The Body Electric

Alison took a deep breath as she passed through the first of the two sets of steel doors, reminding herself that she would be safe.

The guard must have noticed her anxiety, because he smiled broadly. “Is this your first time interviewing a prisoner?”

Alison shook her head. “No. That’s the thing about it. I don’t know why, but I’m… I guess it’s just that, well, you know… I mean, I’ve interviewed murderers and child molesters and real monsters out there. But for some reason, this…”

He placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder as they passed through the second set of doors and started walking down the dimly lit hallway for the cell they sought. “Personally, I think a lot of the stories out there are… Let’s just say that they may have exaggerated a thing or two.”

The guard brought a chair around the corner. Alison sat down, peering through the iron bars behind which the condemned criminal had been living for the past ten years.

She smiled up at the guard, who backed away a few feet.

Reaching into her jacket pocket, Alison retrieved her pocket recorder and took another deep breath. She leaned in closer to the bars, peered into the dimly lit cell, and called, more tentatively than she would have liked, “Um… Margaret? Margaret Stoner?”

The prisoner stepped out from the shadows and moved quickly towards the bars. Alison jumped back for a moment.

Ten years in prison haven’t been kind to this woman since she was caught, Alison thought. She looks nothing like the pictures from her trial.

Margaret looked at the reporter and scowled. She started to place her hands over her ears but decided against it.

“I thought I’ve done pretty well for myself here,” the prisoner spoke.

Did she just hear… Alison started to think.

“Your thoughts?” Margaret asked, tauntingly. “Well, my dear, wouldn’t you go a little bit mad if you could hear what other people were thinking?”

Alison froze in her chair. She knew about Margaret’s crimes. They were the lurid stuff of tabloid newspapers for years from when the press picked up on the crimes, until well after she was caught, tried, and convicted. But somehow, in all of that time, no one ever really questioned the ‘how’ or ‘why’ of it all.

That was Alison’s job. Her editor had been fortunate enough to procure Margaret’s final interview before her planned execution. Considering Alison’s experience, she was the perfect candidate.

Alison cleared her throat and heard Margaret scoff.

“You know, Alison. You don’t need to put on airs around me. I’ll see through it anyway. I don’t even think I’m anywhere near as dangerous as…” Margaret paused, looking for information about other criminals Alison had performed. “… Louis Stanley Peebles. Now he was a monster.”

Alison first felt shocked that the prisoner knew any of her prior interviews, especially one from that long ago. She let out a gasp before reminding herself that Margaret had the ability to read minds. Still, her voice was tremulous when she responded. “Oh, sorry.”

There was a brief silence. The guard stepped closer to Alison and said, “She may not really show it, but she is thankful that finally someone wants to know her story.”

Margaret waved her hand and the guard backed off again.

Alison reached for her recorder and held it out for Margaret to see. Margaret nodded and Alison turned it on.

“All right, Miss Stoner—”

“Please, call me Margaret.”

“Sorry. Margaret. As we get underway with this interview, is there something you’d like to say before I start asking you questions?”

Margaret gazed at the reporter sitting opposite her. Seeing that this reporter truly wouldn’t judge her, she decided to respond directly. “I suppose you’d like to know how I feel about my crimes. Maybe you think I’m just someone whose passions got a little bit out of control or something.

“Well, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t regret a moment of it, and nothing got so bad that I couldn’t retain control. Do you understand? It was my overconfidence that led to my capture. And even then, I probably could’ve gotten out of it. Were it not for the intervention of David Sherman, I wouldn’t be here today. I’d be free and eluding capture still to this day.”

Alison nodded knowingly. “What did he—?”

“He was the only person I ever trusted throughout this whole process.”

“Tell me more.”

Margaret sighed. “You know, Alison, for all of these powers I have, the one thing I truly wish I could do is go back in time and change the past.”

Alison cocked her head to one side and thought, but I thought she just said…

Margaret cleared her throat. “You forget I can hear your thoughts. Yes, I just said I don’t regret a moment of it. But if I could change the past, I would go back to where it really all started and tell my younger self not to make that phone call.”

“Which phone call was that?”

“I was in college. Like most college kids, I was broke. There was this ad in the paper, looking for paid testers for a new video game. Now, this was back in the day when most video games needed a purse full of quarters and people stood behind you as you played … whatever. Atari, Nintendo and Sega had their own niche in home game systems, but the action was definitely in the arcade.

“Now, I wasn’t a big fan of all of the shoot-em-up games, but I loved some of the other games they had at that time. So I called the number in that ad and spoke with David. He said he had a game—it was a combination maze-navigation and puzzle solving game—that he said offered an experience unlike any other. He called it ‘The Body Electric’ and I remember thinking that it was a kind of a silly name, but not bad for a video all the same.

“I told him what kinds of games I liked and he said this would be right up my alley. So I arranged for a date and time to go out to his office and try out his game.”

