ILLUSION BOUND

Is Illusion Bound the ultimate virtual reality simulation, a high-tech science fiction project or is it something more sinister or evil?

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ILLUSION BOUND

BY POWERONE

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What is Illusion Bound? Is it the ultimate virtual-reality simulation—or is it something more sinister, the result of subtly bending the laws of physics? No matter how far outside our known reality its origins may be, its purpose is stranger still: Illusion Bound has been designed for visiting extraterrestrials; it's a place where they can hide from the prying eyes of the media, scientists and the government, yet still interact with a few specific humans as they see fit.

Now that it's been built, the time has come to test Illusion Bound. Four women are chosen from a pool of several volunteers. Why are all the test subjects women? No one knows.

Shelby and Erin are sci-fi buffs who religiously attend a variety of cons every year, and fantasize about sexy aliens like G’Kar or Mr. Spock. Baily, on the other hand, is more down-to-earth, as it were. Her fantasies run along the lines of being molested on trains. Hanna’s fantasies are centered on intimate examinations. Will Illusion Bound satisfy all their different fantasies?

Perhaps the more likely question is "how far beyond any human fantasy will the Illusion Bound experience be?" Each of the women will be thrust into a world she can’t explain. Each will have to figure out for herself whether her experience is the product of reality, illusion, or...something so new and different that it defies description.

And what about Illusion Bound’s creator, Michael Foster? According to recent investigations, Foster seems to have appeared from out of nowhere ten years ago; there is no information about his life prior to that point. What is his secret? What is the solution to the mystery that surrounds him?

Powerone, the Master of bondage fiction, brings you his kinkiest, most twisted novel yet—a mixture of science fiction and sizzling erotica that plumbs the depths of BDSM and beyond!



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EXCERPT

Chapter 1
Gowanus, Cesspool of Brooklyn

Along the polluted Gowanus Canal is a four-story building that’s seen better days, at least from the outside. The windows are all painted black from the inside, though there isn’t a single pane of glass broken. The doors are solid wood, though the paint is chipped and flaking. It’s a monument of prior days’ glory, a one hundred twenty thousand square-foot building that looks destined to be demolished.

That is far from the truth. The inside is freshly painted with wood floors buffed to a high polish. The electrical and plumbing is all state of the art, and on the new roof, new air conditioners hum softly. Four years earlier, you could’ve made that assessment of its future, but that was before Michael Foster bought it at a tax-lien sale. The prior owners had given up title to it in lieu of the taxes due. There was nothing more than two lines in the newspaper of the sale, no one cared. Gowanus had a large selection of derelict and deserted buildings that most ignored.

Michael Foster was known to be a billionaire with a capital B. It was rumored that he invested in the earliest social media companies and reaped the rewards of their success. But many didn’t know that he invested in hundreds of smaller companies in the far-flung realms of virtual reality and in products that would not only revolutionize the fields they were in, but also create new ones. There was little known of Michael Foster prior to ten years. It was almost as if he was created ten years ago and never existed prior to that. No amount of digging, and there were many that tried, could find out anything. Not even the U.S. government could break his secret. The power of the U.S. government couldn’t stand up against his wealth and contacts that went deep into the political system and made him untouchable.

This building housed Michael’s ultimate investment, the reason he’d invested for the last ten years. He called it Illusion Bound. Details were scarce and speculation was rampant when the name was mentioned in a hushed voice. During the last four years, more so in the last year, hundreds of delivery men were bribed for details, but they yielded little results. Only a core of skilled workers was allowed into the sanctity of Illusion Bound, and only Michael could buy their loyalty.

Michael sat in his office inside the building, a stack of folders on his desk. They all contained dossiers on a select group of candidates, unbeknown to them that they were candidates. The dossiers were extensive and expensive to acquire the information they contained. Michael didn’t care about money or the legality, the information was crucial. Michael provided parts of the dossier as no one else could acquire such knowledge.

