I stopped writing for a while between 2008 and 2009.
When I got back into it, I re-read some of my previous work in search of inspiration and ended up writing this one as a result. I remember it took a while and I kept it hidden from public view for more than a year. This marks the final apparition of Rachel Gardner – so far – as the protagonist of one of my tales.
It was a late autumn day and Rachel Gardner, skilled enthraller of feeble minds was extremely displeased, having already passed the stage in which reason could do anything to calm her down. A black cloud enshrouded her more than special mesmerizing abilities and the culprit of such a bitter state of mind had been no other than one of her favorite hypno-pets, Senator Richard Jenkins.
He, who had fallen so easily under the magnitude of her diamond necklace and had served almost perfectly for so long – despite a certain unfortunate accident involving a police officer one day… – had simply disappeared off the face of the Earth and was no longer available to do her bidding whenever she saw fit.
Rachel believed that his mysterious absence had been partly motivated by his counseling sessions with a Dr. called Lester Harrison. He was a famous psychiatrist whose main clients were politicians from the most restricted circles of power. Harrison helped them to deal with middle-age crisis, nasty addictions, and certain kinds of phobias basically inducing altered states of conscience vulgarly known as hypnosis.
She knew he had hired his services because he wanted to quit smoking and didn’t have the necessary will-power to do it on his own. Had she really wanted it, Rachel could have erased his habit herself with just a few suggestions in his subdued mind but in truth she had no problem with the fact and so she allowed him to waste some of his money with someone else, confident that he would always remain unfettered by the glow of her beautiful rock, commonly known as “mind thief”. On that particular day, however, buoyancy was no longer on her side. It was time to pay the good doctor a visit to find out exactly what had happened.
Dr. Lester Harrison’s office was practically in the nerve center of the city, contained within a massive tower of glass and concrete that desperately wanted to touch the clouds. Rachel took the elevator to the twenty-fifth floor. She looked as beautiful as ever for a woman who was about to complete her fortieth spring with her red curls and penetrating gaze in shades of deep, dark blue, attracting attention wherever she went. That did good to her ego but, as mentioned before, her altered state of mind couldn’t care less for compliments at the time, unless they came wrapped up in a box with all the answers she wanted to obtain.
A surprise awaited her when she reached the designated floor. Behind the secretarial desk that was the mandatory stopping point for anyone who wanted to have a session with the good doctor, wasn’t a luscious young lady with big breasts but a short man with thick glasses, probably in his late twenties. He had the looks of a timid geek who never got a date for a school dance whilst growing up. The awkward look he gave her told Rachel immediately she made him feel uncomfortable.
“I bet he’s having an erection in his chair right now.” she thought as she moved towards him, the long furry coat partly blocking the varnished knee-high black boots she was wearing. If he indeed he was, he gave no visible sign of it at the time except perhaps the little trembling in his voice when he talked for the first time:
“C-can I help you?”
“I’m here to see Dr. Harrison.”
The professional tone came to his lips when he replied:
“Certainly. I presume you have an appointment.”
Rachel looked down at him.
“Your presumption is wrong.” she declared solemnly. “I don’t have an appointment, but nonetheless I need to see him right away!” and she slowly unbuttoned her coat, giving him the first glimpse of her dazzling diamond necklace.
He was impressed alright but for a different set of reasons. Not particularly fond of valuable trinkets, the young male – whose name was Joe, by the way – also didn’t like bossy people who thought they could bend the laws with a form of pseudo-authority disguised within their good looks It was a shame no one else was present to witness the moment when he raised his chin up high and said without fear:
“I’m afraid that without an appointment, Dr. Harrison doesn’t see anyone! Not even if you were the President of The United States!”
Rachel took her left hand into the necklace, making it spin slightly. A flash of light was projected onto the man’s glass lenses. He blinked once but the defiant attitude remained.
“And I’m afraid I didn’t get my message through the first time!” she frowned, turning the initial spin into a vibrant twirl underneath her polished fingernails. More and more specks of light reflected off its prismatic surface, irradiating a cold aura that was made of momentary glows and equally short-lived shadows. “If Dr. Harrison is in his office, I need to see him! I need to see him now!”
Joe didn’t know what he was observing, what sort of spectacle she was putting on with that astoundingly big jewel concentrating luminous energy like some sort of miniature power plant. As the diamond continued playing with the inner perceptions of his subconscious mind, he caught her big eyes fixated on him, instantly becoming a bit light-headed. Still, he pressed on denying her intentions, although a bit less enthusiastically.
