Emma Henderson woke up long before dawn. She’d had a troubled dream. She lay in bed and looked around at the room. It was sparsely furnished, containing no more than the bed she lay in. But at least it was reasonably warm and she had been allowed to take a blanket out of the store two days ago. A week had passed since her last really Bad Thought and life was becoming tolerable - almost - now that she was starting her third month of The Experiment.
And then her mind went back to her childhood home, to the pink wallpaper, the fluffy teddy bear by her side, the pretty curtains and the lovely view over the gardens, so colourful with all the spring flowers.
That was a mistake on Emma‘s part. Dissatisfaction equals a Bad Thought! And Bad Thoughts are always punished. Retribution is instant where Bad Thoughts are concerned, as Emma had been reminded of late, very painfully and very often.
She suppressed the obscenity that had been on her lips. But she had thought it, and that would do her no good!
The nails started to press into her bare skin. As a child Emma had read of Indian mystics who could sleep in comfort on beds of nails but had never anticipated that she might one day have a chance to try it herself. Usually the nails were flush with the bed’s metal surface. But a Bad Thought would cause them to rise, gradually piercing her skin, so that she had no choice but to get up and stand on the metal floor. And she knew her troubles weren’t over yet.
How long would it be before she could go back to bed? It was still dark. She was tired after a long and arduous day. Was it worth it? All this discomfort - pain, even?
Another Bad Thought! Silly girl! A surge of current made her jump. Her long golden hair almost stood on end, although she should be used to this by now! Poor Emma had lost track of the voltage her body had been slammed with these last weeks! It felt like enough to light up a small city! She screamed with the pain and shock. The current continued and she jumped up and down in a vain endeavour to obtain at least a split seconds relief.
Just as the twitching, jerking Emma was about to pass out, the sliding door opened. She was being instructed to go out into the night and the cold! As if to emphasize her expulsion from the room, the current surged again, flooding her with fresh pain. Desperate to get away from the voltage coursing through her, she ran to the doorway, each footstep giving her a fresh shock until she was outside. She danced in agony for minutes after getting out of that electrified room, even though the power had been switched off the second she stepped out into the night.
The door closed smoothly behind her, clicking shut with implacable finality. She would be out here for at least six hours. Emma nursed her soles tenderly but tried to feel resigned and philosophical as she rubbed them. Being resigned and philosophical was the most she could manage by way of a Good Thought in her present distressed state, with the pain gradually ebbing away. It was the only way to avoid more torment.
“Think Good Thoughts,” she told herself. “Only Good Thoughts will please.”
Thank goodness it was summer - just about! The nights were still warm enough for her to shiver no more than slightly, although this wouldn’t last long and she was in for a hard time if she couldn’t control her nocturnal Bad Thoughts.
In a few hours the sun would be up to warm her. She was tanned these days - richly bronzed all over and if she only had a mirror, the sight would certainly have pleased her, although being gratified at her appearance was Vanity. And Vanity equalled a Bad Thought, so it was good that this temptation had been removed.
Emma felt the gooseflesh form as her body reacted to the night chill. She had worn no clothes since being ordered to forfeit them three weeks into her time here.
Laboratory! That really was a joke! If it was a lab, then she was the lab rat!
Bad Thought, Emma!
Another seismic jolt of volts! The whole of this establishment was metal floored inside and out. Metal was everywhere and always ready to shock a disobedient or Bad Thinking Emma. Wherever she was, the sensor would pick up her Bad Thoughts and punish her.
She stood on tiptoe and ran furiously on the spot to escape the shocks, but was soon exhausted and sank to the ground where she laid, her body twitching in agonized convulsions until she mercifully lost consciousness. When she came round a few minutes later, the current had been switched off. If only they would find some fresh way of punishing her!
Emma could take pain by now. She welcomed pain in the sense that it was a spur to banishing her shameful Bad Thoughts, but she craved relief from this particular type of agony. A session on the Spanking Machine would be nice - relatively speaking! Even the Rack would make a change - or a session in the Freezer.
Emma knew she needed to be punished. She wanted to be punished. That was partly why she was here. Bad Thoughts had to be purged from her mind forever and she still wanted this more than she had ever wanted anything. But this electric aversion therapy was really getting to her. A quick, stabbing, surge of power reminded her that a fresh Bad Thought had been thunk!
A change might be as good as a rest, but she knew by now that rest was not on the agenda. And she HAD signed the consent forms. She was a grown up woman who had been told exactly what to expect. What they were doing to her was all very, very legal. What a fool she was!
It had all seemed such a wonderful idealistic scheme. Idealistic and well paid. It was still well paid. At the end of three years she would receive a handsome and inflation-proof income for life. In addition she would be provided with three luxury homes, all in locations of her choice. And she would still only be twenty-two. Emma was incredibly lucky to have been chosen for this great work. This was a Good Thought - she hoped - and might earn her a few more privileges - even the return of her clothes one day, hopefully before the weather got too uncomfortable.
She dutifully reminded herself that she didn’t mind being naked all day long. In any case she’d made a very good living out of her bare flesh before coming here.
In fact it went further than her not minding it. She loved it! She really truly loved it! Because anything the Professor wanted must be a Good Thing. She loved all Good Things.
But the next two years and nine months would all be spent here alone in this laboratory, confined in an experimental environment. Enough food and drink had been left for her to last for the three years, provided she ate and drank no more each day than the ration.
Life had been incredibly hard at first and she had only kept to the diet by reminding herself how unpleasant it would be to starve to death if the food ran out with weeks or even months still to go.
During her first week, some of her Bad Thoughts had been so utterly bad that the door to the food store did not open for two whole days. When it did finally open and she had tried to take out more than her daily allocation to make up for the two-day starvation, she had received her first shock. Even today’s hardened Emma still found it hard to take the shocks, but that first dose of voltage had made her jump several feet into the air - or so it had seemed!
Thanks to her diet and the daily exercise regime Emma had shed many pounds in her first weeks and was now very presentable, a slim and enticing young woman - unlike the puffy faced and flabby girl who had been brought here to begin the Experiment.
Emma didn’t consider herself to be a bad girl as girls go these days. She swore a lot, punctuating her sentences with “cunts” and “fucks” like her role models in the media, and so did all her friends. She smoked - and not just tobacco. She frequently drank far more than she ought and had consumed her first drink at the age of fifteen, having fooled the bar person by plastering her sweet face with an impasto of make up. But all girls behaved like that.
