A Fistful of Sand by Doktor Gostel – Book 3 – Chapter 9

A Fistful of Sand 3

Chapter 09: Betrayed pt.1

Laura flipped through the pages of the two-month old style magazine, barely keeping her annoyance and discomfort in check. To call this place a beauty salon was almost insulting to the word “beauty.” There were just two cutting chairs, one shampoo chair, and one owner/employee – HA! As soon as she entered, however, Laura immediately understood why Christine was so ga-ga over this place: Cathy, the stylist/owner. Just the other day Christine had called Laura up asking, as a personal favor, to try to send some business this way – that Cathy was phenomenal. One look at Cathy’s over-the top enhanced chest and Laura understood the fascination. Christine’s power-wrought libido was confusing sex appeal with talent. But she’d made a promise, and if doing this little favor for Christine made Cathy happy, then it would make Gregg happy, and making Gregg happy was all that mattered…

Rather than just giving out this Cathy’s name as a recommendation blindly, however, she decided it would be best to “try out” the woman’s services. It was a matter of balancing her Master’s wishes and maintaining her own reputation. Of course, if push came to shove, she’d gladly drag her own name through the mud to please Gregg, but for now, there was no need for self-deprication. So, auditioning this new stylist was what she decided she’d do – with Yasmine, her new pledge, that is. Laura didn’t climb to the top ranks of the most elite sorority on campus by letting unknown stylists experiment on her.

“If you can turn this rube into something sexually desirable, then I’ll make sure your business improves.” Cathy seemed torn between thankfulness at even having a client walk through the door and forced humility, having to endure Laura’s holier-than-thou attitude and judgmental stares. But given her two previous careers (one she entered willingly, one not-so-much), doing “sexy” was certainly within her skill-set.

In truth, Cathy found Yasmine to be quite cute as she was and wouldn’t have changed much – but it wasn’t her call. It was clear that the youngster had had some recent practice in putting on make-up and styling her hair, but as an “audition” styling Cathy knew that Laura expected a complete transformation. Despite Laura’s gruff attitude, she’d given Cathy permission to do just about anything she felt was necessary.

“Shave her head if you think it’ll improve things…”

The almost abusive and dismissive tone made Cathy flinch, having survived some horrors herself. But she was tuned-in enough to local campus culture to have heard of the Omega Xis and that helped dampen the pity she had for Yasmine. After all, it’s not like the pledge was FORCED to join a sorority as nefarious as this! The campus was strewn with women who’d tried to pledge but were rejected at the outset as well as plenty who’d become pledges but failed the rigors leading ultimately to full membership.

So, Laura tried her best to remain patient, waiting for the supposedly amazing Cathy to finish her job. It was already taking far too long…or at least it seemed that way. Her irritation really had little to do with her current environment, although it certainly didn’t help. It’d didn’t help either that Natalie was acting like a total psycho – one day reverting to [former] Brittany-like power-hunger, trying to beat the former Omega Xi president into giving her whatever it was she had used to blackmail the current sorority treasurer. And now, just this morning, her former pledge, now full-sister was reaching all new levels of repentance and begging forgiveness. There was something fishy about the girl’s behavior in that her pleas for forgiveness, while desperate and pleading, seemed over-the-top, like there was some external influence dictating her actions…but that didn’t make sense. She almost laughed, considering the circumstances of her life in the past few months – what was “normal” now anyway?

Natalie would be dealt with when she had either the time or the inclination to do so – for now, Laura was content to let her suffer. And why not? – she herself was suffering like she hadn’t in months…physically. Even though Gregg, Emily, and Brittany had only been gone on their trip to Tunisia for less than one day so far, it seemed like a month, and Laura was pretty certain she knew why. It wasn’t just that she missed her Master. But with him gone, some of the controls he’d maintained over his lovers’ physical bodies were deteriorating. The most painful one was that for the first time in months, Laura felt the start of her pre-menstrual cycle…at least the cramping part of it. It hadn’t occurred to her until today that since falling in with Gregg, she hadn’t had a period. Giving her Master the benefit of the doubt, she attributed it to his unconscious desire to keep them free from pain and their bodies had responded to his wishes by turning off that particular uncomfortable cycle. But with him thousands of miles away, certain biological-inherent functions were reasserting their control.

Heather must have noticed the same thing because this morning she called in sick and then called Laura to set up a girls’ night get-together which would involve lots of chocolate and even more tequila.

Thank goodness Cathy finally interrupted her thoughts with an announcement that she was done. Leading the newly transformed Yasmine into the “waiting area” (a chair and a small table in the corner), she awaited Laura’s verdict. All in all, the job wasn’t nearly as bad as she imagined it would be. The highlights were serviceable, the cut was a definite improvement, and even the makeup made her look ready for an adult photo shoot.

“You do a lot of modeling?” asked Laura inquisitively.

Cathy blushed, but answered evasively. “Uh, yeah…something like that.”

Laura chose not to pursue the untold story Cathy was hiding. “I figured. The amount of makeup you used is thick enough for a well-lit photography studio and close-up shots. I’m just guessing you’re used to meeting the needs of high-intensity flash bulbs rather than normal room lighting.

Cathy looked Yasmine over and had to reluctantly agree. The makeup was applied a little thick. She could feel the recommendation slipping away.

“Not a lot of business here,” Laura observed, taking in the empty chairs and the drab décor. “Not a lot of promotional material either.” Eyeing the stacked stylist up and down critically, she paused to really take in the woman’s poorly-hidden chest (as if implants that big could easily be hidden). Laura asked bluntly, “Why isn’t your picture plastered all over your window. Shit, with tits like that you could have a line of frat-boys around the block.”

That was about all Cathy could take. “Listen, I know I need the business, but I will not do it with these!” she said heatedly, grasping her boobs which more than overflowed her hands. “I didn’t escape that life and put myself through school only to have to rely on these again. Once I make enough money, I’m going to pay for surgery to reduce these back to a more manageable size. And I will succeed – on my skills as a stylist…not as a stripper or as a pornstar.”

