MIND GAMES [One Direction fanfiction] - 13 and up

Harry Styles was just a normal teenage boy, a normal teenage boy who had a happy life and was quite content to live it the way nature had intended: completely normally, with no weird happenings or crazy adventures. Yet some things, it would seem, are destined to be, and it would appear that Harry’s fate was to be abducted by insane strangers intent on experimenting on him, and their four other hand-picked victims. Harry sometimes feels so alone, even when his best friends are only a few metres away - and he can’t seem to help but be afraid, because there are so very few things left in his life for him to control…


1. Chapter one.

Harry Styles awoke to a migraine that felt like his head had been run over by a bus, a mouth that tasted like sand and a steady, dull ache in his shoulders that continued right through his arms – unsurprising, really, seeing as they were chained to the wall above his head.

It took him three pathetic attempts to swallow, his brittle throat paining him with every gulp as he shifted awkwardly around, trying to understand what had happened. Chains, of all things? Chains? He didn’t even know you could get chains any more. Yet there he was, sat on a lumpy ledge of rock with his back pressed harshly against a stone wall, with horrible angles of uneven stone poking into his skin that he couldn’t seem to get away from. The whole room was dimly lit, shadows lurking in the corners, and he wasted several precious seconds struggling, as if by sheer defiance he could break free of his bonds and save his screaming arms from the monotonous throbbing that pulsed through them second by second.

His stomach rumbled with hunger pangs so fierce that he was almost afraid his stomach would rip open and spill its contents over the dirty floor – if there was anything left to spill. Groaning, Harry clumsily shook his head to toss his dark brown curls out of his green eyes, and rattled the chains that held him with a resigned misery.

He was confused and in pain, and terrified. A low, embarrassing whine slipped through his teeth before he could stop it, and Harry shook himself as if he could shake off the aches and the bruises, and the awful headache that wouldn’t leave him alone. Suffocating darkness pressed in on him from every direction, and he closed his eyes quickly, trying to ignore it. He wasn’t afraid of the dark, but being alone in a strange place, tied up and in a darkened room with no idea of how you had got there – that was enough to unsettle anyone.

It was all so confusing that his head was spinning. Gritting his teeth, Harry swallowed painfully once again and tried to focus. How had he come from walking down the street on a warm evening in his quiet hometown of Holmes Chapel, to being trapped in a strange room? Sick with hunger, he sniffed hard, not wanting to be reduced to tears but frightened enough that he might give in and start crying. Perhaps it was shameful for an eighteen year old boy to be so intimidated by shadows and silence, but not every eighteen year old boy was abducted – if that was what had happened – so he hoped he’d be excused for the slip. Fighting the degrading tears, Harry bit his lip hard and rammed his shoulder-blade into a particularly sharp piece of stone, the pain making him gasp. It was a good distraction, and it helped him to ignore the threatening hysteria he could feel welling up in his chest. Crying would be like admitting that he was scared, and if there was one thing Harry valued, it was his pride; he would never let anybody see that he was frightened, and he especially wouldn’t give that vindictive pleasure to his captors, whoever they might be.

The next thing he thought of was whether he was injured, because other than the aches and pains, his splitting headache and a few bruises, he was pretty sure he was okay. Harry did a quick inventory of his various body parts, twitching his fingers, wriggling his toes, bending his knees – then he shuffled forwards as far as the chains would allow and stood up. A rushing waterfall of pins and needles shot through his legs, and he yelped and almost fell over as his thick, sleepy limbs reluctantly awoke, needling him viciously as a punishment for staying in one stiff position for so long. Not that he had any idea how long he had been there. Sitting down again, he kicked his legs to loosen them up and then started staring blankly at the opposite wall, tracing the shapes of the rocks with his eyes and squinting through the darkness.

After a while, Harry started wondering blankly what would kill him first: boredom or starvation.

This pessimistic thought had only just occurred to him when a gentle cough made him flinch, and he gasped in shock and cringed against the wall as if that soft noise might attack him. His head jerked towards the source of the sound – and to his shock, a pair of wide, interested, but wary dark blue eyes were staring back at him.

