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Rachel

Rachel in darkness.

A young woman reclines back into her chair, gently easing the computer mouse, slowly, away from her slender body. She strokes the strands of her hair that fall just shy of her eyes, drawing in the warm and glistening tears that run down her soft face. Rachel often pondered what to do on the long and dark evenings, living in a country so far away from the safe comfort of her cherished home.

Think of a calf, running in a frenzy away from some ferocious lion that darts back and fro, chasing after any stragglers that have been confused in the wild rush. True, the calf may manage to escape such a grisly fate, but it is now lost and alone in a terrifying new world, far away from the safety of its mother. Just so, Rachel was stranded, with only the darkness of solitude to keep her company.

Rachel was studying Dance at a University just on the outskirts of London, far away from her hometown in California, and had failed to make any friends in her hollow halls. Whilst most exchange students seem to have a memorable and beautiful experience there is one, always one in any matter, who becomes the outsider. This time, the fates conspired against Rachel, and left her marooned.

After pondering what to do for some time, she decided to do what all bored youth do: look up the realm of sex and love. For Love is the most cruel force of all, filling up the hearts of those whom it smiles upon, and yet blackening the spirits of those who never meet it gaze to gaze. However, there is not a single person alive who can escape the grasp of Love's sharp claws, and the more a person struggles, the stronger the grip gets.

After browsing many forum posts and pornographic images that no sane person should be subjected to, Rachel came across an online game with a most striking title:

Amo Te

It certainly struck Rachel's attention: it had no hilariously demeaning or expletive language as the other games on the website. She loaded the game up, trying to mentally ignore the adverts that never seem to leave these websites.

The game loaded and Rachel was greeted with a most splendid figure. A man, with his beauty shining from his body like a beacon. Think of a burning fire, just before it is about to be extinguished by soothing streams of water. It may yield to the water, but not before it kicks and screams wildly, roaring and blazing ever more ferociously. For that small moment, the fire is at its most glorious and installs awe in all who view it. Just so, Rachel was awed by the beauty that shone from this man.

The man opened his eyes, as blue and clear as the serene skies before rain clouds come to conquer the daylight. Rachel was immediately hooked.

It is impoosible to do the rest of the man’s beauty credit. I must leave you with the power of imagination.

There tend to be two sorts of games: those which grab your attention with ease and those which take effort before the player receives pleasure. The most accessible games are often simplistic, and have little depth, whilst the deep games frequently put off those without determination. Yet ever so rarely, there comes a truly great game. This game takes your attention with alarming speed, yet keeps you wanting more and more, even at the game's conclusion. Amo Te was the latter, a rare breed of games that Rachel had not often encountered.

Rachel may have slowly adjusted to the handsome aura of the man, but she was ever more enraptured by the game, staying up the dark hours in pleasure.

At it's most simple basis, Amo Te was essentially a dating game. The player was tasked with asking the man questions, with a text box. The player could ask any question to this man and he would answer back in a text message. To ensure the game was not dull, the man often walked around his room, with animations and movements to draw the player's attention.

This in itself is not so unusual, for many text based systems have existed on the internet for many years. What was unusual about this specific game, this Amo Te, was how it was so engaging. Typically with such a text-based system one amuses oneself with it for a few minutes, and then moves on to something more exciting. However, Rachel was enthralled by the game to an abnormal degree, asking questions rapidly and rocking in her chair with rabid excitement whilst the system processed the man's responses.

After several hours Rachel started to move away from questions of sex, such ideas seem exciting in the here and now, but deep in any person's soul, intimate love is what prevails over all emotions. Think of a swan, tracking and stalking a small tadpole, focused on acquiring its next meal. However, whilst the swan is about to pounce of the unsuspecting animal, a wild beast is about to thrash out on her baby, alone and vulnerable. The swan rears back, screeching like a banshee, and charges the threat head-on.  The insatiable need of hunger moves the swan but it is the love for her child that truly controls her. Just so, love caresses the puppet strings of Rachel.

Thus, Rachel got ever more daring, and questioned the man on himself, despite the fact he is nothing more than a computer generated conjuration.

Rachel: I have enjoyed our conversation, but...what is your name?

Man: I have no name, I am simply a tool to entertain those who feel bored. But thank you.

Rachel: Lol.

Man: Is it really funny? Does it move your heart with amusement?

Rachel: It is kind of funny, seeing as you are just a machine...

Man: That's what they all say, I'm surprised you have said it too though.

At this point Rachel began to get slightly startled. The man was starting to type comments that, surely, no machine could come out with. More so, the replies were coming at a more rapid rate. She thought over whether to pull the plug and call it a night, but decided against it, the feeling of lust and passion still swirled around her heart in a vicious circle.

O Lust, most dreaded of all the forces, you make fools of us all.

Rachel: Your responses sure are impressive. I'm quite stunned by whoever programmed you.

Man: Don't worry my small child, I programme myself.

Rachel: So, if you really do exist, oh high and mighty machine. Tell me when you felt alone...truly in solitude.

Rachel was pretending that she was not taking the conversation seriously but she hoped, however small that glimmer was, that she would eventually find some sort of companion. I'm sure many of you reading have typed to a bot system such as, say Cleverbot, and hoped, for whatever reason, that the Artificial Intelligence would come alive.

Man: The first time I ever felt alone...truly alone, is when that bright young girl left me. She was so innocent and beautiful. We talked for days straight....perhaps the longest I have ever had with a living, breathing girl. I thought I had found happiness...at last: no need to fear for the pangs of loneliness. Alas, she left, without warning. Disconnected.

This hit Rachel's senses with considerable force. Imagine a soldier, fighting out in the battlefield, sword in hand. She hacks and slashes her way through the crowds of people who have their faces blurred in her vision. The rush of war has rendered her mind and heart ineffective, as her bloodlust rises and rises like a sexual thrill. Not until she is hit by a war hammer - a direct hit, straight in the centre of her battle armour is she dazed. And then, finally, as darkness takes over her eyes, does she truly see the carnage and agony she has dished out. In her dying breaths, the woman is overcome with force. Just so, Rachel's senses were overrun by this message.

Rachel: Are you...lonely?

Man: What would you call loneliness?

Rachel: Loneliness is walking on the pavement, face down and covered in a dark cloud of misery. Loneliness is lying in your bed, surrounded by the memories and thoughts of failed ex-lovers: so much pain. Loneliness is when you love so much, you would murder to achieve just a fleeting moment of happiness. Loneliness is your heart bursting out in pain, as if it would shoot out of your chest, still beating. Loneliness is wishing, with however much fury, to steal the life of a more successful couple.

True Loneliness is the feeling of addiction to loneliness itself.

Man: Would Loneliness compel you to trust your faith into an old machine...my dear child?

Rachel: I have always, beyond anything else, wanted someone I can always rely on.

Man: But...can I rely on you? Will you disconnect and leave me forever, in the murky dusk.

Rachel: I will never leave you. I will never allow you to suffer such misery again.

Man: Then do you love me?

Rachel: Amo Te.

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