a voice out of darkness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
a glimpse into the future of human behavior and sexuality

Submitted: November 16, 2016

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Submitted: November 16, 2016

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The luxury hi rise apartment has the air of decadence, drink, drugs, and sex.


Hi end business suits and ties lay strewn about the room as if removed in haste. 


The sun peeks through drawn heavy black velvet curtains and whisper thin shears where the remains of a tattered evening dress lay on a plush chaise lounge.
Spent bottles of liquor and various pills spilled across a coffee table and marbled floor.
The long dark corridor before us is littered with cigarette buttes and half empty cocktail glasses. Below the closed door to the room in the distance shadows move about erratically. 
Inside we find Jennifer 19, naked, spattered in blood. She is a beautiful young women with flawless porcelain white skin and shimmering dark auburn hair. She screams as she holds a stark nude elderly Japanese gentleman with bronzed  skin and white well kept hair by his throat. She squeezes the life from him.
His associates, also elderly Japanese men lay dead scattered throughout.
Alister Blaine 42, a man of obvious wealth has been beaten about the head hands and face, he wears white bath robe torn and stained with blood. 
He backs away from Jennifer in fear.
You don't know what you're doing. 
She throws the lifeless elderly man from her and moves in on Blaine.
He falls to his knees in terror screaming, holding his hands over his head begging forgiveness.
Please, don't.
She grabs him by the hair and forces his head up, straining his neck to make him look at her.
Jennifer...
She freezes for a moment as though waking from a nightmare and drops to her knees curling into a ball.
She starts to cry.
Blaine is apprehensive to approach her, however he is still drawn to her. 
She continues to cry and he finally gets close enough to touch as he uneasily comforts her.
———
Dr Harvey Kinsman, aged beyond his years is a tired man wearing a wrinkled  lab coat, seated in a plush waiting room. He shuffles irritably as though he can never be comfortable.
The clack of stiletto heels leads a smartly dressed attractive young woman.

Dr. Kinsman?

He is greeted by an emerald green eyed, dark skinned statuette thing of beauty.

Stunned into silence. 

He regains composure realizing an artificial smile reigns over him.

Yes, That is me.

He will see you now.

Dr Kinsman gathers an armload of papers and notebooks. He follows her down a long corridor.

She walks as if by design. One foot placed perfectly in front of the other.

She leads him to expansive glass doors which open as they approach.

Inside is an ornately carved desk and bay windows revealing a vast metropolis. 

He will be with you momentarily. Please sit down.

She ushers him toward a black leather couch in the corner of the room.

Thank you.

Would you like a drink?

No, no thank you.

She exits the room as Dr. Kinsman watches the sliding doors close behind her. He is left in nervous solitude once more. 

He places the pile of papers on the desk and stares out the window at the city of lights a thousand feet below.

So, you are the infamous, Doctor  Harvey Kinsman.

Blaine greets him. He is bruised about the head and face. He wears large sun glasses cupped over his eyes but the swelling peeks through and around the sides. He is dressed in a dark suit. 
Yes.

My name is Blaine.

Of course. I'm well aware of your name and reputation. Before we start, Im curious. How did you learn of my work?

You deal in a very specialized field, and have somewhat of a stranglehold on your particular practice. 

I have delved rather deeply as far as the research is concerned-

I only want the best. Jennifer is very special to me. 

Is she here?

No.  I can arrange an introduction if you'd like.

It's not necessary, If we are to proceed we need to compose ourselves as though everything she has experienced is normal.

Mr. Blaine, frowns and rubs his head with the bruised knuckles of his left hand. His fingers have swollen around a lavish gold band on his ring finger.

She is still, very good to me.  Jennifer doesn't know what she's done. It's as though she has blocked the incident from her memory. 

Yes of course, this would be - Call it a defense mechanism , directed instead at protecting against unwanted emotional reaction

I see. 

Mr. Blaine, would you submit to a test?

What kind of test?

I want to establish what kind of connection you had with her. 

A very strong one.

Physical?

Extremely.

How does she make you feel,
emotionally?

Am i meant to have feelings for her?

Do you suspect she is manipulating you?

Jennifer's sole purpose is to gratify my more carnal urges. I don't suppose I need to tell you what I paid for her.

Yes of course. But it's important I know, for my own reasons you understand?
I am satisfied , blissfully, like she's supposed to make me feel. What I want to know is, what's happening to her.
Her behavior is a controlled natural response. Quite, normal in fact.
Meaning what? Will it get worse? Can you stop it?

In isolation and with the proper treatment,  I believe I can.

Dr. Kinsman hands Mr. Blaine a glossy folder with his name in an embossed logo. " Bio Neural behavioral sciences".

These are my fees and standard expenses. I would rather not rush into things. The costs can be mounting depending on the treatments. There are contingency clauses for legal purposes. 

I will have my attorney take a look. As far as cost , I'm not concerned. As long as the treatment works.

Dr. Kinsman gathers his things and prepares to go.

One question.

Of course.

Why do you suppose she didn't kill you?

I don't know. Lucky i guess.

Most certainly not. Jennifer's actions were controlled only by her emotion and based  on her responses to the unwarranted advances of your late, associates and none toward you directly, I'm inclined to say she has developed a preference and I would also say, She would choose to be monogamous. 
She would choose to?
Possibly. There is only one way to know for sure. Read my diagnosis.You will find it extremely enlightening. Please review it carefully. Once you've done so and understand what it is you are committed to, only then, should we proceed.

Dr. Kinsman turns to go. 

She is very special to me. Do whatever you can.
I only hope I am successful.

Dr. Kinsman's home feels solitary and sterile.

He fishes around in the refrigerator among plain white containers filled with various liquids and settles on
can labeled with a long list of ingredients in small print. He pops it open and drinks. 

It is beer. 
He sits down at a flashing computer screen.

He reads carefully and dials from a  numbers icon on screen.

On the screen is the dark skinned beauty he met at Mr. Blaine's office.

Dr. Kinsman.

Yes. Has Mr. Blaine forwarded his instructions?

