Rachel heard the knock on her door. Jake was early for their date, again. She wrapped the towel she had been drying her hair with quickly around her head and tied her skimpy robe shut. She had wanted to look perfect for their date tonight. After all it was her birthday. Rachel could not believe he had shown up early again. She ran to the door.
"Jake, I thought we agreed on 7:00?" Rachel said laughing as she turned the dead bolt. She had not bothered to look through the peephole. "Did you really miss me that--" Rachel stopped mid speech. Before her stood a man dressed in a gorilla costume carrying balloons that read 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY'.
Whimsical music blasted from a small cassette player as the dancing gorilla man danced his was past her into the apartment. She could see a van parked on the street in front of her building. It was white with balloons and confetti painted on the side. She looked around hoping to spot Jake. 'He must be here somewhere.' She thought. Rachel left the door open and turned back into the apartment.
The gorilla man had danced his way to the coffee table and set down the tape player. He then danced his way back to Rachel and handed her the balloons. He led her over to the couch.
Rachel laughed out loud. "Do you want me to sit down?" The gorilla simply nodded his head. Rachel sat on the couch and began to wonder if Jake was the one wearing the gorilla costume. "Jake is that you?" She asked.
The gorilla shook his head no and danced over to the door. His hairy arm reached up quickly and shut the door. He threw the deadbolt before she could even react. Rachel stood up as the music that had been playing came to a sudden end. The tape continued to wind through the machine silently now as the gorilla came back across the room to Rachel. When the tape reached the end, a loud clicking sound resonated through the apartment. Rachel could hear the tape begin to wind again.
The music began to play again as the gorilla man grabbed Rachel's hand. He danced her over to the middle of the room. He spun her in a circle and dipped her back. Rachel was certain that Jake was the one in the suit even though he had denied it earlier.
"Jake, thanks for the dance, but would you mind if I finished getting ready for our date?" Rachel asked as she playfully pushed him away. The man in the gorilla suit grabbed her arm tightly and pulled her back to him. Rachel had a strange feeling as he spun her around again. This time before she had completed the turn Rachel felt a searing pain in her head as if she had been struck with something hard. She tried to focus on the gorilla man as she sank to the ground.
The last thing that Rachel saw was the gorilla mask being removed from a gruff, unfamiliar face.
Ralph paced back and forth across the floor of his storeroom. He checked his watch for the fifth time in ten minutes. His shipment was late. He hated to be kept waiting.
Since he had retired from his life of crime, Ralph had opened a successful electronics store. He was in fact so successful that even the police had come to respect him. Ralph had even become well liked since he began to donate his time and money to the welfare of the city. He suspected that the money he donated to the police fund and the discounts at his store may have been a deciding factor as well.
As bad a petty thief as Ralph had been, he made a wonderful businessman.
At least that is what Bertrand had told him. Bertrand was the reason that
he had changed his life around. Ralph had met Bertrand in prison. Bertrand
has gone in for tax evasion. He was a rich man that had been scammed by
his accountant, that is what he told Ralph anyway. He was a self-made millionaire.
Bertrand took Ralph under his wing and promised him that if he was willing
to try, he could make Ralph a lot of money legitimately.
Ralph was jarred back to the present by the sound of pounding on the metal back door that led to the alley behind his storeroom. "Open up Boss," the rough voice from beyond the door said, "I ain't got all night!" The pounding continued as Ralph calmly walked across the room. He slowly reached out and opened the door.
There stood Alex dressed in a gorilla suit, minus the head, with a woman dressed only in a short robe flung carelessly over his shoulder. Ralph quickly ushered Alex into the storeroom and checked the alley to see if anyone had followed him. The alley was empty except for the white van parked just outside of his store. Ralph slammed the door shut and locked it.
He turned to Alex, who still had the woman flung over his shoulder and shoved him towards the cot that had been placed near the back of room under the pretense that some nights Ralph worked so late that he might as well spend the night. He instructed Alex to place the woman on the cot so he could get a good look at her. In his typical fashion Alex tossed the woman's limp body down onto the makeshift bed roughly.
