|Her Contract Entails|
|by Nate Walis|
|email@example.com / also on DeviantART|
|© Copyright 2012 - Nate Walis - Used by permission|
|Storycodes: M+/f; surgery; bodymod; implants; transform; mermaid; mc; conditioning; enslave; dreams; oral; sex; climax; cons; X||
|Her Contract Entails 3 Nate Walis M+/f; surgery; bodymod; implants; transform; mermaid; mc; conditioning; enslave; dreams; oral; sex; climax; cons; X|
|continued from part two
The darkness of the room was not truly penetrated as the door opened, but the corridor outside was filled with a shading of deep shadow rather than an absence of light and so a portion small degree of that dark was replaced with shades of grey instead. A vaguely human shape flitted through the gloom and made for the bed, followed moments later by a far larger figure that could have been mistaken for a hunched bear. While the smaller figure moved with purpose and without pause, the larger constantly glanced back over one shoulder as if fearing discovery at any moment.
"Stop that," Ward spoke in a low, but audible voice. "Get over here and help me before you stumble into something and wake the entire wing."
"Alright," Henry was not happy, "just keep your voice down!"
"Don't be stupid," Ward gestured to the room that was rapidly becoming easier to discern as their eyes adjusted to the darkness. "These walls are soundproof and I made sure that the dose of anaesthetic they gave your friend will keep her under for far longer than we need to get what we need to do done."
"I just don't like sneaking around in the middle of the night, that's all."
"I would have thought someone in your line of business was used to this kind of thing."
"Well," Henry paused, "that's as maybe… but I've gotten fond of her."
"For god's sake," Ward pointed to the door, "just go and get the gurney. We need to have her finished and out of here as soon as we can. Pickford's getting twitchy and I don't want him sticking his ample nose too far into this one."
While Henry ambled back into the corridor, Ward produced a small torch from his inside pocket and proceeded to make a rudimentary check over the occupant of the bed.
The beam of his torch revealed Carla Largo, still unconscious from the effects of the anaesthetic that she had been given earlier in the day. Peeling back her eyelids, he noted that they showed no conscious reaction to the intense light as he shone the torch into them. Satisfied that she was intact and that there was no chance of her waking, he turned in time to see Henry return with the gurney.
Together they gently transferred Carla from the bed to the waiting gurney. She wore a plain nightshirt and her lower body was covered by a garment of tight grey material in much the same manner as it had been after the first day of her operation.
As quickly as they dared, the men wheeled Carla out of the room and away into the night.
It was cold in the bare concrete room, but while Henry shivered despite his heavy overcoat, Ward seemed to be unaffected by the low temperature. Instead his attention was fixed solely on the form of the woman now laid out on the makeshift operating table in front of him.
Ward would have been more comfortable working in his usual theatre for the tasks ahead of him, but he had taken pains to equip this basement room with everything that he would need to work his art. He had also chosen this location on account of the fact that it was known only to himself and represented a place where he could operate in total secrecy.
Armed with a scalpel from a nearby table, he sliced Carla's nightshirt away with nothing more than a few flicks of his wrist. As her breasts were exposed to the chill air, the nipples stiffened against the cold, drawing an amused smile from the doctor.
Henry made a move to object, but then seemed to realise the futility of such an action and visibly resigned himself to simply watching.
Ward lifted the edge of the stocking covering Carla's lower half and sliced that away as well, moving from her waist to the point where her feet might have been without a moment's pause. He opened the garment up and revealed the slightly iridescent landscape of scales and find which had replaced her legs, turning her from an ordinary woman into a creature of myth.
Now Henry could not stop himself taking a step forwards as he tried to take in the reality of Carla's new form. He had simply never seen anything like it in his life. A woman who he had grown attached to in his role as minder was spread out before him and changed utterly, challenging the bounds of what he had thought possible.
He was a simple man by nature, aware of mermaids as something that existed only in children's stories and other childish mediums. The idea of such a creature in the flesh had never crossed his mind before and now that he was presented with the sight of such a familiar face married to the body of an exotic and baffling thing, he could hardly make sense of what reactions were stirred within him.
