The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive


Part 33

“So lemme get this straight…” Tiffany squinted from behind her coffee mug. “You’re saying that the morning after that first night we messed around with the Algorithm, I left for class but you stayed behind and convinced Josh to sit in the chair, and from that point on he was doing things in the background for you this whole time?”

Erin was in the middle of taking a large bite out of one of the sandwiches she had made for them both and nodded with a shrug. Tiffany had put her clothes back on at this point, and found herself perching somewhat uncertainly on Erin’s sagging single bed. The two of them had hugged for what felt like a week before biology intervened, and Tiffany realised she desperately needed to use the bathroom. Then she noticed just how hungry she was, having not eaten anything since before enslaving all her friends the day before. Fighting through the exhaustion and the unmanageable tangle of emotions that was evident in both of them, they elected to eat something while they tried to figure things out.

With Erin still chewing away, Tiffany continued, “And the main thing you had him do was order the parts for and assemble a computer identical to his own, but here in your apartment?”

“Prrty Mch,” Erin affirmed through a mouthful of bread, lettuce, and cheese.

“But he had no memory of it? And neither did you?”

Erin gulped down her food and then grinned. “Yup.”

“And he installed a copy of the Algorithm software from his computer as well?”

“Well, yeah that was the whole point, wasn’t it?”

“But with no one here to operate it, how did… I mean, how—“

“Oh that’s the real stroke of genius,” Erin boasted. “My idea, but Josh had to figure out the execution of it all.” She started listing off items on her fingers, a gloating smile spreading across her face. “Motion sensors, simultaneous activation of the visual and audio outputs, timed text on the screen that literally guided me through my own deprogramming. He even left me patch notes and a user guide for how to make my own automated scripts so I could program anything I wanted into myself after without having to rely on anyone else. There were so many features I asked him to code as well, I’ve kept him quite the busy bee. Honestly, between his classes, his practise, and sleeping, I dunno where he found the fucking time for it all.”

Tiffany blinked several times, putting her mug down. “That’s… That’s, wow. I mean, the amount of forward thinking… How, why?”

“Well, Tiff.” Erin raised her eyebrow coyly. “This was just after you tricked me into triggering Alice’s stripper persona and turned me into a chicken while Trev was checked out staring at the screen. It was a pretty ballsy move and it,” she paused to gleefully stretch out her hands like an accordion, savouring her next word, “nearly worked out well for you.”

Tiffany rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I made an ass of myself, and you noticed. So?”

“So…” Erin continued. “I knew I had to watch out for you after that. I realised that like me, you saw the true potential of the Algorithm, and since you tried once to get us all under your thumb, you’d doubtlessly try again. I put this in place just in case you succeeded. According to the update log, Josh installed it yesterday. Not gonna lie, that was pretty lucky timing for you…”

“I guess so.” Tiffany sighed. “But it wasn’t just setting this up that you had Josh do for you, right? You also had him install, like, safeties and stuff into you?” She scratched her head, her voice betraying her confusion.

Erin groaned and shook her head. “Yeah, for all the good they did. It would have led to me being in control of everyone had I not submitted to you the other night at your place.” Erin looked off to the side. “In hindsight, maybe that wasn’t the best decision I ever made.”

Tiffany felt her already faint heart jolt in anxiety at hearing this. “What? You mean…”

Erin rolled her eyes. “I’m not saying I didn’t like it, Tiff, just that it clearly led us down a very shitty path. I should have been more careful…”

“It’s not your fault, if that’s what you mean,” Tiffany replied earnestly.

“Oh, don’t worry, Tiff. I’m not blaming myself for all of this, I’m blaming Lucy. And you.”

Tiffany felt her chest tighten. She couldn’t help but blame herself as well, but hearing Erin say it cut deep. Since Erin had calmed her down, memories that had been hidden from her were available once more. She remembered everything from the last few days, from the trance that Dillon’s voicemail had caused, to all the times Alice had dropped her under and twisted her mind like spaghetti.

