Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future

-A Skeleton in Edison's Closet-

Part 2

"Damn it!" Bryce swore feeling the tears trickle down his face as he walked away from Network 23. "Damn Carter. How could he?"

He didn't care which way he went or where he ended up. He certainly wasn't going to go to his parents' house, wherever they were living. He wasn't about to tell them what had happened. This was, as far as he was concerned, the worst day of his life.

Not four miles away, in his own home, Edison Carter, the perceived reason for Bryce's worst day, sat on his bed and ignored the TV as it played an episode of Lumpy's Proletariat.

"Forget something?" Max asked as he appeared solely on Edison's screen.

"No," Edison said as he decided to go to bed.

"Are you sure?" Max inquired.

"Yes, I'm quite sure." Edison grumbled as he got into bed and hid his head under the pillow.

"So, no apologies are necessary then?"

"I've got nothing to apologize for." Edison said from under the pillow. "I don't know what Bryce's problem is, but I didn't do anything to him. So I've got nothing to say I'm sorry about."

"Really?" Max asked, darkly.

"Really. Now let me sleep." Edison grumbled.

Bryce's aimless running quickly took him into the Fringes. A genius at computers, Bryce had been sheltered from violence for most of his life. Except of course for what he saw on TV. He knew it existed, but had never really dealt with it head on. Except for nearly dying in a thermal testing chamber. And he was now in the most violent part of the city.

Addison Carter had lived on the westernmost border of the Fringes since his release from jail. Since no respectable people would hire him because of his past crimes, he made a meager living doing Edison Carter impersonations for people like Breughal and Mahler who held a grudge against Edison and were willing to shell out a few coins to see the great man ridiculed. He had so far not run into Blank Reg or Dominique at Big Time. There were people out there who would love to have his head on a pike, and he had no intention of advertising his location.

He was heading home after a rather good performance, in his mind anyhow, when he spotted the young man he'd seduced earlier that day. Deciding not to waste a good opportunity, he followed him for several minutes until he was close enough to grab his arm.

Bryce spun around in terror, fearing it might be someone like Breughal. His fear quickly turned to anger as he saw Addison, still believing him to be Edison.

"I'm not going back to Network 23," he said. "I'd rather take my chances out here than work with a jerk like you."

Addison pulled Bryce into a kiss, smirking as Bryce tried to wrestle out of his grip.

Bryce glared at Addison as he dragged him into a warehouse. The place had been fixed up into a meager home with a mattress on the floor for a bed and a few crates for furniture. A bin off to the side had the burned remnants of a trash inside and Bryce guessed it served as a makeshift stove for whomever was staying here. The only television set was a small one on one of the crates showing the easily ignored Lumpy's Proletariat.

Addison shoved Bryce onto the mattress. With a glare Bryce got to his feet and tried to slap him across the face. Addison grabbed his arm and held it firmly.

"You may have the respect of millions of people," Bryce said angrily, "but you lost mine tonight and you're not getting it back."

"I haven't had the respect of anyone for years," Addison said, watching as Bryce's eye widened in realization.

"You're..." Bryce said as he moved toward the door, not wanting to take his eyes off this man for an instant.

"Not Edison," Addison smiled. "Nope. And you're not leaving."

Bryce looked around for weapons and was relieved when he saw nothing.

"You've got nothing to keep me here, whoever you are."

"Addison Carter. Edison is my twin."

Bryce was furious. If this was Edison's twin, then Edison must've known it was he who had taken Bryce's virginity. Edison had known about the danger and had said nothing. When Bryce saw Edison again, that man was going have a lot to explain.

"As for keeping you here, your conscience will do that for me," Addison told him. "They let me out of jail when they should've kept me in. I took you because my sickness is still not cured, you see. I don't think it ever will be."

"Sickness?" Bryce asked, warily.

"Or perversion, if you will," Addison said, laughing coldly. "A young man like you is every perverts wet dream. Someone old enough to take legally and young enough to make me feel like I'm getting away with my favorite crime."

"Now I really want to leave," Bryce snarled.

"Go ahead," Addison offered. "Walk out that door. Of course once you're gone, I'll just go back to molesting and probably raping whatever young flesh I find out here in the Fringes. And it'll be your fault."

"No, it won't." Bryce shook his head.

"Yes it will," Addison told him. "Because you can stop their pain right now. All you have to do is give yourself to me. Stay here and let me have you whenever and however I want."

"You're crazy!" Bryce was at the door now, his hand on the knob.

Addison smiled. "It's your choice. Do I rape you and you alone? Or shall I take my sickness out on..."

Bryce couldn't bear to hear anymore. He thought of Mink and of the kids at Orville's school. Was this man sick enough to put his hands on them? Bile rose in this throat as he thought of the pain they would suffer if Addison went after them.

His hand fell away from the doorknob.

"You'll stay, then?" Addison smiled, evilly.

"As long as you keep your promise to not hurt anyone else," Bryce told him. "But I will always hate you."

"I will keep my promise as long as you hold up your end of the bargain," Addison said, eyeing the mattress. "I won't ask twice, so if you refuse anything, I will leave and come back with an alternate source of pleasure. And I will make you watch."

Bryce knew now that he would never leave. Even if Addison left to fetch his 'alternate source', he'd stay and wait, trying to work out a way to save whoever it was. Even though he knew he could never hope to overpower Addison.

Addison maneuvered Bryce over to the mattress, pulled him into another unwanted kiss, and undressed him as tears ran down Bryce's face.

On the little TV, Max Headroom wore an expression of rage.

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