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    Empowered

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    Title: Empowered

    Synopsis: To understand the true significance of her traumatic experience, college-student Laurie must undergo a radical and empowering cognitive therapy.

    Tags: mc mf fd hm

    Word count: 6119

    Author: Adam Lily

    ***********

    Dear Reader:

    This story delves into themes of rape, power, and race. It might be someone’s stroke fiction, and that’s great—let me know—but it likely won’t appeal to many.

    So if you do like this story, please let me know. If you hate it, let me know that, too. But if want lighter fare, go elsewhere. There are many truly excellent writers on this site.

    Best,

    Adam Lily

    **********

    The girl in the waiting room hugged herself. She’d have to talk about what happened to her, and that thought horrified her. She’d spent months trying not to think about it, not to talk about it, to deal with it by not dealing with it, and what had that gotten her? No sleep. No concentration. Unexplained bursts of crying that could of course be totally explained. Fear of men, friends slinking away, fear especially of (can’t study, can’t work, can’t sleep, can’t get out of bed, don’t want to)—.

    The girl needed help. She knew that, now. Which is why she was here.

    The waiting room. All so normal, exactly what she expected for a mental health counselor’s office. Ecru walls, long blue sofas and firm orange armchairs, ferns and philodendrons and rhododendrons. Drowsy clove scent in the air. The short-haired middle-aged white slightly dumpy (don’t fat-shame her don’t age-shame her) receptionist who had welcomed her in with professional courtesy but certainly hiding suspicions. Right? Anyone who needed counseling had to be suspicious. Had to be (weak. Unhappy. Unwell. Unable to cope. Unable to grasp. Unable to live. Another lunatic? Another weak woman?)

    Powerless. The girl was powerless. Against the man, against what he had done to her, against what she had done to herself, against what she had let him do to her. She let him do this to her. She had let him

    —rape me—

    rape her. In that alley. She had been so stupid, and he had taken advantage of that stupidity. This was her fault, this hole (i’m a dumb hole stop it brain please) she was in, and she didn’t know how to get out of it.

    She needed help. I need help. I am here for help, and if I don’t get it, I am going to—

    “Laurie? Laurie, I’m Georgetta.”

    “Uh,” said Laurie. In front of her stood a tall black woman (African-American, you know better) in a long vibrantly patterned dress (they like their patterns STOP) and with spectacular dreadlocked  (“dreads”) hair was holding a caramel-colored (is that okay?) hand out to her. Laurie took the hand (take firmly but not weirdly) and was comforted by its dry warmth and strength as the tall black (don’t see color why notice her color but doesn’t difference matter) woman helped Laurie to her feet.

    Georgetta smiled warmly. “It’s nice to meet you. You’re taking an important step. Please come into my office.”

    Laurie smiled wanly. “Sure. Yeah. Yes. Nice to meet you, too.”

    Georgetta’s office. Warm but dry, sunlit, a little twinkling dust in the air for magical character. Earth colors and red everywhere. Long red sofa bearing African-patterned (AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY) zigs and zags. Standing wooden sculptures, knee-high, of people with features so extreme that had the counselor been a white man their presence would have signaled he was an appropriating racist, if she had been a white woman their presence would have indicated a foolish person, but Georgetta was black and tall and comforting (clean well-spoken articulate STOP)—.

    Laurie slumped miserably into the sofa across from Georgetta in an authoritative black armchair.

    “Laurie,” said Georgetta. “Please. I know from your intake form—and it’s completely confidential—what happened to you. But I need to hear it in your own words. I’m here to hear you and here to help you. Please tell me what happened to you.”

    “O-okay.”

    “And Laurie–and this is very important.” Georgetta pulled a tablet from a hidden drawer and placed in on the coffee table. “For me to listen to you, to really listen to you, I won’t be able to take notes. May I record our session? So that I can really help you and not take notes?”

    Laurie winced. She hated her own voice, her dumb, breathy, stupid voice. It sounded so blonde—

    Georgetta smiled. “I hate my own voice, too. We don’t have to do that if you don’t want.” Georgetta began to return the tablet to the drawer.

