"Unhand me, you vile demons! I demand an explanation for this! Unhand me, I say!"
Thomas was being dragged helplessly towards the entrance of the castle. His blood was racing, his heart was pounding, and his nerves were shot. Two butlers, dressed entirely in black-aside from their black and white striped masks around their eyes-remained silent as they lifted the boy up the stairs to the door. Finally, the servant on the right of Thomas hissed in a snake-like tone, "Our Mistress will certainly be pleased with this one," he whispered in a light snicker, "you know how much she loves those who resist and fight her power."
The two servants chuckled deeply within their throats, the servant to the left of Thomas replied, "Oh, yes! She will be most pleased with us! Perhaps she'll even reward us with another entrancive gift." The two servants seemed awfully giddy to Thomas for such a thing...however, Thomas didn't have much time to think before they were at the large, front doors of the dark castle.
The castle itself was a frightening picture; Its tall structure had large windows that seemed to howl and lash their curtains against the harsh wind. There was even a large rose garden a few yards from the entrance...it had a golden statue of a giant serpent coiled around a screaming rabbit right in the middle of the reddened flower bed.
Thomas instantly lost his nerve, "Unhand me! Now!"
Thomas struggled as much as he could muster against the strong grip of the two servants, seeming to bring them back to reality from their previous discussion. "Enough with your squirming, boy!" The servant on the left shouted, striking Thomas across the face with the back of his hand. The servant on the right gasped, "No! Don't do that! Do you have any idea what the Mistress will do you to you if she finds a single bruise on him???" The servant on the right grabbed the left servant's wrist, stopping a second blow. "Besides, he'll be tamed soon enough. So please, let's just get him to the room so he can be taken care of. I must admit that I'm not very fond of this squirming kid, either. However, orders are orders!"
Thomas had no idea how this happened. The last thing he could remember was his simple task of delivering newspapers up the down the streets of London. Thomas remembered that he had to pick up the pace, considering it was getting dark and the moon was already beginning to rise. So, he began to run quickly, door-to-door, just tossing and weaving as fast as he could...then he heard something.
Thomas suddenly gasped to himself, remembering what the sound was. It was a music!
And what music it was! It sounded like two flutes being played far in the distance. He also remembered this strange feeling he got when he heard that music echo off the London walls.
He remembered feeling something…frightfully odd.
It was this sleepy, soothed feeling that slithered up and down his spine with every musical change in the notes.
That music...that beautiful music...turned his entire world black.
Thomas was instantly broken from his train of thought as he was tossed into a large, dark room.
"That's enough day-dreaming, my boy. Now, hold still!" Thomas suddenly felt the two finely-dressed men come straight at him with ropes! Thomas felt one servant grab his wrists, tying them tightly behind his back as the other servant grabbed his ankles and knees and tied them together as well. "No! Please no! I didn't do anything wrong, I swear!" screamed Thomas, utterly at a loss of his sanity. "I'll pay you whatever you want! I won't even report to the authorities! Please, just let me go!"
"Charming offer," said the servant holding Thomas's wrists. “However, we are not interested in such materialistic things...at least not anymore." The two butlers lifted Thomas up and pulled him over to a small, curved chair made out of soft silk and velvet. Thomas was plopped down onto his rump rather harshly, but the chair cushioned his fall without any harm. The finely-dressed butlers snickered and chuckled to each other, their excitement caused cold chills to run up and down Thomas's spine. What was going to happen to him? What did he do? And more importantly, who was behind all of this?
"Now, you just stay put, little man," hissed one of the servants. "Our Mistress will be here soon. And I must say that you will make a fine addition to her collection." The other servant leaned over to Thomas, gently grasping his chin into the palm of his hand, "Yes-s-s-s, a lovely addition, indeed..." Thomas whimpered quietly and shuddered as he watched his captors step back and stroll out of the room. They closed the door and left Thomas all alone in the darkness.
"Oh god," Thomas whimpered, his eyes darting with panic, "I've got to get out of here!"
But how could he? His entire body was bound with ropes!
Thomas's head swam with anxieties, never before had he been so frightened. Thomas looked about the room, trying to find something to cut his bounds with...but there was nothing. Thomas took his time to finally drink in his surroundings in the hopes of finding something that could provide freedom. This room was so dark that Thomas couldn't see very much and the only light given was the soft glow of the moon through a small window behind Thomas, and a small, lit fireplace to Thomas's left. The red curtains of the window seemed to wave and wonder at the slight wind coming from outside. Thomas could feel the soft carpet below his feet and the warmth of the fire upon his face and neck. He could also see a small, black table in the corner of the room. It seemed to have some sort of red suit case on top of it...
