Our eyes locked for a long moment.
His were the brightest, clearest blue I'd ever seen. Normally, I would've assumed they were artificial, but somehow he just didn't strike me as a slave to fashion. Maybe it was his brown corduroy trousers and the pale checkered shirt buttoned tightly at his neck that convinced me he wasn't a metro-sexual.
Most of his drab ensemble was, thankfully, hidden by his brilliantly white lab coat. The frame that supported the fashion disaster was, however, all gorgeous and all man.
Professor Lance Vaio was a head taller than me, which is something, because I'm not short. He possessed an imposing form, straight backed and broad shouldered, and his manly bulk seemed to fill the room. The golden tan of his face accentuated the whiteness of his perfectly even teeth that gleamed when he smiled. A tangle of unruly jet black hair tumbled over his collar, giving him a wild boyish look even though he must have been in his early thirties.
His eyes, I decided, were entirely natural, which made him much more alluring. Those blue, almond-shaped orbs and my inventory of his impressive physique had set in motion a lot of physiological reactions that made my pussy tingle.
This was not how I usually reacted to a murder suspect, but this beautiful man was, it was clear to me, no ordinary suspect.
I tried unsuccessfully to tear my gaze away. My own image, crisp and clean, was reflected back to me by those blue depths. It was as if he had captured my soul and I was staring out at the empty husk of my body from behind the glass cage of his eyes.
"Tell me, Miss..."
"Miss Raith." He lowered his eyes to his clipboard, releasing me from imprisonment, but only for a moment.
I dropped my hands to my lap and pressed my knuckles down on my pussy, hoping to contain the lusty tingling of my clit. Suddenly, I was in the middle of an erotic daydream, imagining the professor kissing my clit while he snaked his probing tongue inside my swollen pussy lips. My juices stirred and I shook my head to release myself from this unexpected, but not unwelcome, carnal vision.
"You looked as if you were ill for a moment. Are you all right?"
"Perfectly, Professor. I'm perfectly well."
He nodded and I noticed his eyes had momentarily landed on my breasts from which my swollen nipples poked through the flimsy material of my blouse, shamelessly begging for his touch.
He shifted in his seat and cleared his throat. He dragged his eyes down to his clipboard. "Let's begin. Miss Raith, do you ever experience moments of déjà vu?"
I licked my lips. "Constantly."
He ticked off a box on the form. "Ever experienced the sensation of people staring at you?"
His eyes flicked back to my cleavage and he gave a slight nod as if my response didn't surprise him in the slightest. He ticked another box. "Have you ever guessed who is calling you on the telephone before you pick it up?"
This was getting spooky. "Surprisingly often."
"Do you believe you have telepathic abilities?"
I smiled in what I hoped was a seductive manner. "Now, how did I know you were going to ask me that question?"
His lips curled into a boyish smile and he ticked off another box. "Telekinesis?"
I recalled the slamming door when my last beau and I broke up years ago. I'd been standing two meters away when it crashed shut and shook the wall. "Occasionally."
He glanced at my face before ticking the box.
"I have a lifetime ban from the Billiards Association of Australia," I added, suddenly remembering my expulsion from the poolroom of my local pub.
He nodded thoughtfully. "Have you ever had prophetic dreams?"
"Nightmares, some of them."
He ticked the box. "Could I ask your motivation for responding to our advertisement?"
This was my only real lie. "Credit points for my degree in Criminology."
The sound of his pencil scratching along the comments section of the form filled the room, and I hoped it covered the staccato beating of my heart. The blood pumping through my veins gave me a sensual rush I hadn't experienced in years, if, in fact, I ever had. My whole body felt suddenly alive and my senses buzzing. My erect nipples were still poking painfully through my sheer silk blouse, and my pussy was swelling with lust. I crossed my legs.
I forced myself to concentrate on my objective. The problem was that Professor Lance Vaio, Director of Psychology at the University of Terra Australis, was my objective.
I'd been reluctant to take on the job, but my boss, the commissioner of police himself, patiently listened to my argument. I'd explained that I was dead tired and one day's leave after a six month stint inside a biker gang just wasn't enough to destress. But he convinced me, as he always does, with a heartfelt call to duty. He'd told me a dear old lady had been brutally murdered and they had a clear suspect which meant the assignment wouldn't take more than a few days. I'd reluctantly agreed. The boss could twist me around his little finger.
