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 graphic sex in your 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) are not removed. It would also be nice if you told me you were posting it.
Copyright Voyer, 2001.
She was driving.
There was music.
It was the music that truly brought her all the way up out of the swampy clinging darkness, to discover that she was driving across...
Back on the campus once again, driving slowly past all the familiar landmarks. On the right, Red Square with its surrounding cluster of administration buildings and blocky clocktower. On the left, the SUB, the Life-Sciences buildings, and then the endlessly ugly gray blocks that were the freshman dorms. She looked at them all, listened to the music, and only gradually became aware that the latter was coming from the car’s radio, or maybe the tape player. Her hand flipped the turn-signal, (click click) and the car peeled off at an intersection.
Why am I here?
It was a quiet little avenue, one of the many that wound through the fringes of the campus, smug with its rows of large oak trees and its ivy-covered brick buildings.
Where am I going?
But deep inside, she already knew the answers to these questions. She only heard music anymore, only returned to the campus and to this street anymore... only woke up anymore.... when she visited...
When it was time...
She pulled the blandly sleek blue vehicle into one of the small parking lots and killed the engine. The radio died in mid-chord. It was a weekend (or so she vaguely assumed...), and the football team was on the road (another assumption...) and so the campus had been very quiet. Now hers was the only car anywhere nearby, and the entire world had gone very quiet. She sat for a long moment, contemplating the death of the music and still gripping the leather wraps of the steering wheel. A squirrel bounced cheerfully across the meticulously-maintained lawn, from the trunk of one of the oaks to the next; it and she were the only living things in sight. She fantasized for a moment that the two of them, Paula and Squirrel, really were all alone in the world, everyone and everything else ruthlessly wiped out by...
What? Bombs? Germs? Little Green Men from the Orion Nebula? It didn’t matter. Not in the slightest.
But that’s a lie, another corner of her mind whispered, dark and wet and greedy. It does matter.
It mattered a great deal.
She picked up her purse, got out of the car and pressed the auto-lock button which was mounted on the smooth black blob attached to the keyring. The confirmation beep from the car was very loud, and the squirrel scampered up the gnarled bark and out of sight, chittering excitedly. The purse seemed somehow almost to throb in her hand as she stowed away the keys. She automatically slung the narrow leather strap over her shoulder and started up the walk. The purse throbbed now against her side, following the fading beat of the music. Echoes in her head.
The day was cool and gray, and seriously tinged with autumn: the trees were starting to lose their leaves. As she walked towards the building she shuffled her leather boots through those few ragged yellow and orange husks which had somehow managed to escape the attention of the campus groundskeepers.
More bricks, hidden behind more ivy. Beside the steps was a free-standing granite slab carefully tipped on its side and sporting a name in angular black letters: TILLINGHAST HALL. A smaller sign also stood nearby on a thin metal pole, round and dark green, bearing a far more cryptic designation: X-23. A form of gang marking perhaps; she remembered bits and fragments that hinted the campus was a strange place in more than one way...
She climbed the concrete steps, up to the front doors, which were large and made of thick planks of some very dark wood, bound with black iron bands. Lots of carvings, a few small windows made of equally thick glass and set high up, the gate to a fortress. She hesitated for moment, then grasped the curving handle and pulled. The door opened smoothly on well-oiled brass hinges.
The lobby. A blue-and-purple room, the floor tiles making complex interlocking shapes that seemed to twist themselves against the eye. There were all of the usual things that one finds in such places: The building directory, white letters stuck into a black ridged background and locked behind a thick sheet of glass. Glowing green EXIT signs. A fire extinguisher entombed behind more glass. (She caught a quick glimpse of her reflection there, trapped with the extinguisher. Pale skin, attractive, but maybe stretched just a hair too tight across the underlying bones. Blue eyes.) Tucked into an alcove along with the doors to the bathrooms, a drinking fountain and two vending machines, one offering soda, the other rows of deeply unappetizing-looking snack foods. Food. Paula’s stomach turned over at the thought. She couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten.
