Dr. Haze`s office sat apparently empty, the door locked, the blinds drawn, the lights and computer nevertheless on. Nevertheless the air sounded with the steady tap, tap of the keyboard while from time to time the chair shifted and swiveled and the mouse moved across the pad. Since taking her post at Bragg, Dr. Haze could be seen teaching her classes and turned up at the odd faculty meeting but otherwise could never seem to be found. This frustrated many of her colleagues in the physics department, who were also irritated by her dismissive attitude towards them when they did manage to see her, but Dr. Haze consistently gave star players on the football and basketball teams passing grades and that made the Dean and the alumni association very happy. Besides a much more pressing issue had come to affect Bragg. A growing number of the school`s star athletes, first on the football team and then-ironically as football season ended-on the basketball team began to report being exhausted by intense waking erotic dreams that sometimes lasted all night. These dreams could happen anywhere but most frequently in their dorm rooms and locker rooms. It was the best sex they`d ever had, most of them reported, incredibly lively and kinky, but it left them barely able to stand up, let alone play. Athletic Dean Cundy was especially alarmed. The dreams all had a frightening pattern. Although all the dreams seemed to involve vaginal sex with a female partner-the sensations of soft skin and full breasts were always noted-they had all taken place in all male dorm rooms and locker rooms. A deacon at Blinding White True Baptist Church and an expert in abstinence education, Dean Cundy had long believed the homosexuality was a communicable disease and that this had all the signs of an outbreak. With Dean Manheim`s permission a crack team of conversion therapists was flown in direct from Blinding White`s national headquarters in Skunk Hollow Missouri and participation in the therapy was made mandatory for all players. Therapy seemed to be going well even if Bragg dropped to last place in its division until Quarterback Brian McMenamy and running back Irv Flutie announced that the therapy had only intensified their passion for each other and that they were leaving Bragg for new lives in Florida.
A buzzer rang. It was the front desk. The speaker button pressed down. "A Dr. Devi Pradesh for you."
"Give me ten minutes," Dr. Haze replied from somewhere over the empty seat. The chair rolled back from the desk and shifted slightly. The door to the closet flew open. About twenty complete suits of women`s clothing hung on the closet, the line rippling as one by one they were pulled out and checked. Then a hanger with a grey pants suit draped across it detached itself from the rod and floated unevenly to the desk. Then a second hanger, carrying a plain white tank top detached itself from the rod. The hanger hung jerking slightly in mid air as the tank top detached itself from it. Then the hanger slid back onto the rod. The limp tank top flew up and spread itself out. As it slid down the fabric seemed to fill out limning full, firm breasts, a flat belly and the beginning of wide hips. The tank top turned and floated to the desks, its bottom shifting slightly with each step. The hanger on the desk flew up and the jacket slipped off it and fell back on the desk. Then the pants slid free, sliding up into the air in front of the tank top while the hanger landed on top of the jacket. The pants floated down to the floor. Feet limned themselves in the fabric as first one leg and then another leg took form. The pants pulled themselves up around the waist of the tank top and zipped themselves up. The disembodied clothes turned to the closet. A pair of flats slid out from the bottom of the closet, shifting as they seemed to attach themselves to the pants. The figure walked over to the desk. The hanger slid off the jacket and the jacket sprang into the air in front of the tank top. A sleeve filled out as the jacket slid behind the tank top, then the other sleeve took shape. Empty cuffs guided the lapels together and the jacket buttoned itself closed. The empty suit walked over to the mirror in the corner behind the desk. Dr. Haze`s blonde hair and fox face faded into view. Her hair was a mess. It seemed that no matter how brief the period between her bouts of visibility and no matter what she did, her hair always came out in disarray. Hurriedly she brushed it and applied her makeup. Normally she would have dismissed such an unexpected visitor or used the occasion to have some cruel fun, dressing but remaining invisible or even shifting casually from visible to invisible in order to befuddle or frighten her guest but Dr. Pradesh was an old friend from before the days at Calhoun. They had been colleagues back at State and had worked together at state. Some of the principles behind the invisibility process were based on discoveries made by Dr. Pradesh though Dr. Haze had first realized those possibilities long after they had parted ways. In the period following Dr. Haze`s divorce they had been very close and very briefly lovers. So she was much more willing to see Dr. Pradesh than others.
