“In here you dummy.” It was said in a friendly manner in a posh Southern accent with a noticeable foreign element to it. Mediterranean maybe? But I still didn’t know where the voice was coming from. It must be from outside my stall, otherwise I’d be shocked by now.
“I’m in your head. Come in and we’ll talk.”
They’ve won,’ I thought. ‘Their brainwashing is working. How’d they do it? I haven’t even been on that hypnosis machine yet.’ But, what the Hell, so I closed my eyes again, took a deep breath and commenced the belly breathing I’d abandoned after ‘waking up’ with boobs and a different face and arse.
Eventually, I saw her and recognised her straight away. Dark combat clothes, desert boots, large almond eyes that upturned slightly, but it was the chignon that gave her away. It was Modesty Blaise. Direct evidence I was going mad.
“You’re not mad, love. And I’m not Modesty,” she said as soon as I recognised her. “I’m you. Haven’t you heard of this before?”
I answered in my head. “No.” I may be literally going mad, but she was someone to talk to and that alone made it alright.
“I can be a function of a diseased mind, but there are people, yogis and suchlike, that do this on purpose. You’ve effectively hypnotised yourself with your meditations on getting out of here. The extreme stress helped as well, of course. Well, it helped a lot to be honest. And, I’m the result. I can see things you miss, love. I’m here to help you.”
I smiled to myself. The first positive emotion since, well, I couldn’t immediately recall the last one. “OK, then,” how do I get out of here?”
She frowned. “It’s not that easy. I wouldn’t be here if it was, would I?”
I was despondent again. “What’s the use then?”
“Now look,” she was stern Modesty now. “I’m part of you and I’m not going to live like this. I don’t care if we free ourselves just before we die, we’ll die free. That’s important. We can’t rely on the police. This organisation is so big they must be able to control them somehow. So, it’s up to us. Are you up to it? I can’t free us on my own. We both have to work together.”
That little speech worked, or she did something to me. I felt my old determination come flooding back. If they thought I was stubborn before, they would be amazed at how I felt now. “How do we do that then?” I was in. I would work with Modesty even though she was me and even though she couldn’t do anything physical.
“Now listen. Do you know why this mental change has come over you? I mean the lethargy.”
“Just the futility of even thinking about escape,” I answered.
“No, love. You’re being drugged. It’s probably in your food, I can’t see any other source, unless it’s in the water or there’s gas here in the stall. But that’s not likely. It’s too open for one thing, and for another it’ll affect the others as well. They don’t want that.”
I despaired again. “That’s it then.”
“No. It’s just another factor, there is good news.”
“You’d better tell me that now then.” My internal voice showed the despair.
“You’re not being drugged now. She’s being careful with you for some reason. It’s not a full on dose and you’re free of it at nights. What you’re feeling are the after effects. You can continue your meditations and exercises.”
I was ready to latch onto anything that showed even a glimmer of hope. “How do I do exercises? There’s pressure sensors in this harness that’ll zap me if I try to move my arms too much. And, the cunt is probably monitoring me as well.”
“Don’t give up now. There’s plenty you can do without bending your knees. Simple flexing your muscles will help a lot, especially if that’s all you can do. Mentally go through a complete workout. Do that every night. You don’t have to move. The top athletes use visualisation as part of their training—you know that, you use it yourself. Think of how you can drive a knife into her body then go through the exercises in your head until the movement is automatic. Think about what weapons you can get, stilettos, for instance, or what’s at hand. They’re taking away your muscles as well as your freedom, so, go through the exercises with the body you have now. You don’t have to fight a championship match. All you need is a chance then one kick should kill someone. Practice your killing moves especially. You already know where to hit.”
I perked up at this. Yes, I really wanted to kill someone.
“And think on who you want to kill. You may only get one chance so, make it personal. Go through scenarios with Jacob the cunt and watch him die. Watch Abbey the cunt die. Make sure you envisage it all.”
Now that was a happy thought.
“Now, this is important Gillian. Only think about killing the people responsible for this. You don’t want to go through a killing spree. That’ll blight the rest of your life. Just kill those who deserve it. You need to be mindful of where you are all the time. Try to plan out an escape route after your move. Try to know where to get cash, or where to run to. Try and work out how you’ll live after you escape. Always update these to take into account everything that happens. Make that an automatic part of your thinking.”
