“Ugh! I have to get a stupid covid test for work!” Twig flailed her arms and legs in indignation, nearly tipping off of her bed. “I don’t wanna!”
Through the computer, Danica choke down laughter. She tried to put on an adult face. “I hope it’s not serious. Do you feel all right?”
“I feel fine. It’s stupid.” Twig folded her arms over her chest and pouted. The short, curvy woman didn’t really live up to her nickname. Her arms emphasized her prodigious, tanned cleavage. She sat on her bed, in front of her laptop, in pajama bottoms and a wife beater, with her bleached curls in rollers. “Bob at work tested positive, so now everyone who was on shift with him isn’t allowed to work until we test negative. Which is bullshit, right? Because we were all wearing masks?”
“Better safe than sorry.”
“No, but, they jam a whole q-tip into your sinus? I’ll get like, an infection!” Twig mimed getting probed in the nose. “No, it’s stupid. I don’t feel sick at all. It’s a waste of time. I’ll just lie about it.”
“It’s gonna give me brain sepsis or some shit, Danni!”
Danica’s sharp pale features grimaced. Her lips and her bangs were the same artificial black. “It’s not going to do anything like that, Twig. The test is harmless. And look, you can’t take the risk that you’re one of those asymptomatic super-spreaders.”
“That’s not real. You don’t get sick-but-not-really-sick.”
“It’s a real thing.” Danica rolled her eyes in frustration. “It’s how colds and flus get spread in the first place. Please, Twig, as a friend, promise me you’ll take this seriously.”
Twig grumbled and rolled back on the bed.
“Come on, Twig.” Danica pressed her.
“If you’re gonna guilt me about… But geez, okay, it’s scary!”
“Poor Twig… I’ll tell you what, if you trust me, I promise that it won’t hurt at all. Do you trust me, Twig?”
Twig giggled expectantly. “I trust you.”
Danica straightened up and put a twang of authority in her voice. “Twig, darling, sit up straight, look me in the eye, and tell me that you trust me.”
Trying to clamp down her anticipation, Twig sat up on the bed and composed herself. “Yes, Mistress Danica, I trust you.”
“You trust me?”
“I trust you.”
“You trust me, Twig?”
“I trust you.”
“You trust me.”
“I trust you.” Twig closed her eyes, already knowing what came next.
“Trust the flame.” Twig heard the ‘flick’ of Danica’s lighter as if it was next to her ear. In her mind, Twig saw the brass-plated zippo and its flame in exquisite detail. She smelled the fuel. She felt the heat on her face.
“I trust you.”
“You trust me, so you don’t have to fear the flame. You trust me, so you don’t have to run from the flame. You trust me, so it’s safe to focus on the flame. You trust me, so it’s safe to lose yourself in the flame.”
“I trust you.” Twig intoned. Her cleavage rose and fell.
“Follow the flame. Trust me. Stay with the flame. Trust me. Be the flame.”
“I trust you.” Twig intoned, softer now, her lips barely parting. One of her fingers twitched.
“Follow the flame. Stay with the flame. Breath in the flame. Trust me and be the flame. Trust me and be in my hand. Are you in my hand?”
Twig tried to say she trusted Danica. She only nodded.
“You are the flame. You are in my hand. You are in my power. And when I quench the flame…”
In her Twig’s mind, the zippo clicked closed. Twig dropped. Her mind and her body sagged together, growing heavy together, and growing immobile together. It was a familiar place - a familiar stream that welcomed her. Twig felt herself, her thoughts, and her memories become smooth like a stream bed.
“Twig, can you hear me?”
“Twig, do you trust me?”
“I trust you.”
“Trust the flame.” And without doubt, Twig felt that old zippo flick open again.
So it went -- flame after flame, quench after quench, drop after drop, stream under stream under stream, slipping through layers of awareness… Twig disappeared in place. Nothing existed but Mistress Danica’s voice, which rolled over the terrain of Twig without resistance.
For the dozenth time, the zippo snapped shut and for a moment, there was silence.
“Twig, this is Mistress Danica. You know that you obey Mistress Danica.”
“I obey Mistress Danica.”
“Good girl, Twig. You know how easy it is to do something for Mistress Danica.”
“Yes, Mistress Danica. I can do anything for Mistress Danica.”
“Good girl, Twig. Such a good, good girl... I want to talk about your wires, Twig. Do you remember your wires? You have so many wonderful wires running through your body.”