This room, Thomas thought, suddenly feeling strange upon his current settings, it's so inviting...and strangely tranquil. Thomas suddenly felt light-head. For some reason he didn't feel the need to move, as if this room was casting some sort of spell over him. The warm fireplace, the soft carpet, and the enchanting red curtains that moved with such grace against the wind.
Thomas gasped aloud, breaking himself of this strange feeling, "What am I doing? I need to escape!" In a panicked frenzy, Thomas struggled harshly against the ropes that bound him. Thomas pulled and tugged himself about, squirming like a helpless rabbit caught in a vile snake's coils…just like the statue outside! "Somebody please, help me!" Thomas yelled, but the only response received was complete silence. Thomas suddenly yanked himself a little too far, causing him to fall out of his chair into a heavy THUMP! on the floor.
He stopped for a moment from exhaustion, his breath suddenly shortened in realization; he wasn't bound to the chair, he could still move! Not putting much thought into his next actions, Thomas tried to wiggle and writhe himself into and upright position. He noticed that the door wasn't too far away, only a few feet, and there were no noises or voices to be heard on the other side.
This is my chance!
Thomas pulled himself up to a sitting position, looking down at his tied up knees and ankles. Perhaps he could stand up somehow...There wasn't much time to think, however, he had to try it! Thomas bended his knees underneath himself, using the strength he could muster to stand up. Thomas's knees suddenly unbuckled, his ankles weakened, and he was sent, crashing face-first, into the floor once again. "Confound it!" He muffled into the carpet, "I suppose I'll just have to crawl my way out!" Moving like an inch worm, Thomas wiggled his way to the door. With each lunge, he came closer and closer.
His heart throbbed in his chest!
His mind was racing!
His eyes widened with anxiety!
His breaths were short and fast!
This is it!
The doorknob suddenly began to turn, Thomas stopped dead in his tracks..."No." Thomas laid still on the ground, looking up helplessly as the door slowly opened. A shadowed figure stood in the middle of the doorway. The figure was accompanied by the two finely-dressed butlers who kidnapped Thomas, they grinned wide smiles as they stared down upon their prey. Thomas also noticed how the servants stood behind the shadowed figure, rather than stand next to it...as if paying some sort of superior respect.
Thomas let his eyes adjust to the figure before him, he had to squint rather hard, considering he had been in the dark and the open door allowed a large flow of light into the room. The shapely figure was that of a woman, but it was certainly not a woman Thomas had seen before.
This woman wore black, low-heeled shoes along with long, black trousers that ended in cuffs around her ankles. Upon her torso she wore a black waistcoat, with three golden buttons. Thomas noticed that a golden pocket watch was in one of the woman’s breast pocket as well as its chain and fastener. Underneath the waistcoat the woman wore a white long-sleeved dress shirt made out of fine wool. Thomas’s eyes traveled down the woman’s arms to her hands where each of her fingers wore some sort of snake ring that had glistening jewels for eyes. Thomas’s eyes suddenly traveled back up to the woman’s face. There was a large, red bow tie around her neck made out of a silky ribbon. Thomas couldn't see her eyes for they were shadowed by her black top hat that was adorned with a white ribbon, along with the shadows of her short, brunette hair. Even though Thomas couldn't see much of her face, he noticed a golden chain coming from her left eye. Thomas concluded that she was wearing some sort of single spectacle, or monocle, over that eye.
Thomas also noticed a sinister smile upon the woman's features as she looked down at him.
"Well now, what have we here?" The woman spoke, her voice like that of a whispering serpent, "Such a naughty guest we have. Trying to leave, are we? Well, I'm afraid your company is much too needed for that." The woman knelt down before Thomas, grabbed the collar of his black shirt, and pulled him up closer to her face, "Why not just take a seat and make yourself at home."
Thomas suddenly felt himself being thrown back into the same chair he was in before, feeling that cushioned fall once more sent tremors of anger up his spine and into his skull. "Who are you? What do you want with me?" Thomas bellowed, his face stark red with rage. However, somewhere in the back of his mind, he couldn't help but feel a small flicker of fear. The woman paid him no mind as she casually moved to stand in front of him. She snapped her fingers, causing the two servants at the doorway to make a move. They both grabbed a single chair, one similar to Thomas's, and, in unison, slid the chair underneath the woman as she began to sit down. The woman's smirk never left her features as she took her seat.
Thomas wasn't very fond of that smirk at all.
But then Thomas saw the woman's smile falter into a straight line. "Gabriel? Bartholomew?" The woman said, seeming to be staring at Thomas, yet gesturing towards the two gentlemen behind her. The servants jumped slightly in their shoes, but responded with as much ease as they could gather, "Yes, Mistress?"
