12 (hypno)

Copyright © 2015 z119z. All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author.

12-1

The intimacy of pain is my gift to you.

Of course, it will hurt at first. That's why you're bound. The body and the mind naturally tend to shy away from pain. I know you think you are a masochist, but even masochists can't help themselves. When their bodies experience pain, they flinch and try to escape. It's a natural reaction. So I will continue to bind you until you become 12. 12—well, more of 12 later.

You may wonder why I bound only your wrists and ankles to the bench. Well, I admit that I want to see you writhe and squirm. I could have bound you so tightly that you couldn't move, but seeing you thrash about is a little visual reward for all my efforts. This is a training session for you. Naturally the focus is on you, but even so I permit myself a few pleasures. Eventually you will become devoted to serving my pleasures, all my pleasures. But patience is a virtue. For now, I can and I will be satisfied with a modicum of visual stimulation.

Bondage isn't the point of this session, however. The wrist and ankle cuffs will be enough to hold you in place for the next few hours. You can't escape. I know you wondered about that. You tried to hide it from me, but I saw you pull against the ropes attached to the cuffs. You were curious about the strength of the bonds, weren't you? You wanted to test them and see how much you could move. Well, as you found out, the answer is that you can move to a limited extent. But you can't escape. You will try. As I said, the mind's natural response to pain is avoidance. Eventually you will accept that escape is impossible. Then will come the stage when you don't want to escape. Finally it won't even occur to you that the option of escaping exists. Of course, you won't be you then. You will be—12.

The harness around your head is there to keep you from talking. I'm not interested in anything you have to say. Your views are irrelevant. Sometimes I like to hear the trainee beg, but I'm not in the mood for that today. Maybe on another occasion. I'll see. It all depends on what I feel like. Today your moans and groans and muffled screams will be enough.

Nor is it necessary for you to see. That would divert your attention from what is happening. You would look at things in the room and focus on them and try to use them as distractions, to take your mind off what is happening to you. I can't allow that. I want what is happening to you to be the only thing you think about, the only thing you can think about.

So the gag and the blindfold are necessary. Eventually you will lose the ability to speak except in answer to my questions, and you will learn to see only what it is necessary for you to see. Life will be simpler for 12. Much simpler.

As for why you are lying on your stomach with your backside exposed—well, as you probably know from your past experiences, the ass is a convenient target in the beginning. Later there will be other targets, but for your first lesson, the back of the body is best. There will be pain, but for now it won't be directed at areas you have been trained to believe are vital.

Notice I said "trained to believe." All your life you have been indoctrinated—at home, at school, at work, at play. Your parents, teachers, bosses, movies, TV, books—you have been surrounded by lessons in how to behave. Today's session begins the process of stripping away those old, useless lessons. I will make them immaterial to what you will become. I will re-indoctrinate you. I will imprint new beliefs on your mind through your body.

Those new lessons can be summed up in four words. Submission. Obedience. Service. Devotion. Four very simple and straightforward yet extremely complex concepts that can in turn be summed up in one word. Me. The Master. The Owner. In the end that's all that will matter to 12. Me.

I'm not your master yet. That will take several sessions. Ownership will require more lessons. It will take even more sessions for you to become 12. What is 12? 12 isn't anything but me in what you now think of your body and your mind. 12 won't have a conception of a relationship with me because 12 won't experience any separation from me. I will be the totality of 12's perception, of 12's world, 12's universe. 12 won't conceive of existence apart from me.

See, I told you the body tries to avoid stimulus. You shuddered. You couldn't help yourself. And that wasn't even painful, was it? Well, it wasn't meant to be painful. Just unexpected. A surprise. The lightest touch on the back of your neck. But you see how you reacted. That's normal.

I suppose you're wondering what I have in my hand. What I used to make what you probably think of as the opening move in today's session. Well, it wasn't the first move. Today's session started long before now. It started when you first thought about contacting me. Your training, the molding of your mind, began at that point. My words made you think about what it would be like to put yourself in my hands. What I might do to you.

Of course, what you were really thinking about was your hopes for this session. You liked the sound of my email telling you to report here—direct, curt, to the point. But admittedly it was short on details. I left things open. That gave you room to imagine what might happen. You played with several scenarios in your mind, didn't you? And all of them involved my taking complete control of you.

But you don't really believe that will happen, do you? No one ever does. And that makes it so much easier for me. All the trainees indulge in elaborate fantasies of what will happen, but none of them, not one, envisions that the end of the process is 12. Each of them thinks it's a game, and so they go along with it.

As you will do. As you are doing.

That's why I can be so open with you about what's going to happen to you. You don't believe it can happen. That mindless, will-less state of perfect submission and obedience to the Master everyone claims he wants. The state where all that is left of you is what the Master wills to exist in you. You may say you really want it to happen, you may even really want it to happen, but you don't believe it really can happen. And by the time you realize it is happening, it will be too late for you to prevent it from happening.

All you have to do right now is play along with me. I'll do the rest. Just pretend that 12 is a possibility. Behave as if you believe in the idea of 12. That's all you have to do.

Remember all my questions about your likes and dislikes. Your limits. Your preferences. Your desires. Maybe you thought that meant I would take your views into account. Well, I will. Your answers to my questions were clues to your psyche. They told me what I can use to mold you, what barriers I will need to overcome, what I need to eliminate. I began studying you when you first contacted me. I began training you to answer my questions. I began teaching you to think about yourself in relation to me, to imagine yourself in relation to me.

Did that hurt? A bit more stimulus this time. Something for you to think about. For you to wonder about. Is that all? What's going to happen next? Will it get worse? Will this guy turn out to be a maniac who will beat the shit out of me? All those questions, and doubts, and hopes, and fears running through your mind.

Not knowing what's going to happen—that's part of the thrill, isn't it?

When you walked into this room, I was watching you on the cameras.

Yes, there are cameras. Everything that happens in this room is recorded so that I can study it later and learn from it.

For example, I noticed your eyes widen and take everything in. You looked around. You licked your lips in anticipation. You liked what you saw. All those things hanging on the wall. The plastic bins filled with objects. The benches and frames and chairs and tables. Well, that's why they're there. So you can see them. A little bit intimidating, yet exciting and arousing at the same time. Of course, you were already aroused when you walked in.

The mirror in the anteroom—the one where you undressed—it's two-way. You couldn't resist looking at yourself in the mirror, could you? You even tugged at your cock and balls, felt yourself a bit. Everyone looks in the mirror and tugs at his cock and balls. Just the thought of what might be on the other side of the door is enough to stimulate and arouse.

I think you liked what you saw in the mirror. You probably thought I would be impressed with your body. It's a good body. I'll give you that. But your appearance isn't important.

A lot of men have looked at themselves in that mirror—some of them have been obese, some of them have been thin to the point of emaciation. Young, old, muscular, flabby, handsome, ugly. Sometimes they like what they see in the mirror. Sometimes they worry that I will find them ugly. Inflated self-perceptions. Worries and self-doubts. Does anyone truly see himself as others see him? Well, it doesn't matter. Appearance isn't important, not in this room. All that really matters is the mind.

Your body isn't important to me because of the way you look. It's important to me because it's a tool, one of my many tools for reaching your mind. Just like all the things you saw in this room when you stepped through the door. All the whips, belts, floggers, paddles, gags, hoods, chains, cuffs—all those hundreds of objects hanging on the walls. Those clear plastic bins filled with shiny objects—well. some not so shiny anymore. The stocks, the bondage chairs, tables and benches, the sling, the chains hanging from the ceiling. So much for the eye to take in. So much for the mind to think about—a wonderful mix of anticipation, arousal, excitement, curiosity, and, of course, fear. That marvelous bit of fear.

And then just as you're enjoying that anticipation, that fear, just as you're thinking, "Have I gotten myself into something I can't handle? Maybe I should leave?" you hear the door lock behind you. I admit that's a bit theatrical. The door could simply close quietly. But I built it so that the locking mechanism is quite loud. That snick of a lock engaging—it took your breath away, didn't it? Anywhere else, it would be an insignificant noise, something you've heard thousands of time. A sound you seldom consciously listen to. If you notice it at all, it's only a half-heard confirmation that you have indeed locked the door. A sound you forget the next instant. But here, when you're surrounded by all these wonderful tools, it's ominous. I bet your heart skipped a beat. I also bet that your ballsack tightened and your cock gave a jerk. Fear and arousal. For people like you, they're fraternal twins. In this room, they will become identical twins.

After a bit, you noticed that there ahead of you on the table was the hood that the instructions on the changing room wall said would be awaiting you. It's the only thing in the room that was out of place. Everything else was neatly hung up or stowed away. It caught your eye, didn't it? You knew it would be there, and there it was. I watched you as you touched it and examined it. It seemed so lightweight, so harmless, didn't it? Just a bit of dress-up and make-believe.

Now, some men panic at this point. They beg to be released. It's all a mistake, they say. They rush back to the door. It's only then that they notice that there's no handle on this side. Some of them start banging on it to get someone's attention. Others collapse on the floor and start crying. I ignore them. There's only one way out of this room. I simply outwait them. Eventually they put the hood on. I know what they really want, and in the end they always admit it and give in.

But you, you were eager, weren't you? You walked over, picked up the hood, and pulled it over your head. Were you surprised that you couldn't see through the fabric? A lot of guys who've worn a nylon hood before think they'll be able to see out. But not through this hood. How did you feel when you discovered that you had been denied that little bit of freedom? What did you think about as you stood there, unable to see? Did you feel how cold the room is? Did you hear how quiet it is? Did you wonder when I would arrive? Did you wonder how I would begin?

Are you familiar with the phrase "left on the cutting room floor"? That's what I do in this room. I remove things and leave them on the floor to be swept away and tossed in the garbage. Oh, don't worry. Calm down. You'll only hurt yourself if you struggle like that. I didn't mean "cut" literally. It's a metaphor for the process you will undergo here. So many things that you think of as parts of you, maybe even essential parts of you, are going to be left behind on the cutting room floor. Think of the process as becoming a zero state, a tabula rasa, an empty vessel, a vacuum. Emptiness waiting to be filled. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Did you sense that I was in the room with you before I told you to extend your arms so that I could put the cuffs on? Some of the trainees are so startled when I speak for the first time that they jump. Others seem to feel my presence.

You like the cuffs, don't you? They are nice and heavy. Even though you can't see them, you just know that they are strong and inescapable. And you appreciate strength in others, strength exercised on your body, don't you? You enjoy being unable to escape.

I like it that you held out your wrists and ankles to be cuffed without hesitation. You didn't resist when I put the muzzle around your chin and mouth to hold your jaws shut. And you didn't try to get away when I led you over to the bondage bench and secured you to it. That bodes well for your future training.

As for what's touching you now—that's the business end of a riding crop. Most likely you didn't notice it when you walked in. There's so much to see, and you were apprehensive about what was going to happen. Your mind registered the fact that there was a lot to see, but it didn't actually look at any particular object.

This crop is about forty inches long. There's a leather loop attached to the handle. The shaft is flexible. That and the length give it a bit more snap and force than a shorter, stiffer crop would have. You probably don't know the terms for the parts of a riding crop, but the keeper—that's the thin bit at the end that will be coming into contact with your body—is made of leather. It's about two inches long, maybe three-quarters of an inch wide, a little less.

That's the part that's tracing a line down your spine right now. It's so gentle, isn't it? Just a soft, tender touch whispering slowly down your spine. Of course, you can't see it, but the keeper rises and falls as it glides over the bumps of the backbone. It's very sensual. Just focus on the sensation of the keeper moving over your body. It makes you feel so alive, doesn't it? Across your buttocks and down the back of your thighs. So sensuous. So intensely mild, so filled with potential. The back of your calves . . . the soles of your feet. Just focus on the part of your body the crop is stroking. Slowly. Softly. Tenderly. Almost lovingly. No hurry. Just relax. That's it. Take a deep breath. All the way in. Now hold it. And now let it out slowly. And as you do so, just relax. Again. Deep breath in. Hold it. Hold it. And relax even more as you breathe out. Excellent.

That's hurt, didn't it? But wasn't it wonderful too? Don't you love how that pain, that marvelous, unexpected pain, echoes throughout your body? It isn't just the buttocks that hurt. That's only the center of the pain. The pain explodes outward until it fills you. That's what's so miraculous about pain. It's like a firecracker exploding first in your body and then again in your mind.

And the crop left such a beautiful red welt across your butt. Here. I'll trace it with the tip of the crop so that you can feel it again. Just focus on that line. Think about it. Think about how it will soon just be one of many lines of pain. Think about it.

You knew there would be pain, but you thought you were safe for a while. I was just talking to you, nattering on about taking deep breaths and relaxing, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a hard slash across your butt. Well, that's one of the lessons you will learn. I determine when there will be pain. And where.

Like here. . . . And here.

