Knock, knock, knock.
Clair kept banging on the door to room 101. Stumbling came from inside. Knock, knock, knock. Harder this time.
“Do you have any idea what time it is? The fuck do you wa...” the haggard form of Gina trailed off as she saw who had come to her.
Clair grinned. This is going to be easy.
She gently brought her hand closer to the confused girl’s ear. She gently caressed Gina’s cheek, then tilted her chin down.
Gina blinked, trying to process what was going on. “H-hello?”
“Just keep staring, Gina.”
She blinked, trying to cock her head, but Clair held fast. “Wha?”
Carefully, slowly, she brought her hand up to Gina’s eye level, gently swaying it left and right as she did. The serpentine movement trailed down, meeting the zipper of her top. With her other hand, she gently guided Gina’s hand towards the same point.
“Shhh. Do you want to see them?”
She nodded, still seeming confused. Good.
With Gina’s hand now grasping the zipper, her hands were free to rest on Gina’s temples.
“Do you want to see them?” Clair asked again.
Another nod. Again, just like before at the office, she was taken aback by how easy this all was. It wasn’t supposed to be this easy, but Gina did have a habit of getting into altered states of consciousness...
“Then you just have to go down. Just pull and go down. You can stare all you want when you go down,” she cooed.
She leaned forward slightly, emphasizing her chest against Gina’s hand, which brushed her nipple as she slowly, almost in a daze, pulled the zipper down.
“Good girl. Keep going.”
No nod this time. Just total focus on the task in front of her.
Gina pulled the zipper down to the base of Clair’s ribs, then stopped, staring at what was no longer covered. Clair had planned for this. The jacket was fairly tight, though not form-fitting. Removing her bra before coming here meant Gina had been all too aware of what was beneath, and yet all too unprepared to see it.
“Sink, and stare.”
“Sink... and... stare...”
“Good girl. If you want to see more, you have to keep going. Down.”
The zipper continued its descent, but it was slow, half-hearted. Her focus was elsewhere.
“Down you go, Gina.”
Her eyes, already glassy, unfocused.
“Sink and stare.”
“Is your roommate home?”
Clair’s grin widened.
“Is there anyone else inside?”
Gina made the barest of movements indicating that no, she and Lois were alone. As her head moved, her eyes never left her target.
“Let me inside, Gina. Just keep staring.”
She moved to the side, following Clair as she entered, her hand still gripping the zipper.
“Follow me,” Clair whispered, leading the other girl along with her. “Just keep staring, Gina. If you lose sight, just remember, you can always see them in your mind.”
* * *
Lois woke up abruptly. She’d tried to grab on to her partner, but she was alone in bed. Where was she?
“Gina, is everything ok?” Lois grumbled.
“Gina?” she called, a bit louder.
When she got no response, she got out of bed, threw on a top, and leaned out of the bedroom. Gina was there, staring at someone Lois couldn’t quite place.
“Can I help you?” she asked blearily.
Clair didn’t respond. It was time.
She glanced at Gina, likely noting her expression, then frowned. Clair had expected that. It could be written off as her roommate having indulged without her, and that would buy her time.
Lois fixated on her next. She looked at her, then shook her head with a grimace.
“Uh, hello? You wanna explain what you’re doing in my room? You here for me, or my, uh, roommate?”
Well, I’d planned with the assumption that neither of them was high. This won’t be as easy, but if she interprets things right...
“Wait... Gina! Did you buy us a toy? Oh my god! I thought we both decided we weren’t gonna do that anymore?” It took a surprising amount of willpower for Clair not to grin. It had worked that well?
Her eyes darted across Clair’s body. “She is hot, though... Whatever,” she sighed. “Bit early, though,” she grumbled. “Why now, not later...” She paused as she saw that her lover hadn’t reacted to the question. “Uh, Gina?”
Well, yeah. Not like I had planned to buy much time anyways.
Lois hurried over to her entranced roommate, ignoring the stock-still Clair.
