Independent Female Syndrome DISCLAIMER: This book is fiction. Every name, place, character, and event are a product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is pure coincidence. All characters depicted in this work of fiction are 18 years of age or older. * * * INSPIRATIONS: Vendatrix’s There Are No Bad Girls, Downing Street’s New Girl, and other research I did offline in preparation for writing this story. Please see my author’s note for more information, which is linked at the end of the story. * * * Lucille Magyar was deeply frustrated. The dark haired nurse had been scolded, yet again, by her new boss. He was rude and often spoke down to her. She had not had a man speak to her in such a condescending, sexist, manner since before the war. Honestly, it had been so long that she had forgotten what it was like for a man to speak to her like that. Her grandmother used to call it “mansplaining,” but that seemed to be a thing of the past. Everything before the war seemed liked so long ago. As Lucille sat in front of her work locker, she considered the options that were available at the moment. Quitting was not one of them: Her assignment to this hospital had been a reward for service during the war. The country had suffered through a civil war for two years. It was terrible, but the valiant and heroic states, including the one she lived in, had eventually won. The war was bloody and vicious, with over a million dead, but had suddenly ended via a rapidly put together cease fire agreement. The president of the losing states, a woman named Katrina, had given into demands after a brief negotiation and quietly retired from public life. Lucille thought it was a bit odd, but was so glad the war had ended. The one bit of joy that had come out of the war was that she had met her husband Paul. Paul had been a soldier whose squad members were wiped out by a sniper attack. Her future husband survived because at the time he was in the woods relieving himself. The sniper missed him, but his leg was broken during an escape. After a few days he was found by a patrol and brought to the camp where Lucille was a nurse. After being treated by her, before his reassignment, Paul had come back to visit a few times. The last time, they made love in his quarters before he was shipped back out to the front lines. Daily prayers were answered when her future husband returned home safely at the end of the war. They were married shortly afterwards and began to plan their future together. Before the war, Lucille had been a 19 year old college drop out without much of a direction in life. She had scraped by in her required education with barely passing grades. Coming from a lower class background, there was not a ton of hope in the immediate world surrounding her. The continued automation of society and perils of climate change had wrecked the local job market during her lifetime. Often she escaped from it via drugs and general irresponsibility. Schooling felt totally pointless to her especially if there was very little chance for a job coming out of it. Her attitude in general was very much in the “live fast, die young,” vein. Most of all, Lucille did not want to end up like her mother. The Magyars were a loveless couple who only married after the pregnancy that would lead to Lucille's birth was discovered by her parents. Mrs. Magyar was bitter, cruel, and drowned her sorrows in cheap wine long before dinner was even served. There was no way the dark haired nurse would end up like her, she promised herself. Her parents had both been killed early in the war. Due to the fighting, she could not attend either funeral and honestly felt so disconnected from them that it never bothered her. Lucille understood very little about the political situation that had led to the war when it broke out. For her, it was one group of assholes fighting with another group of assholes. As time went on, however, one group was clearly far worse even with her minimal understanding of what was going on. After a few states succeeded, violence broke out. Quickly, one country became two countries and all able bodied men and women on both sides were drafted into duties suitable to their demeanor and education. This included women like Lucille, who previously would not have been offered anything remotely like it as an option for their life. She was taken away one day while heading to a party and brought to a military camp where medical training and a job after the war was promised to her. This was a radical change for their country, or countries, that effected all aspects of society. While women could pursue education before the war, they could not vote and normally left the workforce after marrying to have children. Lucille was assigned to a camp and taught the basics of being a nurse in a war zone. She learned on the fly and came to enjoy her new profession. For the first time in her life, she had found a purpose beyond the emptiness of banal substance abuse or or half-hearted attempts at finding a mate. Marriage had never seemed like a great prospect for her. Men were fine for a night or a month, but she lacked a connection with any of them that had left her empty inside. Helping with the war effort changed all of that in ways she perceived at the moment and others she would in the future. Lucille had performed well enough to win an award at the end of the war for high approval marks from her male superiors. Only a few women, all nurses, in her camp were awarded it, so she was quite proud of her accomplishment. After marrying Paul, she convinced him to let her continue working at the local hospital in the new community they had moved to after the honeymoon. Nursing was one of the few acceptable careers for