The year is… in truth, I’m not sure what year it is or month or even if time matters anymore in the world we have created. For all we know, outside of the simulacrum, the world we once understood is no longer, and the gateway we once stepped through hangs in empty space. Of course, the way into the simulacrum wasn’t quite a doorway. It was such a queer mix of machinery and spiritualism and deep psychological triggering that to call it anything beyond its own unique experience would do it an injustice. At any rate, the foundation had been set and the figurative architecture in place for so long that it is impossible to discern, for myself and any other, how long this had been going on for, in truth.
For at least half of the time I have lived in the simulacrum, the realm that was not quite reality nor simulation nor some afterlife, I have existed on the Fringe. However, the Fringe is by no means an unpleasant place, it’s populated and effectively just the shorthand term for anywhere outside of the simulated cities. My time on the inside of the faux cities had been less than pleasant, and my interactions far from successful. The thought of conversing with a timid, blue, fraction of consciousness was no ones idea of a genuine relation. After all, even those who were the most pathetic and minor in their low states still would rebound from it, just not me. I was never all that small when in that pit of myself, pushing the emotional limiters as far as they would go to bring about something reminiscent of depression, yet I remained there. In time I watched others turn from joyful and kindly, to apathetic and concerned, and finally annoyed, disgusted, and angered. It wasn’t long after that I found myself removed, rejected from the simulations of that distant memory of life to live out the rest of existence on the Fringe.
I did not take the removal harshly, in fact, it may have been what saved me and allowed me time to think less clouded by the emotional press of judgment on my mind. On the Fringe, there were others, not like me, but those who would not criticize a consciousness for pondering the parts we missed. The death of emotions, authentic and pure, was a stepping stone for the rest in cities or the Fringe, but it was my life. To pose that question, ‘what has become of man if we lack those intoxicating emotions that cause our frantic and sudden actions.’ They would say, in the cities, that we have built a better man. That now man would live free of war and crime, prejudice, and hate. All the factors that once complicated life and made for the terrors of reality could be relegated to the past. With the emotional inhibitors in place, maybe that wasn’t so far-fetched an idea. Programmed into every individual, the structures would prevent anyone from feeling too much in any one way. It was the proactive approach to halt the destructive forces of our former selves, and damned if it wasn’t effective. And in the cities it worked, it kept the pace of an almost real-world simulated in the quantum computer calm and humdrum, but outside of those cities was another tale to be told.
The Fringe bubbled with life, those sentient beings milling around the sort of backwater of the world were less predictable. It was the land beyond the simulations where individuals would pull as hard as they could on single strands of emotion until the limiter would break or run dry mid-high. There was no law on the Fringe, no structures posing as the reality humans once knew, all that existed in these beyond were inventions of those more volatile beings. Among the denizens were Rageheads, those prone to destruction and chaos that would have made them terrorists in the real world. The Lofty, who dipped deep into the emotional palette that would allow them to paint with every color and design with non-euclidean concepts in mind. There was a myriad of experience junkies who suck off the combined lives lived and logged events to reexperience the high points of human reality again and again. A few Dreadminds floated about, not of the same mind as my own but with their own high minded thoughts that had them drawing on sorrow and misery whenever possible. And last but not least, were the Pleasurefiends, who were so enamored by their sensations of choice that it was nothing short of addiction. It was among the last group that I found some kinship, but Yiet was never a perfect companion for one such as myself.
I remember my first encounter with the Pleasurefiend, a moment that seemed to override my sense of gloom and shock me with sensations of titillation. Across the vastness of the Fringe I wandered, hoping to find another Dreadmind who would share my quest and question when I was instead apprehended by the hungry and lecherous Pleasurefiend. Despite my own fleeting denials, I found myself forcibly merged with by Yiet, and even though I fought the tides of the taking, I was dropped into the fiend’s domain.
Not too dissimilar from the perimeter of a simulated city, entities in the Fringe could force a simulated reality over a conquered mind. Doing so in a city was not possible, the powers emitted by the barriers would override and forceful entry. At that moment, I wished I were within such a boundary. Instead, I found myself in a soft room, the light and almost all of the environment within was a fleshy, pinkish hue. Despite their appearance, all within was a reconstruction of what I could only conjecture to be the memory of a rented room in a brothel. There were devices, contraptions, and paraphernalia, all of a sexual matter scattered about the chamber. Yet, my eyes focused only on what was sprawled across the bed. Writhing as a worm pulled in half as it was plucked from the earth, the Pleasurefiend rolled among the pink sheets, pale and thin. Yiet had chosen a males form, slender in build, hair long and hanging over his face, and soft enough to pass as a female, but I had seen enough to know better. I halted there, half bewitched and half disgusted, as the boy lifted himself from the bed on hands and knees and began to crawl to me.
He stopped at the foot of the bed, silvery eyes beckoning me on, until he commanded, “Come on, I don’t bite… hard.”
“I don’t… I won’t… This is not my business in the Fringe, and there is nothing that can make me fall in line with your demands,” I growled back, drawing on the wealth of rage the limiter had never been forced to put out.
With a devious smile on lips dyed a metallic blue, Yiet commented simply, “I have nothing but time, and you are too weak to break my rule. So it is in your hands to choose how long you will stay.”
There was truth in what the boy said, I couldn’t deny it, and he very well knew this for a fact. It was not as though the prospect of what he offered disgusted me, not for what he was, but simply because it was nothing I cared for. Love and lust would push me no further in my pondering, but to not submit meant having to wait him out. When he had merged with me, I knew Yiet all at once that there was not a bit of him that would relent once he had sunk claws in. Eyeing over the androgynous form, arms and legs wrapped in soft, striped cotton gloves, his midriff exposed by the low cut shirt that only covered his chest, and shorts that were hardly more than enough to cover his more private areas while being tight enough to leave those on full displayed, I began to work my mind towards giving in. I had never been caught by a Pleasurefiend, and though my own awareness of human desires was minimal at best, this proposition seemed at least somewhat suitable. Swallowing my pride, I preceded away from the corner of the room, just close enough to reach out and touch Yiet.
Before I could press a finger against the man’s brow, he had my hand and slid my outstretched finger down the center of his stomach. Sensation and emotion welled in me, an overwhelming tide that I could not combat nor understand. As I flicked back to reality, I realized that I was now no longer a formless entity but given flesh. I could not correctly conceive what I looked like as the man pulled my arm under his, and he forced himself into my arms. Though it stabbed into the heart of my nature and all I thought of this existence, I could not help but reciprocate. Every motion Yiet made, I found a rhythmic and natural response that seemed to elicit joy and pleasure in him. I could not say what I was doing, what was happening to my body, or what the limiter was letting through, it was all happening so terribly fast. Before long, the faux natural lighting that poured in through the pink curtains was dim, and only the light of our two beings could give us sight. Still, after that, as light again came through the blinds, we had not ceased. Finally, as dark again came, exhaustion, likely of our limiters struck, and both of us fell spent to the bed.