The Fraternal Order: Part I (remastered edition)
characters & content copyright © 2020 firstname.lastname@example.org. This story will
not be reproduced in any form
would like to thank Dmuk for his contributions to the original tale (as written
back in 2008). This includes his creation
When hearing the words fraternal temple, one might envision a grand construction built of sandstone or white marble; it could feature Greek columns and a pointed pediment, or even sharp spires rising up to the heavens. The building where the Order of the Pygmalion’s held their secret council meetings was anything but…
Dubbed The Muse, the medieval-looking edifice was located directly behind the main faculty building and just down the hill from Glendale’s massive sports complex. Constructed in 1894, the rather gloomy design mimicked the many other neo-gothic styled structures on the campus grounds. The exterior surface comprised of rough cut bluestone trimmed with orange brick and terra cotta. Arcaded porches and two lofty watchtowers with crenelated roofs added to her castle-like feel. The Muse lacked windows of any sort, and there was only one (known) entryway; through the thick wooden door in the small vestibule out front. Little dome cameras dotted her exterior, keeping an eye out for any unwanted visitors. Strangely, no one was ever seen entering or leaving the mysterious structure, which only added fuel to the long-standing rumors…
In time, The Muse became part of local legend; wary students and concerned citizens alike often speculated about the immoral activities that might be taking place inside. As one resident pointed out, “Add some missin’ coeds into the mix, and you have the plot of a durned good B movie!”
They say that gossip tends to be far more exciting than fact, but what if those rumors turned out to be true?
5:45 AM, the girl’s floor of Weston Hall, approximately one month ago:
Allyson Ling rolled over in bed and slammed her fist against the snooze button before it awakened her roommate. The Chinese-Filipina winced at the bright red glow of the offending alarm clock…
“Grrrr,” the sophomore growled beneath her breath. She flung back the covers, sat upright and looked over at the bed where her roomie lay. Liu stirred beneath her comforter, expelled a brief sigh and settled back down into sleep, the minor disturbance seemingly forgotten.
Ally frowned in the near-darkness. I’d give anything for ten more minutes of sleep. The nineteen-year-old soccer star tried to recall a motivational quote their coach once said. Something about having to sacrifice short-term pleasure to achieve long-term success…
Ally got out of bed and tiptoed across her dorm room floor in nothing but a wrinkled Glendale Soccer tee and her “Hello Kitty” undies. The American-born student turned on a small desk lamp in hopes that it wouldn’t disturb Liu from her peaceful slumber. She quietly undressed in the dim light and exchanged her casual sleepwear for her spandex running gear. The young woman pulled on a pair of black leggings, ankle socks, a sports bra and her pink crop top. She slipped her runners on next and made a sour face as she bent over to lace them up...
Yuck, I can actually taste my morning breath! Ally envisioned her late grandmother, pointing a finger and spouting, “A bath refreshes the body, tea refreshes the mind...” It wasn’t like there’d be anyone else on the running trail at this early an hour. There was no sense in showering either, as she’d just be all sweaty all over again. Sorry, nana, but cleanliness will have to wait and we’re all out of tea…
Ally slowly turned the door knob, let herself out of the room and then gently closed the door behind her. She turned around and immediately jumped at the sight of Vladimir, the creepy custodian, as he exited the women’s bathroom! Dressed in his stained coveralls and work boots, the janitor looked equally surprised to see someone standing there...
Vladimir grabbed a fresh roll of toilet paper from his maintenance cart, raised it up and assured, “Just checking paper!” He then held the bathroom door open for her and offered, “You need to go, da?”
“Um, no thank you,” Ally declined before issuing a harried, “Excuse me!” The girl performed one of her legendary soccer moves, a left-to-right fake, and quickly sidestepped the old man before he even knew it. She walked at a brisk pace towards the nearest exit door, and as she stepped outside, she couldn’t help but wonder: What if I ‘d been in the shower? …Or even worse (gulp) — using the toilet? There had been numerous complaints filed by other girls in the quad, but administration never seemed to do anything…
Heaven forbid they have another scandal on their hands.
As Ally made her way across the grassy courtyard, those worries soon faded, her attention diverted away to her pre-run warm-up. The young athlete began by performing a dozen squats and walking lunges, followed by some hamstring stretches. She bent her right knee up and grabbed hold of her ankle from the outside, before pulling her foot all the way back against her right buttock. Ally remained perfectly balanced on one foot, counted off to ten, and then switched to do the left side; she repeated the same steps several times. The player finished her routine by extending her arms straight out behind her back, palms pressed together and with fingers interlocked; she raised her limbs up and away from her trunk just as high as they could go. With her back deeply arched and her neck craned all the way back, the athlete looked like a hood ornament from a 1936 Cadillac…
Ally broke out of the position, shook the remaining tension out of her arms and legs, and then rolled an elastic hairband off her wrist. She pulled her tangled black hair up into a long ponytail and then made her way over to the running path. The young woman started out in a slow jog for the first hundred yards or so, but as she found her rhythm, her powerful legs began to lengthen their strides...
In less than ten minutes time, Allyson found herself on the opposite side of campus. The area was isolated, with nothing but athletic fields, a pair of soccer nets, and some old blocking sleds, all enshrouded in the early morning mist. The concrete sidewalks had turned into dirt paths, the noisy hum of air conditioning replaced by sounds of nature and the steady trot of her footwear. The girl was in her element, and she truly valued moments like this; her morning run was the only time that she had to herself anymore. It also gave her a chance to think about the other thing…
In addition to being a first string center midfielder, Ally maintained a 4.0 GPA over three semesters, which proved to her detractors that she was no slouch in the classroom either. However, with such impressive credentials to back her up, the star athlete felt as if she’d outgrown the lesser-known college. The player shocked teammates and coaching staff alike, when she admitted that she’d recently visited the Stanford campus and was looking into a transfer…
The idea didn’t sit well with school administrators either. It was shortly after when odd things started happening. First, her phone and laptop were hacked. Then the battery shorted out in her car, which sparked-off a fire that caused extensive damage and rendered it a total loss. Forced to walk wherever she went, there were times when Ally had this strange sense of being followed. The creepiest incident of all had to be the note; someone had slipped a mysterious black envelope underneath their door while she and Liu were away at classes. Luckily, Ally had gotten back to the room first. She picked at the wax seal on back and found a note inside with two extremely disturbing pictures tucked within its folds. In one, she and Liu are lying naked in bed, arms and legs intertwined and with their mouths lip-locked together. She’d heard of sleepwalking, but sleepy sex? ...For god sakes, she thought, how did we both end up naked in the first place? Sure, they’d gotten into the wine a few times, but neither of them “swung that way” or even reached that level of drunkenness. The second image wasn’t quite as filthy, yet it was equally troubling; both of them were naked again, this time holding hands as they stood side-by-side. They both looked expressionless and completely out of it as they gaped at their unknown photographer. “…Like two glassy-eyed dummies staring out a display window,” was how one of her teammates put it. The few people that she dared show the pictures to agreed they were “way too good” to be photoshopped. Ally didn’t dare show them to Liu; the poor thing was under enough duress with her studies already; something like this would surely push her over the edge.
Then there was the note itself, oddly short, but written with perfect script. It warned, “It would be a shame if these were to find their way into the wrong hands. Don’t let one bad decision ruin the rest of your life.” The note was signed, “Those Concerned for Your Well-Being…”
Ally didn’t know whether the pictures were just a cruel prank, or if she should be legitimately worried. Additionally, she couldn’t explain why or even how they came to be in the first place.
The sooner I get outta here the better, the girl reasoned.
Allyson had progressed from the grassy playing fields to the hilly maze of cross-country trails that snaked through the woods above campus. She’d run this particular line dozens of times and she always felt safe; the surface was broad and well-compacted, allowing a runner to glide along with ease. She was on the trail for nearly ten minutes, when she reached one of the few unnerving parts; here the woods grew thick, the open path narrowing into a blackened tunnel framed by thousands of trees that blotted out the light. Even Mother Nature grew eerily silent; the only sounds Allyson heard was her pulse pounding in her ears, her labored breathing, and the steady rhythm of her cross trainers as they hit the ground. The forest loomed in all around her; it reached out with a thousand grasping fingers, and it made her run faster than before. When the sophomore finally emerged from the other side, she couldn’t help but chuckle at herself for being so foolish.
Sometimes you just crack me up, girl.
It was only twenty yards further when Allyson’s shoelace started flapping back and forth against her ankle. The girl cursed inwardly for not double knotting them… Of course it would come loose; you were in such a hurry to leave, dummy! The athlete broke her stride and eventually came to a stop in the middle of a field where she was surrounded by tall ryegrass. Ally stood there for a moment, hands braced on her hips and with her chest heaving. She let the euphoric sensation of “runner’s high” wash over her trim body and thought; now this is why I run. The girl knelt down on one knee to retie her shoelace, and as she did so, she heard the sound of a branch snapping underfoot. Nature rustled, and a cluster of frightened birds suddenly exploded from the treetops, their wings fluttering madly through the air…
Ally’s head shot up; her sight was completely obscured by the thick weeds, so she listened closely to her surroundings. She glanced back down at her runners and quickly yanked the two loops tight, before standing upright in the path. The athlete looked around with suspicious eyes; she studied the hazy tree line and watched for any sign of movement: a young deer, squirrels playing―anything! There was nothing to see but woods and dark shadows…
Better get going.
Allyson resumed her morning run. She advanced another forty yards or so when someone emerged from the weeds up ahead. The hooded figure was indistinct at first, and as they stepped into the middle of the trail, Ally stopped short in her own tracks…
The two just stood there for a moment, sizing each other up like two gunfighters in the old west...
“Allyson Ling, is that you?” the stranger finally asked. The voice sounded feminine and oddly familiar…
“H-hello?” Ally replied breathlessly. She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes as she tried to identify the person that spoke…
The woman was wearing dark sweats and a matching pullover. She lowered her hood to reveal herself, and her skin looked pallid in the eerie half-light as it filtered down through the trees. Her hair was dark as coal with a thin white streak down the side, the thick bangs cut straight across her pasty forehead.
