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Fiction

Sweet Dreams Are Made of You

The girl has no name. As often as internet forums try to dub one for her, nothing ever sticks. One week there will be a consensus for a name befitting a drowned girl, an agglomeration of classic and cult horror tropes of long-haired, white-dressed dead women, and soon after there is no trace of what it was. No one remembered. Any posts or recordings mentioning the postulated name will have blank spaces where that name should have been.

She is only the girl.

—from the Wiki post about Dream Your Game, Inc.

• • • •

The game is played in dreams. It’s called Vore, and it requires two people.

Find a partner. Bring your spouse or significant other. It’s best if there is a strong connection between you. Our studies show this enhances the experience.

You each determine what you want to feel: fear, excitement, sexual pleasure, oblivion.

You sign the release waivers and lie down, each of you in a separate capsule. Your biometrics will be monitored to ensure your safety in the simulation. All your data is private and will not be shared with other companies.

• • • •

Started by a small independent company that focused on VR (virtual reality) gaming, Dream Your Game, Inc. hit massive commercial success with the introduction of Vore.

It tapped into an unexpected cultural zeitgeist: a simulation in which each user—simultaneously, no matter how many people are using it at a time—are devoured by an unnamed young woman. It didn’t seem to matter whether the user was straight, gay, ace or other, nor did gender skew in any particular direction. Seemingly overnight, mobile “hubs” popped up all over the country like a chain coffee shop. Vore wasn’t downloadable: part of the experience was physically entering the hub, lying down in one of the sterilized, memory-foam-lined pods, and being connected via a soft diode-studded cap over the cranium. All hubs were ADA compliant and had assistive devices and ramps as needed.

Sessions lasted between fifteen and thirty minutes.

—from the Wiki post

• • • •

From the dictionary definition: vore is a combining form meaning “one that eats.”

From the urban dictionary: “vore” is described as a fetish in which one is eaten alive.

Vore: (capitalized) an interactive VR experience from Dream Your Game, Inc., in which an unnamed person, most commonly thought to be a young woman in a white dress with dark hair covering the face, consensually devours the player in unrealistic ways.

• • • •

The game begins:

There’s a girl with long hair, wet from drowning, and a white dress stained at the hem by mud. She smiles. You can’t see her face, but you know she smiles. “Do you want to play Vore?” she asks. “Do you want to play? Do you?”

This is the last chance for you to terminate the experience. If one of you says no, you’re woken up and given a refund. You will not be allowed to be partnered together in any future attempts to play.

Say yes.

She will gently eat your faces, pushing her mouth of vacuum into your skull cavity, sucking you clean until there’s just a ring of bone and hair at the back of your head. Don’t worry: you can still see.

It’s exhilarating, being eaten into facelessness. You are made anonymous, unburdened of all your shame and responsibility and social expectations.

She ties your bodies together with wire. She’s just begun.

“Pick a spot,” she says, holding up two wooden clothespins.

It’s not important where you choose: a nose (somehow there again), your pinkie finger, maybe a toe, a nipple, a love handle, a pinched buttock. Remember, there’s no shame here, so be as intimate as you want.

She marks the spot you each choose with her clothespins, then she cuts off or scoops out this flesh with her fingers and chews thoughtfully.

You shiver in unwinding satisfaction as her teeth masticate you, reduce you, and finally swallow you. It’s like a tiny reverse birth. Your pieces settle in her belly and mingle together, molecules intertwined. You’re always delicious.

She unties you, and the wire has mapped your flesh in new lines, constellations imprinted in metal on skin.

“Lie down,” she says, and of course you do.

She flattens you out, rolls you into a paper-thin facsimile of a body. There’s no pain, only soothing pressure: squishing, compression, the redistribution of mass. But then you are so light and airy and oh! Now she’s using a scissors to trim the unsightly edges of your shape. She nibbles the carvings, slurping down your excised waste. You’re warm in her throat: an undulating wave of pressure and release as she swallows you, and you feel every inch of yourself sliding inside her.

• • • •

Dream Your Game, Inc. has social media presences on all platforms, and the website (dreamyourgame.com) is routinely updated with new locations, news, FAQ, and updates to the customer loyalty program, Vore-yers.

There is currently no “single player” option. Based on the premise that two users can share a unique experience while also maintaining individual reactions, each Vore session must be run with two adult participants. No one under age eighteen is allowed.

—“Sweet Dreams Are Made of You,” a TIMES op-ed article on the phenomenon of Vore

• • • •

Who is the girl?

We designed her to be anonymous; a simulacrum for a universal experience.

She was not supposed to have a name, or a face, or a will.

She was a simulation.

She was just the girl.

• • • •

When you finish your session of Vore, you’re rejuvenated. It’s as if the crusted edges of exhaustion and stress and anxiety have been smoothed away. You feel whole. Alive. You recommend the game to your friends, and each referral gets you points to spend at your next session.

Yes, there are viral stories about people who, having once played Vore, try to mimic the game in physical reality. Stories of the carnage and horror that follows when there is only pain and not release. There are people who will always try something once.

We are not liable for these individuals’ actions, as stated in our TOS and the waiver all customers sign before beginning a game of Vore.

• • • •

Vore has swept the nation, garnering criticism from religious institutions to psychologists to local governmental jurisdictions. It also sparked millions of discussions on every social media platform. Hashtags #Vore and #Voregame trended for weeks. The Twitter account for the company, @dreamyourgame, hit six million followers within a month. Participants in Vore sessions were interviewed in local papers and on TV news, although the founders and technicians were never captured on camera or audio recording.