"Why are you so late?" Ralph asked sternly. Alex lit a cigarette and took a long, slow drag before responding. "I had to change the appearance of the van, didn't I?" He blew out the smoke directly into Ralph's face.
Choking on the smoke, Ralph's face became a mask of anger. "That has never caused you to be this late before and put out the thing right now. You know I hate cigarette smoke!"
Alex took another drag off the butt and dropped it to the concrete floor. He ground it into the floor with one of his hairy gorilla paws. "There was a slight, Uh, complication, Boss. The boyfriend showed up before I could get her out of the apartment. Don't worry though, he has been taken care of."
"How has he been taken care of Alex?" Ralph hated when Alex deviated from the plan. It usually meant that someone ended up dead. Ralph asked him again. "Alex, how did you take care of him?"
"Well, lets just say that he met with a little accident. When he knocked on the door, I opened it. He walked in with a big bouquet of roses singing 'Happy Birthday'. Then he saw the girl on the floor. He knelt down next to her and before he could even think-I broke his neck." Alex recited the entire incident with a smirk on his face. He reached into his gorilla suit and pulled out his pack of cigarettes and his lighter.
Before he could light another smoke, Ralph yanked them both from his hand. "You can have these back when you leave. What did you do with the body? Tell me you didn't leave it in the apartment, did you?"
"No sir, Boss. I made a stop at the lake on my way here. I weighed his body down and tossed him into the lake. Don't worry no one is going to find him. By the way, where is my money?" Alex asked.
Ralph reached into his suit pocket and pulled out his billfold. He extracted three bills from the stack and handed them to Alex. "Here, three thousand, like we agreed on. Now get out of my store."
Alex grabbed his cigarettes and lighter back from Ralph and instantly lit one. "Thanks, Boss. See you next time." The man dressed in a gorilla suit slowly sauntered to the back door. He flung it open slamming it into the wall. Ralph had to chase after him to shut it before any attention was drawn to his store.
Ralph turned his attention back to the girl. He walked quickly back across the room. She was still unconscious on the bed as Ralph leaned over her prone form.
Bertrand looked up at the clock on the wall. It was almost one o'clock in the morning. He had been expecting Ralph to call by 11:30. 'I bet that buffoon he hired last time to do the job screwed up again.' He was about to dial the number to Ralph's store when the phone rang.
"Bertrand Weathersdale" Bertrand said into the phone.
"Bertrand, I am so sorry" began Ralph. "There was a slight delay in my receiving the merchandise you requested."
"I figured as much, Ralph" Bertrand was angry. "Well, don't bother explaining now. Has the merchandise been, um, damaged? I sincerely hope your answer is 'no' this time."
"Not permanently," Ralph said quietly. "It should be all right. Just a slight bump. Should go away quickly."
"Okay, Ralph, I will take your word for it, but you better not be understating the situation. I will met you at the warehouse in half an hour." Bertrand slammed the phone down.
Ralph arrived at the warehouse exactly a half-hour later. His black Lexus glided gracefully into the vacant spot next to Bertrand's silver Mercedes. He cut the lights and the engine. Two dark figures emerged from the shadows of the warehouse. They were of course Bertrand's henchmen.
As Ralph exited his car the two men asked him about the cargo. "Back seat." Ralph stated throwing his keys to the taller of the two men. He walked pasted the men toward the side of the warehouse. He went in through the open door.
"Well, my friend, I see that you kept to the time-table-this time" Bertrand looked up from his watch and extended his hand to Ralph. As he grasped Ralph's hand the two large doors to the front of the warehouse were opened.
The two men Ralph had encountered on his way in entered the warehouse. The taller man was carrying the girl. The shorter man trailed behind closing the door behind him. They came over to Bertrand and set the girl down on the floor.
Rachel was wrapped in a blanket. Bertrand bent down and pulled the blanket from her body. Her arms and legs bound with strips of cloth. She had been gagged and blindfold. Bertrand looked up quizzically at Ralph. "Had a problem, did we?" He asked as he rose to his feet.
