“I’m here to find my sister,” I say, blocking the man’s way out of his office to the elevator. He looks at me, frowns and then shrugs.

“Am I supposed to know who that is?” he asks, dismissively, trying to step past me to the elevator. I block his way.

He’s forced to look at me as I reply, spitting the words at him with venom and anger. “Jennifer Marksom.”

He nods, and looks even more annoyed than he was before, “Look I had two sessions with her six months ago. The police interviewed me for eight hours, and bugged my friends and family to double check all my alibis. I’m sorry your sister is missing, but I had nothing to do with it.”

“She started acting funny after she came to see you, and three other of your patients have gone missing,” I said.

“I shared what I know with the police. It’s a dangerous city young lady, people unfortunately go missing,” he said, not sounding at all sympathetic. He tried to push past me, but I grabbed his arm and pushed him back.

“No, you aren’t getting past until I find out what happened to my sister,” I said firmly, trying to put steel into my voice.

“It’s late, I’m tired let me go home,” he said.

“No, you tell me where she is.”

He sighed, “I don’t know where she is, as I say it’s late. I’m tired, it’s been a long day. You should go home and get some rest as well, you look sleepy. I notice things about people, it’s part of my job. I can tell you’re doing your best to be brave and strong but you’re really weak and afraid. You’re using so much energy to be so brave, to be so loud and strong that you’re feeling tired, sleepy. It’s so late and you feel so sleepy.”

I blink, not noticing how his voice has changed. It’s gone from a tired exasperated tone to something firmer and yet in a way softer. He elongated the ‘s’ sounds, drawing them out as he said sleepy. Having him acknowledge that I’m being brave throws me slightly, I relax a bit not letting him past but not trying to make myself seem to big and confrontational.

“I’ll do anything to find my sister,” I replied.

“Of course. That’s natural, and I can imagine it’s tiring work. Waiting for me to be alone so you could confront me. Building up the courage to do this, you’ve been waiting here all day I bet. So long, just waiting and now you’re here you’re sleepy and tired. But let’s talk for a moment, what do you imagine happened? That I hypnotized your sister, that I swung a pocket watch in front of her eyes during one of her sessions and made her feel sleepy. Maybe her eyes grew heavy, and tired, and she fell deeply asleep into my hypnotic spell and I just made her mine to keep?” he asked.

I nodded slowly, that was something like I had imagined. A few weeks after visiting a hypnotherapist and my sister disappears, along with other women. It seemed odd. Suspicious. 

“Suspicious,” I said, finding my mouth not working quite right, it’s like it was full of cotton. 

“Suspicious, or silly. Sleepy and silly, that’s what you are silly sleepy girl,” he says, his tone mocking. He nods and I nod too. He pulls a pocket watch out of his pocket, big and gold like you see on old cartoons hypnotizing Daphne. My eyes follow it as he gently swung it.

“Did the watch you imagine me hypnotizing your sister with look like this silly sleepy girl?” he asked.

I nodded, “Yeah.”

“And your sisters eyes just follow it as she grew sleepy and heavy and hypnotized. Isn’t that right silly sleepy slut?” he asked.

I nodded again, “Yeah.”

He sighs, almost paternally, “I can’t have another woman going missing. It’s too suspicious already. Besides I have no buyers for new white slave girls. Your sister sold to a very wealthy businessman in Eastern Europe. They pay top dollar for clean and obedient Americans. But if you vanished, well… Too much of a problem for me.”

I watched the watch as he considered what stood before him, “Fine, I’ll keep you for myself. At least until we can find a good reason for you to move, maybe to Eastern Europe. Now let’s go back into my office and begin your programming. My silly sleepy slut.”