The sun was shining and the park was packed full of people. Families on picnics were joined by couples in love and wanderers who believed they should make the best of the weather before the rainy season came.
Nimmi was part of the last group. Every year she told herself that she would walk through this park more often. However, she never followed up on it.
Nimmi wiped her brow as she walked between the petunias and the bluebells. She had grown up in a cold climate and her body had never adapted to deal with the heat.
After a few minutes of walking, Nimmi decided to walk away from the main area of the park. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was going to do, but she did want to get away from the screaming children.
At the far end of one of the paths, Nimmi spotted a large and brightly-painted van. Nimmi’s heart danced a little.
“An ice-cream van!” She gasped. At first, she was shocked that vans like that were still in business, but she quickly corrected herself.
It wasn’t like ice cream was suddenly unpopular. It was just that she no longer hung around places where such vans congregated. While Nimmi tried to keep her child-like spirit, her social calendar had changed a lot since she was seven.
Nimmi smiled to herself and continued to move towards the van, her mind fixated on the thought of ice cream. However, as she approached the van, her heart dropped a little bit as she spotted that the window on the side of the van was closed.
Nimmi considered turning around but decided against it. She had already walked this far, so she might as well go all the way and make sure that the van was closed. It wasn’t like she had anything better to be doing.
As Nimmi got close to the van the glass window slid open. Behind the window stood a very dazed looking girl. A smile formed on Nimmi’s face as she quickly approached the window.
“Hey!” Smiled Nimmi as she looked at the woman’s face a little more. Nimmi recognized the expression, it was of a woman who wanted nothing more than to climb back into bed. It was a look she totally understood.
“Hello!” Grinned the woman, the tiredness in her eyes fading as she spoke. “Welcome to our trance team van!”
“Umm,” murmured Nimmi, unsure if she should correct the girl. On one hand, she didn’t want to pester a girl who was obviously overworked but at the same time, she didn’t want to make a fool of herself by trying to buy a chocolate cone from a mobile library.
Nimmi’s anxiety flared up as she looked at the van again. While this van was shaped like an ice cream van, it didn’t look like one when you were close to it.
While the van was painted a bright cherry red, it didn’t have any posters or advertisements on it. There wasn’t a single mention of ice cream or sales anywhere on the metal body.
“Don’t you mean ice cream van?” Murmured Nimmi as she looked awkwardly at the floor.
“You would think so,” chuckled the woman. Suddenly she leaned out of the window and slapped her hand against the side of the van. “Get her!” She screamed.
Nimmi’s brain took a few seconds to realize what the woman had shouted. A bolt of adrenaline ran through her. However, before she could act she felt two sets of hands grab her roughly by the shoulders.
“Hey! Get off me!” Shouted Nimmi as she started to swing wildly. She turned her head only to spot that she was being grabbed by two other girls. Both of these girls had a dazed expression on their faces, almost like they were sleepwalking.
Nimmi wanted to break free of their grip. But the girls were stronger than her and neither seemed to flinch when they were hit. After a few minutes, the assailants were able to lift Nimmi off the ground.
“Help!” Screamed Nimmi, doing her best to call for help.
However, before she could shout anything else, one of the girls shoved a scarf into Nimmi’s mouth, muffling her voice.
Nimmi continued to struggle, but the girls’ grip was too tight. The pair slowly carried her towards the back of the van, totally unphased by her shouting and struggling.
As they put her into the back of the van, Nimmi realized that this van only had a single freezer and a single chair inside of it.
Nimmi felt her heart jump into her throat as pure dread washed over her. She had no idea what was going on and she was utterly terrified. The two girls forced her into the chair and quickly bound her in a plethora of ropes and chains.
As the chains clicked into place Nimmi did her best to spit the scarf out of her mouth. However, one of the girls spotted Nimmi’s attempt and quickly forced the scarf back in before wrapping something around the lower half of Nimmi’s face.
The more the girls worked, the more terrified Nimmi became. She couldn’t even struggle, she was too confused and lost. She had no idea who these women were or what they could possibly want and the more she wondered the darker her thoughts became.
