Killing Me SoftlybyJukeboxEMCSA©
"I think my husband is trying to kill me."
Patricia Mulholland looked up from her desk at the very pretty young woman standing in her doorway. She was petite, a definite contrast to Pat's own Amazonian frame, with soft brown hair that flowed over her shoulders and brown eyes magnified by wire-frame glasses. Pat could see the drawn, haggard look in them, a look that had almost gone past terror into a dull fatalism. Almost, but not quite. Pat immediately believed that the woman believed what she was saying; however, as a Homicide detective, Pat was more than familiar with people who saw murder around every corner. "I see," she said, setting down her pen and sliding aside her paperwork. "And what makes you think that?"
"Because..." the woman seemed to be trying to frame a difficult concept into words. "Because I don't like cherries anymore."
Pat let her smile become fixed, plastic. No point in antagonizing the crazy. This lady might only weigh 100 pounds soaking wet, but sometimes persecution complexes gave people unnatural strength. She'd just let her run her string, and find a good excuse to get her into a padded room before anything bad happened. "Of course," Pat said. "Just sit down, and tell me all about it, Mrs..."
The woman sank into the chair opposite Pat's. "Braun. Cynthia Braun, Detective..." She looked down at the nameplate on the desk. "Detective Mulholland. And I can tell you don't believe me. I don't know if I can make you believe me. But I just...this is my last chance, I think. To tell anyone. And if you can't help me, nobody can."
Pat nodded soothingly. "Just go ahead and tell me all about it." She felt the weight of her gun against her side, and privately thanked her habit of wearing it even in the office.
"My husband, Tim and I...we married young. Just out of high school. I thought it was going to be a perfect marriage, and for a while, it was..." Her eyes went out of focus slightly, as though she was trying to recall something stubbornly elusive. "At least, I think it was. We went through college together, he majored in communications, I majored in, um..." Cynthia stumbled for a moment. "Journalism! It was journalism. Tim, he got a really good job in advertising, and...that was three years ago, I think. We'd both been working, even though a woman's place is in the home..." She clenched her teeth together. "Sorry. I know I'm not making much sense."
Pat held up a placating hand. "That's quite alright," she said. "You don't need to worry about anything. I'm on your side in all this, and I want to help you." Was she laying it on too thick?
"Cynthia rubbed her forehead. "Don't patronize me," she gritted out. "Tim, he does that, he...I liked my job, but when he got his new position, he started saying how now we could have kids, and I could quit my job, but I...I liked my job." She looked pleadingly at Pat. "Please don't tell my husband that, but I did. I wanted to keep working. I didn't want..." she shuddered, as if confessing a dreadful secret. "I didn't want to have kids yet."
Pat almost rolled her eyes. What was she, a fucking marriage counselor? But she reminded herself of the 'crazy' part, and kept her expression carefully neutral.
"Tim got angry. Not, I mean, he didn't hit me. He's not a big man. But he wasn't happy. He thought that I was going to settle down someday, be a good wife and mother, and when I told him that wasn't what I wanted...he withdrew. He became distant, spent more time away from the home, and when he was home, he was on the computer. He started talking to other men, men who felt the same way he did. They made him even worse, I think. Reinforced his beliefs, got him involved in some 'men's rights' groups...before I knew it, we were fighting all the time. It wasn't just the job anymore. He felt like I was disagreeing with him too much. Not being a good wife. I don't--" She choked off a sob. "I don't remember our wedding vows word for word, Detective. I don't know whether I actually said 'love, honor and obey'. He says I did, though. And I..."
She shook her head a little. Pat started to wonder if maybe there wasn't something to this story. Not necessarily what Cynthia was saying, not a threat to murder her, but some sort of mental abuse? The woman seemed terrified, confused, practically disoriented. "He started talking about making me into a good wife. Went back to his communications studies, wouldn't tell me what he was doing, or why. And then about six months ago..."
She sighed. "I was eating cherries. I used to love cherries, but he always hated the smell of cherries, and I tried not to eat them, but when we were fighting, I indulged myself a little more. It was petty, but I did it. And one day I was eating cherries, and he came out of the little sound lab he had in the basement, and he saw me eating them, and he just walked over to me, and he said, in this soft, firm, tone, 'Stop that. You don't like cherries anymore.'"