Now I was glad I had taken the assignment and I chastised myself for feeling this way. My carnal reaction to his boyish good looks had completely overtaken my usual professional approach to suspects. Hardened criminals, particularly killers, can turn on any one with little provocation, so I was used to living on my wits. Being physically attracted to a suspect had never happened to me before, and I found the experience unnerving.
Constable Dawse, the moon-faced constable who the boss had assigned as my contact, had been eager to fill me in on what he'd found about the focus of my mission.
"The professor is unmarried," he said, reporting on his initial interview with the subject. "He's twenty-eight years of age, single, lives alone in a small one-bedroom apartment on the river. He was seconded to the Wingham Campus of the University of Terra Australis last year to perform follow-up studies on a suspected psychic frisson centered on this district."
"What psychic frisson?"
He laughed in a nerdy adolescent manner. "Some whacko nonsense. Ghosts and demons, whooo."
I'd noticed some posters advertising a Psychic Carnival to be held down on the Headland Reserve this coming weekend. The reserve overlooked my favorite beach and I'd already decided to go have a look-see. I didn't believe in any of that paranormal guff, consigning it to the lunatic fringe, but it was fun to play with.
Dawse was still chuckling in an inane manner. I ignored him. "You found the body, right?"
He must have detected my disapproving tone and straightened his shoulders. "Yes, sir."
"Enough of the 'sir' crap," I snapped. "I'm undercover. I'm your sister Jessica."
"Yes, s--Jessica." He broke into a wide smile that split his chubby face in two.
"You were off-duty, right?" I continued.
He nodded, his pasty face blanched even more at the memory. "It was a bloody mess."
"She was a clairvoyant?"
He laughed slyly. "Yeah. She should've seen it coming."
I rolled my eyes. "Very droll. You interviewed the professor straight away?"
"Yes ... Jessica."
"How did he react?"
"Shocked. Like all the staff really."
"He reacted normally, did he?"
He shrugged. "As far as I could tell." Dowse glanced at his notebook. "He's an intelligent man, I think. A skeptic, he says. He told me that he had disproved all so-called paranormal events that he studied and that he was really investigating experimental design and statistical analysis of unrelated events. In other words, he believed in coincidences and he told me that, statistically at least, anything was possible, at least once, given an infinite universe and infinite time."
"Sounds like some interview."
"He's enthusiastic about his subject."
I watched him as he flipped the pages of his notebook as if to make sure he hadn't missed anything.
"How long have you been out of the academy?" I asked.
I guessed as much. God help us. The boss was really scraping the barrel. I suspected Dawse had entered the Academy straight from school. He had no real experience of life at all, and now he was responsible for protecting the lives of the whole community. I silently cursed the boss for assigning such an inexperienced constable to be my contact. I wondered how much help Dawse would actually be if I were to get into any trouble.
I asked Dawse what his instructions were. The boss had given him the honor of being my link to him and, suggestive of the danger the boss attached to the assignment, the watcher of my back. Dawse was to station himself outside the university gates and shadow me whenever I left the grounds to ensure no nefarious characters were taking an undue interest in my activities. When he wasn't doing that, he was to research the professor and, when required, follow him.
For all his naivety, Dawse appeared to be an earnest young copper who took his duty seriously. Maybe I should cut him such slack. But I caught him taking a sly peak at my cleavage and I decided he should learn in the school of hard knocks, just like I did.
I wondered if I was overreacting. I generally don't mind men admiring my figure, I'm proud of it, but I prefer them to be open about it and not hide their interest as if it were something dirty or shameful. I find it hard to have respect for someone who feels guilty about normal sexual interest and is afraid to show it.
I brought myself back to the here and now. I studied the professor as he continued writing notes on his clipboard. Could he really be a murderer? Or was Marta Sage's gruesome death, outside the gates of his university, one of those coincidences he was so fond of? That was what I meant to find out.
One of the questions I had was why would someone kill the old woman?
Marta Sage, so Constable Dawse had told me, was a charlatan of the old kind, known throughout Europe and the US as a medium who professed to helping various police forces solve murders and kidnappings, though no police force would admit to ever corresponding with her. She had come to the Land Down Under only a few months before she was killed.