Laura and Cathy stared at each other for long seconds. Two strong women measuring each other up. It was Laura who was the first to blink – or smile, rather. “I can see why Christine likes you. And I’ll admit, I didn’t come in here with the highest of expectations. I’m sorry for pre-judging. Tell you what, I’ll send some business your way. It won’t take long after people start seeing Omega Xis using your shop that others will follow. I’ll even hire you to do the hair and makeup for our official chapter photos.”

Cathy finally released the breath she’d been holding. For a moment she was sure her pride had just destroyed her one shot at a legitimate business.

“Here’s $500 for your time.”

Cathy immediately went to get change, almost certain she didn’t have enough. “It’s only $50.”

“You can keep the rest.”

Cathy could definitely use the money, but she insisted, holding out the five folded C-notes. “I don’t need charity – I just need the chance to prove myself. And you’ve already agreed to help me with that.”

Laura pushed Cathy’s hand back. “Call it an investment. I’ll call you to set up a time to come to the chapter house and practice on some more of the probationary members. Think of it as giving out samples – and maybe with some practice you’ll learn to not put the makeup on so thick. Oh, and when full sisters do come to your shop, don’t charge them less than $300.”

Cathy was no business mogul so she didn’t understand why Laura was bargaining for HIGHER prices. “Huh?”

“Look, price implies quality. Omega Xis won’t pay discount prices – so charge them the ‘elite’ rate. I don’t care what you charge everybody else – give away haircuts for free for all I care – but make sure my sisters pay the top rate.”

Cathy stared long and hard at Laura. She was sure it wasn’t just savvy marketing driving Laura’s opinion.

Business concluded, Laura tossed Yasmine’s coat at the newly primped sister-wannabe. “Come on plebe – we’ve got work to do.”

Cathy had no idea what just happened other than that she was pretty sure her business had just gotten a major boost. This was definitely good news, because at her current operating levels, she would have had to close down within the month. Now she just wished she had Christine’s phone number so she could call and thank her for introducing her to Laura and the business potential of Omega Xi.

* * *

As the rear wheels of the plane touched down in Tunisia, Gregg winced in pain. Waves of amusement were flowing off Emily in the row in front of him and he silently cursed the mental link the two of the shared.

‘Be nice, Gregg,’ she thought at him amusedly. ‘It’s not my fault you’ve made a new friend. It’s your own fault for being such a good guy.’

Gregg cursed silently again knowing that Emily was right – and that his own generous spirit was going to get him into trouble one day…as if it hadn’t already on numerous occasions. The front tires finally touched asphalt and at that moment it was all Gregg could do not to shout in pain. Instead he just grit his teeth as Brittany’s fingernails dug deeper into the back of his hand. One of the many things he’d learned about the girl over the past day as they traveled overseas was that Brittany hated flying. Actually, terrified is probably closer to the truth.

For her part, Brittany couldn’t believe how calm everyone in the little entourage was. Well, Emily wasn’t nervous about anything because she was basically traveling as a tourist and had no responsibilities for the project other than moral support. Charli was the epitome of confidence, at least on her end of the project – the software she’d been developing for mapping, cataloging, and making a virtual rendering of the dig site. Regardless of how this turned out, she’d already gotten high praise for her work and there was talk of expanding her work and marketing it – to a respectable, if not overly large audience of universities, museums, and others interested in this archeological stuff.

Brittany chided herself at that moment for slipping back into old habits by referring to Dr. Walter’s work as “stuff.” She may have had little interest in all that the good doctor did in his professional life – but their private and professional lives were intertwined now, so it was important that she treat the latter with due care. Her task on this trip was to act as his assistant, keep him on time to meetings, take care of the little details that he couldn’t be bothered with, and also help charm the men that would be key in these business dealings.

She should have felt more confident in her abilities – she used to be president of Omega Xi, after all…not that that seemed to impress anyone she hung around with anymore. Strangely, in the last few days as she tried to absorb all that she’d be responsible for, she’d found a particular clarity of thought and ability to focus and retain information she normally didn’t have…especially when in Dr. Walter’s presence. She recalled with both horror and heat the beginning days of her downfall when he’d made her sit on her knees in his office and copy class notes by hand at his side…perhaps that was it.

A lot of people had given her their trust – Emily, Charli, Dr. Walters, Heather, even Laura – and she was determined not to let them down. The past month had given her plenty of time to reflect on just how evil she’d become and she knew that this opportunity to start over was not one many got, so she was determined to make the most of it.

The plane rolled to a stop and they waited patiently as the flight crew prepared for their passengers to leave. Brittany pulled her attaché out from under the seat and confirmed for the hundredth time that all the necessary files were present along with her small iPod. The little music device was a gift from Charli – an older model that had been gathering dust after she’d upgraded to one that played videos. Brittany, upon receiving it, burst into tears. It was the first gift she’d received since coming back into the girls’ lives as their slave. But to Charli’s horror, she’d loaded it up with the bubble-gum pop-type tunes that she enjoyed after erasing all of Charli’s favorite death metal and goth tunes she thought her former slave would enjoy.

“God, it’s like listening to Saturday morning cartoon music…if that shit can even be called music!!” Charli complained. But Brittany was so happy with her mistress and the gift that she didn’t even think before sticking out her tongue at that comment. When Charli’s eyes flared, Brittany quickly jumped into her arms, planted a serious kiss on her lips and dashed off into the bedroom to listen in peace.

Brittany was reflecting on his brief but happy moment as she checked for the 101st time that the ipod was still with her. Gregg enjoyed peeking in on the girl’s thoughts in recent days. The breakdown and transformation of the once near-pure-evil girl into this almost completely innocent blank slate was remarkable. It was like she’d regressed to near childhood – while maintaining an outward appearance that was still all woman. The silly, almost syrupy music she listened to seemed to take her back to a more innocent time in her life, before she began down the road that led to her eventual ruin. In junior high and early high school, she was quite the avid singer and flirted with the possibility of going into musical theater. She’d even had voice lessons for a time. While she showed promise, other interests soon took over and those childhood dreams were set aside as childish dreams morphed into womanly desires for power.