I don't even have to expend much effort. Once I make the area sore, a few light taps are enough to renew the pain. Of course, they don't offer the satisfaction of the sound of a hard strike against your flesh. Here, let me demonstrate. . . . There. Isn't that much more satisfying to the ear? Compare it again. Hard strike. . . . And now gentle taps, mere flicks of the keeper against the skin. I can also assure you that visually the hard stroke leaves a much more pleasing record that gentle taps.

And of course, the buttocks aren't the only part of the body we can work on. There are the backs of the thighs. . . . The backs of the knees. . . . The calves—although I don't find them as satisfactory as other parts of the body. Do you?

And . . .

The soles of the feet.

I think you will agree that that is painful. The bastinado. A favorite of medieval torturers. It's such a vulnerable area—the sole of the foot. Maybe because it's so often tucked away out of sight. In shoes and socks. Doesn't it make you feel your helplessness even more to know that I can strike the sole at any moment? You no longer have any control. None. No part of your body is safe from me.

For now, however, I'm going to concentrate on your buttocks. I'll leave the pleasures of the bastinado for tomorrow or the next day—something for you to look forward to.

Oh, did I forget to tell you that? I may have neglected to mention the length of this session. You may remember the questionnaire asked if you had anything planned for this weekend. It may even have implied that there would be no interference with your plans for the rest of the weekend—an hour or two on Friday night and that would be it. A painful but exciting start to your weekend. You may have thought that question showed concern and trustworthiness, that care would be taken not to hurt you so much you wouldn't be able to follow through on these other plans. Well, if you thought that, you were wrong. I was so gratified to learn that you had the entire weekend free. That meant I could commence your training. A weekend is the minimum amount of time for a training session. Don't worry. I will take care of all your needs this weekend. You won't have to lift a finger. Literally. And you'll be "safely" back home Sunday evening.

So—your buttocks. This part of your body. So far only a few strokes of the whip. But there will be more. Many more. Your cheeks will be crisscrossed with welts. For days, it will hurt you to sit. Hard strokes. Rapid strokes. Slow strokes. Gentle strokes. Loving strokes. So many. Over and over. Until your mind no longer distinguishes them. Until your entire being is a field of pain.

Gradually you will accept the pain. You will offer your body up to the pain. You won't be aware of it, but instead of trying to avoid the pain as you're doing now, you will welcome it. Now, each time I hit you, you struggle and try to escape. But that will stop soon. Soon you will resign yourself to the inexorable whip. Then you will surrender to it. You won't even bother to cry out. Your cries will become moans, and then even they will cease. The only sound in the room will be the sound of the whip hitting your body.

And then something even more wonderful and miraculous will happen. You will begin to welcome the pain. You will begin to hum with pleasure. Instead of trying to escape the pain, you will rise to meet it. As one stroke ends, you will lift your buttocks in anticipation of the next stroke. You will want the next stroke. If you could talk, you would beg for the next stroke. "More." "Harder." "Please, don't stop."

That's what I meant when I mentioned the intimacy of pain. It invades your body. It invades your mind. A penis can only penetrate so far into your throat, so far into your ass. It's a limited tool. But pain goes so much deeper, so much farther into you. After a while, it's all you can think about. It's so intense. There's nothing like pain. It's like an orgasm. Your body may even confuse the two. You may cum. But you won't even notice it. Because the pleasures of orgasm will be nothing compared to the pleasure of the pain. For today, that is the gift that I will give you—the knowledge of the intimacy of pain.

That will be the lesson of this first session. When you leave, you may tell yourself that you won't return. But you will. You will because you will learn that pain is so much more pleasurable than what others call pleasure. And you will have to come back for more, for different forms of pain, for ever more intense forms. Pain is an addiction. In the end nothing else will matter to you. You will want the pain. You will need the pain. You will become pain.

And that will be your first lesson on the way to becoming 12. I've already told you something about 12. What more can I tell you? 12 is a state beyond ego. After a few sessions, there won't be any "I" left in you. And then, after a few more sessions, there won't be any "you." You will become a mindless, will-less object. 12 is simply the designation of this object. Not a name. An object doesn't have a name. But I need a word to use to refer to this object. So I use 12. There's no significance in the number. I call all my objects 12. 12 is simply a vessel for my will. 12 is my mind, my will, in another body.

But enough talk. It's time for your journey, your conversion, to begin.

12-2

"Don't ask."

"That bad?"

"It was awful."

"What happened? Was he as bad as that guy in the red latex suit who broke his ankle tripping over his ten-inch heels—you know, the one you ended up taking to the Emergency Room?"

"Oh, don't remind me. I'm trying to forget that guy. No, he wasn't as bad as that. But he's still in the top ten worst dates of all time. I should have known he was too good to be true. All that talk about total domination and brainwashing. He was just like all the other wannabes on ReMastered. Lots of talk and boasting, but no action." Connor shrugged and smiled ruefully at Jason.

"It's been weeks since you met anyone worth your time. You should give up on that site." Jason raised his coffee cup to hide his grin. His words were sympathetic, but his eyes gave him away.

"Yeah, yeah, you won again. You really enjoy it when I have a bad date, don't you? So tell me about your weekend. That will make me feel even worse. Something more for you to enjoy, dickhead."

"Are you sure you want to hear about it? I mean, after your experience, I don't want to brag."

"Stop stalling. You know you want to tell me."

Jason laughed. "Well, OK, if you must know. He—god, I don't think he ever told me his name. Maybe when he came up to me at the Circus. You know how noisy it is in there. Even if he told me his name, I wouldn't have heard it. Anyway, he wasn't much of a talker, but he fucked my brains out for three hours, slept for two hours, woke up, and fucked me again. That was Friday night. On Saturday, he . . . "

Connor let Jason's words drift by him. He nodded and moaned and groaned at the right places and even said "Way to go, Jason" and "Awesome" when Jason paused for admiration. Every Monday morning he met Jason for a cup of coffee at the Starbucks down the street before work. And every Monday morning, he reported another disappointing Friday night date, while Jason regaled him with his account of a non-stop weekend of sex. Jason wasn't lying or exaggerating either. He always interrupted his weekend sexual marathons long enough to update his Facebook page and post videos and photographs. Every couple of months or so, when the weekend partner was a prize specimen, Jason even brought him to the coffee shop to show him off to Connor.

Jason's account wound to an end. He took a long drink of coffee and leaned forward with a look of amusement on his face. "So, you gonna tell me what happened?"

"Ohh, must I? Didn't you get enough satisfaction this weekend? Do you have to know that I didn't?" Connor waited for Jason to disavow interest, but his friend simply smirked at him and raised an eyebrow.

"OK. OK. Jeez, you're insatiable. I'd tell you to get a life of your own, but as you're so fond of telling me, you already have one. So anyway, if you must know, on Friday evening, I arrive at the guy's 'dungeon,' which turns out to be a tiny two-room apartment in this shitty building over on Barton. He's dressed in leather drag—the whole outfit—the spit-shined boots, the chaps, the harness crossing his chest, the studded jockstrap, the glossy hat, reflective sunglasses, the gloves. You name it, he's wearing it. I walk in. Oh yeah, get this, he's chewing on an unlit cigar. He takes it out of his mouth so he can call me a faggot and a bitch, and then he pulls out his cock. 'Suck it, cocksucking faggot bitch,' he says. As you can tell, he needs to work on his vocabulary. But I figure what the hell, I'm not there for the conversation. So I kneel and start sucking him. He grabs me by the hair and thrusts his cock down my throat. All the time, he's calling me names. Faggot. Bitch. Cocksucker. And saying, 'You like that cock? Yeah, you do. You love it. A real man's cock, not like that limp toy you call your cock. Suck it, faggot. You're gonna get to know this mancock real well. I'm gonna shove it up your cunt.' And so on and so forth." Connor waved his hand in airy dismissal.

"That goes on for a few minutes. Then he tells me to get undressed. He puts a collar around my neck and attaches a leash. He makes me crawl on all fours and follow him into the bedroom. He puts a ball gag in my mouth and makes me get onto the bed face down. He ties me down by the wrists and ankles. Then he hauls out a flogger and hits me across the ass and back a few times. Not hard. Just enough to sting. I think finally we're getting down to business.

"Then he starts talking about the horrible day he had at work and what a big meany his boss is. He goes on and on about work and bitching about his life in general. I'm lying there with a gag in my mouth and making sympathetic noises. He's mincing around the room complaining about his life. God, he sounds like some teenage girl bitching about her parents. He talks for about an hour. I'm not shitting you. At least an hour. Doesn't even touch me. Finally he sits on the back of my thighs and starts beating his cock against my ass. He's talking about what he would like to do to all the people who are making his life miserable. He seems to want to pound them raw and then fuck them. But he's not doing that to me. He's working himself up into a state. As far as I can tell, he's forgotten all about me. Then he comes. When he stops, he apologizes for shooting all over me. He unties me and hands me a box of Kleenex so I can wipe his jism off my ass.

"And that's it. He pushes me out the door while I'm still trying hopping around trying to pull my pants on. He tosses my shoes into the hallway and then shuts the door and locks it. I can hear him sliding the chain into place. He probably spent more time getting dressed up in his leather costume than he did on me. All I got was a minute or so of him sticking his cock down my throat and a few mild slashes from the flogger. I think he just wanted someone to talk to who wouldn't interrupt him. So he enticed me over with promises, gagged me so that I couldn't say anything, and then tied me down so I couldn't get away while he unloaded all his troubles on an unwilling listener."

When Connor finished, Jason shook his head in sympathy and glanced at his watch. "Maybe you should redo your profile. You're obviously not reaching the right type of person. Christ, look at the time. I gotta run. I'll call you later." Jason gulped the rest of his coffee, picked up his napkin, and stuck it into the empty cup. He leapt to his feet, grabbed his briefcase, punched Connor on the shoulder, and then hurried away, pausing only to toss his cup into a wastebasket. At the door he turned and gave Connor a cheery wave before rushing off.

Connor took his time finishing his cup of coffee. He didn't need to be at work for another half-hour. When a woman asked him if she could share the table, he nodded and said, "Yeah, I'm just leaving." He pushed his chair back to get up and bumped into the person sitting behind him. He apologized. A gruff voice said, "No problem. They don't give us much room." The other man moved his chair forward to get out of Connor's way. When he saw Connor leaning forward and struggling to pick up his backpack on the other side of the table, he grabbed it by one of the straps and handed it to Connor. "Have a nice day," he said.

Connor automatically said, "Thanks. You too." He had a hurried, vague impression of a middle-aged man. Glasses. A dark suit. Medium build. Not his type. The image faded from his mind before he reached the door.

He didn't find the card until lunchtime when he went to retrieve his phone from his backpack. The card was stuck in the same side pocket. It was the size of an ordinary business card. There was no type, however, only a message neatly written in black ink. "I overheard you talking with your friend. Check out this website. It will solve your problem." Below this was: "twelve_past_twelve.com." There was nothing on the back of the card.

Connor scowled at it. Jeez, the creeps you met in this city. It had to have been the guy at Starbucks, the one he bumped into when he was leaving. He couldn't believe it. The guy had sat there listening to him and Jason and then snuck this card into his backpack. Connor crumpled the card and tossed it into a wastebasket. Then it occurred to him that if the guy had stuck something into his backpack, he could also have taken something out. Connor rummaged through the pack trying to remember what he had in it. There was so much junk, he couldn't tell. All the important stuff was there—his phone and charger, his tablet, his gym gear and shoes, his water bottle. As far as he could tell, the guy hadn't taken anything, but who knew? Just the thought of the guy snooping on him and Jason and pawing through his stuff made him feel violated. The guy could have some horrible disease. Christ, sometimes he hated this city. Filthy, dirty place full of psychos and creeps.

It wasn't until later that night that he remembered the card. He was watching TV when his phone chimed. An automated text from ReMastered.com informed him that someone had left a message for him. When he logged in, he discovered that the idiot from the weekend had emailed him: "Had a great time. Are you free tomorrow?" Connor deleted the message without replying. He was so thankful he hadn't given the guy his phone number or email. When he opened his ignore list to add the man's name, he was distressed to note the number of names already on the list. It included practically everyone he had met through the site. His premium membership still had three months to run. He resolved not to renew it. When it ran out, he would stop visiting the site. Total bunch of losers.

It was the thought of all the creeps he had met that reminded him of the card. The program on TV was boring, like all the Monday night programs. Fillion's smile and body weren't reason enough to put up with the silliness of the show. He might as well have a look at twelve_past_twelve.com. It might be worth a laugh. He Googled it first to check if anyone had commented on it. The search returned only a single listing—the site itself. That was a first. He couldn't recall having only one listing in response to a search. He hesitated for a moment. The antivirus program was up to date, and Google's site-monitoring program said twelve¬_past_twelve.com was safe. He clicked on the link.