Had a disgruntled customer dissatisfied with a bad reading killed her? I thought not. The killer had attacked her with rare ferocity. 'Sixty kilos of mince,' was the way the pathologist described her body. Dawse said she was, 'just a bloody pile on the seat of the University's bus shelter.' It seemed the boss had assigned Dawse to the case as a reward for his high degree of professionalism in securing the crime scene and initiating inquiries.
Marta, my enthusiastic constable had determined from those initial inquiries, was an experimental subject in one of Professor Vaio's paranormal studies and had just left a session. She'd been assisting the study for several weeks and, according to one of Vaio's assistants, had been, "a cooperative old duck."
When it comes to murder investigations, I don't believe in coincidences. I believe everything is connected, in the same fashion a jigsaw fits together. Though the parts may be on opposite sides of the picture, they are still connected by a chain of pieces. It's my job to fit all those pieces together.
I watched the professor and decided I'd played it correctly so far. The best way to get into his confidence, earn his trust, was to take part in his experiments. Once I established solid rapport, I could go deeper. But I'd have to do it slowly. He was a smart guy, and if I tipped my hand too early, he'd back off.
He'd be too much of a professional to fall for a flirty subject, so I planned to flirt just enough to keep him thinking about me. I found that men enjoyed a little flirtatious behavior as long as it wasn't too overt. I figured I'd enjoy playing coy with him, and that worried me. The danger was I'd get too hot and horny, and would miss something crucial, and in my game, that could be fatal.
Going undercover is second nature to me and something I took to early on in my career. In my final year at the Academy, I was approached by the now commissioner and asked if I'd take part in an operation. I agreed and was duly framed for a misdemeanor involving some dope, and then 'drummed out of the service' so I could pose as a disaffected cop with a grudge against the force. All that mucking about was to enable me to infiltrate a drug gang led by a couple of bad cops. The assignment had gone well. I'd secured a dozen convictions which earned me a commendation. It also typecast me as the undercover cop of choice, and I'd been operating under the radar for the last ten years
The professor raised his incredibly blue eyes and smiled, which set my heart galloping all over again. "Won't be a moment."
"Take your time." My voice had gone husky all of a sudden.
I studied him closely. He didn't look like a killer. But they seldom do. I decided that it was no coincidence a clairvoyant was killed just after a paranormal experiment, especially when one of Dawse's background checks had linked Vaio to the unsolved disappearance of his own mother, who, it turned out, had been a notable clairvoyant as well.
Coincidence? Yeah, right.
I steeled myself to the job at hand. This guy was a credible suspect in a particularly nasty murder. I had to keep my wits about me. But that was going to be virtually impossible. What young Dawse hadn't warned me about was that the professor was drop-dead gorgeous. How is it possible that I would find such a captivating hunk with a sexual aura that surrounded him like a shimmering halo? He was mesmerizing, and the air around him bristled with sexual electricity. My body was falling victim to his sensual charisma, and my rational mind was quickly following suit.
The professor finished writing and put down his pen. He looked up at me, and those scintillating blue eyes pieced me like the pin that fixes a butterfly to a specimen board.
He smiled again, revealing those rows of gleaming white teeth between his very kissable lips. "I'd like to invite you to take part in our study."
I smiled back and tilted my head just a little coquettishly. "Why, thank you."
"Are you ready to start now?"
I nodded enthusiastically.
"Excellent. The study we are involved in is composed of a series of tests over half a dozen sessions. We'll agree on a timetable before you leave tonight."
Leave. My stomach dropped. I didn't want to leave him at all, ever. I wanted to rip that damn lab coat off his shoulders and bend him backwards over his desk. I wanted to straddle the huge cock, which I suspected lurked inside those awful corduroy trousers, and fuck his brains out. I shook my head to dispel these aberrant thoughts. What the hell was I thinking?
I tried to drop back into my role as eager subject, but my usually adaptable acting skills failed me. A palpable wave of heat passed over my body. I knew my face was flushed and I knew that the heat rash I got whenever I was super aroused was fanning downwards from my upper chest down into my cleavage. My nipples were aching, wanting the freedom of the air so they could find refuge between his lips.