Mistress? She must have been the one these two loons were discussing earlier! And she must be the one behind this whole charade!
The Mistress gently grabbed Thomas's chin, tilting his head over to the side slightly, revealing an area upon Thomas's cheek; It was a dark shade of pink, upon his pale flesh, in the shape of a large circle.
The Mistress scowled, tracing the injured skin with her index finger, "May I ask what this is." Thomas look up at the servants, their eyes widened in fear. But one of the servants decided to speak up, it was the one she called Bartholomew, "It was I, my Mistress. I stuck this man out of complete foolishness and due to my impatience of his struggling." Bartholomew moved to stand to the Mistress's right side, bowing deeply upon one knee, covering his heart with his hand, and hanging his head very low, "Forgive me, my Mistress. I was out of line and disobeyed one of your clearest orders...and I am sorry."
The Mistress remained silent for a moment, looking down upon Bartholomew with hooded eyes. Thomas could feel the Mistress's soft hand still upon his face, her thumb rubbing his pink cheek gently. Thomas also saw the worried look on the one called Gabriel standing behind the Mistress; his look of concern and fright darted from his Mistress to his partner in servitude. The woman in the top hat let out a soft sigh, removed her hand from Thomas's face, stood up from her chair, and looked down at her bowing servant. "Please stand up," the Mistress ordered in a soft tone.
Bartholomew’s face was hidden behind his assigned mask, but Thomas could easily see the fear that rose up in the butler's eyes. "Yes, my Mistress."
Like an obedient puppy, the frightened man rose up and stood before the one he served, "I am ready to receive my punishment, Mistress. I am so sorry, please forgive me." The woman in the waistcoat remained motionless for quite some time, looking at her servant as he bowed his head in shame. Thomas was breathless, there wasn't anything to be said; he had to escape, that's all he knew...
"No, Bartholomew," the Mistress finally said, "If there's anyone who should be sorry, it should be me."
Both Gabriel and Bartholomew looked up at their Mistress, a stunned look in their eyes. The shameful servant was speechless, but the Mistress continue, "I understand that being my servant is a difficult task. I promised you relaxation and tranquility, but instead you suffer from impatience and frustration. That is not acceptable upon my behalf." The Mistress took Bartholomew’s face into her hands, "Look at me," she whispered, "Look into my eyes."
Thomas couldn't see what was happening, for the Mistress was turn away from him. However, he could clearly see Bartholomew. Thomas watched as the butler's eyes were raised to match his Mistress's. The woman in the top hat slid one of her hands up Bartholomew’s cheek to his striped mask, letting her fingers slip underneath it. Bartholomew’s eyes fluttered closed as his mask was gently removed from his face. As his eyes opened once more, the woman before him placed his mask aside for a moment, letting her eyes wonder back to his.
"And now," the Mistress said in a silky hiss, her eyes locked onto her servant's in a dead focus, "it's time for your intake of tranquility. Your reward of relaxation. And your soothing solitude of refine ecstasy."
Thomas stared at Bartholomew as he stared at his Mistress. The butler's eyes suddenly snapped into a widened gaze, his pupils shrank and began to spin, his shoulders slumped, his body leaned forward, and the colors in his eyes disappeared, changing rapidly into large black and white swirls. Thomas shivered in his chair as he saw a large grin spread itself across Bartholomew’s face. What was this woman doing to him?
"My Mistress..." Bartholomew whispered. "Thank you..."
"When I snap my fingers," the suddenly grinning Mistress cooed, "you shall be drained of all unpleasant feelings: all your worries and all your cares." The servant nodded as his Mistress lifted her hand in front of the man's eyes, and snapped her fingers. The snapping sound seemed to send a deep echo that Thomas could have sworn shook the room ever so slightly. Bartholomew trembled, shuddered in breath, closed his eyes, then let out a deep sigh accompanied by a light moan.
Thomas could see it all leave the butler; all his worries and all his cares.
The room was still, everything seemed frozen in time. The Mistress suddenly broke the stillness by gently placing the black and white striped mask back upon Bartholomew’s face.
"Open your eyes." she whispered.
The very command seemed to send all sorts of tremors throughout Bartholomew’s body, for he shuddered once more and allowed his eyes to flutter open once again. The Mistress, very pleased with herself, smiled the most warm smile to her butler. However, she most certainly could not forget her other servant..."Gabriel?" The servant, who had been behind the empty, velvet chair this entire time chimed into the scene, "Yes, my Mistress?"
