Background: This is just a little one shot that I had been thinking about for years. My main inspiration for it started off from a song called Worthless from an old, 80's childhood favorite movie of mine called The Brave Little Toaster. Some may be familiar with it, others may not. You can always look it up on Youtube if you're interested. There was a discussion that took place about the dark lyrics of the song and people began to relate the cars to people. It got me to thinking about the things humans take for granted in the automobile. How we treated our vehicles and if they were alive how would they feel? So I wrote this, and another story called Worthless as a result.
This story is more a specific look on that song alone, and Worthless more or less follows the life of a car from production to elimination.
Title: Hell is For Automobiles
Warnings: Heavy symbolism, gore and graphic content, dark tones
Summary: ONE SHOT. Something that might change your outlook about your vehicle after reading it. Story is better than summary. Reviews will be returned!
Hell is For Automobiles
Sitting there, you look across the horizon. All you can see are dead bodies in grotesque shape. Some of them are barely recognizable, and some you can barely tell are a semblance of anything at all. They are piled up around you, in all shapes and sizes, in large hills that stretch skyward. The stench of death is enough to make anyone pass out, and running isn't an option. You could never escape this place, and your body has long since been disabled. You don't have a choice but to rest there, sitting on top of one of the great stacks of black death. Day after day, you wait for your time to come.
In the distance, there is the sound of gears and hydraulics of a massive machine. As you sit there, you listen to the rhythmic slamming of a giant metal weight. Your sights are glued to that machine in a state of fixation and horror. A giant claw hovers above, looming through the smog-filled skies. A part of you half expects it to lower on you, but for this moment you're spared.
It's not your time and deep down, you don't know how you feel about that. While you're allowed to exist a while longer, you are forced to watch on as it picks up someone lying nearby and delivers them to the massive machine. It places them on a long conveyer belt. They can do nothing but wait as they take their final ride to the giant crusher where they meet their end beneath a cold, unfeeling weight.
At any moment this could be you, and while you have acknowledged it, others around you have different reactions. Those from all walks of life with different stories to tell and at different ages, gathered in one final resting place with no escape. They are all disabled and defenseless against their circumstances…but isn't that how it's always been?
As long as you can remember, you haven't had a true say in your life or your choices.
Now, you lay there, worthless. It's the one word that struck fear into the internal workings of your form. All of your life, you knew only one purpose: to serve those who owned you and when you outlived your purpose, you were thrown away. Death awaited you under a crusher. That's just how it was in your world.
After being there a while, you pass the point of being afraid. Someone could stay in this purgatory for years and never be killed. The paranoia fades into acceptance over a course of time and the fact that the claw passes over you several times in a twisted roulette of death doesn't seem to bother you much. At times, you wish it would just close in and take you out of this world. Others, you reminisce on the days of old, back when you were fulfilling your use and accomplishing many things. It's easier to cope that way.
Looking back on your life, you could say that you lived decently for what you were. When you were born people would walk by you, glancing over many of you with a fine-toothed comb as they tried to pick their idea of perfection. All of you were judged based on the purpose you were born for. It was how they decided your worth to them.
From the moment you were chosen, you went through life having all of your actions controlled by those who you called 'master'. Staying at their house, outside or locked in a room until they wanted some use of you. They took care of you, nourished you when you needed it, patched your wounds when they thought you needed it they fixed your infractions accordingly. If they decided that your shape was too bad, they would take you to a place that would open you up and replace whatever was failing. All you could do was watch as they removed parts from inside of your body and put new ones in their place. There was no way that you could protest if you were afraid, no way to disagree, it was just whatever they decided was best. After you were given new internal parts, you would feel better until that part gave out. It was all a process of repetition caused by abuse, overworking or age.
You lived your life in a state of slavery that was only apparent to you.
As you aged, the knowledge you gained covered a vast scope of many things, but you were cursed with the inability to speak. You knew all that was and what would be, and yet you couldn't tell a single soul. You saw your kind everywhere; all doing what was required by their masters. No matter what happened around you. Your eyes could only see.
Those around you became subject to abuse by their masters. They would be kicked and cursed at, some were beaten savagely because of a spouse or relation to their master got into a dispute with them and decided to take it out on you. Some were even set on fire out of cold blood or neglected, covered with a tarp and forgotten as they were left to rot in the elements. All had souls, all bound by the same rules of creation.
You were just like them.
You could do nothing to help them as you listened to their silent screams as they faded from existence. If your masters wanted you to run off of a cliff, you would advance forward, unable to will yourself to stop. Your only will was that which wrapped its cold hands around you, forcing you to do as they say.
When you grew haggard and tired, they would leave you where you stopped. In their minds, you were unfit to go on. You toiled all of your life and never complained, even when you were abused. Some even disassembled you and sold you piece by piece for cash. Those were the standards in which you were viewed by.
