I knew I was in a dream as soon as I became aware. I do not know how I knew, but I knew, and the thought was somehow reassuring.
I was standing on the high street of a small town, outside a movie theatre. There was a huge poster advertising the movie The Life and Times of Harold Bleasdale. It was not something I wanted to see, but I knew that that was why I was here.
I moved to the ticket office where Josh was seated. He smiled at me and handed me a ticket for the movie. Walking into the foyer, I saw Sue behind the concessions stand, where you might normally expect to buy hotdogs, soda, or popcorn. Her stand, however, was empty. She looked at me sadly, as if to say, “Sorry; there is nothing here for you.”
Louise, the usher, took my ticket and tore it in half before leading me into the actual theatre and down to the only seat, which stood alone in the middle of an auditorium that could have easily held five hundred more.
I sat, and immediately the lights dimmed, and the screen flickered to life.
The movie was boring. It started when Harold was around three years old, his first memory being of a car journey to somewhere with lots of green. He had an unremarkable childhood, went to school, had a few friends - pretty much the same as every other kid in middle America. The only thing really to note is that Harold had developed into a brat.
He had doting parents who gave him anything and everything he asked for. He held his parents in contempt. They were merely there to provide for him, and if they didn’t do so, he would punish them with atrocious behavior and tantrums, which almost always resolved the situation to his satisfaction.
He transposed this behavior to school and became a bully. His family had money, and so he was able to attract the type of sycophants that gravitate toward rich assholes, which is exactly what he had become.
The pivotal point happened in the last fifteen minutes of the film.
Harold had celebrated his eighteenth birthday the week before, and his parents had bought him a new car. He went to school and arrived to find that someone had just beaten him to the parking space he liked to use. There were other parking spaces, but Harold considered that one his. He honked his horn, indicating that the person, who was still sitting in his car, should move and find another space.
The guy in the other car looked at him, amazed, and wordlessly indicated that there were several parking spaces, and that Harold should go use one of those.
Harold honked his horn again. The guy flipped him off. Filled with rage, Harold shouted at the guy that he should move his car to another space.
The guy’s eyes glazed over, and then he did just that, backing out of the space and parking it a few spaces away.
Harold grinned. His reputation had won the day. He parked his car and went to school.
As he walked down the hallway, he became aware that there were strange clouds around people, of different, sometimes even shifting, colors. At first, he thought he was seeing things, but quickly realized that there was a pattern: one cloud around each person, and no clouds around anything else. He accepted the possibility that they were real, at least in some sense. His narcissism much preferred that to the idea that he was flawed in any way. He wondered at the clouds’ significance, but couldn’t immediately concoct any theories.
In the closing scene of the movie, Harold went to his locker to get his books. The locker next to his belonged to a girl he had repeatedly asked out and been repeatedly rebuffed by. She was always nice about it, but he didn’t take rejection well.
Today she looked particularly alluring, wearing tight jeans and a halter top.
“Hi Julie,” he said as he opened his locker.
She glanced up at him from her phone; she had been texting someone.
“Are you doing anything Saturday night?” he asked.
“Sorry Harold,” she replied, “I’m going out with Brad. We’re going to the movies.”
“Oh, I didn’t think you were going out with anyone just now,” he replied, disappointed.
She smiled. “It’s our first date.”
“Then you won’t be cheating on anyone if you give me a kiss now, will you?” he challenged her. He had no idea where that had come from.
“What?” she said, not believing what she had heard.
“Kiss me!” he said.
She kissed him.
He was amazed. Her kiss was hot and sweet and immediately gave him a huge erection.
She held the kiss for a moment before coming back to herself.
“Oh...” she said “Oh, NO, I’m sorry! I don’t know why I did that.” Then she fled.
The last shot of the movie was of Harold, fingers touching his lips and a triumphant expression on his face. He KNEW why she had done it. He had felt the power. He couldn’t wait to see exactly what he could do with it.
The credits started to roll, but then the screen went black, and I sat for a moment in the pitch darkness.
When the lights came up, I was no longer sitting in the movie theatre. I was sitting on a park bench, watching the world go by.
I looked to my left and saw Harold. It wasn’t the eighteen-year-old Harold; that version was walking down the path in front of me. The Harold to my left was the Harold I had seen at the party, complete with food stains on his clothes. He smiled ingratiatingly and indicated that I should watch what happened next.
Young Harold was on the prowl. You could see it in his gait. He was hunting, though for what, I had no idea. But then my memory of his memories gave me the answer. He was looking for his first woman: the woman on the park bench.