At University she had an affair with a young man, several years older than she, followed by an abortion. But she was doing no more than exercise A Woman’s Right to Choose What She Did With Her Own Body. And this was the Twenty-First Century. It was a shock when her parents disowned her, though.
After a few months of college, she dropped out, despite having been winner of a coveted classical scholarship, and did some “modeling”. Emma had a lovely face, a tempting if flabby body, and the kind of golden hair that is seen less and less these days unless it comes out of a bottle. She was also very photogenic and soon came to be in great demand.
She posed for many extremely steamy sessions and even a pornographic movie; her voluptuous nudity giving much happiness to many tired businessmen! Although she was willing to pose for mainstream artistic work and was very popular with some of the most distinguished photographers, she seemed drawn to the less reputable aspects of her new profession.
Emma’s future descent into a life of liberated hedonism seemed assured until she met Count Alexander Dobrynin. And the Professor.
The Count was the great grandson of a canny Russian émigré who had skipped his country not long before the tragic collapse of the old order and well before the abomination of Communism destroyed all that was good in his nation before going on to afflict and corrupt the rest of the world with its Godless wickedness.
The exiled Count had first converted most of his property into easily transportable jewelry, which he had used to build a prosperous manufacturing company. The present Count lived well but not too extravagantly on his family’s wealth, leaving the running of the business to others, although he maintained some interest in its affairs.
Some of these others were very clever people - clever and ambitious. One of them, known as the Professor, was the cleverest of them all and he had very big ideas. The Count had, of late, become more and more immersed in the affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and increasingly horrified at the debauchery and decadence he saw around him. The Professor knew of the Count’s concerns and had talked him into agreeing to and financing one of his pet projects.
It was this project that Emma was to play such a part in bringing to fruition. One night in late May she was on her way home after a photo shoot. Work had been followed by a binge drinking session with friends. She was more than a little tipsy and feeling very happy, as she always was after a heavy drinking session.
Following payment for displaying her private parts and apparently allowing them to be penetrated by a stupendously well endowed young gentleman of West African provenance (who had been one of her companions in the bar later on) she was now able to afford that longed for trip to the Antipodes.
All her life she had longed to visit the Great Barrier Reef. At first it was the name that had taken her fancy and then she had read everything about it she could lay her hands on. Emma had become more and more fascinated as she learned about the wonders that lay beneath the surface of that part of the wide Pacific. To go there would be the very best holiday she had ever had and now she could afford it. Her mind was distracted by alcohol and thoughts of the trip of a lifetime, because she almost stepped off the kerb and under a bus. But Destiny intervened in the shape of a tall bearded man.
“Careful, young lady! You’re much too lovely to be leaving the world just yet, awhile!”
He had a deep voice - he must be a great basso profundo - thought the musically inclined Emma. - and he sounded incredibly cultured - right out of the top drawer. Emma was impressed. She liked toffs, having once been one herself before starting her slide into debauchery and being shunned by her outraged family.
“Yeah! I don’t really fancy cashing in my chips just yet! Fuck me, no!” She continued to hold forth in an amiable if indistinct voice. “You look just my type. If your dick’s as long as your beard - that is! Fancy a shag, darling? You can shag me any time, gorgeous! Come home and get a night with me for free! Screw the fucking arse off me, darling - anytime! I owe you for saving my life and there‘s no charge for hunks like you!”
Having delivered herself of the foregoing unladylike protestations of undying gratitude, Emma vomited, barely avoiding ruining her rescuer‘s expensive shoes. Then she passed out. She’d really had an awful lot to drink!
The next she knew she was in strange surroundings with her bearded rescuer looking down at her, a kindly and concerned expression on his handsome features.
“How are you feeling, my dear?” he asked in a friendly voice. “I’ve been very worried about you. In case you want to know where you are, I took you back to my home after you collapsed so spectacularly and messily! I suppose I should have called for assistance, but the thought of you drying out in a filthy police cell didn’t appeal to me - and I imagine it would have been rather distasteful for you.”
Emma groaned. She felt awful! Was it worth this misery the morning after every time she had far too much to drink? Maybe today was the time to repent and turn her life around. She saw an icon on the wall. The Theotokos and Child stared down at her. In the presence of the divine she felt great shame.
“Thank you for helping me; although it might have been a good thing if I had been arrested and hauled through the courts. I am a bad person. I can see it now. I’m on the road to total ruin. You can have no idea, sir! No idea at all!”
“I’m sure there is hope for us all, my dear! There is One whose wish it is that none should perish. But you are still very unwell and suffering from alcoholic depression. The world will seem less terrible in a few hours. I’ll leave you to rest and recover and send you something to drink, which should help. It’s a sovereign remedy for even the worst hangover. I should know. In the years of my wild youth it picked me up more times than I care to remember!”
And then the bearded stranger left. A few seconds later another man, presumably a servant, came into the room and handed her a glass. She drank. The effects were incredible! Emma felt better in seconds. The room stopped revolving and her head seemed to shrink back to its original size. In two minutes Emma was fast asleep.
When Emma woke up it was light, judging by the angle of the sun’s rays streaming into the room it was getting on for midday. Despite her dissipated lifestyle, Emma was usually an early riser so she got guiltily out of bed.
She was not in her own room. It was a large chamber, decorated predominantly in blue. She looked around. A lot of time and money had been spent on this room. She knew enough about furniture to recognize some pretty expensive stuff when she saw it. And the bed had been one of the most comfortable she had ever slept in.
Now that she had rested and the miracle pick-me-up had done its work, she was ready to face the world. The first item on the agenda was to thank the nice kind man who had looked after her, saving her from arrest for being drunk and incapable. With a shudder she recalled the coarse things she had said to him. If only her drunkenness had erased those horrible words from her mind, so that they might not be a reproach to her! But it has to be said that the invitation to him to make love to her had been serious, and she still hoped something might one day be arranged along those lines. She really did fancy him in a big way.
But this was a true gentleman and her behavior had been appalling. Emma was no lady these days, but she wanted to be worthy of this benefactor. Although she was fully restored physically her mind was still full of guilt. To be worthy of the love of a good man meant that she must try to become a good woman. But where was she to start? It was as challenging a task in its way, as rebuilding Dresden must have been in 1945 or New Orleans today!
The icon was still on the wall and she went over and looked closely at it. It looked old somehow. She guessed that it was pretty valuable, although something told her that it was an act of profanity to place monetary value on this particular artifact. She touched it gently and felt something pass from her fingertips right through her body.