“You ok, G?”
The other woman ignored her, content to follow Clair’s suggestion. Lois followed her line of sight, then frowned.
“You. Toy. What’s your name?”
She’s not going to try to activate me. Why would she, if she thinks Gina did?
“I am Toy Clair, Mistress.”
“What's wrong with Gina?”
Well, that’s easy. I don’t even have to lie.
“Mistress Gina is high.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen her high before. This isn’t it. What the hell is going on?”
She held back a chuckle. It looks like Plan A is going to work after all.
“She asked for this, Mistress.”
Lois frowned. “What? Explain.”
“She learned that I was a skilled hypnotist, and wanted to experience it herself.”
“What? Why the hell would she want that?”
“Hypnosis is capable of producing a wide variety of pleasurable effects. She had not experienced it before, and wished to do so.” Though that was last time...
“I’m sorry, what?” She didn’t sound angry, just confused.
“But she has been hypnotized before. So have you.”
“The fuck are you saying? I’ve never been...” she scoffed.
I love it when a plan comes together.
“You have, Mistress. Not remembering it was a suggestion. Just think back. It should be easy now that I’ve given you permission.”
Lois opened her mouth, then creased her brow as she tried to review her memories.
“What happens when you look at my chest, Mistress?”
Lois backed herself against a wall, knocking over a poster as she tried to keep herself upright.
“Don’t try to fight it, Lois. You know you’re going to end up exactly like Gina. And it’s going to feel so wonderful.”
Lois jerked her head, as if trying to look away, but she only ended up biting her lip and blushing.
“Lois.” Clair punctuated the name slowly, lifting up her shirt. “What happens when I show you my chest?”
“Sink... and... stare,” she breathed, the tension finally leaving her body.
“That’s a good girl. Why don’t you and Gina go sit down on the couch, just like last time. We can talk about what happens when you keep staring.”
“Sink,” both girls murmured.
* * *
Clair mulled over Gina’s laptop, drumming her fingers against the desk. A mess of exposed circuitry and LEDs was hooked up to the computer.
“I don’t know why I thought I’d be able to figure this thing out,”
Lois called out from the kitchenette. “Sorry, Gina. Did you say something?”
“Nope. I thought maybe you did. Hey, why are you making so much food, anyways? We’ve already eaten.”
“I just felt like it.”
“Gina, come here,” Clair called.
Gina’s eyes glazed over the moment she heard the summons. The conversation halted. Thoughtlessly, she marched towards Clair. Lois blinked twice, then moved towards the couch. Reruns of The Workplace played, just as Clair had ordered.
“What can I do for you, Clair?” she asked worshipfully.
“You say something, babe?” Lois called from over her shoulder.
“Ignore us for the next five minutes, Lois. Go back to your show.”
The television got louder.
“Sometimes, I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope to find it along the way,” the TV confessed.
You and me both, pal.
“Hold still, Gina.”
“Yes, Clair,” she complied with a beatific smile.
She unhooked the disk and placed it on Gina’s forehead. The disk showed no blinking lights, besides the yellow one on the circuit board that had started blinking when she plugged it in. There was no chime of activation. It didn’t even make a sound. She scanned Gina’s face for signs of trance.
Nothing. Just eager devotion.
The ceramic disk just slid off Gina’s forehead with a small flump. One final insult.
I really don’t know what I was expecting to happen.
“I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.”
She clenched her fists. That show was supposed to be relatable, but this was just ridiculous.
“Lois, turn that thing off.”
“I’m done with you, Gina. Go watch TV with Lois.”
She blinked, her expression fading to normal, and she returned to the sofa.
“What are we watching?”
They went to the streaming service, and a preview for a new special played. “I think my therapist is doing something to me. I’m losing time.”
“Turn off the god-damn TV!” Clair commanded.
Both their hands moved for the remote. Gina’s was faster.
“Oh, definitely not that. I hate all this bullshit fake stuff.”
“I don’t know. I think it looks like fun.”
