Golden Hour

The full moon is out early on a late summer evening, slowly rising from behind the trees and peaking out from the horizon. A boy in his study stares out a window in full view of the suns dying light, and raven hair burns gold atop his head. The light from him competes with the fiery ball in the sky; ever since coming to this school, hes never found out why, but its been a year since the headmaster chose him to become more than a nobody adrift in the universe.

He doesn know why his eyes being pure gold, are so unique and why his parents never shared the same quirks, but the opportunity to ask is as dead as they are.

He watches as the light descends past the horizon, the golden hour succumbs to the creeping dark of night, and his hair also returns to an endless black.

Though the moment passes, the muscles in his back uncoil with relief, refreshed and energized by absorbing the suns rays at their weakest.

According to an alleged friend of his father, his ancestors were responsible for giving the sun its power for the day and taking it away for the night.

He smiles softly and closes the curtains, amused at how magic and science are to the untrained eye but are the same to him and the rest of the academy.

”Master, your dinner is ready, ” Two metal hands hold a tray of food in front of him, ”remember to chew exactly forty-seven times before swallowing. ”

”Ill remember. Thanks, Runa. ” He sets everything neatly on his desk, pausing when the machine still stares. ”Something wrong? ”

”Master, why don you ever want to eat with your other classmates? ”

The boy casually sips his tea, ”Because they
e idiots, hanging around them will turn me into one… ”

”Master! ” Runa scolds, ”If you keep up this sort of behavior, youll die a lonely old man. ”

”Runa, what have I told you about calling me that? ” He stiffens his jaw, glaring into the cup. ”I never shouldve left you alone with Wrath. ”

”But, why, master? ” Runa leans in, and pink faux locks fall over their collar bone, ”He only taught me the proper way to treat my creator! ”

”Mom is your creator, ” He guides the robot away from him with a finger and takes another sip. ”and by that logic, I inherited you as the son of your creator, but Im no more your master than you are my servant; call me by name. ”

”No, master, your name isn cute at all! ”

The boy coughs, choking on his tea. He shakily puts the cup on the desk to raise his hands, giving his lungs more room to expand.

Runa watches in horror and spins his chair around to face her, ”Oh no! Master is choking! What do I…? ” She recalls what to do in these situations from connecting to the internet, ”Oh, wait, I know what to do! ”

”Runa, ” The boy beats his chest, ”Im fine, I- ”

”Do not be distressed, master! ” Runa lifts the boy from his chair to dangle like a ragdoll and flips him upside down, ”I, your loyal servant, shall save you from your incompetence! ”

”My, what? ”

”Next, I must hit you on the back to dislodge the food from your throat! ”

”Runa, no! Ill toss my lunch! ” The boy says, trying to reach down and free himself. ”Put me down! ”

”Do not worry; Ill beat the stupidity out of you as all servants must do with their masters. ” She extends her other arm to form a fist at the boys backside and mercilessly beats his spine straight with her metal fists, ”I do this with love! ”

Nauseous and weak with every blow to his back, the boys only hope stares him in the face.

He grabs her leg, catching her by surprise and stopping the onslaught of punches.

”Master, no! ” Runa says, trying to push him away. ”Please, I have a wife and kids! ”

Run rambles, but all of her pleadings are a safety precaution should anyone accidentally press the button, so the boy ignores her blatant falsehood.

He presses a thumb to her kneecap, and it unlocks for him, stubbornly holding onto her leg as Runa shakes him.

”Think of the children, master! Think of the- ”

The glass casing slides away to reveal a giant red button.

”Master! ” She cries against his ankles, ”Master, stop, or Ill tell dad! ”

”Will you listen to me and delete all the garbage that fool taught you from your software? ” He stares down at her.

”Yes! Please don reboot me! ”

”Say my name… ”

”Why? Can you take my word for it? ”

”If you say my name, I won press it. ”

”Okay, but put my knee back first. ”

”Im not falling for that; either say it, or youll have a new birthday. ”

”Okay, Ill say it! M…m-ma… ” Runas voice glitches, ”Ma…m-ma…mAsS dEsTrUcTiOn! Error; failing to compute. ”

”Runa, you
e not even trying… ”

”Yes, I am! ” Runa twitches, ”M-Manatee! M-man…manboobs! Manager! Mango! Manscaping! ”

”Where the hell did you learn a word like that, missy? ”

”Sorry! M-Manual! ” Runa cries out.

”…Okay, close, but say it with my accent. ”

”Ugh, please don make me… ” Runa gags.

”What is so repulsive about my name!? ”

”Can I just say Mango? ” Runa whines, ”Its cute- ”

”No, you
e banned from saying that word! ” He snaps.

Runa flinches and starts making noises that crying babies make since robots cannot cry.

The boy falters, ”Runa, you
e not crying. Stop that. ”

Runa ceases crying, ”I know you
e sad, but master still has me, his faithful servant. ”

”Goddamnit, Runa… ” Manuel sighs and holds down the button to speak. ”You
e making this difficult for me. ”

”Wait, I can say it! ” She says. ”For real this time, I swear on my central processing unit. ”

”Last chance, Runa… ” Manuel says impatiently.

Runa nods and wills herself to say the name of the boy she admires the most, the only friend and family shes ever known. It all comes down to this moment, staring symbolic death in the face at his hands. Runa raises her head to will her mind to focus on his name: Manuel. She clenches her free hand with his name on her mind: Manuel. Runa must say it, even though its a name that is boring, average, and dare anyone say it: uncute!

Manuel stares in confusion, feeling offended without knowing why.

Manuel, Manuel, Manuel, Manuel, Manuel… Runa whacks herself on the head, Say, Manuel!

She opens her mouth, then looks away from him in disgust, wearing his patience thin, ”Ugh, no, I don want to…so gross… ”

”The blood is already pooling in my head; before long, Ill press this button and end this dizziness. ” He warns. ”You think I won do it?

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