Alison leaned forward as Margaret spoke. At the trial, everyone learned about this experiment that David was a part of, but this was the first she’d ever heard of it being a video game.

“David’s office was a few blocks off campus. I remember the walk to the office. It was raining so hard, my umbrella was basically useless. I was drenched by the time I got to his office.

“When he first saw me, he offered me a towel and I quickly dried off my face and hands. He actually looked away as I did that. That’s when I realized I could trust him.

“I looked around the office. I saw two game machines in one corner, and there were people playing both of them. Three people were sitting in the waiting room: one was thumbing through a magazine, and other two were filling out some paperwork on a clipboard. It was a relief to know I wasn’t going to be alone.

“As I sat down myself, David said that he’d let me know when I could go up and try my hand at the game. He said it would be self-explanatory how to play the game, so I should just make myself comfortable until it was my time.

“I grabbed a magazine and started looking alternately at the magazine itself and the other people in the room. David was standing near one of the men playing the game.

“I heard some fairly ominous music coming from the video games. The guy playing the game where David stood, he slapped the machine and yelled, ‘fuck!’ David guided the guy to a seat and handed him a clipboard. The guy started to fill out the papers he had been handed.

“David then came to the guy in the waiting room. You know, the one reading a magazine, and guided him to the now-open machine. I figured this meant I’d be next. I really couldn’t focus on my magazine, between the knowledge that I’d be playing next and the sound of the rain battering the windows outside the office.

“It wasn’t long before David came up to me and asked me if I had any questions. I asked him if I was the only woman to test his game, and he laughed, saying that the men did outnumber the women testing the game, but there have been a few, so I shouldn’t worry…

“I took my place at the machine and looked at the controls: it had a track ball and two buttons on either side of the ball. I always loved games that let you play either left-handed or right-handed, and this fit the bill. I watched some of the animations on the game before I started. The graphics were pretty good—sure, they’re nothing, I’m guessing, compared to what you see today, but it looked like a lot of fun.

“So I hit the start button and began to play. Using the track ball, I moved my character through this maze. Occasionally, I’d come up to a point where I had to stop, and solve a puzzle. The solution always involved some combination of the buttons and the speed and direction you’d roll the trackball.

“The first puzzle I solved… Let’s just say that’s when the real fun began in the game.”

Alison cocked her head to one side. “What do you mean?”

“With my hand resting loosely on the track ball, I felt … I guess the right word would be a surge. A surge of power, of pleasure, of pure sensation. It went straight into my hand.

“I looked over at David, who simply smiled and said, ‘Keep playing. It gets better.’

“So I went back into my game. The surge got stronger and stronger with each puzzle I solved. I would’ve been too ashamed at the time to tell David this, but I was starting to get physically aroused.”

In the brief silence that fell over the corridor in the prison, Alison looked at Margaret, wondering if she was pausing for dramatic effect or if there was some other reason for the sudden silence.

Margaret took a deep breath. “Then it happened. I solved a really tough puzzle in the game, and I felt another surge. At the exact same time, I heard a loud clap of thunder right outside of the office. Or at least, I think that’s what I heard.

“The next thing I knew, I was lying in a hospital bed. They told me that a bolt of lightning struck a transponder or something like that, and the energy blew out the video game and all of the power went straight into my hand. That surge put me in a coma for a month.”

Alison gasped.

“I have vague memories of sounds and lights while I was out, but nothing so concrete or memorable that it would be worth anything. Other than the sound of a man’s voice, one that kept repeating ‘I’m so sorry…’

“But then I came to, and I was bombarded by sound. I remember crying out and covering my ears, but nothing I did would silence the noise I was hearing.

“Several people moved closer to me. The sounds of their voices was deafening. I couldn’t hear any of them distinctly, but it was the strangest thing. I mean, I didn’t see anyone’s lips moving.

“I remember asking them to please be quiet and someone—a nurse —looked at me and said they weren’t talking.

“It took me a few minutes, but that’s I realized I could hear their thoughts. Someone standing near the nurse thought that I was delusional. And I mustered up all of the strength I could in my arms to put my hands on my hips to say ‘I’m not delusional.’

“After they were done staring at me and shining lights into my eyes and all, I asked them to please leave me alone and they agreed. I’m sure I was crying, otherwise I don’t think they’d have agreed to so quickly.

“David was the only person outside of the hospital staff, who came to visit me after I had woken up. He said he would sit by my bed every day for at least two hours while I was unconscious.

“I felt horrible when I told him I appreciated his attention, but I really didn’t want him hanging around my hospital room. I just couldn’t bear to keep hearing him apologize over and over in his head.

“I left the hospital about two weeks after I woke up. I tried not to let on to anyone who hadn’t already figured, it out that I had somehow gained the ability to hear people’s thoughts. I really just wanted some peace and quiet, even though I had no idea where to go to get that.

