"And where are you now?" Jill suspected that he already knew, whoever he was. She wasn't a spy or a secret agent or a private investigator, she didn't know how to spot someone tailing her, but she didn't think that the person on the other end of the phone was working alone. And she felt absolutely certain that he wasn't going to leave something as important as making sure she was following instructions to chance. She had to assume that someone was watching her at all times. And that meant she had to play along. For Leeann's sake, if nothing else.
She looked around, taking in the wide, bustling lobby full of people. "I'm at the bus station," she said, the back of her neck itching as she tried to ignore the feeling of being watched. "I'm standing on the Arrivals platform. The bus I was on just pulled out, maybe... two minutes ago?" Jill felt a sudden stab of anxiety in her gut, as though she expected at any moment for him to call her on her estimate and accuse her of lying to him. It was just the latest in a string of similar panic attacks that had turned the last week into a nightmare of paranoia and sleeplessness. If it wasn't for Leeann....
But it was. Jill waited patiently, her long bony fingers trying to massage the itch away from the back of her neck until she practically rubbed it red from stress. Waiting for the reply. Waiting for them to decide that she'd jumped through the latest of the seemingly endless series of hoops, that she was ready to receive the next set of instructions and run deeper into the maze they'd set for her. They wouldn't just leave her hanging here, would they? Not when she'd done everything they asked. Not when she was so close.
Closer than she'd been in years, at least. Definitely closer than the morning she woke up and texted Leeann asking where they wanted to meet for breakfast, only to receive no reply. It was astonishing how quickly the trail went cold; the police tracked Leeann's phone to a drainage ditch three miles outside of Akron, found nothing interesting or incriminating on it, and put her name and photo into a database for the next thirty-six months while ignoring Jill's phone calls. Without a body or a witness to her disappearance or any sign of her, they were absolutely stymied. The Canadian authorities were no help either--Leeann might have come in on a student visa, but that didn't give them the authority or the ability to do anything about the possible crime.
Jill tried everything in those two and a half years. She got a true crime show to do an episode on it--Jill and Leeann were both pretty and blonde and (she hated to admit it, but..) white and upper middle class, exactly the kind of thing that would tug at the heartstrings of audiences. They were happy to interview her. But it didn't result in any leads. She crowdfunded a reward for any evidence leading to Leeann's return, but it just sat in the bank collecting interest. She handed out flyers to every business in the area where Leeann was last seen, hoping that one of them had a security camera that might have picked something up, but it was all pointless. Leeann had simply disappeared off the face of the earth.
Until now. "Go straight back to the far wall. There's a row of lockers there. Look for Locker #Z00, that's Zed and two noughts. There's a combination lock on it. The combination is 12-22-47. Open the locker and wait for further instructions." The part of Jill that had spent most of three years scrutinizing the tiny collection of evidence for even the most minute clue made a little mental note of the use of 'zed' for 'Z'. The voice didn't sound British--underneath all of the deliberate distortion, she couldn't even be really sure if it was a man. But there were others who used that word, anyone who inherited their English from England, and every little detail helped piece together a picture of Leeann's kidnapper.
And murderer? Jill felt that yawning pit of uncertainty open up beneath her again as she crossed the lobby and began to work her way down the row of storage lockers. The woman in Kansas City sounded so certain that it was Leeann she saw getting into a limousine downtown a month ago, but a month was a long time for someone who was being held against her will. Maybe even a lifetime. If the kidnappers had gotten antsy when Jill flew into town and started showing her flyers, maybe they'd decided to cut their losses and get rid of a potential risk to their operations.
But if they had just... if they had... if they weren't worried about being discovered anymore, why send Jill the burner phone? Why tell her to pack a set of spare clothes and withdraw the contents of the reward fund before directing her to a coffee shop in the Power and Light District? Why leave an envelope taped to the underside of one of the tables with bus tickets to Santa Fe? If all they wanted to do was get Jill out of the way--they must have been watching her all this time to know so quickly when she started getting close, a fact that sent chills down Jill's spine every time she thought about it--they could have just left her floundering in frustration in Missouri. This... this meant something. And Jill had to hope it meant Leeann's return.
She opened Locker #Z00, her brain still whirling with fevered speculation, and found a metal water bottle on the floor along with an MP3 player, a pair of earbuds, and another envelope. The bottle looked like the kind of thing that joggers carried with them, one of those sports bottles with a flip-top straw, and Jill almost reached down to see if there was anything in it before she remembered that she was supposed to wait for instructions. She didn't want to give them any cause to doubt her commitment now. Not when she'd already left her phone at a way station in Oklahoma City and her laptop back at the hotel room.