I looked around frantically and saw her at the same instant that young Harold did. We approached her at the same time, and I tried to intercept him. He did not indicate that he could see me, and neither did the woman. I realized to my horror that I was just a spectator, incapable of affecting the outcome. I turned, wanting to look away, but each time I turned, I ended up looking in the direction of the woman. I tried to wake myself up, but that escape was denied to me also. I was stuck there, observing the horror of what was to come.
Harold sat down beside the woman. I didn’t hear what he said to her, but he seemed to brace himself as if he was half expecting her to slap him. She didn’t. Instead, her eyes glazed over, and she reached for his belt. Within seconds, she had pulled his cock out of his trousers and was bobbing her head up and down on him.
Young Harold rested back on the bench, grinning like a maniac. He looked around, and, seeing there was nobody nearby, said something else to the woman.
Immediately she stood and bent over the bench, lifting her skirt and pulling her panties down.
The woman’s child who had been playing nearby had wandered further away and was playing on the slide. She climbed up the ladder and slid down, but couldn’t stop herself at the bottom and fell onto the gravel at the base of the slide.
Harold stood and thrust himself inside of the woman as her child started to cry.
I looked away and saw the older Harold, the one who had indicated I should watch. He was grinning. What was worse was that he had his cock out and was openly masturbating as he watched his younger self defile the poor woman.
I strode over to him and, with an open palm, slapped him hard across the face. He looked at me, surprised. I instantly knew his thoughts: I was a fellow power user; surely I understood. The scene around us disintegrated.
Harold and I stood in the darkness. He had a red mark on the side of his face, and his cock hung flaccid out of the front of his pants.
“Put that away,” I snarled at him. He flinched back, then complied.
“Why?” I asked, “What did she do to deserve that?”
He didn’t answer but regarded me fearfully.
Finally, he seemed to brighten up. He smiled tentatively and pointed.
Immediately I saw a pinpoint of light traveling towards us at speed.
It grew as it approached, and I saw it was the mouth of a tunnel. I had no appreciation of movement but as we emerged from the tunnel, I realized that I was now seated in a subway train. It was late at night, and the car was almost empty.
Young Harold was seated alone at one end of the car. The only other people on the train were me and older Harold.
The train stopped and a gang of youths got on. There were about six of them, aged between eighteen and twenty. There were four boys and two girls.
The boys were obviously trying to impress the girls, and they were loud and obnoxious about it. For whatever reason, though, the younger Harold caught their eye and stole their collective attention. They began to stalk towards him. Harold, rather than looking fearful at the approach of this feral crowd, grinned in anticipation.
“Da fuck are you grinning at, peewee?” the leader of the gang said, laughing and looking to the rest of the gang, who laughed along.
Younger Harold looked up at him.
“I’m grinning because I am going to fuck your girl’s ass, and then you are going to eat my spunk from it and thank me.”
The leader’s jaw dropped. He had no idea how to respond to that, and so, true to form, fell back on old favorites.
“Da FUCK you say to me?”
“You heard me. Now, which one of these sluts gets my cock up her ass? Point her out.”
The leader’s eyes glazed over, and he pointed to one of the girls.
She didn’t notice immediately. She was so sure that her man was about to beat Harold down that his change in behavior didn’t register right away. There was a strange pause, and then it clicked for her. I could see it on her face: confusion, already creeping into worry.
“Lenny, what are you doing?” she asked him.
“Tell her to drop her pants and bend over the seat,” young Harold told the leader.
“Drop your pants and bend over the seat,” the leader said woodenly.
“Say it like you mean it,” young Harold instructed.
“Bitch, you heard me, get them pants down and get over the seat.”
She looked at him fearfully, then looked to the rest of the gang.
They were looking around uncomfortably. Lenny was their leader and the toughest of them all. If he said something, then it was law. This was something well outside their norm though, and they didn’t know how to deal with it.
“Make her!” young Harold said.
Lenny grabbed the girl by the scruff of the neck and forced her over the seat. He then started ripping at her pants, trying to get them down.
She screamed and struggled. The other girl moved to try and help her, but one of the other boys, who I assumed was her boyfriend, put his hand out to stop her.
Harold stood and approached. “You boys help him.”
Immediately the other three males of the group descended on the girl and began to restrain her, one of them being far more successful than Lenny in removing her jeans and pants.
“You wanted to help her?” Harold said to the girl who had initially tried to help.
She was frozen in fear. Harold didn’t wait long for the response that was likely never to come.
“Then you can suck my cock. Get it hard and wet. Don’t want it going in dry, do we?”
It was not clear whether he had used his power on the girl, or whether the situation itself had persuaded her that obeying this strange person was her only option. Wordlessly, she dropped to her knees and fished his cock out of his trousers.