“Allyson, my dear… it’s me; Mrs. Kessler!”
“Mrs. Kessler?” repeated the confused runner with a squint of her eyes. It wasn’t long before she recognized the student advisor; her rather unusual appearance spawned crude nicknames like “The Wicked Witch” and “Mrs. Munster” but such terms were only spoken in lowered voices and well beyond her back...
“So… what are you doing out here?”
“Oh, just out for my morning walk,” replied the student advisor as she casually sauntered in Allyson’s direction.
“This early in the morning?” the girl questioned with a sense of doubt.
“Oh, absolutely; a good walk really gets the blood flowing before the start of a long school day.”
I run six days a week; seems like I would’ve seen her out here at some point, reasoned the athlete to herself.
“Hey, since you’re here; there’s something that I’ve been meaning to speak to you about.”
Oh crap; here it comes!
“So, I hear that you’re considering a transfer to Stanford,” the woman probed, a look of concern quickly spreading across her face. “You can’t be serious?”
“Yeah, well… I’m thinking Stanford is a better choice at this point,” Allyson admitted. Her voice cracked when she’d said it, and she could already feel her cheeks burning beneath Kessler’s glare.
“We need someone with your talent in our soccer program,” the woman reminded. “Your teammates― Heck, the entire student body is counting on you to get us into the finals again next year; the reputation of this fine Institution is at stake!”
“I know that, but I have to do what’s best for me, and―”
“Nonsense!” the woman interjected. “This University invested a lot of time and effort into you and your education. We recruited you out of that Podunk town, gave you everything you ever asked for, and this is how you repay us for such generosity?”
“Look, I’ve enjoyed my time here at Glendale, and I really do appreciate everything that’s been done for me… But I outgrew this place quite a while ago…”
The advisor glowered at her with fire in her eyes. She pointed an index finger and snapped, “You ungrateful little twat!”
Allyson gasped in shock.
“…I came out here hoping to talk some sense into you, but it seems that your mind is already made up!”
“Well it’s my decision to make, not yours…”
“What a pity,” countered the advisor. “You know, I can recall my own stubbornness at your age; that constant need to better myself― I suppose I still feel that way to some extent, only now I know how to play the game. Unfortunately for you, the game has come to an end...”
The woman looked beyond the girl’s shoulder and made a motion with her hand. “Coach, would you care to join us?”
Allyson heard a rustling in the weeds behind her, and she spun around 180 degrees...
An older man with a salt and pepper crew-cut and stocky build stepped out on the path. He was dressed in a dark hoodie and sweats, with gym sneaks on his big feet. The particularly odd item was the steampunk style goggles that covered his eyes…
Allyson thought she recognized the man as Coach Walker, Glendale’s athletics director and head coach of the gymnastics team. He had a reputation for driving his athletes above and beyond, and for dedicating his entire life to the so-called “Program.”
“Coach… Walker?” Ally questioned in confusion. “What are you doing out here?”
“Hello, Allyson,” the coach greeted. “It’s a damned shame that it’s come down to this, but I’m afraid it’s the only way…”
“Sorry that it comes down to what?”
That’s when the man started to wind-up some sort of camera that was old and outdated-looking. It had one of those dish-like flashbulbs at the top like reporter’s used back in the black and white movie days…
Allyson slowly back stepped away from the man, a look of fear showing on her face. She considered running in the opposite direction, but as she turned around, she saw that Mrs. Kessler had donned a similar pair of goggles…
“It’s time for your last lesson, Miss Ling!"
The counselor lurched ahead; she grabbed the coed by both arms and roughly spun her around 180 degrees.
“What the hell!”
Allyson was facing Coach Walker, who, for some unknown reason, was aiming the camera directly at her.
“No! Get away from me!” Ally cried out as she struggled against the advisor’s hold. The spry athlete thrashed and kicked, but she was no match for her cunning assailant; the older woman increased her grip and interlocked one of her powerful legs around her victim’s thigh.
“TAKE HER NOW, DAMMIT!”
There was a loud “KA-CHOOF” and the most brilliant flash turned the entire world into white.
Allyson tried to scream, but no sound came from her mouth. The searing brightness lingered on in her retinae for a long moment, at one point only allowing for a faint, ghost-like image of the coach and his camera to reappear. Then he too faded into nothingness. Everything seemed to slow down, like the entire universe had taken a deep breath and was holding it in. She tried to retain the strange impression, to try and sift through it and figure out what it all meant, but the idea slipped away, and it took Allyson along with it...
Mrs. Kessler felt Allyson’s body stiffen beneath her grip the very moment the bright flash occurred; she waited for the reverse image to fully dissipate and reveal her suspended prize. The woman leaned in, her parted lips pressed up tight against the athlete’s ear. She whispered, “I hope you enjoy your long plummet into total obscurity, my dear.” The advisor flicked her tongue out at the coed’s earlobe, took a step back, and left her to stand frozen in the middle of the trail…
“Christ almighty; I thought she was never going to show up!”
The advisor made a sour face at her partner-in-crime. “Let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet; we still have to get her back to the lab before students start going to classes...”
“Good point,” replied the coach. “Guess it’s a good thing she didn’t oversleep, eh?”
“That’s just one of Miss Ling’s qualities; she’s so focused and determined that I knew I could count on her sticking to her morning routine.”
The coach leaned in close to the girl’s chest and took a long whiff. Ally just stared ahead, her face still expressing the fear that had been swiped from her mind.
“I think this one’s gonna need a shower.”
“I’m sure the doctor gives all of them a very thorough bath beforehand.”
“Where do I sign up for that job,” the coach joked, before handing the woman the camera.
“Well for starters, you’ll need a doctorate in electrical engineering and a master’s in chemical engineering...”
“Sorry I asked.”
The coach stepped in behind Allyson, his growing manhood opportunely nestled in between the twin humps of her athletic ass. Acting swiftly and methodically, he folded the girl over like a jackknife, circled around to her front, and then hoisted her up over his shoulder. He gave the girl’s bent posterior an appreciative little pat, turned to his partner and then motioned with his hand, “After you, ma-lady.”
“Ooh; what a gentleman,” Kessler replied sarcastically.
The pair treaded through the high weeds and thick undergrowth that surrounded them. Allyson’s ponytail swayed back and forth with every uneven step as her unseeing eyes stared into the coach’s back. A staff golf cart sat hidden beneath some camouflage netting and broken branches just beyond the tree line. The coach set Ally’s body aside for a moment to clear away the debris. Before long, the pair had stuffed their prize into a large white laundry bag, placed her across the back seat, and then secured her in place with some cargo straps. Within fifteen minutes, the girl would be deposited at a secret location in the middle of campus, her plans of transferring to Stanford long forgotten...
* * * *
Women’s locker room, Glendale Gymnasium, one month later:
It had been another exhausting workout for the Glendale Gargoyles cheerleading squad. The locker room saw a flurry of activity immediately after, as a steady line of naked bodies flowed in and out of the communal showers. Their giggling voices echoed loudly of the walls, as teammates exchanged bars of soap and bottles of shampoo. Others were wrapped-up in white towels with damp, stringy hair; their bare feet pitter-pattering as they waddle like penguins to their assigned lockers. A few shared naughty tales of horny frat boys and crotchety den mothers who never seemed to understand…
The one thing they all had in common was the ongoing buzz of the feeling of victory. Having won the state championship exhibition only a week ago, the squad was now the pride of campus and the talk of the town. It was their hard workouts and their strong sense of camaraderie that got them there…
The “face” and de facto leader of the Gargoyles squad was Alicia Dewitt. The head cheerleader emerged from the steamy showers, making an entrance that rivaled that of Kelly LeBrock’s in Weird Science. She moved across the tiled floor with effortless grace, commanding the attention of every eye, (even the two naked girls trying to whip each other with their towels, took a step back to let her through). When Alicia reached her locker, she shed her own towel, her pale body still glinting with moisture. The redhead rubbed herself down, her unrestricted breasts swinging and bouncing in counterpoint to her swift movements. The senior tossed her towel aside, reached for her cheeky panties, and stepped through each one of the leg holes. She drew the pink undergarment up over her creamy thighs, wiggled her hips into place, and let the waistband snap against her firm tummy. The girl then reached into her locker, retrieved a matching bra, and weaved her arms through the narrow straps...
Shawna Parker was the next to emerge from the steamy showers; the sociology major was completely bare, save for the cotton towel wrapped around her head. “Hoopz” was a tough inner-city kid who’d earned her nickname playing basketball in the mean streets of Brooklyn New York. Her cocoa-hued skin glistened beneath the lights as she sauntered over to her locker and opened the door…
“Hey, Hoopz; a few of us are going over to Pizza Hub for supper, wanna come with?”
The invitation came from a girl that was seated on the bench at Shawna’s left. Lana looked up at her with beautiful green eyes, the expression on her youthful face bright and expectant...
“Not tonight,” Shawna responded as she wiped herself down. “I’m pretty beat, so I think I’m gonna call it a night.”
“What about you?” Lana asked their team captain.
“Think I’m going to grab a salad at the dining hall,” Alicia replied. “I’d like to get back to the dorm and get some early studying in for my finals… ‘Cause it sure won’t happen during the break.”
“I might be up for a lite salad,” Shawna remarked as she bent forward and pulled a black thong up over her toned legs.
“Hey; has anyone heard anything new on Jamie?” asked a girl named Claire. The petite blonde was facing a mirror and adjusting the knot in her tie; she made sure it was perfectly centered in the collar of her shirt per school regulation.
There was a collective “No” from several of the girls.
“Then someone should probably call her parents to see if she’s alright.”
“Yeah, but I really hate to bother them,” Alicia confessed. “I know she was homesick, but I still find it hard to believe she’d drop out of college over her boyfriend.”
“Maybe she caught that bug that’s been going around,” Lana suggested as she tied the shoelaces on her black Mary Jane’s. “A couple of girl’s went home already, including Allyson Ling.”
“Ally must really be sick; that girl been gone for nearly a month,” Shawna surmised as she hooked the two halves of her frontloaded bra in place. She adjusted her boobs so they stuck out of the lacy cups in big squashy semi-circles, and then reached in her locker for her white Oxford shirt.