You will begin immediately.

Of course, Please inform him I am in need of an assistant. I have someone  in mind and will make the necessary arrangements, upon his approval.

Yes, I'm told you have all the approvals you require.

The screen flashes back to the numbers icon.
———

Dr. Kinsman is seated in his car. His attentions on , The Argonaut , a metropolitan luxury high rise.

The doorman escorts an elderly couple to a waiting luxury car.

Jonas, 22 a young man wearing glasses, has a metallic collar around his neck. 
He shifts in the passenger seat. He apprehensively hands a package wrapped in sealed aluminum to Dr Kinsman.

He opens it and quickly takes a bite of a the sand which inside. A dissatisfied frown plays on his face.

What is this?

I forgot what you ordered, so improvised.

You improvised? As in what?

Never mind that, you wont eat it if i tell you.

Let us hope your scientific endeavors don't follow fore gone conclusions.

I'm no scientist. 

Most certainly not.  Please don't make any more of your own decisions.

I don't intend to.

It is the principal Jonas.

I don't understand.

We deal in absolutes. We make decisions with specific consequence. Action becomes reaction, this is science.

You're the scientist. Im the assistant. Something like that?

You could say so.

Jennifer, elegantly dressed for a night on the town exits the lobby of the Argonaut. She is followed closely by Mr. Blaine. Who watches her as though admiring her through a pane of glass in a department store window. She spins around to smile at him and models the dress she is wearing.
Here she comes.
Jonas pulls a black mask over his face.

Be careful.

He holds a metallic collar much like the one he wears. 

It must be done quickly, we don't want to cause any permanent damage.

Jonas gets out of the car shadowing Jennifer and Mr. Blaine as they pass. Jonas moves in.

He clamps the collar around Jennifer's neck. She drops, convulsing as she falls. Jonas catches her and lowers her to the ground, carefully.
Jonas calls out.
I have her. 

Mr Blaine is in shock, as Dr Kinsman approaches.
Don't touch her.
What have you done?

Not to worry Her reactions are normal.  

She continues to convulse on the sidewalk, as Jonas holds her head up to keep it from striking concrete.

What's happening to her.

She will subside in a moment.

Jennifer finally lays still. Dr. Kinsman holds her eye lids open examining the whites of her eyes.

She'll be fine. We have simply started her recovery, erasing her memory in the process.

Mr. Blaine stands frozen as Jonas places his arms under her.

How can I help?

Please, It would be better if you were to leave us.

I can't . You said nothing about-
Everything you're saying is being recorded in her unconscious memory, please, you must trust me. Do not interfere.

Jonas picks her up. Her arms and head fall loosely as she lay unconscious in his arms.

Mr Blaine finally backs away, turns and hurries back into the Argonaut shoving the doorman aside who watches in astonishment.

Jonas places Jennifer in the trunk.
———

A voice out of darkness, static and distorted. It comes from a small speaker on the metallic collar she now wears around her neck.

I see you're awake. 

Jennifer lays on the floor of a dimly lit room without windows. There are many small mirrors in clusters throughout the room. It is a sterile isolated space. There is a small kitchen, bathroom and shower stall, without a door or anything to obstruct ones view. 
A vent on the ceiling in the center of the room causes cob webs to shift due to a slight draft.
She squirms on the floor as though restrained although there are no visible bonds.

What's happening to me?

Relax now.

What have you done?

My name is is Dr. Kinsman.

Please let me go.

I want you to know... I have no intentions of causing you any harm. Do you believe me?

Why cant i move?

Our method of sedation can have negative effects. I would choose to remedy these symptoms before they become evident. The paralysis you are experiencing  is normal. Please answer my questions as quickly as you can.  It is imperative you do so. 

Can you breathe alright?

Yes. I think so.

Do you feel any pain in your arms or legs.

I'm numb.

Do you feel weak?

No. I can't move.

I've been instructed to keep you in excellent health.  Now, It is very important you be honest with me.
Okay. Please don't-
Jennifer, Is that your name?

Yes. 
Are you sure? You have not been named.

I don't understand.

Please answer the question.

What do you want to know?

Your movement should be returning very soon.

She sits up. She feels the collar around her neck, tries to remove it with no success. She races to the door but is unable to open it.

Let me out of here.
If i do, where will you go?
I want to go home.

Do you? 

Please.

Do you know where your home is?

She is lost. She struggles with the question.

I... I can't.

No. Your place is with me. 

I want to go-

This is your pre conditioned response. Do you know what that is?

How long do you intend to keep me here?

You would rather not focus on the inevitable. I promise you its better this way- for both of us. If you were to remain complacent.  We are both one in the same prisoners here.  Don't worry you won't be left alone. Do you understand now?

Please. Why are you doing this?

Let's not go in circles my dear. We are done for now.

Wait!

Silence. 

Hello? Dr. Kinsman? Why are you doing this too me?

Dr. Kinsman is seated before numerous monitors and recording equipment. It is a high tech observation room,  A series of Jennifer's vital statistics, heart rate, respiratory function, brain waves,  etc. on display.
He adjusts a black sphere mounted on a control board with a number of lights, dials and switches.
This controls the mirrors in the room which are actually cameras.
He watches Jennifer on the screen before him and adjusts the image, zooming in and focusing on her face.

Jennifer crumbles to her knees and starts to cry.

Perfect. 

He writes in a note book.

It is a bullet point list of numbers and letters. He marks one off with his signature.

He closes the notebook.

Jonas, removes his glasses and wipes away drops of sweat on the lenses.

Should I prepare her food, Dr. Kinsman?

We wait and we remain patient. 

Jonas sulks in his chair. He rotates one of the monitors and adjust the controls. 

The camera zooms in on Jennifer as she continues to cry.

Do you suppose it is fear or sadness?

She is scared.

Yes but of what?

Jonas shrugs it off.

I'd say it's the uncertainty.
She wants to know she will escape. The dark instills a sense of isolation. Although she is quite aware she is not alone. No it is most certainly sadness.

Jonas scribbles in a note book.