“Yeah, except hypnosis doesn’t work that way.”
“Really? Well what if it could?” she began crawling her way up the couch. “What would you make me do? Maybe I could be your very own personal toy? How can I serve you, Mistress?”
Clair bolted to her feet, grimacing. God, she was getting a headache.
“Both of you, shut up!”
The two women obeyed the command by locking lips.
Well, if it worked...
Clair made her way into the kitchenette, trying to take deep breaths.
Calm down, Clair. You can’t just order them to do whatever you want. They’re not disked, just very deeply hypnotized. I don’t know the limits, and they definitely exist. I don’t know how suggestible they are, and how much the high helps me. So I can't push them. Just... I’ll deal with it for now. Priorities. I have safety, but I still need a way to get to Amber. She exhaled, trying to ignore the antics of her unlikely allies. I can’t leave the room, and the only people who can... I have only limited control over them. Conclusion? I have no op-sec, no allies, and zero options. Anyone who I did have before is probably compromised now, too.
She slid down the wall.
She heard sounds coming from the room. Of course this is when it’d start to wear off.
“Listen. I’ve had a great time, but I’m really tired. I think I’m just gonna head home now.”
“Come on, baby. Don’t be like that. Just look deep into my eyes,” she said breathily.
Of course those two would treat hypnosis like a date rape drug. She frowned as the headache resurged, then gasped as she realized what she’d thought. That’s... huh. A date rape drug. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be glad I knew a rapist... She sprang to her feet, pacing the room. Everything checks out. I can use him. I just... can't believe I’m actually going to do this. This is crazy. But what choice do I have?
She marched to the front of the room. Gina and Lois were staring into each other’s eyes, playing out a scene from a porno.
“Just look into my eyes. Feel yourself falling. Soon, you’ll be my slave.”
“Yes, you can’t resist my deep blue eyes. You are becoming my helpless hypnotic slave.”
“Go on, say it.”
“Hypnosis... doesn’t work that way...”
“But it does, my dear. You’re already my helpless slave. You just don’t know it yet.”
“That’s right. Strip for me, sla- ”
Clair stood in the center of the room and cleared her throat.
They blinked, seeing Clair as if for the first time. Then, their expressions filled with awe as they beheld the radiant being she’d convinced them she was.
For good measure, she took off her top. Just to be sure. She watched their eyes travel lower, then their faces slackened.
“What happens when you stare?”
“Sink...” they breathed.
“Good girls. Go down deep into a nice relaxing trance.” She grimaced, hoping that the headache would go away soon. “Take off all your clothes, then go change into your sexiest lingerie.”
* * *
She was ready. The only thing left to do was wait. She checked the email she’d sent, double checking it had been sent to the correct person.
Your account has been reinstated. As compensation, you will be given free access to the cause of the incident. Followed by a picture of Clair blowing a kiss topless. The perfect bait.
She hadn’t wanted to sweeten the deal quite so much, but her own clothes had been lacking for the current task, and none of her adoring tools’ clothes had fit.
Not exactly subtle, but this guy never really was too bright to begin with. A knock at the door signified the start of her performance. She looked herself once over in the mirror to be certain her smile was just right.
Welcome to my web, fucker.
She unlocked the door, and steeled herself against the feeling of bile pushing up from her throat.
She had practiced this voice before. It was the same one she used on Amber in her fantasies, the same one she’d used to send Amber into a trance just a few days ago. The same one she’d used on Gina and Lois.
“Hey there, slut.”
She suppressed the urge to retch as Matt walked in, closing the door behind him.
“You like what you see, big boy?”
She leaned forward, pressing her boobs together. Matt grinned, eyeing her up, and began unbuckling his belt.
“On your knees, slut. Time to apologize.”
“Why don’t you come sit down first? I have a surprise for you.”
He stopped undressing, his pants midway down his thigh.
“Alright. But call me Master from now on.”
Clair walked into the darkened room towards the couch, making sure to sway her hips. A guiding lure. He was practically pulled towards her waist-first.
