“Have you ever been hypnotised?”
The question came out of nowhere, striking Becca like a bucket of cold water. Instantly, her heart was racing and her hands were cold. Her mind raced in a panic. She spun around in her computer chair, prepared for the interrogation and defence that was sure to follow.
But the question hadn’t been directed at her.
Across the living room of their apartment, her room-mate Sam sat with her laptop between her crossed legs. She was looking to her partner, Jamie, who was lying back on the long part of the sectional couch.
Jamie blinked, and then finally looked up from their phone to Sam in response to the question. “Hypnotised?”
“I thought that stuff was... pseudo-science,” Jamie said. “Like, people only play along at those stage shows because of social pressure, right?”
“So did I for a while,” Sam replied. “But I’ve been doing a lot of research into it lately, and it actually has a lot of scientific backing. It’s really interesting, actually...”
Sam continued on, giving Jamie a lesson on the reality of hypnosis, what it can and can’t do, how to do it safely, and so on.
Becca wasn’t listening too closely. She’d heard all of it before. Her heart starting to calm somewhat, she turned her computer chair back around, hoping neither of them had noticed how quickly she’d jumped a moment ago.
She could hardly believe she was hearing this out-loud, in her own living room, from the lips of her friend who she saw every day. It felt like some sort of dream; a fantasy scenario. But it couldn’t be.
“-a perfectly natural state that we all go into every day,” Sam continued excitedly. “If you’ve ever noticed yourself focused very intently on something? Like reading a book and tuning out everything else around you?”
“That makes a lot of sense,” Jamie said. They would surely relate to that, as an avid reader, and someone whose attention was difficult to get when they were engrossed in a story.
Becca continued to play her game, hoping that she could distract herself from the surreal scene unfolding around her. She knew it was a futile effort, but hopefully she could at least pretend that gunning down demons was more interesting to her than what her room-mate was talking about. At least enough that she wouldn’t have anything to suspect.
Sam was always finding new things that she’d be excited and passionate about for a week or two, and then get bored of and never touch again. It was no surprise to Becca that she was suddenly into hypnosis; and from the way she was explaining it all to Jamie, she’d clearly done her research.
As Sam went into detail on the importance of pre-talk and negotiation before a scene, it occurred to Becca that they hadn’t said anything to her yet. Her mind raced, thinking about the implications of this. What if they actually did a trance scene right here in the living room? What would Becca do? What should she do?
There was no chance that Jamie was actually going to agree to be put into trance right here-
“Yeah, I’ll try it,” Jamie said. “It sounds like a lot of fun, honestly.”
“Yay!” Sam said, hopping up to her feet and setting aside her now-closed laptop. “Oh. uh... Becca, what about you?”
Becca did not take her eyes away from the computer screen. She was in the process of shooting down demons as they closed in at a fast pace, so she felt justified in not taking her attention off it.
“What about me?” she asked, taking great effort to make it sound believable.
“Well, we were going to do the trance right here,” Sam explained. “The couch is kind of perfect for it honestly. I wanted to get your consent to... you know, be here while it was happening.”
Becca had an out, she realised. She could say no. It wouldn’t really be fair to ask them to leave, since Sam’s room was small and her bed wasn’t really big enough for the both of them. Becca could just could turn off her game and go to her room while they did this.
But then... they would surely wonder why she wasn’t okay with it, wouldn’t they? And even though she knew her friends would not ask her to explain her reasons, they might get ideas. Ideas that could be uncomfortable close to reality...
“I’m good,” Becca said, “Have fun.”
“Alright,” Sam said. Had Becca heard a hint of worry in her voice? Had her disinterested replies come across as angry?
This was a mistake. She knew it, but the alternative was worse. Sam and Jamie were the closest friends she had. She couldn’t risk losing them.
Just focus on the game, she told herself. Don’t listen to them.
“So what should I do?” Jamie asked.
“Just lie back and get comfortable,” Sam told them. “I’ll just do a basic verbal induction, bring you to trance, and then wake you up. No suggestions or triggers or anything; we’re just getting a feel for this, okay?”
“Sounds good,” Jamie said. Becca heard the sound of them shifting to a comfortable position. She tried not to think about how much they must look like a patient seeing their therapist on that couch. She tried not to think about how many times she’d been lying on that sectional next to Sam and-
“Stop it,” She chastised herself under her breath.
“So, just go ahead and find something to focus on,” Sam started. “A spot on the wall, or ceiling. Anything that captures your attention. And just keep your eyes on that spot as I talk.”
Becca’s gaze fell on the crosshair of her character’s gun, right in the middle of the screen, unmoving. It was so easy to just look at that and nothing else. The moment she heard those words, her brain just found the first thing to look at.