“Hello,” the owner of those eyes said.

He was a boy who looked a few years older than Harry, although not as tall – there was an awful lot of Harry to go around; he was very long and stretched, whereas this stranger was more lithe and compact. By the look of his un-brushed, feathery brown hair, the dark circles underneath his big eyes, the unnatural way his cheekbones stuck out, his dirty, crumpled clothes, and the mess of painful sores on the wrists that, like Harry’s, were chained to the wall above his head, he’d been there for a fair bit longer. Harry felt his cheeks start burning at the thought that this stranger had seen him whimpering like a small child, and he ducked his head in humiliation before he started wondering how the other boy’s voice was not as dry and cracked as his own was, and how, if he had been there for so much longer, the rumblings of his stomach weren’t louder than small earthquakes. In response to the thought, Harry’s own stomach gurgled rebelliously, and he clenched the muscles of his abdomen to try and shut it up.

It took him a few seconds of swallowing before he managed a croaky “Hi” in return. Harry coughed weakly a couple of times to try and clear his throat, watched sympathetically by the stranger who had just spoken so clearly and without effort.

“I’m Louis,” the boy told him without waiting to be asked.

“I’m Harry. Harry Styles.”

“Pleased to meet you, Harry Styles. I’d shake your hand, but…” Louis smiled ruefully up at his bound hands, one of which was bandaged, and waggled his fingers in a small wave, his chains clinking.

“I don’t understand,” Harry forced out, “where are we?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve been here for about three days now; please excuse me if I don’t shut up at any point in the foreseeable future. I like to talk, and I’ve had pretty much no human interaction in all that time apart from the thugs who come in and feed me every so often, and they aren’t really up for a chat. I might talk your ear off; just a warning.”

Stunned by the amount of words that Louis could get out in such a short amount of time stunned Harry, leaving him blinking as he struggled to process them. “I don’t…what thugs? I don’t understand what’s happening! Why are we tied up?”

“Let’s start from the beginning, and I’ll tell you what I know – which isn’t much, admittedly, but let’s compare notes.” Louis licked his lips. “How did they get you?”

“What –” It took Harry a few seconds to work out what Louis meant. Forcing his mind back through the last few hours of his hazy memory, he concentrated very hard, and eventually worked out pretty much what had happened. “I was tying my shoelace,” he said quietly, “and some moron came up to me and bopped me on the head.”

Louis chuckled and then quickly straightened his expression. “Sorry,” he apologized, “I’m just admiring your vocabulary. ‘Bopped’. I’ll have to use that sometime.” He smiled wryly, and then continued, “was just casually walking down the street when somebody sneaked up on me and got me from behind. All credit to them; I didn’t see – or hear – it coming. They just punched me in the head, knocked me out cold, and I woke up…wherever we are.”

“So…we’ve been abducted? But why?”

“I don’t want to scare you,” Louis said gently, “but…I think they’re experimenting on us.”

“What? That’s ridiculous!”

“It’s the only conclusion can think of. They’re pumping us up to the eyeballs with experimental drugs.”

“Are you one of those conspiracy theorists? This sounds like something out of a bad science fiction movie. Do you have any proof, or was that just the first idea you could think of?”

“Move your arm,” Louis told him.

Harry frowned, jerking his right shoulder obediently to jar his arm – and then he felt an uncomfortable tugging sensation in the back of his hand. Looking up, he spotted a needle poking into the skin, connected to a clear plastic tube taped to his arm that trailed all the way down and was looped around a hook in the floor, where it disappeared into the stonework, presumably attached to some kind of medical equipment somewhere.

“Every few hours,” said Louis grimly, “they come in and inject something into the tubes. I’ve got one as well.”

The thought that someone might be using him as a human guinea-pig made Harry feel sick. “No,” he insisted, “it can’t be. They can’t experiment on us! Are you out of your mind? It’s illegal! I bet we’re sick or something, that’s what it is. It’s…I don’t know, IV fluid, or something.”

Louis tutted sympathetically. “Since when has IV fluid been luminous purple?”