women, before marriage, in the world, that seemed so long ago, before the war. Her life of partying and hoping to leave a pretty corpse seemed so long ago now. She felt a deep need to continue with the career that had come to be a big part of her personal identity. Focusing on the job kept her mind off of the horrors witnessed during the war. She had seen many deaths, often in brutal ways, and felt a deep melancholy and sadness about it despite the joy a new career offered to the former delinquent. Her husband had asked that she consider therapy, but Lucille had brushed it off after their first ever argument. He had promised to drop it, for now, but bring it up again if he saw that she was struggling with what she saw during the war. Soldiers were mandated to attend sessions for six months after the war and he claimed they were really helpful to him. Lucille had to admit he was right: Paul seemed happier, confident, and definitely more assertive in and out of the bedroom. Paul had finally acquiesced to her demand to continue working, but many men had not for their wives. There was definitely a push by the new government, which had ended up a bit on the conservative side due to “civil compromises” made by the more liberal members, to push women back into the home as had been traditional before the war. The number of dead meant there was a definite gap in the next generation. Eventually, a new law was passed that banned women from working yet again. They were given one month to wrap up their duties before being sent home to their husbands or to shelters were women could be aligned with desirable men of their choice. Many forms of birth control were made illegal and permission from the Head of Home would be required for its use. Most women were happy to go back to the home after such a horrific war, but Lucille had grown to love her career and knew this would be another conflict with her husband, who had rather reluctantly even allowed her to work in the first place. He continued to ask her to consider therapy as well. * * * Lucille was at work when the news came that the new laws had been passed. Some women were sad; others confessed to already attempting to begin families knowing a law like this could be coming soon. When she got home, Paul was already there. He had left work early knowing his wife would want to discuss what to do next. At first they argued about the issue. Paul demanded that she conform to his viewpoint. It shocked Lucille how authoritative he was becoming, but then apologized to each other and sat down on the couch to have a real conversation. He claimed therapy had been helping to express his views about their marriage with more confidence. “I'm sorry,” he began, gently stroking her arm. “There isn't much we can do. The law is the law.” Lucille slowly nodded, but frowned, tears streaming down her face. “That's easy for you to say. I had basically nothing before the war. Then I lost my parents. This was all I had before I met you.” She began crying hard and fell into the firm, but loving, arms of her husband who held onto her protectively. The tears were not only from the passing of the law; the night before she had horrible nightmares about what the nurse had witnessed during the war. Visions of the aftermath of a roadside bombing played over and over in her mind as she failed to save a man who looked a lot like her husband. After waking up screaming, Paul had held her in his arms before she was able to go to sleep again. Once Lucille was composed again, she spoke quietly. “I'm the one who should be sorry, Paul, I am a mess. This job has been the thing keeping me together.” Lucille's trauma was considerably, despite being off the front lines, much worse than what Paul experienced. After surviving the slaughter of his squad, he had been moved to an administrative position and did not have much interaction with the front anymore. She had seen the dead and dying and was haunted by it. The combination of the death of her parents and the families destroyed by the war became her emotional obsession. She felt weak because of this. Paul was quite somber and serious. “I found a counselor to help you. It is through my work. A few of the guys in my division are sending their wives there too. So many women are in pain and...you need help.” He was sincere in his concern about his wife, but also knew she needed help embracing her proper gender role. There was a deep need inside of him to fix what was wrong with his wife. Therapy was the way to do it. Lucille knew Paul was right about her. Still, she despised that is had come to this. “Okay, I will go.” He kissed her gently on the forehead. “A part of the new law is that each woman who leaves their job will get a stipend to make up for some of the lost income. This will increase with every child a couple has, which means if we have at least two it will all even out.” Paul shrugged at her. “I spent my lunch hour doing the math today.” He really had after a presentation for all the married men in his division that morning offering them talking points to get their wives to attend therapy sessions with their chosen method of therapy, which had worked so well on bringing men like Paul around to the point of view that will help their state recover from the horrors of the war. Lucille laughed. “I am not ready to have a baby yet, Paul.” It was quite cute that he had done “the math” though. Hopefully he did not think of their eventual parenthood as just another math equation. She thought of the relationship between her and her mother. There could never be happiness in a home filled with such rage and resentment. They agreed that was why should would attend the biweekly sessions with the counselor and settled in for