The woman in the waistcoat began to reach into her lower left pocket, "You deserve your reward as well. However, you shall receive it in a different form...your most personal and favorite form." Thomas craned his neck slightly to see what the lady was pulling out of her pocket It looked like a berry of some kind. Gabriel gasped, a look of a pleasant surprise spread across his features. "Mistress," he stammered, "Oh, Mistress! Thank you!"
He accepted it with much gratitude, if not with a bit of greed, and held the berry close with his thumb and index finger. Thomas suddenly made out what it was...a strawberry? However, this strawberry wasn't red, like all the strawberries Thomas had seen before...it was white. A white strawberry with black seeds and leaves. Thomas grimaced in disgust, surely such this strawberry was rotten and out of season. Why would anyone be excited about rotten fruit? However, Gabriel had enough excitement for everyone as he licked his lips and plucked the black leaves from the strawberry's top. The Mistress and Bartholomew remained silent, but watched as Gabriel slid the strawberry into his mouth. Before Gabriel decided to chew it up, he looked at his Mistress who just smiled and gave a permissive nod. Gabriel grinned with glee and chewed the strawberry rather slowly, he closed his eyes and groaned in delight at the taste of it.
By what Thomas could gather, the strawberry was actually very delicious to Gabriel.
Gabriel opened his eyes, and what Thomas saw within them shocked him: Gabriel's eyes suddenly changed into the exact black and white, swirled design as his partner, Bartholomew had They were largely swirled and moved in circles into a dizzying pattern. Gabriel closed his eyes once more to swallow the fruit given to him, letting out a shudder and a heavy sigh as if he had been cleansed of all that was unpleasant to him. Gabriel opened his eyes one last time. However, his eyelids only opened half way, still heavy with the tremors he felt previous. Gabriel walked over to Bartholomew’s side in heavy footsteps. Both, in unison, bowed low before the woman in the waistcoat and top hat, "Mistress," they said, their voices in a low, pleasant hum. "Thank you."
The woman, before the two servants, simply held out both of her hands and combed her fingers through her butlers’ hair. "You both have done your duty," she cooed. "I here by dismiss you both for the night. Your job is done here and it is time for you to retire into sweet slumber." The Mistress looked over her shoulder slightly, eyeing the lad all tied up in the chair, "Come tomorrow, I shall have your new partner, and friend, ready for your next task."
The finely-dressed woman smiled that smirk to Thomas, letting her head up from under her hat's shadow. Thomas finally caught his first glimpse of her eyes...but suddenly came to realize, he wished he hadn't. The woman's eyes were as crimson as freshly-spilt blood, they glowed dimly against the light of the moon and fireplace, her pupils were largely slit like the eyes of a snake, and the large, golden monocle flashed like a star in the dark room. Thomas jumped in his seat and gasped rather loudly for the Mistress to hear.
The two butlers in striped masks nodded once to their Mistress's command. They both stood up into their uniformed postures and left the room, their Mistress watching the door slowly close behind them.
"And now," the woman hissed, fully turning her body to face Thomas, "it looks like it's your turn, deary." The Mistress's smile grew wider into a toothy grin, her head tilted like a curious loon, and her crimson eyes glowed slightly brighter in excitement. Thomas's eyes grew as wide as dinner plates. What was she going to do with him?
"I couldn't help but notice how quiet you were this whole time," the Mistress said. "Plotting your escape or just captivated by what you'll soon become?" Thomas managed to find his voice, "What I'll become? Do you mean a hopeless servant who will obey your every command, and in return you'll reward me with treats, like a common cur?!" Thomas saw that the Mistress's brow arched slightly, as if she found some sort of amusement in his little outburst of bravery. But, in the end, her smile never left her and she merely whispered, "Exactly."
Thomas's brow furrowed into a sneer, "And what makes you think I will agree to such things, Mistress?" The word "Mistress" was dipped in heavy sarcasm, causing the woman's smile to fall into a straight line as before. Thomas deflated in his chair slightly, not enjoying how blank of an expression the woman suddenly had. "Tell me, my dear boy," she finally said. "What do you know about hypnosis?"
The young man bound in the chair remained quiet for a short beat of time, a little surprised at the random question, considering it was completely off course. "Hypnosis?" he questioned. The Mistress simply nodded. "Indeed," she replied. "Hypnosis, what do you know about it?" It was one simple question, yet Thomas felt as though he was being barraged by millions of them. "I must admit," Thomas began, not too certain where this would be leading too. "I don't believe in such things. Hypnosis, from what I gather, is merely a parlor trick. An illusion, that phony magicians tend to use, and technique, that false psychologists use, in order to gain money."
