Note #1: While it features no ‘on-screen’ sexual activity or explicit adult situations, this hypnofetish story does contain examples of fictional characters doing illegal, immoral and/or impossible things to other fictional characters. If you are under the age of consent in your community, are disturbed by such concepts, or want sex in your pornography, then for goshsakes stop reading now!

Permission granted to re-post for free to any electronic medium, as long as no one's being charged to view it, and this disclaimer and e-mail address are not removed. It would also be nice if you told me you were posting it.

Copyright Voyer, 2000.

Note #2: This story is set in the same universe at ‘Shades of Night Are Falling’ and ‘Cut Off’, and you should really read them first. It also has instances of both maledom and femdom MC.

For T.E. and Fu.

“Mr. Espy?”

His head snapped up and the already-battered magazine at which he had been staring crumpled even further in his hairy hands. The curly-topped man who was suddenly looming over him smiled widely, displaying an enormous set of very white teeth spaciously arrayed beneath a large pair of sparking black sunglasses. This individual cocked his head and continued.

“Mr. Charles Espy?”

The seated man’s lips moved soundlessly for a moment. He tried to shake his head no, to deny everything and anything. To run away screaming.


“Terrific!” The man’s enthusiasm seemed quite genuine. “Now, Chuck... say, you don’t mind if I call you Chuck, do you?”

“No.” Almost a whisper. Trickles of sweat started running down the back of his neck, each rivulet very cool and distinct despite the heat of the day.

“Great! Chuck, there’s someone who would very much like to have a moment or ten of your time. Would you mind terribly stepping... heh... outside?” The grinning man clicked his wrist and jabbed a gloved forefinger (black, of course) in the direction of the low wooden gate, which stood open to the parking lot of the motel.

Charles somehow ripped his eyes away from the leather-jacketed figure for a moment and spun his gaze around and around the smallish pool area. The scattering of other people there continued to lounge and chat, the handful of children splashing and shouting in the water, all just as if everything was perfectly normal. Just as if there wasn’t a metal-trimmed monster standing cheerily in their midst, right out under the bright sun in broad daylight.

He was getting up from the deckchair, his knees very weak. He was speaking. His voice seemed to be coming from somewhere very far away, pale and scratchy.

“Sure. No problem.”

Why the hell did I do this? Laze around out here in the open like I was on freaking vacation or something? Why didn’t I just keep driving and driving and

They walked to the gate, and out into the parking lot. It was half-full of cars, including Charles’ van, a sad beacon of grimy gray normality standing a million miles away across a black and yellow-striped desert. The concrete was very hot and rough under his bare feet and like his voice it seemed to be a great distance off, as if he was feeling the surface through rubber legs which had been ruthlessly stretched until they were three yards long apiece. The thing’s boots clunked heavily, the only sound now apart from an occasional semi truck thundering past out on the highway.

There were two cars in the lot which hadn’t been there before and which now caught Charles’ undivided attention. They stood in a row nearby, double-parking several other cars. The first was a bulky red pickup truck, jacked up high over a set of enormous black and white wheels and encrusted with a disturbing amount of glittering chrome. Its driver’s door stood open wide, revealing a plush and quite gaudily outfitted cab, filled with an eye-searing jumble of clashing colors and stripes. A pair of oversized pink fuzzy dice hung jauntily from the cockeyed rearview mirror and even at this distance Charles couldn’t help but notice that instead of the traditional round pips the dice were uniformly marked with black skulls, grinning very much like tiny photographic negatives of their horrific owner.