As they stepped off the plane, down the stairs and onto the runway, a limo pulled up. Other passengers were directed toward the terminal, but the flight crew pulled Gregg and his group to the side. One of the back doors of the limo opened and out stepped the sexiest pair of legs he’d ever seen. As the woman atop those legs unfolded herself from the back seat, the dress she was wearing cascaded down, hiding those beautiful stems from his longing gaze. In a bit of shocked awareness, Gregg realized that he hadn’t taken advantage of any of his girls on the flight over, and the time it took to cross the Atlantic was one of his longest un-relieved stretches in recent memory. It would tak extra effort to keep his libido tamped down at this point…and the newly arrived figure didn’t help in that matter.

His eyes traveled up the trim figure, over the elegant business attire that highlighted the graceful feminine form to perfection. Expensive dark shades were lifted and set into thick, lush black hair revealing inquisitive, seductive brown eyes that took in Gregg and his group of girls.

“Dr. Gregg Walters, I presume?”

Gregg approached, noticing that the woman’s driver and security were watching him as if he were a potential predator. Yet, he could detect no threat of overt imminent violence so he relaxed his guard. “Yes?”

She smiled, showing off perfectly brilliant teeth that almost dazzled in the sunlight. “I am Ra’ashan Chamad, Director of the Office of Antiquities, Cultural Ministry. I trust you had an enjoyable flight?” Her question was laced with hidden meanings and she took in his sexy entourage.

Gregg freely blushed, but not without a bit of irony – for once, he had nothing to feel guilty about since they were all perfectly well behaved during the flight.

“Uh, yes. It was quite pleasant.”

“Good. I’m sure you’re tired and could use a rest, but unfortunately you and I must talk before tomorrow’s meetings begin.”

“That’s fine. Let us get settled at the hotel first and I’ll be glad to meet with you after we’ve had the chance to get cleaned up and maybe have a little dinner.” Emily’s father was waiting for a call that they’d arrived so the man could reunite with his daughter and meet her new friends. Emily’s dad was also eager to meet this mysterious Gregg Walters, the older man who had become such an important part of his daughter’s life.

“Dr. Walters, I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you come with me…now.” While she made no overt move, the driver and the bodyguards all seemed to tense up, as if they were getting ready to grab him.

Not wanting to make a scene, nor worry the girls, he nodded his head in acquiescence. “All right, tell your dogs to heel. Just give me a moment to tell my team.”

She smiled politely at how he deftly mocked her by not mocking her directly. ‘This Dr. Walters may prove to be a bit of a challenge…’

Turning to the girls who were watching from far enough away that they couldn’t hear what was being said over the whining airplane engine, Gregg told them of the change in plans. “Take all our stuff to the hotel and check in – everything should be already arranged. If not, Brittany will know what to do.” Brittany gulped nervously at the sudden responsibility, but nodded with as much confidence as she could muster. “I’ll try to make it to your father’s in time for dinner Em – I still remember the place…” Emily blushed a bit as memories began flooding back. “…If not, then we’ll all meet in the hotel lobby for breakfast at 7am sharp.” He made it clear by not suggesting otherwise that any other outcome was anticipated. He wasn’t certain whether or not Emily heard because her gaze was focused on Ra’ashan.

“Emily? You hear me?”

Whatever Emily was trying to do was interrupted, which seemed to annoy her. She stepped close and embraced him in a hug. With her lips near his ears, she said, “Be careful. I don’t trust her.”

He pulled back and kissed her cheek. “Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. Have fun – give your father my apologies.”

Without further ado, Gregg left the girls to their business and turned toward his host, trying to display his most charming smile. “Ms. Chamad, I’m at your disposal.”

She smiled with an air of superiority. “That’s DOCTOR Chamad…but please call me Rashi.” Gregg felt like he’d just lost a pissing contest. Clearly in a man’s world, Rashi liked to establish her credentials at the outset.

They climbed into the back of the limo, facing each other and Rashi casually let her dress part revealing bare crossed legs up to her hip. Gregg who was getting used to being surrounded by sexy women was not immune to her charms, so he went along for the ride, freely drinking in her beauty and looking forward to having something other than fat, sweaty men to stare at during the meetings. And maybe it was his exhaustion, but he even managed to keep his libido in check and just enjoy the view.

They chatted about inconsequential things as the limo made its way through the city. When Gregg could tear his eyes away from his host, he let himself get lost in the panorama of the city – remembering sites and scenes that were from not-so-long ago in terms of time, but from forever before in terms of life experience. The version of himself that existed a year ago in this same place would not have been able to even meet this woman’s stare. Now he recognized his own maturity in his ability to hold her stare and even openly drink in her beauty.

The limo pulled off to the side of the road and Gregg immediately recognized where they were. He shot a questioning glance at Rashi but she merely watched him until the door was opened by her driver. They climbed out and he followed her through an open gate in a chain-link fence down toward several large dug-out pits. Despite his confusion, Gregg still had to admire her near perfect grace as she navigated the uneven sandy terrain of his former dig-site in almost obscenely tall high-heels.

“I don’t get it, why are we here now? Aren’t we coming here tomorrow afternoon with the committee for a tour?”

She kept her gaze on the pit. “I thought it best we discuss this before I send in my clean-up team.”

‘Clean up?’ Gregg thought confusedly to himself. He had no idea what she was talking about until he followed her gaze. Down below them, in one of his excavation sites was what appeared to be a make-shift altar, broken pottery, and a stained knife. Gregg quickly jumped down into the pit to take a closer look, not waiting for permission from his host. “What is this?” he asked, mostly to himself. “This wasn’t here when we left last year.” He touched the knife with the tip of his finger, feeling it was still a little tacky. “It’s fresh…”

“I was hoping you could explain it to me!” she said, clearly perturbed.

Seeing that this was no joking matter, he took a closer look at the vandalism, hurriedly trying to put the pieces of this mystery together. Since he obviously just got off a plane, she wasn’t accusing him of being directly responsible…but she seemed to think he had SOMETHING to do with this mess. The smashed pottery appeared to have been full of some kind of very fine sand. He put his finger in it and realized that it was ash – but of what? The knife was more than just a plain piece of cutlery – it appeared to be ceremonial of sorts (but, he noted with some amusement, not of from the same era as the other artifacts he’d collected from the excavation – whoever included it wasn’t a scholar). He realized with horror, that the stains on the knife were probably blood. The make-shift altar was nothing more than a simply dressed table, but the symbols drawn on the surface in what appeared to be blood were all too familiar.