After a few minutes of furious binding, the girls checked the bonds and the chair and wandered into the van’s cabin. Nimmi wanted to turn her head and keep an eye on them, but the shape of the chair and the tightness of her bonds made that utterly impossible.
The van’s engine suddenly sputtered into life as the van started to vibrate. Nimmi felt the van start to move as she did her best to focus on the movements, hoping she could work out exactly where this group of girls was taking her.
However, the combination of vibrations and her pounding head made it impossible for her to keep track of the van’s movements. The loud freezer and engine prevented her from hearing anything outside of her metal prison.
After what felt like hours the van slowly pulled to a halt and the engine shut off. Nimmi tried to shout through the scarf but it was useless. The only thing that came out was muffled grunts and groans.
Nimmi tried to wiggle out of the bonds. However, the chains were too well attached. Suddenly the van’s doors swung open revealing a woman in a suit.
The strange woman climbed up into the van before nodding to someone behind her. Nimmi spotted her two assailants move away from the van and walk off into the shadows.
“Hello,” smiled the woman as she crouched down in front of Nimmi. “Aren’t you a pretty one!”
Nimmi thrashed and yelled at the woman. Her fear turned quickly to anger as she stared at this normal, boring woman. She looked like the manager of a shoe store, not a feared kidnapper.
“Now now,” chuckled the woman. “Don’t fight. We’re going to be friends you and me.”
Nimmi thrashed again and started to swear vigorously. However, the muffling effect of the scarf made it sound exactly the same as everything else she had tried and failed to say.
The woman reached forward and rubbed Nimmi’s cheek before chuckling to herself. “Now now! Don’t fight. This is going to be fun. You’re going to love it. Trust me!”
After a few moments of struggling, the woman rubbed the bridge of her nose and let out a sigh. “Look. Let’s come to an arrangement. I’ll remove the scarf if you hear me out. Does that seem fair? I just want a few minutes of your time. Agree? Good!”
Nimmi felt the rage bubbling inside her. She couldn’t believe this random woman was acting like she was the one in the wrong even though she was the one who had been kidnapped!
However, Nimmi wasn’t in a position to argue. She nodded gently as the woman reached forward and pulled the spit-drenched scarf out of her mouth with a wet plop.
For the first time in at least an hour, Nimmi was able to breathe through her nose. It was a welcome relief. As she took a few deep breaths the woman brushed her cheek and smiled down at her.
“See? I’m willing to meet in the middle.” She grinned as turned and fished a popsicle out of the freezer. “How rude of me! Want one?”
“I can’t really hold it,” mumbled Nimmi, turning her head towards her bound arms.
“No big deal, I can feed you!” Giggled the woman as she unwrapped the popsicle and sat on Nimmi’s lap, raising the icy treat to her lips. Nimmi knew that she shouldn’t lick this popsicle as she had no idea what was in it.
However, she fully realized that the situation couldn’t get much worse. If this woman had wanted to drug her she wouldn’t have hired three girls to randomly grab her and tie her to a chair.
Slowly and tentatively Nimmi moved her head forward and wrapped her lips around the popsicle. It was heavily orange flavored and very refreshing, especially after being cooped up in a van for a few hours. As Nimmi sucked, the woman gently petted Nimmi’s head, almost as if she was petting a dog.
“See? I’m not a monster,” purred the woman as she held the popsicle in place. “You have nothing to be afraid of.”
“You kidnapped me,” mumbled Nimmi as she continued to suck on the popsicle.
“It isn’t a kidnapping,” chuckled the woman. “Merely an acquisition. Bite please.”
Nimmi looked up at the woman and slowly bit down on the popsicle, breaking the end off. The woman nodded and moved the popsicle away from Nimmi’s mouth before getting up and walking to the back of the van.
“You did kidnap me! Your friends dived out of the van and grabbed me.” Shouted Nimmi as she swallowed the popsicle.
“Associates,” corrected the woman. “See, I have a problem. An addiction if you will. I love girls.”
