Story by Leslie Moore, edited by Dee Sylvan, formatting by Dawn Natelle
When Jillian woke, she had a headache from the chloroform. She felt nauseous and dizzy. She realized she was naked, her arms and legs tightly tied to each corner of the bed with zip ties.
As everything came into focus, Jillian looked around the room. The sound of ragged breathing filled her ears. She saw Arnold’s face. Furious, she pulled on her bonds. The pulling made them dig into her flesh and hurt.
Arnold stood over her with a piece of duct tape in one hand and a bottle of scotch in the other. He had a distorted grin on his face as he leaned in and whispered. “Hey, I have to say Rodney buys a much better single malt than I do.”
As he spoke, he sprayed spittle in her face. The poisoned air around him smelled of sweat and alcohol. She watched as he upended the bottle and poured it into his mouth. Some spilled out and down his shirt.
He snarled. “So, listen to me, bitch. I have this duct tape but I don't want to have tape your mouth closed. I mean, no one’s going to hear you scream because these top two floors belong to Rodney.”
Jillian blinked through the fumes and glared. “You're making a big mistake. This is all wrong. You don't want to go to jail, do you?” Her voice sounded high-pitched and frightened.
Arnold was weaving. He was drunk on his feet. He drank some more before he spoke. “Jail? Ha. I’m not going to jail. You can’t call the police because you don't exist. You have no ID and you're camped out in Rodney's apartment. And Rodney invited me up here. The police get a hold of you and hear your story and then next thing you know, you’re gone. You’re a future government lab specimen waiting to be locked up by the CIA. Do you call for help? No. I don’t think so.”
He leaned over and pulled hard on her nipple. “Now, you have a choice, duct tape or no duct tape. I really don’t care, but either way, I don’t want to hear from you. Understand?”
Jillian felt the tears start rolling down her face and the frustration build up inside her. “What do you want from me?”
There was that wolf-like grin again. “I want your virginity. I’m going to be your first. I’m going to steal something from you.”
He pointed the neck of the bottle towards her before he took a big swallow and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He weaved as he talked. “You used my sick boy to convinced me to rob the company for the nanotechnology. I sold my honor away for a hundred thousand dollars. And what happens when that money runs out? What do I do then? Huh? Watch my son die?”
“I’ll give you more money, Arnold. I'll make you rich. Untie me and I’ll take you to the bank. You don’t want to do this. It’s all a really big mistake.”
Arnold laughed. “Oh, you’ll give me money. Lots of it. I'm going to blackmail you for a long time. After all, you can’t afford the word getting around about those nanites inside you. I'm going to bleed you dry. I’m going to be very rich and have all the money I ever need.” He laughed.
“I'm going to take your pride. I'm going to fuck you until you beg. I'm going to do it to you all night. Then, I'm going to sleep and start all over again! You just wait.”
Jillian turned sideways to protect her face. Arnold was covering her with saliva when he talked. “Fuck you, Blackstone.”
Arnold laughed and shoved his finger at her. “You worthless pig. Long ago, Rodney, you controlled me. You ordered me around. You had the money. You had the power. But, no more. You swapped it all to live forever. And now, I’m giving you something you’ll remember for the rest of your long life.”
Jillian felt the tears streaming down her face. Her lip was quivering. She watched as Arnold pulled down his trousers and dropped his boxers. His member hung between his legs.
With no foreplay other than mauling her breasts, pinching her nipples, and biting the inside of her thighs, Arnold plunged deep inside her. It hurt. She felt her insides tear up causing her to bleed. She screamed out in pain.
* * *
Sarah stopped by her empty lab. She walked downstairs to the storeroom. She found the liter bottles and took two off the shelf. She filled each one from their large nanotechnology storage tank. She topped them both off with the neutral fluid the nanites ate to survive. She wrapped the two containers in a towel and put the package in a shopping bag she gotten from the bottom drawer of her desk.
She was taking the nanotechnology home. She’d have her own stash of nanites. Eventually, all future nanites would be designed to have shut-off mechanisms in them. These were different. They’d keep going forever with no limits, just like the ones that Jillian had in her body. Sarah would keep them hidden at home. They could be the last of the eternal ones.