As you continued to glance around as helpless now as you've been throughout life, you realize what a shame it was to see some of those there, just rotting where they sat. In ways, you identify with them, as you must look equally pitiful. For a moment, you wonder if they are looking at you with the same pity reflected in their sights. Your mind trails off into another realm of thought. When you face your final moment, are you really sure what to think about? When it feels like an eternity, do you run out of things to think about, or do you question old theories? Your thoughts begin to blur together and you begin to wonder if you've gone crazy or just grown senile.
Most of those around you were placed there because of unfortunate accidents. Their masters didn't feel like they were worth putting money into to heal. Some were left lying on the side of the road until another came and took them here, souls that the world forgot. It was a trip that no one ever wanted to make; one of shock, dread, disbelief and fright. Complete abandonment was a cruel and harsh reality. When thinking about it, you feel betrayed for so faithfully serving your master all of these years.
Everyone reacted differently from being there. You heard many stories from those who have long since passed. Some had good lives under their masters and some would have rather been dead. Everyone was different, but they shared a commonality – they were picked over and had their few valuable parts taken from them, pulled from their bodies by bitter hands, helpless to object or run away, helpless to keep them from being taken; only watching as they did so. They became lighter and lighter, until they had nothing left to give.
How does it feel to watch as someone suffers, but you are frozen in place and can do nothing as they are operated on, still conscious? Their parts are sold on the market to others who may need them.
Parts of you are missing as well, and your eyes are foggy and fractured. You only had half of your vision in your left eye. You supposed that you were happy; someone else could get good use out of them. You felt like it was your contribution to give away the last parts that gave you any chance of being worth anything. Maybe they would keep another from this place a while longer. You are doomed to this fate, but you have some solace in knowing that parts of you were not completely worthless.
Continuing to wait and wonder, you think to yourself 'what if your master had a systematic elimination of their old and obsolete?' Would they be just as afraid as you are? This is one of the big things that define your master's world from yours. When your time comes, it comes, and you could be just coming into the world or you could have existed for ages. Death doesn't care who or what you are. When it comes, it brutally plows into your with a raging force. You see pieces of your body fly past you. You feel it as it brutally rips you limb from limb, and then your world goes black.
Your only comfort is that you are not alone.
Near you, there is an old veteran of life. He had lived a long time and he explained the story of the life he once led, and how he got here. He was old and worn out, his haggard and broken body was proof of that. It was as if he had been through a war zone. From what you gather, he had traveled down a rough path. He was certain that if he went down one more rough road that it would have been one too many.
Suddenly, your conversation is cut short as he stared the claw down with dread. There is a sinking feeling that you can't escape as the shadow draws near and consumes the area. Its unforgiving claws wrap around him, lifting him through the air. It drops him on the conveyer belt and you watch as his forlorn face is crushed beneath the press.
Sorrow fills you as you silently grieve his loss. You wonder if his life was as black and white as he told you it was. Thoughts pass through your mind on what could have happened if you by chance met anyone here in their prime of life. Could you have been friends?
Then again, those are thoughts that only work to fill you with more regret. They had once had lives, but were now reduced to being unfit to such a degree that they should be wiped from existence. Here, in this skeleton yard, their stories would stay confined within the fenced area of this death trap.
There are many more stories that come out, like the tale of another who cruises down the fast lane, but has long since been disabled. She didn't have the heart to travel anymore and those days of old were gone. Those last moments she spent with you were those spent reminiscing over the fun times she had. It was sad to see her go as her body was lifted by the claw machine. It dropped her heartlessly in front of the press, depriving her of the ride from hell only to be crushed quickly in the jaws of a machine that was served as a cruel means to the end.
For the moment, you related to her. You had been spending years doing as she had, reminiscing the past. Moments after you arrived in that place, you experienced how quickly those memories came and went. Pieces of her body flew from under the horrific blow of the press and littered the ground in grotesque disarray.
All the while you could only continue to watch the systematic horror take place before you. The next one to go was a hot shot speedster who lived life driving down the freeway like an idiot with a pedal to the medal. One day, he got into a fatal accident. More than anyone you've come across, he didn't want to face death. You could see it in his eyes as he was lifted up and placed onto the conveyer belt. His body made feeble movements in a desperate attempt to escape fate's grasp, but he was powerless as the weight slammed against his body.
Parts and pieces were projected into a hill of bodies. They all flinched and braced themselves as what was left of him bounced from their forms. You felt sorry for him. Someone with such fight and life left, condemned to death so suddenly. Not being able to struggle and staring bereavement in the face as you inched closer, resisting with the small amount of might you had left, and trying to will yourself out of the line of the end must have been a horrible sense of futility.
Another came, a professional racer who was impressed by the speed he once had. His biggest regret was never finishing the race. Never would he know the thrill of winning, never would he live out the truest potential of his purpose. His body was so badly damaged that he couldn't go on. So much for his fortune and fame. The press would soon end his guilt and disgust.
You would have liked to think that he no longer suffered. The pain he must have felt all of his life was crushing by any means. It was tragic to be created for one grand purpose and never being able to fulfill it was the worst nightmare come true for your kind. It was the ultimate sense of failure.