The site opened immediately. It was minimalist. No pictures, at least not on the home page. Just seven or eight subject headings. Connor guessed that they were texts about the site. He clicked on "What Is the Twelve Past Twelve Program?"

The screen filled with a short message.

The Twelve Past Twelve Program is for anyone seeking structure in his life. Applicants inducted into the training program undergo sessions designed to enhance control and discipline. The successful candidate will master his fears and abandon all the mental obstructions and reservations holding him back and preventing him from achieving union. Under the guidance of the Twelve Master, the trainee progresses on the path to 12.

Are you ready? Click here to find out.

Not exactly the most informative message, Connor noted to himself. The right words were there—structure, control, discipline, master. But was it self-control or control of others or control by others. And what did "achieving union" mean? Or "Guidance of the Twelve Master" and the "path to 12" What the fuck was that? It sounded vaguely religious. Some sort of Asian New-Ageism. Zen-like. He would give it one more chance, he decided. He clicked on the link to the next page.

Sex
[ ] male
[ ] female

Connor clicked "male" and was immediately confronted by a new screen.

Use the slider bar to indicate your sexuality:

[O]-----------------------------------------------
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
gay bi straight

Connor left the indicator where it was, over "gay" and clicked "Continue."

Have you ever had sex with a woman?
[ ] yes
[ ] no

Connor checked no.

Use the slider bar to indicate your sexual preference
[O]---------------------------------------------------
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Once again, Connor did not find it necessary to move the slider.

The next page contained a long list of activities ranging from vanilla, like cuddling and kissing, to hardcore SM, such as scat and fist-fucking. For each, he was asked to indicate if he had ever performed the act, and if so, as the giver or receiver or both and whether he enjoyed it. Finally he had to rate the act on a scale of one to ten, with one being not necessary to ten being absolutely necessary to his conception of fulfillment. If he indicated that he had never performed a particular act, the program asked if he would like to or if the act exceeded his limits. Once he checked his preference, he was then asked how strong, on a scale of one to ten, his interest in the act or his rejection of it was.

When he finished that page, he glanced at the clock and was startled to see that he had been on twelve_past_twelve.com for almost an hour. Rating some of the activities had been easy, but for others it had been surprisingly difficult to sort out his likes and dislikes and the level of his interest. He had got caught up in the challenge of defining himself. To his surprise, he had enjoyed filling in the questionnaire. When the program continued on the next page after he had dealt with a final series of items dealing with breath control, he didn't hesitate. He continued answering the questions.

The remaining pages dealt more with his psychological profile. He was asked to rate himself on a submissive-dominant scale and then answer a series of questions about the degree of his submissiveness. The questions alternated between his past experiences and his desires. Each time he checked the box next to his answer, the program fed him another question. He got the impression that his answers were dictating the next questions. It was almost as if he were talking with a real person, some sort of psychologist who was probing his psyche and following up on his answers. He got so caught up in the program that he began confessing his innermost desires, things no one else had ever been interested enough to discuss with him. It helped that the program was anonymous—he felt safe discussing these things because he wasn't being judged, just being helped to define his interests.

When a new screen appeared saying "Congratulations, Connor. You have been accepted as a trainee in the Twelve Past Twelve Program. We are sending an email with instructions," Connor felt almost disappointed that the session had ended. It had been like talking with a close friend, that intimate he had always dreamed of finding. Someone who understood him better than he understood himself. Someone who sympathized and would help him achieve his goals. It wasn't until later that he wondered how the program knew his name and his email address. He didn't recall revealing those.

But he must have. Because there in his inbox was a message from the Twelve Past Twelve Program. The contents were simple. "Report to 1257 Lemminghurst Street on Friday evening at 8:30. Ring the buzzer for admittance and then follow the instructional signs. Failure to appear will result in cancellation of your acceptance as a trainee."

The message excited him. He didn't know why. The baldness of its commands, the formality of its language. Its simplicity. Do this and this or else. No explanations, no hint of what was to happen. Its take-it-or-leave-it attitude. As they had many times during the previous hours, his hands strayed to his nipples and to his cock. It was like he had passed a test and been accepted. He didn't know for what—judging from the questions, he guessed that the program had to do with D/s and BDSM, the kind of sex he liked. But he wasn't sure why he felt so excited. It was probably just a come-on, he told himself. He'd get to Lemminghurst Street—if he went—on Friday evening, and all he'd find was some sort of store trying to sell him something or some old guy wearing a leather vest over a pale, sunken chest with a few hairs.

He had never heard of Lemminghurst and used Google Maps to find the address. The street was only two blocks long and was located in the Edgarsville district. He opened the street view and found that 1257 was an old brownstone. A flight of seven or eight steps led up to a solid-looking door, painted black. The house wasn't wide. Maybe twenty-five, thirty feet. Connor knew the houses in that area. Deep, narrow rooms with a steep staircase along one wall connecting the floors. Most of them had long since been divided into condos, with one unit per floor. At the front would be a relatively large room used as the living room, then a passage leading back past a small bedroom, with the kitchen and bathroom behind that. The apartments were much sought after.

He could make out the buzzer to the right of the door. There appeared to be only one. That might mean that the house hadn't been divided into flats. That was rare, but it also meant that whoever was behind the website wouldn't have to worry about the neighbors hearing them—that was a plus. Maybe he could indulge in a few screams rather than having to stifle himself.

He would have to take the subway uptown. He needed to check a map to find the closest station. That is, if he decided to go. He told himself that he'd think about it. Maybe just walk past and check it out. Have a look. That wouldn't commit him to anything. At the worst it would just be a good laugh and a story to share with Jason. He could always walk away if he didn't like the looks of the place. It wasn't like he had anything planned for Friday night, or for the weekend for that matter. And there were several bars in Edgarsville. He could always go to one of those if Lemminghurst was a bust. So the entire weekend wouldn't be a waste.

It was kind of exciting to imagine the best possible scenario—his dream sadist who would devote several hours to transporting him to Nirvana, who would provide the mind-numbing experience he had always fantasized about but never had in real life. But, Connor reminded himself, he shouldn't get his hopes up. He'd done that often enough before only to be disappointed. But it was the hopes that made him keep trying. Somewhere there had to be someone who could somehow fulfill his dreams of total domination. With any luck it could be the guy behind twelve_past_twelve.com.

Yeah, right, dream on, you fool, he told himself as he shut down his computer and prepared to go to bed.

12-3

You came back. I knew you would. I suspect that when you left here last week, you resolved not to return. You told yourself that it was more than you wanted. It was too intense, too painful. Besides there was all that my talk about becoming 12—that was just weird. I had to be some sort of crazy. A real nut case.

And there were all those reminders of the pain. The subway ride back was a killer, wasn't it? You couldn't sit because your butt was too sore. You stood there holding on to the overhead pole, even though there were plenty of seats. You tried to keep your face neutral, but your body kept reminding you of the pain you had just endured. It wasn't just your butt. Your face felt raw, and you kept touching the places where the head harness had chaffed against your cheeks and forehead. You hoped that there weren't any red blotches on your face. You glanced around to see if anyone was staring at you or taking pictures of you to send to their friends or post online. "Dude in subway with strange marks on his face."

How do I know all this? I watched you. You never saw me last weekend so you didn't recognize me. I wanted to make sure you made it back to your apartment safely so I rode back on the subway with you. You live in a nice building. Don't worry. I didn't follow you into your apartment. Not physically anyway—mentally, however, I was present, wasn't I? You couldn't stop thinking about me.

When you got back to your apartment, I bet the first thing you did was check your face in a mirror. The marks hadn't faded yet, had they? And they were so distinct. Red stripes across your face where the straps of the harness held your jaws shut so that you couldn't talk. But the stripes spoke volumes about what you had been up to. It was clear what had caused the marks. That caused you more worry about what others had thought.

Then you took your clothes off and twisted about so that you could see your backside in the mirror. Were you surprised at how red it was? Did you even know that flesh could get that shade of scarlet? Your flesh was hot, wasn't it? And then there were those bloody lines where the crop had cut into your flesh. So many slashes across your beautiful butt. Did you wonder how long they would last? How long before you could expose your ass to public view again? Did you wonder if you dared risk a visit to the gym?

You tried to sit down, but it hurt too much. The only thing you could do was lie down on your stomach with your butt exposed. It still burned, didn't it? Each time your heart beat, there was a throb of pain in your backside.

You didn't venture out again that night, did you?

The pain hadn't lessened much by the next morning. You worried that it would never end. What if a cut got infected? What if there were scars? How would you explain those to a doctor? And your face still showed marks from the harness. Shaving was painful. Even the water from your morning shower stung as it cascaded over your tenderized flesh. Did you call in sick on Monday? Did you decide it would hurt too much to sit at your desk and that you wouldn't be able to pretend that nothing was the matter? What did you tell that handsome friend of yours about your weekend? Or did you skip that too? Did you leave him sitting all alone at Starbucks wondering what had happened to you? Perhaps you texted him telling him that you couldn't make it. Did you tell him why? Or were you "just a bit under the weather"? Well, that's understandable. It's still embarrassing to admit that you have all these urges, all these needs—that you like to spend your weekends tied up and in pain. That's hard to talk about even to good friend like Jason Palmer, who finds your little predilections so amusing.

The one thing you were certain about was that you weren't coming back. Oh, no, you weren't going to put yourself in my hands again. Too dangerous. Insane. Crazy. Unh-uh. No way. No, Sir. Never again.

But here you are. You couldn't stop thinking about last weekend. It wasn't just that the pain wouldn't let you forget. There was something else, wasn't there? Your mind remembered that wonderful moment when you entered sub-space. When you surrendered to the pain and let it work on you, for you. That moment of acceptance and acquiescence. You dreamt about that, didn't you?

Then you got my email. Friday—same time, same place.

Oh, you must have been in a quandary. Part of your mind said, No, don't be a fool. Stay away. While another part of your mind was shouting, Yes! Yes! Get your ass over there.

These urges are so hard to understand, aren't they? Do you remember last time when I explained how the body tries to flee the pain and that's why you had to be tied down? Part of you wanted to avoid more pain. But part of you wanted more, didn't it? And that's why you're here. That's why you marched up the front stoop and buzzed for admittance. That's why you undressed in the anteroom. That's why you came through the door to this room and put the hood on again. That's why you stood there waiting.

You trembled a bit, didn't you? I was watching on the monitors. It wasn't because you were cold. No, you were excited, afraid, anxious, impatient . . . and uncertain. Such a lovely mix of emotions. It's no use my telling you not to be nervous. You should be nervous. You want to be nervous. You want that sick feeling in your gut, that weakness in your legs, the thump of your heart racing in your chest, your breath catching in your throat, that ringing in your ears.

So much turmoil and tumult in the mind. But that's part of the attraction, isn't it? The uncertainty . . . and the greed. Your greed for the experience. You want more. Always more. Well, you will get more this weekend. Don't worry. Just relax. You've got a long weekend ahead of you. And don't be impatient. We'll start in a few minutes.

But first, I'm going to put my hands on your shoulders and guide you into place. Step forward. Just let me guide you. You're not going to run into anything. I'm won't let you. I'm not interested in the pain you get from stubbing a toe. No, we're neither of us interested in that type of pain, are we?

Good. Now, hold out your arms. No, not to the front, to the sides. Stretch them out full length. Good. Just stand there. Bear with me for a few seconds while I lower this bar. Okay, now I'm going to attach some cuffs to your wrists and along your arms. This will take a moment.

Yeah, sorry about that. I know the bar is cold. It's just a metal rod, but it will warm up soon. Your body heat will warm it up. Now, hold still while I finish with these cuffs.

There. Just relax. The chains at the ends of the bar are attached to pulleys suspended from the ceiling. You don't need to hold the bar up. Let it hold you up.

Hmm. The bruises on your ass are still swollen. The swelling should go down this coming week. The bruises are already beginning to turn yellow at the edges, but it will take another couple of weeks for them to fade completely. Nice. Your ass still feels hot. That's because the body is pumping extra blood to that area to help it heal. Try to stand still. I know it hurts when I touch your butt, but it is so beautiful. I can't resist. Have you been looking at the welts and scars in a mirror? I bet you have. It's hard to resist gloating over the record of your experiences last weekend. It's so much fun to remember how it felt and to relive all the excitement.

Don't worry. I'm not going to work on your ass today. Today the focus will be on another part of your anatomy. That's why you're trussed up like this.

Just one more thing and then I'll be ready to start on you. Maybe you can guess what I'm about to do from the sounds you hear as I gather what I need. Those clinks and clanks my tools make as I take them down from the walls. Well, maybe not. As clinks and clanks go, they're rather generic.

So, first I'm going to strap these cuffs around your ankles. Next I'll attach chains to the cuffs and then attach the chains to eyebolts in the floor. You won't be able to move your feet very far. I don't want you kicking out with your legs. I know you wouldn't do that intentionally, but sometimes it's just an automatic reaction to the pain.