It was time to test his creation, and he’d have to select the candidates that would be the subjects. They would be thrust into a world that they couldn’t explain, but it was necessary to get their reaction and see their interactions that Michael would use to fine-tune his creation. They would have to answer the question of what Illusion Bound was. Was it the ultimate virtual-reality simulation, a high-tech science fiction project or was it something more sinister or evil? Was it art or entertainment? Would they find it to be an illusion, reality or something so new and different that it failed to have a description yet?

The candidates were an eclectic bunch with very little in common with each other, though they had one thing in common. They were all females, at least for now. And they were young, between the ages of nineteen and twenty-three. He wanted candidates that experienced the new social age and its ramifications and wouldn’t be apprehensive about it extending far deeper into their personal lives. He was to meet the first candidate today.

Shelby sat nervously at the table, the River Café a far-more expensive restaurant than she’d ever eaten at. It was a curious lunch, set up by her professor of the course, “Social Media and its Effect on Society Today”. She took the course though it wasn’t in her major, but she found it far-more interesting than she expected, and she impressed her professor. Her major was English Literature with an emphasis on Creative Writing, but her passion was science fiction. Her professor never volunteered much information on the lunch, and she didn’t ask much. She liked the unknown, and that is why her interests lay in science fiction.

Michael saw her instantly, recognizing from her pictures he had of her. Twenty-two, blonde hair, attractive, pert nose with sensuous lips and a lovely figure from what he could see from her sitting there. She sat at the best table next to the window to view Manhattan, the river and the Brooklyn Bridge. It was much nicer than the polluted Gowanus Canal with white foam and trash floating on top of the murky water.

She expected an older man, a professor of sorts, but when she saw the man walk over toward her with his eyes on her, she knew who he was. She recognized him immediately from her interest in sci-fi. She attended Comic Com in San Diego religiously every year. That is what got her adrenaline going. He was Michael Foster. She’d seen him at Comic Con so many years, though she was sure he never saw her. Fans of his companies that he invested in, male and females alike always surrounded him. He was the god of the future world.

Everyone in the restaurant looked at him, at least all the females, young and old. They might not know him, but it was his handsome looks that caught their eyes. He turned forty this year, slim and muscular. His black hair was cut impeccably as if just cut. He had a chiseled face that was handsome, but looked as though he had taken a few punches in his younger days. He had a charming smile and deep-blue eyes that looked as though they bore into her very soul to know her deepest secrets. She almost blushed from his gaze. Now, her curiosity was piqued as to this meeting. She turned her chair to the side to make sure that he got a look at her long legs and short skirt. There was nothing shy about Shelby.

“It’s good to meet you, Shelby.” His eyes scanned her legs and then immediately went back to her face. “Thank you for taking this lunch with me on such short notice.” He sat down and immediately a waiter came over.

“Can I get you something to drink, Mr. Foster?” He stood smartly and waited.

He saw that Shelby already had a drink, Coke from the looks of it. She didn’t order anything more potent, unsure of what the lunch entailed. “Ginger ale,” he did the same. He wasn’t a big drinker of alcohol. The waiter left them alone as the restaurant began to grow noisier as the lunch crowd began to arrive.

“I’m a big fan of the companies that you invest in. I go to Comic Con every year, and it is such an exciting time for me to see all that is new.” If he only saw the way she dressed for Comic Con, for she was truly a believer. She loved aliens and the worlds beyond ours. Her outfits were always sexy and revealing, as if she wanted to entice aliens to visit her. She always tried to copy Adrianna Curry’s ideas but added enough to make it her own, yet Adrianna always had something new and over the top.

“I love Comic Con, also. I’m always looking for companies that pop up with such interesting and unconventional ideas. I don’t want me-too ideas; I want originality and those people that dare to go against conventional wisdom and thinking. They are the true visionaries of the future.” The waiter brought his drink, and he stopped the conversation so they could order.

Shelby ordered a steak sandwich as it had been a long time since she had steak. As a student, she was always short of money, but that never made it less important that she continue. She loved the way her life was going, graduating this year in two months but still unsure of what she’d do once she did graduate. She had confidence that she’d find her inspiration. Maybe this was it.