“As long as I don’t catch anything before the break,” Alicia warned. “I’ll be down in Miami and puking in the damned ocean if I have to!”
“Y’all gonna be pukin’ anyway!”
“Yep, and you’re gonna miss it!”
Alicia gathered up her backpack and gym bag, hoisted them over her shoulder, and then shut her locker. She swung each of her long legs out over the wooden bench and stood there waiting for Shawna to finish...
“I swear you’d take forever if I let you.”
“Relax, girl; y’all know this kinda perfection can’t be rushed!”
“…But we’re only going to the dining hall.”
Shawna just rolled her eyes as she continued to pick and poke at her cornrows. After a long moment, she gave her reflection one last check, blew herself a kiss, and slammed her locker door.
“Aiight, we ready.”
Alicia headed off toward the exit with the four closest members of her “squad” falling in behind her. As the group shuffled by their instructor’s office, each one waved goodbye through the opened door.
“Have a good one, Coach.”
Shawna poked her head through the doorframe and threw up two fingers. “Peace out, Ms. Jackson.”
“Enjoy your evening, ladies,” their coach replied.
Ms. Jackson sat there and waited for the telltale hiss of a hydraulic door closing. After a moment, she slowly swiveled her office chair around to face a stocky figure wearing a Glendale University tracksuit. The man was seated in the back corner of her office, partially obscured from view by a row of file cabinets...
Coach Walker had turned off the secret video camera the moment the girls started walking towards the office. The dome lens was hidden behind the grill of one of the overhead exhaust vents, allowing him a bird’s-eye view of the entire locker room. The coach could watch the girls as they got undressed, as well as listen in on their private conversations…
The man looked over at the cheerleading coach and assured, “We appreciate the tip, Famke; I’m sure the Dean will be quite impressed.”
“Anything I can do to help, Mr. Walker.”
* * * *
Antioch Dining Hall, that same evening:
Alicia and Shawna made their way towards the dining hall, discussing their spring break plans as they did so. Shawna spoke of her single mother back in Brooklyn and how much she was looking forward to visiting home. Alicia bragged about how much fun she, Claire, Karolina and Zala would all be having down in Miami Beach…
“There’s gonna be sooo many hot guys there, it’ll be epic! You sure you don’t wanna go?”
“Nah, I need to see my momma.”
“Try and picture it; your toes in the sand and a cold drink in your hand… the sun shining down…”
“Oh, I can definitely picture it, but I really need to get myself on home.”
Alicia reached for the cafeteria door and held it open for her teammate. “After you, my Queen...”
Shawna fanned herself with her hand and in a self-important voice she asked, “How shall my peeps survive the sandy beaches of Florida without me?”
Alicia rolled her eyes and answered, “I'm sure we’ll manage after the first margarita or two.”
As the pair laughed (perhaps a little too loudly), they drew the attention of a group of girls that were seated around a table…
“What do you suppose those two bimbos are laughing about?”
The comment came from a girl named Sloane Peters who was dressed in the mandatory school uniform. As an outsider, the girl liked to push the boundaries with her dark lipstick and wild two-tone hair. A similar “Nu-Goth” look was shared by several others seated around the same table…
“It’s bad enough they get all the hot guys on campus,” remarked a thickset raveonette with pink streaks in her hair. “After winning that stupid championship, I’m sure they’ll be getting plenty of other benefits as well.”
“I heard the Jockettes get to leave early for break as a little bonus,” Sloane complained.
“That’s not true, is it?”
The question was directed at a wiry, straw-colored blonde seated at the head of the table. Karen Hunter was not only a respected member of Glendale’s Cross Country Team, but she was a senior as well. She held court over the table of fashionable misfits…
“You do get certain benefits when you’re an athlete, especially if you’re a successful one.”
“What kind of benefits are we talking about?” asked the big girl.
“Oh, just the typical stuff.”
“Well, you can show up late for class repeatedly and no one will ever say a word… Even skip an entire day without being written up… More importantly, there’s the grade-fixing.”
Sloane rolled her eyes in disgust and grumbled, “God, I hate those stupid bitches!”
Karen looked around with a bit of caution, just to be sure that nobody might overhear her. She leaned in close to tell her friends the story…
“So during my freshman year, we were getting ready for this big cross-country track meet against Arizona State. Coach signed a bunch of us starters up for this intramural program that was meant to improve our physical stamina. It involved some sort of electronic gadget they slipped around your neck― some real sci-fi shit. There were secrecy waivers you had to sign and everything.”
The other girls at the table looked at Karen with disbelief.
“So we went through with it. When it was all over with, some of us… Actually, all of us felt like something was a little, well… off.”
Sloane’s attention perked up. “What do you mean by off?”
“Off, like we’d all been drugged or something.”
“Funny thing is; I don’t recall much else about it. I do remember that we won the meet and got to miss classes for a few days…”
A nerdy-looking Middle eastern girl named Priyanka pushed her clunky glasses up higher on her nose and mentioned, “My friend Miley is on the softball team; she attended one of those intramural programs for a week. They made all of them wear those choker-type things, and she couldn’t remember what happened to her there either.”
Sloane gave the girl a sour look. “What do you mean she can’t remember? How the fuck does someone forget an entire week?”
“All I know is that Miley started having nightmares about it; she keeps waking up in the middle of the night― it’s totally freaking her out! She started seeing the school psychologist about it.”
“I didn’t have any nightmares,” Karen recollected, “but for a long time afterwards, I would see these bright spots whenever I closed my eyes.”
Priyanka pushed her glasses up her nose again, and in a lowered voice she said, “You don’t think it had anything to do with… you know; that place they call The Muse? There have been some strange rumors floating around campus about that place…”
“You mean that creepy building with the twin towers?” Karen just laughed and shook her head. “I’m pretty sure I’d remember stepping foot into that place!”
“Those stories are meant to keep people from trespassing,” reasoned the big girl. “I doubt there’s any truth in any of them!”
“Beware, my little pretties!” Sloane cut in, her voice mimicking that of the Wicked Witch of the West. She began to wiggle her long fingers as if to cast a spell over the others. “…Now don’t let me catch any of you girls sneaking around the Mews after dark, or ole Witch Kessler will have her way with you! MUH-HA-HA-HA-HA!”
As the other girls broke out in fits of laughter, they completely failed to see Mrs. Kessler glaring at them. The student advisor had been hovering nearby and listening in on the conversation. The woman made a mental list of all those seated at the table, abruptly spun around on her heel, and marched off to the Dean’s office…
* * * *
When Alicia Dewitt approached her dorm, she came across some drunken guys horsing around on the lawn. They paused just long enough to watch her walk up the steps, (perhaps hoping for a cheap glimpse up her pleated scooter). The girl just shrugged off their attention and thought, God, what a bunch of tools… I can’t wait to get away from this place!
Alicia entered the dormitory and made her way up to the second floor. She could already hear the muffled backbeat of a dance track resonating down the hall. The senior knew the source of the pulsating sound long before she reached her door…
Friggin’ Jessie and her techno music ―ugh!
Alicia slid her key in the lock, and as she pushed the door open, her ears were immediately assaulted by the thunderous tempo. She stepped inside the room, pulling the door closed behind her, and carelessly tossed her backpack and gym bag on top of her bed.
“Jess, did you pick up the mail today?”
Jessica sat on the far corner of her bed, back turned to Alicia, her manicured hands busily texting away. The Italian girl was so engrossed with her phone that she didn’t even acknowledge her roomie’s presence.
Alicia walked over to the bed, tapped Jessica on the shoulder, and the girl nearly jumped out of her shoes.
“HOLY SHIT!” Jessica cried out as she bolted upright. She smacked Alicia’s hand away and glared at the older girl.
“Sorry about that.”
“You scared the livin’ crap outta me!”
“Hey, relax!” Alicia fired back as she turned the stereo down. “I just want to know if you got the mail or not!”
Jessica scowled and plopped back down on the corner of her bed.
“Phew, it really reeks in here, Jess.”
The annoyed freshman rolled her eyes as Alicia cranked a window open. When she turned back around, Jessica crackled her gum and pointed to a pile of mail on top of her dresser.
“Thank you,” Alicia said in a disdainful voice, “Now was that so hard?”
Her roommate gave her a sour look and glared back at her phone…
Alicia quickly fingered through her mail: credit card bill; phone bill; Victoria’s secret catalog… and what the―? The young woman raised a letter with ‘Alicia’ written in fancy script across the front, (presumably with a fountain pen and a bottle of ink). The envelope itself was made of heavy stock, the matte black finish giving it an elegant feel. Glendale’s crest was pressed into the red wax that sealed the separation point in back.
“This was in our mailbox?” the redhead asked. “How did it get through without any postage or our address?”
Jessica shrugged with indifference.
Alicia frowned as she began to pick at the wax seal. The girl plucked the folded parchment from within, spread-out the pleats and went on to read:
Due to the recent expansion of our campus historical preservation program, the Glendale Theatre of the Arts Group needs your help. We are seeking physically fit students who are willing to think outside the box, and would appreciate being in an environment that’s a little different from the traditional class setting. Creativity, maturity and a genuine love and respect for your body are a must. Participants will find themselves surrounded by academic staff, appreciative alumni, and professional artists who are passionate and dedicated to their craft.
These positions are temporary, but will involve long hours, with good pay as a result. Package includes competitive salary, health and beauty benefits, as well as 3.0 CEUs. This program is an excellent source for keeping up with rising tuition costs...
The following candidate must report to the student advisor’s office at the appointed time:
Alicia Ann Dewitt, Wednesday, April 2nd @ 11:30 am
NOTE: This is an official school document containing confidential information; it should not be shared with anyone! Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action by administration, up to and including automatic student suspension.
Wow, how weird. Alicia immediately turned to her roommate and said, “Hey, take a look at this freaky letter!”
Jessica expelled her breath in dramatic fashion and snatched the envelope from Alicia’s hand. As she read through the content, her face took on a puzzled look. “So this is a job invitation?”
