Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future

-A Skeleton in Edison's Closet-

Part 3

"Wake up," Max demanded, for the nth time that hour, this time turning on every light in Edison's apartment.

"Max, turn the damned lights back off," Edison shouted. "I'm sleeping. Whatever it is you want to chat about will have to wait until morning."

Max began to flicker the lights and play several jarring noises.

Edison leapt to his feet in anger. "Fine. I'm up. Now why don't you tell me why it is you won't let me sleep tonight?"

"Do you know where Bryce is right now?"

"Oh for Heaven's sake, Max!" Edison snapped. "You woke me up to talk about Bryce's little tantrum? Look, if he's not in his studio he's probably gone to the vending level."

"He's in the Fringes," Max corrected him.

"The Fringes?!" Edison dropped the coffee pot he had been cleaning. Not noticing as it shattered, he ran to the set Max was on. "Tell Reg to bring him home now."

"He's not with Blank Reg," Max said, darkly.

"Oh God," Edison groaned. "Tell me he's not with Breughal and Mahler."

"I almost wish he was," Max said. "He's with your brother. The one you so conveniently forgot to tell everyone about."

"I don't have a brother," Edison said, firmly, feeling a bit queasy as he prayed inwardly that Bryce would be able to use his intellect to talk his way out of a potentially dangerous situation.

"The brother you don't have just raped Bryce," Max said, his eyes flared with anger.

Edison barely made it into the bathroom before his stomach gave up its contents.

"Actually, he raped him twice if you count that little incident you denied ever happened at Network 23," Max went on as Edison re-entered the room wiping his mouth.

"Where exactly does my brother have Bryce," Edison asked. "Show me."

Max knew that Edison just wanted to see a graphic of the Fringes and the location of the warehouse. But he wasn't going to let Edison off that easily. Instead, he showed him the mattress inside the warehouse where Addison was still holding onto Bryce, still half on top of him. Then, just to make sure that Edison got the full effect, he gave the reporter a close up shot of Bryce's face, which was a mask of pain, streaked with tears.

"Tell him help is coming," Edison said, as he put on his clothes. "And tell him I'm sorry."

Max relayed the message, quietly so he wouldn't wake Addison.

"I can't go, Max," Bryce told him, sadly. "I have to stay here to protect Mink and the others. If I leave, he'll hurt them instead. Tell Edison I forgive him for not warning me. But tell him I can't let other people get hurt."

"They won't get hurt, Bryce," Max told him. "I promise."

Max disappeared from the screen as Addison woke.

"Stop talking." he said, coldly. "If you want to use your mouth, I suggest you use it on me."

Bryce's stomach turned over as he recalled what the vile man had taught him over the past hour. But he did not refuse or hesitate. He gagged as he performed the hateful act, hating this man more and more with each passing moment of it. He wanted to bite, but knew better. He'd been warned that pain given would mean pain received.

Even if Edison was on his way, he'd never get there in time to stop punishment if Addison decided to dole it out.

Theora woke and glared at Edison as he appeared on her vu-phone screen.

"You're going to hate me," he warned.

Ten minutes later, Theora was storming into the control room and switching her monitor over from standby, bringing up the warehouse where Bryce was currently located. She pulled up an inside look, via Max, and clenched her fists enough for her palms to bleed as she watched Addison withdraw from Bryce's mouth and climb back on top of him.

Theora wanted to return to an exterior shot of the building, but her heart wouldn't let her. The protectiveness she'd always felt for her little brother Shawn when they were younger was now making itself known again, even more than ever. Turning away now, she felt, would be as bad as abandoning Bryce. She swallowed her tears, knowing that Bryce needed her to focus on leading Edison to where he was.

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