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Chapter 13 - Sleeper
"Who is this Bishop?" Bianca asked incredulously.
"I told you he's a sleeper. His identity's secret," Margery claimed.
Now Bianca was sure that Margery was making this story up. Yet it was a great story and Margery was in a talkative mood. For example, who was this teacher who was manipulating her life?
It was clear that they weren't going back to work. This was going to be one of those multiple bottle lunches. In vino veritas?
Bianca asked Isis, her VPA, to advise work, only to find that Isis had already done so and contacted Circe to rearrange both women's meetings and appointments. So when the third bottle arrived Bianca asked for more details about Margery's supposed seduction of her young priest.
"You said that you'd had to use your Implements of the Inquisition, you're recordings and a rape report, sooner that you wanted to," said Bianca. "Why?"
"Because the following day he proposed marriage. He'd had such a wonderful day that he decided that he couldn't live without me. He'd prayed all night and would go to his Bishop and confess all. Then seek to leave the priesthood. We could be married. Many men had done this and although they had usually left before their final vows he was sure that he could get a dispensation. I refused him and said that I wanted to carry on as before. He said he couldn't do that. He was going to his Bishop even if I wouldn't marry him."
"He obviously thought you were now eighteen, and an adult, and you were in love with him," said Bianca, finishing another glass herself and starting to buy into this part of the story.
"That was when I told him that there was the small matter of my real age."
"Was he upset?"
"Upset is an understatement. He was mortified. Initially he said that I must have bewitched him and he never wanted to see me again. I pointed out that there was the slightly worrying matter of the many recordings that I'd made of him having sex with a girl who he apparently knew to be thirteen years old. And then were the unusual practices that he'd come to enjoy during sex."
"What? You're kidding! How did you manage that? Did you doctor your recordings?"
"No I enchanted him. I'd had lessons from my teacher who was the greatest enchantress alive."
"How do you do that?"
Margery was very pleased at how this was going. This was another opportunity to mesmerise Bianca and capture her mind for the first time. Once she has achieved this once it becomes trivial to re-enchant her in future. All sorts of suggestions then become possible. Just as some people attend a hypnotist to overcome an addiction such as smoking the reverse is all too easy. Implanting a physiological or psychological addiction can then be used to enslave the body and mind to the enchantresses will. Earlier she had been worried that she had lost Bianca's respect, after Bianca's revelations that she knew about Phillip. Yet now she was resting on her every word. She would try again. She brought her hand-held screen into Bianca's field of vision then as if distracted, started rotating her ring. He voice dropped and became melodic.
"Nestling someone's head in your lap and using suitably hypnotic words is a wonderful way of enchanting someone. And it helps if you have a way of seducing their unconscious mind."
"You knew some way of making him vulnerable?"
Bianca's voice was mimicking hers. Excellent.
"I'd noticed a rather erotic painting in an oval frame by Pompeo Batoni in his room below his crucifix and a replica of a similarly beautiful painting by the Flemish master Lucas Cranach in the church. For a person who's been brought up with images of the infant Jesus suckling with Mary it not only subconsciously recalls their infancy, in a Freudian way, but triggers all sorts of complex emotions in addition."
Margery brought the images up on her hand-held to show Bianca.
As Bianca looked at the paintings Margery seemed to be humming in an unusual way. Bianca was finding them very seductive. There was something so pleasant about a mother suckling a child. Bianca imagined herself with a baby. Margery seemed to be humming a lullaby and Bianca was beginning to drift off, as if about to fall asleep. She caught herself just in time; shook her head; and grabbed the back of her neck firmly with her hand. She sat up straight and stretched her spine.
"If you mask off the Cranach below her face you can see that she's a young teen," Margery explained.
"Yet she looks older in the Batoni, painted two centuries later, when girls were no longer married off at twelve," remarked Bianca recovering from her drowsiness. "I must say that a lot of religious art is highly erotic, particularly during the Renaissance. Paintings depicting Mary Magdalene; Salome with the head of John the Baptist and even of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian come to mind. But there are thousands of examples you can still see in museums or in The Cloud. Repressed sexuality seems to have been bubbling not too far below the fabric of the Catholic Church, like magma below Vesuvius or Etna. I'm sure that it was one of the factors that led to the Protestant Revolution and it found its expression in their art, and of course in their taste for nasty tortures."