“Of course,” she said smoothly, hiding a smile.
He picked up his pace, coming up behind her. “Of course, what?”
She spun around, breaking his stride. She placed a hand on the nearby couch and sat down.
“Have a seat.”
He leaped to the side next to the couch, eager to feel her up, but still a little wary. As soon as he sat down, she turned her head and stood. He looked at her, confused.
“Thank you for joining me, Matt.” Her voice retained its husky tone, but she punctuated the last word with all the venom she could manage. “I’d like to make you a proposition.”
He got to his feet.
“Oh, no. You misunderstand. Sit down.” She slid towards him, ignoring the way it felt. She was a tool. She was a weapon. She did what she had to.
“Why don’t I show you the surprise I have for you? If you’re not interested, then you can have me instead. Do we have a deal?”
She placed the lightest touch upon his chin. Guiding it upward, he began his own nod, seemingly having forgotten the insubordination.
“Stay there. Look straight ahead.”
With his eyes adjusting to the darkness of the room, he slowly began to make out what lay in front of him. But slow wasn’t really what Clair was going for.
She thumbed the remote she was holding, and the lights she’d rigged faded in. Clair’s other weapons stood at attention, staring at each other. They wore a matching set of lingerie - one white, one black. If she was doing this, she was going to make it a show.
The illumination was the signal for the two women to exhale and blink. Then, they moved towards each other. Slowly, at first, but their pace increased once they were in each other’s arms. They moved their hands up each other, gliding across their bodies. It certainly was a show, that was for sure.
“Are they... for me?”
“They are a demonstration,” Clair said evenly.
“Gina, on your knees.”
“Yeshh,” she replied, breaking mid-kiss.
Matt shuffled forward. His leg twitched. Gina shuffled forward towards him, then turned around and undid the other woman’s garter belt. Lois spread her legs and allowed Gina to kiss in between them.
Matt’s breathing was heavy. He remained in position on the couch, giving him full view of the scene before him.
“How would you like to have something like this whenever you want?”
Matt didn’t wait a moment before he fell into her trap. “Hey, sleepyhead. Tired?” Matt intoned. Then, he looked between Gina, Lois, and Clair, eyes wide in panic. Clair just smiled. Who would have thought that rape report would have been so useful?
“Your access wasn’t reinstated, Matt. And they weren’t toys in the first place. This is all my handiwork.”
He could only nod, swallowing loudly.
“Here’s the surprise, though. Even though you’re still banned, I’ll give you your very own doll. No restrictions on what you do with her.”
He almost slipped off the couch, giving her a startled look. Oh, yeah. He had no illusions as to who was in control now.
“If, that is,” Clair continued, “you agree to do exactly as I say.”
“Yeah,” he replied, considering it.
“Stop, you two.”
The other two women froze.
“Wha...” Matt frowned.
“Matt, I need you to understand what I’m telling you.”
“You’ll hold up your end of the bargain?”
“I said ok, fine. Tell me what I need to do. And if you don’t, I’ll get back at you for tricking me, pinky. The only reason you’re not dead is that offer of yours.”
Clair just smiled enigmatically. “What do you need to do, Matt?”
“Do what you say. Fine. What exactly do you want me to do?”
She smiled, placing her phone on the desk. “I’d like you to sneak into an RA’s room. Bring the person inside back here, and play,” she tapped the phone, “this.”
Amber’s voice filled the room, only slightly disjointed from the editing Clair had done. Administrator override, puppet protocol. Amber Cheng. If only that was enough to work on her. She’d have fewer problems, if she was just allowed to lie to herself...
“Wait... Amber? What does she have to do with it?”
“That’s right. I want you to break into an RA’s room, and bring Amber back here. Then play her this.”
“What? Why would I do that?”
“I already told you, Matt. You could have this whenever you want, you know?” she motioned to the frozen women at the back of the room.
“Anyone I want?”