“What’s the meaning of this? Is this some kind of sick joke?” he looked up at her aghast.

She ignored his question and retorted with one of her own. “Do you know what this is?” She tossed him something black and charred, no larger than a postage stamp.

He turned it over in his hands. “Looks like a memory card. Like the one I used to have in my camera.”

“That’s EXACTLY what it is. It’s the memory card from YOUR camera. Our techs were able to see some of what was on it…You make quite a convincing high priest.”

Gregg’s worst fears were realized. Somehow she’d gotten a hold of the memory card from his camera from the night almost a year ago when he re-enacted the ritual that resulted in his getting struck by lightning, destroying his camera and granting him his special powers…him and David. He was tempted to snap the memory card there, but knew that it was likely that whatever was on it had already been copied. Breaking it here would only make him look guilty. After his “accident” he’d completely forgotten about the destroyed camera and had assumed it had been thrown away. “Where did you get this?” he asked, climbing out of the pit and giving her back the card.

“A concerned shop owner across the way saw some lights coming out from this area. He says he knew you from when you and your students were here, and knew that this area was supposed to be off-limits. He called the police and when they got here they found some guy here amongst all this stuff. He seemed pretty pissed that whatever he was trying to do wasn’t working – and was practically incomprehensible with madness. And when he had moments of lucidity, what he had to say made even less sense. We brought him in for…uh…questioning.” The brief sadistic gleam in her eyes made it clear to Gregg that the questioning probably wasn’t pleasant for the guy, if he was even aware of what was being done to him. “He had this on him along with some photocopies. He said he was one of your students.”

Gregg couldn’t take any more. He struck forward with his consciousness and retrieved an image of the guy they picked up. It couldn’t be one of his students – the guy looked too old. But as he focused on the face, the truth became all too clear. Remove the scruffy beard, the grey in the hair, add about 20 pounds…take off about 20 years…

“Adam…”

Rashi raised an eyebrow. “Very good, Doctor Walters. Yes, he said his name was Adam. And how, may I ask, did you deduce this? Did you send him? Is this some trick or game for you? Omar, the shop owner didn’t recognize him, and he said that you and your students used to frequent his establishment.”

Gregg pulled back, stunned by the question. Her questions were interfering with his own, like what happened to Adam? Why did he look 20 years older? What was he doing in the pit, trying to re-enact the very ritual he knew gave him and David powers? Of course! Adam never figured out that the ritual he’d performed was just a smokescreen for the powers – that it, by some cosmic accident, an experiment in human evolution from higher powers Gregg couldn’t comprehend was left forgotten, buried. Gregg had just stumbled across it in search of answers to other questions when he’d triggered it. He knew from Christine that Adam always coveted David’s powers and was the one who manipulated David into many of his cruelest acts…and now that David was dead, he was on a quest for powers of his own. But for the moment, Rashi was waiting for an answer and he needed to give her something.

“After we returned to the States, several of my students returned…with problems. Three took some time off and extended their trip by going on to Amsterdam. One came back with…uh…trauma. One of them, David, in a…uh…drug-induced craze, tried to kill me. I later found out that he’d OD’d and died. Adam was one of that group – he disappeared after David’s death. I haven’t had word from him since and I didn’t know he was here.” His explanation skirted the truth, and he hoped there was just enough of it in there that it would fool Rashi.

Rashi was completely unfazed by his explanation. She held out her hand to the side and one of the bodyguards approached and gave her a manila file folder. Her eyes never left Gregg’s. Opening the file, she finally glanced down briefly before handing it over to Gregg. “Do you recognize these? Our analysts confirm that they are in your handwriting.”

Gregg took the file uneasily and scanned them over, wondering if this woman in fact worked for some organization with a little more clout than just cultural affairs. To his horror, the documents did appear to be in his handwriting. It didn’t take much perusing to figure out where these came from. “These are photocopies from my journals. It looks like my notes on the ritual that I tried to re-enact here.” He closed the file and handed the documents back to Risha. Again, there was no point in trying to keep or destroy them. “But you’ve got to understand. This was all just supposed to be a bit of theatrics – an attempt to try to land some funding in order to keep this site going. I don’t know what Adam imagined he could get from doing this.”

That was a lie. It took every effort for Gregg to hide his nervousness. He knew exactly what Adam was hoping to achieve. He wanted Gregg’s powers – and he’d already shown the damage he could do just being near them

A sudden and worrisome thought occurred to Gregg. “You said you HAD him in custody? Past-tense? He’s not with you anymore?”

“He…escaped.” This fact seemed to annoy her in particular. Given how calm and smooth every action she’d take thus far in his presence had been, Gregg didn’t imagine that things didn’t go according to plan for her very often. “I was hoping to reunite you two to try to shed light on this…mystery. But it doesn’t appear that you know much more than we do. The police are looking for him, but I don’t imagine he’s anywhere near here any longer.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you. I wish there was more I could offer.”

She looked him in the eyes for a few moments longer than Gregg was comfortable with, and then suddenly changed her demeanor from pure business to pure pleasure. “You’ll have to forgive me. You must be tired and I’ve only added to your stress. Please, join me for dinner tonight to make things up to you. It will help ease my conscience and will allow us to start over with a clean slate.”

Gregg briefly thought about how his absence would disappoint Emily who so wanted him to meet her father. But they had the rest of the trip to make good on that promise…and there were questions Emily’s father would likely ask…uncomfortable questions. This was business and Em would understand…even if business involved dinner with such pleasurable company. Besides, maybe she would provide some valuable insight into which way the committee was currently leaning.

“That would be lovely. Please let me get changed and make a few phone calls.”

She smiled the smile of the victorious, but what game they were playing escaped Gregg. “My driver will take you to the hotel and will pick you up in an hour. In the meantime, I’ll have this…” she pointed lazily at the mess left by Adam, “…cleaned up before tomorrow’s tour. Is there anything else you need before we see each other tonight?”