The last thing that turned Henry on was the thought of fish, live or dead. But this was not a fish that he had ever seen. Above the waist she was the same old Carla, the woman who he thought was very pretty and dared not to look at in a certain way for fear of his employer's wrath. But below the waist she melted away into a silvery tail that mesmerised him in a way that he was not prepared for at all. He could see the shape of the legs that she had once possessed; trace with his eyes the curves he had snuck a look at while she danced for Aubrey Lister back in the club. The fact that the shape was now a scaled tail that ended in a broad fin oddly did not seem to bother him in the slightest, but rather made him want to forget his fears and put his hands on the thing to feel its texture. He knew that he was not looking at the cold wet tail of a fish, rather at the shapely and inviting body of a creature that experienced the world in the same way that he did. A creature that felt passion and longed to be touched by the hand of a fellow being that understood her needs.
"The surgery should be the easy part," Ward's voice shattered the other man's contemplation of the mermaid and brought him back into the room, "it's what comes after that we have to hope will work without a flaw."
Both men gazed at the banks of equipment that dominated one corner of the room, a baffling array of computer terminals, diagnostic screens and other undefinable pieces of technology that hummed with a life of their own.
"I just pray that your employer knows what he's doing with that thing," Ward shook his head.
"You aren't on your own there," Henry rubbed the back of his massive head. "All I know is that Mr Rubin trusts that thing, Mr Lister trusts Mr Rubin and I trust Mr Lister; so that's got to be enough for me."
"Sounds like a tenuous chain you've got yourself, but as the contract we signed places the consequences of that infernal device squarely in the lap of your boss," Ward shrugged and let the unspoken words sink in as he prepared his tools.
Henry remained silent, dividing his attention between Ward, the machine and Carla.
The first he did not trust, the second he was afraid of and the third baffled him in a manner he did not understand.
From his own point of view, the work that was required of Ward was a simple exercise of his skills as a plastic surgeon. While Aubrey Lister had promised Carla that she would not be transformed what she would have described as an inflated bimbo on the operating table, he had no intention of keeping to his word.
Lister was a man used to getting what he wanted, and when he had described his wish to turn her into a mermaid in terms of customising a car to make it unique, he had not been far from the literal truth of what he intended for her.
Like many men who were immersed in a world that was shaped by their own power, he had no concept of how to appreciate the beauty that existed in a thing. Instead he felt the inescapable need to reshape a thing that came into his possession so that it better reflected his own persona and his conception of how the world should be.
In this way, women were no different to him and while he had desired Carla Largo as she danced for him so many times in the past, all the time he had gazed at her his mind had been making note of the subtle or rather more vulgar changes that he would have made to her body. Lister had no shame in his desire to alter what an object or a human being was in order to bring them in line with his own vision, his arrogance and egotism simply assumed that his was the only desire that mattered.
Another man might have looked at Carla's face and commented that she was beautiful and aging well despite the fact she was taxed by the demanding life she had chosen to leave behind. But Lister only saw the hints of lines that were creeping into the corners of her mouth and the faint wrinkles around her eyes. And so Ward was commanded to obliterate them and inflate her lips with collagen, turning her smile into an exaggerated pout.
Her breasts were far from small, still pert and she had often laughed at the way in which they seemed to catch the eyes of men as they walked by. Carla had never been able to understand why her husband had so loved to simply feel their weight in his hands, for minutes at a time while they lay together on a night. But they were too small for a man the likes of Lister and so the doctor obliged him by filling them with implants until they had almost doubled in size, sitting on her chest with all the natural shape that had been impossible with artificial enhancement in the past.
Carla's buttocks continued the curve of her body, generous and full and almost as distracting as her breasts had been under the right circumstances. Of course this was not enough for her new owner, who instructed Ward to enhance the size and shape of her backside to the point where she would have been noticed for its curvature over almost anything else had she still been a human being. As he worked, the doctor wondered if Lister would really make a point of testing his work to discover if his mermaid truly did have a posterior that he could rest his drink on. All things considered, he decided that he would not be surprised it that were the truth.
There were minor things to be done once he had seen to her face, breasts and buttocks. He peeled her skin with chemicals and gave her treatments that would ensure she was not worn out by the exposure to the rays of the sun, abrasive sand and saline water that she would be in constant contact with.
He fused fake eyelashes over her own and treated her eyelids to permanently turn them a shade of silver to match her tail. Her lips and nipples received a similar treatment, becoming an exotic silver so that they stood out and could not fail to be noticed.
Ward also used a compact cosmetic laser to denude her body of all hair in the armpits, face and groin on the assumption that it would make matters simpler for her master in the longer term.
Her nails were replaced with long silver covers that could have been mistaken for claws, only adding to the effect of the webbing already linking her fingers together.
