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"Try A Twisted Road"

by Connie Sellers



Vol. 4, No. 2,  1960

     Blushed, intent faces ringed her in. The music was right, throbbing and insistent. But the slinky walk and hesitant bump-and-grind motions of the woman were incongruous, since she was fully clothed.
     Parlor hypnotist Carr took a deep breath, watching her. Incongruous, yes--but somehow more sexy that way. He glanced at the frowning face of the woman's husband, and knew he'd better not push this trick to its conclusion.
     Then the Brian guy yelled, 'Take it off!"
     On cue, Willia Tallant followed through, peeling away her suit coat with a flourish. The blouse followed, revealing softly taut breasts strainign against bra cups.
     Willa's husband stood up as his wife stepped out of her skirt.
      "Take it off!" Jaime Brain yelled again, and shook away the hand his own wife put on his shoulder.
     All blonde and gold in her clinging half-slip, Willa swayed a moment, rocking to the bump of the background music.
     Carr made a stage pass and intoned, " You are a strip teaser...the crowd is cheering...continue, Willa, continue..."
     Face set, Willa's husband took a step forward.
     Willa stiffened, and with a visible effort, opened her eyes. She looked around at the grinning faces and reddened, clutching desperately for her discarded clothing. Nervous laughs and a ripple of applause swept the room.
     Carr bowed. "You see," he said, "there's nothing to fear. No subject under hypnosis will do anything against her moral principles."
     Half in anger, half in pride, Willa's husband grinned and hurried his wife into another room.
     Carr nodded to himself. When he'd gone through the motions of putting Willa into a trance, nobody but the woman had heard the key word he'd whispered into her ear--the post-hypnotic command that would trigger instantaneous reaction when he said it again.
     Gracefully, he accepted a martini, wishing that Willa had been the loud-mouthed guy's wife, instead. That deluxe doll was really something, all startlingly white skin and thundercloud hair. The luscious Darla Brian wa far too beautiful for such a slob as Jamie.
     Carr leaned against the fireplace, conscious of the picture he made, seeing it reflected on the faces of the neighborhood women--those with just a bit of sag to their throats, with just a little too much flesh around their hips.
     But he wasn't interested in that type wife; he didn't trot out his store of hard-earned knowledge to amuse and tempt such as those. Carr was after the young, lush wives like Darla Brian. Until she came around, Willa Tallant would do.
     Then there would always be another psuedo-sophisticated crowd, another fad-riding gathering of suburbanites seeking cheap thrills or a stimulating brush with fear.
     Someone was at his elbow. He turned to Willa, seeing she'd numbed her embarrassment with a couple of quick ones while getting dressed in the bedroom.
     "I--I was awful," she said. "And you were, too-making me act like that."
     Carr's fingers came up to stroke the careful streak of gray at his temple. "Not awful, Mrs. Tallant--interesting. All women have a buried hint of exhibitionist in them. But as I said not I--nor any other hypnotist--can make you do anything against your moral standards."
     Willa shivered. "I should hope not. Why, if that wasn't so, you could make a person do anything you wanted, even--even murder."
     Murder wasn't exactly what she had started to say, Carr knew. But it made a good point. He told the listeners about it, throwing in enough psychiatric terms and enough history of mesmerism to confuse them well.
     As he talked, Carr watched two faces in particular--the heavy, sweaty features of Jamie Brian, and the modeled perfection of his wife's. Carr sensed the underlying aura of fear and something close to hate between them. He also felt the puritanical, one-man, one-woman stiffness of Darla Brian, and knew the woman was determined to make the best of her marriage bargain--no matter how distasteful it had become.
     But this type of woman was Carr's specialty--the true, trusting wife, the cozily married woman who would never go beyond a mild flirtation. The other kind were no challenge. Carr enjoyed an immense satisfaction from stealing a wife who had always been faithful to her husband.
     For there were a couple of things he didn't go into when he explained his trance-inducing stunts. One was the planting of the post-hypnotic suggestion--a random, rare word that would snap the subject immediately back into trance.
     The other--well, what he said about the moral principle resistance was true. Only there was an angle these partying idiots never seemed to think of. There was nothing to stop an accomplished hypnotist from putting a woman into a trance and telling her that he was her husband.
     That way, they couldn't resist. That way, they were always warm and willing, never fighting against their moral values, never realizing that the man in their beds wasn't dear old Joe, or John, or Harry.
     This gimmick made itself interesting in other ways, too. It was amusing and often amazing--for Carr to slip into the part of the actual husband, to follow the easy familiarity of each well-learned move the wife would make.
     Carr placed his empty glass on the table and made his excuses. He always left these parties early, without seeming to pay too much attention to the wives. He'd found it was too easy to alert some suspicious husbands.
     But he always left them smiling--and with certain addresses and working hours of the husbands carefully filed in the back of his mind. Mr. Tallant would never remember it--but their household was due for a visit from Carr, along about nine a.m., tomorrow.
     Before he left, Carr took another long look at Darla Brian, who was trying to urge her wobbling husband away from the bar. He pushed her aside with a brutal lick of his big hand.
     The beauteous Darla could wait; there would be other parties, and at one of them, Carr would maneuver her into being a subject. After that, she would join a long line of conquests. And until then, there was Willa--soft and blonde, and a pushover when he said the trigger word.

