Sophie woke up first. I was aware of her scratching on the door. She had apparently decided to wait until she was taken for a walk instead of running off on her own to go pee. The experience we had with the police left her fearful of strangers.
In the urgency of the situation, I could see Sophie glancing around the room looking to see if there was a place to urinate that wouldn’t get us into too much trouble. I pleaded with her to wait. I’ve no idea whether she could hear me in her head or not, but she decided to go wake Dr. Crowe up first. She did this by sitting on her knees next to Dr. Crowe’s bed and making a squeaking noise that may have been an attempted bark.
Dr. Crowe was easily able to distinguish between me and Sophie, and not just because of the blindfold. Sophie acted very much like a puppy, boundless with energy and enthusiasm. I was the opposite. She got up and opened the bedroom door. Sophie sprinted down the stairs and began running in circles, impatiently waiting for Dr. Crowe to come down and take us outside.
I expected Dr. Crowe to take us to the back yard, but instead, she slipped on a bathrobe and her shoes and took us out the front. Sophie didn’t need long to decide where to go, as soon as our feet touched the grass, she squatted down and let about half a liter of urine spray onto the lawn. “Good girl!” Dr. Crowe said, patting Sophie on the head. “Do you want to go for a walk?”
Sophie did. She began wagging my butt and put her hands up like a dog begging for a snack. Dr. Crowe then walked us around the block. We passed several neighbors; none realized that Dr. Crowe was naked under her bathrobe. Though, they probably wouldn’t have thought much about it if they knew, considering that I was only wearing a small, braided collar around my neck.
It was a strange experience. On more than one occasion, Dr. Crowe would see a neighbor she knew and so she would stop to chat for a minute. She introduced me as Sophie and even let them pet my head while they talked. Thankfully, she didn’t let them pet anything else. Tabitha had been less restrictive with where she let people touch Sophie.
We walked for a good 20 minutes before returning home. Dr. Crowe had told me that she would be recording today, so there was no need to leave the house after that. When we got back inside, I saw Dr. Crowe hang her bathrobe on a coat rack next to the door. I was a bit surprised that she was staying naked today. Sophie noticed it too and took it as a sign that Dr. Crowe wanted to play.
“What are you doing?” Dr. Crowe exclaimed as Sophie crouched down like she was ready to pounce. I felt the glee in her heart as she attempted to romp into Dr. Crowe. For her part, she managed to sidestep us and we bounded forward onto the sofa.
Sophie turned to do it again but was cut off with a thwack across my head. “Sophie, no!” She scolded.
Sophie stopped, but I could feel her excitement as she was looking for another opening. “I said, ‘NO’” Dr. Crowe chided. Finally Sophie relented and bowed her head down. “Good girl.” Dr. Crowe said, finally. This brought Sophie’s mood back up. She hated being a bad girl.
“We can play later, but for now I need to work.” Dr. Crowe told us firmly.
Sophie followed her around the house until Dr. Crowe told her to go lay down. Sophie went back to our bed and took a nap. It was still pretty early, so I didn’t mind getting some more rest. Sophie fell asleep quickly. As I lay there, I began trying to regain control of my body. I gave up after about an hour and finally drifted back to sleep.
“Wakey-wakey, Sophie.” I heard Dr. Crowe announce. Sophie didn’t hesitate, but was on our feet in an instant, waiting for her next command. “Are you hungry, girl?” Dr. Crowe asked excitedly.
I heard my stomach growl, which sufficiently answered the question. Sophie was practically bouncing off the walls on our way downstairs to the kitchen. Dr. Crowe had fixed a grilled cheese sandwich that was sitting on the table. Instinctively, Sophie walked up near the table. She didn’t dare sit down or try to take the food, but expectations were high.
“NO!” Dr. Crowe scolded. “Down.”
Sophie squatted down and lowered her head. I felt her panicking. I wasn’t sure what she had done wrong.
Dr. Crowe went into the kitchen, but Sophie didn’t move. After a minute, Dr. Crowe returned carrying two bowls. She set them on the floor and ordered Sophie to “Eat.”
Sophie fell to her hands and knees, and crawled over to where Dr. Crowe had set the bowls. She sniffed them first before looking to see what was offered as food. The bowl on the left was filled with water, the one on the right was filled with what looked like dry cereal of some kind. It smelled off though.
Sophie looked up and Dr. Crowe nervously, then glanced at the sandwich on the table before giving Dr. Crowe a terrified look. “This is your lunch, now eat.” Dr. Crowe ordered.
Reluctantly, Sophie began eating the food. It tasted terrible. It took me a minute to realize that Sophie was eating dog food. Why would Dr. Crowe feed me that? Sophie didn’t like it either, but she was afraid of being punished again. After finishing the dog food, Sophie drank all of the water to wash that taste out of our mouth.
