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I always thought hypnotism was a fake. A scam. People were planted in the audience to make the hypnotist look good. But I liked to watch hypnotism shows and every time I went to one, I volunteered. I never got picked, except that one time.
The hypnotist calls me up and sits me in a chair. His eyes twinkle with excitement. He starts the normal blabber. “You are getting sleepy… Very sleepy… You will fall asleep when I clap…” he drones. My eyes flutter and I fake a yawn. He clapps. I close my eyes, playing along with his stupid act. “Whenever you hear the word, ‘Chicken,’ you will act like a chicken for ten seconds.” he instructs. Puh-lease. Not going to happen. He went on, “Wake up when I clap.” He claps. “You are so brave for coming up here, Kira!” How did he know my name? “Most people are too chicken.” he smiles.
I hold in a laugh. “No way, Mr. Hypnotist, not going to happen,” I trie to say. All that comes of my mouth is a squack. My arms fold. My head bobs. This is madness. Why did I volunteer? The ten seconds end. It’s over. I have control of my body again. Or so I think. I try to move to my seat. My feet are glued to the ground.
“Good job! You can go now!” he says. My body moves on its own. I walk off the stage and sit down in a chair in front of the stage. I sit through the whole show, unable to move. It ends. Soon, I am the only one left. My body gets up and walks to a van marked with the hypnotist’s logo, the eye, crying. I get in and sit in the back. The hypnotist comes in and again, he smiles. His eyes twinkle, this time laced with malice, not excitement. Without wishing to, I smile back.
I start packing his things. He hands me an outfit and leaves. It’s a horrible assistant’s outfit. It’s pink and ruffly and shows too much skin. It’s a two piece that would show my belly button ring I got at worse times. It’s covered in bells and flappers line the breast. I start to put it on. At least there’s one thing I can control about my body. Or is it his body now? I cry.
The days go by and I try again and again to move. To free myself of him. I never did anything to deserve this fate. Unlike the villains in the movies, he never revealed his evil plan to me. He never told me why I was here. He never even told me his name. Everyday I wish for a hero to come and save me. To sweep me off my feet. I’ve heard of girls siding with their kidnappers due to trauma. That will never happen to me.
It was the twenty-eighth day, or was it the twenty-ninth? He had no show today. The great magician was free, like I never would be. He grabbed my hand and pulled me outside. I don’t see why he did. He had no need to physically pull me. We were in a park. It was so sunny, I automatically shielded my eyes. How did I do that? Am I free? I try to move again. No such luck. It feels weird to be in the sunlight. All of his shows are at night. I’ve been a child of the night for a while. The night’s allure had been lost to me. I sit down at a bench. He brings a picnic basket out of the van. I don’t even remember eating these last twenty-something days.
He looks away, and speaks quietly, “I’m about to let you speak. If you scream, I will take away this privilege. I can easily make people forget you ever asked for help. He flicks me in the head with his finger.
“Oi!” I say, “Why did you flick me?” He was beginning to seem like my little brother, George. I did that to George. I wonder if George missed me. He probably was excited to have a room to himself for once.
The hypnotist looked at me with a sly smile. What was he staring at me for? Then, I noticed. I spoke.
“What are you?” I asked. He looked down, as though remembering better times.
Suddenly, his expression soured. “I am the one your parents tell you stories about. I am the one hiding under your bed, hoping to eat you up. I am the one who is, to put it simply, a monster.” he murmured.
It was then when I noticed the little things about him. He had chocolate brown hair, mostly over his eyes. With that hair, and his expression of pure sadness, anyone could mistake him for an emo boy. He has a scar under his left eye and another framing the right. Three staples in each. How did I not notice these before? Did he wear makeup when onstage? I tried to trace his face with my mind. There weren't many noticeable features about him. One of the few was his nose. It was large with a crook in it, as though it had been broken and healed.
“Erm… Aren’t people going to notice me in this outfit? It isn’t exactly de rigueur… An assistant outfit in the park is a bit out of the ordinary,” I said to him. He laughed. His laugh is deep and throaty.
“So she said to the boy in the top hat and cape. Don’t worry. The children see amazing things like this everyday. The adults just don’t always see them. But, sometimes, if the adults think very hard, they can see such things in the dark of night, when fears are amplified,” says the boy in the top hat and cape. He smiled, a bit sadly.
He clears his throat. “Lets go inside somewhere. The sun sorta hates me,” he says with a smile like no other. We get up, my body still obeying his commands. There’s a small hut in the park. We walk towards it and he pulls out a key. I wonder how he got it. He closes the door. The only light in the room is the sun coming from the crack at the bottom of the door. I hear a click. Did he lock the door?
“Listen, Kira. I’m really sorry but I can only break the curse this way. I’m really sorry. It can only be to the people you like. You really like. And I really like you,” he says, gasping in air.
“Curse? What type of game are you playing? And is this a love confession? I’m sorry but I don’t like you that way,” I say to him.
He grabs my shoulders. I shudder. He says, “Remember when you asked me who I am? And I said a monster? That’s a short term thing. And I’m really glad you don’t feel that way about me, because then this could go on forever. Or would I prefer it that way?” He holds me tighter. I feel his grip growing tighter, his hands growing bigger. Suddenly, I feel the ground disappear from the soles of my feet. I squirm. I can squirm. My body is free. I try to move away, but he’s too strong. I never liked strong boys. I feel his teeth sink in to my neck. I feel the ice rush through my body. Is he a vampire? is he changing me? In the books I read, when you change, it burns, not freezes. Suddenly, the freeze is so cold, it burns. I don’t think he’s a vampire. I don’t think he’s anything I’ve ever heard of. The freeze is insufferable. I don’t think I can stand it anymore. Suddenly, it stops. The freeze shrinks back into the bite wound, and out of my body all together.
“What? How? If you bite someone you love, the curse is meant to move on to them!” he exclaimed. I looked him up and down. He was a monster, inside and out. He looked like a creature from a story to scare children into behaving. He acted like one too. And by one, i meant a child. He seemed to be weak, blacking out even. The freeze was taking him over, all over again.
“You know, Mr. Hypnotist, if you really did love me, you wouldn’t want to change me. You’re a sick person.” I say. I grab the keys out of his pocket, unlock the door, and strut into the sun. This is where I belong. In the sun. I don’t ever want to see the dark again. The man on the moon will always be watching me, and I’m pretty sure his face will blend with my captors. I close the door behind me, locking it.
I jump into the van and find my clothes. It feels so good to wear them after that itchy costume. I place the keys into the ignition, and put my address into the GPS.
For the first time in forever, I’ll be home.