Thinking back over all the crap that had gone down made her simultaneously horrified and guiltily aroused. She did her best to push it all down though. She couldn’t afford to get distracted. Not now.

But it wasn’t like she was entirely in control of the situation. Could Erin really be blaming her for it all?

Tiffany ran her hands through her hair and looked off to the side. She did her best to temper her anger, but with so much emotion running through her, she could hear the irritation in her own voice. “Look, that voicemail from Dillon took us all off guard, and Lucy ambushed us with it. We were helpless!”

Erin’s expression morphed into an unimpressed glare. “Seriously, Tiff?”

“Ye- yeah!” Tiffany stammered in reply. “I mean, what was I supposed to do? Lucy put all these ideas into my head. Into our heads!” She gestured frantically to them both. “You just weren’t affected the same way I was!”

“No, Tiff,” Erin seethed, leaning forward aggressively. “Despite suddenly becoming obsessed with sucking Trev’s dick, I didn’t have the need to fuck over my friend, turn her into a monster, and have her corrupt me into fucking over every other friend I had, and—“

Erin cut herself off. Tiffany could see the pain in her eyes hidden beneath the anger of her expression. After a couple of seconds of silent eye contact, Erin shook her head and started pacing the small room in frustration. She lit up a cigarette and took a long draw.

“And what?” Tiffany asked, staring expectantly at Erin. “What were you about to say?”

Erin blew out the smoke slowly, then shook her head. “Forget it, Tiff. It doesn’t matter as much as fixing everything you broke.”

Tiffany could feel her cheeks blushing red, but she tried to push down the urge to insist Erin spill what she was holding back. She felt her frustration grow, but saw how guarded Erin was and knew she wouldn’t be able to break through that. Not right now. Instead, she focused on Erin’s last point, reluctantly agreeing that it was the more important matter. “Fixing it? How on earth are we supposed to fix it?”

“Oh c’mon, Tiff.” Erin roller her eyes as if everything in the world was obvious. “With this secret setup here, we’ve whisked two of Alice’s slaves away from right under her nose, and she’s none the wiser. I got to you before Alice or Trev or Josh could fuck with your noggin any further, so we’re able to strike back at them with your mind relatively intact. Between you, me, and the element of surprise, we can pull this off!”

“Pull what off?” Tiffany gulped. “Deprogramming Trev and Josh?”

“No.” Erin shook her head briskly, stubbing out her cigarette in an ashtray on her cluttered table. “They’re just pawns like we were. We need to take down Alice directly, and save her from herself. Then we’ll have saved Trev and Josh by proxy.”

Tiffany felt the colour drain from her cheeks. She knew Erin was going to say this, because it made sense. If they could take her off guard, they could turn everything around. But that didn’t make her feel any better about it. Instead, images flashed before her of Alice smiling sadistically as Tiffany lay face down on her bed, struggling against her bonds and panicking over what was to come. Then she was on her knees, gazing up at Alice with limitless adoration. Then she was making her way over to Josh’s apartment, gleeful in the knowledge that she was about to betray all of her friends for her glorious mistress.

She didn’t notice that she was hyperventilating until Erin placed a hand on her shoulder and shook her gently. “Tiff, c’mon. I need you to pull yourself together here. You’ll need your wits about you when you go to take on Alice.”

Tiffany’s vision started to get blurry and the room seemed to be spinning. She put her hands to the back of her head and her head between her legs and tried her best to fill her panicked lungs with the stale smoke-scented air. Erin rolled her eyes and slumped back into the desk chair, lighting up another cigarette and looking at something on the large computer screen that now displayed the Algorithm interface and several text files. Occasionally she glanced at Tiffany, irritation splashing across her face.

“I can’t,” Tiffany eventually said, still breathing heavily but at a slightly slower pace. She couldn’t even look up to face Erin, instead staring at the stain on the floor between her feet. “Erin… l can’t face her…”

Erin stared at the ceiling, blowing out a long plume of vertical smoke. “You can’t face her, fine,” she said absentmindedly. “You can’t…” She let the words linger in the air before scoffing. “You wanna know what I can’t do? I can’t believe that you made me forget that I smoke. Seriously, in the last few days I haven’t had a single one. I didn’t even think about it.” She faced Tiffany, eyes wide with amazement. “I’ve been walking around with half a pack, and each time I notice it I’ve wondered why I had them, then immediately after I’d forget that I do.”

