Topher Brink & Bennett Halverson

Topher Brink was on the verge of insanity; his ability to siphon reality from fantasy was quickly slipping through his fingers. His smiling face had turned into a sunken and sullen ghost of what it once was, dark circles underlining his opalescent eyes. He longed to wipe his memories but couldn't bear the thought of losing his sweet Bennett, even if the pain could be temporarily cured. His clothes were ragged and torn but he didn't care, what use was it to look nice? "The world imploding and I supplied the detonation." She walked slowly into the room, her soft curls dancing around her face as she laughed at him sitting in the corner. "You supplied the trigger, I gave them the bomb." Her white lab coat fluttered out behind her as she ran over to him, eyes sparkling. She pushed stray hair out of his face, "but it's for science… We don't ask questions about them or they come after us don't they?"

She was so real to him and yet he knew if he tried to pull her closer to hear that pitter patter heartbeat this beautiful creature before him would splinter away. Yet even with this devastating knowledge it was only a mental lapse, he thanked science and God for the ability to see and feel her near him again. It was the fits of delirium and shattered reality which allowed him to be with her… to touch her hair and feel her lips press against his in her shy passion. "I'm brilliant, but then again my brilliance… well it's quite frankly nothing compared to yours Bennett." She blushed, her cheeks turning that soft rose hue and she turned from him in full modesty. "Oh Topher." He stood up and turned her face to look into those beautiful brown eyes, the sweet auburn which haunted his dreams and waking thoughts. Why didn't you protect her? She should be here, now it's just a shadow… shadows of what could have been.

He reached for her and pulled her close, "Let's just do this some more, okay?" She pulled away from him, her head tilted slightly in thought and she shook her head, a small trickle of crimson started to drip from her forehead. Topher held back a sob of despair, the blood was back, it covered her face and coated his hands in a thick river. "Not yet Bennett, please… just a little bit longer?" She shook her head sadly and sunk to the floor, disappearing back into the depths of fantasy leaving him alone with his grief. He stared down at his clean hands, the shadows of her blood seemed to always be present but it was a minor comfort. "Silly Bennett, of course I won't wash you away." Her blood across his computer screen, splattered in grotesque art over his desk and clothes was a reminder she was there. She had been with him, touched him and kissed him… She was real.

"You are real Bennett, I know you are." Topher cried out and buried his face in his hands; the cruelty of life was unbearable. He envied the lucky rich bastards who could imprint their love into a doll and love them as completely as if they were the real girl. He couldn't do it. He had her imprint, he carried it with him obsessively, cradled it thinking maybe just to hear her voice… He shook his head violently, it would be wrong. It would be an abomination to hear her sweet voice and see her shy mannerisms reflected in a doll. He knew with a sinking feeling even if he were so bold as to imprint a doll to spend one last day it wouldn't be fulfilling, just another fantasy with improper visuals. He held the tech up and stared quietly at the hardware. "You would be a copy, a perfect copy at that… but still just a copy. I'll never have you back, my Bennett."

He tried desperately to do his work, but every line of code was a remnant of her smile and laugh. The coiled wires dangling from his computer reminded him of her soft curls and the way they had bounced as she ran around her lab happily playing with programming and tech. Even the blinking status lights served as a bittersweet reminder of the gleeful twinkle in her eyes as she gushed over his tech. Everyone had attempted to be supportive, but almost none of them understood the painful shard of pain which pierced his heart with every waking breath.

Except Echo, she had looked at him with deep empathy, the painful loss of Paul's feelings for her… Topher laughed out loud in his empty space, "Oh Bennett, it's not the same." It wasn't the same at all, Echo still had the ability to see Paul every day, a chance to rebuild the bridges of love and trust which he had removed in order to save Paul's life… What did Topher have? "I have the ability to recreate her personality and the deplorable emotion to prevent me from imprinting it." He couldn't even properly mourn her death by placing flowers on her grave because there was none, just stabbing memories and empty space where her warm presence should have been. He shut his eyes and the nightmarish loop of her beautiful brain splattering across his office repeated. "I should've left you alone… why did I bring you to the dollhouse?" Never together, in body or spirit… His eyes snapped open and a slow crazy smile spread across his hallowed features. "Maybe not in body or spirit, but my mind can have all of you."

Suddenly Topher stood up and walked calmly to the lab, it was as if there was a purpose which had been very cleanly imprinted into his mind. He typed in the commands on the computer and looked down at the chair, "how ironic… the programmer now commits himself to the program." He stuck her memory into the slot and waited for the computer to load, he heard the small click as the tech readied itself. He lowered himself into the chair, the slow decent into his reunion with Bennett felt as if it was taking a lifetime. Tears started to stream down the sides of his face, he knew with unshakeable certainty this would kill him… but to see her in her entirety for even the briefest of seconds. Topher smiled and leaned back, "I know every curve of your mind, and soon you'll know mine."

Echo banged on the doors, "NO TOPHER!" She desperately attempted to smash the windows in and get to him but her arms fell slightly as the blue light flashed around his head. She punched through a window, ignoring the pain, fumbling with the door handle to reach him. His body convulsed violently in the chair as the imprint attempted to meld with his present personality. Veins stood up through his skin, the blue lines pulsing as the imprint started to settle in his mind and the tears flowed faster as her memories danced a sad waltz in his mind. Echo fell into the lab and rushed to Topher as the chair straightened up and he tilted his head slightly, smiling that classically sociopathic Bennett grin. She took a wary step backwards and nervously asked, "… Bennett?" Her laugh came from him, a sad little twitter, "No, no Caroline, my little doll. It's bet—".

Suddenly Topher screamed and fell to the floor, seizures racking his body as his mouth started to foam and his hands clenched into tight fists. Echo fell to the floor next to him, holding him close, "Topher! Help! Somebody Help!" She rocked back and forth sobbing as he convulsed, her imprints lying dormant as she struggled to hold on to her friend. "You can fight it Topher, you can fight it!" Gradually his body stilled, the convulsions ceasing as quickly as they had begun, and he lay as calmly as a newly wiped doll in her arms. His innocent daydreaming smile spread slowly across his face and he seemed to be looking past her. "I did it, we're together again, Bennett… Did you miss me?" His body went limp and Echo stared down at the shell of the brilliant Topher Brink. She touched his face gently and bit her bottom lip, trying to stifle the tears. What bittersweet sacrifice, those around her found closure as she sunk further and further into loneliness. Paul managed to wipe their painful connection away now Topher was reunited with his Bennett. She wanted to be happy for them but could only cry over Topher's body as the depression weakened her spirit. She summed up her last ounce of conviction, held his hand gently and smiled down at him, "you're together forever now, Topher… Forever." It was as if Topher needed that last small bit of closure for the last breath which slipped from his body without a hint of pain or suffering was barely audible but Echo could swear it sounded like a final sigh of happiness.