“And don’t forget your meditation. So far, by conjuring me in your mind, you’ve achieved what mystics take decades to achieve. Remember, you’re ahead of the game now. They’ll never suspect this, so use it and use it well. I’m off now. You need your full brainpower to do all this, but I’ll be back. Now, a warning. If I don’t come back that means you’re drugged. Remember that and exercise anyway and remember exercising also means meditating. Don’t think about exercising, just do it. We’re going to beat them love. No matter how long it takes.” Then she kissed me. I felt it on my lips. Her tongue crept into my mouth and touched mine. Her hands cradled the back of my head. I wasn’t into girls, but I was now. Or was this incest? It can’t be, can it?
She came back regularly, but one day she didn’t. She never came back after that, but I remembered. I remembered and practiced as best I could automatically, no matter what I thought or how I felt. I knew I would get out of this.
I was in my local drinking pints, which I hadn’t done since my happy days at Uni. This was the first time off I’d taken in years, and I mean that literally. It took me years of work to conquer Gillian. The only time off I had was when I was sick, and even then, I would work at the paperwork if I couldn’t do anything else.
I remembered the good times, especially the time Gillian took to the stage at the convention to address the crowd. That was controversial, but Jacob had his way, as usual. She gave a magnificent speech and I was so proud of myself I actually cried with emotion. She was confident and articulate and wowed the crowd with her recognition of herself as an inferior and her, obviously emotional, declaration of her devotion to the superiors in general and to Jacob in particular. At that time Jacob was about to promote her to his full time estate manager from the apprentice status she then had and Gillian had already proved her worth by increasing his estate’s yield by thirty five per cent per year. She stated then, and she kept her word, that the estate’s revenues would increase year on year because of her efforts.
But the best was yet to come. Gillian called me up to the stage to address me personally. She openly confessed to her resistance to the training and to my superior ability as a trainer in finally ridding her of all thoughts of escape or of superiority. She said all that to me, eye to eye and then thanked me for doing her the honour of training her. The crowd were silent, absorbing the emotion. That speech went on for a long time, or it seemed like it at the time, and she ended her speech in spectacular fashion. She faced me, then, without any rehearsal or any sort of warning, she knelt and kissed my feet in gratitude for converting her from a feral being to a domesticated inferior. Then she lay down on the floor in total submissive fashion and I placed one stilettoed foot on her head and raised my arms in triumph as I pressed it down, distorting her face for the photographs. That was identical to the little ceremony I had instituted in the stables. The photo I have of that particular scene was more valuable to me than anything else. It demonstrated the successful culmination of all my work and effort. It made everything worthwhile.
I was openly crying at the end of that demonstration and again when Jacob told me afterwards Gillian had asked to address the crowd of her own volition. He trusted me so much he allowed her to go on unchecked.
And I had sacrificed a lot. In fact, I had sacrificed everything. Before Gillian arrived I had taken pains to teach Steph. and Clara the business. It was my job after all, but I took my duties seriously and didn’t let them slack off. That turned out to be the key to training Gillian. It was only a short while after Gillian arrived that I realised I had to devote myself to her full time, so I hived off the others to the girls. I’m proud to say I taught them well and they rose to the challenge magnificently and barely bothered me after that. That left me free to devote my whole time to Gillian.
Gillian was one of those one in a million people who are so strong willed they can withstand training. It’s necessary to identify and control such people as they could become a danger to themselves and to everyone around them. But Gillian was lucky when she got me as a trainer. I’m not being modest when I say I’m in the one in a million class myself. I knew she would take everything I had, but I would win. That was inevitable as long as I persisted.
