“What the fuck?” Tiffany exclaimed, looking around to stare wide eyed at the front door. “I just walked in here. Why am I sitting on the couch, and how can it possibly be midnight?”
“Dude. I remember you arriving but barely anything after that.” Josh said shakily, running a hand through his short hair.
“The last thing I remember is spinning that bottle and losing and going in the chair.” Erin remarked, squinting at the bottle in her hand. “It’s pretty obvious that I had my memories erased by the program, you guys should remember past that if anything.”
“I don’t, though.” Tiffany stressed. “Seriously, I walked into the flat with you and Alice just a couple of minutes ago, and now I’m here.”
“I remember Alice giving Erin suggestions in the chair.” Josh said. “She told her she would forget things like her name or how to clap and stuff like that when we told her to, and that she wouldn’t have any memory from when she went into trance until midnight.” He nodded his head. “So that makes sense. And since I lost the bottle spin right after that, it makes sense that the last thing I remember is going into the chair myself.”
“So the winner of the bottle game should remember everything?” Alice implored, her hands fidgeting in her lap. “So… um, who won?”
“Right!” Tiffany agreed loudly “I don’t know. Clearly not me.” Her mind was racing. It was clear now that she had sat in the chair and been rendered mindless by the swirling lights and repeating noise of the program. What sucked was that she had spent the day endlessly obsessing over what it must feel like. Now that she knew that she had experienced it, she didn’t even get to remember! She felt panic rise within her like a flash flood pouring into her mind. Who had told her to forget everything? What else did they say to her? Was she now completely obedient to as of yet unknown words, ready to drop to her knees and declare her submission?
And why why why was that idea so fucking hot? She should be completely terrified! As it stood, she was only part terrified, while the rest of her was a whirlwind of excitement and arousal. Urgh! No! She needed to stop fantasising about losing all control. The reality probably wouldn’t be anywhere as incredible as her imagination was hyping it up to be. Still, she couldn’t help but look around the room wondering which of her friends did this to her.
Josh? No, surely not. Josh liked you to know he was punking you. Amnesia just wouldn’t be his style. Besides, he was arguably the most mature of their little band. Tiffany just couldn’t imagine him wanting to be so selfish as to control others the way she was clearly willing to. He looked confused, sure, but he otherwise didn’t seem to care too much. He didn’t really know what games Erin and Tiffany were up to, so why should he be so worried?
So yeah, Erin. Oh fuck, most likely Erin. Despite the fact that Tiffany had just agreed to a truce with the devious tomboy, she trusted her about as far as she could throw her, and Tiffany was probably the least athletic in the room. But what didn’t add up was that Erin looked every bit as confused as Tiffany felt. If she had gotten Tiffany in the chair, Tiffany would probably be naked on her knees beside everyone else looking up at Erin the Mistress. Tiffany felt her cheeks flush red at the thought of it, remembering Alice in that naked submissive position only an hour ago back in her own flat. Except that wasn’t an hour ago, that was fucking seven hours ago! Tiffany shook her head, it was all pretty fucked up.
But if not Erin, then who?
Alice? Naaaah. Like, most likely not. Like, seriously unlikely. Alice didn’t have a vindictive bone in her body. She was all fun and friendliness unless she went on one of her substance spirals, but it had been years since the last of those. These days she kept it strictly weed and booze. However, as Tiffany glanced around everyone sitting in the lounge with her, Alice looked the most confused, and she seemed to be fidgeting with something in her jeans pocket that she wasn’t bringing out. Her phone laid beside her, so that wasn’t it. Whatever it was, it seemed to be connected to her unease as when she saw Tiffany scrutinising her, she flinched her hand away, yet her shoulders relaxed as she did so. Interesting, yes, but inconclusive.
“But where’s Trev?” Erin remarked, bringing Tiffany out of her thoughts. The tomboy got to her feet and looked around at everyone with a frown. “And why are you all just sitting there? We need to put someone in the chair and figure this out!”
Put someone in the chair? Tiffany’s heart leapt at this. That would allow them to recover all the lost memories, probably. She didn’t really know how the human mind worked when under the influence of the program. What if the amnesia was permanent? If that were true, they had to be extremely careful in the future. Erin had also raised a good question there. Where was Trev?
