Gromet's PlazaLatex Stories

Return to the Doll House 2: Mistress Four

by AmyAmy

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© Copyright 2017 - AmyAmy - Used by permission

Storycodes: F+/m; latex; maid; accident; captive; bodymod; discovery; reveal; nectar; source; sex; climax; change; heat; pain; tendriles; duel; cons/nc; XX

story continues from part one

Part 2: Mistress Four

Twenty glanced behind her. Razor-clawed fingers extended from Four’s ball mittens, shredding them to pieces. The long claws glistened like crystal-cut glass. Definitely not any ordinary human. On balance, Twenty had seen things in the Hotel that made the distinction meaningless. What was human after all?

Twenty estimated the distance between her and the alarm. There was no point worrying about treading on the lines now, was there? No more than five seconds if she moved quickly.

She’d forgotten that her shoes wouldn’t grip in the puddle of nectar. Her feet went out from under her. She hit the unyielding glass floor hard, a blow that knocked the breath out of her. Gasping for air, she struggled onto all fours. From behind her came the sound of more rubber shredding.

She half stumbled, half crawled to the alarm button. With no time to spare, she daren’t look back.

Close enough. She hand stabbed at the button. The job was done.

No. Four had caught her wrist. Twenty’s fingers were almost touching the alarm. She grunted with frustration, fighting. Just a little further. But Four was too strong.

“Did you think you were faster than me? You never had a chance.” Four’s voice was deep and raspy, seductive and playful, but with an undercurrent of menace that had always been her trademark.

“Please. Let me sound the alarm. You won’t be punished much more, and you know you have to take your punishment. Why are you doing this? It will only make things worse for both of us.”

“Believe it or not. I’m saving you.” Four paused, then yanked Twenty away from the button, sending her sprawling across the floor on her bottom, sliding through the slick mess of nectar. “From your dumb self,” she added, with heavy-handed timing.

“I don’t need saving from myself thank you Mistress Four. But I might need saving from you. Those claws? Please don’t use them on me.”

“They’re not for you Twenty. Don’t worry about that.”

“What? What are you?”

“You ought to know this shit by now, but Mother has been keeping you like a mushroom. She’s gone to a lot of trouble with that shtick. Makes me wonder what she’s up to.”


“Yes. Number One. She’s my Mother. I thought you knew.”

“Mistress One is you mother? That’s wrong. You’re too old. She’d too young. I’m confused.”

“No. It’s right. Mother, if the word even applies to that cuckoo bitch, is older than she looks. Same as everyone else in this nuthouse.”

“Please, don’t describe Number One in such crude terms.”

“She was buddies with your mother. Why else do you think you’re here?”

“That must have been a long time ago. My mother died when I was born.”

“A load of crap. Your mother left you with your father. She could hardly bring a baby here, could she?”

“Well. Yes. My father-”

Mistress Four cut her off. “At least he is your father, and not some poor tool whose own child was substituted with a changeling.”

“Please, even if you weren’t talking nonsense, I don’t want to hear these things. I refuse to hear them. Sooner or later Mistress Three will notice I’m late and come looking for me. She will bring sufficient assistance, I’m sure.”

“Don’t be so naïve. There’s only one person here who can stop me, and she won’t hurt either of us. Most likely she knew this would happen all along. Planned for it. Why else were you were given the job of looking after me?”

“How could she know? You mean the bag was ripped on purpose? I wasn’t to blame?”

“Does it matter? Sure, it shits me that I’m still following her script, but that doesn’t mean she’ll get it all her way. Maybe I’ll be the one writing the ending.”

“And what’s that? Will you press the alarm? Please do so.”

“Don’t you wonder what they have planned for you today?”

“Mistress, how can you know about that?”

Mistress Four smiled, her expression almost innocent. “I thought you refused to hear me?” She laughed. “Instead of her, it will be me.”

“Sorry. I don’t understand. I’m only a simple maid. Please explain more clearly.”

Four struggled to stop laughing. “It’ll be a first time for me. I feel so... virginal.” She brushed away the remnants of the heavy rubber helmet and mittens as if they were cobwebs. “Too much you don’t know, my little mushroom. Trying to explain everything now would be pointless. Also, boring. You need to see or you won’t believe.”

