"W-why me?" The words come through slack, nerveless lips; Sarah can barely even understand her own badly slurred words. The drug is still coursing through her bloodstream, still making her head droop forward periodically in a semi-conscious fugue state, and she's not really sure at first whether the woman in the charcoal gray suit responds to her or not. Consciousness is a series of interludes now, punctuated by moments of drifting oblivion that she doesn't even notice herself falling into. The Japanese woman with the close-cropped black hair and the impeccably tailored suit simply appears to move without motion and it's only slowly that Sarah realizes it's because she's been passing out again.
She tries again. "Why me?" Sarah asks, lifting her head up and unconsciously moving to wipe the drool away from her lips. Her hand moves maybe a fraction of an inch before pulling against a heavy leather cuff around her wrist that secures her arms to the armrests of the chair. She remembers testing them when she first woke up, tugging against them with muscles that felt pitifully weak and finding that she couldn't so much as budge. Even rocking from side to side did nothing, she recalls. The chair is bolted to the concrete floor, and the restraints are bolted to the chair. Sarah isn't going anywhere.
The woman turns, revealing a navy blue dress shirt beneath her unbuttoned jacket and a skinny tie that's a vivid slash of red against the cooler colors. She looks like she's auditioning for a New Wave band from the 80s, or cosplaying as some teleporter-accident version of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. "Ah," she says, in a thick accent that suggests a native Japanese speaker. "Back with us again, I see. For good this time, I hope? I do apologize if I misjudged your tolerance. It's always so difficult to mix the drug properly with alcohol."
The words stir a memory in Sarah's still-muzzy brain. She was at a club, not one of her usual haunts but a new place that opened a few weeks back near her apartment. The drinks were cheap, the guys were cute, the music was practically her personal playlist, but she couldn't shake the feeling that something was... off. Odd. Strangers seemed bizarrely attentive--never overtly, never staring at her or following her or anything, but giving off subtle signals with their body language that triggered some subliminal perception that she was the focus of the room. Sometimes when she turned a little too quickly she would catch people behaving perfectly naturally, the kind of natural behavior that could only be rehearsed. Even in the middle of a crowd of people, she didn't feel safe.
Sarah ignored her instincts, though. It seemed impossible that she could be in danger in the middle of a whole room full of strangers. Clubs had their sketchy guys, yes, but the odds of thirty or forty sketchy people of all different genders showing up on the same night with just one normal woman to skeeve on? Had to be her imagination. Absolutely had to be. Sarah told herself she was just being paranoid right up until she finished her third drink and the darkness behind her eyes swallowed her up so quickly that she didn't even have time to register that she was falling over.
And now here. "Who are you?" Sarah shouts, the panic in her voice rising as she yanks as hard as she can at the restraints and finds that her helplessness had nothing to do with the drugged lethargy in her limbs earlier. "What is this, where am I, what's going on, how--how did you--?" The questions multiply faster than she can get them past her lips, encompassing everything from the coincidence behind a new club opening up so close to her place to the identity of the stranger in the tailored suit to the drugs they must have used to knock her out so swiftly and completely. "Let me the fuck out of here!" Sarah screams, her panicking hindbrain cutting directly to the chase.
The woman walks up to Sarah's chair, towering over her for a long moment--it's not just that Sarah's sitting down, the woman is a statuesque six feet tall and would easily stand a head taller than the helpless blonde even if they were both upright and barefooted--before squatting down and gazing up at Sarah with a soothing smile on her face. "You are Sarah Guest, correct?" she asks, sounding polite, prompt and officious all at once. Like she's the world's most unorthodox process server, getting ready to hand Sarah a writ for her unpaid parking tickets or something. "Originally from Hastings, Nebraska? Daughter of Michael and Susan Guest?"
Sarah shakes her head. "N-no," she says, all too conscious of the desperate haste in her voice that makes the lie blatant and obvious. She catches sight of the counter on the far wall, of her purse lying open on its side with its contents scattered across the industrial green Formica surface. Her driver's license must be there, she realizes, and even if it isn't she showed it back at the bar to get her drinks. They know who she is. There's no getting out of this. But her mouth is moving faster than her sluggish, terrified brain. "My name's, um, S-Sammi, Sammi, um... uhhh...."
