So Let Them Watch – Visual Dreams

February 14, 2014 in moonrise31, So Let Them Watch by moonrise31

In this ten-chapter fic, each member represents a concept from a different Girls’ Generation music video—with a few creative liberties tossed in, of course.

Introducing Seohyun:

Feel the beating of my heart”.

She had realized some time ago that certain aspects of her life were simply out of her control. In fact, there were exactly three such factors:

The sign.

The key.

And the room.

The sign was the first thing she ever saw, and she would never forget it—not that she could forget, at all. So whenever she happened to look at that sign, she remembered the shock of opening her eyes for the very first time and seeing those words glaring back at her:

YOU ARE A ROBOT.

She remembered her first thought, too: I can read.

The sign was annoying because it was true. “I AM A ROBOT” was the only logical conclusion she could come to, after all. She never needed to eat or drink, and she’d never stepped outside of the room she’d gained consciousness in. Not that she ever felt the need to, because there were books here.

She figured a robot’s main use was to retain information, anyway.

There were only so many books in that room, though, and she didn’t know how long it’d taken her to get through them all. She remembered a text on clock-making and thought that that could be her next project (robots could build things too, right?) but then she’d realized that she didn’t have any of the materials.

She frowned, then, scrunching her eyebrows together as the corners of her mouth tugged down. I’m upset, she realized. Is that possible? Am I feeling emotion? And she felt the red letters burning into her back, the sign looming over her shoulder.

YOU ARE A ROBOT.

The sign started to get annoying in a slightly different way.

Robots needed power sources. It was an issue often left unaddressed in the various sci-fi novels at her disposal (the ones she had browsed through at least twenty different times now, because boredom outweighed the inanity of flipping through pages she’d already memorized). But once, instead of reading, she began looking for her power source instead. She searched the bottoms of her feet, the backs of her knees, the small of her backbut no power cord, or even a slot for batteries. She was just about ready to come to the conclusion that maybe she was being wirelessly charged when her fingers reached the back of her neck. And there it was, cold hidden under the softness of her hair.

The key.

She felt concern, then, for perhaps the first time since she came into existence. Because keys implied the need to wind them at some pointand how was she to accomplish that? She put a hand to her chest and tried to feel something; she didn’t expect a heartbeat, of course, but she searched for the tiny vibrations of minuscule gears turning inside, giving energy to this enormous automaton, some sort of steam-punk idea of what a robot should bethis was what she was.

Perhaps it was a good thing that she didn’t feel anything except for the coolness of her skin, because if she did, she might have experienced panic.

She did wonder how long she had left, though. Whenever she lifted a hand to her neck, she felt the key rotating slowly under her fingers. Every one of her actions became the result of careful calculation: was the energy worth walking to the other side of the room, or could she be content on this side? She should sit instead of stand. How much energy did she expend every time she had a thought? Could she self-wind? But no, that was impossible, because the best case scenario was one in which she was constantly spending just the energy she needed to keeping turning that key, and she didn’t think that perpetual cycle was one she wanted to be stuck in.

She didn’t have a clock, but she estimated that it took her six hours and twenty-eight minutes to decide that she couldn’t care less about when that key finally stopped turning. She even turned back to look at the sign.

YOU ARE A ROBOT.

That’s right. She thought. I am.

A robot could have a name, though, she reasoned. A name that she could etch into one of the shelves with the last turn of the key in her neck. Because a robot would want to be remembered.

There was a history book that she’d read. One that told of a Seo Juhyun from South Korea, the Secretary-General of the United Nations during a truly perilous time of the Earth’s history. South, Nations, Earthnone of these were anything but words on a page, variables that stood for people, places, an entire world that she knew nothing about because to her, there was only one tangible location.

This room.

She wondered if it could really even be called a room, because that would imply an entrance or exit; she’d looked (only a casual scan). And certainly no one had gotten inalthough whether they had tried to was something she would never know. But here was her world, her place was inside it, and she was the only person in existence.

A person should have a name.

She knew how the Korean naming system worked: Seo was the family and Juhyun the person. But this naming system was for a planet as far from her grasp as Secretary Generals, or watching history take place instead of trying to make the ink on paper dance to life in front of her. No, this room called for something different, and she thought that just “Seohyun” had a nice ring to it.

Seohyun wanted to get out of that room.

 Some might call it “brave”, she told herself, that she would sacrifice the remaining key turns she had left to find an escape. At least, it would be “brave” if she had been doing it for someone else (otherwise it was termed “selfish”). But if she was the only one around, couldn’t one be “brave” and “selfish” at the same time?

YOU ARE A ROBOT.

Yes, Seohyun thought. And robots are brave.

But the walls were smooth and the bookcases immovable. She cleared shelves and looked for hidden latches that would open trapdoors or maybe even attics. She spent so much energy that she started to worry that maybe her key would stop turning before she could finish.

She should have expected it though, that her solution would come from somewhere she hadn’t thought of. There was a reason it happened to everyone in the stories, and she’d always wanted to have a “eureka” moment.

She just hadn’t expected that moment to be quite so dark. Or expansive. Or scary.

It had started as a shadow in the corner that she paid no attention to, because a stack of books was right beside it and stacks of books cast shadows. It was when the shadow started to grow even as the books remained stationary that she stopped and took a good look. Watched as the patch of darkness crept up along the wall until it hit the ceiling.

And then it started towards her. The corner became engulfed in darkness, the stack of books swallowed by what she’d thought was harmless.

YOU ARE A ROBOT—

The sign’s last declaration before the red letters disappeared into black.

This is the end, thought Seohyun as she backed up further, and felt her key scrape against the wall. How ironic. Here she had been worried about losing consciousness as soon as her key was spent, but she was going to cease existing before that even happened.

And then she saw the light, quite literally. Beam after radiant beam shining at the corner of her right eye, an existence just as sudden as that shadow (and for all she knew, as sudden as her consciousness).

Escape.

Her head was already weighing the advantages against the costs, but her feet were already moving towards the brilliant portal. After all, when there was darkness at her back and a key still turning in her neck, what else was there for her to do? The more important question, perhaps, sounded a little different:

What do I have to lose?

And so Seohyun closed her eyes, spun on her heel, and ran. She jumped into the light, leaving behind the sign and the room and the black.

In the silence that followed, a silence more impressive than she’d ever heard and as white as the glow burning through her eyelids—in that silence, for the first time, she heard it.

Clink.

And she felt the key complete another turn.