The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

“Out of the Black”

Miranda was descending again. They were using the water visualizations this time; Doctor Ballantine told her that it was the fastest way to get her to the edge of the black. Miranda allowed herself to sink into the icy water, picturing her arms windmilling as she swam deeper and deeper into her own mind.

It felt awful, but Doctor Ballatine had already explained all that. “The meditative techniques we’re using,” she said, back at the beginning, “are intended to be therapeutic. This means that we’re going to be going into parts of your deep, unconscious mind that aren’t always comfortable to you. Your mind will throw out defensive measures, images and concepts designed to get you to avoid exploring these regions of your subconscious. Your job is to ignore them and press onward. Remember, you’re always perfectly safe when you’re with me.”

Miranda forced that memory into her mind, using it like a lantern as she swam down through waters that gradually turned a darker and darker blue as she went into the recesses of herself. The office was still there, Doctor Ballantine was still there, but she didn’t see any of it. She wasn’t staring into Doctor Ballantine’s warm brown eyes, she was staring into the icy blue as it turned into shadowy black. Miranda could sense great predators circling around her, sharks and squids and things that swam in waters so deep that they could not be described, but she refused to let them near her. They were illusions, she told herself. Defense mechanisms of a mind that wanted to avoid confronting uncomfortable truths.

“What do you see?” Doctor Ballantine asked. The voice seemed to come from just over her shoulder. Miranda didn’t look around. She knew she wouldn’t see anything. Doctor Ballantine was never down here with her, not directly. She was alone in the darkness. Alone on the edge of the black. The thought panicked Miranda for a moment, and she felt like the suffocating depths of the water were choking the life out of her. She forced herself to take a breath. The water was just a metaphor. It was just a path she created in her mind that led her to her subconscious, no different than the winding spiral staircase or the caverns. They all led to the same place.

“I see the black,” she said, her voice filled with the quiet calm that only comes from utter dread.

It had taken fifteen months to get to this point. It had actually taken Miranda a full month to acknowledge that the black even existed; she was originally just looking for guided meditation, something to help her achieve calm and spiritual focus in her everyday life. But Doctor Ballantine helped her realize that she couldn’t achieve a higher peace if she couldn’t bring herself to explore the lower self first. That was when they began to turn Doctor Ballantine’s meditations inward, visualizing a path down into the inner recesses of Miranda’s soul.

It wasn’t until six months ago that Miranda even glimpsed the black. Every session, she locked gazes with Doctor Ballantine and went a little deeper, a little darker, as deep as she dared until the panic got to be too much for her and she snapped back to reality. Every time, she woke up with her dark hair plastered to her head with sweat and her hazel eyes bloodshot from forgetting to even blink for minutes at a time. But with each session, she built the path like an imaginary landscape in her mind, creating the details until she knew them as well as anything in the real world and using them as landmarks to go deeper into her subconscious.

And then one day she saw it. The black.

It was always smooth in her mind. Not smooth and rippled like polished obsidian, more like a solid wall of perfectly still black water. It loomed over her, every time. Even though Miranda always approached it from above, she always wound up seeing it tower above her head to a measureless height. She could never see the top of the black. It was always bigger than she could imagine. The first time Miranda saw it, Doctor Ballantine had to cradle her for nearly an hour until Miranda stopped sobbing. “What is it?” she remembered whispering, her voice raw with pain. “What’s down there?”

“We won’t know until you pass through it,” Doctor Ballantine had explained, in firm but unshakable tones. “It’s something you’ve repressed, pushed down so deeply that you weren’t even able to admit it existed until you began studying with me. But now that you know it exists, you’ll be able to keep returning until that construct of your imagination no longer holds any terror. And then you’ll be able to enter it and find out what it represents.”

That was six months ago. It turned out that it wasn’t that easy.

The nightmares began only a few days after Miranda found the black. She would wake with the unbearable sensation that something was looking at her, that the still and featureless surface was on the verge of fixing her with an impossible gaze like a vast black pupil that stared up at her from the depths of her own mind. She called Doctor Ballantine nightly, sometimes three or four times nightly, until Doctor Ballantine suggested that Miranda begin staying over at her apartment until their explorations were completed.

The nightmares stopped—or if they continued, Miranda always woke into Doctor Ballantine’s soothing gaze and calming touch that wiped the terror away and replaced it with calm and peace and drowsy relaxation. Miranda found that she slept like a child curled up against Doctor Ballantine’s softness. She stopped wearing clothing to bed after a month in Doctor Ballantine’s place, and they became lovers a week after that. Something about waking up to find her mouth pursed around Doctor Ballantine’s stiff nipples made Miranda feel safe and secure on a level that transcended thought. Some of their sessions began with lovemaking after that, just to keep Miranda feeling warm and comfortable.

But the exploration still didn’t proceed smoothly. Miranda found herself descending into caverns she herself made, tunnels that only existed in her mind, only to be blocked by unexpected rock falls and landslides. She turned from the cavern imagery to an endless trip down a winding staircase, but steps went missing and handrails broke and Miranda woke from her meditations screaming at an impossible fall that always seemed like it could only end with her body and mind shattered at the base of the black.

But the ocean had no tunnels to block. It had no steps to put a foot wrong on. All Miranda had to do was imagine breathing the salt water as if it were air, and she could swim as deeply as she needed to go. She could always find the black. It got easier and easier every time, until sometimes Miranda thought that it wasn’t her finding the black. It was the black finding her.

And then, six weeks ago, she touched it for the first time. The water around the black was also black; by the time she reached the proper depth of trance, Miranda was well past the point where even her lantern could light the way. But she always knew the difference between pitch darkness and the black. It was solid. It was cold. It reflected the faintest shadow of herself, more like the suggestion of a person than an image. Miranda could press on it, and feel a slight brittle crackling under her fingertips like it had frozen in layers. It was real, she knew it was real. The black was in her mind but it was real at the same time.

