Written on January 2004, this is by far my most successful tale in terms of feedback. Despite a bit of nastiness, it’s still a lot of fun. I hope you feel the same way.
Resisting the Queen
His name was Mulder just like the famous FBI agent from The X-Files, and David just like the actor that brought the character to life. He also had a younger sister called Samantha, and a nicotine-addicted father. Nevertheless, he hated the series and everything that revolved around it. As far as he was concerned, sci-fi and government conspiracies didn’t go hand in hand.
His closest friends liked to tease him about that because they thought of him as a living paradox: how could he not like the series? It seemed wrong considering all the closeness between his life and the events of the show. Whenever he heard such arguments, David would simply reply that he liked to live in the real world and not in someone else’s deluded fantasies, before storming out of sight.
As time went by and the series became more popular, he was awarded the same nickname as the main character: his sister was the first person to use it, but soon all the people he knew addressed him as Spooky Mulder. He hated it, but it was his second skin and he eventually got used to it.
By the end of the ninth and last season of the series, David felt relieved and actually believed that the nickname would never haunt him again, but his friends thought differently.
One of those friends was a guy who knew him since he was a child. They had grown up together in the same neighborhood, and walked the same grounds ‘til they were eighteen. At that time David joined the Navy and got himself involved in some missions abroad, while his friend went to college. They were a couple of years apart but remained real close nonetheless. Now, David had returned for good and was about to receive the first visit in a long, long time.
When he opened the door and saw Sean Prescott wearing a black t-shirt with a huge green X and the words “The truth is out there”, he knew exactly what was going to happen next. He waited in silence as the dreadful saluting words echoed in his ears:
“How are you doing, Spooky?”
“I was quite well, but you had to ruin my day with that nickname, didn’t you?”
Sean opened a vast smile and they shook hands. Soon afterward they were inside the house reminiscing about old times. Since there was no one else around, David took the liberty of opening a bottle of Scotch. They had discovered the pleasure of drinking right after the thrill of exploring a Penthouse for the first time. They were very tolerant to alcohol so they could empty two or three bottles before actually getting merrier than usual which had been a real wonder during teenage years.
“You still like this, don’t you? David asked as he poured the golden nectar in a glass. Sean just pretended to glance at the label and approved it on the spot.
They sat, drank, talked, and drank again. The last few droplets took the shortest way to David’s bloodstream: straight from the bottle all the way to his stomach, and boy, that felt really good!
“Let’s talk about the ladies”, proposed Sean. “I’m sure you’ve had your share of experiences with them on your missions abroad, am I right?”
“Well… I met a few, yes. I had some fun.”
“I’m not talking about whores, David. I’m interested in real women. Take Amber Watkins for instance.”
“Amber Watkins?!” he asked, intrigued.
“You don’t remember her?”
“The name is familiar… wait… are you talking about that redhead you had a crush on when you were fifteen or something?”
“Sixteen. Yep, she’s the one. I’m dating her now.”
“Really?! You and Amber? Wow, she sure was something at the time! How is she now?”
“Much better… in every way! She’s my girlfriend and I’ve never been happier.”
“Congratulations, Sean. Those are wonderful news.”
“What about you? Didn’t you meet someone special? In four years traveling all around this God-forsaken world, wasn’t there a soul who turned your head around?”
“I did meet a wonderful girl, once. I was assigned to a carrier near South Korea and there was this time we came ashore. We came across some goons who were terrorizing a group of people and, despite our orders not to interfere, we eventually stepped in the fight and put an end to it. That was when I saw her, a beautiful Asian deity with the warmest of smiles.”
“Does this deity have a name?”
“Gay? I’m not sure I would like a girl with that name.”
“Stop fooling around, Sean. I’m serious here.”
“I can tell, Spooky: your eyes are glowing. Did you make out with her?”
“No… we just talked, like we knew each other for ages. Our leave only lasted a day, but she left quite an impression on me. I managed to get her phone number, her address and her e-mail and I’ve been in contact with her ever since. It will be a year next Saturday.”
“An impressive story, my friend… You wouldn’t happen to have a picture of this beauty, would you?”
“Actually, I have a dozen or so on my hard drive. Sometimes, she likes to send me some very exotic poses for my delight.”