I remembered my first impressions of Gillian when she entered my stable, strong willed and feral was my prognosis, but I greatly underestimated her tenacity. Normally there is a breakthrough moment when a filly’s mind breaks and all resistance after that is token. Only Gillian broke that rule out of all the fillies I had trained or heard about. She never broke. I wore her down millimetre by millimetre over the years she was in training. She always obeyed the rules but without any resistance I feared she counted all that as her gain, not mine. Eventually, I invested in an EEG machine as well as a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine and an MEG machine. I still have to call them that because I can’t remember their official names. That didn’t matter, because I learned how to use them, and that was a breakthrough, of sorts. Now I could actually see her brain working and could target my training to an unheard of degree. In the end, that was one of the main advantages I needed even though the equipment was cumbersome and definitely not portable. Gillian’s progress increased under that sort of targeted training. Using those machines in the way I did was an innovation that is being repeated throughout the community now, led by Steph and Clara. And the prices are dropping fast because of that.
My final innovation hurried the process along and reduced Gillian’s training time significantly. I was reading about how people smiled when they are happy and I wondered if that was commutative, so I checked the literature and it was. Well, after a fashion. There was evidence that people forcing themselves to smile changed their mood and attitude as well as their receptiveness. Sales people and politicians used this technique all the time. It wasn’t one hundred percent, but it was significant, so I decided to experiment. I had sensors implanted in Gillian’s cheeks that could detect when she was smiling and send a signal to her collar. After a trial period I set the collar to shock her whenever she didn’t smile. Gillian responded by obeying, as she always did, but this one she found difficult. She had a natural RBF and this parameter proved to be highly efficacious for Gillian. Once installed and running, I carefully increased the sensor’s sensitivity as well as the shock level of the non-smile response. It seemed that this parameter was deeply ingrained in her psyche, so that, when she became used to the system, her smile reinforced her brain, instead of the other way round. The machines proved that to my, and to every one’s satisfaction. Once there, using the love philtre was only months away, and the fixer one month after that. The hypnotic reinforcement was, naturally, standard all through her training.
Of course, all appropriate tests and safety precautions were undertaken and approved by the outside authorities before Gillian was declared inferior and received her certification and registration, but, by then, that was a formality.
I never had a breakthrough with Gillian. I just used my superior knowledge and abilities to break her down bit by bit over years.
Even so, she nearly won by a method I’m still certain she was totally unaware of. It was the cost. The additional equipment and procedures were too expensive. That nearly crippled me and I was close to bankruptcy when Jacob stepped in with an injection of cash and became my silent partner. I’m certain Gillian was picking up on my stress and using that to bolster her own resistance, but even there she was defeated.
I could look back on the highlights of Gillian’s training now with pleasure. Gillian learning how to walk with one foot in front of the other. I still remember her face when she accidentally placed her newly stilettoed foot just outside the painted marker line on the floor. She was shocked by her collar. She didn’t realise there were sensors embedded in the floor that detected such faults. Remembering Gillian’s first attempts on the mannequins also brought a smile to my face. Somehow, at twenty three, Gillian had no idea how to please a man or a woman with her mouth. Intensive training on the mannequins sorted that problem. I had invested in the latest technology before I even knew Gillian would enter my life and it was well worth the cost. Sensors in various positions detected how much pressure or suction or force or friction Gillian generated in real time and gave her a shock whenever she deviated from the parameters I set. Of course I adjusted those according to what I wanted her to achieve. From the first she had to swallow all the produce of the mannequins, and I only used the most expensive produce to create realistic taste and texture.
I recorded her expression when I exposed her to the ECT machine, which I used as part of the treatment to reduce IQ. Of course, I never exposed Gillian herself to it, because of her IQ requirements, but she didn’t know that. Gillian first saw it used on Frisky, but I had to alter its parameters before I did that. Up ’till then, I used the standard ECT which causes no pain and is highly effective when used with the drugs and when targeted correctly. But, with Gillian there I decided to amend things. My aim was to reduce Frisky’s IQ but my secondary aim was to work on Gillian’s mind and make her more afraid of the machine. So, after some research, I amended the machine back to about its state a hundred years ago. That way, Frisky would scream in agony and convulse for a long time while all the others, including Gillian, watched. Each session took hours and there were a lot of sessions. Frisky really suffered during those sessions, but it was all for a worthwhile cause. I think it affected Gillian, but I’m still not sure. However, it had a noticeable effect on all the other fillies. So much so, I instigated that regime from then on. There were always fillies in who needed their IQs lowered, and by adjusting the machine’s parameters, I could make the sessions last as long as required while still achieving the required IQ reduction required.
