Today is my turn on the Spare and Found Parts blog tour where I will be bringing you a short extract from this incredible book. Enjoy!
“Computers, Nell …” she whispered. “They’re unholy. They’re—” She put her hand up to her eyepatch and moved it up above the wave of her fringe. Beneath it, the socket where an eye was not. Just a blank space, a web of pale scar tissue. Ruby pierced Nell with her gaze, quiet for a moment.
“Look at the price the rest of the world made us pay before,” she said. “We’re stillpaying for it. Thinking machines tore our people apart, and we’re only just healing. We can think enough for ourselves. Without code, without internet. We don’t need it. There are so many other things you could contribute, so many other things you could do—”
“But they wouldn’t mean anything, Ruby!” Nell burst out, standing up out of her chair. “I can’t just go up there and contribute something that doesn’t mean anything! I’ve nothing else to give, only this. Sure, I could crib out a limb casing that looks lifelike and responds a fraction more accurately to heat or a socket that responds and connects more seamlessly to human flesh, but that’s all in his shadow; that’s his work! I want something more! If I could get a computer up and talking . . . We’re ready. And you could help! You could help me design a body, a face; you’re so skilled, Ruby. I could make him work, and you could make him beautiful!”
Ruby didn’t say anything for a second, and Nel’s chest a fevered roulette wheel. The distance between them deepened with every tick, the kitchen tiles a canyon.
“Nell, I can’t,” Ruby whispered, then her voice rose bravely across the new void between them. “It’ll get out to the Pastoral Council; it could cause a disaster. We don’t need to know everything; that kind of greed belongs in the past, and it’s selfish to try so you can have . . . a friend.”
Ruby’s voice almost broke with the hurt of it, and Nell gasped. “It’s not just a friend, Ruby. You know I’m not looking to replace you!” But as these words bubbled out, Nell wasn’t sure at all if she was being honest. It caught in the air, oxidized, and turned rust, poison.
Ruby looked down at the tool kit on the table, the pieces of Nell’s life. The hand sat there among them, still reaching out to be held. She wiped an errant tear from her powdered cheek and said, her voice trembling, “It’s must be easier for you to imagine building someone new who meets your every need rather than make a compromise and try to see the world from my perspective, even once.”
A river of awful truth flooded the chasm and pushed them farther apart, the two girls shores at opposite ends of an icy sea.
“I can’t help you, Nell. This isn’t my kind of trouble. I—I have to leave.”
Ruby took her bag and was out the door before Nell could even muster the courage to release the “Please stay” that had been crouching in her throat, the “Just hear me out,” the “I need you.”
Ruby didn’t close the kitchen or hall doors behind her, and the awful heat from outside followed in her wake. Nell’s cheeks flushed suddenly. How dare Ruby walk away from her! Who did she think she was?
Fine. Fine. Oliver would help. Of course Oliver would help. Besides, even if the
leagues of difference between her and Ruby were now impossible to ignore, her oldest friend had given her one invaluable thing.
Ruby had never said building a person was impossible. Selfish, yes. But not impossible.
How amazing does this sound?! I loved it and you can find more of what I thought about it tomorrow when I shall be posting my review.
Until then check out these lovely people below who have been taking part in the blog tour this week!