Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future

-A Skeleton in Edison's Closet-

Part 5

Theora was sitting in a chair next to the hospital bed when Bryce woke at about three in the morning. She had adamantly refused to leave his side.

"It'll be awfully traumatic for him to wake up alone after all that's happened to him," she had pointed out.

"A nurse will..." one of the policewomen present at the scene had said as they packed up the evidence samples they had taken from Bryce.

"He needs a friend, not a stranger," had been Theora's last words on the subject.

"Theora?" Bryce said. "I guess I owe Edison an apology."

"No, you don't," Theora said. "He owes one to you."

"I can't go back to Network 23, you know," Bryce told her. "Not when Edison looks like..."

"You've got nowhere else to go,"

"Yes, I do," Bryce, looking out the window toward the Fringes."

"No," Theora shook her head. "You'd never survive out there. That place would see you dead within a day."

'I have already been violated,' Bryce thought to himself. 'And at the very threshold of death's door. So nothing worse can happen to me.'

Out loud him simply said. "Maybe you're right."

"Go back to sleep," Theora told him. "You've had a really rough day."

Bryce closed his eyes and pretended to fall back to sleep while in his mind he was planning a few changes.

"What do you mean he's gone?" Cheviot demanded when he'd gone to see Bryce the next afternoon.

"He checked himself out after Miss Jones went home," the doctor Cheviot was speaking to explained.

"You let a young man who was just raped leave this hospital on his own? Knowing that he has the street smarts of a child, even if he is a bloody genius." Cheviot snapped. "If he gets killed, I'm holding you personally responsible."

He stormed out and across the parking lot, getting into his car and slamming the door.

Gathering what little courage he had, Bryce knocked on the door of the grey van.

Breughal looked out the window and nudged the current Mahler.

"I think we got a suicide," Mahler chuckled. "Shall I..."

"No," Breughal shook his head.. "I don't think so. Something tells me we've got something interesting here. Let him in."

Mahler opened the back doors of the van and let Bryce inside.

"Awfully young to be out here by yourself, little one," Mahler said, threateningly. "Almost anything could happen."

"Been there, done that," Bryce said, simply. "I'm not going back to Network 23. I can't bear to look at Edison anymore. Not when he looks like that."

"So, you met Addison," Breughal said. "He used to entertain us. Until his recent demise."

"I'm glad he's gone," Bryce said. "But I know he's not the only one out there who's dangerous. That's why I need your help."

"You need us as bodyguards?" Breughal asked.

Bryce shook his head. "I don't want you to give me a fish," he said, recalling an old saying his grandmother had taught him when he was younger. "I want you to teach me to fish."

Breughal sized Bryce up in his mind, then smiled. "I think I might be able to do that. Now, the first thing we need to do is make you look the part. No matter how vicious you are, nobody on the street is going to take you seriously if you look like someone who works at a desk all day."

"Well, I can get a pair of jeans and..." Bryce began.

Breughal and Mahler shook their heads.

"That just makes you look like you're so poor you can't wait to die." Mahler explained.

"Don't worry, I know the perfect style for you," Breughal assured Bryce.

"He's got to be out there somewhere," Edison said, looking out the window of the Network 23 control room a few days later. "He can't be dead. I refuse to believe that."

"Reg and Dom have both looked, Edison," Theora said. "And they're still looking."

"What about your brother," Edison asked. "Maybe he..."

"I've been in touch with Shawn and Winnie. Neither of them have seen Bryce. I gave them his picture and Shawn's put it up at the restaurant. No word there either."

"People just don't vanish into thin air," Edison complained. "Not when I'm looking for them at any rate."

"If he's out there and he's still in one piece, we'll find him," Theora promised.

Murray joined them a moment later. "I just got out the phone with Cheviot. No go on the request for a hiatus. He wants you out in the field live and direct tonight."

"We don't even have a topic for tonight's show," Theora pointed out.

"He wants to Edison to cover the opening of the new Style Skate arena," Murray said. "Looks like some people decided to take the violence out of raking and just do a little trick-boarding. Apparently it's catching on in some parts."

"The human race will always have an inborn need to show off," Theora declared as she turned to set up for the night's broadcast.

A slim trick-boarder brushed past Edison and into the arena just short of an hour later. His hair was pale and spiked, except for a long white ponytail tipped with blood red. He was dressed in leathers and rags, his leather pants skin tight and handsomely complemented by the torn-styled t-shirt. Coiled around one leg, like a pet dragon, was a sleek black leather whip. A closer look revealed it was a cat-o-nine-tails. The boy didn't look like he belonged to the Fringes, but rather like the Fringes belonged to him.

Something about the youth tugged at Edison's mind, but the reporter was too busy checking his camera for broadcasting quality to pay too much attention.

Looking briefly back at Edison, Bryce found that the training he'd had with Breughal and Mahler over the past few days had buried the fear he once might have felt. For a brief moment, he considered revealing himself to his old friend. But it was too late to go back now. He'd gone through too much of a transformation over the past few days. Network 23's Research and Development lab was a place that no longer felt like home.

Eyes as red as a demon's narrowed as he turned back around and made his way inside.

Back                         Home                              Max Headroom Main Page

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

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