She carried them out of the building and walked over to her car. As she got in, she took a deep breath. She couldn't remember the last time she stole something, even from herself. Sarah waited until her hands stopped shaking to start her car.
Sarah had a vision. She was in her mother’s kitchen. She’d introduce Jillian to her mom and tell her the whole story. Sarah would swallow her nanite dose at the same time her mother drank hers.
* * *
Blackstone had shoved two pillows under Jillian’s bottom. As he continued to take her, Jillian could feel herself start groaning in response to his pounding her into the bed. As much as her mind rejected the rape, her body was betraying her. She grew warm, starting to pant and writhe. She couldn't help but moan out loud.
This only made Arnold pump harder.
Jillian tried to separate her thinking mind from her physical self. She prayed that a few nanites mixed into her vaginal fluids and blood right now. Maybe nanites would find a way inside his system. She held on to that dream of revenge.
That thought held her together as she was being violated. She was angry and frustrated over feeling helpless. Arnold was right. He could ruin her life.
Arnold had his orgasm and pulled out of her. He lost interest quickly as he searched for his bottle of booze. He was drunk and it had affected his performance. He doubted that he’d been hard for his last few minutes. He turned to her and snarled. “I’m going to cut you loose, bitch. But one stupid move and I’ll be back. And this time I'll do more than taking your virginity. You hear me?”
Jillian nodded. After she was released, she rubbed her wrists and ankles. She cursed him.
Arnold Blackstone was too drunk to care. He reached for another bottle of Rodney’s liquor and took a big gulp. He was very thirsty but he’d rather drink Scotch than water.
Watching him leave the room and the apartment, Jillian let her emotions flow.
She couldn’t call the police. She couldn’t go to a hospital and report she’d been raped. All she could do was change the sheets and cry in the shower.
* * *
On the surface of Arnold’s penis, nanites had found two roughed spots from his brutal rape. By the time he walked out of the door, they were heading into his bloodstream. But the nanites weren’t programmed to spread from one body to another. When they realized they were in a new environment, they turned themselves off. They’d float around in his system forever and remain dormant.
But those nanites were not alone. Nanites were already reproducing inside his bloodstream. They arrived through his nasal passages several days ago. They had been stirred up into the air when Arnold had pour sixty doses of nanotechnology into the smaller containers. This airborne nanites population was small compared to Rodney’s concentrated three-ounce dose but, they had the same mission.
Eventually, the reproducing population would reach the tipping point when there was enough of them. They’d began their work to remake Arnold’s body and mind. The nanites only needed one critical external ingredient, water, to facilitate their efforts.
* * *
Arnold staggered out of the exclusive apartment building and out to the street. He hailed a cab and fell into it as it pulled up to the curb. The cabbie insisted he pays in advance and scolded him not to throw up in his back seat. Arnold cursed and told him to shut up.
When he got home, he barely made it to the bathroom before he puked up the contents of his stomach. He passed out in the powder room asleep on the tile floor.
The sunlight was streaming through the small window directly into his eyes when he woke. He blinked several times and struggled to get out from under the sink and around the toilet bowl. He stood and took a deep breath. He was surprised that his head didn’t hurt like most mornings where he’d drunk himself to sleep. He stretched and was pleased that his body didn’t ache after sleeping on the floor all night.
Arnold was having a tough time coping. Fearing for his son’s life and the tension that a deadly disease brings to a household, he and his wife had not been getting along. Sending his boy to the Mayo Clinic two thousand miles away made things better for everyone. His wife was enjoying the break from their marriage and it made her feel good to see their boy recovering.
Arnold normally was starved in the morning for something to absorb the stomach acids and the alcohol. But this morning was different. He knew that the hair of the dog was what he wanted. He roamed around the house until he found an unopened bottle of Scotch. He broke the seal and drank straight from the bottle. He gulped it down like water.
* * *
Jillian woke up late. She lay there blinking her eyes and replaying last night. It had taken her a long time to fall asleep. She stood in the shower until her skin was wrinkled like a prune. But, no matter how much hot water that ran over her bruised body, she couldn’t stop crying.
