Geoff was bone tired and the drive back was no picnic. A cold Maine day. Blizzards warnings. Visibility was nil. They pulled the plows off just before he left his Air National Guard base. They either send folks home or you stayed the night at the Guard. Those bear traps of cot where not fun. Having already checked out of the motel he normally spent the night at. It filled up went the blizzard hit. Spending four years in active service was good and he was about to do another four when his uncle left him property in Maine. A kid from Iowa it did not seemed to be that much of a change. Plus He could do the air guard thing for the next sixteen and run the business.
Hex Base Games was a game store that had the collage crowd. With disposable income and no dates on a Saturday night. He knew all the games because that what he played while in the service. Located in Orono. Bangor was the closest big city. Problem was that base did not have his specialty. Computers diagnostic and repair. Portland was his base. That was over a two hour drive. In good weather.
Uncle Jeff was a maverick. No one knew where he was. He had money from a variety of sources. Mac and Roger ran the store. They had even before his uncle died. So on guard drill weekend. They ran it.
But called him telling him the store was going to close today. Fine. Get home safe. See you Monday. It was not the game store he owned. It was a city block. Literally like monopoly. The old Woodrich building with apartment converted above and shops below. It took up a city block.
He did not have an apartment
Nope. He had the basement and the loading dock as his parking space. Nicknamed the Dungeon. He ran tournaments and games in the parts the was not his home.
He leaning back in his seat of his father old four by four pick up. Stomper. Bloody tank of a thing.
He shut the engine off. Took a few deep breaths.
He made it. He was home.
Hit the remote and garage door slid home with a bang.
He trudge downstairs and unlocked the door. To his right was an open kitchen to his left his bedroom. Straight ahead it was the living room. Game room. Door the rest of the basement. Furnace room. And so on. Simple and direct.
He tossed his heavy winter field jacket into his bedroom, “oof.mmmmgg”
Normally it lie on the bed until he hung it up .It never made a sound before. Not owning a gun. He found a weapon. A stick painted to look like a light saber. Go with what you got. He turned on the bedroom light.
On his queen sized bed was something. A living something. Female by the shape of it. Shape was the only thing he could say because his field jacket covered her face. It was some sort of form fitting sleeping bag. No zipper, Lacing. Or buckles he could see, the waistline was defiantly female.
Looking around to see if this was some joke. But where could anyone hide. How did she get here?
Like any idiot in a horror movie. He reached over and pulled back the jacket ready to strike.
He had no idea.
It was girl. Red flowing locks and green eyes that started at him
A gag of some sort buckled around her face. A silver heart shaped charm on her neck. About as big as his thumb.
Strangely he knew her. Or thought he did.
He unbuckled the gag. But could not find any release to get her out of this thing. Her arms were bound separately behind her into one single limb.
Then he knew who it was.
“Rose? Is this a gag or joke of some kind? “
“No. It’s not. I am going to be your love slave at midnight.”
“Say what? Look you have been missing for over two years. I know you went to college and then took off to go back-packing in Europe. Where the hell have you been?”
“They took me.”
“Who is they. Let me get you out of this thing first. I’ll get a knife.”
“No. If I am opened too early. Small bomb goes off. It’s a binary something. I will be a vegetable. I have seen it. It happened to Kelly. She was the one who was with me.”
“I could call a bomb squad”
“It’s inside my head. At midnight it goes inert. That when the PC chip kicks in.”
“Personality Conversion chip. It overrides my brain. They were very detailed in how it worked. I only remember this. You are trapped in your own head and body. You will do what and who ever your master says.”
“Then who is your master?”
“Jeff Harrison “
There are two Jeff Harrison’s. Me and my uncle. I am spelled G-e-o-f-f. Old English style. My uncle was J-e-f-f”
“They were supposed to email you instructions.”
“If you were supposed to be my Uncle’s love slave. I got bad news. He died a year ago. Whoever they are. They will be emailing instruction to a dead man.”
“Oh god. I am going to be stuck like this.”
“Unless I cut you out.”
“No. I’d rather be a some thing. At least as a love slave some part of me will be around. Maybe you can cut me out then. What time is it?”
He glanced at his watch. “Eleven forty five.”
There was a silence
“You used to have blond hair and blue eyes. They did that?”
“Yes. They can manipulate your genetic code or something. I never had a head for science. You did. You said I been missing for two years. Can you drive me home?”
“You’re in Maine. Iowa is a bit hard to get to in fifteen. Fourteen minutes.”
“Can you call them? My parents.
“I don’t know. Your dad was pretty broken up when you disappeared. Spent all the money he had and mortgaged the farm to find you. Your father suspected me of foul play but I had a good alibi. I was in Idaho training. My dad co-signed the loan so he had a place to stay. Your father is broke. Your mom drank herself into bottle. Last I heard she was in a mental ward.”
“Oh god. No.”
Geoff held her up and she wiggled and squirmed with her bonds sobbing. Tears stained his uniform.
“I am so sorry.”
“Sorry for what.”
“Dumping you right before senior prom.”
“I got over it.”
“Daddy never liked your father or your entire family. Every one thought I was a stuck up bitch. You asked me first. No else did. Then daddy found out and made me dump you. I tried to keep it a secret. But Margot Myers wanted to get her claws into me. She finked on me and I thought she was my best friend.”
“Look. Can I get you something to drink or eat.”
“No, just stay with me. Just hold me.”
He reached over onto the head board and got a tissue.
She blew into it.
“You look nice.”
“They did it. They work you to death. You eat what they say. Sleep. Exercise. Surgery. Teach you things like how to be a perfect little love slave. They say you might not remember but your chip will.”
“Do you know who they are?”
“No. Kelly and me where walking near some little town in Austria when they caught us and took us away. They only spoke English when they needed to.”
Geoff glanced at his watch. Eleven fifty one.
He tried to call her home. Cell tower was down. No connections. He did not have land line.
Rose sat up with her head on his shoulder humming a little song.
Last dance with Mary Jane?
She slowly rocked back and forth as if they were at senior prom and they were dancing together.
Eleven fifty six.
“Because in a few minutes it won’t mean anything. I don’t know what is going to happen. But before I get turned into this love slave. I want to have something real. You where always nice to me and everyone. I am so sorry I treated you that way.”
“I will do everything I can to get you out of this mess.”
“No. If this is god punishing me for being the person I was. I hope to be a better person as a love slave. At least I know it will be some as kind as you. Now kiss me.”
Rose took him all in. The kiss was a whopper in Geoff’s mind. Then he felt her shudder. Their lips parted, Eyes met but now she was a different person.
He pressed his thumb on the silver heart locket. It glowed for a moment.
-Authorization approved.- said a tiny voice from the locket.
Her eyes blinked. “I am you love slave. What is your command master.”
“Your name is Rose.”
“Rose. That is a pretty name.”
“Yes it is. Now I want you to crawl onto the floor and sleep at my feet. In the morning we will go over other parameters.”
Some where in Austria a man got a text.
-Uncle Jeff. PC chip worked. L/S is totally devoted. Fed her the tale about her parents like we discussed. If the chip does fail she will remember not having anyone or home to run to. We can proceed to phase 3. Notify the others.-