They made small talk when lunch came and that only made Shelby more curious as to the reason for the lunch, but she didn’t press it. She knew that he’d broach the subject when he was comfortable with her. She knew he was seeking more about her, so she made no qualms about telling the truth of her life, no matter how radical or different.

“Do you believe that there is life beyond our planet, Shelby?”

“I think you’d have to be foolish to believe that the vast depths of the universe beyond Earth wouldn’t hold any other form of life. Or you would have to be extremely naïve. It’s the Fermi Paradox. There is the apparent contradiction of the high probability in the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence of them. I expect to see an alien at Comic Com, though most wouldn’t recognize it. Maybe we are on the lookout for some preconceived notion that is not factual or possible and we refuse to see the obvious.” Shelby would love to meet an alien.

“I agree, and that is why I invest in such far-flung companies. Most wouldn’t evolve into anything, but I’d hate to miss the one that would. What would you do if you met an alien?”

“I have no idea, since I have no conception of what an alien is or would look like. Although, I think I might be scared of it initially, that wouldn’t dampen my enthusiasm to learn more of it. Why, do you have one that is available?” She smirked at her question.

“Would you like to find out if I do?”

Is he serious? He didn’t smile or laugh at the comment. He was dead serious. “I’d welcome the opportunity.” She said it before she could think about the consequences of her words.

“You have spring break next week for a week. I have something I call Illusion Bound. I can’t explain it to you because I can’t even explain it to myself. It’s very secret, and those that help build it only know pieces of it, none know what the whole thing is, and I designed it that way until I can ascertain its origin and purpose. The only thing I can say is that it could be the ultimate virtual reality, combined with high-tech sci-fi, or it might be something more sinister or evil. I’m not sure if its art, entertainment or life. It defies definition.”

This wasn’t a man that dealt in fantasy. He’d spent billions in the industry, not only to make money, but also to find something that few sought out. He was a visionary. Had he found something that even he couldn’t explain or is he hiding something from me? “Why did you pick me?” He knew more about her than he let on.

“You’ll not be the only one, but you’ll the first. I have researched you extensively, Shelby. While you might be offended that your privacy has been violated, it was necessary for me to ascertain your suitability to this project. I cannot tell you what will happen, as it’s as much a mystery to me as it will be to you. There are only little safeguards that I can put in place. Once you enter Illusion Bound, you are the only one that can exit. There is no rescue party that will come to your aid if something doesn’t go as you expect.” There were dangers that couldn’t be ascertained, though Michael tried to minimize them as much as he could.

“So my safety isn’t secure?” The danger sent a shiver up her back.

“Far from it. For that reason, I’ll put a million-dollar life insurance policy on your life, and you can name the beneficiaries of it. I will also pay you the sum of one million dollars, tax-fee upon exit of Illusion Bound, as long as your supply me with the details of what transpired inside and agree to a complete confidentially agreement. No word of this should ever leak out until I am ready to reveal it to the world.” He saw the startled look on her face at the mention of the large payment.

One million dollars sounded as if this was very dangerous, almost surely fatal. She didn’t even know what would happen inside. It was so vague and ambiguous. Yet, this was the chance of a lifetime. She should think about it, consult others, though she wasn’t sure what she could tell them that would make a decision easier. It sounded dangerous and exciting. She’d be a pioneer of something bigger than the world had ever known. She’d be first. “Yes,” the word blurted out of her mouth without any hesitation. She saw his grin.

“Congratulations, Shelby. I knew I picked the correct person for this.”

“When?” She’d have many restless and sleepless nights until then.

“Saturday. I’ll have a car pick you up at ten A.M.”

“Should I bring anything?” She didn’t know whether this would last minutes, hours or days or more.

“Nothing but the clothes on your back, Shelby.”

“What should I wear?” It was a puzzling question for someone that didn’t know what would happen.

“I was always partial to the outfits you wore at Comic Con. I think that would be appropriate.” He’d seen them all, and they were very fitting for the occasion.