There was a woman sitting at an angle in the cab, in the passenger seat, both her long legs curled up under her in a lotus-like position. She was tall and blonde, and wore a sharply-tailored business suit and slacks. Her golden hair had been pinned up in a classy swirl, and a pair of sleek trendy glasses perched on her nose. The hairdo had started to unravel around the edges and the top two buttons of her jacket had been undone to show the prim white blouse underneath. Her glasses sat at the exact same angle as the dice on the mirror. Her jaw was moving methodically, and as Charles came to a halt and watched, she pursed her shapely lips and an enormous swelling of bubble-gum appeared, ballooning outward. She stared down at it as if deeply confused by it, her deep blue eyes slightly crossed, until the bubble popped messily and she winched the remains back into her mouth for further mastication. She seemed to sense that she had an audience, and she turned to look at him. She flashed him a wide, cheerful and slightly... well... bubble-brained smile that did not fit at all on her well-chiseled features, shoving them into disturbing and unnatural patterns. Something sparkled deep inside her eyes, something that had been implanted there, stamped in place like that smile...

“Yo! Chuck! Over here!” The thing in the jangling jacket waved him towards the second car and he stumbled away from the woman’s mutilated eyes with a palpable sense of relief.

The second car, parked directly behind the truck, was a limo. Charles’ nerves immediately started thrumming again. It was the very antithesis of the other vehicle, low and sleek and very bland, every polished gray line whispering money and status from behind a well-manicured hand, instead of screaming it redly from the rooftops through a gold-plated megaphone. The windows were all heavily tinted, but as the man and the monster approached, the rear glossy-black window closest to them slid smoothly down, revealing the head and shoulders of a very large, very dour-looking individual, a black man who was nearly bald and resplendent in an impeccable three-piece suit. He studied Charles with an unblinking gaze. Even as he did this, for some reason, the sight of him caused Charles to let out a unconsciously held breath and relax, as if some corner of his mind had been fully prepared for something far worse. The man in the car looked down at something for a moment, then spoke to the monster, very cultured and precise, years of education and culture behind every syllable.

“I assume that this is, in fact, him?”

The monster sketched a salute with two fingers. Charles only looked at him out of the corner of his eyes, but, life-long observer of details that he was, detected tinges of both nervousness and sincerity in the gesture.

“That’s him. I told you I could find-”

“Yes. Thank you. That will be all, Mr. Davini.”

“Eh...” For the first time, the thing’s glittering smile faltered, just a bit. As a result, he almost appeared human for a moment. “About my fee...”

The black man examined at ‘Davini’ as would a person approaching a small but particularly noxious insect, rolled-up newspaper clutched grimly in hand. A new voice abruptly spoke up from within the limo’s darkness, and with it Charles’ fear came roiling back up again, along with other things he couldn’t immediately place.

“Louis. Pay the little worm.”

The brain which lurked somewhere behind the black man’s face carefully shifted the face’s features to absolute expressionlessness and brought a long thin white box up into sight, poking it out of the window. The monster gingerly accepted the box, which from its dimensions might have held a dozen slightly-oversized pencils. His smile was definitely strained now. He was just a rather short man with a lot of over-greased hair who wore a black leather jacket. Without further words to the car's occupants he turned to go, slipping the box into a pocket and only speaking out of the corner of his mouth as he passed Charles.

“Been nice knowing you, Chuck.” He moved with a certain deliberate speed to his vehicle, got in and drove away, the tires screaming a little as the truck and its two occupants rapidly disappeared from sight.

The door to the limo gaped open and the black man spoke again, sliding over as he did so. The voice of doom.

“Get in.”

Charles got in, his limbs jerking a little in their frantic and quite useless efforts to go absolutely anywhere else. The fabric of his faded cutoffs was unpleasantly slick against the leather seats, while his bare back immediately stuck in place with a glue of sweat. It seemed as if it should have been the reverse... The door silently closed itself behind him with a soft hiss, and the limo followed the truck out of the lot, out onto the black ribbon of two-lane highway, moving fast and smooth and picking up arrogant speed. The large “Motel 23” sign was visible overhead for a moment, and then they were already beyond the flyspeck of a town which contained that sign. The endless irrigated farmlands outside the car blurred to yellowish-green sameness. Inside the limo, the air was very cool and dry and filled with looming thunderstorms. The black man sat next to Charles, his eyes flat and lizard-like, revealing absolutely nothing. He held something in one hand, a manila folder with the large letters C ESPY typed across it in uncompromising letters.