The two weeks after that day were a bit vague to Miranda.

She remembered getting in her car, driving east until the tank was almost empty without even thinking about where she was going. She found herself in New Mexico, staying the night in a motel that had shutters on the windows and pulling the wardrobe in front of them after they were closed. It didn’t help. The night sky was dark in the desert, but it was nothing as dark as the black. And the black was watching her.

The black watched her while she slept. The black watched her while she woke. Every time Miranda closed her eyes, she pictured herself hovering high above the ocean, poised to plummet out of the sky into a graceless dive deep into the icy waters. And down there, all the way at the bottom of the endless fathoms, the black looked up at her. Miranda grew used to screaming for no apparent reason.

Two weeks of that broke her. She called Doctor Ballantine from a pay phone in Hot Springs, Arkansas and told her the truth. “I can’t get away,” she said. “I can’t get away from the black.”

Doctor Ballantine was so calm over the phone that Miranda almost went into trance right there and then. Maybe she did. Because when Doctor Ballantine told Miranda to come back, she couldn’t stop herself from leaving her car where it was and booking the next flight back to California. “You’ll never be free of it until you confront it,” Doctor Ballantine explained. “Now that you know the black is there, the only way out of it is through it.”

And now, four weeks later, Miranda was touching the black again. Not just touching it but striking it. She had screwed up her courage, let adrenaline transform terror into anger until she was pounding on it with fists that were bloody in her imagination, that she knew from a month of experience would be raw and cracked with psychosomatic welts when she woke. She was screaming in her head, demanding, “Let me in! I need to know what you are! I need to know why you’re there!”

Out loud, though, Miranda was silent. The room was still, the hush broken only by Doctor Ballantine’s voice saying, “That’s it, Miranda. You’re doing so well. You’ve done such a good job. Nobody but you could have gotten this far. Nobody but you could have found the black. You’re the best, Miranda. You’re the strongest.”

Miranda didn’t feel strong. Her arms felt like rubber, and the cracks she made in the endless expanse of the black were already sealing themselves up to the popping sound of unshattering glass. But they healed slower than Miranda could break. A month of effort, session after daily session had splintered away whole layers of the black until she could feel it vibrating and rebounding under her blows. She just had to focus. She had to push everything else aside and keep hitting and hitting until she broke through the black.

She tuned out Doctor Ballantine’s words, hearing them without listening. “You’re so close, Miranda. You’re almost through. You can do this. You found the black, you can force your way inside it. None of the others ever got this close, Miranda. Most of them couldn’t even find the black. You’re the strongest of all of them, I promise. You’ll succeed where they failed. I know you will.”

Something about the eagerness in Doctor Ballantine’s voice sank through the shadowy fathoms, touching Miranda’s mind even at the base of the black...but by then it was too late. Miranda knew it was too late now. She had found the black, and the black had found her. It would always watch her, it would always find her. She would come back to it in dreams, she would come back to it in every shadow. It would break her like it broke the others. (Others?) Unless she broke it first.

Miranda gave the dark wall another hammering blow, and she felt the surface give under her fingers. (Others?) Great glassy shards of material rained down from it, nicking and cutting her flesh as it exploded out in a storm of tiny fragments of black glass. (How could there be others?) She pounded it again, sensing that it was nearly ready to give, praying that her nightmare was nearly over. (It was her darkness. It was her black. How could there be others?)

It was only then, a second too late or an hour or four weeks or six weeks or six months or fifteen months far, far too late that Miranda did the one thing she had never done in all of her sessions with Doctor Ballantine. She turned away from the wall and looked the other direction.

She saw her mind. She saw her own self, her very soul, spread out like a vast panorama in the ocean depths. She saw her thoughts swimming like silvery fish, her emotions swirling like gentle currents. She saw it all, and it was beautiful and sad at the same time. And she saw that her path took her beyond it entirely. Beyond even the depths of her mind to...somewhere else. To the home of the black.

This was always the kind of moment that woke Miranda, screaming and shaking in utter defenseless terror as her mind lost its focus and burst out of the imaginary realm she had created. This was what caused her to lie there, wide awake, helpless against the terror until Doctor Ballantine comforted her. Miranda always thought those moments were the worst kind of horror she could possibly endure. Until now, when she realized she couldn’t wake up even if she wanted to. That was far worse. That was the second worst thing of all.

The worst thing was the sound of glass shattering behind her as something burst through from the other side. From out of the black. Miranda turned again, but this time it was definitely beyond too late.

It was pitch black, glistening black all over. It was more like the shadow of a person than a person, more a suggestion than a reality. Miranda recognized it instantly. It was her reflection. But it also wasn’t. She could see into its cold, calculating eyes, each one with a pupil that was the black recreated in miniature, and she knew what it wanted. She knew what she had freed. The sanity left her in that instant, vanishing like a thunderclap as the thing from beyond the black stalked towards her.

“It’s not me,” she repeated, over and over, stumbling backwards yet somehow unable to move. “It’s not me it’s not me it’s not me it’s not me it’s not me—”

And then she realized that Doctor Ballantine was holding her in place. Doctor Ballantine trapped her with a lover’s caress, pinning her in position as the thing beyond the black reached out with cold dark hands to touch Miranda in its own nightmarish parody of loveplay. The last thing Miranda would ever think for herself was a shock of horror beyond horror at the tender smile on Doctor Ballantine’s face.

“It will be,” Doctor Ballantine said, as the thing beyond the black crawled inside Miranda’s soul.