“From the sound of it, but I’m leaving for the beach next week. Is it something you’d be interested in?”
“Nah, the part about long hours doesn’t work for me,” Jessica replied as she handed the letter back. “Besides, why would anyone apply for a job this late in the semester?”
Alicia shrugged her shoulders and tossed the letter onto her desk. She thought I’m booked solid as it is: bonfire on Friday night; leave for the beach the following Tuesday; cram for finals and pick a new team captain when I get back. They can give the job to some poor schlep that needs the money…
The head cheerleader had no way of knowing that a dozen other women had received the same invitation across campus; none of them realized the serious consequences they might face for their inaction.
* * * *
Decker Hall, Thursday morning:
Karen Hunter was struggling to stay awake during her early morning physics lesson. The cross-country athlete had just nodded off when the phone on the classroom wall began to ring. She awoke with a start and looked around instinctively. The teacher raised the receiver and every ear in the room perked up and strained to hear her muffled voice…
“Hello? Yes? Why, yes; she’s here. Oh, I see… I’ll send her right down then.”
The bespectacled woman hung up the receiver and looked over in the athlete’s direction…
“Karen, you’re wanted down at the student advisor’s office.”
“Me?” asked the blonde with a surprised look.
“Yes, dear,” the teacher replied before adding, “…And be sure to bring your books with you.”
Karen had a concerned look as she gathered up her belongings and exited the classroom. It would be the last time that she would be seen by her fellow peers…
* * * *
Braxton Hall, Friday afternoon:
Alicia Dewitt loosened up her tie and unfastened the top two buttons on her white Oxford in an attempt to release some of the tension. She’d been struggling to pay attention throughout the hour-long lecture, her thoughts drifting off to the Fraternity’s bonfire, as well as her upcoming vacation to Miami Beach.
God, this day is taking forever!
The cheerleader was squirming around uncomfortably in her chair, the molded plastic sticking to her bare thighs, when the sudden trill of a phone made her jump. Even the professor let out a squeak and clutched her weighty bosom in surprise. The plump woman giggled to herself as she waddled over to a phone on the wall and picked up the receiver...
“Hello?” she answered. The professor glanced over in Alicia’s direction and replied, “Yes, she’s here… Oh? Well of course I will. Uh-huh, you’re very welcome… Bye now.”
The matronly woman crossed one hand over the other and announced, “Alicia, Mrs. Kessler would like to see you in her office.”
“She wants to talk to me?” Alicia asked with a look of surprise.
“Yes, dear…And please don’t keep her waiting; the Student Advisor is a very busy lady.”
Why on earth would that witch want to talk to me?
With a look of concern spreading across her pretty features, Alicia quickly gathered up her belongings and walked toward the front of the room.
Sloane Peters watched from the back row as the cheerleader passed through the door frame and disappeared into the ether.
One of her friend’s leaned over from across the aisle and whispered, “What do ya’ think that’s all about?”
“Not my problem,” Sloane replied quite matter-of-factly. The Nu-Goth just stared ahead, her darkened lips curling into a contemptuous smirk...
* * * *
By the time Alicia arrived at the Student Advisor’s office, she couldn’t help but wonder if this was somehow connected to the strange envelope that she’d received recently. That’s right; I was supposed to report at 11:30 Wednesday morning! Oh well, I don’t have time for a job anyway…
Alicia stepped inside and gently closed the heavy door behind her. She looked over and thought she recognized the receptionist as a member of one of Glendale’s sororities… Jenna something or other. The pretty girl looked up from her desk and flashed a winsome smile.
“Hello, Alicia; the Student Advisor will be with you in a little while.”
Alicia took a seat alongside a sandy-haired blonde dressed in the same school uniform as she. One stocking-covered leg was supported by the knee of the other, and the girl was wagging it from side to side in a restless manner. After a minute or so, Alicia felt compelled to say something…
Alicia nodded her head at the offending limb.
The girl’s cheeks reddened once she realized what she was doing. “Oh, heh― sorry ‘bout that!”
There was an awkward moment of silence before Alicia decided to break it.
“Sooo… what are you down here for?”
“I... I honestly don't know,” the blonde replied, her voice sounding more than a little shaky. “I was in Geometry class when they paged me… And you?”
“I have no idea.”
“I mean, maybe it has something to with this weird envelope I found in my mail yesterday―”
“Oh my god!” the other girl interrupted. “Was it matte black with some kind of melted seal?”
“It was!” Alicia answered with a look of surprise. “So you got one too, huh?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t believe that it was some kind of part-time job invitation―and during spring break of all things!”
“Nooo thank you; I can’t even imagine how depressing that would be!”
The two burst out laughing and shook their heads at the total absurdity of the idea…
Glendale might be an accredited school, but some of the administrators were known for being old-fashioned and completely out of touch with their students. Mrs. Kessler was no exception.
After a long moment, their laughter subsided, and Alicia glanced down at her watch. “My god, this is totally ridiculous; what could she possibly be doing in there?”
“I know, right? I already missed geometry; looks like I’ll be absent for social science as well.”
“So who’s in there anyway?” Alicia inquired.
“Well, when I first got here, there was a dark-skinned girl sitting right where you are. I think her name was Shawna?”
“Did you say Shawna; as in Shawna Parker from my cheerleading squad?”
“Yeah, I think that was her. She seemed really nice, even though we didn’t really get a chance to talk; the advisor called her in right after I got here.”
“Huh,” Alicia responded with a confused expression. “I just talked to Shawna yesterday; she was supposed to catch a Greyhound bus at noon and head home for the break.”
“I don’t think your friend is gonna make it!”
The wooden door leading to the Student Advisor’s office finally opened, and Mrs. Kessler appeared inside the door frame. The woman looked stunned and disheveled, as if she’d been in some sort of scuffle and wound up on the losing end. She immediately straightened out her pencil skirt and blazer and then reached for the frazzled ball of hair at the back of her head. She quickly rewound her black mane, the movements of her hands so swift that they jerked her head around with every forceful tug. Once the counselor had clipped the bun back in place, she cleared her throat, confidence returning, and then reached for a clipboard on the wall…
The woman skimmed down the list of names. When her digit came to a stop, she looked up and regarded the two young women seated in her reception area.
The pair exchanged worrisome looks, before the blonde picked up her backpack. Mary Ellen stood up and flashed her pristine smile, her head tilted just enough so that some of her hair swung down from behind her Alice band…
“Well it was nice meeting you,” the girl said in a nervous voice.
“Nice meeting you too,” Alicia granted, “…And good luck in there.”
Mrs. Kessler flashed a fake, half-smile as Mary Ellen crossed the room. “We’ve been waiting for you,” the advisor said as she placed a hand at the small of the student’s back. She guided the young woman through the doorway, and then turned to close the door. As she did, the counselor glanced up at Alicia and gave her a cold look as if to say; you’re next. It was enough to give her the chills...
As soon as the door closed, Alicia opened her purse and started digging through the messy contents. The second she found her phone, she pulled it out and sent Shawna a text:
where the hell r u?!!
* * * *
Alicia Dewitt remained seated in the reception area, a series of unanswered questions still circling around in her pretty little head.
Why am I here?
Why would Shawna be here?
Why didn’t she exit the office when she was through?
Alicia had never been inside Mrs. Kessler’s office, but she’d been around campus long enough to know that most of these administration rooms had only one door. One door meant one way in, and one way out. Had Mary Ellen simply mistaken someone else named Shawna for her teammate, and if so, where did that girl go?
And why did that bitch look like she’d been run through the wringer? Indeed; the advisor’s hair and clothes were out of place and she looked visibly upset, as if something hadn’t gone quite as planned…
In addition to being a student advisor, Mrs. Kessler served double duty as the campus disciplinarian. The woman was known for her strict manner and icy demeanor, (both of which, she was seemingly proud of). Despite her 5’4” stature, even grown men towering over 6 feet tall joked that she could be pretty intimidating. Kessler was particularly skilled at tracking down problematic students and “correcting” them, often doing so in a swift and effective manner.
Maybe Shawna got a little ornery in there, but she could handle herself if necessary…
Alicia checked her phone again.
Nothing! This is bad. Shawna was notorious for being a serial tweeter; she was constantly being told to put her phone away during class, (so often that it became a running gag). The fact that she hadn’t replied yet threw up another red flag…
Alicia sent another text: …WTF? R U mad at me??
She pressed send and carelessly tossed the phone back in her messy purse. God, what a pain in the ass!
Alicia started wagging her leg back and forth, just like Mary Ellen had been doing earlier. She also sensed that the receptionist was watching her from across the room, and she wondered what might be going through her mind. Would this Jenna girl know why they were called here? Why Shawna hadn’t exited the room? She considered asking her at one point, but thought better of it; she was probably just another student trying to pay her bills and earn some extra credit, what would she know.
Maybe I should’ve brought my little black envelope and given it to her.
Some ten minutes later, the door to Kessler’s office swung open, and the advisor stepped into view once again…
Alicia stood up from her chair, gathered up her backpack and purse, and started across the room; Mrs. Kessler held the door open for her at left, the expression on her face stern and predatory. The cheerleader broke eye contact and glanced over at the receptionist; the young woman had a look on her face as if she were glad not to be in Alicia’s shoes…
Shit just got real.
Alicia swallowed hard in her throat and nerved herself forward.
“Go ahead and take a seat,” Mrs. Kessler advised, “I’ll be with you in just a minute.”
Alicia entered the office, fully expecting to see Shawna and Mary Ellen seated somewhere inside. She quickly scanned the area, but didn’t see a sign of either girl, nor another door they could have left through. The only thing that stood out was a framed, life-sized portriat of the founding father himself― Dr. Mortimer A. Glendale― which stood approximately six feet tall from floor level.
The room itself looked like your typical administrators office: a big cherry desk with a laptop; a few empty chairs; framed degrees and various examples of modern art dotted the walls. A large book case stood behind the desk, the shelves lined with volumes of books, small office plants and a few family photographs.