“No… I’ve told you already that…”
“… that you adore the way my diamond seems to dance in front of you?” she intervened, picking up the sentence he had left incomplete and changing its meaning to be a suitable tool to entrance him. “I really don’t think you have, but somehow I feel it’s true. You DO love the way my diamond glimmers, don’t you? I can make it shine a lot more… Do you want to see it?”
She lowered her hand not before causing the diamond to revolve faster in its chain. The flickers did indeed become more intense, more beautiful, flecked sparks that congealed his thoughts one by one.
“Now that I have your full attention, I want you to listen to what I’m about to tell you. In a moment, I’m going to count backward from five to zero and when I reach zero you’re going to close your eyes and slip into a peaceful trance where things will work a little different between you and me. In this trance, you will AGREE to everything I tell you… you’ll OBEY every single command that comes out of my lips. It’s not something that you can stop from happening because my necklace has captivated you so much already and it keeps on doing so… Listen to the numbers and even more to the suggestions that follow each one of them: FIVE, your eyes are completely enthralled by the diamond reflections—you’ll see them flashing before you even if the stone stops moving; FOUR, the intensity of your gaze and the continuous moving shapes that fill your pupils right now are softly murmuring in unison: your eyelids are getting heavier, starting to sink…; THREE, tiredness is taking hold of your every muscle, especially the soft areas of skin around your ever-drooping eyes—this haziness is a good thing, a prelude into complete relaxation; TWO, more and more tired now, seeing less of your surroundings and more of the precious stone that envelops you within its mesmeric pulse… your eyelids drop down more than usual, so very hard to keep them open; ONE, you’re sleeping already… your mind is already asleep and ready for my voice to control the way it functions without questioning… if it weren’t for the need to listen to the last number, you would be carrying out my instructions right now… soon… very soon… see the diamond glowing one last time… let it be the last thing your free spirit apprehends…; ZERO, close your eyes and go inside, into a realm where everything is crystalline and pure, where I’m IN DIRECT CONTROL of everything you are. You can’t resist. You forfeited the right to resist when you first saw my necklace… there’s no other truth besides this one… Now, when I tell you to open your eyes, you’ll do so but remain in this wonderful state of obedience to me. Prepare to accept slavishly my will over your actions! OPEN YOUR EYES!”
Joe’s eyelids fluttered open yet everything else inside him remained locked in a vault of irrefutable hypnotic dominance.
“Is Dr. Harrison in his office right now, my slave?” she asked firmly.
“Yes, he is.” responded the enthralled puppet.
“Your Mistress wants to see him. Don’t tell him I’m here. Just stand up from behind that desk of yours and open the door for me! OBEY!”
Joe got up, contented in his role as her new hypno-servant, opened the office door wide and bowed as she waltzed in.
“You can leave us now. Close the door behind you and don’t let anyone else disturb us! Go sit in your chair and wait for my next instructions…” she whispered.
“Yes, Mistress.” he retorted, almost inaudibly before creeping away in accordance to her desires.
Lester Harrison raised his eyes from the engrossing compendium he was reading, surprised by seeing Joe opening the door—after he had specifically told him he wasn’t receiving anyone that day…—and looking so submissive towards that gorgeous woman. The only reason he had given him the job was because he was his wife’s nephew but, after that enormous proof of disrespect, he was sure to get the boot.
He analyzed the visitor in silence as the door was being closed behind her and almost instantly realized who she was. Her traits matched the physical description given to him by Senator Richard Jenkins when, in the midst of a normal hypnosis session to cure his nicotine addiction, he suddenly remembered a power that compelled him to do things he wouldn’t normally do if he was in complete control of his mental faculties. That power was held by a woman with a diamond necklace.
The first time this happened Lester took no notice of it, thinking he was allowing for some of his dreams and fantasies to permeate the light trance barrier, infecting it and compromising the whole session. Unfortunately, his panic repeated itself over and over again, getting stronger each time he was put under by his words or the ticking of the metronome he enjoyed using so much, which eventually led him to believe that he was in the face of something that was real. Someone had been playing with his brain using hypnosis.
Using more advanced techniques in the subsequent meetings, he was able to calm down the Senator and help him deal with the problem of having been reprogrammed to execute actions that were beyond his normal nature. By sending him to a retreat outside the country where he could recuperate part of his mental discipline he was hoping to then be able to have him tell the name of the individual responsible, something which he had failed to do so, no matter how much he tried.