Ward's final touch was something not specified in his instructions from Lister, but a flourish that he was sure the man would appreciate based upon his existing demands. He tinted the exposed lips and inner folds of Carla's vagina in the same silver he had used on her eyelids, lips and nipples so that the eye was drawn to her now smooth groin. He made the assumption that there would be no reason to hide the nature of the creature that she had been transformed into or the purpose to which the man intended to put her.
He did not know it at the time, but he could not have been more correct.
Now the time had come for the device which had sat in the corner, like the proverbial elephant in the room, all the time Ward had been at work. Neither of the men had a deal of experience with such a machine, but they had been well briefed on what was required and the terms in which their instructions from Lister had been phrased left no room for interpretation. Before she reached him, Lister was adamant that Carla Largo would be hooked up to the machine and her mind exposed to its effects.
Henry wheeled the elements that would be connected to the unconscious mermaid to the side of the operating table as slowly as he dared. There was no way he could back out of the thing, but at the same time he simply could not will his body to proceed with any greater speed.
For his part, Ward sensed the trepidation in the larger man and though he would never let on, sympathised as much as he was able. Unlike Henry, he understood very well the principles upon which the device was based and just how it worked. The information did not dispel his own misgiving, only made him uneasy on a far more intellectual level than he supposed the other man was capable of.
The doctor waited while Henry lifted Carla's head in order to allow him to push the complex apparatus which was attached to the machine over her cranium. It resembled a helmet of some kind and totally isolated her senses from the outside world, or would have done had she not been sedated.
Ward jabbed a syringe into her arm, administering a drug that would bring her some of the way out of her unconscious state and yet still leave her unable to move or function in a significant manner. He understood that the way in which the machine functioned required a basic level of activity to be present in the mind of the subject, for if there was nothing happening in the mind, what could the thing have an effect upon?
Moments later the device became active as its sensors registered the stirrings of Carla's brain, screens filling with indecipherable data and components starting to spin in their housings. This contraption for which Aubrey Lister had paid greatly and called in many favours began to bombard her eyes and ears with stimuli while monofilament wires burrowed through her scalp, skull and probed into the synapses of her brain.
In much the same way he had ignored his promise to leave her body free of excessive implants and cosmetic alterations, Lister also had little regard for any wish that Carla had to remain in mind the woman she had once been no matter how changed she was in body.
The steps he had taken to aid her family and lure her into his power were things that in his own mind only served to deliver him what he wanted. Once he was sure he had her, there was nothing of her own concerns that caused Lister even a moment's pause. He wanted a mermaid that fulfilled his desires and no reservations that Carla could have voiced would stop him getting his own way as far as she was concerned.
There was no way Lister would allow his new plaything to retain the capacity to recall the woman she had once been, to remember the family that she had lost or to retain the capacity to judge himself or his actions. He was paying for a living toy that would amuse him and satisfy his desires when and where he wanted without hesitation. And he was under no illusions that Carla would submit to being his plaything no matter what she may have promised him. To that end he had decided that in reality as well as in terms of her faked demise, the woman known as Carla Largo had to die in order for his pet to be born.
The device would allow that to happen, the probes seeking out the areas of the brain in which the very notions of the self were generated and changing them to suit a new pattern. This was no crude brainwashing or hypnosis, but an actual process that changed the very physical structure of the brain as it went. The alterations made represented a pattern that would fundamentally change the identity, thoughts and actions of the subject according to the instructions programmed into the machine. At one end of the scale a person could be affected in so small a way to make them believe that they had said or done something they had not or lose all knowledge of a single fact, but at the other it could be used to completely change the memories, identity and personality of a subject.
And that was just what was happening to Carla as she lay on the operating table.
Lister would not only change her in body, but in mind as well.
Little by little the effect of the probes sunk into her brain tissue eroded the image of Carla Largo as a woman who had been born, raised and educated in the real world. They scrubbed away at the memories of her past, her childhood and her adult life with her family, leaving a blank slate where the amassed snapshots of her passage through the world had accumulated to make her the person that she was.
With that done, they drove deeper still; attacking the basis of her perception of herself as a human being. The concept of that she held of even being a highly evolved primate that walked erect on two legs was seized and obliterated totally. Soon though she recalled what a human being was, she had no means by which to connect herself to the species or belief that she belonged to it at all.