Oh, yes, there will be pain. Just not on your ass today. Today's pain will be much more subtle. But that doesn't mean that it will be any less painful. The ass is great for brute force. I can do a lot to your ass and not have to worry about causing permanent damage or leaving scars.

You like that, don't you? It was on the questionnaire. Your responses to that section were so enthusiastic. What I like about it is that it's open to so much variation. What you're experiencing now—let's see, How can I describe it? The lightest possible stimulation. Just the tips of my thumbs rubbing over the tips of your nipples. Just picture it your mind. A person with nipples as sensitive as you say yours are has to have done this to himself. But it feels even better when someone else is touching the nipples, doesn't it?

That's because when you do it to yourself, your brain is receiving input from both your fingers and your nipples. But when someone else touches your nipples, all the sensations originate from your nipples. The mind doesn't get confused about what it's sensing. It's all nipple. Those wonderful, little, useless reminders that men are mammals too. We may not have mammary glands—we may have beautiful pecs instead of ugly breasts—but we have something much better. Hungry nipples greedy-for-pleasure. And your nipples are ravenous for stimulation.

You see the road to 12 isn't just about pain. It's about pleasure too. Pleasure, the desire for pleasure, the need for pleasure—I can use that to subvert your mind too.

Was that a groan of pleasure? Are you trying to tell me how much you're enjoying this? Even with that gag in your mouth, you want to tell me to keep doing this, don't you?

Don't bother. As I told you last time, and as you will learn over and over, your pleasure and your pain aren't important. They're just tools. Tools for destroying you. Tools for remaking you into 12. No, I hadn't forgotten about 12. Were you hoping that I had? That I would just keep on playing with your nipples? Stroking them until the areoles contract and make the nipples become perky and stand up?

No, playing with your nipples is just a brief moment in your journey.

Did that hurt?

Of course, it did. You cried out, and your body jerked from the pain. And that was just a pinch with my fingers. Your nipples aren't hungry only for pleasure, are they? Those little guys are also gluttons for punishment, aren't they? Don't worry. I'll take care of that. I'm going to devote this weekend to feeding your gluttony.

Remember when you walked in here last week and you saw those clear plastic bins full of objects? Well, the one I'm delving into now contains my collection of tit clamps. I have twenty-six pairs of them, plus assorted weights and other attachments. The pair I'm putting on you now is the most vanilla one in my collection. Really they're jewelry more than anything else. Essentially these are just earrings for nipples. I don't ordinarily bother with them, but you've built your pecs up so that they hang over your rib cage so nicely. Your nipples stick out just enough that these—what shall I call them?—these "nip decorations" dangle in midair below your pecs. They're more eye candy for me. I'm snapping a picture of them. I'll send you a copy so that you can enjoy it too. I'll see that the pics get posted on Tumblr and other photo-sharing sites too. I'm sure they'll get reposted a lot. Many of my pictures are quite popular there. Just think of it. Your pecs and nips are going to be famous. I wonder how many men are going to jerk off over them. What a pity that no one will recognize you with that mask on. You won't receive the recognition you deserve. Don't worry. Time enough for that later. There will come a time when you won't be able enter a gay bar without half the people there recognizing you from all the photos of you on the net. Of course, at that point, you won't think about other people and you won't be frequenting gay bars. As I said, life as 12 will be quite simple and straightforward.

There. That's enough photos, I think.

Let's try another pair.

Now these, as you can tell, clasp the nipples a bit more firmly. They almost squash them flat, in fact. Just like a good hard pinch. But of course it's difficult to hold a pinch for long. One's fingers get tired and relax. But these babies never get tired. I could leave them on you for days.

It's good that you never got your nipples pierced. That was a point in your favor on the questionnaire. Slaves should never think of their bodies as theirs to pierce—or to ink up, for that matter. The slave should deliver its body to the owner in pristine condition. The owner should be the one to decide whether to pierce it or tattoo it. But I'm lecturing you again. Let's get back to the business at hand.

Like all nipple clamps, the pain from these begins to dissipate after a while. One has to constantly renew the pain. Like this. By twisting the clamps back and forth, clockwise and then counterclockwise. Pulling on them works too. Once I work your nipples over enough and get them really sensitive. I won't even have to do that. Just by breathing in and out, you will jiggle them enough to cause you pain. If you weren't in such pain and could think straight, you would realize that clamps are such labor-saving devices. Labor-saving for me, that is. Your body and your mind do most of the work. I can stand back and enjoy the view.

The pain is exquisite, isn't it? Such a small point of pain. So focused on just a tiny bit of flesh. Tit clamps are such efficient tools. You may never have thought of them in those terms, but you'll some come to appreciate them. Such a small amount of pressure causing such a large amount of pain.

Another great thing about clamps is how much they hurt when one removes them. It always comes as a shock, doesn't it? Your nipples were getting used to the pain. It was becoming a dull ache. And then without warning, I open the clamps. Shazam. Kaapow. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. A lightning bolt of pain.

And another lightning bolt when I let them close again. When I abruptly let go of them and the jaws snap back on your tits.

You see now why I secured your ankles to the floor. Your whole body shuddered and thrashed about in pain when I released the clamps and they squashed your tits again. Eventually you will learn to accept that pain without flinching, but that's for the future.

For now, let's move onto another pair of clamps. You know what alligator clamps are, don't you? Another ordinary object pressed into service as a training tool. Did you know they were developed for electricians? To transmit low levels of electricity from the pole of a battery, for example. They're just small-scale versions of car battery cables. Just a little bit of history, a factoid just for you. I like to make these sessions educational. Yes, you will find that these sessions are very educational. If you like, you can think of yourself as a battery that's run down, and I'm using these clamps to recharge you. Oh, you will be so charged up by Sunday evening when I release you. What I'm going to do to your nipples will keep you energized all week long.

Now, a lot of alligator clamps come with rubber sheaths over the business end to blunt the pain. I'm not going to bother with those today. Your tits are going to get the teeth.

But not all at once. Too many people make the mistake of just pinching clamps open and then attaching them to the nipple. That's fine if you want to hear screaming. But I'm after something more. By the time I'm finished with you, you will beg me to put them on you. You will learn to welcome the pain, and then I will teach you to turn the pain into something more.

The clamps you have on now are meant to sensitize your nipples. Get you used to thinking about them. To judge from your reactions, I think they've done what I wanted them to do. Time to move on. Let's get them off you. There. See—taking them off causes as much pain as putting them on.

One of the odd things about alligator clamps is that the smaller they are, the more painful they are. The business end of the ones I'm using today—the part with the teeth—is, oh, about an inch long. I suppose you could say they are the standard size for erotic uses. I have some smaller one—they're for specialists. Those really burn. Well, you find out how much they burn later this weekend. Something else for you to look forward to.

Alligator clamps are my favorites. A sublime blend of functionality, simplicity, and beauty. The KISS principle in action. A pity you can't see them. You would love how shiny they are. The handles are black plastic. They're connected by a chain, just enough weight to swing back and forth and pull the clamps down when I put them on. I wish you could see them. I would hold them up to your eyes and open and close them slowly so you could anticipate what is shortly going to happen to you. I would touch your face, your lips, with them to let you savor the feel of them. I would let you lick them, to know the taste of them in your mouth.

Right now, I'm outlining the edges of your pecs with them. Just focus on the sensation. Anticipate the moment when you will experience them fully. I'm in no hurry. Just enjoy them. A small bit of metal tracing the boundaries of your beautiful pecs. Luckily your chest isn't hairy, or I would have to shave it.

And now the areoles. Patience. Have patience, lad. No need to move about. I'll get to the nipples eventually. For now, just focus on the movements of the clamps. Focus on them. That's all you have to do. Let the sensation of the clamps moving over your flesh fill your thoughts. Take a deep breath in, hold it, hold it, and now let it out slowly. As you do so, just relax. Focus on the clamps. And again. Deep breath in. Hold it, hold it. And breathe out slowly. Good. Just keep breathing like that.

Now, I'm holding one of the clamps over your right nipple. Have you ever noticed how much more painful the clamps are when they're attached to the end of the nipple instead of the whole length of it? Well, no matter. I'm going to demonstrate that today. When I used the other clamps on you, I pulled the nipple out and attached the clamp along the whole length. I even caught a bit of the areole between the lips of the clamp. What you felt was really more pressure than pain—although you may not have thought so. But these babies are going right on the tip of the nipple. Tippy tip tip. Tit tip. You will love it.

So what I'm going to do now is slowly close the jaws of the clamp until the teeth just begin to bite into the tip of the nipple. Like that. I'll hold that for a few seconds, and now I'll open them again. I'm going to continue to do that. But each time I'm going to let the clamp close just a bit further.

Just focus on the sensation of the clamp closing and opening on your nipple. That's all you have to do. Just accept what's happening. Just let it happen. Closing . . . opening. Pressure . . . release. Pain . . . absence of pain. More . . . less. A little more each time. A little longer each time. Just focus on the clamp closing. Anticipate it. Want it. Welcome it. Need it.

You're really beginning to feel it now, aren't you? I can tell because your cock is so hard. You're beginning to want the pain. You need the pain. Just focus on the clamp. I'm almost done with the right nipple. A few more times. Clamp . . . release.

Do you want me to put the clamp on you and leave it there? Just nod your head yes. Good boy.

There. Focus on the wonderful pleasure emanating from the clamp. It isn't just the nipple. The sensation sears your body. Focus on it. Accept it. Want it. Enjoy it.

I'm going to let you alone for five minutes. Just focus on your nipple. Don't think about the clamp. Just think about the nipple and the wonderful pain eating away at you. Let it fill your mind. Accept it. Want it. I'll come back to you and then I'll attach the clamp to the left nipple.

' ' ' ' ' ' '

There. That's both of them on. I think you'll agree that it's been worth the wait. All that buildup just made them feel even better, didn't it? I'm going to go away again. I'll be back in half an hour.

All you have to do is focus on your nipples and the sensations ricocheting through your body. You may find that after a while you won't be able to feel your nipples. If that happens, just swing your body back and forth so that the chain moves. That will send a fresh wave of pleasure through you. For now, you should just enjoy what other people might think of as pain. It will take over your mind. Soon you won't think of anything else but the pain. Surrender to it. Accept it. Welcome it. Enjoy it. Let it burn through your mind like a wildfire and cleanse it. Let it fill your mind and force out all other thoughts.

. . . . . . . .

Now, I'm going to remove both clamps at the same time. You know what an intense shock of pain that will send throughout your body and mind. Just let it happen. Experience it to the fullest. Don't hold back. On the count of three. One. Two. Three.

Excellent. Your response was everything I hoped for. You are doing so well.

You may not have realized it, but your cock was hard before I removed the clamps. It started oozing pre-cum when I took the clamps off. Some of my trainees cum spontaneously when I remove the clamps. I appreciate their enthusiasm and I realize it's not intentional, but then I have to train them not to cum. I'm the one who determines when they cum. I'm glad I don't have to take the time to teach you not to cum. Just so you know, I'll put a metal bead inside your piss slit if you cum spontaneously. It will prevent any repetition of your misconduct.

Now, I'm going to repeat what I've just done. I'm going to do it over and over. Your nipples are going to be raw. For several days after I finish with you, even the movement of a shirt against your nipples is going to be painful.

Remember how I began the last session by telling you that my gift to you would be the intimacy of pain. This time you're going to give me a gift. The acceptance of pain. I will continue to apply the alligator clamps to your nipples until you give me the gift of your acceptance of pain. Your acceptance of my right to cause you pain. Your acceptance of pain as a training tool. Your understanding that pain is a tool to train you. Your acceptance that pain is necessary for you to become 12.

You're still trying to avoid the pain. As I explained last time, that's natural. The body shies away from pain. But the first thing you must learn is to overcome that tendency. You must learn to shed your unwillingness to endure pain. You must abandon your fear of pain. You must learn to welcome pain as a necessary step on your path.

When I apply the clamps, just accept the pain. Welcome it. Don't struggle against it. That will only make it worse. Let the pain arouse you. Let the pain excite you. Want the pain. Want more of it. Beg for more of it. Surrender to me and let me determine your pain.

Make your mind blank. Let the pain fill it. Let the pain erase you. Let yourself become the pain. Only then will you be ready to move to the next step.

Enough talk. Let us begin.

12-4

Connor's red and swollen nipples ached. Just as the man had said they would. He couldn't stand to wear even a loose T-shirt. With every heartbeat his tits expanded and contracted in a wordless mantra of pain. Little flecks of loose skin clung to them, and there were scabs on the tips of the nipples where the man had applied the clamps. Over and over.

Sometimes the man attached the clamps slowly, opening and then closing them a little more each time, teasing Connor's mind with the anticipation of the moment when he would release the clamps fully, letting the prongs bite again and again into the aching tip. Sometimes he skipped the buildup and just let the clamps spring shut over the nipple, sending a searing flash of pain throughout Connor's body.