"Tell her to come in." She said through the intercom as she hurriedly fixed her watch to her wrist. Tossing the hanger into the closet, she walked over to the door and unlocked it.
"Clarice," Dr Pradesh came in closing the door behind her, giving Dr. Haze a quick hug. She was dressed a bit too warmly for the weather, a pair of jeans, boots and a black turtleneck sweater. There was something off about her but Dr. Haze could not quite guess what it was. She was still the same as she remembered her. Short, with long black hair and a tight, curvy little body, high cheekbones and a long thin nose. But the hair didn`t seem as rich and glossy as she remembered and the skin seemed at once too tight and lacking the deep rich brown glow the she remembered. Perhaps it was just age.
"I had to see you," Dr. Pradesh said taking a seat in front of the desk, "You know they were wondering about your disappearance at Calhoun."
"Yes it was sudden."
"And suddenly, after more than a year incommunicado, you turn up here, at another monument to mediocrity."
"Worse than that," Dr. Haze sat down at her desk facing Dr. Pradesh, "This place makes Calhoun look like Oxford."
"Then why? You were brilliant Clarice. The smartest of us. Why go to an institution that has classes on spiritual warfare."
"I have my reasons."
"You know they hired me to find out what you were doing at Calhoun. None of their people could begin to figure it out. But there were certain compounds and certain pieces of machinery that sent up flags. It took me the longest time to even begin to figure it out. You did a good job of destroying your notes."
"So Calhoun would like to take legal action?"
She shook her head, "They still don`t know. When I finally began to retrace your steps I couldn`t believe what it was leading to. But as my work progressed it began to seem more and more the probable outcome. And that`s when I stopped reporting on my progress."
"And what did you find out Devi?"
"You ought to know. It is why we could not find you until now."
"But what did you find out?"
"I`ll demonstrate Dr. Haze." Dr. Pradesh stood up, stepped away from the desk and turned facing Dr. Haze. She slipped her hands under her sweater and rolled it, revealing thin air where her abdomen should have been, a pair of empty jeans standing beneath her crossed arms. Her lips widened into a smile and she rolled the sweater up past her breasts. A crisp white bra, straps visibly straining against full breasts, hung emptily beneath the arms of the sweater. Dr. Pradesh poked her head out from under the sweater and the sweater rolled itself up forward, arms disappearing inch by inch until it balled itself up and fell to the floor. The bra jiggled tightly beneath Dr. Pradesh`s floating head. In front of it floated her two hands. One hand grabbed the other and with a rubbery tearing sound pulled it free, the hand collapsing into a latex glove. Then another tearing sound and the other hand grew limp and fell to the floor. For a moment Dr. Pradesh stood smiling empty bra thrust forward beneath her disembodied head. Then it grew tight and the back snapped open, the tight cups seeming to collapse as it slid forward and dropped to the floor. The button to her jeans popped open and the zipper slid down revealing pink underwear. Dr. Pradesh`s head bobbed down as the jeans and the panties crumpled to the floor. Her shoes kicked free with two loud thuds. Dr. Pradesh`s head bobbed back and forth across the room for a beat before suddenly the face was torn away and the long black hair fell to the floor.
"As you can observe Dr. Haze," she said from somewhere in front of the desk, "I have been following in your footsteps."
Dr Haze stared at the nothingness in front of her. The retrovirus she had used to see Danny had long since worn off. "I can`t believe it," she said. In fact she could. Devi had made herself invisible just as she had. No wonder she looked off. Her skin had been a latex mask.
"Why don`t you walk over to the front of the desk and find out."
Dr. Haze stood up and stretched out her hand. A hand took her wrist and guided her until her fingers were resting on a bare shoulder. An arm slipped across her back. "My God Devi this is amazing! But why do you think that I came up with this?"
"Oh come now Clarice. I was working in your lab with what materials you had left behind. And it also explains why you disappeared so suddenly and completely."
"All right. But why seek me out? Surely it should be obvious to you how easy it is to keeps one`s actions or even one`s presence a secret with this thing. And I certainly had no idea that there was another invisible woman out there, least of all that it was you."
"Even if had not been you, if had been someone I did not know I would have wanted to meet and join forces with the woman who discovered the secret of invisibility. But since it is you Clarice I am even more determined to become your partner."
