|© Copyright 2012 - Jo - Used by permission|
|Doll House Jo F/ff; bond; chair; straps; captives; naked; lab; alchemy; transform; lovedoll; cons/nc; X|
"What are you doing!? Stop it! Stop it!"
The pregnant woman rubbed her belly in that absent-minded way expecting mothers do.
"I'm going to fulfill my ancestor's legacy, thanks to you, professor - and the girl."
The girl lay naked on a wooded table. A large, glass jar, kind of an inverted tub, enclosed her. The room was straight out of Dr. Jeckyll's laboratory with shelves of oddly-shaped jars full of strange-looking content. A flame flickered beneath a beaker. Bubbles rose through a spiral tube, green liquid dripped into a flask. There were no windows. The only sign of modernity was the fluorescent lamp hanging overhead. The professor, sensibly dressed in slacks and a pale green, fluffy sweater was fastened to the heavy wooden chair. A thick leather strap encircled her throat, another her chest, a third her waist. More straps secured her wrists and ankles.
"You won't get away with this! You-"
The pregnant woman pushed a rubber bladder into the bound woman's mouth. She fastened the clasp, then grabbed the rubber bulb. She closed the metal valve, pumped the bulb.
"Your words are not only a distraction, professor, words carry meaning and will alter the process."
She squeezed the bulb. The professor's cheeks bulged, obscene. Her eyes wild.
The pregnant woman turned back to the naked girl. She attached a hose to a fitting in the glass, ran the tube to a flesh-colored bladder - a deflated rubber doll. The face was startlingly human. Not the girl's face, not the pregnant woman's either, but there was a resemblance there. The doll's hair was lush and black like the woman's.
The woman chanted, had been for almost an hour. She mixed chemicals as she chanted. Finally she attached another tube to another fitting in the glass near the girl's head. A smoky gas filled the space, obscured the girl. The doll moved. No, it didn't move ... it was inflating.
The professor screamed behind her gag, tore at the restraints, frantic, helpless.
"Hey, Elsie. Look at this."
Elsie was Elsie Murdow, assistant professor of history at the small, private, girls' college upstate.
"I don't know. It's a book in some weird language, or maybe it's symbols."
The professor took the book from the girl, Deb, her G.A. She flipped through the pages.
"Well, it's certainly odd. Put it aside and I'll take a look at it."
"But look at this. Inside the back cover. Walter Alexander Doll. Could it be the Walter Alexander Doll? Like the school founder?"
"He wasn't the actual founder. The school was named after him, though. Not many around with that name, surely. Might be something from his collection."
"But look at it. The writing and the signature both look the same, same pen, same ink."
Elsie flipped through the book, frowned.
"Doesn't look like anything I've ever seen before and I've worked on glyphs from Egypt and South America. Still, I do seem to see a pattern of sorts. Here. We'll make this your class project. It'll be a good challenge for you and, who knows, it may have local, historical significance."
The two woman, the professor and her graduate assistant, walked on adjoining treadmills. Deb glanced over at the professor. She envied Elsie her body. Slim, but not skinny. Full hips. A woman's body. Deb, at 23, still hadn't lost all of her baby fat. Not that she was chubby. And three days a week at the gym with Elsie was making a difference, but still ...
"How's it going?"
"I assume you mean the book?"
"No, your quest to save every stray cat in town. Of course I mean the book."
"Hey, CNR is a great program. Catch 'em, neuter 'em, release 'em. Helps keep the vermin down without increasing the kitty population."
Elsie held up a hand.
"Yes, yes, I know. And I support you."
"You do and we appreciate it. It's just that-"
"Deb? The book?"
"Yeah, well, I'm out of ideas. I mean, I'm seeing patterns - kind of. And I have a pretty good collection of symbols or words or whatever they are. But when I run 'em through a linguistics algorithm I get gibberish."
"Did you try the Larson sequence?"
"Yeah, and Gibbs, and Foster. Nothing."
"Have you talked to our linguistics friends?"
"Yeah. Nothing there, either. They think it's some kind of code."
"What about the geeks?"
"Not interested. No fun in it. Now, hacking into government computers and cracking their codes, well, that's fun. Er, but you didn't hear that from me."
"Remind me to tell you about Albert and how he got into the school computers and we both got As in calculus."
Deb shot her a look. Elsie shrugged.
"Computers were kind of new back then. well, not new, but a lot of professors trusted their paper ledgers. Anyway, they chalked it up to user error. And, since they couldn't track the actual grades, we kept the As. To obfuscate, Al awarded As to other students in other classes."
Albert was her last, male lover before she'd come out of the closet. She smiled at the memory.
"Listen, I may have something for you. I've tracked down Amanda Doll. She's the great, great, great, well, a lot of greats in there, granddaughter of Walter. Let's just say he's her ancestor. I've written to her, told her we had the book. Haven't heard back yet."
"How long does it take to answer a text?"
"Deb, not everybody texts, or e-mails. Hell! I don't think she even has a phone."
"Mrs. Doll, I'm Elsie Murdow and this is my assistant Deborah Owens."
"Hello. It's a pleasure to meet you. I was so excited to hear you found Grandpa's book. It is his, isn't it?"
"Well, we were hoping you could tell us that, Mrs. Doll."
"Please, I prefer Miss."
Student and teacher both resisted the urge to glance at Miss Doll's very pregnant form.
"Well, we were going through the archives, kind of a summer project we do every year, and we came across a book that apparently belonged to your ancestor. We've matched the signature with others we have of his, so we're pretty sure it's authentic. But the problem is, is that the book is written in some sort of code. And we can't figure it out."
