(Inspired by art from blissful_sonia)
Note: This does not in any way suggest recreational hypnosis over professional (hypno)therapy for treating or curing phobias. This is merely a spontaneously-inspired story.
Sciophobia, an irrational fear of shadows. I’ve had a small-to-mild case of it since childhood. Ever since I’ve known about it, I’ve tried to fight it and push myself past being afraid of shadows, including my own. It got better in my teens, up to a point though. Staying a relative’s house who lived near an airport at 19 though, I got hit with it harder than ever. Walking through the neighborhood on a clear day, the huge moving shadow of a plane landing scared the shit out of me, literally. My only saving grace then was that no one witnessed my embarrassment that day.
I still wanted to combat the sciophobia though, but after that airplane and the many vivid, nightmarish fantasies that followed for a while, I would need more help. In my 20’s, I looked through many options of professional help, and somehow quickly gravitated towards hypnotism. Professional would probably be more than I could afford then though, so I started looking locally for hypnotists who at least might start to be able to help me.
I asked a friend if he knew any. Apparently he knew a guy who was into hypnosis recreationally. The guy my friend knew got back to me with a recommendation within a few days. I was supposed to meet her at an art gallery; I thought it strange at first as I figured a coffee shop or something would be a better neutral meeting place. An art gallery was still a public place though, so hopefully we’d both be ok.
While waiting for her, I looked around the gallery. I’m not that into art, but a lot of stuff there was worth browsing for while I waited. Eventually I noticed two things while I waited. First, the lighting seemed purposefully arranged in such a way that it reduced the amount of shadows. And second, I was the only one in the gallery, other than the woman who’d been watching me since I entered. By the time I realized I was being watched, she’d already made her way to me.
“Yes, I’m Gerald.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Sonia.”
Gerald to a moment to take the sight of her in as they shook hands. She was beautiful, and not just the way of physical attraction. Her demeanor suggested intelligence and possibly an assertive nature.
“Why don’t we have a seat?”
Sonia moved us to a nearby bench.
“Do you happen to own this gallery Sonia?”
“As a matter of fact, I do,” she said, sounding a little surprised. “How could you tell?”
“I’ve been in other art galleries before, and I notice the shadows in her seem like their barely present. It also seems like some painting are missing some light.”
“You have a very keen eye; yes, things were setup this way for our meeting.”
“I appreciate the gesture; I hope it won’t take away from any other patrons.”
“This is usually a quiet period of the day, it’s unlikely we’ll be disrupted. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to hear from you specifically your problem, and why you’d think hypnosis could help.”
I gave an outline of what was my phobia, how strong it was, and what I was hoping hypnosis could do for me. I didn’t mention the airplane, or any of the other really bad memories of shadows. I think she knew I was holding back, but I’m glad she didn’t press on into it.
“I see. Well Gerald, to be honest, I can’t guarantee at this point that I or hypnosis in-general will help you, but I do think that it’s worth a try. And just one or two sessions would not be any kind of immediate fix. The first thing I’d recommend is to have a session to test your susceptibility, to see how responsive you would be to hypnosis.”
I was glad to hear her give a sensible answer, but I wondered where we would be having this session. It would still be too visible for my tastes to have it on this bench, as anyone passing by the gallery could look in.
“It wouldn’t be here, Gerald. My office in the back would be private and hopefully comfortable enough. Would that be alright with you?”
“That would be fine with me, thank you.”
Sonia led me back to her office where someone seemed to be waiting for her to return.
“John, can you do me a favor and tend to the gallery for a little while?”
“Yes, Sonia,” the man muttered in a low, emotionless voice. My expression beat my mouth to asking my next question for her.
“Yes, Gerald, he is hypnotized.”
“Wow, does everyone look like that in hypnosis?”
“Not really, there are different levels of trance, and certainly different reflections of those levels. John has been a subject of mine for some time. He simply enjoys the relaxation he gets from being hypnotized, of which I’m happy to provide for him. He may look sort of out of it now, but by now he should be very awake and ready to help anyone who enters.”
I looked out at her assistant, and he then seemed fully awake like she said.
“I consider myself a pretty good hypnotist, but you might not go as deep as he does now, especially after just one session.”
She gestured to a comfortable looking couch nearby, and we sat down together. She started me off with a few breathing exercises, slowly trying to get me to relax. I took breaths deeper and deeper as she spoke, and closed my eyes somewhere along the line as she spoke. We did this for what felt like 10 minutes, and I wondered if this was just a matter of going through the motions, or if I was proving to be non-responsive. I was paying attention more to my own thoughts than what she was saying, but I clearly heard her tell me to open my eyes.
I did and noticed that her red fingernail had been tracing its way up and down my arm. Instead of asking if it was ok to touch me, like I thought she would ask, what came out was “Does this feel good to you?” I’d noticed a growing tingling sensation in my arm, but for some reason I never associated it with being touched. I had to admit it felt good though, so I shook my head ‘yes’ and let her continue. She talked about the color of the nail and how she loved it. It was pretty in the office light, and was easy to follow as it moved in either a straight line or a long oval shape from my wrist to somewhere in the middle of my bicep. I just watched it, felt it, and listened to her. The words weren’t clear, but the sound was nice. My eyes were getting heavy; I tried fighting it off to keep sight of the fingernail, but feeling them close felt as good as watching the red nail, so I just traded one pleasure for another.
It felt trippy how good this felt, especially my head. It felt like a silk pillow was under my head, caressing my neck. And that tingly feeling from my arm moved to my forehead. Sonia was speaking all the while, and I smiled as I realized I how good hypnosis felt.