“Exotic? Now, you’re talking. Show me…”
“I’m not sure if I should. After all, you don’t like her name.”
“Never mind what I said. You know me, I’m a real jerk. Now, please show me. I would very much like to see for myself this girl that has infiltrated herself in your heart.”
“Come along, then.”
David led the way into his king-sized bedroom. The computer was on, for he had been trying to reach her the moment Sean arrived. In his mail-box, one could see more than fifty e-mails from her. There were also three perfumed letters next to the keyboard, one of them having arrived the day before.
David clicked on one of the messages and opened the attachment entitled “swimsuit2.gif”. A picture of an Eastern angel dressed in red just like a Baywatch babe filled the screen. Gay-Yee was indeed very beautiful and her luscious lips seemed alive.
“So, what you think?” David asked.
“What a piece of crap!” that was Sean’s reply.
David jumped right at him.
“What did you say?”
He was about to hit him in the nose when he noticed Sean wasn’t looking at the screen at all. Instead, he sat on a chair with an ancient video game in his hands. He had taken it from a shelf behind him and was almost in shock.
“You actually played this?” He asked, holding the box by the tip of his fingers as if he was in the presence of something nasty and dangerous.
“Yeah, and so did you when we were kids. It was your favorite game!”
“No way, man! Not this junk!” Sean got up and opened his arms in amazement “Your shelf is filled with some very bad taste software. When was the last time you actually played something worth remembering?”
“I thought you wanted to see the pictures and not talk about games.”
“I thought so too, but after seeing this mess I realized how much you missed of life serving the country. I’m going to lend you a decent game so you can understand what I’m talking about.”
“I don’t play video games anymore. My sister is the one you should talk to, nowadays.”
“Sorry, but the game I’m talking about is just for guys. You’re going to love it, and you’re going to thank me. Wait here, I’m going to my house to get it.”
“Sean, really… I don’t think…”
“Trust me, Spooky. It’s for your own good. Have I ever let you down?”
“I’ll be right back.”
“What about the pictures?”
“Later. Saving you from the past is far more important.”
Sean left in a hurry and David remained by the computer, bewildered with the way things had changed all of a sudden. He knew how much his friend liked video games, but was that childish behavior really necessary? He had already been through the years where those trifling matters meant the world to him. The Navy had given him a wider scope of things. He had grown more mature, while Sean still looked the same guy who couldn’t see beyond the series of numbers that brought a game to life, a modern Peter Pan in a computerized Neverland.
He sighed as he gazed at his beloved from across the sea. It was strange, but the picture didn’t look the same anymore. Gay-Yee’s smile had turned into a series of severe lines, the light in her swimsuit had dimmed and her black eyes were like two vortices of darkness. Adding to that, he could almost swear there was a tear hiding in one of them, ready to roll down her rosy cheek when Sean rang the doorbell again.
“He’s going to get you into trouble,” the picture said to him, as he looked deeper into those dark pools.
“How can he do that? He’s my friend.” David thought.
“Are you sure about that?”
David stopped staring at the picture as soon as that idea crossed his mind. It was funny how his subconscious seemed to be trying to warn him about the dreadful secret that made Sean so anxious to lend him that game. Of course, it was more likely to be a twisted projection of some sort than the real truth. The real Mulder wasn’t looking for the speculations of the fictitious one and so he let the strange considerations pass him by.
As he encountered the picture again, the shadows were gone. His imagination was no longer at large, and Sean was already on his way back to his house.
Sean not only brought the game but the required gaming station in order for it to run. He was very thrilled with the idea of letting him have everything, even if that mattered to be deprived of his things for about a month or two. David wasn’t very good at games: he usually needed a week just to adjust himself to the controls, the scenario and the spirit of the mission itself. After that, when the real fun began, his natural clumsiness had a special way to interfere with the progress of the game, giving birth to huge amounts of frustration and lost time.
“Take all the time you need, but play it!” Sean said. “It’s the best game in the market, there’s no doubt about that!”
“The Black Queen: Impending Doom? The title reminds me of sci-fi… are you sure I’m going to like this?”
“Positive. You have to!” Sean declared.
“Just like I had to like The X-Files? That’s not very reassuring.”
