General Disclaimers: While it features no ‘on-screen’ sexual activity or explicit adult situations, this hypnofetish story does contain examples of fictional characters doing illegal, immoral and/or impossible things to other fictional characters. If you are under the age of consent in your community, are disturbed by such concepts, or want hot wet thrusting sex in your on-line pornography, then for goshsakes stop reading now!
Permission granted to re-post for free to any electronic medium, as long as no one's being charged to view it, and this disclaimer and e-mail address (email@example.com) are not removed. It would also be nice if you told me you were posting it.
Copyright Voyer, 2004.
Specific Disclaimers: Set in the same universe at ‘Shades of Night Are Falling’, ‘Cut Off’, et al, and you should really read them first.
Dedicated to the other Vincent.
“You can take off the blindfold now, Mr. Gould.”
Vince hesitated a moment before complying, but then forced his hands to performing the action, reaching around behind his head and pulling at the waiting knot, which crumbled away. The material of the blindfold seemed to slither around between his fingers, and he tossed it away with a shudder. He blinked as light hit his eyes. Yellowish. Artificial.
The world came into focus. He was sitting in a straight-backed wooden chair, in the middle of a large space. How large, he couldn’t be sure; the aforementioned lights hung from long cords in a cluster at the center of the room, and the edges of everything faded away into gloomy darkness.
He shifted his gaze. Sitting nearby was the large rectangular wooden crate into which he had packed his supplies, looking pretty much the same as when he had last seen it before being whisked away in the long black car. He pushed on, in the direction from which the voice had come and found its source. An unfamiliar woman, standing and watching him with her hands crossed in front of her waist. Attractive, fairly tall, dark-red hair pulled up into a tight professional bun. Oddly, the very first thought that popped into Vince’s head upon seeing her was ‘Her clothes don’t fit.’ It was odd because it wasn’t true: she was wearing a sharply-creased business jacket and slacks that suited her well and clearly had been custom-tailored. (Spending time with Clarice had taught him a little about clothes.) But still..
He pushed the thought aside as the woman, seeing that she had his attention, spoke again.
“Hello, Mr. Gould. This is where you’ll be doing your work. As was explained to you when you accepted this assignment, you will have to remain here at all times while you are here.” She pointed with a long finger, and Vince followed it to the target: One of the nearer corners of the room had been cut off by a curtain which hung from a metal rail. “There is a bed, and bathroom facilities behind the curtain. Your meals will be brought to you. You told us that you don’t have any dietary restrictions?”
“No. No problems there.” He looked at the bulbs overhead. “But the light in here is not good for my work.”
The woman went on, reminding Vince of an airline stewardess on a jumbo jet pointing out the emergency exits at the start of a flight. “That is understood, but it is unavoidable. There is a TV, and a stereo, if you should choose to use them in your free time.”
“So I have free time?”
“Yes. Of course. As was promised. But the quicker you finish your project, the quicker you can go home. I assume that’s what you want.” Her voice and her expression flickered with emotions as she said the last sentence.
“Well. OK, then.” He studied her. “I wasn’t told who I would be working with. Are you-”
“No.” She flushed faintly as she cut him off. “Oh, no. Your subject will be here shortly, and the two of you can get started.” She shifted her stance. “I hope it will be shortly. You can never be sure with-” This time she cut herself off. “I’ll leave you to get unpacked. There’s an intercom over there on the table next to the TV, if you need anything. Just press the button.”
“Should I ask for you.. Ms...?”
She blinked at him owlishly for a moment, then evidently a mental connection clicked into place somewhere behind her light blue eyes. But she only answered half of the question.
“Oh. No. Just tell whoever answers what you need.” Another pause. “It may or may not be me.”
“All right then.”
She nodded and left, the sound of her heels clicking loudly on the stone floor. He watched her go, and again he was struck by the sudden powerful impression that the woman’s clothes were simply wrong. If she was wearing a simple white gown, and let her hair down, she would have made an excellent-
A door closed with a heavy thud, a lock clicked, and he was alone.
He sat for a moment, tapping the fabric of his jeans with his callused fingers, then got up off the chair. He turned in a slow circle, measuring his surroundings.
From what he could see, the room appeared to have been literally carved out of solid stone. With no windows, the lack of any sounds and the definite sense of weight pressing down on him, Vince suspected he was underground somewhere.