“Uh, no.” Josh said. “We’re not jumping back into the using the program. Not until we talk to Trev at least. I mean, he must have won. Or Lucy, come to think of it.”
“Lucy’s here?” Tiffany asked, her worries doubling. Crap, she really didn’t like Lucy. What if she had been the winner of the game? Fuck, was Tiffany under Lucy’s control now?!
“I, uh, remember.” Alice said, looking off to the side as all eyes fell on her. “Trev lost the game after Josh. We made him be like a super clean freak. He went off to clean the bathroom or something when I lost.”
“Right, so Tiffany and Lucy were the only ones left at that point.” Erin noted, glancing at Tiffany with distrustful eyes.
“Yeah.” Alice nodded briskly. She stroked her hair out of her face and added. “I don’t remember anything after I sat in the chair.”
“Tiff?” Josh asked, himself now viewing Tiffany with scrutiny as well.
“Look, don’t ask me.” Tiffany shot back earnestly. “Everyone is saying that they remember this bottle game and sitting in the chair and shit, but I literally have nothing from the moment I entered the flat. I remember seeing you and Trev, but next moment I’m sitting here covered in takeaway food. When did we even order this? Seriously, I don’t remember.”
“Well, then Lucy, right?” Erin said grimly. “She must have won. She must be able to fill in the gaps.”
Just then, Trev emerged from the guest bedroom, closely followed by Lucy. Both of them wore masks of complete confusion, and Lucy’s face held the telltale signs of running eyeliner that had been cleaned up haphazardly.
“Guys! What the fuck is going on?” Erin demanded as she squared up her shoulders. That’s right, Tiffany remembered… Erin hated Lucy more than anyone. Tiffany would have said the feeling was mutual, but she was fairly certain that, with the obvious exception of Trev, Lucy despised them all equally.
“I have no idea, I just lost the last few hours of my memory.” Trev remarked, scratching his head.
“I remember the last twenty minutes,” Lucy added, “but before that, the last thing I remember clearly is losing that bottle spinning game.”
“Aha!” Erin shouted, turning dramatically towards Tiffany. “It was you! Come on Tiff! Spill the beans!”
“What? No!” Tiffany retorted, getting to her feet to face off Erin. “Look, Erin, I told you, I have no idea what happened since I came here tonight. Even if I won the game, I must have ended up under the program myself at some point, and somebody wiped my memories… that’s all I’ve got.”
“Well, someone is going in the chair and telling us what the fuck happened.” Erin declared. “I don’t care if it has to be me, but I think it should be you, Tiff.”
Tiffany bit her tongue to stop herself from telling Erin to go fuck herself. Although… maybe going in the chair wouldn’t be a terrible idea; she could find out exactly what happened over the last few hours. If her memories were recoverable, that was…
On the other hand, everything was getting far too out of hand. Tiffany had no idea what had happened, who had done it, or what hidden suggestions might be lurking in the depths of her subconscious. It was getting too risky, too dangerous.
“Look, guys, this program is clearly a bad idea. We should just pull the plug on it while we can.” Tiffany could barely believe the words were coming out of her own mouth. After all, the algorithm they were designing was the key to her turning Alice into her wonderfully caring girlfriend and Erin into her obedient and lustful sex slave. How could she want to quash her chances of fulfilling such fantasies?
Because, a stern voice in her mind reminded her, she stood to lose everything. Her friends, her liberty, even her very mind.
“No.” Josh said calmly, also getting to his feet, allowing him to tower over everyone. “We’re not going to stop working on the algorithm just because we had a mishap, Tiff. Although I do think we should call it a night for now.”
“Really, Josh? Don’t you think it’s too dangerous? Don’t you think we’re too immature to be fucking around with a program that can literally wipe minds?”
“You know, I think you’re right. We are too immature, but we need to grow up and start taking this seriously. We need to actually finish the algorithm and find out what it can do.”
“What? Come on! You just agreed with me, and still you want to keep it? Urgh!” Tiffany wrangled her hands in exasperation.
