The sweep second hand inched ever so slowly. "I swear they must slow these clocks down after lunch", Carrie spoke under her breath. "Five... Four... Three... Two... One! Come on Kel we're out of here!" As she flipped the switch on her computer.
"Carrie, you are not supposed to do that. You're supposed to wait for it to shut down"
"I don't care Kel, you flip the switch and its on, you flip the switch and its off. Instant just like that. Besides I don't have the patients for that right now. Time to go and we have three days reprieve from this hell hole."
"Oh Carrie" Kelly shook her head and smiled, "Never the one to conform."
The two young women gather their things and headed for the door, anxious to start their long deserved weekend. Kelly and Carrie not only worked together, they were also roommates, and had been best friends for years. They worked as documentation specialist for Henderson Consulting. Lots of typing, not much else. The days were often long and grueling with frequent tight deadlines. Added to that the pay was nothing to write home about. So a three-day weekend was welcomed treat.
"Come on Kelly, hurry up we are going to miss the bus!"
"When are you going to buy me a car Carrie, so that we don't have to take the bus anymore?"
"As soon as I get a raise!"
"Like that is ever going to happen anytime soon. Face it, Carrie we're just slaves at this place. It's just not fair, you remember that Todd Guy? He started six months ago doing the same job that we're doing. And now I bet he's making twice what we are. I don't care what people say things are still not equal between men and women."
"Come on Kelly, here comes the bus RUN! Oh damn missed it again!" Carrie pouted,
"Now were are going to have to sit here for a whole hour for the next bus to come."
"Oh its not your fault, just seems like we have been in quite a rut lately and I just want to get out of here."
Kelly sat on the bench watching Carrie pace back and forth. She worried that perhaps her friend was becoming a little depressed lately. Stuck in this dead end job, every day it seemed as if they were going nowhere. About the only excitement either of them had was watching ER on Thursday nights.
The pair had been waiting at the bus stop for nearly ten minutes when a car pulled up to the curb. The young woman driver rolled down the window. "Excuse me, I think I am lost. Could either of you tell me how I might get to 5791 Essence Road?"
"Sorry I have no idea. Do you know where Essence Road is Kel?"
"Yeah, Essence is over in the older part of town."
"Oh no, that sounds like it might be further away that I thought and I need to be there in twenty minutes." The young woman's look of concern suddenly turned to a disarming smile. "I don't suppose I could you to come with me so that you might help me find my way? I am going to a meeting of the Woman Fulfillment Society. You might enjoy meeting with us. We are working toward allowing all women the ability to fulfill her true destiny. Afterwards I could give you both a ride home. Did you have anything planned for this evening?"
"Ummm, those are pretty lofty goals," Kelly said sarcastically.
"Come on Kelly it sounds like it might be fun. Or we could just sit here for another hour waiting for that bus. And beside maybe they can help us get that raise and then YOU can by me a car," Carrie joked.
Kelly's impulse was to walk, no run away from this situation. Something told her to be careful. However the frustration of having missed the bus and nothing but another night of television allowed her to let down her defenses if just for a moment.
"Ok Carrie this time you win. Sure we'll join you, what the heck."
"Great! I think you will have a great time, and you are doing me a big favor. My name is Whisper by the way."
"Nice to meet you Whisper. I'm Carrie and this is Kelly."
"What an odd name," Kelly thought, "oh well, takes all kinds."
Kelly got into the front seat so that she could give directions. Carrie had to ride in the back. Kelly laughed a bit at that idea, as usually it was the other way around.
"Ok, you need to go down here a couple of blocks and make a left turn at the light."
"I am sure glad that I met up with you two, I do not think I could have ever found it, I always seem to get lost so easily."
"You're welcome, what are friends for?" Remarked Carrie, her thoughts anxious for some adventure.
Kelly thought to herself, "Carrie what are you saying we hardly know this person. If it weren't for me, Carrie would be in constant trouble.
Suddenly Kelly realized that Whisper was lighting a cigarette! "How rude she didn't even ask. " Kelly braced herself for the enviable outburst from Carrie; she hated smoking with a passion. The car began filling with the smoke from Whisper's cigarette, Kelly thought certainly she was going to gag. She tried to crack the window, however the button didn't work, apparently it was locked.
"Whisper do you mind if I open the window?"
Whisper either did not hear the question or she was ignoring Kelly. Kelly began to feel that bit of churning inside which told her something just did not seem right. "And why wasn't Carrie saying anything?" Apparently Carrie was a little preoccupied...
