Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Alice

Fiction, not game-able, skip this.

He held her close, the pair of them wrapped about with sheets. She was warm, and soft, and smooth. He felt the way he always did at this point - the suffocating realisation that it would seen be over, that he would have to return before long. He glanced at the digital readout embedded into the wall - 14:39. 38. 37. He looked away.
'Is something wrong, Andrew?' The voice thrilled him still, a pitch and intonation built just for him. When she said his name things seemed much better. The (windowless) room brighter. He shook his head.
'No Alice, I'm fine.' She turned, remaining in his arms but now facing him. Her eyes bored into his. She knew something wasn't okay. Of course Alice knew. She always did.
'Don't be sad.' She leaned in closer, resting her head between his and his shoulder. 'I'll see you soon, won't I?' His heart hurt, and he felt his eyes moisten.
'Of course.' He felt her relax slightly into his arms. Andrew gently lifted her head to his, and kissed her, softly at first, but growing more urgent, pressing himself against her.
-
Finally, the time came. He should've left before, if he didn't want to see this. He knew that, and yet couldn't stop himself. Alice went stiff in his arms. He felt like dying as the heat leaked out of the now inert form. A sob nearly escaped him, but he choked it down. He deposited the corpse of Alice on the bed, where he had first found her. Then she had seemingly slept, but now she was dead. Nothing but a computer coated in rubberised plastics. Circuitry and synthetic flesh. This time Andrew couldn't stop the sob. He wept. As happened every time, his lover died at the end of his slot. He grieved her until the clean-up team dragged him out, as always.
-
Reggie and Steve chuckled about the poor bastard that they'd had to force away from the fuckbot. Steve coughed after the laugh, took another drag from his cigarette.
'I don't get why someone'd pay for that man, it just don't make sense.' Reggie nodded, sipped his coffee, passed Douglas a mug.
'I honestly think it's like, part of it for the guy, y'know? Romantic or -' another sip '-whatever.' Douglas shook his head, but remained silent on the issue. Reggie and Steve were pretty sure Douglas had a bit of a thing for the Alice personality too - they knew he used the employee discount often enough. He was a weird guy all round as far they could tell - didn't say much of much, always keeping up on the news or staring intently at some video. Rumours abound of him being an Androids Rights activist ensured everyone kept him at an arm's distance for the most part. Steve and Reggie didn't mind him.
'I think the worst bit -' Steve continued '-is that she's built to do this shit. Nothin' she says means shit really, s'all just numbers and that.' Douglas gave him a sideways glance.
'You really think that's all there is to it?' Reggie feigned surprise at the noise, before replying -
'I certainly fuckin' hope so Doug, I really do, or else we're up to some twisted shit.' Steve threw down the butt of his smoke, ground it into the pavement.
'Fuck this guys, too heavy for me.' The three men turned and walked back through the employee entrance.
-
Reggie and Steve were drunk. This was their Friday ritual, an escape from the clinical fuckbot facility. They'd finish early and begin drinking immediately, cracking open cans of beer stored in the locker room. They'd then proceed to hit every goddamn bar they could stagger to before parting ways to their respective apartments. They were at the third bar when Reggie spotted Douglas, frowning into a pint with a group of guys they didn't recognize. The pair stumbled over, unnoticed by Douglas until the last.
'S'fuckin' Douglas!' The strangers looked concerned at the pair, glancing to Douglas for some explanation.
'Guys from work.' He didn't sound happy. One of the guys shot a glare at Steve and Reggie, before excusing himself and leaving. Douglas looked at them, almost pleadingly.
'We'll, uh, leave you to it then.' The pair staggered back across the bar, lost amidst the chaos and noise.
'Weird bunch.' Reggie hummed an agreement. 'Fuckin' rude too. Bastard.' Steve sat down heavily. They remained relatively silent as they finished their drinks and called it in early.
-
Andrew was in the taxi-cab, returning from work. Usually he was still busy, his nose pressed up against the display of his tablet, but today had been somewhat more relaxed. Of course, this meant he'd see the building. He could try and look away, but he knew the futility of it. He felt pangs of longing, of loneliness as the slick vehicle passed the building trapping his Alice. As usual, he was thinking about her for the rest of the ride home. Andrew payed the taxi by card, swiping the thin plastic through the automatic billing device. He stepped out, feeling out of place when not wrapped about with concrete, steel or glass. He hurriedly moved to his apartment building, thumbed the floor number and ascended.
His open-plan apartment was tidy, clean, done in sterile white and professional black. His tasteful furniture was careful arranged, the chrome behemoth of his fridge-freezer towering over the kitchen space. The curtains were drawn over the floor-to-ceiling windows, as they had been this morning. Andrew deposited his work things on the low coffee table (synthetic wood, but a very convincing fake) and fixed himself a drink. He sat down on his stylish sofa, and felt terribly drained, and terribly alone.
-
Steve checked his phone as he tripped back towards home. Motherfucker - 3 missed calls, all from Catherine. He gawped for a moment before the realisation dawned on him - the booked table at a restaurant neither of them could afford. The drunken warmth drained away as he quickly flicked through menus to call up Catherine. She answered quickly, the video-display letting Steve know just how fucked he was. Ruined make-up streaked down her reddened face.
'Fuck you!' The screech came out of the phone, causing an involuntary flinch despite the speakers only producing a tinny facsimile.
'Look, Cathy, I can ex-' He began to slur.
'Are you fucking drunk? Been going out with -' she continued to berate him over his apologies. '- stupid fucking work buddies? You forgot me for drinks? Your shit'll be outside the apartment. You're shit. This is shit.'
The charge for the call winked up at Steve as he stared at the screen, not fully realising.
'Oh.'
Fuck.
Shit.
She hadn't been kidding about second chances.
-
Reggie let himself in successfully after the fourth attempt, slid across the wall before pushing the door closed behind him. The dingy little apartment wasn't too bad, but that was mostly because the room-mate made sure it stayed that way. She stuck her head around the corner leading into the living room.
'You're back early.' He nodded, replied.
'S'shit night for it. How's you?' She shook her head.
'No replies yet, just waiting.' She nodded towards the television set. 'You seen this?' The flat screen pumped out footage of rioters hurling bricks, bottles and burning trash at a line of police decked out like soldiers. The sun was blocked out by a grimy layer of smog.
'Who's at it now?' He moved to watch the scene unfold. A ticker line at the along the base of the broadcast informed him -
BRAZILIAN WORKERS RIOT OVER ROBOTIC REPLACEMENTS.
'Well shit I guess. Can't blame them though.' Reggie moved back through into the kitchen, made himself a drink before sitting heavily on the unoccupied sofa. He remained sat until Claire's boyfriend picked her up several hours later, when he finally moved into his room and slept, exhausted from the week.

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