I raised my hand to my face and pretended I was adjusting my long blonde hair.
He was watching me, his expression curious. His eyes spoke volumes though. He wanted me. He wanted me badly. The intensity of his gaze made me shift in my seat. I felt the sultry heat between my pussy lips. My whole body was tingling with electricity and the impulse to launch myself into his arms and kiss those luscious lips was almost uncontrollable.
He licked those lips and tilted his head to one side as his eyes seemed to drink me in. He gave his own head a tiny shake and the sharp intake of breath suggested to me that he had suddenly become aware that he too had fallen into the same depths of lust that I had. He too struggled for control and he shifted awkwardly in his seat. My eyes were drawn to his crotch and the bulge that was in plain evidence there. It was impressive and a new wave of lust swept through me
I returned my gaze to his eyes and I licked my lips shamelessly.
He cleared his throat. "In most sessions you'll be wearing a headset, an encephalograph."
I forced myself to forget about the crazy sexual images that were suddenly flashing through my mind and responded with a thoughtful question. "Why?"
"As you participate in the experiments, I want to monitor your brain activity and relate the measurements to what you are actually doing and saying."
"You want to record my brain waves?"
He nodded. "Your brain is constantly emitting electromagnetic waves. They are very weak, that's why the electrodes have to be as close to your skull as possible."
"Do they extend out into space?" I asked for no particular reason, or rather I had a very particular reason, it was just to keep him talking, I just loved the sound of his voice. "Is that what mind readers key on?"
His eyes brightened, if that were possible. I'd clearly pleased him with my question and that gave me an inordinate amount of pleasure too. "Brain waves do exist," he said. "They have a wavelength of about one hundred and eighty-six kilometers, but there is so little power in them they are undetectable at any great distance from your head. In any case, they tend to get swamped by all the other brain waves of similar wavelengths as well as the flood of other electromagnetic radiation that surrounds us, noise in other words."
"Undetectable by machines," I suggested, being just a little provocative. "Maybe human brains are able to sort out other people's brain waves from the noise."
He shrugged. "Anything's possible, but yet to be shown. Mental telepathy is a difficult concept to accept as they would have to pick up brain waves that the most sensitive equipment we have can't detect. Besides, we've not located any areas in the brain specifically designed to receive such waves."
I nodded sagely. "If the waves are so weak, that explains why Mr. Spock has to touch heads when he mind-melds."
He laughed out loud. "I guess."
I flicked my long blonde hair away from my shoulders. "You have my permission to wire me up."
He stood up and, reaching into a box, extracted a stylish silver helmet. "This will fit snugly over your head."
My body thrilled in anticipation as he stepped towards me. I was certain I could feel waves of body heat emanating from his formidable frame and the air seemed to shimmer about him. He paused at my side and I sensed his aura as an electric tingle that charged the very air with sexual power.
He lowered the helmet over my head. I'd caught my breath and my heart pounded as if it were trying to escape my chest.
He leant over me. His proximity was overwhelming. It occurred to me that his bulging cock, constrained by a few millimeters of corduroy, was right next to my head. If I were to turn ever so slightly, I could run my lips across its throbbing outline. I felt suddenly dizzy. I reached out to steady myself and grasped his thigh just above his knee. I jumped in surprise and turned my head. The bulge at his groin that I had imagined just a moment ago was now level with my eyes. It was huge.
I averted my eyes. "Sorry."
"That's okay," he said. "The helmet is poorly balanced."
"It startled me," I stammered.
"Just relax," he said soothingly.
Relax. Yeah, right.
From his position, standing behind me, he adjusted the helmet on my head. His fingers grazed my neck and felt like talons of fire. I gasped. Unbelievably, my pussy was pulsing, my clit tingling. I was breathing quickly now, at risk of hyperventilating.
"The helmet has a radio transmitter and will transmit recordings of your brain waves to my computer."
"Okay." I took a deep breath.
He returned to his seat beside his desk. He considered me for a moment, no doubt sensing my distress. "First, I'd like to have a relaxation exercise before we do the first session. Would you close your eyes please?"
I nodded gratefully and closed my eyes.