a movie before making love at bedtime. Lucille lay in her husband's embrace and looked forward to her first therapy session, which would completely change the direction of their lives. The morning after the new laws passed, the world around Lucille and Paul was flooded with propaganda to make people agreeable to it. The morning newscast, at this point there was only one, heavily pushed the stipend families would receive for having children. A female presenter announced her pregnancy live on the air and that she was taking her husband's name effective immediately. She further announced that her time on the air would be over at the end of the week. Lucille remembered the presenter from some tough interviews she did during the war. Her docile enthusiasm for motherhood was quite the personality change. Television commercials connected the domestic sphere with patriotic duty. One commercial Lucille saw a few times while getting ready for work showed women who had worked closely with the military during the war with swollen bellies talking with vapid cheerfulness for going back to the home to have children for their military hero husbands. It became clear very quickly the new government and complicit media were going to make a strong argument that a woman's duty was to return to domestic duties. It was the feminine, patriotic, duty of women. Being unmarried and childless would be considered something unruly moving forward. A similar propagandist theme played out at work. Two very perky young women, one already showing that she was a few months along, brought in information for the nurses about classes in homemaking, “proper marital roles,” and workshops for husbands about how to break up a home for decent domestic areas for wives and an area for husbands. Lucille took the information and put it in her bag. She wanted to get to work and found herself stressed out by the chatter from other nurses about the programs. At one point the dark haired nurse went to the roof of their hospital to try and clear out her head. Normally a few other nurses would have joined her, but everyone else seemed to alternate between chatting about their futures and being focused on their jobs. Flyers were left in their lockers about a new women's organization that had been founded to aide women in adjusting to “how their roles had been hindered by the war.” Lucille stared at it. Another cheerful, happy, woman. She wondered where those kind of women were during the war. There had been none anywhere near where she was, that was for damn sure. Everyone was either focused on their job or distraught from what they saw doing it. Shrugging, the nurse crumpled it up and tossed the flyer into the garbage. She smiled at seeing a few other copies of the flyers already there. Lucille was content with starting a family, but she refused to end up a plastic baby machine like the women in all these ads. The women at work Paul mentioned were going to see a counselor had high praise for their first sessions. It seemed odd to violate the privacy of someone like that, but on a busy day there were so many other things to worry about at the hospital. Lucille sighed and resigned herself to a domestic future, but something seemed off about how eager everyone seemed to be for their new roles. Maybe the propaganda sweep was already working, but it seemed too good to be true. Their enthusiasm was so strong that it almost seemed like acting, but she knew the women at her job were not capable of that sort of thing. They were women like her who had been led to this life by circumstance. Maybe there had already been financial payoffs? On the way home that night, Lucille found herself lost in contemplation. She did listen to her music player and that seemed to relax her. A new update had gone out for it that changed some things around, but nothing seemed odd about that. It happened every so often even before the war. As the train pulled up to the station, she found her pale hands automatically trailing to her stomach after seeing a poster on the station wall of a stunningly attractive blonde housewife with a small child and a very happy looking husband. The advertisements tag line read THE MORE WOMEN AT HOME, THE SOONER WE RECOVER. After looking closer when she got off the train, Lucille noticed a small baby bump on the wife. Some other women idled near the ad as well. All spoke in hushed tones about it. Every one of them had earbuds in their hands or still in their ears. There was a white box at the bottom of the ad. It read SEE LOCAL WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR INFORMATION ABOUT: MARRIAGE, HOME LIFE, LEAVING CAREERS, PROPER MARITAL ROLES. A NEW FORM OF ACTIVISM TO HELP WOMEN. A phone number and website were listed as well. “I should at least check into the local women's organization” Lucille muttered to herself without really thinking about it. A few women nearby nodded their agreement after hearing her voice the thought that had been subliminally brainwashed into them via their phone's freshly updated music application during their trips home. The changes to the app had been significant, but the first thing conditioned out of the women was a desire to question anything about it. Lucille got to the car and freshened up her makeup. Another idle thought that slipped into her suggestible mind was that Paul deserved a wife that looked her best. After making sure she did, the nurse drove home and made dinner. She greeted Paul with a warm meal and a long blowjob, another idea that “suddenly” popped into her mind. Afterwards, the increasingly suggestible woman snuggled to her husband while he watched a sporting event. A few minutes into the match, he slid a pair of earbuds into her ears and hit