Number Twenty felt an unsettling sense of déjà vu. Lindsay had been like this, bombarding her with confusing information while pursuing an insane agenda. And there was no doubt that Four was significantly more dangerous than Lindsay, though apparently just as deluded. Twenty shuddered.

“Please don’t trouble yourself Mistress. I’m fine as I am, and I don’t need to be party to unnecessary secrets about the Hotel, or the place before the Hotel, or the Association, or anything else from the past. None of those things matter now. Thank you, but I have enough trouble worrying about what topics are forbidden as it is, without getting my head filled with new conversational landmines.”

Mistress Four picked off the remaining traces of rubber from her hands. “You go on a bit yourself, when you get the chance.”

“Please, I really would be happier, Mistress Four, if you simply left me out of all this. It isn’t seemly for a maid of my number to know too much.”

“Oh, you are such an obedient thing, such a puppet, such a zombie. You do as you are told and nothing else. You never even give it a thought. You might as well be dead for all the good you are to anyone.”

Twenty struggled to her feet, nectar dripping off her uniform. “Sorry Mistress, but I am told that it is through diligence and application that a maid achieves perfection. It isn’t easy for me to obey. I have to work at it all the time.”

“Of course, you would say that. Things change, right? I was once a scared little mouse, a dumb broken slave with no will. I didn’t want to be like that. I wanted to be powerful and fearless. I wanted to have my revenge, and when I was given the opportunity to become what I wanted, I did. You, on the other hand, like being a drone. You are running away while staying still. It’s the most pitiful thing I’ve seen in years.”

“I am not running away from anything except you, Mistress.”

“Just a moment…” Mistress Four screwed up her face, as if she’d tasted something unpleasant. She plunged her claws deep into her own belly and wrenched out a dull-red globe the size of a basketball. Strangely, her uniform was undamaged, despite the ball having passed through it. Was it a conjuring trick?

What could be the explanation? Four’s waist was slender and muscular again. She discarded the ball onto the floor where it broke apart and crumbled into piles of red-orange dust.

“Filthy stuff. It might be sweet to you, but to me… Mother has a fucked-up sense of humour feeding me that ‘nectar’ crap. Anything else I could have used as mass, but that toxic gunk is good for nothing. I’ve been starving, bloody starving.”

Number Twenty edged towards the door. If Mistress Four wanted to monologue then she was welcome to it.

“Oh. You’re ready to go? Let’s get moving then.”

Twenty winced, stepping away. Too late. Mistress Four grabbed her wrist again and yanked her towards the door. The claws were gone but it was like Twenty’s arm was trapped in a vice. Mistress Four was unreasonably strong, and could toss her around like a doll. She had no choice but to follow.

Four operated the access control, even though it should have refused her, and dragged Twenty out into the hallway. Rather than taking the usual elevator, or the stairs, she turned a corner and went through a door Twenty had never used. A corridor lined with doors that had no handles ended in another elevator door. There were no buttons but it opened for them anyway.

Once inside the elevator, it started to sink. It picked up speed, and Twenty felt the acceleration in her gut. She counted the seconds as it descended, her ears popping. The cables made alarming pings and cracks, as if there was something wrong with the system. When it slowed again she felt an ache in her knees. How deep had they gone? She’d never imagined that there were floors so far underground.

The door opened by itself and Mistress Four dragged her out into a hallway. Another doorway, and then stairs down. Was there no end to the maze?

The Mistress released her wrist, opened a door and ushered her through.

Beyond lay a room with a high ceiling and a dark pit instead of a floor, possibly bottomless. Or perhaps it wasn’t terribly deep, and was simply hidden in shadow, though that was probably wishful thinking. The walls were made of a seamless white substance.

The only illumination came from spotlights trained on a single human figure. It was a woman, naked, not a trace of rubber clothing, her veins traced in orange. Her arms and legs amputated. Black cables merged into the remaining stumps of her limbs, stretched out like extensions of her bones, as if they were replacements for her missing parts. The cables held her stretched out in an X shape, the crucifixion of a saint.

Tubes were plumbed from the wall into her groin, disappearing into the flesh as if they had grown there naturally. More tubes plumbed into her overfull, orange veined breasts, heavy, swollen, straining to contain a pendulous load that seemed like it might split them open at any moment.

Her head was tilted back so her face was towards the ceiling, long, light brown hair hung past her feet. A thick, ridged conduit snaked from the ceiling and into her mouth.

