The Further Adventures of Louis and Elle
The Education of a Hypno-Sub
The TRANCE trilogy was a hit. Teen girls (and some geeky guys, guys like Louis was in high school) were devouring Volume 2. He had heard that an occasional carful of girls was showing up in central Illinois asking for directions to the non-existent town where the adventures of Hypnoteen were set. It wasn’t Harry Potter, but the publisher (which had gambled by giving him a major advance) was now talking eagerly about a “series,” which apparently meant an unlimited number of YA books. Which was fine with Louis, as long as it brought a stream of checks for him to sign over to Elle.
And there was the check he’d gotten for an option on film rights to the three volumes. He’d barely glanced at the numbers because he was distracted by the sexual pleasure of writing “PAY TO THE ORDER OF ELLE MURPHY” on the reverse side. But he’d checked quickly to be sure it was enough to be worthy of her. It was.
So a lot was riding on life among his characters, and things there had just taken a puzzling turn. American history class was discussing the Salem witch trials; Kate Collins, his heroine, was only half-paying attention, and tormenting her sidekick and best friend Hubert Hawkins with ridiculous puns, while Betsy Rodolfo, the ninth grade’s alpha girl, was spreading malicious gossip.
In other words, everything was normal. But then out of the blue a messenger from the principal’s office (actually it was that little principal’s pet Sissy Cardini, the yearbook editor, who’d had a prominent role in Volume Two) had arrived with a summons for Kate and Hubert.
They were in trouble. And that could be bad, because if their secret got out, if the bumbling adults of the town found out that they were involved in the town’s recent wave of paranormal phenomena, it wouldn’t be long before the forces of darkness returned to wreak havoc.
Louis stopped typing, puzzled. This whole subplot had come straight from his subconscious, through his fingers, and onto the screen. Much of the plot of the TRANCE books arrived the same way. Since meeting Elle, he’d learned to open his mind to the stories that were floating in his unconscious. But usually he had a rough idea of where he was going, and this time he didn’t.
He blinked. His unconscious was telling him that he was in trouble. He was feeling a feeling he only dimly remembered: anxiety.
It had once been a close friend.
That was where his subplot had come from. Yesterday he had managed to hypnotize Elle. He read to her a script he had put together out of his memories and some descriptions of how he felt when she hypnotized him. He’d been shocked when her body relaxed and her eyes began to flutter behind her eyelids; but he knew enough to know that was a sign of trance.
Hypnotizing her wasn’t really the mistake. But he had been very naughty; he’d given her triggers that turned her into three of his favorite secret sex fantasy figures—first a bubble-headed Euro-model style bimbo, then a braless hippie chick, and finally a silk-and-lace pinup figure from an old 1940s movie.
It had been—great.
Great, great sex.
She’d enjoyed that too.
But when she finally got free of his spell, Elle had, to put it mildly, not been pleased with him. He needed to apologize and beg her forgiveness. It couldn’t be an ordinary apology. He was in big trouble.
At that point he got a text: MY OFFICE. NOW. It wasn’t the Principal. Or maybe it was—it was Elle. Hypnoteen might not really be in trouble, but Louis was.
“Sissy Cardini, I presume?” he said as he entered her counseling office.
She gave him a look of puzzled incomprehension, with underneath it a stern expression of disappointment and disapproval. “Sit down, Louis,” she said. She was back to the Elle he knew (and completely adored): pencil skirts, stylish low heels, white blouse. Hair perfectly coiffed, pale-pink lipstick; hot librarian glasses with dark rims.
He wanted to fall down and kiss her feet. He loved her more than life. She was more important to him than—well, than he was, if that made sense. He had to make this right.
There was a problem, though—something that might derail his apology. He had to try to avoid it.
“Louis, I’d like you to explain what happened yesterday.”
“You went into a trance, Elle.”
“I know that, Louis. But I feel like I lived through the entire fantasy repertoire on some horny teen-aged boy.”
“Well,” he said, “maybe not the entire repertoire—“
“WHAT did you say?” She looked at him over the smart-librarian glasses, in a way that portended trouble.
“Nothing,” he mumbled.
