“Turn it on,” she said.
When he didn’t move, she cocked the gun. Even so, Marc hesitated, his hand over the knife switch at the heart of the sprawling machine.
“It’s not safe,” he said, trying not to whine.
“I know,” she replied. The raw silk in her weary voice turning to rusted steel. “That’s why I need it.” She laid down the gun, certain of his obedience, and began to unbutton her long black dress. It slithered off her angular, hungry curves to pool round her feet. Her stockings were the color of smoke. She wore nothing else. The sheen of her perspiration made her pale body glimmer in the moonlight. Her long burgundy bangs hid her eyes. “Turn it on, and open it up all the way.”
He had built it for her, with the weird old components she always seemed to find just when they were needed, and the yellowing circuit diagrams stamped PROJECT BIFROST: ABOVE TOP SECRET. Whenever he asked her about it, she had fucked him until he forgot his questions. But this morning, he had done some digging and found out just enough about what he had built that he tried to destroy it.
Thus, the gun.
She’d told him some of it, when she had to. She didn’t have to spell it out. She had to be an idiot or crazy, not to realize how far out of his league she was. When they’d met on a makers’ message board thread about teledildonics and orgone generators, he’d played along with what he was sure was a joke. Something that’ll make Sex and Drugs obsolete, was all she had to say. Meeting her in person was a shock. Her picture didn’t begin to do her justice.
Like most girls who dyed their hair a new color every week and covered themselves in tattoos, there was damage behind her intriguing façade, desperation and despair between the whirlwind binges of thrill seeking. She warned him she was “a bit of a nymphomaniac,” and there was a sleepy confession that she’d been to rehab, been committed, experimented on. He didn’t care about her past, any more than he cared if she really loved him, or what the hell a Tillinghast resonator was, until it was too late.
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