She’d never felt so vulnerable. In one foolish moment, she had opened the door to Hell on Earth and been violated by a madman. To make it worse, her body had betrayed her.
She lay there trying to make sense out of the experience. Arnold was insane. Blaming her for his troubles was crazy. Jillian was still hurting from the attack feeling a lot of negative emotions, hate, pity, shame, resentment, and guilt.
She knew she’d never get over it or forget it. It’s just that each day, it would hurt a little less.
She prayed for all the women that Rodney had used in his lifetime. She promised to dedicate her life to helping the poor and downtrodden who had fewer choices than she did.
Lying in bed, she felt herself returning to normal. Yes, it was humiliating. Yes, she had been frightened. And yes, there was nothing she could do to make it go away. But, she needed to stand up and bolster herself. She wasn’t going to let one shitty moment in time change her life. She had a choice. She was going to grow a pair and become steel.
Jillian gritted her teeth. She wasn’t going to let anger affect her thinking. There would be some way to neutralize that bastard and his behavior. She thought about castration and smiled.
After a long soak in the tub and then a quick shower, she called Sarah. “Hey, let’s have lunch together. Okay? I haven't seen you in a while and I need to talk to you about something.”
Sarah said that sounded fine. Would Jillian like to come out to Long Island? They could walk on the beach.
Jillian agreed and said she’d call her car service. She told that she’d see her around two o’clock for lunch and a walk.
Jillian looked at herself in the mirror. She stood up straighter. She was going to take control.
Sarah had always split her time between the city and the beach. She swore she’d retire to a place in the sun when she could afford it.
By the time Jillian sat in the stretch limo heading north, she’d left the ugly scene from last night behind. She kept reminding herself she was in control and strong enough to face the world.
* * *
Arnold drank an entire bottle of liquor. He was thirsty. He decided that a nap would do him good.
He climbed the stairs and got undressed. He was mildly shocked to see the stains in his underwear until he recalled the scene in Jillian’s bedroom. He was too tired to wash himself off and just lay down in bed. He was exhausted.
When he woke, it was night time. He couldn’t believe he’d slept through the day. He got up, drank more booze, and went to the bathroom. A few minutes later he was back to sleep.
* * *
Sarah went out to greet Jillian as the town car pulled up. As Jillian climbed out, she turned to look Sarah in the eyes. As they hugged, Jillian started to softly weep.
“I’ve got some news to share with you and it’s not good.”
Jillian talked with Sarah for the rest of the afternoon and evening about her experience with Arnold.
Sarah listened and cried with her. Finally, Sarah wanted to talk about the good things in their lives. She reminded Jillian about growing up in a great family and two parents that loved them both. Even though their dad had died young, their mom, Betty, had carried on and successfully raised two children into adulthood.
Jillian talked about how her body betrayed her and how it led to an orgasm. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
They both agreed that castration was too good for Arnold.
When Jillian seemed to run out of steam and words, Sarah suggested a walk on the beach. Then they’d drink some good red wine.
They spent the evening watching a movie and eating takeout. They drank more wine and Sarah insisted that Jillian join her gym and learn to take care of herself.
Back in the city the next day, Jillian filled out a membership application for Sarah’s gym. She made a commitment to start going regularly.
A self-defense class run by a female police officer spared no sympathy for the aggressor. Her opening salvo was ‘men are dogs and must be trained to know what they can and can’t-do’. After the laughing broke the ice, she spent two hours showing the women what they should do to protect themselves.
After the first class, they stopped for coffee. Jillian opened up about her nagging feelings of still feeling defenseless. Sarah promised to call a security agency in the morning and have an escort hired for whenever Jillian left her penthouse.
Jillian was adamant. “I want him to carry a gun.”
* * *
Arnold woke to a ticking inside his brain. This was something new. His heart thumped loudly. He felt afraid and agitated. He kept expecting to feel an iron grip on his arm. He imagined hearing ‘you’re under arrest’, being handcuffed, and led to a four-door black sedan.
