House of Hypnosis
“Are you sure it’s safe?”
The realtor was all big smiles and big hair. “Of course, darlin’!” she gushed. “It’s got more character than a preacher in a bar. And also,” her tone and face morphed into something more practical and frank. “It’s in your price range.”
Alice sighed. Her eyes wandered up the vaulted ceilings, the huge windows, the arch doorways. Character it had, but with character came reputation. “It is a good price. Not even a fixer-upper.”
“Turnkey!” The realtor—Vera? Doreen? Something like that—was back to gusher status. Alice was surprised that the woman hadn’t burst into song by this point. She sighed quietly and wandered into the kitchen, around to the dining room, into the family area—for a family she didn’t have. Upstairs were three bedrooms. “It’s more space than I need. And, I mean. There have been multiple accidents.”
The realtor didn’t even bother to disguise her sigh. “Well, we’ve had all the gas lines checked and fixed the creaky stairs. The bank even hired an expert to come in and look at it. He said it’s fine. I don’t know what else you want.”
I want a house that isn’t haunted, Alice thought. Or whatever’s going on here.
“Can I have a minute alone with it?”
The realtor smiled more aggressively than ever. “Sure!”
Alice climbed the stairs, trying every step. Something had happened here—four disappearances in a row did not a safe house make. It was true that Alice was picky, especially for someone with such a low budget. But come on. She was poor, but she wasn’t stupid.
The bedrooms were large, sunny, staged with stock furniture. Alice had already been through them, but she needed a break from the realtor—Gina? Kristi? Whatever. And she hadn’t checked the closets yet. Maybe something would wow her.
It was hard not to resent Red for dumping her at this exact moment. What the hell had gone wrong? One day they were cuddling on the couch, planning their future, and the next—poof. He wanted to find someone who “understood” him better. “Understand?” Alice had screamed. “How have I been anything less than heroically understanding?” But she knew how. It was mean to pretend that she was ignorant. The week after he’d moved out, she saw him out on a date with another trans guy. Something in her broke—what had she done wrong? She’d read the literature, held his hand through every examination, driven him to and from every surgery. But he looked so happy with his froyo and his new beard and his new friend. The two of them really hadn’t been destined for eternity after all, and after ten good years together, she couldn’t help but wish him well.
Still. It would have been nice if he hadn’t taken his half of the down payment with him.
The bedrooms really were huge. Alice could turn one of them into an office, one into a guest room. Or a library. Or a yoga studio. Or a sex dungeon. The possibilities were extensive, if she could get past the weird disappearances angle. Which she could not. Obviously, she was not buying the multiple-weird-disappearances house, but it was OK to dream. Right? She’d never afford a place this nice.
Running a finger over a bedspread, Alice let herself imagine living here. Walking around naked. Cooking anything she wanted. Filling closets with thrift store finds and resale stuff. Speaking of which…
The closet had a door, which was all right. It had a latch and everything, which struck Alice as kind of intense for a storage space. Maybe if she were serious about living here, she’d replace it with a folding door. Something light. Or just take it off, if she wanted to store merchandise in here. Time to take a look inside. The handle turned easily and the door swung open without a sound.
The sight that greeted her eyes was not at all what she’d expected. Instead of a blank wooden wall, she found herself staring into an empty space, a deep darkness that seemed to draw her down, down, down. The harder she looked into it, the more she wanted to gaze deeper, going deeper down as she put one foot forward, barely even aware that she was moving. She would step down now. Yes. Down. Every step would take her deeper, deeper into the darkness of the house. Deeper down…
Alice jolted out of her reverie and slammed the door. Embarrassed, she realized that she was wet. Why? What had just happened?
The realtor—Cindy?—stood in the entrance to the bedroom, still smiling her Bakelite smile. Alice felt confused and off-balance. “I...uh…” she glanced at the closet, but the closed door looked innocent now. “Sorry, I guess I zoned out.”
“That’s OK! Want to put down an offer?”
“Sure,” Alice heard herself say. Her heart lurched. What was she doing? She wasn’t buying this creepy house! But even as she struggled, the darkness rose in her mind again, and she felt herself drawn into it, walking down an endless flight of stairs, down into darkness…
“I’m so glad!” The realtor chirped, and Alice realized with horror that the deed was done. The realtor handed her the keys. Alice eyed them as though they were a rattlesnake.
“Is this how it’s...usually done?”
“This is a short sale.” The realtor looked smug, pocketing a check—was that Alice’s signature? When had she written that? “You can move in right away.”
And she left.
Alice turned in a circle in the abandoned bedroom, stopping at the closet. Her hand twitched as though to grab the handle, but she forced herself to remain still. The thought of answering the weird call of the darkness beyond sent a tingle and anticipation through her, electric and...erotic.
“I’m not coming back here,” Alice muttered, storming out. But she couldn’t have said who she was talking to.