Thomas looked up at the Mistress's blank expression...however, it didn't remain blank for much longer. The woman in the top hat suddenly went mad with a rage of laugher! She threw her head back, held her sides, and wiped her eyes as maniacal snickers and giggles seemed to possess her body. Thomas's cringed slightly, the laughter nearly stinging his ears. "Oh, my dear boy," the Mistress managed to spur out. “You are such an uneducated youth. How precious!" She threw her head back once more, nearly tossing it over her shoulders as she slapped her knees. Thomas's stomach boiled with rage, "Excuse me? How am I the uneducated one!? You’re the one laughing like a bloody loon!"
His reaction set a strange calm amongst the room, bringing the Mistress back from her trance of laughter. "Forgive me, boy," she said, straightening herself up in her seat. "It's just that I haven't heard such an answer before." Thomas cringed in anger, “I have a name, you know! It's-"
"Why, it's Thomas, of course."
The young man, bound tightly on the velvet and silk chair, felt his heart skip a beat.
"You know my name?" he managed to ask under his breath. The Mistress allowed that sinister half-smirk to reappear across her face. "Oh, I know more than just your name, Thomas," She said crossing her long legs casually and letting her monocle flash within the low light of the room.
"You see, Thomas...I've been watching you for quite some time. Watching you as you run, with so much youthful energy, I might add, up and down the crowded streets of London. You're a common paper boy. You wake up in the morning, run your routes for papers, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. This repeated cycle tends to become rather bothersome after four years of it...am I right?"
Thomas's eyes widened and he whimpered, "What in the name of-"
"And," The Mistress continued, "I also know that you live alone. A-a-a-a-ll alone. Which, I must admit, is a great pity for a young man, such as yourself. And all you have to keep you company is the stressful agonies of a boring life. Your boring, lonely, frustrating life."
Thomas was in complete shock, his lips parted slightly from surprise. What was more frustrating?: The very idea that this woman knew about his past of four years...or the fact that she was right about it all? Every day was exactly the same, and after so many years, it had gotten to the point of rattling Thomas's nerves. His mother and father barely even knew him growing up, and he never found a woman to call his own either...He might as well not even exist.
The Mistress allowed her smile to remain, enjoying Thomas's long thought in silence. Such an elegant youth, Thomas was; his short, wheat-colored hair, icy-blue eyes that reminded the Mistress of beautiful rain water, and, of course, his head-strong mind. However, no matter how strong and resistant Thomas's mind seemed to be, you would find him suddenly quivering and shaking with so much uncertainty whenever you would pick at the tender bits of his vulnerability. The Mistress liked that.
"Poor, dear Thomas," the woman in the top hat said. "All alone with such frustrations, and with no tranquil moments to speak of." She suddenly leaned in very close to Thomas, their foreheads nearly touching, "But what if I could give you a new life? A life that you could never even imagine in your sweetest dreams. A life where worries and cares could never even enter your sight again. Think about it, what would you go back to if you managed to escape me, anyhow?"
Thomas allowed the question to boggle in his brain: What would he go back to? Delivering papers all day in the harsh summers and winters? Back to a home where no one resides other than himself? And the only thing keeping him company would be the stressful agonies of a boring life...The words of the Mistress before him suddenly made sense.
Thomas was now face-to-face with the person who kidnapped him...What was he going to do now?
"You can give me a better life?" Thomas finally asked, his own voice sounded rather foolish to him, like some begging sob who needed an escape from unhappiness and despair. The Mistress however was quite taken by his question. "Indeed, I can," she said. "That's where hypnosis comes into play." She stood up from her seat and strolled over to the small table in the corner that had a small, red suitcase on top of it.
"You see, my dear boy," The Mistress continued, allowing her fingers to trace over the suitcase. "Hypnosis is a very complex art. An art that uses the five senses of the human body: smell, taste, hearing, touch, and, my personal favorite, sight. You may be skeptical of such an ability, which is perfectly understandable. However," she picked up the suitcase and placed it on the floor next to her as she sat back into her chair before Thomas, "you won't be skeptical for long..."
Thomas didn't like how that sounded, he had to ask, "Will it hurt?" It was a ridiculous question, however the Mistress replied, "Not at all, my dearest Thomas. In fact, you just might find it rather enjoyable..." The young man bound in his seat fidgeted with his ropes, the Mistress took notice and chuckled, "Don't worry, my dear. As long as you remain a good boy, then you won't be bound for much longer."
"And now, we shall begin..."
Thomas could only watch and stare as his main captor placed the suitcase upon her lap and opened it. "We shall start with your sense of smell," she said. Her pale hands fondled inside the red container for quite some time, then the Mistress slowly pulled out a crimson rose. "Flowers are so pleasant to the senses; they give you such soothing, relaxing with each and every inhale."