    “Wait. It’s okay. If you think it will help, you can record me.”

    “Only if you’re sure,” said Georgetta. “This is your session. This has to be what you’re comfortable with. You’re the one with the power, Laurie. This entire session is under your control.”

    Power. Power. She hadn’t felt powerful for so long, that she had any power at all. Not since that night—

    “Okay,” said Laurie. “You can record me. It’s fine.”

    Georgetta smiled. “Thank you.” She retrieved the tablet and worked her fingers over it and set it on the table between them.

    “Please,” said Georgetta. “Tell me what happened to you.”

    Laurie told her.

    ********

    A pile of snotty, mascara-stained tissues squatted wetly at Laurie’s side.

    “I’m so sorry,” said Laurie, snuffling. “I’m such a mess. But I was so STUPID, I walked down THAT ALLEY, and I was DRUNK, and what I let him DO TO ME and I’m SO DUMB—”

    “Laurie. Look at me.” Georgetta’s voice shone like mahogany. “This was not your fault. You had every right to walk down that alley. You have every right not to be afraid, no matter where you are. You have every right to go where you want, when you want, without fear. You need to put the blame where it belongs: On the man who did this to you. And on the culture that sanctions it.”

    Laurie snuffed, nodded. “I know all that. I know. But it’s so hard—and I can’t sleep, and I see his face, smell his breath, feel his hands, his weight, taste his. . . .”

    Georgetta waited as Laurie wept through five more tissues.

    “Laurie,” said Georgetta. “You haven’t told me something important.”

    “Um,” said Laurie. “What?”

    “The race of the man. His skin color. What was the race of the man who did this to you?”

    Laurie flushed. “I don’t—I mean—I don’t know what difference that makes . . . .?”

    Georgetta smiled understandingly. “Laurie. It’s okay. I’m black. You’re white. It’s okay that you’re white, and it’s okay that I’m black. But these things matter. The race of the man matters, because it was part of the experience of what happened to you, just as his scent matters, his accent matters, his breath matters, his weight matters . . . all of it matters, Laurie, including his face. We can’t help any of this. It’s who we are. And believe me when I tell you: If the race of the man who raped you is part of what made the experience so frightening, you are not a racist. You are not a bad person. If his color scared you, then that’s just part of the whole picture, and we can’t deal with the whole picture unless you’re completely honest with me, and with yourself.”

    Laurie stared down at her black, worn-out flats. Her thoughts felt thirty feet behind her eyes. She mumbled something.

    “. . . what’s that, Laurie?”

    Silence.

    Georgetta moved from her armchair to the floor to kneel in front of Laurie and take her cold white hands in her warm black ones. “It’s okay, Laurie. You’re safe with me. Tell me.”

    “Black,” said Laurie. “The man who raped me was black.”

    Georgetta nodded. “Be honest. Did that make the rape worse? That a black man was raping you?”

    Laurie couldn’t believe it. After she nodded and said yes—shouted YES—Georgetta smiled and said that it was fine for her to admit that—it was brave for her to admit that, she respected her so much for admitting it—and that everything was going to be all right.

    They hugged. Laurie inhaled deeply the comforting scent of Georgetta’s caramel skin.

    ************

    Laurie was back in her apartment, sitting on her couch, television on for company. Her eyes were fixed just above the television at a spot on the wall. The two-hour session had exhausted her. She barely remembered how she got home.

    The rest of the session was a blur of unburdenment. Yes, the rape was terrifying enough, but a rape by a black man squared or cubed the problem. Laurie had grown up in a small rural community. No black people anywhere, only some seasonal Guatemalan and Mexican workers. They were nice folks—harder working than any whites she knew. She played with their kids and picked up conversational Spanish. Good memories.

    But no blacks. All she knew about black people was from comment boards and her high school friends on social media—and most of what those sources told her was bad. Television, the internet and her friends sent her messages like this: Black people were moochers. Lazy whiners. Liars. And you just know they were evolved to be oversexed. Why else would so many of them be in prison? Even the good blacks, the Bill Cosbys, the Tiger Woods, the Clarence Thomases of the world, had proven themselves to be awful people.