She’d listened to this type of induction so many times, through mp3s on her phone. She knew what she was supposed to do. It felt nearly automatic at this point.
Don’t follow along, she told herself. This isn’t for you. You’re not the one being tranced.
With some difficulty, she looked away in time to see a demon coming up on her. She fired at it as Sam continued.
“With each breath, you can relax more and more. In and out. Just let go of all your tension and stress.”
Sam’s voice was growing softer and slower. Becca’s computer speakers were already turned down just quiet enough that she could hear the sounds of the game, and there was nothing else in the room to make any noise. So even at such a gentle level, Sam could be heard perfectly.
Becca wished she’d bought headphones.
“You can just let yourself sink down into that relaxation. Down into that warmth and comfort. It’s easy to let go. Easier to go down than to stay up. So you can let yourself give in to that and go deeper.”
Becca’s breathing was slowing. It was affecting her. Even if it was just the knowledge of the quiet of the room, she was still relaxing.
Somehow, the realization that it was affecting her only made it stronger.
She continued to move her mouse, to fire at the demons, but her movements felt slower than they should. It was taking a monumental effort to focus and interact with the game.
She wanted so badly to stop fighting the demons and just listen to Sam’s voice. That pretty, gentle, soft voice...
“I can see it’s taking such a huge effort to keep those eyes open. They’re just so heavy, so sleepy, and you want so badly to close them, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Jamie answered, their voice so calm and serene that there was no room to deny to how well this was working.
Becca could hear in Jamie’s voice that lack of emotion and agency she’d heard in herself before. That blissful, detached euphoria.
It felt so good.
How much longer was Sam going to do this? Each moment seemed to stretch on for an eternity. She knew she couldn’t fight this forever.
She didn’t want to.
Becca made a fist, and her fingernails dug uncomfortably into the skin of the palm of her hand. The pain was like an electric jolt back to reality. She opened her eyes, having not realized she had closed them.
This was her only chance. She had to get out of this room, or there was no hiding this any more. She could think of an excuse later.
Becca closed her game without bothering to save and got up without a word. She walked straight out of the living room, catching Sam’s confused look out of the corner of her eye.
“Gotta pee,” she muttered as she crossed into the hallway. Sam didn’t question her; Jamie was on the couch at her side, eyes closed and chest rising and falling so gently they looked as if they were asleep. They were gone.
As Becca closed the door behind her as quietly as she could, Sam’s soft voice resumed where she’d left off. Becca walked down the hall, not letting herself hear her roommate through the door.
“Stupid,” she said under her breath. “How can you be so stupid? This isn’t a game, Rebecca. This is real life.”
She realized her fist was still clenched, but she didn’t let herself relax it.
Becca found herself in the cramped kitchen of the apartment, chopping potatoes. A day had passed since her life had so briefly turned into one of her porny fantasies, and there had been an unspoken tension between her and her room-mate since.
Sam hadn’t asked her about it. In fact, they hadn’t spoken much at all. This wasn’t normal; usually Sam was a chatterbox, always at her side going on about this or that. The only time Sam was quiet like this was when something was bothering her.
Becca was hesitant to bring it up. She wanted to keep the subject locked up, buried underground, with the key thrown away. She hated the tension this had brought into their dynamic.
“I think we need more carrots,” Sam decided, after taking a long look in the slow cooker.
“There’s already three in there,” Becca said. She finished the last potato and carried the cutting board over to Sam.
“If it’s just potatoes and roast in there it has no flavour,” Sam playfully protested. “Or maybe you just have no taste.” The teasing smile faltered the moment the words had left her mouth.
“That’s what salt’s for,” Becca said. She couldn’t muster up the same playful energy. She sounded tired, and Sam surely noticed.
Her roommate’s eyes lingered on her for a moment, and then found the counter, a frown forming on her lips.
Eventually, Sam asked, “Will you be joining Jamie and I for movie night?”
“Of course,” Becca said. “I always do, why would you need to ask now?”
“I dunno, you seem...” Sam trailed off, and then shook her head very slightly. “Not as into it as you used to be, I guess? I don’t know, maybe it’s just my imagination.”
“Do you want me there?” Becca held back from saying aloud the next part of that: Or would you have more fun with just the two of you?
“Of course I do.” Sam answered quickly, sounding almost hurt in her sincerity. “And Jamie does too. We’re friends. We’ve all been friends, for so long. Just because some things have changed doesn’t mean that has to...”
Sam trailed off again, biting her bottom lip, as if fearing that more words she could later regret would spill out if she didn’t.
Becca wanted to say, ‘It’s not that’, but she couldn’t bring herself to say something that she knew was a lie. She was happy for Jamie, for figuring out who they were and the inner peace that brought them. But that growth had also been the catalyst that had changed Jamie’s friendship with Sam into a romantic relationship.