Would they arrest him for selling government secrets, for rape, or for stealing from the company lab? All of the above, he thought.
He’d been waking from naps and sleep with horrible visions of a solitary confinement cell. He saw himself led into ornate courtrooms where lawyers and a judge all condemned his behavior. He saw himself led out in leg irons and chains.
In his dreams, he saw himself stealing the nanites from the lab. But, the setting was different. The sky was dark and the clouds were black with rain. It was overcast and dreary. His vision was devoid of people.
He had horrible images of his raping Jillian. He looked like a madman, a devil, a brute, a murderer. She was innocent and beautiful. Sometimes she was his first love, his mother, or his wife on their honeymoon.
Arnold’s nightmares saw himself selling the nanites in dark alleyways taking bags of money then skulking away. He looked homeless and disheveled.
In desperation, Arnold went to the lab and stole another sixty doses of the nanites. He wanted to finish this plan as quickly as possible. Then he’d have enough money to be free. As he transferred the nanites from the liter bottles to the three-ounce containers, he thought how easy it would be for airborne contamination. He made a mental note to pass that information on to the guys in the lab.
He sold off the last of the doses. His phone stopped ringing, running out of battery and lying dead in his pocket. He kept putting more money into more footlockers. Arnold filled them until they were too heavy to lift.
He was feeling horrible. He spent most of his days drinking alcohol and using the toilet.
Arnold used several of his one hundred dollar bills to buy cases of scotch. Now he could afford the most expensive single malts. He was rich and he was thirsty. It took a lot of alcohol to blot out the fears rolling around his brain.
Arnold had a problem with what to do with the footlockers full of hundred dollar bills. He rented a large van and loaded the footlockers into the back. He drove over to Jersey City and parked the van in a storage garage. He walked away calculating there were ten million dollars in the white Chevy van.
In his paranoia, he went home and stripped his lab bare. He moved everything out of his house. He was sure the authorities were watching and getting ready to arrest him. He started living in hotels. Every couple of days, he’d move.
Arnold didn’t feel like himself. Haunted by what he had done, he knew he was coming mentally unhinged. Inside his mind, a clock ticked louder and louder. His body was vibrating like a tuning fork.
He took down his second dark website and destroyed his second disposable cell phone. He had stopped thinking about work.
* * *
Sarah was approached by lawyers representing a group of investment bankers after her company finished their thirty-day trial with the government. They came to her with a half-billion dollar offer to buy everything and all the company stock. They wanted her technology, her records, and the lab building. They wanted her to stop working with nanites.
Sarah gave up trying to contact Arnold.
Sarah discussed the offer with Jill.
“There’s something sinister involved,” Jill said. “I think the bankers are a front for the black side of the United States government, like the NSA or the CIA. You’ve invented the fountain of youth and they want to keep it secret forever.”
Sarah disagreed. “If that’s what they want, they’d have to come after us, too. If they want to shut us up, making us disappear would be the only way.”
They discussed the offer and their fears. Then, Jillian conceived a counter offer.
Sarah said she’d sell everything to the investment bankers. But, a copy of the formula and the nanite process would be held in escrow. Sarah would still own the patents and all the work done with nanites.
The women took copies of all the documents and gave them to two big law firms. They also stored all the information in several safe deposit boxes in the city.
Sarah told the investment people that the documents would remain sealed as long as nothing happened to anyone involved with the company. She made it clear that lawyers had instructions to forward the contents of the safe deposit boxes to the press if something did go wrong.
After some grumbling, the bankers agreed and documents were signed. Of course, Sarah had told them in advance that the nanites had all been programmed with one-year life spans and orders to self-destruct. She had felt smug telling them that until one investor said, “Whatever can be programed can certainly be reprogramed. We can reverse engineer whatever we want.”
And they went their separate ways.
* * *
Arnold’s paranoia grew. He continued to relocate every other day. Finally, he ended up out near the airport in a run-down motel. He carried his suitcase and another case of scotch into the seedy room. His mind and body slowed down. As he found it harder to think, a fog settled in his brain.
