Digital Dreams

[mc, mf, fd, bd, hm, sf]

((When I wrote this one, about 11 or 12 years ago, I was going through an experimentation phase, trying out some new things in my writing processes. This story is a bit edgier than my usual style, but I’ve written way darker pieces when the opportunity presented itself. Be careful with your dreams and… enjoy.))

A lot of stories could be told about the illustrious Professor Peter Bergman and whilst some of them would probably make you laugh, the one in this awkward little tale that took place two years ago, and is now seeing daylight for the first time, can hardly fit that profile.

Bergman was the classic case of a man ahead of his time, a renowned scholar and brilliant inventor driven by the insane will of clearing up all of the universe’s mysteries through the ways of science. He had been a nerd during high-school as well as through college and couldn’t live without studying: the subject of the study itself was unimportant just as long as he could keep his neuronal pathways working faster than the speed of light.

One thing curious about him was that he didn’t look like the “scientific type” at all. He was extremely tall and athletic, wore blotted jeans and drove a beautiful metallic green convertible that was the envy of many people. His eyes had never felt the need of hiding themselves behind a pair of thick glasses: at the age of forty-four, they were still sharp as an eagle’s, which was something out of ordinary if one considered the fact that a third of his life had been spent reading small printed letters on very large, difficult and utterly boring technical treatises, alongside with compendiums of all sorts.

His latest obsession involved inquiries on the problematic realm of dreams and the brain mechanisms that produced them. The main problem at hand was quite simple: since most brain activity was in fact a series of intertwined electric impulses, could it be possible to create a device capable of shaping the very fabric of those impulses, and adjust their frequency in order to control the creation of such vivid imageries? In other words, could it feasible to develop a really functional dream-generating machine, so that everyone, before going to bed, had the opportunity to select the most pleasing scenarios to dream of and live them accordingly, no longer subject to random flows of information that often changed into horrible nightmares?

Bergman truly believed in this possibility and because of that he had spent the last twenty months of his life building up the prototype of such a piece of equipment. In the process, he came up with a technique of translating words, images and situations into electric impulses that, once fed into a human brain, were regrouped and recombined to become real dream sequences.

When the machine was finally ready, he called it Dream-Spinner, as a sort of homage to spiders and their ingenious ways of bringing silky webs into existence. With it, he hoped to be able to attain a similar goal in the neurosciences and give birth to a mind-shattering revolution.

Dream-Spinner comprised of three interconnected components, each with a unique part to play in the grand scheme of things. The first was a small keyboard with a backlit LCD, the primary input mechanism. It was connected to a square-silvery box where a series of intricate relays converted the original data into differentiated electric pulses. In turn, these signals came out through a very special set of sensors.

All the subject had to do was to choose the main elements of the desired dream and transmit them to the keyboard, activate the conversion program and then place the sensors on the head when getting ready to sleep. Upon entering the REM state, the personalized impulses would be set in motion, thus making the fantastic dream scenario come alive. In theory, everything worked like a charm, but now had come the time to try it for real.

For that purpose, he had invited into his ‘laboratory’ (a charming name for an old, dusty basement…) a fellow teacher at the MIT that went by the name of Karen Morrow. She was an elegant Afro-American, ten years younger than him that always dressed in light colours and seemed to breathe more Physics and Astronomy than oxygen. She understood nothing of dreams or brainwaves but clearly enjoyed Bergman’s company and the unique extravaganzas that came out of his researches. Even before knowing all the details regarding the project, she had already accepted his invitation.

She was now looking at the machine for the first time as he explained to her the principles underlying the components and what was expected to happen. Bergman’s enthusiasm was his only, as she obviously thought it would all end up in a redundant failure: an invention that allowed people to choose their dreams had no place in the real world—it could only exist in a dream as well… Still, she smiled a lot, as if she actually believed that experiment of his would be successful in the end.

When the explanation was over, Professor Bergman said with a smile:

“Now, if you’ll be so kind to choose the elements of your dream… we can get this started in no time.”

Karen raised both her eyebrows at him.