Gillian in the mornings after her hose down and her cleaning out her stall became a pleasure when I instituted her grooming and make up parameters. It looked like she had never used make up in her life and she struggled with the task. Unfortunately, as usual, she showed her mettle by learning it quickly and, after that, her new routine became automatic.
Gillian on the treadmill, running kilometre after kilometre for hours each day could be said to be boring, but I never found it so. But, at the beginning, it was obvious she started thinking soon after she found her rhythm and I didn’t want that. That’s when I started the programme of requiring her to sing as she ran, or ask her questions she had to answer immediately. I remember taking a surprisingly long time to think up suitable questions to ask her.
And, naturally, my favourite at that time was those first question and answer sessions before she left her stall. I had ensured the switch to the collar shocker feed was one of those old fashioned switches which could be heard clicking off and on throughout the stable. That was so the filly could hear the switch and know they wouldn’t be shocked when answering my question after I said the words ‘speak now’. Gillian was always a fast learner and she adapted to that routine in minutes. So, for the first time ever, I instigated phase two on the first day. I let her answer those questions for hours, gradually inserting the routine in her brain. Until, near the end of the day, I changed it. I said the words, but didn’t click off the power. I can still see Gillian’s face when that happened, She didn’t know what to do and ended up saying nothing, so I shocked her from my mobile for not answering immediately. I asked the question again then said the words and this time she tried to answer, but got shocked by the automatic noise activated, system. It took until the next day before she totally understood she had to obey despite the shock. That was the first step in instilling in her the total obedience she had to acquire to become a useful inferior.
The curtseys I instigated as required etiquette worked far more on the other fillies than Gillian. She just did them perfectly after a short while. It was unfortunate we couldn’t just shock her for being difficult, but she was obeying every thing we asked of her. Her mode of resistance here was most effective and frustrated us for a long time, years in fact.
I looked at my pint and finished it off, then went for another. Placing it at my table, I went to the toilet, thinking I was out of condition. It usually took me about five pints before I needed to pee, but that was back in the good old days, when I had a fresh young body. Not this one which is out of shape for drinking, or for socialising as well. I was here remembering and there was no one with me. I didn’t feel the lack, my accomplishments inured me from that weakness, but I was vaguely curious about it.
On the way back, I thought about Gillian now. She was pregnant again, in fact, she had been pregnant for the past five years, so I normally thought of her as pregnant now. It’s strange how venal people are though. After that convention I received a lot of hate mail by post and through social media and so did Steph and Clara. Gillian did as well. There were rumours detailing every possible scene that could happen and some were, frankly, stupidly impossible. It got so bad, Jacob hired a minder for Gillian. He offered one for me and the girls as well, but we all refused. After all, what could they do. The answer was nothing. This whole campaign died down after Gillian’s fourth birthing and, as a consequence, Jacob removed the minder from Gillian. After all, she never went anywhere without being accompanied and Jacob’s house was in its own grounds. The groundskeepers would deal with any intruders.
The hate campaign restarted today though, without any warning. Steph called and told me of the latest one she’d just heard.
The rumour said that Gillian had knifed Jacob and then searched out Frisky and killed her too. Frisky had been executed, her throat slit from ear to ear, while Jacob had been stabbed two or three times in his chest with a kitchen knife. Then she had gone upstairs to her bedroom, changed out of her blood soaked clothes and left in one of Jacob’s cars. Apparently, according to the rumour, it was because Jacob had stated his children would be educated at a boarding school, just like him, while Gillian wanted to send them to a local public school, which had a stellar reputation.
I dismissed this rumour on the grounds that I had heard nothing and who was doing all this reporting anyway? It obviously had nothing to do with the children. They were all being raised by Jacob’s old nanny, far away from Gillian. It turned out that Steph had already queried this rumour and the answer was the reporter was a housemaid whom Gillian had tied up efficiently and had not killed. There was nobody else in the house at the time, the gardening staff didn’t count as they didn’t come into the house.
I still didn’t believe it though. So, after thanking Steph, I called Jacob myself. I had to call him anyway—business reasons—but there was no answer. It didn’t ring out, there appeared to be a fault on the line. No doubt, that would be assigned to Gillian’s activities as well.
