What came to me was a story fragment from my f/f Work in Progress, 'The Players Are the Thing'. In this story, a group of female gamers find their characters becoming more and more real. Instead of driving the girls crazy, the characters try to rescue them from themselves, by helping them with their lives. There's been much criticism of role-players and how absorbed they get in their imaginary worlds. It's true that they do, but I wanted to show how this absorption could a positive force as well as a negative one. Although Amberwyne isn't exactly giving Rhane much of a choice in this particular situation! :)
“Amber,” Rhane gasped, shuttering her eyes. She could see her character, standing on the edge of the ocean. Ginger locks of hair flew across her face, moving with the force of her mental attack. “Why are you doing this?”
She shut her eyes, tried to reach for another present in the deep box. They weren’t even hers, not exactly. It was a collection of wrapped boxes Beatrix brought home from the store, dumping them in front of Rhane.
“Go through these, when you have a chance.” Beatrix didn’t even bother to look at her. “One of them is your birthday present. The others we’ll find a use for, or sell.”
Zoe had been kind enough to help her sort through the packages, but her hands were tired. Her back ached. She needed to get up, to move around. Rhane wanted to finish opening them, when she could.
Only she’d been interrupted by a sharp, distracting muscial note, which trilled within her mind, making her stretch out her fingers, discarding the ribbon she’d been about to unlace.
“What is it?” Zoe asked. She paused in the middle of discarded wrapping, a box with a leather latex glove and several nobs depicted on the front. Rhane wasn’t even sure what it was.
“Amberwyne,” Rhane managed to gasp, rubbing her temples. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see the puzzled look of disbelief that crept over Zoe’s features. She was too used to seeing it on Beatrix’s.
“I’m more than just your character.” Amber half spoke, half sang, kicking up a foot to splash foam and water about the sand. “I’m part of you, Rhane. I express the things you don’t dare to…yet.” She pushed a lock of hair away from her face. “Why don’t you come to this beach yourself?”
Rhane opened her eyes to see Zoe’s green ones fixed upon her. She glanced from the presents to that searching gaze.
“What about Amberwyne?” Zoe reached out, almost touched her hand. The present slid out of her lap, but the other girl paid it no mind.
“Come here. Ask Zoe to come with you.” Amberwyne stretched her arms straight out and met Rhane’s eyes. How could a player character be so real? “You know you want to.”
“Talk about pushy,” Rhane muttered. “Not you,” she added, glancing at Zoe. “Amber, err, wants me to take a walk. With you. At the beach.” She attempted a feeble grin at her own comment, feeling freakish and exposed.
Zoe didn’t remark on the crazy. She just smiled and moved her fingers a little closer, so they touched Rhane’s.
“You’re lucky Amber thinks of these things.” A tiny, cornerwise smile twitched at Zoe’s mouth. She pushed the box aside and got to her feet, offering Rhane a hand. “Shall we go?”
Rhane stared at Zoe’s slim, brown fingers. She reached out to accept them, feeling some of the freakishness drain away.