“Ah, hello, Gloria.” He smiled as the dark-haired woman came into the office.
“Hello, Fred.” She looked around the office, as if vaguely puzzled, then walked over to the couch which stood nearby.
“How are you feeling today?”
“Better. Thank you.” She lay down on the couch, and stared up at the ceiling. He stood up, and rolled the blinds shut on the window, plunging the room into semi-gloom, then returned to his seat.
“Now then, Gloria.” his voice floated from his darkened corner of the room. “You came here because you were feeling stressed. This is your, what.. third visit? Have you been practicing the breathing exercises, like we discussed?”
She nodded silently. Her dark gray gaze stared up intensely at the ceiling fan that spun slowly overhead, her smooth brown hands crossed loosely over her stomach.
“Good. Do you remember how relaxing the exercises are, Gloria? Remember how good they make you feel? Let yourself down into your exercises now. Breath in. And out. In. And out. In. And out....”
Her chest rose and fell in time with his words.
“With every slow, even, breath, ...in and out... feel another piece of that poisonous tension flow out of your body.. Drawn smoothly out of your limbs.... Up into your lungs.... Out of your mouth. Out into the room. Into the air. Dissipating. Flowing away. Spinning away. Spinning. Gone. And now another piece, another knot of tension leaving you... Going out. In. And out. Slowly. And deeply. ....And another..”
The fan twirled as his voice continued on, calm, soothing.
“And now the very last piece of tension is leaving you, is floating away, and is gone... Gone forever... As you breath in.... ....and out. Completely relaxed now. Totally ....relaxed. Totally ....at peace. Limp. Relaxed. Free. No worries, no cares, no concerns. Floating free.. in.... and out....
Her blinking, her breathing, were slow, evenly spaced.
“That’s right. Floating.... softly floating... your limp, relaxed, body is as light as a feather as you breath in.... and out. And now it’s even lighter. Lighter and more relaxed. Always more relaxed. Lighter than air. Floating up, off of the couch, up towards the fan. The fan that spins all of your troubles and pain away... Spins them away forever.”
“Floating free of gravity, free of worry. Free of thought. Floating just beneath the spinning fan, floating on a cloud. A soft, warm, pink cloud. So soothing, so gentle. Feel the tufts of cloud gently caress your body, safely holding your limp, relaxed body high in the air. High in the air. Above everything. Now you’re sinking slowly into the cloud.”
She shifted slightly.
“You’re perfectly safe. Perfectly safe, and calm, and relaxed, and limp. The cloud will never let you fall. The cloud will always be there, as long as you are floating.. You’re sinking into the cloud. Feel the soft, warm, cloud wrap itself slowly, gently around your limp, relaxed, body, first covering your arms and legs, and then your chest, keeping them safe, and relaxed, and warm. Wrapped in a thick pink blanket, all safe, and warm, and... totally relaxed...”
She gave out a blurred sigh.
“The cloud feels nice, doesn’t it? So nice to float bonelessly inside the cloud, and to listen to my voice. Only listen to my voice...”
“Now the first pink wisps brush lightly against your nose, and your mouth. Breath them in. Breath them in, deep into your lungs. The pink cloud is full of oxygen, warm, healthy, life-giving oxygen that smells so good to breath.. in..... and out... It smells like all of your favorite things as you take the cloud’s pure, warm, oxygen deep into your lungs, down into your lungs.. out... out into your fingers and toes... and back again.... In... And out.”
“And now, you’re inside the cloud, deep inside the cloud, floating in the cloud, and breathing the cloud’s pure, rich, oxygen. And listening to my voice. Only to my voice. There is only the cloud... and my voice. No pain. No worries. No memories. No names. No thoughts. Only the cloud. And my voice. Your mind and your body are totally relaxed, totally at peace, as you float deeper.. and deeper.. into the wonderful cloud. You experience only the cloud. And my voice. You think about nothing, remember nothing, but the cloud, and my voice... So good.. So nice..”
“Yes. Now, this is very important. In a moment, I’m going to ask you to think about something else, besides the cloud and my voice. It will be very hard at first, but I have total confidence in you. The cloud and my voice will help you. Focus only on what I tell you to think about. Let all extra thoughts fade away to nothingness. They are utterly unimportant, a mere distraction. Do you understand?”
“yes....” the word slid from her lips. Her eyes were still open, but were no longer looking at the fan. No longer looking at anything..
