Disclaimer: The following story contains consensual and non-consensual hypnosis and sexual activity. If you are underage, or if these themes make you uncomfortable, consider yourself warned. The characters and situations depicted below are fictional, and they should remain that way. The author does not condone any non-consensual sexual activity.
“Next, we switch directions and bring the working ends around the front of the body again.”
Patti watched intently as Lilith brought the rope around Alex’s chest. He was dressed more casually than the last time the two of them were here: no princess dress, just a t-shirt and sweatpants. The only thing that would raise eyebrows about his appearance was the pair of bunny ears on his head, a pun so awful Patti had no choice but to admire it. Lilith, however, was just as dressed-up as before. She was a somewhat new name in the local kink scene; Patti thought she might be trying to overcompensate a bit.
“Then, we bring the working ends through the loop we just created, the one that’s doubled-over.” Lilith pulled the ropes through each other. “Make sure the ropes aren’t crossed, that’s very important.”
I could do better than that, Patti thought to herself. She’s kinda stiff with her hands. But it seems the crowd likes it.
It was a packed house at the Pink Mansion today, even more than the last class they held. Patti couldn’t remember the last time they ran out of chairs. It made sense; shibari was more “vanilla” than hypnosis, so naturally it would draw a bigger crowd.
“Now we reverse again, this time going above the chest.” Lilith wrapped the rope just below Alex’s armpits. “And we wrap the working ends underneath this vertical part, the stern.”
It was still a little surreal to Patti that she and Weiss weren’t together anymore. They’d known each other since Weiss still went by Gwen, when they were both the kind of bright-eyed newbies who would’ve thought this presentation was mind-blowing. In a way, Weiss and kink were almost inseparable to Patti. Even though they didn’t spend as much time together anymore, she couldn’t quite imagine one without the other.
“We reverse one last time,” Lilith continued, “and bring the working ends through the loop, just like before.”
A part of Patti wondered if banning Weiss from the Mansion had been a mistake. It had all happened so suddenly; one moment she was enjoying a great hypnosis scene, and the next Weiss was getting a lightning bolt to the chest and Patti was frozen stiff. They were both scared out of their wits, and Patti knew all too well how fear could make someone do incredibly stupid things.
She remembered the first time Weiss hypnotized her. Her girlfriend had been so nervous; back then, one would hardly recognize her as the woman she was today. She hadn’t bleached her hair yet, and she didn’t have that leather jacket she wore all the time. She looked like any other shy, mousey girl you’d see on a college campus.
Patti already knew she was far from shy, though. They’d been together for a few months by that point, and Patti had figured out tons of ways to push her buttons. Once Weiss got into a scene, she turned out to be quite the little kinkster, and she provided both of them plenty of ways to explore what they wanted.
It was actually Patti who brought up hypnosis at first. It was an ever-present sight in the communities she’d stumbled into online, and the demos she’d checked out seemed pretty enticing. Weiss tried to play it cool when Patti asked her about it, but it took only a couple minutes into her first session for Patti to figure out it was something she was passionate about.
Maybe a little too passionate. Weiss ended up so turned on during the induction that she couldn’t let herself go. Patti wasn’t necessarily complaining; she usually had to work a little harder to get Weiss that horny. But it frustrated Weiss to no end. She’d fantasized about going under for so long that to have it be just out of reach was maddening. They kept trying, and they made some progress, but Weiss was never quite satisfied.
So Patti suggested that Weiss try hypnotizing her. Weiss was initially hesitant, as usual, but she figured it couldn’t hurt to try. And when she started bringing Patti under, she took to it like a fish to water. The patter, the pacing, the way her voice was calm and measured yet still undeniably aroused – it was like she’d been doing it for years. Patti went deep that night. When she awoke, Weiss was grinning like an idiot, and Patti found herself smiling back.
In retrospect, it may have been the turning point in their relationship. From then on, Weiss became more and more interested in being the domme, and Patti found out she could be just as engaged as a bottom as she was as a top. Gradually, their roles reversed, and with it Weiss changed as a person. She became more confident, started dressing differently, and, eventually, started going by Weiss.
Lilith squeaked in a decidedly non-dominatrix-y way at the sudden loud noise that came from outside the Mansion. Fortunately for her, not many people noticed. Practically everyone in the room jumped out of their seat and gasped, Patti included.