Cynthia reached across the desk and grabbed Pat's hand before she could stop her. "And I didn't. Do you understand? It was something about his tone, or the volume, or something. Something in his voice. It made me stop liking cherries. I'd loved cherries all my life, ever since I was three, and I just stopped, right there. I haven't touched one since."
Pat gently extricated her hand. This didn't feel like a normal crazy woman. It didn't feel like anything Pat had ever experienced before. She wanted to get this woman the hell out of her office.
"He said some other things to me that day, but they didn't work. He'd figured out how to do...the thing with his voice...but he wasn't good at it yet. He couldn't always get the voice right. But he's been getting better. I quit my job last month. I didn't want to, I was up for a promotion, but he told me to in that soft voice, and I did.
"And he's still getting better at it. He's telling me things, and...and he's changing me. He's changing my mind. And I'm starting to forget the person I used to be. I'm turning into the woman Tim wants me to be, and the old Cynthia's fading away, like I'm dying and being replaced by this other woman...it was so hard to leave the house today, so hard to come out here, but he's away on business, and I managed to come see you, but I...I..." Her expression changed, so quickly it barely registered. A dreamy, slightly worried smile spread across her face. "I should go. I don't want Tim to get into any trouble over me."
Pat stood up. "It's OK," she said. "I believe you."
Cynthia's expression changed back to one of fear and desperation. But now it mingled with hope. "You do? You'll help me?"
"Of course." Pat took her arm gently and guided her out of the office. "But we'll need to do a formal psychiatric evaluation, if we're going to help fix what your husband's done to you." She led Cynthia into an open area, silently signaling another officer with her free hand. "It might take a few days, but don't worry, we'll keep you away from your husband until your head has cleared up." Another officer approached her, and she said, "Let's get this young lady down to Bellevue." The officer nodded, and took Cynthia's other arm as Pat let go.
"Oh, thank goodness," Cynthia said. "I've been so scared, I didn't know what to do." She gave Pat one last look as the officer led her away. "You...do believe me, don't you?" she said, just before vanishing around a corner.
"Of course I do," Pat called out.
Of course I don't.
Paperwork followed the visit, then red tape followed the paperwork, then more paperwork followed the red tape, then Pat got snowed under with other cases, and it was almost a week before she found out what happened to Cynthia Braun. But when she did, she wished she hadn't.
"You checked her out?" she said into the phone, incredulously.
"Nah," the orderly said on the other end of the line. "Her husband came along and checked her out."
Pat took a deep breath. "Her husband. The one she thinks is trying to kill him. And she went with him."
"Yeah. He said it was nothing, just a little hysteria. I mean, you know women, right?"
Pat reflected on how lucky it was that the orderly wasn't there. She didn't need a lawsuit, and he didn't need to have all his teeth knocked down his throat. "Yes, I know women quite well. I happen to be one of them. And you'd be surprised how few of us suffer from the belief that someone's trying to erase our personality using brainwashing voices. Listen, I talked to Cynthia Braun. She was not 'a little hysterical', she was crazy. Or whatever you shrinks call it now. She thought her husband was erasing her brain, she wasn't just going to 'get over it.'"
"She did, though." The orderly sounded bored. "We let him in to see her, and after a few minutes, she was all smiles. Apologizing to everyone."
"Wait, you let him in to see her? Alone? Is that normal procedure?"
"Well, no, but..." The orderly's voice trailed off. "He said it'd be a good idea, that he could get this straightened up. Doctor Fisher wasn't sure at first, but Mister Braun, he, um..." The orderly's voice sounded vague and confused now. "He explained everything. It was just a little hysteria, like I said. Yeah." The voice on the other end of the line sounded firm now, like he was back on familiar ground. "Just a little hysteria. You know women." Something about the way he said those last words gave Pat a little chill. Like he was reading from a script.
"I see. Well, sounds like everything's wrapped up, then." She hung up without waiting for him to say good-bye. She was already looking through the stacks of paperwork for the Braun family's address.
An hour later, she was out in Queens, parking outside of a nice apartment building. She rang the buzzer, and a woman's voice answered. "Hi," she said, "Cyndi here!"
Pat said, "Hi, um...Cyndi. This is Pat, the police officer from a few days ago. Do you...remember me?"