    But the same comment boards and high school friends said the exact same things about Guatemalans and Mexicans and other people coming up from the down below. And all the Guatemalans and Mexicans Laurie knew were without exception kind, hard-working, family-minded, decent people. The messages imbibed from the media were just lies. And if the media were lying about brown people, they were lying about black people, too. She just knew it—

    (Raped by a goddamned fucking NI–)

    (Stop. STOP.)

    It didn’t matter that he was black. It shouldn’t matter that he was black.

    It matters that the man was black, Georgetta had said. It’s okay for you to admit that. It’s how you feel. Feelings aren’t wrong. Feelings are never wrong. Feelings always tell the truth, and it’s okay for you to feel how you feel. I’m not judging you. You’re brave for telling me this. Thank you for telling me this.

    Not judging her. A powerful, lovely, kind, understanding, wise black woman was not judging her for admitting that being raped by a black man (his big lips those long fingers that scratchy, woolly hair that HUGE THICK IT HURT ME HURT ME DEEP GET OFF ME YOU FUCKING HORRIBLE DIRTY NIG—)

    —made it all much, much worse.

    It’s not you, Georgetta had said. It’s not your fault those thoughts, those feelings, are inside of you. You’ve been given those messages since you were born. Those messages were placed in you, installed in you, without your consent. It’s a script, a script of modern America. A script of programming, of automatic thoughts, of thoughts that think us instead of us thinking them. It’s not your fault, those thoughts.

    Laurie had said, They’re not? But I’m thinking them—

    Georgetta: They’re thinking you. Those thoughts happen to you, not by you.

    Laurie so wanted to believe it was not her fault to think such awful, hateful things. (Don’t you touch me you FUCKING NI–)

    I can help you, said Georgetta. We can help you.

    The pamphlet on the table, and the card stapled to the pamphlet, explained how Georgetta was going to help Laurie.

    Laurie, drowning in herself, took up the pamphlet and read it again. Please. Please, save my life. Save me from myself.

    You will save yourself, Georgetta had said. You will take your power back. You will discover how powerful you really are.

    **************

    In a white room, next to what looked like a dentist’s chair, sat a table. On the table was a helmet that would cover an entire head down to the neck and shoulders. Most of the helmet had the smooth gloss-white finish of a new car. Oversized black and oblong eyes hovered above and to either side of a corrugated black hose that emerged just where a mouth would be. The hose stretched 15 feet, give or take, to a small gas tank.

    Laurie leaned in to look at herself in one of the perfectly reflective and black insectoid eyes. Her nose enlarged and her face receded in perfect and smudgeless concavity.

    She shivered.

    “I know the mask is intimidating,” said Georgetta. She placed her hand firmly on Laurie’s shoulder. “I know what it looks like. But it’s necessary, for the virtual reality, the VR. Currently it’s the best way, the quickest way, that we have, for giving you the power to reconceive what happened to you.”

    “Reconceiving,” said Laurie.

    Georgetta nodded. “Reframing. Retraining your brain, retraining your body, to consider your experiences differently.”

    “‘Our experiences are only what happens to us,’” said Laurie “‘What matters is how we interpret them.’”

    Georgetta smiled. “That’s directly from the literature.”

    “I’ve been reading the pamphlet every day. A few times a day.” Then she admitted. “I sleep with it. I need this. I don’t want to be like this, anymore—”

    “Hush,” said Georgetta. “You won’t be. We’re going to give you back your power.”

    Laurie laughed. “It sounds so goofy, reclaiming my power. I mean, like becoming a superhero, having powers—”

    “It is like becoming a superhero. It is like having powers. Understanding what you can do, realizing your fullest potential, unlocking what’s inside you and accepting it—it is power. And women need to be empowered. It’s what the last 200 years of history have been. More power for everyone.”

    Laurie nodded. More power for everyone. But she didn’t care if she was powerful. She just wanted to stop being miserable and stop being afraid and stop—

    (HATING THOSE FUCKING–)

    Laurie exhaled. “I’m ready. I can’t be this person, anymore.” And she climbed into the chair.

    ************

    Laurie knew from the pamphlet that the procedure involved an intravenous drip, but it was still a little unsettling when a male nurse wheeled in the bag and drip.