“Forget The X-Files. This is pure madness inside a DVD. Just play it all the way through and I promise you I’ll never call you Spooky again.”
“If you break that promise, I’ll break your nose.”
“It’s a deal. Does that mean you’ll play it?”
“I’ll play it alright if that means getting rid of that stupid nickname.”
“Good. Read the manual before getting started and don’t forget to collect the scrolls. You’ll never finish the game without them.”
“Anything else, O Great Guru of Games?” David said out loud. Now it was his time to laugh a bit at his friend’s expense.
“No, I guess that pretty much wraps it. Have fun.”
* * *
Forty-three days later, David was alone in the house again. His parents and his sister had traveled to the other side of the country to visit a dying member of the family. He couldn’t stand being near a decaying person and had chosen to stay in the house to guard it against possible intruders. For five days, he could do whatever he wanted.
On the first day, and after collecting all of the scrolls, David Mulder was fighting The Black Queen… and winning. He was fairly impressed with the quality of the game. It was a real masterpiece: Sean’s bragging made perfect sense now that the adventure was near its finish.
With the final spell activated, even the worst videogamer of them all could conquer the cursed chambers of the Queen’s castle. There were times when David’s character almost dissolved itself in a sequence of flashes, leaving the Queen utterly helpless. The wooden staff delivered the final blow and the end of all things emerged from the screen.
David watched with great curiosity the ingenious way in which the CGI scene became an invitation to hypnosis. The metamorphosis of The Black Queen was staggering due to his complexity but had absolutely no effect on him. He didn’t dive into a trance-like he was supposed to: the lights, the music, the woman’s eyes and voice, nothing penetrated his mind. His inner defenses were far greater than the power of the induction.
The only thing he felt during the whole scene was fear, especially when the voice kept talking about a surprise laid in store for him. “I’m at Dock 15, warehouse 3 waiting for you. The combination to the door is 19672. Come to me…” – what could that possibly mean? And what had Sean to say about that? He had played the game… he had seen that, for sure… what had been his reaction to such disconcerting messages?
He decided to find out, just to clear his head from the stupid things that dwelled in the cloisters of his desecrated thoughts. The game was good, but the end was incoherent. Sean had to know that… he had to tell him exactly his opinion about that.
* * *
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Moving colorful lights? A real woman with violet eyes staring at you as if trying to hypnotize you? How many bottles of Scotch did you drink before coming here, David?” Sean asked the minute he heard his story.
“None, whatsoever… I’m completely sober and I know what I’ve seen. The way the game ends is pretty bizarre!”
“What’s so bizarre about seeing the Queen die and the castle walls tumble down? I honestly don’t understand your reaction, David.”
“And I don’t understand yours because that’s not what happens! If you don’t remember how it goes, come see for yourself. The device is still on: I can play the final battle again and we’ll see who’s right.”
“I can’t waste my time with that right now. I’m already late! Amber is going to kill me or dump me, which happens to be exactly the same for me. Now, unless you want me to haunt you for the rest of your life for ruining my most successful relationship so far, you’re getting out of my way. We can talk about your fantasies in the morning. Tonight, I get the redhead; tomorrow, I get my friend, okay?”
David nodded his head. What else could he do? Sean wanted to be with his girlfriend. He could easily understand that feeling: he also wanted to be with Gay-Yee, hold her in the arms and kiss her ‘til his lips became a part of her body. If only she wasn’t so far away…
Back in his house, he did play the final fight again and all the colors and sounds were still there, giving him the creeps. David didn’t believe in the power of hypnosis to alter human minds; yet the more he saw that mixture of patterns and heard that voice in his head, he couldn’t help believing that he was facing an attempt to create such a change: there was a trap in it, which led to another. Had Sean been incapable of seeing that? Had he taken the bait?
“Look at yourself thinking rubbish!” a piece of him said. “You actually believe your friend was hypnotized by a video game? It’s probably some publicity stunt. If he doesn’t remember it, it’s because he can only think about the love of his life. That’s not awkward. It’s natural. You do the same, writing e-mails every day, looking at her pictures over and over again. Hell, you even keep a picture of her in your wallet and you never kissed the girl you dream about! David, stop seeing things where there’s nothing to be seen at all.”