Ralph pulled at the collar of his dress shirt. It seemed to be getting tighter. "N-n-no. S-she woke up before I could get her to the car. I just used a little chloroform to knock her out and decided to tied her up and gag her, you know, just in case. I thought I should blindfold her to so she wouldn't know where we were going if she woke up early."
Ralph handed Bertrand some smelling salts he brought with him. "This should bring her around."
Bertrand waved the smelling salts just below Rachel's nose. She jerked her head back away from the putrid smell. Bertrand lowered the gag from around her mouth. Rachel gasped for air. "Well, at least she woke up! What were you thinking? Even if she did wake up and notice where she was going or who you were, what difference would it make? She is never going to get away from us, is she?" Bertrand stopped talking and stared at Ralph waiting for him to show some sort of understanding. Ralph just nodded.
Continuing his lecture, Bertrand stood up once again and stared intently at Ralph. "You do realize that when we are completely safe, don't you? No one in this stupid down suspects us of anything. There is no need to start panicking now."
Ralph stared at the floor. He hated this part of the job. His paranoia grew with every assignment. At least Bertrand agreed with him that all of their "cargo" should be imported. They have never hit at home. At least until now. "I know I am being paranoid, Bertrand, but its because this girl is from here. We always said no one from here, right? Well, didn't we?" Ralph's voice rose an octave with his last sentence.
"Don't be a fool! Look at her, she is perfect. It's not my fault that such a beautiful young lady lived here, is it?" Bertrand replied. Ralph shook his head. "Ralph, I promise that she will be the only one, okay?" Ralph nodded. "Okay, now that that is settled. Do you want to stay and watch me work?"
Ralph's eyes grew to the size of saucers. "Y-you know I can't do that! Why do you even ask me? Of course not!" Bertrand laughed raucously.
"I knew you would say that you little puss!" Bertrand shouted. He couldn't believe what a coward Ralph could be. "Go ahead and leave then. I have wired the money to your account. I will contact you again soon."
Ralph quickly left the building as Bertrand began giving his two thugs instructions. They picked the girl up from the floor and brought her over to what appeared to be a gurney.
The fog began to lift from Rachel's mind. She struggled to remember what had happened. She remembered a gorilla and music, then a horrible pain in her head. She remembered waking in a strange bed. A man had bent over her. He picked her up and she screamed. Then darkness. 'What a dream!' She thought.
Rachel struggled to sit up in her bed. When she lifted her head she became dizzy. Rachel fell back against her pillow and opened her eyes. Staring at the ceiling, she realized that she was not in her own bed. 'I must still be dreaming.' She thought to herself. 'Come on, girl, you can do it. Wake up.' Rachel closed her eyes once more.
When she opened them again she was still not in her own room. 'What the hell is going on.' Rachel began to feel the bile rising in her throat. Her heart began to pound wildly. She tried again to sit up. This time she did not become dizzy. Instead she felt a hand on her forehead pushing her back down onto the pillow.
Rachel's eyes flew open again. There was a man she had never seen before staring down at her. He was speaking to her in a soft, deep voice. Rachel tried to concentrate on what he was saying to her. "Rachel. Rachel. Can you hear me?" Rachel moaned softly. "My name is Bert. You have had an accident. We are here to help you. Do you understand me?" Rachel moaned again. "Okay. Good. We understand each other. You had a little bump on the head, but you are going to be just fine." Bertrand ran his hand down the side of her beautiful face.
"I am going to give you a little shot to help you sleep, all right Rachel?"
Rachel nodded her head slightly. Bertrand swabbed her arm with alcohol.
Rachel felt a slight burning sensation in her right arm. Immediately she
began to feel sleepy. "I am going to count backwards from 100. By the time
I reach one. You will be sleeping soundly, Rachel. When you wake up again
you will feel completely different, okay? Here we go…100, 99, 98, 97…"
Rachel fell into a deep sleep.
The last number she remembered was 97. It continued to echo inside of her brain. Rachel opened her eyes to a harsh light. It reminded her of the light in a dentist's office. She could hear a machine humming near her. Suddenly a shadow moved in front of the light. Rachel blinked rapidly. It was the doctor. Bert. 'That's his name she thought. Bert.'