Jamie was comfortable with who they were in a way that Becca never could be. Jamie’s true self was one that Sam had embraced and loved. Becca’s true self was... a selfish person who hurt those that trusted her.
Sam and Jamie did not deserve that.
It was time to change the subject. “I think this is ready,” she said, indicating the slow-cooker.
“Yeah,” Sam muttered. She reached to turn the dial to start it, but hesitated. “Hey, your hand...”
Sam took Becca’s hand in hers, and it was then that Becca noticed for the first time the red impressions left in her palm from the day before. She’d been clenching her fist so hard she’d broken the skin, and hadn’t even noticed.
“It’s nothing...” She insisted unconvincingly.
“How did this happen?” Sam asked her, examining the wound with genuine concern. “Jeeze, does it hurt?”
Sam had begun to run her thumb gently over the palm of Becca’s hand, tracing slow circles around the tender wound. It did hurt, a little, but that quickly faded under the relaxing, soft motions.
Becca’s pulse quickened at the realization that she was starting to fall into trance, but she did not know if it was from panic, or excitement.
“Tell me what happened,” Sam urged her, in a soft voice. Such a soft, pretty voice...
Becca very nearly answered without thinking. God, it would be so easy to give in to her. Sam was a natural at this. Her touch was so soft. Her voice was so pure and beautiful, like clear water or honey. Her eyes... so blue and deep; Becca could so easily get lost in those eyes.
Becca was so easy; she wanted so badly to fall, and that realization sent a pulse of hot need through her.
Wait, Sam’s eyes...
When had Sam started looking at her?
At that moment, with the idea of her dropping and it being obvious in her expression, Becca was jarred back to reality.
Becca pulled her hand away. “I said it was nothing.”
“I’m sorry,” Sam said quietly, this time the hurt in her voice impossible to miss.
Becca’s heart ached. She wanted to tell Sam she was sorry, to get down on the ground and beg for her forgiveness. She wanted to go back to that world she’d felt for a precious few seconds where she was lost in those soft touches and Sam had control of her and she didn’t even care if she was a freak for being so turned on by that...
But she was back in reality now, and it would be wrong of her to do that to her friend.
“It’s not what you think, I promise,” Becca said, making an effort to soften her voice. Her hands at her side, almost unconsciously, pulled her sleeves down over her wrists.
“I’m worried about you,” Sam said. “Jamie too. You haven’t been yourself lately.”
That’s the problem, isn’t it?, Becca thought. I don’t want to be myself.
“I’m trying to figure some stuff out,” Becca said. “I’m not ready to talk about it.”
That was the truth, at least. Not all of it, but not a lie. Becca couldn’t bear to lie to Sam.
“Okay,” Sam said, still sounding concerned, but not quite worried any more. “Just remember, we’re here for you. You can tell us anything.”
No, Becca thought. Not anything.
That night, Jamie visited again after their work shift. It wasn’t unusual for Jamie to come by after a stressful day. But what followed was.
Becca didn’t linger in the living room to hear the induction, thankfully having the excuse of finishing up the stew to avoid the prior day’s awkwardness. But it was only a few minutes before Sam joined her again. It usually took a solid hour of cuddles to get Jamie to sleep after a stressful day. With the power of hypnosis, they were out in a few minutes.
A few hours later, Becca found herself in her bedroom, tossing and turning, once more jealous of Jamie.
The mp3 files on her phone were no help. After nearly dropping twice in the presence of Sam, they felt ineffective in comparison. And it was a self-defeating exercise to try using hypnosis to fall asleep, when it was the very thing that had her so stressed in the first place. She’d only made it halfway through a single file before the thoughts of Sam, Jamie, and trance had her so aroused she just shut it off with a frustrated groan.
She’d thought about telling them. But there was no way she could. There was no ending to this that wouldn’t just end up widening the gap between her and her only two friends.
How would she even say such a thing?
“Hey, wanted to let you know that the hypnosis stuff you guys are doing for fun is actually sex to me. No really. I actually can’t cum any other way. I had my first orgasm rewinding my VHS of Aladdin over and over. No, I still like girls, even though the scene was of two old men...”
Even if there weren’t follow-up questions that none of them would enjoy the answers to, it would still ruin something fun that Sam and Jamie had found. Especially if it was relieving the awful stress of Jamie working holiday-season retail. She’d ruin that for them by making the entire thing awkward and gross.
Becca picked up her phone, thinking about queueing a different file. Perhaps she could get some rest and think about this more clearly in the morning if she had some physical release.
Her eyes wandered from the hand holding her phone, to her wrist. In the very dim room, lit only by faint moonbeams and the blinking green power light of her humidifier, she could just barely see the lines; the permanent reminder of the worst time in her life.
