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Concept Art Writing Prompt: A mechanical monster passes an outdoor cafe

Illustration for article titled Concept Art Writing Prompt: A mechanical monster passes an outdoor cafe

You're at the cyber cafe, plugged in and minding your own business when a huge, lumbering robot passes by your table. Just another day in the cyberpunk future or a cause for concern? Write up your own story base on this scene and post it in the comments.


This image comes from animator Tatsuyuki Tanaka, who was a key animator on, among other films, Akira. It comes from Tanaka's art book, Cannabis Works. As always, we invite you to come up with your own story based on this image.


Here's mine:

"La-La…" My muscles shuddered as I felt a small tug at my ankle. Brain Drain enhanced every tactile sensation, even as it dulled your sight and hearing. I knew Pinky was trying to get my attention, but I was reluctant to retreat from the bliss of oblivion. But he continued, insistent, until I broke off my connection to the cafe.

"What is it, Pink?" I blinked my eyes against the sudden rush of sunlight.

He scurried about my feet, bobbing his little hippo head. "Slug!" he cried.

My head snapped to attention. Sure enough, a huge, monstrous beast was lurching past our table, its coolant smoking in the late August heat. A Teegan's Slug. These guys were the ultimate taco truck. You had to connect to them manually, but once you were in, Lars Teegan would sell you codes to anything. Invites to Club Colossus. Route data on the city's food carts. Access to police feeds—the good ones you needed for any half-decent smuggling job. I wrenched my stem cord free from the cafe plug and sprang to my feet, chasing after the lumbering mechanical creature.

It didn't even turn to look at me before it swung its arm back, slamming its hand right into my stomach. My vision went black for an instant as my body registered the pain and braced for impact. I gave myself just a few seconds to recover before dashing back to my table and retrieving Pinky.

"You ready for this, Pink?" I asked as I renewed my pursuit of the Slug. I hugged him to my chest and felt his legs go limp.

He quivered. "Please don't do this, Lala." He clapped his paws together. "Please."

"Sorry, Pink." I tugged on his tail, pulling out a length of retractable cord. He whimpered as I placed the plug in his paw.

The Slug picked up his pace, heading toward the rabbit warren of residences across the plaza. I clutched Pinky in my right hand and wound up before hurling him toward my target. He sailed through the air, limbs splayed, eyes squeezed shut until he landed smack on top of the Slugs head with an "Oof." I shaded my eyes, watching him scramble to his feet, and, pumping a tiny fist in the air, shoved his plug into one of the Slug's open ports.

We were in.

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< Hot... hot. Too hot. >

Kanako's brain was crispy from the heat. She sat uncomfortably as she recharged her mind in Minami-Senju's torrid weather.

She stared at her cybertronic Canis lupus, watching his titanium body radiate with steam; the brutal Tokyo weather began to blanch Kanako's C.S.P (cybertronic security pet).


< Almost finished, boy. Just two more minutes. >

Kanako stopped by Minami-Senju to pick up a gift from her friend, Aiko. It was stuffed toy: A stuffed Hypotrotomos in overalls. It was a late birthday gift from Aiko. This was odd, since on top of this being very culturally uncharacteristic, it was very queer coming from Aiko.

Kanako chewed on what'd just taken place.

>>> Aiko: Former Kempeitai. Owed Kanako's family money and other assorted favors. <<<

>>> Kanako: Yakuza princess. Father of the very powerful Masahiro Kawada. Watched Aiko's husband as he was tortured and then imprisoned. <<<

It hit her.


< How could I be so short-sighted? >

Kanako stared at the stuffed Hyptrotomos. It's head began to spin off, like a jar being loosened by a ghost. Steam arose from its cotton-stuffed neck.

The C.S.P stared at the recently animated toy. His copper eyes beamed. He snorted:


< Hot! Hot! Too hot! >

The sidewalk rumbled, then quickly filled up with dust and brain remnants. Sirens blasted.

In the distance, about 400 metres away, Aiko powered down her tablet, shaded her eyes and exited slowly out of Minami-Senju.

She stared at her toes as she walked.