I surrendered myself to his beautifully melodious voice which swiftly calmed the churning caldron of lust that had overtaken my mind. I'd meditated many times, as part of my martial arts training, and I understood the routine he was using to take me, stage by stage, to previously unimaginable depths of relaxation.
"Think of the place you felt most relaxed and tell me why you found it so," he said at the beginning.
"I love scuba diving," I said. "I was lying on my back forty-five meters below the surface on the bottom of Jervis Bay. I was watching waves crash against the cliffs and the view from below was surreal. The ever changing tones of turquoise, the bubbling foam, it was amazing."
"Why did you find that relaxing?"
"I'm not sure. I was alone. My buddies had moved on without me; I was observing something that only I could see. The primal rhythm was somehow very calming. It was hypnotizing in its own way."
"Now, visualise that dive," he said. "We are going to that place in the next few minutes. You've entered the water. It is cold and clear and you follow the anchor line down to the bottom. The only sound is the gentle susurration of your breathing and the sound of the silver bubbles of your exhalations heading for the surface."
I had a clear picture of the dive. I descended the line, ten meters, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five. Then I left the line and headed towards the base of the cliffs. Inquisitive wrasse swam up to me and looked at my eyes through my facemask. I looked up and saw the waves.
"The waves are rolling towards the cliff. The swell rises and crashes in a silent explosion of white bubbles. The transparency of the wave changes as it grows and goes through a whole kaleidoscope of colors."
He's been there. He's actually seen this.
"Empty your mind, think only of the waves, the sound of your breathing and the silver globes of your bubbles wobbling their way to the surface."
I could lie here forever. I was alone, but not a suburban type of aloneness, but more complete, of a type more pure, if that made any sense. I guessed spacewalking astronauts felt something like that, with only a thin tether connecting them to their spacecraft. All there exists is the sound of their breathing, the beauty of nature all around and no one else. Like me, they are embraced by their suits, cocooned in...
"Okay, now, Jessica. Time to ascend. We are back at the anchor line, ascending slowly, doing our safety stop, breathing out all the nitrogen in our blood till we're safe again. We break the surface and we're back."
I snapped my eyes open. He was gazing at me closely. He was leaning towards me, his elbows on his knees, his hands cradling his face.
"How do you feel?"
It was true. I'd meditated before, but compared to this, I'd been kidding myself.
"Jessica, whenever you feel stressed, in the future, I want you to go back to that place and watch the waves. Okay?"
My body was lightly fizzing with a gentle tingling. I was so relaxed that if he had asked me to raise my hands I could not have done it. The sense of bodily relaxation reminded me of that languid calmness I felt after a night of acrobatic sex. I felt like I'd just been well and truly fucked, and was in the mood for more.
I gazed into his cobalt eyes, and instead of only seeing my reflection, I saw visions of making love with him; his lips upon mine; his hands caressing my breasts; his cock sliding into my pussy slick with my lust.
I clamped my eyes shut and opened them again.
The professor was holding up a black laminated card. "In session one, I'll hold up some cards like this, but only I can see what's on this side, and I want you to call out loud what you think it is they show."
"Are they numbers?" I asked.
"They could be anything," he said, a mischievous grin on his face. "This is just a preliminary test to give me a baseline profile of your esper skills."
"Extra sensory perception, or esper. I want to see if you score above or below chance."
"To see if I'm guessing?"
"Kinda. Though this is only one type of esper skill."
"You're speaking as if esper skills actually exist."
"Ooops, you caught me out."
"You're really looking for confirmation that any so-called esper skill is just a coincidence."
His eyes brightened. "Got me again."
As flirting goes, it wasn't up to my usual standard, but it seemed to work with him. Not being overtly sexual, I think I impressed him with my intellectual side, which for some men can be more sexually arousing than a glimpse of bare skin.
"Okey dokey," I said. My flirting was not calculated though, as much as I wanted. I was freewheeling here, making it up as I go, and I didn't like the sense of being out of control. I needed to quickly get out of the quagmire of my desire. "Let's get on with it."
He reached into his desk draw and produced a pack of oversized cards with plain black backing. He held up one of them. I noticed it had a bent corner. "Card One."
I closed my eyes. "Nothing," I said.