    Also, the male nurse was black. And large. Heavy-set. He reminded her of someone.

    “I’m Barney,” he said. His face was kind and open. His voice was rich and comforting and intelligent (don’t be surprised that he’s intelligent of course he’s intelligent maybe he’s code-switching—)

    Barney smiled. “It’s okay. Georgetta told me. It’s okay, whatever you’re thinking and feeling. We’re all in this together, my sister.”

    My sister. He called me sister. Families forgive—

    “Thank you,” said Laurie. “Thank you so much.”

    Barney nodded. “Okay. And, hey. You did a great job with the drip. Didn’t even blink.”

    The drip? Laurie looked at her arm. The liquid–it had a light-blue tint–was already flowing into her vein. She hadn’t even felt it go in. Barney was that good.

    “You must have done this a lot,” she joked.

    Barney shrugged. “I’ve had a lot of practice.”

    Laurie nodded. One-fourth of all women. A statistic that had crept up recently. Now it was one-third. Was that even possible? Would it be one-half?

    “Okay. You should be starting to feel it now. How do you feel?”

    “That’s funny as soon as you said I should start to feel it I began to feel it and now I’m still feeling it oh there it goes as soon as I feel it it slips away but I keep feeling it oh my God I’m babbling—” Laurie clamped her hand to her mouth.

    Barney laughed. “Yeah, that’s normal. Don’t worry about it. It’s okay.”

    Laurie found herself absolutely unable to keep from saying the quiet part out loud. “I’m so sorry I’m scared of you,” said Laurie. “It’s just that I got raped by one of you, by a—”

    “My sister, my sister, it’s okay,” said Barney. “We’re going to give you your power back. Are you ready for the helmet?”

    “Oh helmet time? Is it helmet time?” Laurie looked over at the gleaming insectoid head at her left. “That thing is fucking scary.”

    “We know,” said Barney. “But it’s the best way to help you. Are you ready?”

    Laurie bit her lip. “Okay. Okay. Let’s do this Barney-buddy Barney big-black-man-buddy. Barney my brutha. Let’s do this.” She giggled.

    “You’ll feel better if you put the helmet on yourself. Can you do that for me?”

    Laurie reached over and took the helmet in her hands. It was warm and . . . tingling? Humming? Soothing.

    She held it above her head and looked up into it. Outside the eyes had been black and impenetrable, but inside she could see out at the ceiling. Below the eyes was a mesh where the rubber gas hose attached. The rest of the helmet was well padded, and inlaid within the padding, she knew, was a complicated mesh of sensors and circuitry and other virtual reality technology that would allow her to—

    —to relive what had happened to her. To relive that night.

    Laurie began shaking and nearly dropped the helmet.

    Barney took the helmet from her. “Laurie. Listen to me. It’s okay. You don’t have to do this. You’re the one with the power here. You don’t have to do this.”

    “No I have to do this I need to do this I’m SO UNHAPPY and I wake up every morning wanting to be DEAD and I don’t WANT to be dead I WANT to be alive and happy and get over this and stop being SCARED ALL THE TIME—”  She snatched back the helmet from Barney’s hands and plonked it over her head so firmly that she wondered if her neck would hurt when the procedure was over.

    Through insect eyes, Laurie saw Barney smiling. “Okay, then. We’re ready to go. You’ll be just fine, Laurie. Like new.”

    A light hissing. A slight and steady stream of air on her lips. The gas was coming in. The IV drip melted her brain. The gas melted her body. Or was it the other way around? Laurie’s entire body tingled, went hot, and then puddled over like a bundle of loose and overoiled pasta.

    From the other side of the Moon came Barney’s voice. “Laurie? Can you hear me? Do you think you’re ready?”

    Laurie wasn’t certain if she gave a thumbs-up or not. But whatever it was she did, it did the trick.

    “All right, Miss Georgetta,” said Barney. “Our latest little lady here is ready.”

    Laurie giggled thickly. Latest little lady. So many of us. Georgetta and Barney, helping us all. Thank you. Thank you.

