Concept Art Writing Prompt: A Kiss In The Junkyard

Illustration for article titled Concept Art Writing Prompt: A Kiss In The Junkyard

A girl and a robot share a tender moment around the discards of civilization. What story will you write about this small kiss?

"A Sign of Love" was drawn by Pixiv user Cola, via r/SpecArt. If this illustration inspires you, write a short story about it and post it in the comments.

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Lauren Davis

Chumbot vaguely recalled what it was like to walk on two legs, to have eyelids that winked and blinked, to worry about the occasional tear in his synthetic skin, to smile with teeth. But a robot in this day and age couldn't afraid to be picky when it came to repairs. Plus, the spindle legs were more practical for navigating the discarded machine parts of the junkyard. His head had been harder to give up, but Chumbot hadn't had anyone to smile at in decades.

That was before she appeared.

Chumbot didn't recognize her as human at first. He had downgraded his optical sensors even before he had stopped wearing his face, but even exhausted as she was, her movements were too fluid to be machine. He nearly scuttled right up to her before he remembered what he looked like. He hung back, hiding amidst the broken screens and tangled wires, but something long forgotten fired in his circuits, a craving for human approval. This could be his last chance to fulfill his purpose again.

He found the half-buried van with the red cross painted across the side and picked up one of the messenger bags inside. He poured out the contents of the other bags into it until it bulged and grew heavy in his arms. Then he crept back toward the edge of the junk heap where the little girl sat, shivering.

Chumbot didn't quite crest the hill. Instead, he flattened himself against it and swung his arms over the top, making sure the bag landed with an audible thud. The girl looked up and scrambled to her feet, finding the bag with a quickness that belied her obvious fatigue. She pulled out one of the food packets and tore it open with her teeth before wolfing the whole thing down.

Slowly, Chumbot rose to the tips of his spindle legs and took a tentative step forward. The girl stopped mid-chew and swayed back, staring. Then she lowered her gaze to the messenger bag and her eyes widened. Chumbot wondered if she had seen even stranger things than him in her travels. She shoved the empty wrapper into the pocket of her skirt and walked a few paces uphill. Then she leaned her head forward and placed a tiny kiss on the ball that was now Chumbot's head.

Chumbot wanted to wrap his spidery arms around her, to communicate somehow that he would take care of her, that she would never have to wander again. But he resisted, knowing that he shouldn't ask her to stay in the junkyard. There were no spare parts for her here.