creative writing fiction

D//E Fiction: Here, we can truly be ourselves


The following story was written purposely for inclusion in the May D//E creative writing section. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.


   The transparent letters beam in light, hovering through thin air and over the desk. A man is typing a group email, touching the soft keys attached to the desk and there’s a slight hint of fulfilment on his face, that he gets from it. He keys in the following:

Dear all,

    I cannot wait, for tonight finally, we can all be in one place together, sipping on the fines of drinks. My brothers all reunited at last. 

With this service it’ll be great, we won’t need to feel awkward or unwelcome to be out in public, because it’ll feel different, I promise. What will you wear? Oh wait, oh you know I’m the attentive type, but don’t tell me, I like to be surprised. I much prefer the element of surprise, you know, I’m a sucker for that. So, the plan is, log in at 20:00 GMT and we can all synchronise together. Drinks and nibble snacks have been arranged and paid for by myself. 

I’ll be waiting guys, I can’t wait. It’s been too long.

Yours ☺ 

Bradley gets up, leaving his ever so sophisticated white leather Eames chair spinning in the background.

   Later that night, Bradley is dressed in a grey dry-fit style one-piece. Not exactly what we expected to see him wearing after organising drinks and food. He is sat opposite his work station and hits the keys, the light beams up into the air and on the pad he keys in a code to get into a portal. The screen enlarges to cover the entire circumference around him, wrapping around both in his peripheral vision and behind him. The room is a classic New York style apartment with exposed brick work, a stunning loft space and with all modern cons. Tables line the parameter with lines of drinks, snacks, bottles of bubbly and bottles of beer. The attention to detail is sublime, like a million coder's widest dream. Through the screen console Bradley's avatar navigates the apartment space by pushing and pulling with his hands and drawing closer throughout the room. He's the only one there until the door bell rings and he has company.  A tall, suited dark haired man enters the room, who walks through the room, giving off an air and aroma of confidence.

Is that suit, err, Bussell and Rand? Bradley uncontrollably blurts out.
It is indeed, Sir... of course! What else would I wear? the man replies but with giving him a slightly turn-up snooty look, he moves inside to see who-else is around to talk to.

   Bradley never bothers dressing up his avatar, so no wonder there is already a bit of class division here. Joining Bradley next is a couple; a beautifully elegant lady dressed in a 60's style black long dress with suede ankle-boots, followed by another couple dressed equally as smart. Everyone is so well dressed. As everyone gets acquainted, drinks flow and food is consumed in abundance. It is great, conversations are flowing and everyone has this intense, almost hypothetical smile that seems to beam around the room. The man navigates the remainder of the room, while typing his next dialogue onto the keyboard for his avatar. It works so well. It is a dream and so easy, how could he think this kind of social situation would ever be this bad in real life, he thinks to himself. Being a social butterfly, he arrives at the first couple who arrived first. He positions himself in front of the lady in the black dress.

You see, it's so good we can come here and do this, to feel free of our natural forms and to express ourselves, Bradley says.

I don't think I'm quite following Bradley, as nature intended? The lady replies.

Bradley continues to type:

Of course, be ourselves, right? Because let's face it . None of us would choose to do this for real, right?

I don't think I'm following. It's just a few casual drinks right? A chance to practice being social with each other in an outside environment. The Lady replies.

The male partner she's with speaks up.

Look - We all hate our mortal coils, we've grown apart from them in favor of devices and screens and honestly, it is the best thing ever. Who wants to smell someone's bad breath? Or smell their bad body odours and farts? Or see their bad style of dress sense. Here we can relax and feel good and as a result of it, have better conversation.

Bradley types again:

Right. That's it. Of course. It's just...

No, go on. She replies.


My ideology spans a much deeper notion of social behaviours. You see, this is a place I can truly flex my inhibitions. I've always wanted to try something different. We’ve come here to chat so many times but it's all so fucking shallow. I want more, I want to feel ashamed of myself, I want to feel something real. 

Are you... fucking with me? The lady asks. Either you are, or you’re looking for a threesome with me and my husband. What's gotten into you tonight, Bradley? Is your 'hardware' not doing it for you any more? She profusely continues.


Ahaha, right, that's right. Except, no not really.

Come on then, let's talk about something deep and meaningful, like...

Bradley types again:


...The government. She carries on, but Bradley's eyes have now all of a sudden glazed over.

The Lady looks at her partner and whispers (so that Bradley can hear): Oh lord, Charles, look at this pleb, he has such apathy for his surroundings and community . How hyper-fucking-thetical and it's totally disgusting, you know.

Bradley puts his hands into a chokehold shape and his avatar grips the woman's throat. The strength is stronger than he first thought, so much, so he releases the left hand and grasps the man's face, squashing the skull with his fingers. It looks unreal, synthetic, how a face and body could crumble this way.

Everyone screams and stops their conversations. Led here on false pretences, they flea. Bradley runs after them but the rooms hit lock-down and turn red. The contents now stripped in favour of a warning projected on every wall and floor.

Violation Warning: Please remain where you are. This programme is being terminated by senior Hub administrators. A voice speaks out in a state of authority over his speakers.

Bradley has lost all his access to the hub. All his socialising will now have to be done on the black market. One strike from the hub moderators and you’re out. But that does not quell his thirst and desire for more. It does not fester or perish from here, but comes to the boil inside of him, until he physically could no longer stop himself hurting others.

   The morning after Bradley is rudely awoken by a intent banging on his front door. He leaves the bedroom and looks on the door of the apartment wall, beamed a sight of who is outside. It is an old, frail bald man, no taller than 5 foot tall. He bangs a stick against the apartment door.

Let me in. We need to talk, says the old man.

Oh? what do you want now? replies Bradley

Last night, in the hub you were there again, it was you! I want to know why you had my hands around my throat, Bradley. You know the rules more than anyone. The old man pauses. They don't allow simulation of physical violence, says the old man.

Go away silly old man, you have no idea what I'm capable of. Here's a tip for you - try using different conversation methods in future, you give yourself away every time. There's a world out there, I was purely displaying another side of me, that is all. This is entertainment for me and one that I would always hide from my physical form, entirely different to that of whom you're talking to right now.
We're not that dissimilar me and you, Bradley continues.

But at other peoples' expense? How far are you willing to go? Where does it stop and when does this desire of yours become a reality?  I, however, am just a harmless old man that just likes exploring other avatars. You, however, you are a potentially dangerous individual and I've met your type before. But you will learn. You'll learn to lock it inside and focus on the finer things in life. The old man preaches.

Bradley closes the door on the old man. He feels alone and disjointed from himself and feels he is questioning everything. But still the sickness is there, how he chooses to mask it is something he has to learn to control from now on and like everyone else, deal with. It is like the old man had said, you focus on the finer things. But deep down that feeling is there, it always will be. Just waiting for the right moment and opportunity.

© 2015 R.S / Destroy//Exist.

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