    ************

    The VR began. The eyes went dark. And then an entire world blossomed inside the helmet. A world in a shell every bit as real and large and true as the world outside. Laurie found herself deposited right outside the club, 1:30 in the morning. She was more than a little drunk. More than a little stoned. More than a little sweaty. And feeling invincible because of the alcohol and the drugs she’d taken.

    Her stomach sank. So stupid. I can’t believe I’m here. I don’t want to relive this—

    STOP.

    What? Who was that? It sounded like her.

    LISTEN.

    Oh. Oh, right. It sounded like her because it was her. Georgetta had taken the hours of recording they had done and fed it into the VR program until the program could speak in a voice that sounded exactly like her. It was an aspect of the VR. It was part of the reconceiving. Of the reinterpretation. It was part of the process that would save her from the thoughts that were thinking her.

    Look at you, said the VR-Laurie voice. Not even a voice. It pumped directly into her brain, these new thoughts, these reconceiving ideas.

    Out after dark, all alone on a Saturday night. Think about how brave that is. How strong that is. How fearless that is.

    The IV tube at Laurie’s vein pulsed. She breathed deep of the gas, which relaxed her to the point where she worried she would pee herself, shit herself, except that she wasn’t worrying about it. She didn’t care. She felt wonderful. She felt

    —brave

    She felt

    —strong

    She felt

    —fearless

    And so she was.

    The cool night air glittered around her. She felt the air on her skin, smelled the wet concrete and brick—it had rained while she was inside, dancing with her other college friends. Up and down the street she looked . . . it was the city, no doubt about it. She was right there, in the city.

    Three blocks away was the entrance to the alley. She couldn’t see it yet, but it was there. Waiting for her. A cave. With a monster in it. With a NI—

    Brave.

    Strong.

    Fearless.

    And so she was.

    Laurie straightened herself. She tugged at her tank-top (there’s a fat roll and my tits are TOO SMALL) and smoothed her miniskirt (I have goddamned saddlebags) and observed her shoes (they’re scuffed and shitty and I don’t even like my feet)—

    STOP.

    VR-Laurie had something to say to her. Something to think at her. Something to think into her. Laurie trusted VR-Laurie. It was herself, after all, and she had to trust herself.

    You are lovely. You are beautiful. It is your body, and your body is beautiful. All bodies are beautiful. Don’t fat-shame. Don’t body-shame. Don’t tit-shame. Don’t ass-shame. Don’t anything-shame.

    You are beautiful. You are beautiful.

    And so she was.

    Brave, strong, fearless, and beautiful Laurie set her shoulders and turned toward the alley and took a deep breath—oh in went more the gas and there’d be no way she could even tell if she was peeing herself any more—and she stalked powerfully, purposely, heels clacking on the pavement, off to face the monster—

    —the NI—

    —in its den.

    She came to the mouth of the alley. It was here that she had made her choice. She could have

    walked down one more block to a major, well-lit street, and then

    turned right and walked down a block to another major, well-lit street, and then

    walked the fifty or so feet to her apartment and then

    gotten safely into her apartment building and never gotten raped and had her life destroyed.

    She could have done all that. But instead the drunk, tipsy, stupid—

    —brave, strong, fearless, and beautiful—

    —girl named Laurie had decided to take a shortcut through the alley like she owned the place, like she could go anywhere, like she wasn’t some dumb privileged bitch (asking for trouble)—

    STOP.

    Oh. VR-Laurie. Time to listen to VR-Laurie again. VR-Laurie had all the answers.

    Hooray for VR-Laurie. VR-Laurie was actually really Laurie. VR-Laurie would save real-Laurie.

    Laurie would save herself.

    You have the right to walk anywhere you want.

    I do, thought Laurie. I have that right.

    You have the right to go anywhere, anytime, without being assaulted.

    I do. I have that right.

    It is not you who needs to change.

    I do not need to change.

    You don’t need to ask permission.

    I do not need to ask permission.

    You are powerful.

    I am powerful.

    This alley belongs to you.

    This alley belongs to me.

    But if this alley belongs to me, thought real-Laurie, then why am I so frightened?

    VR-Laurie had the answer: You are not frightened.

