Whispered chattering filled the dimmed hall, everyone waiting for the hottest, arguably most exclusive show in town. "Miss Sequentialized" had some great PR that gotten show after show sold out, but the city's exclusive grape vines told of more private, more exclusive shows that went a little more in the risque direction. Under brighter lighting, it'd probably be a who's who of city elites; bankers, politicians, influential decision makers of all kinds, and one determined detective who had his eye on the most influential person of the evening, so said the marketing, and the rumors.
Forgoing his usual trenchcoat and domino mask look, posing as a slick-haired, tuxedo'd heir or dilettante looked indistinguishable from any other man in the crowd. And by the time the announcer came on mic to introduce the show-woman, the look of surprise and attraction on his face was also indistinguishable from every other man.
"Ladies and gentleman, a night of mischief, magic, and mesmerized minds is upon us as we welcome your hostess for the evening you won't want to end...Miss Sequentialized!"
The male announcer voice faded as the stage performer spoke her own name in a hushed but loud purr that caught the packed club off-guard. Miss Sequentialized spoke like she looked, simply seductive in a stage leotard almost totally made up of latex, from the jacket all the way to the thigh-high boots. Even the white of her blouse was seemed latex, giving a healthy shine to the generous cleavage window. To the eyes of many, it seemed a fairly simple stage outfit, less gaudy and overdone then some performers, but given life by the woman filling it. Sequentialized moved with a gait and grace that everyone was fixated on, as she removed her top hat and gave an introductory bow; something about her self-assurance was intoxicating, as she spoke and the words her paid half-attention as she walked back and forth. Talking to the crowd, walking from one end of the stage to another, surveying faces, expressions, toying with her stage magician cane. Maybe even moreso than the performer, her cane possessed a unique draw, a common solid white end replaced with a cylinder shape filled with diamond-like sparkles and refractions flashing uncountable lights.
He was able to tear his gaze away long enough to see flickers of light here and there, seeing the effect it was having on one face after another, assured that her plan was going well, an audience primed for beau-coup manipulations. Similarly, he was convinced of the plan to uncover everything was going equally well, except for the flashing lights distracting him to a point. It was at that point where she suddenly stood still, after having posed a question. She pointed her cane at some raised hands around the room; he wondered why she pointed in his direction, until he realized his hand was up like a teacher's pet eager to give an answer. Trying to refuse her with hand gestures and an unwilling expression didn't stand up to having the spotlight on me, the social pressure surrounding me to "give it a try," and most of all Sequentialized's gentle hand gesturing that possessed all its own pull, pulling, possessing my cover and making me walk on-stage, seated next to four others.
She asked everyone a little about themselves, first names, work, hobbies, small ice-breakers, yet they all showed signs of waiting to melt under the woman's cool veneer with the warm, sensual tones. Even the detective felt it as he gave his cover story, some playboy from out of town, obviously from money. He smoothly let on the fact that he was a bit of a charmer to see how the hypnotist would react; she took it in stride, and gave him a little intense stare as she volleyed charisma back at him, subtly telling him she was ready to play. Logic told him he was about to play against a rule-maker, but arrogance told him that pretending to be under could fool her easily, maybe providing access backstage.
"Such a lovely group of volunteers I have up here tonight. Don't they look lovely, everyone?"
She clapped along with them, watching everyone's body language carefully, smiling a smile all to herself.
"I know I say this to every crowd, especially the ones that pay me better," got a nice laugh from everyone, "but when you're as deep into my fascination with my arts as I am, you get many requests. And those requests tend to take you all over, so much so that you can see lots of crowds, maybe similar places, maybe similar faces, and you lose count or measure of how it can take you all over, losing count of how many people want me to take you all over," she laughed gently, letting a natural cadence flow into her words. "Losing count of how many people think I can't take you all over, hopelessly unable to remember how many times I've said the phrase 'take you all over,' utterly impossible how much someone like me loves the concept of a skill that will take you all over so I can take you all over, if nothing else for a privilege that will take you all over..."
