There was no exaggeration in Yiet when he said that things were dangerous beyond the realms the Dreadminds and Pleasurefiends dwelt. On the flat fields of the Fringe, just beyond the boundaries into any city, there was nothing. As entities, we existed, puffs of dust and clouds of energy but little more than that. There were no structures or even much in the way of geography, only the collection of entities. We would meander about, the Pleasurefiends assailing any they desired and doing to their victims much like Yiet had done to me. All the while, Dreadminds like myself would single out others of our kind to merge with temporarily. To gain knowledge and insight was our goal. Yiet’s and his nature sought, of course, pleasure. But what lurked beyond were those things that had other motives than either of us.
In the dimness ahead, vague structures were visible; however, they were not the uniform and clean outlines of a city skyline. Yiet knew well enough that not far off the flat fields was where most of the Rageheads lived. They could force ideas outward rather than meld with another to show or convey concepts. It was why it was more dangerous out there than in the flat field, a Rage could capture you utilizing its own power. There were horror stories that both Dreads and Pleasures passed around about one of the group’s numbers being taken by a Rage. They would be placed inside a structure and be forced to watch as whatever it was became ruins. It was an experience that could not maim or kill and entity, nothing outright could do that, but it left its scars. Anyone who had been captured in such a way would live out the rest of their days on the Fringe by suckling at more calming teats through the limiter. Some would gain liking to the chaos and hate, however, and join the Rageheads. And others, perhaps the sanest among them, would return to the simulated cities, defeated. All of this was acquire and amassed knowledge, as Yiet gave over its control to me.
Merged as we were into a singular entity, few would have touched us amid the spectacle that Yiet had treated me to. Yet, now, there were even fewer who would hazard such a move without another backer combined into them. Even as formless as we were in this place, I could feel a greater mass to my movements, a growing of this incorporeal self, and a new vigor come over me. Yiet had promised to stay dormant, a viewer to the world around us, and little more, I chose to trust this vow. I would have to suppress any ill-will and hesitations about Yiet if we were to make it through Rage lands without issue. Still, in my heart of hearts, I knew there was no way we would make it through without conflict.
The rage lands were vast and looked like any number of apocalyptic futures that earth and humanity could have experienced. Monuments laid toppled across the gray canvas that would have otherwise been more of the flat field. Towers and skyscrapers did not pierce the heavens but lay halves across growing piles of rubble. Temples and churches stood but were ransacked, their symbols defamed and scorched where they stood. It all was placed in such a chaotic network of turmoil that the land was hard to navigate at best. We were relegated to what would have been back streets and the furthest reaches of the dominion. With any luck, I figured we should have skated by easy without any need to worry, yet that was wishful thinking.
Sliding through back lots and in the shadow of ruined architecture, littered with more of the buildings than the structures still standing were made of, we were shocked to find walls sprouting around us. In the blink of an eye, had we eyes to blink, we would have been startled to see the walls slam together and form a building right around us. However, the more alarming thing was how the room was filled with articles that would have been familiar if either Yiet or I were more used to the simulated cities. The walls were a sunflower yellow and lined with hardwood cupboards that matched those that sat under the granite counter-tops that were host to any number of kitchen appliances. There was a dinner table, stove, microwave oven, and a refrigerator that boasted more crayon drawings and magnets than it could fit food inside. The humdrum and commonplace kitchen that could belong to any domestic housewife became normalized quickly, what wasn’t so typical was what came next.
I looked down and found a physical form in place of what was otherwise a static cloud pulsing with twin life signatures. The dress we wore was the same shade as the walls but featured a flower print of what I could only vaguely recollect to be daisies. Our ensemble was complete with a snow-white apron, frills running down the side of it, however, marred by a splattering of crimson. It had taken only seconds for us to analyze the kitchen, the various details of it all, and ourselves before we had seen it all and rationalized it. The shock really came when we felt the hand gripping the back of our neck and turning us away from the drawer we had just been opening. Inside was the kitchen knife, but we were jerked away from the gleam of metal by rough hands that threw us into the table. The table toppled over, luckily not onto us, and the chairs scattered like bugs from beneath a rock. Turning around, trying to understand the situation as it was going, we found our attacker.