The woman took the rose and held it out horizontally in front of Thomas, the bud of the rose aiming right for Thomas's nose. The Mistress closed her eyes, mumbled a few words to herself, then let go of the rose. Thomas's eyes widened with amazement as the rose suddenly began to float in mid-air before him!
"Wha-what are you-?"
"Hush, hush, deary. There's no turning back now..."
The Mistress turned her head slightly to the right of the rose and gently blew upon the floating flower. The rose began to move like that of a pinwheel, slowly spinning round and round before Thomas. The petals of the rose's blossom suddenly detached themselves from the bud and branched off, one-by-one, off of the base and stem.
The large petals began to glow a deep red and then gently floated towards Thomas's face. Thomas was awestruck, but then suddenly, Thomas began to feel something. The strong fragrance of the rose slowly began to flow into him. The glowing petals sent their elegant scent straight for Thomas's senses.
Thomas felt his breathing become slower and more deep with each and every inhale. Such a strong, yet gentle scent of roses filled Thomas's mind with such peace and pleasure he had never experienced before. Thomas saw himself lying in the middle of a vast rose garden, only hearing the low echo of his breathing, sending himself deeper and deeper into this soothing and tranquil feeling. He could barely think, he could barely focus,...and he could barely resist.
The Mistress observed Thomas's delicious reaction with a simple smirk, "Such a wonderful aroma, roses can make. It can easily persuade your mind into such relaxation." The woman in the top hat watched Thomas's heavy eye lids droop with tranquility, but it wasn‘t enough for him to become fully entranced. "I see we'll have to move on to the next destination, shall we?" Thomas responded only with his eyes, locking them with the crimson orbs of the woman before him.
"Very well," she replied. "We shall continue with your sense of taste."
The Mistress's slit eyes flashed in delight as she reached into her left waistcoat pocket. She wrapped her fingers around the item that resided inside, then she pulled it out into view. It was another white and black spotted strawberry. Thomas recalled the Mistress giving one to Gabriel, he also remembered the servant’s reaction to the taste of it...
Thomas could only watch as the Mistress pulled out a small knife and began to cut the strawberry into smaller pieces. "You're not quite ready for its full effect," she said. "It's always best to start out at a small pace. Now, open wide."
The Mistress held a little sliver of the white fruit in front of Thomas's lips. All Thomas could do was part the entrance to his mouth slightly, his mind still swirling with the intoxicating aroma of roses. Understanding this, the Mistress slid the strawberry gently between the boys lips and into his mouth. Thomas's eyes suddenly bulged in shock. The strawberry sent a large burst of flavor upon his tongue, causing his spine to stiffen. Such sweetness put his mouth in a small trance of ecstasy. Thomas allowed his teeth to slowly chew the ripe fruit, letting its juices run wild among every area they could find. Thomas let every piece of the strawberry slowly run down his throat and shuddered at the feeling of it. After the strawberry passed through him, Thomas's eyes drooped back into a half-closed position.
The Mistress grinned from ear-to-ear, how she loved to see her playthings so captivated by the simplest of things.
The woman in the top hat finally said, "Strawberries are Nature's intoxications, my dear. They can send even the most stubborn of beasts into such tranquility that will make them beg for more." Thomas could see why this was true; his taste buds screamed for more, he longed to have that sweet taste run wild inside of him...he needed more.
"I can see that look in your eyes, my dearest. These feelings are already setting in; they are slowly creeping into your skull, seducing your senses into relaxation. You want more and your craving it, aren't you?"
That strong smell of roses, that amazing taste of strawberries...Thomas, indeed, wanted more. He responded to the Mistress's question by slowly nodding his head. "Then, I shall give you more." the Mistress whispered, reaching back into her suitcase.
"Riddle me this, Thomas," the woman in the monocle suddenly said. "Do you enjoy music?" The young man bound in his chair was still dumbfounded by what the Mistress has done to him so far, he could only respond with a nod.
He didn't care about his own opinions, it was all about what the Mistress wanted-...wait...what?
"Then, I'm sure you'll enjoy this."
The woman in the waistcoat didn't give Thomas an opportunity to think before she slowly pulled an instrument out into view from her red suitcase. From what Thomas could gather, it looked like some sort of flute. However, instead of holding it to the side, the Mistress held it out straight forward. The instrument was in the shape of a green serpent with golden eyes...Thomas was not sure of this, but he could have sworn the snake was looking at him.
"Music is such a wondrous thing. You came tame a wild beast if you wanted to! However, it can only be done with a certain melody, whenever you take control of their sense of hearing..."