“That isn’t so bad in the modern world,” smiled Nimmi nervously. “Kidnapping, however.”
“No, no,” interrupted the woman as she walked up to Nimmi and gripped her shoulders firmly. “You don’t understand me. I don’t merely find girls attractive. I love them in the same way a sculptor loves marble or a painter loves canvas. I love them and always want more.”
“Okay?” Stuttered Nimmi, totally unsure of how to react to this strange woman and her increasingly unhinged ramblings.
“But this is the problem. With any need. With any collection. Comes downsides. I mean at first, the idea of having a group of girls brainwashed to obey your every command seems delicious. Delightful even!’
“Brainwashed?” Blinked Nimmi.
“But then you realize that those are mouths that need feeding. And they need beds. And sure, you can buy them pet beds but they don’t save that much space.” The woman explained as she rubbed the bridge of her nose.
“So you need bigger kitchens and bigger sleeping areas. And the girls need to keep clean. And my gosh, it is hard to get a place with the plumbing needed to support five shower rooms. And that is before we get onto the laundry!” Continued the woman as she started to pace around the van.
“You spend ages running the numbers until you give up. Then you decide to get professional help. So you hunt down an accountant. A beautiful accountant. Red hair, a cute three-piece suit that is so well-tailored it is like a second skin. And a laugh that sounds like music played on a heavenly glockenspiel. You grab her, break her brain and give her the figures. And she comes back and tells you what you already knew. That looking after a large group of brainwashed women is just unsustainable.” Sighed the woman as Nimmi looked on with confusion.
“Then you brainwash her again to give you the answers you want. And of course, now she says it is great and that your wish is her command. But then you realize that you haven’t changed the underlying economic landscape and it is still an unsustainable system. Plus you now have one more mouth to feed!”
“I’m sorry?” Blinked Nimmi, totally lost for words.
“I have a problem,” smiled the woman. “And you are part of the solution.”
“I think there has been a misunderstanding,” mumbled Nimmi, averting her eyes as she did. “I’m not who you think I am.”
“And who do I think you are?” Smirked the woman.
“Someone who can do math? An accountant?” Replied Nimmi.
“Incorrect!” Giggled the woman.
“Then I have no idea what you’re thinking.” Sighed Nimmi as she tried to rub her nose, only to remember that she was still tied down.
“You’re a person I’ve never met!” Grinned the woman.
“What?” Replied Nimmi.
“What is there not to get? Wait, I haven’t met you have I?” Gasped the woman.
“I’m not following. How does kidnapping a random person help you?” Asked Nimmi, her voice slow and firm. her tone almost patronizing.
“Because I can’t brainwash you because I don’t know you!”
“You have to know someone to brainwash them?” Blinked Nimmi.
“Well, no.” Chuckled the woman awkwardly. “I’m just less likely to do it to someone I hardly know.”
“This seems like a bad idea.”
“It is a great idea!” Smiled the woman. “I had someone run the figures!”
“Someone you brainwashed?” Asked Nimmi as she started to struggle in her bonds.
“So they told you what you want to hear?”
“Oh right. Drat.” Mumbled the woman as she put her head against the van’s metal wall. “I didn’t consider that.”
“You don’t seem to consider much,” sniped Nimmi.
“That is unfair.” Huffed the woman as she crossed her arms.
“How am I meant to fix your problems?” Squirmed Nimmi as she felt one of the ropes starting to loosen.
“Just come with me! Point out areas that I can improve on!” Smiled the woman as she leaned forward and ruffled Nimmi’s hair. “I’ll give you a reward.”
“I don’t want any reward you offer. It is likely disgusting or weird,” grunted Nimmi as she pulled away from the woman.
“You are so cruel.” Sighed the woman before suddenly clapping her hands. “I love it! See! I said you were perfect!”
“What if I don’t want to do it?” Asked Nimmi.
“I’ll brainwash you and make you do it!” Smiled the woman.
“Doesn’t that undo the point of the exercise?”