But now she had appeared in his office, with strange charms. What could she want and how dangerous could things get if indeed she knew how to make use of the arts of manipulating one’s mind? He did two things before addressing her with a question: firstly, he pressed a button underneath his desk, which was in fact connected to a silent alarm; secondly, he put the metronome to work for if mind tricks were to be played, he wanted to have a word in them as well…
“Who are you? I believe we’ve never met before, have we?”
“As a matter of fact, we haven’t, Dr. Harrison. My name is Rachel Gardner and I’m here to talk to you about one of your patients, Senator Richard Jenkins, as well as the contents of the sessions he had with you before vanishing out of sight…” she retorted unbuttoning the coat all the way down. He saw her gray cashmere sweater, the tight quasi-masculine pants that suited her curves perfectly and the glossy looking boots but the size and shape of the diamond necklace wrapped around her neck surpassed it all.
“It’s nice to make your acquaintance, Mrs. Gardner (or is still Miss?), but as I’m sure you’re aware there’s a little something called doctor/patient confidentiality that prevents me from saying anything about what transpired in the moments he was inside this room.”
“Please, don’t use words like ‘confidentiality’, ‘secrecy’ or anything of the sort on me, Dr. Harrison. I’m not really in the mood for big words or a big conversation for that matter, right now. I have a slight suspicion in my mind that somehow Dick told you a few things about me during your hypnosis sessions… do you confirm this or not?” she said as she strolled around the office, getting ready to make the diamond operate again if need be.
“I don’t confirm anything… Like I said, I don’t talk about the matters I discuss with the patients under my care.”
Rachel sighed out loud. Oh, why did all men have to be so darn stubborn? All she wanted was some information. Of course, she was going to drain his mind after he told her everything she wanted to hear but the more he cooperated before she turned him into a mindless toy the better the chances of letting him carry on with his life once all of his remembrances were wiped clean! She tried to show him just this:
“Dr. Harrison… that’s not the kind of answer I was hoping to hear. You seem like a reasonably intelligent man and no doubt you saw the way your secretary – who has a male secretary anyway? – acted just a few minutes ago in my presence… I can have you act the same meek way or even worse unless you confess every little detail of your sessions with the Senator! I’m not kidding and if you don’t believe me, you definitely should!”
Lester talked low, his words coinciding with the beats of the metronome.
“I can’t do that and if you’re suggesting you can cloud my judgment in some twisted manner you seem to forget I’m a professional therapist. I’m well trained in the recognition of hypnotic inductions, even those camouflaged within ordinary phrases as well as every known method to distract the subject’s attention to slip in a few suggestions thereafter. I’m also capable of resisting anyone who tries to use those very same procedures against me. My nephew Joe, however, doesn’t have such practice and that’s why it seems you managed to convince him you were his boss or something…”
“Not boss. His Mistress!” she revealed.
“Mistress?! That’s quite a curious word!”
“There’s nothing curious about the truth… I’m really getting tired of this nonsense chit-chat! It’s time we settle things my way…” she moved her right hand to the necklace getting ready to make the diamond spin once again.
Lester was quick to react. Anticipating the danger as only a trained professional could do, he turned on his desk lamp, shining its white radiant light onto Rachel’s eyes. She blinked repeatedly as her fury intensified. When she moved to the side trying to escape the blinding spectrum, Lester continued fencing with the beam, always making sure never to look straight into the whirling rock. This diversion lasted long enough for the security guards to arrive at the scene… there were sounds of protest from the entranced Joe but he was as weak of body as of mind and couldn’t do a thing to stop the brawny men in dark-brown outfits from kicking the office door open in response to the soundless alarm. The two of them knew Dr. Harrison for quite some time and were aware that he wasn’t a person to fool around with serious things… if he had specifically called them in, then something was definitely going on and they would do anything humanly possible to stop it.
“What seems to be the problem, Dr. Harrison?” asked one of the guards, a man with a heavy Bronx accent that seemed to be upset even when he was indeed smiling.
“Gentlemen, I beg you to escort the lady to the exit. She’s been harassing me in more ways than one and, to simply put it, I’ve run out of patience.”
Rachel’s eyes flashed fiercely in response. The two men were already next to her, the silent one pointing to the door.
