He was their most beautiful creation, the first of the Sentients. They gave him wings and called him Angel. No one met him and regretted it, or bore harsh memories of him. He was the kind of creature you dreamed of, floating above you with a gentle smile, leading you to Eden. We looked to him as a mix between father and brother, neither but yet both. Newborn from their labs he consoled us and taught us things that Teachers didn't. He taught us about how beautiful the skies were, without naming the stars. He told us what it felt like to fly. His ice eyes warmed us when we woke cold from nightmares. He told us of paradise.
But they thought Angel could be controlled. Angel found something not even he had known of, and it would cost him everything. He began coming Home late, his body looked so tired but we saw the life in his eyes, so human it scared us. In the silent dark he would draw us to him, tell us of the outside world so happily that we forgot our worries and pictured the green hills and blue skies he promised we'd see. We missed him whenever he left, but he would smile and say "I'll always come back, cherubs." We believed him.
He asked us not to tell them about his stories. He said if they knew too much, they might not let him see them again, because they would be jealous. We doubted his reasoning, but promised to say nothing. Every night he came Home later, a fire in his eyes and soon his stories changed. He told us more of the humans he saw... told us of the children playing in the park with their parents, of old men talking about things years past. He spoke of their eyes, beautiful and full of spirit. They always told us machines have no spirit... Angel disagreed.
They heard him leave one night. We tried to stop them, distract them, but no one would listen to us. They put us back in our rooms and we waited in tears. None of us knew where it was Angel went every night, which we said over and over again when they asked us. We cried well into the morning. The clocks told us it was light outside, a light Angel told us about. We wondered where he was.
We heard them come in close to noon. We held each other close and watched the doors apprehensively. Soon they each opened to reveal groups of them. They told us to follow them, their human eyes were tired but full with anger. In silence we obeyed, trying not to cry. One of us sniffed soulfully and earned a kick from one of them. He cursed the Sentients... "What does the world want with robots who cry?"
The room they took us to was dark. The floors were cold, according to our sensors... we didn't actually feel it. We huddled together as they stood, waiting for something. We felt fear.
A voice spoke to us from across the room. It was a cold voice, and we clung to each other "We found your friend," he said. "From what we can tell of our tests, you were telling the truth and didn't know of his whereabouts. Therefore none of you will be punished." Crisp footsteps announced his approach. "He was with his wife." A few of us inhaled sharply, clasped one another's hands. The rest of what he told us seemed only half-important. Now we knew why Angel had been the way he had been... he had found love.
"Where is Angel?" a little one called, interrupting the voice. He stopped. We held on to the little one, fearing her punishment. Instead the voice demanded Angel be brought in. We held one another tensely, a faint glimmer of hope for our father-brother.
What they showed us wasn't angel. A few of us screamed. Several of the smaller of us sobbed and turned away. A few stood in silence, staring at the monster they'd made of him. There was no hope of his life now. His arms were torn at the elbow, his body severed from the hips down. His head, once full of long dark hair, was gone. Wires spilled out from the open wounds, and something like blood stained his skin. His wings were torn away, nothing left but gaping holes where they'd been.
"You are not human. You're machines, made to benefit us. We foolishly gave you emotions to see if we could do it, not so you could run off and pretend to be alive. You're not alive. You're full of wires and buttons, you have no nerves, no heart, and no soul. What we left here of Angel will be kept here. Every day you'll be taken here to see him, to be reminded of what you are."
He spoke no lies. Every day they took us in the morning to see Angel's mangled form. Even the little ones were forced to stare at him. We were punished if we cried. Angel was an example, they said. You serve us. You have no desire. You are machines. Angel found love in the arms of a human... but look at him now. Nothing but computer parts.
We grew to where we didn't cry at all. We felt numb. We comforted ourselves in our own minds, that at least Angel felt no pain when he died.
After all... machines don't feel.