The Mistress held the end of the serpent-flute up to her lips then gently released a small breath. The snake let out a soft note, it echoed deeply upon the area of the room. Thomas could feel the note vibrate through the air; from the walls, to the floor, to his chair, and then straight to him. The woman playing the instrument let the notes slither freely from the snake in her hands. Each note danced about the room, sending such soothing tremors of tranquility throughout Thomas's body. Thomas let his eye lids droop even more than before, he let the edges of his lips perk into a small smile, and he also suddenly let his mind cease in thinking.
Such peace I have never known before, Thomas thought. I don't want to resist this, I don't want this to ever end, I don't want anything else...but this feeling right here.
The Mistress hit the last note of the little song, created just for those who must listen, lowered the snake-shaped instrument, and smirked. "Look at you," the Mistress cooed. "I've never seen such an expression before." She paused their little session for just a moment and glared at Thomas; his eyes were so heavy, his breathing reduced from shallow to deep, his lips were parted into a small smile, and his mind was so close to giving up.
The Mistress chuckled deeply to herself, truly satisfied.
It wouldn't be long now.
"Now we'll shall move on to our next step."
The woman was suddenly behind Thomas, holding his shoulders and whispering gently into his ear. Thomas felt himself shudder slightly at the very sound of the Mistress’s voice. It didn't sound any different, however it had a difference on how it was effecting him. The Mistress's voice went from a sinister hiss that frightened Thomas to no end, to this strange and seductive whisper that Thomas couldn't help but feel drawn to.
Who was this woman?
Thomas didn't have time to ponder before he felt the smooth hands on his shoulders begin to squeeze and knead themselves around every fiber of muscle they could find. The Mistress remained by his ear and whispered softly, "My my, Thomas. You're awfully tense for such a young lad. Allow me to relieve of it..." Thomas's breath hitched as the woman behind him squeezed a bit harder around his shoulders. Her fingers kneaded themselves deeply into Thomas's pallid flesh, moving in small, strong circles. Thomas felt his shoulder begin to slouch, why he was so tense was beyond him.
The Mistress's hands moved lower onto Thomas's back, she allowed her thumbs to do most of the work while her fingers just traced over the young man's black shirt.
"The sense of touch is quite diverse from your other senses; it requires slower movements...and much deeper contact."
Thomas suddenly felt his wrists becoming untied, he shifted in his seat and noticed that the bounds around his ankles and knees have been removed as well. How long have they been untied? The Mistress suddenly whispered, "You've been such a good boy. There's no need to keep you bound by mere ropes anymore. I'm sure, by this point, you do not wish to leave me. Am I right?"
Thomas opened his mouth to answer, but only responded with a small gasp as he suddenly felt the Mistress's clever hands slid underneath his shirt and slither straight up his back. Thomas could feel those cool fingers relax every heated fiber muscle along his spine. Hearing the young man gasp was enough for the Mistress to understand, "That's what I thought." She hissed and chuckled deeply into Thomas's ear.
Thomas could only sit there and quiver as this woman, dressed so finely in black and white, moved her hands around and around his back. The Mistress’s fingers joined in with her thumbs to massage Thomas's spine and shoulders, rather enjoying the feel of Thomas's smooth skin. The sound of Thomas's staggered breaths thrilled the Mistress to no end, it was almost precious how weak and helpless the young man seemed to her.
Thomas could barely take hold of what was happening to him. Everything seemed to slow down, time itself was at a pause, and all that was left was the Mistress...He could feel the hypnotic seduction of her touch, the way she kneaded her powers deeply into his skin, persuading his body to surrender to this feeling of...of what? What did she want from him? What made him so special for her to choose? But all these questions and all the worries were at a blank, like some sort of wall was preventing Thomas from thinking. No, that wasn't it. He could think...just not by himself.
"Close your eyes and lean back in your chair, Thomas."
That voice. That gentle, enticing voice. Thomas could not refuse such a motherly tone, a tone that entranced his very soul. Like a puppet on strings, Thomas did what he was told; he leaned his head onto the back of the chair and closed his eyes. The Mistress was much closer to Thomas now and she allowed her face to nuzzle into his soft, yellow hair before she removed her hands away from the young man's back and moved away. The Mistress heard a soft sigh of disappointment come from Thomas as she sat back into her seat before him, she could not help but smirk at such a reaction.
"And now." the Mistress said, her left monocle flashing against the soft glow of the moon. "It's time for our final step. It is now time for your sight to be entranced as well...Open your eyes."
Thomas heard his command and opened his eyes ever so slowly. The Mistress was suddenly face-to-face with Thomas, their noses and foreheads close to touching. On the inside, Thomas jumped and yelped with fear, but, on the outside, Thomas remained still and very quiet.
"Look at me..."