Tiffany’s breathing was calmer still, but she still wasn’t able to lift her head. “I thought it’d be good for you,” she muttered. “I thought it’d be better if I did it without anyone noticing.”

“Right! But on the bus the morning after we hooked up?” Erin scowled, though somewhat half-heartedly.

“It made sense at the time.” Tiffany explained to the floor. “You’d just become my slave at that point. I felt entitled.”

“Ha! Fair.” Erin rolled her eyes again before stubbing out the tab. “You do of course realise that I’m tempted to give you a nicotine addiction as payback.”

At this, Tiffany finally looked up and was met by Erin’s classic grin. Clearly she was joking about her intentions, but that still left the more important question open. “So you have programmed me?”

“I could have.” Erin shrugged, leaning forward in her chair. “But maybe I didn’t. Does it really matter? Either way, we can basically look at it like this: you were completely brainwashed and I saved you from that, so now you’re pretty much my bitch.”

Tiffany chuckled, feeling the anxiety ease away as easily as it had latched onto her.

“Don’t know why you’re laughing, Tiff. I’m serious,” Erin said with a determined smirk.

Tiffany sat up and faced Erin, their eyes level. She drew a deep, slow breath in, her panic having mostly subsided. Erin’s expression was one of stubborn insistence. Tiffany could tell that she meant the words, but it was still a smokescreen for something. Something Erin wasn’t willing or wasn’t able to say. Tiffany still felt weird having what at least felt like an un-tampered mind, so she simply met Erin’s gaze for a lingering moment.

Erin smirked again. “C’mon, Tiff. Say it. Say you’re my bitch.”

Tiffany bristled. “Have you put programming in me?”

“Maybe. Maybe I have and I don’t want you to know it. Maybe I only want you to think I’ve put a bunch of programming in your head. Maybe I have but it’ll all lie dormant unless you do something that will subconsciously activate it all. Maybe there are fucked up commands in there that’ll activate if you don’t do something by a certain time.” Erin then jabbed her finger into Tiffany’s chest to punctuate her every sentence. “You don’t know. You don’t get to know. So for all intensive purposes, whether or not any programming is actually in there… You. Are. My. Bitch.”

Tiffany felt her chest tighten again. What was Erin’s play here? She had been rescued from Alice, yes, but was this one of those out of the fire and into the frying pan situations? Erin’s emotions were all over the place. Shit eating grin one minute, barely contained fury the next. Tiffany realised that since she herself was swinging between calm relief and breathless panic, Erin’s behaviour was perhaps to be expected, even if she didn’t understand it yet.

Fuck it, even though Alice’s programming had been scrubbed out of her brain, she was not in control here. If Erin really wanted her to be a drooling mindless obedient slave, she would be that. What she was doing here was exerting dominance, and Tiffany was in no position to push back on it right now. She was still pulling herself together, and it felt like although Alice’s words had been scrubbed away, an echo of them still remained, like the ghost of past writing on a chalkboard. Her mind may be her own again from one perspective, but from another, it never could be, not after everything she had been made to do.

Tiffany exhaled slowly, and looked gently into Erin’s eyes. “I’m your bitch.”

Erin stared at her for a good long moment, and Tiffany got a clear glimpse of the emotions flowing across her face. Erin was like anyone else who tried to mask their expressions, and Tiffany was an avid reader of them. There was nothing obvious, she didn’t make any deliberate move. But tensing of the muscles here, a slight movement in the head, and most of all, the subtle changes in her eyes as they cycled between relief and disappointment, then blinked to escape Tiffany’s inquisitive stare.

Erin turned to the screen again, wiggled the mouse idly, then turned back to Tiffany. Her eyes glossy, but a smile back on her face, she spoke in a muted tone. “Good. Glad we’re clear on that.”

