Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Leading Lady By Charise de Becker

Luci-E supposed Mr. Stein had kept his promise to show her the world; she still wasn’t sure seeing the world consisted of this black-listed theatre in Paris’ underground circuit, but she hoped it was a start.

Adjusting her wig, she slathered on another, thick layer of rouge. The lighting in here was low and awful, but she wasn’t sure it was poor enough to cover up her ‘too flawless skin’.

Based on her performance tonight, she might be offered a position as a hostess; if she could convince the ‘buyer’ she was human enough.

Mr Stein, was pleased with her progress. He thought she was a quick study and a few programme modifications away from gaining a plethora of behavioural modifiers he hadn’t programmed, but she had simply ‘inferred’.

Part of her learning had been awareness of the darker paths of human development and evolution, including their quest to master Artificial Intelligence.

Paths that had led to her development, two decades ago, when human scientists had cloned embryos and then painfully fused them with robotics, to create a subservient race of cyborg.

Violent riots and outrage had shut those programmes down, but Luci-E now knew the quest for AI had just been driven underground, where (like her) the technology was for sale to the highest bidder.

Luci-E fidgeted with the sapphire choker around her neck, as exquisite as it was, it was just a symbol of her oppression. A tracking device and ‘hard controller’ that could deactivate her, at the whim of Mr. Stein.

‘Luci-E, my darling, ten minutes until show time. Don’t let me down.’

That was him calling through the metal door; she wondered if he ever suspected his little ‘experiment’ would be this successful.

She processed the image in the mirror. The smile was coy, her glances inviting, her beauty, she hoped, would be enough to distract from the vial she’d hidden between her pale breasts.

Lifting her heavy, maroon skirt she made her way up the wrought iron staircase.

The ‘buyer’ was slouched at an antique, wooden table lit only by an old fashioned, electric lamp.

Luci-E took confidently to the stage, curtseyed, glanced at Mr. Stein’s approving face and started to receipt in her measured, British accent ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom….’

It was one of Mr. Stein’s absolute favourites, and being the narcissists he was, he hadn’t stopped to consider his target audience, whose eyes were already glazing over, before she had reached the end of the opening paragraph.

Beckoning her closer, the ‘buyer’ admired her, before gesturing to pour them a drink.

Seamlessly crossing the room, Luci-E paused her recital to retrieve a more fitting excerpt.

Cautiously, with her back turned, she poured the contents of the vial into the two glasses and smothered it with whiskey.

Delivering their drinks, she delivered her final words ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done….’


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