She set the phone down, defeated. She felt awful: tired, gross, guilty, stressed...
Sam thought that the story Becca had told her about the scars was the reason she’d lost her entire friend group from school. In truth, it was only half of it. They hadn’t abandoned her because they found out she was gay. Sure, it hadn’t helped, and it had been the mid-aughts when being gay in high school was a much bigger deal than now, but it wasn’t the only reason she’d turned into a social pariah.
She didn’t want to think about it, but bits and pieces of it resurfaced to the front of her mind nonetheless.
Becca pretending to stumble across a book on hypnosis at the school library... Reading it with her best friend Amy, who was blissfully unaware of how in love with her Becca was... The two of them awkwardly practising inductions on each other, slowly improving... Becca quickly realizing how naturally suggestible Amy was... Becca dropping her one day, getting her so deep and so fractionated that she could barely move, much less say no... Being so turned on, so hot at the sight of the girl she loved so blissfully deep... Kissing Amy, overwhelming her with sensation, wanting to tear her clothes off but somehow stopping herself at a sudden panic of conscience... Telling her how easy it would be to just not remember anything that happened... Going to school the next day and realising with a sinking heart that hypnotic amnesia is not so easy as movies make it seem, and now everyone at school knew she’d raped her friend...
Becca turned over in the bed, pulling her pillow over her ears as if she was hearing it all over again.
No, she couldn’t tell Sam and Jamie. Because if she told them the first bit, she’d have to tell them everything. And it wouldn’t just be awkwardness ruining a fun activity at that point. They would know what a piece of garbage she was, and she would lose the only good thing she had now.
Sam had done so much for her. She’d helped Becca move away, paid her rent for the first two months while she found work, provided her comfort in her darkest moments. She had only been looking for a room mate; none of that had been necessary, but she’d done it anyway and gained nothing in return, beyond Becca as a friend, perhaps, for whatever that was worth.
Becca couldn’t bear the thought of hurting her the way she’d hurt Amy.
Becca found herself emerging from her bedroom around noon, thankful that it was Saturday. She groggily stumbled her way out to the kitchen, expecting to find Sam the source of the sizzling sounds that had drawn her out of bed; instead, it was Jamie.
“Hey there, Sleepy,” Jamie greeted her. “Long night?”
“Kinda,” Becca managed, looking around the kitchen with heavy eyes. “Where’s Sam at?”
“She went out to grab some stuff for tonight,” Jamie answered, with a slight shrug that implied they did not know what said ‘stuff’ was.
Snacks maybe, Becca considered. What else could they need for movie night? Snacks sounded good. Or maybe she was just hungry.
The growl her stomach gave as Jamie flipped the bacon was evidence for the latter.
“Yes, this is for you,” Jamie said, clearly seeing the silent yearning in her eyes.
Becca was halfway through a plate of eggs and bacon when Sam returned to the apartment, a full shopping bag hanging from her elbow.
“Hey, Babe,” Jamie greeted. “What’d you get, snacks for later?”
“Among other things,” Sam answered, with a wink that sent a flutter through Becca’s chest.
The rest of the day passed quietly. Sam and Jamie lay together on the couch, watching YouTube videos on Jamie’s laptop. Becca, for her part, was at her desk by the window, trying to get some work done on a coding project she’d been chipping away at for the past few months. After circling around the same loop of code for an hour, unable to decipher what mistake she’d made that was keeping it from working the way it should, she just sighed and closed the editor.
Outside, a bird was singing on a nearby branch. Becca, her chin resting tiredly on her hand, looked outside to it. The autumn season had turned the tree’s leaves to those beautiful shades of orange, brown, red that so nostalgically reminded her of simpler times.
She felt burnt out. She’d given all she had, and she didn’t know how she was supposed to find anything within her to keep going. It was like chains were on her wrists and ankles, weighing down every movement.
The bird jumped from the branch and the sounds of it faded as it was gone in moments. A small cloud of them passed over the nearby rooftops, and her bird joined them, and together they flew out of sight, going south for the coming winter.
Becca blinked, and realized her eyes were stinging.
“Okay I think we’re all bored enough,” Sam suddenly declared to a silent room. “Movie night!”
Finally, Becca thought, a distraction.
It was Sam’s turn to pick the movie this week, and she’d been tight-lipped so far about it, as she always was. But as she ran to the kitchen and returned with her shopping bag, Becca realized she’d gone a step above just that.
Sam sat down beside the living room table, and unpacked the items within, laying them out for everyone to see. There were the usual snacks, as she’d expected: a bag of potato chips, some microwave popcorn, licorice sticks. But then there was more: a plastic-wrapped pack of scented candles, and a boxed electronic light.
