The Case Files of Dr. Randall Herringwick
The Case of the Enslaved Nurse
Chapter 1 - Loretta's Rescue
CASE FILES - PERSONAL NOTES - PATIENT 71 - DAY 1
I had never been to Tacoma before. Oh, don't get me wrong ... I had been THROUGH Tacoma ... lots of times. I'm a bit of a bibliophile. And so, like all true bibliophiles in the Pacific Northwest, I had been to Portland. Perhaps it was only my warped perception of things; but Portland, Oregon, is the only city where I had ever observed vagrants and homeless people, loitering on the side of a street, reading books. A very literate place, Portland. So anyway, while I was a grad student at the University of Washington, in Seattle ... and later on, after I had begun teaching there and setting up a private practice ... I had cause to join the chaos on Interstate 5 and drive south through Tacoma on my way to Portland's bookstores. But I had never actually paused to visit.
As is the case with most metropolitan areas that are close to other metropolitan areas, one had grown larger than the other and eventually swallowed up its neighbor. Minneapolis did it to St. Paul. Dallas overshadows Fort Worth. And now, Tacoma is sort of Seattle's poorer quarter. Oh, don't get me wrong; there are some very nice sections of the town ... but the hustle and bustle, the business and advancement, the money and prosperity, are mostly up north. And, just as the rich get richer, Tacoma had more of the problems associated with the poor. That, of course, is an oversimplification. Economic impact does not alone affect crime rates. Still, gang violence was much more pronounced in Tacoma, and so were the things that the gangs fed on: drugs, homelessness, prostitution, and other crimes both small and large scale. Things have gotten much better in recent years, crime-wise. But ... it was one of those particular areas of crime that had brought me there.
I had booked a room at the Hyatt in the Old Capitol section, but I didn't actually intend to stay. I just needed someplace to get myself prepared and spend a few hours before my "appointment." However, my flight into SeaTac had been delayed in Boston, and now I was running late. I shifted several items between my suitcase and briefcase, using the bed as a worktable. When everything was just right, I picked up the phone and dialed a local number.
"Hello?" the sexy voice answered.
"This is Doctor Harding," I said. I hoped my voice sounded calmer than I felt.
"Yes, doctor. We've been expecting you. Are you running behind?"
"The whole schedule at the medical convention is all screwed up," I groused. "My lecture just finished up. I do hope you haven't given up my ... um ... reservation."
"You're paying for all night, doctor. You can be as late as you'd like ... but the price won't change, you understand."
"Yes, yes. I just wanted to make sure that I'm getting the same girl. She came ... um ... very highly recommended."
"Candy is certainly a favorite, doctor. She's ready for you now. I'll tell her that you're on the way. You have the address?"
"Yes, I have it, thank you. I'll see you very soon. I'm ... um ... really looking forward to this. It's been such a long day."
"Your day is almost over, doctor. And your night is just beginning. We'll see you soon."
I hung up. I don't really know why I was putting on the "feeble but lecherous old doctor" routine, but a little misdirection couldn't hurt. I studied myself in the full-length mirror and tried to calm down. I'd found an Irish walking hat that complimented my tweed sports coat, and it did look rather dapper, at that. I sort of wished I had time to purchase a walking stick to complete the image, but I was late as it was; so, I picked up the briefcase and pulled the wheeled suitcase behind me out the door leaving nothing behind.
I'd never been to a house of ill repute, and I didn't quite know what to expect. As is the case with just about everything illegal, it turned out to be immensely underwhelming. The house was large, but set well back from the road in an area that was once well-to-do, but was now rundown and seedy. As I drove up the driveway, I noticed that there were several cabins set to the side of the main structure. I'd been briefed on this, but the effect was still different than I'd been led to expect. This had once been a very large estate for a suburban setting, and the cabins and larger buildings had obviously once been servants' quarters and stables; but now, the yards were littered with trash and there was almost no grass left in the areas that had once been spacious lawn. I parked in front of the main structure, got out, locked the rental car, and climbed the steps, which sagged slightly under my weight. When I knocked on the door, my knuckles retained some of the chipping paint.