"Rachel. Hi, glad to see you are awake. We are just about to begin. I was afraid you wouldn't wake up in time." Bert's face looked different than before. Harder, meaner. His smile seemed forced. Rachel was confused again.
"W-what a-are y-you d-doing t-to m-me" Rachel stuttered slowly. "I-I f-feel s-so s-strange."
"Well, Rachel my dear. You are going to help make me a lot of money. Do you want to know how?" Bertrand waited for her to nod. She did. "You are going to help me in two ways. First I have hooked you up to a machine that will take something very special from your body. You want to know what that is? Your youth and beauty. Don't worry though you aren't going to grow old and ugly. Not at all my dear. Instead I am replacing it with this, what should I call it. Hmmmm, lets call it a preservative. You will remain young and beautiful but you will be different. Once I put the liquid into you and it reaches every part of your body you will feel a tingly feeling. Don't worry. I have worked very hard to ensure that you will feel no pain at all. After I am certain that the preservative has begun to work I will bring you over to the heat lamps were the real magic begins. I don't want to ruin the surprise, so lets begin, shall we?" Bertrand's eyes were terrifyingly excited. Rachel sobbed uncontrollably. Her terror was immense. Panic stabbed through to the core of her. 'I have to get out of here!' Rachel struggled to sit up, but she could barely even lift her head. She strained to look around the room. She could feel the straps that bound her to the bed. There was one across her chest and her tiny waist. Both of her arms were stretched out at her sides and bound to arm boards. Her legs were bound at the knees and around her ankles.
Before she could even begin to sink further into her own terror, Rachel felt hands working near her head. She felt a portion of her head support being removed. Strong hands grasped either side of her head and held it still. Rachel felt a second set of hands as they attached more restraints. One restraint went around her neck and the other across her forehead, effectively removing any remaining mobility she had.
Rachel felt a sting at the base of her skull as a needle pushed its way through the delicate flesh. A burning sensation began to cloud her mind as the needle found its resting-place in her hypothalamus. One of the machines that Rachel heard hum near her cranked into action. The low hum began to grow as the machine warmed up. Another needle pierced her flesh, this time penetrating her left arm. This time a cooling sensation began to fill her body. The pain she had felt at the earlier needle stick dissipated.
An IV bag was suspended from a metal hook just above Rachel's head. The bag was filling with a bright purplish liquid from a second machine. The liquid was being dripped down at a rapid pace into her prone flesh. Rachel could feel the foreign liquid pumping through her veins. As the liquid spread through her body, Rachel began to relax. All of her fear was washed away as she stared at the purple liquid. Not only had she lost all sense of fear and terror at her situation, Rachel felt a strong sense of euphoria taking over.
Bertrand had sat near Rachel watching her with awe. It never ceased to amaze him, the process. You could literally see the fear, dread, and apprehension drain from their bodies. What Rachel couldn't see was the fluid being drained from her body. A thick, yellow liquid was pumping into the bag that hung below her bed. This was Bertrand's lucky day. He had chosen a woman that was yielding him a high volume of the precious liquid. Rachel was going to make him a lot of money.
The machines were both whirring loudly. Pumping, pumping, pumping, precious liquid coming out and purplish liquid going in. The process was near the end. Bertrand's eyes danced with delightment at the amount of liquid he had managed to extract from Rachel. This was the best harvest ever.
With a satisfied sigh, Bertrand was ready to move on to phase two. It was a matter of moments before the machines would stop. He walked across the warehouse to an enclosed area set off to the back. He needed to get everything set up jut right. He couldn't afford to misstep in any way. One false move and Bertrand could lose out on a lot of money.
Rachel's state of euphoria continued to grow with each passing moment, even after the machines around her stopped. The silence became deafening to those around her, but Rachel was preoccupied. Bertrand loosened all of the straps that held Rachel to the table. His tall friend lifted her limp body, and carried her across the warehouse to the enclosed area in back. The smaller man was stationed at the control panel on the outside of the enclosure near the observation window.
Bertrand opened the door and turned on the harsh florescent lights. The tall man carried Rachel into the room and set her down on a small pedestal. "How do you want her Boss?" He asked gruffly.