On his computer, the colorful screensaver he had created with all of the pictures of his Asian deity couldn’t agree less with such line of reasoning. It was screaming at him the following words:
“There’s something evil at work here, something that got hold of your friend. The signs are clear as water and are flashing on your TV screen. It wasn’t the game that grabbed him, but what’s behind it. That woman is real; hypnosis is real, too…”
David paused to reflect upon the last fragments of speech whirling around in the mesh of electric impulses that formed his mind. Fox Mulder would have no problem admitting such possibility. He hated Fox Mulder, but he could be right. Perhaps, he should go to the Docks and investigate some more…
“That’s not a good idea,” Gay-Yee said to him. The pictures on the screen kept changing, but the personality attached to them was strong enough to resist the change. “Why should you give yourself to the enemy? Call the police, instead. Have them check out that address for you. It’s safer, this way.”
“The police?! Why should they believe such a story? The moving patterns prove nothing! You will only make a fool of yourself. There’s no story here whatsoever, but if you want to investigate, do it on your own.”
“Don’t do it, David!”
“Don’t be such a coward! You can think nonsense, but not take the responsibility for those thoughts? Go to the Docks and see for yourself there’s nothing there so you can feel good about yourself again.”
It was a tough decision to make. He hated mysteries, and there was one nagging him. Sean didn’t believe him, but maybe he had been told not to… if he had indeed been hypnotized by the woman he saw in the game, his life could be in serious danger and he had to save him.
The thought of it felt ridiculous and true at the same time. He really had to check that address, alone, and save the day if indeed the day needed to be saved.
“Oh, David…” Gay-Yee’s imaginary voice echoed. It fainted as soon as he walked out the door. The path he had chosen was a muzzling one.
* * *
There was a cold wind blowing in from the sea, but it wasn’t cold enough to make him shiver. What he felt running down his spine as he approached the warehouse was some form of ghostly presence, a living shadow that spun an intricate web of attraction.
It had begun raining and the way the clouds hung menacingly above his head could only mean it was going to keep falling for a long time. Hastening his pace, David reached Dock 15.
The warehouses looked all alike, huge blocks of cement and concrete, with square-shaped windows and large, rusty, sliding doors. Well, not all of them; number 3 was different, very different…
For starters, in comparison with the rest of them, it looked bigger and there were no windows at all. While the others had two entrances – one in the front and one in the back – the one he was looking at exhibited only one door, a door that couldn’t have been there for more than three or four months. It was made of metal – titanium? David thought. Yes, it could be. He had seen doors like that in some of the Navy ships he had been stationed in.
The small number pad next to it was also a distinctive element, a sign of wealth and technology amidst decaying things. Completely soaked, David started pressing the numbers: one… nine…six…seven…
He stopped before pressing the last number. Doubts were haunting him again: what on earth was he doing there at that hour, in a place that looked dead? He had to be reasonable and leave the investigation to someone else… he…
The door hissed and opened, but he was sure he hadn’t pressed the last button. That could only mean that someone inside was inviting him in…
He looked for a camera above the door. Though he couldn’t see any, the truth is he was being watched.
“Look at you, all wet. Come in, I know of a way to keep you warm.” said the most musical woman’s voice he had ever heard.
It came from deep inside the warehouse. He could hear it echoing in the fluorescent corridor ahead.
“Who said that? Who are you?”
“I think you know. You have played my game, haven’t you?”
“Yes, I guess I did. You’re… The Black Queen?!”
“That’s right: my heart is as black as a raven’s wing and I am a sovereign in the true sense of the word. I’ve opened the door for you because I saw you hesitate. I don’t like hesitations, not one bit.”
“And I don’t like mysterious women.”
“I’m not mysterious at all. You’re quite mistaken. Let me prove it to you. Come inside. Let’s talk for a while.”
“Talk about what?”
“What do you want to talk about?”
“Moving patterns, like the ones that appear near the end of the game. They’re very unusual, and I suspect they are very dangerous too.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The Queen replied. The voice seemed the same, but she wasn’t so sure of herself anymore.