    I’m not?

    No. You are excited.

    I am . . . excited?

    You are excited. Your heart pounding. Your breath quickening. Your skin alive to the cool night air. This is excitement.

    . . . this is excitement.

    You are excited.

    . . . . I am excited.

    You are being brave.

    I am being brave.

    This is an adventure, and you are the hero.

    This is an adventure. And I am the hero.

    Feel your power.

    I feel my power.

    This alley is yours.

    This alley is mine.

    This experience is yours.

    This experience is mine.

    And everything that happens in this alley belongs to you.

    Like a Lord of the World, Laurie strode, heels clicking, into a dark alley reeking of wet garbage and urine.

    At fifteen steps a large dark shape lunged. It clamped one hand over her mouth and nose. It pushed her head against the brick wall. It held a knife to her belly. It crushed all the breath out of her so that even if her mouth hadn’t been welded shut by she wouldn’t have had the air to scream.

    Oh God Oh God Oh God please I’m going to die I’m so sorry I’m so stupid I’m—

    STOP.

    VR-Laurie thought into her mind, like an angel.

    STOP. You are not frightened.

    I’m not what the fuck are you talking about of course I’m frightened what else could I feel—

    You are excited.

    . . . what . . .

    This is an adventure.

    . . . oh.

    You are it’s hero.

    Oh.

    You are the hero of this adventure, and you are excited to be here. This is the most exciting experience you have ever had in your entire life.

    . . . okay.

    Excited. And powerful. Did you know? That you are powerful?

    How am I powerful? I can’t move. I can’t scream. I’m about to be raped. How is this powerful?

    What this poor man is doing is proof of your power.

    . . . what?

    Look at him.

    No, please, don’t make me—

    LOOK AT HIM.

    Laurie looked. A black man—so dark she almost couldn’t see him in the alley. Strong. Short hair. Powerful. And she could see his eyes. They were red. And angry. And . . . scared?

    He wants you.

    . . . .

    He needs you.

    . . . .

    He cannot help himself.

    But I—

    STOP. LISTEN.

    Laurie listened. She had to listen. VR-Laurie was making her listen.

    You have overwhelmed him. Taken away his will. Destroyed all his defenses. He is helpless before you.

    . . . ?

    Think of what would happen to him.

    . . . ?

    Think of what would happen to him if he were caught.

    . . . ?

    Let me show you.

    A flicker. A quick flicker. The alley vanished. Laurie was in a forest with many, many, many trees. Hanging from a high branch on each tree was a—

    Oh god.

    Oh god.

    Get me out of here—

    And then Laurie was back in the dark, piss-smelling alley with a powerful calloused hand clamped over her mouth and a knife pressed into her stomach. And she couldn’t have been more relieved.

    He knows what would happen to him if he were caught. And yet he still does this. This poor, desperate man. Look what you have done to him.

    Tears welled in Laurie’s eyes. Not for herself. For him. He was taking such a horrible risk, this poor man. She’d seen what would happen if he were caught. It had happened to thousands of others, what she’d seen in those trees. All of his brothers. All of my brothers, thought Laurie. Barney called me sister so he’s my brother they’re all my brothers—.

    Laurie studied the man ten seconds from ripping off her panties and shoving his cock right up her virgin cunt—yes, she’d been a virgin, and he was her first—and she no longer felt terror and hatred.

    She was fearless and brave and strong and beautiful and excited. And for this man, now, for this beautiful black man, she felt nothing but compassion. For what was happening in this alley was entirely her fault.

    But wait. Wait. How was it her fault? How was this her fault? VR-Laurie, VR-Laurie, do you have the answer? Do you have the right answer for—

    I do. This is your fault.

    I did? But . . . but it’s not my fault. But I have the right. The right to wear what I want. The right to dress any way I like. The right to go anywhere I want.

    You do. You have all those rights. But you have to understand: You are powerful. So powerful. So beautiful, and so powerful, and this man didn’t have a chance.

    He didn’t have a chance?

    He didn’t have a chance.

    He didn’t have a chance. . . .

    You are too beautiful.

    I am too beautiful.

    You are too powerful.