“So…” Tiffany leaned back now and shrugged in acceptance. “What’s your plan?”

Erin eyed Tiffany suspiciously. “Really, Tiff?” she asked. “That easy?”

Tiffany shrugged once more, with even more indifference. “Yeah. You make a perfectly logical point. You could have programmed anything into me after you took Alice’s commands away. You’ve earned it. If that’s who you need me to be right now, then yeah, I’m your bitch.”

“Well. Okay then,” Erin said, frowning. “So yeah, I have a plan. You’re not going to like it.”

Tiffany’s mind began to contemplate all of the reasons why Erin was acting strangely at her casual acceptance of the terms put upon her. Was there really some programming in her mind that was supposed to have kicked in but didn’t? Or did she simply expect her to have responded differently to the demand? Tiffany wasn’t sure, but she felt an ounce of confidence stirring in the depths of the guilt-ridden, shame-filled ocean that were her memories and feelings regarding the previous few days.

If she was keeping Erin guessing even now, that could only be a good thing, right?

“Of course I’m not going to like it.” Tiffany rolled her eyes. “Just… tell me what it is.”

With this, Erin reached down and pulled out a USB stick from the meaty looking PC tucked under her desk. “You’re going to take this to Josh’s apartment and install it on the Algorithm program there.” She handed the pen drive over to Tiffany with a triumphant grin.

Tiffany looked at the USB stick in her hand, before looking skeptically back up to Erin. “O… kay? Is that it? What’s on there?”

“The same program that rudely ambushed me when I came home last night and completely deprogrammed me. Except it’s set up with Alice’s frequencies.”

Tiffany blinked purposefully. “How do you know Alice’s frequencies?”

“I remember them.” Erin winked. “I mean, I might have had some Algorithmic help remembering them, but I remember them all the same.”

“So what, I just walk into Josh’s apartment and stick this in his USB drive and it sets a trap for Alice?”

Erin shook her head and sighed with amusement. “No. You need to install it in the right place. But don’t worry, I’ll be on the phone to you. I’ll totally talk you through it.”

At this, Tiffany did a double take. “Wait, you mean I’m going alone?!”

“Uhh, yeah!” Erin sighed in exasperation. “I thought I had made that pretty clear with the whole ’You’re going over there’ spiel.” She scratched her head, looking part amused, part concerned. “Maybe your mind is just a little too far gone for this...”

Tiffany could feel a growing frustration. Erin was deliberately withholding information from her and then calling her a moron. She ran her hands over her face and fixed Erin with a glare.

“Look, Erin, I don’t like your plan. I think we need to face Alice together, or not at all. Splitting us up at this point is just… I mean...” Tiffany ran angry hands through her hair. “It’s just stupid!”

Erin looked down and shook her head, a bitter smile on her face. When she looked up, Tiffany almost flinched at the fury she saw in Erin’s eyes. Her voice was slow and deliberate, and shook Tiffany to her bones. “I think what’s truly stupid, Tiff, is being in control of someone who had put all their trust in you, and then when you needed help, instead of going to them, turning another mutual friend into an absolute fucking monster. A monster that wants to enslave us, degrade us, and destroy every last shred of our free will.”

Tiffany said nothing. She swallowed a growing lump in her throat and tried to will her eyes to stop getting so damn teary. No such luck. She wiped some tears from her cheeks and shook her head in remorse. “What do you want from me, Erin?!” Her voice began to break down. “I’m sorry, okay?! I’m sorry. I’m sorry I fucked up so badly! I thought I was doing the right thing, I didn’t expect any of this to happen!”

“What did you expect to happen, then?!” Erin snarled. “When you gave her all the power and did fuck all to protect yourself!?”

“I tried to protect myself!” Tiffany shot back, unable to maintain her composure any more as she sobbed and wailed. “It was only supposed to last the day! I was supposed to get it out of my system and then take back control. I didn’t…! She just…! She outsmarted me, okay!?”