At some point, Connor had seen an image of a gigantic alligator clamp, gleaming in the light, poised over his right pec. He had watched as the teeth slowly bit into the nipple, piercing it, crushing it between the top and bottom teeth, squeezing it and forcing the flesh to ooze out between the jaws of the clamp.

Sometimes the man just left the clamps on the nipples and let Connor experience the agony spread outward through his body. Sometimes he played with them, twisting them or pulling on them. Sometimes he attached weights and let them drag the nipples downward. Sometimes he sent electrical shocks surging through the metal of the clamps and into Connor.

Connor lost track of time. He no longer felt that he had a body. It disappeared from his consciousness. Just pain. He was pain. That was all. Pain. Sometimes the pain was weaker. Sometimes it grew more severe. He ceased to think about it. He accepted it.

He . . . He didn't know how to think about what had happened. Something had happened. At the beginning he had been in pain. There had been pain. There had been him. They were separate. But they merged. He wasn't anything but pain.

When the pain stopped, he felt wrong. Something was missing. He was incomplete. But then the pain came back and he felt whole again. He cried when the pain went away. He begged the man for pain. Had the man removed the gag? He couldn't remember. Maybe he had just imagined begging. He wasn't sure. He had seen the clamps. He had seen himself willingly, gladly, thankfully thrust his chest forward and position the nipple between the jaws of the clamps. He had seen the clamps close on his nipples. He had seen his face bloom with the ecstasy of pain. He had seen his cock throb with the glory of pain. He had sobbed and pleaded with the man for more pain. What had he seen? The hood—had the man removed the hood? Had he watched himself in a mirror? He couldn't remember. He must have dreamed it all.

It must have just been his imagination. He couldn't remember seeing the man. Just himself. Surely he would have seen the man if the hood had been removed.

He remembered the voice though. The voice telling him what was going to happen. The voice walking him through the initial steps. The voice. And then the voice had stopped talking. The only thing that talked then was the clamps. And himself. He had talked.

Much later he found dressed and out on the street. A cab had pulled up. He had gotten in. The cab had driven him to his street. He had paid the driver and walked up the steps to his apartment. It was dark outside. Early morning. He thought it was early Saturday morning. That he had spent the night with the man. But when he checked his phone, he discovered it was Sunday. 7:30 on Sunday evening. He had spent two days at the man's place.

He couldn't understand where the time had gone. Sometimes the pain had seemed endless. And then it hadn't seemed long enough. But two days? He hadn't eaten. He hadn't gone to the bathroom. He was sure of that. He hadn't slept. At least he didn't think he had. He had forgotten all the basic things of life.

Without realizing it, he began crying in gratitude to the man. The man used pain as a tool. The pain itself wasn't important. What was important was learning what pain could do to him. How strong it could be. How he could become stronger by enduring it, by wanting it. By needing it. By becoming pain. By surrendering to the man and becoming nothing other than a tool for the man's will. He had found what he had always hoped to find, and the man had helped him find it. He owed everything to the man.

His nipples glowed. He didn't know what to call the feeling. Yes, it was painful, but it was also pleasurable. It was a reminder of what he had found. Of what, he corrected himself, he had been lucky enough to find.

He crossed his arms and began stroking his nipples with the edges of his thumbnails. He felt. Again he didn't know what. Perhaps it was just that he was feeling. It didn't need a name. He didn't need to give it a label. Naming it would only serve to distance him from the sensation. And the sensation, what it represented, that was the important thing. He had given his willingness, his desire, his need to have this sensation to the Man. It was a way of giving himself to the Man, a way of being with the Man, of becoming the Man's mindless toy.

He wanted that so much now. He knew that. He wanted to become the thing the Man called 12. He wanted the Man to destroy him and make him into 12. He pinched his nipples between his fingernails. The Man. That persuasive deep voice in his ears, in his mind, molding it, erasing the irrelevant and replacing it with the essential. The Man.

Serve. He wanted to serve. He didn't want to go back to his ordinary life. He wanted to be with the Man. He had to be with the Man.

His mind emptied of all thoughts but the Man. Without being aware of what he was doing, he continued to pinch his nipples. They grew even more swollen. The bursts of sensations were lightning bolts in his mind. Their thunder deafened him. Nothing registered in his eyes; the hood prevented all vision. He existed only inside the moment the Man had created him for. Outside words. Outside feeling. On the way to becoming emptied of himself. Just being. Becoming 12.

Later that night, he woke up. He didn't know how long he had been lying on the floor. He found his clothes in a heap beside him. He was naked, dried cum on his chest and stomach.

. . . . . .

The next morning Connor went through his day like a zombie.

He kept his usual Monday morning date with Jason at the coffee shop and listened to him prattle on about his weekend and boast of his dates. When Jason asked him about his weekend, Connor shrugged and said, "It was OK. Didn't do much." He didn't want to talk about the Man. He didn't want to share his experiences. Sharing them would dilute them, trivialize them. They would just become a story to entertain Jason. Suddenly he was tired of Jason. Tired of his amusing chatter, tired of meeting him every Monday morning, tired of catching up. He couldn't think why he had even started meeting Jason. It was just insipid. He stood up abruptly, said "Gotta go," and left.

Work was a torment. It was so stupid. He used to think that he had been lucky to find this job. It suited his talents, his colleagues were fun, the work was challenging. But he was seeing everything in a new light. He had been so blind.

His fingers kept drifting to his nipples. At first he tried to be discreet. He might brush his nipples in passing or scratch his chest in a way that allowed his fingers to stray across them. He relished the private electric shock surging through his body. It felt so good. His mind focused on the Man, on his surrender to the Man.

"Connor? . . . Connor, are you all right?"

"Wha . . . Oh, sorry, boss. I was thinking about . . . about the Armstrong project."

Matt Simmons, his team leader, had an odd look on his face, concern mixed with skepticism. "Yeah, well, that's what I want to talk to you about. Have you finished the cost projections yet?"

Connor looked at his computer monitor. The answers were there somewhere. He clicked his way through the menu and found the file. "Here's what I'm thinking. I emailed Plastron on Friday asking if they could give us a discount on bulk orders. Haven't heard back from them yet. We've been basing the projections on orders of 1,000 units at a time. But if Plastron gives us a discount on larger orders, it will lower our unit costs. We have the warehouse space. It won't cost us more than we're already paying." Connor mentally heaved a sigh of relief. At least he sounded like he was working.

Connor swiveled around to face Matt and leaned back in his chair. He laced his fingers behind his neck and tilted back, stretching the fabric of his shirt and undershirt across his nipples. He had to force his face into an expression of interest in what Matt was saying. Something about doing a good job. And let him know when he heard from Plastron and had inputted the new figures. So everything was all right then. When Matt walked away, Connor bounced his pecs. He nearly came in his pants. The feel of his shirt moving over his nipples was so intense. He stopped himself just in time. He looked around to see if any of his coworkers had heard him moan or seen the look of pleasure that had flashed across his face.

Friday night he bathed and shaved. He caught the subway and rode uptown. The train was crowded as were the streets around the station. Connor paid no attention. His mind was filled with anticipation of what would happen that evening, what the Man might do to him that weekend. He walked at a steady pace through the throngs. They didn't register on his mind. Lemminghurst was quieter. The further he walked, the fewer people he encountered. He quickened his pace. There was no one in sight when he rushed up the stairs to 1257 Lemminghurst. He pressed the buzzer. When the lock clicked, he opened the door and went inside.

12-5

You came back. I knew you would. Your ass and tits are still a bit sore, aren't they? Don't worry. I'll let them heal for another week. I will use other parts of your body tonight.

When you left here last Sunday, you were in pain. You were having trouble standing up straight. I watched you as you went down the steps to the street. You walked so gingerly. You moved so slowly and put your feet down so carefully. Every step hurt, didn't it? That's only to be expected. Once the endorphins start wearing off, you notice all the sore joints and muscles.

Did you fall asleep as soon as you got back to your apartment? That's what most trainees do. You weren't engaged in hard physical labor. You were just slumped in the frame or lying inert on the table. But all the strain takes a toll. Your body was pulsing with pain, and oblivion beckoned. Well, sleep is a great healer.

The next day, you were still sore, weren't you? But your mind didn't care. You wanted more. Friday couldn't come quickly enough for you.

And here you are. Ready for more. Because if there's one certainty in this world, it is that you are ready for more. Every morning you woke up knowing that it wasn't Friday was a torment. As soon as the daily stupidities began, you thought about the intensity of the pain and how it drove all the inanities out of your mind. How it left you feeling so serene, so tranquil, so . . . so joyous.

That's what outsiders never can understand. They see one man beating another's ass until it is red and bruised, until it is swollen raw with welts oozing blood, and they shake their heads and think you must be crazy. But the bruises and the welts bring a reward, don't they? That wonderful feeling of release and acceptance of what you are.

The intensity is the key. A paper cut can nag at the mind. It's a nuisance. It hurts all out of proportion to the damage. But it lacks that intensity that reduces your being to the pain and the pleasure that comes from the pain. When you become that still point of essential being and nothing else. When there are no words, no mind left, when there is only your existence as an object. That's why you came back. Because you are an object that circumstances have forced to pretend to be a human being. You came back because you need me to remove those bonds and let you become an object again.

Today, you are going to experience a different type of intensity. The frame to which you are attached exposes your entire body. Again, the hood is there to prevent you from seeing what is coming. As I have explained, it prevents you from trying to escape what is happening to you. You can't use what you can't see to avoid what is happening to you. The blank blackness you see when you open your eyes is one less thing demanding your attention, one less distraction. The sensations are so much more intense when they are all that you have.

Like that. I barely stroked your chest with my fingertips, and your whole body shuddered. And that nice little moan of pleasure. The harness prevents you from speaking, but moaning is permitted—and welcome. Just don't overdo it. I want the moans to be real, not acting or attempts to please me.

So, you're probably wondering what's going to happen to you. You've been looking forward to this moment all week, and now it's here. You're prepped. Nothing remains to be done but to begin.

It would be interesting to know what you imagined would happen as you thought about this weekend. It would tell me so much about you. I will have to incorporate that sort of feedback into the trainees' programming. But it's too late now to ask you about your anticipations for this session. Ah, well, these sessions are educational for the both of us. But enough of that.

So, this weekend. This weekend you will experience something different. This weekend's lesson is on pleasure. You will learn that intense pleasure is as strong as intense pain. Eventually you will reach the point where you can't tell pain and pleasure apart. What your mind will crave is the intensity. You won't care whether the sensation is painful or pleasurable. For you pain and pleasure will be the same. In you opposites will unite.

Of course, that's only a way station on your path. You are still thinking in terms of yourself and what you are experiencing. But that too will pass. What will come to matter to you is that I choose what is happening. What happens will become irrelevant. It will be enough that I am doing it to you. The activities will no longer concern you. All that will matter is me. Of course, at that point, you will no longer be you. You will be 12.

Do you know the word "hyperaesthesia"? It means increased sensitivity to stimuli. It's usually considered an abnormal condition, a sign of damage or disease somewhere in the body. It's a natural response. Many pregnant women, for example, become hypersensitive to smells. Or think of what it's like to have a bad sunburn. It's like the raw skin on your ass and your nipples. The sunburned skin is so sensitive that even the lightest touch brings pain.

Hyperaesthesia can also be brought about by certain chemicals. Think about a hangover and how sounds become louder and lights brighter. To dull the senses, the sufferer resorts to aspirin or other painkillers—or drinks more alcohol. Withdrawal from heroin and other opiates also increases addicts' sensitivity. They beg for the drugs that will dull their senses again.

Addiction makes a man so easy to control. As you will find out as your addiction to intensity grows. I will feed that addiction until you mindlessly return to me again and again for your next fix of intense pain or intense pleasure or a mixture of both. You will offer yourself up to me because no one else will supply what I have trained your mind to need. Addiction will make you pliable, malleable. Addiction will soften you until you become a formless lump of clay ready to be molded into 12.

Have you ever read some of the drivel on the Internet about mind-altering chemicals? The paranoid fantasies that the government is using certain chemicals to reduce us to mindless, slobbering idiots. Of course, there are such chemicals. But they're too easy. They take away the sense of victory, that incredible moment when you will surrender to me fully, when you give yourself over to me. My victory will be all the sweeter because you will want it. Then you will need it. Finally you will be unable to imagine an existence in which you are not fully mine. It will simply be the way things are.

There are other chemicals, however, that I may use. Chemicals that induce hyperaesthesia. Chemicals that make your senses so heightened that the breath from your nostrils gliding over your lips will cause your body to spasm with pleasure. A touch of my finger anywhere on your body will send you into paroxysms. Your entire body will become an erogenous zone under my hands. You can't imagine what it will be like when all your senses overload your mind with sensations so intense that they drive consciousness away. And that's even before I start stimulating what you now think of as your erogenous zones. Your nipples, your ass, your balls, your cock—all those really sensitive spots. When I start touching them, your mind will want to shut down, to escape, but it won't be able to. But those pleasures are for another day.

