David had only been gone for a few minutes when Sean started to awaken. Seeing how he was still under The Black Queen’s hypnotic spell and therefore was a menace, Amber had no choice but to use the taser gun on him as well until he collapsed onto the ground once more. Shortly after, it was the monarch’s time to open her eyes. Amber immediately took the small device to her neck, yet didn’t fire it right away. The woman practically begged her not do so, admitting defeat. She was in a perilous predicament and was full aware of it. That betrayal sure wasn’t included in her plans but what shocked her most was that David had somehow eluded her brainwashing again, giving some sort of contribution to that unexpected twist of events.
“You don’t have to do that… I’ll behave!” she muttered, as she sat on the ground.
“Why should I believe you?” asked Amber.
“Because I’m quite defenceless right now… I have no intention of being zapped by that thing once again… and if you really want to put an end to my kingdom, you’re going to need me fully conscious, aren’t you?”
“I suppose, but that doesn’t mean I started to trust you all of a sudden…”
“Fair enough! I don’t trust you either… Where’s your partner in crime?” questioned The Queen when she failed to see him in the room.
“It’s none of your business!” yelled Amber lifting the apparatus to her forehead. “Why don’t you start telling me how to undo your hypnotic control?”
“Nice try Amber, but you know I’m not dumb! If I give you the information just like that then I’ll lose whatever margin I still have to bargain with you… How about if we make a trade?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about an agreement between two powerful women. You want to know things from me, I want to know things from you as well. There are too many questions about what just happened here lingering in my mind… I need answers! If you tell me what I want to know, I’ll do the same…”
Amber was perplexed. The easy way is usually the most dangerous one. What was the game she was trying to play now? And what were the rules?
“Just like that?! No strings attached? I answer one of your questions and you answer one of mine?”
“Yes. I give you my word. I’ll even swear on my mother’s grave if you want me to… Like I said, I’m defenceless right now. I hate to admit it, but I underestimated you. If I were you I would take the offer, Amber! Don’t think of this as a threat because it’s not, but I have to be frank: in a few minutes, I may not be feeling so generous and even if you beat the crap out of me, you’ll never know how to get your precious Sean back… That’s what you really want, isn’t it? You’re still in love with him! That’s why you turned your back on everything I shared with you… He’s the only reason why we’re not sitting together drinking absinth any more!” she concluded.
Amber defended herself in the best way she could at the time: by raising her voice like a thunder:
“You’re wrong! He’s not the only reason as you put it. The truth is I’ve always been against your evil schemes!” It was a lie but Amber had to keep telling it over and over again until it sounded more believable than the truth. Her desires and weaknesses weren’t to be exploited by her mellifluous voice.
“Always?!” smirked The Black Queen. “Who do you think you’re trying to fool? I’ve seen the dominant side in you, Amber! You enjoy this as much as I do!”
“Shut up!” exploded the younger woman thrusting her free hand into the venomous lips of the dethroned ruler. “From the moment we met, I understood it was my destiny to bring you down and the fact that you tried to brainwash me during our training sessions only contributed to heighten my resolve!”
“So you know about that…” continued the older woman, her beautiful mouth tainted with fresh blood. “It was foolhardy of me to try to mess with your head, but I have trust issues… After I took you in as my pupil, I started thinking to myself you were simply too feisty, that your mood was as lively as the colour of your hair… I got convinced that the moment you tasted absolute power you would try to use it against me and that was an inadmissible scenario. I couldn’t let you be Queen in my stead, Amber! I just couldn’t…”
“Well, your little plan didn’t work… I’m not your obedient toy like you wanted me too…”
It was a fact and there was no way to deny it. What stroke The Black Queen as odd is how she had failed to program her. The subliminals she had used weren’t exactly the most powerful ones up her sleeve but the constant repetition during all of those weeks should have been enough to rewrite the majority of Amber’s thoughts… Omicron’s mesmerizing power wasn’t still in top shape, because if it were, none of that would have happened…
“That’s one of the things that bother me, Amber! How on earth did you manage to stop my subtle assault on your mind?”