He was already hard, so she took him in her mouth and began a wet, sloppy blowjob.
One of the other boys was glaring daggers at Harold but didn’t seem able to abandon his post holding down Lenny’s girlfriend. There wasn’t much fight left in her anyway. She was just sobbing, pleading with Lenny and the group not to do this to her.
Harold stepped up behind the defeated girl.
I had seen enough.
Once again, I looked across at older Harold. Although he wasn’t openly masturbating this time, he was massaging his crotch, his arousal obvious.
Angry again, I stormed towards him. He saw me coming and flinched. The memory of the train fragmented, once more leaving us in darkness.
“You think she deserved that?” I yelled into his face. “You sick fuck!!”
Suddenly the darkness cleared, and I found myself in a courtroom.
Harold stood in the dock, his hands shackled. There didn’t seem to be any lawyers present, but there was a judge in black robes. I was seated in the jury box. There were eleven other people there, but they were grey and unmoving.
I looked across the courtroom and there was a huge television.
Beside the television was the clerk of the court, who was holding a scroll - a real, honest-to-goodness papyrus scroll. It was weird, but I’d never forgotten that I was in a dream, so I didn’t get hung up on it.
“The defendant is also charged with the rape of one Natalie Walsh,” he intoned. He gave the details of the offense, including the date and time. He then turned to the screen.
It showed Harold in a nightclub. He was sitting with his back to the bar, surveying the room. I had seen the look on his face before. It was the same look he had had at the party. I had described it to Gerald as a fat man at a feast wondering which dish to sample first.
I saw his expression change as he spotted his target. The screen showed a beautiful woman dancing with a man. They looked good together. The camera zoomed in to show that they wore matching wedding rings.
He watched her for a while until she said something to her husband. The husband nodded and headed to the bar. She, in turn, headed toward the toilets.
Harold made his move.
He followed her into the toilet. As she turned to close the door, he simply told her to drop her pants and bend over. She complied and he took her from behind. All the time he was raping her, he was talking to her, telling her how much she was enjoying it. He forced her to orgasm repeatedly as he was pounding into her.
Finally, he came, pumping his seed deep inside, telling her that the feeling of him cumming in her was giving her the most intense orgasm she would ever have in her entire life.
He pulled out and zipped himself up.
His parting shot was to tell her to go and tell her husband exactly what had happened, to describe how much she had enjoyed it and how many orgasms she’d had.
He watched from across the room as the woman re-joined her husband and began to talk to him. The look on her husband’s face - first disbelief, then rage - made him laugh.
The screen went dark.
The judge turned to face me and the rest of the jurors. “How do you find the defendant?”
I looked at the other jurors, still grey and unmoving, then looked at the judge, who was staring directly at me.
“Guilty!” I said.
He nodded, and turned back to the clerk.“Proceed.”
The clerk consulted his scroll again.
And so it went on. The clerk would read a scroll, there would be a video showing the crime, and the judge would ask for our - for my - verdict.
I pronounced him guilty every single time.
As the crimes rolled by, there was a definite progression. He started by just raping women. Then he started involving others, getting other men to join in. Girls were forced to take multiple men simultaneously. Sometimes Harold didn’t bother raping – directly, physically raping – his primary victim. Sometimes he just watched. Sometimes he forced some other woman to blow him, but it was obvious that he was laser-focused on the degradation and defilement of that first woman who had captured his attention.
Then he progressed even further. I think it started when some guy had upset him, and he ended up bending him over and fucking him in front of his wife and family just as a power play. That seemed to give him a taste for gay sex, though, and after that, his victims became a mix of both genders. Sometimes they were ***********ed for a reason – usually an insult, often an imagined one - but other times it seemed that someone just caught his eye.
It was becoming increasingly clear, though, that he wasn’t getting the same satisfaction from the rapes as he had initially. He kept escalating.
There were also charges regarding non -sex-related crimes.
Harold had used his power to steal. Compared to watching the rapes, it was almost a relief. It was also surprising to me how much cleverer he was about it. He recognized the limits of his own powers: that his commands might eventually wear off, and that the modern world was full of technology that he couldn’t mind-rape into submission.
He controlled a building supervisor into giving him an apartment in an uptown complex and committed himself to renewing the mind control on him – daily at first, then gradually spacing out the sessions to test his own limits. It was shocking to see him acting so responsibly, even in that criminal context.