“Let me start again,” he said. “I am sorry, I had no idea what was going to happen. When you went under I hadn’t planned what to do and these ideas just came bubbling out. And you have to admit it was sexy—“
She actually blushed. “Maybe . . . maybe . . . but, I found myself inside all those alternate selves—it was like—like—“
“A cartoon,” he said, and immediately regretted saying so.
“What? What kind of cartoon.”
He struggled to keep a straight face. “Well, it was sort of like one of those cartoons where Daffy and Bugs go head to head, and Daffy keeps promising that this time Bugs won’t get away with it—” At that point Louis lost his inner struggle. The laugh that he’d been choking down all morning came bubbling out. “Elle, it was hilarious! You were—you were—”
She smiled then, but it was not an entirely warm smile. “I was Daffy and you were Bugs, was I? Yes, that is funny. I can see why you’re laughing. It’s very, very funny. Laugh, Louis! GO AHEAD, LAUGH! IT’S THE FUNNIEST THING YOU’VE EVER HEARD!”
Elle was right; it wasn’t just funny, it was hilarious, his body was shaking with laughter, he was choking with it, fanning his face with his—
“STOP!” she said, snapping her fingers in front of his face.
She snapped again. “SLEEP NOW!” she said, and the lights went out, his body went limp, and everything fell away but his sense of glorious relaxation, his focus on her voice and her suggestions and her will.
“Deeper—“ she said. “Deeper, hypno-husband.”
He didn’t know where he was, he wasn’t clear who he was, he didn’t care. All he wanted was to listen to the voice and obey the will behind it. He was open to it, mind and body . . . .
“Now,” she said. “I can see that I have underestimated you, Louis. That brilliant mind of yours is bubbling with fantasies I didn’t suspect, and you are going to tell them all to me one by one. You are not going to hold anything back, because you want me to know your fantasies so I can use them to control you. I am going to ask you some questions and your unconscious is going to answer me. It will go straight to your mouth, no need to stop off at your conscious mind, which can just drift off to think about whatever you want. Do you understand?
“Yes,” he whispered.
And then the interrogation began.
A VOICE ASKED: “Louis, when did you first realize you wanted a woman to hypnotize you?”
SOMEONE ANSWERED: He was 13, a dorky kid who hid in the library during recess and didn’t want to play youth soccer. His parents thought there was something wrong with him. They sent him to the counselor downtown. He didn’t want to go. He said he’d go to every soccer practice, he’d never skip recess again, just please don’t make him go to the counselor.
But his parents insisted.
After the first visit, though, he told his parents he wanted to see the counselor twice a week. They were pleased. They didn’t realize that the attraction was not the counselor—who turned out to be perfectly nice, a jolly lady with thick glasses and a somewhat risqué sense of humor—but her receptionist, a 20-year-old blonde just out of community college who adorned the waiting room with her miniskirts, high heels, and patterned hose. She had a mass of curly blonde hair, lips painted a red not known to nature, and curves that a 13-year-old boy would hesitate even to imagine.
Louis had taken one look and skipped several years ahead in the development of his libido.
So twice a week he had shown up dutifully for a four o’clock appointment—at first half an hour early, then an hour, then finally he had cut last period and showed up at 2:15, explaining to her that his parents had had to drop him off early and he’d be fine over in the corner here (a chair that maximized the view of Renata, as her desk slide proclaimed her to be). Louis would sit there watching her legs move back and forth, trying to peek down her blouse and see beyond the hint of lacy brassiere that was visible, watching her nibble seductively on a pencil as she filled out forms. He’d pretend to read a book but never, as far as he recalled, got through a single page. That was probably what gave him away, in the end, because he showed up for three straight appointments with the same volume of R.L. Stine’s GOOSEBUMPS series and Renata, who had probably already suspected something, realized she had a smitten kitten on her hands.
She began sending him on errands. First she had him go to the store and get her a soda. After the first two times, he began to just stop by the store on the way to the office and buy her a soda out of his allowance money. She’d thanked him idly, but hadn’t offered to pay. The next time he showed up, she’d brought some dresses for him to take to the dry cleaner, and the next time he came the dry cleaning was ready; when he picked them up, he used the change to buy her some laundry detergent and a can of tomatoes at the grocery store nearby.