“Let’s put it to a vote, Tiff.” Erin suggested. “All in favour for deleting the program and wasting this discovery because somebody was stupid with it?” She proposed with more than a hint of attitude.
Tiff thrust her arm into the air and then looked despondently around her friends. None of their hands were raised. Only Lucy, clutching anxiously onto Trev, raised her free hand slowly.
“You don’t get a vote.” Erin snapped at the petite brunette, “The algorithm is ours, not yours.”
“Erin!” Trev snarled back, clenching his fists and taking a half step towards the defiant tomboy.
“What!?” Erin complained. “I’m sorry, Trev, but it’s not! This is something the five of us agreed to work on together. And I’ll remind you that you screwed me over and left me as a chicken while the four of you decided everything!”
“Apologise to Lucy, now!” Trev demanded.
“Alright! I’m sorry, I was rude, I didn’t mean to be rude, but we’re all pretty freaked out here, right? I mean, no memories anywhere and very little clue to where the last six hours went apart from some takeaway boxes and fucking ABBA songs on your TV.” Erin gestured to the TV and turned to Alice, her eyes wild and her nostrils flared.
“Alice!” She barked at the blonde who had been timidly watching events unfold. “You’re never this quiet, what’s going on with you?”
True enough, Alice was the only one not standing, and looked like she wanted to melt away into the seat she sat on. Her normal bubbly energy was severely muted, and all eyes were on her as she nervously looked around the room.
“Look, guys...” Alice said with a harrowed sigh. “All my limbs are still attached and no one else seems to be hurt. I both want to delete the algorithm and keep working on it. Both, neither, I don’t know, and I don’t know why I don’t know. All I do know is I’m tired, I’m stressed, and I want to go home.”
“You can’t leave!” Erin protested. “We need to figure this out.”
“No,” Trev stated. “She can, and we’re going to go, too. C’mon sweetie, get your stuff.”
“M’kay.” Lucy said, frowning at Alice and glaring at Erin in turn. As she walked towards where she had left her handbag in the kitchen, Tiffany heard her mutter to Trev “It’s weird, I remember having a really good time and that we were all getting on much better than normal. Do you think I was just made to think that?”
Tiffany cringed at those words. The fact that implanting such a suggestion into Lucy was something she could easily imagine herself doing somehow didn’t sit well with her.
“What? You can’t all leave!” Erin complained, though she sounded deflated.
“Yes, they can, Erin. And you should, too” Josh remarked. “It’s ok, we’ll work on the Algorithm the day after tomorrow. Y’know, do some weekend work.”
“Why not tomorrow?” Erin pouted.
Josh almost chuckled. “You know why. I have practise for the big game next week, Trev and Tiff both work, Alice always does all her weekend assignments on Friday nights so she has the weekend free…”
“I thought you usually practised your skateboarding on Friday?” Tiffany remarked as Erin looked dejected.
“God, Tiff, you make it sound so lame. I hang out and smoke most of the time, I don’t spend much time on the board, I’m not that much a walking cliche!”
“You don’t need to tell me that!” Tiffany replied, picturing Erin’s latex red catsuit hiding just under her hoody and blushing as she remembered wanting to drop to her knees at the sight of it. “But I thought you were getting really good?”
“Whatever.” Erin scoffed before turning back to Josh. “So nobody’s going to be here tomorrow?”
“That’s right.” Josh nodded. “We all need a day off. We all have classes tomorrow and last night was stupidly late. I was a zombie most of today, I don’t know about you guys.”
By this point, Alice had risen to get ready to go. Trev and Lucy were ready to leave and waved half hearted goodbyes from the door.
Tiffany’s heart sank. They weren’t willing to destroy the program, but wouldn’t be working on it until Saturday now. This morning and afternoon had been bad enough, now she had to go through the whole of Friday wondering if her mind had been toyed with, and jumping at each message she received in case it was a command that ensnared her mind. She shuddered as she thought about it. However, something was off, and she hadn’t been paying as much attention to it.
As Erin continued to bicker with Josh, Tiffany saw Alice make for the exit. Of course!
“Alice, wait!” Tiffany rushed after the troubled looking blonde and grabbed her shoulder softly. Alice flinched away from Tiffany like she was a stranger in the street rather than a close friend.