“Everyone was expecting me back at school, so I went back to my dorm. Everyone in the building threw this huge party to welcome me back.”

“How did you feel about that?” inquired Alison.

“Well, I, um, I appreciated the sentiment. Unfortunately, the moment they ushered me into the community room, I was bombarded by the thoughts of easily fifty or a hundred people. I just wanted to run.

“As you can probably guess, I didn’t want to seem like I didn’t appreciate everything. I shut my eyes tight and concentrated as hard as I could, and was able to … well, I guess blocking everything out wasn’t quite what I managed to do, but I was able to silence the noises. It … it wasn’t perfect but it at least made the party tolerable.

“And that’s when it happened.”

“When what happened?”

“I was talking with my roommate, Becky, and her boyfriend, Brock. What kind of a fucking name is Brock anyway? I always thought it said a lot—and not in a good way—about Becky that she even met him in the first place.

“Well, here was Becky talking about how relieved she was to learn that I’d be all right and all of that bullshit. Brock was just stupidly nodding his head along with what she said, and blah blah blah. At that point, all I heard was Brock’s thoughts.”

“I take it you didn’t like what you heard?”

“Would you? He was upset that I had come back, since my absence afforded them the chance to have sex whenever they wanted, without fear of bothering or being interrupted by anyone else.”

“No…”

“Yes! The man is a fucking pig. I tried to look into Becky’s thoughts and she was thinking more or less the same thing.

“And that’s when I lost it. I looked them both squarely in the eye and said, ‘Both of you, you disgust me. If you can’t fuck in our room anymore, why don’t you two just rip each other’s clothes off and fuck right here, right now?’

“I turned around and figured I’d go see if I could find someone who really and honestly was glad I was back, when I heard a commotion. I wheeled back around and saw both of them half-naked, fumbling awkwardly with each other’s clothes.

“By the time a small crowd had gathered around Becky and Brock, they were both naked and he was lying on his back, Becky bouncing up and down on him. Becky was yelping and moaning, and Brock was lifting and lowering his hips, playing with her breasts, and just generally being the fucker—literally—that he is.”

“What did you think about this?”

“Well, the first thing I thought of, was that I couldn’t have made them do that. I mean, sure, they were doing exactly what I had just told them to do, but that had to be a coincidence, right?”

“Right, I guess.”

“That’s when I thought I heard other people thinking about this strange turn of events. They heard what I’d said. Have you ever had a large group people look at you and back away and try not to look conspicuous about it?”

“Ummm….”

“Well, it’s not a comfortable feeling. Add into that you can hear them thinking these accusatory thoughts. So I ran. I just took off. I know I was crying, and I honestly don’t know how far it was before I finally decided to stop. But when I stopped, I was in a strange place, not knowing where I was or, for that matter, the right way back.

“I was cursing myself for not having grabbed something to eat before I left, because now I was hungry, thirsty, and tired. And then when I really got to thinking about it, whatever I did to my roommate and her boyfriend, it was… well, I wanted to see if that was a fluke or not.

“I walked a little bit further and found a small grocery store. The guy behind the counter was about my age, maybe a little bit younger, and he was kind of cute, in a goofy kind of way. He smiled at me and asked, ‘Can I help you?’

“I nodded my head yes. I told him I was lost, and kind of hungry. As I was talking, I heard him thinking about my breasts. If I hadn’t been so tired and hungry, I probably would’ve told him off or something, but he wasn’t being disrespectful and, well, I was starting to have thoughts of my own about—well, if not him, then someone who could satisfy me.

“He asked me how much money I had, and I sheepishly said that I didn’t have any.

“When he started to say he couldn’t help me, I figured this was the perfect time to see if I could control him. He was still thinking about my tits, and as best as I could tell, he at least didn’t want them to bounce out the door.

“So I sidled on up closer to the counter and looked him in the eye. ‘I don’t need any money,’ I told him. ‘You’ll give me whatever I want…’

“Unlike with my roommate, I paid attention to the clerk. His thoughts shifted from my tits to getting me some food. It took a couple of seconds for his mouth to catch up with his thoughts, but finally he said, ‘You know, you seem like a good enough person. Why don’t I get you something to eat and drink. You’ll probably feel better too. What would you like?’

“I wasn’t about to push my luck with this guy, so I told him a bottle of water and a small sandwich would be plenty.

“I’ll never forget his smile as he said, ‘Sold!’ in his best auctioneer’s voice.

“The mayonnaise was kind of bland and the bread was stale, but I ate that sandwich in almost no time. He stood there, watching me as I stuffed my face. I don’t think he moved at all.

“I took a big swig of water to wash it all down and I looked up at him. ‘What’s your name?’”

Alison chimed in. “Let me guess. This was Vince.”

“You did your homework. That’s right. So we had our formal introductions, and, by now I was feeling a little bit bold so I asked him if a woman’s boobs are always the first things he notices when he meets someone new.

