Lost Gear by Rogelio Gaona

My head feels disoriented, and my eyes open as they start to focus on my surroundings. Above me, I locate a dim lamp that faintly illuminates the dark room. The wall is made with all sorts of gears and mechanical parts and the floor feels metallic, each tile with its own square pattern and bronze color. I struggle a bit to stand on my hooves and I notice these mysterious scars running throughout my body. It seems as if these scars were positioned in a particular manner. The gear of the gate churn and opens. There on the other side, appears this ball of flesh with a height reaching the top part of my leg. I move back a bit, not sure what to make of this. The ball of flesh rolls forward towards me. “Wow, you really are a unicorn!” says the blob. The voice is feminine and coming from my head.

“M-me? A unicorn?”, I say.

“Yeah! The body and magical horn! I don’t know, but for some reason I have a vague idea of which creature you are.” she says

I question, “And you?”

“Oh me? I’m glad you asked! The name’s Wesli. What’s yours?”

I explain, “I have no memories of who I am, not even my own name. I’m trying hard to remember, but something is blocking my memory.”

“Same here. Except when I try to remember, I feel uneasy, but I still hope I’ll get those memories back,” Wesli said. She then asks, “What’s your color? I can only see through vibrations and movement of the air at a certain distance. I can only imagine the color of what you might look like.”

I turn my head around and look at the rest of my body and I respond, “The only color I see of my body is white”.

“Hmm, well, since that is the case, for now I’ll call you Snow” She said.

“Ah, yes, Snow! I presume you know what this place is?” I ask.

“I don’t know where we are exactly, I only know part of this section and the rest has been unexplored. It seems like both of us are captives in this place.”

“How did you get out?” I ask.

She says “See I was able to grab the key from a caretaker, as I like to call them, it looks like a monster based on the vibrations that I felt. It collapsed suddenly mid-way through in my cell and it was dead. When I got out, I didn’t want to leave this place all by myself, so I came here to this section of this place, hoping to bring a friend along.”

“Like me as your friend?” I ask.

Wesli responded “Yes, we’ll be friends. Anyways, we should be going now. I drew some attention to my escape; can you use magic from your horn?”

“With the memory block, I don’t really know how, but maybe I can do this.” I concentrated on my horn, thinking of light, then a bright glow came.

Wesli says, “Nice, so be careful of using your magic light.” I see Wesli extend a tentacle tipped with three bone claws. She has one pointing straight, pointing in the direction of where we are supposed to go.

I ask, “What about the other cell, we should check if there are others that are held captive like us.”

Wesli responds, “I checked all the other cells, all other creatures have been dead for a long while. You’re the only one that is alive.” I exit outside. From what I see, there are seven other rooms all with almost identical gates. The wall is constructed with the same gears as my cell wall. I trot while staying close to Wesli. Ahead of us are multiple halls barely lit by dim lights, all of the halls at random locations. The smell throughout this place reeks with oil and rotten flesh. When we get to the corner, Wesli extends her tentacle close to her body to signify to be silent. In a distant footstep abound, I take a careful peak to see who is there. One of the dim lights reflects off vaguely of several creatures looking like of a humanoid creature about the same height as me, with amalgamation of moving gears in flesh of their body, liquid dripping, and the noise I can discern is groaning, it could be one of the caretakers Wesli mentioned about. As we carefully get to the other side of the place, there is a gate different from the cell. Wesli went toward the gate to try to open it.

“No, this gate is locked.” Wesli said.

I take a close look at the lock and notice that the keyhole has a complex shape. “It seems this gate can only be opened by a different key than the one you used. Would have to go check the different rooms to find it.” We carefully avoided contact with the caretakers and went to check the other rooms. There are only a few of them each with dirty tools or odd objects all over the place. We passed by Wesli’s room, I took a quick glance of the room. Inside there looked to be some kind of cage in the center and next to it was the body of a dead caretaker. So far there is only one room left and we have to explore quickly, I notice the caretaker seems to be getting suspicious of our activity. Sneaking into the last room, I glow my horn dimly to not draw attention, the smell is stronger here, there is an operating table with a large pile of tubes intertwined with mechanical parts sticking out.

“The tubes, is it something I should worry about?” I ask.

“I’m sure it is dead.” Wesli says.

I scan the rest of the room, there is equipment that I don’t recognize laying around the floor, a sink and a large glass cabinet that is slightly open, in the mid top is a complex looking key. I trot to the cabinet and open it.