"You seem to be something of a connoisseur," Margery responded, pronouncing the last word in the French manner. "Are you interested in torture?"
She was annoyed that Bianca had resisted her hypnotic suggestions. Bianca's rational brain was back in charge. But that had been close and they had all afternoon. Bianca's initial resistance would soon be overcome.
"It's not my field. But I've always liked art museums," Bianca continued, now feeling wide awake again. She liked this topic of conversation: sexual motivation in art.
"Art galleries usually have a nice atmosphere and I like standing in front of a painting or sculpture and imagining what the artist was feeling when they conceived of and made a work. It's hard to find an artist who is not sexually, religiously or politically and/or financially motivated. The political ones are quickly dated and boring, even if you agree with them, and the purely financially motivated are artistically compromised. One brings to mind to those whipping up pretty objects or family portraits to sell to home decorators. What motivated an artist to spend hours or days on that canvas or that sculpture, getting it to the point where they were happy to show it or sell it? How many did they rub out or paint over or reduce to scrap before they produced this one?"
"Does this girl ever stop talking?" Margery was thinking as she tried to look interested. She finished off her glass and poured another, smiling all the while.
"When it comes to Renaissance religious art I have no belief in their God, so I can only guess at how the artists felt about praise or gratefulness or comfort in His imminence and in the light of his countenance, which, by the way, is a phrase from a priest's blessing that goes right back through early Judaism to Egyptian sun worship. But I am a sexual being and I do recognise eroticism," Bianca continued enthusiastically.
"And eroticism oozes from almost every Renaissance painting and sculpture. One hand on the paintbrush, the other you know where. Have a look at Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or his Pietà in St Peter's and put yourself in Michelangelo's mind when he first sketched them and then moved to fill in the detail of those naked or almost naked bodies. And is that Mary, the mother, or Mary Magdalene, the mistress? St John says the mother was at the crucifixion, yet the original Synoptic Gospels written earlier, say it was the other Mary. Michelangelo famously had some fast talking to do when people noticed that the mother looks younger than the son," she went on.
This was getting nowhere. Margery decided to let her run. Sooner or later Bianca would talk herself to a standstill and then it would be time to start the enchantment again.
"So I can see that your priest may well have had conflicted emotions when viewing them. Subconscious sexual arousal experienced by the faithful as religious awe? I imagine he's not alone in that!"
"Quite so," said Margery, petulantly, annoyed by Bianca's intellectual wanking.
"One hand on the paintbrush indeed," she thought.
It was time to restore the mood. She moved her hands to attract Bianca's attention to her ring again and continued, completely ignoring Bianca's attempt to steer the conversation to art or religion.
"After I'd enchanted him," she continued, "I suggested that he would like me to be a virgin like Mary in the Cranach. He would like to have known me when I was a child. We could go back there together. Imagine me back then when we played together. Now I'm twelve and blossoming into a young woman. Mary in the Cranach is a beautiful thirteen. She already has a baby. She's sexually experienced. It would have been fun to fuck me when I was younger. I could pretend to be thirteen for him. It would be fun if I pretended to be thirteen, wouldn't it?"
Bianca could see that the young priest must have found this a very seductive idea while still hypnotised or 'enchanted' as Margery liked to call it.
"Then I ended his enchantment and asked him if he would like to fuck me while I pretended to be thirteen," Margery concluded. "That would be wonderful he confirmed. Needless to say I was very convincing."
Again she held the Cranach for Bianca to see and again she was pleased to see that Bianca was drawn to the young woman suckling her baby. As she looked Margery explained that she had adapted a song for her priest and she began to sing it in a kind of chant to the tune of Sixteen Going on Seventeen from The Sound of Music.
Bianca was finding her mind floating as Margery's voice got softer and softer.
Bianca found her eyes drooping again as she imagined a young Margery pretending to be just thirteen in the embrace of her priest. Margery's voice seemed to be at the centre of her consciousness. She was describing in erotic detail how she felt in her priest's embrace; and his caresses; and his strong body fired with a new lust for her.