The one unusual item was the sculpture. It hung overhead on thick black wires, metal tortured into the shape of an enormous bird, or at least something with wings. It leered down at her, its eye-sockets gaping.
It all seemed as empty and quiet as the world outside, except maybe for a faint sound back inside the walls. Presumably just the endless hum of the building’s air-moving machinery, but for a moment she wondered ...
The stairs. They were the middle of the lobby, under the disquieting sculpture and filling much of the space, wooden and carpeted, framed by curling banisters. She climbed up them, still feeling the idiotic stare of the ‘bird’. The stairs switchbacked their way past the various landings, on up to the fourth floor. The path turned left and then right, past all of the doors and down the last hall, down to the very end, to the narrow wire-hatched window that looked out over an abandoned concrete plaza and a forlorn green picnic table. To...
The office. She again shuffled her feet, this time on thin carpet instead of leaves. She again delayed for a moment, but then she was standing in front of the door. Paneled wood. Solid construction, even after all the years of change and renovation. (Tillinghast Hall, unlike some of the other buildings on campus, had been constructed back when things were still made to last.) To one side of the door was installed a small brass plaque, very tasteful. 4-D2: A. Y. MALKIL, PH.D. Under the plaque was a small corkboard for the posting of announcements. The board sported a single sheet of pale creamy paper, held in place with four silver pushpins, one at each corner. An unexplained list of names written in black ink, each name followed by a long string of numbers.
She was utterly unsurprised to note that all of the names appeared to be female. After all, she dreamed about her own such numbers, many nights alone in her little bed... She opened the door.
The room. Typical for such a setting. Windowless, with institutionally drab wallpaper. Piles of papers everywhere, each scattered at some point along the row of fine-toothed gears and cogs that make up the grading process. Books stacked in tottering heaps. Bits and pieces of unidentifiable half-assembled machinery, some of them connected together with snarling cables. A tired-looking boombox perched on some of the books, trickling out some music. A small desk jammed in one corner, with a sweater-wearing grad student and/or teaching assistant trapped behind it, typing away furiously on a computer.
This individual, a pale dark-haired non-entity, rather thin and twitchy, looked up at the sound of the door opening, looked at Paula from behind his thick black-framed glasses. The expression on his thin face was an unimportant blur to her, and if he said anything, the words never reached her... The only thing of which she was truly aware was his tapping a button on his desk, and the resulting loud click.
A moment later came a matching sound from the room’s second door, which stood almost directly opposite the first. Paula had already crossed the room to that door, barely breaking stride. She reached for the knob, then her hand turned itself into a trembling fist and knocked instead.
The voice was muffled. As she opened the door, she realized that the same song had been playing on both the boombox and the car radio.
Beyond the door...
She sucked in her breath, seeing, remembering.
It was very black and deep and swirling. It was cunningly disguised in the shape of a rather portly and balding man, sitting in a large padded chair behind a wide nearly spotless desk. It wore a crisp white shirt and a striped bow tie and professor’s tweedish jacket, the last item stereotypical right down to the leather patches sewn into the elbows. The hole looked up from its own (much larger and fancier) computer as she opened the door, and it twisted the part of itself under the silver-rimmed glasses into the vague semblance of a smile. A gravely but powerful voice emerged from its bearded depths.
“Why, it’s our Miss Tinew. Hello. Again, my dear, please come in.”
Paula walked into the room and closed the door behind her, cutting off the sounds of the music from the outer office. At the moment the door clicked shut, the hole began to grow, eating its own clothes and slopping over the edges of the chair like gallons of oil spurting out of the side of a ruptured supertanker. The voice went on.
“Could I offer you some tea? Or perhaps coffee? I know some people prefer the latter, although for the life of me I can’t see why.”