“I remember my wires, Mistress Danica.” Even under, Twig’s breath quickened. “I like it when you play with my wires.”
If Twig were paying attention to the video, she would’ve caught Danica preening. “I’m taking hold of your wires, now. I’m running a wire up to your nose. Let’s talk about your nose…”
Twig bounced in place to try and shake the chill out. The line wrapped around the clinic’s parking lot. Twig had been in the socially-distant queue for nearly two hours, trying to get to the tent where nurses were taking swabs, and the air hadn’t warmed up much since morning. Twig’s pastel soft-shell jacket and her fleece boots were fine, but she wished she had worn something heavier than tights. Meanwhile, the puffs of breath from everybody’s masks made her nervous. Only a few spaces from the tent, Twig fought the urge to run back to her car.
The front of the line stepped forward. Twig hopped from her box of tape on the sidewalk to the next. Someone down the queue coughed. Twig grimaced under her hang-in-there-kitty mask. She jiggled her leg, perhaps unaware of the amazing things the motion did to her nylon-wrapped bubble butt.
Finally, it was her turn. Twig slunk up to the table. As Twig filled out her card, the nurse unwrapped a swab and leaned over the table, holding it up to Twig’s face. Twig looked up and instinctively stepped back from the cotton probe. A full head taller and clad in full smock and face shield, the nurse practically loomed over Twig.
“Please pull your mask down from your nose.”
“R-right. Of course.” Twig pulled her stretchy mask down and steeling herself, tipped her nose up. Trust the flame, she told herself. She summoned the flick of the zippo in her mind.
“Hold still.” The nurse gently cupped Twig’s chin with just her pointer and thumb, tilting Twig back a little more, and pushed the swab up her nostril. Twig stiffen and made a strangled sound. Her nose buzzed with a familiar sensation that made her toes curl and her nipples stand at attention. Hot, Twig bit her lip. The wires sung.
The nurse paused. “Are you all right?”
“Uh-huh.” Twig whimpered.
“Oookay.” The nurse raised an eyebrow. “Do me a favor and don’t sneeze.”
The nurse pushed the swab all the way in. Twig closed her eyes and mustered all of her self-control. It wasn’t easy, because it felt like there was a clit in the back of her nose, where the nurse was swirling a q-tip. Working her way down Twig’s nose, the nurse carefully dragged the q-tip along the inside of nostrils that quivered like labia. Twig exhaled with relief as the swab pulled out.
The nurse tightened the grip on Twig’s chin. “Hold on. Going in for the other.”
Twig squeaked. The swab went up her other nostril. Her body nearly shivered with arousal. Twig mustered all of her bratty pride to control herself. Her palms sweated, her thighs tensed, and her nipples felt like they could cut glass. When the swab was finally pulled free, Twig clamped her mouth shut to stop from sighing with pleasure. Tears rolled down her cheeks.
“First time?” The nurse didn’t wait for Twig to answer. She dunked the swab in a tube of saline and screwed it shut with practiced efficiency. “You’re good.”
“Thank you, Mistress-”
“Uh, nothing! Thank you!” Twig tugged her mask up and hurried out of there. Her breathing tickled the raw flesh of her nose, stoking her blush to fiery heights and making her aware of the crowding she was rushing past. Twig felt painful aware of the cool snot oozing from her over-stimulated sinuses. It felt too much like when her cunt got wet. She rolled her shoulders, working her stiff nipples against their confines. Twig got to her car just as the building snot started to make her nose twitch. She slammed the door behind her and freed her face. Then, not bothering to search for a tissue, Twig blew her nose into her mask.
She came. Twig slumped down in her car seat and groaned. One hand squeezed her nose through her mask-tissue while the other squeezed the inside of her thigh. Her head tipped back, her eyes rolling back further. A long string of clear snot hung from her nose to her mask. A trick of pee stained her tights. Panting, Twig looked out of the window from the side of her eye. A few people in line starred inquisitively in her direction. Twig didn’t care. She drunkenly waved at them with her mask.
Twig pulled herself together and got her car moving. After getting coffee from a drive through, Twig pulled into a parking lot. She checked her phone and found a missed call from Danica.
“How are you feeling?” Danica said right when she picked up.
“You goddamn bitch.” Twig didn’t say it with much vitriol.
“Now comes the hard part. You have to isolate yourself until you get the test results back. Can you do that?”
“It’s gonna suck.”
“I can make it a little less boring, if you like.”
“Trust the flame.”