I got changed as fast as I could after P.E. and walked up towards the nearest school building.
Henry came out of it and beamed as he saw me. He frowned slightly, glancing behind me. I turned and looked to see what he was looking at and laughed as Sara and Beth came sprinting up.
"They wanted to see you too," I said cheerfully.
Henry's brow furrowed. "I'm not quite sure they did."
Sara strode up to Henry and asked, "What have you done to her?!"
"Nothing," he answered. "I promise. She'll be herself tomorrow."
"Who?" I asked.
Beth came up beside me, panting slightly.
"You," she replied.
"Oh, I'm not feeling ill or anything," I told her. "Where shall we do this, then?" I asked, turning back to face Henry.
"Er, let's go find somewhere quiet."
"We're coming too," Sara said.
"Brilliant," I said.
I cheerily followed Henry to the building we'd just entered. He found a corner in an empty corridor and the four of us sat down.
I brought out my mirror and placed it on the floor in front of me.
"Keep it there," Henry said approvingly.
"What's happening?" Sara asked suspiciously.
"Henry's hypnotising himself," I replied, serious now. "We're going to get him to resist the temptation to hypnotise me."
"He's tempted to hypnotise you?" Beth asked, shocked.
I nodded. "We have to help him out."
"Oh, definitely," Sara said, nodding in agreement.
"Right," Henry said. "I'm going to stare at my reflection. When I don't blink for about a quarter of a minute, one of you has to say ‘Resist the temptation to hypnotise Harriet.' Then, click your fingers and take the mirror away. Are we ready?"
I nodded, watching his actual face as he gazed down into the mirror. Sara and Beth both watched his reflection.
From this angle, I couldn't actually see his eyes, but I noticed when his eyelids stopped closing for a long period of time. I counted to fifteen and glanced at Sara and Beth, wondering why they were quiet. To my surprise, they weren't blinking either. Their pupils were slightly dilated, I noticed, and I realised they must have been entranced too. I gathered that if I made a suggestion, all three of them would follow it. I was about to click my fingers by Sara's ear, when I suddenly thought, ‘I don't want to hypnotise Henry. It wouldn't be right: it would be like hypnotising Sara or Beth.'
I puzzled over how I would get out of this when I remembered learning about something called the Placebo effect in one of the sciences. I could click my fingers and tell Henry I'd told him exactly what he'd wanted to be told and he'd be none the wiser. Also, perhaps he'd be more suggestible after having gone into a trance and so, find it easier to believe me. It was risky, what with two friends who actually would be capable of making a suggestion here, but I thought ‘I'll give it a go.'
I clicked my fingers without having said anything and put the mirror back in my pocket. Henry looked up and blinked a couple of times, Sara and Beth doing the same, and asked, "Did you do it?"
I nodded, smiling.
Sara and Beth frowned slightly.
"I didn't hear you say anything," Sara said.
"Were you looking at the mirror?" Henry asked.
"Oh, dear. You must have been entranced too. And Harriet didn't realise. Oh well, if you ever end up with a pendulum in your hands, you won't be using it on Harriet."
"We wouldn't anyway," Beth said, scowling. "Unlike some people."
"Let's go," Sara said, standing. To Henry, she said, "If Harriet is not 100% herself tomorrow, we'll be the ones hypnotising you."
Henry nodded. "That's perfectly understandable."
Beth and I stood up and the three of us went off to out next lesson. I waved goodbye at Henry as I walked. He waved back and smiled. He looked gratifyingly more light-hearted.
I'm glad that I won't be tempted to hypnotise Harriet again. This will make my life so much easier. I'm also glad that I won't have to leave. I couldn't bear the thought of never seeing Harriet again, even if it was for her sake.
In a sense, today was harder than any other day because Harriet was happy to see me. I wish she'd greet me with a hug like that every day and I think just about every dream I've ever had about her would come true if she told me she'd missed me overnight.
I woke up to the sound of my mobile phone ringing. I picked it up from where it was lying on my bedside table. I saw the time on my alarm clock as I sat up. To my alarm, it was ten o'clock.
I answered the phone groggily. "Hello?"
It was Sara. "Heya, Harriet, are you feeling okay?"
"Um, my head feels like lead but otherwise, yeah."
"What time did you go to sleep last night?"
"Not that late at all."
"How do you feel about Henry? Do you like him?"
"Oh no. It was like I was possessed before. Sorry if I was horrid to you and Beth on Thursday."
"No, it's fine. As long as you're okay. I was half expecting you to declare love for Henry!" Sara laughed nervously.
"Oh, no. Things are how they were before."
"Well, I'll leave you to resume your lie-in. Bye"
Sara hung up.
I got out of bed and was about to head to the shower when I froze. I hadn't hypnotised Henry yesterday... Had I briefly lost my sanity? What made me think I could trust him? I didn't really fancy risking my friends getting hypnotised again so I decided I wouldn't say anything but if Henry showed any sign on wanting to hypnotise me, I was definitely going to do the job properly.
I showered, changed and breakfasted before deciding to go out to the park. I told my parents where I was going before I headed outside into the bright, warm sunlight of an early autumn day.