"I have done very well on my own Devi, in spite of appearances."
"I`m sure this is just a front."
"It definitely is."
"Look I`m not looking to be your rival Clarice. There is room in the world for both of us to do what we plan to do invisibly. But I have ideas and they would benefit from input from someone as brilliant as you are. So what do you say?"
Dr. Haze paused and thought. Devi had always been a good friend. When she had been forced out of State for sleeping with a student Dr. Pradesh had been one of the few to stand behind her. Why not? "We should continue this. But not here. Would you mind if I made myself more comfortable?"
Dr. Haze slipped out of her embrace and motioned for her attention. Her smile widening into a grin she slowly faded back into invisibility. At once the empty cuffs reached up and unbuttoned the jacket. It slipped back off her shoulders and threw itself onto the desk. The empty tank top immediately rolled itself up and flew across the room onto the jacket.
"My God Clarice! This is amazing!" Devi exclaimed from somewhere by the closet, "You can vanish at will!"
"And reappear," Dr. Haze said as her slacks came unzipped and slid to the floor, "But for now you`ll excuse me if I remain invisible. Come, let`s go to my house. I have a lab there where I do my real work."
The two women giggled like school girls as the lock clicked and the door to Dr. Haze`s office opened and closed.
Two days later the door to Dr. Haze`s basement laboratory opened. Bare feet padded from the hallway to the living room stopping in front of a full length mirror. A long sigh was heard. Slowly, two full firm breasts began to appear in front of the mirror, their skin a rich dark brown, their nipples wine dark and erect. "This is just unbelievable," Devi gushed as first the ribs and then the abdomen took form beneath the breasts. Slowly the upper chest and then the shoulders took shape as the abdomen spread down and widened into hips and then tapered down to legs and feet. Lean brown arms appeared and finally, Dr. Pradesh`s head, her hair a wild tangle that went down to her bosom. Completely visible, she looked down at herself and smiled, "Clarice, you`re a genius."
"Nonsense," Dr. Haze said as she became visible behind her, "You had a head start. Besides I explained how some of your research paved the way."
"But you discovered the secret."
"You also copied the process using only a few left over chemicals and pieces of equipment. I couldn`t have done that." Dr. Haze sauntered over to the liquor cabinet and poured them each a glass of wine. "To the Invisible Women," she said raising a toast, "May the world have seen the last of us."
"Cheers," Dr. Pradesh added. They clinked their glasses together and drank. As they tossed back their wine both Dr. Haze and Dr, Pradesh began to slowly fade until room seemed completely empty. Then there was a sense of movement, of skin brushing against skin. The cushion of the chaise lounge sank down, vaguely outlining two entwined figures. Dr. Pradesh giggled, "This is like shagging in the dark."
"But much more fun," Dr. Haze said.
For the next hour the only sounds were the occasional rustle of skin and soft moaning. Two scents of musk hung in the air. Then suddenly the mattress shifted. Dr. Pradesh materialized sitting up and running her fingers through her hair. "I`m sorry Clarice. You were always good in bed but"¦"
"I understand," Dr. Haze said as she appeared sitting on the couch beside her.
"It`s not that I don`t find you attractive or that I didn`t enjoy it but I"¦"
"Want a man."
"Yes. I trust you. I love you, Clarice--but I want a man. One of my reasons for becoming invisible was to do things I was told were wicked or shameful without the world knowing. And those things involve men."
"Do you want a man, or a particular man?"
"A strong man. A handsome man. I want to drain him dry without him knowing it."
Dr. Haze slapped an arm around her shoulder and gave her a hug. "Well then come along. Bragg is full of men like that. You don`t mind if your girlfriend comes along to give you some tips on the art of invisible seduction do you?"
"Not at all. We can even share a man."
"Then we shall need a football player. Come on," Dr. Haze drew her up off the couch and guided her to the door, "The bars on Birch Street are less than a mile away."
The two women stood in front of the door arm in arm and looked at each other. Their lips widened into grins as they both slowly faded away. Dr. Pradesh`s teeth remained for a moment floating suspended in thin air before taking on the properties of glass and disappearing. Then the two women giggled from somewhere in front of the door as it opened and slammed shut.