He bought a spiral notebook and between shots from his bottle of liquor, transcribed everything from his notes. He listed the one hundred and twenty people who bought nanites. He wrote down their addresses and phone numbers. He described where to find the van and taped the key to one of the pages.
He wasn’t eating regularly and would find himself slurping water from the tap like a dog. One day passed into the next. The only time he’d get out of bed was to use the toilet. He sat upright to chug from another bottle of booze.
He stopped dressing. He’d think about his son and wife. He thought about moving to Minnesota so they could be together. But, he knew it was a fantasy. His evil was catching up with him. He was changing. He’d stopped looking in the mirror, he’d stopping showering. He knew the evil had taken over.
Then, one day the fog lifted and the ticking stopped. Evil had finally finished its job.
He drank from his last bottle. He took the notebook with all the information inside and bought an envelope. Arnold stood in line at the Post Office and mailed the package.
Next, he walked into a funeral home and made arrangements. He told the undertaker that he wanted to be cremated within twenty-four hours of his death. He paid for the services and waited while they processed his contract. Arnold took his copy when he left.
The entire time he was talking, the undertaker was looking at him strangely. Arnold realized he could see the devil inside. He knew everyone could see the evil now. There was no escaping. As he walked out of the funeral home, he felt another pain and knew he needed to go to the bathroom again. He saw a neon sign and headed towards the open bar. As he stumbled into the men’s room, he had to ignore the shout from the man who yelled, ‘hey lady, you're in the wrong room!’
He sat on the toilet and waited for the waste to pass out of his system. As he went to wipe himself, he shrugged at his missing genitals. Punishment for rape, he thought.
After he used the toilet and washed his hands, he glanced up at the mirror. He didn’t recognize himself until he realized it was his mother staring back at him. Evil was playing tricks with his mind. No cock and balls to punish him for rape. His mother looking back at him to remind him of his sins. He laughed. He had no control of his life anymore. He stopped at the bar for a double and a large water on the side. He downed the drink and stumbled out and across the street to a park.
He was afraid to call his wife as he sat down on a bench. His voice was not his. He didn’t want to explain what he’d done to be cursed. He didn't want to tell her how he brought the devil into his life. Instead, he bought paper and a pen. He wrote her a long, long letter telling her that he loved her and wished them both well. Then he busied himself with the second letter of apology. He addressed both envelopes and mailed them.
Arnold crossed the street from the Post Office and sat on the bench in the small park. He gazed up at the trees and the blue sky. He watched the clouds move. He looked down at his changed hands, his arms, and his legs. His clothes hung on him like he was a scarecrow. There was no hiding how he was being punished for all the evil he’d committed.
Arnold took out the Glock from his raincoat and said a prayer. He wished he’d done things differently. He put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger repeatedly.
* * *
The dead woman’s finger was frozen on the trigger when the police found her body. The officers wondered why anyone would feel the need to shoot themselves more than once in the head. When they found the document in her pocket, the coroner contacted the funeral home.
Back at the station, Officer Baron tried to notify the next of kin. They’d fingerprinted the corpse and processed the information which only puzzled him more. They had a name and a photo from a Driver’s license that didn’t match the body.
Baron drove out to the address he got from the Driver’s license. A neighbor confirmed that the Blackstone family lived there but nobody had been home in a while. She told the policeman where Mr. Blackstone worked. He looked up the number and called.
Sarah talked to Officer Baron. He described the apparent suicide and the confusion with the body and the Driver’s license.
“Ma’am. If this is Arnold Blackstone, then a lot has changed since the photo and ID were made. He’s changed his appearance and his sex. And it seems, she’s had a rough time of it.”
“Uh-huh. No, I’d say she was in her fifties and suffering from long-term alcoholism. Yes, ma’am. In very poor condition. Yes, the Coroner. Let me give you the number.”
Sarah then called the Coroner’s office. The Coroner was interested in talking to her. He said he’d never seen a higher blood alcohol level in anyone. He said that the woman should have died of acute alcohol poisoning long before she shot herself.
Sarah was told the body was being held for an autopsy before it would be forwarded to the funeral home for cremation. She requested a pint of blood from the corpse for testing after she explained about the nanotechnology and her fears of contamination.