Later on she was to have many experiences with electricity but nothing was ever to affect her like the touch of that holy object, the work of devoted hands hundreds of years ago.
Then she went to the dressing table. She looked into the mirror at her face. It was still very pretty - beautiful, even. But she felt it was not mere imagination that showed her that the results of her sinful life were beginning to affect her appearance. Emma looked hard and coarse behind that fragile loveliness. And she could stand losing a few pounds! She slipped out of her clothes and went to the en suite bathroom. As she showered, she gazed down at her thighs and stomach and the rolls of spare flesh that had begun to mar her beauty. Fifteen minutes later, feeling something like normal, she went downstairs and tried to find her host.
A look out of the window had given her quite a shock. She recognized the road outside at the end of the long garden. It was The Bishop’s Avenue! One of her friends at school had lived here - one of her very much richer friends! This man - her rescuer - wasn’t merely nice. He was nice and extremely rich with it!
Being nice was good. Being rich was even better. Being nice AND rich was to attain heights of goodness that the majority of us can only dream of!
She reached the hallway and saw an open door. A man was standing inside the room, bending over the table, removing plates and cups. Someone had just eaten. She recognized the servant who had brought her the lifesaving potion.
“Thanks for giving me that wonderful stuff earlier on. Gosh! Sorry to make you jump!”
For the man had been startled by her abrupt entry.
“Quite all right, Miss! Nice to see you up and about. I’m afraid the Count is not at home at present. Would you like to eat? He says you are welcome to stay here as long as you like. If you want to go to your own home, I am instructed to drive you wherever you wish.”
“Thanks. I am pretty ravenous.”
She surprised herself by saying that! Usually she would have expressed her desire to eat in more basic Anglo Saxon terms. I will not exemplify!
Soon she was tucking in to a full English breakfast. And there is not a more satisfying meal to be found in the whole wide world. He or she who has slept the sleep of the just deserves nothing less in the morning! Even so, it seemed incongruous and wrong to be breakfasting at such a late hour. But one has to start the day somewhere.
The servant came and took away the breakfast things. Emma smilingly thanked him. She had been expensively educated and was still capable of politeness, despite her foul mouth. She asked him his name and was told it was Harrison.
“When does the - Count, did you say he was - get back? I’d like to thank him but I do have things to do. I can’t remember getting up this fucking late before. I’m a busy girl these days, although I’m taking a few months off from the fucking treadmill soon. I‘m off to Oz to get wasted on Fosters, shagged witless and shitless by a posse of Bondi lifeguards and see the barrier reef.”
There was a look of pure pain on Harrison’s face. Emma felt guilty again. A perceptive girl, she saw plainly that her witticism had failed to amuse!
“Sorry about the language, Harrison. I just feel if men can talk that way, then why not us girls? “
“Think nothing of it, Miss. I’m sure you have a point. But we don’t talk like that in this house as a rule. The Count doesn’t like it.”
“I didn’t know we had Counts in this country. Aren’t they kind of foreign - Counts, I mean? But he talks like an Englishman - and the best kind at that!”
“He is English, Miss. His family have lived here since nineteen-fifteen. They came from Russia originally. His great grandfather could see the Revolution coming and got out with as much of the family property as he could turn into ready cash. The present Count feels his ancestor behaved badly - leaving the sinking ship when his country was at war - and now he wants to do his bit for the new Russia after the Reds have gone. He’s most likely at some conference today. He could even have gone to visit his company’s offices.”
“Company? What company?”
“Grand Imperial United”
“Wow! I’ve heard of them. Really into the latest scientific research. So he’s Count Dobrynin! I’ve heard about his company. One of my clients worked there for a while.”
The client in question had commissioned a series of photos of the juicy Emma, concentrating mainly on her anal sphincter. She scarcely considered that to be her prize asset. She was proud of her face, her breasts and her long legs and knew that men appreciated the delights of her pussy, but how anyone could be pleased by the sight of her bum hole was a mystery! But business was business and so long as she was paid handsomely and on time it was fine by her.
She had seen some of the pictures afterwards and even her hardened stomach had almost rebelled at the sight. What kind of people were turned on by hat? The client said that the illustrations were to be for a medical textbook, but the ever skeptical Emma had her doubts.
“I’ll wait for a couple of hours. I’d really like to thank the Count personally. He was the archetypical Good Samaritan last night. You don’t run into real gentlemen like that any too often. In fact I hardly seem to meet them at all since my father kicked me out!”
Harrison gave her the run of the house and she found herself, after trying a few rooms, in the library.
“I wonder if he’s read all these books?” she wondered aloud. “If he has, he must be pretty clever!”
She took down a volume of Euripides and read a few pages. She sighed as she replaced the book. If only she hadn’t dropped out! Why had she? But she knew the answer to that question.
By four o’clock, the Count had still not returned and Emma, having left him her address and telephone number, was driven home by the helpful Harrison. It was a long time since she had been in a Rolls, and that had been at a friend’s funeral last year. The friend in question, another “model”, had succumbed to an overdose. That Rolls had broken down a hundred yards short of the cemetery and Emma and three other mourners had been obliged to walk the rest of the way, feeling somewhat stupid. But this car was in perfect working order, as well as being a lot newer.
Her evening assignment, which had prevented her waiting for her host’s return, was a lesbian session. The robustly heterosexual Emma wasn’t a bit keen on this kind of thing but, like so many others, had been influenced by the prevailing climate of Political Correctness into accepting that she must suppress her natural distaste in the interests of Tolerance. And the fee was very generous - well above the usual rate!
After it was all over she declined Gloria’s suggestion that they have a drink before going home. Gloria was the other girl in the shoot. Gloria had, to Emma, appeared to be enjoying herself immensely. Emma had very definitely not!
She was in the bathroom gargling with Listerine to remove the taste of Gloria’s none too clean womanhood from her mouth and shuddering at the horrible memory, when the phone rang.
“Hello, Emma? It’s Alex. From yesterday. You stayed at my house. How are you?”
“Oh. You’re called Alex, are you? I only knew of you as ‘The Count’. I’m fine, thanks, although it hasn’t been the best day of my life so far. I had a photographic assignment and it was horrible - just ghastly. But I’m fine now. And thank you so much for helping me last night. I’m so grateful and so sorry for the disgusting things I said to you. Can you ever forgive me?”
“You were forgiven anyway, my dear. No need to ask! I’m having a few friends around. How would you like to come for dinner tonight, or are you too busy and tired?”