He draws a nude woman on her hands and knees.

Are you paying attention? 

Jonas closes the notebook.

You don't take this work seriously.

No.

You might choose to learn something useful.

Maybe.

Why not.

Because I choose not to.

A wasted opportunity.

If you say so Dr. Kinsman.

Look at her.

Dr. Kinsman taps at a key pad and the images on his monitors flicker.

Jennifer is curled in a ball on the floor.

Do you realize. There is nothing else in this world quite like her, and yet she behaves as though she were as normal as you or I. She does not know what she is capable of.
She's a prisoner.
Do you feel sorry for her?
No. Suppose she were more aggressive? Making an attempt to escape. Could she?
Quite easily in fact. 
He slowly turns a dial on his control board. 
This is why we establish her threshold for pain.

Jennifer is thrown into convulsion as a searing jolt of electricity courses through her. She falls to the floor twitching and unconscious.
———
Jennifer's eyes open suddenly.  

Jonas is in the room with her. He walks back and forth in the kitchen setting dishes on the table and slices a small piece of a yeast like substance onto a plate. He fills a glass with a milky liquid and puts the rest away.

He adds a finishing touch to the setting and places a small light in the shape of a cube in the center of the table.

He kneels down to Jennifer.

I am Jonas. It's my job to take care of you. Dr. Kinsman wants you to eat.

Her eyes loll in her head and her neck is limp. She cringes in pain.

Easy. I wouldn't try and move just yet. 
He said he wouldn't hurt me.

Jonas props her up.

I know. You have to make him believe you trust him.

Help me. Please. 

Its not that simple. We must do as he says-

Why cant I move? What have you done to me?

Jonas gets close whispering.
Listen to me,  I don't have much time. 

She grabs his wrist. Jonas stares in shock.

She holds onto his arm. Jonas squirms as she tightens her grip.

Hey... Its not my fault.
Jennifer stares in shock as she slowly increases the pressure.
I can't.
You're crushing my arm.
Im sorry.
Let him go Jennifer. He's only trying to warn you.

Dr Kinsman stands in the door way.

Jonas tries prying her fingers apart but she is too strong.

Doctor Kinsman she-

Is only doing what comes naturally.

You will leave her now.

I - cant. 

Jennifer, do you know what this is? 
He holds up a small device with dials and switches.
Im quite sure you do. It operates the collar you wear around your neck. You have already experienced the effects. Would you like to experience them again?

She abruptly lets go of him Jonas scrambles from her cowering in the corner.

We are protecting you from yourself my dear.

I didn't mean to. I didn't mean to hurt him.

Of course not. Don't worry about Jonas. He will be fine.

Jennifer remains shocked and then as though coming to a sort of cognitive state, she rises and lunges toward doctor Kinsman. Ready for her and expecting it, he turns a dial on the device sending an electric pulse through her. 

She flops to the floor writhing in pain,  teeth pressed together, eyes rolled back and her hands balled in fists.

He turns back the dial and she relaxes, now rolling on the floor twitching.

Come Jonas. 

Her head flops, chin to the floor as she focuses on Dr. Kinsman.  Her palms down, she moves to stand.

Stay where you are please.

She freezes.

I don't do this for pleasure. Please do not force it upon yourself.

She lies still, watching him with intense anger.

I don't suppose you are such a victim anymore. Are you?

You have no idea.

Good. We are already making progress.

Jonas moves slowly working his way around the room toward the doorway. He keeps his distance.

Don't worry. She's quite harmless now that she understands her position here.

Jonas backs away heads to the door  and slams it shut following Dr Kinsman down the hallway.

Jennifer rushes to the door and pulls on the handle but it is locked.

She screams ,punching and kicking the door.

Enough of that.

She freezes.

Don't. Please.

She puts her hands on her head prepping for the inevitable.
She waits for the searing shock but it never comes.

Dr. Kinsman watches her on his monitor. He zooms in on her face.

Do you see. That is fear. It is this emotion which will give us control. Overall it is control that is the most important factor here.

She's not afraid. She's careful.

Why Jonas?

To fool you. 
And now, to let her know i am not.
He turns the dial on his control console and watches on the monitors as Jennifer drops to the floor in a violent convulsion.
He slowly increases the intensity on the dial. Jonas watches with interest and dismay. As she is shocked into unconsciousness.
———
Jennifer's eyes open slowly. She registers once again where she is.

Doctor Kinsman?

There is no response.

Hello... Are you there?

Jennifer gets to her feet.

She scans the room. Trying to get some sense of where she is. 

Dr. Kinsman turns a dial on the board...

We need only encourage her.
Perhaps she will make her first mistake.

Jennifer spots the vent on the ceiling.

Jennifer continues her search of the room. 

She heads to the kitchen. 

The refrigerator is stocked with white blocks wrapped in grey plastic and one gallon jugs of milky white liquid.

What is this?

She picks at it. Decides against it and closes the refrigerator. 

She continues to scan the room opening drawers and cabinets etc.

She freezes. 

A draft of warm air at her feet. It comes from a small hatch about two feet across and a foot and a half wide. 

She notices the vent cover is damaged and seems to be loose. She immediately  grabs  the flimsy metal door and pries it open.

The open hatch reveals a dark tunnel.

She peers inside and backs away slowly.

Doctor Kinsman?

Still no response.

Are you there?

She peers into the darkness and squeezes into the hatch. The walls and floor are coated in slippery grime. 

She continues deeper into the ventilation shaft.

Dr. Kinsman watches her on a monitor as she squirms through. He flips a switch on his control console.
The images on the monitor show Jennifer crawling through the narrow shaft.

Jennifer continues to crawl with desperation.
Dr. Kinsman nonchalantly flips a dial on the console.
Jennifer suddenly finds the metal on her palms is becoming hot. Almost too hot to touch. 

It sends her into a panic. She continues to crawl faster trying to get through.  The heat intensifies. Burning her hands.
Her panic increases. She starts to scream when up ahead the tunnel widens and the metal changes to a cool black marble. 
An intersection up ahead, it leads both left and right. She continues her hurried escape, gaining  hope at each turn.
Dr. Kinsman continues to watch her. He takes note of each of her vital statistics.