play just like he had been taught to do during his own therapy sessions. She stared off into the distance with a wide smile on her soon to be vapid, baby obsessed, face. * * * The next day, Lucille went to her first therapy session after her work shift in the morning. The dark haired nurse's boss cut her hours after hearing she had begun therapy. The already increasingly docile nurse put up little resistance and obediently went to the session after her shift ended. At her therapist's office, quiet, and very pleasant, music hummed above her from a few speakers built into the ceiling. A bored receptionist handed her a tablet with some information that needed to be inputted. She answered each question to her best ability. Some of the questions had a comment attached that her husband had already answered for Lucille. For a moment, she thought that was odd but then the thought drifted away. That had begun to happen with more frequency lately. Finally, the receptionist called her name and escorted Lucille to the interview room. The room was empty with just two metal chairs. She turned to the receptionist. “Where is the therapist?” The previously bored looking receptionist suddenly brightened. “Oh, please sit down and your therapist will be here in a moment.” She padded out of the room with a sensual wiggle to her backside. However, when she sat down in a chair a bright pink gas began coming out of a vent in the wall above her. From the moment she inhaled it, Lucille felt light headed and confused. Before she could even get bearings, large black screens came down from the ceiling and hugged the walls around her. Hypnotic strobe lights in various bright shades of pink and purple began dancing around the room. She tried to stand but found, due to subliminal conditioning of the previous evening, that the lights were so beautiful and worth watching whenever possible. Lucille became lost in them and fell into a deep trance in near record time. A large silver helmet came down from the ceiling and encompassed her view of the world. “Stop thinking, listen, obey” was the mantra brainwashed into her for an hour before it was clear she was ready for a first round of conditioning. Soon, she would only think what was permitted and nothing else just like her coworkers and other women around them. By the end of the month, she would be set for her new life as an obedient housewife and would forget any silly ideas about having a career outside the home. Once she was sufficiently under control, Lucille's world was encompassed by a new hypnotic mantra: “My husband was correct. I need therapy to deal with the stress of my role in the war. My role was unnatural. My husband is always right about what my role is in life.” Her agreeable mind emptied and then refilled with these ideas. As expected by her psychological profile created by Paul after he agreed to this sort of reprogramming while meeting with his own therapist, Lucille was generally not that bright and was easy to get to come along with ideas. She had fallen in line with becoming a nurse during the war and would return to a more correct, natural, role just as easily. In her heart, the future housewife was always a joiner. This repeated over and over for another hour before Lucille's “session” was over. At the end of it, a new mantra was repeated for 5 minutes: “I loved my first therapy session. It made me so happy to talk about my issues. I need to return in two days for another session. I will come back twice a week until my husband says that I have been cured.” At this point, she was so suggestive that the mantra would be taken as truth automatically. However, in order to test out her level of suggestibility, just to be certain, a final, one sentence, mantra was presented on the screen: “Pants are for men. I should never wear pants. Wearing pants is unnatural for women.” At the end of the session, the helmet returned to the ceiling and Lucille, still lost in trance, stood up and left the room. She waved goodbye to the receptionist, lost in a hypnotic spiral on her own computer screen, and slowly came out of the trance as she left the building. On the train heading back towards their suburb, Lucille was left in deep confusion about her therapy session. There had been an immediate breakthrough, during her first session, about what was wrong. “My role in the war had been very stressful. My role had been unnatural.” It made sense to the nurse. Before the war, women had been deterred from having careers. This was especially true after marriage. She had thought becoming a nurse had fixed her directlessness, in general, in life. However, the unnatural role required to be taken on during the war had placed her even more lost in life. All of this made sense to Lucille; talking about these issues had made her so happy. She could not wait to return in two days for her next session. Paul would let her know when a cure had been found for her problems. She sighed blissfully and winced at having to work the next day. If only it was another therapy day! Lucille's happy moment was broken at the next train stop. A number of women got on the train. The one who sat down across from her was stunning. The brunette was dressed in a tight miniskirt, sweater that hid obvious breast implants, and had an old fashioned feminine look to her. As the woman crossed her legs, the nurse's gaze was caught on the shapely legs and black pumps the woman wore. This woman, whose name tag said “Jenni,” wore a natural look for women. Suddenly, Lucille felt under dressed and decidedly unfeminine in general. When the woman took a mirror out of her purse to check her dark red lips and smoky eye-shadow, Lucille realized she had not thought about her makeup since early