"Well... sucks to be you, April!" smiled Yumi.
"I don't think so. I'm designated driver tonight, and Tess was last time. That means you'll be the lucky one who's gonna have to do it on Friday." She tossed the short straw she had drawn in Yumi's hands and high-fived her younger sister.
Yumi raised her eyebrows.
"What's up with Friday? Did I miss anything?"
April smiled coyly. "Oh... it's just that I got hold us on some VIP tickets to the New Year's Eve party at—"
"No way! At The Enclave? No one ever gets let inside, and you scored us some VIP tickets!?" Yumi was practically bouncing off her armchair.
"Yup." April said, beaming, and passed a sideward glance towards Tess. She smiled back shyly and brushed her auburn hair behind her ear.
"And... how?" asked Yumi "They don't exactly give them away on street corners."
"That's the weird thing about it, they were in the mail today, just like that. I first thought it was junk mail but they seem legit enough." April picked up an envelope from the end table and handed it to Yumi, who took out three large, black tickets and looked at them, almost in awe.
"It's not a mix-up either, look at the envelope", Tess said, hugging her knees.
Yumi flipped the blank white envelope and found April's address written by hand and with great care in narrow, delicate letters.
"Lucky us, I guess. I can't wait 'til Friday!"
"Neither can I," said April, rising from the couch, "but first things first. We have another, slightly less glamorous party to attend to. So bring out the booze, hide your children, it's time to have some fun!"
After they all got dressed ("Nice shoes Yumi, are the new?"), April grabbed the car key, smiled as if she had remembered an old joke and went after her sister and her friend. As they backed out of the driveway, no one noticed the black van down the street. Half an hour later, the front door opened again, but the one who entered was someone else entirely.
April entered the kitchen, still in her nightgown. Her blonde hair was bound in a short ponytail behind her head. She squinted. The sun was already high in the sky, shining through the window and reflecting from a hundred different surfaces.
"Good Morning, sleepyhead!" Tess was already up, making waffles by the smell of it.
"I need my beauty sleep. How late is it?" April yawned.
"You've done far worse, it's only eleven thirty. Syrup or powdered sugar?"
"Syrup. You're a darling, Tess. I'd long since starved without you. How come you're up so early?"
"I couldn't sleep. There was some weird noise keeping me up... couldn't find out where it came from. Dreamt really weird stuff, too."
"What exactly?" asked April as she took a bite of her breakfast.
"I don't remember much details, just that fuzzy feeling that it was weird."
April knew better than to try to coax more out of her sister. She was glad if Tess talked at all, mostly she resorted to monosyllabic communication. She liked to joke that Tess only wanted to talk if she had something world-changing to say. She thanked Tess again for the breakfast and excused herself to her room. She was in the final weeks of completing her bachelor thesis. She was glad that she found enough time to have some fun now and then, but as the deadline crept nearer and nearer, she got more and more anxious to get it done on time. She turned on her laptop, grabbed a book she had borrowed for her research and sat cross-legged on her bed, setting the laptop and book next to her.
After a couple of pages, she noticed the screen of her laptop flickering. She turned her head, but everything was back to normal again. She waited for a short time, then the screen flickered again. She thought she had seen words appearing on the screen, but they wer gone again too fast for her to read them. She leaned in closer, waiting for the words to appear again. A quiet noise seemed to come from the speakers, like static on a radio. There were the words again. She could almost make them out. Next time she would be able to read them. She really wanted to know what they said. She wondered what caused them to appear in the first place. There they were again! Almost. Probably a common error, she had already had more problems with the thing than she could count, but that wasn't so important right now. What was important was to look at the screen to find out what the words said.
Meanwhile, Tess had also returned to her room. Hers was larger than Aprils to accommodate for all the "junk" that she had to store. At least, that's what April called her stacks of paper, canvases and assorted brushes and pencils. They went to the same university, but April took history while Tess took liberal arts. She loved her sister, but April could be real pain in the ass when it came to that. "It's nice to know to have someone in the family who'll be working in a coffee shop. Discount lattes for everyone!" She was just teasing her of course, but Tess would have liked a little appreciation of her work from now and then.
