This is part 11 of a serialised spooky tale, Chapter 10 is here, or use the Menu to locate earlier chapters
J moved around the library racking his brain regarding where to look for more answers. In front of him was the ‘global culture’ section, from which a book had fallen on the floor, which he picked up. “Greek Mythology” its front cover declared, in raised gold script. J opened the book and flicked through the pages, realising as he did so, how many legends had been plundered and used for modern game design. Turning to the pages relating to the quest carried out by Perseus, his memory began circling the story as if it had something significant to impart. He remembered the Gorgons with their hair of writhing serpents, the one which Perseus kills was named Medusa. Pieces clicked together in his mind bringing a revelation as to this story’s usefulness: Perseus had used his mirrored shield to avoid looking directly at Medusa, which enabled him to get close enough to behead her without her enchanted gaze turning him to stone.
At last they were getting somewhere! He checked out the book then stuffed it into his backpack before hurrying off to afternoon class.
That night J went round to Alex’s house. He told his parents it was to study but really he wanted to discuss his findings and plot what action to take. Up in Alex’s slightly messy bedroom, they played music to disguise their conversation if anyone was passing his door.
Being a gamer, Alex was familiar with Perseus’ quest. He thought a reflective object to look into was a great defense if Danny was using his eyes or a swinging/ spinning object to induce a hypnotic state in his victims. Alex suggested carrying a hand mirror at all times, in preparation for dualling with Danny. J thought it was simpler to use the ‘camera’ function on a phone, its electronic ‘eye’ would be in no danger from hypnosis. They both realised the hitch was if Danny was using auto-suggestion. They could hardly stop themselves ‘hearing’ his words – using the camera wouldn’t help here. They came up with the idea to put headphones in their ears and turn the music up loud, but admittedly it would be hard to achieve in a hurry. As a precaution they would both wear their earbuds at school to make it easier to quickly start playing music.
With those practicalities sorted, the next step was where and when, and of course how to tackle Danny! Alex had team practice after school the next day, and was adamant that J shouldn’t confront Danny alone, he wanted to provide back-up. J argued that he couldn’t waste any more time, he was heart-sick about his sister Lulu. She remained a pale, frail thing, not waking properly or eating. His parents were taking her to a specialist as soon as they received a letter of referral from the GP.
J had a plan to confront Danny with their suspicions, and threaten him with exposure to the Headmaster and parents of the affected children. He hoped Danny could be persuaded to cease his serial hypnotism of small children, and release his current victims from their coma-like state. J suspected that if the older boy was enraged, he’d be likely to try hypnotising him in retaliation, but was hopeful that the phone camera would act as filter and offer protection. Alex suggested he could even play the footage back to Danny and hypnotise him with his own technique – that would be a neat way to end his wicked behaviour! It was risky though, J would have preferred Alex there as wing man.
With plans made for tomorrow, and a tube of Pringles eaten washed down with a large bottle Pepsi, J set off home with his heart racing. He felt keyed up about what he must do tomorrow. He made sure to put his phone on charge overnight; he’d need a full battery for playing music to override Danny’s hypnotic words.
J’s parents were huddled together downstairs talking. His mother’s eyes were red rimmed, as if she’d been crying, but they tried to act normally and wished him goodnight.