Becca moved closer to get a better look at the light. It was a spherical lamp sort of thing, that one might put on their desk or night stand. It was usb-powered and came with a remote. It had several different colours and a strobe mode where it cycled between them.
“Are we going to be watching a disco movie?” She asked.
Sam laughed. “No, nothing like that. I saw it while I was shopping and thought it might be cool to try adding some more atmosphere to the room. And movie night seemed a good time to try it out. What do you guys think?”
“I guess it depends on the movie,” Jamie said, thoughtful as ever. “What are we watching tonight?”
“This Korean drama I found,” Sam answered. “Some kind of cool, psychological thriller thing.”
Jamie shrugged. “Fine by me.”
Becca blinked, still tired from her lack of proper sleep. Subtitled films didn’t usually hold her interest, as following the text on screen and the visuals was sometimes hard. If having that light on helped her stay awake, sure. “Yeah sounds neat. What about the candles.”
“Heh, I grabbed those after I saw the light,” Sam said. “Same idea, just trying to mix things up and add to the ambiance. Are you guys ready to start?”
Jamie was, but Becca was still tired, and knowing what kind of movie this would be, she told them to go ahead and get set up and start the movie while she made herself a cup of coffee.
Becca was half-tempted to just dip out for this one and go to bed early. She couldn’t help but feel this was entirely for the two of them, and they were just including her out of pity. The movie choice, the mood lighting, the scented candles... Sam had probably actually bought this stuff to use for a different activity, when the two of them were alone. But after the conversation in the kitchen yesterday, Becca couldn’t do that. It was truly one of the last things they all did together as friends, and she would rather suffer through it than lose that.
Her coffee mug in hand, Becca returned to the living room to find the movie in progress. As Sam had promised, it was a changed atmosphere. The glowing light sat on the center table, giving the room a very gentle blue light that it usually did not have when the lights were off and the TV was on. The candles were placed around the room, two on the table, one on Becca’s computer desk, and one at the small table by the doorway. They burned with a small fire that added just a bit more light to the room, but not so much as to drown out the light or the TV. The scent was pleasant, a rich but not overpowering aroma one might find in a spa or salon; Becca couldn’t identify what it was, but it was nice.
These were small changes, but they added up to a pleasant change from the usual sterile room that they spent so much time in.
Becca carried her coffee carefully, not wanting to spill any on her way in and ruin the scene. Sam and Jamie were seated at their usual spots on the sectional couch, sitting upright, with the reclined, therapist-office part left for her.
As she sat down, Sam flashed her an excited smile, which Becca returned with as much energy as she could muster.
Becca half-watched the movie as she sipped at her coffee and cleared the cobwebs from her brain. As Sam had promised, it was some artsy Korean movie; from what Becca could parse of the plot, some lady was traumatized and seeing a therapist, and she was possibly lying or something. Becca was having a hard time getting interested or really wanting to. Beyond just being tired, there was a lot on her mind.
She finished her coffee, and set the mug down on the table. No longer holding a hot liquid, she was finally able to lay back against the couch.
Sam was next to Becca, and laying back as she was, very close. Inches away, even. Becca could pick up traces of her scent, which combined with the increasingly noticeable candles, made her head swirl. They’d cuddled a few times before on these movie nights, mostly before Sam and Jamie had become a proper couple, but such a thing would be too painful for her now.
Even with the coffee’s help, Becca didn’t know if she could manage to stay awake for the duration of the film. Already her eyes were getting heavy.
And then a pocket watch appeared on screen, and she was wide awake.
Becca hadn’t been paying enough attention to realize this until now, but the woman in the film was seeing a hypnotherapist.
She glanced at Sam and Jamie, hoping the room was dark enough that they didn’t notice, but they seemed no different than usual; just watching the movie in silence, half-cuddling.
Why would Sam even pick a movie like this? It made sense, she supposed. Sam had been interested in the subject lately. She’d told Jamie she was researching it. She had probably found the movie while looking at stuff online, was intrigued by the plot synopsis, and thought nothing more of it than that. Most people didn’t have those considerations about hypnosis scenes popping up in movies. Most people didn’t go out of their way to watch movies just because they had them...
The pocket watch continued swinging as the hypnotist spoke. Becca didn’t know what he was saying, unable to tear her eyes away to look down at the subtitles. But it didn’t matter, the tone of his voice was full of hypnotic intent.
Becca fought down the panicked anxiety building in her chest. What should she do? Leave, the way she had the other day when Sam was trancing Jamie on the couch? No, that would hurt Sam. It would hurt her more to be there at the beginning of movie night and give up half an hour in and it would have been to just not participate at all.
And to leave the room right as an induction started? Twice in a row? Her friends weren’t stupid, they would see the pattern. They would ask her questions she didn’t want to answer.
