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The Bunch bunch

Darlene was cured of vampirism after her sister Lisa Alvi begged her. Her brothers Arlo and Ethan, used to doing whatever their sister recommended, also took the cure.

Darlene wondered sometimes if she should send her brothers for plastic surgery, but their looks didn't worry them, and they were getting older now. Ethan was an elder, and worked as a Background Extra at the movie studios, while Arlo worked as Overseer of the Dead. All three of them loved to fish, and all three had talked wistfully of becoming International Super Spies, possibly inspired by the James Simbond movies all three loved. Darlene worked as a Snitch for the local police, as she had been for years.

Well Arlo got sick. His skin looked very unhealthy and he had no energy, and he developed an odd, slightly rotten, smell. He was weak and chilly and had to wear extra clothes.

He decided he must be too old, and retired. Ethan also looked a funny colour and was starting to smell like Arlo. Darlene was worried, and scared.

"That's not vampire colouring - but he looks wierd. And Ethan too..."

The chaps wouldn't call a doctor, so she called her friend Mortimer, a medical researcher at the Corn Exchange. He was very concerned.

"I'm afraid this might be a side-effect of the devamper potion. Bring them to the Corn Exchange. Darlene - I don't want to scare you but this sounds very bad."

The scientists at the Corn Exchange consulted in whispers, shaken heads and mutterings. They wouldn't tell Darlene anything until four weeks later, she got a text message:

"Your brothers are coming home today. Prepare yourself for a shock."

Waiting in the garden, Darlene was so pleased. She had not been allowed to see her brothers in hospital, but Mortimer had told her they were doing better.

Out of the yellow taxi got - two Simbots.

Darlene fainted.

When she came round she was lying on the couch and the two Simbots were standing over her, talking. In her brothers' voices.

"They said our skin was changed by the - "

"It was a side effect of the vampire potion - "

"Something to do with our genetics - "

"Very rare reaction - "

"The skin was DYING - "

"The muscles - they had to remove - "

"They had to take us - "

"Our brains - "

"Out and - "

"Put us in THESE - "

"Metal bodies - "

"Robots - "

"But we are still US - "

"Stronger, faster, more better."


"Darlene? Where did she go?"

"She'll be back."

She ran outside and phoned Mortimer.

"Their skin and muscles were completely atrophied. I am so sorry, Darlene. We saved what we could. They will have long, happy lives now."

"Mort - they're not my brothers."

"I know you don't like SimBots, but they are, I can assure you. I saw their brains transplanted myself."


"You are lucky, Darlene; you've shown no ill effects and it's unlikely that you will, now. But I want you to come and visit the Corn Exchange once a month so we can do some tests, just make sure you are ok."

"But but - "

"I know. Listen, it's very important I tell you a few rules. They cannot shower, or bathe. They eat scrap metal. I've arranged to have a lorry-load of scrap dropped off in the garden, so their food supply is covered. They cannot - have children. But they can't catch fire, or be electrocuted... You know, it was greatly to their advantage that they were both so fit; I'm sure the surgery would have been much more difficult if they hadn't been. The muscles were much easier to remove because they were firm... Oh Darlene, you're crying! please don't cry."

"I don't... I can't... That's not my brothers. That's not Arlo and Ethan. I can't do this. And what would Mom and Pop think?"

"They would be relieved your brothers are still alive. Darlene, don't take it so hard."

Darlene was stunned. She had thought her brothers would die. But in a way this was even more terrible.

She just couldn't cope with the idea of her brothers being robots, or cyborgs, or whatever Mortimer and his pals called them. It just didn't feel the same. She moved out of the house she and they had always lived in, and moved in with her friend January Hand.

Arlo and Ethan went to the garage and got their Simbot bodies spray-painted into attractive shades of beige and pink.

The guys - now Simbot-cyborgs - considered their position. As far as they were concerned they were the same as they had always been. They were sorry Darlene was upset but, "Meh. She'll come round."

They were just glad to be aliive, after the terrible weakness they had felt, and all the surgery.

Ethan loved chess, and a Careers counsellor at the Corn Exchange suggested he might still be able to work for the police in the Forensics field.

They went fishing often, and Arlo decided he would work as a handyman.

Arlo was upgrading the toilet when it occurred to him that they no longer needed a bath or shower.

So they made over their house, removed several bathtubs and showers, and with the money for the sale of those, installed computers, a large TV and two Inventing benches, and bought a pair of Twizzys to drive around in.

"Who needs kitchens?" asked Ethan. "Or bathrooms - or showers... We are gonna save SO much time, bro."

Arlo grinned. "We don't strictly speaking need toilets either."

[Simbots do still pee - and Arlo smelled a little funny after peeing in the garden, but decided he was happy anyway.]

They wouldn't be able to have children (except by inventing them)- but as both had reached Elder status without even having a girlfriend, this was unlikely to be an issue.

They still had their friends, some of whom were able to accept their new status.

Sneaking up on a foreign tourist at the Cemetery. She was completely unfazed by his Simbotness.

To be continued.