Alicia’s roving eyes landed on a framed portriat just behind the desk; it was of Mrs. Kessler and her hubby―the almighty dean― taken on their wedding day. Dean Kessler towered over his much younger bride, who looked pure and virginal in her flowing white gown. Alicia thought of a story she once heard about the dean’s first wife, and how she’d supposedly run-off with a student, never to be seen or heard of again…
Out with the old and in with the new, I guess.
The door suddenly closed behind her and there was a decisive click of the lock…
Mrs. Kessler walked across the room with a heavy step, her heeled mules making audible thumps in the commercial-grade carpeting. The woman looked smart in her gray pencil skirt and matching blazer; a maroon silk shirt set-off the white pearls around her neck. Her horn-rimmed eyeglasses had those weird flip-down shades attached to the bridge, while a chain was fastened to each of the bows to keep them within close reach. The advisor strode around her desk, sat down in a leather chair and got right down to business…
“Miss Dewitt,” she boomed, “I suppose you’re wondering why you are here.”
“Yes, ma’am―Um, so am I in some sort of trouble?”
The frosty glance the woman threw her implied that she was truly unhappy about something.
Mrs. Kessler raised her glasses to her nose and then opened the manila folder that was on her desk. She then read aloud:
“The following candidate must report to the student advisor’s office at the appointed time: Alicia Ann Dewitt, Wednesday, April 2nd at 11:30 am...”
The counselor glanced at her watch and pointed out, “…It is now Friday, April 4th, going on 2:30…”
Alicia opened her mouth to say something, but the advisor raised a hand to cut her off.
“…Note: this is an official school document containing confidential information; it should not be shared with anyone. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action by administration, up to and including automatic student suspension…”
“Um, yeah, I can explain.”
Mrs. Kessler’s head perked up in surprise. “Oh, can you?” She folded her hands on top of her desk to imply that Alicia would have her full attention. “…Enlighten me, Miss Dewitt.”
“Well, see… there’s a bonfire tonight. Then I have to pack this weekend because I’m leaving for Miami Beach on Tuesday. When I get back, I have to start studying for finals. Oh, and on top of that, I also have to choose a new squad leader for next year, and then...”
The more excuses Alicia made, the more annoyed Mrs. Kessler seemed to get. When the advisor had finally heard enough, she slammed her open palm down on the desk, the act of which, sent papers flying in every direction.
Alicia drew a sharp breath and tensed-up in her seat.
The counselor continued to smack her desk to stress the importance of each of her words: “You― do―not―make―up―the―rules!”
Alicia’s cheeks flared up to match the flaming-red locks on her head. Holy psychotic meltdown; this bitch is goin’ off the rails!
“Look, this was all a huge misunderstanding; can I just make it up some other time?”
“Absolutely not,” Kessler denied flatly. “Contrary to what you might believe, you are not the center of the universe, nor do you blow-off assignments because they’re an inconvenience. You disappointed a lot of people yesterday; myself inluded.”
“I led our squad into winning the state championship; surely you can make an exception.”
“I have made it clear to the entire student body; there will be zero tolerance for such behavior. If I make an exception for you, then I’d have to make an exception for everyone on this campus. There would be no discipline around here― absolutely none at all. I have no other choice but to suspend you.”
“Suspend me? You can’t suspend me for this!”
“You missed a very important assignment yesterday, young lady. I can, and will, have you suspended.”
“Oh no you won’t!”
The advisor furrowed her eyebrows and pointed her finger across the desk.
“Now you listen here, young lady; you can make it easy on yourself and go willingly, or we can do this the hard way, but one way or another, you’ll be on ice for quite a while.”
“I don’t have to put up with this!” Alicia cried out. The cheerleader reached for her purse, yanked it wide open, and as she frantically searched for her phone, she threatened, “Just wait until my parents’ lawyer gets a hold of you; you’ll be out on your ass and looking for another job!”
The young woman finally withdrew her phone, her fingers quickly scrolling through her favorite contacts. She located her mother’s number, and just as she was about to press “select” there was a loud “KA-CHOOF!”
A brilliant flash illuminated the room, and Alicia was enshrouded in azure blue, instantly transformed from a beautiful young woman into a negative image of her former self…
After a moment, the blueish light disipated, and Mrs. Kessler lowered the customized camera within her hands. Her lips curled into a wicked smile as she set the device down in the middle of her desk…
Alicia had been so preoccupied with her purse that she failed to see Mrs. Kessler flip the darkened shades down on her glasses. By the time the girl retrieved her phone; the advisor had already raised the antique camera from behind her desk and aimed it in her direction. The woman activated the flash just as Alicia was about to select her mother’s number...
Life is short, so shoot quickly.
Mrs. Kessler removed her glasses and set them down on the desktop alongside the camera. The woman arose from her chair and coolly sashayed around to the other side of the desk, where she brushed her hand over the girl’s shoulder...
Alicia remained in her seat, still as a statue, her glassy eyes gazing into a phone that she could no longer see.
“I’ll take that, if you don’t mind...”
Mrs. Kessler pried the phone away from Alicia’s frozen fingers, and the girl wobbled in place from the contact. The counselor slipped the phone in the side pocket of her blazer, propped her fanny up against the edge of her desk, and clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth in contemplation…
There’s really nothing to dislike about this girl, she thought sourly. The long, coppery tresses… She looks like a true ginger too, right down to the carroty eyebrows. A dash of freckles spread across the student’s nose and upper cheeks, while a touch of mascara brought out the vivid green of her unblinking eyes. Pretty as a picture, I’ll give you that.
Kessler chuckled at the irony.
The advisor felt compelled to lean in, swept the backs of her fingers across the student’s cheek. She adored the shape of the girl’s face, her skin, milky-white and flawless, much like that of a porcelain doll. Maybe it was the fullness of her lips that engaged her; soft, smooth, pretty-looking lips; the kind that begged to be kissed in a moment of weakness...
Kessler’s appreciative gaze drifted down to where Alicia’s perky breasts pressed up against her white Oxford; marveled at the way they tented out her black necktie. This one is well-endowed too. The way the girl’s arm were extended allowed for easy access…
The advisor’s breath became a little unsteady, as if she were using every ounce of willpower not to reach out and touch the girl inappropriately. She wouldn’t even know. The woman’s ravenous eyes drew up to Alicia’s glassy ones…
When the girl didn’t answer, she leaned in even closer...
Kessler reached underneath Alicia’s raised arm; she cupped a hand around the student’s left breast and gave it a gentle squeeze. She stroked her thumb back and forth over the cotton material, pleased to find that the girl’s nipple had hardened as she was frozen. The woman leaned in against her ear and whispered, “Enjoy this, my dear?”
The advisor crooked her lip into a kinky half-smile, raised her other hand to the right breast, and then groped that one as well…
Wouldn’t want one getting jealous of the other now, would we?
Kessler’s hungry eyes eventually drifted even lower to where Alicia’s plaid scooter draped over her legs; the redhead’s seated position left a good portion of her creamy thighs deliciously exposed. The woman bit down on her bottom lip in thought...
Mrs. Kessler slowly raised the hem of Alicia’s skirt with her left hand, while her right wedged itself in between the student’s thighs. She slowly drew them apart, allowing herself better access to the warm spot in between the redhead’s legs. “Oh my, and what do we have here?” she whispered, as her hand cupped the damp gusset at the bottom of Alicia’s panties. The advisor began to rub the young woman’s slit through the thin material, pressing her middle finger in a little deeper with each stroke.
Alicia didn’t react at all; she just stared ahead with glassy-eyed indifference, as the older woman continued her perverse activity…
Kessler raised the skirt even higher, and her other hand reached for the waistband on Alicia’s panties. She hooked a finger inside the elastic, pulled it back to expose the girl’s lower abdomen. The woman’s eyes dipped, expecting to catch a glimpse of her hidden treasures…
Mrs. Kessler jumped up from the desk, her heart nearly leaping out of her chest. Jesus H. Christ!
“Is it safe to come out?” a lowered voice asked from somewhere behind the wall.
The life-sized portrait of Dr. Mortimer A. Glendale creaked open with a torturous groan, and a dimly-lit corridor was slowly revealed. Coach Albert Walker stood inside, apparently lying in wait with a laundry hamper. He released the reinforced door, gave the advisor an irritated look and threw his hands up in the air in frustration.
“What’s the major holdup?”
Mrs. Kessler straightened out her blazer and exhaled a deep breath. “Sorry, I guess I got a little carried away.”
The coach walked up to a young woman who still sat in profile in front of Kessler’s desk. She stared ahead, the expression on her face impassive, one hand holding up an unseen object, (presumably a missing phone). Her pleated skirt was flipped backward in her lap, revealing her milky thighs and a glimpse of her lacy white panties…
“Wow… Alicia Dewitt.”
“Yes, now help me load her up,” Kessler ordered impatiently.
The pair each took an end; the advisor grasped Alicia’s legs beneath her knees, while the coach reached through her armpits and clasped his hands beneath her weighty breasts. They slowly lifted Alicia’s stiffened form up from the chair and then carried her across the room.
Coach Walker glanced down at the female form supported in between them; her body was still frozen in a seated position, legs splayed, red hair streaming down from her pretty little head. She looked so young and helpless…
“I never thought it would come to this…”
“Trust me; there’s a thousand more Alicia’s out there just waiting to take her place.”
Waiting just inside the lighted corridor was a large laundry cart with canvas sides, (a twenty bushel model to be exact). This cart (like many others around campus) usually saw locker-room duty. The fact that it was large enough to hold three human bodies was an added bonus…
Two lay in the bottom already.
Shawna “Hoopz” Parker and Mary Ellen Saxby were seated shoulder-to-shoulder, their backs propped up against the far side of the hamper. Their legs had been repositioned straight out in front for added stability. Both of their heads remained upright, their glassy eyes stared forward, jaws open in shock, (their last expressions before they were frozen). They looked like two discarded marionettes whose strings had been cut.
“We’ll have to put this one in a fetal position and set her down on top of their legs,” Kessler suggested.
With some effort, the two managed to buckle Alicia Dewitt’s body in on itself, folding her up like a collapsible beach chair. With her legs tucked in tightly against her chest, the young woman easily fit inside the basket with the others. The pair arose in place and looked down at their latest prize…
“Like a baby in the womb,” Walker commented.