As had been suggested, he knew he should start unpacking, but instead he wandered over to the TV, noting absently that Miss Redhead had failed to mention that in addition to the stereo there was also a DVD player, and a small neat stack of films ready to be fed into it. He took the top case in the stack. It was one of the Valkyrie Squad movies, and the cover depicted a busty woman with green wings punching a demonic figure into a stone wall, which was vigorously shattering from the force of the impact. He put it back.
There was a remote control sitting on top of the TV, and he used it to power up the unit. The familiar sight of Channel 4 appeared on the screen: the dynamic duo of Biff and Cindee were in mid-bather about some new directive from the Mayor’s office, then announcing the new season of the Symphony, which opened on the 23rd at the Panopticon. So. He was still in the city somewhere. From the short length of his trip to this location, he had suspected as much. And didn’t strange things like this only happen in the city? He’d seen enough of them himself over the years, although never quite this extreme..
It didn’t matter. The die had been cast, and he would just have to hope that it would all work out. He was being paid very well, and Clarice would benefit from it, if he never came back.. He sighed, and punched the remote’s off button. Biff and Cindee returned to the darkness from whence they had come, and Vince put down the remote.
“Hello, Mr. Gould.”
He jerked violently, but to his credit somehow kept from screaming. He turned around very slowly.
A new woman was in the room with him, standing under the lights. Smiling at him. For a long moment, that was all he could see, that smile and those eyes...
Those violet eyes.
He sagged back, and felt his ass bump against the TV. The woman tipped her head to one side and spoke again, her voice had a sweet impersonal chill to it, like an autumn breeze blowing out of a forest.
“Is something the matter? You seem ill at ease.”
Mocking? Genuine curiosity? A little of both?
“I...” Vince scrubbed at his close-cropped brown hair. “How did you get in here?”
“Through the door. Isn’t that the usual way to do such things?”
“I...” This time, Vince waited until his heart was beating almost normally. He forced himself to look again, look more carefully. The eyes and the smile were still there, but there were other things as well, most notably feathers. Glowing golden masses of them. They were all the woman was wearing, both on her body and on her head.
she’s not wearing those feathers at all. she’s
He cut off the thought with the whack of a mental cleaver, but a new and almost as horrible one immediately rose to take its place. He squared his shoulders and forced himself to articulate it.
“Are you... are we going to be working together?”
“Oh yes. I’m sure we’ll get along just famously.”
“Do you.. that other woman works for you, does she?”
“No. She does not. No one works for me, Mr. Gould. Well.” She rolled her eyes, giving him a brief blissful moment where he was free of them. “Not in the sense that you meant. Even though all of this was arranged for my benefit, your being here, I have no employees, no material possessions.”
“I did once.” She spoke airily. “I had a possession. It was mine, and you wouldn’t believe the price I paid for it. But then I traded it away.”
“But that’s not important, is it?” She smiled even more brightly, and finally moved: Mimicking Miss Redhead, she lifted a slender arm and pointed at the crate. “These are the tools of your trade, I assume?” Even with that one small gesture, she displayed a lazy, terrifying grace.
As he replied, he tried not to look too closely at the thing attached to her hand which doing the pointing.
“Yes. I was just going to get unpacked. And we can get started.”
And finished. As quickly as possible. Free time? He had stifle a bark of crazed laughter. You think I’m going to watch movies, sleep while I’m under the same roof as this... woman?
“Oh, good. I’m so looking forward to this.”
He unglued his feet from the floor and walked across the endless echoing floor to the crate.
Even though it meant turning his back on her.
His fingers felt fat and useless as he fumbled with the latches, and she continued speaking behind him.
“We’ve had a simply terrible time with this sort of thing over the years, you know.” He flipped up the hinged lid, revealing the the padded interior, containing the collapsed easel, the paints, the canvases, and all the rest. “For some reason, I just don’t take a very good picture. With a camera.” On that last word, he snapped his head upright and unswallowed his tongue. She was standing right next to him, looking down into the crate with every appearance of interest. He hadn’t heard a sound, it was as if she had floated over to him, or taken one enormous step. She leaned down and clicked her “thumb” and “ forefinger” shut around a brush that had evidently shaken loose from its holder during the journey, lifted it into the light. She twisted her wrist around, studying the implement from all angles, a scientist inspecting a fascinating but potentially dangerous new specimen. “I am hopeful that this method will work better. I do wish just once to see myself through others’ eyes, and you come so highly recommended. So it was arranged.”