The pint was delivered to the lab and she ran the tests herself. She was shocked when she saw the amount of alcohol in his blood. And she was more shocked at the nanites. All she could see through the electron microscope were broken and malformed nanotechnology formations. It looked like they had failed to reproduce successfully in the alcohol-rich environment.
Two days after Arnold’s death, Sarah received the letter from him admitting to all his wrongs. He asked for Jillian’s forgiveness and wished he could do something to make up for the mess he’d created.
His notebook arrived in the mail days later. Arnold wrote about the sale of the nanites to one hundred and twenty people and how they had paid him in cash. He enclosed a list of all the people. He told them all about the van and the footlockers.
Arnold hoped they’d use that money to do some good. He gave Sarah the combination to the locked garage and the address in New Jersey. He hoped she’d see that his wife and son never knew about this tragedy and would benefit from some of the cash. He also mentioned that he thought that the nanites could be spread through close contact with the nasal passages.
* * *
A month later, non-existent Rodney in Tucson, Arizona, received a generous check for his stock in his sister’s company. His Arizona mail was automatically forwarded to a post office box in Grand Central Station, New York City. The check was deposited, then non-existent Rodney wrote out a very large check to a women’s shelter in New York.
The investors who’d bought the twenty percent of the stock when the company went public were told they had no choice but to sell. They were disappointed when they couldn’t hang on to their shares. But after reading the fine print discovered they had to take the money and be happy with their one thousand percent profit on their investment.
The investment bankers said they were keeping the stock private from now on and not selling shares any longer.
* * *
Jillian and Sarah flew out to visit their mom, Betty, in California. After patiently telling the whole story and answering a lot of questions, Sarah and Betty both swallowed three ounces of nanotechnology.
Weeks later, Jillian, Sarah, and Betty were shopping on Rodeo Drive. They’d been together since Thanksgiving. Today, they were shopping for summer clothing. They planned to fly to Hawaii for the winter. While they had booked suites in a big hotel right on the beach, Sarah wanted to buy property and move there. The three women had gotten used to the same questions every place they went. ‘Are you triplets?’ They’d smiled and say they were all sisters.
Jillian and Sarah knew their nanites had used Betty’s DNA to rebuild them both. So Sarah and Jillian had to make sure their hair color, makeup, and outfits were always different. Close inspection of the new Betty would date back to her mom, Sarah and Jillian’s grandmother. While Betty looked just as young as the other women, she did not look identical.
Betty joked about how she’d forgotten what it was like to have a young body. She said that for a sixty-year-old, she was feeling pretty spry. Sarah and Jillian understood.The nanotechnology had remade her into a twenty-something but she still retained all the memories. The nanites had remade them all. And from what Sarah could tell, they’d stay that way.
By the end of January, the three women sat in Sarah’s new house admiring the ocean view. Life had settled down for them. The lab and their nanite development program were history. The government had stopped the testing program and nothing had been heard from the investment bankers since the sale. They didn’t think they’d ever hear about nanites again.
Sarah still had the names and addresses of the one hundred and twenty people who had swallowed the nanotechnology. For now, they were a secret to the world.
And they were still trying to figure out what to do with the footlockers full of cash.
Rodney had sold his penthouse and ‘moved’ to Arizona. He’d sent a generous check to Arnold’s family in Minnesota and promised to stay in touch to provide financial help. Jillian was trying to decide if she wanted to get her own place in New York. But, the opportunity to stay here on the island with her new sisters was tempting.
They walked out to the patio and listened to the gulls and the waves. Jillian turned away from the sun and smiled a strange little smile. “Uh, I have some strange news. I’ve only had intercourse one time in my short female life and that was months ago when I was raped by Arnold Blackstone. Back then, I was finishing up my first period. I don’t know how it’s possible, but from what I can tell and the little drug store tests that I’ve taken, I’m newly pregnant.”
As the three women exchanged hugs, Sarah realized that the tale might not be over. But for now, there was a pregnant sister and a new baby to focus on in their future.
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