Thomas's icy-blue eyes locked instantly with the Mistress’s bright, crimson orbs. The collaboration of both sent chills of excitement up and down Thomas's body. He was rather confused of the sensation, however, due to his treatment so far with the Mistress, he no longer cared about it at all.
The eyes of the woman before Thomas remained a glowing red...but suddenly they began to change. The pupils of the eyes began to grow smaller and smaller, the redness of both eyes vanished into pure white. Thomas could only watch as the Mistress's crimson orbs transformed into dizzying black and white swirls that seemed to spin in hypnotic circles.
Thomas couldn't look away, he couldn't keep himself from staring deeper and deeper into the swirling abyss before him. But, for some reason...he did not even want to.
"That's right Thomas, don't look away. Your resistance shall only lead you into complete darkness. Look into my eyes, fall into sweet bliss. Release all your worries, as you hear my silent hiss..."
The Mistress's chanting sent Thomas's mind into a whirl: Where was he? Who was he? What was going on? Why did he feel this way? But all was completely forgotten when Thomas felt his eyes begin to reflect the Mistress's. He could feel his pupils shrink, the blue in his eyes vanished into pure white, and they were all soon replaced with dizzying black and white swirls.
“Thomas,” the Mistress whispered. "My dear, sweet Thomas. You belong to me...Now, and for all time, your heart and soul shall obey my every command. And, in return, you shall receive tranquility, relaxation, and a worry-free life. A new life that will always make you happy, and that will always fill your heart with ease.“
The Mistress slowly reached into her breast pocket and pulled out the golden pocket watch that resided within. Thomas’s eyes were locked onto hers, however he suddenly saw an open pocket watch begin to swing from left to right between them both. Thomas began to feel dizzy, the swirling of the Mistress’s eyes mixed in with the swinging of the pocket watch became almost too much for him…oh, but it felt so good.
“Forget about your family, for I am your family now. Forget about your friends, for I am your only friend now. Forget about your life, for I am your life now…”
Thomas's swirling eyes widened, his spine stiffened once more, his head tilted, and a large smile slowly spread itself across his face, "My Mistress..."
The Mistress smirked as she suddenly snapped her fingers, causing Thomas to fall back into his chair...fast asleep.
The sun rose high in the cloudless sky the very next morning, and Thomas moaned in annoyance as the sun peaked itself into his room. He adjusted himself to sit up in his bed, rubbing his eyes, and climbing out from under his covers. Thomas looked around at his new room; the lavish curtains around his bed and windows, the red interior with golden trimmings along the edges of the walls, the lovely paintings, the wonderful flower pots, and the soft red carpet that fluffed around his toes.
There was a sudden knock at Thomas's bedroom door.
"Come in." Thomas said in a rather flat tone. The door opened, revealing a lovely maid dressed entirely in black and wearing a black and white striped mask. The maid smiled warmly to Thomas and came into his room, walking towards his bed, "The Mistress requested that I bring you these," she said. And with that, the finely-dressed maid bowed her head slightly to Thomas, and left the room.
Thomas instantly remembered it all! He remembered what happened the night before!
She was the one who kidnapped him in the middle of the night!
She was the one who tied him to a bloody chair!
She was the one with the rose that smelled...so wonderful.
She was the one with the strawberry that tasted...so amazing.
She was the one who played the instrument that sounded...magnificent.
She was the one who touched his shoulders and back that made him feel...so good.
And she was the one who looked at him with swirling eyes.
And she was the one with the golden pocket watch.
And she was the one who…who…hypnotized him and soothed him into relaxation and tranquility…
Something inside of Thomas suddenly pulsated; the aroma of roses, the taste of strawberries, the sound of a serpent's flute, the feel of that woman’s hands, and the sight of her eyes and pocket watch...It all came back to him.
Thomas remained still in the middle of the room for quite some time, allowing all the events of the past night to sink into his mind. After what seemed like an eternity, Thomas's eye lids drooped, his head tilted slightly, and a dumbfounded grin spread itself across his face, "My Mistress..." he whispered.
Thomas looked down at the clothes that now lay upon his bed and dressed himself in the new clothes the Mistress had prepared for him. After dressing himself, Thomas looked into his full-body mirror: He was now a finely-dressed butler, dressed entirely in black.
"Yes, indeed, I do belong to her. Now, and for all time, my heart and soul shall obey her every command. And, in return, I shall receive tranquility, relaxation, and a worry-free life. A new life that will always make me happy, and that will always fill my heart with ease. I shall forget about my family, for she family now. I shall forget about my friends, for she is my only friend now. I shall forget about my life, for she is my life now..."
Thomas looked down at what he held in his left hand, it was a black and white striped mask. Thomas lifted the mask and placed it upon his face, "It is time to serve my Mistress."