‘Act of Kindness’ extract from ‘Is It Today?’ LIVE featuring Linnea Sage as Harriet-Jacqui Furl due out June 2020.

Dream, to Me

He feels lonely and unloved. Every night he surfs the internet in search of love. Will his dream come true? Or will he find despair?

He enters the shady world of Cinder:the sensational interactive loving site where you only have to send a sealed virtual kiss to encounter the love of your dreams. The website is full of human choices: reachable moments, sensational synthetic personalities, selections for him and her to choose from. Together with ominous black silhouettes of dead dates with names, ages, dates of death. Alone and vulnerable, he succumbs to temptation, views Gloria, but rejects her,

I’m really sorry, Gloria

She lowers her sad auburn head, barely managing to conceal her heartbreak, her utter isolation.

No problem

He visits Sophia and sends her a virtual kiss. To his delight, she sends him one back. They meet in ether, touch, feel each other’s love in virtual reality, tour infinity. He floats on her dead sea of love. It is night-time. The stars are shining bright in his head. He leaves his mews apartment, holding her beaming virtual face in the palm of his hand. He admires her, loves her, kisses her smiling face:

Happy, Sophia?

Mm, so glad you found me. Started to wonder if I’d make it through the night. Without your love. Then you found me. Please, don’t leave me to die like all the rest. I love you. I swear it!

Oh, and I love you, sweetness, you broke my chains of loneliness and set me free. I swear, I’ll never leave you. For as long as I shall live.

Come, walk with me!

They journey down the empty streets. Through deserted Theatreland.Gutters littered with detritus. Pavements strewn with litter, heaped against the closed theatre walls. Piccadilly Circus is empty, its gigantic hoardings black and silent. The subways, alleyways, and roads are sealed with walls of concrete, barriers to the dying world. The store doors are plastered with red signs:

Warning! Warning! If You Have the Virus, Go Home and Wait for Medical Assistance!

He breaks into a sweat. His bowels turn to jelly, he descends into panic. He flicks Sophia’s face into a safe (if safe still exists) hiding place, makes a call, and gets through to a busy-sounding medical advice centre in Hyderabad.

An Indian voice answers, ‘You’re through to Joseph at Virus Control, how can I help you?’

Shivering with dread, he asks about Sophia.

Joe asks if he can connect. He grants Joe unrestricted access to his palm. Joe shows him, visiting the web page,an extremely distressing still-shot of a dead Sophia. Lectures him, utilising his remote cursor, showing him the trackers, viruses, and malware that infected his PC. Offers to restore him, for £50,000, and future-protect him: £10,000. He reluctantly agrees.

Desperate, he re-enters the shady world of Cinder in search of Sophia. But all he can find is her black silhouette. Sophia’s dead face, name, age, and date of death. He falls to the ground. Dying of a broken heart.

Softly as I leave you.

He hears her call him as he awakes on a beautiful spring morning, laying still in a country churchyard. He meets her, flowing through him. In her ectoplasmic state.In their surreal virtual reality country churchyard. He holds Sophia’s radiant smiling face. They fall asleep and dream. They enter a different place. Her virtual-synthesized voice fades into a dark, shadowy, death:

You’re a dream to me.

Sophia by joelvalve at Unsplash