“Well, if you won’t do it, then brainwashing you loses me nothing. That and public transit around here sucks. You’re better off hanging out with me and then letting me drive you home.”
“Where even are we?” Blinked Nimmi, suddenly realizing she actually had no idea how far these people had taken her.
“Come look!” Smiled the woman as she untied Nimmi and gripped her hand before pulling her out of the chair.
“I guess,” gasped Nimmi as she stumbled out of the chair and tried to balance herself after the sudden yank.
As the pair exited the van, Nimmi could finally see where she was. They were outside a giant historic inn. The type of building that sat in the mountain resort several hours away from the park Nimmi had been snatched from.
“It is going to take me hours to get home,” sighed Nimmi.
“Told you so!” Giggled the woman as she dragged Nimmi to the front door of the inn and pushed it open.
Inside the lobby stood at least thirty girls, each with a glazed look in their eye. As the Nimmi and the woman stepped inside, all of the girls turned around and smiled.
“Welcome home Mistress!” Cheered the crowd of women in unison.
“See? Couldn’t you get used to it?” Smiled the woman.
“Not really, no.” Sighed Nimmi. “I find it kinda creepy.”
“Good! Good!” Nodded the woman as she dragged Nimmi through the building.
It was just like the woman had said. The place was full of blank-eyed women. Each one seemed to have a job of some kind, from cleaning to cooking and even painting.
“How many are there?” Asked Nimmi.
“Three hundred at last count,” replied the woman.
“Three hundred?!” Screamed Nimmi. “No wonder you have issues!”
“They’re just too tempting!” Smiled the woman as she led Nimmi through a dance studio that was full of half-asleep ballerinas. “Look at them!”
“Do you really need a live-in ballet trope?” Asked Nimmi.
“The arts fill the soul!” Replied the woman.
“The arts can be found in theatres. And town halls. And outside. Cheaper as well.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m very sure,” nodded Nimmi. “So lose the studio.”
“Fine.” Huffed the woman. “Killjoy.”
“You’re the one who asked me to do this!” Shouted Nimmi growing increasingly frustrated by the woman’s bratty behavior.
“Doesn’t mean I can’t be huffy about it!” Shouted the woman. “I’m in charge!”
“But not of me! That is the point!” Shouted Nimmi. “This is your plan!”
“Right,” nodded the woman. “Unless I made you forget the plan.”
“Don’t.” Growled Nimmi as she clenched her fists. “Let’s just get this over with.”
“Fine. You kidnap someone and this is the thanks you get,” muttered the woman as she started to lead Nimmi around the rest of the house.
The tour took way longer than Nimmi thought. The house seemed to be even bigger on the inside. There was room after room of girls, each one totally oblivious to the world around them.
Nimmi would have gambled money on the fact that the woman’s numbers were off. There was no way there were only three hundred girls in the building. There was at least double that.
But the oddest thing was the themes. Nimmi had expected maids and kitchen staff, but she didn’t expect to see a full orchestra. Or a synchronized swimming team. Or two different lacrosse teams.
As they reached a large landing, the woman let out a soft sigh. “Okay, last room. But this isn’t hard.” She said gently.
“It isn’t?” Blinked Nimmi.
“Not at all,” replied the woman as she held out her hand. Suddenly a girl ran out from one of the other rooms and placed a teacup in the woman’s hand.
“Wow,” replied Nimmi. Legitimately impressed by how well trained the women were. However, before she could think much more, a shattering noise brought her back to reality.
There was a broken teacup on the floor next to her and a girl in a maid’s uniform was walking back into another room. Nimmi looked at the cup and then looked at the woman.
“You’re meant to hold your hand out.” Smiled the woman. “Can’t make a cup hover.”
“You didn’t tell me.” Replied Nimmi. She was on the verge of losing her patience with this woman. The several-hour walk home was suddenly looking very tempting.
“True,” nodded the woman. “You just get used to it I suppose. That is what you’re missing.”
“These girls are an extension of me. We’re one will. All of their routines and systems are designed to enrich me. This house is a living organism and I am the core.”