He knew she was laughing at him. It wasn’t that he couldn’t help it; it wasn’t that he didn’t care; it was that he loved it: it was sexy to be used and sexier to know that she knew she was using him. At night in his room he would imagine her laughing at him and he’d touch himself and then explode into the washcloth he had stashed in a cigar box in the bookshelf next to his bed.
She started hinting that her car could use washing that weekend. His parents might have suspected something at that point, but that evening, the jolly counselor had called his parents and told them, “There is nothing wrong with your son. He is bored out of his mind at that school. Send him to the magnet school and for god’s sake don’t worry about him.”
So the visits to the counselor, and the hot blonde secretary, came to a halt. But the memory lingered on. And the next month he’d seen SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE WOMAN IN GREEN on late-night TV and the image of the receptionist took the place of Hilary Brooke and eventually he had to take the washcloth and sneak it into the garbage and steal another one.
His parents had taken the counselor’s advice and sent him to the magnet arts school the next year. Soccer and football weren’t particularly important there; instead, he discovered drama club and debate and he was kind of a geeky star. The memory of Renata faded and there was the occasional glimpse of a sophomore girl’s bra or even a taste of her tongue.
But hypnosis . . . that had stayed in the back of his mind. Every now and then a hypnosis movie would be on late at night—DEVIL DOLL or THE HYPNOTIC I or THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. For weeks afterward, he would envy the victims of the hypnotist. A few words, a few magic passes, and they gave up their wills.
“Why did that appeal to you?”
He was a geek. He was a dork. He thought and brooded and wondered. He was nervous all the time. He had ideas in his head and his friends laughed at them and his teachers told him to be quiet. He had stories in his head and nobody wanted to hear them. Bigger kids pushed him down the stairs; girls laughed at him, or he thought they laughed at him, or he worried at night if they were at their houses laughing at him and every minute of every day he worried that he was doing the wrong thing and that he would get in trouble and one reason he masturbated a lot was that he couldn’t sleep at night because he worried.
The victims in the movie didn’t worry. They just obeyed. No hesitation, no thought. And most of all, no self-consciousness, no awkwardness, no anxiety. He would be happy to live that way all the time.
Then came college, and MFA school, and his first novel. And things were going fine, he was being the person he had decided he wanted to be, the best person that he thought he could be. He met nice girls but he was too nervous to date them and sometimes he was so nervous he drove them away. People liked his books but he always stood on the side of a party feeling. . . self-conscious, awkward, anxious . . . and then one night at a party he met this goddess with tawny hair—neat, buttoned up, but giving off the heat of a powerful engine—who said she was a hypnotist and he thought, “Of course she can’t hypnotize me” but what he was really thinking was “Of course she’d never bother to hypnotize the likes of me,” because life wasn’t like that, you got good things and bad things in life but never the things you really dreamed of. And he’d thought for a moment of how devoted he would totally become to a woman who would let him give up all his concern for himself and just let him obey and serve, how grateful he would be, though of course that could never happen.
And then she looked in his eyes and mumbled a few words and . . . his dreams came true.
Since that night he’d hardly had an anxious moment. He did exactly as she told him and never questioned, because he knew she was smarter and wiser and stronger than he is, that she was his superior in every way. She was his owner, his alpha. Some are born with saddles on their backs, and he was one, and she was born to ride him and the riding did him good.
“Why did you try to hypnotize me, then, if life as my submissive is so perfect?”
Then he heard his own voice, perhaps because the trance was slowly lightening or perhaps because this was the most important thing he had to say: “Elle, I think about you all the time. I fantasize about you all the time. I never fantasize about anybody else. You are the center of my imagination, the center of my life. When I think of intelligence, I think of Elle. When I think of women, I think of Elle. When I think of sex, I think of Elle. Whenever I see or read or think about or remember something sexy—a chick flick I saw in college or a Bogart movie on TV or a pin-up cartoon in an old magazine I think, ‘that would be sexy if only Elle was the girl.’ I can never get enough of you ever and I imagine you in a hundred different scenes and I worship you in all of them, and when I saw the chance to live some of those fantasies I just couldn’t not do it. I am so sorry. Forgive me, Elle, forgive me, I will do anything to make it right, Elle, please don’t send me away again, I could not bear it twice.”