“Do you really need to ask? I thought you were a goddess and knew everything there was to know of this world and the next…” ironized Amber. “Very well, I’ll indulge you. David sent me this!”
She removed the earpiece from her left ear, exhibiting it like it was the most precious thing in the whole world, which wasn’t that far from the truth. In the Black Queen’s face she saw both anger and dismay, and understood who had designed it in the first place…
“It’s your creation, isn’t it? You were beaten by your own devices, you worthless bitch!”
There was no answer but the silence convinced her that she had hit the core of the question. Amber laughed real hard at her diminished nemesis. Ah, how she looked so feeble! Why bother making deals with her at that time? She punched her again in the face, just for fun and after that she found herself wanting to continue, as if possessed by the spirit of a high school bully. Desires of vengeance came rushing in…
“Do you remember what you said a couple of minutes ago? You said you wouldn’t talk even if I beat the crap out of you, your exact words! Let’s see if you really meant that. I’m not in the mood to talk any more so I going to give you an order instead! Release Sean from the hypnotic prison to which you sentenced him to! Release him now!”
The Black’s Queen response was blunt:
Amber showed her disapproval with another punch, The Black Queen raised her hands to defend herself from the blow, but didn’t move fast enough. The closed fist landed right under the nose bridge and the taser gun was fired one more time, the current causing her body to tremble and shake, a puppet with its strings being cut one at a time:
“Wrong answer! Let’s try this one more time! Wake Sean up!” she hissed.
Still feeling the voltage coming in and out of every pore in her body, The Black Queen readjusted her body and spat on Amber’s shoes.
“I said: No!”
Clouded by the surge of rage, Amber attacked her with all she had not realizing that those who exercise extreme violence without thinking are bound to lose everything in the end. Used to playing dirty, The Black Queen allowed herself to become a punching bag until she could clearly anticipate Amber’s next move. With a rapid movement of her right leg, she swept Amber off her feet sending her to the ground as well. The taser gun gained a life of its own and slid across the room, stopping on its tracks just a few centimetres from the base of the larger throne.
The two women then began a fierce struggle to see who managed to reach it first. Amber was in a better physical shape and therefore had some advantage, but her opponent was serene and knew so much more about the ways of fighting that gave her no chance to regain control of the situation. When she smashed the bottle of absinth right into her head, there was no hint of remorse in her face. This time, Amber Watkins was really going to become her obedient slave, but first she had to take care of another problem, a meddling creature by the name of David Mulder.
* * *
After leaving Amber behind, David stopped by in a room where he had left his clothes by order of The Black Queen, got dressed and wandered a bit until he finally remembered the exact location where the roles of silver tape laid in waiting. After getting hold of three of them, he carefully found a way that led to the front door and approached the guard standing there, unnoticed. Through the use of his powerful arms and a submission manoeuvre he had learned whilst serving in the Navy, he disposed of the steroid machine, locking him up afterwards in a storage room from which he couldn’t ever break free. Just Before that, he took his twelve-round pistol, an item which was sure to come in handy to force the dreadful ruler to reveal its secrets.
He was just about ready to re-enter the area where he and Amber had successfully staged their little uprising when his senses warned him that something was wrong. Gay-Yee’s voice also became audible within his ear-drums:
“When you go in there, be ready to use that gun!” it said.
“What’s going on?” David asked. He wasn’t sure what kind of answer he wanted to hear, but the words that echoed soon after weren’t probably his first choice.
“Something very bad, but this time you need to keep moving forward… If you don’t, you’ll never have what you desire most: your freedom!”
He placed the rolls of tape on the ground by the door and said:
“That’s the best incentive I could ever have…” before dashing into the room, holding the gun steadily. Everything he saw was wrong in so many ways that it would be impossible to number them all.