She was afraid she blushed, her skin heated at the thought of Michael looking at pictures of all her costumes, though it wouldn’t have been difficult to get them. There were thousands of pictures taken every minute at Comic Com, and she was sure that many took them of her. But, she’d come up with something new for this. It was deserving of it. “Okay.” The lunch lasted a few more minutes, but they both knew that the details were sealed. Saturday was only four days from now.

“I’ll have all the necessary paperwork sent over to you. I look forward to seeing you Saturday, Shelby. I’m pleased that you joined this endeavor.” He watched as she got up to leave as he paid the check. He got her a taxi as his limousine pulled up. He tapped the top of the hood of the taxi when he closed the door, and it sprinted off into the lunchtime traffic. He got into his limousine and headed back to the office. The lunch was very successful, and he was surprised that it took little prodding to get her to agree to such a nebulous offer. He hoped the others would respond in the same way. Was it their curiosity of the future and aliens that drove her or was it something else? He had some candidate that didn’t fit into the same characteristics as the others, but they still had a desire for something that few others did. It would add an additional dimension to his results or, at least, he hoped it would.

* * * *

Shelby slept very little the next few days, and she masturbated constantly with the most bizarre thoughts in her head. She took to looking at anime videos online, most of them featuring aliens or monsters with reluctant females. When she wasn’t in school or masturbating, she made her outfit for Saturday, but she was surprised at what she came up with. She didn’t go with a sexy, revealing outfit. She ended up with a Star Trek uniform, though she did make it formfitting. It was a red dress that clung to her figure and was short, very short. She wore a pair of supple leather black boots that went up to her thighs. She’d put her hair into a pigtail on Saturday to keep it out of the way. She chose a red bra and panties, not a thong. She didn’t want to reveal too much too fast.

She hardly read the paperwork that she signed as it wouldn’t make a difference no matter what it said. She would’ve done this for nothing. She mailed a copy of the signed documents to her best friend, sealed inside another envelope to be opened only in case of her disappearance or death. It sounded so ominous, but she needed someone to know of the insurance policy.

* * * *

The limousine was there on time, but Shelby was ready two hours before. She hardly ate a thing, too nervous and apprehensive. The driver nodded as he held the door for her to get in, and she was sure that he was appreciative of her outfit as she did. She revealed a lot of thigh when she got in. That was the kind of reaction she wanted from the outfit, a subtle sexuality. She was surprised to where they drove. Gowanus was the worst part of Brooklyn. She’d never dare go to this part of town after dark, and it was only because she was in a limousine that she felt secure now. It pulled in front of an old building on the canal, and the putrid smell of the canal overpowered her as she got out.

“The smell goes away when you are inside, Ms. Wood,” the chauffeur told her. It took him months before he got used to it.

“Thank you,” and the limousine was gone by time she got to the door. The glass was painted black, but it opened by the time she reached it.

“Welcome, Shelby.” Michael took in her Star Trek outfit, fitting of the occasion he hoped. “Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man or woman has gone before.” He mimicked their famous mission.

“It’s a strange building in a strange place, Michael.” She hoped the rest of it was better than this, though the inside was much nicer and newer than the outside. It was as if it was a different building, the outside made to look ramshackle to keep out the curious.

He took her to the second floor where Illusion Bound began. “Illusion Bound takes up the second to the fourth floors exclusively, over ninety thousand square feet. The bottom floor is storage, receiving and the labs. Very few have been beyond these doors.” They stood in front of two gleaming stainless steel doors that stood fourteen feet high. There were no knobs, handles or anything but smooth stainless steel. “I haven’t been inside in two months, no one has. It’s been self-sustaining during that time.”

She didn’t understand how it could self-sustain, but it was too late to turn back. Her heart raced a mile a minute. “I’m ready.”

“Good luck, Shelby.” Michael stood back as the doors began to slide effortlessly open without a sound. Inside was dark, immensely black darkness.

She couldn’t see a thing inside, but she took four steps and found herself beyond the doors. They closed behind her, the last bit of light was gone, and she saw complete darkness, but it was more than that. It was the absence of all light.