“Good. As you think about this thing, you will go deeper into the cloud, becoming even more relaxed, and safe, and peaceful..” He paused, then continued. “I want you to think about a woman. She lives outside of the soft, pink, warm, cloud.”
“..outside..?” Her brow crinkled
“Yes, I know it’s very hard to imagine. But even the cloud ends, somewhere, far, far away, somewhere beyond the end of time, and space. It’s very cold, and lonely, and frightening there. But that is where she lives. Aren’t you glad you live safe and warm inside the cloud, where you listen to my voice, and relax..?”
She nodded, silently.
“It’s this woman’s job to.. investigate things. To find out the truth about the cold, dark, lonely cloudless place. She’s very good at her job, very dedicated. And sometimes, to find out the truth, the dark-haired woman has to pretend to be something that she’s not, go places where she’s not always welcome. Now, this is what you need to do. Go deeper inside the cloud, much deeper, and tell me her name.”
“Yes. What is this brave, intelligent, woman’s name?”
“..Selena..” Her voice was just a whisper now.
“And her last name?”
“Selena Dunmayer.. Good. Selena Dunmayer. The more you think about her, the easier it becomes. The more you know about her. Her hopes, her dreams, her fears. All spread out before you. You know everything about her, can remember everything that’s happened to her, up until just a few hours ago. You know her better now than she knows herself...” He studied her carefully.
“This is the most important part, the part that has to be done correctly, but I’m sure that you’ll find it easy, so easy, as you listen to my voice. In a minute I’ll say the word ‘intellect’. When I say that word, you find that you have become Selena. You will still be completely safe, and warm. Your mind and body will remain totally relaxed. You will be deeper in the cloud than ever before, and listening only to my voice, responding only to my voice. But you will be Selena, and you will remain Selena until I say the trigger word again. You will then return here to your cloud, with no memories, no name, nothing but my voice. Do you understand?”
“What is your trigger word?”
“Good. You will become Selena just as she is about to make her report to her.. superior on her current activities. Do you understand?”
She blinked. His voice suddenly took on a louder, more authoritative tone.
“Are you ready to give your report, Dunmayer?”
“Yes, sir.” Her voice changed as well- it was brisk and confident. Sharpness came back into her eyes, although she still looked upward, and her hands remained limply on her stomach.
“OK. I’ve been rather busy since we last talked, so.. remind about the details of your current assignment?”
“Yes, sir. If you recall, I was assigned to check out those rumors about a new high-level prostitution ring operating in the city?”
“One of the department’s sources identified a woman, a Sandra Larrick, as possibly working for the ring. She was followed for a while, but nothing happened. So I was placed in her apartment building, and managed to strike up a relationship with her.”
“Excellent. Good work, Dunmayer.”
“Thank you, sir.” She seemed surprised at the compliment, but continued. “But it wasn’t really that hard. Sandra’s.. such an outgoing, friendly person...” She hesitated. “Sir.. I’m almost positive this was all some horrible mistake. I know you said the source has been reliable in the past, but this time... he must have been wrong, or lying.. or... I mean, we’ve known all along she teaches third grade at Dupray Elementary School! The raciest thing I’ve seen her wear is a sundress. She volunteers at the local homeless shelter.” She shook her head.
“Hmm. Maybe you’re right, but people often have unexpected facets to their personality, particularly in matters of sex.. Any anything else you need to report?”
She squirmed uneasily on the couch.
“What is it, Dunmayer?”
“Well.. sir.. I didn’t mention it to you before, because it seemed so.. silly.. but if I’m to report everything...”
“A few days ago, I was at her apartment, and Sandra commented.. that I looked tense and nervous, and suggested I see her.. a therapist she knew. And she practically dragged me there. To his office.”
“Oh? Anything interesting happen there?”
“No, sir. Like I said, it was all so silly. That’s why I didn’t even mention it to anyone. He just taught me some breathing exercises, and then we left. He was so earnest about it all...”
“Hmm. You’re sure nothing happened?”
“What’s the name of this therapist? We’d better run a check on him, just to be safe.”
“Frederick Mabuse, sir.”
He paused, then spoke in a surprised fashion.
“Frederick Mabuse? The Frederick Mabuse who has an office in the Bloy Building?”
“Yes, sir.. how did you know?”
“Mr. Mabuse has worked with the department on a few occasions. He’s proven to be very helpful. I, and the department, have absolute confidence in him.”
“I.. I didn’t hear about that.. sir.”
“I know. It was strictly on a need-to-know basis. Mr. Mabuse was willing to not discuss the cases with anyone.”
