-Chapter 24: Alone-

Bryce lay on the cot in the holding cell in the pitch blackness. It was still daylight outside, but there were no windows or lights of any kind in the room. Not any more. When his jailors had brought him into the room, they had removed the light bulb from the ceiling fixture and had removed the small TV from the wall, leaving him in total darkness.

He had noticed a spot where a window had once been and had fumbled to find it in the dark. When he'd located it, he'd placed his glasses on it and then had gone back to the bare cot to lie down.

He tried to solve a few simple mathematical equations in his head to calm himself, but it was no use. The only numbers he could think of now where the minutes that were passing so rapidly. Minutes leading to the end of his life. They always had been leading to that he supposed. But now that it was only hours away instead of years, they seemed to be ticking away much faster.

He thought of the few friends he'd made since joining Edison's team and regretted not being allowed to say goodbye to them before his execution. He'd never had such regrets before. When he'd left home for ACS at the age of ten, he had never called his parents or any of his friends, and there had been no regrets there. He didn't hate his parents. He had simply put his brain into a scientific mindset and had thought of nothing but his schooling and his job.

He thought of Jenny and Alison and hoped that they would become friends somehow. They had agreed with each other about how annoying he was, which he found amusingly confusing since they both professed to love him. That brought a sad smile to his lips for a moment, but only a moment. It was hard to keep it there knowing that he was about to die. He at least liked both of them, and he was certain now that he had loved Alison. If only he'd been found not guilty. He thought he might have gotten her out of Westford somehow. That maybe she might have proven a good assistant. That would've placed her in his studio alongside him. They might've gotten to know each other better over time. Then, who knows what might have happened. Maybe one day she might've consented to be his wife. That wasn't going to happen now, though, he realized. So it was best not to think about it. As he put it out of his mind, a stray thought crept in that if he'd had the chance to be a husband and maybe even a father one day, that Janine would've been a good name for a daughter. The tune of a song by that name, it was his mother's favorite as that was her name also, drifted into his mind. He tried to remember the name of the singer. David something. Bowie! Yes, that was it. His mother had been a fan of David Bowie in her youth because of that song. There was another she used to sing along to as well, one about an egotistical guitar player who annoyed the band he played with. But Bryce couldn't remember what the man was called now. Was it Andy? or Steve? No. That was Sweet. His dad's favorite band. It marveled him that he was remembering such things at this moment.

His mind drifted hazily for a while on no particular subject. When it became lucid again, he thought back to his remark about challenging God during the incident with Security Systems. He wondered if He played chess. Of course God could probably checkmate in two moves. Though He might drag the game out for the sake of entertainment. Bryce wondered how long He would let it go on for. He hoped that God wouldn't be like the Norse deity Odin and make him count all the stones in Wales or perform some other crazy burden like that as a punishment for what he had said.

His mind turned to Edison. He wished the man was there holding him as he had when he had been close to death in that thermal testing chamber. They'd tried to freeze the two of them to death at that time. Fortunately, some quick talking by Max Headroom had convinced the A7 artificial intelligence program to unlock the door and set them both free. He wasn't sure what he felt about Edison now. He had thought he was in love with the man for a few weeks after the events at Security Systems. But he had been too uncertain of himself to say anything. When Edison had gotten back with an old flame for a short while and it hadn't bothered him, he realized that what he had felt was probably just admiration and gratitude.

Now he almost wished he had died there and the in the arms of his best friend, rather than how he would probably die tomorrow, or was it today. He didn't know how much time had passed. Was it past midnight? Or had it only been less than an hour since he was put in this horrible room. How much more time did he have? The thought weighed heavily upon him as he closed his eyes. There was no point in leaving them open any longer.

Back                         Home                              Max Headroom Main Page                              Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!