An observation platform extended from the door towards, where Twenty and Mistress Four stood towards the figure. There were no safety rails. Twenty nervously considered how far the drop might be if she fell off.

All this was unreal, like a gigantic Giger painting. Twenty took measured breaths to calm herself. She had seen many shocking things in the Hotel, and this was just one more. It was nothing to panic about, no worse than Mistress Four’s claws. The support system and the tubes were harsh, undoubtedly, but still only a few steps removed from punishments she’d seen.

Then, she realised. She grasped the scale of it all.

Mistress Four let go of her and moved ahead along the walkway to the viewing platform.

Twenty blinked. She would have rubbed her eyes, but they were hidden under lenses, and it would only make them sting.

The crucified woman wasn’t close by. Her sense of scale had been tricked, misled by the apparently human figure. The room and the platform were far larger than she’d first imagined.

With Number Four as a guide, she had to admit that the figure on the wall was at least twenty feet tall, perhaps larger. She wasn’t used to judging such sizes.

There was no way it could be real. What was she looking at? A sculpture? A robot? An artificial being? Some sort of enormous doll?

“Mother calls her Reenie. She predates the Association. A relic from the early days, when she first met Heather. I can assure you, Reenie didn’t want to end up like this. This was not something she wanted.”

Twenty took a step closer to the colossus. “Does she…? Did she feel any pain?”

“No. Not from this. When she was defeated, there was pain and fear, but it was over quickly.”

Twenty moved closer again, drawn like a moth to a flame, step-by-step along the walkway. “Something like this… She ought to be beautiful, and yet she isn’t. This is ugly.”

“So, now you know the source, can you keep drinking that nectar you love so much?”

“But how can she be this big?” Twenty asked, her voice barely above a whisper. “A human body couldn’t function.”

“Apparently, she used to be a less outlandish size, but as time went by, more production capacity was required, and as she cannot be duplicated, the answer was to make her larger.”

“She can’t possibly be real.” Twenty had to stop from repeating herself. She hesitated, a thought spinning bright in her mind, the obvious answer. “You’ve drugged me, haven’t you? This is just a dream. Or it was the injection in medical?”

Mistress Four pinched her bottom, making her jump. “Nice try. But you know that’s wishful thinking.”

“Alright. Can we leave now?”

“She is real. Go and touch her. Feel for yourself. She’s at least sixty-five years old too. Doesn’t look a day over thirty though, does she?”

The walk to the platform took longer than she’d expected. Why was she doing this? She should leave. She was not meant to see these things. Maids who saw things they shouldn’t vanished, never to be heard of again. This was definitely going to be on the must-not-see list.

Close up, the body was even more imposing. She could hear the heartbeat, slow and heavy, and the rasp of breathing assisted by the throat tube.

She put out a hand to touch a leg stump. It was as far as she dare reach across the abyss-like drop into black nothingness. The flesh was warm, soft, feminine. Alive.

Twenty turned back towards Mistress Four. “Is this the Goddess?”

Mistress Four choked back a laugh. “Hell no. There’s nothing divine about her. No sentience. She’s just a piece of meat, a mindless factory for making nectar.”

“It’s awful. No wonder she seems so… Wrong.”

“Really? It didn’t trouble you to suck that crap down by the bucket-load.”

Twenty shook her head. “But I didn’t know… It’s her milk isn’t it? Her milk is orange.”

“Look on the bright side, at least it’s not her pee. Or would you prefer it was?” Mistress Four gave a half-suppressed giggle. It was especially eerie coming from somebody as creepy as her.

“It doesn’t add up. I’m sure the rebels said Mistress One was the key to the nectar. They tried to trap her and turn her into their factory. Why would they do that when the nectar is here?”

“You misunderstood their plan. Those idiots wanted her to make them a new factory for a different kind of nectar. Can you imagine they were so arrogant they believed she was just a gifted scientist with a personality disorder?”

Twenty folded her arms. “The rebellion failed. You’ll fail too. Please, take us back upstairs now. You’ve made things difficult enough.”

“Rebellion? It was all my plan. Chaos so I could kill you in the confusion. I wanted to end Heather’s legacy there and then. Lucky for you, Lindsay got to you first, or you’d be long dead.”

“If that’s true, why didn’t you try again? Why not?” Twenty covered her mouth with her hand. “Are you going to kill me now?”