“You outsmarted yourself, Tiff! You made it all too easy for her to take control for real, and now our friend is a freaky alternate personality, and she’s going to stay that way unless you do something about it!”

“But why just me?” Tiffany sobbed, “Why can’t you help me?”

Erin threw her arms up dramatically. “What the fuck do you think dragging you out of bed first thing in the morning and bringing your sorry ass here to deprogram you was if it wasn’t fucking helping you!?”

Tiffany shook her head and continued to sob. “I know that was… I’m sorry… I just mean…” She couldn’t form any more words.

Heaving an exasperated sigh, Erin proceeded to light up another cigarette and wait out Tiffany’s tears. Tiffany sobbed into her hands as she buried them with her face into her knees. A terrible urge to sit back in front of the Algorithm was seeping through her distress. It felt so good to just watch the patterns, let the thrumming noise vibrate through her, and just vanish into the blissful mindlessness that awaited. Compared to this, to having the memories of her mistakes forced to the front of her mind again and again, mindless oblivion would be nirvana.

But Erin hardly seemed to be in such a charitable move.

She murmured into her hands, so much so she wasn’t even sure if Erin would hear her. “Why even go through all the effort to save me if you’re going to throw me back into the wolves den?”

Erin scoffed before taking another draw. “All part of the plan, Tiff. You were the easy part mind, no offense. Since you were programmed to obey any of us, it was just a matter of getting to your first.” She leaned forward again, and put her cigarette-free hand gently onto Tiffany’s head, and proceeded to speak in a kinder tone. “You know, I got no fucking sleep last night because I wanted to make sure I got to you before Josh did, he wakes up so fucking early every day...”

“God, yeah…” Tiffany sighed, emerging from behind her hands and wiping more tears away. “He really does. And he texted me while we were in the car too, didn’t he?”

“Fucking right!” Erin widened her eyes and gestured wildly with her free hand like she had proved her point. “So you would have been deep into a brainwash fucking torture session had I not got to you when I did. I texted him back while you were in the chair just now by the way. I blew him off, told him I was putting you through the paces and that he could have the drooling mess that was left over when I was done. You are, of course, totally welcome.”

The slightest chuckle escaped Tiffany’s lips. She shook her head, and looked at Erin while trying to hide how hopeless she felt.

“Why didn’t you just program me to be who you need me to be?”

Erin gave Tiff a deadpan stare as she stubbed out her cigarette. “Don’t you think we’ve established that messing with our thoughts tends to cause more problems than they’re worth?”

Tiffany felt herself deflate even further. Just days ago, her and Erin had been competing against each other, scheming to become the one in control and using everyone around them as pawns in the process. Tiffany felt that Erin’s daring scheme would be a damn lot simpler if she brainwashed Tiffany into obedience. And now Erin was rejecting that idea? What was happening?

“Don’t get me wrong,” Erin admitted, “I thought about it. But I meant what I said earlier, you just aren’t as sharp when your mind is muddled with obedience and compliance. I need you, Tiff.” Erin jabbed a finger into Tiffany’s chest. “This plan will work if you can pull yourself together and get onboard.”

Tiffany was about to reply when her phone buzzed. Erin’s buzzed moments later, and a feeling of dread washed over them both.

Erin picked up her phone and looked at it with a grim expression. “It’s Alice.” Tiffany’s hands were almost shaking as she reached for her own mobile.

’Rise and shine, slave. Strip naked, get on your knees, and send me a good morning selfie. Don’t keep me waiting xoxox

“Urgh,” Erin groaned. “Did she ask you for nudes?”

“Yup,” Tiffany replied with a dry throat.

“For fuck sake. The sooner we eliminate her the better…” Erin sighed. She got to her feet and started undressing.

As Tiffany watched Erin, she felt the colour drain from her cheeks. “What are you doing?” she gasped. “Are… are you…?” A sudden urge to panic erupted through her. Had this all been a rouse? Was this another mind fuck? Tiffany trembled at the mere thought of it.