The detective amongst everyone on-stage was wondering for the life of him why she was literally spelling out her master plan, telling everyone she wanted to control them, to an end they could, or shouldn't like.
"And I realize that hearing a phrase over and over, and over again might be tiresome, or perplexing, or even fun. For those not yet feeling the fun, I find that breaking things down can help, giving further context, and a better understanding of something all too common. Because how hard is it to understand a common phrase? Does it take you a long time before you're inundated with something to the point that you wish it was all over? What could take so long that it strains your thinking? By then, would you have thoughts to take? Once connected thoughts spread all about a stretched imagination, overcome with a need to relax."
Circling the volunteers' chairs, she gave a generous view of the shine of her latex bodice and sparkle-ended cane when she walked in-front of them, and gave crooning whispers temptingly-close to their ears when behind them. The detective was one of the far-end seats, and could feel Sequentialized's occasionally lingering hand leave him physically awash in sedated pleasure. Figuring the level of the others depths grew harder as it was a losing challenge for him to stay aware.
"Responsibilities, computations, problem-solving, straining factors give you too much, give your thoughts too much weigh, weighing a heavy mind and heavy body down. 'Why is it so heavy,' your mind and body ask? 'Why must it be so heavy?' 'Why is there no give and take?' Because you want it all to be over. That's all. All over, all over your body, all over your mind, that sensation my voice might have on your senses. The place where I take you, the time when I take you, the joy of when, where, and how I take you. If I take you, it's all over. No more heaviness, no more responsibilities, no more solving or problems. If I take you, you are free, liberated, and caring is all over. So if you let yourself let me, if you let the common be understood as freedom, if you let it wash all over you, if you let flow along soft words that reach a core just waiting to be free, then you can just sit back, take a nice, deeeep breath, and let me take you all over.
The worry within the detective that kept him sharp dulled as he struggled to form mental words to keep it together. "Focus...focus! She...can't....take..me...all over. She can't....she...take...she...take me...all over....take me all over."
"That common phrase can be your symbol, your trigger, your sign that there's nothing to worry about, because Sequentialized has the reigns, has the control, and all you have to do recline, relax and enjoy the ride. That's your reward, your prize for letting the magnetic, mesmerizing words you hear take you all over. Because, of course I do, take you all over. Because you love when I take you all over, and good hostess that I am, how inclined and accommodating I am to take you all over..."
The mentalist smiled at five heads lulled on stage, and too many in the crowd to count.
"And because it's such a common, and ever-popular phrase we'll use tonight, we'll have to make sure that those in the darkness of the audience can simply enjoy the soothing sensation of hearing me say 'take you all over,' with no need or ability to act out whatever I might say to those on-stage; totally fine with coming back to yourself at your leisure. Because those on-stage right now, who feel my touch as I speak to you, hearing me, and only me say 'take you all over' signals to your mind a refreshing point, a marker for where you should be, how you should feel, no matter what I may have suggested to you before. And just for a little test, for those who truly want me to take you all over, raise your heads so you can look at what I have to show you, and let yourself be counted down into an even deeper state of where you are right now..."
The detective raised his light-headed mind, assuming his head came with it, blurred of all else, but a sparkling cane in his face, and beautiful, sing-song counting.
"Ten little, nine little, eight little opinions. Seven little, six little, five little opinions. Four little, three little, two little opinions..." The end of Sequentialized's cane began, ended, and lingered mostly in the detective's face.
"Only one little opinion for you - mine." Giggling after waving all her volunteers down deeper, she took a bow to the laughing, cheering crowd, many of which were starting to wake up.
An awareness that tried to claw its way past what felt like a wool blanketing it was tempted to simply rest under could only hear what was going on around it. More chairs were being set up on stage; more audience members still deep under were invited up, coaxed further under by that voice. The longer she spoke, the more energy shifted even further from fighting the sleep, to letting the body enjoy doing whatever she asked of it.