There was a long silence. Louis experienced a weird double consciousness; most of him was totally at ease, like a rag doll, content simply to focus on Elle’s suggestions. The other, smaller part was terrified that he would wake and find her gone and his whole new wonderful life gone—either because he had finally displeased her or because someone so perfect could not exist anyway and it had all been a dream.
But after that long pause, he heard her voice, and it sounded slightly different—thicker, almost honeyed.
“Louis,” it said, “Don’t worry about that. Never again. Never again.”
So he stopped worrying, and that watchful nervous part of him went happily to sleep.
“Now, Louis, listen carefully. When I ask you a question, lift your right forefinger for ‘yes’ and your left forefinger for ‘no,’ understand?”
His right forefinger twitched.
“Louis, yesterday you were a very bad boy. Bad, bad boy.”
He wanted to hide his head in his paws. He had been bad. He was a bad boy.
“But—“ There was another pause.
“But,” she began again, “you’ve been a very good boy this morning. Very, very good.”
He wanted to wag his tail and frisk around.
“One thing that’s clear, Louis, is that you have a lot of fantasy energy that I haven’t tapped yet. I think you should give me access to all your fantasies, don’t you?”
His right forefinger twitched.
“And you know that when I have control of your fantasies I will have even more power over you than I have now?”
“And you want that, you want me to have complete power over you, isn’t that right, Louis?”
“And you know that I can make your fantasies come true, don’t you?”
“And when I do I own that fantasy from then on?”
“Good boy. And when I own your fantasies I own you, do you understand? Nod your head.” He did.
“Now,” the voice was saying. “You need to listen to what I am going to say, because it is important. Very important. What I tell you is true. Everything I say becomes the truth the moment I say it. Do you understand?”
“Good boy. As I speak to you you’re getting younger, going past your birthdays in reverse one by one, and they begin to roll by faster. You’re going to go back to the age of 13, Louis. When you get there, your right forefinger will lift in the air. You’re going back now, back to the age of 13. When you open your eyes, you will be in the office of the counselor your parents sent you to. ”
With no particular regret, he watched much of his life disappear into the future—first his marriage, then his years as a single adult, then college, then high school until . . .
His right forefinger moved.
“Open your eyes, Louis,” said a voice.
He opened them to see, sitting behind a desk, the sexiest woman he had ever seen. “Louis, my name is Renata. The doctor’s running a bit late, so you’ll be stuck out here a while with me. Will that be all right?”
He could barely speak. God she was hot. God he was horny. He nodded his head, choking a little.
“Good boy,” she said. “I’m sure we will get along just fine. Now the doctor likes me to work with the new patients, so I will be helping you out for a while today. But first I need you to help me out. Would you like to help me out, Louis?”
He nodded, his face blushing as red as a fire engine.
She laughed merrily. He knew she was laughing at him. He knew she had seen him peeking down her blouse at her lacy bra. He was humiliated, but at the same time, her laughter was so sexy he had to shift in his seat.
“Here you go, Louis,” she said, handing him a $1 bill. “I just need you to run down to the Rapid Mart and get me a ginger ale. I’m sooo thirsty, you know how that is. You don’t mind, do you?”
He finally was able to speak. “Oh, no. Not a bit. Not—I mean, not at all—I mean, I am glad to—“
That derisive, musical laugh again. “I think I’ve got the idea, Louis. Now, off you go and hurry back, we have a lot of work to do.”
He didn’t want to run all the way to the store, because he didn’t want to come back all sweaty and have her see him that way. He probably couldn’t have run straight there anyway, because things in the neighborhood were in different places than he remembered, or maybe this neighborhood had always been that way and he had dreamed of another one, but he had to look carefully at each intersection to figure out where he was going. At any rate he found the Rapid Mart soon enough, picked up a ginger ale—actually, they had a cold six-pack, so he bought that instead, using his own money, because maybe she’d be impressed that an eighth-grader had his own money, but anyway then the lady ahead of him took forever buying six different kinds of lottery cards and he was fidgeting because what if Renata thought he was a doofus for not coming back soon enough or what if the doctor caught up with her schedule so all the time that Renata was supposed to spend helping Louis was gone, that would be totally lame.