Seeing that Sophie had finished eating, Dr. Crowe, who had also eaten her much tastier lunch, was standing over us patting Sophie’s head saying over and over again, “Sophie is a good girl. Sophie is a good girl.”
Sophie had already forgotten the horrible taste of dog food. All she could think of now was joy from being called a good girl. She started shaking our butt in the air, as if she was wagging a tail.
Sophie stood on two legs as quickly as she could manage. It too me a minute to remember that I only have two legs and two arms.
“Good girl!” Dr. Crowe said.
Next, I saw Dr. Crowe pull out a small notebook and begin browsing through it. It looked like one of the notebooks she used to write in while I was her patient. Suddenly, her eyes lit up when she found the page she was looking for. “Now Sophie, I know you are out of practice. I want to help you remember your training so you can be a good girl.” Dr. Crowe said cheerfully.
“Sit, Sophie, sit.” Dr. Crowe said.
Before she had finished saying the second ‘sit’, Sophie was already squatted down, mimicking the way a dog sits, except our butt didn’t actually touch the floor.
“Sophie is a good girl.” Exclaimed Dr. Crowe.
“Stand.” Dr. Crowe ordered.
Excitedly, Sophie stood up again. This was easy for her. Dr. Crowe went back to the notes. I heard her comment about taking us for another walk to practice the directional instructions. Then she paused and studied the notebook for a minute. “Hmmm, does this still work?” she wondered out loud.
“Sophie, speak.” Dr. Crowe ordered. This time, Sophie began to panic again. Dr. Crowe repeated the command, but that just made Sophie start to tremble physically. “Ah, maybe you don’t remember this command.” Dr. Crowe pondered.
One more time, she said, “Sophie, Speak!”
Sophie responded by audibly whining and was on the verge of tears. “It’s okay, girl. You don’t remember how to speak. I’ll teach you.”
Sophie stopped whining but was still visibly nervous about this situation. “Sophie, say ‘Thank you’ now Speak.”
This didn’t seem to be a phrase that Sophie was particularly familiar with. In my head, I tried to coach her. I told her, ‘Sophie, say Thank You’. That didn’t help much, but it did get Sophie to try mouthing the word. No real sound came out, but she made the gesture. I repeated the first word several times and I finally heard her squeak out some squeaky sound that mimicked Dr. Crowe but sounded more like ‘ank ooo’.
Dr. Crowe looked overjoyed at this sudden obedience. “That’s close, Sophie. You are such a good girl!” Dr. Crowe said. “Try again, say ‘Thank You’.”
Again, in my head I began just making the ‘th’ sound. Over and over, I was sure she could hear me. Finally, I heard her say “Tank hoo”.
“Good Girl!” Dr. Crowe exclaimed. “Such a good girl! You deserve a treat.”
Dr. Crowe went back into the kitchen and returned with a brown paper bag. “Yes, you deserve a treat.” Dr. Crowe said. She then reached into the bag and pulled out a large chocolate chip cookie. “Here you go girl.”
Sophie was so excited as Dr. Crowe handed her the cookie. She didn’t even want to eat it, because it was her trophy for learning a new command. “Go on Sophie, eat your cookie.” Dr. Crowe said.
Reluctantly at first, Sophie took a bite. When she tasted the chocolate chips, I felt the thrill of having such a wonderful treat. Sophie quickly gobbled down the rest of the cookie faster than I thought possible.
“What do you say, when someone gives you a treat?” Dr. Crowe asked.
Sophie’s eyes widened, she didn’t know the answer. I started screaming in my head, ‘Sophie, tell her Thank you!’
“What do you say?” Dr. Crowe repeated patiently.
After a few seconds, Sophie decided to give that a try. “Tank hoo.”
“Yes. You ARE a good girl. If I give you a cookie, you tell me ‘Thank you’.” Dr. Crowe said in a tone that was excited as I’ve ever heard her. She then handed Sophie a second cookie.
Sophie didn’t hesitate on this one, she stuffed it into our mouth and gobbled it up. After a second, she realized what she had done and lowered her head before saying, “Tank you.” To Dr. Crowe. This time she actually got the ‘you’ to sound correct. It was still really squeaky, and Sophie had no idea what it meant, but she could speak two words.
Dr. Crowe was so happy with Sophie for learning her first words that she didn’t even bother scolding us for eating the cookie first. Instead, she patted Sophie’s head and told her she was a good girl.
I still wasn’t sure if Sophie was hearing me or figuring this out for herself. I tried an experiment. I began telling Sophie quietly at first but more urgently as I began repeating the phrase, ‘Sophie, say Dr. Crowe’
Dr. Crowe was patting Sophie’s head while I tried to get her to say those words. Over and over I repeated it. If I had had the ability to speak, I would have been screaming at the time of my lungs. Then I heard Sophie scream something back, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” It was so loud in my head that I lost access to my eyes. Normally, when I would transition from myself to Sophie, there would be a fading of red to purple to black. This one happened so quickly that I went directly to black and before Sophie had finished yelling at me, I was no longer conscious to hear anything.