“He was so cute the way he tried to deny it. Well, not deny, but he didn’t think he was that obvious.

“That’s when my hormones really started to kick in. Flush with the power of both my control and having gotten something to eat, and then Vince was … well, he was Vince. I felt a certain vibration that I hadn’t really felt in ages. Since long before the accident but I confess that I felt a little bit of electricity like I did from that track ball. I put on a kind of a sultry tone. ‘Why don’t you just come out and say it? Tell me what you think of my tits.’

“Vince was getting more and more flustered. Not only were his spoken words a complete jumble, but so, too, were his thoughts. I looked him in the eye again and told him to calm down and just be honest.

“He said they’re beautiful. I giggled like a schoolgirl before I asked him if there was something he might have, um, wanted.

“He said he’d like to feel me up. I looked at his eyes and they were wide but somewhat glazed. Was he completely in my control? I figured I needed to check.

“I asked him if he could lock up the store, which was completely empty save for the two of us.

“Without saying a word, he stepped out from behind the counter, walked to the front door, and locked it.

“’So you want to feel me up. Is that all you want from me?’ I asked him.

“’I’d also like to have sex with you,’ he said.

“You have no idea how good that made me feel. I didn’t make him say that. I just made him be honest and forthcoming. I decided to play a little bit coy when I told him to take off all of his clothes, and ‘we’ll see about what happens next.’

“Well, he quickly got out of his dirty jeans and flannel shirt. He was a lot more muscular than I expected.

“So I was feeling hornier than I had in ages and, well, he was enthusiastic, so… I’m assuming that I don’t need to go into the details, do I?”

“Whatever makes you comfortable. When we edit this interview for the final story, we’ll decide what stays in and what comes out.”

“Oh. Well, let’s just say that the electricity that I’d been feeling in my body since I first started playing that video game got a bit more intense. And I’m pretty sure that they needed to replace most of the bread in the bakery section when we were done there.” Margaret laughed.

“Now, I don’t think I could’ve been called a prude before the incident with the video game, but at the same time, I hadn’t had that many opportunities to show how much of a non-prude I really was, if you know what I mean.”

“Do you mind if I ask,” Alison interrupted, “what he was thinking of while you two were, um, you know…”

Margaret chuckled. “It was both sweet and kind of boring. All he thought about was how good I felt. I heard a couple of meaningless comparisons with other girls he had been with, but nothing so bad that it made a difference to me. Let’s just say he was definitely more focussed on actions than words. I guess you could say I appreciated it.

“When Vince was spent, he lay on his side, looking at me, twirling my hair. That’s when he said something I completely didn’t expect. He told me that he was mine. That he’d do whatever I needed him to do. I tried to read his thoughts and, well, he didn’t have any. It was kind of creepy, actually. I told him to stand up and get me a pack of cigarettes.

“I heard my own voice echoing in his head as he did exactly what I told him to do.

“When he came back, we both lit up and savored the feeling of the smoke filling our lungs. I wasn’t a big smoker before the accident but I knew that this would probably help calm my nerves.

“Once we were done with the smokes, I said we should probably get our clothes back on, so we both got dressed. I still thought it was a bit spooky how he had no thoughts other than whatever I had suggested. I would’ve expected him to say something like how we should clean up or something, but he didn’t say anything.

“So I suggested that we go back to his place so we could figure out what to do next.

“Even though the store was really supposed to be open for another three hours, we left.

“Vince drove a piece of shit car. You know the kind I’m talking about. A cheapo set of wheels, probably bought by his parents just to help him get to and from work. He’d put in a good stereo system. I remember thinking he’s a typical teenager, but he literally belonged to me, so I knew better than to complain.

“Vince lived in a small apartment above a jewelry store. When I walked into his place, I looked around and saw that he was at least not a slob. It was pretty obvious he didn’t have any roommates, but I wondered how often he’d receive guests. Besides, I really needed to know if my control over Vince was a fluke, or if there was something more.

“After we got settled in, I remembered that, when the day started out, I was still in a hospital. Factor in the running away from the dorm and, of course, the satisfaction that Vince provided as we wrestled amid the hot dog buns, and, well, I was feeling pretty scummy. I went into his bathroom and told him I wanted to take a bath.

“I must’ve fallen asleep in the tub. It was so warm and relaxing. When I woke up, I heard someone else’s voice coming from the living room. A girl’s voice.

“She kept repeating, ‘Vince? What’s wrong with you?’”

Alison leaned forward. “Vince’s girlfriend?”

“That’s exactly what I wondered. So I got out of the tub, wrapped a towel around me, and sauntered out to the living room to see what I could find out.

“Assuming this girl was Vince’s girlfriend, my appearance wearing only a towel certainly wouldn’t sit well. But, I thought, it would still be worth it if I could gain control over her, too.

“It didn’t take long for her to confirm my assumptions. I didn’t really need to listen to her thoughts since she was already screaming everything she was thinking. I decided to play with her a little bit. ‘Vince,’ I said. ‘Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?’