    I am too powerful.

    He is weak.

    He is weak.

    He is helpless.

    He is helpless.

    Men cannot help themselves before you.

    Men cannot help themselves.

    This is your power.

    This is my power.

    You are irresistable.

    Irresistable.

    And you are a goddess.

    I am a goddess.

    You are a good goddess.

    I am a good goddess.

    You are a kind goddess.

    I am a kind goddess.

    Like all goddesses, you require a sacrifice.

    A sacrifice. A goddess needs a sacrifice.

    Let him give you his sacrifice.

    Laurie opened her legs a little.

    Let him sacrifice himself to you.

    She opened her legs a little wider. For the first time a hand touched her there. Gripped her there. Pulled—

    You must help him.

    Yes.

    You must help everyone like him.

    Yes.

    Help them all.

    Yes.

    The man gripped Laurie’s hair and slammed her head against the brick wall and forced her down on her belly onto alley hills of black garbage bags and pushed up her skirt and tore off her panties. Cool humid air tickled her ass and labia. Her pubic hair tickled, free to the night. His belt chinged as it unbuckled, the sounds of grunting and the shucking of denim off (aren’t they already sagging STOP IT) informed her he was readying himself and then so quickly he pulled open her lips which smacked a little bit and he plunged his billy club cock up and into her dry and clenched twat—

    —and she exploded. Not with orgasm. But with light.

    Her subject. Behind her, desperately dry-fucking the goddess who had stumbled into his den. Him, giving her the only sacrifice he had for his goddess, the sacrifice of his body, of his semen, at the risk of his life.

    —strange fruit hanging from trees—

    Light. Full of big, black cock. Full of light. Laurie the Goddess unfurled within the alley, friction lubricated away by her blood, her sacrifice for her subject, giving him the release and connection that he craved.

    Yes, said VR-Laurie, now Laurie-Laurie, now Goddess Laurie. Laurie was still human, but the Goddess alive in her was now ascendent, the pure White Goddess who would save her black subjects, all of them. Yes, said Goddess Laurie to herself. This is your power. This is your duty. These poor men. All sacrificing themselves to you. They can’t help it. None of them can help it. They are helpless before you, and this is your power, and you can save them all.

    Lubrication flooding her pussy, grinning from ear to ear, Goddess Laurie held herself firm. The alley was her temple. The garbage bags were her altar. The man was her worshipper. His cock and semen were his sacrifice to her. Her terror was her thrill and her power. And her body was his absolution.

    Goddess Laurie would save them all. She would never refuse their sacrifices.

    Empowered, she orgasmed. She would save them all.

    ********

    From the monitoring room, Georgetta watched the girl tremble and shake in the chair. Laurie was naked and restrained, now, orderlies having scissored off her clothing and bound her a few minutes into the process. The girl’s piggy little tits and her cellulosed ass and her ample thighs wriggled and bounced as the VR simulation raped her. Her arms, legs, and waist were strapped down, keeping her from thrashing the IV from her arm and the insectoid mask off her head. The blue liquid pulsing into her veins and the gas pumped into her lungs did away with all resistance and rendered her brain and body as frictionless to the transmission of change as a superconductor at absolute zero.

    Absolute zero, Georgetta reflected. Another dumb white girl at absolute zero.

    Barney was in the room too, monitoring a pair of computers that in turn were monitoring the girl. “We’ve got her done,” said Barney. “Her brain’s abuzz and body’s a’comin’.”

    “So fast to turn her,” said Georgetta. “That’s some kind of record.”

    Barney shrugged. “We’re getting better at this. Better processing power, improved VR experience, subtler chemicals. We haven’t blown out a girl in six months.”

    Georgetta grimaced. The blowouts. No language, barely conscious, eyes empty as bubbles. Fuckable, sure, but only for guys about a half-step away from necrophilia.

    But Laurie wasn’t a blowout. She would be fully conscious, fully engaged, and fully capable and happy to take whatever and whoever they could throw at her. Another success.

    Georgetta pressed an intercom button. “You can send them in, now.”

    In walked a white man in khakis and a blazer and one black woman in a red pantsuit.

