The speakers of the old record player emitted a low whisper as the needle teetered on the inside rim of the spent forty-five. A clock hand hung on the edge of striking midnight. On the very edge of sleep, Drake reclined in the armchair before the open fire.
The wires inside his body hummed gently as they began to break down, their functional lifetime almost at an end. A long lifetime – unnaturally prolonged for nefarious purposes – could almost be forgotten in moments like this one.
His holiday was almost over. In the morning he expected the technicians to touch down outside his cottage to rewire him for some new task. Drake would remember little of the coming weeks and months. The machinery would take over, and automatic reactions which were imprinted deep within his circuits would replace a genuine consciousness.
Within his head this gentle moment would replay as he committed unspeakable acts. As he had done many times before across years too numerous to count. All other memories had faded away, and all Drake had left to dwell on were moments like this one. They remained with him through all the horror, like the hiss of the needle after the music on his records reached their end.