And across from the two of them sat... another woman. Very reluctantly, Charles turned his attention to her. She sat authoritatively, her legs crossed, a drink in one hand. Much like the now-departed blonde, she wore a business suit with slacks, one which was even more upscale and expensive. It was made up of a thousand edges, each so sharp he was afraid to get anywhere near it, expecting them to slash him to ribbons like a collection of knife-blades.

The suit’s occupant was just as bad. Worse. Her unwavering gaze burned him like a matched set of green lasers, even from behind the pair of mirrored sunglasses that she wore. (Green? How...) Her hair was just as odd, a strange pure shade of fiery red which exploded out from her head in all directions, much like a clown’s fright wig. Like a congealed spray of blood. Somehow, he knew at once it wasn’t a wig and it wasn’t dyed; it was too alive and vibrant. Under that hair, surrounding those eyes, her face was quite attractive but rather thin and as sharply angled as her suit, stopping just short of outright gauntness. There was something vaguely familiar about her features, but Charles couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Of course, the ripples of terror continously oozing through his system did not help with this task. Then the woman leaned forward and spoke through tightly-clenched teeth, and the sense of familiarity flickered again, whispy and around-the-edges of everything.

“What the hell happened, Espy?”

“?” He tried to form a coherent reply and his tongue tangled itself uselessly. She flicked two of her fingers on her free hand, and his neck snapped sharply to one side as if his face had been slapped. Multicolored spots came and went from his eyes. He blinked several times rapidly.

“I don’t have time for your puerile little games, Espy. Where is she?”

She. A tiny bit of the situation became clear.

“I don’t know. She’s just gone.” A odd sudden moment of bravado came up, and he gave into it, rode it, recklessly damning the consequences. “And what the hell business is of yours, anyway? You need an assassin so bad, go hire someone else!”

She froze for a long moment, showing a grimace made up of teeth as white as the monster’s. Whiter, even, with much sharper teeth. The air went very still and cold and he waited for the lighting to start crashing down, crisping him.

It didn’t come. Instead, the woman leaned forward again and spoke, her tone turning his entire spine to an icicle.

“I don’t need an assassin, Espy. I already have an assassin. Did you actually think that people like our dear Umbra just dropped out of the sky from Mars?”

He almost answered that ever since the fateful day when he had first hooked up with Umbra, the stated possibility had in fact occurred to him on more than one occasion. Instead, another question of his own came out.

“She worked for... for you? She never mentioned anything about...”

“Of course she didn’t. But she worked for me nonetheless. In her own way. And so still do you, even though you weren’t aware of it until this moment. I went to a great - deal - of - trouble to make Umbra into was she was. Is. She is a very useful tool, and I do not give up my tools so easily when I still have plans for them. So I ask for the last time, Espy. Where the hell is Umbra?”

“I don’t know! I woke up yesterday morning back in...” He made a helpless over-the-shoulder gesture with his thumb... “ my apartment. There was a... a message from her, telling me... in so many words... to get out of town. So I got. I obviously didn’t get far enough.” The last words were almost a mumble.

The grimace turned itself upside down, becoming a stomach-churning smile.

“You could have scampered off to the moon, Espy, and it wouldn’t have been far enough. I would have found you.”

Another odd surge.

“You didn’t find me. That swell friend of yours with the truck did.”

Another flick, even more vicious. He coughed wrackingly, fully expecting to see blood come welling up between his lips. Nothing. After a moment he could see and think clearly again.

“You are trying my patience, Espy.”

“I... I know.” Charles frowned, fear and puzzlement fighting for the top position in his mind. He held up both his hands and stared at them as if he had never seen them before. “And... I’m not entirely sure why.”

The woman dissected him with her eyes for a long moment, then her own expression changed somehow, or perhaps concealed its truth in a new way. Finally, in a more thoughtful tone...

