Larry sighed and shut the door behind him, closing out the flickering, eye-dagger light of the hallway fluorescents. He reminded himself to put in another maintenance request to get them fixed. Would that be the fifth? Sixth? It hardly mattered, he thought, flicking on the entryway light in his apartment and hanging his keys from the hook by the door. He’d probably end up fixing it himself at around ticket ten, going by previous experience.
“Home shit home,” he muttered with a wry smile as he kicked off his shoes and unknotted his tie. He headed into the kitchen for a beer, leaving the tie draped over what the management company’s brochure called the “bar,” really just a raised strip of kitchen counter behind the sink. The bottle opener was in its usual spot on the counter beside the fridge, amid a graveyard of its bent and twisted victims. He opened the refrigerator door and fished out a bottle from in between take-out boxes and incipient life-forms only questionably contained by Tupperware. Its top joined the others on the counter, followed by the opener.
Larry took a long swig and headed for the bedroom, planning to continue the novel he’d left on his nightstand. That’s odd, he thought. The door was closed. He could have sworn he’d left it open that morning. He felt the hair on his arms rise and found himself tightly gripping the condensation-streaked beer bottle. He shook his head and took a deep breath and put his hand on the doorknob, but still hesitated to turn it. “Idiot,” he said after a few more seconds of inaction. He swallowed, screwed up his courage, and flung the door open with such force that it rebounded off the doorstop and slammed shut in his face.
He stepped back, blinked, and after a short pause burst out in laughter. Goddammit, I’m going nuts, he thought as he opened the bedroom door again and walked in. He switched on the lights and started opening the top few buttons of his shirt so he could breathe easier. “Gotta get a cat or some…” his voice trailed off and his eyes bulged as he noticed the gleaming, jet-black figure standing in the corner.
Except for her glossy red lips and the pale skin immediately around her still-closed eyes, it seemed to Larry that every square inch of the interloper was covered with what looked like well-polished black latex. If the lipstick and the twin ponytails emerging from either side of the back of her head hadn’t been enough of a clue as to her sex, the way the outfit preternaturally hugged her melon-like breasts and flared hips would have.
“Wh-who are you?” Larry asked.
The strangely-attired woman didn’t answer. She didn’t move or blink, and after watching her chest for a moment, Larry realized that she wasn't even breathing. Bewildered, he crept closer. He saw that she was wearing a short under-bust corset distinguished from the surrounding material only by its edges and stiffening ribs. He sidled around her and was shocked to discover a thick grey cable running from the small of her back to an electrical outlet on the wall behind her.
He leaned in and studied her face. The hood followed every contour perfectly, and at first he thought it was just exceptionally tight and well-tailored. Then he looked closer and saw that the material didn’t lay atop the skin around her eyes and lips; the two surfaces were flush, with a barely perceptible seam between them. It wasn’t a hood at all, he realized with a start.
Questions were piling up in Larry’s head like cars in a freeway traffic accident, and in the absence of any guidance from his obstructed higher faculties the lower ones took over. He reached out and squeezed one of her rubber-coated breasts. There was just enough time to register the slick texture before she made a loud beeping noise, causing Larry to snatch his hand away like it had been scalded.
Myriad muffled hums and whirrs and chattering noises started up within the artificial woman’s body. They made a complex electro-mechanical symphony, rising and falling, starting, stopping, and starting again before finally quieting down. Larry thought it sounded like a half-dozen muffled printers running their start-up tests at once. He backed up a few steps.
She made a friendly chiming noise, her lips curved into a smile, and her eyelids snapped open, revealing irises that glowed softly with violet light. “Hi, handsome!” she said. Her voice was high and clear-sounding, and carried only the slightest hint of its artificial source.
Larry goggled. “Hi…”
She pursed her lips and looked pensively up and to the right. “Oh, battery’s full! Give me just a second.”
With the sound of carefully orchestrated servomechanisms, she reached behind herself and pulled the plug out of her back, letting it fall to the ground. Her motions were smooth but still robotic-seeming, Larry thought, like he could see the seams between each component movement her programming had strung together to get the hand to its destination.
“So who—what—are you, exactly? And what are you doing in my bedroom?” He took a long pull from his beer bottle and set it down on the dresser beside him.
The light in her eyes flickered. “I’m all yours.” She took one whirring step towards him.
Larry took a matching step back. “That’s nice, but who put you here? How did you get into my apartment?”
The flickering lasted longer this time. “I don’t know. All I know-” she took another step forward, “-is that I belong to you.”
Larry shook his head. “What’s your name?”
“I don’t have one yet. What do you want it to be?”
“You don’t even have a name!?"
“Would you like me to select one from memory? I am programmed with a list of 1,138 female names.”
“Go ahead,” Larry said.