Chapter 2
Beam of Light and Gone

Shelby stood there, frozen to the floor. She could hear her ragged breathing. She tried to contend with the absence of her sense of sight but also sound, not a sound could be heard except for her breathing. She began to wobble on her feet. She couldn’t see a thing, and it was disconcerting, as she stood there, no way to ascertain anything from what was around her. She suddenly heard a loud noise above her and looked up.

“AAAAHHH!” She tried to shield her eyes as a bright light shone down on her. It was so bright that she felt the heat from it. Even as she tried to cover her eyes, it was as if the light penetrated her hands and tried to enter her head through her eyes. The floor around her began to vibrate, slowly at first, but then, it became more intense. It was like an earthquake, though she’d never been in one; it was what she expected it to feel like. It was cool in the room when she entered, but now, it grew hotter the longer the intense light shined on her.

She felt her body grow lighter, as though she began to float on air. She wasn’t sure what was happening, but she no longer felt the floor beneath her feet, yet she couldn’t see anything, so her perception was thrown off. The light grew hotter as her body began to sway from side to side, although her body was rigid. She was sure she was rising up, but she knew the ceiling couldn’t be very high, at least she thought so from the outside of the building. The air grew heated as she moved closer to the light, and it increased in intensity. Nothing she did could shield her from the light. It took a long time, all while her body floated, or so she thought.

“WWWWHHOOSSHH!”

The sound was deafening, and Shelby’s body was propelled with such force. It felt like she was flying straight up toward the light as it grew closer.

“TTTTHUMMMP!”

She felt something as though she passed through it, and then, she stopped. It was pitch black, and she could barely move. It was as though she was encased in something smooth that surround her on all sides. She tried to calm her body, taking deep breaths to fill her lungs. The hot, intense light was gone, but she had to contend with the darkness once again.

The light began as just a glimmer, but it rose up the walls like a liquid until it reached the top. She was in a room, but she was contained in some type of glass jar that hugged her body closely that she couldn’t turn. The glass jar was inside a large room. The walls glistened brightly as though they were stainless steel but not a trace of a crease or rivet connected the single piece that surrounded the room. The ceiling was transparent, but there was nothing beyond it, just a light but not as intense like the other. The floor was the same shiny metal.

In the center of the room was something that was difficult to describe. It was made of metal, or at least looked like it, but it was just a lot of slim pieces that all came out of the base. They were varying lengths and girth. Above it, there was something that had tubes coming out of it, clear and transparent.

Next to it was green lights that were parallel above the floor, almost like laser beams, but they stopped abruptly at both ends as if they came out of nowhere. They crisscrossed each other, almost like a thatch. At the ends were yellow lights all the way around the fringe of it.

Shelby looked around the room, but there was no one. She tried to get out of the glass tube, but it was futile. She felt the glass walls begin to move. It slowly rose up until she was no longer enclosed in it. She moved out from under it instantly, fearing it would come down once again. There must be someone watching her that made the glass move. “Hello.” She tried calling out, but her voice barely echoed in the room as though sound waves didn’t travel far. There was no answer. The air felt different, almost as if pure oxygen was pumped into the room, making it easy for her to breathe, and it was cool and refreshing. There were no odors.

She didn’t know why, it was as though the idea popped into her head suddenly. She walked to the center of the room. Her footsteps were soft and silent, as though she floated on a cushion of air. She hardly had to use her muscles to do anything. She stood in front of the green lights. They were waist high in the air, but they came out of nowhere and ended the same way. She reached out and touched the green light but pulled back her hand instantly. The beam of light was hard, like an object. She touched it again, and she felt the same thing. She ran her hand along the green light, and it was smooth to the touch, but her hand couldn’t penetrate it, not even between the beams of light. It was as though the light had physical properties. She walked all around the lights, and there was no difference anywhere, except when she touched the ends where the lights were yellow. The minute she touched a yellow light, it turned red, and she could feel a vibration from it. She pulled her hand back just in the nick of time. It flickered to red, but when her hand left it, it went back to yellow. .

