The Mark of a Great Invention


There was something so beautiful about the way metal would twist and bend, giving up the hold on its old form to reshape the very nature of itself. The way it boiled and bubbled and slid into molds, shifting and changing until finally it reemerged, fresh and full of new purpose.

Assuming its been given the right amount of heat and direction, of course.

Stanley stood on the brink of genius. Peering over rusted railings and watching waves of cooling liquid part and his latest creation rise up out of the depths. The large, brass coloured cylinder was decades old, over used and groaning as blackened chains pull it up to hang, swaying, above the workshop. Inside was the future of industry. Stanley was sure of it. Certain that after all this time, and all the failures of before – his marvelous machine would change the world.

Steam spat and screamed, shaking giant pipes that snaked along the ground. Electrodes stirred and spun, whirling as blue lights danced between electrodes.

Stanley ignored it all. He moved across the gangway overlooking his lab and ventured down the spiral staircase that lead to the ground floor. His hands were ink-smudged, pulling at the tattered sleeves of his grease stained shirt. He couldn’t wait.

He scrambled over broken gears and discarded limbs, reaching for the lever that would open the newly cooled chamber and reveal his greatest work. He took a breath, considered saying something to commemorate the moment. But there was no one there to hear it – no one left who believed in him, and why would they anyway, after so long without success?

He shook his head, grasped the lever and the catch at the top hissed free leaving the front of the great container to fall open. Stanley stood before it, arms outstretched.

“Wake up, my friend,” he said. “Wake up.”

And when the mists had cleared – the robot did…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So what happens when the steampunk robot wakes up? Does it immediately spin out of control before collapsing into a heap of cogs and sadness? Go on a murderous rampage (it probably just needs a hug)? Politely ask for the mornings newspaper? What do you think?

This was written for the Daily Post Challenge, which I haven’t done in ages – but this one was to fun to pass up. Make sure you follow the pingback and check out everyone else’s take too!

Click here: Choose Your Adventure

6 thoughts on “The Mark of a Great Invention

  1. I am sure when the steampunk robot awakes his first words I “I want a woman” (ok I stole it from Frederico Fellini’s film Amarcord). I quite like steam punk. I read The Whatnot and The Peculiar, both from Stefan Bachman, a young Swiss author that grew up in the States, so his books are in english.


    • Ha! I guess a robot wants what a robot wants right?

      And while I’m a big fan of cyberpunk, I’ve really only skimmed the surface of the this genre, so I’ll definitely be checking out Stefan Bachman. Thank you for stopping by to comment, and for the recs! :D


  2. “Papa!!” the robot cried, reaching out for his creator, then crushing him in his uneducated embrace. As he released his hold, Stanley fell lifeless to the floor. The kid hadn’t known his own power. He moved parentless into the world to learn each of the lessons he needed to learn on his own, without guidance. Stanley, in his infinite confidence in his own genius, had thought he’d thought of everything. But he hadn’t. Not quite.

    Now, your turn!


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