“That’s good to hear.” His voice seemed to be coming from very far away.
“Yes. And I can see why.” She unerringly returned the brush to its holder, and her gaze fell on the easel. “Ooh...” She flicked the clasps that held it in place and picked it up. “How clever.”
“Um... Miss... I can take care of..” He trailed off as she snapped the easel open and extended the legs with a few efficient clicks and twists, setting it down on the floor when she was finished. She’d done it faster than he could of himself. She stroked one of the legs with a finger.
“There. It’s made of cherry wood, isn’t it?”
“I like wood. I used to carve it sometimes, back when I had more spare time. It is amenable. Not like metal or plastic.” A sidelong glance at the TV and the rest of the equipment there. “Or wires. But of course, all things have their place, don’t they?”
“What do you mean... you can see why?”
“You notice things. You noticed me. You saw right through me.” Definite mocking this time.
“How... how could anyone not-”
“You’d be amazed, Mr. Gould. Simply amazed at what people can decide not to see, if they don’t want to.” She picked up a blank canvas, and set it on the easel. “Shall we begin?”
“It’s not...” He took a deep breath and stepped off into the abyss. “It’s not that simple. If you want it done right.”
She blurred and was facing him.
“I do not understand.” She was pleased that she didn’t understand.
“If you want a painting of... of you, not someone who looks like you.. I need to know a little more about you. I need to know who you are.”
She arched an eyebrow.
“My name is Lorelei.”
“No. I mean...” There was a small table nearby, and Vince used it as an excuse to step away from her. Dragging it closer, to unload the rest of the equipment. “It’s not your name that matters. Or where you came from. Or who owns this room, if you don’t. I need to know who - you - are. For example...”
“Are you really as dangerous as you appear to be?”
She smiled widely, and her teeth glittered like ice. Her eyes spun.
“Unless you are extremely unfortunate, Mr. Gould, I am the most dangerous person you will ever meet in your entire life.”
He felt his mouth smiling back.
“Well then. Now we’re getting somewhere.”
He paused for a moment.
Were her feathers actually glowing brighter?
The thought vanished, and they got to work.
She stuck her head around the door.
She came further into the room. It was very quiet, except for the distant drone of traffic. Bright afternoon sunlight slanted in through the tall narrow windows and danced with dust-motes. It was so bright, and she blinked.
There was a large wooden crate sitting on the rug in the center of the room. And in the battered old armchair, next to it...
She went to him, her long blonde hair floating behind her. He was sagged into the chair, his head lowered, and didn’t appear to hear her.
“Vince! What happened? It’s been two weeks! And when I talked to her, she said you’d finally come back, but you didn’t..”
He lifted his head and looked at her, and she gasped.
He looked horrible, pale and drawn and ten years older than she remembered. There were flecks of gray in his hair
“What happened? What did they do to you!?”
“Do?” He looked out the nearest window. “She didn’t do anything. We just painted the picture. It was a lot of work. It had to be right. I’m not sure I got there. But I tried.”
“But who.. who was she? Who did you paint?”
“She...” He got slowly to his feet. “She was...” He straightened himself up and took a long slow breath. “Here.”
“She was here? In your apartment?”
she gets into people’s apartments
“No. Here.” Clarice realized he was handing her something, a large manila envelope. She took it cautiously, and looked inside. There were bills, green and rectangular and neatly stacked.
There were a lot of them.
“How much... did she pay you?”
“I didn’t count it. More than we originally agreed. A lot. Clarice...”
“She said we have to leave town. She said...” He rubbed his temples. “What did she say? She said so much... It was either going to be terrible... or horrific. Something like that.”
horrible or something worse than horrible. something wonderful
“Leave town? I can’t leave town! All my clients, and the big show coming up at the-”
He grabbed both sides of her head with his hands, not viciously, but firmly, and she was staring into his eyes.
Something burned down there.
Burned violet, and smiled at her, showing icy-white teeth.
The teeth clamped shut, and words throbbed inside her head.
she told me so much and i told her everything everything.
“We are leaving town.”
Someone’s voice, (her voice??) replied, meekly gave the only answer that was possible.
“We are leaving town.”
He took her unresisting hand, and led her into the bedroom.
They got to work.
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