She heard her thoughts in her head appear out of nowhere again. She didn’t know why she did it, she just did. She sat on the edge of the lights. She moved slowly, fearing that she’d fall through it, but it supported her, but it wasn’t hard, yet it was firm. She didn’t understand why. Her legs touched the yellow lights at the edge. She felt them vibrate, and she moved farther onto the green lights, fearing the yellow lights would turn red, although she didn’t know why she should fear that. It was almost instinct. .

She brought her legs up onto the green light and sat in the middle of it without touching a yellow light. It wasn’t hard like wood or metal, more like foam or a mattress, yet it didn’t sink down from her weight. It was as though she didn’t weigh anything. Her body was so relaxed, not sure if it was because she felt like she was floating or that she felt secure. She couldn’t understand that. She was in a strange place, a very strange place that she didn’t understand, and she wasn’t sure if she feared what would happen or she was excited over the prospects. So it should’ve been unthinkable that she lay down on the lights, arranging her body so she didn’t touch the yellow lights, yet that is exactly what she did. It was so comfortable and peaceful. She took deep breaths, and her body floated in calmness. .

She stretched out her body, raising her arms over her head. She wiggled her fingers and realized that they weren’t supported by anything. She looked back, and her wrists were on the yellow lights, but suddenly, they turned red before she could move them. It was too late. Not only did the lights turn red, but the red lights also wrapped around her wrists. She never saw light bend like that before. She could feel the pressure of the light tightly around her wrists. She tried to move them, but they wouldn’t move an inch. Before she could decide whether it was good or bad, she saw the green lights move under her legs. She felt the vibrations as they undulated from her waist to her ankles like a wave passed through them. When it stopped at her ankles, the green lights turned yellow, and the rest of the green lights beyond that point disappeared as if they were never there. Then, the yellow lights turned red, and the red lights silently slipped around her ankles like a serpent of light. They tightened on her ankles, but then, her wrists and ankles began to pull in opposite directions. Shelby felt the muscles in her arms and legs grow taut as her back was stretched. When it stopped, her body was rigid and secured. Shelby was unable to move. That should’ve frightened her, but instead, it excited her. She could feel wetness between her legs, as though someone watched her. She could barely move a muscle now. Some unseen force bound her. What is its purpose?

She looked backward and saw the yellow lights to the sides of her wrists turn red, and as they did, her arms were pulled to opposite sides and stretched. When it stopped, her arms were spread wide to opposite sides, but the lights weren’t finished. The yellow lights behind her head disappeared as well as the green ones. When it stopped, her head lost its support and hung down into the blank space below her body. She was forced to look upward, unable to straighten her head for more than a few minutes before her neck ached. She felt something at the sides of her head and found she couldn’t turn it to either side. It was as if her head was trapped between two bookends.

Something came down from up above, not sure where. There were five or six of them. They were thin, shiny and long, but they moved as though they were rigid, not floating around in space. Shelby didn’t know what they were, but they were headed for her head, but she couldn’t do anything, her head pinned by the lights. Three of them hovered over each of her eyes. She panicked as they came closer to her eyeballs. The first one touched her eyelid, but it was soft like thread, not hard metal. They slid over her eyelids, but then, they moved as though they had a mind of their own. They went into the corners of her eyes on both sides and another in the center. Suddenly, she couldn’t blink. They moved into her eye socket and kept her lids open, and they stretched wide. It felt like her eyes were pulled wide open.

“FFFLLLAASSSH!”

There was a brilliant flash of light, and she couldn’t escape it as her eyelids were prevented from closing. It took a second, losing all of her sight, but then, it came back. Everything was much more vivid and detailed as though she could see without any light. Even in the dark recesses, she could make out everything. Her vision was never twenty-twenty, but now, she saw with such clarity, colors more brilliant, details vividly portrayed. The things that kept her eyelids open pulled away. She blinked and shut her eyelids but then realized she could still see everything. When she opened her eyes again, she found it foggy and hazy like before. She shut her eyes again and everything was in focus. It was as though she saw without using her eyes. She kept her eyelids closed and everything was in sharp focus.