“Tiff! Jesus!” Alice heaved a heavy breath, her hand over her chest. “Don’t scare me like that.”
“S- Sorry!” Tiffany stuttered as she withdrew several feet to give Alice space. “It’s just, Erin’s right, you’re never this quiet. What’s up? Do you want to talk about it?”
“Look, Tiff.” Alice said bluntly, “I really need some space. All the shit that happened tonight has really freaked me out and I can’t handle it right now.” She forced her gaze away from Tiffany, her cheeks burning red and her eyes full of nerves “This was all supposed to be a bit of fun, nothing serious, but it seems to be so much more than that to you, and to Erin.”
“I don’t understand.” Tiffany replied, shaking her head. “Just come sit down and we can ta—”
“No, Tiff, I need to go. It’s already far too late as it is.”
Alice turned to leave. Tiffany opened her mouth to stop her, but hesitated. Three words. Sleep Alice sleep. That’s all it would take, and the slim, sexy blonde would drop into a deep trance… Tiffany’s deep trance where she could give her any suggestion she could dream up.
’Talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong. Open up to me. Trust me. Listen to me. Let me guide you. Let me fix you. Let me control you. Let me protect you. Let me take all your worries away. Let me turn you into the best version of yourself. Let me make you stop chasing guys who are bad news and no good for you. Let me be the one who makes your heart sing and your mind melt. Love me, hold me, run your fingers through my hair. Let me kiss you, dissolve into your embrace, be yours forever. Listen to my voice as my words set you free…’
She said none of that. Instead she called after her feebly. “See you later…”
Dejected, she closed the door and turned back to the lounge. Erin and Josh were both watching her as she walked back into the room. They were the real reason she didn’t put Alice into trance right then and there. If only she were able to do the same to them both, she’d be able to find out everything that happened over the last few hours and also ensure that whatever happened next would be… would be… Good. Good for her, and good for everyone.
As it stood, she felt further from her goal of having everyone under her control than she had hours ago. Alice and Trev had fled, and Josh and Erin were the two people she hadn’t managed to leave triggers in at all.
“Was Alice okay?” Josh asked, concern furrowing his brow. “She seemed more out of it than anyone else.”
“She did, didn’t she?” Tiffany agreed, her mind still lurking outside Josh’s apartment building where Alice usually got her Uber home. What was she missing there. What was different with Alice compared to the rest of them?
“Yeah, you don’t seem too with it either, Tiff.” Erin remarked with a smirk, though quickly adding, “No offence.”
“What? Oh, okay, yeah.” Tiffany murmured, returning somewhat to the here and now.
“Anyway… We’ve agreed that someone should go back in the chair and be put under to find out what happened tonight.” Josh sighed.
Clearly Erin has worn him down, Tiffany thought. “Right. Okay. I doubt I could change your mind at this point, but I’m not doing it.” She stated firmly, staring down Erin as she did so. Erin’s sly half smile didn’t budge as Tiffany did her best to make herself look serious.
“Relax, Tiff, I figured as much. I’m going to go under. I literally can’t leave here not knowing what the fuck we did all night, y’know?”
“Oh. Okay.” Tiff said, relaxing somewhat. She honestly thought she was going to be pressured by Josh and Erin into having her mind blanked again. It would have been difficult to say no to that, as right now her mind was racing with so many frantic thoughts that the chance to pour it all down into oblivion was an alluring idea.
“Josh…” Erin said in a sickly sweet voice. “Would you be a sweetheart and set up the program to trance me?” She finished by batting her eyelids in an over the top manner, making Tiffany shudder.
“Urgh! Only if you never do that again!” Josh cringed, retreating to his bedroom.
Erin turned back to Tiffany and grinned a cheeky, toothy grin. “See, Tiff!” She chuckled. “We don’t really need fancy mind control software to control people!”
“Yeah, but the software is less terrifying…” Tiffany muttered, eyeing Erin suspiciously.
“Don’t sweat it, Tiff.” Erin looked at Tiffany’s expression with amusement. “Look, the reason I sent Josh ahead was so I can quickly talk to you alone and save you from potentially embarrassing yourself.”