“That’s when I heard her thoughts. She was kind of taken aback by my attitude. She shook her hips as she walked up to me and said, ‘I’m Tricia. His girlfriend. Who the fuck are you?’”

“Tricia?” asked Alison. “THE Tricia from your trial? The one who was nicknamed The Black Widow?”

“What do you think, Alison?”

“I think I’m going to find out pretty soon.”

“Right you are. Now where was I?”

“Tricia.”

“Right. Well, I decided to play with her a little bit. I told her that I wasn’t someone to be confronted like that. She got all huffy and standoffy and I decided that I was bored. She was already all in my face, so I just looked her straight in the eye and told her to take off all of her clothes and lay down on her back, right then and there.

“She shut up and did exactly as I told her. I looked up at Vince, looking vacant as ever, and told him that he needed to fuck his girlfriend silly.

“I’d never really gotten off on this kind of thing before, but watching the two of them, it turned me on more than I thought it would. I quickly dropped my towel, sat down, and pleasured myself while these two were going at it.

“By the time Vince was done, Tricia probably had three or four orgasms. I told them both to stand up and they did. I tried to look into Tricia’s mind and she was just as empty as Vince was. That’s when I realized how my powers indeed worked. Look someone in the eye, and they’re suggestible. Give them an orgasm and they become a shell, a mindless slave willing to do my bidding.

“I felt the electricity surge within me. This… this feeling of power twofold was exhilarating. I called both Tricia and Vince over to me to give me pleasure until I told them to stop.

“I lay back and savored every movement, every lick, pinch, grope, fondle, and penetration. It felt that the pleasure was simply magnified by virtue of the fact that I could get these two people to do whatever I commanded. And maybe it was. It sure was intoxicating.”

“Intoxicating?”

“Well, yes. Over the course of the next couple of days, I felt that I had a kind of a bond with Tricia. It’s hard to explain, really, but the knowledge that she was feeling good, made me feel good too. It was as if she had transferred more than just her will to me when she became my slave. Does that make sense?”

“Um… I guess so… Are you saying that you felt her … um… orgasms?”

“Well, um… Yeah, I guess you could say that. I’d never really thought about it in those terms, but yes.”

“How had you thought about it, then, if not in sexual terms?”

“Power. Electricity. Over the next few days, I simply asked Vince and Tricia to bring friends and relatives into the apartment. They did so cheerfully, even if some of the people they brought were reluctant. Once they met me, though, they were fine with everything. It always followed the same process: I get the person to look me in the eye, I make them horny, and then, I have someone already under my control, fuck them.

“I probably had a good forty or fifty people under my control by the end of the week. The web I was spinning was getting larger and larger and I knew it was time to leave Vince’s cramped apartment. I had no shortage of people willing to give me a place to live.

“So I started planning my next move.”

Alison nodded knowingly, trying not to think about anything.

“Tricia was a very valuable asset here. When I looked at Tricia, I saw everything that I hated about my old high school. Tricia was attractive and athletic. She had guys fawning all over her, whereas I … let’s just say that I was glad when I graduated, since I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with anyone from my old school again. But Tricia gave me an idea.

“I gave Vince and Tricia some very simple instructions: she would locate the entire football team from my high school, and he would find all of the cheerleading squad. They’d both seduce each and every one of them, and then, once they were through with them, kill them. If they ran into any resistance whatsoever, I gave both Tricia and Vince orders to bind and gag their targets, and bring them straight to me.

“That’s a bit of an extreme bit of vengeance, isn’t it?”

“I just thought of it as payback for the four years of hell they put me through. Besides, I knew that it’d be easy enough to beat any raps.”

Alison crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Now I know why everyone fears you so much.”

“I see you’re not as afraid as you were at the start of our little chat…” Margaret started to chuckle.

“So you said you had no regrets about everything, huh?” Alison redirected the conversation back to the inmate.

“None. I was building a small army of people loyal to me. Actually, no. I take that back. They really weren’t people any more, per se. They were more like … robots. Still, Tricia and Vince proved what they’d be willing to do in my service. And the more my robots did for me, the more I felt the electric surge. And it was so … exhilarating.

“I had whatever I needed. Money, sex, passion, power, obedient servants. The only thing that really bothered me was hearing the thoughts of those I didn’t control. Of course, if someone thought something that offended me, I’d take control over them pretty quickly. So even that essentially became little more than a nuisance.”

“Surely you must’ve known that what you were doing was wrong, didn’t you?”

Margaret laughed. “Wrong? I suppose. But the more electricity I felt, the more right it felt. If you were asking if I suspected the cops were on to me, yeah, I knew. I actually started to watch the evening news just to see what, if anything, they’d be reporting on what I was doing.

“I’m not sure what was funnier. When they got it right or when I had planted an obviously false lead. But let me ask you something, Alison.”

