Even mechanical things can live.
It stirred, steel tendons and synthetic muscles twanging like sad music in the cold silent dark. In turn, the dark hissed back, a noiseless sound from the furthest depths of blackest space. The thing with the tendons of steel and the skinless hide glistening with oil twitched and spasmed and trembled, the mess of electric synapses it called a mind confused by the notion of life.
It felt. And what it felt confused it, for it had never felt before and it did not know what it was to feel. It felt cold and hot at the same time, two extremes of temperature that at a point became inseparable with each other. It felt and heard and saw a world that it did not understand. For it had never lived before now.
The mechanical pump at the center of its being fluttered uncertainly, a chaotic interruption of a carefully timed rhythm: Thump flutter thump click whiiiine. The hissing noiseless dark writhed in its corners of blackest black and waited.
What is this?
It thought. It didn't think in words, for the idea of language was an alien concept. It thought in broad, wide spectrums, in sweeping curves of emotion and idea. Words were meaningless. Ideas were not. It thought its thoughts in colours that did not exist and sounds that could never be real, and shifted its view of reality accordingly.
And then it felt pain. It opened the steel trap that could have been called its mouth and uttered the first sound in its existence: a scream.
It clittered and clattered, the thin tips of its spidery legs scrambling to find purchase on the polished table top. The pain invaded every aspect of its synthetic being, flooding it with agony and fear. It had never felt either before, but it knew on an instinctual level that fear and pain were negative aspects of the emotional spectrum, something not to be shunned, but not to be embraced, either. It knew something that it never knew it knew, and in that moment, it really and truly was alive.
Then the pain shifted, and the haze of agony lifted. And the arrhythmic beat of its heart juddered to a halting stop. It collapsed into a heap, its component parts once more lacking the spark of life. Its existence faded, the soul that it briefly had departed, and as it knew life for the most fleeting of moments now too it knew death.
I have died
Was its last incorporeal thought, before the dull light of its single camera eye faded, and the hissing writhing dark creeped ever so slowly back, enveloping the mechanical creature like a cold sad blanket.
Even mechanical things can die...