There was a long pause. "Sure!" Cyndi said at last. "Gosh, ma'am, I'm sorry to have put you to all that trouble. I was just being a little silly, was all. I'm feeling much better now."
Pat said, "Can you let me up to see you for a minute?" She put a little extra syrup in her voice. "I just have to do that, for the paperwork, and then everything will be off the books and Tim will be cleared of any nasty suspicions." She felt kind of bad about lying to Cynthia...er, Cyndi...but if her suspicions were correct, then Cyndi would do anything to make Tim's life easier, including letting an armed cop into their apartment. And if her crazier suspicions were correct, Cyndi wouldn't be bright enough to realize Pat was lying to her.
Sure enough, the door unlocked, and Pat went up to the Braun apartment. Cyndi let her in. "Hi!" she said. "It's nice to see you again, ma'am. It really is!"
Pat wished she could say the same. Cyndi was dressed in a halter-top and tight cut-off shorts, and she held a feather duster in one hand. "Just keeping up on the chores," Cyndi said in response to the unasked question. "I better do it now, because pretty soon, I'll have a hard time getting around." She leaned in, and whispered excitedly in Pat's ear, "I just found out last night...I'm pregnant!"
Pat recoiled, saw the look of glee on Cyndi's face, and almost recoiled further. The desperation, the fear that Pat had seen just a week ago was totally gone now, replaced by a sort of vacant tranquility. "Cyndi....when you saw me last week, do you remember what you came into the station to see me about?"
Cyndi furrowed her brow. "Something about...it was something about Tim, and he was...I was upset with him. I think. Something silly, and I was being even sillier by bothering you with it. But you know how us women are, right?" She elbowed Pat in the ribs and giggled.
"Yes," Pat said. "I know how us women are." She took Cyndi's hand. "I need you to come with me for a minute, dear. I, um...I'm going to help you find a good doctor. For the baby. I can help you find one, that's what police are for." And this time, I'm going to make sure your husband doesn't know what doctor you're seeing, at least not until he figures out what the hell your husband did to your brain and how to fix it. Goddamn son of a bitch turned her into--
She turned. Tim was standing in the doorway. He was a small man, perhaps only thirty pounds heavier than his wife, with thinning red hair and glasses of his own. Pat was amazed at how quickly she managed to get her gun out.
"You don't need to be afraid of me, Officer," he said softly. Damn straight I don't, she thought fiercely, I've got the gun trained on you. "You don't need to worry about me doing anything to you." She kept him squarely in his sights. She wasn't worried about him doing anything to her, but she felt a lot safer with the gun out all the same. "We're just having a quiet little chat," he said, still in that same quiet, calm tone, "and you don't need to go anywhere until we're done talking."
Pat nodded. "Yeah, alright, let's talk. Let's talk about 'Cyndi'."
"Cyndi's my wife," Tim said softly. "She's behaving like a good wife should. Like a good woman should. She's happy, and she's making me happy. That's not really any business for the police, is it?"
Pat opened her mouth, but she couldn't seem to find any words to fill it with. She had to admit, there really wasn't any legal precedent for Tim's behavior. She'd look foolish trying to bring a case to a District Attorney. It was probably a good thing Tim had mentioned that to her, before she went ahead and did something that would get her in trouble.
"In fact, you're already regretting pulling that gun out, aren't you?" Pat nodded. Visions of an accidental shot killing Tim, getting her put on administrative leave, even getting her fired, all flashed through her head. She was lucky nobody had been hurt by her behavior. "It's just lucky that you don't know how to fire that gun."
Didn't know how to fire a gun? That was silly, she had hours and hours of firearm training. And it was so simple to do, you just cocked the handle, and then pulled the barrel...no, that wasn't right. You cocked the barrel, and...you...she looked down at the piece of metal in her hand, no longer entirely sure how to make it do anything.
"Why don't you put it away now?" Tim said in soft, reasonable tones. Pat nodded, sliding it back into the holster. "That's better. It's probably safer if you just forgot you had that gun, now. You don't need it, after all. You're perfectly happy to just sit down and let me explain things to you."
Pat sat down on the couch, feeling a warm, pleasant relaxation seep into her body. She felt a slow, dreamy smile spread across her face. She just felt...happy. Yes, happy. Happy to sit here, happy to listen to Tim, because they were having a quiet little chat, and she didn't need to go anywhere until it was over. "You're brainwashing me," she said quietly, but she couldn't muster up any real anger at the thought anymore. She was surprised at the faint, almost plaintive tone of her own voice. It was the only resistance she had left now. She couldn't fight it, she couldn't even stand up.