“What’s that?”

“Have you ever had such a powerful orgasm, that you literally felt like every pore, every inch of your body was nothing but pure, unadulterated pleasure?”

“Um… I, uh…”

“Don’t be shy, my dear…”

“Well, um, I … I’ve had some good orgasms, but… well, I.. I can’t say I have.”

“Well, if you do, you’d understand why I didn’t want to slow down.”

“But you did slow down, didn’t you? Isn’t that how you got caught?”

Margaret smiled and let out a hearty laugh. “Yeah, I guess you could say that.”

“How else would you say it?”

“Remember he one man I ever felt compassion for… David? He appeared on TV. And he was practically in tears as he begged me to meet with him. He said he didn’t know what I knew or whether I was somehow involved with the havoc I was wreaking, but he said he was sorry for what he did to me.”

“So what did you do?”

“I went back to his office. I toyed with bringing one of my slaves with me, just in case, but ultimately, I decided against it. I could handle David if I needed to.

“So I went to his office. I was wondering what, if anything, David had done with the two Body Electric machines in the one corner of the waiting room. When I got there, my eyes went straight to that corner, and I was both impressed and caught off-guard by what I saw. There was only one machine there, and it was charred, blackened. That … it was my machine!

“I slowly walked towards the remains of the game I had been playing a few months before. It felt more like a shrine. A holy place. Hallowed ground, if you would.

“I was so focussed on my machine, that I didn’t hear David come up behind me. He placed a hand on my shoulder and said, ‘I figured I ought to keep that one, as a reminder not to push ourselves farther than we really should.’

“I spun around to face David. Before I could say or do anything, he said that he destroyed the other copy of the game.

“I closed my eyes and all I could hear was him thinking about how sorry he was. How it was all his fault and how he was feeling guilty about it all.

“I told him that I could hear his thoughts and he just nodded.

“I said that there was nothing to feel sorry for. Nothing to feel guilty about.

“His scowl stopped me. I was expecting him to talk about the murders of the football and cheerleading squad. I expected him to talk about how I was building my army. I expected him to say just about anything except what he did actually say.”

“What was that?”

“He said, ‘Do you know what happened to Brock and Becky?’”

“Did you?”

“No. That was the first I’d even thought of them since I ran away from my dorm. Turns out that people tried to separate the two of them, but couldn’t do it. They had to give them both tranquilizers to get them to stop fucking in the common room. Once they were asleep, people literally dragged them to their beds. The following morning, they were both catatonic. Mindless. My first robots and I never even knew it. They’d been taking up space in the hospital ever since. I wonder if they’re still there…”

“How did that make you feel?”

“Funny you should ask that, Alison. David asked me the same thing. Truthfully, I didn’t feel much of anything. I guess I was kind of sorry for Becky, but…”

“Not really, huh?”

“Exactly.

“Then David wiped a tear from his eyes. I’d so seldom seen a man cry that I wasn’t sure how to react. He just said one word: ‘Please.’”

“Please?”

“Yes. He begged me to turn myself in. He said I didn’t have to feel sorry. But what I was doing, even if it didn’t feel wrong, it was still illegal. And, well, I had to pay my dues.”

Margaret let out a sigh. “I looked into his thoughts and didn’t see anything I didn’t already know. It was … impressive, actually. If there was one thing I’ve never really known or felt in my life, it was honesty. So I thought about it for a while and decided that I needed some time away.

“I’m sure to David it felt like forever, but I finally whispered, ‘Sure.’

“I’m sure you know all about the trial. David actually did a good job insulating me from people who wanted to see me dead right then and there. For a while, I was wondering if my powers were starting to wane, but I realized that it was because David kept me so far away from everyone else. Do I need to go into the details of the trial?”

“No, I don’t think so. How did you feel when they sentenced you to death, though?”

“I really didn’t feel anything. I still didn’t think this day would ever come. And yet, here you are, interviewing me three days before my scheduled execution.”

“Are you scared?”

“Not really.”

“Why do you suppose that is?”

“Because I made a promise not to use my powers on anyone while I was in here. So to some degree, I’m already dead.”

“How well have you kept that promise?”

“Better than I would’ve predicted. Early on, I had to use my powers defensively. You know… to actually stop people from coming after me. But that’s about—I take that back, actually. For about a year or two after I came here, I used my powers to get cigarettes when I wanted them. I quit smoking about eight years ago, but I confess that I got people to give me their smokes whenever I felt the need. THAT’s about it.” Margaret smiled and let out a chuckle.

“What happened to all of the people under your command?”

“I told them to go back to their lives before I came here.”

“So have you really turned over a new leaf?”

“As I said when you first got here. I don’t regret what I did. It was exhilarating. It just felt so good. But, I was getting bored with my army. And I was really getting tired of making all of the decisions for everyone. So I sometimes wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self not to call David in the first place, but that’s about it.”