Emma couldn’t remember feeling so excited in years! When she was a child, her father had promised to take her skating one particularly cold day. It had been magical! That was how she felt now.
“I’d love to have dinner with you! After the nasty things I said, I’m surprised you asked me, but I’d absolutely love it!”
Twenty minutes later she was once again in the comfortable back seat of the Count’s Rolls Royce and being whisked silently to his mansion in N6. Alexander greeted her and showed her inside. It was a warm night and Emma had chosen to wear a low cut red gown, which showed her still pleasing shoulders and arms to advantage. She had only a silk wrap to cover her shoulders from the night air and this she handed to Harrison, who was obviously impressed at what he saw, as was his employer!
“I have a favour to ask of you. I hope you don’t mind having to work a little for your evening.”
“No. I owe you plenty of favours, Alex. What can I do for you?”
“I have a few people coming later. They are all couples - married men and their ladies. I, a poor lonely old bachelor have usually to entertain my guests myself. I wonder if you would care to be help out and be the lady of the house this evening? It won’t be hard. Just smile and be nice and talk to my chief guest while I chat to his wife. Afterwards I’d be glad if you’d stay awhile - once the others have gone -and we can find out more about each other - if you’d like to, that is.”
Emma assured him that she would like nothing more. The two stood inches apart and Emma looked into his piercing blue eyes and he into hers.
Then the first guests were announced and they went to welcome them.
Emma enjoyed playing the hostess. The chief guest, beside whom she sat at dinner, was a Professor Colin Wedderburn. Alex had referred to him as “The Professor”.
“He’s my top research man, Emma. I think a lot of him. I hope you like him as much as I do.”
Emma was not too sure that she would ever really like this man, but he certainly interested her. He was as tall as the Count, but thinner and stooping where her host and rescuer was straight and well built. Emma realized that she was being subjected to the sort of small talk that some men consider to be all that women are good for. Where the Count treated her as an equal, this man looked down on her. She could tell that he looked down on her a lot more when she mentioned Jeremy Sandwell.
Jeremy was the ex-employee of Imperial United who had commissioned Emma’s disgusting photo session a few months ago when she had spread her cheeks for the alleged benefit of medical learning.
“Sandwell? I do remember him. A promising physician with a bent for research. But our rules are very strict when it comes to viewing indecent images on the company’s computers. A shame he left us, though. Hard to replace.”
She just knew that Wedderburn had seen the photos! From then on Emma had a hard time engaging him in any kind of conversation at all. The man seemed to have become very thoughtful and withdrawn. Emma supposed that he would tell his employer just what a distasteful occupation his latest female companion pursued. And that would be the end of this budding romance!
As soon as the guests had all gone, Emma decided to tell Alexander a few disagreeable things about herself in order to forestall the Professor.
“I’m not a nice girl, Alex. I’m a total disaster area, believe me! You think you know how bad I am, but it goes a lot further than my swearing like a trooper and getting horribly drunk and spewing up on the pavement the other night. I did so well at school and the world seemed to be at my feet, but I dropped out of University after having an abortion. I met this wonderful guy and he made me pregnant and walked out on me. Since then I have made a living making dirty films and being photographed nude doing lots of revolting things. Some of them have been so revolting they even put me off, which isn’t easy I can tell you! You don‘t want anything to do with me, my precious darling! And now, I‘ll be going home. I‘ll get a taxi - no need to worry.”
But Alex wasn’t worried about her disreputable career and fallen condition. He had fallen for Emma just as badly as Emma had fallen for him. It might be a most unlikely coupling but the two quickly discovered that they were very much in love.
She didn’t go home that night, and spent hours pouring out a tearful recital of her many offences against decency to her unlikely lover.
But she didn’t sleep with the Count. Once again she spent the night in The Blue Room. But this time the pair did breakfast together.
“So you are still set on visiting the Barrier Reef?” asked Alexander.
“Oh, yes! I suppose you wouldn’t care to come? Maybe you have a private jet?”
“I am far too busy, alas. And I don’t run to a private jet, I’m afraid. The Rolls is mine, and another, but I own no other transport. When you return, perhaps you’ll be able to answer my question of last night?”
The question referred to had been a proposal of marriage. After hearing her tale of moral depravity, Alexander’s incredible response had been to ask Emma to marry him! And they hardly knew each other. Emma was strongly tempted to accept but didn’t. Her own self-loathing made it impossible. How could a repulsive slut like her marry someone like him, who was almost a saint?
She decided that for Alexander’s sake she must break off their relationship. He was a well-known figure despite not courting publicity. His company was very large and at the cutting edge of some interesting new technologies. Being associated with a grubby little tramp like her was just what he didn’t need!
And there was another consideration. Being married to the saintly Count would make her very happy indeed. It would make her far happier than her wildest dreams!
But happiness was something she didn’t deserve. Emma would never forgive herself for consenting to the destruction of her unborn child. She might not know this, but guilt and disgust at her wickedness were ever present. She was being slowly but surely destroyed by her remorse and wouldn’t accept salvation, preferring instead to advance to the eternal perdition she felt herself to deserve.
Meeting the Professor accidentally, a day or two before her flight to Australia, was to prove decisive.
“Miss Henderson? How delightful to see you. Have you time for a coffee? It‘s that time of day.”
Emma was in Harrods and reacted like a naughty little girl to hear the Professor’s voice. This man knew her for what she was and despised her. The Count also knew what she had done (she had told him everything, weeping and sobbing while he tried to comfort her) and forgave her. But the Professor was a cold-hearted Puritan. He also knew how damaging it could be for his employer if the media found out too much about Emma’s lurid past.
But Emma managed a smile. They found a not too crowded café and she waited to see what it was that the Professor, a busy man and not one to waste valuable time in idle conversation, wanted from her. She guessed that it was to warn her to steer clear of Count Alexander in the future. Well, she had already decided on this.
“I’m not seeing Alex any more. I love him too much to want to hurt him. Breaking off with him is the best thing I can do for him. You know all about me, I don’t doubt. I’m a ...ing slut and a general disgrace to the human race in general and my sex in particular. He’s too good for me. Most people are too good for me!”
“But you could do something for him, my dear. I think you might be the ideal subject for an experiment that might put the Company into an unassailable leadership position. We are discreetly advertising for this post but I am sure you would have a very good chance of succeeding. And it would be very useful to the Count. You’d like to help him, wouldn’t you?”