Carrie did not like the idea of sitting in the back, she never did. She always wanted to be the center of attention and never thought twice about speaking her mind. As she slid into the car her face showed her best pout. Immediately she noticed a strange looking disk lying on the seat beside her. Not bothering to ask she picked it up. It looked as if it were a game or something. Although it was disk shaped it felt comfortable in her hands, two buttons on either side sat naturally under her thumbprints. She pressed down on the buttons hoping to bring something to life. As she did she felt a strange sensation radiating up through her fingertips. Not really an electrical shock but it did kind of tingle. Actually it felt kind of good, then something odd happened, the surface of the disk came to life.
Flowing and swirling with what appeared to be abstract colors. However as Carrie looked a little closer she noticed that there was actually within the colors a swirling spinning spiral. The spiral rotated around the outside of the larger circle, which held the rainbow of dancing colors. "Ok, this is pretty but what else does it do?" Carrie started randomly pressing the buttons trying to get something else out of this strange contraption. Nothing different happened, just kept swirling, so she pressed the buttons a few more times. The third time she pressed the left button she felt the wonderful tingling feeling flowing up from her fingers into her arms and throughout her body. The same sensation she felt before only this time stronger. She pressed the left button again...nothing. Again, again, and again...nothing. Then she tried the right button strongly determined to find out how this thing worked. Suddenly she felt the sensation again, and wonderful quiver of pleasure flowed through her body. She continued to play with the buttons and soon discovered the disk seemed to rotate faster each time she felt the pleasure. She also noticed that if she pressed one of the buttons when the disk was in a certain position on the screen, she received her reward. At first it just appeared to be pure dumb luck, however the longer she played the game, the more natural it seem to be able to crack its code. Every time she pressed a button now Carries body vibrated with deep addictive pleasure. It felt so good, so controlling, and so wonderful, Carrie lost track of time, her surroundings, and the moving car. Now nothing else mattered now but the spiral.
Whisper drove the car slowly along the tree lined street and pulled into the drive of the old Victorian mansion. By the time the car settled to stop Kelly was anxious to get this all over with. Whisper had smoked the entire trip and Kelly wanted more than anything else to get some fresh air. Even though Kelly continued to provide directions it was almost as if Whisper was on autopilot. She barely said a single word, just sitting at the wheel smoking her cigarettes and carrying a look of contentment on her face. Kelly tried to open the door however the door wouldn't open; apparently someone had forgotten to take off the child locks, how embarrassing! Kelly looked up to see a group of women come out to great the new arrivals. It appeared obvious that one woman in particular seemed to be leading things. Kelly was struck by the woman's long vibrant read hair. All of the women wore silk robes; while the others wore green her robe was gold. The woman opened Kelly's door.
"You have done very well Whisper, I am pleased!"
"What is going on here?" Kelly protested.
"Please come in, its very cold outside. We can talk in the house."
Kelly thought briefly about simply running away, but the woman was right it was cold outside and she began to move with the others towards the large house. Two rather large double doors opened to reveal the rather plain and empty furnishings. Actually it appeared as though the house was empty of all except it inhabitants, although perhaps no one really lived there. Oh Kelly's head was starting to spin! Kelly was directed to follow the others as they knelt in a circle on the hard wooden floor. Kelly seemed to notice that many of the women in the green robes had that same contented smile on their faces. The gold woman stood in center directly in front of Kelly.
"Ok, now what the hell is going on here?"
"This is the Woman's Fulfillment Society. Here we learn to discover your true potential and discover complete happiness. My name is Eternity and this is my home, welcome."
"Ooookaaay... so how do you do that?"
"Its really quite simple. I keep all of my ladies in trance most of the time. Well actually all of the time but we are beyond paying attention to things as insignificant as time here.
Happiness, frustration, peace, turmoil, pleasure, pain all simply the reality your mind knows to be reality. My ladies have learned to experience the wonderful fulfillment of trance, completely changing their lives."
"Hmmm...ok, well that sounds wonderful, but no thanks! Carrie come on, we are leaving!"
Kelly looked around the room, for a few moments she had forgotten about Carrie.
"I think your friend may not be in full agreement about your leaving."
Just then Kelly's eyes met Carrie's. Kelly's heart stuttered as she read the blank blissful look in Carrie's eyes.
"You see your friend has begun to understand the pleasurable experience of trance.
Perhaps if you allowed yourself just a moment to let your mind free of all the worries and concerns which consume you."
"No! Snap your fingers or whatever it is that you do and bring Carrie out of it. I don't care what you are selling, we aren't buying."
"I am sorry you feel that way my dear. It does make it a little more painful to watch you struggle against your destiny, although I must admit that I do feel a bit of a thrill in the hunt." Eternity grinned with absolute confidence. "Perhaps a little rest will do you good, I must spend some time attending to your friend."