“I thought you were the one who was going to test it first…”

“Someone has to keep an eye on the machine, Karen. Since I’m the one who invented it, it’s only natural that I should be the one operating it in case something goes wrong…”

“Did you have to say that? Now, my mind is beginning to imagine all sorts of atrocious things…”

“I was only kidding. I’m pretty sure my device is safe. Besides, you’re the one who keeps telling me that all of your dreams are boring and lifeless! This is your chance to try something new. Come on! Trust me on this one like you’ve did so many times in the past!”

“Okay, but promise me that at the least sign of trouble, you’ll pull the plug off the machine!”

“You’ve got yourself a deal, Miss Morrow.”

Karen approached the keyboard as she thought of what fantasy landscape to choose. It had to be something she really liked… something simple, that didn’t turn against her to give birth to a disaster of terrifying proportions. The input data was made of two words: walk and moon.

“So, our Physics teacher wants to experience the feeling of walking on the moon, eh? It’s a good choice for a preliminary test. Lie down on that silver table over there, if you please…”

She moved onto it silently, waving her lustrous skirt. Bergman pretended not to look at her legs and waited for her to adjust her bodily position so that she would feel comfortable during the whole process. Then, he approached her with a small syringe on his hands.

“What’s that for?” she asked a bit bewildered with it all. “You never mentioned needles!”

“Don’t worry. It’s just a mild drug so that you can sleep more easily. This way we can speed things up, if that’s okay with you…”

“I really don’t like needles, but… bring it on before I repent myself of this idea of being your private guinea-pig!”

“Okay… stretch out your left arm if you don’t mind… this won’t hurt a thing… all done!”

“Wow, you were right… I didn’t even feel the sting!”

“In a few moments, your mind will start to get a little hazy… and you’ll see things a little bit distorted. Don’t worry about it… just let go and everything will be fine…”

Karen’s vision became blurry all of a sudden. The principles of reality were put to the test, as solid objects began melting all around. Her eyes fluttered and she fell asleep.

* * *

Upon waking up, an hour had already passed. Bergman was practically breathing on her neck with a face that was all smiles. It was obvious he wanted to say something, but his eyes anticipated his mouth. The two big blue irises were already asking: “How did it go? Tell me everything!”

It came as a big shock to him when she said:

“I don’t think it worked!”

“What do you mean? Didn’t you dream you were walking on the moon just like you wanted to?”

Karen got up and gave him a stern look.

“No. To be honest, I don’t think I dreamt at all!”

After this sentence, he began babbling just like a mad scientist from a bad horror movie.

“But, but… that can’t be! The machine… I’m pretty sure my calculations are… I… you didn’t dream at all?!”

“Sorry, but no! Could it have something to do with that drug you gave me? Perhaps you administered the wrong dosage or something making my brain shut down…”

“The drug I gave you would never do something like that. It’s not a neural blocker; it just helps people to sleep!”

“Then I guess your machine isn’t working properly…” and just the thought of it made him shudder.

“Oh, but it will! It will work and when it does, it will be the greatest invention ever known to mankind! Mark my words, Karen! I’ll make it happen!”

“I hope so. I’ll leave you to your chores, then!”

“Why are you leaving so soon? Do you have a hot date or something?”

“What if I do? There’s more to life than just studying, you know?” she said already on her way to the door.

“Not for me. Right now, my mind is all wrapped up around this baby and I won’t rest until it works the way I planned.”

“Does that mean you’re not giving any more classes this semester? Your students will be disappointed.”

“I rather do that than disappoint myself. Thanks for everything, Karen. I’ll call you again when the problem is fixed.”

“Okay, Peter. See you soon!” Her heels tapped rhythmically as she proceeded up the basement stairs. A wooden door swung open and silence came about.

All alone, Professor Bergman looked at his creation. He knew he had to dismantle the machine to try out every connection and then reassemble it. Both tasks were arduous and pain-staking, a worthy test of patience and perseverance, but after so much work in the first place he sure wasn’t going to throw it all away. Opening up his toolbox, he began fighting his own demons, seeking to unfetter the long delayed success.

Unlike his most optimistic expectations, it took only ninety-six hours to put everything in order. He called Karen just like he said he would, but she was unavailable to assist him. When confronted with the possibility of having to wait yet another two days for her to have the time he required, Bergman decided that wasn’t an option.

Going against all normal proceedings on a scientific experiment, he tried the machine on his own without anyone else knowing and, needless to say, things went terribly wrong.