     Carr said the word at exactly 9:15 a.m. the next day, standing before a slightly tousled and surprised Willa. The door had opened at his ring, and she hadn't had a chance to protest.
     At the sound of the word, her eyes glazed over. The hands that had been holding her housecoat tightly about her full body relaxed, and the thin material gaped wide.
     "This is George," Carr whispered, moving slowly toward her, "George, your husand...George, the man you love..."
     She led the way, and the bedroom was like her, pink and gold and frilly. Her thick hair made a blonde puddle on the pillow as Willa held her arms to him.
     She was giving--a warm, sweet depth of firm thighs and a couch of hips. Willa moved gently, surrendering in a familiar pattern she had acquired in marriage, giving and enfolding, taking only at the shuddering crest of her passion.

     Carr stood outside on the treelined street, a little disappointed. Willa had been nice enough, a new, fresh conquest. But he blamed George; the man obviously had no imagination.
     He tilted a thin black cigar into his mouth and strolled along the quiet street. He never knew what to expect from a woman in a trance--wild, thundering violence, or gentle sweetness such as Willa possessed. But he had learned one  important thing; it was always best never to disturb the pattern, whatever it was. An abrupt departure from the norm was liable to break the hypnotic spell.
     He pulled in a lungfull of cigar smoke and frowned. There had been the teenage wife back East, when Carr had been new at mesmerism. That one had been a mistake, a wild-eyed mistake who came awake screaming for police.
     Luckily, she hadn't been very muscular. Not strong enough to tear away the pillow he'd jammed over her face; not strong enough to breathe through layers of feathers and ticking.
     Carr shook his head, turned the corner, and held up a hand for a cruising taxi. yes, it was far better to let a wife's sexual habits remain exactly as they were. It had been a shame, having to waste such a cute little girl.
     He got into the cab and flicked his cigar butt out the window. But other girls were always waiting, like Willa--and the glamorous, mistreated Mrs. Darla Brian.

     Carr waited patiently for the next party invitation, and it came as usual. Free entertainment was always welcome in suburbia, and so was the cool, proper Carr--the man who never made passes at even willing wives.
     Yes, the woman on the phone said, the Brians were coming, although wouldn't it be so much better if that sweet Darla could come without her boorish husband, didn't he think?
     Carr murmured politely, and promised to be there, too. When his cab pulled up at the door, his plans were made. He would delay the show until Jamie Brian was well into his cups, which shouldn't take long. Through him, Carr would get Darla as a subject.
     He made a point of being friendly with Jamie, man-talking to the hard-mouthed man, seeing that his glass would never empty.
     "You gonna' make somebody strip tonight?" Jamie asked.
     "Something different," Carr said, "something milder."
     "Hell you say," Jamie muttered. "Why dontcha' use my wife? Like to see her doin' somethin' she don't want to do."
     Carr nodded. "I think Mrs. Brian would make an excellent subject."
     Darla shook her head. "N-no, I don't think--"
     Jamie's shiny face was stubborn. "Go on."
     "Jamie," she said, "please--"
     His hand squeezed her shoulder. Carr saw the sudden pain racing across Darla's face, and guessed there would be bruises under her dress, both old one and new ones. Jamie was that kind of man.
     Not that it bothered Carr. The Marquis de Sade had come up with some rare innovations. All Carr cared about now was that Darla would "volunteer" for hypnosis.
     She couldn't help it. Not without making a scene, she couldn't, and her dark eyes were wide as she waited tensely in the center of the game room while the crowd gathered.
     Darla fought him, in terror and frustration. His soothing words and practiced tones didn't put her under, and the waiting people stirred restlessly. But she slipped easily into watching the tiny, spinning mirror that Carr brought out, so easily that she forgot to be afraid.
     "Can you hear me?" Carr asked.
     Lifeless, flat, the echo came back. "I hear you."
     "You're a fashion model," Carr said, "parading in a large store."
     She was too, graceful, rippling, swaying, pirouetting to display a non-existent gown. There was no burlesque to her movements, and therefore, no humor.
     "C'mon," Jamie Brian yelled, "make her do somethin' else."
     Carr went through his routine. Darla was in turn a little girl, a doddering grandmother and a hula dancer. It wasn't enough for her husband.
     "Make her get on her knees and bark like a dog," he said, eyes reddened and mean. "Like the bitch she is."
     The performance wasn't funny any more, and people turned away.
     Carr leaned close to Darla. "Success...success...when you hear this word, you will go into a deep trance...success, do you understand?"
     Jamie fumbled his way toward them. "Make her bark."
     "I understand," Darla said.
     "You'll wake up now," Carr intoned, "slowly, as I count. When I reach 'three,' you'll be fully awake." 
     Shoulders hunched, Jamie stood over them. "She didn't make like a dog."
     "One," Carr said, "you're stirring now; two; slowly waking...three; you're wide awake."
     "You're a phony," Jamie snarled.
     Carr moved away, not wanting trouble with the big man, not wanting anything except that which lay so closely within his grasp--success with Darla. The trigger word he'd chosen was most appropriate.
     Each morning at 8:30, Jamie Brian left home and made his bleary was to an office somewhere, Carr knew. Alone in the apartment, Darla would be waiting for a word. Carr's thin tongue dampened his lips. Jamie was a rough, brutal man; the coming experience with the lovely Darla could be stimulating.

