Marking Time – Chapter 8 – Flight and fight

Feet pounded on the thick carpet and the crystals on the chandelier in the hall tinkled like falling icicles as Peter ran from room to room tugging on the doors and windows.  All were locked fast. 

“Peter, Peter, stop now stop.  Calm down, don’t panic.  There’s no need for this.  Calm down.” 

Phil caught his quarry around the shoulders and pulled him to the floor falling on top of him.  Heels scuffed the old oak floorboards in the kitchen as they wrestled and mauled at each other.  “No, no, Peter there’s no need for this.  Honestly, try to calm down”  

Peter couldn’t speak, he was more afraid now than when he had been sneaking round the streets watching out for Big Jake and his thugs.  At least then he was in the open and flight was possible if necessary.  Now he was a bird in a barn panicked and frantic.  

Phil was the heavier and fitter and after a short while which seemed to them both to be interminable he had Peter pinned to the floor.  He knelt above him holding his shoulders they both gasped for breath. 

“Let go, let me go, you bastard.” 

“Peter, calm down.  Let me talk.” 

“No, no more talk, you’ve talked me into this.  Let me go, If you don’t let me go right now I’ll start to yell.” 

“Aw come on lad you know that won’t do any good.  Who’s going to hear you?  Just calm down now, there is nothing to be so upset about.  Let me talk to you calmly and I’ll explain.” 

“Oh yeah, explain how you drugged me, how you tricked me, how you’ve lied to me.  Yeah right go on explain.” 

“If I let you go now will you be calm, sit on the chair and let me talk.  Will you.” 

Cold blue eyes stared back at the older man.  After a couple of minutes it seemed that both were calmer and Phil loosened his hold slightly.” Shrugging the hands aside Peter scrambled to his feet. Knowing that the doors and windows were all locked he didn’t run but he simply stood his hands tensed at his side his eyes narrowed. 

“Now, please sit down.  Please let’s talk.” Phil pulled a chair from its place under the table and turned it so that Peter could flop into it without taking a step and so appearing to submit. 

“Peter, I know this looks bad.  I do understand and to be honest I didn’t want to go down this route but I am an employee.  I do as I am told.” 

“Oh right, even if it means drugging people and kidnapping.” 

“Oh now come on kidnapping, you have to be kidding.  I have told you and told you that I haven’t drugged you and I haven’t.” 

“So if you didn’t drug me how come I don’t remember arriving here the first time and then nothing after leaving Mum’s” 



“Hypnosis.  I simply told you to forget it and you did.” 

“You didn’t hypnotise me, where was the watch, where was the “”Look into my eyes?”” 

“There are many ways to accomplish hypnosis.  In the pub that first day you were exhausted from stress which made you very susceptible.  It can be subtle, subliminal in the right circumstances.  Then yesterday the CD in the car, you weren’t really aware of it were you?” 

“Some sort of mood music stuff, dead naff actually.”  Phil allowed himself a small smile.  “Are you telling me that you did it with that? 

“Partly yes, partly suggestion, partly subliminal suggestion and after the first time it’s just a continuing process.  But I never, ever used drugs I promise you.” 

“But why?” 

“It was important on that first day that I bring you back here.  Big Jake was looking for you, he had armed himself he was intending to make an example of you.  We had been watching you for a while and we decided that the time had come for us to act urgently.  We really did it for the best honestly.  Then I admit I made a mistake today.  When you started asking questions I took the easy way out.  I am very sorry.” 

Peter raised his head, still angry and frightened he was also somewhat mollified by the apology.” 

“Where does this leave us then?”  

“I think that it’s up to you.  I will promise you that I won’t do it again, no more hypnosis.  I can’t answer your questions right now but as soon as I am able I will and in the meantime can we try to find some trust?”  Phil held out his hand. 

After a pause of some moments they shook hands.  “If I am the least bit unsure in the future I am out of this and I want a key for the door right now.”  In answer Phil leaned over and lifted the big key from where it had fallen on the hall carpet, he handed it over with a small smile.  “Tea, coffee.”  Peter nodded, his eyes still wary and unsure this was no longer the fairy tale he had imagined.


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