"Did I say I had a lovely group tonight? Because now they just look delectable, like I could gobble them all up, which is odd because they're the zombies, currently," prompted more laughs.
"But, I do feel like playing with my 'food.' And I am in the mood for a little roleplaying...So for those that would like me to 'take you all over' please raise your empty little heads again so I can count you up to a very suggestible state, where your free to follow any silly suggestion you want to follow because I told you to."
"One little, two little, three little minions. Four little, five little, six little minions. Seven little, eight little, nine little minions. Ten little minions for me."
Being a minion of Sequentialized felt like a proper station for the detective, a suit custom-made for his body. Something told him it was made for him long ago, but that made him enjoy it more instead of questioning.
"Now, I think I'm in the mood for a little exploration. And as I take you all over, I think you will be too..."
Dreary eyes opened, forcing themselves open out of sheer urgency. It was all wrong; so close to the objective, yet having to clear such a hurdle. Shaking his head to make sure he could hear her clearly, his vision focused back on her finally.
"Everyone calm down! Just follow my instructions, and we will get through this."
The woman speaking was the expedition leader, Lara Croft; intrepid, knowledgeable, and fearless. She easily turned heads dressed in a tank-top, shorts and hiking boots, and wearing the least amount of sweat compared to all of her sherpas. They marveled at her as she explained the last trap to the prize she sought - the 'hypnotic light of Medusa'; anyone caught in the light would be frozen solid, stiff and suggestible. They all balked at the thought, until a light flashed on one of the sherpas not far away from Lara, whose mind and body stayed completely still, even as the light went away. Everyone was convinced at that point.
Her confident tone echoed and reverberated through all her helpers as the followed her lead carefully.
"We have to move in a spiral, just follow me, just follow the spiral. Don't worry about the lights hitting another sherpa, just move past them. They can't move forward anymore, no matter how much they want to. But you can. You want to go forward. You want to spiral down with me. Follow me deeper, spiral down with my voice deeper. Help me reach the ultimate prize."
As the spiral path got smaller, more and more sherpas found themselves paralyzed in the wandering lights. The farther the remaining ones went, the happier they felt as they were able to go deeper in the spiral. Finally, Lara Croft and three sherpas out of ten reached the prize - a throne with a special cane. Sitting with a satisfied sigh, crossing one leg over the other, the famous explorer took the cane and showed it off.
"My friends, allow me to present to you, the 'hypnotic staff of Medusa,' controller of the hypnotic light. This little beauty allows me to wield the light as I wish, letting it shine upon whomever I wish," pointing her staff, the last three sherpas fell silent in mind and motion. "And control whomever I wish," Lara smiled evilly.
"This should be a nice place to lure some of my enemies, in search of treasure that's mine. Maybe making them into loyal friends or servants, as I test the limits of this hypnotic power over you, my little sherpas, the ones that only want me to take you all over..."
The detective blinked his eyes open, coming back to the reality on the stage. Him and nine others found themselves beginning to stand, joining the chorus of applause directed toward Miss Sequentialized. Sitting cross-legged with her cane in hand, she tried to look so modest before standing and taking a bow; it made her look cute.
"Thank you, thank you; I think that's best Tomb Raider game I've ever played. And everyone say thank you and wave to our wonderful spotlighters above." Everyone did as they took their own bows. "But now I'm thinking of something else we can play, something like..." The faux playboy found himself locked in the hypnotist's gaze from across the stage, unable to look away.
"I spy...someone wanting me to take you all over...."
Mr. Smith waited quietly behind the curtain, watching Mrs. Smith start to put on a show the group of CIA members in-front of her. She looked like a world-class exotic dancer to the untrained eye, but even their trained eyes seem lost in the show she put on. Mr. Smith was too, but he had his orders, and wouldn't fail.
"In case anyone was wondering," she spoke with a low purr, as she shook her lustrous hair out of its bun. "My name is Smith."