“This isn’t over, Dr. Harrison.” she vociferated. “Mark my words! You’re going to regret this!”
“I don’t respond well to threats, but we’ll see who’s going to regret things in the end….” said the good doctor, his confidence levels rising to its utmost peak now that she was on her way out. Dismissing her with an abrupt gesture for he was the sole Master of his thoughts and actions, he picked up the phone ready to call some of his most influential friends in the Police Department when it suddenly hit him that something else needed to be taken care first. He got up from his desk and stopped the security guards in their tracks and confronted Rachel with a stern look on his face.
“Just wait a second! You need to undo the little mind game you played with my nephew before going anywhere…”
“If you’re indeed a good professional, undo it yourself!” was what she answered, each syllable carrying within a concoction of spite and hatred. One of the guards placed his hand above her left shoulder only to receive a blatantly fierce slap on his face as if he was a schoolboy who had just committed a most serious offense. “Get your hands off me!”
“You’ll be getting a visit from the proper authorities very soon, Mrs. Gardner!” charged Lester though it was obvious she didn’t actually believe he could pose any threat to her.
Sitting on his chair just like he had been instructed to, Joe’s mesmerized eyes watched his Mistress’ hips sway graciously. The right and left hemisphere of his once independent brain remained in a state similar to the one of suspended animation, wanting only to register a new command that would make his life seem a lot more meaningful. She offered him no words of her bewitching voice but acknowledged him there by waving her right hand and then letting it fall to the side heavily. To the surprise of his uncle, Joe’s diminished mental capabilities understood the gesture as an order of obeisance and he knelt down behind his desk as she walked into the elevator, smiling from head to toe. As soon as she stepped inside, the guards followed her. The doors were about to close when she said out loud: “Expect to see me sooner than you think, Dr. Harrison!” after which everything was over. Or so he thought.
Alone with all the strangeness pervading his thoughts, Lester moved closer to his nephew who remained stiff and transfixed as if he had become a living statue or something. He failed to respond to his “Wake up!” calls and every other technique he was familiar with from the traditional finger snaps to the more desperate slaps on the face. He was just there, completely unresponsive.
Joe’s body was locked in that subservient position but his mind couldn’t be located anywhere, almost as if it had truly been trapped inside the sparkly reflections of that astounding rock Rachel Gardner wore around her neck. That was something Lester never thought possible until that day but as the minutes went by no other explanation seemed real and that really redefined the boundaries of his understanding. Overconfidence was no longer a prominent factor in the make-up of his thoughts but rather a slithering form of dread, the kind of feeling that grows faster than expected and literally engulfs everything else before you know it. Lester ran to the phone, his heart racing, inner bodily temperature oscillating between the heat of panic and the freezing that is born out of genuine fear…
He was already holding the receiver in one hand when he noticed Joe’s head had slightly jerked to the side in the direction of the elevator doors. Then, half of a dull smile rose from the corners of his dry mouth in what was clearly a pet’s reaction to the imminent return of the one he was to obey at all times.
Lester’s eyes roved frantically grasping a second too late the real meaning of it all. Only a few minutes had elapsed, but Rachel Gardner was already returning and this time her power had increased dramatically. As the doors opened wide she came out with an even more devious, yet incredibly sexy expression upon her face, bringing to life every single curve of her body whilst the diamond necklace swung back and forth in her right hand. The two guards walked behind her, identical physical embodiments of the two persons he had called to remove her from the building, dissimilar in only but one small aspect of the psyche: those two no longer had a will to call their own and were now simple puppets.
“Why do you look so surprised?” she asked exuding power. “I told you I’d be back real soon, didn’t I?”
The phone fell from his hands as she moved towards him, her two new servants following the motion of the diamond. Sentences died underneath the tongue without ever knowing the consistency of sound. Only a handful of words were released into the world, all of them revealing his utter astonishment as he tried to go back inside his office in the hope of finding sanctuary however temporary it came to reveal itself.
“But… how… I…”
“Are you trying to ask me how I did it? I’ll be more than happy to show you…” retorted Rachel fully aware that now the upper-hand was hers. “It was all so very easy…”
* * *
It had been easy indeed seeing as the two men owed more to muscles on both arms and legs than to actual intellectual prowess above the shoulders. That is not to say that their brains were the size of a pea or anything. A cranial CT scan would show a couple of normal-sized bulbous organs underneath the thick bone yet the cross-sectional images would almost certainly not be able to grasp the weakness of the thought patterns within. There was more room for air and vague impressions than for living, sentient tissue and that was a combination one could efficiently take advantage of given the right tools for the job, of course. Needless to say, she had them all.