Now that the space had been cleared, the probes began to restructure the areas of Carla's brain that had been affected. They made new connections and spanned the gaps that had been left with fresh tissue that would cause her thoughts to flow in the direction that her new owner intended without her even stopping to question what she was doing or thinking. In effect, her mind would never know a thing had been changed because it would have only the new structure of its own synapses from which to draw its conclusions.
The elements of the brain that had once given rise to the personality of Carla Largo were replaced at an alarming rate with those that would constitute a quite different creature. Where there had been a relatively strong and independently minded woman, there was now a submissive and simple personality that accepted itself as nothing more than a limited creature in need of an influence to dominate and direct its actions. The new Carla was dependent, shallow and concerned only with her status in the eyes of the individual that she perceived as her master, seeking to please him in whatever she and hoping to keep his attention firmly upon her at all times.
She was a mermaid, and she accepted that fact without question as she had always been such a creature. Her tail and fins were as natural as her arms and her hands to her and she simply knew nothing about ever having had legs and feet, finding the idea unnatural and vaguely disturbing. There was no mystery about the role of mermaids either, they were inferior to human beings and existed on the whim of the one that they called their master, grateful for his attention and willing to submit their bodies to him without restraint or pause.
And who was her master?
The image of Aubrey Lister descended into her consciousness like an angel from heaven.
Here was the man that she existed to please, the master that she needed to be close to and craved the attention of. She knew what while she had his eyes upon her and occupied his every thought then she was truly safe and loved without reserve, anything else was to lose her very purpose and simply exist as a thing without meaning.
He was the most radiant man she could imagine, the most virile and the most brilliant. No other man could ever please her or care for her as he would and she was dedicated to repaying his endless kindness to her by worshipping him with her own body as soon as she was able.
Carla slept; transformed in mind and body the mermaid dreamed of nothing but making the man for whom she was intended happy.
Ward glanced at the readouts clutched in his hand and finally nodded to Henry, indicating that the time had come to remove the apparatus from Carla's head. The big man wiped visible beads of sweat from his forehead as he did as he was told.
Now all he had to do was smuggle his charge out of the clinic before the sun rose and they were discovered.
A private jet would carry them both back to the other side of the Atlantic where the swelling that was already distorting Carla's features from the extensive facial surgery would have the chance to heal.
He hoped that Lister would be patient enough to give her body the time that it needed to recover and at the same time that the changes made to her mind would not drive her insane before she was allowed to meet the man who was now the centre of her altered consciousness.
Just for once, Henry thought, it would be nice to have fewer problems to worry about rather than more.
The only sounds that reached Aubrey Lister's ear as he opened the door to the opulent bed chamber was the slow slashing of the ceiling fan as its blades cut through the warm air and the sough of the waves that crashed on the nearby beach. He had seen so few faces since his limousine pulled up outside the sprawling mansion that he could have almost believed the entire estate was deserted save for himself and the object of his growing physical excitement.
Excitement may have seemed a juvenile term to describe a man as hard and callous as Lister undoubtedly was, but he had waited so long for this moment and expended so many resources upon it that he simply could not contain his desire to see the result of his efforts.
He wasted no time in striding through the large room, so used to the sight of the gilt fittings and the marble floors that they passed him by without notice. The doors to the balcony were wide open and he made his way out into the fading light of dusk, staring all the time at the figure laid upon a luxurious couch.
At the sound of his approach, the figure seemed to stir awake and turned to face him.
The smile that spread across Lister's face spoke of his emotions as he took in the sight of the couch's occupant; there was triumph, satisfaction and a hunger that had nothing at all to do with his stomach.
In contrast, the smile that Carla wore as she gazed up at him was one of pure delight and joy, as though his mere presence was a blessing that she could never express her thankfulness for.
If she had seemed to be a blending of the woman she had been and the mermaid she was contracted to become when the work of Doctor Pickford was complete, the additions made by his colleague had fully transformed her into something new and different. A person who had known Carla Largo in her former life might have recognised her had they been able to spend more than a moment scrutinizing this fantastic creature, but even then they would have been forced to admit that there was less of the woman and more of the mermaid about her.
Her hair had been allowed to grow long, gathered into braids that reached down to her back and woven with an assortment of tiny shells, beads and trinkets that made a quiet clattering as she moved her head. Each of the items chosen to decorate her hair could have been the smallest of baubles and curiosities plucked from the bed of the sea by a mermaid in her travels. She played with the strands as she seemed to enjoy the experience of being looked up and down, twisting them endlessly around her webbed fingers.