“Oh, no, it’s okay, Tiff. Relax!” Erin urged upon seeing where Tiffany’s thoughts were going. “Look, as tempted as I am to send back a pic of me flipping her off, I don’t want Alice to know we’re free from her control, yet. Honestly, I only want her to know that in the sweet moment when she’s looking at the Algorithm but still has enough time to think ‘Well fuck me they really got the best of me here.’ Right before her mind shuts down.”

Erin threw off her hoody and started pulling down her jeans. Tiffany watched in dismay. “But… but…”

“Look alive, Tiff, we’re on the clock here,” Erin insisted, quickly pulling off her bra. When she saw Tiffany’s frozen state, she threw the bra in her face. “Tiff!”

“What?!” Tiffany snapped back, jumping to her feet. “You give me back my free will but I still have to kneel? I still have to obey? I’m losing my mind here, Erin!”

Erin stormed up to Tiff and grabbed her top. “I gave you your mind back! You’re not allowed to lose it, okay? Now can you strip or do I have to do it for you?”

Erin’s hot breath on Tiffany’s neck and her naked torso pressed against her sent a shiver down her spine. “Are you sure you can’t just trance me and make me do it that way?” she asked feebly. “I’m sorry, I’m not myself yet, I just…”

“Tiff,” Erin said bluntly. “Look into my eyes.”

Tiffany looked. Erin’s intense brown eyes were filled with a determination that Tiffany outright admired. She was drawn to them, and a thrill of excitement took hold of her. Was she about to be compelled to obey, lose all control? Was this a secret trigger Erin had prepared to influence her when it really mattered? Tiffany felt like putty in Erin’s hands, and she both delighted and despaired within that feeling.

“I need you to listen to me, Tiff,” Erin insisted. “More than that, I need you to trust me. Can you do that? Can you take all the crap you have going on and just throw it aside and trust me?”

Tiffany nodded. “Okay,” she whispered. “I can do that.” She felt like she had arrived at that decision herself, influenced sure, but by Erin’s charisma and nothing more. But really, was there any way to know anymore?

“Good.” Erin pulled away and began removing her panties in haste. Tiffany found herself staring at Erin’s naked body. The smooth skin and generous curves were an alluring sight, a complete juxtaposition from the shambles of her grotty and dark apartment. When Erin noticed Tiffany not moving, she snapped “Now!” which jolted Tiffany into action. She couldn’t help but notice Erin’s little smile as she turned away, however.

Tiffany started pulling off her own clothing as Erin was dropping to her knees. A strange catharsis was washing through her as she pulled off one item after another. She was obeying an instruction from Erin to pretend to obey an instruction from Alice all so she could obey another instruction from Erin to ultimately liberate and deprogram Alice. A part of her knew that since her mind was now her own she should be exerting her own control again. She should be tapping into her own dominance. Surely that part of her was down, but not out?

Erin had already taken and sent her selfie by the time Tiffany was undressed. “Tiff, wait,” she instructed as Tiffany reached for her phone. “I don’t want her to know that we’re both here. Hold on…” She reached under the bed and dragged out a trunk. Quickly opening it, she pulled out colorful sheets, a set of fairy lights, and various cute soft toys. Erin moved purposefully as she shooed Tiffany off the bed in order to lay one of the sheets upon it, then another behind it. The fairly lights were slung onto existing hooks on the walls, and the cuddly creatures were strategically positioned around the bed.

“There,” Erin declared after making a few finishing touches. “Now it looks nothing like this shithole. Take your selfie there.”

Tiffany looked the setup over with complete confusion. “Erin, why do you keep all this tucked away? It makes the room look partially inhabitable!”

Erin just shook her head as she ushered Tiffany onto it. “Don’t want to talk about it, Tiff. Come on, do your thing.”

“Do my…” Tiffany felt like her comprehension of the situation was lagging half a minute behind the rest of her. Fully in the nude and shivering slightly in the coldness of Erin’s dank apartment, she knelt onto the now spruced up colourful bed with a fancy backdrop.

Erin nodded in approval. “I’m hoping that since we’re always hanging out at Josh’s, Alice doesn’t even know what your bedroom looks like.”