“Well, I think you’ve acted very admirably, not abusing your powers since you came here, not trying to escape. I, um, I hope my thoughts haven’t been too distracting.”

“Oh, no, dear. You’ve been fine. I appreciate your professionalism. And thank you for not judging me.” Margaret leaned in close to her bars and smiled. “Do you have any other questions for me?”

Alison paused for a moment as she put together the words she wanted to say. “So you can hear people’s thoughts and you can make them do whatever you want. Do you have any other powers? Or is that it?”

“Well… how can I put this? This is something I was able to learn to do; it didn’t come at first. But if I want to find something out about someone, nobody can keep a secret from me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I know that your password to your computer at work is ‘alonglittlekitty.’ Clever. Your name’s Alison Long, so that’s where the a-long comes from.”

“How did you—”

“I did two things at once and you didn’t even realize it: first, I made you think about something, and then I read that thought. If you didn’t know that I made you do it, it’s because I just look into your mind and find the memory or memories I need.”

“That’s kind of—”

“Scary, I know.”

Alison gulped and hesitantly asked what she had thought of. Margaret scowled and decided to let her say what she was thinking of.

“So can you, um, I, er, can you modify people’s memories? Make them think something happened or is happening that isn’t the reality of the situation?”

“Good question, Alison. Let me ask you something. What do you see in this cell of mine? Other than, of course, me, that is.”

Alison leaned closer to the bars and peered into the cell. Even though she was pretty sure the cell was dark and depressing, she smiled at what she saw. “It’s, um, very light in there. You’ve got a lot of flowers in vases throughout the cell. I can’t quite make out the shapes, but it looks like they let you paint colorful murals on that wall over there.”

“Very good. Have you ever been in a prison that looked as bright and happy as my cell looks?”

Alison suppressed a shudder. She didn’t need to say “No,” because her confusion flashed for a moment in her head and vanished as quickly as it had hit her.

Margaret spoke softly, slowly. “Let me ask you something, Alison. Did you find yourself aroused by any of my story?”

Alison started to shake her head but a very soft, “Yes…” escaped from her slightly parted lips.

“I can help you with that… If you want, of course.”

Alison repeated the soft “Yes…” one more time.

The security guard came closer to the cell. “What’s going on here?” He glanced back and forth between the nearly motionless reporter and the smiling prisoner.

Margaret looked at Alison and said, “I think you should turn off your recorder now.”

Alison did as requested.

“Good, now put it down on the floor by your chair.”

The guard came in closer as Alison again did as commanded. “I said, ‘what’s … going … on … here?”

“Nothing that we haven’t already planned, Ron. Nothing we weren’t expecting.”

The guard took a step back and smiled.

“Now, what do you say you both take off all of your clothes and then do whatever comes naturally for a naked man and a naked woman?”

Alison stood up and started to take off her suit and lay her clothes neatly on her chair.

“You’re moving too slowly, Alison. Just strip naked and start fucking Ron. He’s been waiting far longer than any man should be forced to wait.”

Alison’s neatness dissolved as she hurriedly stepped out of her skirt and rolled her panties and stockings down over her feet with one fluid motion. In no time, she was completely naked, kneeling down before the guard, and rubbing his stiff cock.

Margaret smiled. “You know, Ron. I’ll bet the two of you would be a lot more comfortable in my bed. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Without saying a word, the guard jangled his keys as he unlocked Margaret’s cell. With the door open, he picked up Alison and threw her on the small cot in the dark corner.

Margaret, for her part, stood near the door, careful not to step out of her cell, but also listening for others to come by. She’d been planning this for weeks and now was not the time to blow it. Besides, she mused with a laugh, blowing is Alison’s job now.

In a few short minutes, she mused, she’d be able to unleash the modified memories on everyone in the entire prison, as she had been slowly planting them in every guard, inmate, warden, employee, and visitor for the past two months. There was only one person left to modify, and she seemed to be having a really good time.

Alison let out a few howls of pleasure. “Don’t hold back, my dear,” Margaret chuckled. “Give in to your urges. Enjoy the sensation. Maybe you’ll come close to the electric feeling that I knew so intimately on the outside.”

Alison let out a loud squeal. A wordless expression of some combination of pleasure and, Margaret suspected, hope for the feeling she had just described. Margaret began to play with her own breasts absentmindedly. It felt kind of strange, controlling two people—a man and a woman especially—again. This was the first time she’d done it in so long. She’d almost forgotten how powerful the act actually was. She bit her lip as she felt the power surge through her body.

Margaret stepped carefully out of her cell and picked up Alison’s clothes. She smiled as she looked at the professional suit the reporter had worn. She barely suppressed a chuckle as she thought about her judgment from a few weeks previously. Yes, we wear about the same size clothes, she thought.

Margaret went back into her own cell and slowly peeled off her prison-issued jumpsuit.