“Interesting. Very interesting. There’s nothing important in you, Espy. Nothing at all. You are no different than all the other two-legged ants who crawl across the surface of this world... and yet...” She came to some decision. She inserted the glass into a nearby holder and picked up something new from the seat beside her, held it up. He realized for the first time that on that hand she wore a tight-fitting calfskin glove, with something elaborately stitched on the back in tiny jabs of red thread, a single twisting shape. “Look at this, Charles Espy. Look.”

It was a piece of wood, a large knot.

No. The black wood was knotted, yes, but it encased something, it was a branch which had gradually grown around and enveloped an object while still part of a tree. Now it was chopped free and heavily polished, and the thing glinted out between the cracks, a dozen eyes all slick and red and veiny. A dozen eyes constructed out of sex.

Of loyalty.

Of obedience.

Groveling slavery to the Mistress.

To the Goddess.

“NO.” Someone intoned the word, deep and low. Was it him? He didn’t think so. A vast majority of his self wanted nothing more than to be swallowed up by that dripping redness, to be chewed raw and casually spat out when he was no longer of use to his beloved Goddess. But another more ruthless part, his own personal knot of black clutching wood, came rocketing up out of the dirt of his mind like a stalk of bamboo, encasing the redness, forcing it back outside of his head. Mostly back outside...

“Exactly. No.” The woman’s voice this time. “You are not important, but someone appears at some point to have left a little something inside you that is quite important. But who?” She put down the Thing, and he groaned, half in relief, half in despair. Only two or three streaks of the red were left now, but they clung to his mind tenaciously.

“I don’t know.”

“Of course you don’t.” Only mild dismissive annoyance this time. “And until we find out, you’re not going to go toddling off into obscurity, now are you?” Her voice became almost gentle, making it a hundred times more frightening than what had come before.

“No, Ma’am.”

“Good, Espy. Charles. Very good. Now here’s a question you can answer. What was Umbra’s last assignment?”

He shrugged both shoulders, and forced himself to look at the Thing. It was resting on a square pillow made of some silvery material which was heavily embroidered with more of the red-thread patterns. He was disappointed/relieved to see the object now looked rather prosaic, a piece of red glass encased in wood. With an effort, he dipped back into the flow of the conversation and continued it.

“Must have been that Black character. Ma’am. An interested party hired her to off him. That was the last job she had, as far as I know. It was last one she called me in on, anyway.”


“Christopher J. Black, Ma’am. That’s what he calls himself, anyway.” Charles finally tore his gaze away from the Thing and looked around the space of the car for a moment, at the other two people, out at the whizzing colorless blur beyond the windows, trying to find the right words to explain. “He’s new in town. I guess he’s one of... of you.”

“I see. And his address is?”

He told her. Even as he did, the black man had scooped up a black phone from a nearby bank of controls and was punching buttons, issuing terse and inaudible orders to whoever immediately answered. Ignoring this, the woman continued.

“Well then, Charles. Now that we’re done here, I want you to toddle on back to your charming little apartment, and just wait. I’ll find something to keep you busy... at least until we get Umbra back with us, and we find out who has been messing around with my tools without permission. For in your own small way, you are still a useful tool.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” He bowed his head.

She took off her glasses, very calm now, and he saw that her eyes were in fact an impressive shade of green, but it was a relatively ordinary sort of greenness, not glowing, not lasers. He fell into its red-flecked depths, choking and screaming a little as it covered him, flowed greedily into his mouth and nose...

Charles realized that everyone else around the pool was staring at him, a cluster of very cautious stares. He flashed a feeble smile and sunk back down behind his magazine, his shoulders hunched. Must have dozed off, had a nightmare. He scanned back over the article he had been reading, some piece of fluff about coastal sea-life.