* * *

For his debut in the realm of user-chosen dreams, Bergman evoked a childhood fantasy of his that involved role-playing centred on sexual domination. Powerful women fascinated him beyond any other thing, and he had always wanted to know a real bitch, someone who could bring out the submissiveness in him… for a short period of time, that is.

Only two things stood in the way of his chimera: the first reason (and the most obvious one…) was the self-evidence that he was too shy to try it for real; the second was the amount of money one had to pay for a session with such a vixen. Not only it was too much but the prospect itself of having to pay to be humiliated didn’t feel right. At least, dreams were free.

His journey began on somewhat familiar grounds: his workplace. The corridors at MIT looked exactly the same. The scent of knowledge was everywhere, alongside with something new, a feeling of power protruding from the walls. He followed his usual path until he came across a large room, with an odd sign painted on the left side of the door that was clearly reminiscent of Dante’s view of Hell. It said:

“Abandon all will, all who enter here!”

By reading it out loud, his body tingled. Whatever would come out of that dream, it was waiting on the inside. He walked steadily into the room and the door immediately slammed behind him, without anyone ever touching it. It didn’t scare him a bit and so he proceeded to examine the contents of the room.

Too many trips to erotic domination and pornographic websites scattered on the Internet allowed him to recognize most of the material he found, such as an electrocution chair, sets of suspended chains, and a small cage where one had to squeeze in real tight in order to fit in. On a large table to the right there were countless whips, strap-ons, gas masks and a bizarre collection of medical instruments. He had undoubtedly entered a dominatrix’s chamber.

“Welcome, Peter Bergman” a voice said from an undetermined place in the dungeon. “I’ve been expecting you. We’re going to have so much fun together!”

“Who said that?”

“It was I, if course!” said the voice again, this time very close to him. He turned around and saw a leather-clad woman materializing in thin air. She was almost six feet tall, with long, flowing hazel hair, bottle-green eyes and taut breasts especially designed to tantalize men’s minds. Everything about her overwhelmed him immediately, but he particularly liked her black crotch-high boots, that caused a goofy smile to appear on his face. Nervously, he asked:

“And… who are you?”

“The woman you longed to meet!” She answered “The one who’s going to fulfil your most dark desires of discipline and submission. Wasn’t that the reason why you entered My room?”

“Hum… well… yes, but I don’t know exactly how…”

“…this works?” the dominatrix completed. “The sign at the entrance says it all. Those who enter my quarters do so in order to obey Me. In here, I dictate the rules and you follow them. Any sign of disrespect will be severely punished and when it comes to inflicting pain, my imagination has no boundaries. And guess what? You’re disrespecting me right now, you worm! Bow down before your Mistress, slave!”

Bergman felt a bit scared with the way she talked, for he had never encountered such a domineering figure before. Then, it hit him there was no reason to be afraid since he was only dreaming. Sure, she looked real enough but it was all a vivid form of hallucination produced by his cerebral cortex and enhanced by the sound stimuli emanating from Dream-Spinner. This sudden perception enabled him to loosen up so that he could enjoy his fantasy to the full without guilt, remorse, or any side-effects of a consciousness imbued with high moral standards. As he was about to bow down just as she instructed, she hit him with a cane (an object that wasn’t there a minute ago…) on his right ankle, making him fall to the ground.

“You weren’t fast enough, slave! When I tell you to do something, you must do it immediately to avoid My wrath! Is that clear?”

“Hmmm… I suppose so but shouldn’t we discuss some things first, like my limits and stuff? Oh… and a safety word? I know for a fact that’s customary to have a safety word…”

“Perhaps that’s the practice in some places but not in My dungeon!” answered the virtual dominatrix with a smirk “In here, nothing else matters but My will… Understood?

“Yes.” he mumbled, as he gazed upon her boots from his servile position.

“The correct way to address me is Yes, Mistress! Every time I issue a command this is what you will answer prior to carrying it. You are not to utter any more sounds, unless you’re instructed otherwise, or in the event of Me asking you a question! Don’t make Me repeat Myself or you’ll regret it for sure!”

“Yes, Mistress!”

“Good. Let us begin, then. You can start by taking off your shirt and your pants. After that, I want you to lie down on your stomach, arms and legs wide-spread. You are not to move as I enforce my discipline upon you!