“Yeah, well; we have seven more to collect,” the counselor reminded, “so don’t get too attached to them.”
“When are the next appointments?”
“I have one at 4:00 and another at 4:45,” the counselor answered. “That gives you plenty of time to deliver this batch to Schultz’s lab, grab a meal at the commissary, and then return with the cart―Try not to get distracted along the way.”
“I can handle it.”
“I’m not so sure.”
With that, Mrs. Kessler turned on a heel and exited the tunnel. When she reached for the handle, she repeated “four o’clock!”
The door slammed and made a suction noise as it sealed itself shut.
Coach Walker looked down at his precious cargo.
“You gals are in for a bumpy ride.” With a small grunt, he pushed the cart forward. “…Off we go.”
The corridor ahead was long and scarcely lit; it was just one of many that lay beneath the Glendale campus. This network of reinforced tunnels was one of the Fraternal Order’s best-kept secrets; each passage allowed members to travel from one building to the next without being seen.
They also came in handy for transporting bodies.
The coach glanced down at the frozen passengers within his basket; they jostled back and forth inside like training dummies on a football field.
“Hang in there ladies,” the man said, “We have a long ways to go.”
Coach Walker began to whistle out the theme song ‘The Fishin’ Hole’ from The Andy Griffith Show, but the joyful ditty sounded ghostly and hollow as it bounced off the surrounding brick walls. It would be a long evening ahead, so he would deliver his treasure to the lab and then stop by the commissary for a much needed meal…
* * * *
A hidden laboratory beneath the Muse, several hours later:
The room was chilly and the lights were kept low, as if the experiments being done were secretive, and the pending results held just a little bit of uncertainty. Tesla coils, plasma globes, Bunsen burners, and bubbling substances; all hummed in a steady white noise that filled the room. A strong odor of chemicals hung in the air, perhaps from all the test tubes and flasks with their strangely colored liquids.
Or maybe it was the dozens of critters floating inside canning jars, each one eerily backlit in yellow.
Among all the horror and madness stood an angel with a fiery red mane; she’d been stripped bare; her milky-white neck, limbs, and waist all secured to the tubular framework that shadowed her shapely form. The young woman stared out sightlessly in a crucified position, arms held straight out from her sides and with legs bound together…
The sound of hardened soles striking a tiled floor echoed through the room. The footsteps paused for a long moment to discuss some pressing matters, and then they click-clacked once again. A female voice directed, “…And this one over here.”
The footsteps resumed and eventually came to a stop in front of the redhead.
“Ah, you ver correct,” replied a male voice. “She’z beauzivul spezimen.”
“Yes, doctor; we’ve been grooming this one ever since she was a freshman. Her name is Alicia Dewitt; twenty one years of age… She led our cheerleading squad to the state finals this year.”
The man adjusted his bifocals and took a step forward for a closer look. He raised Alicia’s chin, then he turned her head to the left and to the right, further examining her attractive lines.
“Scantinaffian cheekbones, plump lippen, green eyez, und long red hair… Zis one has goot genetics.”
“Nothing but the best, Sir.”
“Und goot, schdurdy build,” described the man, as he clenched Alicia’s body in several places. “Schtrong, like Soviet gymnazt!”
The German clamped his leathery hands onto Alicia’s tits and gave them an obligatory squeeze.
“…Und look at zee titten; nein sag und perfectly proporzioned!”
“Yes, she’s very well endowed,” admitted the female.
“Und you fhant me to immortalise zis fine athlete foreffer, sen?”
“Yes, Dr. Schultz; she’ll be going into the student suspension program per the Dean’s request.”
“…Zis fräulein vill make excellent addizion to zee colleczion!”
“I’m sure she will,” the female voice agreed. “Now, if you’ll excuse me; Coach Walker and I have another loose end that needs to be… dealt with.”
“Put of courze, Frau Kezzler; you deal vith zee looze ends, und I vill keep zusbending zem!”
“And we certainly appreciate your efforts, doctor.”
With that said, the student advisor walked off to deal with other important matters.
“Let’s get you zituated, ja?”
Dr. Schultz braced a foot against the steel axle on Alicia’s custom dolly, tilted her back and then rolled her off to another section of the lab. This new area was even cooler than the last, a light steam coming off the doctor’s breath…
“Ve’ll start your reincarnazion in chust a bit,” the man assured as he set her back down in an upright position. He circled around to the other side of the dolly, casually brushed his fingertips across her bare arm as he did so...
The fluorescent light glinted off the doctor’s glasses as he took in Alicia’s beauty. A lop-sided grin crept across his face as he reached out for her creamy tits and fondled them within his liver-spotted hands…
“Zo round... Zo ripe,” commended the doctor, as if his “patient” might hear.
The old man brushed the pads of his thumbs over Alicia’s hardened nipples; he appreciated the way they scraped across his coarse skin, as if they were begging for his attention. He explored a little further; at first tracing the inward curve of her trim belly and then wandering down to the rise of her mons. It was here that he worked the back of his hand in an up and downward motion, enjoying the way her gingery tuft of hair tickled the backs of his bony fingers. He turned his hand around again, this time to stroke the rubbery lips of Alicia’s cunt and lubricate her with her own wetness.
“I zee you like zee attenzion, eh?”
Alicia remained silent, her azure-blue eyes fixed straight ahead…
“…Put of courze you do,” the man replied for her. “Don’t go anyvere, mein pretty Fräulein.”
The good doctor walked out of the room with a sense of glowing satisfaction. What he failed to realize was that the suspended animation effect from the Ansco Nutrifier flash was quickly wearing off, and that Alicia had already begun her internal struggle with what happened. At first she thought she was having an erotic dream; her skilled lover appearing only in shadowy silhouette. Unfortunately, (and like in most erotic dreams) it ended prematurely; she managed to wake up before the (much) anticipated happy ending...
Thanks a lot, random lover guy!
Alicia could feel herself breathing, and there were definite heart palpitations within her chest. However, those actions seemed lethargic, and her body felt completely drained, as if it had fallen into a sleep from which it did not care to be aroused…
Was I drunk at a party or something?
The young woman searched her memory, only vaguely recalling some sort of office…
Did I have a doctor’s appointment?
Alicia briefly thought of her gynecologist, but Dr. Rendell was in his sixties; a very paternal and wise man― and definitely not lover boy material.
There was a strong, bleach-like odor in the air; very sterile and antiseptic, like one might encounter inside a hospital. It stung Alicia’s eyes and made her want to blink, but then she realized that she couldn’t do so…
What in the hell is wrong with me? …Was I drugged or something?
Another minute or so passed and it took some considerable effort, but Alicia finally managed to close her eyes. From the neck up, the young woman looked like she’d fallen asleep on her feet.
Pfft… if I only could.
Alicia’s eyes continued to burn beneath their lids long after she’d closed them; they felt so heavy; maybe too heavy to even open them again. But she was desperate to find out what had happened and where she was—even if that involved enduring some pain. So after a long moment of rest, and with a great effort, she willed them open again.
Phew! Who would’ve thought that opening your eyes could be so difficult!
It would take even more effort to get them to work properly again, but this girl was determined; she blinked her eyes several more times, at one point even forcing herself to tears in an effort to lubricate them. As Alicia’s vision began to clear, her surroundings took shape, and she finally came to the realization that she was standing in some sort of laboratory...
What the fuck is going on here? What in the world is this place?
Sluggishly, she began to move her hands, legs, and neck, yet all felt extremely heavy. Am I tied down to something?
Indeed, the young woman felt something tubular against her back; it pressed into her shoulder blades and extended out along the width of her upraised arms. A second post went up through the split of her buttocks, touched in between her shoulder blades, and made contact once again at the back of her head. Whatever it was, she quickly concluded that it felt sturdy and cold against her skin.
At the bottom of her vision, Alicia could make out the rounded points of her bare breasts; felt the chilly air on her exposed skin. She rolled her eyes upward, and as more of the cloudiness subsided, something tall and shiny began to take shape before her. The object appeared to be some sort of sarcophagus, cylindrical in shape and with a glass viewing panel on the front. Alicia immediately thought of one of those hibernation chambers like you’d see in a science fiction movie; the same type of machine they froze human bodies in.
And then it got worse.
Oh god no.
Standing just off to the left of said contraption was her schoolmate― Mary Ellen Saxby! The poor thing was stripped nude; she stood at attention like a dutiful soldier, arms down at her sides, her fingertips just barely touching her thighs. The blonde’s sandy tresses were pulled up into one of those gauzy hairnets like a lunch lady would wear. The part that worried Alicia the most, was the fact that none of this seemed to faze the girl; Mary Ellen just stood there, seemingly complacent in her nakedness; her glassy brown eyes stared off dreamily, a faraway expression showing on her sweet face.
Why aren’t you resisting? Alicia thought at the girl. Why aren’t you trying to run? Are you frozen like I am?
The poor thing hadn’t moved or blinked the entire time that Alicia was watching her. It wasn’t long before she concluded that something was seriously wrong with Mary Ellen.
The girl was surrounded by a collection of unusual looking equipment and electrical oddments. First was the stainless steel chamber itself, which appeared to be three feet wide by seven feet high. The clear glass door on the front was convex in shape and designed to slide open and recede into itself. Corrugated pipes and metal conduit sprouted from the top and ran down along the sides, where they eventually connected to various monitors or other life-support devices. A stainless steel service cart waited nearby with various medical instruments on top of its tray.
Alicia continued to watch from afar, as two old men walked into view and approached the helpless girl. The first was a gaunt and lanky old man who appeared to be in his seventies. He was dressed in a white lab coat, like that of a doctor or technician, while a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles rested on the tip of his long, bumpy nose. The second man that accompanied him appeared to be sixty or so; he was noticeably shorter, but with a stockier build and dressed in a pair of green maintenance coveralls. Though it was hard to tell from the distance, Alicia swore that the second man looked awfully familiar…
“Vladimir,” the taller one addressed, “Ve must prepare zis one for zusbenzion; help me get her up onto zee taple.”