The Black Queen was sitting in her throne, looking omnipotent despite a couple of injuries and bruises in her face and the blood on her dress. Amber was lying unconscious at her feet, pieces of broken glass entangled in her blazing hair, her unyielding body being used as a stool for the sovereign’s boots. Sean stood next to his Mistress, fully awakened and ready for a fight. The directive of obeying Princess Amber had already been erased from his mind.
David pointed the gun first at Sean and then at The Queen. He saw himself reflected in her stunning violet eyes and immediately became a little dizzy and light-headed, knowing that unless he stopped looking at her, he would start to feel weak in her presence, past triggers slowly being reactivated inside his brain….
The woman’s voice stirred his soul with words of power:
“Welcome back, David! Unfortunately for you, your rebellion is no longer taking place! Not today and not never! You’re probably feeling powerful with that gun in your hands right now but don’t forget who you really are! You’ve been at my service for the past few months and you’re going to continue your duties for many more to come! I have transformed you into my slave! That’s your name, remember? I’m your Queen! I’m The Black Queen and The Black Queen is power, The Black Queen is control… The Black Queen is power, The Black Queen is control… The Black Queen is power, The Black Queen is control… submit to me!”
“Not this time!” mumbled David.
“You’re not listening, slave! I own you! There’s nothing you can do against me, no matter how much you’ve managed to persuade yourself of the contrary to pull this show off! You exist for me! Your destiny is to obey! Obey The Black Queen… Obey me… Obey me… Put down the gun!”
David tried hard to ignore her words, clinging to the prospect of ending that charade between them once and for all. With Amber out of the picture and Sean against him, he felt he was in a disadvantage although he had a gun.
He thought for a split second or so on what to do. Killing her seemed the best course of action… he had heard her say many times that an hypnotic trance couldn’t last forever… with her dead, all of the people that had ever suffered under her control would eventually be free, because the post-hypnotic suggestions planted in their minds would never be used again, and would most likely dissipate after some time. All he had to do was shoot in the dark, empty the bullet clip in the direction where the throne was located and pray to God that his marksmanship didn’t let him down…
His breathing slowed down as he closed his eyes. The memories of her dominance over him still prevented him from attacking her face to face, but perhaps there was a way to go around this imposition. By blinding his sight, his mind would stop seeing too: it would be as if she really wasn’t there, tantalizing him with speeches of supremacy and almost supernatural eyes. He cleared his head from all judgments, all the little things that could distract him and made aim using nothing else but his inner sense of guidance.
“Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” asked The Black Queen, very quietly. “You’re only going to get your friend killed in the process, not me!”
David half-opened both his eyes, apprehending the slight changes in the positions of the other players. Sean’s body now completely covered his line of fire. Using him as a shield was a strong move by the Queen but was it as strong as his determination to declare checkmate to her iniquitous campaigns? He waved the gun from side of side, looking for an angle to pull the trigger safely but couldn’t find one.
“I guess I have no choice but to do this… Forgive me, Sean!” he thought.
David fired once, blowing a chunk of his friend’s right kneecap. Sean shuddered, his body beginning to twist awkwardly until he fell, gasping in pain. David’s eyelids fluttered closed, casting a veil on the surrounding world and he fired one, two, three times…
…and missed! All three bullets grazed the wood of The Black Queen’s throne ricocheting in the door behind, blue and orange sparkles flashing in the distance. The monarch, who had remained motionless during the fire arm’s display, got up using her weight to crush Amber’s ribs and shouted imperiously:
“THAT’S ENOUGH! ON YOUR KNEES! I COMMAND YOU! GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES!”
Something in David’s mind cracked at the sound of her shout. She had only spoken to him with such authority on the day when he had been denigrated by her for the first time, in her own house. He blinked, got locked in her magical, irresistible gaze and his legs buckled forward… he pulled the trigger again but the projectile’s trajectory was all screwed up, scurrying across the air until it lodged itself on one of the purplish curtains. The Black Queen continued to burrow inside his consciousness, draining it away ruthlessly…
“YOU WILL OBEY THE BLACK QUEEN! YOU WILL OBEY ME! YOU CAN’T RESIST!”