The white muscle shirt he wore was sweat-stained, making the contrast with his dark skin less jarring, the name tag sewn onto the right breast of his blue over shirt said ‘Marlow’, and his densely muscled upper body said our thin, frail physique stood no chance of overpowering him. This wasn’t what either of us had expected when stepping inside the domain of the Rageheads. We expected violence, destruction, stimulation of pain sensors, but not this queer scene of domestic violence. To think that it was even possible for one mind to construct such a vivid and realistic scene by themselves was an arresting notion. Yet, we didn’t have long to think about it, Marlow was reaching out for us once more, pure hatred in his eyes. Within, Yiet was panicking, trying to figure out what he could do to dissuade this assailant from continuing their attack. On the other hand, I had my own thoughts that I was quick to throw into motion.
Not too dissimilar from being within the mindscape Yiet had forged, I knew within this simulation an entity’s self could be molded and reshaped. It would imbalance my levels, which were already off after first encountering Yiet, but it could be mended. Letting all the miserable feelings I had been pulling on, cease production, I seized on rage and hate. As the dammed off emotions flowed into me, almost more coming than the limiter could track and control, my corporeal form began to morph. From what must have been a body drawn out by Yiet’s or my own feelings of weakness, our form became that of a behemoth. With both of our rages combined, Yiet following my lead as he noticed what was happening, we became a towering thing. The illusion of the kitchen was quaking and would fade soon if the Rage couldn’t keep focused on its upkeep. Marlow had clearly expected easy prey when trapping us and hadn’t considered seeing his own nature turned on him, now he was the one shrinking away.
The densely muscled facade the entity held was softening, the gut beginning to protrude, and tight pectorals round off. As this was setting in, the man rushed for the open drawer wherein sat the butcher’s knife. If he couldn’t dominate another in the form of his own strength, Marlow would do it with the aid of a tool. We were not fond of the idea of getting slashed and stabbed, even were it not to be real harm coming to us. All the same, we lunged at the man and pinned both of his arms to his sides, keeping him in place as we considered what to do next.
There wasn’t much time to think, our right hand roared with pain as we were forced to realize that Marlow had gotten the knife. Entirely aware of the insignificance of such a wound, the man had driven the point through our over-sized hand and into his own hip. Marlow screamed with rage and pain, yet despite what the injury should have done to him, his mass began to come back. Apparently, he thrived on this sort of thing, causing and taking pain so long as he could feel the power, knowing the destruction. I lifted him over my head and slammed him face-first into the open drawer, breaking it off the track and sending the contents skittering to the floor. Yiet was trying to get my mind for a moment, but I continued the assault, hefting Marlow again and bringing him down against the counter’s edge. As I lifted the limp body this time, Yiet pushed through, “Jynk, I’ve got an idea. I think if we go the opposite way around this, it might work.”
At the suggestion, I stopped, noting Marlow was now more muscled than he had been when we first saw him. With a lack of concern, I tossed him onto the bed of forks and knives that had been laid out by the spilt drawer. Leaving it to Yiet, I took the backseat now, coming along as nothing more than a watcher and perhaps a voice.
With alacrity, Yiet went to work, affecting all the guile and skill possible to soothe the Rage and possibly coerce them into a more malleable state. I didn’t dare speak, I only watched as we faded into the mindscape of Yiet, dragging with us Marlow. From a corner chair, I nodded to Yiet, returned to his pale, thin form, while Marlow was no longer the man we knew him to be. As a matter of fact, Marlow was no man at all, at least not when stimulating the right senses. The oriental woman that stood there was a far cry from what had attacked them in that simulated kitchen. She was young, her hair straight and black was cut almost boyishly short, and her build was anything but intimidating. I almost felt some humor in the idea of the brawny man beating us down being a pot-bellied girl, but I wasn’t in the mood for such things. Irritated, I glanced at Yiet, who gave a smug grin, then to Marlow or whatever the entity called itself, who stared at her feet, self-conscious and frightened.
I knew Yiet would make her comfortable and things more so than just at ease, but I had no concern for it. The way I had chose was better, we could have overpowered Marlow together rather than reduced him to this and seek to beguile the entity with pleasure. And as much as a surplus of leftover hate and rage would be after dealing with the man, the distraction of desire and pleasure would be far worse. It was almost as though Yiet had known this, known that perhaps at another time I could have been made a fiend like he was and so that’s why he enticed me. Offering this new entity over to me and giving the promise of a shared experience, Yiet was trying to buy me. Why the fiend was so active in trying to discourage me from my path after promising to join me, I could not say, but if I could deny the offer was another thing. Looking into those dark, pouty eyes at those soft round cheeks, and then going over her figure, I was made to fight with the limiter. In the end, Yiet had likely known I would be won over, and his way of conquering the situation would be taken. To say I enjoyed the endeavor to seduce our attacker would be telling more than I’d like to admit, but it wouldn’t be a lie either.