She saw the strings disappear, but two new things replaced them. They were green, had small bumps all over them and looked wet. She could see all that, yet they were ten feet from her. They were bigger than the others, about the size of a straw, but these were flexible. They wiggled as they moved closer to her head. They stopped falling when they touched the bridge of her nose, but they didn’t stop moving. It was as though they were alive. They were a bit slimy and left a trail of wetness as they moved over her nose. They were determined, and it wasn’t long before they reached her nostrils. Shelby tried to shake her head, but it didn’t do any good, her was head pinned to force her to look straight ahead. They began to press into her nostrils. She could smell them, an unpleasant odor, and they began to tickle the hairs in her nostrils. She sneezed once, but they weren’t deterred as they continued to move into her nostrils. It didn’t take long before they found the hole in the back of her nostrils as they slithered along. She could feel the bumps on them as they slid down into her esophagus. It was difficult to swallow, fearing she’d choke on them. It was quite disconcerting, but it continued to go into her stomach. She breathed deeply through her mouth as the green tubes began to expand until her nostrils were sealed. She had an urgent need to sneeze but couldn’t.

Shelby felt the tubes moving as though something was going through them. As it passed up above her, she could see the tubes expand. It had to be the contents of her stomach. It took quite a while before the tubes stopped vibrating, and then, they pulled out with the same slowness that they went in. Her eyes would’ve been filled with tears, but they were closed. The tubes disappeared from sight, but something more ominous appeared, though she couldn’t make out exactly what it would do, she did know the destination. It was her mouth.

It was odd shaped, and the more she saw it, the more it changed shape. It was white, but it didn’t look rigid. It was in the shape of a circle or oblong, the white material thick, about half an inch wide. She felt it touch her lips. She closed her mouth tight the minute it did, but she still couldn’t escape the foul taste that lingered on her lips from it. The material was soft, almost mushy and wet. It scared her when it began to move on its own. It spread out over her lips as though it tried to duplicate them. They stopped for a second when they outlined her lips. She felt a pressure that increased, and her lips began to part. The softness of the material became harder, firm and demanding. It slid on its wetness, and no matter how much she clenched her lips, she couldn’t stop it from succeeding. It pushed between her lips and stopped when it was securely inside. The taste was bitter. It moved again; this time, she couldn’t stop it as her lips began to open. The softness was gone, and the firm pressure was insistent. She couldn’t keep it out any longer. It slipped behind her lips as it expanded. Her mouth had no choice but to open. Each time her mouth opened wider, it wasn’t enough. It didn’t stop until her mouth was open so wide that Shelby feared the corners of her lips would tear if she opened any wider. It felt like a rigid ring inside her mouth, yet it was soft and comforting. Her tongue hung out, but with her head hung almost upside down, her spit filled her mouth and didn’t escape.

When it finished, it was connected to two slim tubes that ran from above, each in the corner of her mouth. More tubes ran down from above, but these were solid. They were green and red, the colors mixed together. She could see that they were wet as they glistened in the light. They slithered down, moving from side to side as they neared her gaping hole that was her mouth. As they got close to her mouth, she saw drops of liquid fall off the end, some of it a greenish-red. It fell onto her tongue. It was extremely bitter, making her recoil from it, but it was only her tongue that she could move. Some of it hit her lips and sat there as it dried. She could feel drops in her mouth, but it never mixed with her spit, and the drops floated around, fouling her mouth with the bitter taste.

Shelby couldn’t do anything as the two tubes entered her mouth. It moved as though it had a purpose to explore her and that’s what it did, one on each side of her mouth. It ran all over her teeth and probed her gums, all while it left a trail of bitter taste behind it. One moved under her tongue and one above it to trap it. She grimaced as they both ran over her tongue and taste buds, to leave the foul taste behind it on a coat of thick crème. One of them gripped her tongue firmly by wrapping around the end of it and pulled her tongue out of her mouth until it felt as though it tried to yank her tongue out. It stopped and held it there as the other slid along the top of her tongue and didn’t stop until it got to the back of her mouth. It tickled at the opening of her throat, but then, it moved another inch to make her choke loudly.

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