“Snow, behind you.” Wesli calls out. I quickly turn my head around to see that the pile of tubes moves upward revealing several looking creatures, all sewed together from the tubes, and metal looking parts. I said, “I thought you said it was dead!”.

“It wasn’t breathing and had no movement, so I thought it was dead,” said Wesli. Then the tube creature lets out a metallic screech. I snatched the key up by my mouth. One of the caretakers from the hall enters the room. Wesli extends her tentacle, grabbing one of its legs and forcefully makes it fall, landing on the floor. “Now! To the gate fast!” exclaims Wesli.

I sprint for the gate with Wesli trying to catch up to me. A half a dozen caretakers came rushing behind us. As I reach the gate I insert the key in, the gate hearing the gears moving, then it opens. Wesli comes through the other side of the gate, I enter in with the key and I insert it to close it, when it does one of the monsters comes halfway through, only to have the body crushed in half. Its half body fell on the floor and began crawling very slowly, toward us, “Ignore it, let’s go down the stairs.” said Wesli.

We descend down the spiral staircase. I glowed my horn as it was getting darker. As we exit out to a different room, the first thing I see from the glow of my horn are different structures of trees made of gears varying in size, to my height to double or triple my height, beyond the space is darkness. I’m the only one illuminating my surroundings in this room. I said worriedly “There is no other light source in this room.”

Wesli says “Don’t worry Snow, we’ll walk through it together.” So, we went in, not knowing where it ended. Soon later, a heavy thump-like step echoes through the place, coming in our direction.

Wesli spoke, “If you are using your light magic, turn them off, and I’ll guide you through the darkness”, I felt her claw gently around my left leg, I turned out the light.

We move through the darkness. I do not know where we are going, except to follow the pull from Wesli. The footsteps seem to stop, I’m guessing the spot where we were at before. There is a whoosh sound, as if something was opening and then a moment later there is the noise of skittering, a lot of them.

I feel a quick tug from Wesli “We got to speed up”. We were going faster now, hearing a swarm of scurrying growing louder as it was getting closer. Then we stop “Snow, stand here for a moment, I need to open this type of door”. She let go of me, I then heard this door open, which seemed to hit the floor.

“Now Snow, go straight where you are facing. We have to slide down here now,” said Wesli. With no other choice we both enter.

As we slid down for a little bit, we eventually landed a bit off the ground. In this large room, there are immense gears moving primarily on the wall, junk scatters around, and near us are incinerators taking up one third of this room, glowing faintly with reddish color, on each side is an iron catwalk, all the way to the end is the gate, crystal embedded in the center reflecting off from the fire, the mechanism of this room seem to be at a breaking point, hearing the gears struggle to keep operating. “Do you think that gate is our way out?” I ask Wesli.

She says “There is a crystal embedded, so it could be.”

We began to move through the incinerators and got halfway through the room, a bright light blinded me for a moment. As my eyes adjust, I see the light is only directing toward me and Wesli, hearing the smooth movement above us.

“You won’t be going nowhere, subjects.” order a deep voice. What looks like a shadow of a disfigured spider, slightly larger than me, with two lights connected to the body side by side, it turns off the light. The machinery of the room then begins to fall apart. It lunges close to me. Faintly from the glow of the fire I see the shape of his grotesque face, the fangs out of place. It went to bite one of my legs. I expected to feel severe pain but I felt none. Wesli stabs the spider in the face with a sharp point pipe, it jumps back in pain. My front right leg gets ripped apart, revealing mechanical limbs. I stare at it for a moment, in shock, is it my whole body only machine, it would explain the scars throughout my body.

“Snow, move out the way!” yells Wesli. I snap back to focus. The structure is now collapsing and there is metal hitting against each other. I frantically back away. Then there was darkness. I glow my horn, I see half the room where we came through is blocked.

“Wesli you alright?” I shout. A moment later, I see her rolling toward me.

“Yeah, a small object inside my body is gone. I didn’t know it was inside me before, your leg though,” she said.

I pause for a second and look at my teared apart leg. “I don’t know how I should really feel”.

“Snow, I’m sorry whoever did this to your body and also now, my memory is coming back to me.”, she says, moving in excitement. Could that object be what was blocking her memory I thought, then I notice Wesli suddenly stays still and silent.

“What this Uh uha uha” Wesli says shakenly. She cries out “all the painful things they have done to me, I can’t bear it.” Wesli’s body grows, expands rapidly at a very large scale, new sharp bones sprouting, the scream becoming the sound of a monster in my head that overwhelms me.

“Wesli don’t think about those memories.” I said, hopefully she’ll listen, but by now I think she is not herself anymore.