Things would have probably taken longer if the inside of the elevator wasn’t all silvery and reflective, almost mirror-like in nature. Standing behind her but facing the doors, the two men’s lines of sight converged into a multi-layered refraction of her necklace and even if they weren’t looking directly at it they could still perceive a fleeting sense of motion, a geometrical dance of radiant light shooting across every angle of the rectangular gearless-traction cubicle they all stood in. The shimmering spectacle bounced off the floor display on the right corner and whirled by the black buttoned control panel underneath. The camera lens on the opposite side not only captured these rainbow, transitory shapes as they were born and reborn over and over again but was also directly responsible for making them travel faster… and spread… projected onto unwary pupils and from there go about on a rampaging march into the realm of synapses…
All it was left for the show to be complete was her voice, along with all the special intonations to highlight certain words at the expense of others, to play with the contrast of shadow and light until she was the only mind glowing and the others couldn’t live happily in deprivation of what she could offer. As the elevator went down, so did the security men.
“Are you two looking at my diamond? Almost staring at its unquestionable perfection? You’re not the first to be awe-struck by it and I know for a fact you won’t be the last… You’re probably thinking if it’s real or not… I can assure you it is and quite frankly its monetary value is higher than your combined salaries for as long as you live… Oh, I’m sorry… did I offend you somehow? Sometimes I feel like I talk too much, saying things I really didn’t mean to… This was one of those occasions – I’m such a blabber! – Please, let me repay you…” reaching for the control panel, she called the elevator to a halt when there were only a few floors left to conclude the descent. Almost simultaneously, her other hand released the necklace from her neck taking the two men aback. The one from the Bronx showed some of his ill-temper by shouting:
“What in blazes do you think you’re doing?!”
Rachel looked as innocent as she could possibly be by comparison to the fierceness she had shown just a few minutes ago inside Dr. Harrison’s office. With just a flick of the wrist, the necklace was in motion, the light speckles making it seem as if the whole surroundings were, in fact, moving instead of remaining still.
“Just trying to make amends… You see, this whole nasty situation with the good Dr. was caused by nothing more than a misunderstanding, one I fear this diamond brought about… just because of the way it swirls and twirls… It’s hardly my fault it does so in such a captivating manner… It just draws attention to it even when they’re of the unnecessary kind. I’m sure you can agree with me now that the cascades of light are becoming visible… they’re behind and right across me, left and right, on the ceiling and on the floor… everywhere… I can’t believe you’re not inclined to watch them shine and dissolve as I speak… It’s such a breathtaking and soothing vision altogether… I really couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t share it all with you… just follow the path of radiance… follow it… follow…”
The other guard, who hadn’t moved or said anything that plainly resonated anger or any form of frustration, was the first to come to grips with the hidden sense imbued in her words, uncovering it subconsciously without actually understanding it. He knew for certain that he enjoyed the torrent of luminous pinpoints bathing the elevator almost as the ongoing fascination that was to track down how the diamond combined them all as it moved… and so he followed it almost instantaneously simply because it was such…
“…a pleasure to do so…” continued Rachel noticing how her efforts weren’t being employed in vain. “Rapture and satisfaction go hand in hand with the stillness of mind, something the diamond provides ever so simply… keep on following it… swinging… spinning… look for the center, the origin… The genesis of calm and blissful contentment… deep into the light as it freezes your muscles, as it lulls your thoughts to the point of no return…”
With one of the subjects already slipping into a trance, it didn’t take long for the other to lose his menacing ways. Though he was still standing, his shoulders were already loose and dropping forward, a hint of drool by the lower lip. As he absorbed her words combined with the waltz of a thousand glimmers, docility started taking over, all needs floating away just as was expected from someone who was being
“… hypnotized, brainwashed by my diamond… wanting only to carry out my instructions even if they seem strange… you can no longer resist the power that’s enveloping you… you WILL NOT resist it since you no longer know what that means… you know nothing except what I tell you to know, you do nothing except what I tell you to do… There’s a word for people like you who simply do what they’re told… Do you know what that word is? I think you do, but I’ll help you say it out loud… As of this moment, I’m your Mistress! What does that make of you, silly, sleepy pets?”