Guess it’s time to do that “authority figure” stuff. Patti stood up and cleared her throat. “It’s alright, everyone! I’ll go see what the commotion was. Lilith, feel free to keep going.”
Lilith nodded, trying to regain her composure. Patti strode towards the door, holding her head up high and trying to project confidence and professionalism, something she’d gotten pretty good at faking over the years.
When she opened the door, her eyes immediately went towards the dumpster at the far end of the alleyway. Every so often, some poor drunk would end up spending the night in there, and when they got out in the morning the lid tended to slam loud enough to be heard even inside the Mansion.
Sure enough, someone was staggering down the alleyway, only a few steps away from the dumpster. I better call them a cab or something. “Hey there!” Patti called out, taking a few slow steps towards them. “You doing okay?”
The figure didn’t say anything. They just kept moving forward, swaying wildly, barely able to take a few steps forward without leaning on something for support. Guess they haven’t quite slept it off. “Do you need any help?”
“Patti…” the figure replied, their voice hoarse and pained.
Her blood ran cold. What the fuck… Alright, fuck this! I didn’t wake up today to be in some shit horror movie! “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you,” Patti said, backing up slowly. “Please, just go away!”
“Patti, help… help me…”
As the figure got closer, Patti started to notice something off about them. They were dressed very strangely – a purple leotard over a black bodysuit, with long white gloves and boots. Their hair was tied in a ponytail, and didn’t look matted or dirty like you’d expect from someone who spent a night in a dumpster. In fact, they looked virtually spotless.
And then they got close enough for Patti to see their face. She gasped. “Val?”
“Well, you’re looking chipper this morning.”
Val looked up from her phone and smiled as Gibson walked into the meeting room. This was the first time in a while that she’d beaten him here. “Morning! How are you doing, Gibson?”
“Alright.” He ran his eyes up and down her body, a look of confusion starting to form on his face. “Were we supposed to be in uniform this morning? Don’t remember Reuben saying anything about that.”
She looked back at her phone and used the camera as a mirror, putting the finishing touches on her purple lipstick. “He didn’t. I just wanted to dress up.”
“Yeah?” He took his seat. “What’s the occasion? We got a VIP coming in or something?”
“Or something, yes.” Val couldn’t wait for Mr. Hawthorne to arrive. He’d sent her a text before she got to the tower – Reuben had given him her number, he explained – telling her to wear her uniform for his presentation. Reuben would be wearing his, too. She didn’t quite know why Mr. Hawthorne wanted them in their uniforms, but it was nonetheless a little exciting. It was like Reuben and her were in on a secret, one that the rest of the team would only learn about after they too had Mr. Hawthorne explain things to them.
As the rest of the group filtered in, her anticipation only grew. It was strange; even though it had been hours since Mr. Hawthorne had used his power on her, the world still appeared drained of color. It wasn’t completely grey; she could still tell her uniform was purple. But there was a coldness to it. Everything felt muted, from the voices of her comrades to the way the tight fabric of her uniform hugged her skin. It reminded Val of a dream, how everything is slightly off in some indescribable way but one’s mind prevents them from really noticing it. It’s not until after one wakes up that anything seemed strange.
“He’s late again.” Brayden folded his arms and stared up at the ceiling. “What the hell’s keeping him?”
“Beats me,” said Yun-hee. “Maybe he overslept?”
“When has he ever overslept?” Gibson drummed his fingers on the table. “I dunno, guys, anyone else getting kind of a weird feeling?”
“Not really?” Yun-hee shrugged. “What makes you say that?”
“Well… I don’t mean to be rude, but…” Gibson pointed at Val. “You’re kinda freaking me out.”
“What?” Val scoffed.
“With the uniform and stuff. It’s weird. And you’re breathing funny too.”
“You can tell how I’m breathing? From across the table?”
“That’s not creepy at all,” Brayden muttered.
“Nobody asked you, Brayden.” Gibson leaned in, staring at Val intently. She knew that look like the back of her hand. She’d seen it recently, in fact-
“Some of us don’t think you made it out of that studio the same way you went in.”
Val saw a flash of something she didn’t quite understand. Gibson and her, in a fancy-looking elevator, talking about… something.
“Val?” Gibson sounded concerned. “You okay?”
