[mc, ff, fd]
((Another story written for Steph, a.k.a. Robotunit8 using the words “hats” and “high heels” as the basis for inspiration))
Svetlana sat in a cold chair in a hidden division of the Cavendish Manor. A series of hypodermic needles firmly attached to robotic arms suspended from the ceiling pierced her flesh, rendering her helpless. At the same time, a transparent visor placed right in front of her proud Estonian blue eyes projected a torrent of images and subliminal messages of obscure design into the deepest recesses of her mind.
The combination of chemical and visual saturation processes she was being subjected to had the sole purpose of transforming her perceptions of reality in a swift and permanent manner and the results up until that point were more than promising. She was already having difficulties to believe in a life before the mind-altering sequences began, although some fragments still remained, flashing randomly in the midst of chaos like that beautiful light at the end of a tunnel everyone hopes to see.
The one that surfaced most, in an explosion of colours that contrasted with the gloominess of the room, revolved around two quasi-fundamental pieces of a high society woman’s wardrobe: hats and high heels. However, no matter how much she tried, she couldn’t understand its significance. The part of her brain capable of making the proper connections was practically numb, and all the others were soon to follow the same sombre path.
An abrupt change took place when a door to the right opened and a mid-forties woman wearing equestrian riding gear walked in with a hint of arrogance perfectly visible in her pose, and grinned at the helpless captive:
“I hope the facilities are to your liking, my dear….”
Svetlana immediately recognized the woman as being Lady Eleanor Cavendish, mistress of the house and her employer. The awareness precipitated a wide array of conflicting feelings and a flood of repressed recollections rushed in.
She remembered that her job in the Manor was to take care and ensure that all the needs of Lady Eleanor’s prized Thoroughbred were taken care of. Her horses were ranked among the finest in all of United Kingdom and, as such, they were regular participants at Royal Ascot. Lady Eleanor was also widely known for her taste in fashion. It was therefore unsurprising that, on Ladies Day, she was always one of the most elegant women in the scene. As well-known, hats and high heels are an integral part of the strict dress code for such an event, but there was something else about them that had led to the predicament she was now involved. What was it?
Svetlana paused for a moment and focused on that particular image, whilst filtering information from all other sources at hand before they vanished under the current of drugs. Standing tall in front of her, Lady Eleanor was intent on witnessing the last traits of her consciousness being erased. Given the state of things, her demise was somewhat inevitable but, even so, the young immigrant sought a final moment of knowledge before ignorance sank in. Looking deep inside her soul, her wish was granted.
Lady Eleanor’s wardrobe was so vast that it required three separate rooms in the Manor and space was beginning to run short. One of them was entirely devoted to her wide collection of hats and shoes and, curiously, it was the one that fascinated Svetlana the most. It was to that space she had been summoned just a few hours earlier to inform the stern Mistress about the physical state of Ahearn, her favourite stallion that had grown ill for reasons yet to be determined but when she got there, Lady Eleanor wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
Inconspicuously, she began examining the expensive fashion statements, feasting her eyes on the flurry feathers, the extravagant frillies and the gorgeous embroideries. Everything was so delicately perfect that she sighed for not having the good luck in life to be a part of that world. One of the largest models, that combined blue, black and white, the colours of her country of origin’s national flag caught her attention by storm, inciting her to come closer. The temptation to do so was far too great to be withstood, but that ultimately proved to be fatal.
A cruel fate had her trip as she stepped forward. As she fell, the whole contents of the room seemed to imitate her, a giant domino of mahogany and crystal stands. This incident alone would have sufficed to terminate her job, yet the forces at work were far from finished.
In the confusion that followed, a section of the farthest wall slid open, its hidden trigger most likely pressed by one of the tumbling heavy cases. Svetlana saw a corridor beyond the opening and a set of stairs illuminated by phosphorescent green light. As she got up and proceeded to the inside of this newly revealed secret, the endgame was set in motion.
The room they were both now in was what lay ahead the threshold. Svetlana was caught red-handed staring at the machineries inside and Lady Eleanor, sensing the danger of having her concealed activities exposed had no choice but to silence her.
“You really shouldn’t have come in here.” she whispered. “But don’t worry, now you’ll get to be a part of my real world and once the programming is complete you’ll enjoy every second of it.”
Svetlana sighed as the surroundings became more and more hazy. The process was nearing its end, opening the gates of oblivion.
* * *
For all purposes and effects, the girl was fired that day for the ruckus she brought about. Her swift disappearance from the Manor caused some indisposition amongst the remaining staff, but everyone knew how ill-tempered the lady of the house could be and kept their protests as silent as possible.
However, if one of them travelled approximately three hundred miles to the East to an old Medieval castle near Sussex, there was a distinct possibility of seeing her alive, although not exactly living.
The castle is Lady Eleanor’s incredibly fortified playground where she and her most trusted friends enjoyed special delicacies of life, all of them involving the total control of mindless creatures. Of the sixty servants in the facilities, eighty percent of them are women and all have several roles to fulfil depending on the whims of the dominant ladies present.
Dressed in ridiculously small silver garments, the one formerly known as Svetlana now crawls through its halls every day in abject surrender and that’s never going to change for as long as she lives….