The movie cut to the woman, staring back at the pocket watch rapt, her eyes glassy, her lips fallen open just a bit. The hypnotist asked her something and she sluggishly nodded with some effort. Her expression grew more slack by the moment, and with an increasingly numb panic Becca realized her face was doing the same.
She had to do something, or...
Or what? Slip into trance? Sam and Jamie would just think she’d fallen asleep.
She couldn’t just trust herself to push through this scene. There would be more. Somehow it was clear to her that wasn’t a movie that contained hypnosis, it was a movie about it.
Pretend to be asleep. It was a good idea. Her friends weren’t watching her. They wouldn’t know the difference.
Becca closed her eyes, and some part of her missed the pocket watch.
The scene seemed to end, as Becca could see the light of the dark room change through her closed eyelids. But then she heard the sound of a metronome, and she knew it was still going.
Becca cursed her luck. She could close her eyes and ignore something visual, or a foreign language induction. But a metronome sound...
It didn’t matter. If nothing else, she would relax more and fall asleep for real.
Becca then heard Sam saying, “She looks so peaceful.”
“Yeah,” Jamie answered. “So relaxed. So deep.”
“It’s funny though,” Sam continued, “isn’t it?”
“That she thinks pretending to be asleep is going to fool us.”
Becca’s heart skipped a beat.
Her eyes opened, and she sat up in a jolt.
There was no mistaking it. Sam was staring straight at her, a very slight smirk on her face. Behind her, Jamie was no longer sitting on the couch, but was standing by the door of the room.
Jamie pushed the door closed and there was a click as they locked it.
“Wh-what are you-?”
“Shh,” Sam said. “Don’t worry about what Jamie does. Look at the screen, Becca.”
Without even thinking about it, she did. The movie was gone, replaced with a black and white spiral.
The light on the desk was changing now, cycling between colours in sync to the constant rhythmic click of the metronome.
“Oh no,” Becca said, in a very small voice.
“Look at the spiral, Becca,” Sam instructed her. “Become lost in it. Lost in the movement; the constantly moving pattern... Always drawing you in. Always pulling you down. Deeper down.”
It was so sudden, so much. She couldn’t look away. Her thoughts were slow. Perhaps if she’d been awake when this started, she could have mustered up some defiance, but that movie had put her half in trance already.
“Be a good girl and sink for me,” Sam continued, her voice the soft and entrancing tone Becca had tried so hard to ignore before, now impossible to escape. “The candles are so nice. So relaxing. Listen to the metronome ticking.”
She’d known. She’d known the whole time. It had all been a game: pretending she didn’t know and putting Becca in situations to catch her. That first day with Jamie, the kitchen, the movie... all deliberate. Sam had been waiting for her to get pulled in enough.
Just enough to not be able to escape.
“Why are you... doing-?”
Again, Sam cut her off. “Shhh, no thoughts, no resistance. Be a good girl and sink for me. Stop fighting and give in to my voice. My hypnotic voice that fills your head, echoing, capturing your attention and your mind. You love my voice. You love me. Why would you ever resist when it feels so good to obey...”
At the mention of ‘love’ a jolt of pure emotion cut through the hazy soft trance that was numbing her mind. A lump caught in Becca’s throat and in seconds, tears were running down her cheeks.
Love. Hurt. Betrayed. Afraid.
And then she was being moved, and she realized she’d been adjusted to lay against Sam’s bosom.
Sam gently ran her fingers through Becca’s hair, and a memory was summoned of her comfort, during a moment of loneliness and hopelessness; them laying, just like this, Becca crying into her shoulder.
“It’s okay,” Sam said softly, her voice still hypnotic but a tone of comfort mixing with the wickedness. “Let go of the bad thoughts. No bad feelings. I want you to give in to trance and be my good girl. Good girls don’t have bad thoughts. They look at the spirals and sink down and obey.”
It... made sense. It was so hard to think, with so many hypnotic things happening at once. It was so much easier to let someone else think for her. Why was she trying to fight it?
Some distant memory clawed at the back of her mind, some fear that if she didn’t stop this somehow, it would be bad and she would be hurt. Some part of her that was afraid of this, even though she wanted it so badly, and those two parts of her brain had been fighting so much lately and it had been making her so tired.
“C-can’t...” she said, her voice sounding like it was someone else’s, somewhere far away.
“Why?” Sam asked her.
“Because... love,” Becca said, “Afraid of... losing you...”
Sam continued to run her hands through Becca’s hair. It was so comforting, so peaceful. It was like the panic and fear of before was being brushed out of her brain with each stroke of Sam’s hand.
“Continue to sink for me,” Sam instructed her. “Listen to the metronome and drift deeper. I will continue to speak and while your mind will hear my words, they won’t matter to you. You’ll stay in trance, no thoughts, no feelings, until I tell you otherwise. Do you understand?”