Eternity gave a slight wave of finger, almost immediately Kelly found herself surrounded by four of the 'green girls'. Gently but firmly she was taken by the shoulders and guided down a long hallway, a door opened and Kelly nudged into another empty room. Before she could turn around the door swiftly locked behind her. This room was no different than any she had seen up to now. Complete void and empty. Kelly did notice in the corner some sort of disk shaped gadget. She walked over and picked it up. Her curiosity quickly swept away with panic as the disk bounced on the hard cold floor.
"What am I doing here? I liked my old boring quiet life!" Tears slipping over her cheek.
Kelly thought she heard soft music playing in the room or did she? She didn't know, was this some sort of nightmare, and was this really happening? She tried not to listen to the music whether it was her imagination or not. Her defenses acutely aware of every sight, every sound, every smell. Kelly propped herself in the corner farthest from the door, continually scanning the room for the slightest movement. Then the lights turned off.
Kelly's eyes struggled to adjust. The bright light blinded her if only for a moment. Her head beginning to clear, then it hit her, she had fallen asleep. How long had she been asleep a few moments? Several hours? Perhaps even days? Kelly felt vulnerable. How much longer could she continue to struggle? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all to be in trance constantly, walking around with a blank grin on her face. "What am I thinking, I have to get Carrie and get us out of here.
Just then the door opened. Two of the 'green girls' stood in the doorway.
"Good morning. We have brought you something to eat." Offering Kelly a small cup of rice.
The void of hunger dwelt in Kelly's body. Without a thought she took the cup and emptied it's contents. It felt good to eat something. Somehow Kelly allowed herself to relax but only for a moment.
"Would you like a cigarette?"
"Uh? Oh no thank you, I don't smoke." Why anyone would ever want to smoke totally escaped Kelly. Apparently it did not escape the two 'green girls' as they both helped themselves to the cigarettes offered to Kelly.
Kelly watched as the two "green girls" smoked their cigarettes. The look of pleasure filled their faces each time their cigarettes touched their lips. Long streams of smoke exhaled, having produced its effects. Then the ritual was repeated again and again.
"It is time to meet Mistress." The 'green girls' announced as they guided Kelly down the hallway to the meeting room.
It appeared as though all of the others were already in place, kneeling on the floor in a perfect circle. Kelly was led to a place in the circle. Her mind swirled, perhaps if she simply went along for a while and look for the first opportunity to get out.
Kelly surveyed the others in the circle. Many sat with the now all too familiar blank look of bliss. Most of them were smoking cigarettes. Kelly tried to control her distaste for being in a smoke filled room. As she scanned from face to face suddenly her heart dropped.
Kelly had to blink her eyes; they were not playing tricks on her. Directly across the circle sat Carrie. Eyes completely blank and void of the spirit so familiar.
"Oh my god! Carrie is smoking a cigarette!"
What had they done to her friend? Did she struggle? Kelly instinctively jumped up and ran over to her friend.
"Carrie what have they done to you?"
Carrie did not even blink or acknowledge her friend. Instead she simply inhaled on her cigarette, the look on her face that of complete pleasure.
"Carrie what is wrong with you? It's me Kelly!"
Kelly felt a hand on her shoulder as she turned, it was Eternity.
"Her name is not 'Carrie', her name is Soft Breeze. Her name has always been Soft Breeze."
"What do you mean her name is Soft Breeze? Her name isn't Soft Breeze, I have known her all her life her name is Carrie! What have you done to her?"
Kelly's mind rushed... "What is going on here?" Her knees started to buckle under the stress.
"Perhaps you would like to come with me and we shall talk about your future."
Kelly did not know what to think, her mind swimming in confusion. Kelly followed Eternity down the hallway now to a different room. This one much different than the others. The actually appeared to be more of an office. Thick deep carpeting swallowed Kelly's toes. Eternity gestured for Kelly to sit in one of two large leather chairs.
"Please my dear, be comfortable."
"What have you done to Carrie?"
"I am afraid that you do not understand. Carrie no longer exists. She had such a difficult and unfulfilled life with no hope and completely miserable. And so I have given her what she so desperately needed. Soft Breeze is at this very moment experiencing more happiness and pleasure than Carrie ever dreamt about. In fact she no longer has any idea that the person you refer to as Carrie ever even existed. Soft Breeze loves the feeling of trance, needs it, and craves it. You need not concern yourself my dear, you too will come to understand completely."
"I don't want to understand your hocus pocus, I want you to give Carrie back to me and I just want to leave. I have no desire to be tranced or anything like that!"
Eternity simply smiled, "it is far too late to turn back now. Whether you realize it or not and likely you don't, but you have been in a light state of trance for quite sometime now."