“Not just anyone,” she let the statement sink in. “I know you’re angry about your membership. You probably wanted to fuck admin over, didn’t you? Well, I’ll let you fuck admin. Over? Well, that’s up to you.”
“Admin?” he muttered, searching Clair’s eyes.
“Yeah. I’ll let you fuck the bitch who took away your membership.”
“Yes, that bitch. The same bitch who showed you just how pathetic and stupid you are. She blue balled your ass because she thinks she’s better than you, and she owns your ass. Did you know that she has control over you, too? Ever tried to spill the beans about the toys?” Matt’s eyes widened. “I’m going to let you use her.”
He clenched his fists and closed his eyes. His leg twitched again. Finally, his mouth opened, but he closed it without speaking. Then, he eyed the other two women in the room, and grinned.
“Ok, and what if I want more?”
Clair chuckled. “You won’t. I mean, you’re not that stupid, right?”
She stood up, walking over to stroke Lois’s cheek. In their current pose, arms outstretched in bliss, it looked like they were worshipping their god. Not inaccurate, given the circumstances. She ran her hair through Lois’ fingers, gripping her scalp, smiling as her useful tool’s face only grew more blissful.
“You do know they used to be straight, right?”
A blatant lie, but Gina and Lois were closeted. As obvious as they were in private, they were discreet outside, not willing to let anyone know they were anything more than friends. Clair didn’t even have to push their limits to get this to happen, but Matt wouldn’t know that.
She gave a pause to let him read between the lines. Moments later, she saw his smile fade, horror in his eyes. Thank you, homophobia. “How is Steve, by the way? Oh, and you can continue, girls.”
The weapons continued moaning, having drawn metaphorical blood, as Clair returned to the couch. She knew Matt wouldn’t see through her deception. His inability to look away from her, despite the display to the side, proved she had his attention. He wouldn’t dare disobey her. Not after that threat. Not with how his hands were shaking, and how his breath was coming short.
“So,” she offered her hand, “do we have a deal?”
* * *
Clair took deep breaths as she watched the dorm. She’d seen the building so many times before. Dark blue, and big enough to contain half the student population. You’d be lucky to get your own private room.
Or, you could just be like a certain someone and steal the best room in the dorm without performing any of the responsibilities that earned that room in the first place.
Her blood boiled, and she found the anger soothing.
I get her back today. I swear it.
It was dark. At this time, most of the student body would be either partying or sleeping. Judging distances, she picked up a rock off the ground, gave it a test swing, then threw.
It struck the RA’s window, leaving a nice spiderweb crack. That’d be obvious to anyone inside, but it probably hadn’t been loud enough to really draw suspicion
The next minute was painful. All she could do was wait.
Fuck me, don’t tell me they’re not home...
Her fears were assuaged when Sara appeared in the broken window frame a few seconds later. Unfocused eyes met Clair’s defiant gaze, and she turned her head, speaking to someone. Seconds later, she appeared.
Clair met her eyes with a fierce grin. She didn’t feel fierce, or feel like grinning, but The Enemy hated her. This would be the best way to get her mad. That, and...
Clair raised both her hands, showing their contents. In her left, she held a ceramic disk. With her right, she pointed to a nearby building. A building she knew was absent this time of night, and one she’d designated as a backup plan when one of her freed toys had mentioned she had the keys. She gestured towards the woman in the window, crossing her arms in an attempt to indicate trade, then sauntered towards the building.
The grin faded. There was no joy in this. It was time to act.
* * *
Clair paced the empty room. For all her plans, there was nothing she could do anymore.
I love you, Amber. I’m doing this for you. Just a bit longer...
She let the mask drop, for a second, and sighed, slumping. She had worked herself too hard these past few days. Her body was barely keeping up, and without the programming, her mind would have followed suit. With some effort, she composed herself, and seconds later she heard footsteps. The Enemy burst into the building, breathing heavily.
“You!” the source of all of Clair’s problems mouthed.
“Can I help you?” Clair smiled coyly.