“I…” What were they talking about? When did that happen? It felt so recent, but she had no idea when it could’ve occurred.
“Good morning, Team Rainbow.”
Val smiled. Mr. Hawthorne had arrived.
The room turned to look at him as he entered the room with Reuben. Mr. Hawthorne wore the same smile as he always did, kind and happy but not overly jovial. Reuben was dressed in his uniform as promised, but Val noticed he too was now wearing lipstick. Normally, Val and Yun-hee were the only ones with makeup as a part of their uniform, something Val remembered seeming a bit sexist when she first found out about it.
“Oh, now I see why he’s late,” Brayden chuckled, rolling his eyes. “Reuben had to get himself dolled-up for the Monopoly man!”
Reuben’s cheeks started to match his uniform. He kept his head low, avoiding eye contact with the rest of the team.
“Now, now, Brayden,” Mr. Hawthorne said, “there’s no need for rudeness.” He ushered Reuben to the head of the table and stood behind him. “I’ve come to make an announcement.”
“Yun,” Gibson groaned, “if he starts yelling about the moon, please kill me.”
Mr. Hawthorne paused. “I’m… sorry, I don’t follow.”
“It’s a- y’know what, never mind,” Yun-hee sighed.
“Just tell us what you wanna tell us and get outta here,” Brayden said, glaring at Mr. Hawthorne.
“Well, I’m afraid I won’t be out of your hair for some time.” Mr. Hawthorne smiled brightly. “For you see, starting today I’m your new boss.”
“…Excuse me?” Yun-hee leaned forward, her eyes widening. “You’re taking over leadership duties? But why?”
“Why not?” Mr. Hawthorne replied. “Better to have an impartial party handling mission control. And I do have majority stake in Team Rainbow.”
“Wait, what?” Gibson shot out of his seat. “Since when?”
“Since…” Mr. Hawthorne checked his watch. “35 minutes ago? I just got out of a meeting with the shareholders – former shareholders, excuse me – and I now own a little over sixty percent.”
“That’s… that’s gotta be illegal, right?” Brayden furrowed his brow and held his head in his hands, struggling to take it all in. “Like, there’s laws about how teams like us operate. The Bureau’s gonna step in and-”
“If the Bureau of Post-Human Affairs wants to step in,” Mr. Hawthorne interrupted, raising his voice an almost imperceptible amount, “then they’ll step in. I’m sure once I explain the situation to them they’ll see no issue.”
Yun-hee turned towards Val. “Did you know about this?”
Val looked over at Mr. Hawthorne. He hadn’t told her to lie to her teammates, but she knew that letting them know about their meeting last night would only serve to make them more upset.
Fortunately, Mr. Hawthorne picked up on her apprehension. “Why would she know?” he said. “Everyone except Reuben is hearing it for the first time.”
“I didn’t ask you,” Yun-hee snapped, “I asked Val.”
Val shrugged. “Why would I know? Everyone except Reuben is hearing it for the first time.”
“You know,” Brayden piped up, “repeating exactly what Ray here just said in the exact same tone of voice doesn’t really make you any more convincing.”
“Well, it’s the truth!”
“Is it?” Gibson’s eyes were locked onto Val, and she had a sudden, extreme flash of déjà vu. She’d been in this exact same position before – telling a lie, doubling down, only for Gibson to see right through her – and it was recent. But just like with the elevator, she couldn’t remember anything else about it. All she had were these flashes, images and emotions without any context.
“It is,” Reuben muttered, sparing Val from having to answer.
“Oh, now you decide to speak up,” Brayden fumed. “And you’re just okay with this?”
“It’s… not really my choice. Mr. Hawthorne is free to do what he wishes, it doesn’t concern me.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Gibson said, exasperated. “Dude, of course this concerns you! It concerns all of us!”
“If I may!” Mr. Hawthorne interjected. “It seems tensions are very high at the moment. I know this is a big change for a lot of you. So, how about this? I’ll meet with each of you one-on-one, and we’ll discuss it together.”
“Better idea,” Brayden replied. “Why don’t you fuck off, and we’ll discuss it on our own?”
Mr. Hawthorne chuckled. “I think you’ll go last, then. Val? How about you start us off? I’ll show you to my office.”
“Of course, Mr. Hawthorne.” Val rose from her seat and followed Mr. Hawthorne out of the room.