Oh shit! Alicia suddenly realized where she’d seen the shorter one. That’s Vladimir― the creepy janitor that’s always hanging around near the women’s locker-room! Rumor had it that he stole women’s underwear, but the crooked administrators never seemed to care enough to do anything about it.
The janitor acknowledged the first man with a simple, “Ja.”
The doctor leaned Mary Ellen back against his chest, while Vladimir grabbed both of her calves on the opposite end. The pair then raised her stiffened body up off the floor and carried her over to an examination table. Once they set her down, the two carefully rolled the girl over onto her belly. The doctor raised her head up from the table as his assistant placed a rubber support block beneath her chin. Poor Mary looked like a prized trophy fish laid out on the deck of a boat.
The doctor advised, “We haff specific instruczions to dress zis one before she is frozen.”
The man opened a cardboard shirt box and withdrew an article of clothing from inside. He gave the item a crisp snap in the air, and the garment unfolded itself. Even from across the room, Alicia immediately recognized the skimpy, sparkling item as the sequin-covered leotard that’s worn by the Gargoyle’s majorette team!
“Ooh; nice, ja?”
The doctor set the leotard aside and withdrew a large plastic egg from the box. He twisted it in two and one half popped out of his hand and skittered across the tiled floor. He scooped a delicate-looking ball from the remaining half, snapped it out in the air a few times, and then rolled out each of the legs with his fingers. The old man then held the stockings up in front of his assistant for observation.
“Pantyhozen,” the doctor said, before slipping his hand inside the waistband. He pressed his palm against the seamed support panel in front, which caused the filmy nylon to stretch out eerily over his splayed hand. “―Nude pantyhosen!”
Vladimir’s eyes lit up and he rubbed his hands excitedly. “JA! JA! ― NUDE PANTYHOZEN!”
Before long, a pair of pristine white sneakers, a set of fringed, elbow-length gloves, and a white hair ribbon were all added to the pile of clothing items.
“Veddy goot!” the doctor approved. “Now pefore ve dress her, I must inzert zee monidoring deffice. You mazage zee anus to relax zee muscles, und I’ll ready zee brobe…”
Vladimir gave a sharp nod in understanding. He spread Mary Ellen’s cheeks with one hand and began to massage the rim of her puckered hole, making sure to work his finger in a rhythmic circular motion.
The doctor held up a bullet-shaped rectal probe meant to monitor Mary Ellen’s core temperature. He placed a thick glob of petroleum jelly onto the base of the chrome plated shaft and stroked the gel up and down its entire length. The man then turned to his faithful assistant and instructed, “Now hold zee buttocks oben as far as you can.”
Vladimir obliged, pulling her tight cheeks apart even more.
As the doctor placed the tip of the probe against Mary Ellen’s backside, he spoke to the young woman as if she might hear:
“You may feel discomfort from zee intrusion, but zis is only because your body is not uzed to it. I haffe done zis countless times to many, many vomen, zo you are in goot hands… Shall ve begin?”
Mary Ellen remained silent on her stomach, chin raised, eyes staring forward. Her stony expression remained unchanged even as the probe breached her tight ring of muscle. From that point onward, she simply “let it in” – her body slowly stretching around the girth of the instrument as the doctor gently worked it into the deepest depths of her ass. Mary Ellen’s sphincter eventually closed around the end of the probe, holding it securely inside, while the fine wire that would provide an electrical current hung loose from the center. The doctor applied a small piece of medical tape to the wire and pressed it against her inner thigh to keep it out of the way temporarily.
“Veddy goot! Und now ve are ready to redress her.”
For the next ten minutes or so, the dubious pair looked like they were playing with a life-sized Barbie Doll, skillfully rearranging Mary Ellen’s arms, legs, and torso into various positions to accommodate the different articles of clothing. Vladimir scrunched-up the pantyhose and pulled them onto the girl’s feet; he enjoyed watching the sheer nylon as it stretched down over her bare soles and sheathed her pointy little toes. He carefully drew the nylon up over the expanse of Mary Ellen’s legs, adored how the stretchy material expanded to accept the girl’s undercarriage, hugging every curve and fold as it encased her within its sleek embrace.
Doctor Schultz was up next; he drew the purple-on-white leotard over the sophomore’s legs, working it up over her fanny, and then even further up her trim body, as his assistant rolled her left and then right. Once finished, the old man stuck his fingers inside the elastic leg holes and pulled the uniform taught at her hips.
“Zee shoes und gloffes, Vladimir!”
His subordinate gave him a nod and retrieved the sneakers and gloves. Both men worked the items onto Mary Ellen’s hands and feet from opposite sides of the table.
The doctor then pointed at the surgical tray and requested, “Vladimir; get me a penknife to make zee incision.”
His assistant retrieved a small X-Acto knife and placed the aluminum body in his boss’s palm. The doctor found the spot where the electrical wire was still taped to Mary Ellen’s thigh and made a small incision into her pantyhose…
Vladimir exchanged the knife for a pair of tweezers. He watched attentively as his boss carefully extracted the wire from inside the leg of the pantyhose, (he left the wire to hang free so it could be attached to a power source later). The doctor handed the tweezers back to his assistant…
Schultz took a moment to smooth out any creases, picking at the stretchy hose here and there, before stepping back from their handiwork. “Veddy nice, ja?”
“Ja, ja; veddy nice,” his assistant replied excitedly.
“Goot; now let’s get her into zee champer!”
The doctor reached beneath Mary Ellen’s armpits and hoisted her up, as his assistant seized her by the ankles on the opposite end; the two then carried her body over to opened chamber entrance. Vladimir lowered her legs to the base, while the doctor raised her up into a standing position inside. He placed Mary Ellen’s arms back down at her sides, and then side-stepped around to her front. He rearranged her hands once again so that her fingertips were just barely touching her thighs. He took a step back, gave another satisfied nod, and then slid the glass door in place. Mary Ellen was effectively sealed inside…
“Und now, let zee transformazion begin!”
The doctor stepped up to a control panel and began to tinker with various toggle switches and dials, stopping occasionally to read a temperature or vacuum gauge here and there. Once satisfied with the readings, he pulled down on a T-handle and an air compressor grumbled into action…
Gurgling sounds echoed through the tubes that snaked into the chamber, as unknown substances flowed and eddied throughout them. The doctor then reached for a second T-handle, (this one red in color), and he pulled that one down as well. A loud hissing sound was heard, and the chamber began to fill with an opaque white cloud…
The mysterious fog swirled around inside the chamber; at first tumbling about at the girl’s feet; then crawling up her thighs until it wrapped around her near naked body. Within ten seconds, the helpless majorette disappeared from view...
The doctor flashed a wicked smile as a layer of frost formed on the inner surface of the glass door. He glanced down at his Swiss-made watch and began to countdown from: “Zixty... fifty nine... fifty eight... fifty zeffen…”
Vladimir stood on the opposite side of the chamber, wide-eyed and open mouthed as the countdown fell…
“Zirty eight… zirty zeffen… zirty zix…”
A low hum began; it was so deep in tone that it could barely be heard, yet Alicia felt it in her back; the vibrations were traveling through the floor and transferring into the tubular framework that held her upright.
My god; what are they doing to that poor girl in there!
“Eighteen… zeffenteen… zixdeen…”
Inside of ten seconds, the machine began to wind down, its task finally nearing completion.
The doctor pulled a pair of heavy gloves up over his hands. He glanced over at his loyal assistant and reminded, “Your gloffes, Vladimir; zey vill breffent zee hands from freezer burn!”
Vladimir nodded and quickly pulled his protective gloves on his hands…
The doctor reached for the door handle on the chamber and waited for the signal. An indicator beeped three times and an exhaust vent expelled a loud ZWOOOOOOOSH, which sounded like an old locomotive releasing its steam. The doctor pulled the glass door back into its recess, and a dense fog rolled out over the rim and across the tiled floor. A series of crackling and popping ice sounds could be heard coming from inside...
The doctor took in the magnificent sight and expelled an “Ahhh” in appreciation.
“Aaaahhhhh…” Vladimir echoed just beyond his shoulder.
“Go get zee transborder!”
The janitor retrieved a hand truck that was just tall and wide enough to hold a human body. He rolled it over to the front of the chamber and set it upright on the floor...
“Now we get her onto zee cart.”
One at a time, the pair stepped into the chamber; they reemerged a moment later, awkwardly side-stepping with an icy object in between them. Mary Ellen was held upright, her frosted body twinkling like a thousand stars. The exposed parts of her arms, neck and face had turned a pale blue, (her lips just a shade darker), while the rest of her was covered in a thin layer of frost. Steam was still rolling off her frozen form as they set her down and leaned her back against the hand truck.
Across the room, Alicia wanted to scream, but something told her not to. She’d fully thawed and regained most of her motor skills, but could only watch in mounting horror as her icy peer was quickly strapped into place.
As the last ratchet was being secured, the doctor advised, “Quick! We muzt get her into zee freeser pefore zere's any cell damage!”
Vladimir tilted the cart back on its wheels and gave it a hearty push ―right in Alicia’s direction!
The redhead inhaled a short breath through her nose and immediately froze in place… Or at least she tried to; it was so hard to act perfectly still and keep her eyes fixed in place. Don’t track their movement – don’t track their movement! Eyes open ─ Staring straight ahead – You got this!
As the trio passed, the preoccupied doctor carelessly bumped into Alicia’s outstretched hand, nearly bending her fingers back. The stand wobbled in place, threatening to tumble over, and the redhead’s eyes widened into saucers as she swayed along with it! The man reacted quickly, expelling a horrified gasp as he reached for the stand. Once it was steady within his hands, he let out a sigh of relief.
“Phew!― How clumzy of me!”
Alicia’s eyes watered even more so; she saw stars and held in another scream, yet she was very careful to keep staring straight ahead. She gave no other sign of feeling any pain, or even noticing his presence, even as the man reached for her hand...
The doctor splayed each of her fingers out across his palm and inspected them for any visual signs of swelling or other damage. He quickly assessed, “Well zey don’t appear to be proken.”