“Dunmayer, I’ve just had a thought. I want you to work with Mabuse on your current case. I think he can give us the breakthrough that we’ve been looking for. The next time you see him, he’ll have been brought up to speed on the case, and will know what to do. You’re to trust him implicitly. He knows what he’s doing. Remember that at all times.”
“Yes, sir. I’m to trust Mr. Mabuse implicitly.”
“Good, Dunmayer. One last thing. Tell me, where are you right now?”
She frowned, puzzled, then gave a slightly guilty smile.
“I.. I’m floating in a fluffy pink cloud, sir. I don’t quite remember how I got..”
“Relax, Dunmayer. Completely relax. That’s not important. All that matters is that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. From this point forward, you are only to discuss Mabuse with me when you are floating inside the cloud, just as you are now. This case is of critical importance, and your soft, warm, pink cloud is the only place which is completely safe, and free from eavesdroppers. Do you understand?”
“I understand, Captain.”
“In fact, unless you are in your cloud, when you talk to me, or anyone in the department or out, you are not to even think of Mr. Mabuse.”
“Unless Mr. Mabuse, and only Mr. Mabuse, gives you specific instructions to the contrary.”
Her eyes fuzzed back over, and she let out another sigh.
“It’s time to come back out of the cloud now. You’re rising up out of the cloud, the cloud is slipping easily out of your lungs. The pink cloud is getting harder and firmer, sinking, returning you safely to earth, your body is becoming heavy again. Heavier and heavier. Sinking slowly back down onto the couch. Still relaxed, and calm, but returning to the world. As the cloud fades away, it takes with it all memories of this conversation. You only remember what you need to remember. All else has vanished. Names returning, thoughts, returning now, all other memories coming back, washing slowly back into your calm, refreshed mind. And now the cloud is gone, along with all memory of the cloud, but the contentment remains, and you are eager to move onto the next stage of the process..”
She blinked rapidly, and sat up on the couch as he flipped the blinds back open. She looked over at him, and smiled. He walked over to her as she stood the rest of the way up.
“Oh! Hello, Mr. Mabuse!”
“Hello, Gloria. Or should I say, Selena?” He smiled. “And call me Fred, please.”
“Oh! I’m so sorry about lying to you, Fred, but during our last meeting I had no idea about your association with the department!”
“I understand. Now, then, your.. um.. superior.. Captain..”
“Frost. Captain Richard Frost.”
“Right. Captain Frost. I’ll forget my own name one of these days.. Captain Frost called me, and filled me in on your current assignment. It all sounds most..” He broke off, seeing her preoccupied expression. “Is something wrong?”
She shook her head.
“No.. It’s just.. you mentioned Captain Frost... and he sounded kinda.. strange.. during our last meeting. Not his usual self at all.”
“Hmm. Well, judging from his phone call, I think he’s worried about this case of yours.”
“Maybe. I guess.” She shook herself. “I’m sorry, Fred. I’m sure it’s nothing. The captain said you might have some ideas about how to proceed?”
“Yes, I do. But first, you have to trust me. Do you trust me, Selena?”
“I trust you implicitly.” She smiled again.
“Good. I’d like for you to lay down on the couch.” He gestured to the piece of furniture, and walked back to the window. The blinds closed with a snap. Selena slid into position on the couch, her hands dropping into place over her stomach. She looked up at the fan, spinning endlessly over her head. Fred returned to his chair, and sat down, crossing his legs. He twirled a pen between his fingers.
“Now, Selena, what I’m going to do today is send you down into a state of deep hypnosis. Does this.. worry you at all?”
She shook her head mutely, still staring up at the fan as it went around and around.
“Good. This is merely the first step towards cracking this case wide open. I want you to just relax, and breath in... and out... in... and out...
Already her eyes had begun to glaze.
Captain Frost leaned back in his chair, which gave a protesting squeak. He glared at the policewoman standing before him. She glared back, in a bland, subservient sort of way.
“So we’re agreed, the whole damn thing was a fucking wash-out? There is no damn ‘prostitution ring’ at all, and we spent a fucking wad of the department’s money so you could follow some schoolteacher around for god knows how long while she dished out slop to some fucking winos.”
“Yes, sir.” Dunmayer said evenly, through gritted teeth. It was good.. sort of.. to see the Captain feeling his old self again..
She paused internally.
Where had that thought come from?
“OK, the whole operation is fucking scrubbed, as of now. I want you to... Dunmayer? Are you fucking listening to me?”