Emma certainly would like to help the man she loved. Marrying him would only bring him disgrace, but helping his company become stronger would be her way of paying just a part of her debt and expressing just a fraction of her love. If it lay within her power, then she would do it!
“If it helps Alex then count me in. No pun intended! What is it all about, Professor?”
“It is a way of picking up electrical impulses from the human brain, interpreting them and translating them into English so that every thought can be detected. We see it as a way of reforming criminals. If we can only get inside their minds and see how they arrive at their antisocial mindset we are well on the way to transforming them into useful members of society.”
“But aren’t a lot of thoughts wordless! Don’t they just consist of feelings and emotions like anger and sorrow? Can the machine pick up on that? And what good would that do?”
“It would depend on what angered the thinker. I have done a lot of work, Miss Henderson, these last months. Righteous anger can be detected and distinguished from bad anger - of that I am convinced. But we daren’t market a product like this without long and thorough testing. We need a sort of human guinea pig. And we’d need him or her for a very long time - three years in fact.”
“Why so long?”
“I don’t only want to read the subject’s mind, Emma, I wish to change the personality, removing bad thoughts and changing them permanently for the better. That will take at least three years. I aim to turn an imperfect human being into someone who has no trace of vice or malice in their entire personality.”
“I am interested, Professor. But I don’t want Alexander knowing what I’m doing. Is it possible to conceal something like that from him in his own company?”
“He’d find out in the end, of course. But not until the close of the experiment, or at the very least until it had gone too far to abort. He leaves a great deal to my discretion, Emma. If you should be selected, I suggest you write to him from Australia to say you have taken up offers of assignments there and will not be home for some time - maybe a few years. But first you must pass the aptitude tests.”
A letter inviting Emma to attend a country house selection panel arrived next day. There were ten others on the list of hopefuls, all attracted by the more than generous financial inducements. Emma was alone among the ten in being very suspicious of the Company’s seeming generosity. She knew enough of the world to see that nothing was free in life. If it was worth their while paying the successful applicant so lavishly, then either the three years were going to be pretty horrible, or the potential profits accruing to the Company from this invention were astronomic - or both, of course!
All applicants were told to be their normal selves. This was stressed time and time again as being of the utmost importance. Seven of the others were men and of the three women, Emma was the youngest and prettiest. She also had by far the greatest fund of disgusting stories, which the excellent food and fine wines they were plied with drew out of her each evening to the delight of all the others.
On the third and final night, having told the others early on that she was a topless and nude model, she did a striptease act for the seven men. Her brazen lack of shame or embarrassment left them all speechless. But Emma did not accept any of their offers of sex. She still remembered Alex, and if the thought of his personal goodness did not stop her behaving disgracefully in many ways, the memory of her love for him prevented her giving her body to another man, at least for the time being. She had no idea how long this unaccustomed reluctance would last. Probably not too long!
Emma never got as far as the Barrier Reef. After two days in Sydney she heard from the Professor. Would she return to take part in a final elimination? All her expenses were to be paid, including a flight back to Australia should she not be finally successful. She knew perfectly well that she would be successful.
In his message, the Professor told her she had passed all the medical tests with flying colours. Much of the three days had been passed in completing several arduous physical sessions in which stamina and durability were tested to the limit. Only Emma and one of the men came through these in anything like good shape. The two other women were quite exhausted and had to drop out less than halfway through.
She had been obliged to allow her medical records to be shown to the selectors. Since Emma had never experienced a day’s illness other than of the self-inflicted and alcoholic variety, she was hardly surprised to have passed the medical examination. Something told her that she would need every ounce of her physical fitness over the next three years, but she was still obsessed with doing something to help Alexander.
This time they did not visit the country house. The elimination was held in a suite in a none too pretentious hotel in West London. It was explained to the finalists that compatibility with the thought sensor was the main object of the exercise.
Both Emma and Harold, the other applicant, were amazed at how their thoughts were being interpreted by the invention. They each agreed as they took their leave of each other that it was uncanny and very disturbing to think how all their innermost thoughts were detected so accurately.
“I don’t like it, Emma,” said Harold, “even if they do choose me, I’ll turn it down. It’s not worth ten times what they’re offering us. It’s so sinister! No human should ever have such knowledge and power over others.”
Emma was still infatuated with the Count, although she disliked the Professor as much as ever. And this device would only be used in penal institutions to help reform wrongdoers. Instead of being locked up for many years, they could be released after only a short time with all their vices cured forever.
The next day was Sunday and Emma went for a stroll on what might be one of her last days of freedom before placing herself at the Professor’s disposal for thirty-six months. She shivered at the thought and felt fear for the first time.
As chance would have it she passed the entrance to a church and saw a few worshippers hurrying to make it in time for the start of the Mass. Emma had been confirmed at fifteen and had been a regular communicant until going up to University and being seduced. So she went into the church and sat near the rear. As the choir and clergy entered, preceded by the thurifer swinging the censer and filling the church with the well-remembered scent of holiness it was as if all her recent history of depravity had never happened. But it had happened…
The opening Collect, with its well-remembered words, struck her forcibly, especially one phrase: “All hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid.”
That’s what this machine would ensure. A power that was once God’s alone was being placed in the hands of Mankind. She felt the first stirrings of doubt.
Emma sat in her seat when her turn came to go up to the altar. She knew she was quite unworthy to receive the Sacrament, despite the sincerity with which she had said the words of the Confession. As she repeated the words, “Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us,” all the horror of what she had done struck her again. The words of the Absolution gave her no assurance that she could ever be forgiven. Emma still hated herself too much to believe that anything about her could still be worth loving.
But Alexander loved her and this had sown a tiny seed of hope.
On Monday she was told to report to the Company’s research establishment in Hampshire, bringing her lawyer with her. She had already been warned that this would be essential and had given prior notice to Mr. Ferguson her family’s solicitor.
As she showed her pass to the security guard and drove into the well-guarded converted Royal Air Force station, she thought that this was to be her home for three long years. But a surprise was in store for her.
The Professor was waiting for them in his office in the Admin block.
“Good morning Emma! Congratulations on passing all the selection processes! Since the only other remaining contestant has been obliged by reason of family circumstances to withdraw, you are to be our human guinea pig. Before starting you off on the Experiment, I must get you to sign some forms and explain some of what will be involved.”
Emma nodded. All she wanted now was to get on with it!
“I don’t suppose for a second that it’s going to be a picnic, Professor. Companies don’t pay what you’re paying me out of the goodness of their hearts. All those physical endurance tests you put us through made me realize that a lot of the experiment will be tough. Perhaps you’ll be about to explain exactly how tough?”
