"What will I be capable of?" I asked hesitantly, not sure I wanted to know this.
"What are the methods of hypnosis, Henry?"
I suddenly felt like I was at school. Slightly worried my answer would be cause for Andrew to laugh at me, I asked "Why?"
"Because I'm going to be adding to your knowledge and understanding of the world you live in. There is far much more you'll need to be aware of if you are to succeed as a master-Captivator."
Whoa, this had become so much more formalised...
"Who taught you?" I asked curiously.
"My best friend."
"Oh. Well, you must have been lucky to have his experience."
"Yes," Andrew agreed. "So. The methods of trance induction?" he prompted.
"The stare, the special tone and drawing."
"And what makes a suggestion effective?"
"Repetition, references to sleep and involvement of the subject - for example, saying something like ‘You know you want to'."
"Good. Just out of curiosity, which one of our brothers taught you?"
"Ryan. He taught Shaun and Simon too."
"Ah, yes, Ryan. He'll go far, that's for sure."
I snorted. "I doubt it. He's been checking people's suggestibility in his spare time, recently. Hardly something important people do."
Andrew shrugged. "We all start somewhere."
"Is this going somewhere?"
Andrew shook his head. "Let's get back to what you know. What is the most hypnotic shape?"
"A spiral. Anything that has curved lives will draw in a suggestible person, though."
Andrew nodded. "That's good. You know a lot... for a mildly hypnotic Captivator."
"If there's so much I don't know, why don't you enlighten me?"
"I'm getting there. Have patience, Henry. So, now that we've covered the basics, let's move on to the more complex stuff. Master-Captivators can make suggestions with the aid of hand gestures and physical contact."
"Pardon?" I asked, not quite sure if I'd heard him correctly.
"You heard me correctly," he said, reading my expression. "I mean, for example, if you squeeze someone's hand comfortingly, you'll trigger something in their subconscious that will make them not only feel comforted but totally comfortable around you too."
"That sounds interesting. So ... say I punched you. You'd not only feel pain, but you would know that there was no part of me whatsoever that liked you. Would it work like that?"
"I doubt you'd need to hit me to convey that. And no, incidentally. This only applies to several gestures."
I shrugged. "Guess I can still punch you if you annoy me."
Andrew rolled his eyes. "If I were you, I would practise being more mature. What could happen if you messed around near Harriet?"
I stiffened at the thought. "You're right," I said, serious now. "What else do I need to know?"
"Not much more. Right, I'm guessing you know that people can resist you in various trances?"
"Yes," I murmured. I looked down. "But I've forced someone into total submission before."
"Really?" Andrew asked, surprised. "Who?"
"Harriet," I mumbled, ashamed.
"I wanted her to break up with Arthur."
"Oh. What went wrong?"
"Arthur managed to undo my suggestion."
"Ah - too bad. Well, what I was going to say about resistance is that master-Captivators can make their subjects fully compliant by massaging their shoulders and murmuring "Relax, surrender, sleep" while staring deep into their eyes with a calm expression on their faces."
"That results in full compliancy? Whoa, that's so easy."
"Yeah, and you know you can give a suggestion which means they'll instantly be entranced by a certain action?"
I nodded. "If you suggest a shape will induce a trance or tell them to go into one when you tap their shoulder or something? Is that what you're talking about?"
Andrew nodded. "Well, if you make that sort of suggestion while they're in this sort of trance, they'll always go into a trance where they'll be fully compliant."
"That's not the end of it. They'll also obey you when they're awake."
I grimaced. "I bet some master-Captivators exploit that power."
Andrew nodded. "Yes, they do."
"What other chilling things are you going to tell me?"
"Um, just one final thing. You can reprogram a person's mind."
"I bet I'll really, really hate this one."
"Yeah, you will. So, at the moment, you can change mood, personality and tastes, right?"
"Well, now you can change love and hate, and the methods the subject learns best by (for example, you can change someone who learns best by reading and writing into someone who has an extremely photographic memory). Also, you can give them a more vivid imagination and change what things they typically think about. Basically, you can redefine their personality, although it's subtly more than that."
"That sounds very scary," I murmured. "I don't think I'll be using that talent."
"Oh, I don't know - you might see its usefulness some day. I had a friend once who wanted to make Anna fall out of love with Michael."
Andrew frowned. "Michael found out."
I winced. "Oh dear."
"Oh dear indeed. Well, you can go now. There's no more I need to tell you."
I stood up, my mind spinning slightly, and said "Thanks... I think."
I walked to the doorway but found myself turning on the spot.
"I'd try again with Liza, mate," I advised. "There's only so long a girl will wait."
Andrew smiled, but warmly this time. "Thanks, Henry."
‘What had just happened there?' I wondered, bewildered. I began to return to my room. I decided along the way that I must have been too tired and overwhelmed by information to think straight. I absolutely refused to entertain my other thought - that Andrew wasn't so bad after all. There was only so much you could change in the way you felt towards a previous oppressor.
In my room, I started to get my bags ready for school. I couldn't believe how fast the holidays had gone.
I was struck by a sudden thought. So much had changed in the space of a short moment. How much would things change on Monday, with my new ‘talents' affecting the way everyone saw me?
I hope I can cope with the change. I don't want to end up losing control...