A horrible thought occurred to Gregg. “Yes…you seem to have quite the crime lab at your disposal.” She neither acknowledged his words nor dismissed them. “Just please tell me that the blood on the knife is Adam’s and not someone else’s…and that the ash is from a campfire. When I did what Adam was trying to do last year…I used my own blood, and campfire ash…and that didn’t exactly follow the instructions in my notes.”

The briefest flash of pity washed across her face before her plastered on smile returned. She simply nodded, leaving him to wonder if that pity was for her own similar fears or because Gregg’s caring nature made him appear weak.

* * *

Laura entered the Omega Xi living room from the kitchen and stopped short. In her hands she precariously balanced a quart of chocolate-chip ice cream, a bottle of tequila, a salt shaker, a lime, a knife, and two spoons. She and Heather were planning a girl’s night in, seeking each other’s comfort as they coped with Gregg’s absence. The movie and ice cream were Laura’s suggestion. The tequila was Heather’s. And once Heather told Laura of her and Gregg’s first night together at Emily’s – where she introduced Gregg to the splendor that is the tequila body shot – Laura readily agreed.

It was more than just missing Gregg that fueled her need for comfort foods, alcohol, and affection. Natalie’s erratic behavior of late took a scary and weird twist in the past day. A day after apologizing to Brittany (and everyone else subsequently) for trying to beat blackmail information out of the now reforming ex-president – an apology filled with pleas and tears and yet strangely not seemingly heartfelt – Natalie spent the day locked in her room, huddled under the covers, weeping. She refused to see a doctor and had no fever, but her eyes looked haunted. Then this morning, Laura heard cries of what sounded like pain and pleas to stop being hit, but when Laura rushed into the room, there was no one there but Natalie, seemingly asleep and still under covers. If the girl’s condition didn’t fix itself by tomorrow, an emergency intervention would have to be considered.

But that’s not what made Laura stop short. Standing at the opposite end of the room, staring at a recent group-photo of the girls of the Omega Xi sorority with a level of concentration one would associate with either a crime-scene detective, or perhaps a stalker, was Christine. Laura watched noiselessly as Christine slowly moved her head back and forth, as if scanning every last detail of each girl in her elegant formal wear one-by-one. Finishing with the group photo, Christine took a step to the right and began another thorough examination of the collection of headshots framed in little ovals in a grid pattern surrounding the sorority letters and shield.

Finishing with that collection, Christine lowered her gaze a little and said without turning to acknowledge Laura’s presence, “Your ice cream is going to melt.”

Laura sheepishly realized that she’d been staring. “I…I’m sorry. It’s just…I didn’t expect…I mean, I thought…I thought I’d feel…uh…”

“Honry?” Christine turned and shared an amused smile. Even dressed (by Omega Xi standards) in tight jeans and an even tighter fitting sweater, Christine was incredibly gorgeous – especially compared to Laura’s dressed down, pajama-style outfit complete with bunny-slippers. Christine’s resemblance to Heather was scary, but the differences were distinct when given more than a casual glance. “That I’d walk within a few miles of you and everyone around you would start humping the furniture?”

“S…something like that…”

Christine’s smile at that was pure amusement without a hint of malice. Laura wasn’t sure if that should frighten her or not. Since Christine didn’t appear that she was going to offer any explanation, Laura continued. “Your friend Cathy, the hair stylist…she did a passable job on my pledge, Yasmine. I’ve agreed to help her – send her some business and let her do some hair/make-up for photos like the ones you were staring at.” That news made Christine’s smile positively luminous. “I just don’t understand why you don’t want me to mention this to Heather. It probably never would have come up in the first place, but now I’m curious.”

Amusement quickly drained from Christine’s face. “We have our reasons and for now, you’ll just have to accept that.” The dark tone of one talking to an inferior being was not lost on Laura – it was a tone she once used regularly with younger sisters in the sorority…and anybody else not wearing Omega Xi letters. Laura knew she was protected from Laura’s magic, or at least she thought she was. With Gregg thousands of miles away, some of his more subtle controls were slipping…If Christine tried to take over her mind, would she be safe? The thought of having her subservience to Gregg ripped away was a thought almost too painful to imagine so she quickly blocked it and just hoped for the best.

Christine must have must have realized the effect her tone had caused and quickly moved to address the situation. “Here, let me help you.” She relieved Laura of half her burden and headed down the stairs to the bedrooms, not bothering to wait for an invitation.

Heather must have felt or heard something because when Christine led Laura into the “President’s Suite” – which was really just a dorm-room style apartment that was slightly bigger than the rest of the members’ rooms, but luxuriously decorated – Heather was waiting for them, standing with arms crossed under her generous bosom, her thick red curls spilling over one shoulder, her face impassive but her body tense as if she didn’t know whether or not to take a fighting stance.

Christine’s face shifted from elation to fear to lust and back to calm in just a few seconds as she met Heather’s gaze. Both Laura and Heather quietly noted how Christine’s hair seemed to shimmer from a lustrous honey-blonde with strawberry highlights to almost deep fiery red and then back again. Christine took a calming breath and her hair seemed to settle back to its former color, albeit a shade more noticeably red than before. Christine put her share of the load down on the coffee table between the couch and the television.

Laura pulled her desk chair over and offered it to Christine who took a seat in front of the television facing the couch. Laura also noticed how careful each of the buxom blonde’s movements were, as if Christine’s normal poise, grace, and sexuality were being tightly held in check – much like a professional dancer over-thinking every movement.

Heather seemed to relax a little, apparently coming to the decision that while tense, nothing bad was apparently going to happen with this meeting…this hopefully short meeting. Gregg had told her about how Christine’s brief meeting with him had practically set off fire alarms for being so sexually aflame. And already, despite Christine’s obvious efforts to keep control, Heather could already feel tendrils of fiery lust beginning to stir. With a slightly shaky hand, Heather poured herself a generous shot of tequila and swallowed it down, not bothering with salt nor lime. It burned pleasantly on its way down, causing her to blush from her cheeks down to the tops of her breasts. The tequila immediately began its work, especially once it hit her empty stomach.

Refilling her tall shot glass, Heather offered some to Christine. The blonde’s hands tightened in her lap and she licked her lips nervously before shaking her head. “No…I…I don’t drink. But don’t let me stop you. I won’t be staying long anyway.”