Finally the lady finished with her scratch-its and wheezed out of the store. As she did, she lit a cigarette. “Wait till you get outside!” the clerk called after her, but the lady paid no attention, and exited, leaving a plume of smoke behind her.
“$5.49,” the clerk said. “You want bag?”
Louis all but snatched the sack out of the clerk’s hands and hastened back, anxiously checking his watch as he did so. Naturally in his dreamlike confusion he got lost briefly but finally found his way to the counselor’s new office, and all his effort to be cool was for nothing, he was panting and sweaty when he burst in carrying the ginger ale as if this were an adventure movie and the bag was the antidote for the heroine’s snakebite (if she’d been bit by a snake, he though irrelevantly, it would be his duty to suck out the poison) and he expected her to laugh at him, but she didn’t.
In fact, she didn’t react to his entrance at all. She was gazing into her compact and carefully applying makeup to her eyes. He stopped cold at the sight, as if he’d been struck by lightning. He’d never seen anything so sexy. First the eyes, then she moved on to her lips, carefully applying a bright red lip pencil, and then smoothing out the color and texture with a smudge brush. He could no more have spoken or moved than flown to the moon.
She looked slightly different than she had when he left, as if she had changed clothes, although that made no sense; her skirt was shorter, her stockings were sheer black with seams up the back, her blouse was sheer and showed him the outline of a lacy black bra underneath. She had on impossibly high black patent-leather heels, too; he found himself wondering what they tasted like, which didn’t make sense but this was either a dream or the luckiest day of his life so he just let his thoughts take him where they wanted, which was up those beautiful legs and past the curves, to the low-cut neck of her semi-sheer silk blouse, where he could see her black lacy bra underneath and the tops of . . .
Oh, my God.
“Louis,” her voice said. “I’m up here.”
His face flamed bright red again and when he looked up at her face she began laughing merrily. She had finished applying her lipstick. She accepted the ginger ale absently, as if she had forgotten asking for it. His sacrifice of his own money she seemed to take for granted.
Which was sexy.
“Now, Louis,” she said, or more properly purred, for her voice dropped into a lower, more seductive register. “Sit down by me and answer my questions. You must answer them so the doctor will be able to help you. She asks me to work with the new patients, especially the boys. They seem to enjoy it, do you think you will?”
“Ye-es.” He didn’t dare nod because if he looked down again he’d never be able to raise his eyes to meet hers.
She picked up a notepad from the desk and leaned toward him, holding a pencil. “Let’s get started.”
Oh, my God, the view.
He was lost. He wanted to dive down her blouse and never come up for air. He never wanted the moment to end. He wanted to die right then and there.
Absently she adjusted the neck of her blouse. He followed her hand the way a dog follows food.
“So, Louis Wentworth. You’re . . . 13 years old, yes?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Ma’am! What a dork he was!
“You can call me Renata, Louis, is that all right?”
“Good boy. Now I have to do what is called a social inventory so the doctor understands how you have adjusted to your school situation, so make sure to answer every question I ask with the truth, don’t hold back anything, ok?”
“Do you like girls, Louis?”
“Good. Do you have a girlfriend?”
He blushed. “No, Renata.”
She made a mark on the pad. That was probably bad.
“Do you like to think about girls when you are alone?”
He hadn’t thought his face could get redder, but it did. He was terrified to answer, but she had told him he had to, any anyway he wanted to tell her anything she wanted to know, anything so she would keep talking to him, he wanted to turn himself inside out for her and tell her every secret thought . . . “Yes, I do.”
“Perfectly normal,” she said, making another mark. “In fact, it makes our work here easier. So do you think about girls at night after you turn out the light?”
“Oh, yes, Renata . . . .”
“And when you do, do you ever touch yourself?”
He had trouble speaking, but he finally looked at the wall and stammered, “Y-y-yes, I d-do . . . .”
“That’s a good thing, too, Louis. And remember, you need to look at me when we are talking, don’t make me tell you again.”