Her sleep that night was dark, but not dreamless. She felt each step down as a descent into the depths of a different kind of sleep, a comfortable and sensual discovery of obedience and pleasure. Down, down, down. There would be a bottom, but what would be there? Each step emptied her mind, and soon she had no questions, only submission…
Alice woke with a start to find herself in her car. Where was she going? Again, as before when she gazed into the closet, she was aroused, panting with desire. Her thighs were slick with the juices of her pussy, because she was wearing no underwear at all. In fact, she wasn’t even wearing pants. The only reason she wasn’t completely naked was the oversized tee shirt she’d worn to bed.
This was bad. Something was happening to her and Alice was sure it had to do with that house. She was going inside and taking a Valium, and in the morning, she was re-listing it. Angry and horny in equal measure, she threw open the car door.
It was the house. She’d driven here.
For a minute, Alice could only gape. She’d driven in her sleep. How? Well, she was driving back home to the apartment right now. This was another reason to miss Red. He was so grounded. So stabilizing. He would have known what to do. Thinking of him made her chest ache anew. She wondered what he would have seen in the closet, in the deep darkness, the darkness that went down, deep down forever. Down step by step, pulling her into itself as she lost her thoughts, lost her will, learned to feel the deep arousal of entrancement. Service. Submission. Down deeper and deeper, into the darkness.
Dimly, she was aware that she was in the house, in the bedroom, before the open closet. She felt herself step forward and down, and it was right and good. She was good. It was good to obey and step down, down, down. The darkness whispered to her, telling her about what a good slave she would be, and Alice felt herself let go. It was good to listen. Good to listen to Mistress. Good to step down into the darkness, down forever.
Alice barely knew when she had reached the bottom of the depth, where a woman waited in a red-lit room. She was a slim, buxom beauty in a black flapper dress, her red lips a perfect rosette and her eyes deep and smoky. The opulent room, with its couches and books and rugs, was a throne to her.
“Welcome, sweet one,” the woman whispered, rising. “You’re ready for me now, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” Alice heard herself say.
“Yes Mistress.” Alice felt a moan escape her lips as a surge of pleasure nearly brought her to her knees. It was so good to obey Mistress. Mistress was pleasure incarnate.
The woman sauntered toward her, easy and sensual. She ran a finger around Alice’s ear, down her neck, over her hard nipple. Each touch made Alice feel electric in a way she hadn’t since she and Red had first met. The woman cupped her breast through her shirt, squeezing.
“You had a lover, didn’t you, my pet?”
“But you’re glad it’s over now. Now you can be all mine, forever.”
Alice felt her breath catch at the pleasure of it. She whimpered with need—the need to be owned by this woman. “All yours,” she breathed.
With one final, gasp-inducing squeeze of Alice’s breast, the woman pulled her toward the couch. “Kneel, my little slave,” she commanded. Alice threw herself to her knees on the thick carpet. Mistress lowered herself to the couch, her black dress turning to smoke as she did. She was nude, nubile, desperately sexy, and Alice’s understanding the she would now obey only her Mistress filled her with joy.
“Pleasure me now,” Mistress commanded, and Alice’s blank mind eagerly absorbed her intent. She leaned forward and buried her face in the thresh of black hair between Mistress’s legs, her thighs wet, her nipples aching as she nosed deep and licked at the tiny, throbbing clitoris. Mistress sighed, then moaned. Alice drove her tongue into Mistress’s hot cunt to taste her, but could not have described her experience even if she’d been in control of her own mind. Mistress was everything, nothing, the pinnacle of lust incarnate. Now she was bucking her hips against Alice’s face as Alice squeezed her thighs, licking and licking until Mistress came with a scream that seemed to pierce time itself.
When her Mistress commanded Alice to stop, she did. Her mind blank, she gazed, content and unseeing, at the tapestry on the wall, a great snake with jeweled eyes swaying against a backdrop of deepest night. Then Mistress led her away, into a darkness that mirrored what was left of Alice’s own mind.
“Are you sure it’s safe?”
The realtor pursed her lips. “I’d like to remind you that the last owner never actually moved in. We don’t consider her disappearance part of the house’s...history.”
The pretty young woman with grey-blue eyes glanced at her husband furtively. He was frowning at a ceiling beam. “It’s structurally solid,” he announced, as though he’d know. He was a car salesman, Edith thought, suppressing irritation. She’d be shocked if he owned a hammer.
“I’m not sure I want to live in a place with a reputation like this,” Edith said. “Just on principle.”
Charles scoffed. “You hate every house.”
“I—“ Edith clapped her mouth shut. They didn’t need another fight now, not in front of the realtor. Jean-Louise or whatever. She sighed and started for the stairs.
“Where are you going?”
“To see about the bedrooms,” she called, not looking back. Already Barbara-whatever was working Charles over. It wouldn’t be hard to get him to buy. Charles would buy anything. That was why their budget was so tight in the first place.
The master bedroom had an odd closet with a sturdy door. Something about it seemed...off. It should have opened directly into the hallway, for one thing. For another...Edith felt a little dizzy as she looked at it. There seemed to be something beyond it, in the darkness that was most assuredly there, that wanted her to listen. To look. To step down, down, down into the deep darkness of the house, where she could let go and listen, and obey…
Edith put her hand on the knob.