A lone tear rolled down Alicia’s cheek just as the doctor turned away. She watched the trio leave in the corner of her eye and began the count down. Hold it; how long should I wait before they’re far enough away? Ten seconds? Thirty? …An entire minute?
Alicia began to fight against her bonds, attempting to free herself from their restrictive hold. She pulled and tugged, even bucked her hips to try and loosen the straps, but with each violent movement, the leather dug further and further into her bare skin.
A dozen thoughts raced through her head as she wriggled and thrashed; many of them started and ended with: I’m gonna friggin’ die!
Alicia continued her desperate struggle against the restraints, at one point even screaming out, “SOMEBODY HELP ME!” in frustration. Unfortunately, her desperate plea only echoed back off the tiled walls.
Tears stung Alicia’s eyes and her heart pounded away in her chest. She was jerking back and forth so violently, that the entire stand was rocking from side to side from the force of it. As a stronger dose of panic set-in, she turned to her last resort…
Please, God; just do this one favor and I swear I’ll start going to church again on Sunday, perform community service ―whatever it takes to break me loose so I can get out of here!
She yanked and jerked some more, but even the almighty himself wasn’t listening.
This can’t be happening to me! I’m the head cheerleader― I’m supposed to leave for Miami Beach in a few days!
In the end, all of Alicia’s efforts proved to be useless; strap burns scalded her wrists, and her joints ached from all the twisting and turning at awkward angles. Her ankles were so heavily bruised that she couldn’t stand them rubbing-up against one another. She was almost ready to throw in the towel.
No! I am not going to make it easy for these perverts!
Alicia expelled a loud “PHOO!” …And then she went at it with a renewed fervor, grunting angrily as she jerked and reared against the restraints. Before long, she started to pant, the sound of her breathing growing higher and higher in pitch. She sucked in deeper breaths, her chest heaving with each exhale. The girl was making so much noise that she almost failed to hear the squeaking wheels approaching from somewhere behind her…
The bastards are coming back!
Alicia’s body went stiff as she tried to look frozen again. She tried to visualize what her expression was prior to them leaving with Mary Ellen, but couldn’t remember if she looked shocked or blank. The bigger issue was her bare breasts, which were heaving uncontrollably as she drew deeper and deeper breaths into her empty lungs.
“We haffe instruczions for zis one too,” the doctor advised.
The doctor passed right through Alicia’s field of vision. She managed to hold her breath in such a way that her face didn’t become distorted. She held her eyes wide open, but they didn’t bulge or blink. Her lips were slightly parted, as they were before…
“You veel her to zee taple, und I'll lay out zee uniform.”
Alicia’s view of the room went slanted, as the janitor tilted her stand back and wheeled her across the tiled floor. She tried to take in as many breaths through her nose as she could; she had no idea when she might get another chance to breathe openly…
I only need to keep this up until they untie me, and then I’ll be off and running!
Or so she hoped.
Alicia’s breasts jiggled freely in place as Vladimir set her down on the floor. His eyes began to widen as he reached forward to touch them…
The janitor began to grope her tits; he squeezed and rolled them around this way and that. The girl held in her breath in quiet desperation; the janitor’ hot, sour breath was in her face, and she felt a churning sensation in her belly…
God, please don’t let me throw up!
“Vladimir!” the doctor shouted, “Behaffe yourself; we haffe much vork to do!”
The janitor had flinched at the outburst and jerked his hands away from her breasts. Alicia expelled a quick sigh in relief as soon as the janitor turned his back to her.
Vladimir stopped dead in his tracks and turned back around.
“Docdor; come guick!”
Doctor Schultz had been laying out Alicia’s cheering uniform. He immediately stopped what he was doing and studied the redhead’s features. Her eyes still stared off into the distance, seemingly unfocused. He snapped his fingers right in front of her face a few times, but saw no flicker of recognition.
“You visch! Now untie zee schtraps zo ve can zet her on zee taple!”
Vladimir shrugged his shoulders with an air of resignation. He went about unfastening the straps and kept his one lazy eye on their captive while doing so.
Alicia’s legs fell loose, and then her waist and neck were released. She waited until both arms were completely free and made her big 1-2 move; first she punched Vladimir in the neck and then she kneed him in the groin. The janitor fell to his knees, groaning in pain as he grabbed his crotch with both hands. Alicia turned to bolt; she took one valiant step forward ― and dropped right to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
It wasn’t until that very moment that Alicia realized that her legs had gone completely numb from a lack of use. She groaned as she tried to pick herself up from the floor, but the sudden impact had left her pretty woozy. The girl looked up dazedly to see a pair of polished black shoes stepping into her line of vision.
“Nize effort, but not a vize decision.”
Alicia raised her head even further to see the doctor looking down at her with a devilish grin. He was winding up a funny looking camera and aiming it in her direction…
The camera suddenly went off with a loud “KA-CHOOF!”
“Wai―” was the last sound that came from Alicia’s mouth as she went ridged. She remained there on the floor, face up and mouth open, her back so deeply arched that the lines of her ribcage appeared in her naked flesh. She was suspended, frozen in that very moment by the brilliant flash of a camera. The darkness closed in on her, swallowing her whole.
* * * *
Student relations building, 10:00 p.m., later that night:
It had been an awfully long week for Dr. Connie Patrilla. With numerous school transfers, looming finals and various other day-to-day maladies that come with college life, the campus psychologist had seen her fair share of stressed-out students. So as the forty-three-year-old Italian divorcee gathered up her files and stuffed them inside her briefcase, she was certainly looking forward to the April break. A moment later, she swung her purse up over her shoulder, grabbed the briefcase, and turned off the lights in her office.
As the doctor made her way down an empty hallway and approached the elevator, she couldn’t help but reflect back on a female student that was in her office for the second time in as many days…
The psychologist had heard her share of heartbreaking stories in her seventeen years of analysis; tales that ranged from eating disorders, to sexual abuse and everything in between. Still, the sight of poor Miley Hallowell’s sleepless, tear-filled eyes was quite a disturbing one. Most in her field would brush off the girl’s insomnia as a sleeping disorder, write out a quick prescription for Temazepam, and send the young lady on her way. Dr. Patrilla knew better than that.
At some point in their life, nearly everyone has had that strange dream where they find themselves naked in front of their classmates or co-workers. In Miley’s case, she found herself posed on a pedestal, unable to move, as a group of unfamiliar faces looked up at her and sketched her naked form. At one point, a Bohemian fellow with wild hair approached her dais; he regarded her with deep admiration and gently stroked the curve of her cheek…
“You’re lookin’ swell, Miley; just like a livin’ doll. Keep up the good work.”
He then invited all the others to join him, allowed her exposed body to be manipulated and posed at the whim of the strangers.
To make matters worse, Miley’s description of the man: an aging hippy wearing a Baja hoodie; a tie-dyed shirt; baggy shorts and a pair of jellies―clearly described the head of the art department! Despite his unconventional ways, Gerald Bushwick was a highly credited artist; his extremely life-like sculptures had landed in museums such as The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and The Art Institute of Chicago. The man himself had been featured in numerous magazines, including Fine Art Connoisseur and High-End Sculpture Review.
Dr. Patrilla could easily write the description off as mere coincidence; the girl may have simply seen the eccentric teacher in passing, even though she could never recall having met the man in person. What alarmed the doctor the most, was the fact that a small number of students over the years, (both male and female), had also approached the psychologist, all seeking counseling for similar recurring dreams.
The elevator door opened, and the weary physician proceeded to the nearest exit. She compressed the hydraulic mechanism to open the door and stepped outside…
“Woo; a bit chilly out here tonight,” she said to no one in particular.
Dr. Patrilla pulled the lapels of her blazer together over her ample chest and made her way across the concourse. When she started down the concrete steps, she looked out over the poorly-lit faculty parking lot to where her midnight black BMW X3 sat alone. If it wasn’t for the shine of the 20” wheels, she might not see the car at all…
Funny how this place looks so massive and dark, especially at this time of night!
Connie scanned the area with a watchful eye; she’d had this strange sense that someone was watching her these last few nights. The doctor couldn’t quite put her finger on it, and she didn’t let the foolish thought bother her up until now. With everyone having left for the break and considering how dark it was, she felt just a little vulnerable.
Maybe all those stories about being naked on a pedestal in front of a room full of strangers, and not being able to move, were finally getting to her.
Connie reminded herself, come on old girl; you always promised yourself not to take your work home with you.
Dr. Patrilla reached the bottom of the steps and looked around once more. She inhaled a deep breath and proceeded onward…
It was only then that the mother of three noticed just how loud the heels on her mules were. I sound like a damned Clydesdale! She began to dig through her purse for her keys and walked at a brisker pace.
“Almost there,” Connie murmured to herself. She shook-off the chill that was running up her spine and looked over her shoulder once more. “…Just a few more yards to safety.”
Dr. Patrilla aimed her keys at her S.U.V. and the car made a “blip-blip” as the doors unlocked and the headlights flashed. The woman exhaled in relief, swung the door open, and slid her rounded butt across the driver’s seat. She tossed her briefcase and purse onto the passenger side and tried to find the ignition slot...
“This is the last time I’m ever staying this late,” Connie promised herself. She inserted her key into the ignition and the engine roared to life. She reached forward to put the car in reverse, and as she turned her head to back up, she noticed someone sitting in the backseat!
A brilliant flash illuminated the entire interior, and Connie Patrilla was frozen mid-scream.
The culprit reached over doctor’s arm and used her own hand to slam the gearlever back into park. The tires barked in protest as the car jerked to an abrupt stop. Connie still looked over her shoulder in fear, but the thought was already forgotten…
After a long moment, a gloved hand reached out to Connie’s face; the fingers delicately brushed the curve of her cheek and pushed an errant lock of hair away from her glassily staring eyes. The perpetrator tucked the brown tresses behind the doctor’s ear, an act that made her hooped earrings dance from her earlobes. Somehow, that action made the woman look even more defenseless than she already was.
A few days later, Dr. Connie Patrilla’s black S.U.V. was found abandoned in an airport parking lot some sixty miles away, the keys still in the ignition. The woman’s whereabouts remain unknown…
* * * *