This weekend, I will control your mind through pleasure and make it give me what I want. Just through pleasure. That's all. Like this. You like that, don't you? Just focus on my fingers and my hands. That's all you have to do. Enjoy their touch on your body. How flexible, how warm, how tender, how smooth they feel. Good. You shivered. Just keep focusing on my fingers. Feel your skin ripple as I touch you.

Excellent. But try not to struggle. I know it's difficult when my fingers are making you feel so good. But struggling is an attempt to escape. Now, I'm going to stroke you again. This time, I want you to move into the pleasure, not away from it. Give your body up to my hands. Enjoy what's happening to you. Accept it. Good boy. Want it. . . . Need it.

That's better. Just focus on my hands. Your body feels so electric when I touch it. So sensitive. So ready. Just focus on my hands and the places that I am touching. That's all you have to do. As you focus, your mind will empty of all thoughts. That's it. Concentrate on the pleasure. Give yourself up to it. Surrender to it. Submit to it. Obey it.

Caresses aren't the only pleasure I can give you. There are also kisses. Like these. Especially if they involve licking. Warm. Wet. Lubricated. . . . Oh, you like that. I thought you would.

Have you noticed yet how the body begins to feel pleasure generally? I may touch or kiss a certain part of your body, and if you think about it, you can identify that part. But the mind doesn't really care. As long as it's experiencing pleasure, it doesn't care what's being stimulated. It's the same with pain. That's because the pleasure—and the pain—is happening inside your mind. Stimulate the mind enough, and it ceases to think about the source of the stimulus and concentrates on the sensations coming in.

You may object that the intensity of these pleasures doesn't come close to the intensity of the pain you experienced last week. True. But patience, have patience. I have other means of stimulating you with pleasure.

But first a bit of preparation. I'm attaching a transdermal patch to your upper arm. You're probably familiar with these as patches to help smokers quit. Those patches contain a dose of nicotine. It's gradually absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, where it satisfies the smoker's craving for the source of his addiction. But the patches can deliver other drugs as well. In this case, sildenafil. Or Viagra, to use the name you probably know it by.

Don't you love the ads for Viagra? The way they warn you about possible side-effects. "Seek medical help if you experience an erection lasting for more than four hours." Most people—I'm just guessing now—but probably 95 percent of the men who hear that statement don't hear it as a warning. What they hear is "an erection lasting for more than four hours." That's what they want. The four hours.

Four hours. Well, your erection is going to last at least that long. And when your body has absorbed all the sildenafil in this patch, then I will put another one on you. I have enough patches to keep you erect all weekend. Oh, you moaned? Do you like that thought? Do you? Well, I will choose to interpret the noise you made as an indication of the pleasure you anticipate from the coming erection. No erectile dysfunction for you this weekend. Although you may have some next week from sheer exhaustion. But no matter. What will happen to you this weekend will keep your libido satisfied until next Friday.

It will take a few minutes for the sildenafil to begin working. Let's get you all fixed up, shall we?

The harness I'm putting around your waist right now will be used to hold certain tools in place. It needs to be securely fastened to your body. The belt may chafe a bit at first, but you'll soon forget about that. Now I'm going to place this ring around your cock and balls. There. And this strap goes between your buttocks and fastens at the back. This part's a bit tricky. I have to get the double ring centered over your anus. Now these straps go around your upper thighs to hold everything in place.

Almost ready. You can't see what comes next, of course. But I like to describe things in full so that your mind can anticipate what's going to happen. That's part of the fun. The next two attachments are clear plastic sleeves. The first one is semi-flexible. It's stiff enough to insert but thin and flexible enough to allow you to feel the workings of the machine.

So now you're wondering—"Stiff enough to insert" implies that something is going to be inserted—no doubt you're wondering where. And what machine? Anticipation—it's making you hard. Or maybe that's the sildenafil working. No matter. The result is the same.

Remember those double rings centered over your anus? Have you forgotten them? Well, I haven't. I'm going to smear a dollop of lubricant over your anus. Don't worry. I've warmed it up to body temperature. I'm such a thoughtful man, aren't I? No cold lube for you. We don't want you shivering from any cold, clammy lube. Ummm. You like that, don't you? Well, if you like it now, you're going to love it in a few minutes. In fact, you're going to love it all weekend.

So, more lubricant on the outside of the sleeve. Ready? Doesn't matter. In it goes.

That just slipped right in, didn't it? I suspect it may not be the first thing you've inserted in your ass this week. Were you anticipating that I would get around to your ass this weekend?

And now let's secure it to the harness with the outer ring. Great. Everything's tightly screwed into place.

The sildenafil is working for sure now. You've got a nice erection. So I'll attach the second sleeve. This one's a bit different. There is a flexible, soft sleeve inside a hard plastic container. The soft sleeve is the one that will be in contact with your cock.

Some lubricant first. That will make sure we have a tight fit around your cock. On it goes. Oooh. I do believe you got even harder. Now, I'll just snap it in place so that it won't come loose.

Almost ready. Just a couple more attachments. We'll be all set to go in another minute or so. Remember the machine I mentioned? How can I describe it to you? Think of one of those manga cartoons where the hero is strapped into an infernal apparatus that is simultaneously thrusting a dildo up his ass and sucking him.

That's what we have here. I'll just insert the dildo inside the first sleeve. Don't worry. The initial dildo is on the small side. Once you get used to it, I'll replace it with a larger dildo. And so on and on, until you have a very large dildo indeed inside you. But it will take a few hours to get you ready for that. So for now, just this junior model. You can't see it, but the base of the dildo is attached to the machine. A piston will push it in and pull it out. At first, I'll put it on the slow cycle. Later I will speed it up.

And now the cock. I'm attaching an air hose to a nipple on top of the hard plastic cylinder on the outside. The air hose is attached to a compressor that will alternately pump air into the cylinder and pump it out. Your cock will feel like it's being sucked along the entire length. Again, I'll start you with milder settings and gradually increase the pressure.

Once I start the machine, you will undoubtedly cum rather soon. Don't worry. The cock sleeve will automatically distribute the cum down the length of your cock. It will blend in with the lubricant. Your cock will become even more sensitive.

Usually you cum, and that's it. Orgasm over. Get up, get dressed, leave. Not here. No, the machine won't know that you've had an orgasm. How could it? It's just a machine. It will keep on working, thrusting that dildo in and out, compressing and releasing the sleeve around your cock. If I were given to attributing human qualities to the machine, I would say that all it cares about is your pleasure. But it's just a mindless machine. It won't stop. That it's giving you unending, relentless pleasure means nothing to it.

A mindless machine. That's what you're going to become. Hours and hours of a dildo being thrust in and out of your ass. Hours and hours of a mechanical blow job. You won't be able to think at all after a while. The steady rhythms of the machine. In. Out. Pressure. Release. An unstoppable, heartless, tireless machine creating another machine. Your mind will pulse with the machine. You will throb with it. You will become an extension of the machine. Part of the machine. Nothing more.

Beyond the pleasure principle. Do you know Freud? No? Well, it doesn't matter. Eros and Thanatos. Sex and death. The sex machine will destroy your ego, a form of death. A necessary form of death on the path to 12.

Well, we're ready. Enough talk. I'm switching it on. Enjoy. I'll be back to check on you occasionally and insert a larger dildo and change the settings on the machine.

12-6

Connor awoke on the floor next to his bed. It was night. Thin bars of light coming from between the slats of the blinds dimly lit the room. His T-shirt lay crumpled on the floor next to his face. He could feel his jeans bunched around his ankles. He still wore his shoes.

He was lying on his right side facing the bed, his cheek pressed into the carpet and his hands clasped together and thrust between his thighs. The floor was hard, and the fibers of the carpet were scratchy against his face and body. The carpet smelled stale and dusty. The blanket and spread had been pushed down on the bed and hung over the side below his waist. He stared at the dark under the bed. He tried to remember if he had bothered to make the bed that morning. Friday morning, rather. He had last been home on Friday, hadn't he? He couldn't remember. He thought it had been Friday. He had gone to the Man on Friday night at the appointed time. He was almost sure that he had.

Hadn't the Man said that he would be returned home on Sunday night? Was it Sunday? The clock was on the other side of the bed. He wasn't wearing his wristwatch. He wondered if he still had it. He should get up, find out what time it was, what day. But he was so tired. It didn't matter. He'd find out the time eventually. For now, he just wanted to sleep.

His groin ached. His balls were dull globes of exhausted pain. His cock burned. And his ass—he could still feel the dildo pushing into him and then pulling out. Thousands of times. His body couldn't seem to remember anything else. He wasn't attached to the machine any more. He knew that, but it felt as if he were. He had only to close his eyes and let his thoughts drift, and the machine started assaulting him again.

The Man had turned the machine on. As the dildo rode into him, the sleeve around his cock had compressed and clung tightly. Then the dildo had retreated, and the pressure on his cock eased. It was easy at first. He had given himself up to the pleasure of it.

As the Man had predicted, he came within the first few minutes. He had thrashed about and struggled against the chains binding him to what the Man had called the frame. He wasn't trying to escape. The orgasm was so strong that his body had spasmed automatically, beyond his control.

The machine didn't stop. It didn't register the fact that he had had an orgasm. It didn't note the sudden wave of fatigue that swept over him. His usual immediate response to an orgasm—that momentary cataclysmic deflation into oblivion—made no difference to the machine. But it wasn't a normal orgasm. His cock didn't get soft. It remained hard and rigid. And the sensations of pleasure increased as his jism mixed with the lube the Man had used.

The machine kept on running, simultaneously fucking and sucking him. He thought he had screamed. He had begged the Man to turn off the machine. At least he tried to. The harness over his head had reduced his pleas to a series of moans and stifled sounds.

Voices told him to surrender, to give in, to the machine. To let it take over his mind. Voices told him he was a good boy because he had surrendered, because he had given in, to the machine. He was a good boy because he had let the machine take over his mind. He got such pleasure from the machine. He found so much pleasure in surrendering to the machine. The machine's control gave him so much pleasure. He wanted the pleasure. He needed the pleasure. He was the pleasure. He was part of the machine.

You are a good boy. Good boy. Good. Boy. Boy.

He could still hear the voice. The Man's voice. The machine controls me. The Man's voice controls me. It makes me feel so good to be controlled, By the machine. By the Man's voice. By the Man. And then his voice joining in. Both voices speaking in unison. Control. Submit. Obedience. Obey.

The next time Connor woke up, the room was filled with light and his alarm was buzzing. He struggled to raise himself off the floor by clinging to the bed. The room was heaving. He rolled his head onto the mattress. The clock on the other side of the bed read 6:34. The alarm was set for 6:15. Usually he woke up a minute or two before it sounded. Today it had been going for almost twenty minutes before it penetrated his consciousness.

He got to his feet and stumbled over to the other side of the bed and turned it off. His phone lay on the nightstand. He checked the day. It was Monday. He had to meet Jason at 7:30 for their weekly exchange of news. He thought about cancelling and calling into work sick. His cock was still sore, and his butt hurt so much he didn't know how he could sit at his desk all day.

"Are you feeling well? You look really tired."

Connor blinked. Jason was staring at him with a look of concern on his face. Everybody seemed to be looking at him with concern. What had he done? Or said?

"How did I get here? How long have I been here?"

"What? You must have walked. Isn't that what you always do? And you got here fifteen minutes ago. Are you sick? You're really out of it today. You're not making any sense. Drink some coffee. That will help wake you up." Jason lowered his voice and leaned across the table. "Jeez, are you high? Are you on drugs or something? You don't look well."

Connor glanced around. He was sitting drinking coffee with Jason. He didn't remember coming to Starbucks. The last thing he remembered he had been looking at his phone and wondering if he should cancel his day. Now he was dressed for work—suit, tie, the works. He felt his cheeks—and he had shaved. He had made his way to the coffee shop, ordered his usual Grande Americano, and sat down opposite his friend.

Jason was waiting for a reply. Connor shook his head as if to clear it. "Just a bit tired. I . . . I didn't sleep well last night. I think I have a touch of something or other. I thought I would be all right for work, but now I don't know."

"Hey, if you're feeling bad, you should go home."

"Yeah, you're right. I think I will. Sorry to bug out on you."

"No problem. I hope you feel better." Jason was already gathering up his stuff to leave as he spoke. Connor had the feeling his friend didn't want to expose himself to whatever it was that Connor had. That was fine with him. He didn't want to share his weekend with anyone. He wasn't ready for that yet. He still hadn't processed what had happened. He didn't know if he could process it.

He couldn't have been attached to that machine for two days, could he? No, it wasn't possible. What about eating and sleeping? Not to mention going to the bathroom. But he couldn't deny that as far as he could recall he had reported to the Man on Friday evening, been attached to the machine, and been conscious off and on for a few minutes at a time. The rest of the weekend was a blank.