He put it face down on the desk. He held up the second card. An image of red rushed into my head so vivid I tasted copper in my mouth. "Blood."
He held up the next card. I laughed aloud. "A clown falling off a monocycle."
He began flipping the cards quickly now, and as he did so, images leapt into my brain. All the while, his wondrous blue eyes were focused on mine.
"A snow-capped mountain."
"The crescent moon."
Twenty-four cards later, we were finished. "Very good," he said as he dropped them into his desk draw.
"How did I do?"
"I'll give you your results when we have finished all the sessions."
"That's hardly motivating," I said.
"I don't want to give away any clues," he said, a wry smile creasing his lips. "In case it affects your performance."
The tables had turned. I'd noticed a flirtatious hint in his voice. "Now what?"
"For the next session, I'd like the names of five people you know who will be likely to cooperate in an experiment.
"What will they be expected to do?"
"This is a modified Sheldrake Experiment. The people you nominate will call you on the telephone at random times during the session. They'll do so in the presence of my assistant while you are videotaped and wired up like you are now."
"Anyone you suspect you have a psychic connection with. They'll be paid one hundred dollars each for their trouble."
"What's in it for me?" I asked.
He smiled. "Extra credits for your degree."
Five friends, now that would be a challenge. As an undercover operative, I lived my work. I immersed myself into the social milieu I was investigating. If I were a drug-addicted prostitute or an assistant nurse in an aged care facility, or even a runway model, I would become that person and live and work beside the people I was going to convict.
I was a chameleon. It seemed I could, without too much effort, create multiple personalities to suit my environment. The boss said I should've been an actor.
To survive, to keep my ego intact, I shielded myself--my inner self, that is--from whoever I was working beside. I would keep my inner self aloof from them. After all, they would end up in jail when I was done. It didn't pay to make friends of my own.
My life was essentially a lie, not that I really cared. I could get along very well without people around me. I've always been a loner. Right from the start as a child, I'd prefer to play by myself, inhabiting my own private universe. It seems I've always been separate from the rest of humanity. I was an observer of human relationships, rather than a participant.
The few relationships I'd tried had mostly ended badly, not that any of them had been long-term, a few months at most. I sometimes wondered what people looked for and sometimes found in romantic relationships.
If it were just sexual release they were looking for, well, that could be obtained easily.
For instance, I could go into any bar, or indeed anywhere where there are men, and bring out one who would satisfy any physical itch.
If they were looking for a soul mate, whatever that was, I couldn't see it. I lived amongst the wreckage of such searches. Most of the people I knew were divorced, angry and bitter at their failures to find this mythical creature, their soul mate.
No, all that lovey-dovey stuff had never been for me.
"Surely, someone as vivacious as yourself would have no trouble identifying five friends."
The professor's voice jolted me out of my thoughts. I blushed at his compliment.
Well, if friends were scarce on the ground, then I had to use whoever came to mind. The five I thought of were those who'd I'd had brief sexual liaisons with during university and had parted on good terms. We still kept in touch in that superficial way that acquaintances do. None of them, of course, knew I now worked undercover. They all believed I made my living as a ghost writer for sporting heroes creating magnificent autobiographies for mediocre lives. It was a lame cover story, but it seemed to work.
I didn't necessarily believe I had a psychic connection with any, but I had had dreams, nightmares really, about some of them in the years since and I'd called them to tell them what I'd dreamt. I felt like an idiot, but the nightmares had been pretty disturbing and I felt better after I'd called.
I smiled inwardly as I gave the professor their names and contact details. The sex I'd had with each had been good. My pussy warmed as I recalled the nights of passion I'd had with each one and I clenched my upper thighs together. My body flushed in arousal all over again.
I held the professor's gaze as I gave him the details, and as I spoke I had the strangest feeling that he already knew of my sexual history with Mary, Ted, Alice, Brian, and Robert. Why I would think that, I had no idea, but the feeling was strong and very unnerving.
"Could you call them now," he asked, "to ask their permission and arrange a suitable night they could either attend, or I can send an assistant to anywhere they nominate."
As the professor made notes on his computer, I called each of my one-time lovers. I explained I was writing an article about scientific research into the paranormal and I needed their help in an experiment. They all agreed, saying they were pleased they could be involved in one of my projects.