“No. Don’t flip out. At first, I thought you were aware, that you’d come to get revenge for Heather. After Lindsay, it was obvious you were harmless. I thought you might turn out to be useful. I was right. Go figure?”

“Please, if you aren’t going to kill me, are you done with me? May I return to my duties now?”

“Oh you’re so like her, that bitch. Heather. Mother loved her but she was poison.”

“Sorry? Heather? You mentioning her. You said she was my mother. Was it true?”

“Yep. She was your mother. What else is there to know? Only an idiot would doubt me. Probably all that nectar has turned your brain to mush.”

“Sorry, I’m quite sure my mother died when I was born.”

“You’re quite sure? Who told you? Your father. They lied to him too. There are always more lies.”

“Heather, did she have a number?”

“Yeah, she did. For sure. She invented the stupid bloody numbers. OCD bureaucrat nutbag that she was.”

“So which one was she?”

“Obviously, she was Number One.” Mistress Four mimed using her finger as a gun. “Until I killed her. And then Mother became Number One. Coincidence? Or what Mother wanted? Now there’s one to guess at.”

“I don’t believe you. Mistress One is perfect. She doesn’t kill people. She’s always been the first. Nobody could have come before her. Definitely not some flawed person. Definitely not my mother. Definitely not a person you could kill.”

“Don’t underestimate my talent for killing, kiddo.” Mistress Four made a sudden striking gesture, faster than the eye could follow. Her face twisted up with hate, all in a moment it was there, then it was gone. She spread her arms wide, smiled, beatific. “Killing and revenge are my special thing. Nobody is better.”

“Why would you even say such a thing? She’s not like that at all.” Twenty blinked away tears. Why was she weeping these crocodile tears? She felt a pressure in her chest, a hot emotion constricting her throat, but it came from nowhere. She didn’t feel it in her heart. Why was her body acting this way?

“Right. Mother doesn’t kill people. She has the means, but she’s never been present enough to bother. Not much of a leader either. She sees too much, lost in a maze of alternate realities. This place, the Association, the Centipede Cult, they’re ghosts to her.”

“The Association. Something else you want me to ask about, don’t you?” Twenty said.

“I don’t care if you ask. Stay ignorant as long as you like.” Four’s voice was shockingly close, whispered in her ear.

Twenty jumped. Mistress Four was pressed against her, and Twenty had no idea how she’d got there so stealthily. Four reached around and put her hands on Twenty’s oh-so-sensitive breasts. She gasped.

“What are you doing?”

“I was thinking we should fuck now. I want that big nasty cock of yours inside me.”

“No… Please, Mistress Four… Don’t ask that.” Twenty said. “Not after all this horribleness.” Had she really said no? She was always ready to fuck. Always.

As a maid, it was her duty to be available, to be used, and to experience that use as the deepest and most satisfying fulfilment. Was it shirking her duty if she refused to indulge an escaped prisoner?

“Maid, I’m giving you an order, as your Mistress. Face me and put that thing where it belongs.”

“Sorry Mistress. I don’t think I should. You shouldn’t have left your punishment. I’m sure you’re supposed to be deprived of relief, at the very least.”

“Silly maid. This is what I brought you here for. Ah. Let me put it another way. If you fuck me, I’ll do whatever you ask afterwards. I’ll give myself up, go back up to my prison. If you want. After. I’ll even make sure you cum when we do it.”

“Do you promise to do what I ask afterwards?”

“Sure. I promise. On my word. I’m not going to cheat you. And if I did, at least you’d have done your best. They can’t fault you for that, can they?”

“Alright. I agree.” It was hard to turn down the Mistress down. It wasn’t even clear cut that she was allowed to refuse in the first place. If Mistress Four surrendered herself it might be possible to put everything right.

She could worry about that later. She had a lot of pent up energy, and Mistress Four had said she would let her cum instead of cruelly teasing her.

“Come closer,” said Mistress Four.

Twenty moaned eagerly as the Mistress rubbed her nipples.

“Call me Lauren,” Four said.

“Sorry Mistress… Lauren.”

“Mother won’t admit it, but she’s spent years trying to make you into something that might survive the union with her long enough to get the job done properly. Apparently, artificial insemination doesn’t work if you want to transmit the power. You have to do it the old fashioned way. But if a power as big as hers leaked into you…” She made a popping gesture with her hand.

