Chapter 4

Henry

            I think I've blown it. She's bound to have realised what I am. Maybe this is a good thing, though, because she'll naturally try to avoid me out of fear and she won't tell anyone because she'll sound mad. I have a feeling that I won't be able to stand seeing her tense around me in lessons, though, and I'll either make her forget what she thinks I am or make her comfortable with it. Even though I'm a threat to her, even though I thought I was all right at the prospect of her hating me, I can't live properly if she dislikes me.

            What if there was a chance she could grow to love me? She certainly seemed worried about me at lunchtime. It would be great if she could ... She'd be such a brilliant girlfriend.

 Harriet

                I wandered over to a corner and sat down, lost in thought. Henry couldn't be a hypnotist, he couldn't. He was so great to be around.

But ... he could've hypnotised you to think he's great, another part of my mind thought. A debate ensued.

He wouldn't do something like that.

You don't know that. You've only known him a day, remember.

It feels like I've known him all my life.

Another thing he could've made you feel. Perhaps he got to know you really well and so it's like he treats you as if he's known you all his life.

He never says anything, though.

Well, if he has been hypnotising you, you wouldn't remember, would you?

How does he induce a trance? I've never seen him with a pendulum. And my friends would notice if I went into a trance.

That's the thing. Sara and Beth did say you looked hypnotised around Henry. It would actually make sense if he were a hypnotist, since it would explain how much he looks you in the eye and how your thoughts go blank around him.

Why me, though? He doesn't seem to use any sort of powers on anyone else. He mostly talks only to me.

What about Anita, though? She was nervous around him during English yesterday and then later on, she was chatting to him as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

‘It does seem to make sense,' I admitted. I paused. ‘Is he evil?'

He could be. You wouldn't know if he'd hypnotised you to ignore any signs that he was.

What do I do?

Confront him and depending on his reaction, either stay away from him or continue to be his friend. He might not be a bad person.

I sighed. ‘I'm too trusting, aren't I?'

Yes, but it helps you to be loyal to your friends.

What do I tell Sara and Beth?

Tell them you're worried and that if you start behaving strangely, to confront Henry and avoid making eye contact.

I stood up and walked to the lunch hall. There, I picked up a plate of pasta without really taking notice of the sauce and went over to sit with Sara and Beth who were finishing up.

"Where've you been?" Sara asked, sounding worried.

"Oh, nowhere," I said. "I just sat down to have a think about something. Can I tell you two something?"

"Sure," Beth replied.

"I'm feeling ... slightly worried at the moment and I'd like you to promise that if I begin to behave in an odd way, you'll go to Henry and, without making eye contact, ask him about whatever unusual things I do."

"Why?" Sara asked, frowning.

"I was thinking about what you were saying about me looking mesmerised by Henry," I lied.

Beth grinned. "We meant starry eyed."

Sara's brow was furrowed. "No, we didn't. Remember you thought Henry was controlling her."

"I was being silly."

I looked searchingly at Beth. "Have you talked to Henry recently?"

Beth shook her head.

Sara looked surprised. "Yes you have. You went and talked to him this morning to ask if he liked Harriet."

"No, I didn't," Beth said, laughing. "You're going mad, Sara."

Sara and I looked at each other. We stood up and put our trays away and began to walk out of the lunch hall, ignoring Beth's protests.

"What were you worried about?" Sara asked.

"Being hypnotised," I confessed.

"You don't think he's hypnotised Beth, do you?"

"It seems that he could have done."

"Do you reckon he's noticed Beth and I are your friends?"

"It's very likely."

Sara looked frightened suddenly. "What do I do?"

"You just stay away from him and ignore him if he tries to talk to you. I'm going to confront him. That's why I'd like you to watch out to see if I behave in a weird way."

"What if he hypnotises you so there's the subtlest change and Beth and I don't notice?"

"I'm just going to have to rely on the fact that you two are my best friends and would notice if anything altered."

"Are you scared?"

"Yes," I admitted. "Very scared."

"When are you confronting him?"

"Whenever I see him next."

"Be careful."

"I will."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

Beth appeared, looking very confused. I walked off to find Henry.

                I found him outside, sitting on the field. He stood up as if to walk away but I gave him a warning look and he sat down. I sat down opposite him.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"I've been ... sad," he replied.

I was surprised to find he was telling me about why he'd been so disconsolate all the time. I wanted to know this as well and it was good for him to feel comfortable before I started asking him difficult questions.

"I really like this girl and she doesn't feel the same way," he continued.

"How d'you know if you haven't asked?" I asked, knowing he was talking about me.

He obviously didn't realise I knew and replied, "I did."

I'd unwittingly trapped him.

"No, you didn't," I said, confused.

Henry looked from the ground, looking confused. "How do you know?"

"Because it's me."

"Why would you assume someone loved you?"

"You kissed me on the cheek and it was obvious you never wanted me to worry about anything."

"Oh, well then, I didn't need to ask."

"You just said you did."

"I ..."

Now was my moment. "Are you a hypnotist, Henry?"

The End

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