Tess was exercising some drawing when she heard a dull thud from her sister's room next door.
"April, what happened? Did you drop something?"
Still nothing. Tess dropped her pencil and paper, got up and went for April's room. She knocked on the door, getting no reply. When she entered the room, she had to stifle a scream. Her sister was sitting on the bed, slack-jawed and staring into the screen of her laptop, a thick open history book lying page-down on the floor next to the bed. April sat on the bed completely motionless, staring unblinkingly at the screen. There was a loud noise coming from the speakers of the laptop.
Jess stood in the doorway, eyes wide with surprise.
"Hey April, I thought I heard something. Must've been your book. Just wanted to see if you were alright. April? Hello? Earth to April..."
April didn't seem to have noticed Tess at all.
"April, answer me. APRIL!!" Now panic got hold of Tess. She grabbed her sister by the shoulders and shook her. April's head was flying back and forth, but her stare was fixed on the screen. Tess looked at it to and saw words rapidly flashing on the screen, each visible too shortly to be made out. She found herself intrigued by this. She wondered why it was doing that. Was she imagining the noise from the speakers getting louder? That wasn't all that normal, wasn't it? Maybe this was what's causing April's state...
She slapped the laptop shut. For a moment, nothing happen, then April blinked and looked around. "Tess, what are you doing in my room?" she said groggily.
"I heard a noise and came to check. What the fuck just happened? You were staring at the screen and you were totally phased out."
"I..., I don't know. Last thing I remember is going to my room after breakfast and sitting on the bed. The rest is... blurry. I remember some... no. I... what happened to me?" April was shivering, so Tess hugged her. "It's alright now, whatever that was. It's over," she said.
The doorbell rang.
"I'll go," said Tess after a moment.
"I'll come, too. I need to get out of this room," April said and followed her sister.
The doorbell rang again.
"Yeah, we're coming!" April said loudly.
Tess opened the door. An unexpected sight greeted her. There were two women standing in the hallway, clad in long black dresses. One was black and seemed like she worked out regularly, the other one was a petite white with jet-black hair. Both wore collars around their necks and had their hair bound in tight ponytails.
"Theresa Olivia Penn?" asked one of them.
"Yes, how can I help you? The fancy-dress ball is two apartments down."
"Override code alpha zeta 5-B"
Tess' body went limp and she collapsed on the doormat. Her mind was racing as she felt herself lose control of any muscle in her body.
"WHAT THE FUCK?" she heard April yell in surprise from somewhere behind her back. All she could see were her own knees and the feet of the two women in the hallway. They didn't move.
"April Luise Penn?" one of them said.
"Fuck you! I'm calling the police! Who the fuck do you think you—"
"Override code alpha zeta 5-A"
The cries of her sister stopped dead in mid-sentence and Tess felt the floor shake as she heard her hitting the floor noisily.
"Theresa Olivia Penn, April Emma Penn. You will be taken away for further preparation. Activation Code alpha zeta 5."
April felt her body lift itself as if controlled by a puppeteer. She saw Tess doing the same. What had those bitches done to them? Every last fiber of her body was out of her control, she couldn't even blink if she wanted to. She and her Tess stood erect next to each other, facing the intruders.
The smaller one of the two spoke: "This slave's designation is slave31. You have both undergone initial subliminal imprint. Acknowledge."
"Acknowledged, slave31" she heard Tess and herself say in unison. What the fuck? slave31? Who were these people?
"This slave has been designated as your controller, acknowledge."
"Acknowledged, controller." Please, no. This can't be happening.
"You will be taken away for further preparation. You will not resist. You will obey."
"Acknowledged, I will not resist, I will obey." No, this can't be. Don't let this be true. This is a dream. Wake up, April, wake up!
"You will follow me."
"I obey," they both said. No! I've got to resist, maybe I can scream, and the neighbors will call help. Come on, concentrate.
She tried with all her might to regain control of her voice, straining every bit of mental power she could muster. Call for help, call for help, save us, save yourself, save Tess, call for help, help, help...