But I saw a report in tonight’s paper that threw me. It detailed a tragedy at Lower Binding where Jacob York, his estate manager, Gillian Ferguson, and a maid, known by the affectionate nickname of Frisky, were all killed because they were too close to a cooker which suddenly exploded. This report started me worrying.
Returning to my table, I sat and took a large draught of my new pint, determined to decide tonight what to do. Obviously I’d have to find out exactly what happened, but if the worst came to the worst, I may have to emigrate. There were too many people with a grudge against me here for me to feel safe if Jacob was dead.
I determined I would have to know which country to go to on short notice. I just didn’t want to remain here where all sorts of rumours and accusations would be thrown at me, if nothing else. I was rich now. It was that conference where Gillian spoke so eloquently, that made me rich. Up ’till then, I was living hand to mouth. I had spent so much on training Gillian, including increased payments to the girls for their increased workload, that I was functionally poor. Things were different after that conference. Gillian’s speech and Jacob’s backing propelled me right into the limelight and all the top people threw money at me to train their fillies to the new standards I had set. My prices increased tenfold immediately and regularly ever since and I still have to turn away owners.
A woman came up to me and said, “Drink up the rest of your drink quickly. We’re leaving as soon as you do. Don’t argue and look happy.”
I looked up at her startled, recognising her as Veronica Potts. What was more startling was the fact that I picked my pint up and downed the rest in one fast pull. Then I stood and left with her, looking, for all the world, as if I was going to some party or other with her.
I looked happy.
We were out in the street before she spoke again. “You obviously haven’t been keeping up with the latest drugs. Did you take emcee yourself?”
“Yes. A long time ago.”
“And you did that to protect yourself didn’t you. A lot of people worked that one out. It was so prevalent those drugs were slowly becoming worthless. They worked, but they also induced an immunity to themselves. So, if someone took the drug in her own home and made sure she was locked in for twenty four hours she became immune to it forever.” She laughed, “Did you know students took it before their finals and left themselves orders to study hard, and it worked. Twenty four hours of intense study worked a treat for them, and gave them immunity for the rest of their lives. ’Till now, that is.” She looked at me when she said that. We were at her car now and she ordered me in. “The new drug you’ve taken is similar, lasts longer though, but it’s still a one off application. But, it works in a different way from emcee and the old drugs give no immunity to this one. That’s how I got you Abbey.”
“But why?” Strange I could still reason and speak but I also simply obeyed her.
“No more talking,” she ordered while starting her car. “Fasten your seat belt,” she said, and I did. She fiddled with a tablet then handed it to me. I took it. Apparently an implicit order was still an order. “There’s a form on there. You just fill it in while we drive. It’s quite long and invasive, but it is a long drive, so that’ll give you time to complete it thoroughly. I’ll enjoy reading all about you later.” I started filling in the form. She was correct. It was very invasive and thorough. Even my fantasies had to be finely detailed as well as where my notes were, bank details, all of them, my keys, my alarm codes, Steph and Clara’s details and addresses—everything.
I hoped we weren’t going where I thought we were going.
DETECTIVE INSPECTOR JOHN THOMPSON
It was nearly the end of my shift and I was looking forward to getting home when I was told there were two women demanding an interview. They were in room 6, waiting for me. I sighed and went, hoping it would be quick. My Susan wouldn’t be happy if I was late again tonight.
There were two women sitting there. One of them immediately said, “Look, I know this is strange, but time really is important here. Please set up a camera and record this. Also,” she went on before I could say anything, “you need another officer here as well, preferably female.”
I looked at her. She was determined and I was tired. The quickest way to get this over with was to do what she wanted. I went out and looked around and my luck was in. Sharon Banks was there. Detective Sergeant Sharon Banks, to give her her full title. I called her over and told her to sit in with us. Sharon was a little pain in the arse. She was good enough but she had some very strange ideas. Anyway, she settled down as I set up the camera and started it. I didn’t have to prompt the woman to start, she had obviously rehearsed this beforehand.