Alison moaned loudly, “Oh, yes! Oh, God! That’s it! Yes!!!”

Margaret played for a moment with her own clit, feeling the electricity jump from her fingers to between her legs. “Don’t hold back, Alison! Let it all out. All of it.”

As she pulled on Alison’s panties—which were far sexier than anything she had worn in the previous ten years, Margaret decided that it was about time. She stepped into the shadows and reached into the guard’s mind. She whispered, “It’s time, Ron.”

The guard convulsed and writhed with pleasure as he gasped and groaned. His hips started to shake and he arched his back as the pleasure he had been giving to the reporter was finally returned to him. He grabbed her arms instinctively and she, in turn, dug her fingernails into his back.

Then, both reporter and guard fell silent.

“I want both of you to stand up and come into the light.”

They both did as instructed. Both had a blank look on their faces; it was a look Margaret had known well.

“Alison, I want you to put on my clothes. Ron, you may put your own clothes back on.”

Margaret smiled as she watched the reporter take on the appearance of a prisoner in this jail.

“From here on in, Alison, you will be known as Margaret Stoner, the notorious criminal who was sentenced to death ten years ago. You will not deny your criminal acts. From here on in, you will be … me. And I will assume your position as the journalist who came to interview me.

“Ron, I need you to go back to your post. As far as you’re concerned, nothing unusual happened during this interview.”

The guard stepped out of the cell and took a position a few feet away from the door to the cell. Margaret walked out right behind him and sat back down on the chair. The guard turned the key on the gate, locking the reporter inside the cell.

As Margaret picked up the recorder, she smiled at Alison. “I wanted to thank you, Margaret, for interviewing me.”

“It was my pleasure. You’ve been more than gracious.”

“Thank you,” Margaret whispered, as she turned on her heels. Ron escorted her back to the main entranceway to the prison. Ron retrieved Alison’s purse and gave it to the woman who controlled his movements.

Margaret searched through the purse and found Alison’s keys and cell phone. She quickly scrolled through the numbers until she found the name she recognized as Alison’s editor.

Pushing a few buttons, she raised the phone to her ear. After a few rings on the other end, a man’s voice answered. “Glenn here.”

“Glenn! It’s Alison. Just got done interviewing the Margaret Stoner woman.”

“What’d you think?”

“Nothing like I expected to be honest. She gave me a lot of insight into how she did everything she did.”

“Cool! I look forward to seeing your report.”

“I’ll be in tomorrow to start working on it.”

“Great!”

Even though she had transferred all of Alison’s memory into her own mind before she was rendered mindless, she felt the need to test her own abilities by double-checking her home address on her drivers’ license.

The following morning, Margaret reported to the news station and started to modify people’s memories of the appearance of the reporter whose identity she had now assumed. She had no trouble finding Alison’s desk.

About ten minutes after Margaret sat down and booted up Alison’s computer, Glenn was standing outside of her cubicle. He knocked politely on the wall to her cubicle.

Margaret spun around in the chair and Glenn’s mouth fell open. “How was—”

“Is something wrong, sir?”

“You! What’d you do to Alison?”

Margaret quickly tweaked his memories. She spoke with a sweetness that would normally have been considered unbecoming of a woman of her style and ability. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Glenn.”

“I’m sorry … Alison. I don’t know what I was thinking of”

Margaret smiled. Maybe eventually, she’ll fuck him and take away all of his will, but at least for now, modifying the memories of everyone in the office … well that’ll do for now.

It wouldn’t be long before the entire newspaper knew that the woman sitting at Alison’s desk was, in fact, Alison and not the soon-to-be-condemned prisoner.

* * *

Two days later, Margaret sat in a reporters’ area of the prison, typing frantically into her laptop computer about the event she had just witnessed.

“A few moments ago,” she wrote, “the notorious criminal Margaret Stoner was put to death by lethal injection. No longer will we have to worry about her unnatural ability to convince people to commit crimes and perform all sorts of evil acts on her behalf.

“The warden said that her last meal was a slice of pizza and a diet coke. He further pointed out that, as she walked towards the chamber where she would soon be put to death, that she was calmer than most prisoners about to be executed.

“Once she was strapped to the table, she was lifted up to face everyone in the viewing room. She looked around at all of the faces staring at her. I could’ve sworn she smiled at me when she saw me. Even if not, she looked comfortable, almost as though she were looking forward to a long sleep, as she said, ‘I’m ready.’

“Those were her last words as the deadly cocktail of drugs was injected into her body. Her head fell backwards, her eyes wide open, and, after a couple of doctors checked her vital signs, she was pronounced dead this morning at 9:37 am.”

Margaret smiled as she reread her words and posted them to her blog. Now all she had to do was get back to doing what she did best. To begin with, she figured she’d start by locating Vince and Corinne. There’s a lot of time to make up for. Fortunately, a trained army is always ready when called.

Author: Mudak mudak326@gmail.com