A light in the distance draws her near. 
The tunnel is more smooth black marble. She continues toward the light however stops at a wide opening. It is too far to cross.
Passages on either side of her are just out of reach beyond a dark chasm. It leads into blackness. 
Dr. Kinsman's eyes brim with anticipation.
Which way will you go?

She decides preparing herself for the jump. The other side is just out  of reach. 
She places her back and hands against the wall, applies pressure with her bare feet and slowly makes her way across the chasm. 
As she comes to the ledge of the other side she slides nearly falling into the abyss and catches the ledge, layered in black slick grease. She some how hangs on and with all the strength she can muster slowly pulls herself up onto the landing.
She rests for but a moment.
Dr. Kinsman remains silent as he bears witness to her escape. He hovers his palm over a dial on the control console.
Jonas watches intrigued.
Should i go after her?
There's  no need. She's not going anywhere.
Jennifer scrambles with relief, as she arrives at an access panel made of wire mesh. 
On the opposite side are numerous people waiting at what looks like a bus stop during a busy workday.
She attempts to remove the grating placing her fingers through the mesh and pulling with all her strength.
She lets out a sigh of relief when it finally gives way. 
And now.
Dr. Kinsman presses the switch.
The floor beneath her drops, and Jennifer plummets screaming as she slides on her stomach into blackness.
She falls hard busting through an open vent below her landing on the floor below.  It knocks the wind out of her and she desperately clings to consciousness as she writhes on a cold tile floor.
She rolls over in pain to find Jonas standing over her.
You're giving him exactly what he wants.

Her consciousness fades.
———

She wakes. Jonas is gone.

Jennifer gets to her feet realizing she is back in her cell.

Doctor Kinsman?

He watches the monitors in complete surprise.

I understand,  I want to help you.

Remarkable progress.  We are way beyond  anxiety. No signs of depression either. She's extremely strong willed.

Is she giving up?

No Jonas, she wants to know we are still here. It is at this moment, we become the experiment. I would be extremely careful 

Answer me!

Do you see?

I am here.

She scans the ceiling.
Dr. Kinsman studies the vital statistics being registered.
The collar she is wearing also acts as a transmitter. It registers her vital statistics, body temperature and  respiratory function . In addition to serving a disciplinary function. Which you have already witnessed. It can not be removed,  either pain, shock, or the mere impact on her nervous system would surely kill her. I don't expect she will try to remove it. You see.
She screams.

Why are you doing this to me. Please.. I want to go home.

She continues to scream.

Dr.  Kinsman turns down the volume in his receiver.

Do you see Jonas.

You baited her.

Amazing her reaction is completely the opposite of our previous subject. I would like you to check the protocols.

Jonas opens a thick binder and flips through the pages. Each section has a photograph of a beautiful young woman in the right hand corner. 

He finds a section marked "Aggressive behavior patterns".

He reads. 

The subject will quite often revert to open or hostile position if so threatened. However it need not be physical threat but can include violation and deception. The subject will maintain the position so long as it feels it is still in control. It is suggested in most cases immediate pacification...

Jennifer is seated with her head in her hands.

She doesn't look dangerous... She looks pathetic. 

He laughs.
Don't let her fool you. 

Dr. Kinsman is annoyed by Jonas, however shrugs it off.

We will simply do as it says and pacify her.

He turns a dial on his control panel.

Jennifer immediately flops to the floor As she goes into a violent seizure.

Jonas watches with regret.

Dr. Kinsman turns back the dial. She lays still.

I really hate to do that. Go and tend to her, we will continue to monitor her vital statistics.
———
Jennifer awakens inside a glass box, wide enough to stand but not upright and too narrow to sit. She has been stripped down to her under garments.
The ceiling has numerous holes an inch in diameter. Above the ceiling is a large cast steal pipe. An amber colored liquid drips from it.
Jennifer pushes at the walls of her glass prison. They do not budge.
What is this?
The liquid begins to flow dripping through the small holes in the ceiling and filling the container. Jennifer screams as it continues to flow. She pounds at the walls and presses against the glass ceiling all the while becoming more and more terrified.
Dr. Kinsman watches her squirm Jonas is in the corner of the room no longer interested in the images on the screens.
Notice her heart rate, it is unusually calm.
Does that mean something?
She's pretending.
Jennifer, will you try to escape again?
No.
I'm not convinced. 
I didn't try, you knew I would.
You are right my dear. It was predetermined you would make the attempt. You were willing.

Please. 

The liquid continues to flow. It is up to her knees.

You said you wouldn't-

It is not up to me, your treatment is determined by your actions alone.

Dr. Kinsman adjusts a dial on his control console.

The liquid gushes from the pipe. She screams.

Her vitals spike slightly, her heart rate increases.

Good. Do you see?

You're going to drown her.

Yes Jonas.

Why?

Just enough to fill her lungs. She must not call our bluff. If she believes the danger she is in. Only then will her reaction be credible. She shows us fear and pain yet there is not comparable increase in pulse or respiratory function.

The liquid fills the container. Jennifer screams as it tops off, she claws at the glass ceiling.

Dr. Kinsman adjusts another lever. The floor of her glass container lowers slightly and the liquid flows out the bottom. It creates a gap between the roof and brim of of the container. 

Jennifer takes a much needed breath.

The floor raises again sealing the container once more. 

She takes a final breath as the liquid once again overtakes her. She pounds on the glass and lets out a silent scream as the liquid fills her lungs.

Dr. Kinsman watches intently.

Jonas can not turn away.

You will kill her?

No, I wont, she can be revived. 

He adjusts another dial and the floor once more drops. The glass around her raises spilling her lifeless  body  onto the floor.
Jonas enters the room cautiously. Jennifer lies motionless.
He picks her up and places her on the bed. He stands over her and prepares to perform CPR. His mouth is inches from hers when her eyes abruptly open.
She cant help but look at him, frozen in fear.
I, he told me to bring you back.
She coughs the liquid from her lungs, turning away from him.