“I think she was round a few months ago.” Tiffany squinted. “She was helping me pick an outfit for start of term disco. Seems like a lifetime ago now.”

Erin snapped her fingers several times. “Tiff! Focus! Get starry eyed nostalgia in your own time. Take the pic and send it to Alice already.”

Tiffany shuddered as she came crashing back to reality. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she uttered, scowling as she arranged her phone to take a selfie.

Erin watched her intently then snorted in derision. “Yeah, Tiff? You’re gonna need to take a pic in which you’re smiling, yeah? The whole point of this is to not tip off the psycho bitch that we’re not her puppets anymore.”

“Don’t call her that.” Tiffany shivered. “Please… Don’t.”

“Tiff…” Erin warned. “We don’t have time for this. She’s waiting for your reply.”

Shaking her head and grimacing, Tiffany held up a finger to ask for a moment. Erin crossed her arms and waited impatiently. “We’re going to get her back, Tiff. That’s what we’re doing right after this.”

Tiffany squeezed her eyes shut, but couldn’t stop the tears from falling down her cheeks. “Urgh!” she scowled at herself. “Come on! Pull yourself together!” She wiped the tears from her cheeks and then forced a smile. It felt bitter to do it, but she took the selfie, and after getting Erin’s approval that it was passable, sent it to Alice.

Erin started getting dressed again. Feeling fragile and defeated, Tiffany followed suit. Once she had most of her clothing back on, she looked to Erin for her next cue. “What now?”

“Now, Tiff, it’s time for you to head over there. Alone. Stop fighting me on this. I saved your butt, I came up with the plan. I could have made you obey my every word, but I didn’t.”

“Why?” Tiffany pressed, “Seriously, why do it this way?”

“Leave it alone, Tiff. We’ll do this later.”

“No!” Tiffany objected. “What if it doesn’t work? What if there is no later? What aren’t you telling me?” Tiffany couldn’t hold in her frustration anymore. There was too much that Erin wasn’t saying, and it was unbearable.

Erin looked around the room as her response mulled over in her mind. “Fuck it,” she said, squaring up to Tiffany indignantly. “You really want my cards on the table?”

Tiffany nodded her head briskly and stared at Erin with eager eyes. “Yes! Please!”

Erin smiled maliciously, then chewed her lip angrily. “Okay then.” She half-heartedly shoved Tiffany in the chest, just hard enough to make Tiffany take a step back. “I’m so fucking mad at you! That’s what!

Tiffany swallowed nervously as she stared wide eyed at the erupting volcano before her.

“I thought we had a good thing going. I opened up to you! Do you know how many people I do that for!? None! Zero! Nada! And in like a day, you blow it! I feel like such an idiot! I can’t believe how incredibly naive I was that something would be different with you. But you’re just like everybody else. You don’t really care about me, you care about what makes you feel good! One minute that’s me, so I thought, then the next it’s the blonde bitch that you always liked so much more than me!”

Tiffany felt her heart stiffen and a lump of sadness swelling in her throat. Her expression softened as she reached out a hand. “Erin…”“No!” Erin batted away Tiffany’s advance. “You want to know how I feel, Tiff. Right? Well I feel humiliated! Betrayed! Abandoned! Like a clueless, naive moron!”

“You’re not—”

“Don’t!” Erin cut her off. The anger seemed to drain away from her, leaving a deep sadness that Tiffany could almost feel in her veins. “I made a mistake trusting you, Tiff. I made a mistake submitting to you and becoming your slave. That’s over now. We’re over.”

It was like being submerged in icy water. Tiffany tried to speak but no words came out.

Erin smiled faintly. “But despite all that, we’re still friends. I think, anyway. The first thing I did after my deprogramming was finished… Well, the first thing after a panic attack, a very messy cry, and my entire pack of emergency cigarettes, the first thing I did was decide I needed to help my friends.”