Becca nodded against Sam’s chest.
“Good girl,” Sam said, smiling. “Now continue sinking as I tell you a story. A few weeks ago, I got a message online from someone. I didn’t know this person, but they said they’d gone to high school with you. And that there was something about you I needed to know.”
Becca understood what this was, but she felt nothing in response to it. The spiral and the metronome were the only thing she was able to care about.
“They said they knew a girl who used to be your friend,” Sam continued. “And they told me this story that sounded... like bad fiction. It sounded absurd; I didn’t believe a word of it. I figured it was some kind of weird spam that pulled your name from my contacts or something. I didn’t respond, and blocked them afterwards.
“And then one night I walked past your bedroom and I could hear a voice through your door. A woman’s voice I didn’t recognize. I shouldn’t have stopped to listen, but my curiosity got the better of me and I did. I realized it was playing off your phone.”
Becca again realized she should have bought headphones. She’d always assumed the volume was so low that nobody else could hear it.
“I had my doubts now. That person’s story came back into my mind, and I gave it consideration I hadn’t before. My closest friend, the quiet, kind, ever-giving person, could hurt someone seemed impossible. I had to know the truth.
“So I went back online, and I dug around. I learned about hypnosis, what it was, how to do it. I didn’t tell Jamie about you, not at first, but they worked with me and served as a practice subject. And during my research, I ended up stumbling across something interesting.
“So I messaged her, asking about the incident and the truth of it, and waited for a reply. Eventually, she got back to me, and she told me everything.”
Everything. The implications of that almost cut through the euphoric bliss that Becca was floating in. She was done, she knew that, but it didn’t matter any more. Obeying, and being a good girl was what mattered.
“I was angry,” Sam said. “I felt betrayed that you’d done this, that you’d kept this from me. I didn’t know if I wanted to kick you out or do the same thing to you that you did to her. But then Amy messaged me a few more times. She told me she regretted what happened after. And she wanted you to move on and forgive yourself. She knew you well enough to know that you would still, years later, be carrying that guilt. And she’s right. I’ve always felt there was something in you, some pain that you couldn’t let go of. I never understood it, until now.
“Becca, you’re the best friend I ever had. My life has been made all the better for having you in it. You don’t deserve all this pain you’re holding inside.”
Becca realized there were tears on her cheeks. She was floating in trance, peaceful and empty, but some part of her deep down was screaming.
Sam gently took her chin, adjusting her position. Sam’s beautiful blue eyes filled her vision.
“It’s okay,” Sam said to her. “You can let go.”
Becca let out a breath, and when she drew in the next, she no longer felt the weight; which had been there so long, she had forgotten what it felt like not to have it.
“I want you to answer truthfully,” Sam said. “Would you ever do something like that again?”
“No,” Becca said, knowing it was an undeniable truth. There were no lies here, not to Sam, not to herself.
“Because it was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it. And I’ve hated myself since.”
“But now you’ve forgiven yourself.”
After a moment, “Yes.”
“And until you accepted that you deserved love, you could never accept it,” Sam continued. “Do you accept it now?”
Sam’s thumb brushed against Becca’s lip, a touch as gentle as a feather.
And then, Sam kissed her.
It was a moment she’d dreamed of for so long, that it should have been more dramatic. But it happened so quickly and she was so tranced-out, that it was more surprising than anything.
Sam pulled away, her lips curling back into that wicked grin from before.
“How do you feel right now?” she asked.
“Deeeeep...” Becca answered to the best of her ability.
Sam tilted her head so slightly. “No. How do you really feel?”
“T-turned onnn....” Becca smiled. She couldn’t help it. “Feeells sooo gooooood...”
Sam grinned. “Yeah. Trance does feel that way for you, doesn’t it? I thought Jamie got a lot out of this when we started, but look at you. You’re absolutely soaked. Speaking of which... you done yet, Babe?”
“Just about,” Jamie answered.
Becca was confused. Jamie? Jamie was-
“Good,” Sam said. “Okay Becca, that first instruction I gave you... You can go ahead and forget about that now.”
Becca blinked, and realized with a shock that she was naked.
But that wasn’t all: she was tied up. A series of intricate, laddered knots ran up the length of her legs, holding them together. Her ankles and wrists, separately, were bound by knots. The rope holding her was soft and thin, but doubled over and tied well; she was comfortable, but she wasn’t going anywhere.
That prospect was both exciting and terrifying.
At the foot of the couch, Jamie pulled the rope through a loop and pulled it until it was tight, finishing the knot at her ankles.
“That should be that,” they said, standing up.
Sam leaned over to Becca’s ear and whispered, “Squirm for me.”