“Yes, Mistress!”

Bergman was swift in the whole process and, less than half a minute later, he was flattened against the ground as he waited for something else to happen. The sound of her footsteps circling around him was intensely erotic.

Something cold touched his back. It was the cane with which she had made him fall to the ground. Driven by a powerful hand, the object came down swiftly on his upper ribs and then on his buttocks. The pain was as intense as unexpected and his body responded to it with two spasms that weren’t to the liking of the Mistress.

“I specifically told you not to move!” she shouted while preparing to hit him again. Bergman felt the need to say something, but he wasn’t going to ruin the mood, and so he did his best to remain perfectly still while the beating took place.

After another set of powerful blows, both intended to hurt his legs in order to prevent him from moving much, something stirred within his soul. He had asked for a dream revolving around the concepts of female domination, but he had hoped for something different. Perhaps he should have been more specific in his selection? Surely, there were things in the world of femdom far more pleasing than being transformed into a human rug and punching bag at the same time. He began wishing for the dream to end soon.

The Mistress stopped her discipline rituals and silence came upon him. Could it be that his prayers had been heard? He remained motionless for a couple of minutes before having the audacity to raise his head and look around. The surroundings hadn’t changed, but the woman was nowhere to be seen. Reaching for his clothes, he got up and proceeded to the door.

He opened it and instead of the MIT corridors he saw his very own house, and all the relays of his invention. A replica of himself – almost certainly his real persona – was lying asleep, dreaming what he was experiencing at the moment, thus creating an intricate paradox. He approached his duplicate, touched it and felt the warmth of a living body. Then, he shook it while saying:

“I want to wake up, now!”

There was a faint noise on his left, followed by an evil giggle. Next thing he knew, he was being hurdled across the room by an invisible force, falling on a pile of boxes that were full of his ill-attempted inventions. The Mistress appeared again, this time on top of him, with her legs firmly tight around his neck making it very hard for him to breathe. She seemed bigger than before and her voice was also heavier and much more dangerous.

“Wake up? This isn’t a dream, slave, but pure reality!” she said, evilly.

“No… this is not happening! He said, while trying to resist her powerful choke. “It’s a dream… a dream… you’re not real!”

She intensified her grip. Due to the intense force that was being exerted, Bergman’s skin gradually changed colour. With the interruption of the flow of oxygen, he was becoming blue and his panic-filled eyes were one step away of rolling out of their sockets.

“Ple…ase… st…op!” he gasped.

“Why should I? You ran away from Me instead of remaining on your proper place, willing for some more discipline! That’s not the way to act towards a powerful woman. You deserve every bit of pain I can inflict upon you…”


He fainted before finishing the sentence.

* * *

For a few moments, Bergman actually believed he was heading for the abyss of death. His consciousness was travelling lightly through strange dimensions where the laws of Physics didn’t seem to apply. He never saw a bright light at the end of a tunnel, but the feeling of weightlessness was there and all of his thoughts seemed to be dissolving from within as if the separation of body and soul was about to be consummated.

This set of sensations didn’t last long. He opened his eyes to realize that he was back at the dungeon, completely naked and suspended in mid-air, tied up to a big wooden plank with a series of braided ropes. The knots were fastened tight, limiting the blood flow on his wrists and ankles. The forced immobility made him feel vulnerable and there was nothing worse for him than that particular feeling. “It would have been better if I just died”, he thought.

The Mistress was sitting in a chair below him, observing her polished nails. A muffled scream of pain made her look up and smile deviously.

“Are you feeling comfortable up there, slave?” she mocked.

“No, Mistress! I’m not.”

“No? You were supposed to say yes, you know? You are to take pleasure in everything I do to you! You should also feel grateful right now because I’ve decided to give you another chance to become my properly trained man servant. Are you grateful?”

“Of course not! I have no reason to be grateful to a mere figment of my imagination… My brain will reject these so-called events sooner or later and I’ll wake up from this nightmare I’m stuck in. When that happens, you’ll be completely deleted!”

She shook her head disdainfully.

“I see you’re still clinging to your unfounded belief that this is a dream. Of all the slaves I’ve disciplined in my many years of experience, you’re the first to come up with an elaborate story like that. The only things that will be deleted around here are your ill-manners… I’m going to let you hang there until you tell Me you’re grateful for the opportunity of becoming My slave.”