“Sorry, artificial insemination? What are you saying?”

“If only I could figure how she expected it to work exactly. We’ll just have to gamble that all that nectar has toughened you up a bit.”


Twenty buckled at the knees and Lauren lowered her onto her back, kissing her at the same time. Lauren’s tongue reached deep into her mouth, exploring, then went deeper. The tongue kept on coming, somehow enormous, blocking her throat. It was like fellating a foot-long fat slithery dildo, so not entirely unfamiliar. Lauren kept her in place, prolonging the kiss until Twenty’s head began to spin.

Mistress Lauren’s hand reached under Twenty’s skirt and casually tore away her rubber panties. It hurt a little, but the nectar made such pains bearable. Her penis jumped to attention, already eight inches long, proportionately thick, and still swelling. Soon it would reach its full size.

It was probably a dream, because at some point Lauren’s panties and knickerbockers had disappeared. Twenty could feel a tight, hot orifice swallowing her penis. Lauren was easily able to accommodate all of her, a feat only Mistress Two had managed before.

Creepy as she was, Lauren was all female, and her vagina was amazing. It seemed she could control every tiny part of it, as if she had countless muscles down there and could play each one as clear and distinct as a note on a piano.

“Mmm,” Lauren said, her voice dreamy and distracted. “Would you rather we had a girl or a boy?”

Lauren lifted up and sank down again. Twenty moaned. Her penis was in such a wonderful warm place.

“What child would you prefer? A girl or a boy?” Lauren said.

Obviously, Twenty would prefer a girl, but she didn’t answer the question. It was a cruel joke. She would never have a child of either sex. She’d been told again and again that the nectar made her sterile and none of the maids had ever conceived despite her filling them to overflowing on numerous occasions. Ignoring that, how could she produce viable semen with no testicles? Even her cum had turned vaguely orange, and it definitely couldn’t be any good for making babies.

Lauren moved against her, riding her vigorously, squeezing and massaging her breasts, pinching at her nipples, harder than before. The roughness was welcome, she was getting fired up and was ready to take anything, especially a little pain. She usually got more pleasure from her breasts than her cock, and Lauren wasn’t holding back. She would definitely get to cum this time, just from her boobs alone.

Twenty closed her eyes and enjoyed it for a time, then reached out to handle Lauren’s breasts in return, expecting to find the heavy maid dress. The dress was gone. How was that possible? She opened her eyes.

It was a sight she’d dreamed of often, never believed possible.

Lauren was naked but still rubberized. Her skin was pale, with the glossy sheen all over but there was no trace of a suit, as if she was made entirely from slick, glistening rubber. The maid’s uniform had vanished. Again, how did she do that? Everything she did was impossible, as crazy as a twenty-foot woman.

Number Twenty handled and squeezed Lauren’s exceptionally firm, rather modestly sized, rubber breasts. At least her nipples were large and pink. Lauren sighed deeply as Twenty rolled and pinched them between her rubber-gloved fingers.

Encouraged, Twenty pulled herself upright, so she was face to face with the Mistress. Her hands found her naked ass, slick and smooth as real rubber and firmer and springier than anything she’d touched before. Without need for words, Lauren easily understood Twenty’s intent. In an instant the positions were flipped and Twenty was pounding into the kneeling Mistress, entering her from behind. Twenty’s hands reached down to cup and squeeze her partner’s dangling breasts.

So they continued for a while, neither of them tiring. Twenty’s thrusts grew faster and more desperate. She really was full of pent up urges. Normally she could go for hours, but today she could finish in minutes if she wanted, if she dared.

“Do it. Cum inside me,” Lauren said. “Cum in me now. Gather it up in your mind and let it all out. Let everything go.”

Twenty began to thrust harder still. She kneaded and twisted Lauren’s breasts with increasing ferocity. Lauren didn’t complain, instead she moaned and began to tense and shudder. Hot tightness clamped down on Twenty and she couldn’t hold on. She felt herself spurt and spurt and spurt. As well as the wonderful but expected gushing feeling of release there was something else. It was like fire burning through her, a heat going out of her and coming back in. In and out, likes waves, but overall the tide was going out.