Instructions weren't long in coming. "Take the items. There's another ticket in the envelope, for a bus leaving in five minutes. You've got enough time to get there if you run. I don't need to tell you what happens if you try to stop at a payphone, do I?" The distortions made the voice sound even colder than it really was. Jill gulped, her throat closing up for a moment as she tried to force an answer past thick, constricting terror.
"N-no sir," she said at last, scooping up the things from the bottom of the locker. She shifted her shoulder bag into position, feeling the weight of seven thousand dollars move along with her. Then she ran for the Departures lounge.
She made it with just thirty seconds to spare, but the bus... to Beaverton, Oregon, apparently... was delayed by mechanical problems. It gave her plenty of time to read the text she received from the kidnappers. 'Put on the earbuds as soon as the bus is in motion', it said. 'Then press "Play" and begin drinking the liquid in the bottle. Reply to this message when the bottle is empty and you'll be provided with further instructions.' Jill didn't like the sound of the word 'liquid', but she was very well aware that she was out of options. The kidnappers had arranged for her tickets. They knew where she was sitting before she did. Even if every other passenger had a phone she could use to call the police, she didn't know who it was safe to ask.
So she put in the earbuds as the bus jerked forward, and listened to the distorted voice speaking to her over a hiss of static as she began to sip the thick, acrid fluid through the straw. She didn't recognize the taste, other than hating it--Leeann would have known, of course, but she wasn't here. Her best friend had been missing for almost three years now, and Jill had the despairing feeling that she was about to disappear too. But at least she would know why.
"Sit back and relax, Jill," the deep voice said in her ears. "You've got a long journey ahead of you, and we want you to be comfortable." She forced herself to take another swig of the skunky liquid as she listened, more certain than ever that someone was watching her to make sure she complied. "You've probably figured out by now that we're nothing so simple or tedious as mere kidnappers, and nothing as cruel or random as murderers. Leeann is safe and sound. That's a promise." Jill was amazed at how quickly her eyes filled with tears.
"No, what we do is more... elegant than mere kidnapping," the voice went on, seeming to soften as Jill became used to the filters used to disguise it. "Kidnappers have a limited number of tools to compel obedience, mostly fear of punishment or reprisal. Even the ones who can avoid getting caught only have so many things they can make a person do. Manual labor, prostitution... I'm sure you get the idea. At least for now." Jill thought she could hear a trace of amusement in the recording. She didn't enjoy it one bit.
"But a few years ago, we made something of a breakthrough in applied chemistry. A psychoactive drug that opens up certain key neural pathways, suppressing activity in the frontal lobe and making the victim highly susceptible to suggestions. You're drinking it right now, by the way, and you can't stop." Jill froze for a moment, numb terror stilling her limbs despite the very real fear that the kidnappers--her kidnappers--would punish her for her disobedience. She didn't dare swallow another dose, not if what the voice said was true.
But then she felt it, a warm, tingling buzz inside her head that felt like static all the way down in her brain. The voice's instructions seemed to echo inside her mind, looping and fuzzing over each other until Jill's thoughts were a mess of distorted repetitions of that single phrase. 'You can't stop.' 'You can't stop.' 'You can't stop.' And slowly, jerkily, her hands brought the straw to her lips again and she began to suck.
She tasted the thick, viscous slurry as it flowed over her tongue and down her throat, filling her with more of the chemical that... suppressed her thoughts? Opened her mind? Made her susceptible to suggestions? It all seemed like nonsense, but she couldn't deny the results. She was drinking from the bottle, even after they told her it would drug her into compliance. Her hands refused to listen to her anymore. Her lips pursed around the straw despite her best efforts to resist. It was enough to make a believer out of Jill.
Or maybe she only thought she was accepting the evidence. Maybe she was really just accepting the suggestion.
"It took us a little while to arrange the logistical elements--to duplicate the formula in the quantities we needed, to test it on a variety of subjects, to come up with the right suggestions to provide to turn them into exactly who we needed them to be to fulfill their new responsibilities. But we've finally gotten everything just perfect. We've got a network spanning the globe; docile, compliant slaves, all of whom want nothing more than to obey their owners. They can go anywhere we want them to go, do anything we want them to do, all without even a whisper of notice from law enforcement. It's very lucrative."