in the morning. “Um, may I borrow your mirror?” It was embarrassing to ask Jenni to borrow her mirror, but the beautiful woman politely offered it to her with pink tipped hands. She stared at the bright shine on her new friend's high heels. “I should never wear pants. Wearing pants is unnatural for women,” slipped into her mind. Were her breasts too small? She would have to ask Paul. When she finally arrived at home, Lucille put dinner in the oven. Once dinner was baking, she changed out of her work clothing and into a flowery dress and high heeled sandals. When Paul came home, she greeted him, again, with a long blowjob that finished right before the timer went off for their meal. After dinner, again, Lucille settled in for the night snuggled against her husband as he viewed a sporting event. This time, after his order, she put her earbuds in all by herself and quickly was lost in a deep trance as her suggestible mind was further corrected to fit her husband's desires he had learned about in therapy. * * * The next day at work, Lucille huddled up with her coworkers who had also begun therapy and discussed how they felt about it. All of them were quite satisfied. Each parroted the conditioned line about needing therapy to deal with the stress of their role in the war. A few were a bit pensive about leaving their jobs, but each definitely agreed that they could see how unnatural it was for women to work. Their boss listened to the conversation from a hidden microphone and was happy to report, after he finished fucking his new assistant's ass, a former war protester turned bimbo secretary, that his current crop of nurses would all be happy homemakers very soon. His own wife had just begun treatment and was well on her way to domestic bliss. Afterwards, he called the women already in therapy into his office, which included Lucille. They all lined up before him and listened to his words. The dark haired nurse had been instructed to apologize to her boss by Paul for their rude interaction the other day. She had left a note for him with his new assistant earlier in her shift. “Alright ladies,” he began, with a warm smile. His assistant swayed into the room with a large box in her arms. “For the rest of your time working at this hospital, this will be your new uniform. This is mandatory coming from above me. The assistant held the box out and each nurse took a plastic bagged uniform out of it. Lucille and the other women picked them up and found they were tight pink tops, white skirts, with white stockings, and sneakers. “Oh, how thoughtful of you, Sir,” Lucille commented after seeing the skirt. She suddenly realized how unfortunate it had been that work required her to wear pants. Not anymore! The docile nurse padded up to her boss and hugged him. “Thank you for helping us recover from the war, Sir.” The other nurses also shared compliments and then followed Lucille to the locker room so they could change out of the drab pant outfits they had previously been required to wear. The dark haired nurse had been defiant to him before, but now was as tame as nature had intended for women before the war, her boss mused to himself as he adjusted her schedule so she could attend more therapy sessions. Paul would certainly support it. Lucille had been given the day off by her boss and took the train to her therapy session the next morning. When she entered her therapist's office, the previously disinterested receptionist was now dressed to the nines in a tight dress, sky high platform heels, and teased up hair. The receptionist, whose name tag said “Mandi” looked like a male fantasy of a slutty secretary. Now that Lucille had been indoctrinated, there was no need to hide it anymore. They made small talk for a minute before heading to the back room. Mandi double checked the conditioning that Mr. Van Houtenz had sent over and then synced the file with the brainwashing machine that served as a “therapist” in this office. Mandi had been a bored, directionless, young woman. Now she was a ditzy dove ready to please men. As Lucille sat down to wait for her therapist, the silver helmet from two days ago dropped down again. The passive woman relaxed as the same purple and pink hypnotic spirals from before danced in front of her eyes. A wonderful feeling went through her body as she fell back into a deep trance for the days instruction. Lucille did not resist in the slightest way and, after thirty minutes of the spirals, was ready for new commands. “An important part of my therapy is becoming more feminine,” the new subliminals began. “I need to stop dressing in such an unnatural manner. I need to wear a skirt each day. I need to think about how I present myself more. I need to find a role model to learn from...” This went on for an hour, over and over, and Lucille took to the new ideas immediately. The dress code change at her job had been planned to coincide with the nurses being brainwashed during their therapy sessions. Lucille was ashamed of herself for having ever dressed in a masculine manner. After her session ended, she waved at Mandi who was, again, lost in the hypnotic spiral on her screen. Lucille took the train 20 minutes after her usual one so she could stop to buy a new mirror for her purse and some makeup. When she got on the train, Jenni from the other day was sitting alone cheerfully texting someone with the white tipped nails on her hands. The brunette waved her over and they began conversing. “I have really big news!” Jenni was so vibrant and happy. Lucille needed a role model to learn from...maybe she was the one? “The doctor I have been going to just informed my husband that I am pregnant!” The women hugged and then began idly chatting about it. “I am going to be