"You must be Doctor Harding," the lady said, smiling. I returned the smile amiably, while trying hard not to show the true extent my amusement. She was immensely overweight and, I guessed, sixty-five years old. Listening to her voice, I had imagined someone young and sultry. She ushered me inside. "I'm afraid that Candy is a little ... detained at the moment," she purred. "She shouldn't be too much longer. Or ... perhaps I could interest you in someone just as entertaining." She swept her arm to her right, indicating a slim girl in a sheer teddy nightgown that couldn't possibly have been eighteen. The underage waif cocked a hip and tried to strike a sexy pose, but her eyes were wild with a hint of fear in them.
I frowned with genuine frustration. "I was given every guarantee that my needs here would be met," I said gruffly. "I requested Candy ... I was promised Candy, and you told me on the phone that she was waiting for me ... she was supposed to be mine all night, you said. Now, I find that you've given her to someone else. I won't be treated like this! Perhaps some other time. Goodnight." I turned toward the door.
"Doctor, please!" The woman put an urgent hand on my arm. "Candy is NOT with another man. She IS promised to you tonight! It's just that ... well ... we had a bit of trouble here this evening. One of our girls was injured. Candy has some medical training, and she's helping out, that's all." We studied each other carefully, and whatever she saw in my eyes must have shaken her, because she backed away from me suddenly. "Please forgive me, doctor. I'll get her ready right away." She took a step toward one of the walls, reached out and pushed button. A scant five seconds later, a very large, burly young man jerked open a door close to us and rushed into the room.
"What's the matter, Gladys?" he barked. He surveyed the scene with a quick glance and took a threatening step toward me. "This guy? Is this guy bothering you?"
The woman put out both hands to stop him. "No, Rodrigo! He's fine. Everything's fine. Really." The man stopped his advance and studied me with a certain malevolence; then he turned questioningly toward the woman. "Go get Candy," the madam ordered. "Put her in Cabin Three."
The man took a heavy breath. "What about Gwen?"
"She'll be okay," she said, though she obviously didn't believe that. She waited until the goon had nodded and walked away, down the hallway toward the rear of the place, then she turned her attention back to me. "That'll be eight hundred, doctor ... up front." I took out my wallet and counted eight one-hundred-dollar bills into her palm. She smiled, doubled the money over using one hand, and she stuffed it down her bodice into depths unknown. "You won't be disappointed, doctor. She's the best we have; and you've got her all night. We'll even bring you breakfast in the morning."
I nodded. My attention shifted to the hallway again as I sensed motion, and for just a second, I saw her. Rodrigo was leading her out of a room and turning the other way, away from us. My heart skipped a beat. It was her, no doubt. But ... there was something odd about her. She seemed ... off balance or something, and perhaps heavier than I remembered. Mentally, I shrugged it off. Of course, she'd be different after all these years. We all were. Gladys had followed my gaze and watched as they walked through a door at the far end of the hallway.
"The cabin's in the back. You can go back that way, or out the front door and drive your car around. It's the green one." She paused and looked at my briefcase. "And ... you can't take that with you. Nothing extra allowed in the rooms with the girls. I'm sure you understand."
I was prepared for this. I'd even practiced it over and over in my head. "I can't leave this unattended," I said nervously. "There are drugs and medical devices I brought for the convention. They can't leave my side." I tried to look sufficiently worried. "There must be some way." I brightened. "I know!" I dug in my pocket and produced an overloaded key ring. "Here are my keys. It's locked. See? You can keep my keys, and I'll get them before I leave." She looked uncertain. "It's the only way," I whined. "I simply cannot ...."
"Alright, doc. Okay." She took the keys.
I suddenly had an epiphany. "Tell you what. I'm feeling sort of guilty. Why don't you show me your injured girl? I'll see what I can do."
She really perked up at that. I was led down the hall and into the room I had seen "Candy" and her keeper come out of earlier. I spent fifteen minutes treating various sized cuts and contusions with hydrogen peroxide, gauze, antiseptic and various types of bandages from a well-stocked first aid kit before emerging from the room. Gladys thanked me profusely, and then I took the key for the rental car (which, of course, was not part of the mass of keys she had kept), and I drove around to a cabin in the back that was mostly green in color, despite the peeling paint. There was only one other delay; but after Rodrigo used his cell phone to call inside and confirm that the briefcase was, indeed, cleared inside, I opened the door and entered.
