tagMind ControlNo More Words

No More Words


"Take off your clothes."

I'm watching her eyes as I give the command. They're filled with confusion, like she knows that there might be a good reason not to take off her clothes, might even be a reason why she doesn't have to. But it's fighting with a strong instinct, an instinct to do whatever she's told. She might fight it, but she wants to be a good girl now, and she knows that good girls obey.

I remember the strong-willed woman that she once was. There was a time when she never would have given in. That time's gone now. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

It's taken me months of work to get to this point. She's resisted this a lot more than I thought she would. But I think all my work is finally bearing fruit. I try to control my excitement as her fingers twitch towards the buttons of her blouse, then go still. I don't want to push too hard now, not when I've come so far. It might take months more to finish the job. But I've got time.


Candace Hildegard looked incredulously at her old boss. "What the fuck do you mean, 'She quit'?" she asked. Well, more 'exclaimed' than 'asked'. She could tell by the stares she got from people around her that she'd probably asked the question a lot louder than she intended to. But she didn't care. Most of the people in the station, she still knew from her time on the force or her visits to Pat's office. The few that she didn't know, she also didn't care about pissing off.

"I mean she quit. Came in about three days ago, handed in her badge, told us that she had urgent personal business and wouldn't be able to work anymore." Jake shrugged. "I'm surprised you didn't know already."

Candace shook her head. "I haven't seen Pat in about five days. I thought maybe she was on a case, didn't have time to check in, but she...she cleaned out the joint account." Jake looked a little surprised to hear the hitch in her voice. Candace knew why. She'd gotten a rep during her time on the force, around the same time she'd picked up her nickname. 'Triple M'. Stood for 'More Macho than Macho.' Some women would have been insulted, but Candace knew that coming from the men on the SWAT team, it was the highest of compliments. They knew nothing would break her. She could stand with the best of them. Jake probably never imagined that anything could get under her skin.

"Sorry," he said. He had a sympathetic expression on his face. "I wish I knew what to tell you. But it happens sometimes."

"Bullshit," Candace said fiercely. "It doesn't happen to Patricia Mulholland, and we both know it. That woman eats, sleeps, and breathes police work. You ever hear her talk about her family? There's been a Mulholland on the force since 1822. She's been waiting to get onto the force since she was a fetus, Jake. A woman like that does not just walk in one day and turn in her badge."

Jake went to pat her on the shoulder, saw the expression on her face, and thought better of it. "People change, Candace," he said. "She got a boyfriend, and her priorities changed with it. There's nothing unusual about that."

Candace was so surprised that she almost forgot to be angry. "Nothing unusual? Nothing unusual?" She was getting more stares now. She was probably shouting pretty loud, then. Fuck it. "Jesus, Jake, Pat's as gay as Easter Sunday! She and I have been an item since I was still on the force. Hell, everyone used to give us shit about it."

Candace's mind briefly flashed back to what seemed like a lifetime ago, when catcalls and cracks about 'the Dyke Squad' slowly turned from cruel and homophobic assaults to inside jokes among friends who would (and had) taken bullets for each other. "Remember the whole 'mandatory sensitivity training' BS we had to go through when the Chief found out about it?" It really did feel like a lifetime ago now. That had been the Candace Hildegard who was still a policewoman. Now she was the Candace Hildegard who went to the cops because her girlfriend had gone missing. Five seconds and a hundred feet, but they made a hell of a difference.

Jake looked confused. "Well, yeah, I mean...I remember, but...she had her boyfriend with her when she quit. I...boy...boy...boyfriend..." The distant expression on his face told Candace he probably hadn't said that last bit out loud.

"So wait. She comes in with her boyfriend, says, 'I'm done,' and that's it? You don't question her at all, ask her why she's doing this, talk to her about her pension, ask where she wants her last paycheck sent, any of that?"

Jake blinked a few times. "Her boyfriend...he explained it all. Pat's fine. We don't need to worry about her." He turned back towards his desk, and Candace missed what he said next.

Furious, she spun his chair back around to face her. "Hey!" she snapped. "Look at me when you're talking to me!"

Jake's face became a picture of contrition. "Sorry," he said, looking natural again for the first time in the last few minutes. He knew how much she hated to even have to ask that. "But there's really nothing more to say. Pat's fine, we don't need to worry about her. I'm sorry it didn't work out between you two, but she's happy, right? That's what's important."