He opened a bank account and got cards printed with the account details. Every person he met, he gave a card and instructed them to set up a direct payment of $100 per month into that account. He ***********ed an upper manager at his bank of choice, and, just like the building supervisor, made sure they were permanently in his thrall. On the rare occasions when somebody would call asking questions, they’d get a very official-sounding run-around, and the manager would pass along the caller’s details to Harold. Those curious individuals often became victims of his other passion. I could feel how outraged he was that they’d dared to challenge him, even indirectly.
After a few months, he had a regular $80-$100k monthly income. He even paid tax. It was surreal to watch him work with an attorney to make everything look legitimate – which was also shockingly easy, since he was so willing to give the government its cut. If his income started to tail off, as people couldn’t remember why they had set up the payment, or partners or other family cancelled it, he would give out another few hundred cards.
He didn’t often need money; he never got charged for food or drinks, nor entry to any establishment. But he liked the idea of having a big bank balance.
Every few months he would transfer a chunk from his US bank to an offshore account in the Cayman Islands. He had a few million stashed away.
It all looped around again, though. No matter how much money he stole, and how easily he lived, he secretly raged at his powers’ limitations. Every time he was forced to be clever or careful to get more money, he’d soon seek out yet more victims to psychologically and physically brutalize – and those victims were simply add-ons to his already-staggering habit. Whenever his tax bill came due, he’d go on a veritable spree.
I was so weary. I had seen countless videos of his crimes, it seemed like I had been sitting in the jury box for weeks without a break.
After each video, I was asked to give my verdict, and each time it was the same: guilty.
Most of the scroll was now on the floor in front of the clerk. He was peering at the very bottom entry. He read the charge. It was for the attempted rape of Angela. This was the one I had interrupted. For what I hoped would be the final time, the screen lit up.
I was surprised to see that it didn’t show the party. It showed Harold moving into the house he had bought on Bob’s street.
Angela was walking down the block, past his new house, as Harold was moving in. He was walking from his car, which was parked on the street, carrying a large box, just as Angela was walking by.
“Here let me get that,” she said, holding his gate open for him so he could get through.
She went all the way into his house, opening and holding doors for him until he was able to put the box down safely.
His first instinct was to control her and then just take her there and then, but he wanted something more. He had had countless women - and men – by then. The sex was wild and good, but empty. He wanted someone to love and who would love him, and he had found Angela.
“Thanks for your help,” he said. Before he could summon the courage to say anything more, she was gone.
For days he watched for her, waiting to see her again. He had hours and hours of imaginary conversations with her, where he would profess his love and she would swoon at his feet. They would spend the rest of their lives together.
Then, the week before the party, he saw her.
He was delighted and rushed out of his house to go and speak with her, only to see her kissing another man: Bob.
I almost felt sorry for him, then I remembered the atrocities I had witnessed him committing and my feelings of sympathy evaporated.
How could she do that to me? his black soul sputtered. She knows that she’s mine, and yet she’s being unfaithful to me with this jerk!
He stormed over, prepared to take retribution, but as he approached, Bob saw him and invited him to the party the following week.
Immediately he decided that he would wait. He would humiliate both of them in front of all of their friends. He would make sure that they would never be together. If she was not to be his, then no man would ever want her.
Then the screen cut to the party. It showed the events from his perspective, and heard his internal monologue about his plans for Angela. They were worse than I had originally feared.
Yes, he had planned to force himself on Angela while Bob watched. Then he had planned for all the other male guests to fuck Angela, making sure that they all came in her pussy, with the express intent of getting her pregnant.
His depravity didn’t end there though.
He had also intended that Angela would be forced to go down on every female at the party, before finally being serviced by four neighborhood dogs, whose owners he had instructed to come over at a certain time.
He ran through the scenario in his head, and it played out in the court as if it had actually happened. I was forced to watch, horrified, as first Harold, then all the other males at the party - myself included - raped poor Angela. Her body was reacting like she was enjoying the experience, but her face and eyes told the truth. He wanted her to experience the horror of what was being done to her.
Next came the women, each of whom stripped naked and forced her to eat them out. Sue, Louise, Mary, and every other woman there used her as some sort of masturbation aid.
I finally tore my gaze away from the screen and looked at the version of Harold in the courtroom. I had thought he would have been gloating, but that was not the case. Tears were flowing down his face as he wept bitterly.
I looked back at the screen in time to see one of the neighborhood dogs being led up to a sobbing Angela. I stood up.
“Your honor, I object,” I said.
The screen froze and the judge turned his eyes to face me.
“On what grounds?”
“Because this never actually took place. The intent may have been there, but the defendant was interrupted and therefore unable to carry out his plans.”
He considered my point for a few seconds. “Sustained,” he said finally. The screen cleared.
“To the charge of the attempted rape, how do you find the defendant?” he asked me.