The brief moment of silence that followed had her tingle with unseen pleasure for it was that decisive fraction in time when the mind oscillates between freedom and surrender that mattered most. It ended with the answer she was waiting to hear, filling her with orgasmic bliss.
“Your slaves…” said the two men in unison as the diamond’s trance took full control of their minds.
“Exactly.”, confirmed Rachel, that single word sealing their fate of obedience. “And slaves serve. Slaves want nothing but to fulfill the wishes of the one who owns them…”
“Yes, Mistress.” responded the two new mind-controlled acquisitions in the utmost perfect synchronicity.
“Then I guess it’s time you start showing me just how good puppets you really are. We’re going up again to give Dr. Harrison a lesson he’ll never forget!”
At a press of a button, the elevator began its slow ascent.
* * *
The red spilled on the carpet came from his gums. Lester Harrison wasn’t much of a fighter and had been easily overpowered by the two mesmerized guards with just a handful of punches. After that, he had been forced to take his seat, looking straight at Rachel as he already anticipated what was to happen next. He knew he had to find a way out but didn’t quite know how.
Surprisingly, she handed him a tissue to wipe out the blood from his mouth. He didn’t know what to make of it but accepted it nonetheless passing it both round and inside his lips with a series of slow, methodical, gestures. The men standing beside him would make sure to punish him physically once more if he tried anything suspicious.
Rachel leaned towards him, the diamond glowing. He realized she didn’t like the sight of blood the moment he placed the stained tissue on the desk. Her head jerked slightly, eyes rolling to the side, though the discomfort didn’t last that long. Once again fully in charge of her emotions, she confessed:
“This could have easily been avoided if you had listened to me sooner. I don’t like wasting my time and you shouldn’t enjoy that, either. A woman deserves respect above anything else and you failed to comply in such a shameful manner!”
“How can I respect you if you don’t respect the others around you?” he attacked. “I still don’t understand how you manage to do the things you do, but I know it’s wrong. No one who manipulates people like that is worthy of anything but contempt on my account.”
“Wrong answer.” declared the enchantress signaling one of her pets with just a look. A slap hit Lester’s right cheek almost instantly. “Manipulation is a constant of life. You also play the game although on a different level…”
“Excuse me?” A sudden burst of outrage manifested on the veins around his neck.
“Don’t play the fool with me, Dr! We both know that most of the so-called mind sicknesses you heal are your creation. You manipulate people in order to convince them that they require further sessions with you to take care of issues that weren’t there before you mentioned them in the first place. That’s why you have so many clients. That’s how you stay in business.”
Every vein in his body became stiff at the same time, eyes darting with anger that was getting more difficult to be restrained.
“That’s the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard! You really shouldn’t talk about things you know nothing about. I’m an honest and highly reputed professional that…”
The sentence was left hanging in the air, incomplete, alongside with the trail of thoughts that had produced it. For the diamond was spinning rapidly and had been so for quite some time now. He followed the circular motions in a state similar to awe before blinking and thus managing to counter the effects of the distraction. Oh, she was really good, no doubt about it! By channeling his attention to an outburst of feelings such as pride and rage she had weakened his conscious defenses slightly, taking the opportunity to attack the psychic core almost imperceptibly.
“You’re going to have to do better than that.” He smiled rather wickedly. “It was a nice trick, though.”
“You’re not going to get under my skin like I did with yours.” She responded. Her lips spoke out these words, not in a threatening but rather a flirting way. Those sudden mood swings were also disconcerting enough and she had the sex appeal on her side. Lester remained silent but couldn’t help noticing that the two hypnotized servants suddenly got an erection. And it wasn’t a small one. Unseen power flowed across the room. Rachel’s eyes bore into his, the diamond twirling in the space between.
“Time to get serious…”
In a matter of minutes, the world became black.
* * *
Lester Harrison opened his eyes and found himself upon a glistening beach. The sun was shining strong and only a hint of a breeze could be felt, but it was so small and frail that it couldn’t even ruffle the surrounding palm leaves. He had no idea where he was or how he got there in the first place, but knew for a fact that his work clothes were highly inappropriate for such a warm, paradisiacal setting. He unloosened his tie, took off his shirt and shoes and started walking along the coastal line looking for a geographical point of reference that could help him become aware of his whereabouts.