“Fine. I’m re-assigning you to help Sanchez with that fucking mess of his over on the Eastside. You know what’s happening there?”
“Terrific.” He looked down at the paperwork on his desk, then back up. “Dunmayer? Why the fuck are you still in my office?”
Selena left, scowling. The captain had always been such a frigging expert at spreading his bad moods around. Was it her fault that his precious source had fouled up? As she stalked out the door, the phone rang. She slammed the door behind her, cutting off the noise.
Frost answered the phone.
The switchboard operator at the other end of the line cleared her throat nervously.
“Sir, there’s a call for you on line three. He says he’s a.. close personal friend of yours.”
Frost grinned humorlessly.
“Put the fucker on.”
“Hello, Captain Frost.”
“You. I’m gonna find you, you snotty little puss-bucket, and when I do, I’m gonna..”
The voice cut him off, smoothly.
“I take it my previous.. tip.. was less than successful?”
“You could fucking say that.” Frost snarled.
“My apologies. It was, as I reminded you at the time, a rumor. However, to make up for it, here is a fact. Not a rumor. Jonathan Xavier Ricco is.. how do they say it? Back in town. He’s currently staying at the Imperial Hotel. If you hurry, you can probably catch him before he leaves for dinner.”
“Johnny Ricco? The Johnny Ricco?”
Dial tone. Frost stared at the receiver for a moment, then began punching buttons on the phone.
“Harris? It’s me. Get your ass over to the Imperial, ASAP...”
Fred hung up the pay-phone, and turned back to Maria, who stood dutifully nearby, clutching her electronic notepad. They started walking down the street, Maria having to hurry slightly to keep up with Fred’s long strides.
“It’s amazing, really, what facts a man in my position can learn, if he simply instructs his employees to keep their eyes and ears open.”
Maria hesitated, then spoke up timidly.
“Mr. Ricco is.. one of your clients..”
“Yes. He’s also a deadbeat when it comes to paying, and far more importantly, he.. was evidently incapable of abiding by the simple rules I lay down with all of my clients. After what Clara went through during his last visit, it was time to terminate our relationship.” He walked grimly along in silence for a moment, then smiled, and gave Maria’s side a casual stroke. She shuddered in mild ecstasy. “Besides which. It’s all a lot of fun. Yin and yang, as it were. Build with one hand, destroy with the other... And I now have my own source, as it were, in the city police department. Which is of course why I set this whole affair into operation to begin with..” Another pause.
“And once she’s finished her therapy, I’m sure we can find some other uses for Ms. Dunmayer as well..”
Maria smiled happily, and relished the burning sensation between her legs.
Selena stood in the center of the elevator, looking up at the flickering floor numbers with calm gray eyes. A faint smile crossed her lips. One hand hung loosely at her side, the other rested casually on the purse hooked over one shoulder. Outwardly, she was calm. Glacially calm. Under her blandly tasteful coat, her dripping cunt throbbed and pulsed and burned with eager desire, pulling her body forward, homing in relentlessly on the nirvana that waited for her in Room 542 of this very hotel. Tonight, she would be allowed at long last to crack the case to which she had been assigned so very long ago, and rise for a few precious seconds back up inside the pink cloud, the wonderful, orgasmic cloud that wrapped her mind and body in total security, total peace, total joy. The cloud that touched her with the fingers of, spoke with the voice of..
Someone. Someone she loved and worshipped and feared and lusted after with every particle of her being.
Someone whose name she was not even allowed to remember.
The elevator stopped, and the doors slid open.
She stepped out into the hall, her feet carrying her sedately along, when she wanted to tear off every last stitch of her clothes, and run screaming to..
Room 542. It was before her, and traces of pink mist began to wisp past the corners of her eyes. She knocked, her fist thumping hollowly against the wood.
After an eternity, the door creaked open, revealing a pudgy man in an ill-fitting suit.
Selena smiled at him, and spoke. She couldn’t hear what her mouth said; her ears were suddenly filled with a massive throbbing sound, powerful, unending. His mouth opened, and replied. Whatever he said, her body approved, and stepped into his room. The door closed behind her.
There was a rapid jumble of images and sounds, flickering their way out of her clothes, across a motel room, and onto a bed..
And then she was in the cloud. Floating in a pink cloud of ecstasy.
Someone else’s cock was inside her, deep inside her, and she loved it, but more importantly, for a few seconds, she was floating free.
Floating in the arms of her Master.