It was a suddenly a struggle to remember how to speak, how to form the words, and in the end they came ghosting out, a flat whisper. She held her hands in front her body, crossed over each other. She stared down at the stretch of carpet in front of the desk, seeing the hole only out of the corner of her eye.
“No thank you, Professor.”
“You’re quite sure I can’t tempt you? It’s really quite good. The tea, anyway.”
“Quite sure, Professor.”
“Ah well.” The hole took a genteel slurp from a white china cup which stood close at hand. “Straight down to business then. What brings you by on this dreary afternoon, Miss Tinew?”
She was able to close her eyes for a moment before speaking. She swayed a little.
“A lesson, Professor.”
“Ohh... I see. You desire another lesson, do you?”
She nodded, futilely trying to shake her head no instead, to run screaming from the room, from the campus. From the city. From the continent.
“Good. Excellent.” A pause. “Assuming of course, that you have the usual payment? I of course simply hate to be so crass, but in this world a girl must always pay promptly for her lessons, now mustn’t she?”
“Yes, Professor. Very promptly.” Paula reached into her purse. Among the other unpleasant things that festered there in the darkness, her hand closed around the thing which had been throbbing. She pulled it out, clutched against her palm.
Money. A goodly-sized stack of crisp green bills, held together by a thick strip of paper, on which was stamped a unsettling circular symbol.
She had no idea how the money had come into her possession. Then there were a couple of flashes of memory, jagged and sickening and delicious... she and some of the others... they had... she pushed the memories away before they could take root. Later she would let them back out. She would watch them sprout and grow.
In the dark.
Walking closer, she placed the money on the desk, then retreated back to her station near the door. Dropped her hands to her sides. The hole extended a collection of tendrils, a swirl of nothingness, and it swallowed the money with a little slurp. As it did so, a large golden ring rose out of the hole for a moment and gleamed wetly in the light from the window behind the desk. There was a strange ugly symbol engraved on the ring, not the one printed on the paper band. Similar somehow, but even worse, and it caused another stomach-flip down inside Paula.
Noises of inspection.
“Ah... yes. This should do quite nicely. Well done, my dear Miss Tinew.”
“Thank you, Professor.” Praise. Her voice went even lower. A bit of flush crept into her cheeks, around the back of her neck. Around the other places...
“Not at all.” The hole unlocked a desk drawer with a heavy brass key, like the ring before it suddenly extracted from somewhere within its darkness. “And now that that bit of unpleasantness is out of the way, I do believe that I can in fact squeeze a quick lesson into my schedule.” It tucked the bills into a compartment in the drawer. Closed the drawer, locked it. Consumed the key again with a snap. “Prepare, Miss Tinew, if you would.” It resumed typing, swallowing the keyboard whole.
Paula turned back to the door. She spun its deadbolt shut with a quick clunk and then she walked around the desk, skirting the very edge of the growing abyss, carefully not looking at it. Unlike the grad student...
Gerry. I think his name is Gerry. I knew that once. Long ago.
...unlike Gerry’s blurred if somewhat jagged speed with a keyboard, the hole played laborious hunt and peck. Click. Click. Click. Each jab was like an separate little ice pick, stabbing into her brain.
The window. First she lowered the bronze-colored blinds, cutting off the view of the fringe of forest which still raggedly skirted the eastern side of the campus. Then she pulled the heavy brown curtains shut with a crinkling noise, and the only remaining source of light was from the frosted-glass fixture overhead.
Back around to the proper side of the desk, where the coatstand was waiting patiently by the door. There was a gray overcoat with many buckles and straps hanging there, bringing irresistibly to mind the image of a discarded straitjacket. There was also a matching umbrella, neatly furled. (Matching in color, at least...) She added her purse and then her own coat, long and brown, to the collection. She took off her woolen hat and hung it there as well. Its lining crinkled.