He swung his eyes back to meet her gaze. She was tapping her pencil against her lips; his eyes started moving back and forth with the pencil.
“Would you like to think about me at night when you touch yourself, Louis?”
He wasn’t able to speak, but he knew she might be insulted if he didn’t answer, so he nodded.
“Good. Now let’s pretend you’re at home alone in your room.” She leaned forward even more precipitously, and put a hand on his arm; it pulled him slightly forward until down her blouse was the only place he could look, and she could see her breasts in their wisps of lace and his hand moved on its own between his legs and he was touching.
“Good boy,” she said. “Open your pants now, Louis, I need to see how you touch yourself in the darkness.”
He almost tore the zipper in his haste. He was far past embarrassment now. His hand was moving up and down on its own.
“Good,” she said. “Look at my breasts, Louis. Look at them and . . . SUCK YOUR FINGER! NOW!”
His finger found its way into his mouth. He’d never done this before but it felt very sexy and forbidden and he was only 13 so all of a sudden he just exploded, spurting onto the rug, and he suddenly felt that he had done something terrible, that the cops from Hill Street Blues would come to the door immediately and take him away to sex offender hell.
His life was over.
“Good boy, Louis,” she said. “You know what this means? This means the doctor can help you. It’s a very good sign. And it means we can use our new treatment with you. You know about the new treatment, don’t you?”
Not daring to look up, he shook his head no. She handed him a tissue from the box on her desk. “Clean up, Louis,” she said.
He dropped to his knees and tried to dab his cum off the rug.
“It’s hypnotherapy. I put you under and the doctor fixes you.”
Louis began to shiver with excitement, lust, and a general sense that life for a 13-year-old boy did not get better than this. As he cleaned up, he heard her laugh peeling and he was amazed to discover that he was hard again.
“Come back here, Louis,” she said. She took the tissue from his hand and dropped it into the wastebasket. Then she waved him into the chair. “Now, look at my finger—just at my finger—don’t look away . . . . Sleep! Good boy! Now forget all about this, you aren’t 13 any more, you’re in our house and I have a few more instructions for you.
“First, you will never, ever try to hypnotize me again . . . I mean, unless I tell you to . . . and if by any chance you find yourself trying to—tell me, Louis, you were an English major, right?”
“What was the most boring assignment you had in an English class?”
He looked puzzled, then said, “Sydney Lanier’s ‘Song of the Chattahoochee.’”
“Um, oh-kay, whatever. Well, if you are ever tempted to try to hypnotize me again, you are going to start reciting Sydney Lanier’s ‘Song of the Chattahoochee,’ do you understand?’
“Good boy. Now, I have an assignment for you, and you want to do well on this assignment to make up for being a naughty boy yesterday, do you understand? Of course you understand. Well, you are going to go to your study, sit down at your computer, and put into words all the feelings you told me about during our session, all the deep feelings of peace and devotion and submission. When I count ‘three,’ you will open your eyes, remaining in trance, go to your study and start writing. When you are done you will print our what you have written and leave it face down on the kitchen table. You’ll go upstairs, undress, get in bed, and go to sleep until I wake you. One . . . two . . . three! Off you go!”
After he’d gone, she quickly changed out of her Renata-the-Slut-Secretary clothes. She had clients coming in the afternoon, and some of them weren’t much more mature than 13-year-old Louis. She didn’t want them getting wrong ideas.
Later that afternoon, somewhat drained by some tense sessions, she emerged from her office. She wandered into the kitchen for an apple, and saw a thick sheaf of papers face down on the table. She remembered her instructions to Louis and forgot about apples. She had to know. She had to see what he had done with all that deep longing and devotion and worship he had told her about.
She turned over the papers and began to read—then stopped, her eyes widening in disbelief. She turned over the page, then the next and the next. The sheaf was 13 pages long, and each line, each page read
ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE
ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE
ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE
ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE ELLE
She almost threw off her clothes as she climbed the stairs. Lewis was in for a bumpy ride, but one he’d never forget.
Afterwards, when he regained the power of speech, he said, “Does this mean I am forgiven?”
“That depends,” his wife said.
“Who exactly is Sissy Cardini?”