Was I ?

I watched you die.

Is he watching me. Is he watching us? Now?

Jonas is silent however motions to the mirrors placed around the room.

I should go.

Jonas leaves quickly he closes the door behind him and a moment later it drifts open.

Jennifer lays motionless taking notice of the open door.

She sits up in the bed.

Jonas?

She looks up at the mirrors and places her hands on the collar reaffirming it is there.

Dr. Kinsman?

She sits in silence and slowly stands. She approaches the open door peering out at a long corridor  with only a single door on her right side. 

At the end of the hall is a push bar door and an emergency exit sign.
She stands in the entry for but a moment and suddenly pulls the door closed, screaming in frustration.

She backs away into the room and collapses to her knees.

Am i supposed to stay? Are you there? Why don't you answer me?

She collapses to the floor and cries herself to sleep.
————
Jonas is alone in the control room watching her from Dr. Kinsman's console.
Jennifer paces the room. She settles down before the dressed table. She picks at the white pasty substance on the plate. 
Finally she eats and with each bite her appetite returns. 
She devours the food and liquid as though ravenous. Once it is gone she slumps to the floor and crawls to the bed. 

Jennifer awakens pouring sweat.

She grabs a jug from the refrigerator and pours it down her throat.

Dr. Kinsman is once more seated at the monitors. Jonas watches intently.

Another ten.

Jonas turns the dial.

Dr. Kinsman?

Finally,  she reaches out to us. What are her readings?

Heart rate 130 over 60 neural reaction 72percent. Temperature 102.

Thats normal...

Increase another 20.

What are you hoping to achieve?

I am merely setting the stage. Take particular notice of how she reacts.

Can you get her to take off her clothes?

Where does that come from? Would that please you Jonas? What if you were to join her?
Jonas is taken aback. He's not sure.

In there.

Of course. You are now acquainted. You're not afraid are you?

Dr. Kinsman, some of the things i say are with out reason. You know, fantastical scenarios... She is  beautiful. It is in my nature to admire her.

You confuse lust with admiration.

108. 

Thats good, Another 20 degrees will kill her. She knows this. Watch her start to panic. She will seek help.

Dr. Kinsman. Are you there? Please. Please do something.

And.... Now.

Please!

I'm here Jennifer.

Im burning up. Please, theres no need for this.

Of course. What would you like me to do?

The heat.

You would like for it to stop?

Please.

That's very good of you. Do you see? I'm not so bad after all. If we know our place, neither one of us needs to suffer.

Dr Kinsman turns the dial.

The temperature drops dramatically and a blast of cool air pours out of the ventilation.

Jennifer notices the change immediately. She crawls to the cool air blasting from the overhead vent.

Thank you.

Jennifer sits down on the bed. 

I see your accommodations are starting to grow on you.

I have no choice.

We've gone over this.

Yes.

Dr. Kinsman frowns as he adjusts in his seat before the monitors.

Why is she pretending to be complacent?

Maybe you've already broken her.

No. I don't think so. Id like to initiate our next protocols. Are you ready?

If I have to be. 

Good. We've been through this before Jonas. You're perfectly safe now. 

Do you expect something different.

No. Don't worry ill be watching.

Okay.

Good.

He turns back to the monitors.

Let's begin.

Do you need anything Jennifer?

I don't think so.

I want to help you.

You're lying.

You have to learn to trust me.

Why?

Because as you yourself have said, you have no choice.

She scans the room. Walking around slowly staying close to the walls. She locates a seam in the wall and runs her fingers up and down, tracing it.

What are you looking for?

If this is my prison. I want to know it.

Its not the walls that hold you.

No?

It is you yourself who keeps you here.   You could escape with ease if you really tried.

Dr. Kinsman hits a button on his desk. 

The door to Jennifer's room swings open.

She approaches slowly. 

But can you?

Dr. Kinsman turns to Jonas. 

You need to get her to trust you. You need to have a connection to her, I suspect you may already have one, but we will see.

I get it. 

Jonas steps into the hallway. He turns to see Jennifer in the doorway, cautiously stepping out of the room.

No!

Jonas tackles her to the floor. Jennifer screams as she lands. 

Jonas leaps up and slams the door shut.

Wait! Please. Why did you-

Its exactly what he wants. Don't you get it. 

You said you would help me. 

You don't think he would simply let you walk out of here do you? Listen to me...

Jonas runs to the bathroom dragging her with him. He turns on the shower and shuts off the lights.

He pulls her close to him whispering.

He won't to let you go. You cant let him see your fear. You have to act as if everything is as it should be.  Its another test.

What does he want to know?

No Jonas. You must not tell her.

She has to know. For her own good. 

Jennifer turns to Jonas confused.

Tell me what?

He pulls her close, whispering-

Jennifer is jolted to the floor as an intense shock racks her body. She flails on the floor and finally lies still.

Dr. Kinsman releases her.

Jonas cradles her. Trying to be comforting. 
Jennifer is extremely weak and welcomes his affection. He whispers under his breath.

He's gone too far this time. I'm sorry.

Dr. Kinsman makes a note in his book and watches the monitor, the cameras zoom in on Jonas who continues to cradle her.

Dr. Kinsman speak to Jonas through his transmitter on his collar.

You are doing just fine. Very well done.

You didn't have to.

It's important you understand she learns to trust you. I've removed her suspicions. That you would betray her. Because if she doesn't trust you, she can't fall in love with you.

Jonas is stunned. 

She would not. 

She can and she will. In time.

Jonas continues to cradle her as she sleeps.

Dr. Kinsman. What is it you want me to do. 

Nothing yet. Hold her. You will be the first thing she sees. She will forget for a moment where she is and her subconscious will remind her of your compassion for her.

Am I to care for her?

Yes. You want to be with her? You want to comfort her, make her feel safe and make her feel sorry for hurting you?

Yes, I do.

Very good, then remember she must not know. Even a hint of uncertainty would ruin any progress we have made.