“It will be a matter of rewards and punishments for much of the time, Emma. You will be quite alone for almost all of the time. When you think bad and antisocial thoughts you will be punished. Punishment will take many forms, none of which will leave any permanent physical effects. Hard work will be part of your daily regime for all your time on the island. I imagine that hard physical work has not been a part of your life these last few years, although you still remain a fit young woman.”
“I have tended to let myself go a bit. Too much to eat and drink. But I came through all the tests OK so I can’t have let things slide that badly.”
“No, Emma. You remain basically in very good shape and we could not have chosen you otherwise.”
“What exactly will the punishments consist of?”
“Beatings, deprivation of clothing, confinement, electric shocks and being made to stay out of doors for long periods. We also have developed a very special kind of bed that will make sleeping impossible if you have bad thoughts at night. But you will be alone and all the punishments will be delivered by machines. For the first months you will probably have a very painful time, but adjustment will be rapid and life will soon become bearable and, by degree, pleasant. If we feel that we have learnt all we can from you before the three years are up, then we will come for you and you may return to your own life.”
“You mean you have a machine that will beat me? How kinky!” Emma giggled at the idea, but the Professor did not smile.
“All your punishments will be graded in severity, Emma. And once you have committed yourself there can be no turning back. Here are some notes relating to the regime. I will leave you alone with Mr. Ferguson to decide. This kind of commitment cannot be entered into lightly.”
As soon as they were alone, Mr. Ferguson pleaded with his young client to come back to London with him and forget this idea.
“Don’t do it, Emma! Don’t even think about it. It’s not worth the money. Why don’t you go back to college and get your degree? It’s not too late and I know your parents would be delighted.”
“My parents! Don’t make me ...ing laugh Mr. Ferguson! They disowned me and they meant it. My life’s as good as over, as far as my being any use is concerned. I’m doing this for a good man who will put this invention to good use. That’s all that matters. Let’s get these papers signed and witnessed, shall we? And don’t breathe a word of what has gone on here to anyone. Not ever!”
“Did you write to the Count from Sydney?” asked the Professor as soon as the lawyer had left, unsuccessful in his bid to persuade Emma not to go any further with the Experiment.
“Yes. I take it I won’t be spending the next three years here, then?”
Emma had heard the Professor mention an island. So the location of this particular bit of research was somewhere else - somewhere even more secluded and restricted than this well-guarded establishment.
“Yes, Miss Henderson. The company has its own private island, some seventy miles from the nearest inhabited location. You will forgive me if I don’t tell you where it is exactly, but it’s to the southwest of Cornwall. It will be a little milder there in the winter than here, which is a good thing as you may well be spending a lot of time out of doors.”
“Out of doors?”
“Yes. Punishments will take many forms and exclusion from the living quarters will be part of the regime, as will deprivation of clothing in whole or in part. The whole place is fully automated and bad thoughts will trigger off automatic actions. You will discover all this for yourself. If you cooperate fully with us, the unhappy part of your stay there will be short. You do want to be a better person, don’t you?”
Emma nodded. If it helped Alexander who, for some unaccountable reason, loved her then she wanted to be a better person and help establish this invention as a weapon in the war against crime and evil.
She envisaged Osama Bin Laden wired up to the thought sensor, having all the stupefying immensity of twisted malevolence purged from him. In his case, thought Emma, it would take a lot longer than three years. And when the evil had been removed - what would be left of him? Nothing!
“Can I take anything with me to the Island, Professor? Clothes, books, tapes, that sort of thing?”
“We have provided you with all we consider you to need. If you wish to continue your studies, there is a collection of classical works that I think you’ll find pretty comprehensive. You will have writing materials, although no letter may be sent for as long as the Experiment continues. Also there will be satellite television, so you will not entirely lose touch with what is going on in the world.”
“That’s good. It will be good to watch George W fighting his war on Terror and our sycophantic Tony brown-nosing him. I must say that that’s two bastards I won’t mind missing totally for three years. Three centuries would be too short!”
She laughed at this witticism. There were times when she surprised herself! But the Professor, she noticed, was not amused. Just what did she have to do in order to make this cold fish smile?
If she had known that the Professor had high hopes of selling his products for a huge sum to the FBI, CIA and other regiments in the Armies of Righteousness, she would have seen that her little joke might not have seemed too funny. The thought that some collection of neocon religious nuts might one day be using the machine to turn Darwinists into Creationists by electro-aversion therapy and deprivation of sleep and clothing did not concern him. He was as much a man of business as a man of science these days.
But Emma was young, pleasure loving and totally uninterested in serious matters. Apart from the fact that her father was a Conservative MP with whose politics she still agreed, despite having been disowned by him, she had little concern for such things.
And the three-year experiment was going to be pretty serious just by itself. It would contain all the seriousness she could cope with, and then some.
The Professor indicated that it was time to leave. They walked across to the helicopter pad and soon Emma, the Professor and three assistants were being whisked across the grey Atlantic swell to the remote island laboratory which was to be Home Sweet Home for thirty six interesting, if sometimes painful months.
Emma disembarked from the helicopter and looked around at the windswept island. As a place to spend a goodly part of her life, it had its drawbacks, being remote, cold and generally uninviting. She saw a few old huts by the shore and inland a metal fenced perimeter. There was a nice sandy beach, but that would doubtless not be for her to spend the summer months on.
Behind that high fence she imagined would be her new home and scene of her transformation from a dissipated young trollop into a Right Thinking person. In would go a dirty little foul-mouthed slut and out would come a Model Citizen - the first of many to be redeemed by means of the Professor’s invention. She wished she could feel a bit more excited and a bit less cold!
“Are you going up to the laboratory with me, then?”
Emma didn’t want to stay out in the open any longer than she could help. She couldn’t wait to get inside the living quarters.
“No. You will walk up that pathway and push open the gate. It will close behind you and not open again for three years. The living quarters will be directly opposite, on the far side of the perimeter. You will go straight there and read the instructions that you will find on a notice board. These are for general guidance. More specific instructions will be delivered over a public address system. But you must first remove your shoes and stockings.”
“Stockings? What Ark are you out of Prof? I only wear tights in the winter and not even then unless it’s fucking well perishing! Look after these shoes, Prof. They cost me an arm and a leg. It took me two steamy sessions to pay for them. But I expect you know that. You’ve got the photos, haven‘t you Prof, you sly old devil!”