"Don't be silly," he said, still using that quiet, firm voice that seemed to brook no disagreement. "I'm just explaining things to you. If I was brainwashing you, you'd notice your mind changing, but when I explain things to you, you understand that they're true and they've always been true. Everything I tell you is true and has always been true. You don't even notice any changes, do you?"
"No," Pat said. A wave of relief passed through her body. She was so grateful to find out that Tim wasn't going to brainwash her that she almost missed his question.
"What's your name?" Tim asked softly.
"Pat," she said. "Pat Mulholland."
"Patti's prettier, dear," he said. Patti nodded. "I have to say, Patti, it seems like you're not thinking through your actions very clearly. You came here when it wasn't your business to come here, you pulled the gun on me," Patti breathed a mental sigh of relief that she didn't have the gun anymore, given her recklessness with it earlier, "and it seems to me that the reason for this might be that you're trying to get yourself fired." Patti hadn't thought of it that way before, but it did make sense. But why would she be trying to get fired? She loved being a cop. "Because deep down, you want to stop being a policewoman, but you couldn't admit it to yourself before now." Patti thought the idea over for a moment. It was surprising, but she had to admit, once it was out in the open like that, she couldn't deny the truth of the notion. "Because women aren't really cut out for positions of authority. They need to be subservient to men. You didn't have a man to be subservient to, so you thought you could fill that void with police work, but deep down, you know it was wrong for you. You've always hated being a policewoman, but you never had a man before now."
Patti's eyes were wide now, and some tiny part of her whispered that Tim had gotten even better at it now than he had with Cyndi, but she couldn't remember what 'it' was, and so she just kept listening to Tim's soft, firm tones as he explained things to her.
"But now you have a man. You've got me, Patti, to take care of you, and so you can just take off that policewoman's outfit, and go ahead and feel how good it feels to be subservient to me. Cyndi, you understand that I'm taking a second wife, and that's just fine with you, because Patti can help you out with all your wifely duties, including pleasuring me." Patti saw Cyndi nodding for a moment, but it was just out of the corner of her eye as she pulled her clothes off. The weird harness on her shoulder gave her trouble for a moment, but she managed to shuck it off and slide it out of sight, out of mind.
"That's very good, Patti. You're not wearing that policewoman's outfit anymore, because it's silly to think of you as a policewoman, isn't it?" Patti nodded, giggling. "You were never a policewoman. You were always my wife, and always happy, just like Cyndi, right?" Patti nodded happily, so glad to understand how good submission to her husband felt. He was taking off his pants now, and Patti was so happy to see her husband's cock. It meant that she had a chance to pleasure him, like a wife should. "Spread your legs, Patti. I'm going to knock you up. You want to have a baby for me, don't you?" Patti nodded eagerly.
Tim stood up. "Tomorrow, you're going to dress up like a policewoman, and you're going to go down to the police station. Some people there will think you're a policewoman, and you're going to humor them, even though you know how silly that is. You're going to tell them you've decided to stop being a policewoman now, and you'll sign some papers to make sure they understand, and then you'll come back here. Doesn't that sound nice?" Patti just sighed happily, so glad Tim was explaining everything to her. She felt his cock slide into her warm pussy, and it felt just heavenly.
"That's very good, Patti. It feels so good to be naked, to be sexy for your husband, to just do what I say and let me fuck you, doesn't it?" He was pumping his cock in and out of her, and it felt so good that she really couldn't even talk, just moan, but she could tell that he knew. "Good girl, Patti," he said, "it's always so good to obey me, so..."
He was pumping faster now, his voice losing its calm, controlled tone. "That's good, Patti, and...ohh...I'll teach you more later, there's so much for you to learn..." His voice didn't seem to be as important now, Patti thought, he was having trouble keeping to those soft, even tones, but that was alright, she understood now that everything he said was very important, and she just let his dick slide in and out, in and out, clenching her pussy around him, trying to make him squirt into her, trying to make her wonderful husband come inside her, trying to get knocked up like Cyndi was, like a good wife should be, because she wanted to be a good wife now...