"IT IS NOW TIME, Janice. Please do exactly as I say. The penalty for doing otherwise will be severe in the extreme. Is that clear?"
She nodded, disconsolately. The doctor wheeled a special gurney into the anteroom immediately outside what had been her prison cell for several days. It was a modified version of the type of raised couch used for massage or physiotherapy. Padded armrests extended upward and parallel to the main cushion while the leg rests were reminiscent of stirrups on obstetrical tables that supported bent knees and separated legs.
"I see. It's going to be a gangbang after all?"
"I assure you, Janice, you will not be touched other than in the way you have specifically requested. Now I want you to come out the door and lie down on the couch, arms beside you on the arm rests, legs on the leg rests." He revealed a pistol loaded with a tranquilizing dart. "I will use this instantly if you depart in the slightest way from my instructions."
"I guess I have no choice."
"You do, but it boils down to whether you wish to leave with a measure of dignity." He indicated the gurney with a sweep of his hands identical to the gesture he had used each time she had come into his office at the clinic.
She hesitantly complied, her reluctance amplified by the raw vulnerability of her nude body. Her head and torso were raised, legs somewhat higher and separated.
The doctor keyed his remote control, and with a series of eight snaps, clasps flipped over her wrists, biceps, ankles, and thighs. In an instant she was restrained.
"What the hell is this?"
"Don't struggle, you will bruise. Escape is impossible. Accept it."
After a brief tussle under the restraints Janice relaxed. But something was tugging at a veil in her mind.
The doctor wiped her forehead with a cool cloth. "You will be free in a few minutes. I am pleased that you carefully douched both ways as I suggested. Please relax."
He palpated her abdomen, with increasing force, along the edges on both sides. "Excellent, the treatments have worked well, clean and empty, front, back, top and bottom. You won't disgrace yourself."
"You keep saying that. What the hell are you talking about if it's not a gangbang?"
He did not reply, but wiped her forehead again and wheeled her out into the hallway. She saw the ceiling pass overhead, the vaulted roof of a tunnel cut directly into stone, the occasional fixtures throwing diffused light over their passage.
They stopped at a double door set in the end of the tunnel.
He consulted his watch. "We have about three minutes before we go in. This timer in the wall will sound, and at that instant, I will wheel you into a small auditorium containing 57 witnesses. You asked for a brief period of notice, and it begins now."
Suddenly the veil parted and the full meaning of her predicament exploded into consciousness. Then, when he took a narrow-tipped, red marking pen and drew a short line, about the length of a knuckle, on her chest, just to the left of the sternum and between the second and third lower ribs, stark terror shot through her. She whimpered, "You're not serious. That wasn't a deal, it was a fantasy…your sick fantasy!"
"Be that as it may, it is your destiny. Ready yourself for it."
A soft chime sounded and he pushed her through the doors onto a lowered stage below a "U-shaped" rank of seats. It was impossible to see very well because of bright lights, but the layout was clear. She could not believe it, let alone accept it. The room was reminiscent of those Victorian oil paintings that depicted famous professors performing human dissections for their favorite students. Surely this was a nightmare! It would end soon and her mother would comfort her, as she always had.
Janice was right that it would end soon, but this was not a dream, and she knew it.
"No! This is wrong!" she screamed at the figures in the front row. "I haven't agreed to this; I've been kidnapped!"
Her audience merely edged forward in their seats, and she realized they were doing so in anticipation. "God!"
Janice's lonely moan faded the room into ethereal silence.
Her voice dropped to a hoarse plea of futile despair. "Somebody do something!"
The clock on the far wall read 20:01. She looked around the arena, for that is what it was, feeling much as the gladiators of ancient Rome must have done. They had a slim chance to survive. She had none.
Her furious eyes glared at the silver eye masks of the audience seated in serried ranks above her--a mobile work of modern art: still, but not quite so. She giggled in hysteria and shook her head from side to side, scattering her hair in a halo around her head. She
searched the ceiling.
So this was the last thing she was going to see in this life. She knew violence was a part of modern society: on television, movies, in books, and above all, in real life. But she had never conceived of anything like this.
She clenched her eyes momentarily; then slowly relaxed and opened them. The doctor now held in his hand the long, thin blade destined to know her heart's deepest secrets, exactly as she had fantasized.
Everyone was on the table with her, waiting for eternity. That was the point of it all.
The clock chimed again.
The doctor turned toward his subject and raised the stiletto…