“That doesn’t make it better. You could get your own cups and save yourself several thousand dollars.” Interjected Nimmi.
“But then I would have to keep track of them. You’re really not used to my lifestyle.”
“Again. Isn’t that the point?” Groaned Nimmi as she realized she wasn’t getting through to the woman. “I’m going to the bathroom.”
“I’ll wait here!” Nodded the woman.
Nimmi walked around the landing for a few moments, trying to work out which door went to the bathroom. The first door she opened revealed a room with a woman running in a giant hamster wheel.
“Umm,” mumbled Nimmi.
“Emergency power!” Smiled the woman.
“Why do I bother,” sighed Nimmi as she closed the door and tried another door, only to find a massage room on the other side.
“May I massage you, Mistress?” Asked the woman stood next to the massage table.
“Well,” mumbled the woman.
“No.” Shouted Nimmi as she slammed the door and tried the one next to it. As a bathroom came into view Nimmi smiled. “Right back!” She added as she walked in.
As Nimmi sat down on the toilet, she put her head into her hands. “I’m in a home full of idiots,” she sighed. “Maybe this is one of those prank shows? Hidden cameras?”
Nimmi gasped and started to look around the room, keen to find any hint of a camera crew, only to suddenly realize the issue with her reasoning. “Oh, I’ve already seen tits. No broadcast for this,” she sighed as she put her head back into her hands.
“Wipe Mistress?” Came a voice that made Nimmi jump off the toilet like a startled cat. A woman was climbing out of the empty bathtub, a tray of toilet paper balanced on her one hand.
“What?! No!” Shouted Nimmi as she yanked her pants up.
“As you wish Mistress,” nodded the woman as she climbed back into the bath. As the woman climbed in, Nimmi spotted another woman sat in the bathtub.
“What is she doing?!” Shouted Nimmi.
“I’m a rubber duck. Please squeeze me. Quack,” replied the girl as she continued to sit blankly in place.
“This house is going to drive me mad,” groaned Nimmi as she quickly washed her hands and left the bathroom.
“Have fun?” Winked the woman.
“No! Is there an inch of this house that isn’t full of women who think they are ducks or maids or dancers or famous poets?” Screamed Nimmi.
“Yes!” Grinned the woman.
“Don’t you dare say what I think you’re about to say.” Replied Nimmi firmly. “I know, you likely have someone who thinks they’re a space rocket or a vacuum cleaner or the Pope.”
“Yes,” smiled the woman.
“I don’t know how to deal with you,” groaned Nimmi. “Let’s get this over with!”
“Sure!” Nodded the woman. “We only have one room left.”
“Whatever. Let’s go.” Grunted Nimmi.
The woman waved her hand and Nimmi followed her without resistance, keen to get this done as soon as possible. The woman led her through several twisting corridors before descending down a spiral staircase.
“Here it is,” smiled the woman as they approached a large oak door. “The temple.”
“Why do you have a temple?” Asked Nimmi.
“To worship me of course!” Smiled the woman.
“I should have seen that coming,” sighed Nimmi. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Sure!” Grinned the woman as she pushed the door open. Nimmi took a few steps inside the temple, only to be taken aback.
Rather than some mock church or classical temple, this was a room with projection screens on each wall. “Oh, so a temple of cinema?” Asked Nimmi as she turned around.
However, as Nimmi turned she realized that the door had been shut behind her. Suddenly a soft whirring filling the room as a ceiling-mounted projector projected a rotating spiral onto each wall.
“What is this?” Shouted Nimmi as she ran to the door and hammered on it.
“Sorry,” chuckled the woman. “Old habits die hard.”
“What? I can’t help you if you do this!” Begged Nimmi as the spirals illuminated the room.
“That is the problem. I quite like your attitude. And when I like a girl. I must have her.” Said the woman firmly. “I can’t help that you’re a frog and I’m a beaver.”
“Don’t you mean scorpion?” Replied Nimmi as confusion and fear washed over her.
“See? That attitude is why I must have you! It is so rare to find a gusty girl like you!” Chuckled the woman.
