The DarkLand


By Sandi Layne


“Yes! Oh….yessssss. Yes!  Yes!!!” 

Reece teased Kat, applying tongue and fingertips where they would bring the most prolonged, intense pleasure before bringing both Kat and himself to simultaneous fulfillment. He watched the electric sparks and impulses travel through the transparent amber connections at Kat’s temples, wrists, and carotid artery. 

The climax was stunning. Kat screamed how it had never been this good – ever, not in her whole life. 

Right, Reece thought, all eighteen years of it. “It never will be again,” he assured her, just before he pulled the connections from her mind and body. 

The suddenness of the withdrawals sent Kat into cardiac arrest, and she died while Reece was still getting his breath back. 

^ ^ ^ 

It had started because of the sex. 

The JAR Memcube had been perfected in the late Twentieth Century. Decades later, it had been streamlined, modified so that the immense storage capacity of the Memcube bit into a slender, smoky amber wand with the barest of striations at the ends for connectivity. 

While experimenting with this new form of economical storage, greater than any computer chip known to men on this world or either of the others that had been contacted, the scientists had discovered that – somehow – the wand could absorb actual pats of the human psyche. 

What a boon to the wealthy!  What a boon to the industrial giants, so that they could share what they knew before they forgot it. However, the Ethics Committee of the TriWorld Council had deemed that the use of the Memwand had to be approved by a majority of the Committee before it could be utilized. The expense made “astronomical” seem like a conservative measurement. The potential for misuse was even greater. 

Reece didn’t let ethics stop him. Any brilliant psychophysicist could construct a wand, if he knew the secrets. And Reece had paid well for the secrets. Because of the sex. 

^ ^ ^ 

Certain types of girls liked the restraints necessary for the Memwand to be utilized. Certain varieties of women enjoyed the pain that went along with the connection process. They got their thrills – sexual excitement and psychological highs – from the Bondage scene. From playing games. From the temporary exchange of power for a night’s pleasure. The Den was a place for such people, and Reece had become a regular client. Just to find these women. 

The problem, of course, was that the abrupt breaking of the connections to the slender storage of the Memwand did something to the women. He though it might be hormonal, or genetic. It had never, ever been mentioned in any of the studies done with the Memwand. 

The first girl, Annalee, had taken Reece to places he’d never been before. Without knowing it would destroy her, he’d severed the connections and moved to untie her from the bed. She had gasped and gone instantly pale, her life ending before he could regain his wits to try to help. 

Of course, it had been a matter of some urgency to destroy the body. The Memwand was a treasured, interplanetary property. If word had leaked out about a mere civ-scientist having possession of one, there could have been serious universal tension. 

Reece told himself it was for the greater good that he never told anyone about Annalee’s death. Especially when he made himself download her experience with him and relived her sexual gratification as well as his own. It was like a drug. An addiction. She had a file, titled “A,” on his personal download cache, called a dek. He had paid someone to create a security system that no one could break, and he had stored Annalee’s perfect pleasure. 

And laughed in guilty delight. 

The woman he had paid to create the security system had been Brennie, a counter-culture genius who refused to bend to the rules of society. This quality had brought her to The Den and, eventually, to Reece. That time, he had known the disconnection would kill her, and he had prepared himself. Her sexual psyche had gone into his dek and her corpse into the incinerator. No one had ever asked about her. Ever. 

The rush had consumed him by then, and Reece made a game out of going in alphabetical order. Annalee, Brennie, Crys, Dalyn… He remembered them all. He downloaded them into his dek and relived the sex whenever he felt the urge. Kat was only the latest in the line. Next month, perhaps, he’d go looking for L-somebody. 

Reece felt the heat filter into his room from the building’s system and smiled, goose bumps rising along his arms. There was Kat, warming him again. 

^ ^ ^ 

“Where am I?” 

“Here, in The Pen.”  The voice was bitter, but humor touched Kat’s consciousness. 

“The Den?” she asked. “Oh, stars, I met the most incredible man there, once.” 

Another voice floated through the unquestioned darkness. “Reece Jac. We know.”  But when Kat would have gushed to share the whole experience, yet another voice cut her off. 

“Forget the sex, Kat,” this new, hard voice advised her. “It’ll never happen again.” 

“You’re gone.” 

“He’s stolen you.” 

“He’s killed you.” 

“Packaged you up like perfume, Kitty-Kat.” 

Each new voice came from a different place, so that she had the impression of being in the center of a large group, but she couldn’t see anyone. Before she could give voice to her fright and bewilderment, the voices started in again. 

“You can’t see, Kat. Learn to adjust.” 

“We all had to.” 

“No eyes.” 

“No nerves.” 

“No body.” 

The statements flew at her, hitting her psyche like a barrage of sharp-edged pebbles. Kat flinched. 

Rather, she tried to. But she couldn’t. Her mind told her hands to shield her face, but – 

There were no rocks. There were no hands. There was no face

Her scream tried to pierce the darkness, but it couldn’t. Kat felt pressure, all at once, all around her, as if she were bound in liquid metal and shoved between all these other women. Yes, the voices were all female. 

“Where am I?” she whimpered. “Where am I?” 

“You’ve been downloaded,” the hard voice said. “I’m Brennie, but I wasn’t first.” 

“No, that was me,” Annalee said, and swore. “The man is insatiable. Be grateful, Kat. At least you’re not in here alone.” 

No fewer than ten others introduced themselves to Kat, with names ranging from Annalee to Jynna. Kat fainted. 

About the Author

In addition to writing historical stories, Sandi Layne is a published romance writer and weekly columnist.

She is also a freelance editor and proofreader for all sorts of written works, ranging from comic books to full-length novels.




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