Heather’s blush deepened, embarrassed for making such a stupid mistake. David, Christine’s former master and tormentor drank and did drugs to deal with the pains associated with over-extending his use of the powers. Despite her fear of the woman across from her, a woman who upon waking from a coma had nearly killed them all in a psychotic rage, Heather had to admire her for choosing to take the safer, albeit more difficult path. Sheepishly, she downed the shot herself and pushed the glass and the bottle toward the side of the table away from them, and closer to Laura who picked up on the clue and nonchalantly stowed the drinking paraphernalia on the shelf under the table.

“So what brings you to Omega Xi?” Heather asked, her words already beginning to slur slightly.

“I’ve heard so much about this place from Laura, and from Robyn my next door neighbor.” Christine fixed Laura with a very intense gaze. “Robyn and I have grown VERY close recently.”

Laura smiled weakly, but offered no comment. Robyn was an Omega Xi alum, now beginning graduate studies in ESU’s Russian language program, and apparently was now firmly within Christine’s control. But based on subsequent conversations Laura had had with the willowy brunette, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong or abusive with the situation, so Laura was content to let it be…not that she had much choice if it were otherwise. As much as she despised her Omega Xi sisters, Laura still felt occasional pangs of guilt whenever she offered one or more up for sacrifice.

“Anyway, she’s gathering a few of her friends and we’re going out to see some chick-flick. I don’t know that I’m ready yet to be in a bar or a dance-club with testosterone-dripping guys…if things got out of hand, it could get really ugly. But this should be something approaching normalcy for now.”

Heather looked visibly relieved and let her guard down a bit. “I’m sure Laura will agree that for all their faults, Omega Xis certainly have their uses.” Laura nodded knowingly, understanding that Heather didn’t include her with the rest of the sorority sisters, despite being their president. “For example, we’ve been gearing up for getting me inducted as an honorary member, a new class of membership for this sorority. And with all the pent-up sexual tension in this house, Laura’s had no trouble finding girls very willing and eager to…shall we say ‘get to know me a little better…’”

Christine smiled as well, also relaxing a little bit. She looked up and around, as if looking through walls and ceiling. “Yeah, I’ve noticed. I told Robyn to pick two girls she fantasized over to invite out with us tonight…just in case things heated up.” The sly smirk on her face indicated that that outcome was without doubt. “So, she’s gathering her second- and third-choices. Her first-choice was otherwise occupied.”

Heather caught Christine’s brief glance in Laura’s direction. Laura blushed, not realizing that Robyn harbored a secret crush on her.

With the tequila loosening her inhibitions, Heather just leaned back and giggled, shoving Laura playfully. Turning her attention back to Christine, Heather stared at the woman for long seconds, her face becoming serious. “I have to admit, you had me worried there for a while, but I think maybe there’s hope for a normal future for us. You’ve come so far so fast. God, Christine, I can’t help but wonder what goes on inside your head. What’s your struggle really like? What thoughts fill your mind, your dreams?”

Christine seemed to seriously consider this for long moments even though Heather’s mind had already moved drunkenly on to something else. She eyed the ice cream for another few long seconds and then sat up straighter, as if she’d had an epiphany.

“Uh, Laura? The ice cream is melting. I think I’ve got a few more minutes before Robyn gathers her friends. Could I join you for a scoop?”

Laura was unsure about leaving Heather alone with Christine, especially in her now diminished capacity…but so far everything seemed to be under control. The tendrils of lust she’d felt earlier apparently had abated, so taking this as an all-clear, Laura nodded and stood. “Sure, I’ll just run upstairs and get you a bowl and spoon. Don’t start without me.”

Heather took no notice of Laura’s departure, instead staring intently at the end of one of her red curls, her eyes struggling to focus, the two large shots of tequila working their magic faster than she’d imagined. Since falling for Gregg, her once-famous ability to hold her liquor had diminished considerably as she’d traded her lust for alcohol for her lust for Gregg. The nightly nightcap had been replaced with the nightly hyper-intensity fuck.

“Heather,” Christine asked seriously. “Were you serious about wishing you could know what goes on in my head? Do you really want to know what I think about every minute of every day?”

Heather nodded drunkenly, still staring at the tip of her hair. “Yep.”

Christine smiled. “It’s too bad I can’t take you as my own. Gregg’s powers still keep me from owning you…not that I would. I mean, you’ve all been so wonderful to me.” Heather looked up from her hair, forcing herself to focus on Christine’s face. The danger laced in Christine’s words worked their way through the alcohol-induced fog to her brain. “But, God…what I could do to that body of yours…I’d make you feel pleasures unimaginable to Gregg. Oh Heather, I’d thrill you in ways that would make you forget all about him…if you’d let me…”

Heather sat up, clearly nervous about the tone this conversation had suddenly taken. “Christine, I think it’s time for you to leave. You’re starting to scare me.”

Christine simply smiled, sitting a little straighter in her chair, her crystal-blue eyes meeting Heather’s luminous green eyes. With a shock of horror, Heather suddenly realized that Christine’s hair was pure blonde without a trace of red and that the green flecks that used to dot the girl’s eyes were gone, leaving behind such an intense blue, that it was almost hypnotic. It was as if Christine’s struggle for self-identity had suddenly come to an end…and heavenly vision that had emerged was horrific in its beauty.

The door to the bedroom suddenly crashed open and to Heather’s stunned horror and surprise, a line of beautiful, naked women marched into the room, eyes staring blankly straight ahead, smiles plastered across their faces. Recognizing a few, Heather immediately knew that they were all Omega Xis. They quickly filled the room, surrounding Heather on all sides, grabbing her gently, but firmly. Without a spoken command, hands from everywhere lifted her from the couch and began removing her clothing.

“Christine! Stop this at once! Let me go!” Heather struggled in vain. In mere moments she was naked and held standing spread eagle, with multiple Omega Xis at each limb holding her firmly in place, their naked bodies pressed against her almost everywhere. Heather tried to keep her fury at peak levels, but it was getting more difficult, especially as multiple hands began caressing her body from all directions.

Pleading to the blonde woman directly across the coffee table who, as yet, hadn’t moved an inch from her position before the stampede, “Christine, please let me go…I don’t want this. You’re not David!”