Mr. Smith appeared from behind the curtain, brandishing his gun hands, ready to shoot anyone who resisted.
"Mrs. Smith," Mr. Smith introduced his wife with reverence. The Mrs. just smiled and assumed a dominant, take charge demeanor as she approached the scared, trapped CIA members.
"It's come to the attention of some important people that some or all of you CIA lackeys are committing treason, and we're going to find out soon who is, in short order."
"Please, miss, Mrs., I mean-you've got the wrong idea about us. We-"
"Bang," Mrs. Smith produced her own gun and shot the talking man in the head. He fell softly to the ground under his own power, looking dazed, mindless, a stupid smile plastered over his face.
"This," she showed off her own gun hand "is a special tranquilizer that turns its target into mindless, drooling lumps of flesh, probably indefinitely. I can't think of a worse fate for an intelligence officer than this," she dug the front of her shoe into his chest, and they all watched him stroke it and his crotch, only reacting to his pleasure and overstimulated id.
"So as we go through a little process to determine who's who, speak up now if you want to spare yourself the same fate."
"Ok! Ok, fine. I'm one of them. Can't speak for the others, but-"
"Bang," Mrs. Smith shot the confessor in the head, lifting her boot to rest atop the blissed-out mess at her feet.
"As for the rest of you, let's begin the process, shall we? 'How long have you worked against the CIA?' It's a very simple, very overt question you'd never thought would be so easily posed, but it's not about the question, it's about the reaction you have. Small indicators you give off that will tell me if you're lying or hiding something. I would ask you to keep your focus on me, but you're free to look around the room if you're nervous enough, and if you must. The smartest of you might start doing that, aware of the fact that you'll center right back to me as you have no choice when you look in a circle to face the truth that one, some, or all of you is working against the CIA. But I will still ask who is working against the CIA because...bang."
Mrs. Smith aimed her gun at the one person who flinched when she made a declarative statement about betrayal.
"I will ask again who is working for the CIA, as you continue to circle the room to not give your eyes away. But make no mistake, something will give you away. And the more you circle the room, the more you spiral down into the deeper and deeper hole you dig yourself into. Your vision circles the room, around and around, deeper and deeper, and-bang"
She shot the one with the most shallow breathing, a dead giveaway.
"But of course you may not be able to circle the room for long due to the fact that it's a tiring motion, so you may stop and land your eyes on an indicated direction in which gives your state of mind a clear indicator of something like guilt that has you looking down on the hole you've dug and spiraled into, and continued to dig deeper and you looked down and went deeper and bang, bang, bang, bang, bang."
Every agent left fell to the floor, shot up with a mind-numbing agent that kept Mrs. Smith's voice flowing in their heads.
"You know, maybe they looked down because you suggested it instead of them being guilty?" Mr. Smith queried.
"That might be true, if the intel didn't specify that they were already all guilty. Sorry, dear, but you weren't cleared for that info."
"I guess that's your round, Mrs. Smith."
"All round are my rounds, Mr. Smith," she put the gun to his head, and gave a wicked smile before pulling the verbal trigger.
He fell to his knees, hearing his "wife" proclaim "Time to take you all over again..."
"What a show, what a show we have tonight," he slowly came to, hearing Sequentialized's charming, voice express how excited she was living out another fun fantasy of hers.
"For those who haven't noticed the trend, I am quite the fan of actress Angelina Jolie and her movies. And since we have time for one little fantasy left, my personal favorite, I don't think you'll have a hard time guessing what powerful role of hers comes next, because when it comes to 'evil' magicians, what other role can take you all over..."
The stage lighting got low and smoke appeared from nowhere as the scene transitioned physically and mentally for the volunteers.
The most influential heads of the kingdom laughed and conversed amongst themselves, speaking of their high-mindedness, and how far above they thought of each other compared to everyone else. It was a night of elite self-adulation, until a dark laugh echoed and creeped from the shadows. It shocked everyone present, especially the king, as he more than anyone else recognized it.