When Tiffany only offered Erin a confused expression, Erin continued. “I know you’ll be tempted to implant some suggestions into me while I’m in the chair, but Josh is programmed to undo anything you do. And also, if you give me a command when I’m under to put Josh into a trance or somesuch, it won’t work, whether I’m awake or still in the chair.”
“I wasn’t planning on doing anything of the sort, Erin.” Tiffany frowned, crossing her arms. “I seem to remember calling a truce with you not too long ago, and I take my deals very seriously.”
“Oh, me too, Tiff, me too” Erin grinned as she eyed Tiffany up like a piece of meat. “Well, now that my friendly reminder is out of the way, shall we?”
Tiffany couldn’t help feeling like a fly about to land on Erin’s web as she walked into Josh’s bedroom with Erin coming up behind.
Josh had already turned his massive PC screen on, and it’s swirling patterns and flashing lights made colours dance across the walls. Tiffany’s heart leapt in fear as she suddenly realised that Josh could have set the frequency for her instead of Erin! It could be a trap that Tiffany walked stupidly into. She quickly closed her eyes and tried to figure out if the few moments of swirling lights had started to dull her thoughts.
“Oh, wow…” Erin said sleepily from behind her. “Shoulda waited ’til I was… in the…”
“Tiff, help Erin into the chair, would ya?” Josh asked as he continued to scrutinise the settings.
Tiffany opened her eyes again and turned to see Erin looking dazed and confused. It was pretty clear that Josh was indeed setting up the program with the settings for Erin. It made sense too; even though Tiff had been tranced by the program at some point that evening, since everyone seemed to lose their memories, no one would know what Tiffany’s frequencies actually were. She’d have to willingly stare at the screen until the right settings were found for her… As much as she wanted to do just that and get all her memories back, it just wasn’t safe to do while it was only Erin and Josh with her.
She grabbed Erin’s arm and gently guided the drowsy tomboy to the plush and comfy office chair that sat in front of the screen. Erin shuffled like a zombie, barely blinking and not taking her eyes off the pulsing lights that were filling her thoughts.
“Great, now put the headphones on her.” Josh instructed as Erin sank into the seat.
Tiffany complied and watched in fascination as Erin’s already relaxed body slumped even farther into the chair. Her pupils dilated into wide pools of darkness that let the tapestry of overlapping visual signals pour endlessly into her brain.
“Nice and deep now, Erin?” Josh asked after a few moments of Erin’s deep breathing passed in silence.
“Mnn, yes” came Erin’s whispered, calm reply.
“Good. Now, when you wake up from this trance, every last memory that is hiding in your mind will be revealed to you. You will remember everything that you were made to forget. Do you understand?”
Tiffany felt herself tense. What would Erin remember when she woke up? Unless she wasn’t nearby at the time, she would surely know how Tiffany ended up in trance, as well as any triggers lurking in her subconscious. Was it even safe for her to be here when Erin awoke?
Her mind raced. Think… Think! Tiffany eyed up Josh as he glanced at the sleepy Erin. If only she could put him in trance, she could guide Erin to a place where she thought she remembered everything, but really remembered whatever story Tiffany crafted for her.
It was a slim chance, but perhaps Tiffany had everyone in trance at some point during her lost time that evening. If that was the case, surely she implanted a trigger into them all. She just had to say it subtly enough so that Josh didn’t notice what she was doing.
“You tired, Josh?” She quickly asked, before Josh could wake Erin up.
“Yeah, man, you guys are a terrible influence on my sleep pattern…”
“Me too…” Tiffany stretched out her arms, and to her surprise, the yawn that came from her was quite real. “Urgh, I need to sleep Josh, sleep…”
Tiffany held her breath in excited anticipation as she stared at Josh expectantly. At the same time, she tried to hide that she was doing just that and wondered if her eyes looked as manic as they felt.