“Let me out!” Screamed Nimmi as she started to bang on the door. However, as she banged a voice started to echo around the room.
“Relax,” said the voice. “Relax and look at the pretty patterns, you’re going to join my household.” It took Nimmi a few seconds to realize that it was the woman’s voice.
However, it was softer than usual. Almost like a quiet whisper. It sounded warm and loving, like being wrapped up in a tight blanket. Nimmi turned to try and locate the source of the voice. However, as she turned her eyes were instantly drawn to one of the spiraling patterns.
They were utterly hypnotic. Something about them just made them impossible to ignore. Nimmi found herself walking towards a large black and white pattern that seemed to spin down into infinity.
“Relax, you are joining my collection. This is your new home.” Cooed the voice. “You are loved. You are wanted. You’ve been selected.”
“I’m loved?” Moaned Nimmi as she pressed her nose against the wall, her eyes continuing to follow the spiraling pattern as it spun around and around.
“You are wanted. Give up your will and let yourself be wanted. You are wonderful. You are beautiful. You are fantastic. You are wanted and now you can accept that and let yourself be taken,” continued the voice. The tone was weirdly comforting, it sounded very maternal.
“I am?” Whimpered Nimmi as she continued to watch the pattern. Her whole body felt warm and fuzzy and her heart was fluttering at the thought of being loved and wanted.
“Look into the pattern and let yourself go. Let your worries float away as you sink further and further into the swirls. Nothing to worry about. You are in my employ now. You are under my protection.”
“I,” gurgled Nimmi as she slowly slid to her knees, her eyes glazing over as all of her muscles continued to tingle. It felt like she was floating on a cloud.
Her heart continued to flutter. While the woman had been annoying, this recorded version of her sounded lovely. She sounded kind and loving. Even though it was a recording, Nimmi felt wanted. More wanted than she had ever felt before.
“You will be loved. Come into my arms.” Continued the voice as the spiral got faster and faster, pulling Nimmi deeper and deeper. It was like her soul was being sucked out of her body. Like she was being drained of her sense of self.
Her mind was quiet, and it felt amazing. She felt warm and loved. It was the most heavenly feeling in the world. This wasn’t a room, it was a chamber of pleasure that existed to make Nimmi feel wonderful.
“You should relax.” Cooed the woman’s voice. “You don’t need to worry anymore. You are safe and loved.”
“Relax,” mumbled Nimmi as she fell backward. She could feel herself floating away from her body. But she didn’t care anymore, Nimmi had accepted her fate. She wanted this. She wanted to be loved and looked after and the spiral made it impossible to think about anything else.
“Yes, just let the spiral into your mind.” Continued the voice. “Close your eyes and let it take you away to a new life. A life of love and servitude.”
Nimmi felt herself sliding away, spiraling down into a dark pit. She felt all of her tension sliding away as she lost track of her body and mind. It was like she was falling into a dream and climbing into a hot bath at the same time.
All of her old memories and worries faded away as the woman’s voice lulled her into a deep sleep. All she knew was that she was loved and she was wanted. And she wanted nothing more than that.
“Good morning Mistress!” Smiled Nimmi as she put a bowl of cereal down in front of the woman.
“Nimmie!” Grinned the woman. “How is my favorite scheduler today?”
“I’m wonderful! But every day is wonderful under your spell!” Giggled Nimmi as she pulled out a clipboard. “Everything is working at five hundred percent efficiency!”
“Wow! That is amazing!” Chuckled the woman. “And my schedule for the day?”
“You have to work over the new arrivals at lunch Mistress,” smiled Nimmi. “They’re on the way here now!”
“Perfect, perfect.” Nodded the woman. “And you are okay?”
“I am wonderful!” Grinned Nimi. “This is the best job I’ve ever had! I love making you more efficient!”
“Now excuse me, I need to go and check on the ballerinas! I don’t want them slacking!” Beamed Nimi as she spun on her heel and walked out of the room.
“She was a perfect choice,” sighed the woman dreamily.