Bergman couldn’t help but to be surprised. Not only he didn’t have any control on the course of the events – they seemed to be unfolding on their own – but his guts were telling him that the digital dominatrix was somehow becoming much more like a normal woman. He could clearly see her shadow reflected on the floor and it had never been there before. Tilting his head slightly so he could observe all of the details more carefully, he realized that all the objects around were looking more—how should he put it? – consistent and solid. The more he claimed that it was all a dream the less dreamy it felt… what could explain that phenomenon?

He rapidly conjured a theory, worthy to feature on one of those great sci-fi novels. Dream-Spinner had most certainly began to merge with his neuronal net, absorbing part of it and was now relocating the energy into the actual fabrication of that alternate reality… if by any chance he was right that meant two things: the first was obvious – he actually was a genius and mankind was sure to expect even more great things from him; the second was that the first affirmation would soon be rendered useless if he couldn’t escape his own dreamland. He had to submit again and look for a path to freedom within his humbleness.

“Please, let me out of here…” he begged.

“I haven’t heard the magic words, yet!”

“What are the magic words?”

“Haven’t you been paying attention? Tell me how much you’re indebted to Me for allowing you to continue in My presence… tell me you will never try to escape again and that nothing else matters to you than the excruciating need of surrendering yourself completely to Me… if you say those things and you’re honest about them, I’ll consider bringing you down so you can start worshipping Me the way you should have done in the first place!”

Bergman didn’t want to say any of the things she was so desperate to hear, but it was obvious there wasn’t much he could choose from. Swallowing his male pride for the sake of something greater – his very own survival –, he opened up his mind with this long speech:

“I feel very ashamed for acting in such a foolish way, Mistress. I guess I was afraid of your grandiosity when I first met You when I should have been filled with contentment for the opportunity of becoming one of your mindless and obedient sex toys. I have no words in me to express the utter repulse for my previous behaviour and so I bow myself, heart and soul, before Your infinite power and mercy. Allow me to come down so I can crawl at Your command and carry out the sole purpose of providing you pleasure! Please, let me demonstrate how good of a slave I can be, if guided by Your mighty hand and cruel training!”

The Mistress seemed to enjoy his verbal humiliation although he couldn’t actually tell if that would be enough to persuade her. Bergman was already rearranging another set of supplicating sentences when he felt her long fingernails reaching out for his legs, sliding silently until they touched the tip of his half-erect cock.

“All of this is Mine, isn’t it?” she asked. The erection grew, responding affirmatively to her touch.

“Yes, Mistress! All of it… I’m yours for life!”

“I don’t expect less of you.”

The contraption in which he was suspended descended with the touch of a button. Of course, it didn’t come down slowly as that would be unfitting of her attraction to pain. A sudden jerk of the ropes that held it caused a violent strain upon his whole body. He bit his tongue so he wouldn’t scream.

She was more cautious when it came to the time of releasing him from the plank itself but that didn’t mean for a second she was going to treat him easily all the time. He realized just that when her stern voice returned and a command was sharply delivered:

“On your knees!”

“Yes, Mistress!” he replied and fell to the ground.

“That’s better. I’m pleased with your rapid response.”

“Thank you, Mistress! How can I begin to show You my devotion?”

“Remaining as rigid as you are right are now is a good start. That is one of your priorities. Keep your dick ready to serve me at all times!”

“I will try, Mistress!”

She raised her voice once again.

“Don’t try… do it! If I see you wither in front of Me, you’re going to wish you were still suspended!”

“I understand, Mistress!”

“Get up and come with Me! Your first chore awaits you.”

He was led into another room, behind the main dungeon. It was a big, white dressing-room, the storage compartment for all of her sexy outfits. Bergman was privileged enough to see her change into an attire that was even more enticing than the one she had been wearing. It was a latex dress with a kind of cut that was meant to expose an overwhelming cleavage. Around the waist, she placed a tight-fastening belt with a crevice on the middle for the insertion of something, although at the time he couldn’t figure out what.

“This is so much better.” The woman declared. “Come along. We’re not done yet.”

