Aura. Aura, darling are you awake?
Yes I’m awake. What is it mother?
Aura…come back to me.
Aura woke with a start in her bed, the voice echoing in her ears. It was a voice she had heard many times before in her dreams, but there was something so familiar about it. She always called the voice, ‘mother’ yet she had never had a mother. The only family she had ever known was her father, her creator, Eurastus Swink.
Her creator was a kind old man, wrinkled and graying in his old age. He was a brilliant man with a knack for clockwork; creating inventions that were greatly desired in Callisto, though he was known across a majority of the southern-most region of the Synop Cliffs. There was a great need for creators in this area and though he was no mechanical mage, he was still a master at his craft. His creations would never live, yet somehow he had been able to conjure the soul that allowed Aura to exist. She was grateful for the life he had provided for her, but she often wished it wasn’t so lonely.
It was not for lack of trying. Eurastus was a loving father, but he was overbearing and unnecessarily protective. “They will try to take you away from me.” he would tell her, but she knew in her heart that whomever ‘they’ were, they would not want someone like her. She was freakish, as Eurastus liked to remind her in fits of frustration. Her skin was a porcelain rubbery substitute that covered her clockwork innards. Her eyes were crystal facets of blue with pupils that fluctuated constantly in an attempt to maintain focus. The only redeeming feature she could find was her raven black silky curls. It was one of the things that gave her a sense of being normal. Well this fact and Dimitri.
There was a knocking from downstairs, three quick solid raps that broke through her loneliness and confusion that surrounded the dream mother. She jumped off of her bed swiftly making her way down the squeaky staircase trying her hardest not to disturb a still sleeping Eurastus. She did not want to risk losing the only friend she had should her father find out. He was too scared of losing her to ever allow her to keep Dimitri around. Dimitri knocked again louder from the kitchen door as she jumped the last two steps landing gracefully and rather quietly for being as much machine as she was. Aura stepped lightly through the hallway, lined with its many clocks ticking away in time with one another, silently willing him to shut up every step of the way. The clocks on the wall ticked loudly mocking her own heart beat seeming to laugh at her as she strode toward the half-door at the end of the hallway that led into the kitchen.
Sunlight poured out in thick buttery bars through the wavy leaded glass in the windows showering her skin in golden shimmers. Aura made her way across the sun-warmed wooden floor watching as the glowing lattice work of light slowly gave way to a silhouette in the doorway, hand poised to knock once more. She flung herself at the door throwing it open in time to have Dimitri’s knuckles tap her right on the forehead as his hand passed where the door had been moments before.
“Are you insane?” Aura scolded stepping out onto the slate mosaic that led into the garden shoving him aside in the process.
“Good morning to you too.” Dimitri replied grumpily.
“Dimitri, I’m serious. You know how he is.”
“Yes I do which is why I show up every morning to try to get you to leave with me.” Dimitri protested. He was the grocer’s son and had been making deliveries to Eurastus and Aura since she could remember. She had made the mistake of opening the door once thinking that Dimitri had left only to come face to face with him. He had been younger than, but she still remembered how he had looked at her curiously instead of recoiling at her appearance like most did when they caught sight of her through the cracks in the doorway of the shop.
“You know I can’t.” This was a familiar argument for them. Since that first meeting Dimitri returned every day, early in the morning while Eurastus was still asleep and they would talk about anything they could, eventually figuring out that neither one of them was happy in the life that had been chosen for them. Every day Dimitri would ask Aura to run away with him so that they could finally be satisfied with their lives.
“Can’t or you won’t?”
“Can’t? Won’t? I don’t know, both? Why must you always do this?”
“What about your mother?” Dimitri prodded. “Don’t you want to know more about her?”
“You know full well I have never had one.”
“What about the woman from your dreams then?”
“What do you mean?” Aura asked growing weary of this repetitive conversation.
“You talk about this woman you hear in your dreams and you always call her mother,” he started, “it seems to me that this is an indication that you did at one point have a mother. You even said yourself that Eurastus told you, as an automation you are incapable of dreams only memories of what you have experienced. How else would you explain it?”
Aura stared at Dimitri mouth agape. This was something that had only come up once before when she had asked Eurastus about her dreams. She had passed this information on to Dimitri, but they hadn’t spoken of it since. She was surprised he had even recalled that information at all, because up until he had brought it up she had burried it in the back of her mind.
“Alright.” She admitted reluctantly. “You must be right, as much as I hate it, there really is no other explanation.”
“You see. I’m right sometimes.” Dimitri replied smugly.
“But why wouldn’t Eurastus have told me about her?”
“Perhaps he doesn’t want you to know.”
“You don’t say.” Aura rolled her eyes. “But why?”
“Perhaps it’s linked to the fact that you are his only living automation.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying,” Dimitri suggested gently, “That perhaps you were not his daughter to begin with.”
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