    The white man extended his hand. “Miss Georgetta.”

    “Warden,” said Georgetta. “Good to see you again.” She nodded at the black woman. “And you too, deputy warden.”

    The deputy warden gazed out the glass. Laurie’s hands and feet clenched, unclenched, and clenched again. Her buttocks and hips bounced on the chair as much as the restraint allowed. Dribbles of slickness pulsed out her vagina onto the seat. From behind the insect helmet, Laurie produced hot and muffled wails.

    The deputy warden asked, “Another success?”

    “Yes,” said Georgetta. “We’ll need to clean her up and snip her, but then she’ll be yours. With the travel restraints, of course.”

    “Sure,” said the deputy warden. “We won’t let her loose until she reaches the fuck pit.”

    The warden frowned. “Deputy. It’s called the inmate recreation center.”

    “Sure,” said the deputy warden. “The inmate recreation center. Where inmates do nothing but fuck loony white girls in large pits that we have to hose down at the end of the day.”

    The Warden ignored her. “Thank you again, Miss Georgetta. It’s a valuable service that you’re providing our population. It keeps them docile, especially our most violent offenders.”

    Georgetta nodded. “Anything for my incarcerated brothers.”

    “We’ve brought back Mikayla, by the way. She’s worn out. She’s on the loading dock.”

    “Thank you, warden. We’ll handle her from here.”

    The deputy warden grimaced. To her, Georgetta wanted to say, What I’ve done to a handful of disposable white girls is nothing to what American society has done to our brothers and sisters. But alienating the deputy warden was not the way to economic success or helping her brothers.

    Everyone shook hands, and the prison officials departed.

    Georgetta pressed another button and spoke into the microphone. “Subject Mikayla’s on deck. We need her prepped for flight and rendition.” There was yet another broken country in the middle of a civil war whose soldiers needed recreation. The business wouldn’t get much money for the stretched-out, worn-down, and beaten-up prison slut, but they’d still get something. Enough money for a month of iced coffees, maybe.

    In the chair, Laurie writhed. Georgetta guessed she was at the point of the VR where more men were rising out from among the trash bags in the alley—crazed vets and the goat-smelling mentally ill and various violent offenders of all tastes and sizes. All black. All representatives of all the men torn to shreds by centuries of white hegemony, all out for revenge and defilement and a plain old fucking good time. A situation that any human being in anything remotely like a right mind would view with absolute horror.

    But Laurie was no longer a human in her right mind. She was an insane Goddess who would accept any sacrifice and bear any pain for her subjects. She was Empowered.

    Well, for about three months, anyway. Until her actually un-Goddess–like body could no longer bear the wear and tear of being rendered violently airtight up to a dozen times a day and she had to be crated out of the Americas to a shithole country where even a busted white woman was still of use.

    “Just crazy,” muttered Georgetta.

    “Um?” said Barney.

    “Oh, just the girls. These stupid girls. These stupid white girls. Too dumb to keep out of trouble. Too stupid to not walk down dark alleys at night while drunk and stoned.”

    Barney sniffed. He’d heard this speech before.

    “Seriously,” said Georgetta, winding up. “What do they think will happen? What do they think this world is about? ‘Empowerment.’ Fuck them. Only people who already have power take that word seriously. And then they have the nerve to think they deserve more power.” Her voice went up to a dumb-girl lilt. “‘It’s the world that needs to change. You can’t blame the victim. You have to empower yourselves . . . .’ Fucking white girls. Welcome to the world, you dumb bitch.”

    Barney shrugged. “White people,” he said, without any particular malice.

    “White people,” spat Georgetta. “But this dumb girl. Look at her. She’s ‘empowered’ now, right? Piggy little bitch thinks she’s a Goddess.”

    In the VR, Goddess Laurie’s empowered white ass split open as she accepted a thick black cock tunneling right on up inside her. She missed the one in her pussy, but she knew another would be back in there soon. Men were everywhere around her, now, holding her down, driven on helplessly by her all-consuming Power.

    She would save them all, until she could not save them any more. She had no choice. It was her responsibility as their Goddess.

    Author: Adam Lily ([email protected])

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