She was naked above the waist save for a pair of metal caps which covered her nipples, the colour of tarnished silver. Her heavy and yet pert breasts stood naked upon her chest, rising and falling in time with her breathing and her smooth stomach spread out below.
A collection of silver chains sat loosely around her waist, descending to her groin where they became a thicker length of interwoven metal which lay over her intimate parts and extended to the point where her skin gave way to the scales of her tail.
Her wrists were adorned with bracelets of different sizes and shapes, mirrored in larger bands that decorated her tail, hanging loosely above her fin as it beat on the cushions of the couch.
She said nothing as he stood before her, did nothing but stare up at him with large brown eyes filled with a feigned innocence that contrasted with the language of her body in a wicked manner. And in truth, what would she have said? A submissive creature that saw this man as her sole master and hung on his every word, eager to catch his glance and hold it.
Lister remained deliberately silent, his arms crossed over his chest as he took in the full sweep of the mermaid's body from head to tailfin. He gave her no hint or clue as to what he expected of her, wanting to test the extent of the demands he had made in her creation and how much they had become a part of her nature.
He had to wait only a few moments before the expression on Carla's face changed slowly from innocence to mischief as she sat up on the couch and tucked her tail beneath her backside. Her hands may have been webbed and ended in exaggerated nails, but she was still dexterous enough to open his flies with little trouble. One hand slipped inside and he felt the cool touch of her digits upon his penis as she gently drew it out into the open air, stroking the shaft with her free hand as it came.
It would have been fair to say that Lister was excited even before he found his member in the hands of the mermaid. But now that she was massaging him in a manner that spoke of some expertise whilst pouting at him all the while, he was unable to control his reaction.
Carla teased him all the time she held his member, placing the head between her lips and sliding her tongue around the tip that was inside her mouth. Her body began to tremble and quake as she drew more of his length into her mouth, as though the very act sent shivers of pleasure through her being.
He found his hands wound in the braids of her hair as she finally swallowed him in as far as she was able and moved her head backwards and forwards in a motion that threatened to make him burst right there and then. Her attentions were so intense and she was moving with such passion and strength that he felt sure she would begin to suck the very life out of him were she allowed to go on for much longer.
With a herculean effort, Lister pulled her away from his penis and cast her back onto the couch.
Carla looked up at him with an expression of puzzled sadness in her eyes, as if she was unable to cope with the idea that he had severed her physical contact with him.
But the expression on his face soon soothed her feelings and she smiled once more as he knelt down and scooped her from the couch. He revelled in the feel of her weight in his arms and the contrast between her soft flesh and smooth scales as he carried her into the bedchamber.
Far from disappointed with her voracious appetite for his attentions, Lister was delighted by the fact that he had been presented with a mermaid who was nigh on insatiable and hungry for his favour. There was no room in his world for notions of romance in which such creatures pined for princes or sang on rocks. He had demanded a living toy that would enjoy being the object of his desires and willing to obey his every whim to the point where she could interpret what he wanted even before he spoke a word.
He had not pulled his penis out of Carla's mouth because he was unhappy with her technique, but rather because he was not about to spend himself on a simple blowjob on the first chance he had been given to enjoy his new plaything.
Lister came to a halt by the edge of the Jacuzzi which filled one of the corners of the room. Raised three feet off the floor and filled with water as part of his demands whenever he was in residence, it seemed to be the perfect place to continue his voyage of discovery.
Placing Carla on the side of the tub, he saw that once more she needed no urging as she swung her tail into the bubbling water. She twisted her body as she went, so that she disappeared beneath the surface on her stomach and was lost to sight.
Lister stripped his own clothes as fast as his sense of dignity would allow him, not caring where the various items landed in the slightest and always fixated upon the churning water, hoping to catch sight of the mermaid when she reappeared.
And when she did, it was in a magnificent cascade of water, throwing out a shower of liquid as she burst upwards and flung her braided head back in a display of sheer sensual delight. Carla came to a halt, knelt in the water with beads of liquid running down the curves of her body and dropping from her as though she were a statue placed in the middle of a fountain. She was breathing heavily, eyes seeming to urge him on as he stared at her, asking why he hesitated for a moment.