Suddenly Bianca caught herself. This was disgraceful. She was about to fall asleep in front of Margery. She leapt up and excused herself to go to the toilet, where she slapped cold water on her face and drank several handfuls from the tap.
"But the historical Mary was neither a teenager nor a virgin," she said, returning to her seat reinvigorated. "Some historians suggest that the historical Jesus had two older half-siblings. There's even a church in Nazareth that seems to give some credence to this. So the term 'virgin' has been misinterpreted. It simply referred to Mary being a widow and new to Joseph."
Margery was furious. This was the second time Bianca had successfully resisted enchantment and it was becoming extremely frustrating.
"That's totally irrelevant to what the faithful believe," she said angrily.
Bianca was off on another tangent, recalling her visit to Avignon that for almost five centuries, until the French Revolution, was a Papal State and for over a century was the centre of Western Christendom until the reestablishment of Rome in the fifteenth century:
"The Musée du Petit Palais there has a number of renaissance paintings and icons representing Mary breast-feeding the infant Jesus. These began to appear around the time of Pope Pius V, who in 1569 made the Rosary, and consequent veneration of Mary, central to Catholic worship, thus distinguishing Catholics from the Protestants during the wars of religion. The doctrines of the Assumption and the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception were also given new credence and are similarly represented in the art of the period. Such are the wondrous inventions of the human imagination."
At this point Bianca noticed that Margery was getting annoyed, she assumed, by her travel tales. She had to be more sensitive she told herself. Not everyone had her interests.
"But I can see how these very literal images of beautiful young women might engender complex emotions in a childless young man who believed them to be images of his God being breast-fed by the Virgin," she concluded in a conciliatory way.
This was not going at all well. This annoying girl kept diverting from Margery's erotic tale which was intended to engage with Bianca's basic subconscious animal libido.
"As I was saying," Margery continued, with some exasperation in her voice. "I persuaded him to fuck me, as he had become used to, but this time imagining me to be just thirteen. And after being primed while enchanted he was really turned on by it."
"And you say all this happened on your fourteenth birthday? Busy day," remarked Bianca, now fully alert again and totally disbelieving Margery's story.
"No, of course not. I first enchanted him the week after I met him. After that I could re-enchant him whenever I liked and make suggestions that he then imagined were his own ideas."
"What sort of ideas?"
"Oh, a lot of new ideas, like new things he wanted to try when we had sex; the penance he should be making; or what he should be doing at night, when I was with him in thought only. The 'age game' was last in a long list of games so he was quite used to creative sex."
"How did you re-enchant him each time?"
"I simply became his virgin."
"If there is some form of Christian retribution after death, you realise that you're in big trouble, don't you? What other games did you play?"
"Oh, you know toys and so no. Priests are like other men deprived of sex. Masturbation is their secret and their guilt. I took it out of the cupboard for him and normalised it. And as he needed to do penance for his sinning I suggested that self-flagellation is a good priestly tradition. I actually bought his first flail and witnessed his penance. It was amazingly erotic."
"So what happened on the big day?"
"I've already told you. By now I could make him do whatever I liked. I already had a mass of recordings of him fucking me and agreeing with me that I was thirteen. We no longer used the word 'pretend' during the age game. Then for my 'eighteenth' birthday we went into the country for a picnic. We'd begun the picnic in a sort of idyll, my back against a leafy tree, him lying on the rug his head in my lap. I unbuttoned my blouse and bent over him, touching my nipple to his lips. I told him that he'd promised me Champaign for my birthday. Then I released him from his trance and I demanded to know where the Champaign was. Obviously he'd forgotten to bring it, so I went berserk and attacked him."
"Why did you bother with that? It seems a bit convoluted."
"I needed him to attempt to restrain me and maybe get a bruise or two; I wanted to scratch him to get some skin and blood under my fingernails; and most of all I needed to get his adrenaline flowing. Then I fell into his arms and succumbed. But as he took me I began screaming that it was my birthday so he was raping a fourteen year old. He was great. It was the most violent he'd ever been. It's a wonderful recording. And I had no trouble at the clinic convincing them that I'd been raped. It was my best birthday present ever."