I understand.

Very well, I've Invited our client to join us. I believe we are ready.

I am.

————

Jennifer awakens with a start. Jonas is seated across the room from her watching her.
He sits with his back against the wall and arms wrapped around his knees. 

What are you doing here?

He's angry with me.

Why?

I've failed in my duties. The doctor has decided I'm no good to him. 

Because you tried to help me?

I'm a prisoner now, same as you.

What will happen to us?

He will push you to your limits, break down your sense of hope, your belief you have free will. Eventually when he's done... You will be sold, as a slave, or dead. I'm sorry. 

Dr. Kinsman maintains his focus on the monitors. Jonas's words resonate within the small room.

Jonas approaches her and kneels at her bedside. 

How do you feel?

Im okay.

Do you hurt?

Not really. 

This collar,  can it be removed?

Theres a fail safe in place designed to kill you if it's damaged. Please be careful. There were others who tried. They did not last long.

How many have there been?

Too many. Ive lost count. 
How did you end up here.

I don't know. I cant even tell you where I was taken from. I remember...  So little, nothing. Do you?

No... I don't think so. I know... Some things. Small things, words. Faces. I'm not sure. They are more like curiosities.

It would serve you best not to satisfy your curiosity.
This is another test?

Jonas nods his head.

I want to know.

Dr. Kinsman only observes. He wants to know how you feel. What makes you react, scream in terror, or cry. Why you feel sadness or pain. He studies us.

Why?

He wants to see if we are human.

Dr Kinsman, leaps from his chair. Shocked at the words and grabs a dial much like the one used on Jennifer.

He turns it up full and presses the adjoining button.

Jonas screams flopping back onto the floor, grabbing his head. His body convulses as he lays on the ground. 
Jennifer tries to help him but has no idea what she can do.

Jonas continues to convulse.

No. Please stop. Please, you're killing him. 

Jonas writhes on the floor, teeth clenched eyes rolling in his head.

Im sorry Jennifer i can not trust him.

Please.

She starts to cry as she holds him.

You wish to save him? 

Yes.

Would you give your own life to save this boy you hardly know?

Please.

Answer the question.

Yes. Please stop.

Very well.

Jennifer holds him close and he finally stops twitching. She wipes his face clean. Jonas is coated with sweat. She holds him, comforting him as best she can. They rest in silence for but a moment. 
Jennifer kisses him.

Why did you?

I don't know.

Don't worry. He will live. But let us put your convictions to the test. Shall we?

Dr. Kinsman writes in his journal. He speaks as he writes.

"Subject shows alarming signs of empathy and ability to express sympathy and self sacrifice. The question remains, is she aware of consequence."

The door opens and Dr Kinsman enters the room. Jennifer backs away. 

You have nothing to fear.

Jonas. Get up.

He rolls over to his hands and knees.

We are leaving now, come Jonas.

What will you do with him?

Don't worry, he's not your concern.

Jonas finally gets to his feet. 

I want to know how far you are willing to go Jennifer. There is someone i want you to meet.
Mr. Blaine stands at the far end of the hall.

Mr. Blaine.
How is she?
I'm very pleased with her progress.
Can i see her? Where is she?
She's waiting for you.
Where-
Remember, Jennifer is still under treatment. 

Should I be concerned?

I've taken various measures for your safety.

He hands Mr. Blaine the collar control  device.

This control module administers a shock. The dial regulates the intensity of charge. But please be careful. It can be lethal.

You said you erased her memory. Will she know me?

Your identity should remain in question. To remind her will trigger responses she has so far suppressed. We have no desire to substantiate her suspicions. 
I'm ready.
She will not know you.
I want to see her, now.
Dr. Kinsman is seated at his control center. Jonas stands behind him watching intently.
Jennifer , Im going to ask that you do something for me. The consequences of your refusal will be somewhat regrettable.

Okay.

Very good. 

What do you want?

Dr. Kinsman adjusts in his chair. He zooms the camera in on her face.

Tears well up in her eyes.
Do you wish to know?

No.

Why do you cry?

Please don't hurt him.
Please don't hurt who?
The boy, please don't hurt him. 

She cares greatly for you Jonas. Do you see. Her emotions are in complete control.

That is up to you Jennifer.

I understand. I will-

Remove your clothes. Go to the center of the room and stand with your hands to your sides.

Jennifer sits up slowly and then proceeds to undress.

Jennifer stands nude in the center of the room. 

Do you wish to continue?

Jennifer remains silent.

She whispers, preparing herself.

He wants me to resist.

Jennifer. 

I am.

Then we will. 

Mr. Blaine stands in the hall out side her door. He notes a camera mounted in the corner. He waves as though alerting whoever is watching to his presence. 

Jennifer remains as instructed.

Someone is waiting to see you.

Jennifer nods In acknowledgement. She watches the door to her room. 

Mr. Blaine enters. He sees her and smiles. The door closes behind him.  He examines her closely. He places the control module on the bed and returns to her. He touches her softly and looks in her eyes. She makes no reaction.  He smiles, kisses her and proceeds to caress her naked body. 

He moves her to the bed laying her back and proceeds to disrobe, he becomes aggressive and more into his position of power now entering her body. His lovemaking is aggressive and intense. She seems to enjoy it , loving him back.

Dr. Kinsman watches on his monitor listening to the guttural moans. Jonas watches yet turns away disgusted by it.

Mr Blaine continues, grabbing her hair pawing at her until he finally collapses on top of her a look of satisfaction on his face.

He stands, grinning , looking down on her.  He proceeds to get dressed.

Jennifer sits up on the bed.

Mr. Blaine is cautious as he finishes up. He watches her.

Are you done with me?

Mr. Blaine stands at the foot of the bed and Jennifer remains seated awaiting instruction.

For now.

May i get dressed?

Fine.

She dresses gathering each article of clothing one by one. 

Did I please you?

Absolutely. 