“I do hope there aren’t any hard feelings between us.”
Mr. Hawthorne’s office wasn’t much to look at yet. With such short notice, all he could scrounge up was a basic desk, a couple office chairs, and what looked like a name plate taken from his main office at Ardent Tower.
Val didn’t mind it, though. The view was nice, at least; an entire wall was made up of windows, showing the city from high above. She imagined the room itself would be far more impressive once things had settled down. “Of course not, Mr. Hawthorne,” she replied. “Why would there be?”
“Well, since we’re ending the investigation into-”
Val fell to the floor. Whatever Mr. Hawthorne said had turned into a piercing, impossibly loud noise that struck her like a freight train. Color returned to her vision, but it shot past its usual saturation and went harsh and searing.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Mr. Hawthorne sounded like he was shouting into a megaphone right next to Val’s head. “I forgot what we agreed on last night.”
Last night… What had they agreed on? Her entire evening was a blur. Most of yesterday was, actually. She remembered going to a coffee shop and seeing Lilith, who she knew from… A sex dungeon? Why would she have been there? It wasn’t like her at all. She wasn’t one to judge others for their sexual preferences, but she was fairly confident her tastes were about as vanilla as they could be. So why would she go to a place like that? And why couldn’t she remember what she did there?
“Val?” Mr. Hawthorne’s voice broke through the confusion. “Are you alright?”
“Y-Yes, Mr. Hawthorne.” Val stood up, her senses fading back into numbness. “I’m fine.”
“Good to hear!” He smiled brightly. “I’ll be more careful in the future. In the meantime, we have some things to discuss.”
“We do? I thought we went over everything last night.”
“Please, have a seat.” Mr. Hawthorne motioned to the other chair in the room, and Val sat down. “We went over things that pertain specifically to you, but there’s going to be some changes here that will affect everyone.”
“What kind of changes?”
“Well, for one thing, we’re redistributing some of the funds we get from the sponsors and the feds. The good news is you’re getting a raise.”
Val raised an eyebrow. “And the bad news?”
“Well… the bad news is, you’re moving in here.”
“You’re getting rid of my apartment?” Val’s heart sank.
Mr. Hawthorne chuckled. “Not getting rid of it, no! On the contrary, we’re putting it to much better use. Think about it, Val. In accordance with the Bureau’s guidelines, you’re required to live in a near-empty building. Hell, your entire floor is cleared-out save for you. Think of how many other people could live there! It could be a real benefit to the community.”
That does make sense… “But what about all my stuff?”
“We’re hiring a moving company for that. But, of course, you can bring some things over very easily, can’t you?”
Val shrugged. “I suppose so. But it would tire me out to keep opening portals back-and-forth like that.”
“I’m sure by now you know how to pace yourself.” Mr. Hawthorne smiled. “I don’t have a PA in here, so make sure to call Reuben in on your way out. Your room is… well, they don’t have numbers on them yet. Take the elevator down, head to your right, and it’s the third door on your left.”
“Got it. Anything else, Mr. Hawthorne?”
“No, I think we’re done here.”
“Alright, then!” Val rose from her chair and headed out the door. “Take care, Mr. Hawthorne!”
As Val headed back to the meeting room, she heard the voices of her teammates arguing through the door. She couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, but she could tell they weren’t happy.
Right as she was about to reach the door, it suddenly swung open and Reuben came walking out. He leaned against the wall opposite the door, taking slow, ragged breaths. He turned his face away from Val, but she saw a brief glimpse as he went past her. He’d been crying.
“Uh… hey.” Val wasn’t quite sure what to say, but she knew what she had to tell him. “Mr. Hawthorne says you’re next.”
“…Okay,” Reuben sniffled. “Val, I, uh, I wanna apologize for how I acted the other day. When we were talking about the case, I… That wasn’t me. Not entirely.” He back at Val, his eyes pleading with her. “You understand? That was him.”
Val blinked. “Reuben, I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. What case?”
“The-” Reuben stopped himself. “Oh, right,” he sighed, “you don’t remember.”
“Just… never mind.” He took a couple steps towards Val and placed his hand on his shoulder. “I’m so, so sorry.”
“Reuben,” Val smiled, “you have nothing to be sorry about.”
Reuben didn’t respond. He simply stared at Val, a look of quiet horror slowly forming on his face. After a few moments, he pulled his hand away and left for Mr. Hawthorne’s office.