Once again she was struck by the scientist’s lack of response. What did it take to make him smile? She removed her shoes and handed them, not to the Professor, but to one of his assistants. She stood in her bare feet and wriggled her toes apprehensively, hoping that the ground inside the perimeter would be nice and smooth. The pathway leading up to the distant laboratory looked pretty stony - but as long as picked her way carefully she foresaw no great difficulty in getting to her goal without too many abrasions.
“Where does the electricity come from so far from land?”
“We are connected by a cable. In the event of any disruption a local generator will automatically come on stream and we will send people over to repair any damage. Maintenance staff are the only ones you will meet whilst you are here. Power to heat your living quarters will be generated by you personally. There is a pedal operated dynamo that you will operate for several hours daily to recharge the batteries. That alone will give you much hard work.”
“What about food and drink?”
“We have a refrigerated food store and freezer. There is sufficient to feed you for three years, but don’t take more than the daily ration or your last weeks will be very unpleasant. If a power failure causes the food to perish than someone will be sent over to replenish the supply. And now, I have a meeting in London. I bid you farewell, Miss Henderson. Good luck and once again thank you for your cooperation!”
By the time the helicopter was airborne and heading back to the mainland, Emma was halfway up to the perimeter. It had started raining and she was getting soaked. ‘Never mind the stones,’ she thought. ‘Let’s get out of this wet and cold before I perish!’
As the Professor had said, the gate closed automatically behind her. She touched it to see if she could get it open again and got her first electric shock! The fence was electrified. She touched it again - more gingerly this time and staggered away from the fence, falling on her back. That second shock had been something else!
Then she walked across to the open door opposite. Once inside she shook the water out of her hair and looked around for a towel. The room was quite bare and outside the rain was getting stronger by the second. The room was cold as well as bare and Emma felt like crying. But she was a big girl now, so she swore horribly instead!
She’d need to get some heat in here, or die! Over against the cluster of buildings on the west side of the establishment was the dynamo! Despite the downpour she would need to go and do a few hours’ pedalling! Not anxious to stand around in wet clothes, she removed them and went over to the notice board.
There was a map of the laboratory. One building was a clothing store, but it was closed and not due to open until the next day. The other was a food store, which ought to be open but wasn’t. Then came the first of many messages over the PA system.
“Access to food denied for twelve hours.”
Emma swore again, even more horribly than before. But she needed to heat up this room. So, naked and shivering, she ran over to the machine and started pedalling as hard as she could. After three hours she was exhausted, but there was no red light on the dial and she had been told that she must not cease until this light appeared, on pain of being excluded from the living quarters. It was two more hours before the longed for light appeared and she staggered back to the room. It had stopped raining after the first hour and Emma was covered in sweat by now.
She fell asleep on the hard bed, dreaming of that blessed moment when the food store opened.
Although Emma had been tired when she fell asleep she woke up early. She was so hungry that she couldn’t sleep. Once again she went over to the notice board. It seemed that her stint on the dynamo was to precede all other activities, including eating. She used the toilet and washed herself, shivering as the cold water touched her skin.
“Stand under the shower for five minutes. Do not move! Get directly under the shower head. Keep perfectly still.”
Damn that public address system! Didn’t it have anything good to tell her?
“Subject will stand one further minute under shower.”
Of course! She was being overheard! Every bad thought would get her a punishment! She deliberately kept her mind a total blank. But this wasn’t as easy as she had thought. As the freezing cold water cascaded over her head and flowed down her plump but pleasing body she found all manner of thoughts besieging her. It was no use! She must think and she must think positively.
“I bet this is doing me good! Nothing better than a lovely cold shower first thing in the morning! Three gorgeous years of this. Whoopee!!”
But it was a long six minutes and she guessed the sensor could pick up on insincerity!
Then over to the dynamo, dressed this time. It was dry and promising to be a sunny day. By the time she had caused the red light to come on it was well past the time when she could have some food. She went across to the food store and took out as much food as she was entitled to. The cooking facilities were adequate and soon she was having her first hot meal in two days. It tasted good, although she could have done with a lot more.
Then she went over to the television room. It was locked. That was probably for the swearing last night. The library and reading room were open, though, and she spent a few hours catching up on Plato’s Republic. Once again she asked herself why she had abandoned what could have been a brilliant career.
She composed a poem in Latin. But the sensor obviously knew this particular dead language and disapproved of the content, because she was told to leave and run around the perimeter seven times. It was a long way to run in bare feet and she was feeling extremely sore when finally she sank to the ground and nursed her tender soles.
“Why did I let myself in for this load of bollocks!”
She leapt to her feet, jumping at least seventeen feet into the air. It felt like seventeen feet. Bad talk could obviously be detected as well as bad thoughts!
She saw now why she had to be barefoot. The floor of the entire compound was criss-crossed by wires, so that it was impossible not to be standing on one no matter where she was.
“Subject will remain excluded for twelve hours!”
That would mean well past midnight before she got to bed.
Emma ruefully accepted that she was not off to the best of starts. But it was a very warm day and the rain that had spoiled her first day seemed to be gone for the time being. Doubtless it was now over England and making the Professor's life a misery. Emma tried not to feel pleased about this. Nice Professor!
And then she recalled to mind that pinched severe face and stooping shoulders. The bastard!
BZZZZ! BZZZZ!!! But milder this time. Just a gentle warning, really. She skipped up and down and apologized.
But the long wait did little for her patience. She took off her clothes and tried to lie in the sun, but this seemed to displease the thought reading machine. A series of small shocks kept her body tingling unpleasantly and she reluctantly got to her feet and stood trying to feel patience and submission.
Finally, she exploded and hurled a veritable carpet bombing of blasphemies and obscenities at the various thought and sound detection devices positioned at regular intervals around the camp.
"Subject will report to Punishment Room immediately!"
"Well, stuff you! Get lost. Go and play with yourself, Prof you sick-minded old wanker!"
She was starting to laugh at this last sally when the hardest shock yet made her come to her senses. She really must pull herself together. This man meant business and she had to cooperate with him. She was a volunteer, after all and it was pretty feeble of her to be rebelling after so short a time.
Emma walked apprehensively to the Punishment Room. She had seen last night that it was a very large room! Heaven only knew what horrors it contained.
"Let's hope they let me off lightly!" she thought as she entered and heard the door close behind her.
Emma looked somewhat fearfully around the Punishment Room. OK, then! She looked around in absolute terror! She’d never been more shit scared in her life! Not even when she had been summoned to the Headmistress’s study the morning after returning to school from an evening pass as drunk as the proverbial skunk had she felt quite so petrified as she did now.
