Rinn hopped in the sidecar of the motorcycle and gave his uncle Pent the thumbs up with a smile he couldn’t hide. Today was his tenth birthday, which meant Rinn was finally allowed within the scrapyard. Pent grunted disdainfully and gunned it.
They arrived by daybreak. Pent stopped at the shed outside the entrance and hopped off. Rinn got out and followed him to the door when Pent turned on him.
“See this kid?” He showed Rinn the insignia. Two wrenches crossed. The symbol of a citizen. “This is what you want. Bring one back here. If anything moves on its own, let me know immediately. One battery and you and your mum will never go hungry again. Understand?”
“Your brother should be the one here today. I’ll never understand how the sickness got him and not you.” Pent sighed then walked inside.
Rinn took off. His excitement overwhelming. He’d been dreaming of wandering the scrapyard for years. He ran, searching for any automaton pieces. Deep within the yard he found what he was looking for. A pile of metal bodies stacked higher than any building he’d ever seen. Even the broken ones.
He climbed up the pile looking for the crossed wrenches. He found one fully intact with the words Skagen Mechanicals written beneath it. Rinn began scrapping at it when an arm shot up through the pile of bodies. He jumped back, heart racing. The stories of automatons killing people filled his head.
He grabbed a pipe and swung but stopped halfway. Two yellow eyes stared at him through the pile of twisted metal. The metal arm moved down, peeled the insignia off its dead brethren, and offered it to him.
“Help,” it croaked, “I…help.”
Rinn cautiously took the wrenches. “Thank you,” he said, and smiled.