Turnabout Is Fair Play

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Flora knocked on the door to the room where Jack rested. "Are you decent?" she asked. Even after this length of time, she still couldn’t quite get used to the sight of Jack being invisible. She never felt quite comfortable around him unless he was fully dressed and completely covered, with his head swathed in bandages and gloves covering his transparent hands.

"Yes, come in." Jack answered, his voice muffled by the bandages which covered his head and face.

"There’s a package here for you," Flora said as she entered the room. Jack rose immediately from the daybed where he had been laying, and quickly walked over to Flora.

"Is it…?" she asked, as she held out the package to him.

Jack took it from her and looked at the return address. "Yes! Yes, it is! The reagent! At last! It’s finally perfected!"

"Oh, Jack! I’m so glad!"

Jack tore open the package, exposing a small vial filled with a pink liquid. "This is it all right. And here’s a note." Jack silently read the note from his colleague, which explained the that the reagent, the result of weeks’ worth of work, was all that he’d been able to obtain, and that Jack must be extremely careful with it, so as not to spill or otherwise waste any of it. To produce a fresh batch would require weeks more of work, during which time Jack would have to remain invisible.

Jack held the small vial in his gloved hand, and raised it to his eyes (hidden behind dark glasses.)

"At last, at long last! After all these months, to finally be visible again! I can’t believe it!" Jack let out a great sigh of relief. "Well, come on, let’s go to the lab! I can hardly wait!" Just as he turned to leave for the basement laboratory, Flora touched his arm, stopping him.

"Jack, wait a minute."

"What is it?"

Flora hesitated. "Well…I know this is going to sound weird, but…before you use the reagent, could you…" her voice now dropped almost to a whisper. "That is…will you…will you make love to me?"

Jack was silent, he was taken completely aback. "Well, yes, I suppose, but…can’t it wait?"

Flora smiled at him, and slowly shook her head.

"But…but I thought you…you know, you felt ‘uncomfortable’ around me this way." Jack said.

Flora dropped her eyes, and smiled, embarrassed. "Well, I did at first, but…well, things have changed. These last few weeks, I’ve… Well, I’ve developed a kind of a fantasy about making love to an invisible man."

Jack was silent, and although Flora couldn’t see it, she sensed that he was smiling underneath all those bandages. Gently, without saying a word, he took her hand in his gloved one and led her towards the stairs. "Your wish is my desire, my love," he said, putting the vial into the pocket of his robe, and leading her upstairs to the bedroom.

Flora undressed first, as Jack watched her through the lenses of his dark glasses. When she had completely undressed, she slipped beneath the silk sheets of the bed. Then it was Jack’s turn to undress. Flora watched in anticipation as he first pulled one glove and then the other off of his invisible hands. He reached up and began to unwrap the bandages from his transparent face. He continued with his disrobement, until he had completely disappeared, after which the corner of the sheet and blanket suddenly lifted themselves up on the opposite side of the bed from Flora, and a deep impression appeared in the mattress as Jack lay down beside her.

The two joined with one another for the first time in several months. Flora’s initial apprehension soon gave way to a long denied, long-suppressed desire as she embraced her ghostly lover. The long separation whetted both of their appetites, and as each one reached higher plateaus of excitement, it seemed to only drive the other to even higher levels of ecstasy. The months of deprivation of each other’s closeness intensified the strong feelings each had for the other, and each sought to GIVE, GIVE, GIVE to the other. For the first time in months, feelings of total, completely selflessness replaced in each partner the earlier feelings of selfish longing and loneliness. When it was all over, they lay in bed beside one another for several minutes, each enjoying the deep, effusive satisfaction which came from the of total giving of love.

At length, Jack rose from the bed and walked over to the dresser where he had placed the vial and syringe prior to their lovemaking. Flora watched in awe as the bedclothes seemed to rumple themselves and fall away from an unseen form, followed by foot-shaped impressions in the carpet as Jack walked over to the dresser.

Jack lifted the vial and syringe, inserting the needle into the small bottle, and drawing out the liquid contents. Flora silently watched as the syringe and bottle danced out their strange midair ballet. Jack hesitated a moment. "Well, here it goes. I sure hope it works." He inserted the needle into one of his unseen veins, driving home the plunger, injecting the reagent into his system.