“You don’t? That’s strange. It was because of those patterns that I came here, although maybe I didn’t arrive the way I was supposed to. Perhaps I should have been hypnotized by them…”
“I know nothing of hypnosis, but I know how to please a man. Unless of course, you don’t like women…”
David knew that she was lying and that he wasn’t going to be able to do anything on his own. If he hadn’t been so insecure about the best course of action in the first place, he wouldn’t be there jeopardizing his life. He cursed himself for being so dumb and decided to put an end to the conversation.
“Not your kind, that’s for sure!”
“And what kind is that?” She asked, raising her voice as a thunder.
“Find about for yourself. I’m going to warn the authorities about you.”
“No one will believe a fantastic story about hypnosis…”
“Someone will! I just have to find that someone…”
David turned his back on the Queen’s voice and started running away. Suddenly, a night-watchman appeared in front of him, waving his flashlight like a revolver in one hand, and holding a real gun in the other. On the pocket of his blue jacket, one could see a cell phone that a minute earlier had received a very special message…
The watchman’s name was Frank and he was now devoted to his real-life work: following the orders of his mistress.
“Not so fast, pal!” he said. “The Queen isn’t over with you yet. You have two choices: go to her or die right here. I’m a good marksman, young man, and I don’t miss at this range.”
“You would actually kill me just because a woman told you to?”
“Watch your tongue, boy. She’s not just a woman. She’s power incarnated. I owe her obedience.”
“You owe her nothing. Don’t you understand? She hypnotized you, convinced you of some superiority that only exists in her twisted mind…”
“She opened my eyes the same way she’s going to open yours! Now move before I pull the trigger!”
The man wasn’t kidding. There was a fire in his eyes, a killing instinct heightened by the suggestions the Queen had planted in his brain. David didn’t have a death-wish so he started walking back to the warehouse. He had resisted hypnosis before. If the Queen tried anything against him, he would resist her again.
Inside the luminous corridor, he saw the door closing. The Queen’s voice soon became audible once more.
“You’re quite an interesting phenomenon. My basic induction didn’t work with you, but still, you came to my domains. You got curious, was that it, or listened to your pants like a good pet?”
“I wanted to find out what was going on.”
“Then you already did.”
“Yes. You’re a dominatrix from hell that brainwashes people into submission using a video game as the perfect trap.”
“You got it almost right except the dominatrix part. I’m a Queen and all monarchs have subjects. Why should I be any different?”
There was an insane logic to it all if that woman actually believed she was a Queen. David couldn’t dispute her in a purely rational way. They lived in two different worlds, even though she was interested in absorbing his.
“I’m not going to play along in your games. Okay, you got me inside, but I’m staying put by this door, do you hear me?”
“No, you’re not.”
He heard the sound of a vent opening above his head.
“If you don’t start walking towards the other door in… let’s say… Forty-five seconds… I’m going to release a nerve gas in the corridor. The gas won’t kill you, but it will inflict a great deal of pain. It was developed by the U.S. Army and it can cause terminal paralysis if one breathes it for too long. The clock is ticking. Now, you only have thirty-five seconds.”
“No, I’m not. You have challenged me, doubted of my authority. I don’t mean to kill you, but I can sure punish you for being so bold… Twenty-five seconds, now.”
David looked up at the open vent. He heard the buzzing sound of a generator and what appeared to be a series of pumps getting ready for action.
“Are you sure you want to wait to see what’s going to happen?” The Queen asked. Her voice emanated both power and cruelty.
No, he wasn’t. Apparently, he had to play according to her rules if he wanted to get out of there alive. He moved to the door and opened it. The pumps stopped working.
In the small geometrical chamber with the sensors, he heard the Queen address him in an even more scary intonation:
“Tell me your name!”
“Jeremiah Smith” he answered in a stern and convict voice, hoping she would buy it.
“The only way out is in, Jeremiah! Step into the red circle on the floor. I need to scan you very deeply in order to understand what went wrong. And don’t think about refusing me, again! The laser in the sensors can be programmed to take a few chunks out of your body. I’m sure you don’t want to lose an ear or an eye because of some typical macho behavior…”
David complied with her bidding, and the sensors did their worst. Upon the completion of the process, he entered the large, naked room where his friend Sean had lost his free will for good.