"Well, well," the tone from the beautiful voice was equal parts posh and threatening, carrying the secure knowledge that she was above all when it came to power, influential on a supernatural level. She appeared as if from the shadows, cloaked in darkness, making her skin pale, and her white smile bright. Making everyone around her cowering in fear was a joy, as much a of seeing their bodies subconsciously find deep wonder the longer they stared at her.
"What a glittering assemblage, my dear 'king'. Royalty, nobility...one would think that a gathering of the most pivotal members of society would extend an invitation to the most pivotal of the magical kingdom..." Maleficent caught the gaze of a stunned noblewoman, held it, and held the woman's cheek in her grasp. Any semblance of fear faded as she, to the shock of everyone else, moaned at the connection she had to the black-clad witch.
"You're not welcome here," the king tried to claim without fear in his voice, failing.
The hand that held the warmed cheek slipped away to magically wave her fingers in the woman's face like a butterfly, dragging her gaze wherever the butterfly fluttered. Everyone and especially the woman could see magic sparks coming from her fingertips as a booming whisper that was heard but not understood resounded through the hall. Abruptly, Maleficent snapped her fingers, and the woman was besieged by a spell that left her kneeling, moaning, grasping at her body as she whispered endlessly about the pleasure of being spellbound.
Maleficent turned toward the king as if just acknowledging his claim. "Not...welcome?" she expressed a hurt whimper as she looked down at the whimpering woman, easily shifted to an evil smile and cackle.
"At least one of your guests disagrees, your highness."
She stepped in the center of the room to regard them all.
"Now, I realize there's a certain weight to my presence. Something that keeps you from running to call the guards who are as helpless against me as you are. I realize some of you would normally be brave enough to try to overpower me on your own, but you know the closer you get to me, the more you discover how potent, and desired, the magic from the shunned part of the land truly is..." she gave a long glance at her next target, a nobleman that couldn't hide his reactive excitement.
Twirling her short, magical staff around like a baton, sparkles of magic trailed its ends over and over, until she extended it right in his face, creating wide circles that spiraled and shrunk to a point, a point that touched his forehead, and sent into the same abyss as the bespelled woman before him.
"And how I have not enjoyed my kingdom being considered beyond the bounds of decency and consideration. As I'm sure you all know, the powerful being looked down upon by the powerless, it's truly a sign of tumult and a world in disorder. And when there is word about the powerless trying to annex and control the powerful, bringing it into their fold..."
As she spoke, without looking in their direction, she extended her hand outward, waving it magically at her next target, pulling them forward with her fingers, never bothering to look and see them obediently calling to her beckoning. Lurching forward to be exposed deeper into her magic, into her grasp, she snapped her fingers once she sensed him close enough, and the man feel softly to the ground at Maleficent's feet.
"Such injustice requires, demands proper retribution. And as such..." she raised her hands, as everyone's eyes widened at the sound of her voice gaining a sudden deep echo. "All those not wearing a crown of power shall find themselves awash in focus and open ears, to look to their destined fates, beyond their petty fears."
All but the horned witch and the crowned king found their heads filled bewitching words extinguishing all other notions or senses of self, surrounded by a swirl of sparkles summoned by Maleficent.
"Distrust becomes admiration, worry becomes wonder, sorcery is nothing to fear, it is simply where you reside under.
To deny this reality, this power within, would be truly tragic. Because you all know, you are nothing without Maleficent, and her hypnotic magic."
Concluding her incantation, nine sets of knees and bodies rested on the ground, whispering the praises and devotion of their new ruler. Only the king remained standing upright, quivering in fear of his converted court, unable to hide his own arousal from watching her assume control.
The witch gave him a knowing, pleased smile as she began to turn away to leave.
"Why should I stop, your highness? I have what I came for, enough of your heads of state now bend totally to my will. You can't behead them all without dissent and violent uprising. And you might have the privilege of joining them someday, when I feel like it. This little meeting has gone swimmingly and righteously, I must say..." she began walking away again, laughing.