Tiffany watched as tears fell down Erin’s cheeks, and she could feel her own glossy eyes about to burst. Erin wiped one away with the sleeve of her hoody and shrugged. “You’re done. You’re free. Now I have this plan that might save Alice, and therefore Trev and Josh. I’ll be here looking at this computer to talk you through what you need to do to Josh’s. You’ll be there, installing the software and getting out before anyone turns up. If it goes horribly and they drag you into the chair and destroy your mind, then at least I have about twenty minutes to pack a bag and get out of here so I can skip town. You’ll be saving me like I saved you, poetic justice or some shit. I don’t think it’s perfect, and I don’t think it’s even fair, but fuck it; I’m the one who saved you, and I get to be the selfish one here. And I’m not programming you to do it, because I need you to be yourself. You need to want to do it. It needs to be you, not a shell of you with my words in the driver’s seat. Okay?”

Tiffany didn’t try to wipe away the tears falling down her cheeks. She swallowed the lump in her throat, her voice a hoarse whisper. “Erin, look…”

Erin’s anger flared back up and she cut Tiffany off again. “I don’t need anything from you, Tiff, other than to know you’ll do this. For Alice, for Trev, and for Josh. Okay?

Tiffany stayed silent for a moment. She didn’t like it, but this was the only thing Erin wanted to do. If she could present a better option to her then maybe, just maybe she could sway Erin. But she needed time to think, and time was something she didn’t have while Erin stared expectantly at her. Tiffany felt like she wasn’t her old self again yet. The scheming, dominant part of her mind simply hadn’t yet recovered. She felt that maybe it never would, it had been beaten down so hard by one thing after another. She didn’t feel like she could lead just then, but she definitely could still follow. And as Erin had pointed out, this was to save their friends. It wasn’t about who got to be Mistress and slave anymore, it was about taking responsibility for their mistakes along the way. And if Tiffany was being completely honest with herself, the responsibility was all hers.

“Okay,” she said.

Erin stayed silent, looking unconvinced.

Tiffany wiped the tears away from her eyes, then nodded with determination. “You are right. Erin, you are absolutely right. This is about saving our friends, and you’ve already done your part. It’s my turn now.”

Erin nodded briskly in agreement. “Look, for what it’s worth, Tiff, I really enjoyed what happened between us. And…” she struggled, looking all around her room as if her words were hiding somewhere. Finally, she shook her head, sighed, and looked back to Tiffany with a faint smile. “And I still want to be your friend, Tiff. If this all works out, I don’t see why we can’t go back to the way things were between us.”

“Yeah?” Tiffany asked, trying to sound enthusiastic. Her insides were being painfully chewed up, but like the selfie for Alice, she forced a smile onto her face. “Yeah, I’d like that.”

They made their preparations and Erin talked Tiffany through the plan one last time. All she needed to do was get in, insert the USB stick into Josh’s computer, and then Erin would walk her through the steps of integrating the script into Josh’s version of the Algorithm.

“What if Josh is there or he shows up?” Tiffany asked nervously. “What if Alice shows up?”

“You have the advantage that they don’t know you’re free from their control.” Erin calmly explained. “You might have to pretend to keep up the illusion, but you can use that to lure them into the Algorithm. I know Trev and Josh’s frequencies too, I’ll text them to you, you can always set them up manually. Remember, if it’s on the right frequency, one look is all it really takes to ensnare you. That’s what happened to me, anyway.”

A few minutes later and they were ready. Erin sat in the desk chair as Tiffany got her coat and shoes on.

“You’ll call when you get there?” Erin asked.

“I’d rather be on the phone with you for the whole time…” Tiffany admitted nervously.

Erin rolled her eyes, but a playful smile escaped her lips briefly. “Just… call me when you get there.”

Tiffany nodded. “Okay, seeing as I’m your bitch and all.”

“Well, in that case, good luck, bitch.” Erin grinned. Something about it made Tiffany’s heart flutter, and she gave a reluctant smile as she left Erin’s apartment.

Erin waited a minute after Tiffany left, watching the door in anticipation. When she accepted that Tiffany was well and truly gone, she sighed heavily. Closing her eyes, she cradled herself on the chair for a few moments before murmuring, “Good luck... Mistress.”