Fingers from random girls caressed her breasts, gently flicking excited and extended nipples. She felt nibbles and kisses on her neck and soon both earlobes were being licked. Two hands began rubbing her crotch which was quickly becoming wet despite her terror. Multiple hands rubbed her back and thighs, and a moment later, a thin, long finger wormed its way into her ass.

“Ungh!” Heather moaned, quickly losing the fight between terror and pleasure. And as her rational mind quickly began being subsumed by pleasure, another horrific thought occurred to her. Gregg always got splitting headaches when he over-extended the use of his powers. But right now, not only did Christine appear to be in complete control over her own self, she also seemed to be effortlessly controlling upwards of a dozen women.

Christine stood and slowly peeled her sweater over her head, revealing a lacy black bra barely containing her massive breasts. “You see, dear Heather, Gregg’s powers still do in fact protect you from me taking control of your mind. But they don’t protect everyone else…and they don’t protect you from what I can do to your body. I’m willing to bet that in a very short time, I can make you beg to be mine even without needing to take over your mind.”

The fingers playing with Heather’s nipples were replaced by an eager mouth and tongue on each as she continued to be held perfectly immobile. The mouths playing with her earlobes both began licking wetly around and inside her ears. Fingers inserted themselves into her dripping pussy while others tickled her clit and still others probed gently in and out of her anus. If not for all the bodies holding her in place, she surely would have collapsed.

Mustering the last bit of strength she could call on, she pleaded weakly, “P…please…Chr…Christine…ungh…oh…let me…let me go…y-you can’t…”

Christine stepped up on top of the coffee table, kicking the ice cream to the floor. She leaned down and grabbed Heather’s hair, firmly, but gently tilting her head back. “I can. I can Heather…and I will.” She leaned down and locked lips with the writhing red-head, a searing kiss that David could only always dream of. A kiss of such intensity it rivaled Gregg’s for sheer lust. The last of Heather’s reserves broke and moaning in both defeat and pleasure, she eagerly kissed back.

* * *

The limo pulled up to the hotel, but neither of the back seat occupants were in a hurry to exit. The driver, walled off from the passenger compartment by a tinted window, knew enough of his employer’s modus operandi to wait until she gave him some signal that it was time to exit.

Nestled safely in back, Gregg and Rashi were enjoying a long, hard…conversation. It had begun during dinner and it had remained highly intense since the salad was served. To Gregg’s delight, Rashi was as intelligent and cultured as she was sexy. She knew his work intimately and was free with her opinions, offering a viewpoint from within the very cultures Gregg had studied.

Gregg’s own lust was beginning to rise as his lovely seductress tickled his intellect. He didn’t need to use his powers to recognize that this was a woman on a mission. He’d grown enough in his adventures to recognize the signs of a flirtatious woman, even in someone as sophisticated and worldly as Rashi. No doubt this woman had used these very same charms to see things go her way. Unfortunately, Gregg still didn’t know what her exact mission was, but secure in his ability to deal with any problems that may arrise, he was content to wait. And if it meant getting to know Rashi in the most intimate manner, to “pump” her for information, so to speak, then so much the better. It was the thrill of the unknown that made Rashi that much more exciting. Why cheat and get all the answers? It would be like reading the last chapter in a book before introduction.

“Dr. Walters, all this conversation has made my mouth rather dry. Isn’t it time you invited me upstairs to your room for a glass or wine or a cup of coffee?” It was a matter of some consternation for Rashi that despite all her best flirtations, Dr. Walters hadn’t yet gone in for the kill. He was clearly interested, but he seemed to be having too much fun playing her at her own game. But the hour was getting late and there was work to do.

“My dear Rashi, I’ve told you to please call me Gregg,” he smiled. “And I didn’t want to presume. After all, this is technically business, not pleasure.”

Rashi gave Gregg’s thigh a squeeze filled with meaning before she tapped a button on the door. Gregg felt the car shake as the driver exited. “Sometimes business can be pleasurable.”

They exited the vehicle when the door was opened, and with her arm through the crook of his elbow, he escorted her up to his suite. There was a note beside his alarm clock in Brittany’s handwriting reminding him of the 6am wake-up call she’d scheduled. Since it wasn’t there when he left for dinner, Brittany must have returned while he was away. He guessed she was asleep next door in the adjoining room since there was no light coming through the bottom of the door.

Rashi wasted no time and eagerly but sensually wrapped herself around Gregg’s body, pressing her shapely form tight against him. His hands quickly reciprocated, one pulling on her ass, pressing her crotch tight against his, the other filling with one of her breasts through the thin material of her dress.

She moaned in pleasure, the heat of his excitement driving up her libido. As her hips thrust in slow circles against his growing hardness, her fingers ran through his hair. Their tongues met and wrestled wetly. The unfamiliar feel of her body, the exploration of this new frontier truly excited Gregg. Inch by sensual inch, Rashi pushed Gregg backwards until the backs of his legs were pressed against the side of the bed. He was eager to see what she had in store for him, eager to let his powers take a back seat and just be in the moment.

There was a small, but audible click and then a prick at the back of his neck as if he’d been bitten by a mosquito. She pulled free from his grasp, his arms suddenly heavy and his fingers unable to close. “Wha-” he tried to ask, but his mouth ceased to work. He noticed the ring on her right hand was turned around so that the large gem was in her palm. The gem, on a tiny hinge, had been flipped open to reveal an even tinier needle.

With a gentle push, Gregg fell backwards onto the bed, all his muscles numb. In desperation, he tried to thrust forward his consciousness, tried to seize her mind, but pushing his mind forward was like pushing on a wall made of Jell-o.

Rashi watched him for a moment and when she was confident that his muscles no longer worked, she lifted his legs and spun him around so he was lying in the middle of the bed propping his head up on an extra pillow. Sitting beside him, she turned his head so he could see her.

“Don’t worry Dr. Walters. I’ve only given you a powerful paralytic. Its effects will wear off in a few minutes. I know that you can see and hear me, so I want to tell you what is about to happen. If you cooperate, this will only be a mildly uncomfortable situation. First I need to tie you in place. As the paralytic wears off, your muscles will likely spasm and I don’t want you hurting yourself…or me.”