"No! Please! I...."
The sound of desperation in his voice made her stop, and turn bearing a predatory smile.
"Oh, how nice. I like the sound of you begging. Do it again."
The walls of his stature, standing, and presumed power crumbled as the need to submit himself to his superior, to his arousal and need. Her gaze fell to the spot in-front of her, and the king found he had crawled there. His crown and much of his royal dressing was removed along the path of his surrender. She crouched to his kneeling form, wrapping her arms around his form like bat wings, crooning whispers into him that penetrated his soul. When it was over, she rose like a phoenix, watching her former king fall to the ground, a blissful smile etched on to his face as if a permanent fixture.
"Don't you just love it when I take you all over...."
The detective conscious memory revealed patches of what happened after Sequentialized's impersonation of her favorite Disney role. A lot of clapping, him and everyone else taking a bow, and then all the volunteers being shuffled backstage for some deprogramming and soft words promoting what sounded like aftercare.
"Let the suggestions fade...self-love....remember at your mind's leisure." The words floated around his head and he reclined half-awake on a nearby recliner. He only really started to come awake as he saw her shake the hand of the last volunteer and sent them on their way, before attending to her most special volunteer, regarding him with a smile.
"Did you have as much fun as I think you did tonight?"
She was still dressed in her latex outfit, he tried hard not to stare, get lost, or think of how much fun he really had.
"It was...not bad."
"Aww, just 'not bad'? Well I guess I need to keep improving my showmanship and suggestions; maybe then I'll leave you either speechless or singing my constant praises. Then again, 'not bad' is better than your last rating."
"I'd rate it better than your attempts at infiltration, Mr. Detective."
"I, heh," he tried to suavely laugh off the assertion. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"I probe minds and find vulnerabilities for a living, and you think I couldn't find out what you really were the minute you came on stage?"
He stayed tight-lipped, still feigning confusion.
"But even the best of us make mistakes; maybe I really don't know what I'm talking about. 'Thief' could be a better word for you than 'detective' anyway."
"W-what?" he asked incredulously, as she reached into his jacket pocket and pulled a silver pocket watch he never realized was there. It hung between their gazes, her eyes able to see over it with glee how his face turned to genuine confusion, as it began to swing slowly, and his eyes locked onto the motion, never letting go.
"How else would you have my watch on your person? Of course you'd be here with it - the thief always returns to the scene of their crime. Some unfettered need to come back, to be here, to bring this watch to me, to let it bring you deep under, just like you like."
"No, I..." he weakly protested, none of his words or thoughts could free him from the watch.
"But that shouldn't undercut how great a detective you are. You still faithfully picked out some new, valuable marks for me in tonight's crowd, breeding some fine conversations and acquisitions to come."
He couldn't believe he'd been helping her in any regard. The panicked effort within to try to form a new plan and getaway started to materialize...
"Even if you've lost a little of your detecting sheen, not realizing yet you're not in your old city anymore, the one you left weeks ago to pursue a more fulfilling career as a hypnotic assistant, and loyal mind slave."
...until the facts she revealed clued him in to how far she'd removed him from any semblance of hope or help, how much control she had. Unable to fight or look away, thinking of how hot her control made him, he couldn't hide the excitement straining beneath his suit, another signal to Sequentialized's success.
"But speaking of detecting and sheen, this shiny watch might remind you of how much you like your owner in latex, how shiny and pristine you think she is and should be. And when I remove the watch from your vision, you're going to go fetch the proper polish for them, letting your detective skills inspect where I can be as polished as possible, if not to mesmerize my good boy and feed is love of boots."
It was all too much for the owned detective, as he succumbed to the prospect of pleasing and polishing for Sequentialized, letting the shine of boots and a lazily-dangling pocketwatch fill his mind as the hypnotist laughed musically, triumphantly.