“I’m disappointed in you, Clair. What was your plan? Lure me over here and take me out? Fuck you! I’m the one in command here. I control everyone and everything. Just like I own you.”
Clair smiled at her.
“Admin override, puppet protocol,” she retorted silently.
Clair gasped and sank to her knees. She screamed.
“No. Please! Mercy!” Then, she sprang back, and winked.
“What?” The Enemy mouthed, though Clair could hear her muffled voice ever so faintly.
Clair giggled. “You really thought I’d come to you without having removed the programming?” A lie, but unless The Enemy could see beneath her hair, she wouldn’t know that Clair was wearing earplugs. “I’m disappointed in you, Ikora.”
The other woman’s nostrils flared.
“I will fucking end you, bitch!”
“You and what trigger?” She snapped back. I really hope I’m reading her lips right. I need her mad for this, and making mistakes will just distract her.
“Not my job anymore, sorry.”
“I am so fucking done with you,” she groaned, turning towards the open door. Clair didn’t hear what she said next, but from the tone she could barely hear, it didn’t sound happy.
A group of boys ran into the room, obviously signaled by her unheard command. That was within expectations. Clair grinned and leaped over the desk, dashing for the window. She knew it wouldn’t do anything but waste time, but that’s all she needed to do. She was halfway through the opening already when she realized that The Enemy had posted guards outside, too.
Fuck. Still within expectations, but...
She turned back to face her three attackers. It would be head on, then. She met the first one with a strong kick right to the groin. He stumbled, but continued to move forward.
Great. They can ignore pain, too.
She switched targets to the second attacker, moving before he could get behind her. If she couldn’t disable them with pain, she’d have to go for more drastic measures. With as much force as she could muster, she drove her foot into his abdomen and pushed. He stumbled backwards, winded, and collapsed, coughing, as he tried to move forward instead of recollecting himself. That made two.
I don’t have much of a choice. I’m sorry, boys. This isn’t personal.
She grabbed a chair, slamming it hard into the third boy’s leg, who had been waiting for an opportunity to attack. The force of the strike splintered wood and made the metal groan. He got back up, but at least he was limping now.
Good. Nothing permanent.
The boy with the groin injury was next. She broke off a piece of metal from the already flimsy chair and charged.
He swung wildly. That was an advantage to fighting the mindless, Clair supposed. She ducked and slid, smashing his ankle in the process.
Broken. He won’t be walking.
“Sorry bitch, looks like I’m too good for you.”
She strode towards The Enemy, raising the pipe above her head.
Pain swelled behind Clair’s eyes. She dropped to her knees. The world was ringing.
Fucking earplugs. The floor came closer. I didn’t hear you sneak up behind me.
A pair of soft hands pulled out the earplugs, throwing them to either side of the room. As she collapsed, she got a glimpse of her assailant.
Clara was clearly disheveled, her attire all out of place. The Enemy had been taking out her stress. Clair couldn’t help but sneer, even though it hurt to do.
Yeah. I guess I deserve this, don’t I?
“Enough games. You’re mine now, bitch,” The Enemy crowed.
Clair didn’t take her eyes off Clara. “Glad it was you.”
“Oh, please. Which did you think I’d find more likely? You removing the programming, or just blocking it out? I remember that scream, Clair. You already played your cards. Administrator override. Puppet protocol.”
Her head screamed at her, but despite the pain, something clicked.
“Please provide identification,” she responded in perfect monotone.
“Administrator Ikora Amar.”
“Identity confirmed. Welcome, Administrator Ikora.”
“On. Your. Knees.”
Her body obeyed. She wasn’t supposed to be aware for this, but that was one last twisted gift Amber had given her. Every movement made the ringing in her head worse. The instant her knees made contact with the wood, she froze.
That’s about all you’re getting from me, bitch.
She hid a smile as the idea came to her.
Looks like she doesn’t have as much control over me as she thinks.
“Look at me.”