She gives up. The pause is too big to explain away, even if the woman in gray was in the mood to listen. "It's okay, Sarah. There's nothing to be afraid of." She pulls out a pair of sharp, gleaming dressmaker's shears that instantly make a lie of her words. "We just wanted to make sure that we had the right person. You're next on the list, you see. We always need to be as certain as possible before we begin, because there's really no going back once we begin. You understand, don't you, Sarah?" She makes a few experimental snips in the air. Sarah's never even imagined being this frightened.
But she barely even feels the scissors against her skin. The woman in gray cuts away her jeans, her shirt, her bra and panties with the deft skill of a professional seamstress. Within seconds, Sarah's clothing goes from rags to scraps to a pile of fabric on the floor. "There we go, sweetie," the stranger coos, reaching out and giving Sarah a friendly pat directly between her thighs. Sarah's eyes go wide as she feels the cool fingers lightly tap her labia, but she's still too amazed by her lack of injury to scream at such a comparatively minor indignity. "You're doing so well. Don't worry, it won't hurt a bit. You'll even enjoy it."
The woman crosses back to the counter, then returns with an electric razor tucked into her breast pocket and a slimmer, longer pair of scissors in one hand. "I know, this has to be a bit of an indignity, but I promise, it's just to make sure we have a nice tight fit against the skin." She grips Sarah's head firmly at the base of the neck, her grasp surprisingly strong. "Please don't struggle," she says, still sounding no more stern or forceful than a minor government functionary explaining how to properly fill out a form. "If you do, I'll need to drug you again for this part."
Sarah swallows hard. "I, I won't," she wheedles, hating the unctuous sycophancy in her own voice. She's almost astonished at how easily she's been reduced to a fawning desire to please her captor, simply out of some faint and desperate hope that she can placate the stranger into letting her go. "I won't, only can you just tell me what you're doing? Can you tell me what list I'm on? Please, I just...." Her voice breaks for a moment into a desperate sob, counterpointed by the snipping sound of scissors shearing through long blonde hair. "Please."
The woman in gray cuts again and again, rapidly reducing Sarah's glorious wavy, honey blonde tresses to less than an inch of jagged, irregular hair lying flat against her scalp. "You don't really need to know, sweetie," she murmurs softly, speaking to Sarah with the same calm tone vets used with troublesome animals. "You wouldn't remember anyway. You're on the list, that's all. We're going to get to all of you sooner or later--it's just your turn now. That's all." Sarah hears an omnipresent buzz, the sound of electric clippers springing to life.
"W-what list?" Sarah whimpers, fear making her wriggle despite herself as she feels cool metal press against her skin. "What list, whose list, what is it for? Please, I... I...." She descends into her own thoughts, almost disassociating completely from the sensation of hair shearing away from her head and leaving only a peach fuzz behind on her scalp. Whoever it is, they must know so much about her. They knew where she lived, what kind of clubs she frequented, what kind of music she liked. She walked past that club every night for two weeks, and her favorite songs were always playing loud enough to be heard from outside. They filled it with people--was everyone in on it? Were they all just part of the lure, there to make it all seem normal so she wouldn't run?
Who would put that kind of effort into kidnapping Sarah Guest from Hastings, Nebraska? Her parents weren't anyone special--Dad was a CPA, and Mom sold organic tomatoes she grew in the backyard. Sarah was a nobody, a BA in Gender Studies with a job pushing paper for a loan servicing company so obscure even other banks didn't know what she did for a living. She wasn't especially pretty, she wasn't especially ugly, she had muddy brown eyes and a pooched belly and B-cup tits and she wrote fanfic about dumb 80s cartoons when she wasn't watching reality shows.
Sarah's suddenly, horrifyingly aware that she's started using the past tense to describe her life. She swallows hard. "Please let me go," she whispers. "Please."