A minute passed, then two, and soon, Flora began to see a faint outline of a naked man standing next to the table. Gradually, the form came into clearer and clearer view, and she recognized it as Jack. The form raised its gradually opaquing hands to its eyes in open-mouthed wonder as the drug took its effect. He turned to face the full-length mirror on the opposite wall, and stared at his reflection for the first time in months. He was unshaven, unkempt, somewhat haggard in appearance, but he was still Jack, and he was visible! The reagent worked!

"It works!! It works!!" Jack and Flora proclaimed simultaneously. Flora was so overjoyed she jumped out of the bed and ran over to Jack, arms outstretched, and hugged and kissed him. "Mmmmmmm! Welcome back, handsome! Long time no see!"

"Yeah, tell me about it!" Jack said, letting out a big, laughing sigh. "Whew! At last! It’s over, it’s all over."

"I wonder, will it ever really be over?" Flora said. "It’s still so hard to believe; like a bad dream."

Jack looked into Flora’s eyes and saw the emotional toll that the past several months had taken on her.

"This hasn’t been easy for you, I know." Jack said, as he reached for his bathrobe, pulling it on. "I just wish I could undo some of the pain that you’ve had to go through with this whole thing."

"Oh…it wasn’t so bad," she lied. "At least it was different! A totally unique experience. There aren’t many women who know what it’s like to live with an invisible man."

Jack held her and pulled her close to him. "I love you so," he whispered in her ear. "If there’s anything I can do for you, anything at all, to try to make up for all this, just name it."

The two embraced each other, then suddenly, Flora abruptly pulled away, and stood back from him, with a curious look on her face.

"What is it?" Jack asked. "What’s the matter?"

"I—I don’t know, I—I feel funny." Flora said.

"Are you sick?"

"No, I’ll be all right, I just—I just feel so…so disoriented. Maybe I’d better sit down." Flora turned and sat down on the edge of the bed. Jack sat down next to her, his hand gently rubbing her naked back.

For several minutes, Flora just sat, staring into space, then she turned to face Jack with a bewildered look on her face. "Jack?" she said. "I—I feel FUNNY!"

For a few minutes, Jack couldn’t respond. He was too stunned by the vision unfolding before his eyes. At first, he couldn’t be sure of what he was seeing, he thought it must be his imagination, tortured by months of stress, playing tricks on him. Only when he finally accepted it as reality was he finally able to speak it aloud.

"Flora! You’re…you’re DISAPPEARING!!"

Sure enough, Flora was gradually becoming more and more transparent. She looked down in shocked amazement at her naked body, rapidly vanishing from sight. She turned back to face Jack, the puzzled look on her face the last thing that Jack saw before it faded completely into oblivion.

"Jack?" her voice spoke from midair. "Jack? What’s happening to me?"

"You—you’ve become INVISIBLE!"

"But--but HOW?"

"I don’t know, I don’t know…" Jack stammered, his voice quavering in stunned surprise. He stared in wide-eyed amazement at the deep impression in the mattress where Flora had been seated only moments before.  Her voice now seemed to come from somewhere in mid-air immediately before him. Suddenly, the impression in the mattress disappeared, as Flora got up and walked over to the full-length mirror.

"God, I can’t believe it! I really AM invisible!"

Jack’s head spun around in surprise, facing the new location that Flora’s voice seemed to come from. He struggled to regain his composure and think clearly.

"It must have happened because we…when we…when we…made love. You must have absorbed some of my…fluid into your system."

"But it couldn’t have been that much."

"Only a few drops are required, remember."

"Dammit!" Flora cursed. "I KNEW we should have used some protection!" She sighed in exasperation, then took a deep breath. "Well? How long’s this going to last?" she asked, afraid of what the answer might be.

Jack took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Indefinitely." He said. "Remember, the formula is self-regenerating. Once it’s in your system, it’s more or less…" he hesitated. "Permanent." he concluded.

"Permanent?!?" Flora cried. "Invisible permanently?!?"

"Now, don’t panic, don’t panic." Jack said, getting up off the bed. "We can just use the reagent. If it worked on me, it’ll work on you." He walked over to the table where he had left the vial. "Here it is," he said, holding it up to his eyes. "Oh, hell! There’s not enough of it left!"

"Can you get more?"

"I—I think so. I’ll call Kemp and ask him to start work on a fresh batch of the stuff immediately. But it’ll take time."