It didn't work. She watched herself filing in line behind slave31, the other woman and Tess. As they entered the elevator, she caught a glimpse of her face. She must have been absolutely terrified, but it was absolutely devoid of any emotion, her blank eyes staring level into space. It was the most terrifying thing April had ever seen. She was scared for herself, sure, but seeing her sister like this dragged her into new depths of despair. The elevator door closed behind them, and they were gone. No one had noticed a thing.
April opened her eyes. Nothing. It was pitch black.
April pulled herself to her feet, first noticing that she could, second that she was bare naked. Memories came rushing into her head from the day before. How she had been abducted, how Tess had been abducted. They had made them get into a van, then injected them with something. After that, nothing. The panic she had felt yesterday was now a creeping fear. She felt cold and hopeless
"Hello?", she asked.
The darkness exploded into light with a metallic snap. April squinted and shielded her eyes. Slowly her vision began to clear up. She was standing on the edge of a white room. Walls, floor and ceiling were made from the same material, it was rubbery and shiny, but soft and gave way like a couch cushion, making little squeaking noises. On the opposite wall a tall, iron door loomed ominously. It was completely smooth.
"Good morning, sleepyhead!" a female voice came through a loudspeaker.
"Where is my sister, you assholes!?"
"Coming right to the point, I like that. New arrivals usually ask where they are, first. You seem to have figured out the irrelevance of that question very quickly," the woman on the intercom said cheerfully.
"Where is my sister?
"She's down the hallway, fourth door to the right," the voice chirped.
Her cell door swung open noiselessly. That was unexpected.
"Please, don't waste our time by trying to escape. You have already experienced how those words of mine can affect you. I might have to subdue you and then you will have missed the final chance to talk to your sister",
That bitch was playing with her like a cat with its prey. She swore if they did anything to Tess, She'd make them pay. No matter how, they were going down.
In a purposeful stride, she entered the hallway. The floor here was cold and smooth under her bare feet. She wondered why that woman had even bothered to give her that little speech about not trying to escape, as the corridor was lined with half a dozen guards. They were all female, and April recognized one of them as part of her abduction party. They were lining the walls, not showing the slightest emotion. For a moment, April thought of the royal palace guards in London. She and her sister had been there on holiday with their parents when they were kids. Tess had made faces at one of them for five minutes straight and he hadn't even twitched. At the time April had found that amusing, now she was terrified by the empty eyes staring straight into the opposite wall.
She strode past the guards, feeling slightly self-conscious because of her nakedness. She passed locked doors that probably led to more cells like hers, and, at the fourth door, turned right.
What she saw made her stop in her tracks.
The room was huge, like a ballroom. Inside, there was a giant pillar spanning from floor to ceiling. April couldn't begin to guess what it was, but it looked like a giant living machine, made of steel, messily covered in wiring, readouts and screens pointing out at odd angles. It looked more grown than built. In the base of the pillar was a hollow space, and inside it, there was Tess.
She was suspended by her arms and legs, hanging in the air just above the ground, spread-eagled. Her head hung limply from her shoulders. Her body was just as bare as April's. April hadn't seen her naked since childhood and for a moment, she caught herself inspecting the young, petite body. Her breasts were smaller than hers, but not without a certain appeal. Before her gaze could linger on Tess' shaved crotch, Tess had noticed her.
"April!" she yelled, "please help me!"
The desperate tone in her sister's voice rent April's heart. She broke free from her stupor and lunged forward to embrace her sister.
"Don't worry," she said "I will find us a way out of here, let's see..." she looked at the shackles around Tess' wrists. She didn't even see a lock.
"There must be some way to get rid of those things," said Tess.
"Certainly. Right here," said a voice behind them.
April turned. There was a woman standing in the corner of the room, next to what looked like a control panel. She smiled at them deviously.
"All I have to do is push this little button here." It was the voice from the intercom earlier, realized April. "But why would I do that?" she continued. "Tell me, why would I do that, April? It's okay for me to call you April, isn't it?"
April gave her the most loathsome look she could muster over her fear. The woman was tall and clad in a dress like the slaves that had abducted them, but hers was red. She wasn't wearing a collar and her blonde curly hair was flowing down well past her shoulders.