The heat kept increasing, flooding back into her, the out again. It was distorted into pleasure and yet it felt as if lava was flowing up her spine and her head was filled with hot, white light. She threw back her head and screamed in a most un-maid-like way, but it wasn’t pain.

Twenty tried to pull out and finish but she was trapped. Lauren wouldn’t release her. She felt as if she was being milked by the waves of her partner’s powerful orgasm. The heat kept on rising. It was beyond pleasure now, transformed into something else. Not pain, no, it was an entirely new kind of feeling…

Her maid uniform was beginning to crack and smoulder.

Lauren seemed to be glowing, as if there was a light inside her, shining through her flesh, but the heat wasn’t coming from her.

Twenty’s uniform burst into flame in patches, charred flakes falling away. Twenty screamed again, and now she couldn’t stop screaming even though she tried. Terror. Panic. Agonising pain. It was more than she could bear. She would burn to death, incinerating from spontaneous human combustion. Her limbs tensed and trembled. More of her uniform caught aflame and crumbled away in ashen fragments. Despite the fire she was still alive. Burning, agony and ecstasy. Flesh melting.

Twenty’s vision went black and all she could feel was the burning, and the hot grip of Lauren’s cunt on her cock. The orgasms were ending, the pulses slowing. The heat wasn’t gone, but it was receding.

Her vision returned, a blurry view of the back of Lauren’s head. All sensation of touch was overwhelmed by the heat. She glanced down at herself, expecting to see a charred, blackened ruin, but her body was unblemished, as naked as Lauren’s. The remains of her suit were smouldering on the platform around her. The flames were gone, but the burning pain continued.

“What’s happening to me?” she whispered. Was it some new and horrible drug? She slid free from that warm dark place inside Lauren. A long tendril of sticky cum still connected them.

“Just a guess, some of me flowed back into you. Probably why Mother didn’t do this herself. She knew it was dangerous for you. With her fatal, I’d say.”


“Don’t worry. I bet you’ll be fine.”

“Sorry? What? I’m still burning. You bet on me dying?”

“No. Pay attention. If you use your head, you’ll live.”

“Please, I’m burning up. Please. Mistress. Can you make it stop?”

“I can’t stop it. Only you can do that. You’re becoming something.”

“Becoming what?”

“I don’t know exactly. Just aim for something living, ok? Keep that in mind.”

Twenty spoke through gritted teeth. “Please… I… It’s too much. It’s getting worse again.”

“Let’s see if you have what it takes to hold yourself together. Stiff upper lip and all that shit.”

“What it takes?” The heat was growing, a furnace firing up inside her.

“The human side, your mind, your thoughts and memories, they’re just a mask for the power, something it uses to understand how to exist in the world of matter. Most minds aren’t up to the job.”

It was all just words, empty words. What did any of it mean? How could Lauren talk about it so calmly? Something bad was happening. Sure, she’d been in terrifying bondage situations over and over. She’d been helpless, afraid she might suffocate, or choke, or be physically broken and ruined, but this was worse. Hadn’t Lauren said it could go wrong? Hadn’t she said it might end in death?

That was probably what was happening now. She’d never expected it so hurt so much, or feel so lonely.

“Help me. Please…” No. It wasn’t a furnace. It was bigger. Hotter. A fire. A bonfire… Bigger… An atomic bomb. No. Bigger than that… A star… More than one… Galaxies… Galaxies collapsing. Except, in honestly, it was nothing like that, just pain, an idea inside her mind. Nobody could see it or feel it but her. Was it even real?

Lauren clasped Twenty’s hand between both of hers. She was still made of white rubber, the illusion of a skin-suit made into reality. She was alone. Lauren was here, but she was a stranger, and she didn’t care. She wouldn’t help, or she didn’t know how.

“I would help if I could. Didn’t think I’d care if you pulled through. But you’re not a bad kid. I might feel a little sorry if you don’t make it through, so stick in there.”


After the heat came cold.

Twenty shivered violently, teeth chattering. Her skin was raw and every part of her ached. Her muscles tensed and spasmed, fighting against themselves, tearing under the strain, sending fresh pain ripping through her body.

Was this how she ended? What was left of her to survive anyway?

But if Lauren couldn’t do anything, what about Mistress One? She could help, couldn’t she? Why didn’t Lauren fetch her?