I have no idea how long I was out for. When I became aware of myself again, Sophie was already asleep. I could hear Dr. Crowe’s deep breathing that indicated she had also gone to bed. I stayed up the rest of the night trying to figure out what had happened. Clearly, Sophie had heard me yelling at her, but somehow, she was able to kick me out of my own head for a while. Why can’t I do that to her?
When the next morning rolled around, Dr. Crowe took us to the backyard. She didn’t even bother with the bathrobe back there. I was starting to think she wished she could walk around naked all day instead of us. She did, however, bring a plastic bag with her. “Not forgetting this again.” She told Sophie with a chuckle. I guess I had missed that part. Whatever had happened, Sophie didn’t need the plastic bag this morning.
Once done, Dr. Crowe took us to work. Surely, she was going to put the blindfold on me and let me take over my body again. We walked to work with Sophie on the leash, though it didn’t feel like Sophie needed it. She had learned the way to Dr. Crowe’s office well enough that she knew when to stop, when to start and where to turn.
Once we got up to the office, Dr. Crowe sorted through the patient records and did all the prep work that I used to do. She then told Sophie each of the patients’ names. She repeated them again and again, each time asking Sophie to repeat them back. To my shock, Sophie didn’t seem to have any trouble with this command. Somehow, Sophie could check patients in even without my help. I began to worry about exactly how long I was out of my head.
Based on the patient schedule, about 2 weeks had passed since Sophie had banished me from my own head. What on earth had Sophie been doing with my body all that time? That thought caused me to shutter a bit. I considered asking Sophie directly about it. I was certain that she had heard me speaking in her head the last time, but then again… she was able to lose consciousness for two whole weeks the last time I tried to talk to her. I needed to figure out how she did that so maybe I could get control of my body again.
The bell chimed when the door opened. In walked our first patient, Mrs. Edna Johansen. She was a tall lady, in her mid 50’s. From the notes, I had learned that Dr. Crowe was treating her for depression. I always expected depressed people to be sad all the time, but Mrs. Johansen often seem quite chipper when she arrived. Today was no exception.
“How are you doing today, Annie?” Mrs. Johansen asked.
To my astonishment, Sophie responded with “I’m great!” It wasn’t my voice… Sophie all but squeaked when she talked, but she did talk. She responded like a normal person.
“That’s good to hear. You’ve been so excitable these past couple of weeks. I guess that therapy is doing wonders for you.” Mrs. Johansen said. “Maybe I should try going out naked a few times to see if it really does help.” She gave a loud laugh that caused Sophie to jump back a bit.
After a second, Sophie handed Mrs. Johansen the sign in form. When she had signed it and handed it back, Sophie stapled it to her insurance form and added it to her record. She had managed to learn my system and was doing everything I would normally do. I was really impressed by that. And scared…
I didn’t hear Dr. Crowe standing behind me until she spoke. “Good morning, Edna.” It startled Sophie too. She swung the chair around so quickly it made my eyes blur for half a second. Sophie eagerly handed the record to Dr. Crowe and smiled up at her expectantly. Her efforts were rewarded with a gently pat on the head and a “Good girl.” from Dr. Crowe. I felt Sophie’s elation from those words. She was a good girl, I had to remember that.
After a moment, Dr. Crowe went into her office with Mrs. Johansen. I watched as Sophie sat alone at the reception desk. I felt a wave of loneliness and nervousness from being all alone at the reception desk. It was unsettling, I honestly could no longer distinguish my feelings from Sophie’s.
Sophie was very fidgety, looking through the records to check who the next patient was. Going through the entire list of patients and starting over. She squirmed in the chair and twice got up like she wanted to go scratch on the door to Dr. Crowe’s office. I could feel the panic and a memory of pain that stopped Sophie in her tracks. Evidently, that was not being a good girl, and Sophie had learned not to scratch on the door when Dr. Crowe was with a patient.
After a while, the next patient had arrived. This was Mr. Aaron Lee. He was started coming here after his wife had died in a car accident about a year ago. When I first started, Mr. Lee was so quiet and reserved that I started to think he had lost contact with the world around him. Though, lately, he had become chatty and even flirted a bit. Of course, most of his change happened after I stopped wearing clothes to work.
It should have bother me to have him staring at my naked body like that, but Sophie really liked the attention and at the moment, my feelings were not my own. They were hers.
Shortly after Mr. Lee arrived, Mrs. Johansen emerged from Dr. Crowe’s office. Dr. Crowe collected Mr. Lee’s record and headed in with him. Sophie went from happy and eager back to sullen and near panic as soon as the door shut. And so the day went.