But he couldn't have had a dildo up his ass for two whole days. He was sore, but he wasn't that sore. And hadn't the Man said that he would gradually increase the sizes of the dildos? It was crazy. And a two-day erection? That just wasn't possible.

Maybe he had been hypnotized or something like that. He remembered the Man talking about things. Maybe the weekend hadn't happened as he remembered it. Maybe the Man had erased his memories of what really happened and created a false memory. He must have been attached to the machine or something like it for a time. His sore cock was evidence of that. And something had been shoved up his ass. But two days? That was crazy. He'd be dead by now if that had happened.

Hypnosis would account for the amnesia. Or drugs. That had to be the explanation. Drugs. Those patches had contained drugs, not Viagra.

"Connor, could you email me the figures for the Riverwalk project? I need to review them before we meet with the clients."

"What meeting?"

"The Riverwalk project. I told you after the staff meeting yesterday that we would be meeting with today at 2:00. You said you would let me have the revised figures by this morning."

"Oh, yeah, just a second." Connor hoped that his face didn't betray his confusion. The staff meeting was on Monday morning. Hadn't he called in sick yesterday? What day was it now? He looked down at his computer screen. "Got them right here. I was just about to send them to you." He clicked open his email and attached the file. He didn't recall revising the figures, but somehow he knew that he had. "There. You should have them in a second. Where's the meeting by the way?"

Matt Simmons, his boss, gave him an odd look. "Here. It's in my office. Are you OK? I told you all this yesterday."

At lunch, Connor called up his personal account at the company. He had twenty-two days of vacation coming and fifty-four days of sick leave. He could take time off. Lots of time. Would the Man train him for days? What could he ask for? A week maybe? Longer? Did he dare do that?

He decided to let the Man determine how long the session would last. He logged onto his personal email and sent a message to the Man. "I have 22 days of vacation time. Including weekends, that amounts to over a month of vacation. I have to give two weeks' notice if I want to take off more than two days at a time and four weeks if I want to take more than a week off. So I am available for longer training sessions as long as I give proper notice." He didn't say anything more. It wasn't his place to make proposals to the Man. His function was to give the Man information; the Man would decide what he was to do.

There was no reply. Connor begin to worry that he had inadvertently broken one of the Man's rules. Maybe he should have thanked the Man for the weekend. He read his email over and over, trying to imagine how it might have struck the Man. He shouldn't have used "I" so much; but he hated that silly "Your slave" business or referring to himself as "it." Some guys demanded that sort of role-playing right from the start, but the Man didn't seem to care much for what others in the game thought of as the Protocols.

Maybe the difference was that the Man wasn't playing a role or a game. He was for real. If he became 12—when he became 12—he wouldn't think of himself at all. He wouldn't need pronouns or some euphemism to talk about himself. He wouldn't talk about himself at all. He wouldn't be conscious of being himself. At least, that's what he thought the Man had said.

It didn't seem possible. How could he not think of himself? But it sounded right. He had reached a point during the previous weekends when he hadn't been thinking of himself. He was sure of that. He hadn't been thinking at all. Just being. And if the Man could bring him to that point, he could take him even farther and make that state permanent, couldn't he? Connor didn't know the answer to that question, but he wanted to find out.

The Man answered on Thursday evening. "Tell your office that you will take the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week off and return to the office on the Monday. December 1, following Thanksgiving. Report at the usual time and place on Friday evening, November 21. You will be returned to your apartment on Sunday, November 30. Until you report on the 21st, listen to the attached audio file twice a day, once when you wake up in the morning and again when you go to bed at night. You may need to adjust your alarm clock to wake you up an extra half hour in the morning. Use earphones when listening to the tape. Remain isolated in your apartment as much as possible. You may leave to go to work or to do necessary shopping. Keep contacts with others to a minimum. Tell your family or anyone who asks that you are going camping with a friend over Thanksgiving and may not have access to the Internet or cell-phone service. You will contact them when you return. Eat no solid foods after Sunday evening, November 16. Go to the CVS two blocks down the street from your apartment and buy five six-packs of Prolac Vitashakes. Drink one shake at breakfast, two each at lunch and dinner, and one at bedtime. Other than that you are to drink only water."

Connor sighed. Three weeks. He had to wait three weeks. He had been counting on seeing the Man on Friday and spending the weekend with him and had hoped that the Man would agree to a longer period in the future. It wasn't that he wasn't looking forward to the week with the Man, and he was glad to be given the opportunity for an extended session of training. He had just wanted to see the Man every weekend.

The audio file was also a disappointment. Connor couldn't resist listening to it immediately, even though it wasn't his bedtime yet. He expected to hear the Voice. Instead it had dozens, maybe hundreds of voices. Once when he was young, the neighborhood around his parents' house had been invaded by a flock of starlings. Thousands of birds perching in trees and on electrical lines, each screeching away. The noise on the tape was like that. Connor was sure that they were human voices, but they weren't saying anything. He couldn't distinguish a single word. It was just a jumble of sounds at different pitches. He felt attacked by the noise. Thousands of voices pecking away at his mind, pinching little pieces off his mind. He listened to it for a few minutes and then switched it off.

Of course, he would listen to the tape as the Man had directed, but he didn't see the sense of it. No doubt the tape was part of the Man's plans for him. But he had hoped to hear the Voice. If he couldn't meet the Man, at least he would have the Man's voice. He would have liked that.

The tape was restful. He had found that out.the first night. He got ready for bed, switched off the lights, lay down in bed, and put the earbuds in. Then he took a deep breath in, held it for a few seconds, and then let it out slowly. He repeated those actions three times, trying to relax as much as possible. The Man had made him do that during each session. Connor figured it made his mind more receptive.

Then he started the file. After a few seconds, he gave up trying to decipher what the voices were saying. He let the sound wash over him, and let his thoughts drift.

He woke up.

The voices had stopped. He checked the file. It had ended. He glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand. A half-hour had elapsed. The last thing he remembered was accepting that he couldn't understand the voices. After that his memory was blank. He must have fallen asleep. That was the only explanation. He was still tired from the weekend. He took the earbuds out and turned off his phone. He rolled over and went to sleep.

The alarm rang. He turned it off, put the earbuds in, and started the file.

Again he woke up half an hour later, at his usual time, with no memory of the contents of the file. Connor decided that he had just gone back to sleep. Listening to the file wouldn't cause him any problems. He would just sleep through it twice a day.

He began looking forward to listening to the file. It was so relaxing. In the evening, it erased all the tensions of the day. In the morning, it made him feel ready to take on whatever challenges the day threw at him. Both relaxing and invigorating. What more could he ask for?

Cancelling the Monday morning meeting with Jason had taken only a short text. "Can't make tomorrow. Work." Connor had waited until Sunday to send it. If he sent it too early, Jason would wonder why he couldn't arrange his schedule better. If he waited until Monday morning, it would be too last-minute and seem too contrived. It would be rude. He didn't want to insult Jason. He just no longer wanted to meet him. The answer came back almost immediately. "OK." That was it. Jason and he had met every Monday morning for three, four years. There had been a time when he had looked forward to that meeting all week. And all it took to stop it was four words. Jason ceased to be part of his life. Without thinking, he deleted Jason's name and history from his phone.

Work went by in a flash. He seemed to be doing what he was supposed to. He sat as his desk, his ran the projections and cost analyses that were his job, he answered questions, he replied to emails, he sat through meetings and spoke up at the right times. He went to lunch with his colleagues when it was unavoidable. But he was only half there. Part of him did the work and did it well. The other part gave himself over to the sounds, the voices no longer just on the tape but inside his head as well. The voices that brought oblivion and mindlessness.

"You must like these things. I can never stay on them. I get too hungry."

The check-out clerk at CVS held up the third six-pack of Prolac Vitashakes and slid it over the scanner. The machine beeped. Connor looked down at his purchases. He hadn't really thought about what he was doing. He had just wheeled the cart to the right place in the store, loaded it with the packs of Prolac he needed and gotten in the check-out line. He shrugged his shoulders in answer to the clerk. He couldn't think of anything to say. He went back to the voices.

Connor nodded at the clerk and picked up the bag of groceries. The clerk thanked him for shopping at CVS. The store disappeared. Connor stood outside 1257 Lemminghurst Street. It was Friday. The time was 8:30 pm.

12-7

Just relax. Take another step forward. Reach out with the hands and bend forward at the waist a bit. There. That's a platform.. Crawl up on it. I'll guide the body into place. Good. Now lie down on the back. Move a bit to the right. Good. Spread the arms and legs.

Open the mouth. That's a good boy. A little bit wider. There. The gag will keep the mouth open. A breathing tube runs through the gag. We're going to pinch the nose shut for a second. Don't worry. It's just a demonstration. Now, take a deep breath in through the mouth. Good. Now breathe out through the tube. See. Even though we will cover the nose, breathing won't be a problem. We'll monitor it closely. So there's no reason to worry. The occasional bit of panic is understandable, but nothing will interrupt the supply of air to the lungs. Trust us.

Now, why is a breathing tube necessary?

Take a minute and identify what the body is lying on. Of course, it's a platform, but what's covering it? Feels like what? Rubber? Plastic? Well, if the word "vinyl" popped into the mind, it would be right. It's a vinyl sheet. In a moment, we'll thread the other end of the breathing tube through a gasket in another sheet of vinyl. We'll seal the two sheets together, and then we'll pump all the air out. The sheets will mold themselves to every contour of the body. Several months ago, Connor said on the questionnaire that he had never been in a vacuum bed. Well, now the body will be. We'll make a very pretty sight. Every muscle, every vein, will be visible. We'll become a human-shaped object, but better. Smoother. Shinier. All the flaws hidden beneath the plastic. Anyone seeing us would identify the object encased in the bed as a one-time human, but all the personal traits that allow others to identify us are erased. We'll become more the idea of a human rather than a person, an individual. A mannequin, a human-shaped objet d'art, possibly the model for a robot.

A pity the eyes won't be able to see it. So much technology and artistry goes into these devices, and the raw material on the business end doesn't get to see it. But, as we've discussed before, the body is just another tool. The tool doesn't care how it's used or what it looks like. Its only function is to be a tool. It isn't even aware that it is a tool. It doesn't care that it's fulfilling its function.

Of course, for the mind, the experience will be very confining. The body won't be able to move. The most it will be able to do is breathe shallowly. The mind will probably panic and give way to fear, maybe even terror. The heart will race. The body will start sweating. The throat will want to scream. But no matter. All these fears won't change anything.

We'll remove the hood in a moment, but we know the good boy will keep the eyes closed. Good boys don't take advantage of a situation. And the good boy will keep the eyes closed as we pump out the air. The vinyl sheet will mold itself to the face. But it will smooth it out. The result will be more a suggestion of a face, but without emotion. No smiling or crying or fear or anger or delight. The face will be a blank slate.

Sight isn't the only sense we'll be erasing. Before we remove the air from the bed, we'll put plugs in the ears. The body won't be able to hear anything. The mind will be left alone with its own thoughts. And the body won't be able to move. It will be suspended inside a rigid shell. But we're not finished yet.

We'll submerge the vacuum bed in a pool of water. In a sensory deprivation tank. The water will be kept at 98.6 degrees, exactly body temperature. No light, no sound, no motion, no perceived difference in temperature between the body and its environment.

What will happen then?

After a while, the mind won't be able to tell where the body ends and the surrounding environment begins. It will become disoriented. It won't be able tell if the body is facing up or down. Or whether it's floating with the head or the feet up. The mind will not have a fixed point of reference. For a while, the mind will supply one. But then the senses will start to blur. Are we right side up or upside down? The question will become unanswerable and then meaningless.

We'll begin to dissolve. Our sense of the boundaries between our body and our environment will begin to dim, like the light fading in a room as the sun goes down. The darkness in the mind will grow dense. All those certainties we don't even think about—like what direction is up, where does our body end, where we are, our self as a distinct object—all those comforting bit of knowledge suddenly won't make sense any more. We won't know where we are. We won't know what we are. We won't even be sure that there is a we anymore. Perhaps we are a figment of the someone else's imagination. A will-o-the-wisp. An illusion.

And that will frighten us. We'll be alone in a way we've never experienced before. Totally alone. But we won't be us. We won't know who or what we are.

The mind won't like that. It will rebel. It will see flashes of light. It will conjure up sounds, maybe even a voice talking to us. We will feel something touching us. But it will all be in the mind. The mind wants to be full. It craves sensation. It wants a constant stream of inputs. When it can't get them, it invents them. And that's when things become interesting.

Our hallucinations will tell us so much about ourselves. Interpreting them will prove difficult. The mind won't recognize them as hallucinations. They will seem so very real.

