M

   To think that this small town had a mannequin population was astounding.

   Bronxville, Idaho—located ten miles away from the nearest big city in the southeastern part of the state, it is an equinox of a town that is not known for its discipline nor its diversity. In truth, it holds much more ignorance than one can ever truly amount to. By the year 2012, its population count has risen to around the four-thousand mark and is home to little more than a quarter percentage of ethnic diversity, that of which mainly exists within its Hispanic and slowly-growing black population, so to see a mannequin here is almost as bizarre as a cat barking like a dog.  It was thought that, up until the Uprising, no such creature existed within this small town, as there seemed to be little-to-no preexisting population of them whatsoever. For that, it seems, seeing a mannequin walking the deserted streets of this near-ghost town is almost an oddity—a sight that, while somewhat-foreign, seems to make all the more sense considering the political climate surrounding such creatures and their newfound sentience, especially in those towns where the M-Population is growing and driving local real estate agents into the ground.
   In the crass orange-white light shining down from the lampposts that line the sides of the road, the creature makes its way up the major primary street throughout the small town swaying to and fro. It would have appeared that it was unable to retain its balance, as it continued to stumble every few steps, but its physiological structure was near-perfect and had not in the least bit been altered from its human form. Such a thing was common in small towns—for when cornered and exposed to open bigotry, they were often torn apart—but to this creature walking up the road, it seemed that nothing in the world was against it and it had no reason to be afraid, much less stumbling for no apparent reason at all.
   As it advances forward, occasionally tilting its head up to observe the purplish sky above it, its sex is revealed as female from the obvious swell within its chest. Its color—hot-pink, most likely originating from a high-end clothing store—reflects the light off its near-porcelain-smooth body and onto the windows in the shops lining the side of the road, creating a collage of light that seems to be all the more unsettling in the darkened road upon which no cars seem to travel. Its presence, of course, seems not to matter, as at this ungodly hour of the morning no one is awake, but what it travels toward cannot be determined, especially because it seems to bear no destination.
   In this M’s mind, of which is coagulated with slowly-accumulating thoughts of the world around her, there is a storm brewing—a conscience, they say, created by genetic memory that has existed for near a month now.
   Raising its head, the creature turns to regard her reflection in the mirror, then raises her hand to study her reflection.
   Me, she thinks.
   It is not uncommon for young Ms to find themselves in peculiar situations when wandering away from areas where they are unable to absorb the memories of their companions, so to see this creature studying its reflection is not an odd sight. It would, however, have been peculiar to anyone looking upon her, which is the exact and foremost reason why the men who are happening to watch her take note of the fact that she is young, open and vulnerable.
   From behind the bushes that line the side of the road, beneath which they are perfectly hidden, the group of three men watch as the creature continues to examine herself in the mirror. She starts forward, steps around the cars lining the business side of the road to avoid triggering the alarms, then presses herself up against the window, as if embracing her form, before she rears herself back to examine her featureless face.
   Given her lack of physical sight, it would have been miraculous had she been able to see the men advancing from the side of the road with their bats and crowbars in hand.
   “Get her!” one of them yells.
   Stunned, likely, from a noise she has never heard or comprehended before, the young M turns to regard the scenery before her.  Her sight—which, in this orange-white lighting, is almost completely nonexistent—does not allow her to see the figures until they are past the parked cars and directly behind her.
   The first man shoves the M into the wall and knees her in the crotch.
   Immune to such sensation as pain, she merely flails as another strikes her in the head with his bat.
   Materialistic and made of fiberglass, the first strike creates an impression within her head that would have been akin to a bruise were she human and covered with skin and muscle and nerves.
   The second blow to her face caves in her nose.
   Frightened, now, for the fact that she is being violently accosted by three armed men, the M rears her head back and silently screams, desperate to find help of which does not exist within the area, before her legs flail out and strikes one of the men in the groin. He doubles over, groaning, before the third man who has yet to have entered the fray steps forward and strikes her face where her mouth would have been with his bar.
   The bottom half of her face cracks open.
   The M thrusts her head back into the glass.
   An impression is made on the store’s front window.
   The man holding her in place, likely fearing a security alarm, lifts her body into the air and casts her back into the street.
   She bounces, rolls, and comes to rest in the middle of the road—where, beneath the glowing lampposts, she appears to have lost her entire ability to function.
   “We got her,” one of the men say.
   A short moment later, the M raises her head.
   The three men rush into the street.
   They begin their assault by first bashing her legs apart to the best of her ability, which instantly explode under the pressure of the bats and crowbars and cascades through the air like bloody rain from a man who’s just been struck in the face, then by targeting at her arms—where, though feebly attempting to help her crawl away, are shattered near instantly.
   No more than a torso lying in the middle of the road, the M can now see the three men crouching around her, white apparitions against a near-blinding background.
   “Get her,” one of them said.
   The man wielding the one and only bat steps forward, over her body, then rears it over his head like a hammer.
   The strike caves the M’s head in.
   Without what could be considered her central nervous system, the M is unable to function, so in the half-reality she is currently trapped between, she is able to watch each and every attempt at her life as the men continued to break her apart. Her body explodes, shining through the air, and her torso whips back as if she were naturally gifted with a spine, almost as though she were a fish flailing out of water. The men around her—whom, up until this moment, have remained somewhat-quiet—begin to jeer, laugh and cavort, which, to her now near-shattered ears, sounds much like screeching brakes from a vehicle that has been forced to stop on a dime.
   “We’ve almost got her,” one of the men says.
   “Yeah,” another replies. “She’s gone for.”
   The mannequin thrusts her head forward one last time.
   Her forward momentum meets the bat head-on.
   The entirety of her cranium explodes upon impact.
   She is dead, they know, when she ceases to function. There is no twitch within her torso, no awkward movements within her neck, no desperate rise and fall of her chest as is she is breathing. She is, at this point in time, nothing more than broken fiberglass—a victim, they will eventually call, of a hate crime against inorganic individuals.
   In the aftermath of the assault, the men thrust their weapons over their shoulders and began to make their way up the road.
   They have done it.
   They have killed the M.

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