leaving my job at the end of the week. My husband already spoke to my boss. He wants me totally focused on the baby and his home,” Jenni commented at one point. “That sounds like a good idea. Lucille nodded along with that statement and agreed. It did make perfect sense for a husband to want that from their wife. Again, her hand idled near her stomach as she imagined what Jenni would look like as her pregnancy progressed while they continued to chat before both of them got off the train. That night, Lucille again changed into a nice dress before making dinner. She greeted Paul with a blowjob, as was now their norm, and then served him a drink while dinner finished on the stove. He complimented her on the dress and announced that he had purchased her a number of new outfits. Lucille confessed that she had made a new friend on the train, which seemed odd to her, the nagging desire for his permission, for a moment, but then the thought drifted away. After she told him about Jenni, Paul cheerfully approved. “It's a big part of you getting better that you are around positive role models.” At her next session, Lucille's newfound interest in her femininity was, again, further brainwashed into her. “It is natural for women to be as feminine as possible,” the new mantra sang to her. “Women are naturally made to be feminine. Wearing pants is masculine. Women should not be masculine. Wearing high heels helps me be feminine. An important part of my recovery is wearing high heels.” On the train afterwards, Lucille frowned at the flat sneakers she had worn to work that day before her appointment time. It confused her that work required sneakers, but an important part of her recovery was wearing high heels. Jenni was not on her train anymore. She had gotten a text from her friend that morning stating how happy the new housewife, and soon stay at home mother, was in her session. A picture with a tiny baby bump was attached to the message, which made Lucille smile and, again, idly put a hand over her stomach. Lucille got off the train a few stops before her normal one. Hearing from Jenni put her in a mood for new clothing. In a fancy boutique store, she was handed a few boxes of clothing, which did not seem odd to her, filled with fancy dresses, shoes, and another box of just makeup and hair care accessories. All of this had been conditioned during the previous session and none of it seemed odd to her. That weekend, Paul, after fucking Lucille from behind for the first time, whispered a trigger phrase that put her in a deep trance. On command, his wife changed into a yellow maid uniform, with white stockings and pumps. She blankly stared ahead as her Master snapped a collar around her neck. The name “Luci” was inscribed on it and would be how she now would identify herself. Luci snapped to attention and received instruction from Paul, who commanded her to give the house a complete cleaning. At one point, he stopped his wife and spanked her ten times as punishment for letting the house become unruly while she was working. Between cleaning sessions all weekend, Paul filled each of her holes, which included three attempts at procreation now that Luci found the idea of condoms and birth control to be as objectionable as he did. Initial testing done on his wife, when she first got her job at the hospital, hypothesized that she would be quite fertile and he hoped the doctors had been right. It was very important, he recalled from his own therapy sessions, for men to impregnate their wives as soon as possible after marriage. * * * At the beginning of the week, Luci woke her husband with a nice long blowjob again. She cooked a delicious meal and knelt before him to receive instructions for the day. Luci had one more therapy session left. Paul announced to his wife that her therapist had found what had caused Luci's problems and would discuss it at length during the session. Afterwards, she could break free of her old life and begin a new one as a docile, feminine, housewife and, hopefully, soon to be mother. On the train, Luci sat quietly in the new “silent rooms” for women. She felt so gentle and feminine in a flowery dress and high heeled platform sandals. A passive smile was permanently on her face now as the housewife looked out the window after putting in her earbuds to listen to the assigned listening from her Master, as she now saw Paul to be. Very quietly she, and every other nurse about to complete their therapy cycle, had been fired. Luci had barely noticed when Paul mentioned it. It seemed many other women had come to a similar conclusion, whether by their own choice or otherwise. Every woman who got on the train wore a collar like the one Luci now wore. Paul had given it to her the night before and announced a new law had been passed mandating married women to wear them in public. It bore the Van Houtenz name on it and, in smaller lettering next to a bar-code, the name “Luci Van Houtenz” in a very feminine cursive script. The idea that she was anything but Mrs. Paul Van Houtenz seemed like an odd blip in her life. The silent cars allowed the vapid, smiling, women to leave their earbuds in for continued conditioning. Every woman sat wide eyed, mouth slightly ajar, as their new attitudes were further brainwashed into them. Mrs. Van Houtenz felt a contentedness with life that she had never felt before. She could not wait to return home to please her husband in his home. Luci was greeted at her therapist's office by a man this time. He was very handsome with gentle eyes and a graying beard. “Ah, hello, Mrs. Van Houtenz.” Mrs. Van Houtenz snapped to attention with hands behind her back. “Mandi could not join us today. She got engaged over the weekend and her fiance demanded