Narrated by Tina Connolly.

Besides the hat, however, the thing wore no real clothes, so the circular stamp reading VULCAN IRON WORKS—WILKES-BARRE, PENNA. was perfectly visible on its boiler-like torso next to a W.C.T.U. badge. Below, a chain-link skirt preserved some amount of modesty, swaying and rattling awkwardly around its legs with every awkward step. Its thick metal arms were jointed and riveted, and it gripped a formidable hatchet in its clenched and rigid hands.

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Read “The Use and the Need” by M. Bennardo, in Issue #148

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M. Bennardo's short stories appear in Asimov's Science Fiction, Salt & Syntax, Mithila Review, and Gordon Square Review. He lives in Kent, Ohio, and prefers not to be subject to grand dukes. His website is

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