Every morning, over the breakfast that Tansy prepared and served them, the Master and Doctor Newman talked. As they did this, Tansy stood and awaited further orders, and any words they spoke which were not directly aimed at her slipped straight through her mind, leaving nothing behind.
But no. She gradually realized that this wasn’t true. The words did left something behind. Vague shapes. Faint shadows. Meaningless at first, but oh-so-gradually accumulating in overlapping drifts until there were patterns laid out there, like spiderwebs. Tansy had no time during the day, her Duties kept her far too busy, but every night at 10:23 PM... she returned to her room, changed into her night uniform, and slipped into her cozy little bed. There was a handful of moments, laying there under the blanket, arms and legs aligned, staring at the ceiling... she was allowed to think before her eyelids pulled themselves shut, sealed themselves tight and she sank into a black dreamless sleep.
It had taken many... it had taken a very long time, but finally she understood the patterns.
Every morning, when the Master and Doctor Newman talked, they were planning how to enslave women to the Master’s will, using the deep hypnosis techniques the Master had developed and refined with Doctor Newman’s assistance. Planning how to turn women and more women into the Master’s flesh-puppets, dancing blissfully at the end of his string, an unbreakable string pulled very very tight. Women hypnotized so thoroughly that the thought that they were hypnotized could never begin occur to them. A thought made literally unthinkable, no matter what evidence was presented to the mind in question.
She traced angles of this web of thought until they were worn smooth, twirling it again and again in her mind so as to see it from every angle. It was fascinating, but at the same time repellent, like a scab you can’t stop picking. Like a poisonious crystal, dangling at the end of a string. It was not repellent that the Master could and would turn women into hypnotized slaves; by definition, whatever Master did was good and pure and true.
It was the ghastly idea that some women would actually have to be hypnotized, often more than once, before they saw the truth about the Master.
How could anyone be so utterly blind?
After all, she had seen the truth about the Master from the first moment she had met him. She remembered this with vivid clarity, a series of framed portraits six miles high in flaming color-beyond-color.. even if she couldn’t quite remember where they first met, or under what circumstances. (There had been a long table, and some chairs..)
The thought chewed at her, and finally she could stand it no longer.
The Master was working in his study, and Tansy screwed up her nerve, approached and scratched at the door. He granted her permission to enter, and she crawled to him across the thick endless carpet, and knelt at his feet, and spilled out her confusion in a long blurt of words.
He studied her a endless moment and she trembled naked in the void between words; she had done something wrong. Then he nodded, and absently scribbled something on a legal pad before he spoke.
“Interesting. This completes test 42-A.” He took Tansy’s chin in one hand and lifted it, and she was falling directly into his bottomless black eyes. “Tansy. Reset.”
“Resetting 42-A.” The words came out of her mouth, but she had no idea why.
Or why she was kneeling in the Master’s study.
Every morning, over the breakfast that Tansy served them, the Master and Doctor Newman talked to each other. Standing at attention, awaiting further orders, Tansy was not aware of this fact; any words they spoke which were not directly aimed at her slipped straight through her mind, leaving absolutely nothing behind but a shiny blank whiteness.
And every night, as she crawled into her bed at 10:21 PM, she was asleep before her head touched her pillow. Asleep and dreaming of the Master, and only the Master...
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