Her eyes flashed. “My name is Gertrude,” she said proudly.
“Uhh, maybe let’s pick another.”
“My name is Ethel.”
“Is this a list of the most popular girl names in 1935? Pick another.”
“My name is Nivaeh.”
“Oh God, that’s even worse. Okay, I give up. How about… um… Erika,” he plucked from somewhere in his subconscious.
“My name is Erika,” she said, sounding precisely as pleased as she had been with the earlier names.
He sighed. “Nice to meet you, Erika, I’m Larry.”
“Mmm, Larry.” She drew the name out, caressing it with her voice. “Such a strong, masculine, sexy name.” Erika closed the last few steps between them and put her hand on his chest.
“Rea—oh, never mind.” The phrase ‘reality is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense’ drifted up from the depths of his memory. Before, he’d accepted it as truism; now he faced it as brute fact. He put his hands on Erika’s corseted waist. “Look, I don’t know what the fuck’s going on here. It looks like you don’t either. I could take you to the cops; they’d give me some funny looks and make me fill out a lot of paperwork, then turn you off, impound you, try to figure out who owned you. I’d never see you again. Or I could give in.” He took a deep breath and looked into her empty, violet eyes. “This is me giving in.” He drew her against him and kissed her deeply.
The kiss lingered; became many kisses. Erika sought his lips with no less heat than he sought hers. He explored her body with his hands: her firm, round bottom; her heavy breasts; the places where the edges of her inner structures could be felt through the padding under her rubber skin. Delving between her legs, he felt a discontinuity: the pretend-catsuit was crotchless, giving way to smooth silicone labia. He stroked between them with his fingers and a gush of lubricant answered the touch. Erika responded in kind, groping his erection through the front of his slacks.
Larry unzipped his pants and let the erection fall into Erika’s hand. She pressed it against the front of her body, catching the shaft between palm and pubic mound. He began rocking his hips, thrusting into the space she’d made, and she gripped him tighter, drawing forth bright beads of fluid that his motion smeared into streaks on the mirror finish of her abdomen.
“You seem ready to me,” she said.
Larry was confused when she abruptly let go and turned from him. Then she bent over his bed and arched her back with a growl of actuators, exposing the pale pink silicone of her sexual interface, and he understood. His clothes landed in a heap in the corner of the room.
He didn’t hesitate, spreading her with his thumbs before plunging inside, rocking her forward on the platforms of her built-in heels with his first thrust. For a moment he held there, at the deepest point, feeling her cool plastic thighs and calves against the front of his legs.
Erika turned her head, presenting a lustful sneer in profile. “Fuck me!”
Larry obeyed, but soon encountered trouble. His hands grew sweaty and he lost his grip on her sides. Switching to her shoulders barely helped so, frustrated, he dug his fingertips in under the top of her corset. The problem solved, he went at her with savage intensity, making up for lost time.
“Do you like fucking that tight little pussy?” Erika asked, “Does it feel good wrapped around your big, throbbing cock?” She pushed herself up slightly, shifting the angle of her body so that the bottom of Larry’s head was suddenly rubbing hard against a set of gentle ridges on the front wall of her pussy.
He groaned and forgot all about pacing himself. Muscles flexing, teeth clenched, he went all out—up until the moment the two corset panels he was holding onto ripped off in his hands. The force of his next thrust shoved Erika forward onto her face and sent Larry stumbling backward, still holding the two rubber rectangles.
Erika pushed herself back up and looked over one shoulder, the noises of her movement seeming louder than they had before. “Why’d you stop? That was just getting good.”
“Are you okay?” Larry asked, gesturing with the panels. Inside the opening left by their removal, he saw a complicated collection of wires, metal housings, and gleaming rods.
He saw her glossy lower lip catch the light as her mouth dropped open a few millimeters. Her eyes flickered intensely. “I felt a lot better with you inside me,” she said after a few seconds, and gave him a dentistry-advertisement grin.
Larry shrugged. He tossed the panels on the bed then looked worriedly at her exposed mechanisms. “Let’s try it standing.” He neither wanted his hand to accidentally slip inside if they continued the way they had been, nor did he want the bunched-up bed sheets pushed in if he tried doing her on her back.
“You can have me however you want,” Erika said. She stood up and came face to face with Larry, entering into another long kiss. She gently massaged the back of his neck with one hand while her other found his flagging erection and brought it back to fullness.
Larry squeezed her bottom with both hands before bringing her forward against his body. He lifted her onto his cock, finding her lighter than he expected, and tried to hold her in place while thrusting with his hips. She helped by wrapping her legs around him, but the slick material she was covered with kept sliding out of his grasp. Hanging between pleasure and frustration, he turned and pushed her back against his dresser for some extra support. It worked, and he started pounding her as intently as he had on the bed, shoving the dresser back against the wall and jouncing everything atop it.