She woke me up 30 minutes later, looking as satisfied as I felt. I thanked her profusely, telling her I’d not felt that good in forever. She graciously accepted the thanks, and complimented me on being a good subject. I asked her if I could experience this again; I’d forgotten to remember the reason I was there in the first place. She hadn’t, fortunately.
“I am willing to work with you in the future. It seemed like you really were in need of some relaxation there.”
We worked out an arrangement where I could have another session with Sonia once every two or three weeks. Usually the highlight of the month would be the once or twice I’d see Sonia and feel that tingle all over again. We did talk about my phobia; I’d gradually opened up to her more and more. I even hinted at the airplane shadow, but didn’t yet go into specifics. One post-hypnotic trigger she’d given me was a quick breathing trigger for reducing stress and gaining relaxation if my phobia was really giving me trouble, something that came in handy on several occasions.
I’d been coming to Sonia for about 4 months before she suggested coming to her gallery one evening instead of the daytime like usual. After sundown, I was typically an indoors person. I could go out with friends, visit family, but most times I chose not to go through the hassle. Night-time could be a bitch for so many forms of darkness and shadow shapes to play tricks on me. I was willing to brave through it for Sonia though. John let me in the gallery that closed early today and pointed me in the direction of the only well-lit part of the gallery. I walked there causally, and was surprised in what I came across.
Sonia was dressed like a sexy stage performer, complete with a spotlight shining down on her as she leaned against the wall. What was really freaky for me was how her hands used the light to form a shadow that made it look like she was wearing a dark, living cape. Besides shadows, I wasn’t a fan of bats at all. This was like a culmination of two fears, in a bad prank form, with Sonia at the center. And for some reason, I was hard, and could only walk TOWARDS her.
“Tonight, I would like you to address me as Queen.”
“I am the Queen of Shadows.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle nervously as I sat down on the bench in-front of her. Something in my body was making me react like I never thought I could. I was aroused and anticipating something from Sonia, now the “Queen of Shadows”.
“I’m ready,” my mouth said ahead of my brain.
Sonia snapped her fingers, and she moved away from the wall, but the illusion of the cape surrounding her remained. It flowed like a breeze was casually blowing through the gallery. I should’ve been scared shitless (again), but most of my focus was on Sonia now. At the center of something frightening was infatuation, fascination and lust. I would’ve likened it to a venus fly trap. “Venus” in this case was gorgeous though, the kind that makes you forget about anything else in the room, including things you’re supposed to be afraid of. The Shadow Queen bore the same confident smile I was used to, just with a sexier shade of red on her lips. The look in her eyes trying to somehow convey “you have nothing to fear from me.”
She reached out her hand as she stood in-front of me.
“The Queen of Shadows offers you her company for the time being; she understands your apprehension and if you are unwilling to comply. If you are willing however, please take my hand.”
I looked from her face to her hands. Red nails deeper than her lipstick shade; just looking at them brought the tingle back to me. I felt like I was cut off from my fear in a way I could never do on my own. It would’ve been foolish to pass this opportunity up, so I took her hand. Gently holding my hand, she slid the nail somewhere along my wrist going upwards and bliss was poured all over my body. I approached the darkness to the dimly lit office less mindful of everything but the Queen.
I was only conscious of the soft feel of something silky under my head again, and nails tracing circles or spirals over my forehead again and again. This time though, I was able to understand her words better.
“I am the Queen of Shadows, and you have entered my realm now. I know of your fear Gerald, I know you’ve feared this for a very long time. I’ve come to offer you a chance to see the shadows for what they are, merely darkened reflections of light, a necessary counterpart to things you are not afraid of. If the sun proves warmth and heat, think of shadows as a cool breeze washing over you. All shadows are under my control, and I have no reason to harm anyone, least of all someone like you Gerald. You are in my favor; you’ve shown fearful respect to my shadows while still being brave enough to walk amongst them despite your feelings. For the first time in your life, allow me to show you the pleasure shadows can bring you. You might notice that as you listen to me, it feels as if a silk cover is being pulled over you in this symbolic sleep. The silken cover are my shadows Gerald, and they move for your pleasure, at my command. Feel my touch on your body, eclipsing your thoughts, your own will being safely overshadowed by my own. There is nothing to fear; on the contrary, your body tells me you enjoy this very much.”
I couldn’t tell which part of me anymore was in darkness, in light or wherever. It all seemed grey, but I believed I was somewhere in Sonia’s shadow, and it felt wonderful.
“Shadows across your body feel like a lover’s touch. Teasing you, leaving traces of fleeting pleasure. You desire the shadows to remain with you. They comfort you in ways the light cannot. To be away from shadows is to be away from their Queen. Do you truly desire that?”
“Nooo…” I whispered breathily.
“Would you like to continue to bathe in my power, to feel the shadows envelop you in shadows moreso Gerald?”
“Lovely, the Queen of Shadows is more than happy to oblige. Soon, you will find yourself more awake but still feeling pleasure, as content with everyday shadows as you are being surrounded by mine. When you arrive home, you will find yourself overtaken by my voice in your head, reminding you over and over again of this pleasure, urging you release yourself to it. Once you have, you will sleep peacefully as anytime as you’ve sessioned with Sonia. You’ll awake tomorrow invigorated, with a deeper peace of mine, and my protection and pleasure if you wish to call upon it. Do you understand?”
“Very good. Come back to me now.”
She snapped her fingers, and the rest of the night played out as the Queen of Shadows wished.
I still session with Sonia when I can, but I never forget to thank her for how much easier life is to live for me. I owe my Queen of Shadows a great deal for my peace of mind, and I hope to permanently remain in her favor.