She craned her neck. Her muscles screamed at her, protesting the movement. Programming was probably all that was keeping her from collapsing at this point.
“The whole way, please. I haven’t got all day.”
She shifted her body. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but at least it didn’t hurt once she’d gotten into position.
“Any last words?”
She spat a little bit of blood towards her feet, and The Enemy’s eyes widened. “Yeah. Four,” she grinned. Blood dripped from her gums. “Admin override. Puppet protocol.”
The air grew silent. “No! Fuck you! That’s impossible!”
She laughed. “No, really. You think I didn’t have a backup plan?”
“You made yourself an admin...”
“Yep. Why don’t you try telling your beefcakes to do something? Go ahead. I’ll wait.”
She winced with every syllable, but the stupefied look on The Enemy’s face made it worth the anguish. She wasn’t sure if it was the declaration or the fact that she was conscious under puppet protocol, but either way, The Enemy was pissed now.
“You, toy. Come here.”
“This unit is called Toy Kyle, mistress.”
“Does it look like I care?”
The blank faced man seemed to understand the rhetorical question.
“Stand on one leg.”
The toy obeyed, but soon fell over, unable to support himself due to his injuries.
“Useless,” she turned her attention back to Clair. “Was that really your best play? A half-assed lie?”
“You still fell for it.”
“Shut. Up. This conversation is over. Where is the disk?”
Clair met her eyes, unyielding.
The Enemy closed her eyes, putting her palm to her face. “Of course you’d do it too. You’re her friend. Of course you’d find a way... Well, let me tell you a few things before I win. You’re not going back to the way things were. No more blissful ignorance for you. No more carefree days spending time with the girl you think you love.” Who are you to talk about half-assed lies? Clair snapped back silently. “I gave you that life out of respect for her. I’m the reason for every pleasant thing that’s ever happened in your life.” Ah, yes. The stuff before the disk, too? Really? That’s the best you can do? “And now I’m gonna take it all away, and you’re gonna be aware of it every. Single. Moment.”
Clair grinned back. You can’t fool me anymore. I know you’re lying.
“Give me the disk, Clair.”
Clair reached into her back pocket and threw the disk at The Enemy’s feet. She picked it up, inspecting it in the moonlight.
“Did you know that these things actually let you rewire the brain? Amber and I thought it might just be a powerful method of focus, at first. And yeah, it might as well be. Though it’s limited, as it is. Amber was sure we could find another way, another pattern, to do more than just manipulate the mind... But even with this, all it takes is the right words, and it can shred your mind apart. I could turn you into a drooling mess that doesn’t even know how to breathe if I wanted. But that’s too good for you. Too simple. No.”
The Enemy knelt down to meet Clair’s eyes.
“I’m going to make you experience more agony than you’ve ever thought possible. I can make every neuron in your brain fire, at once, constantly. You’re a psych student. I’m sure you know what that would do.”
Clair didn’t let her gaze falter, even as The Enemy threatened her with a freaking grand mal seizure. She just stared, unblinking into her eyes.
That’s fine. Do it. I win anyway.
She grinned, understanding Clair’s mental state. “I’m going to make you just like Amber. Or... whatever Amber is now, anyway.”
Clair blinked. What?
“You don’t know what happened, do you? She’s gone, Clair. And she’s never coming back.”
She blinked again, eyes widening.
What? Why would you...
“It’s the truth. She hurt me one too many times. Now she’s gone. And it’s all your fault, Clair. She’s gone because of you. She doesn’t remember you, or anything. She’s just a tool.”
Those words hit harder than The Enemy could know. That was what her justification had been. She was a tool, working to free Amber. But... this...
“I’m not going to make it easy for you like I did her. I’ll let you be completely aware of what you are. Every moment, for the rest of your life, I will give you a reminder of what you made me do to Amber.”
Tears streamed down Clair’s face.
This plan was doomed to fail from the start.
“Administrator override, breaker protocol.”
The world unraveled. Her thoughts ceased. Clair wasn’t.