"Who are you and what do you want?" demanded April.
"Hi, I'm Beatrice. I'm the owner of The Enclave, surely you have heard of it. After all, you got those lovely tickets in the mail." She smiled wickedly. "What I want, my dear April, and of course," she said with a nod, "Theresa, is to prepare you for Friday's party so that you may enjoy it properly."
"You mean as your slaves?"
"Exactly. It's nice for a change to have someone figure it out by themselves. I'm pretty tired of all the 'what the hell is going on, what have you done to these women, blah, blah, blah." She was making faces and speaking in a silly voice at the last part. April failed to find the humor in this.
"You won't get us so easily, you twisted bitch."
"Oh, too bad. That's something I've heard plenty of times, already. And you were off to such a good start. But tell you what: I'm in a playful mood today. I'll give you a chance. Give me one reason to let both of you go. One reason not to erase your minds and your memories. One reason not to destroy and bend your wills to mine, and love every minute of it. One reason not to make you so utterly and completely mine that you cannot even imagine it."
She smiled again.
"One reason that I haven't heard before. I'll give you three guesses."
April stood, frozen. She looked at her sister and saw her fear mirrored in her eyes. But there was hope. A tiny speck of hope. She looked at the woman in the red dress, smiling at them in anticipation. She looked as if she were genuinely interested in the answers. April tried to swallow her loathing for this woman and shut her eyes, thinking of an answer.
"We have friends and a family."
Beatrice tilted her head. "Really?" she asked, "that's all you can come up with? I'm disappointed in you, April."
April cursed herself. Of course that was a stupid answer, but how could she not have said it? It was so important and true. She thought again. What would people say? They would probably try to appeal to that woman's human side. That bitch didn't have a heart, so much was sure. She should try something sociopathic, something that she wouldn't normally say.
"There are others much better suited for this. You could take them instead of us."
"That's better, but sadly no. Been there. One more try."
April fell silent for a long time. She didn't dare to say anything. Her heart was racing. She would never have thought that her entire life would depend on a single decision in such an immediate way. Yesterday, everything had been alright. Not a worry in the world. And now this. Her mind searched for an answer, but everyone seemed more obvious than the last.
It was Tess that spoke.
"You don't deserve us."
The blonde woman watched April and Tess in silence for what seemed like an eternity. The smile had vanished from her lips.
"Damn it," she said.
April felt relief rush through her body like the first spring day after an ice age. She let out a sigh and turned around, and embraced her sister.
"You were so close," said Beatrice, a look of something like regret on her face.
"Override code alpha sigma 5-A," she said.
April felt control over her body leaving her instantly. She was still hugging her sister, but all the tenderness had gone. She felt ice cold. They had lost. Tess began to cry, she looked at her sister and said:"April, I'm so sorry. I love you." April looked at her sister and suddenly felt very grateful for the time they had had together. Trapped in her body, she looked at Tess and only wished that she could say the same. But her mouth wouldn't speak, and her eyes wouldn't cry.
"Override code alpha sigma 5-B," came the command from the control panel.
Tess' expression turned blank and she went slack. Tears still covering her face, she turned her head straight, looking past April.
"april, move away from theresa" said Beatrice.
"I obey," her mouth said, and her feet walked her a few steps away. She still stood facing the naked form of her sister, the sight as horrifying as ever.
"theresa. you will now be turned into a slave. you will feel a lot better very soon, trust me."
"april, your sister will need to be wet so that the machine can insert the stimulating rod. Go down on her."
"I obey." She couldn't bear it. She walked slowly towards Tess, went down on her knees and began licking her sister's clit. She could taste her and feel her twitching as her tongue played around her' cunt. Tess began to get wet, and her juices were salty in April's mouth.
"Enough. Return to your position"
April stood up and walked back to where she had stood, again facing her sister.
Meanwhile, a slave had walked in, a short redhead with a face full of freckles. She was dressed all-black in a mini-skirt with knee-high boots and a corset. Her eyes were as blank as every other slave's.