All around you, the stories of those who have come here came out. The next tragic tale was of one who was going to a wedding, but the groom got cold feet and backed out. They turned to go back home and rolled over. Another took the groom, who died after the roll over to the cemetery. He was used to carrying the dead and grew cold to it, thinking that it was just what happened. The moment you were brought into the world, you began to die…ironic that he would be next. Only would two souls who never met, only related by a situation would come together in an unfortunate entanglement of the strings of fate.
You think about them for a moment and wonder what it would have been like if they had met. You would like to think that they would have been great friends because they seemed to have similar outlooks on life. In ways, they were like a married couple. The ironic part of you found grim humor in the fact that they were crushed together.
Cruising the beach, being surrounded by cook outs, surfers and girls in bikinis was the life of another you got to know. It sounded like a fun, up until she went out with a bang, crashing from a height that left her making her mark on the land. As she was lifted, her deteriorating body fell apart and one of her eyes descended from its socket, bouncing from your body and landing below you as it tumbled down the hills of the decaying. She was placed on the conveyer belt on her back, forced to watch as the press slammed down on top of her.
The last story that you could remember was from this laid back male. He worked as a mover who hauled furniture for his owner who ran a failing business. He worked and toiled, slaving away to pull heavy loads. One day, his owner deemed them both worthless and took him to the side of the road where an overhanging tree was. He watched as his master fashioned a noose and jumped from his body, using him as a platform in his grimly fashioned gallows. When he was found, he was examined, taken apart, and then taken to this place.
He was different. When the claw tried to claim him, he ran away and put himself on the conveyer belt, sitting his body on backwards as he, like his master took his life in his own hands.
You feel particularly bad for him as you listened to the rhythmic pounding of the crusher. Your thoughts stick with his situation for a while, before they are cut off by a shadow looming above you.
You look up to find that your soul was chosen to be next in this cruel game of Death Roulette. Everything goes rigid for a moment, and a split thought is telling you it will just go right over you as it had done many times before but it remains there, hovering, unmoving. Then you feel it, running cold through your body. It makes you sick with conflicting emotions.
This sick game of death roulette is over and the gun is pointed at you. All that's left is to pull the trigger.
The claw's metal talons wrap around you and you feel it painfully constricting you as you're lifted up into the air. For a moment, you feel weightless as you are hoisted high above the mounds of corpses.
Introspective thoughts overcome you as you make your trip through the air. You begin to realize epiphanies in your life.
The only guarantee in life is that you would die. From the moment you were brought into this world, you began to deteriorate. Everyone spent their lives trying to find the meaning of their existence. Everything dies and now you will too. You were forced into a world that was cruel and unforgiving. Some have claimed that death never solved anything, but you've come to realize that it solves everything. It ends fights, relationships, problems, abuse and pain. Everything is insignificant when compared to death.
For all of your kind, you are the end of yourselves. You will never be free. Freedom is unattainable. To think that you could just not do anything, feel anything was wonderful. You want to forget and live life, free of the vices of society.
Death is the ultimate destiny.
What is happiness?
To you, it was serving your master. To believe that you were doing the best you could, despite your helplessness. Happiness was to believe that when you were fulfilling your purpose, you were wonderful. Happiness was the ability to lie to yourself.
Humans had a tendency to believe themselves in a high bracket of value. When you thought about it, they placed themselves a little too valuable. It was illegal to murder another human, but they murdered your kind on a daily basis. In reward for serving them loyally, they dismantled, disfigured, took from you and threw you away because you were too old. They destroyed you for fun and blew you up, lit you on fire, crushed you or killed you off in some other form of entertainment. You wonder if a human's life should be worth more than that of a machine.
The very machines who had allowed humans to live in luxury and ease for eons.
In that moment, everything you have lived for disgusts you.
You feel yourself being lowered onto the conveyer belt, the long ride of death that so many have traveled awaits you, and you listen to the pounding growing closer, louder. As you inched closer to it, each stroke becomes more and more menacing.
Your resentment quells, you begin to accept what is happening. For a moment, you wonder if they are looking at you the same way that you had once looked at them. You stare ahead and see your reflection in the crusher.
You used to be a 1966 Corvette Stingray, long since outdated by the newer models. One of your retractable headlights is stuck half of the way up, disabling full vision in your clouded and cracked lenses. Your once straight body is dented, your passenger's side door is gone, your tires are flat and your axels are bent in. Your hood is crushed in an upward position and for the first time in ages, you realize your grizzly state and recall what happened in that wreck one summer's night that started out as a joy ride and turned into a ride of terror. Just like those before you, your story is told…but none of that matters now.
The realization hits you harder than ever: you're worthless.
As darkness falls over you, the crusher closes in and the last words that escape your rusted bumper are:
"Hell is for automobiles."
WRITTEN VERSION: May 15, 2013 10:12 a.m.
TYPED VERSION: May 19, 2013 3:37 p.m.
REVISED VERSION: Feb. 21, 2015 1:50 a.m.
A/N: It was fun writing this piece, so I hope that someone enjoys it or finds it original. If you want a more in depth and drawn out version of something similar to this, then check out Worthless on my Melissa Norvell account.
Reviews will be returned!