Candace slammed her fist down on the desk in frustration. "Goddamnit, Jake, you're a motherfucking detective! You know something's not right here, why the hell aren't you doing something about it?"

"Because..." Jake's face took on that confused, slightly distant look again. "Because we don't need to worry about it. Pat's fine."

"Stop fucking saying that!" Candace shouted. She knew she'd shouted that one. She'd meant to. "Did Pat tell you where she wanted her last paycheck sent to?" she asked, a bit more calmly.

"Yes, I have the address right here." Jake had started to turn towards his desk again while saying that, but he'd stopped and made sure to finish his sentence before rummaging around through his papers. He finally found one, then turned back to her. "I really shouldn't be giving it to you, though. Confidentiality, and all."

Candace put her hand on his shoulder in a gesture of friendly conviviality. "Jake, we've been friends for years. We're used to doing favors for each other. Consider this one more exchange of favors, just part of the currency of friendship. You give me that address, and I'll forget that I expected you to be taking care of Pat and you just let her walk out of here." Her smile hardened into a snarl. "Deal?"

Jake had a worried expression on his face. Not because he was frightened of her, of course; Jake Cabbot heard worse threats than that every day on the job, from people far more likely to try to cut his balls off and send them to him by parcel post. No, Candace could tell he was worried for her. "Look," he said, "if I give you this paper, you're not going to fly off the handle, are you? Because you're not on the force anymore. I don't want to give you this and find out you've gone and beat the shit out of Pat's new boyfriend."

Candace raised her right hand. "Scout's honor, Jake. I just want to find out what's going on with Pat, why she broke up with me, why she didn't stop by to pick up her stuff, why she's straight all of a sudden. I have no intention of doing anything violent." Which wasn't strictly true, but then again, she'd never been a Girl Scout. Although when she was a teenager, she'd done a few things with some Girl Scouts that she knew they never gave out merit badges for.

Jake seemed to be fighting some internal impulse. "I'm telling you, you don't need to worry," he said. "Pat's fine." That was the fourth time he'd said that. It was starting to worry her. "All right," he said at last. "Here you go." He handed her the sheet of paper.

"Thanks, Jake. I owe ya." She started to turn to leave, then turned back. A thought had struck her. "You reassigned Pat's cases, right?"

"Well, sure," Jake said. "I had to."

"Who'd know what she was working on right before she quit?"


"Take off your clothes," I say again, my tone soft but firm.

I don't let my face betray any emotion. I know she wants to please me. I don't want to add any additional stimuli to her internal struggles. I don't want her thinking too hard about what I want her to do. I want to let her come to this understanding on her own. I probably shouldn't even have repeated the command, but I'm impatient. I've worked so long on her mind, now. I'm finally starting to see results. It's thrilling.

It really is thrilling, to see the dawning awareness on her face. She's really thinking about the command, trying to process it through a mind that was once razor-sharp and is now sluggish, obedient, docile. Some part of her just wants to do what she's told. Some part of her just wants to please me. Her hands twitch again, her mouth hangs open in confusion.

I try to hide the anticipation, the excitement that runs through me as her mouth starts to move.


Candace hated dealing with apartment buildings. Even with people she knew, it was a humiliating ordeal to walk up to the little speaker grille, hold down the button and ask to be let in, trying to guess whether or not they'd actually pushed the little button or whether they were going to be pricks about it. None of her friends had ever decided to be pricks about it, but the worry lingered in the back of her mind.

That was why she'd gotten good at jimmying door locks. She popped open the security door and headed up to the Braun family apartment. Tim Braun, Cyndi Braun, and Patti Mulholland, that's what it said on the register. 'Patti'. Just seeing that made hot, red anger flash behind Candace's eyes. Pat hated women who put an 'i' at the end of their name. Said it was an affront to their basic dignity. It was all Candace needed to see to know that all her suspicions were true.

She'd read the Braun file, the file that Frank Westbrook had stamped 'CLOSED' without a second thought. And why wouldn't he? Sounded like the sort of thing that a Homicide detective didn't have the time or resources to investigate. A crazy woman walked into Pat Mulholland's office, complaining that her husband was trying to kill her by brainwashing her. Bellevue examined her, wrote the whole thing off as 'hysteria', and released her back into the custody of her husband. Said crazy woman recanted her statement and apologized. Frank probably just read the report and had a good laugh.

