Shared Burden

By Rotwang

Kyle restlessly shifted his hands over the steering wheel. He was running out of excuses to tell Mona. He knew she was suspicious of something. He had wanted to tell her a hundred times, but he chickened out a hundred times. He had shown her books and pictures but she told him they were "Okay." She didn't like the idea. And he didn't have the nerve to tell her. He felt guilty and angry at himself. He had rehearsed his speech a hundred times, but just when he confronted her and he saw her smile, he lost courage.

Where are you going mister ? This isn't the way to your work. Mona thought to herself. She'd rented a car and followed him out of their quiet suburb. No offices here, but a willing secretary promoting herself by lying on her back ?

He stopped at a house and she noticed other cars in the driveway. Was he dating the typing pool ?

The creep !

Kyle rang the door and went inside. Mona parked the car by the road and waited. She just stared coldly at the house and if looks could kill the house would've caught fire.

About an hour later she saw his car leaving. She wanted to follow him when she held her hand an inch above the gear lever.

She thought for a moment and got out of the car and walked up to the house.

Adjusting her clothes, she rang the door and a pretty young woman opened.

"Yes ?" She said standing there smiling gently at Mona.

Mona's gaze was set on disintegrate by now and the young woman recoiled, wiping the smile off her face in a disconcerted manner.

"I want to know what's going on here." She said bluntly.

"Well, this is a private club." The woman said composing herself. "But we are open to new members." She regretted saying that well-practiced line.

"I just want to know why my friend is interested more in this club than me."

"Well come on in, we'll show you."

"Am I blind ?" She said to herself stepping back in her car. "Why didn't he tell me ? I should've known, the books, the pictures ... It was so obvious !"

She felt angry and sad. Angry because he wouldn't tell her and sad ... because he wouldn't tell her.

It would've been hard on him, she thought for a moment, but then just as she wanted to open the door, she stopped.

She loved Kyle. Anytime now he would propose to her. And they could get married and have children ... She really wanted children. But she also wanted him.

She made an about-face and watched the house and sighed thoughtfully, leaning against the car.

I'll just have to commit myself. She thought and stepped back towards the house.

Kyle found nobody home. Her car was still there and all the lights were out. She'd left shortly after him. Was she onto him ? No the car was still there, she couldn't have followed him ...

He just fell into a chair and thought long and hard. About himself and about Mona, he loved her desperately, he wanted to marry her ... But he was afraid of himself, of his own dreams at night.

Deep down the voice told him to tell her straight away when she would return. No, not when she returned, but tomorrow with a bottle of her favorite wine and some flowers. But would she understand ? See beyond the flowers and the wine and would she appreciate ?

Kyle was so deep in his thoughts that he hardly heard the door open and Mona walk in.

"Where were you ?" They said simultaneously.

"I told you I was up to my neck in work because of this new project ... I'll probably won't have to stay late anymore."

Mona gave him a suspicious look.

"And where were you ?"

"I went ... to a friend of mine."

"Do I know him ?"

"It's a her and you don't."

For a second Kyle saw something in her eyes, she was onto something...

That night in bed, with their backs to each other, Kyle made a promise to himself. He'd go one last time and then he'd confess to Mona the next day.

"Hi there, back so soon ?" The reception girl said.

"Yeah, and probably for the last time." Kyle answered and took the key.

"You can't have the room before say, eight fifteen ?" The girl said.

A few drinks at the bar later, he went over to the cubicle and waited in the dressing area for a green light. It came after nearly five minutes of nervous waiting.

A nicely decorated room with a bed a large wall closet a small shop window and a striking mannequin. It was flesh-toned but had chrome articulations slightly recessed into its skin, topped with a blank face.

Kyle eyed her up while he reached for the remote control. He pressed the big "ON" and the mannequin jumped mechanically to attention.

"I know you're not supposed to answer me or something, but I want you to know ..." He paused.

"Heck, I don't even know if you're the same girl I always have or you're just another one in a series. I don't know you, except for your ... disguise and I just wanted to say that I'm quitting." He looked at her, knowing she couldn't even see him.

"I didn't have the nerve to tell my wife and there's not knowing what will happen when I tell her. But I'll tell her tomorrow, first thing. Or perhaps even tonight if I feel up to it."

"I'm just babbling here, is that okay with you ? Just nod or wave let me know you are listening ?"

The mannequin just waited.

"I know it's probably policy, but since it's my last day I might perhaps know something about you ?"

She remained a blank.

"Just ignore what I've said and let's play."

He went over to the wardrobe and looked at the clothes.

"You know, I've never even gone to the sex rooms, too expensive I guess." He said while listlessly going through the clothes hanging there.

"Do you actually enjoy being here ? Pretending to be ..." He looked back at the waiting mannequin. If one thing was sure, she had patience.

"Would you mind if we didn't do anything, just talk ?"

No response.

"Just sit down and ... be pretty I guess." He sat down on the bed and looked at her.

"Is that a new model ?" He asked. "I've never seen that design before."

He began nervously shaking his legs and looked at the silent mannequin.

"I've always had something for masked women and people pretending to be robots are in my opinion the best." He was running out of lines.

The mannequin just moved and mimed something.

Kyle looked and he saw that she was pointing at a small clasp.

He pressed it and the mask fell into his hands.

Inside was a face, tightly wrapped in plastic staring at him.

He gasped and got up to his feet, staring at her. "Oh God, I didn't know, I didn't want to ..."

She smiled and pushed him.

He fell backwards onto the bed and just stared up at the strange creature with a plastic and metal body and a human face.

She climbed onto the bed, towering above him.

Fear in his eyes, Kyle could only vaguely mumble.

"What was that ?" She raised her foot and put it down onto his chest, pushing hard.

"Speak up !" She said in an angry tone.

"I ... I ..." He couldn't say anything.

She crouched over him and grabbed his tie and jumped off the bed, pulling him to his feet.

"I'm so sorry..." He managed to say.

"AND THEN WHY ..." She clenched her teeth and pulled him up by the tie. "Didn't you tell me ?" Her tone became soft as velvet.

"You never told me you were onto something as kinky as this." She purred while showing off her body.

Kyle just remained speechless.

She let go of his tie and ran her plastic hands over her body, looking firmer than ever. She picked up the mask and slipped it back on.

Kyle just stood there like he was about to be subjected to a full body cavity search.

"Are we going to have some fun or what ?" The mannequin said before resuming its immobile pose.

Kyle blinked, remembered where he was, looked at Mona and prayed it wasn't a dream ...

"I've ordered a sex room for later, wait till you see me in gold !" She whispered in his ear.