He stepped quickly into the tub, seizing her buttocks and pulling her towards him as he sat on the edge so that she kneeled before him and their faces were on a level. When the chains around her waist brushed his penis, he simply tugged them aside, snapping the fragile ties that held them in place as had been the intention of their design. His eyes happened upon the silver lips of her vagina and he almost laughed with the sight of it, intrigued by the way in which his pet kept surprising him.
Carla leaned in close, trying to reach his mouth with her own and he held her slightly at bay, amused by the desperate manner in which she continued to reach for him with straining lips. Then he let her find him and felt her tongue dart into his mouth with a desperation he savoured like a fine vintage.
When he tired of her kisses, Lister pulled her from him and turned his body so that he was knelt behind her in the water, pressing her bodily over the edge of the tub. She looked back over her shoulder at him with the same desperation in her eyes as he had felt in her tongue, almost begging him for what might come next. Carla pressed her backside into him, probing for his member beneath the water.
He grasped one of her breasts with one hand and found her own genitals with the other, stroking and pressing her so that she buckled in his grasp. Only when she began to gasp and cry out in response to his attentions did he slide between her buttocks and enter her, pushing his way inside with all of his weight in one motion.
If she had cried out before, Carla almost screamed in that moment, her hands atop his, her nails digging into his flesh. He moved slowly at first and then ever faster inside her, leaving her lower body to his own and instead searching out both of her breasts. He twisted the metal caps atop her nipples, causing her exquisite before simply tearing them away to expose the silver shade of the flesh beneath.
It was at times like these that Aubrey Lister truly envied such a creature as an octopus, longing for more limbs than he possessed so that he could have entered her remaining orifices at the same time. He loathed being restricted to her vagina whilst he massaged her breasts and longed to enter her rear and her mouth at the same and envelop her in the action. In that moment he actually considered the possibility of subjecting himself to the same process he had inflicted upon Carla, just for the ability to do so. But the notion was fleeting and he was soon returned to the real world as he reached his climax and felt the mermaid follow suit.
There was no way he could have known it, but she had even been programmed to reach her own orgasm within moments of his, a measure intended to ensure that he was both convinced that he was providing her with everything she could absorb and that his own virility was greater than hers.
Lister climbed out of the water and once again scooped his mermaid up in his arms.
He crossed the marble floor, not caring that they left a trail of water behind them or that the sheets were soaked the moment he dropped her on top of them.
The night was warm and he had many hours ahead of him in which he intended to enjoy himself, his mind filling with thoughts of the way in which he would make use of the mermaid and she rubbed herself against him and stroked his chest in the hope of his paying her attention for even a moment longer.
Henry was not a happy man; he had never been disposed towards positive thinking or looking on the so called bright side of life in general. In the past it had been enough to do his job, get paid and enjoy the perks that working for a man such as Aubrey Lister could bring. But no matter how hard he tried, the narcotics were not for him and the women that swooned at the thought of a card carrying member of the underworld made him feel soiled when he was no longer in their company.
If he was honest with himself, he could pin down what had been the last straw in his own case without any trouble at all.
Carla Largo had been the tipping point, a woman he had got to know back home in London and soon afterwards been forced to watch being turned into a human plaything for his employer's amusement and gratification.
Henry was honest enough to admit that he was attracted to Carla, but that was not the root of his issues with what Lister had done to her.
Many times he had seen beautiful women be picked up and then cast aside by the man, the process was something he had become used to over the years. But with Carla, something that simply disturbed him characterised the relationship that Lister enjoyed with her.
Seeing her become a mermaid had been bad enough, but the change in her personality haunted him with guilt and self-loathing.
Gone was the likeable woman who had joked with him in the café every morning, and in her place was an alien creature that reacted to his friendly smile with a look of sheer hostility as she clung to Lister's arm. On another occasion she had literally hissed at him and taken a swipe with her vicious looking nails.
For more than a year now he had been forced to endure the experience of seeing her familiar face and knowing that the woman to whom it had once belonged was gone. And the worst thing of all was the knowledge that he had played a vital role in bringing about the transformation which had banished her and left a living plaything in her place.
So Henry buried his recriminations and soldiered on, eaten from the inside by his guilt whenever he laid eyes upon the mermaid.
Carla woke from her dream, shaken by the images that pursued her through the landscape of her unconscious and once more happy to have left the daily need for sleep behind her until the night came back around. She knew that the memories of her latest dream would soon begin to fade away as they always did, replaced by the genuine delight that she felt with the prospect of another day filled with the things that made her life complete.
