It should have been a day like any other. I had a three o’clock appointment with my psychiatrist, so I was in the car and pulling away from the curb at two thirty.
The very next thing I remember is bringing the car to a smooth, easy stop. I don’t remember the drive at all.
I looked around, stunned at what I saw. I was in some kind of courtyard-style driveway. Before me was a huge, sprawling mansion, its edifice dotted with countless windows. Most of them were dark. When I turned to look behind me, I was met with a wall of tall fir trees. The path from the driveway ran in between two of the tallest ones. Beyond them was the disappearing glow of the setting sun.
I looked at the time. It was almost seven o’clock. Somehow, I was missing over four hours, and I had no idea where I was. I racked my brain trying to remember what had happened. I didn’t even know if I made it to my appointment. Did I have an accident? Did I hit my head and enter a fugue state or something?
I started the car back up. I didn’t know where I was, but I was determined to find my way back home. It couldn’t have been too difficult, right? I’d just plug it into the GPS on my phone….
Another horrifying realization came to me as I patted my pockets, the seat beside me, the floor. My phone was gone. My purse was gone.
What the fuck?
A light flicked on in one of the house’s lower windows. I snapped to attention. Great, I thought. Now, I’ll have to contend with an interrogation from this person, wondering why the hell a strange just drove straight up to their door at dinner time.
The front door opened and a woman stepped into view. She was tall and slender. Dark hair cascaded over one of her shoulders. Her makeup was perfect, not by any means intended to look natural, but still tasteful and elegant. A white sheath dress clung to her frame. For a moment, I was struck by the way the orange light of the setting sun reflected off of her. Like the moon, I remember thinking.
She curled her red lips into a warm smile. “Hello, my dear,” she said. “My goodness, you’re so pretty.”
Her comment struck me as odd, and so I steamrolled past it. “My name is Kenna Grant,” I said. “I know this sounds weird, but I don’t know where I am and I don’t have my purse or my phone.”
“Oh, that’s no problem at all,” the woman said. “You won’t need them anymore.”
I felt my stomach drop. “Excuse me?”
She moved out of the doorway and down the three steps to where I stood. She was close enough now for me to see the deep emerald color of her eyes. “It’s lovely to meet you, my dear,” she said, as if all of this were normal. “I’m Europa.” She reached up to stroke my hair. “I wonder what he’ll call you.”
I ducked away from her touch. Clearly she was crazy, I remember thinking. Without another word, I turned to get back in my car.
A sharp sting in the back of my neck stopped me in my tracks. Slowly, I turned back toward the house. I could now see another figure. Standing in the doorway was a young man, dressed head to toe in white like Europa. In his hands was a strange, cylindrical object.
With shaking, ever weakening hands, I reached behind me. The last thing I remember before losing consciousness is brushing the dart with my hands and feeling it move where it stuck into my neck.
Everything was dark when I awoke. My head ached. My mouth was dry and my stomach turned. I couldn’t tell at first if my eyes were open or closed.
I tried to move, but something stopped me. My wrists were held in place, and so was my head. Every futile attempt to free any part of myself produced a metallic rattle.
Fear took over once again. Where the fuck was I? Inside the house? Why? What in the hell was going on?
Gradually, my eyes adjusted to the darkness, but what I saw only added to the mystery. Five structures hung above me, all seemingly spherical. The largest one hung right in the middle, directly above my face. The other four were much smaller and spaced equally around the center one. Apart from the vaguest of shapes and shadows, I had no idea what I was looking at.
And I wouldn’t get time to figure it out on my own. One of the smaller orbs buzzed to life and filled with light. It assaulted my eyes and my head throbbed. I barely had time to recover when another flicked on, and then another, and another. Now, only the middle sphere remained dark, but from the light the others cast, I could see that it was painted with wispy swirls of orange, white, brown, and red.
Footsteps came from both sides, startling me enough to rattle my chains. I felt my panic rise as the footfalls came closer. Soon, Europa’s face came in from the right and hovered above mine. The young man’s did the same one the left. I could see him clearly now. He couldn’t have been older than twenty, if in fact he was even that old.
“You’re awake,” said Europa, smiling in that same placid way. “This is good news, indeed.” She looked up at the young man. “Ganymede,” she said, “tell him she’s ready.”
“Ready for what?” I asked. I had so many questions, and somehow that one worked its way to the front.
Europa clasped her hands together. “You really don’t remember, do you? He is so good at what he does.”
“Remember the fuck what?” I demanded. Anger now muscled its way into my mix of emotions.
“He chose you,” she said. “Just as he chose the two of us, Ganymede and me. He knows how minds work, you see. He found the kernels of truth deep, deep within us. All of us. He helped us bring them to the surface.”
A memory speared my mind. I saw a pendulum of some kind, swinging. The lights danced and reflected off of its jeweled face. It dazzled me. I’d seen it somewhere.
“Hynosis?” The word came out almost involuntarily.
Europa’s smile widened. I could have sworn she gave the slightest of nods.
More footsteps approached. The one called Ganymede came back into view, his grin a copy of Europa’s. “He’s here, dear one,” he said in a youthful, lilting tone.
A third face came into view. I gasped. Chills ran all through me. This face was one I knew.
It was him. My psychiatrist.
“You’re a special girl, Io,” he said. “Very special indeed.” I felt the roughness of his hand on my breast, which I now realized was bare. My cheeks flamed and I squirmed beneath his touch.
“Get the fuck away from me,” I shouted. “My name is Kenna.”
“It was,” the doctor said with a nod. “But I have chosen you, and now, you will be Io.”
He fiddled with the buttons on his shirt, undoing them one by one. My throat clamped and my chest tightened. I let out the loudest scream I could manage.
The center orb suddenly burst into glorious life. It’s light penetrated me, engulfed me. It tunneled through me, all the way to my very bones. Everything I knew---everything I was---was burned away.
And that’s my story. I’m Io now. Kenna is dead. Gone.
I know it sounds scary. And I’m not going to lie. It is. But you have to understand that the joys on the other end of this ordeal are impossible to even begin to imagine until you’re there. I live my life in service to Him. He is my master. He owns me, heart, body, and soul. I would never want to leave Him now.
So don’t worry. Don’t think about what you’ll be losing. Instead, you’ll be gaining a family, and a love beyond compare.
Are you ready, dear sweet Callisto?
Written by Jdeschene