The stranger kisses her on the top of the head. "Of course I will, sweetie," she says, heading back over to the counter to collect a can of shaving cream and a safety razor. "As soon as we're all done here, I'll let you out of that chair and take you someplace where you can rest. You're going to be very tired when it's all over. Probably very sore, too." She returns to Sarah. It's not surprising at all when she begins to cover the helpless woman's head with a thin layer of cool, slick foam.
Sarah tries to imagine what could leave her tired and sore and unable to remember previous conversations. It's not surgery, is it? The room suddenly swims, graying out around the edges of her field of vision as she struggles very hard not to pass out from sheer terror. She's not sure what will happen if she lets herself faint. She doesn't know what the polite, cheerful, terrifying woman in the gray suit will do to her if she doesn't cooperate. Sarah bites the inside of her cheek, desperate to retain consciousness until whatever they're going to do to her makes it utterly impossible. The scrape of the razor against her scalp becomes an almost intolerable noise in her ears.
And then it's done. The woman rinses off Sarah's scalp with a bucket of warm water, and dries her with a soft fluffy towel that Sarah incongruously catches herself wishing she could take with her afterward. She doesn't know if there's going to be an afterward. She doesn't know what's going to happen to her. An entire life that seemed to stretch out into dull routine with only the occasional date and party and AO3 'like' to liven it up now fades into a total enigma beyond the next few moments. Sarah doesn't dare try to guess what might come next.
She would have been wrong anyway. The woman comes around and shaves Sarah's pussy with the same diligence and precision, smoothly snipping away her curly blonde pubic hair before smoothing shaving cream into the stubble and neatly drawing a brand new razor blade across it. It takes only moments. Sarah's never felt so completely exposed before. "There we go, sweetie," the stranger coos, giving another pat to the helpless woman's plump labia. "Almost ready now, I think. Let's just get the equipment into place, shall we?" She walks over to the rear corner, outside of Sarah's field of view. A series of clunks and clanks fills the room, echoing off the concrete walls. Surgery seems less and less likely with every passing moment.
When the woman in gray returns, she's wheeling a small cart with an astonishing device protruding from a curved rubber plate on one side at the end of an elaborate mechanical piston. It looks like someone browsed an entire sex toy catalog before deciding that none of the various shafts and nubs and ticklers was good enough and simply 3D-printed a shape that combined every single one of them at the same time. Sarah's eyes widen as the stranger adjusts the cart's height, then cranks the piston out until the plate is flush with Sarah's shaved cunt. It necessitates a certain amount of insertion, but the dildo is already very well lubricated.
"There we are!" the woman burbles cheerfully, clamping the wheels into position and flipping down a bracing strut from the side opposite the piston. "See why we needed to get all that hair out of the way, sweetie? Now, let me just get the helmet, and...." She walks behind Sarah again, and soon the former blonde feels something settle onto her head and over her eyes. It's heavy, but not enough so to be difficult for her neck to support. She can feel it pressing flush against her scalp, the cool metal surface tingling very gently as though conducting some inchoate impulse directly into Sarah's brain. She has a sudden idea what might be about to happen, even if it seems impossible and absurd. Brainwashing devices are the stuff of Sarah's favorite cartoons, not reality. Assuming someone even cared enough to want to brainwash her in the first place.
"Okay, sweetie," the woman says, giving Sarah's cheek a gentle caress. "Just go ahead and count down from ten with me, and I promise it'll all be over before you know it and you can start helping us get through the rest of the list. Okay?" She reaches out and presses something on the side of the helmet, and a sudden swirl of blazing light pours into Sarah's eyes. She closes them involuntarily, but the patterns twist and writhe hypnotically across her eyelids until her pupils automatically follow their motions.
"Ten," the woman coos softly, attaching nozzles to Sarah's nipples that quickly begin to tug with rhythmic suction in time to the swirling lights. "Nine," she purrs, as the toy in Sarah's cunt buzzes to throbbing life right on her clit. "Eight, sweetie, going away now," she murmurs gently, and Sarah forgets to keep her eyes closed as the patterns fascinate her mind smoothly and easily into oblivion. "Seven...." If there's anything more, Sarah doesn't hear it. Self-awareness simply drops out faster than she can process its absence, and her fear finally melts away completely as the pleasure empties her out into blank, helpless compliance to the woman in gray.