His brain juddered, the fissures inside becoming larger and larger…
“You have to fight her, David!” demanded Gay-Yee. “Fire again! Send her to Hell!”
In a fraught attempt to stop the onslaught on his soul, David raised the gun, the restless finger merging with the metal trigger. The remainder of the ammunition in the clip was fired, however all of the slugs missed, its normal patterns appearing oddly distorted just as if The Black Queen’s intense concentration was creating an invisible barrier to protect her from all harm, It was crazy, yet she lived… she was stronger than him… she…
Right away, he understood there was nothing else he could do… no more chance to recover… he let the pistol slip away from his weak fingers whilst Gay-Yee’s make-believe murmurs grew fainter, whirling like leaves caught up in a tornado and afterwards dissolving into the void… in a dimension where everything changed only that woman remained the same… controlling… immortal… his Queen… the one he had to follow… the smell of freedom was merely a faint odour whose molecules would never combine in his lifetime but the perfume of slavery was a part of him… it defined his character…
The Black Queen walked to him, kicking the injured Sean out of the way. Her long nails touched David’s drooping chin and pulled his head up. Her splendour engulfed him completely.
“YOU’RE MINE! REPEAT MY TRIGGERS AND FALL DEEPER FOR ME ONE MORE TIME.” ordered The Queen. “EACH TIME YOU SAY THEM, MY POWER OVER YOUR MIND AND BODY WILL GROW… OBEY ME NOW!”
Already too weak, David did what he was told, thus cementing the bond that made him a servant to that woman:
“The Black Queen is power, The Black Queen is control… The Black Queen is power, The Black Queen is control… The Black Queen is power, The Black Queen is control…”
* * *
Amber Watkins didn’t return home that night and was reported missing by her parents forty-eight hours after the events just portrayed. Whilst her troubled family talked to the police, providing the men in blue with all sorts of information that could help them in their search, she was being held captive in The Black Queen’s house, chained on one of the many bedrooms within, deprived of sunlight. At the same time, David was in his house, watching T.V. and Sean recovered from the bullet wound on a hospital bed. As expected, the memories of what took place inside Lockwood Studios were carefully erased from their conscious selves… David believes he went to see his football team playing while his closest friend is convinced he was the victim of a failed mugging attempt in broad daylight…
The diligences by the authorities to locate the missing girl were of various natures but produced no actual results, not because of any ineffectiveness from the Missing Persons Brigade but rather because there was some covert interference in the process. Who would have guessed that the brand-new computers the two detectives in charge of the case received in their respective houses one day had their programming tampered? If you ask any of them about the default screensaver in each one of them, they’ll give you some vague ideas about bright colours and rotating geometric shapes but nothing more…
During approximately a month, The Black Queen left Amber all alone, sobbing and crying, asking for her forgiveness. She disregarded her pleas, but didn’t mistreat her that badly. Good food and fresh water was placed inside her solitary every single day and, on the second night, she gave her a mattress, two pillows and a couple of blankets… the chains were also removed and the girl’s wounds on the wrists healed very rapidly.
In the time of the former Princess’ imprisonment, The Black Queen hypnotized David continuously adding new layers to his subconscious desires of worship and devotion. Whether he’ll ever be able to break each additional lock remains to be seen, but due to the tripled surveillance on his state of mind and the daily reinforcements to his purpose in her kingdom, the odds are definitely against him. One in a trillion, perhaps….
With the relentless help of a group of mesmerized geniuses in her software company, men whose IQ was to more use to her than all the sexual satisfaction they could provide, working as one, The Black Queen also finally succeeded in solving all of Omicron’s bugs. The last lines of code were the hardest, as the stability of the illusion environment she was aiming for depended on them. Gods of technology smiled upon her to assist in the completion of the work.
