Anneke checked every moving piece, awe-struck by the elegance and precision of the Automaton's construction. It was densely packed, rather like the organs of a human. Catching the Boy's watchful expression, she wondered if she'd be so serene if she were to have her skin and muscles separated from her skeleton and her insides poked about by a curious engineer.
She nervously laughed to herself, chasing the gruesome image away with a show of bravado, and cast her eyes back to the brass ribcage. For a split second, she was sure the Automaton smiled back at her, but she shook her head. “Ridiculous,” she said quietly.
“Well, that's morbid.”
Anneke stepped back from the noise of the boiling kettle to the door, rolling her eyes at her boss, Kram. “Yes, I'm making more tea.”
“What?” Kram was utterly confused now, and he shook his head, holding up a card with elegant handwriting on it. “I don't want tea, I want to know why the Boy's writing slasher movies now.”
She ripped him open and took his insides out, making him watch all the while as she laughed maniacally.
Anneke looked from the card to Kram, and then to the Boy. “Huh. Well, he was watching me when I dismantled him before.”
“And you were laughing like a horror movie mad scientist, too, I'll bet,” Kram said, tapping the card. “I'll make the tea, it's my turn.”
Anneke bit her tongue to stop a chuckle, Kram was so forgetful, he'd even forgotten that it was her turn. She turned the Automaton on and watched his gentle face as he wrote his message, pausing thoughtfully between each word.
She laughed evilly just before his head exploded.
“You've really got it in for me, haven't you?” Anneke said, miffed.
As the rattling kettle kept whistling, she turned frowning, and through the glass in the door, watched Kram fiddle with the kettle's switch. There was a loud bang as everything exploded into a steamy haze. As Anneke flung herself to the floor, clutching her arms over her head, she heard something roll over, then felt something touch her side.
Kram's head stared at her, lifeless and perhaps disappointed that he didn't get his cup of tea.
Half-blind with terror, Anneke unsteadily clawed her way to her feet, crashing into the table and setting the Boy off again.
As the table tipped over, the card fluttered down into the inexplicable and very messy carnage.
Her eyes moving from the dementedly laughing Automaton, Anneke picked up the card, reading: Her eyes moving from the dementedly laughing Boy, she watched herself pick up the card, screaming as she saw the words, Happy Halloween!