Scrawled forcefully across the entire top half of the page was a phrase in glowing red ink:

I’ll be in touch

“Hmm.” He put down the magazine and considered, speaking the soft words thoughtfully to himself. “If she’s going to be in touch, I have to get back to the city. Right away, and stay near the phone. At least with that last payment of Umbra’s, I can afford to take it easy for a while. Live in a little style. Maybe pick up some other bits of business...” He looked around the pool in self-disgust. Fortunately, everyone was ignoring him again. “Why the hell did I ever come all the way out to this dump, anyway?”

He hopped to his feet to return to his room and grab his gear, leaving the magazine behind on the chair. It lay there for a moment, then began to crumple and smolder. In a few moments, there was nothing but a few gray ashes, wafting off the plastic webbing in the warm breeze.

He remembered vaguely that his panicked trip out of town had seemed to be conducted through an endless sea of shifting molasses, hours oozing by in a blink as he stared at the eternally-stretching road and he slowly bent the steering wheel out of shape with his feverish grip. Coming back, a vast favorable wind immediately rose up at his back and blew him and his van scuttling along so fast there seemed to be Doppler shifts at the corners of his eyes, back west to the mountains, up and over them through the appropriate pass, back down into the green rolling foothills and then into the city. It was gray and damp back on the ocean side of the mountains, as the clouds dumped their load before getting over the hump he had just crossed. Even in the rain, he drove easily, steering with just his fingertips, whistling absently along with the radio’s endless string of mindless peppy tunes.

Finally, his street and his apartment. It was late, almost dark. He parked, got out and stretched before sauntering back up the stairs to his third-floor apartment with the first pile of his possessions. As he unlocked and stepped through the door, it rapidly became appearant that something was wrong again. Something new had changed.

The place had been cleaned. Not just the coffee-table this time, but every piece of furniture, every window, counter and corner was scrubbed and dusted. Six months’ worth of junk had been hauled out, and anything that still might be of some use was neatly filed or stashed away. There were the distinctive smells of furniture polish and glass cleaner lingering in the air, along with something else that he couldn’t quite identify. He stood and gawked.

Then someone came out of the bedroom, wearing a pair of cutoffs very much like his, padding on bare feet. Instead of his checkered workshirt, however, she wore a green and gold Sirens T-shirt with the large white number 42 and the name ‘Kowalski’ printed on the front of it. She saw him and her sky-eyes lit up as she smiled widely. More very white teeth. The day, he reflected absently, had been a veritable shark convention.

“Welcome home, Mr. Espy.” Charles gawked some more. She was a petite platinum blonde sporting a burst of oddly fizzed-out hair, her body sized and shaped just the way he liked them, on the slender side but not too slender. Not boyish. Oh, no. Getting no reply, she continued, still smiling. “We cleaned up the apartment for you. I hope that you won’t be too angry with us.”

“I... Uh...”

“Please say you’re not angry.” She came ever so slowly towards him, blue eyes wide. “Please?” Her tone was half pleading, half commanding.

“I’m - not.... angry.”

“Oh, thank goodness. I just couldn’t bear it if you were.” Devout sincerity tightly intertwined with perhaps just the tiniest trace of mockery. Green streaked with dashes of red. She was very close to him now, throbbingly warm and smelling sweetly of some pungent flower he didn’t quite recognize...

His nerveless arms dropped their load with a crash. Something in his camera bag shattered with an expensive-sounding crash.

“Umm... Miss... Who are you?”

“My name is Deedee, Mr. Espy. We were sent here to help you. To keep you thoroughly on the right track. And to keep you busy. Very busy. I’m sure that we’re going to have lots of fun together.”

“We are?”

Her bare arms slid eagerly into place around him.

“Oh yes. It’s going to be very interesting...”

“Interesting....” He pulled himself free, mentally if not physically. “Wait a moment... ‘we’?”

“Yes.” Another voice, another woman emerging of his bedroom. Charles looked over Deedee’s shoulder. For a moment, he was reminded of Davini and his dice. Physically, the new woman could have been a negative image of Deedee; an East Indian of almost exactly the same size and shape (the observer part of him cut in again: bit more voluptuous, not quite as tall...), but with flawless dark brown skin and a fuzzy spray of inky-black hair. She wore cutoffs and was barefoot as well, but instead of a shirt, she had on a dusky red tubetop which pushed her breasts into fine relief. He only gradually became aware that Deedee was whispering something in his ear.