Josh just shrugged and said “You can sleep in the spare room tonight if you don’t want to go home. Although Trev and Lucy came out of there, so who knows if you really want to go in…”
Tiffany exhaled deeply, fighting away the disappointment as she forced her mouth into a smile. “Oh, hell, good point…”
“Heh, yeah.” Josh grinned. “Those crazy kids. Don’t worry, I’ll get the sheets cleaned tomorrow if I remember.” He then turned back to Erin. “Speaking of remembering, I think it’s time we woke this one up…”
Tiffany felt sudden panic grip it’s talons around her. A vivid image of Erin standing up out of the chair and towering over a cowering Tiffany flooded her mind. Erin snapped her fingers with a wide, evil grin and Tiffany’s legs buckled beneath her. Kneeling now and looking up at her Mistress with helpless infatuation, Tiffany started clawing at her clothes, ripping and tearing everything off her body until she could present her naked form to the woman who now owned her.
Erin then started pinching the air near Tiffany’s head, and Tiffany felt with each pinch a memory being pulled out of her like a loose thread being drawn from a blanket. She suddenly forgot her name, her childhood, her ability to speak. Erin relentlessly continued pulling at the air around her until Tiffany felt her entire mind unravel. Her head slumped as she became an empty shell, a mindless doll ready to be filled with obedience and purpose. A fuck toy fuelled by arousal and endless pleasure.
Tiffany wrang her hands through her hair and gritted her teeth. She was at war with herself. Mistress or slave? Take it all or surrender everything? She knew that if she were to take over, she could play the sub whenever she pleased but would never be able to fully embrace it. It would always be on her terms, with her rules in place. But if she lost control, she might never regain it, and could easily be made to never want to. Fuck, that sounded like a dream come true… But then so did having everyone kneel at her feet in total worship and devotion. Did she have to decide? Could she have both? Could she abandon this fantasy and settle for neither? She didn’t know. She simply didn’t know.
But that was big-picture stuff… Tiffany has to decide what to do right now before-
“Wake up, Erin, and enjoy the memories!” Josh said as he switched the screen off and removed the headphones from Erin. The brunette let out a massive yawn and started to stir. Tiffany cursed herself for letting her frantic mind distract her so much, but still couldn’t decide what to do. It wouldn’t look particularly good if she just ran away before Erin regained her faculties. But if she didn’t, and Erin had recovered a memory about controlling her, she surely had mere moments before the stirring Tomboy uttered the words she needed to.
Completely frozen in indecision, Tiffany felt helpless as she watched Erin blink several times, rub her eyes, then look around her in alertness. She saw Josh, and smiled softly, then her eyes locked on Tiffany.
Tiffany tensed, and tried her best to stifle her excited fear. Was this the moment her free will would be stripped away forever? She couldn’t bare the tension. But Erin’s eyes were as wide as hers. She had tensed just as much. Was that fear? Anger? Exhilaration? It was so hard to tell because Erin was also putting effort into hiding what she was feeling. She quickly looked away and pushed herself out of the chair.
“Wow, that is a headrush!” She exclaimed, half laughing as she swayed on the spot. “All the memories… They’re all there, but all of them are demanding my attention, like, right now!” those last words were said with growing frustration.
Tiffany watched in cautious fascination as Erin sprang towards the kitchen, steadying herself on the doorframe as she passed.
“It’s like trying to watch all of the scenes of a movie at once and then trying to make sense of it!” she called through. “Josh! I’m gonna down a million of your aspirins, cool?”
“Erin, don’t!” Josh called back and hurried after Erin, cursing under his breath.
Tiffany was left standing next to the empty chair, looking at the inactive screen and discarded headphones. A strange ambivalence washed over her and she exhaled a deep sigh. She was both relieved and disappointed that Erin didn’t instantly exert any form of control over her. Her simply jolting up and out of the chair was pretty anticlimactic. Of course, Tiffany realised that if Erin reacted the way she did to avoid her specifically, then she had to find out more. She wandered through to the lounge and kitchen, shaking her head as fatigue tried to creep in.
To her surprise, Erin already had her coat on and was heading for the door. She couldn’t just leave! Not like that! Alice already did that to Tiffany, and she’d be damned if she let Erin pull that crap as well.
“Erin! Wait! What do you remember?! What happened tonight!?”
“Yeah, dude!” Josh echoed. “I mean, that was the whole point of putting you under, so you could, like, enlighten us n’ shit.”