"How long?"

Jack hesitated before answering. "At least four weeks, maybe longer."

Flora was silent for several minutes. Jack tried to estimate her emotional state, but he was unable to. Funny, he’d never realized it before, but when one deals with another person, one must rely so much on facial expressions and body language to gauge the emotional state of another. For the first time in his life, Jack suddenly felt himself distinctly uncomfortable around Flora. It was the first inkling he’d felt of what she must have gone through these last several months.

When Flora finally spoke again, her voice contained the tone of a bitter laugh. "Well…what the hell… Four weeks isn’t so bad."

"I’ll call Kemp right now," Jack said, turning to pick up the phone to call his colleague. He was just about to begin dialing, when suddenly the phone receiver was lifted from his hand and placed back on its cradle. Jack jumped, and then realized that it was Flora. She had been standing right next to him and he hadn’t even realized it; he hadn’t even heard her approach him.

"There’s no hurry." she said, her quiet voice very close to him.

A chill went down Jack’s spine. "What—what do you mean?" was all he could manage to say.

"Oh, just that… Well, for the past six months, I’ve had to live with The Invisible Man. I haven’t said much about it, but as you pointed out earlier, it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to live with. But I put up with it, thinking that, somehow, sooner or later, it was all going to be worth it in the end.

"And as I watched you these past months, and all the wonderful things you were able to do with this strange power, I used to wonder what it must be like for you. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I were invisible.

"And now I am! The tables have turned. First, you become visible, then I become INvisible! Now I can see you, but you can’t see me!  Since it's my turn now, I think I’ll just have some fun with it and enjoy it for a while."

Jack couldn’t be sure whether Flora was joking or not, nor was he sure what she was going to do next. Either way, he failed miserably to conceal the increasingly frightened look on his face. "What—what are you going to do?" he stammered.

"Oh, nothing much. I’m just going to have some fun, that’s all!" she laughed.

The bedroom door opened and closed by itself. Flora had left the room. Jack tightened the sash of his robe and headed out the door after her.

"Where are you going?" he said, going down the stairs following his unseen fiancée.

"Out, of course!" Flora giggled. "I told you, it’s MY turn to have the fun now! See you later!"

The front door opened and closed by itself. Jack ran outside in his bathrobe, calling after Flora, but it was no use. She was gone. Slowly, he turned and went back inside.

Jack shaved, brushed his hair and got dressed. After being invisible for so long, he still could quite get used to being able to see himself again. But he was unable to completely enjoy it, however; he was worried about Flora and what would happen to her. He knew she would have to come home eventually, so he decided the best thing would be to simply wait around the house for her to return.

The afternoon wore on into the evening, and the evening into the night. By now it was getting late. Jack sat on the sofa in his bathrobe, watching the 11:00 news. He listened in rapt attention to a news story about further disturbances at several public places, rekindling the rumors of an invisible man loose in the small town. The rumors were further confused, according to the reporter, by the accounts of several witnesses who claimed that, unlike earlier incidents of weeks past, they’d heard a female voice during the disturbances, rather than a male one. It was clear from the smiling demeanor of the reporter that he did not take the matter all that seriously.

Just then there was a knock at the door. Jack switched off the television and bolted to the front door. He opened the little sliding panel to see who was outside. He saw no one. But a voice spoke to him from the darkness outside.

"It’s me, Jack:  Flora. Let me in."

Jack opened the door and was immediately brushed aside by an unseen force. He watched in amazement as foot-shaped impressions appeared in the thick carpet. He followed the impressions as they progressed across the floor and up the carpeted stairs to the bedroom.

"Am I glad you’re home!" said Jack, following the footprints. "I’ve been worried sick about you! What happened to you? Where did you go?"

"Oh, I don’t think that’s any of your business…" Flora’s laughing voice said from the bedroom.

"Flora…!" Jack said, annoyed as he followed her into the bedroom and closed the door.

"After all, I’M the invisible one now. I’m free to do whatever I want, aren’t I? No one can stop me. Not even you."

Jack’s mouth dropped open.

After a minute, Flora burst out laughing.

"I’m just teasing." she said. "Don’t look so scared! I’m not going to hurt you. Just relax."

"I’m TRYING to relax, but it’s not easy. This is all just so… I just don’t know what to make of you. I don’t know if you’re joking or not."