But Pat must have seen the woman. She must have looked into her eyes when Cynthia Braun talked about her husband brainwashing her. She must have wondered about what was going on, just a little. Candace didn't know what had happened next. But a few days later, Detective Patricia Mulholland had quit the force, moved in with Timothy Braun and his wife, and started calling herself 'Patti'. Candace had some ideas. She didn't like them. So she was going to go have a quiet chat with 'Patti'. And 'Cyndi'. And possibly with Tim.

She knocked on the door to the apartment. It didn't take long before Pat answered. But she didn't look like Pat, not anymore. She'd gotten a perm, turned her look from the straight dark hair that she wore back in a bun or a ponytail into a soft mass of fluffy curls. She was wearing a halter-top and a skirt; Candace had never seen Pat in a skirt, not in the entire six years they'd been a couple. She'd gone to the Policeman's Ball in jeans. She was wearing make-up.

But none of that was why she didn't look like Pat anymore. She didn't look like Pat anymore because her eyes were different. She didn't have that sharp, cynical, wary look in her eyes, that look that never quite melted even when she was getting finger-fucked by her girlfriend. She didn't have 'cop eyes' anymore. She looked like she'd believe anything you told her. She looked...fuck it. Call it what it was. She looked brainwashed. The second Candace looked at her, she believed everything.

"Candace!" she said excitedly. "Oh, gosh, it's so good to see you! Oh, I have got to tell Tim about this! He'll be so glad to meet you!"

It took everything Candace had not to just grab Pat's arm and drag her out of the apartment. But she needed to find out if she could get 'her' Pat back. That meant a little risk. "You told Tim about me? About us?"

"Well, no," Pat said, a little sheepishly. "I didn't want Tim to know I was, well...you know." She leaned in a little closer. "Lesbian," she said at last. Candace figured she was trying to keep her voice down. "He's got views about gay people."

And now you do too, Candace thought. Fucking hell, Pat Mulholland marched in Gay Pride parades, now she has to whisper to use the word 'lesbian'? "Pat..." she said, almost not sure what to say.

"Patti," she corrected.

"Pat," Candace said, more firmly. "I want you to think very hard about this. You can remember being a lesbian, right?"

Pat nodded.

"And now you're sleeping with Tim Braun, right?"

"Yes," Pat said, her face relaxing into a dreamy smile. Candace wanted to be sick.

"Don't you think anything is...odd about that? Don't you wonder why you changed so suddenly?"

"No," Pat said, her eyes filled with a mindless certainty. "Tim explained it all to me. It makes perfect sense." She paused for a moment, turning her head slightly. "Oh, Tim!" she said. She stepped aside, and Candace saw Timothy Braun for the first time. "I'd like you to meet Candace!"

"Hello, Candace," Timothy said. "I'm sure you won't mind if I call you Candi." He was very wrong about that, but something about the way he was looking straight at her seemed menacing, despite his slight build, glasses, and thinning red hair.

It was almost as though the very un-menacing nature of Tim was what made him so unnerving to Candace; he was this tiny little guy, but he didn't seem afraid of her at all. She had probably thirty pounds of solid muscle on him, six inches of height, but he just stared at her like she was...like she was prey. Candace was reminded of the time her dog had gone after a bear, out on a camping trip when they were kids. The bear was huge, the dog was just this little terrier, but the bear had run like fuck. Because the dog wasn't afraid of him. The bear had figured it knew something he didn't.

Candace felt like running now, deep in her hindbrain where the adrenaline came from. But she was Triple M. She didn't back down from King Fuck of Shit Mountain, she sure as hell wasn't going to back down from this runt. "Hi," she said, putting some steel into her voice. "I'm an old friend of Pat's. From the force."

"I'm sure you're mistaken," Tim said. "Patti was never on the police force. You don't know her at all. You're thinking of a different woman."

"No, I'm definitely thinking of Pat." Candace could tell by the look on his face that something had changed, just by her saying that. Suddenly, Tim didn't look so predatory. He looked a little worried.

"You..." He paused. "You should come in and sit down," he said at last. "We need to talk."