Goose pimples clustered on her arms and legs, and she gracefully slipped her narrow feet out of the black shiny boots. The two tall pieces of footwear were then arranged side by side beneath her coat. She pivoted again and padded to one of the many book and paper-stuffed wooden shelves which lined the walls. (Stuffed almost to overflowing, but fairly neatly organized.) As she walked, she pulled her dark red hair out of its tight knot and shook her head to let to let the tresses spill their curly way down her back Waiting for her on the shelf were two candles, thin and white and perfectly tapered, each slotted into its own elegant gold stand. She took one stand in each hand and carried them over to the desk, holding the candles carefully straight. They were very heavy. As always, there were two invisible circles etched in the flawless wooden desktop, into which the felt-lined bases of the holders neatly slotted. She could almost hear a click, as if a connection was being made. As if things powering up in the distance. Behind all of the walls. As if the desk’s surface was a large computer, traced with layers of wires and silicon, and the candlesticks were new memory chips...
Ice picks. The hole swirled its leisurely, arrogant way around the base of the candles, much of the desk eaten away now.
Back to the shelves. The red-tipped safety matches stood clustered in an open-topped ceramic container which came complete with a scratchy strike-strip down one side. She took a single match from the container, and scraped it down the strip. It flared to life, very loud and smelling strongly of sulfur.
Back to the desk, holding the tiny bit of dancing flame between two careful fingers. Light the candles, one and then the other. The flames burned even brighter than the match, and a new smell, a sickly sweet smell, a gooey smell, immediately filled the air. She placed the still-burning match into the waiting steel ashtray, which was otherwise spotless and sterilized. She stood quietly, hands at her sides again, watching without blinking, until the match was entirely consumed, leaving only a strip of black ash.
Click. Click. Click.
Back once again to the door, or rather the light switch mounted right beside it. And not a switch, actually, but a solidly-constructed knob mounted on a metal plate and rimmed with a thin sharp band of gold. She turned the knob and faded the overhead light down to near-extinction. The glow from the computer screen mixed with that of the candles and the result flickered across the ranks of books, illuminating the many gilt titles. The hole began to crawl along the more remote edges of the room, cutting apart the walls and the floor and the ceiling, setting them adrift from one another.
The shelves again. Next to the place where the candles had stood was a square object.
The cabinet. Actually, more a box fronted with a small door on hinges, filling all of the space between two shelves and made of strips of various kinds of wood, joined together tightly and expertly, without nails. There was a miniature lock on the door, but she took hold of the door’s small knob, and pulled it open without trouble. Black vapors came washing out in slow sluggish streams. Inside the velvet-coated blackness...
The metronome. A very nice one, made of perhaps the same dark wood as the hall’s front doors, polished and varnished and fitted with a pendulum made of some expensive silvery metal. It was all very cool and slick under her fingers as she picked it up with both hands, carried it over to the desk, keeping it straight. As had been the case with the candles, there were four little invisible dents gouged deep on the desktop, into which slotted the metronome’s stubby ivory legs. It was facing her, of course.
Click. Buzz. Whirrrrr.....
For a second Paula fantasized again, this time about snatching up the thing before her, raising it high over her head and smashing it down to the carpet, laughing and crying and jumping on it again and again and again, listening to the delightful sounds of violence and destruction. The breaking of mangled wood. The twanging of ruptured springs...
Instead, she turned the silver/platinum crank on the side of the metronome, winding the interior mechanism.
She released the shaft of the pendulum and its attached counterweight from the lip which kept them pinned down, and gave it all a push with a fingertip. It started swinging, back and forth.
Too fast. Her legs trembled a little, the sensations starting at her knees and rippling up towards her core. She made a minute adjustment to the weight, sliding it further up, to the next hair-thin line scored on the metal.
Back and forth.
Perfection. Her whole body trembled now, chilly and burning. Streams of ants crawled out across her scalp, in tight bands around.... The hole oozed forward, surrounding all sides of the metronome except the one facing her.