“That’s Trini.”

“Two of you?” He croaked the words. “She... she sent two of you?”

“Yesss...” Trini closed in on him.

“Um... I really don’t think I can handle two...”

“Don’t worry about a thing. Everything will be just fine

Working as a perfectly synchronized team, they closed the front door, locked it, and pulled him unresisting into the darkness of the bedroom.


He lay on the bed, his head propped up on one of the sweat-stained pillows, his bare feet spread wide and sticking out from under the tangled covers. A warm body was curled up on either side of him, their soft curves nestling perfectly against his body, all fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Two hands rested lightly on his chest, one from each side. Deedee snored softly and delicately as she slept, while Trini slumbered in radient silence.

He had never felt this drained, or this alive. His mind fizzed, entirely filled with glowing cotton wool which shifted and formed strange and deep patterns against an endless sky. He lay there for a long time, staring at without seeing the small TV which he had positioned at the end of the bed a few months back. Finally he became aware of it. At some point during the very long and eventful night, it had evidently been turned on, although he couldn’t remember it happening, nor imagine why anyone had thought it necessary at the time. The sound had been muted, but he watched the silent images endlessly dancing across the screen. It was all strange and slightly surreal, as if he had never before truly been aware of just how idiotic the commercials were, how vapid the programming. Messages beamed from a rapidly shrinking world which he had left behind forever in a fast-travelling spaceship. He watched, absently fingering Trini’s hair. An ad for a local car dealership, with a man dressed as a gorilla capering on the roof of a sleek low-slung number, the exact shade of the springy strands currently under his fingertips. Endless spinning trays of pre-processed burgers and fries, the grease beckoning seductively. A trailer for the latest Doctor Fang movie, with Commander Amazing bursting into the shot through an enormous plate-glass window, all golden armor, swirling cape and rippling muscles. A plug for Siren season tickets with that primma donna Harnachek showing off his latest grotesque hairstyle. Finally, the actual program returned.

It was some morning ‘news’ program, staffed by two smiling blonde cutouts with lots of dental work and powerful jaws, a man and a woman. They jabbered silently for a moment, then the screen cut to footage of some kind of officious ribbon-cutting ceremony, being held in front of an unfamiliar glass building which loomed very large and foreboding in the background; only the relentless red letters YP were visible over the building’s enormous doors. The scene was only on the screen for perhaps twenty seconds, but he saw the crowd of notables standing behind the scissors-wielding Mayor. A few he recognized; Father Carnahan from Saint Dympna’s, the local tycoons Milforth and Takamura, a bigshot from Fort Yanderman (General Underwood? Underhill? Something like that...) And last in line...

His heart seized up for an agonizingly long moment. It was Madame Greene, sporting her usual pair of outmoded sunglasses and her red, red lips. No cigarette, though, which was unusual. She smiled at him out of the screen, and he somehow stifled a scream.

The TV cut to a shot of a biplane messily crashing at some airshow back east. Charles lay very still and stared, his heart palpitating.

She hadn’t been the woman in the car. If that had been the case, he probably would have had a heart attack right there and then. But he knew now why the other woman had seemed so familiar. She was... what? Madame Greene’s younger sister? Daughter? Up-and-coming clone? His mind gibbered a little.

I am in way, way, way over my head.

I could try running again.

He formed this last thought only half-heartedly. Even so, at the exact moment he let it flit through his mind, both of the women in the bed with him woke up, again in perfect harmony. They smiled up at him, mixed worship and predatory glee, and they moved relentlessly back into position, resuming the night’s activities and wiping away all thoughts of escape. He again surrendered without a struggle, going down to glorious defeat. The skies opened up and the angels sang.

Ah well... Like my dearest Deedee said. Whatever happens, it will be interesting.

To be continued?

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