(WP) The Steel Guardian

(WP) The Steel Guardian

               It
appeared one day after school, after another round of bullying from my
classmates, and gave me quite a fright, to put it lightly.

               I was
bullied a lot; it became part of my daily routine, and to avoid it, I often hid
in the library or an empty classroom. But it hardly ever worked; they always found
me, one way or another.

               This
time, it happened in the parking lot, which by now, was nearly empty. The only
occupants were the stoners and smokers, and they kept to themselves.

               Not
that I would’ve asked for help, anyway. There was no point. And I kept looking
at the only bright spot on my horizon: one more semester, and I’d be off to
college, making a fresh start in a new city far away from my tiny town.

               “You
know, it’s almost boring, pushing you around anymore,” Tiberius ‘Tiger’ Santos
sneered around the cigarette in his mouth. “You don’t even fight back.” He
shoved my shoulders, and I landed hard on my back, my backpack doing little to
cushion my fall to the blacktop.

He squatted down in front of me and
smirked, drawing his fist back to hit me, likely right in the nose, to upset my
glasses.

“Then why even bother, Tiger?” I
grumbled when I got my breath back.

He shrugged, his smirk taking up
the lower half of his face. “Because it’s fun. Because I’m bored. Just because.
You like to act like you’re invisible, but I see you. You’re nothing. A speck. Dirt
on the bottom of my shoes.”

There was a high-pitching, whining
squeal above me, and I squinted, trying to pinpoint the source of the sudden
noise.

A crash shortly followed; when flat
gray feet met the parking lot, cracks expanded around them.

“Step away from my human, Tiberius
Santos, or I will make sure you cannot make another move for the rest of your
days.”

The voice was clipped, monotone,
robotic, and an arm with some sick-looking blasters at the end of it hovered
inches away from my bully’s face, coating his face in a bright scarlet wash,
like blood.

“What the fuck? What did you do,
you sick freak? If this is some prank to take the piss out of me, I swear to
God, I’ll pound you!” Tiger squealed, and despite the fact that I didn’t know
what was going on either, I couldn’t help but feel a spiteful glee in seeing him
squirm.

Served him right.

“You heard him, Tiger. Step off, or
you’re gonna end up with blasters to the face.” I said, smiling up at him.

“I’ll get you for this, you fucking
nerd!” Tiger hollered as he turned tail and ran away from my mysterious
protector. “You’re dead!”

I stood up, and I got my first real
look at the machine that saved my life. It was a life-sized robot, all decked
out in silver and black chrome, with blasters that receded back into its metallic
arms, and its bright red eyes found mine. Unbelievably, it was smiling.

“Who are you? What are you?”

“I’m your guardian angel. Robot. I’m
here to protect you.”

**