she quit this job immediately.” Mandi did get “engaged” over the weekend if by “engaged” you meant “auctioned off to a professional athlete after high stakes bidding.” He took her by the arm and gently guided the former nurse into the therapy room. “It's time for your final therapy session. You should be very proud of all the progress you have made. I will be in the reception area if you need anything” The man gave her a gentle wave and left the room. Luci said a quiet prayer that he had a wonderful wife waiting for him at home. She sat down in a chair and waited for her therapist. The helmet came down and she went right under into a deep trance immediately this time. Her brain was so docile that programming anything into it would be simplistic. Words began to flicker all around her. “My final diagnosis has two parts: “First, I have 'Independent Female Syndrome.' The cause of it is complicated and hard for me to understand. To cure this disease I must not only be feminine, but embrace complete devotion to my husband. Working outside the home is the major symptom of Independent Female Syndrome'.'By nature, women are not created for it. Being a housewife is my natural role. I need to stay home and be a housewife.” Tears streamed down Luci's face as a cure for her problem was, literally, right in front of her. It made perfect sense! After a moment, however, more words came on the screen: “I also have a disease called 'Empty Womb Syndrome.' It is a side effect of 'Independent Female Syndrome'. Giving control of my body to my husband and allowing him to breed me as many times as he desires will cure this and help to overcome 'Independent Female Syndrome.'” More tears came down Luci's face. She had been so selfish to put work before family and it had caused her to get sick. Never again! From this moment forth, she thought of her body as an incubator for her husband's future children. Mrs. Van Houtenz would make sure that she was a good mother. Her mom had been terrible and likely, she had concluded, had some form of pre-war Independent Female Syndrome. At the end of her final session, after composing herself, the nice man from earlier brought her into another part of the building. They entered a large meeting room where Luci was reunited with some of her former coworkers and, most importantly, Jenni who crossed the room to give her a big hug. Their reunion was cut short though because the man, who became the complete focus of every woman in the room when he began speaking, commanded the compliant homemakers to give their full attention to the screen in front of the room because there was important information about their recoveries from Independent Female Syndrome that was going to be offered in the video. At this point, even the sight of a hypnotic spiral brought every woman in the room into a deep trance. There was much to learn about motherhood today: Being a mother was not only more important than having a job, it was the most important job a female citizen could have! Each woman was very lucky to have found a good husband to have children for. Their husbands were supportive, fair, and would protect them from a dangerous world. Examples of what a good father should be were shown on the screen. Paul had always been so caring around children and it warmed Luci's heart to think about what a great father he would be. A good father is as strict, firm, and loving with his children as he is with his wife. In turn, a good wife and mother obeys him in all things and devotes her life to him. The rest of the film offered plans approved by their husbands for their pregnancies. Luci and every woman in the room would abstain from alcohol. They would exercise as allowed by their doctor during pregnancy and then work as quickly as possible to get their bodies back in shape for their husbands. They would associate both pregnancy and getting back in shape with being sexy. No matter what, their bodies existed to please their husbands. Luci practically had an orgasm as the video ended at her excitement to become pregnant and began to sob with tears of joy when a call came in from her husband to announce that her positive pregnancy status had been confirmed earlier in the day. A few months passed and Luci sat on the quiet train. A small baby bump could be seen poking out of the snug maternity dress she wore for a trip to her doctor. Despite some sickness, the wonderful doctor said that she was in good healthy and, more importantly, the baby was too. That mattered so much more to her at this point. One of her manicured hands gently touched her swelled stomach while another hugged the collar around her neck. She smiled upon seeing many other women on the train performing some variation of this in their own seats. Luci had graduated from needing constant conditioning, so she only had stayed for an extra hour at the doctor having her maternal drive emphasized today. Her whole existence now centered around her husband and his future family. Thoughts of anything else just made her impressionable little brain hurt. Occasionally, with permissions from their husbands, she got to see Jenni and her friends from work. A few weeks after being fired from their jobs, all forms of birth control were outlawed permanently by the government. All of her coworkers were soon after pregnant or trying their best. At this point, the fact that they had all worked together seemed like a far off memory. They were young mothers in their community, and that was what bonded them. Each had overcome Independent Female Syndrome with bravery. The End * * * If you enjoyed this story please consider reading my author’s note for it, which can be found here. You can view my website. You can follow me on Twitter as well.