Pain. Darkness. Silence. The world fading. Twenty was nowhere. Nothing. Nobody. Had she awakened in isolation punishment? No. She still had a sensation. More pain. Pain threaded through pain, like a strand of a spider-web to lift her out of hell. She followed it. Couldn’t there be another way? An easier way?

As if in answer, a voice came from behind her. She could barely make out words over the juddering of her breath and her own whimpering. She rolled over to see who it was, but it wasn’t easy. Her body was too broken to move properly.

Rolling over was slow torture. She blinked sticky blood from her eyes, her vision red and blurry. A figure was between her and Lauren. A person, not standing on the ground, but floating above it.

It was Mistress One. It had to be. She’d come, the answer to a prayer. The Goddess… It was her all along wasn’t it? The most obvious answer, the one she’d guessed at. It was no way for her to be here, but she’d come anyway, out of nowhere.

A voice spoke, liquid smooth. “Lauren, you’ve been awful again. You’ve broken that poor maid. She was strictly off limits to you.” The sound was so calm, so soothing. It almost made the wretchedness bearable… Her real Mistress was here to save her. Mistress Number One. Number One. Number One. But Lauren had called her Mother. Lauren had said something else too, something about Twenty’s mother. Heather…

Who was Heather, really? It was a name she’d heard before today, an ominous name, a name spoken in fear, or anger, or disgust.

Lauren stepped away from Mistress One, naked, turning and spinning like a dancer, still made of white rubber. “What about the good news Dee? You’re going to be a grandmother.” She gave a strange grin then giggled.

Mistress One was exactly the same as Twenty remembered from the last time she’d seen her – weeks ago, months ago – back when Lauren had upset her. She wore a white skin-suit, like the one Mistress Three had been wearing, and a bright pink mini-dress. Blonde hair tumbled in a ponytail from the top of her skin-suit hood. The only difference was that now she was floating about three-feet in the air.

She put her hands on her hips, looking every inch the perfect Mistress. “Very droll Lauren. I wish I was in a position to celebrate. Look at her. Just look. Can you fix this?”

“She’ll be fine.”

“Is it necessary for you to act like a bull in a china shop all the time? You’ve ruined a decade of preparation.”

“Oh come on.”

“She might die because of you. Yes, you might be able to carry the child to term. You might. But even if you do, it’s the wrong baby. The pure form of her line could be lost. All our hopes dashed. Everything Evelyn promised will come to pass. Were you really that jealous of Heather to pay this price for your revenge?”

Lauren glanced pointedly back at the tortured giant figure behind her, then at Mistress One. “You’re joking aren’t you? You planned this whole thing out. I get it now. You’d tried one scheme and another to toughen her up but it didn’t work, so it had to be me, right. I was the answer? Don’t you dare try and guilt me. Not this time.”

The room had become painfully bright. Mistress One was different. Dark tendrils surrounded her, snaking from her head like Medusa’s snakes. Their reach was instant and limitless. Twenty could see them plunged into the core of the earth, reaching to the sun, the stars, beyond, overcoming the limits of matter, and poised, swaying, threatening Lauren as if ready to strike. It didn’t make sense that Twenty could see such things, so she was probably hallucinating.

Lauren’s own tendrils, dark-red, lashed out, furious, stabbing and blocking every one of Mistress One’s that probed too close. A duel that denied time and causality, that took forever and was over in the blink of an eye. Lauren was made of darkness, but the swirling mixture of light in her belly was so bright that it lit her up like a Chinese lantern.

Mistress One gave a long slow sigh, but the movement of her tendrils didn’t echo the languor in her voice. They snapped and stuttered like lightning, not solid, but gaps in reality, not presence but absence.

“Lauren? Why am I credited with a talent for deviousness and manipulation I don’t possess? It’s hurtful, you know? All along, I’ve done my best for my people, the only way I could find. And this is typical of the thanks I get… From my own daughter, curses, accusations, murder and treachery. You wonder why I’m disappointed? You don’t ask what I had in mind, you just accuse.”

Lauren shook her head in refutation, then laughed. “Of course, denial, but don’t pretend you didn’t see this coming. You always see it coming. You’re so bound up in your prophecies you don’t make choices, you just read from a script that was written before I was born.”

“I close my eyes to a lot of things, that’s how love is. Maybe you’ll learn that for yourself if you intend to be a mother, but I can’t imagine you in that role. Heather was a lovely person. She never thought of herself, never wanted power… never abandoned her responsibilities. Easier to pretend her sacrifice didn’t happen than to try and find justice for her.”