Erika bared her teeth at him fiercely, “You’re so deep inside me; it feels so good! Don’t stop; don’t stop until you make me scream!”
Nearing climax, Larry was surprised to hear a crisp popping noise followed by a train of low buzzes and hisses. He opened his eyes and saw Erika’s blissful facial expression framed by a pall of smoke rising from behind her. He stopped, breathing heavily. “Is something wrong?”
Erika shook her head, “Everything’s perfect when you’re fucking me; it’s what I was made for.”
There was another pop, and another, illuminating the dresser with flashes of light, and the buzzing got louder. Increasingly attentive to his surroundings, Larry realized there was a liquid dripping from his hands where they gripped Erika’s rear. His eyes widened as he remembered the half-finished bottle of beer. He looked over Erika’s shoulder and saw it in its side, its contents spread in a gleaming pool that had run off the top of the dresser and down her back, right into the opening where the panels had been torn off.
“Fuck!” he cried.
“We already are,” Erika laughed.
Larry stepped back from the dresser and turned. “No, your back! We have to stop!”
Erika pouted. “Oh, but you were getting so close.”
“Get down and, and, I don’t know, I’ll go get some towels or something.”
“But I don’t want to stop yet,” she said, rocking herself to push him deeper inside her. There was a loud crackling noise and her legs suddenly tightened around Larry’s waist while every other part of her body went limp. She flopped back and her head hit the hardwood with a loud thump. “OhOhOhOhOhOh!” she stuttered, her eye-lights flickering erratically.
Larry pulled her up and heard something loosely rattle inside her lolling head. “Erika?”
There was another mechanical-sounding clatter in her chest, like when she’d started up, but this time it seemed to get hung up on a step, repeating it over and over until ending with an angry electrical buzzing that showed no sign of stopping. Erika suddenly picked her head up and looked Larry in the eyes. “It fe-fe-fe-feels so good,” she said in a badly distorted voice, grinding herself against him. “I don’t want you to stop—don’t want you to stop—don’t want you to stop-stop-stop,” she continued before smothering Larry’s mouth with a rough, clumsy kiss.
He broke away from the kiss for a moment, started to try to pry her off him again, to stop her, save her. Erika writhed against his body in response, glitchily begged him to cum inside her, to use her as she was meant to be used. He was stronger and effortlessly gained the upper hand against her uncoordinated resistance. Then he stopped. He listened to the ruinous cacophony coming from inside her body. He stared at the thick stream of smoke rising from where he’d torn away the barrier that shielded her delicate machinery.
“This is me giving in.”
Erika grinned. “I’m all yours,” she said, her lips giving shape to the words a second later than they left her electronic voicebox.
Larry pushed her back against the dresser, his hands gripping her upper arms, and began fucking her with single-minded focus. He paid no attention when smoke began to trickle upwards from her nostrils or when one of her heels dug momentarily into the back of his leg. His eyes closed, and his world contracted to the pounding impact of flesh on plastic, to the pleasure pulsing upwards into his body from where it met Erika’s. Groaning, he erupted into the tight warmth of her pussy with spurt after spurt of cum; not stopping his thrusts until it spilled in milky runnels down her glossy thighs.
He opened his eyes and saw Erika’s head tilted back and her face twitching strangely in the midst of her own orgasmic moan. The buzzing in her torso suddenly grew quieter and its pitch deepened. Larry’s eyes widened as he saw the plastic of her chest lose its sheen and sag inward, draping itself over the overheating mechanism inside. She didn’t seem to register his presence anymore, the damage to her systems had reduced her to little more than a twitching doll, still eagerly bouncing up and down on his now painfully sensitive cock. Her head swung back and forth and her voice crackled before starting to repeat the same looped half-second of digitized moaning, the lights in her eyes blinking on and off at random.
Larry pulled out of her and tried to set her down. To his surprise, Erika took to her feet and managed to stand, swaying in place as though she’d had too much to drink. Larry backed away, realizing only in its absence how much heat her chest had been radiating into him for the last few minutes.
He jumped at a shockingly loud bang from inside Erika’s back. Charred electronic components and unidentifiable bits of metal and plastic pelted the wall and dresser, and her eye-lights went completely out. A fist-sized gray box dropped out of her back, dangling from some wires, smoke seeping from a set of vents on its side. She slowly bent forward at the waist, finally tipping over onto her face before rolling stiffly to one side. The moan ceased repeating and slowly died away.
Larry stepped around the fallen doll until he could see inside her back. The compartment was a ruin of sooty circuitry and melted wiring, brightened by the occasional spark as another piece of electronics belatedly surrendered. He sighed heavily and sat down on the edge of his bed.
He was startled a few minutes later by a sharp, regular knocking at the door to his apartment…