The room was neat and tidy ... and empty. The bed was made, and the bedspread and curtains were color-coordinated in green pastel. The overhead light was off, so the only illumination came from two bedside lamps with blue glass shades. Just as I was beginning to panic about the lack of occupancy, I heard a toilet flush. "It's about time, honey," she said from the bathroom. I put the briefcase on the bed and stood watching nervously as the inner door opened. She swept into the room like an actress entering stage left, smiling and expectant, and she stopped dead in her tracks. We stood stock still, regarding each other in amazed wonder. She looked almost as dumbfounded as I felt. And, I've got to tell you, I felt pretty dumbfounded.
"Doctor Waddell," she whispered. "Jim."
"Loretta. My God, what have they done to you?"
It was her, no doubt about it. It was the same Loretta ... but so dramatically different. She was beyond slender ... she was skinny to the point of obvious ill health, with very narrow waist and bony arms; and her cheeks were slightly sunken and gaunt, despite the well-applied makeup. But her breasts were huge ... gigantic ... enormous ... massively disproportionate to the rest of her frame. They thrust out in front of her like colossal rock outcroppings from the face of a cliff, making viewers wonder what was possibly holding them up. Indeed, she had to lean back slightly to maintain her balance, but this action seemed a part of her nature now. She was dressed in a short, diaphanous blue see-through teddy that was obviously used to accentuate her bust size even more. It hung straight down from her chest, only to stop well above her navel. Thin, transparent panties of the same material allowed her male admirers to see that she was clean shaven between her legs.
"What are doing here?" she stammered. I was too astonished to answer right away, though I had been rehearsing this meeting for years. Her eyes narrowed at my hesitation. "Have you come here to gloat?"
"Gloat?" I finally found my voice.
She spread her arms out to her sides in a posture that made her looked crucified. "Did you come to see the results of your efforts?"
She stayed in the pose. "You ruined my life!" she hissed vehemently.
But I was already moving quickly toward her. Rather than enfolding her in an embrace, the way I had envisioned so often, I seized her outstretched right arm and studied the needle tracks on its inner surface. They were old. I suspected that the vein probably collapsed long ago, but the way the arm was shivering in my grasp, and from the look in her eyes, I knew that she was still a heavy user. She tried to wrench her arm free from my grasp, but she was weak, and I easily held on. "When was your last dose?" I asked, letting go of the arm as if it was a piece of refuse. I turned from her, then loosened my necktie and unbuttoned the top button of my shirt without taking off my coat.
She backed away from me, as well, regarding me with fear and uncertainty. She ignored my question. "What are you going to do to me?" She sniffed, and a tear slid from the corner of her left eye. "There's nothing more you CAN do to me!" She wrapped her arms around her body, hugging herself as if she was cold. She took a step to her left, putting the bed between us as I walked sideways back to the briefcase. She started to say something, but remained silent, watching as I removed a string lanyard from around my neck and used the dangling key to unlock the case.
"Please leave," she whined. She looked like a trapped animal, waiting for the inevitable, not knowing when the death stroke would come, or in what form.
I had opened the briefcase lid away from me, so that she could not see what I was doing. "Loretta, I did not know until recently that you were divorced from your husband. I thought you were still with him ... still in that same situation you were in five years ago. In point of fact, I thought it was you who had told him about us."
She put her hand to her throat. "He ... he made me tell! He could be very ... persuasive. I told him that I was leaving him. But he ... um ... didn't take that very well. He ... did things to me. I thought you would save me. You SAID you were going to save me. But ... you never came." Her voice lowered to a whisper. "You never came."
The catch to the box I was trying to open was caught, and I had to struggle to unlatch it. "I didn't know, Loretta. I thought you had chosen to stay with him ... to remain the way you were. He told everyone that I had raped you. The university suspended me. There was a warrant out for my arrest. For all I know, there still is. I fled the country and started over."
She craned her neck to try to see over the lid of the briefcase. "What do you have there? What are you going to do to me?" Her shoulders slumped in defeat. "Oh, please go away! Can't you see that I don't want you anymore? Can't you see that I hate you?"
