The Comedown (Escapism Part II)

Written by Sack

She opened her eyes. There was a dim light. Eyes closed. Eyes opened once again. Something was in front of her. Something familiar, although she wasn't quite sure what. Michelle shook her head in order to regain her sense of reality, a simple but nevertheless effective trick. It suddenly dawned on her that the opposing object was in fact the ceiling. A few moments later when her balance was regained she sat up and began making a more detailed assessment of the situation. The room was damp and uninviting, containing only a king-sized mattress for comfort. An attempt was made to move her right arm only to be restricted by a loosely tied bunch of wires leading to a set of pads. There was something disconcerting about this situation. She felt a distinct fear of the unknown. Michelle tried in vain to remember how she arrived at this point in time.

The time scale was distorted at best, but slowly she managed to coax her brain into releasing details into her consciousness so that they may be retrieved. An image of a bar swirled into being. The only object in her field of view that stood out was an outstretched hand containing a glass of some kind of alcohol, possibly a near-fatal home brewed variant of Absinthe. Quite how she ended up at an underground bar she couldn't imagine, or more likely didn't wish to. The other object being a male toasting her. Her facial features distorted into a pained grimace as the rest of the evenings events fell into place in her mind. A shady character in a leather coat swirled into being in her memory in possession of Cortex manipulation software, a software product with the capability of immersing a person in their fantasy. This technology was developed in a well-meaning manner for family entertainment but as with all software products there were variants developed outside the law with more devious applications.

A few more drinks slipped by. Arguments raged, haggling took place, more drinks found their way down the hatch, money changed hands and a box was exchanged. For the first time in this memory word entered her head.

'This'll do it for you, Jase', the leather jacketed stranger said in a hushed, mysterious manner.

The next scene in the movie running through her mind was a blurred montage of streetlights and headlamps, broken up by the occasional bout of insane laughter as her and the man she had come to identify as 'Jase' carried each other in a combined effort to his home. Home at last. More drinks, more laughter. An unsuccessful attempt to stand upright, more laughter.

Michelle hung her head low as the next part of the memory drifted into her dazed and distorted mind. She vividly remembered Jase carrying her into the bedroom, dropping her onto the makeshift bed and connecting her up as she protested pathetically.

'You'll thank me for this in the morning', was his only reply as he continued to secure the connections. Then he left the room excitedly.

What happened next was undeniably quite an experience. An electric surge passed through her body forcing her back to arch and a moan to escape her ill-controlled mouth. A whirl of colours surrounded her for a brief moment that felt like an eternity and then a pure uninterrupted nothingness. At this point the memory came to a definite finish. All the concentration in the world couldn't possibly retrieve any further events from her mind.

But this was enough. Her worst fears had been confirmed. She had behaved in what her upbringing taught her was an irresponsible manner. Would her fellow Cambridge graduate friends wish to associate with her after this? She thought not.

Curiosity kicked in once again. She had to know who this mysterious 'Jase' was. It took all her courage and strength to stand and walk into the next room and gaze upon him in absolute terror.

What she saw engraved itself on her subconscious never to be shaken for the rest of her life and managed to infiltrate her every nightmare. The enigmatic 'Jase' was lying against a ragged sofa covered in back issues of Penthouse, his blonde hair matted and disgusting with traces of vomit in it. His clothing was quite obviously unwashed and beneath the stains upon his T-shirt it was barely discernable that this was once a Nirvana shirt.

It occurred to Michelle that the honorable thing to do would be to talk about the experience with him but she failed to see the honor in cohabiting with an electronic junkie in a squat located in one of the less inviting areas of London. Jase stirred, groaning and this proved to be all that she could take. She turned screaming and ran down the hall and through the door without looking back.

This was to be the last Jason saw of Michelle.

- Sack/Digitalis (PC)/Sonic dreams (C64)