"You're right about that," Candace said, walking into the apartment and over to the couch. He seemed to relax a little when she sat down, for some reason. Maybe he got nervous around women taller than he was. "See, I've been doing a little light reading. About you, and Pat, and your wife...where is she, by the way?" She kept a close eye on Tim, waiting for his response.

"She's in the bedroom," he said. "She's not important. What is important is that you need to sit there and listen to me carefully. I'm going to explain some things to you."

Candace fixed him with her best 'cop eyes'. She'd been off the force a while, but she still knew how to give the look when she needed to. Some things you never forgot. "You've been doing a lot of explaining lately, haven't you, Tim?" she said. "You've been explaining things to your wife, to Pat, to some of the guys at the station...and now you want to explain things to me. Seems like there's a lot that needs explaining. A lot of mysteries." She smiled, but it didn't touch her eyes. "Cops don't like mysteries, Tim." She'd already decided not to tell him she'd been pensioned out. It gave her an advantage.

"There's nothing unusual about any of this," he said. "Patti's living here with me. That's perfectly normal to you. You don't find anything strange about that."

"Except for the fact that a week ago, she was a dyke? Or that she was on the police force? Or that she was living with me? Yeah, nothing strange at all." Once again, Candace saw that same strange look on his face. He seemed worried, in a way that was totally out of proportion to her sarcasm. He looked like an actor who was suddenly dealing with someone who didn't know their lines. He looked guilty and scared and angry, all at once.

"You need to listen to me," he said. "You need to listen to me very carefully, to relax and stop trying to think so hard about what I'm saying. I know you like Patti a lot. I'll make sure that the two of you can be together, if you just keep listening to my voice."

Fucker. He didn't know, but that just made it worse. The fucker was sitting there, after turning her girlfriend into some brain-dead breeder bimbo, trying to pretend it was all right, and then the fucker had the nerve to tell her to fucking 'listen to his voice'? Candace pulled out her gun. "I got a better way to make sure that Patti and I can be together," she snarled. "You're going to undo whatever the fuck you did to her fucking head, and you're going to do it right fucking now."

Tim fixed her with a calm gaze, but she could see the beads of sweat on his forehead. He'd lost control of the situation, and he didn't know why. But Candace did. She figured it all out right there, exactly what was going on, exactly what he must have done to Pat. Poor bastard never had a chance. "You...you don't know how to use that gun," he said.

She shot him in the kneecap. He screamed and clutched at his leg. "Wanna fucking bet?" she said, standing up. "Now, I am officially done fucking around here, Tim." She stomped over to him, grabbed his thinning hair and pulled his head up to face hers. "The thing you do with your voice. You're going to do it to Pat. Right fucking now. You're going to fix her. Then you're going to go into the bedroom, and you're going to fix your wife."

"Then what?" Tim gasped through the pain. He had more stones than she gave him credit for. "You're going to fucking kill me? Fuck...fuck that," he said through his tears.

Candace pulled back on his hair a little more. "That depends on you, Tim. I'm not gonna lie to you, you are not coming out of this the same way you came in." She holstered her gun, and pulled out a hunting knife from her coat. "You're going to lose your larynx. And yeah, I'm not a doctor, so it's probably gonna be messy. But you know what? Take it from me, because I know. You can learn to live with a disability. You can't learn to live with dead."

His eyes got all shifty for a moment. "Kill me and your girlfriend's never getting fixed."

"Oh, Tim," Candace said sympathetically. She let go of his hair, patted him on the shoulder. Then she brought her foot up and stomped on his wounded knee, hard. "You do not have the fucking balls to play that game with me, and in a few minutes, I'm going to mean that literally. You understand, Tim? You seem like the kind of guy who likes to use the phrase 'ball-busting bitch' to describe a woman like me, and I gotta tell you, that's a turn of phrase I'm about to make very, very real to you." She grabbed his hair again, pulled his head up to look at her again. He was crying. She was pretty sure he was screaming, too. "This is not a situation where you negotiate, Tim. You do what I say, and you'll live. You don't, and I will kill you slowly and painfully. Are we clear?"

Tim took a deep breath. She could see him try to calm himself down. "Stop...hurting me," he said at last.

"Only if you fix my girl, Tim."

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