The projectors were already on and the patterns had transformed the white walls into alluring, mesmerizing landscapes. The Black Queen’s eyes gazed directly at him, trying to take over of his ability to think.
David looked but didn’t falter. His knees remained stiff; his will stronger than iron. Cheap tricks couldn’t break him down.
He laughed at the virtual clone that appeared shortly after and when the tape kicked in, repeating constantly that The Black Queen was power and control and that he had to acknowledge that fact by kneeling, worshipping and obeying her, he shouted from the top of his lungs a sentence that wouldn’t hypnotize anyone but made him feel really alive:
“The Black Queen is a bitch!”
The images projected changed, the colors flew past him. Other elements came into play, but David didn’t budge.
“Is that the best you can do? I’m still here, wide-awake, and I’m not going to obey you just because you throw some lights into my eyes and repeat crappy sentences. It appears I cannot be hypnotized, so you might as well give up.”
The Queen stopped the tape. She was getting really mad.
“All men can be hypnotized. Men are weak, a game for me, a powerful goddess. In a perfect world, you would all grovel at my feet. I’m going to make sure that world comes alive, but first I need to take care of you, to shred that arrogance and feed it to the dogs, which are noble creatures compared to the ones of your breed.”
“It’s pathetic to hear you talk like that. You must be pretty damn ugly to have developed such ridiculous ideas.”
“Ugly?! A Queen cannot be ugly… I’m infinitely more beautiful and worthy of devotion than you will ever be…”
If David’s consciousness could smile, you can bet your ass that it was doing just that at that particular moment. He had hit a soft spot: vanity is a universal flaw, but women tend to it more often. The Queen was no exception and he was going to use that to his advantage.
“If you are so beautiful and powerful, show yourself to me. I cannot judge the looks of someone just hearing a voice. Show yourself.”
“You have already seen my face…”
“That? As far I’m concerned that woman can be anyone: a model you hired, your next door neighbor… who knows? I’ll only believe it’s you if I see you in person.”
“You’re not yet worthy to see me.”
“If you think you can break me like you broke that watchman, show yourself. Show me you’re a real Queen and not just a coward hiding beneath mind games.”
“You really are bold! Your unexpected resistance will only increase my tenacity to bind you. I will show myself, but only because I want to. I only do what I want and you will learn this one way or another.”
David was tremendously excited. He had succeeded it! Now the Queen would show herself and he, being a strong man as he was, would pin her down and get his ticket out of that nightmare.
The hidden elevator began his ascent into the room and The Black Queen appeared with her hands behind her back. Her hair was trimmed with beautiful, silky locks; her lips partly open were tinted with a luscious purple color. Her dress, quite short and real tight to her body matched exactly the color of her big, breathtaking eyes. David looked at her cleavage, at her round breasts pearled with sweat. He followed the outlines of the dress into her long legs and the pair of pointy stilettos she sometimes liked to stick in the ass of a badly behaving slave. Where was the ugliness he had anticipated? She looked exactly like the woman in the end sequence of game… and more. She was simply drop dead gorgeous and he was getting aroused by her.
“Get a grip, David! Remember she’s dangerous.” he thought.
“What have you to say now, Jeremiah? Are you happy? Well, I’m not. You’re not kneeling… Don’t I deserve that from you? Can you resist perfection?”
David couldn’t find the proper words to answer. Her beauty rendered him speechless and with an urge to masturbate. She walked in his direction, her heels clashing against the ground, her glowing eyes fixed on his. One of her hands grabbed him by its crotch, squeezing it; the other showed him a flash of a syringe and, suddenly, the needle pierced his flesh.
Weakness took hold of him as the Queen’s image became fuzzier and fuzzier. Before he could process what was happening, he had already collapsed on the floor.
So maybe she couldn’t hypnotize him, but drugs were almost one hundred percent effective. That particular combination would put him to sleep for a couple of hours. That’s all she needed to move him to more suitable accommodations where she could study his brain and the real reasons why he seemed immune to hypnotic reprogramming.
Of course, she needed help. Jeremiah/David was heavy, and she couldn’t lift him. As she wondered who she was going to call to do the job for her, she noticed that on the ground was a tiny, almost microscopic cell phone that had just fallen from his jacket. One of the names on his contact list was very promising: the name of one of her slaves.