I looked across at Harold, who was slumped over now, still sobbing.
The judge nodded, then said, “This court would like to thank the jury for its service and will proceed immediately to sentence.”
“The defendant must rise,” the clerk intoned.
“Harold Bleasdale, you have been found guilty of all charges levied against you. Do you have anything to say before I pass sentence?”
Harold looked directly at me.
“I loved her,” he said. “Please tell her that I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt her, but she betrayed me.”
I realized at that point that he was truly mentally unhinged.
Strange really, that it took that statement, considering all that I had sat through in this trial. Quite simply, Harold was mad. He had grown up being given anything he wanted and thought he was entitled to it. He genuinely believed that Angela belonged to him; since he hadn’t used his powers on her to create that imaginary connection, he believed it to be pure and unassailable on any grounds. Thus, he also genuinely believed that she had betrayed him.
I also remembered – or rather, became acutely aware in that moment - that my upbringing had been different from his. If I’d wanted something, I’d had to work for it. If I’d done something nasty to another child or to my parents, I’d been punished, but more importantly, lectured on the why of it. I knew that that didn’t mean I would not be corrupted by my powers, but, to my mind, it made it less likely. That thought comforted me.
Thinking of my parents made me wonder what had happened to Harold’s, there had been no reference to them in the dream after they had bought him the car. My question was answered in the form of a flashback, which was presented to me the instant I had wondered about them.
On the night of the kiss, Harold had returned home and tried his powers on his parents. He had not had any sexual urges toward either of them, but he controlled them, forcing them both to do menial tasks for him. Up until the time he finally decided to move out of a house he considered to be beneath him he treated them as slaves, forcing them to pander to his whims. After that time, he simply forgot about them, he had outgrown them, and he had no more use for them.
I didn’t hear the sentence that the judge handed down. It didn’t mean anything; it was just noise. I was watching Harold as he collapsed on the dock, sobbing. I didn’t feel sorry for him.
I opened my eyes.
I expected it to be morning. In my dream it seemed like weeks had passed, but it was still dark, and Dianna was lying beside me, her eyes closed, her breathing regular.
I examined Harold’s memories in my mind. They were still there, but fuzzy and indistinct. They had a ‘dealt with’ feeling to them and did not affect me, other than to make me angry. That was an emotion I was happy to have attached to them. Seeing something like that should make you angry; it would make any sane person angry.
I noticed Dianna’s eyes were open and she was regarding me steadily.
“May I?” she asked.
I felt her touch - the warmth of her mind enveloping mine. This time I did not react. I neither pulled back nor tried to deny her access.
“You have dealt with them well,” she said. “A trial seems like an appropriate method. Interesting that you were a juror and not the judge. I think that shows your humility - another good sign. I do sense that for an instant you had some sympathy for Harold?”
“He fell in love,” I said, “His expression of that love showed that he was batshit crazy, but his motive for attacking Angela was that he loved her. All that power, sex, and money left him empty. He had all that, but he didn’t have something that I already have, in spades. If there’s anything to learn from what I saw tonight, is that my biggest advantage over Harold is that I know that I have people who love me. My parents, Mary and Amanda…”
“And me,” she added, putting her hand to my face. “I saw you born. I was the one who placed the amulet on you. From a distance I watched you grow, and I have always loved you.”
I looked at her, surprised.
“I didn’t realize...” I began.
“Your mother and I have been friends for a long time. She and I shared my daughters’ first times, just as you shared yours with her. Carolyn, my daughter, was a year older than your mother, and they were good friends. Her death hit us both very hard.”
I didn’t want to ask what happened; I could see that the memory was painful for her.
“Carolyn,” she said, “and Tim, her husband, were both with the agency. They were flying back from an assignment and their plane went down. There were no survivors. The girls were two years old at the time.”
I saw tears in her eyes, and I moved to embrace her. Simultaneously and instinctively, I wrapped my mind around her, enveloping her in my feelings for her, and she smiled.
“Thank you,” she said. “That is beautiful, but if you want to help someone, you might want to tone down the ‘horny’ some.”
I blushed yet again and drew my mind back.
“It takes training and practice,” she said, “but you have good instincts. Now, it’s still very early, and although I might not need a lot of sleep, I do need some, and so do you.”
Her words made me realize how profoundly tired I was. I had slept, and dreamt, but I hadn’t rested – quite the opposite. Our conversation concluded, there was nothing left to distract me from that fact. Once more, I felt Dianna’s mind embrace me with all of its love and warmth. I knew she was using her powers to get me back to sleep quickly. I was happy for the help. I welcomed her in, and then faded away.