There was a chair on her side of the desk. It was almost as large and well padded as the one the hole had been sitting in, and it molded itself nicely to a user’s curves, and she could almost remember that during her earlier lessons, when she was still...
During her earlier lessons, she had sat in it, felt the leather soft and warm against her skin while bright sunlight shone in through the windows. Now she had progressed far beyond such things, and she carefully pushed the chair out of the way, facing off into a corner like a naughty child. A moment later and it was toppled over and gone down into the hole.
Back to the desk. She could not even hesitate now. She knelt down, the carpet somehow both soft and scratchy against her bare knees. Her fingers came up and hooked themselves over the edge of the desk, clicking deep into the waiting slots, and the hole trickled its slithering way under them. And not just under her fingers; it wrapped its countless arms around behind her, swallowing the shelves and the curtains, the books and the coatstand, the door and everything that might once have been behind the door. Her hands were floating weightless in mid-air, and she was staring right at the metronome as it ticked back and forth, endlessly back and forth back and forth. Her entire body was weightless and floating in space, numb except for the invisible webs of tattoos which burned and twirled around her navel, around her ankles and wrists.
Thin lines of ants crawling and biting.
The same endless song playing on a broken calliope, fast and tinny.
Numbers spinning past in huge Möbius strips.
Around her neck.
Curling up behind her ears
And spiraling down
into her brain.
She had fallen into the hole. She spoke, exactly as before, even as her mind stretched pieces of itself in a dozen different directions, following the deep black faultlines and tried to explode...
“This pupil is now ready for her lesson, Professor.”
Very last of all, the hole consumed the computer screen, fading it out in a slow dying spark and there was only
The light of the candles.
The smell of the candles.
and the silver flash
of the metronome.
And the voice.
There was only
There was only
Gerry slowly flipped through the stack of money, a bill at a time snapping past his close-clipped fingernail, and he raised a thoughtful eyebrow. Not a bad day’s haul. He absently siphoned off a few of the bills and slipped them into the battered black leather wallet which he had bound to his belt via a strong steel chain. The rest of the money he slotted into the small but sturdy metal cashbox, where it joined a waiting collection of similar piles, neatly stacked.
Not a bad week’s haul, actually. He turned off his trusty old boombox and the song was cut off in mid-chord. A mercy killing, really.
He closed the cashbox’s lid, causing its latch to click loudly shut. He picked up the box off the desk by its curled handle, and idly swung the whole thing to and fro, feeling the thick underside of his ring scrape against the handle’s metal. He’d send this weekends’ playmate... Janet, wasn’t it?... to the bank on Monday morning to drop it all off, before she went back to class. Back to her life, for now. He supposed he really should do it himself, but as was always the case he had a ton of papers to grade, and the Professor’s lesson plans to assemble for the coming week.
It was five o’clock and the door to the inner office opened, and the Professor trundled punctually into view, wearing his firmly-buckled coat and carrying his carefully-furled umbrella. He saw Gerry standing by the desk with the box and he paused and frowned. The movement of muscles came rumbling across his bearded face, around the deep sharp pools which were his eyes, like the clouds of slowly-building thunderstorm. He spoke, just a trace of suspicion lacing his words...
“Mr. Claxton. Did I hear someone come in?”
“No one since your three o’ clock appointment, Professor.” Gerry made a conscious effort to stop swinging the box.
“I see. Very well. You’ll take care of the usual necessities...” The Professor made an absent waving gesture with his free hand.
“Of course, Professor.”
“Well, then, until Monday.”
“Right, Professor. Monday.”
The Professor locked his door, carefully stashed away his key and departed. Gerry let go of the usual knot of tension and soon followed him, stuffing the cashbox into his well-traveled backpack and turning out the lights, thinking about Janet waiting back at his apartment, both patient and frantic, but he also was already thinking ahead to Monday...
Words and numbers and pauses, carefully intertwined.
So many lessons...
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