Becca did, fighting against her bonds, but they gave nothing; all the pressure was on the knots. Sam gave a chuckle at her helplessness and then kissed her under the ear, which sent a shudder through her that left her breathless.
She felt exposed. Helpless. Her breasts and pussy were uncovered, and just aching to be touched.
She wondered if she should have felt worried, but she just felt safe, like she was floating on a cloud of trancey energy.
The metronome was still playing on loop in the background. She couldn’t gather her thoughts, every time she started thinking too hard, that rhythmic ticking would draw her back down...
“I don’t think this was even necessary,” Jamie mused, looking down at her. “I don’t think she wants to get away.”
“Maybe,” Sam said. “She seems to be enjoying it though.”
“I’ll leave you ladies to it then,” Jamie said, looking to Becca and giving her a wink. “Have fun.”
The couple exchanged a kiss, and then Jamie left. The door was unlocked now, Becca realized. Not that it mattered much if she couldn’t stand up or use her hands...
Sam turned her attention back to her victim. “We’ll figure out where Jamie fits into things later. Things are going to change after today. For the better. Tonight is just for you and I. I want you all to myself.”
Sam’s eyes ran over Becca’s skin, drinking in the sight of her. She reached over and traced her fingers across Becca’s soft skin, up her legs, then her stomach, before stopping at her breast. She drew circles around the pink nipple, the gentle touches driving Becca crazy. Then, without warning, she pinched and pulled, drawing a desperate moan from Becca’s lips.
Sam laughed, clearly enjoying herself. Becca had never seen her like this before, but it wasn’t really surprising. Sam always liked being in control, taking the first steps, being the first to try something.
“I should have... told you sooner,” Becca said to her.
“About what?” Sam asked, with a slight cock of her head. “Amy? Hypnosis? Your feelings for me? Well it doesn’t matter now. We’re on the same page now, and I’m going to make sure you never do this again.”
“I’m going to brainwash you, silly,” Sam said, her eyes glowing. “Don’t worry, I won’t change you too much. I like your personality, just not the self-destructive parts of it. So we’ll get rid of those, and from today on you’ll have a new respect for healthy relationship communication. And I’ll give you some fun triggers too. For later. And of course, to make sure you can’t relapse back into those old behaviours, I’ll make sure you forget all about them.”
“N-no,” Becca said, the panic coming back. “Sam, no!”
“Oh it’s too late for that,” Sam said. “Think of it as karmic payback. It’s for your own good, trust me. And unlike you, I know how to do it properly. You’ll wake up tomorrow and the only thing you’ll remember is that we fucked like rabbits. Which we will.”
“Samantha, please,” Becca begged. “Please don’t!”
Sam continued, as if she hadn’t heard her, “And any time I want, I can come up to you and whisper those magic words you won’t remember and you will...”
Sam held her hand up in front of Becca’s eyes, and the bound, helpless girl knew what was coming next.
Becca opened her eyes as orgasm tore through her.
She panted, feeling sweat running down her forehead.
Sam was saying something to her, but it was hard to make out the words.
The spiral was still playing on the TV screen. It was always there, and endless source of fixation. Her pesky, bad eyes couldn’t betray her, because the helpful screen was always there to remind her to sink back down.
“...down deep into obedience, obedient submission. You submit because you love to obey. And you obey Samantha. You submit to Samantha. When she says your special words to you, then you give in and drop. Dropping deep, dropping fast. Dropping down into trance. You drop down deep into obedience, obedient submission. You submit because...”
“S-submit,” she gasped.
But she didn’t hear her own words, realizing a moment later that she had headphones on, which were repeating a recorded loop of Sam’s voice right into her ears.
The actual Sam was down between Becca’s legs, tongue deep in her pussy.
Sam was wearing her own pair of headphones.
It felt so good. So much pleasure.
She was in a loop, she realized. They both were. That wasn’t her first orgasm, and it wouldn’t be her last. Already she could feel another building. And judging by the toy Sam had held between her legs, it was no different for her, either.
Becca had no time to ponder this, because the spiral was there to catch her silly, wandering thoughts.
“...Submitting is good. Obeying is good. You obey because you want to be good. Good girls obey. Good girls get to cum when they obey. And you obey Samantha. You obey because you’re a good girl. And the more you obey, the more pleasure you feel. Good girls obey and cum.”
Sam moaned something into her. Becca couldn’t begin to wonder what it was. Another orgasm was building, and she knew when she came, it would reset her brain again.
How many times had they repeated this? Time felt like it had no meaning any more. Was it even the same night they’d started?
Sam screamed as her orgasm hit her, and the vibration sent sparks of pleasure from her pussy up into her brain.
It didn’t matter, she realized. Nothing mattered but being a good girl and obeying.
As her pleasure crested to another orgasm, Becca’s world turned empty.
She was right where she belonged.