The fact that every day it seemed to take longer for the images to fade from her mind was something that she chose to ignore, an uncomfortable reality that she was unable to deal with and unwilling to allow to spoil her enjoyment of the waking hours.
Although she was devoted to the task of pleasing her master, concerned above all else with the act of obeying his commands and trying to interpret his needs before even he was aware of them, Carla was not a stupid creature in the slightest. Despite the effort she made, there was inevitably a time that she spent pondering the things she saw in her dreams before her mind was swept away with thoughts of how she might be able to serve him best that day.
Had she been plagued by nightmares or dreams in which she was in mortal danger, she might have been able to ascribe her fears to the simple nature of the imagery that populated them. But as it was the dreams were simple scenes of what she understood to be domestic life for a human being, images of working in a normal nine-to-five job, snapshots of preparing meals and tending to household chores and mundane interactions with a recurring set of faces that seemed to know her, assuming that she would know them in turn.
Carla was disturbed by the very realisation that she should not have been so familiar with such things for the simple reason that she was not a human being at all.
Her recollections of life before she had been owned by Aubrey Lister was nothing more than a vague collection of blurred shapes, colour and sounds, but that was perfectly normal for a mermaid. Her kind were creatures that lived from one moment to the next and centred themselves on passions and experiences rather than abstract concepts and long memoires as did human beings. All she needed to be complete and happy was the knowledge that she was loved and held in the esteem of her master, pleasing him resulted in her being granted that security and she was as sure as she could be that there was nothing more important in her life than that relationship.
Aside from seeing to the needs of her own body, Carla was content to do nothing more with her own time than contemplate how she could better meet the needs of her master and ensure that she was as exquisitely presented as possible when he deigned to call upon her. Once she was in his presence, there was no need to waste even a second on thoughts of her own, she was given over to him completely.
So why were her dreams haunted by simple human beings and scenes from the lives that they chose to lead?
The people that she saw in her dreams seemed to have access to knowledge that she was denied, calling her by name as if trying to make her remember things that simply could not be part of her past. They called each other by names that were repeated over and over until she was sure her mind was playing tricks on her as they began to seem somehow familiar.
She was hounded by the two young girls who called themselves May and Jada and herself their mother, insisting that she had carried and then birthed them into the world despite the obvious reality that they were human and she was a mermaid. Carla was sure that there was no way she could have been impregnated by a human male, she had been taken time and again by her master and never fallen pregnant in all the years she had gratefully submitted to his attentions.
But worse was the man known as Jared, the man who was not her master and yet whispered into her ear of how much he loved her. He was so different from the domineering confidence of Lister that she was sure he could never have been enough for her. And yet there was a quality to the tender way in which he seemed to think of her even more than he did himself that gave her pause.
Carla had to admit that she was baffled by the character of a man who seemed too meek and pathetic to simply take what he wanted. But why then did she recall an alien emotion when she still held fragments of him in her memory? An emotion that resembled the satisfaction that Lister showed when he had sated himself upon her, but rather an emotion that was her own. Was it possible that she too could be made happy and contented when her own desires were the object of a lover's intentions?
The more she thought about these things, the more they gained a foothold in her mind.
She had little need to be aware of the passage of time, but she was vaguely aware that she had been in the possession of Lister for what might have been six or maybe seven years by the time that the memories of her dreams truly began to stay with her in her waking hours.
Carla was diligent in never speaking of them to a living soul, but they had become something that she obsessed over when she was alone with her thoughts. The pull that they had upon her had grown even to the point where the image of the man called Jared sometimes sprang into her mind's eye while she was being ridden by her master, forcing her to keep herself under control and fight to maintain the illusion that nothing was amiss.
She was aided in her deception by the fact that Aubrey Lister was a supremely arrogant man, not given to questioning the loyalty of a creature that he saw as nothing more than his property and seemed to obey his every whim.
Right there, under his gaze and without his suspecting a thing, the Carla slowly put the pieces together in a process that led her from confusion, to frustration and finally to pain as she realised that the images in her dreams could not be a mere figment of her subconscious. Whoever the human woman who seemed to share her name may have been, there was a deep and important connection between them and she had been granted some strange kind of access to her thoughts and memories for a purpose that still escaped her understanding.
She came to the conclusion that she had to find out who this woman was and why she seemed so akin to herself.
She had to reach out, and there was only one man who she could even think of trusting.
A man who the human woman named Carla had trusted herself.
story continued in part four
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