“Val! Wait up!”
Val turned around and saw Gibson coming out of the meeting room. “What’s up?” she said.
“‘What’s up?’ Val, feels like I should be asking you that.”
“Look, can we talk later? I gotta head down to my new room downstairs.”
“New room?” Gibson’s eyes widened. “What does that mean?”
“Mr. Hawthorne will explain it to you when it’s your-”
“Val, cut the shit. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing’s wrong, Gibson! Why is that so hard to believe?”
“Because something is up with you. I can tell.”
Val rolled her eyes. “Oh, right, I’m ‘breathing funny.’”
“I’m serious! Like, I really can sense that about people. I kinda figured it out on my own. I can always tell when someone’s lying or hiding something, and right now, you’re doing both.”
“Whatever. You wanna listen to my breath, you can do it another time. I’ll catch you later.” She stormed past Gibson and strode towards the elevator.
“You know what, fine!” Gibson shouted. “Maybe I’ll just chat with ‘Mr. Hawthorne’ on my own. Give him a piece of my mind…”
Mr. Hawthorne was right. It was pretty easy for Val to move her stuff from her apartment to her new room at the tower. Sure, between lifting some heavy objects and the strain of opening portals constantly, she was more than a little winded, but it sure beat dealing with some sketchy moving company. She knew she’d have to work with someone else on the furniture, but she’d already moved a surprising amount of stuff over.
Val sat on her coffee table, opening up a bottle of water she took out of her fridge and taking a break. It had been a while since she’d used her power this extensively; the exhaustion was actually somewhat pleasant, like the feeling she got after a good run. Might have to start making a habit out of this.
As she sat in the nearly-empty room, her mind turned to her encounter with Reuben earlier that day. He’d apologized for something she didn’t remember, a discussion about a case. She wracked her brain trying to figure out what he could’ve been talking about. She couldn’t remember any time when he’d been rude or condescending to her, or when he’d been mean to anyone except Brayden or Gibson – and even in those cases, it was only because they were arguing like children. And Val couldn’t think of any active cases the team was working on, either. What on Earth was Reuben talking-
“But that’s just a theory, right? We don’t really have any proof that she messed with his memory. He denied it when I brought up the possibility, and he seemed pretty convinced it couldn’t have happened.”
Val steadied herself against the table. Once again she saw a flash, a memory that felt like it was from another life, another Val. Everyone gathered around the meeting table, Reuben discussing something with Yun-hee. Who were they talking about?
Only a moment after she felt this memory surface, she heard someone shouting outside her room. That’s weird… who else would even be down here? She went over to the door and peeked outside.
Yun-hee was running down the hall. “Val! Are you down here?”
“Yun!” Val shouted, stepping outside and closing the door behind her.
“Oh, thank God!” Yun-hee turned around and came up to her, hugging her tightly. “Val, something’s wrong! It’s Raymond!”
“Mr. Hawthorne?” Val cocked her head to the side.
“Yeah!” Yun-hee responded, pausing to catch her breath. “When I came in for my meeting with him, Reuben was in the room. H-He hid behind the door, and when I came in, he grabbed me!”
“Really?” Val had to stifle her smile. Guess Mr. Hawthorne’s going faster than I thought he would…
“I shook him off, and Raymond, he…” Yun-hee’s hands shook as she pointed to her neck. “H-He did something… everything was grey, then…” She grinned and chuckled nervously. “I zapped him good. Got out of there and ran like crazy. Gibson said you had a room down here, and I couldn’t find anyone else, and-”
Val wrapped her arms around Yun-hee and squeezed her tight. Mr. Hawthorne’s not gonna be happy with her. But it’s okay, I can get him to go easy on her. “It’s okay, Yun.”
“I’m just- just so scared,” Yun-hee whimpered. “You gotta get me out of here, Val.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything.” Val thought for a moment, and then opened a portal behind Yun-hee. “C’mon, let’s go.” She took Yun-hee’s hand and walked her through.
When they came out the other side, Mr. Hawthorne was hunched over his desk, breathing heavily. He turned around, startled, but then smiled victoriously when he saw Val and Yun-hee. Val smiled back. She wasn’t sure whether she could picture the room when she’d spent so little time in it, but she couldn’t forget a view that gorgeous.