     The next day, the buzzer sounded long under Carr's finger, and he pressed it again. He frowned, knowing Darla's schedule too well. She had to be inside; she never went out until afternoon.
     He heard her coming then, the footsteps slow and hesitant. Her haunted eyes peered at him through a door opened only a crack.
     "Success," he said rapidly, and smiled as the sudden glaze came over her face.
     He pushed into a living room cloyed with heavy odors of spilled whisky and old cigarettes. In the dimness of drawn shades, the dark imprint of a vicious hand stood out on Darla's pale cheek.
     "Success," Carr repeated, and moved toward her.
     Darla wore no housecoat. Her white, tapered legs were frothed by a lacy nightgown that come only to mid-tigh. High, arched breasts pushed rebelliously against its diaphanous top, and Carr's hands eased out to touch them.
     "I am Jamie, your husband...Jamie, your man...it's all right..."
     Her ripe mouth opened. "Jamie...don't hurt me..."
     'No," Carr breathed, stroking the warm body that quivered deliciously beneath his fingers, "no, I won't hurt you--much."
     His hand tangled into her hair, and Darla sagged to her knees. Carr grinned down at her. So this was the pattern--anywhere in the house, any time, with force. He tugged at her hair, and Darla moaned softly.
     He was with her then, tearing away the nightgown, rampaging under the taut, flinching body so white and pale on the rug. In conditioned reflex, Darla cringed and tried to pull away. Carr held her down, writhing, nuzzling at old bruises in the base of her ivory breast.
     Darla was beautiful, so terrified and alive; such long vibrant legs and swiveling hips; such a soft mouth for hurting. Carr congratulated the missing Jamie for his customs.
     It was over, and she crawled whimpering across the room, Carr watched her naked body jerk to a halt, watched Darla try to free herself from an imagined grip on her leg. She was reliving a recent scene with her husband, a time that had made a lasting, vivid impression upon her mind.
     Battling against nothing, Darla struggled erect, and Carr grinned as she spun away from a ghostly slap that whirled her into the kitchen. He came to his feet, thinking it had gone far enough, that she shouldn't get too disturbed. This ws one wife he wouldn't sample and leave too soonl they would have the rest of the day together.
     Slim and appealing, her bare back was to him as he followed her into the kitchen. He put his hands on her shoulders. Easily, she came around, her high, fine breasts thrusting against him.
     Too late, Carr caught a glimpse of the bare, stiff feet protruding from under the kitchen table. Too late, he tried to stop the snakeswift flash of the long blade in Darla's fist--the butcher knife lancing up into his belly.
     As Carr's flesh closed reluctantly around the coldhot agony of the steel the sick pain exploded in his torn guts, he realized dimly that this was only a re-enactment of a scene that had happened last night.
     A desperate, pushed-too-far scene in which Darla Brian had killed her husband.

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