“Thank you. I’m sorry to be so bossy, but judge me after this story. I’m Lisa Shottle and this is Amy Stillwell. I was in a pub earlier this evening when Amy here approached me. I’m a lesbian and known as a lesbian in my own circles, so I wasn’t offended when she tried to pick me up. To be honest, it was working. To cut a long story short, we had to visit the loo and as we returned, a friend of mine, Brian Caldwell, grabbed my arm and asked to speak with me. I told Amy I’d catch her in a few minutes and she went back to our table. Brian told me he saw Amy drop some powder in my drink as she left to go to the loo with me. But, he also told me he had swapped our drinks around.”
I thanked him and went back to see what was what. Brian was hovering in the background, just in case. He said he’s testify if necessary. When I got back she had sipped her drink. I said, “Did you put something in my drink?” and she answered “Yes.” I asked her why and she said she was collecting for slaves. I’ve heard of this sort of thing but I never thought it would happen around here. Anyway, I tried to think what to do. I asked what the drug did and she answered that it forced the person to obey all orders. Apparently it lasts for about two days. Well, basically, I ordered her to drink all the drink so she got the full dose and then I came straight here with her. As you can see, she does exactly what she’s told, but I thought you’d think this was a joke of some kind. So I had her talk her whole story in her phone on the way here.
“Give the man your phone Amy.”
She gave it to him.
“And the entry code.”
She told him. He wrote it down.
“Look,” she said. I know this sounds unbelievable and if it’s a joke, I’m not in on it. I’m scared. If you want a demonstration I can tell her to strip now if you want. That’s why I wanted a witness for you.”
“That’s not necessary and I don’t think it’s a joke Lisa,” I assured her. I thought, then made a call to the front desk.
“Has the doctor left yet?”
“Good. Get him up here to interview room 6 as soon as you can please. This is urgent so no stopping to chat while you find him.”
I called the office—I wasn’t going to leave this room until I got things organised—and had someone bring me some forms. Once there I hastily filled in the relevant parts.
“Miss Stillwell. These forms give us permission to search your home. Please sign them.”
She just sat there looking at me.
“That’s my fault,” piped Lisa. I was worried someone else would order her around that I told her just to obey me. Do what the officer says, Amy.” She was talking to Amy now.
Amy signed the forms.
I wasn’t sure that was legal, she was under the influence of something, but I accepted them anyway. Sharon was quietly taking notes and not interfering. It was good to know she was competent, despite her weird views.
This, I knew was serious. It fitted nicely in with other reports we had and we’d been trying to get some serious information on these gangs for a while now, but they were very tight. It was obvious they were getting help from higher up the chain, so we were very careful about even letting on this investigation was happening. I instructed Sharon about keeping this on the QT then left them there in Sharon’s care and went looking for the chief constable. We knew he was safe and wasn’t one of those protecting this group because we had quietly checked him out when he arrived. We also knew he wanted to leave his mark and move up quickly, so he was desperate for a big win.
I barged into the his office, not caring who he had with him and it was my good fortune he wasn’t shagging one of the WPCs. He was at his desk and he listened. He had to because I was talking fast. He was easy to convince.
That Amy Stilwell had given us signed permission to search her flat and I wanted to get that done straight away. The drugs they used only lasted a few hours so we had to move with this. And, and this was the kicker, Miss Stillwell had said that her boss, Veronica Potts, had an Abigail Cornish locked up in her basement, waiting to be sold. Abigail Cornish had been reported as missing by one of her friends, an ex-employee. It was a new report but she was rich and influential in the neighbourhood, so we were taking it seriously.
Meanwhile Sharon was there when the doctor arrived and she got recorded verbal permission from Amy for him to take blood samples there and then. I thanked my stars that Lisa was the one they tried it out on. She had thought of everything and given it to us on a plate.
After informing the brass, I returned to ask more questions. Amy tried to take Lisa because Lisa was a named target. She didn’t know why she in particular was wanted though. She just did as she was told.
Later that night, we searched Amy’s flat, which incriminated her. We had to get permission to raid Veronica Potts’ home, but that was quickly forthcoming based on the testimony we had and on what we found in Amy’s flat. We raided Veronica Potts in the early hours the next morning.
I was becoming more impressed with Sharon and the way she handled herself during this episode. She was quiet and industrious when it was important. I made certain I got myself some of that powder during those raids.