Jill realized she was nodding along with the voice now, accepting the calm certainty in its smooth tones without even trying to disagree anymore. Her lips remained glued to the bottle, draining more and more of the acrid gunk inside between every breath now. Her body was slumped against the window, seemingly unable to sit up in the face of the warm, dreamy sensation that filled her with sleepy pleasure. It felt nice to be drugged, she decided loosely. It felt good to be docile and compliant. Jill didn't quite remember where those words had come from, but they seemed to wrap around her brain so wonderfully that she didn't care.
"There are just a few loose ends to tie up, Jill. A few tiny slip-ups from when we were first beginning, back when there was so much to do and so few people to do it. We're finally ready to wrap everything up once and for all, Jill, and reunite you with your good friend. Doesn't that make you happy? Aren't you really, deep down, grateful that we drugged you into obedience like this?" Jill felt her forehead rub gently against the window as she nodded. She was going to see Leeann again. Leeann was safe and she was going to see her again. Two and a half years of fear and uncertainty melted away into a warm, peaceful feeling in mere moments.
"Of course, we called her your 'good friend', but let's just admit it, Jill. She's more than a friend to you, isn't it?" Jill's brow furrowed for a moment, bewildered by the apparent non sequitur, but the voice kept flowing over her thoughts and the drug kept flowing into her mouth and it wasn't even a full second before the dam of resistance immediately crumbled into slack, sleepy acquiescence. "You wouldn't go to all this trouble for just a friend. You wouldn't risk your life for just a friend. You've been in love with Leeann all this time. You just haven't let yourself admit it."
Jill blinked heavily, her eyes glassy and unfocused as she listened to the voice and let it carry her along. "You can feel it now, that deep, powerful throb in your cunt every time you think of Leeann. It's always been there. She's always made you horny, ever since the day you first met in freshman biology. You spent every moment of your time together fantasizing about how much you wanted to fuck her." Jill's memories rewrote themselves effortlessly, adjusting so smoothly and seamlessly to the new reality the voice described that she didn't notice a single discrepancy. Of course she wanted to fuck Leeann. Of course she was horny for her friend. It was who Jill had always been.
The last few bubbles of liquid went down Jill's throat with a rattling slurp, and she let the bottle fall from her nerveless fingers as she reached for the phone and managed to type out 'ddun'. The voice kept pouring into her ears as she texted, reminding her that she'd always been a submissive slut, that she'd always wanted to be drugged and brainwashed into obedience to a strong, powerful woman. Jill couldn't stop nodding. She couldn't disagree with anything anymore.
When the bus made a stop in Albuquerque, the man sitting next to Jill helped her out of her seat and walked her away from the platform. She didn't resist, not when the voice in her ears told her how good it felt to sink deeper into mindless surrender to her new friends. Not when at any moment, she could be reunited at last with Leeann, her friend and lover. Jill could feel her cunt melting into a soupy mess of arousal between her legs at the thought. Leeann was so smart. Leeann was so determined. Leeann would help her find an, an antidote for the drugs coursing through her bloodstream right now. They would be reunited and find a way to escape and live together, a chemist and biologist helping people break free of evil kidnapping rings.
The man led her to a limousine and ushered her inside. And there was Leeann, a few years older but still just as beautiful, just as sensual as ever. She was wearing a black cocktail dress that practically screamed wealth, and her legs were spread just wide enough to make clear to Jill that she wasn't wearing anything under it. "I'm so sorry to make you wait so long, pretty girl," she said, her eyes sparkling with adoration. "But I couldn't risk anyone finding out about my operation, not before I put everything in place to ensure its success. I had to vanish for a while, and it had to look like someone else was responsible. You understand, don't you, pet?"
Jill nodded, but her mind wasn't really on the explanation. Her gaze was locked onto Leeann's puffy labia, and the cleft of her pussy that already glistened with arousal. Her thoughts were already consumed with the image of getting down on her knees, pushing her head up under that sexy dress until the hem of it brushed the back of her neck, and burying her face in Leeann's cunt with utter abandon. She couldn't think of anything else. She'd been waiting for it since the day they met. She'd spent every second of the last few years hoping she would get the chance to eat her best friend's beautiful pussy, and seeing it like this was a dream come true.
"You may, pet," Leean said with a smile, and Jill crawled across the floor of the vehicle with mindless adoration in her eyes.