Back at the dungeon, she presented to him half a dozen dildos, all of them specifically designed to fit the orifice in her belt. Promptly, she ordered:

“Choose the one you will suck!”

Needless to say, he was horrified to hear her say that. Still, sucking a plastic dick wasn’t as terrible as the prospect of other things that crossed his mind like having his skin lacerated by small hooks or suffering other forms of torture like electrocution therapy or a hot wax bath. All of the objects looked pretty much alike, varying mostly in size and thickness. He chose the medium-sized variant (the smaller one would probably offend her and the larger one was just too much for his mouth and throat…), and placed it respectfully on the belt.

“What are you waiting for, bitch? Suck it all the way!” she ordered.

Imagining he was about to eat a very delicious ice-cream, Bergman opened his mouth and began sucking. At first, he just slid the strap-on back and forth something which didn’t please her one bit. She wanted more excitement, as that was supposed to be a never-ending source of pleasure and so he started to nibble it, occasionally licking the tip in a hooker-like fashion. He didn’t object when she moved swiftly forward, allowing for the bulk of the object to melt with his taste buds and continued sucking deeply. At one time, he was faking it so well that one might actually believe he had been born with an appetence for cock-sucking.

Half an hour later, when he could no longer feel his gums and the surface of the dildo was positively sticky from saliva, he was relieved of his duties by a very frustrated Mistress. Apparently, and despite his best efforts, the outcome had been insufficient…

“I don’t feel you motivated enough for this! Something is going to have to change, and it better change soon!”

“I’m sorry, Mistress! I want to keep up with Your standards but I don’t know how…”

“That’s because you’re still too tight. You’re still thinking instead of letting go completely. I’m going to have to make your mind focus for real on the goal of serving Me and I think I have just the right way to do it… move on to that chair over there and sit with your hands behind your back!”

“Yes, Mistress!”

The chair she was referring to proudly stood on the eastern section of the room. As he approached it, he felt a cold wind blowing down his spine. Looking down he saw what appeared to be ripples of water spreading. The whole room was fluttering, meaning that Dream-Spinner’s connection to his brain was beginning to fade away, though he couldn’t ascertain why. Even so, the realization of it all made him positively radiant… Just a few more moments and he would wake up, ready to smash that piece of machinery out of existence.

He sat on the chair, almost smiling. The Mistress handcuffed him to the chair and sat on him. His dick could almost smell her vivid cunt waiting beneath the dress.

“Look at me!” She instructed.

Once again, he had no trouble complying. After all, he was winning. He was prepared for everything, except for what he saw.

Her eyes had doubled their size, compliment of a lighting effect produced by the special pair of contact lenses she had just put on. Two green orbs of power were unleashed upon him, beckoning his soul, immediately ensnaring his attention. Then, her wet pussy dived into his manliness. In a matter of seconds, he was inside her, vibrating like a small child getting ready to watch his favourite cartoons.

“Oh… this is…”

“Don’t say a word, slave! I’m going to take you on a very blissful journey. Just relax your mind and concentrate on Me… look into My eyes and just sink into them in the same way your cock is now sinking inside My body… feel the pleasure that derives from this simple, yet addictive action and prolong it in your thoughts… think how good this is, how wonderful it is to have your dick completely erect inside of Me… and how my big, green eyes, make this experience even better, drawing you completely… look at them and feel Me driving your body into utter quietness… complete happiness. Isn’t this just a perfect sensation? Don’t you want to live it again and again? Look into My eyes and you can… just plunge deep into My eyes…”

“I know what you’re trying to do…” he whispered.

“Good, then you know what you have to do to continue to feel this way. Look into My eyes… look into My eyes and forget everything else! Why bother with trifling matters, with the echoes of a dying world when all of paradise lies within My green, powerful eyes? Look at them… sink into them… the more you concentrate on them, the happier you’ll become… more and more drawn to Me… dutiful… helpless… a true slave…”

As he listened to her attempts of mesmerism, waves of energy began dispersing and parts of the scenario vanished before his eyes. The virtual world was collapsing, phasing out… just a few more seconds… just a few more seconds…

“… And you’ll sink into them forever. You know this is going to happen and you want it so. You want it badly… accept the power of My gaze over your mind, slave! Submit to Me… submit to me! You cannot resist Me, anymore… you want to give in completely to my hypnotic power…”

It was true. He was magnetized, entranced inside the living dream. Though reality was resurfacing all around, he was losing itself to the fantasy and in her eyes there was nothing except a perpetual flow of power and the promise of mindless obedience.