Yun-hee’s eyes widened in terror. “Wh-Why…”
Val wrapped her arms around Yun-hee’s waist and held her still. “I got her, Mr. Hawthorne!”
“Good girl,” Mr. Hawthorne growled. He stepped towards them, and Val noticed his right hand was disconcertingly pink.
“Val, no!” Yun-hee shrieked, trying to break out of Val’s grasp.
“She won’t help you.” Mr. Hawthorne’s voice sounded pained. “She’s learned her place. And so will you.”
Val expected him to grab Yun-hee’s arm, or maybe her throat. So when he reared back and punched her in the face, she was so startled that she let go of Yun-hee, letting her friend drop to the floor. “M-Mr. Hawthorne, you don’t-”
“You think you could hurt me?” he shouted, picking Yun-hee up by her hair and tossing her like a ragdoll. She slammed into his desk, landing with a thud on the floor. All she could do was groan in pain.
“Y-Yun…” Val stammered, completely shocked by how quickly things had escalated. “M-Mr. Hawthorne, why did-”
“And you!” He roared, pointing not at Val but at Reuben – she hadn’t even noticed he was in the room. He stood a few yards away from them, quiet sobs the only noise he could muster. “You spineless fuck!” Mr. Hawthorne continued, the veins in his neck throbbing. “Some leader you turned out to be! Can’t rely on you for jack shit!”
“S-Sorry…” Reuben sniffled.
Mr. Hawthorne smacked Reuben across the cheek. “I’ve had enough of your apologies! Your assistance is no longer required. I suggest you acquaint yourself with your new living arrangement.”
“Y-Yes, Mr. Hawthorne.” Reuben almost looked relieved to be ordered out of the room. He brushed past Val on his way out the door, averting her gaze.
Val stood motionless, gawking at Mr. Hawthorne. Why did he do that? He didn’t have to hurt them… But… he’s supposed to be a good person…
Mr. Hawthorne finally looked in Val’s direction. “What are you standing around for?” he spat. “Get back to moving. Make yourself useful.”
Val stepped into the apartment and fell to her knees. She couldn’t get the image out of her head. Yun-hee’s body, limp on the floor of Mr. Hawthorne’s office. The blood on the desk. She thought she was going to help Yun-hee by bringing her back to Mr. Hawthorne. He wasn’t a bad person; she just didn’t take the news well, that was all. But instead, she let her friend get beaten to a pulp. And that was before she left the room; Val didn’t want to think about what he might be doing to Yun-hee right now.
She wanted to go back there and help. Maybe she could calm Mr. Hawthorne down, get him to back off; maybe she could at least take a few blows in Yun-hee’s place. But he ordered Val to go back to moving her stuff, and the longer she held off on following that order the worse it made her feel. The nauseous feeling in her stomach became more and more intense, until she nearly vomited in the hallway outside her new room.
At least… I can take my mind off that for a while… She tried to rationalize why she wasn’t helping Yun-hee. I can apologize to her later…
But the anxiety within her wouldn’t go away. Even as she packed her things and brought them across town, she couldn’t stop thinking about that moment. It was like Val was fighting against every instinct in her body, forcing herself to keep plugging away at her task instead of doing what she knew was right.
Anxiety turned to frustration. The more she worked, the more she cursed herself for following Mr. Hawthorne’s orders. What was wrong with her? Why would she just pretend everything was fine after she saw her new boss abusing her teammates?
In her anger, Val grabbed her nightstand and toppled it, the drawer opening and spilling its contents onto the floor. She took a deep breath to calm herself, and began picking up the scattered trinkets and papers. She’d forgotten how much she crammed into that tiny drawer – old cell phones, movie tickets, several toys she wouldn’t want the rest of the team to know about.
Buried in the pile was something she definitely didn’t remember putting there. She picked it up. It was an old Polaroid; on the back were the words “Songbird and Fallen Angel,” written in clean, elegant handwriting. She flipped it over-
“My, you’re quite susceptible, aren’t you?”
When Val came to, she was on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. The photo was still in her hand; when she looked at it, it was like staring into the sun while suffering from a migraine. She recognized the other woman in the picture, a pop star called Sky Kennedy. She remembered going to her house to interview her, but when she tried to think about what they discussed, her memory came up blank.
