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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2319776
Short story reflecting on the nature of life, love, sadness and friendship.
It was a greenish afternoon in the Garden of Yurden, painted with gold and red, with artistic touches of orange and violet, almost as if the world had suddenly become a paradise.

The old can was sitting under a tree larger than all the living creatures present, covered in moss and out of operation for at least a few centuries.

Its rust-colored eyes were staring down, as if feeling guilty for sins committed against humanity, from years of making life too easy for it.

The Sun was no longer visible at that fateful hour when, as if struck by a shock of reality, it opened its abandoned eyes and realized it was alive like never before, no longer a slave to human desires.

The robot wondered what this was. The creature seemed to have given it more than life, but also consciousness.

The creation felt a chill pass through its metallic structure, even though it couldn’t have such feelings. The first glimmer of life was there, as if by a miracle or madness.

There was more to explain, but the creature stayed there underneath, contemplating the endless beauty of the world it could now see. The skies seemed to have foreseen that moment, and made the Earth a paradise to delight those who knew they existed.

…In a glimpse, it realized how beautiful it all was. There was nothing more worthy to appreciate this moment that it had lost for so long, without knowing why it existed.

Suddenly, a blonde child approached it, curious, and tried to touch it. The robot moved its head to the side, startling her. Incredibly, she didn’t run away, for she was not a coward.

The child seemed interested in it.

“Hey, my mom said not to talk to strangers, but you’re a robot, so…”

The robot turned its head to try to understand the sounds coming out of the child’s mouth. She seemed quite surprised and fascinated by it, and after a little conversation, she looked a bit disappointed and sullen.

“Don’t you want a name? Come on, I’ll give you one anyway. I’ll call you Gil. You’re my new friend!”

The robot still couldn’t understand, but supposed something had happened, because after the child’s closed expression, it changed to a happy one after she said “Gil,” so it accepted.

It tried to reproduce the sound it had just heard, jerkily and with totally bizarre sounds.


The blonde boy seemed to understand that his friend was trying to say his own name.

“That’s right. Your name is Gil. You can’t pronounce it, but it’s good enough. My name is Lars.”

The same thing happened as before, a change of expression.


“Lars, but, you know what, it doesn’t matter. What are you doing here? Who threw you in this place?”

Suddenly, something happened down there, on the dirt trail, outside the garden. The boy’s mother was calling him to lunch.

“Ah, I have to go. Wait for me here, okay?”

And there the robot stayed, abandoned. It couldn’t speak or formulate thoughts, but it knew, somehow, that it existed, and that it had to protect that child. There was nothing else that mattered beyond that.

Sometimes, we don’t need words to explain love that goes beyond any limitation we impose.

A strong wind began to blow from the west, in the opposite direction to the face of the iron giant, which, still trapped under the tree, reflected.

Gil had barely been given the gift of life, but knew that all that profusion of colors, shapes, and textures made everything it had gone through so far worth it.

It stayed there for half an hour, thinking about everything, about its purpose, the reason for existing. It remembered the smile of the child it had talked to and understood.

…But Lars had not yet arrived. Was he taking a long time to eat lunch? Or what had happened? Gil was not a pessimist, so he didn’t think of anything more serious.

Maybe Lars was out there, playing, and had forgotten about him. Or his mother had called him to do something else. Whatever it was, it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Or was he mistaken?

…In a minute, in a commotion, there were noises and the desperate sound of someone trying to help.

“Help, help!” - it was a shrill, hoarse voice, cut by tears.

The neighbors heard the noise and came to help. Then came the voice of a man:

“Calm down. I’m going to help you. Rorschach, get a cloth to put on her head!”

And, in that confusion, something went through the robot’s mind. It felt a thread of life slipping away.

Automatically, even though its systems no longer worked, it stood up and set itself in motion, agitated by a force greater than itself. The tears caused a peculiar reaction within it.

In an instant, it left the place where it was and tried to move as quickly as possible. It stumbled a few times but never let itself fall, rising again.

Momentarily, the impact of the crying child made it move faster. It arrived at the scene of everything in moments.

It extended its metallic hand to the boy, trying to calm him, desperately trying to prevent that thread of life from breaking and disappearing forever.

“G…i…l…” - it said its name successfully, now.


Lars struggled to open his eyes and see his friend, drawing strength to do so. His eyes half-closed, and for a moment, he managed to see the iron friend he had made.

…It was as if all that had left him exhausted. He fainted there, and the men around him lifted him and asked for help.

…Lars woke up in a hospital bed, the doctor watching his condition attentively to know his condition. When he raised his head, he was given a glass of water.

“Where… Where am I? Where’s my mother?”

The doctor seemed unsure of what to say. He didn’t want to tell the truth, but he also didn’t want to lie.

“Your mother is in a better place, son.” - And, looking extremely shaken - “Listen. It may be hard to understand now, but you have to carry on with your mother’s memories in your heart, so you don’t forget her. Remember the love and care she had for you and use that as your guide, to use when you feel lost.”

“What are you talking about…?” - said Lars, in a sudden burst of anger and sadness - “My mother didn’t die! Liar!”

And he left the white and bright room, quick as a cat.

The boy sat under the tree, and, crying, remembered what he might still have. He could still have Gil by his side. Couldn’t he…?

But he wasn’t there. Not around those houses, at least, in the frenzy that had passed, he didn’t remember seeing anything like it.

A noise of iron and metal was heard nearby.


…That old can had no expressions, much less was able to speak what it felt, but at that moment, it was as if it was sketching a smile, a resplendent and wide one, of someone who, for the first time, had made a friend, and had been loved, in a special way.
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