The other woman chuckled.
"You mean with all your fancy computers my grandpa's got you flummoxed. Oh, that's sweet. He'd appreciate that no end."
"Miss Doll, you refer to him as Grandpa, but surely you mean an ancestor from further back in your line?"
"No. I mean my grandfather, but that'll take a bit of explaining. Would you like some tea?"
Neither woman wanted tea, they wanted help with the book, but they both agreed tea would be lovely and soon the three of them were seated at a table in the solarium. Beautiful, lush plants of every shape and color surrounded them.
"This room is lovely. The plants are just gorgeous."
"Yes, yes. Many of them are unique. Raised generation after generation by the women in my line. They are not only beautiful, but critical to our survival, to our very way of life."
"Oh? How so?"
"Well, I told you that Grandpa was my grandfather - literally. He lived from 1683 to 1741. My father lived from 1860 to 1902."
She sipped her tea. The other women did the math, tried to get their heads around the idea.
"I'm sorry, but how is that possible?"
"The last insemination in my line occurred in 1893 with my father and my great grandmother. I know it's confusing. Our female line goes back many, many generations. Our male line only a few."
She smiled at them.
When the woman had left the room Deb turned to Elsie.
"Sh! Let's humor her. We may get more insight into the book."
"Or it could be a bad Twilight Zone episode."
Both accepted fresh cups of tea. It had an odd, soothing, almost dream-like effect.
"As I said, I know this is confusing, but, simply put, our women are able to procreate without fertilization. Surely you've heard of virgin births. A woman's egg drops and embeds itself in the wall and begins to divide all on its own. It's rare, some would even deny the possibility, but it's a well-documented phenomenon. Unlike those women, we, my female ancestors and I, can induce pregnancy at will. It's simply a process of making the body properly receptive at the proper time. These plants are part of that process. You look skeptical."
"I'm sorry, Miss Doll, and I just realized why you prefer that title, it's just, well, odd."
"Yes. It is. But I was explaining the discrepancy between our male line and our female line."
"Let me see if I understand. Your grandfather sired a child. She, through this, er, cloning process, gave birth to a daughter."
"Who gave birth to a daughter, and so on until my father came along and impregnated my great grandmother."
"And then the process started all over again."
"But why have men at all? I mean ... sorry."
"That's all right, Deborah. We have men in our lives because we enjoy their company and we allow them to breed because human DNA changes over time. So, in a way, we're just staying current, dipping our toes into the gene pool, as it were."
"I don't think there could be a chance you'd be willing to share this knowledge with our biology department?"
"No, Professor, I'm afraid not. And now, the, er, book?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. Sure. Here."
The woman cradled the book for a long moment before opening it. She flipped through the pages, stroking them, as one would the cheek of a lover.
"Yes. Yes. It is his. Before the book was lost my father took photographs of key passages. As you may have surmised, the book is in code. The key is embedded. I, my mother, her mother memorized these passages. I can read this as easily as you would read the newspaper."
"What is it?"
"A dream, child, a dream. My grandfather was a brilliant scientist, an alchemist, his wife, as are all women in my line, an occultist, an expert in the paranormal. Their love was the stuff of legend. The fruit of that love rests in this book."
"What is it?"
"Nothing less than everlasting love and everlasting life."
Elsie screamed behind her gag as her student, her lover was enshrouded in gray vapor. The doll on the adjoining table inflated, slowly, steadily, completely. And as it did, the glass became clear. A naked Deb lay there, still and quiet.
The woman ended her chant. She paused, cocked her head. Nodded.
"It is finished."
She turned to the professor.
"You were lovers."
A statement, not a question.
"Of course, of course. No one told me. No one knew. But I know. I know many things on many levels."
"I will explain these things to you. Yes."
"Your darling Deborah is gone, yet not gone. The vapor captured her essence as it left her body. She exists, but in the past. Her essence, the sum total of her life, until a few moments ago, continues on inside the doll. She lives, but, as I said, in the past. To her, she will always be 23 and you will always be the one, true love of her life. And you will always have your young lover ... always."
"At some point in the future, as you near death, you may want to release her. I will show you how. But for now, let me guide you. Let me help you. Let me prove to you that she is still with us."
"In her current existence, she is in the past. Being with her is akin to sharing a couch and reminiscing. A case of 'remember when.' You, of course will be conscious - conscious of the present as well as the past. She, only the past. But her past is now much richer, fuller, more complete than you can ever imagine. Human memory is truly photographic and she will now recall long-forgotten events. As a history professor, you can appreciate the fact that you will now have a source of perfect, total recall going back to the womb. Not only that, but every book, every writing, every photograph she's ever seen are there for you. And there are other implications. The areas of biology and anthropology, psychology and sociology come to mind."
"But for now, come. Take a small step into your future. Calm yourself. Think back to a recent memory, something fresh and vivid. It will be awkward at first, kind of like having a dream, but one you can guide. Now, calm yourself. Calm yourself. Relax."
... and so the geeks are all like, "Why do we need history? It's all on-line." And I'm like, "well, duh!, who do you think compiled it and put it on-line. It didn't just happen on it's own."
Elsie? Earth to Elsie.
Uh, oh, sorry Debbie.
Debbie? Hey we're not in the bedroom and I'm not your little Debbie, but maybe the sauna is vacant. Wanna go check?
No, no, let's just talk for a while, er, Deb.
Okay. Well, anyway ...
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