It was most certainly an island and the water that bathed it had a distinctive South Pacific feel. The warm sand gave off a sense of familiarity as if he had been there many times in the past. Yet, if that was true, how come he had no actual recollections of the fact? Why was there such a blank space in his network of thoughts? Some sort of selective amnesia? Maybe he had been hit in the head by a coconut or something…
“No coconuts around, guess again…” he thought, visibly apprehensive. He kept on walking, seeing tree upon tree and realizing the circularity of his motions only when he noticed the three sets of similar footprints upon the path… That wasn’t a good sign…
“Hmmm… this sure is strange, Lester. You’re going around in circles, is this a deserted island?”
The glimpse of a hut to the left, beyond the tree lines, provided him with the negative answer he wanted to hear whilst giving rise to a new question, one I’m sure you had no trouble guessing by now:
“What the… where did that come from? If I’ve walked through here before it’s impossible I might have missed it… things like this only happen in television shows and…
… dreams? Now that was an uncanny thought!
Imbued with a new resolve he marched towards the hut. As he approached it, there was no denying that the soil beneath his feet was getting hotter, his legs heavier and sweaty. Right around the mid-point of his journey, he removed his pants, leaving only the purplish boxers on. He hoped that would increase his mobility allowing him to cover the remaining ground faster… The air was scorching and he was so thirsty… water, please?
It took him almost twenty minutes to reach the hut and yet in little over half an hour he had traveled around the circumference of the island for more than once, another thing that didn’t add up and was difficult for him to rationalize. Now, where was that water?
Unfortunately, not on the inside. The structure’s bowels consisted of a circular division with five chairs horizontally aligned in front of a cedar secretary and a whiteboard. It was a small educational center and three students were already in their seats: two of them were the security guards of his building, the other his pusillanimous nephew. Rachel Gardner filled in the shoes of the proud teacher and suddenly everything made sense.
“This isn’t a dream but close enough… The diamond must have worked in the end…”
“I’m pleased you decided to join us, Dr. Harrison.” She said. “The class is almost complete but there’s still one student left and only you can bring him here…”
“I’m not going to do that regardless of what you do to me…”
“Oh, of course you will! I don’t see any valid reason why you should deny me since I now thread in your thoughts… you’ll be doing the same thing these three are about to do… just watch…”
On top of her secretary, lay a pair of indelible markers, one black, and the other red. She chose the black one and called upon the first man to enter her realm of reverie. Joe rose from his chair, took the marker from her hand and wrote a single sentence in capital letters:
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
The guard with the accent was next, performing the exact same ritual without much of a thought to the contrary. Now the sentence was stronger, its power doubled and Lester read it again in his mind:
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
And then came along the other guard, an equally devoted subject whose right hand was pulled by invisible hypnotic strings. It was such a pleasure to write down the most compelling truth he knew, heightening its grandeur in the magic of a trinity illuminated by diamond reflections:
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
“I believe it’s your turn, now…” concluded Rachel as the marker returned to her hand.
“You’re wrong… I won’t believe the lie…”
“But you already do… This is just a formality. Like signing a contract. My offer is irresistible… just put your admission of defeat into words so we can bring the Senator home and back to my control…”
“I already said no!”
“But YES is the only word accepted around here!” she declared with utmost conviction.
The marker levitated from her hand and into his, beckoning him to the satisfaction of not having to think on his own anymore… Lester threw it away just to see it reappear in the same place again and again… every time it did so his body moved a step closer to the board until the distance was completely overcome. The muscles in his arm received the corresponding electric signal to incite meaningful action and his spirit was lost to the perfect four words, repeated four times:
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
“I OBEY MISTRESS RACHEL.”
In his office, kneeling on the ground, he sang it instead of writing it. The end result was the same, of course.
“Call the Senator for me, slave!” His mistress demanded. “Tell him it’s safe to come out of hiding and that you want to see him here as soon as possible… It’s going to be a very special appointment”
“As you command, Mistress”, the servant psychiatrist replied, reaching for the private number of his client’s place of seclusion. Twice it rang and that sufficed for establishing the connection to a frightened voice.
“Dr. Harrison?! I thought we weren’t supposed to talk until late next week… Did something grave happen?”
“Not at all… As a matter of fact, I’m the bearer of nothing but good news. The threat that was upon you is no more and you can breathe safely again… we should meet so I can fill you in all the details… when can you join me here?”
Next, to him, Rachel smiled wickedly. All loose ends would be tied, soon.