“Look, guys,” Erin said airily as she pulled out her phone and used it to avoid eye contact. “It was fine! Better than fine, it was fun! Josh, you went around touching things and saying it tasted like vintage grapes or whatever, until you stuck your dick in a glass of milk and weirded everyone out. Tiff, you turned me into a chicken, again... Alice was like some drunk and stoned chick unless she touched her nose with both hands, so she spent the night looking like that fucked up monster from Pan’s Labyrinth… Oh, and Trev pretty much cleaned your entire place, then took Lucy to the guest bedroom to do the nasty. I think, anyway....”
“I did what now?” Josh asked, looking perturbed.
“Seriously, Erin, that doesn’t explain why we all forgot everything. One of us should have remembered.”
“Fucked if I know, Tiff!” Erin sighed in exasperation and she rammed her feet into trainers that looked liked they’d only ever been tied once. “I was watching Mama fuckin’ Mia at some point, at other times I was a chicken or had been made to forget I’d ever drank beer… It’s a jumbled mess up here, I need time to process it all, and this splitting headache isn’t fucking helping! Look, when I can figure this all out, if I remember something actually relevant to you, I’ll let you know. But I need to sleep, and fuck! Uber’s almost here. Fuckin’ fast in this neighbourhood…”
Tiffany and Josh both tried to ask Erin more questions, but she swung open the door and called back “Later, nerds” before slamming it closed.
“Dammit!” Tiffany snarled. She needed answers, and she wasn’t going to let Erin just get away with it. She ran to the front door.
“Tiff, what’re you doing?” Josh asked as Tiffany tore apart the shoe rack.
“I’m going after her!” Tiffany declared in a fiery voice. “I can’t believe she just got all those memories back and then bailed on us! Where the fuck are my shoes?!”
“What? Not there? You always leave them there…” Josh came over and looked as well, but Tiff’s shoes were nowhere to be found.
“Did Erin steal them?” Tiffany asked in disbelief.
“What? Nah, we would’ve seen that…” Josh shrugged. He then scratched his chin and said. “She might have hid them… She was rummaging around the kitchen when I came through, and not in the medicine cupboard.”
“Urgh! That…” Tiffany quickly bit her tongue and rushed to search the kitchen cupboards. “C’mon man, help me out here…” she appealed to Josh.
“Forget it, Tiff, she’ll be gone by the time you get out there.” Josh protested, but helped her search anyway.
By the time they found both shoes, Tiffany realised that Josh was right. There was no way she would be able to catch up with Erin. As Josh muttered indignantly about the plimsoll that was in his thermos flask, Tiffany considered what to do next. With Erin gone, she could perhaps ask Josh to do the same for her. She could let the program take her deep into trance and have Josh restore her lost memory. Now that Erin wasn’t here, she wasn’t so worried about waking up naked and on all fours while Erin smiled down at her new property…
But Erin had implanted triggers and suggestions in Josh, and Josh didn’t seem to be aware about it. Would he have some hidden programming in him that Erin may have placed there? It was risky… Unless she could convince Josh to go under for the program first…
“So, Josh, I need to head home really soon myself, but I was thinking…”
“No.” Josh replied. “I don’t want to sit in the chair and go through another brain scramble tonight. I’m tired, Tiff, and I have a shit-ton on tomorrow.” There was no room for negotiation in his tone.
“Right, right, no, of course.” Tiffany shook her head. “I just really hoped that between us we could remember something from tonight, and Erin’s been next to no help there.”
“I mean, if you wanted to sit in the chair and get your memories back the way Erin did, I’d be okay with that, I just have zero interest in going through it myself right now.”
“Okay.” Tiffany nodded briskly, all the while her mind racing. Go back into trance or go home? Such a simple but complicated choice. Risk having Erin plant controlling triggers via a proxy, or leave with a gaping hole in her memory?
“Hell, if you do go in the chair, maybe it’ll make you scamper home like Erin just now…” Josh remarked, before frowning slightly. “And Alice.” he added.
“Shit!” Tiffany exclaimed. That was it! It all fell into place in her mind just then. Alice had been so quiet and had left so suddenly… She had lied about not remembering things
Alice knew what had happened that evening.
Alice remembered everything.