Dr. Crowe had set aside a couple of breaks to take Sophie for a walk, which she loved. My body had already started to be conditioned to want to go to the bathroom as soon as we left the building. Sophie didn’t hesitate to squat down at the first bush we reached and empty my bladder. People, all of them stranger to me, stared and gawked at us as we wandered around the streets with me being naked and led on a leash. Dr. Crowe and Sophie didn’t even seem to notice it anymore.
As we walked, several times a person on the street would confront us and demand to know why Dr. Crowe was walking a naked girl around the neighborhood. She explained to each of them calmly that this was a form of psychotherapy. Though they seemed skeptical at first, when she produced the court papers that permitted the behavior, they switched from outrage to intrigue that this was real.
She even received a couple of offers if she ever needed someone to take me for walks. She took their contact info, ‘just in case’ and we eventually headed back to the office. Dr. Crowe took Sophie back into her office during lunch. There were two bowls on the floor, one with water and the other with what looked like a brown cereal.
When Dr. Crowe sat at the round table in the middle of the room to eat her lunch, I watched as Sophie crouched down onto her hands and knees and slyly nuzzled up, putting my head on Dr. Crowe’s lap. Dr. Crowe began stroking Sophie’s head and feeding her bites of a sandwich she had prepared. I felt a flash of joy coming from Sophie. She liked eating people food so much better than what was in the bowl.
It suddenly occurred to me that I was seeing Sophie’s memories. And also, that it was not cereal in the bowl, but dog food. Why would Dr. Crowe be feeding me THAT? Sophie wasn’t always allowed to eat people food. Today, she was a good girl, so she received a treat.
After lunch, there were three more patients to see Dr. Crowe. Sophie continued to check them in. Each time Dr. Crowe would disappear into the office, Sophie would grow more nervous so that toward the end of the day, she was visibly shaking.
“What’s wrong, Sophie?” Dr. Crowe asked as the final patient of the day had gone ahead into her office.
Instead of answering, Sophie cautiously bowed her head and pressed up against Dr. Crowe’s hand. I could feel that she wanted some attention, but was afraid to ask for it. Dr. Crowe patted Sophie’s head for a moment. “It’s okay, girl. This is the last patient today. After that, I have a surprise for you.”
Sophie looked up, she liked surprises. Well, she usually liked surprises, but she decided to blot out the times that she didn’t like them and instead focused on being excited.
“See, you are already happy again. Here. Play with these for the last hour and then we can go.” Dr. Crowe handed Sophie a box of crayons and a coloring book. I could see that Sophie had played with this toy before, as some of the pages were already colored in. Horribly colored in, as Sophie was a bad artist, but she had at least understood the concept.
Once Dr. Crowe left us, Sophie began busying herself with looking through the pages of the book. She found a page that had not been colored on yet. It was a drawing of a huge bee floating over a tulip. Sophie pulled out a purple crayon. Her eyes focused on the bee for some reason, and then she moved the crayon down to start filling in.
That’s not right. Bees are not purple. As the crayon was about to touch the paper, I did… something. Suddenly, the crayon was now moving toward the flower petals instead. I have no idea if tulips ever come in purple, but I know for a fact that bees do not.
That’s when it occurred to me. I was controlling my arm. Or at least I was controlling the crayon. Sophie didn’t seem to notice. Slowly, I filled in-between the lines for the flower petals. Next I pulled out the green crayon for the stem, and the yellow crayon for the bee. Finally, I took a light blue crayon and filled in the sky for the background.
Sophie tried to resist, but I maintained control. I realized that she didn’t like coloring where there were no lines to guide her. But this was my drawing, and it needed a background. Instinctively, I took a black crayon and signed the drawing.
After we were done, Sophie stared at the thing. She didn’t understand why this one turned out so well, but she was proud of herself. All of the other pages, she colored outside of the lines and the colors she picked were nonsensical. On this one, she knew that this was what it was supposed to look like.
After Dr. Crowe came out and the final patient had left. Sophie showed her the book.
Dr. Crowe studied the page I had colored and then studied Sophie. A small smile appeared on her face for just a fraction of a second. Tilting her head sideways slightly, she asked, “Annie? Are you back?”
Sophie’s eyes widened as she shook her head. She crouched down and raised her butt into the air as if to prove that she was Sophie, not Annie. Dr. Crowe stood there and stroked my head for a while before securing the leash back to my collar. “Let’s go.”
“Home!” Sophie squeaked.
“Not just yet.” Dr. Crowe told her. “I have someone who wants to meet you tonight. Can you be a good girl?”
Sophie bounded around, so happy. She liked meeting people. She would be a good girl. Sophie is a good girl!