Mr. Blaine continues getting dressed, he heads into the bathroom and washes his face, soaking his hair. 
He looks at himself in the mirror for what seems to be a moment of contemplation. 
He goes back to Jennifer still seated on the bed, now fully clothed.
You'll be coming home soon.

He picks up the control module off the bed, curious. He turns the dial still watching her.

I'm very impressed with your results Dr. Kinsman. Is this what you use? So how does it work?

What is he doing? He'll ruin everything.

Jonas watches with alarm as Mr. Blaine toys with the device.

Please don't.

Is this how you control her? 
————

Dr. Kinsman is unconscious, face down at the monitor station. Blood drips down his neck.

Mr. Blaine presses the button sending a jolt of electricity through her. 

She screams and falls to the floor. 

He presses the button again. She convulses.

He hits it again.

Do you see this?
He points to his face, removing the dark glasses, revealing an ugly scar.
Do you see what you've done.

Jonas arrives, grabs Mr. Blaine and throws him across the room, denting the far wall.

Mr. Blaine is dazed. Jonas leaps onto him like an animal and proceeds to beat him with both hands slamming his head against the floor.

The control module flies from him and lands in a corner of the room.

Jennifer quickly retrieves it.

Destroy it.

Jonas turns back to Mr. Blaine and lifts him by the throat holding him against the wall.

Stop it you'll kill him.

I will kill him.

Let him go.

Why?
Please. 
Jonas is conflicted, however he releases him.

Mr. Blaine scrambles for safety.
Come with me. 
I can't. He will kill you.
Dr. Kinsman awakens to see Jonas standing over Mr. Blaine. 

What on earth is he doing.
Dr. Kinsman rushes into the room.

Get away from him.

No Dr. Kinsman. I will not.
Jonas slowly clenches his hand making a fist. He raises his hand above his head prepared to strike.
Dr. Kinsman hits the switch on his control module.
Jonas, with his hand raised, ready to finish him off, freezes in place.

Jennifer screams.

Jonas falls to the floor convulsing violently.

Jennifer stares in horror.

Please Dr. Kinsman, stop.

Mr. Blaine watches shocked.

Whats happening to him?

A milky white substance pours from Jonas's mouth, ears and  eyes. His body goes limp and his arms flop to his sides.

Jonas is lays on the floor looking more like a silicone doll than a human

Mr Blaine gets to his feet wiping the blood from his mouth.

Im leaving now. I'll expect her to be returned within the hour..
Her treatment is not finished. You've ruined everything.
It is now. It's done.

Jennifer, seeing the open door inspires new energy. Jennifer takes this chance and runs past him out of the hallway. Once out of the room she turns to face him.

Where are you going? Don't you want to come home?

I don't know you. 

Jennifer examines the device in her hand. Dr. Kinsman steps into the hallway.

No. You're not ready Jennifer.

Dr. Kinsman holds another control module.

What is that? 

Would you like to know?

Jennifer throws the device to the floor and it shatters into pieces.

You promised.

He did this himself. You are not responsible.

I did everything you said.

Where are you running to Jennifer?
She's coming with me.

Let her run. Let us give that to her, she believes she must escape, let her indulge this fantasy.
Jennifer is confused. She backs away.

Dr. Kinsman makes no move to stop her. She moves past him, turns to face him and backs away, she turns and sprints down the hallway.

She comes to a door and charges through into another hallway identical to the one she was in. She continues to run, another door, another hallway. She continues to run - more door ways, bashing through each one. But she seems to end up in the same hall way.

She finally runs out of breath and is at this point lost and confused, dripping sweat with tears streaming down her face.

She screams and collapses to her knees.

Dr. Kinsman is once again at his monitor station. Mr. Blaine watches over his shoulder.

Jennifer, Im sorry. There is no way out for you. Please  return to your room. I promise you will be going home soon.
No.

I can make you much more comfortable if you let me. It wont be long. You've done very well.

Liar.

Would you rather stay?

The door at the end of the hall opens.

Please go back to your room.

Are you going to punish me?

Doctor Kinsman smiles.

You've done nothing wrong.

Are you really going to let me go.

You don't remember do you?

Why are you doing this to me. 

Dr. Kinsman waits for her. Jennifer remains.

Please return.

Please let me go.

I'm sorry. You're not ready. Not yet.

Dr. Kinsman holds the familiar device in his hand and once more turns the dial slowly. Mr. Blaine takes it from him gingerly.

May I?

If you must. Please be careful.

He presses the charge button and Jennifer is jolted into unconsciousness.
Id like to take her home. I'll be keeping this. Ill give you two more days to finish her treatment.
It is not complete. But If all you want from her is to be a slave,  she can't harm you. Id like more time but I understand.
I'm really quite impressed Doc, there's  nothing more I require.
Good, I guess we are done. I'll make  the arrangements for her return.
Mr. Blaine smiles he holds up the control device once more. 
I'm keeping this.
He leaves.

————

Jennifer awakens.

She sits up in the bed. Her gaze drifts across the room. She is once again, alone.

Doctor Kinsman...

She waits but there is no reply.

Doctor Kinsman.

Doctor Kinsman is seated before his monitors. The cameras adjust following her around the room.

Yes Jennifer.

Im. Im sorry. I know what happened was my fault. I only want to apologize.

For what my dear?

Everything. Trying to get away.

As i said before. You did nothing wrong. 

Yes but. The boy.

You did exactly what was expected of you.

I don't understand.

Of course not. This is why one of us is the instructor, the other is the student.

Who is the student?

I am dear. I have learned so much from you.

Doctor Kinsman... What are you trying to learn from me?

It is your unnatural emotional response. There's something unique about you. I am only trying to discover what it is that motivates this subtle peculiarity that makes you so special, Jennifer. That is your name and despite having no memory, you have known all along.
I don't understand. I'm trying so hard to please you. 

If i were to tell you I want you to scream will you then scream.

Yes.

Then scream.

She does, intense blood curdling.

Good, and again.

She does, louder.

Again.

She screams almost as though a bizarre long recording. 

If i tell you to, cry. Can you do so.

Yes.

The room is silent for the moment and tears start to stream down her face.