"It’s NOT easy, is it?" Flora said, soberly. "Now that the shoe’s on the other foot, how does it feel? It’s not much fun talking to the air, is it? Now you know how I felt all these months!" She paused a moment. "Now that I’m on the other side, things are a little bit different, aren’t they?"

Jack began to tremble. He felt his heart pounding in his chest. As much as he tried to deny it, even to himself, he was becoming increasingly frightened. Of what, he didn’t know. What was there to be frightened of? he asked himself. It was only his fiancée, accidentally made invisible, that’s all. Invisible, just as he himself had been not long ago. There’s nothing to be afraid of about that, he told himself. The trouble was, even though he told himself that there was no reason to be afraid, he FELT afraid nonetheless.

Silence followed for several minutes. Jack almost felt as though he were alone, yet he knew he wasn’t. He looked around the empty room, wondering where Flora was, what she was doing, whether or not she was watching him, and most important, what she was going to do next.

"Where—where are you?" he finally asked, in a weak voice.

"I might be anywhere, darling." Flora’s voice said from immediately in front of him. "And you would never know. But at the moment, I’m right here." Unseen arms reached around Jack, squeezing him. Immediately, he flinched.

"Now, now," she said, soothingly. "I told you, I’m not going to hurt you, just relax. I may be invisible now, but I AM still your fiancée. I’m the same person inside that I was this morning, the same woman who loves you and cares about you. The only difference is that now you can’t see me!" she giggled. "That’s all. So just relax…"

She reached her arms around him once more, and this time, prepared for their touch, Jack did not flinch; instead, he allowed them to softly glide their invisible caresses across his back, up to his shoulders. Instinctively, Jack moved his mouth forward, and in mid-air made contact with Flora’s unseen lips. His tongue met hers. Jack lingered in his reverie for several minutes, as he silently embraced his ghostly lover.

"So where DID you go?" he asked at last. "What did you do?"

"Oh, I just had some fun, that’s all," she whispered in his ear. "Stirred up some trouble, made a little mischief. ‘Haunted’ a couple of places, frightened some people… Played tricks on some poor unsuspecting fools… Just like you used to do when you were invisible. Remember? Hmmm?"

"MMmmmm…." Jack moaned, his eyes shut, as the unseen lips began to kiss his neck.

"I was wicked," Flora whispered. "Very, VERY wicked…and I loved every minute of it!"

Jack felt Flora briefly pull away from him. He opened his eyes and watched as the sash of his robe seemed to come to life as it untied itself.

"What—What are you doing?!?" Jack cried

"Now I think I wanna be wicked with YOU." Flora’s voice said from the air.

"No, no…" Jack said. "This—this isn’t right! It isn’t fair! I—I can’t SEE you!"

"Well, now it’s your turn to see what it feels like." Flora said.

Unseen hands pulled the robe down and away from Jack’s body, leaving him naked and feeling very vulnerable.

"There now, that’s much better." Flora’s voice said. "Now we’re both on equal terms." She paused, and then giggled. "No…no, not quite." she said, laughing. "I still get to enjoy the view!"

The unseen hands then began to caress Jack’s body, starting first at his chest, then gradually working down towards his stomach, then creeping down towards his navel…and below… Jack suddenly became aware of a certain ’presence’ below his navel, which the unseen hands suddenly grabbed onto. Jack reached his hands out to where he thought Flora was, but his hands groped nothing but thin air.

"You know, this can be fun for you too, Jack!" Flora’s voice said. "Not every man has an invisible girlfriend!" The unseen hands loosened their grip ever so slightly and began to stroke, slowly and gently at first, then more rapidly.

"Just think of the possibilities! You could be standing on a crowded street…" her voice briefly stopped, as did the unseen hands at their stroking. Unseen lips and tongue momentarily took over the task which the hands had heretofore performed; Jack drew a short intake of breath when they first made contact with his body.

"And little Miss Invisible will be giving you sweet satisfaction right there in front of everyone, and no one will ever know! Won’t that be nice? Hmmm-hmmmm!" The lips and tongue resumed their work.

"Uhhhh….Uhhhh…" Jack replied intelligently. "Uhhh, maybe you’d better not do that!" Jack said.

"Oh, it’s all right, darling! I promise I won’t swallow! I don’t want to get any of the reagent until I’m good and ready!"