She stood and undid several craftily hidden bows in and around her dress, allowing her to pull free four sturdy-looking strips of cloth but also making her dress unwearable. Carefully folding the remains of her dress into a neat pile, Gregg was given what under other circumstances would have been the truly exciting site of Rashi in high heels, very skimpy panties and a strapless bra. Gregg couldn’t help admire her long, athletic, and lush figure despite being paralyzed and scared out of his mind.

With practiced efficiency, she tied each wrist and ankle to one of the bed’s four posters. Gregg relaxed a little. She’d said the paralytic would wear off in a few minutes. Once that happened and he got control over his muscles again he’d show her just how badly she’d underestimated her opponent. The site of her nearly naked body and the thrill of his pending conquest were causing his pants to begin tenting and raising the libido temperature in the room.

Rashi smiled amusedly as her fingers traced over her belly in a slightly excited manner. “Oh, dear Dr. Walters – it never ceases to amaze me that even when men’s lives are in peril, they can still get excited by the mere site of a beautiful woman.” She bent over his body, cat-like, in order to retrieve her small clutch purse. “I don’t mind showing you my body. And in other circumstances you might have made a promising lover. But, as you said, this is business.”

With that she pulled a tiny vial and a syringe from her purse and proceeded to fill it with what she determined to be a proper dose. The site of the needle caused Gregg’s hard-on to retreat…which also seemed to amuse her. “This is a hallucinogenic. Very powerful stuff. Think of it as a truth serum. With this in your system, you won’t be able to dodge my questions anymore.”

Removing a disposable alcohol wipe from her purse she found a vein in his arm, swabbed it, and deftly injected him with the semi-cloudy liquid. With practiced care, she capped the syringe and put all evidence of what she’d just done back into her purse.

“Let’s just give this a few minutes to work.” Gregg’s thigh suddenly spasmed violently. “Oh, that was quick. See the paralytic is already starting to wear off. It’s probably best that you’re going to La-La-land. I’m told recovering from its effects can be quite painful.”

She idly ran her fingers over his chest, still clad in his light cotton shirt. Sighing dramatically, “Really is a shame. You seem to be a very well-put-together package. If you’d only been truthful with me from the beginning instead of evasive, this really would have been a pleasurable evening. If you tell me the truths I want to hear quickly enough, I may just have my way with you…not that you’ll remember anything when the drug’s effects wear off. And I apologize in advance for the headache you’re going to have tomorrow morning.”

Gregg felt that he could move his head slightly, but with each movement, his vision blurred, like his eyes were trying and failing to keep up. He groaned in frustration, unable to form the choice words he had in mind…and even those were slipping from his grasp.

“I love you American academics. Your desire to share your knowledge – you know, publish or perish – makes you put information out there without truly understanding it. Take for example your recent article about the site you’re trying to save. You published pictures of that tile mosaic from the floor of the temple. A pictogram you claim remains a mystery and yet, you know about the fertility ritual. You claim discrepancies between the understood history of the King and his High Priest, and yet you carefully avoid making certain claims which I suspect you know.

“Let me tell you something that you don’t know. You know the great massacre, wherein the King killed the High Priest and all his rebel followers, the Queen included?” Gregg couldn’t nod, but he knew it all too well. He knew the historical record’s version, and he knew the version as seen through the eyes of the High Priest, the one who originally got the magical powers he’d accidently stumbled upon centuries later. “Well, the King in his rage didn’t manage to kill everybody. Suspecting that his time was at an end, or maybe just genetic insurance, the High Priest had impregnated many of his female followers, sending several of them away in the night in different directions. To the best of my ability to investigate, I believe I am the last living direct descendent of the man history has wrongly branded a traitor. Moreover, there are legends passed from mother to daughter that this man was a living god. I was skeptical of those claims up until the moment you got off that plane. I’m usually a skeptic, but certain facts just fit too well together. The high priest and his stolen harem, the legends of my family, your knowledge of the fertility ritual, your all-female entourage, your ex-student trying to perform the same ritual…Oh, and I know that the three women you brought with you are only the tip of the ice berg. My sources inform me that a certain voluptuous red-head is also in the picture, a certain president of your campus’s elite sorority, and then there’s the matter of those two Mossad agents you pal around with…the ones you know as E’dan and Rivkah, if those are indeed their real names. When we’re done here, I’ll sell their location to the highest bidder…should make for a tidy little bonus for all my troubles.”

If Gregg’s face could express horror, it would have. She was definitely more than she seemed, and clearly great lengths were being taken to learn about his proclivities. More than anything he began to be afraid for those he loved dearly. E’dan and Rivkah, retired from Israel’s Mossad, were living under the false assumption that their pasts were safely hidden away. There was no counting the number of people around the world that would kill them and their unborn son if they knew where they were.

His vision blurring and his thoughts turning to soup, he held onto just one word – a single word he repeated over and over to himself, desperately hoping it would anchor his mind and keep him from revealing the truths she was homing in on.

“H…H…” he tried to form the word, but his mouth and tongue still wouldn’t obey his commands.

Rashi smiled, seeing the panic building inside his eyes. “I’ll give this just a few more minutes to really take effect.” She sat there, a wicked gleam in her eye, waiting patiently for the drugs to take effect.

Gregg couldn’t bear to look at her and tore his eyes away and focused instead on the adjoining door. It took long seconds for his eyes to regain their focus after the rapid movement and what he saw was the last thing he wanted to see at this moment as his ability to comprehend the full impact of what he saw was sluggishly slow. It was like fate mocking him and intentionally throwing those around him into ever more perilous danger as he grew more and more helpless by the second. He held his gaze steady, forcing them to focus as the drug-cloud warped more and more of his ability to think and to reason, making sure he was seeing what he thought he was seeing. There, beneath the door adjoining his room to Brittany’s, was light. And more importantly, the light coming from beneath the door was broken, as if someone was standing on the other side. With a soft click, he heard the handle begin to turn.

He wanted to shout out a warning but his tongue didn’t work. He wanted to scream in rage but he couldn’t remember exactly what he was enraged about. He only held onto the feeling of helplessness and that he needed the one thing in this world that would make everything alright.

“H…H…He…”

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