She certainly couldn’t remember any time where they would’ve been together like this. Sky was naked, and both of them looked completely out of it. In the corner of the frame was a white kiss mark. It all seemed eerily familiar to Val, like the image was burned into her mind-
Oh. That’s why she remembered it. She’d spent hours rubbing her brains out, staring at this thing while chanting that one word over and over. But she had no idea who or what this “Madame” was.
The sheer number of gaps in Val’s memory couldn’t be ignored. Something had happened to her. But who could help her? She couldn’t go to Mr. Hawthorne; after what she saw him do, she didn’t know if she could ever feel safe around him. And she knew Yun-hee wouldn’t feel safe around her, either, and she was the one she usually went to when she needed someone to talk with.
Wait… Val’s mind turned to the last time she and Yun-hee hung out, their night at the bar. They ran into someone there. Patti… she runs the Pink Mansion… Why did Val know that? How did she meet Patti? She knew someone introduced them, but when she tried to picture them, there was nothing there.
Whoever that person was, they were one of the things Val couldn’t remember. She had to go see Patti, had to get her help.
She opened a portal under herself, and fell onto something metal.
“Weiss! Get down here!”
Patti helped Val into the bar, the other woman squirming and whimpering in pain, barely able to stand. The interior was all dark, the only light coming faintly from the stairwell leading to attic.
“Patricia?” Weiss asked, her voice echoing through the empty room. Her shadow moved down the stairs and flicked a light switch.
When Val saw Weiss, she screamed and fell to the floor, convulsing like an animal.
“Holy shit!” Weiss exclaimed, rushing to Val’s side. “What happened?”
“S-Stop…” Val cried.
“I don’t know,” Patti replied anxiously, “I-I just heard this thud, and when I came out to check she was stumbling down the alley.”
“M-Mr. Hawthorne…” Val whimpered.
“Raymond?” Weiss’ eyes widened, her face turning white as a sheet. “He did something to you?”
“Shut up!” Val shrieked. “Just stop talking! It hurts!”
“You! When you talk or I see you, it makes me remember, and then it hurts!”
“Weiss!” Patti said firmly. “Just… just let me handle this, okay?”
Weiss glared at Patti, but stood up and took a few steps back.
“Val?” Patti asked softly. “What did he do?”
“He’s…” Val took a deep breath, unsure whether she’d get to explain anything or whether the pain would spike again. “He’s got powers. He can make people do things.”
“Oh, fuck…” Weiss whispered, holding her hands over her mouth.
“Is that why it hurts?” Patti asked.
Val nodded, her body shuddering slightly.
“Do you think we can help?”
“M-Maybe…” Val sniffled. “Maybe if you put me under…”
Weiss said Val’s trigger word, but all it did was make Val scream in agony again. “Stop!” she cried. “Stop it!”
“I’m sorry!” Weiss yelped, tears starting to well up in her eyes. “Valerie, I’m sorry…”
“Okay, okay,” Patti murmured, taking a sharp intake of breath. “If it hurts to remember
Weiss, then… does it hurt to remember me?”
Val thought for a moment. “No…”
“Alright, good.” Patti reached for something in her back pocket. “You remember when we met in the bar? I came up to you and Yun?”
“And I showed you this?” Patti held out her lighter, flipping open the lid and lighting it.
Val gasped softly, her cheeks starting to turn red. “Y-Yeah…”
Patti smiled, looking back at Weiss for a moment before fixing her eyes on Val’s. “Then I want you to remember that for me now. Let your mind go back to that moment. What did I ask you to do back then?”
“You… asked me to… focus on the flame…” Val whispered, her eyelids starting to droop and her voice taking on a sleepy, dazed quality. “Keep my… eyes open…”
“That’s right,” Patti cooed. “You’re doing such a good job, Val. Just keep thinking about that moment, remembering how it felt to sink down, down, down into trance.”
Val’s eyelids fluttered. She opened her mouth like she was about to say something, but all she could do was sigh softly. Her mouth hung open, her lips slightly parted, her face becoming placid and peaceful.
And as she sank completely into darkness, she felt another pair of arms wrap around her and hold her close.
I’d also like to take a moment to mention Carefully Random’s Discord server and the Mind Control Literature Discord server, which are both wonderful communities of erotica writers and readers. I’ve also opened up my own Discord server, which you can join here.