Bianca was watching Margery's hands playing with her ring and getting quite involved in this erotic tale. Margery was pleased with her growing enchantment and again began to elaborate on the sexual experience, describing her feelings; and his touch; and the noises he made; and his smell; and the shape of his body.
"So the following day, after he proposed, was the first time that he'd realised that you were not actually eighteen?" Bianca asked dreamily.
"Yes, but before I told him, I enchanted him again and told him that he'd known all along that I was a thirteen-year-old pretending to be seventeen."
"Like revealing a recovered memory?"
"Just like that," Margery said quietly. "Under hypnosis he'd realised that he'd actually known my real age for months, but that, driven by lust and desire for it to be as it seemed, he'd repressed that knowledge. That's nice isn't it? Can you imagine doing that to someone?"
"So he discovered that when he fell in love with a seventeen-year-old he was actually a paedophile," Bianca said giggling, she found this amusing somehow. Was it Margery's voice?
"And I had all those recordings, when I'd often asked how he liked fucking a thirteen year old and he'd responded in the most enthusiastic way. But the clincher was the medical report and my suggestion that he submit to a DNA test. He would become a registered rapist and paedophile and would be chipped and chemically castrated. He broke down completely, sobbing uncontrollably and threatening to take his own life. I sat with him soothing him as he shivered in fear and panic and explained in a soft voice that I didn't want to hurt him. I just wanted him to be my servant and I wouldn't expose him if he was a good boy and did as I asked. He said that I was mad to think that he would ever accept a fourteen year old girl owning him like that. I argued that I was not a normal fourteen year old, so my age was irrelevant, and that he was prepared to put others in the position of effectively owning him. For example the Church, as represented by very ordinary and fallible old men. All I was asking was to be his mistress in both senses of the word and he was assured of liking me in both roles."
"If as you say, he is out there somewhere as your pet Bishop, then he must have eventually come around?" said Bianca, still not completely under the spell.
"I used what had happened to Greg as an example. All his dreams and expectations in life would be over at a word from me. On the other hand, all he had to do to make this horror disappear was to accept my love, in the same way that a pet accepts the love of their mistress. That's how I loved him, as mistress loves her pet, it was just like the love of God, because he was my pet just as Christians like to imagine themselves in their relationship to the deity."
"Ah yes, love," said Bianca, feeling very pleasant at the thought. "It's a word with many meanings."
"With me as his mistress, his future could be successful, carefree and wonderful. Without me he would be destroyed, miserable and hopeless. I explained that his position was nothing new, because I'd secretly been in control of his life ever since I'd met him."
"And he understood and accepted that?" Bianca was still doubtful.
"It was like breaking a horse. A horse is broken when it finally accepts that you're in control. Then it becomes your faithful servant. We had sex for the first time with him in full knowledge of my real age. That was when he truly realised that he'd been broken. It was then that I told him that from now on we would pull together, as partners, as if secretly married. With my help and guidance he could rise to be a Bishop, then perhaps a Cardinal and perhaps even the Pope."
"Was he submitting forever? Or was he just submitting to make you happy until he could think of a way of escaping."
"At that moment he was entirely sincere. Of course someone who submits because of a threat may return to being insincere. But once he had submitted I began to train him psychologically and physiologically to automatic obedience, as one would train an animal, using his growing addiction to self-flagellation and his increasing need to be rewarded sexually. He's become totally incapable of disobeying my direct commands or even rejecting my suggestions for very long. When you've made them truly subservient they crave your approval. You become their goddess."
Bianca was sceptical about Margery actually having a pet Bishop, who she still dominated and had sex with. It seemed incredible, yet like a fairy-tale, she wished it were true. After a pleasant afternoon, with the warm sun streaming in and the blue harbour glistening beyond the shore, she found the idea incredibly sexy. Everything about Margery was sexy particularly her voice, which now filled Bianca's awareness, everything else had faded into the background.
This was the moment Margery had hoped for: to draw Bianca in; to enchant her with her ring. But Margery had drunk far too much wine, in frustration and annoyance, while Bianca had talked of art and religion and had stopped drinking. So now Margery was in no position to take advantage of her success.
She just went on with her recollections, a little less coherently: "I sujg-ested to him that he think of me as Mary Mag-alen partner-ered with Jesuss."