“As of this moment, you’re truly Mine!” she said. “You’re broken to My superior will and the last threads of your pathetic individuality are to be erased immediately…” she declared.

Bergman’s vacant eyes caught just a fleeting glimpse of a spiked, black collar. It had a silver tag attached to it with the number 1178 carved in it. Those four digits were to be his new identity the moment she placed the dominating object around his neck.

“Prepare to receive the ultimate proof of your surrender to Me!” he heard her say. Her hands caressed his hair, and he was acknowledged as his most recent piece of property.

“Hmmm… see how it fits you perfectly? Thank Me for showing you exactly who you were born to be, slave!”

His response only strengthened the trance state that had taken over his spirit, and the acknowledgement of inferiority turned out to be extremely liberating.

“Thank you for this honour. Number 1178 is at your service, Mistress!”

“I know you are…” she cooed as she released himself from his engorged sex, admiring yet another proof that she was indeed above all other creatures. As she released him from the handcuffs, she was certain that her dominion was absolute.

But she was wrong for the process of destruction of everything pertaining to that world was still active and it could no longer be stopped. Slave Bergman only had time to blink once before an explosion of blinding light enveloped her in a lethal cocoon. Her skin became translucent, signalling the ultimate demise. Her strong legs were the first thing to be devoured, then her torso and arms, followed by the outlines of her head. In horror, she gave out a loud shriek and the glow in her eyes was reduced to nothingness, dissolving from within…

* * *

On the exact same moment, Bergman woke up in his basement, naked and wearing a collar around his neck, strange fragments of a dreamscape that had almost become true. Apparently, his clothes had disappeared inside the alternate world…

After pinching himself twice in a row to check if he was really awake, he unplugged all of Dream-Spinner’s connections and threw the gizmo against the far-end wall, instantly breaking it in a series of wires and micro-components that would take a lifetime to be reassembled again.

When the destructive fury was gone, and to his astonishment, he saw Karen Morrow sitting on the staircase, covering her mouth with one hand, as if disguising a need to laugh out real loud.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, while looking for something to cover his exposed body.

“Well, I came by to tell you I had already dealt with all of my problems and that I was ready to assist you but apparently you decided to carry on the experiment without me. I rang the bell and found out that the front door was unlocked. That’s not very smart, you know? If I were a burglar, you would have been deprived of all of your precious little inventions… Anyway, I came down to this place and imagine how surprised I was when I found you lying there in that… let’s call it ‘strange condition’. You really have some awkward tastes, Peter!”

Bergman hid himself behind a computer screen, totally embarrassed by the predicament he was now in.

“This is not what you think, Karen! You were right, the test went terribly wrong! Luckily, I managed to get out of the dream I was having… You didn’t have anything to do it, did you?”

“Of course I did! When I saw the relays around your head, I shook you a zillion times but you didn’t wake up. So I cut the power source on the damn thing and there you are, back in the world of the living. Now, are you going to tell me exactly what happened or do I have to guess all of the sordid details?”

He scratched his forehead twice, averting eye contact.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea to tell you…”

“Don’t worry, I promise I won’t spread your fetishes around MIT. We’re friends, Peter, you can trust me with anything…”

“I know. It’s just…”

“Look, if you tell me what happened I’ll tell you some of my dirty secrets as well so you may have a bargaining chip. Do we have a deal?

“Sure. It’s a fair proposition. I’ll tell you everything, if you’ll just let me find something to dress…”

“Be my guest, although I have to admit you don’t look so bad wearing just that dog collar…” she replied, and then laughed once again.

Bergman stormed out, mortified but alive. He felt a bit hazy and there were some lingering leftovers of the virtual trance whirling in his thoughts that had him imagine what it would feel like to give up his control again, this time to a real person, one as caring and thoughtful as the beautiful Karen Morrow.

She went right behind him, eager to hear the whole story from start to finish and having some libidinous thoughts of her own. Neither of them looked back at the bits and bobs of what could have been mankind’s greatest achievement. They are still scattered around the dusty basement today, but the truth is they will never spin again….

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