“She was not lovely. She was worse than the centipedes.”

“And now, somebody has brought her innocent child to the brink of death. Unnecessarily, perhaps with the aim of stealing the power of her line for their own offspring? And what will they ever amount to? I can tell you now, the possible futures-”

“I don’t want to know. I don’t need your meddling,” said Lauren. The tendrils lashed at her. It was all she could do to defend herself, and then she yelled out, “Mother, stop it!” She gave a snarl. The air stank of ozone as red met black, driving back the assault.

Lauren was in the air too, vast black wings bearing her up, creating a hot wind that came in brutal blasts. She was still naked and they had appeared instantly, from nowhere, along with the long sinuous spined tail that whipped around behind her. The claws were back too, bigger than ever. She flexed them as if she were about to set upon Mistress One and carve her into pieces.

“Are you going to kill me again?” Mistress One said.

“Stop fucking with me. I won’t take it.” Lauren snarled again, louder this time. “You can’t complain about being killed that one pissy little time. It’s hardly a novelty for you. You don’t even remember it. Or so you say.”

“Who would want that memory?” Mistress One said quietly, her words still at odds with the violence of the intangible battle between the light-swallowing strands that mocked logic and physics. Unlike Lauren, apart from the floating, and the tendrils, she still looked like an ordinary woman. No, if Twenty looked at her just the wrong way, she was nothing like a human being at all, more like an impossibly intricate system of whirling, logic denying, spheres, infinitely big, infinitesimally small, everything orbiting everything else. It was probably just her mind playing tricks. Yes. It was definitely playing tricks, because it was impossible, and made no sense, like confusing a person with a colour.

Lauren’s voice was loud enough to make her ears ring. “How do you think it will end if you push this to its conclusion? Will you destroy me? If that’s even possible? Is that in your prophecies too?”

“Will you ever stop hating me Lauren? Can you imagine how it feels to be hated so much by your own child? When you were little, you used to look out for me. You used to emulate me, protect me. Now you’re drunk on violence. Indiscriminate and devoid of restraint. You have to control your emotions or terrible things are going to happen. I just want you to see yourself.”

“What if the future is scribbled in chalk, not carved in stone. Why don’t you do what you want for a change? Something with a little integrity?”

“You’ve done as you pleased and brought us to the brink of disaster. First Heather, now her daughter. Can’t you just get along? We needed Heather. Now we need her. Alive. How is wanting to save her so lacking in integrity?”

“You’ve always known it, but you did nothing. Now you say we need Heather’s whelp, but you didn’t tell me in time to save Heather. You knew what I’d do and you let me do it, and you let me carry the guilt. Back then, like now.”

“So I knew you were going to say that too? Which of us is right?” She could hardly be heard over the wind, even if it weren’t for the difficulty that Twenty had with hearing anything through the blood clogging her ears.

“Always manipulating. Even now you’re only saying these things so that she can overhear you, trying to bring her to your side.”

The roaring noise quietened and Mistress One spoke again. “You’re wrong. I don’t want to control either of you.”

“Nice words. No substance. Here you are, trying to control. As usual.”

“Take her away. Redeem yourself. Save the maids this time. If they die… I will do as I please… If she dies, I’ll make you regret it ... somehow. I’ll take my own revenge, for everything, this time. I will teach you the meaning of repentance. It’s my responsibility. As a parent. I should have done more, sooner.”

“Why did you even bother showing up?”

But Lauren was left talking to empty air. Mistress One had vanished as inexplicably as she had appeared. Nothing was left but a single stuttering tendril. It made a slow, lazy curl and vanished too.

“Fuckit,” Lauren said.

Twenty was lifted up in a cage made of Lauren’s red tendrils. Everything went dark. Her flesh seethed and bubbled, like something was moving under her skin… Horrible tearing insects? No, the lumps were big enough to be rats. She tried to push them down but they squirmed away. She shrieked, but no sound came out.

Her crotch was a rotten mess of corruption, red-black blood oozing from it. Her penis attached by nothing but a flap of skin. She had to face the unfaceable.

She was going to die a slow, wretched, painful death, as her body disintegrated, rotted and burned, all at the same time.

Darkness again.

Then light.

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