"Isn't that a popular heresy that the Church finds abhorrent? Are you suggesting that here is a Bishop out there who believes that Mary was the lover of Jesus? Like Michelangelo may have?" Bianca asked.
"Abssolutely," Margery slurred.
Margery's moment of opportunity had passed. It was getting late and the temperature had fallen as the sun prepared for another night. With the sudden chill Bianca was fully awake and taking a final sip of her undrunk wine. They would soon be thrown out.
"Have you never had to blackmail him again?" asked Bianca.
"Sit's not blackmail," Margery exclaimed indignantly. "I think of it being like one of those ane-kle collar-s on day release prisoners. It s-imply prevents 'm escaping. As I've sujgested to him, he has a richer life than the average bish-hop: not just the usual like: the Church; the Trinity; Mary the motha of Jesus; and the communion-on of saints. He has th' other Mary too, the whore. An I'm a good mistress t' have. Unlike some mistresses-es who've enslay-ved their men wit sex, I've neva demanded a diamon' necklace or a mink furr o that he leaves his famil-ey. I'm the other god n his life, all I de-mand is hiss obedien-ce. He's famillar with that con-sept."
"When did you abandon your teacher in The Craft to go professional?"
"I didn't abandon her. She died. It was devastatin. I wa sil ona fourten," Margery was crying now.
Bianca reached out and took her hand sympathetically. After a short time weeping quietly Margery pulled herself together and seemed quite normal again.
"That was when I was thrown out on my own to find a man to live with. I applied The Craft. I'd graduated to the real thing."
"So 'the real thing', like Coke, is that what you provide?" asked Bianca, pointing to an ancient framed advertisement for a pre-famine soft-drink, depicting a hand holding an old fashioned bottle, against a yellow circle on a red background, that decorates one wall. "Or are you more like coke the addictive drug?"
Margery was delighted with that idea. She cheered up and began to laugh, then she got up saying: "I'd better get going, I have a catch to train," between chortles.
That was Circe's cue to call the robotic parking-garage to bring out Margery's signature black hover-bike. As Margery walked to the landing pad for the quick flight over the harbour to Mohandas', she realised that she had underestimated Bianca, who'd led her into saying far too much and even made her cry. Her ring had failed yet again. It was the little engine that couldn't, with not enough puff to make it over this hill.
Next time she won't make the same mistake. She'll apply the full witching power of The Craft. A wicked man she's kept in contact with since they were fellow students, has made a much more seductive device than her ring. Its puff never fails. As her black hover-bike wove erratically into the blue and red sky, until its autopilot took the controls, Circe contacted the warlock's VPA. He will have one to her in the New Year she told Margery. The autopilot delivered her safely to the parking station adjacent to Mohandas'. That was when Circe's appearance, her Avatar, suggested another vulnerability to exploit. She placed the orders.
Margery could hardly wait for the deliveries. Once Bianca's mind is hers, Bianca's body will soon crave to follow. Addiction is the key. As she'd been taught: with continued pleasurable stimulation, by substance or practice, withdrawal soon becomes more distressing than the ongoing practice. Margery is self-aware enough to know that her teacher had addicted her to the pleasure of hurting others. She gets a rush when she inflicts pain that she now craves. That's why she delights in addicting her conquests to needing pain. Ying and Yang.
With Phillip in training as a familiar, she now has two to satisfy that lust. And an addiction to pain would ruin Bianca as her future apprentice and sister in The Craft. Drugs are good but heroine is a bit too obvious for someone named Bianca. She would go with the obvious. Bianca was even seeing sex oozing from religious art. The girl's obviously at her sexual peak. It wouldn't take a lot of training to make her a nymphomaniac and a lesbian too. Yes, that will soon be Bianca's addiction. Then what? High class prostitution has manifest attractions: a new Belle de Jour? It would provide a useful line of credit too.
Thinking of addictions, her mind drifted back to Derrick, her first familiar. She'd made him her faithful servant when still an amateur, skilled at giving her pleasure whenever she required him to, and she hadn't even granted him her virginity. He could still truthfully say, as that President once said of 'that woman': "I have not have sex with my sister!"