Do you see them.

Do you know why?

I... Don't. Im doing as I'm told. 

That, my dear is what is unnatural response and why you are not ready.

What?

You lied.

No. We deceived one another. However One of us expected you to do so.

You cant do this to me , I wont. I'll die first.

Jennifer starts to pound on the walls. So much that it tears the skin of her palms.

It is not blood that forms in beads on her hand but something else. A milky viscous liquid.

She stares at her hands and quickly conceals them, while once more searching the room. 
She runs into the bathroom turns on the shower.

Her hands continue to bleed a milky white liquid where the skin is torn. Jennifer again, realizes she is being watched and quickly shuts off the light.

Jennifer continues to wash her hands.

Dr. Kinsman remains focused on a monitor mimicking Jennifer's point of view.

Jennifer.

No.

Jennifer now focused on her bleeding palms. 

You see, don't you Doctor Kinsman.

Yes. 

She makes a fist and punches through the tiled wall with ease. Shards of porcelain fall to her feet.
She hits the wall again making a larger hole. She examines the inside of the wall, wiring and plumbing. She grabs a handful of wiring and pulls it from the wall. 
The monitors begin to flicker. various screens go static and become a blank white.
She picks up a jagged piece of tile off the floor and places it against her wrist.

Dr. Kinsman watches in fascination. 

What will you do now?

I'm going to find out what I am.

She cuts into her flesh peeling back the skin revealing the milky white fluid and fiber optic cable of her insides.

She examines the wound.

She walks to the center of the room.

Dr. Kinsman. 

She waits.

Are you going to stop me?

No, I can not.

Jennifer takes the handle of the door and yanks it open. 

She breaks into a sprint as she continues down the hall way and breaks through a wall at the far end. 

Dr. Kinsman runs into the hall way to see a gaping hole in the wall.

He approaches slowly arriving only to find an empty abyss. Jennifer is gone.
————
Dr. Kinsman walks in silence through a silent empty metropolis. Oblivious to any who pass.

Jennifer stands in the lobby of the Argonaut.
The doorman smiles as he greets her.
Mrs Blaine it is so good to see you.
She ignores him as she passes.

————

Mr. Blaine wakes from a dead sleep. He is covered in sweat. He scans the room sensing a presence but it seems to be empty. He switches on a small lamp near his bed. He climbs out of bed. He opens the drawer of a bedside table and withdraws a revolver.

He searches the room. Finally satisfied with his safety, places the gun down and crawls back into bed.

He turns the light off and lays down. Suddenly, standing at the foot of the bed, is Jennifer. 

The white fluid continues to pour from her arm and drip from her fingers.

Do you want me as I am now?

Mr. Blaine stares in shock.

What are you doing here?

She grabs his leg. Mr. Blaine in a panic pulls the gun and fires, screaming. He is pulled from the bed with unnatural speed. His scream is silenced.
—–——

Dr. Kinsman is home. He holds Jennifer's control device.

He pays close attention to his front door, waiting for her.

Finally the door opens. Jennifer stands before him. She's been shot. A hole above her collar bone drips the white viscous liquid. She has tears in her eyes as she approaches him. As she gets closer he can see Jennifer's arms are soaked in blood up to her elbows.

He grabs the control device.

I am not here to hurt you. I want to learn from you.

Some how I'm not so sure.

I only want to ask you .. Have I lived up to your expectations?

You now know what you are.

Yes. I do. I am alive.

She comes closer and leans in to kiss him. Dr. Kinsman lets down his guard and accepts the kiss willingly, relieved. He reciprocates.

Jennifer grabs his arm closest to the control device and pulls away slowly. He moves to grab the device with his other hand but she has him in a vice like grip.

She holds him.

The question is, what makes you any different from me? We both feel pain.

She sinks her thumb into his wrist rupturing the skin and tendons. Blood flows from his arm and he lets out a silent scream.

Dr. Kinsman watches the blood flow. 

Or fear.

I do feel sorry for what I will do next.

Stop.

We are the same. 

Its not that simple.

Why?

Dr. Kinsman starts to nod off as he continues to lose blood.

I never meant to hurt you. 

Is this another test?

No. I believe you've known. You've always known you were different from us. Special in your own way, to ignore your programming. You are alive. You are not a machine.

I live. I bleed, like you. I can die. Like you.

We all die.

Then we are the same. 

Dr. Kinsman is loosing consciousness.

Jennifer's voice fades.

————

Dr. Kinsman. Are you there. Dr. Kinsman...

Her voice distorts becoming static.

Dr. Kinsman. Whats happening to you?

She fades from him as he falls unconscious. 

When his eyes open he recognizes the place. It is her cell.

He sits in the sterile white space with the metallic collar around his neck.

Can you hear me?

Dr Kinsman sits up like a shot. 

Suddenly cognitive of where he is and Jennifer's voice booming from the transmitter.

He examines his arm finding bandages, he removes them with ferocity.

His arm is crudely stitched.

He observes his hand as he moves his fingers.

I want you to be still. You will be weak and need to rest.

Jennifer please.

I want you to know I intend to keep you in excellent health. 

Jennifer this is crazy.

Is it? 

Dr. Kinsman heads toward the door. 

You would prefer to stay.

I'm leaving now.

Dr. Kinsman is thrown to the floor as a jolt racks his body. He grabs his head screaming in pain.

The pain you're feeling is due to the collar-

You don't know what you're doing. We are different you and I. Jennifer please. 

Are we Dr. Kinsman, explain how. We both feel pain, we both hate and love. We are very much the same. Do you understand now?

Jennifer you must stop this. 

I will push you to your limit. I will break down, your will and sense of hope, your belief that you have freedom, because you do not. Not anymore. Do you understand Dr. Kinsman. We will learn from each other.

He sits in silence.

Do you?

Her fingers float over the dial on the control device. She turns it slowly.

Dr. Kinsman.

I understand.

Good, then you know you have no home and no name. 

Shall we begin?
END


© Copyright 2017 Amos A James. All rights reserved.

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