“No, no weights today,” he chuckled. “Today we’re going to do some isometric exercises. Resistance training, basically. Here, I’ll show you how it works.” He adjusted the bar so that it hung just within her reach. “Now, go ahead and grab that,” he said. “Get a nice firm grip on it, don’t worry if it feels like you’re straining just a little bit to reach it, that’s part of the exercise, just get a nice firm grip… that’s it. Now, I want you to push that bar upward as hard as you can while holding onto it as tightly as you can, and simply… resist.”

He must have noticed the puzzled look on her face, because he immediately clarified before she could even open her mouth. “I want you to resist that growing strain in your arms and in your calves, that weary, exhausted feeling in your fingers that tells you that all you want to do is let go and relax. Just try as hard as you can to resist that growing heaviness, that sensation of deep, tired weakness that gets more and more powerful with every passing minute. It helps if you have something to focus on, like my eyes. Look into my eyes and try to resist.”

She was surprised at how quickly the exercise tired her out, but the more she thought about what he was saying, the more she could feel that weary sensation creeping into her limbs as they quivered with the strain. “That’s it, you’re doing so well. You know you won’t be able to resist forever, you know that the longer you try to resist the more exhausted you’ll be when you finally give in, let go, let that resistance collapse. Just keep looking into my eyes and try to resist for me. It’s always so hard to resist, you know that your resistance is going to simply crumble sooner or later, but you’re going to keep trying to resist a little bit longer.”

He nodded encouragingly, and she found herself nodding right along with him. “That’s it, just resist that heavy, weak, weary feeling a bit more and a bit more. It’s getting harder and harder to resist that drowsy exhaustion, harder and harder to resist my voice and my words, harder and harder to resist squirming out of that tight, clinging fabric and letting the cool air relax your sleepy mind and sleepy body. You’re so tired now. You know that the longer you resist, the deeper you’ll relax when you let go and submit. The harder you resist, the more you’ll surrender. Resisting only wears you out, isn’t that right?”

She realized what he was doing then, but she wasn’t sure how to fight it. She knew that if she resisted, it would only tire her out faster and make her drop deeper when she couldn’t resist anymore. But if she didn’t resist, she’d simply accept his words deep into her weary, drowsy mind and obey them easily and effortlessly. If she resisted, she surrendered. If she surrendered, she surrendered. She nodded again, unable to differentiate her thoughts from his words anymore. If she resisted, “I surrender.” If she surrendered, “I surrender.” The words escaped her lips in a sleepy chant.

She scarcely even noticed him pulling down her leggings around her ankles, pulling up her top and winding it around the bar. Her eyes were locked on him, growing heavier and heavier with each moment. She knew that if she let go of the bar, she’d drop into a deep and irresistible trance. She knew that if she hung onto it, she’d only become more and more exhausted. She didn’t know how to escape. She wasn’t even sure she wanted to. She couldn’t, she needed to, she had to–

He snapped his fingers. “Sleep,” he said. Her eyes slammed shut as she sagged into blissful, mindless submission.

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