Sometimes we invent such terrors in the tank. It's almost as if our minds delight in frightening us. That's what happens most of the time. The tank creates nightmares. We'll soon find out what our mind creates. Demons. Phantoms. Fierce terrifying beasts. Monsters with savage teeth ready to pounce and tear the flesh off the bones. Serpents that coil around the body and crush it and then devour it. Or perhaps our demons will be other people. All those human monsters of evil. Specialists in the science of the human body and its terrors. And we will be in danger. Perhaps we will find ourselves swaying on the edge of a precipice. In front of us, an abyss will beckon, and we will be falling through the air. Or trapped in a collapsing room, the ceiling and walls pressing in on us, crushing us.

The nightmares will be so real, so detailed. Our mind will grasp at the irrelevant. We want the illusion to be real because even a terrifying reality is better than the nothingness we know surrounds us. And that need will force our mind to create a world. That world has to be real if it's filled with details. Right?

And beyond all that will be death. Uneasy deaths. Disease. Burning. Drowning. Suffocating. Disemboweling. Guts and gore spilling out. Throat slit. Blood gushing out. There are so many ways to die. But the mind will grasp even at death in preference to the simplicity of nothing.

Maybe we'll be one of the few, the lucky few, who has a pleasant hallucination. That occasionally happens. Perhaps we will float in a world of incredible smells—chocolate chip cookies baking, meat roasting, flowers. Perhaps our fingers will touch cool silk. Maybe we will hear music. Or perhaps someone will stroke us. A mouth will suck our cock. A cock will fuck us. An endless orgasm, another form of death to self. We'll see.

Maybe our mind will invent another person to save us from solitude. An imaginary friend to help us through the night. Perhaps.

There is one thing we can be certain of. Our mind will try to keep us from the knowledge that we are alone, that we can feel nothing. But it won't work.

After a time the hallucinations will stop. Our mind will give up. It will run down. We will lose ourself. Our mind will accept our dissolution, the disappearance of ego. We will submit. We will cease. Peace. Bliss. Serenity. And then loss of awareness, mindlessness, oblivion.

And emptiness. No thoughts, no struggle. Just emptiness.

12. We will exist as 12. The tank will teach us what it is like to be 12. Once we know what 12 is, then we will be able to return to it when we need to be 12.

Deprivation and loss of sensation followed by imagined sensations. Loss, illusion, death. And then a rebirth as 12.

Well, that's enough talk. Let's begin.

12-8

He thought he was awake. He wasn't sure. He had been sleeping. Maybe he was still asleep. It was difficult to tell anymore.

He wasn't anywhere. He didn't know where his body was. He used to have a body. He could remember that. He could call up images of his body. Of Connor. He had been Connor.

And then Connor had begun dissolving. The not-Connor had begun merging with the Connor. It was like a cup of dye poured into clear water. At first the dye had been a compact body of color. Then the edges grew film-like and spread out into the water. The dye gradually dissipated into the water, until it turned a uniform gray.

For a time after that, his mind had worked. His mind still called itself Connor. But it was harder and harder to keep his mind from dissolving too.

The Voice had been there. Telling him to relax and let go. He had tried to resist, but he was so tired, and it took so much effort to keep himself intact. The Voice invited him to relax, to let go, to merge with the surroundings. No worries, no cares, no responsibilities, no problems. Just endless, mindless submission. He tried to struggle but . . . but he couldn't remember what he was struggling for. It was easier to let go.

The Man was pleased. Very pleased. It was important that the Man be pleased. The Man was all that mattered. The Man was everything. Objects existed for the Man, only for the Man. The object didn't think, it didn't have to be anything. It was just an object.

Later, still, the body was back. It was again a compact object, with edges and boundaries. It differed from what surrounded it. It was aware of itself, as an object. There were other objects around it, and the Man. The Man was speaking. The Man was doing things to the object. He was a mind again, but he didn't exist inside a body. Well, maybe he did. The mind didn't know where it was. Maybe it was inside this body. It wasn't his body, however. It was part of the Man, separate from the Man but controlled by the Man. The body did what the Man commanded. The Man spoke, and the body moved.

The mind felt such infinite pleasure—to exist in the body controlled by the Man was so wonderful. The mind floated in pleasure. The Man was emptying it of all thought. It no longer had to think. Thoughts fading. Ceasing. Colorless. Nothing. Just be what the Man wanted it to be, what the Man was creating.

12.

12-9

It's ready for you now. The latest 12. The one who used to be called Connor.

It's become such a beautiful object, hasn't it? I'm really quite proud of my preparation of this one.

It was such a pleasure to empty his mind. Each time I brought him into my workroom, I removed more of his independence, his free will, his ability to function on his own. Each time I took him closer to the state of being 12. His resistance faded to be replaced by submission and obedience. I strengthened his desire to please until pleasing his owner became so natural to him that he can't conceive of living outside the owner's wishes. There's really nothing of his original mind left.

It was so thrilling to watch him surrender each time. It occurred earlier and earlier with each session. The first weekend, it happened only on Sunday morning. I was watching his face, and the light just faded from his eyes. He didn't see anything. He had passed beyond the point of caring about himself. His only thought was to please me. During the last session he abandoned thoughts of himself within a few minutes. And with each session, his vacation from self lasted longer and longer. He's all programmed now. At a word from you, he will become a 12—for as long as you like.

Yes, the conversion went more quickly than it usually does. Connor was ready for it. He really wanted it. And that made it so much easier to convert him.

He was so vulnerable, you see. That was apparent in his answers to the questionnaire on twelve_past_twelve.com. He had practically no one in his life, no one that mattered to him. He needed more than his life gave him. He hungered for something to fill the void in his life, something that could make him feel, and someone who would then rob him of the capacity to feel on his own, someone who would replace all the boredom and the stupidity of his life with meaning. Any meaning would have done. He liked to be submissive and obedient, and that made him useful for our purposes.

Just by chance, I happened to be monitoring twelve_past_twelve.com the night he filled in the questionnaire. It was the same day you or one of your agents gave him the card with the address for the site. It was a pleasure to watch his answers come in. He took the survey so seriously. I knew from his intensity that the subliminal images were beginning to trance him and draw him in. So he couldn't help but answer the questions honestly. You can imagine my excitement when his answers revealed that he matched the ideal profile almost exactly. He had one of the highest scores we've received in the seven years we've been operating the site.

I wonder who trained him to be so submissive. I am never the first dominant in the applicant's life. It would be nice if I were. It would simplify my work enormously if I didn't have to spend so much time removing past programming and could concentrate on the 12 reprogramming. But it's not a perfect world. There are always earlier dominants. A trainee may never have sought out a sadist. He may not have masochistic tendencies. But at some point in his early childhood, he encountered a dominant—a parent usually, a teacher for some. Some adult authority figure began indoctrinating him and shaping him into a submissive.

Have you ever noticed that all the men we have converted into 12s come to us as damaged goods? All share a posture. They instinctively try not to be noticed, they take up less space than others, they rarely impose themselves, they are diffident. And so quiet. They seldom express an opinion, they don't like to argue, they speak softly, they are studious and reserved. It isn't shyness. It's just that as children they were taught that they were unimportant, that their wishes count for little, and they carry that training over into adulthood.

Obviously, given the goals of the Twelve Past Twelve Program, the successful applicant has to be submissive. He has to want domination. He has to need domination, and the need has to be more than just a tendency to be easily led—there are plenty of people who have been trained to obey orders without much thought. But the applicant needs to be more than that. He has to have an aching need for orders. He has to feel that he is incomplete without another person telling him what to do.

Connor was also a masochist. Submissiveness isn't the same as masochism, of course. It's not a desire for pain. It's a desire to submit to pain because the dominant wills it. Accepting pain because the dom wants to inflict it either has to be part of the applicant's psyche already or has to be something that the sub learns to accept because the dom wills it. But it is the acceptance of the dom's will that is important, not the desire for pain.

In fact, many masochists are quite dominant. They have very specific notions of the types of pain they want and how they want it to be inflicted. Their partners assist them by giving them what they need—the masochist tops from the bottom. It isn't who is doing what to whom that determines who is the sub and who the dom. It's who decides who is doing what to whom. And Connor was both a sub and a masochist. I hope you will find what I've made of him satisfactory.

The successful applicant is never near the final state to which I will take him, but he has to be serious enough to take the first step on the way. After that, it is up to me to use my skills to transform him into the beings we call 12. Lucky for us, Connor was so susceptible to hypnosis. I don't think he even realized what was happening to him. In answering the questionnaire, he revealed his name and gave me his email address and cell phone number without hesitation. He got so used to answering the questions that he didn't know what he was doing. Answering became automatic. That's why I felt he was so promising.

It was clear from the beginning that he was easily tranced. The first session when I began talking to him, he focused on my words, and it was so easy to lead him, to suggest to him how he would react to what was about to happen to him. And he did. It was like his mind was blank and ready for programming. There was no resistance. My words became his reality.

It's not unusual for the trainee to be unaware of how many sessions he has undergone. The individual sessions tend to blur in his mind. He just shows up weekend after weekend. The training takes over his mind to such an extent that he soon loses the ability to separate what is happening to him at the moment from what happened to him last weekend or last month. Connor was like that. When I talked to him about the sessions, it was clear that they had flowed together in his mind, and he couldn't remember them clearly.

He responded so well to the intensity of the sessions. I've designed each of them to overwhelm the trainee's mind by overstimulating it. It doesn't matter whether the stimulus is pleasurable or painful. What matters is that it drive all other thoughts out of the trainee's mind and make him lose consciousness of anything but the stimulus. Connor just gave himself up to the intensity, right from the beginning. It was like he had been preparing his whole life for them.

He became so addicted to the intensity of the stimulus. Of course, the intensity is intoxicating. It becomes the trainee's universe. But once Connor experienced that all-encompassing level of oblivion to anything but the experience itself, all other experiences begin to pale. Ordinary life can't satisfy him. He needed the intensity and the destruction of the self it creates.

Connor came to me in need of control, of a god to worship. He wasn't perfect when he arrived. He still had so much ego, so many occasions to say "I." Like all our trainees, he labeled himself with the name his parents gave him. At least he didn't have one of those silly names people choose for their online self—one of those aliases that reveals so much about the person behind the name. Each is a miniature fantasy about what sort of being the person wants to be. He puts it out there for others in the hope that they, too, will see him as that being. Tiger. totalslave. Bossman. Dragonslayer. Charlie.

His name was the first thing I took from him, the first thing I made him want me to take from him.

I made him into an object.

Beauty is, as the saying goes, in the eye of the beholder. A casual passerby on the street may glance at Connor and see nothing special. They won't see what I have made of him. Even Connor won't be able to see it. In the ordinary world, he will act as he has always acted. If you want him to, he will continue to work at the job he now holds. In fact, his job performance has improved under my tutelage. If you want him to, he will continue to support himself, even to contribute to your support if you like that sort of thing.

His colleagues and family will find him quieter and less inclined to socialize than before, but there will be nothing in his behavior that will alarm them enough to investigate. That may seem odd—that he has undergone such a fundamental change and yet no one will notice. But it's not so odd. The questionnaire chose him because he doesn't have close friends and because his family lives at a distance. That way, no one could interfere in his transformation. Then I quietly and effectively isolated him even more than he already was. Of course, if you choose to remove him totally from society, no one will know. If you wish, you can make him quit his job, give up his apartment. The few people here who know him will think he has moved away. His family will be worried, of course, but there will be nothing that connects him to you. As far as they are concerned, however, he will simply disappear. It will be a mystery.

He is Pavlov's dog. He could go about his day doing the things everyone does. Nothing he does will seem out of the ordinary to an observer. Then you can activate 12. All it takes is a phrase. You can send a text with the phrase. Or call him and speak it over the phone. You can leave it written on a piece of paper for him to find at a café. As you can brush by him in the street and whisper the phrase.

And he will instantly become 12.

His potential uses are limited only by your imagination. He is a blank canvas waiting for you to paint it. He is an empty vessel waiting for you to fill him. He can be whatever you want—the docile, mindless obedient slave, the consummate lover, the caring friend, the top devoted to satisfying you. It doesn't matter. He is programmed to become the man of your dreams. And when you grow tired of what you have created, you can simply efface the current version and create him anew.

I thank you again for this opportunity you have given me of creating another 12. I do so enjoy the challenge of taking the raw material and tempting it and then coaxing it along the right paths. It is exhilarating to mold a person into an object. I suppose I should wonder what you do with all these 12s, why you need so many mindless objects totally obedient to your will. But you know, I don't care. Maybe I should, but for me, it's the process not the result that's important. What you do with the 12s—well, that's your business. As long as you keep on wanting them, I shall keep on making them.

In fact, I'm starting on the next one this Friday evening at 8:30 in my workroom at 1257 Lemminghurst. You're welcome to watch on the monitors. But I suppose you'll be busy with your 12s. I'll keep you apprised of the trainee's progress.

END

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