Bertrand pulled a piece of paper from his breast pocket. "She needs to be in a kneeling position. Bring that other pedestal over in front of her." He walked over to the two and held Rachel's limp body upright and the tall man went to work.
The tall man brought over the higher pedestal and placed it in front of Rachel. Under Bertrand's close scrutiny the tall man began to position Rachel. He lifted her up and brought her legs up and onto the smaller pedestal. Next her elbows were rested on the taller pedestal. Rachel's hands extended upwards and cradled her chin. Her head was positioned slightly back and up. Her long hair flowed freely down her back.
After the tall man had posed Rachel, he left the small enclosure leaving her with Bertrand. Bertrand moved in a slow circle around Rachel making small adjustments to her pose here and there. He reached out and spread her legs further apart so her knees were just barely on the platform. He arched her back and continued around her a second time. This time he reached out and softly touched her beautiful face. His hands molding her mouth into a seductive pout and opening her drugged eyes.
When he was certain that he had achieve the perfect pose, Bertrand exited
the tiny room. He walked around to the window to watch her. "Okay, Sam,"
He said to the shorter man. The man immediately started to press buttons
and turn dials on the console in front of him.
The florescent lights were cut off in the tiny enclosure and ultra violet lights replaced their harsh brightness. Various heating units buzzed on inside the room as well. The room became a strange mixture of reds and purples. As the room heated another underlying sound became apparent. A crackling noise.
Bertrand watched as Rachel's paralyzed body began to change. The healthy
pink changed to a more artificial flesh tone and began to take on a sheen.
The crackling sound grew louder and louder. Rachel's entire body was being
transformed into something else. Bertrand looked on with utter delight.
She was going to be perfect!
Rachel's body already held captive by complete euphoria began to tingle with ecstasy. In her mind her flesh grew flush with the first inkling of orgasm. She moaned silently to herself, as her mind was blow completely from the first wave of orgasm. She felt it shake her entire body from head to toe. Before it had time to finish another orgasm gripped her frozen form.
Somewhere in the distance, Rachel could hear a strange crackling sound and knew that it was somehow connected to her. She could not have cared less. The world outside of her own body meant nothing to her. She was totally engulfed in her own world of sensuality.
Ralph had decided to take a quick trip to New York. He walked through various shops and soon found himself at Macy's. He was walking through the area that contained the women's perfumes and makeup counters. He had nearly exited the area when he came to an abrupt halt. His eyes were instantly drawn to a display and his cheeks became flush. He walked closer to the display.
There she was… Rachel! She was a gorgeous mannequin displaying the "wonder drug" of the century. 'Monique's Beauty Restoration…One try and even your husband wouldn't believe how youthful you look!' A sales woman was piling jars of the beauty cream onto the table around Rachel. She had barely finished when a mob of women came over to seize every one of them.
"Works that well, huh?" Ralph said to the attractive, young lady. She was dressed in a tiny mini-skirt and a tight fitting blouse that stretched lusciously across her firm breasts.
"Absolutely, Sir!" She replied. "I'm living proof." She smoothed a non-existent wrinkle in her skirt. Ralph's eyes traveled up and down her gorgeous form. He lingered on her firm, perfectly proportioned legs clad in the silkiest nylon's he had ever seen.
"Excuse me," He said. "I don't understand.
"I am 52 years old, Sir. I don't look a day over 25 do I?" She asked him with a giggle and a twinkle in her eye.
Ralph's chin dropped and he stared at her with his mouth gapping. "Y-you can't be." She walked over to him and showed him her driver's license and her member card for AARP. He just walked away from her dumbstruck.
Ralph wandered through the big city eventually making his way back to his hotel room. 'My God!' He thought to himself. 'Bertrand really did it!'
When he opened the door to his room he nearly stepped on the envelope lying on the ground. It was addressed simply to Ralph. Sitting down on the bed Ralph opened the manila envelope. It was from Bertrand. It was the dossier for the next girl. This one lived in Nebraska. She was breath taking.
Ralph leaned back, sighed, and began to read about her.