plan last fortnight. She seemed to show what I believed to be excitement. She did something she has only ever done for her survival, but now seemed to be doing it out of her freewill. She hugged me. If you had asked me when we started this experiment if we’d get this far this quickly, I may have laughed in your face. Yet here we are, with a new hero waiting to rise from the darkness, bringing light with her.

***

I’ve made a grave mistake. I thought everything would be okay. I thought they’d forgotten the previous incident. I’ve never been more wrong. 
I walked with her to Town Square. I held her hand as I brought her to what would inevitably be the rest of her life. I will never forget their faces as they realized what she was. I will never shake the panic I felt as I grabbed her arm and started running.
They followed. More piled on to the street, chasing us to the place of her ordeal. I knew what they were trying to do. I knew there was nothing I could do to stop them.
Some held fire. Some screamed as they ran. Some threw things, cursing at her in ways I never believed anyone could say to a child. I don’t care if they didn’t understand. She was still my creation, the keeper of my heart, my child.
We reached the tower at dawn. The last time she turned to me, I saw the terror swirling in her eyes. Her pain shone bright as her eyes radiated a dim shade of red. The last time she saw me, I was crying.
She started to fight back, but it was too late. Her outer shell was burned until all that remained was her cool, metal core. They made me watch. I saw them as the grabbed her spine. I witnessed them bend her back and put their hands under her jaw. I heard the last shriek as the pain of her nightmare situation caught up with her and her knees buckled as her head toppled to the floor. 
She died that day, and a part of me died with her. I never left the tower. I remain in the highest room, her final remains, a single titanium hand rested in mine. Forever.