I finally finished adjusting the gizmo, and I slammed the lid of the case and put a metronome on top of it, facing her. I released the restraint which held the arm of the mechanism, and it set to work doing the most monotonous job in the world with a steady click-click-click. Loretta's eyes widened in shock, and she stepped back another pace, staring at it. Over the past several months, I had developed much better ways to induce hypnotic trance, but I had used this device on Loretta when she was my patient, five years ago, and I figured that this would be my best hope of regaining some sort of control over her, should the need arise. I had gone so far as to buy exactly the same model that I had used on her before.
"No, doctor. Please," she whispered. But, as I had hoped, she kept staring at the device with wide, almost desirous eyes.
"Is this what you have been wishing for, Loretta?" I asked quietly. "Would you like to give up all control ... like you did with me before?"
"I have no control in my life now," she said sadly. "I don't think I ever have. I had no control with you. I had no control with Ralph. I have no control now."
"Then, this is what you're used to. It should be very easy for you. Now, please, relax for me and watch the metronome."
She shook her head, but she seemingly didn't try to look away. "No. I won't do that. I can't. You'll hurt me again."
Slowly, watching her closely to make sure her attention didn't shift from the device on the bed, I began inching my way around toward her. "I didn't hurt you, Loretta. I never would. HE did this to you, didn't he?"
She sighed deeply. "He did it because I fell in love with you. If it wasn't for you, he wouldn't have hurt me."
I took another slow step. "He hurt you all the time, Loretta. That's why you came to me in the first place. You came to me because your husband beat you. Isn't that so?"
She shook her head again, her eyes always forward toward the clicking device. "That was nothing. I could have lived with that. I could have learned what to do and what not to do. I could have learned to be good so he wouldn't hit me. But ... but you convinced me to betray him. You made him do this to me. It was all your fault." She tried to find venom to tinge her remarks, but her voice was becoming flat and toneless. "I'm not going to let you control me again."
I was around the bed now and within a few steps of her. "Poor Loretta. I understand how you might think that. But things have gone too far. You have no control over anything, do you? Watch the metronome swing back and forth, take a deep breath and answer me. You cannot resist anyone, can you?"
"I have to do what they tell me," she answered dully."If I resist them, they'll kill me." She breathed in and out with a sighing moan. "That wouldn't really matter. I wouldn't mind death. But ... they said they'd kill you, too."
I was all the way to her now, but instead of touching her, I inched my way slowly behind her. "I know what to do, Loretta. I've planned it all out. But I need some help from someone I know I can trust. Someone I can control. Do you remember how I could control you? Do you remember how you would sit in my chair and watch the metronome swing back and forth? Do you remember what happened to you when you watched it like that?"
"I'm not going to let that happen to me again, doctor. I can't. When I let you do that, you betrayed me."
"I'm never going to betray you, Loretta." I was finally behind her, and I carefully, slowly stepped into her and put my arms around her waist, my lips next to her ear. "Do you remember what it felt like? Do you remember watching it before? Back and forth. Back and forth."
She only gave a small hint of a movement away from me, then settled back into my embrace. "I can't, doctor. I can't do this again. We can't get away. They'll kill us both."
"Back and forth. Back and forth. It's no longer your choice to make; is it, Loretta?"
"Do you remember what happens next? When you were in my office ... when you watched the metronome go back and forth ... when you were sitting in that deep, soft chair in front of my desk ... what would happen next?"
"Sleepy. You'd make me sleepy. But you can't now. You can't. Please."
"You are safe, Loretta. Safe and warm in my arms. I will protect you while you sleep."
She leaned back into me even more, and her knees sagged. "Doctor. No. Please."
"No control, Loretta. Just like always, you have no control. But for now, you are safe and warm in my arms. For now, you know that I will shelter you and keep you protected. For now, you know that you can surrender to me. Just like you did before."
"I'm so sleepy, doctor."
"It's time to surrender to me, Loretta. I will count to three, and then you will sleep. One two three." I reached down as she collapsed, put my right forearm just below her butt, and I scooped her into the horizontal, shocked at the lack of weight in her lower body as compared to the half that sported those monumental fake tits. I sat her down on the edge of the bed and worked her flimsy nightgown over her head, tearing it in the process. "Loretta, you are standing at the top of a long, long staircase. As you walk slowly down, down the steps, one at a time, you are going deeper, deeper into a wonderful state of hypnosis, just like you did with me five years ago." I tore the damn panties, too. Crap. I stretched her out on her back on the bed. "Are you walking down the stairs for me, Loretta?"