Despite protests against Dream Your Game, Inc., no legal action was ever finalized. Campaigns against Vore and the company’s thousands of “hubs”—trailer sized mobile clinics—fizzled before any repercussions could be enacted.

Local police departments claim that reports of dead bodies being found “eaten away,” with no sign of external violence, to be untrue. An undisclosed source, however, implied that more than seventy unexplained deaths have occurred in Madison, WI, where the hubs were first introduced.

University of Johnston’s Professor Dane Romberg, who teaches sociology, commented that Vore “Is like crude oil spilled into the water.” He continued: “It coats everything but is incredibly difficult to clean up, and it’s indifferent to humanity’s wishes to govern it.”

Professor Romberg would not comment if he had tried Vore.

—from the article “Sweet Dreams Are Made of You”

• • • •

You may file a complaint, or expound on your concerns, but understand that if you dream about the girl, if you dream about the game outside our facilities, there is nothing we can do. Some people find the experience so intoxicating they become addicted.

No, of course not you.

• • • •

A local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, voices a common sentiment with the national craze called Vore: “It’s like . . . you get out of Vore and you remember for, like, a few days and ride the buzz, but then it’s hard to think about it, you know? I don’t have the receipt on my credit account, man, and I can’t even remember which hub I went to. Yeah, I’d check my Vore-yer account, but I can’t remember my login info. It’s weird, man.”

For as prominent in our shared experience with this fad is, citizens have concerns about the long-term memory effects the game may have. Many people have reported that they are unable to recall where they played Vore.

At this time, we could find no information on the company that produces the game.

—from the 5pm local news hour, station KYWR

• • • •

The site you are looking for, dreamyourgame.com, cannot be found.

• • • •

A week passes, but you find yourself distracted at work, the university’s halls dull and drab, and you’re equally unsatisfied at home, itching and longing for something you can’t quite describe. What’s one more session? You’re not an addict.

You hold out. Students in your class have been absent. Several of your close friends aren’t returning texts or emails. Cars parked along your streets haven’t moved in days, even though your neighbors should be at work.

One more session of Vore will do you good. It will satiate that itch. Your wife will want to join you, of course, since she’s complained of being unable to sleep well. She’s irritable all the time. You haven’t heard from your kids in a week, but that’s hardly new. Juniors in college, the twins are sporadic at best when it comes to keeping in touch with you.

Just one more session, you decide. Except you can’t find the hubs anymore. The website is down. We deleted our social media profiles and we don’t answer the phones.

The panic is normal.

You’re not the only one who sees her.

• • • •

The user @dreamyourgame does not exist.

• • • •

The girl was never supposed to be real. We gave her power, but tempered her with rules. She was anonymous so users wouldn’t grow attached to her. Nameless so we couldn’t be sued by persons living or dead.

The girl was never supposed to be.

• • • •

You’ll never know that your twin children were some of the first to try Vore. They didn’t tell you. They thought you would disapprove or wouldn’t “get it.” That’s a shame; it would have given you a topic of interest to chat about over the inevitable, uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinner.

When you get a call from the Madison police two days from now, asking you to identify a pair of bodies, you won’t be able to answer. You will have fallen asleep.

• • • •

It’s not your fault. It’s ours. We gave her too much hunger; we gave her perpetually drowning looks and an appetite unsuited for waking times.

At first, we brushed off the reports that clients saw her in their homes. Wishful afterimages, our PR team assured us. If you find yourself needing another session, repeat customers get a discount.

But we were wrong to doubt your claims.

She is too hungry to keep confined.

Forgive us: we made her and shackled her with legal consent.

She will appear in your dreams, anywhere you sleep, and ask, “Do you want to play Vore?”

If you refuse, you will wake sweating and shaky. Go back to bed. She will still be there. She won’t leave until you say yes, but it must be your choice.

You will try sleeping pills and alcohol and exhaustion, but she will always be there.

If you say yes, she will do what she always has always done: she will eat you slow while you sleep. It doesn’t hurt. You won’t wake because of blood loss. It doesn’t hurt. Your wife will not have to discover your body, because your wife, too, is playing Vore.

You thought it would be cheaper than couples’ therapy, and you were right. Our rates are very reasonable per session.

We are exploring methods to stay awake. To drive our bodies to the limit of physical endurance. The rumors of suicides, those who don’t want to sleep, are unfounded.

It’s just a game. It’s just a game.

• • • •

Search results for “Dream Your Game, Inc.”: 0.

Search results for “Vore game”: 0.

Sorry, the Wiki topic “Dream Your Game, Inc.” doesn’t exist. Would you like to create it?

• • • •

If you say no, she will wait. She is not bound by singularity. She can be everywhere, with all of you. With all of us. You can try and find our buildings, but they will be empty. We are already inside her.

She ate us slow.

Refuse if you must. She will wait.

When you fall asleep, and you will, she will be there to ask:

Do you want to play Vore?

Do you want to play?

Do you?

Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

Merc Fenn Wolfmoor is a queer non-binary writer who lives in Minnesota and is a Nebula Awards finalist. Their stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Apex, Uncanny, Nightmare and several Year’s Best anthologies. You can find Merc on Twitter @Merc_Rustad or their website: mercfennwolfmoor.com. Their debut short story collection, So You Want To Be A Robot, was published by Lethe Press (May 2017).