Having all of the software and hardware components of her perfect program of mind entanglement ready to work, the dazzling sovereign and businesswoman needed only a human guinea-pig to baptize the product. Amber was the obvious choice, in fact the only one she ever considered and that’s why she turned to Sean’s wide assortment of knowledge about her. During a phone call, she put him under and instructed him to reveal what was her greatest fear in life.
“Water…” he said, recalling the events on that pool, so many years ago.
“Then I guess poor little Amber is going to drown…” sneered the vindictive leader on the other side of the line. “Your Queen is proud of you, my subject! Now hang up the phone and forget you ever talked to me!”
“As you wish, My Queen…”
After the call, a very specific scenario was built into the program’s memory, ready to be activated with the single press of a computer key. The Black Queen then drove home, greeting her captive with a German model handgun and a pair of handcuffs she tossed to the ground.
“Put these on, Amber! We’re going on a ride!”
“What are you going to do with me?” asked the hostage as she moved slowly for the cuffs.
“I’m going to show you the future!” smiled The Queen.
The two women left the house, travelling at high speed into the building of the soon to be most successful software corporation in the history of mankind. Amber was led to a soundproof test room with an array of interconnected processors, keyboards and computer monitors surrounding a circular depression. Still under the threat of the gun, she entered the circle and watched as her arch-rival entered a few instructions on one of the terminals, speaking at the same time.
“This is Omicron, my gift for the coming ages! Young and old will learn to use it and then all men will belong to women and all women will embrace the beauty of perpetual dominance over men with me as their leader… all women except you, of course! Since you turned down the opportunity I gave you, you don’t deserve another! You could have been a true Princess, Amber! Now you’re going to be my maid and slave for life and that tongue of yours will lick the floor in which you stand right now… Enjoy your trip into the sea!”
The Black Queen hit the “Enter” key and the phantasy came to life. Two projectors above Amber shone an iridescent light onto her eyes, warping the fabric of reality all around.
Within the computer-generated three-dimensional chimera she had her hands free and was sitting inside a boat in the middle of an ocean that stretched as far as the eyes could see… calmness filled the air and the fleeting clouds in the sky reminded her of threads of cotton candy. They came in three colours: white, pink… and violet.
The feeling of peacefulness didn’t last long. A ferocious storm came without warning, cyclonic winds blowing from the nether regions of dementia, waves of daunting indigo blue picking up the boat and making it spin. Amber hung on to the painted wood as it splintered beneath her fingers, until it was all but a mass of debris being dragged and sucked into the sea’s floor.
She was pulled in with the pieces of the boat, the salted water clogging her nose and hurting her eyes, her lips still closed but rapidly succumbing to the pressure of the enveloping liquid. As she sunk, she saw no fish or plants, no life of any sort; only a glimmering gaze rippling at a distance… moving closer… rapacious eyes coming to collect her soul… they talked to her in the cobalt fluids… with all of the oceanic currents reverberating its voice of command:
“SURRENDER TO ME!”
Exactly one minute and twenty-seven seconds after being catapulted into Omicron’s degenerated underwater cosmos, Amber Watkins’ will-power ceased to exist. The brain had drowned. Her almost comatose body lay curled just like a worm, tongue sticking out and driven solely by the impulse of tasting the ground and moistening it with saliva, loyally deferential to The Black Queen….
* * *
Omicron’s being mass-produced and shipped as these last lines are being revealed. It has tons of features so everyone can have the experience of their lifetime without leaving the comfort of home and it will be possible to download additional content, for free, at a regular rate. The Black Queen’s decisive conquest will not take long.
Despite the relatively flawed teacher-pupil experience with Amber Watkins, the mind-blowing goddess eventually took on a new protégé, a woman who saw in her the salvation for a doomed life and who doesn’t need to be subject to any reorientation whatsoever to understand that it’s impossible to separate the principles of control from the principles of obedience. I suppose I could tell you a lot of things about this student but that would be dwelling into other stories that are of no significance to the conclusion of this one. Nonetheless, because I know, sooner or later, you’ll ask me things about her, I’ll give you just a small hint and the rest is up to you all.
Her name starts with a V….