(The good lady had first read her a solemn lecture on the Evils of Drink, Especially Where Vulnerable Young Women are Concerned, which had so amused her it had been a struggle to keep a straight face and then given her eight cuts of the cane on her bare and already fleshy rump. That had not amused her quite so much and she had sworn aloud, surprising even the casehardened Head by her deep and wide knowledge of decidedly unseemly language, thereby earning herself four more stinging cuts).
What an idiot to shout all those things at the Professor, who was certainly listening to all her ravings in the comfort of his office! What had possessed her? Well - she was in for it now!
“Subject will remove all clothing and lie face down on the large table!”
Emma took off her clothes, not without some relief, for they were beginning to smell after all the exercise and she needed a change of underwear in any case. After she had been let out of here, she must go to the Clothing Store and Laundry Room and change.
She lay on the cold metal table and waited to be told what to do next.
“Subject will place her hands and feet on the corners!”
Emma was just about able to reach the four corners of the large table, although it was quite a stretch. With a snap, four separate clips came out of the table and fastened themselves over her ankles and wrists. She was trapped! What a clever machine this table was and what thought must have gone into this whole project! She never had liked that Professor! Clever and nasty with it!
BZZZZZ!!! BZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!! BZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!
Emma surprised herself at the sound, duration and strength of that first scream! It was enough to wake the dead. It was as well she was so well secured or she would have bounced off the table like a rubber ball dropped from a great height onto concrete.
“Sorry, Professor,” she thought. “I am a bad girl. I will try to be good! I promise!” But the shocks went on and on and on. Emma continued to think nothing but good of the professor. Gradually the shocks eased and unbearable agony was replaced by severe pain. Then the clips were released.
She was free to go outside after an hour she would long remember.
As she stepped out into the sunshine she looked at the sliding door closing on that place of pain. Something told her she would be back - many times - before she ceased to have displeasing thoughts. But she deserved it.
This last thought was quite unforced and instinctive. The sensor must have picked up on this, for next time she stripped off and lay in the sun, there were no shocks and she fell into a deep sleep while the sun continued to warm her.
Emma got through the next week with comparatively little pain. She found herself barred from the food store one day for six hours for cursing after stubbing her toe rather badly. And there were shocks from time to time when she thought unkind things about the Professor. But all this was nothing compared to what had happened to her on that awful table in the Punishment Room. And the door to that Room had remained reassuringly closed.
Her good record had something to do with the weather, which was wonderful. For a couple of hours each day she had stretched out in the delightful sunshine and was beginning to be tanned all over. The rather ungenerous diet was proving to be a blessing in disguise. She could see that her body was already losing some of its flabbiness.
Because of the warm weather, she was spending less time each day on the dynamo. Her living quarters needed no heating. She was still not allowed hot showers for some reason and all the power needed was for cooking and laundry purposes.
Since she was spending nearly all the time nude during the day, the amount of laundry she needed to do was minimal.
Most of her daytime was spent reading and for some of each evening she was allowed into the Television Room. Her choice of channels was very restricted, though. Mostly all she could watch was improving stuff like drama and documentaries and the News. She dreaded the News - so boring!
One night she reacted badly to the sight and sound of the Leader of the Free World murdering the English language as only he knew how. She muttered under her breath. “F*ck off you stupid, brain-dead arsehole!”
She had got a sharp shock for that and been ordered to go to bed. Obviously the Professor considered criticism of George Dubya to be a Bad Thought! She tried not to think about this at all. If the Prof liked the stupid bastard, that was none of her affair! (She got a mild warning jolt for that!)
Her unspoken though emphatic disgust at the sight of her own Prime Minister, the loathsome Tony, on the other hand, went unpunished. So the Prof didn’t like him either! Good old Prof! He wasn’t all bad; obviously a fine upstanding Tory like her father and the rest of her family!
Then it rained all day on her ninth day. Not only that, but the temperature dropped. She left her clothes in her sleeping quarters and went over to the dynamo to recharge the batteries. All would have been well if she had merely attended to her task, which was easy enough for her by now (she was developing great legs with all this exercise!). But Emma was her own worst enemy, here as in her past life. The rain got into her eyes and she swore. She swore to herself at first and then out loud. It felt good to be using all these horrible words again after nearly a week! It was then that she noticed the pedals becoming harder to push. Much harder to push. And the red light was not due to come on for an hour. Silly me, thought a repentant Emma.
“Sorry Professor. I am still a bad girl - I can see that.”
She pushed harder and harder and finally got up to the revolutions per minute that she usually achieved. By the time the red light came on she was wet as much from sweating as from the rain.
Weary after her efforts, she staggered back to her living quarters. The Public Address system had bad news for the Bad Thinking Emma.
“Subject is excluded for twenty-four hours. Subject will remain standing to attention until further notice.”
“I deserve this. I have been naughty and must be punished. I am sorry. I will try to be a good girl in future.”
For an hour she repeated this like a mantra. At the end she was almost getting to mean it! Then the PA system crackled into life.
“Subject will run around the perimeter thirty times.”
A burst of volts reminded her that there were worse things than getting heart attacks from too much exercise. Namely, being fried alive!
When she had completed the thirty times tour of her extensive prison compound she collapsed. Happily it was not raining by this time and she sun came out. She slept and when she awoke it was dark. She looked up at the stars - so many of them here, so far from all the light pollution on the mainland. Instead of being filled with a sense of awe at the majesty of Creation she felt miserable and lonely.
Being miserable and lonely were obviously verboten by the Professor. A massive jerk of power reminded her of that! She tried to be cheerful.
“How lucky I am to be here, naked and freezing cold under the Heavens! Thank you Professor!” Then she fell asleep again and when she woke it was light.
She was allowed back into her accommodation at midday. Just as she was dressing, for the weather was not really warm enough for nudity, the hated PA system had more instructions for her.
“Subject will wear shorts only. This is for three weeks.”
Then she went out to walk over to the reading room and a few hours work.
“Subject will remain out of doors until further notice. Subject will stand to attention, not moving.”
She wondered, after an hour of rigidly standing still, how the sensors could possibly know if she moved just a teeny little bit to ease the cramp a little. She decided to risk it. They knew!!!!!! OUCHH!!!!
“Subject will report to the Punishment Room.”
“Not that table again… I hope. Please, Professor. Nice Professor Wedderburn, Sir. Please!”