Swallowing, Harry spared another glance to the tube, and saw that the liquid inside it was indeed a bright, faintly glowing lilac colour.

“I don’t know what’s going on here,” Louis muttered, “but it isn’t good. Besides, they keep taking me out for health checks, looking at my blood pressure and all that. They’re monitoring our life signs, taking readings…it makes sense, in a twisted way. We’re part of some massive illegal drug-testing programme.”

“I know what’s happened!” Harry interrupted. “We’re mental!”

Louis raised an eyebrow.

“I had a bunch of exams and stuff going on; I was really anxious all the time,” Harry rambled on desperately, “my mind must have snapped from the stress. I’m hallucinating.”

“Well you might be crazy, but I’m not mad.” Louis paused, and grinned. “Well, I am, but not in that way. Just in a random, cool kind of way.”

“You’re probably not real!” Harry announced dramatically, “I’m dreaming you up inside my head!”

“Well, in that case, congratulations on your vivid imagination, because you’ve convinced methat I’m real, too,” Louis said dryly. “I know it’s hard to accept, but this is really happening.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I punched someone, and my hand didn’t seem to like it,” Louis muttered.

“Why did you hit him?”

“It was the first time he tried sticking a needle in me, and I wasn’t having any of it. I whacked him right in the nose.”

“How hard?”

Louis spared a glance for his gauze-wrapped right hand and his mouth quirked upwards in a grim smile. “Very.”

“Good,” Harry said darkly.

They sat in companionable silence for a while, watching each other. Harry was reluctant to admit that Louis was a hallucination, or that he was mad, but he was ten times as reluctant to agree to the insane idea that they were part of some kind of freaky experiment to test a weird, glowing purple drug. Wary in case Louis suddenly went mad and started trying to attack him, Harry watched him cautiously out of the corner of his eye.

“It must be a windup,” he decided instantly. “It’s, like…one of those daft TV show pranks, or something. Are you a TV presenter?”

“Hardly. Besides, I think this is way beyond the parameters of a reality-TV windup. Even if they had the budget, they’d never be allowed to whack people over the head and chain them to a wall; they’d be sued before they could blink.” Louis gave him a sympathetic look; if they had been any closer, Harry knew that he would be patting him on the back for reassurance. “You’re grasping at straws, Harry.”

“Better that than to say that we’re being stabbed with needles and turned into mutants.”

Mutants.” Louis sniffed dismissively.

“Well, what else would you call us? If they are filling us with chemicals, anything could happen.”

“This may seem like a sci-fi movie, Harry, but I really doubt that. Now I see why you won’t believe me. You’ve stolen all your theories from comic books and bad movies. I’m not talking clichéd-mutations kind of drugs, I mean, like…cancer drugs, or something.”

“If it was anti-cancer drugs, I wouldn’t mind so much. If I knew it was a worthwhile cause…I’d do it. They wouldn’t have to punch me. It would have been nice if they’d asked.”

“Well, who knows what it is? Anything that glows purple is unhealthy in my book.”

Harry sighed and rested his head against the wall, closing his eyes.

It was all happening far too quickly. Harry was confused, his head spinning. He didn’t want to accept that Louis was mad – he seemed perfectly sane – yet the idea that his ludicrous story might be right was far worse. Experimental drugs that were going to do god knows what to his body? The idea was horrific. Yet…it all seemed completely far-fetched. Harry knew he couldn’t have thought of a story like that, so it couldn’t have been him who was mad, and if Louis could have thought of a story like that on the spot, then all credit to him – the tale, however unlikely, coincided perfectly with the facts which had been proved to Harry. He would expect to have seen outward signs that there was something weird going on in Louis’ brain, but Louis was not only perfectly calm and reasonable, but had also accepted that Harry would not believe his story and had attempted to bring him round to the idea by introducing the facts to him one at a time – not something that a delusional man would have thought of.

Louis had not spoken for a few minutes, leaving Harry to muse quietly for a while. He appreciated the lack of noise; his head was hurting so much that it felt like it might explode and spatter his brains all over the stone walls. He wondered if it was a side-effect of the glowing purple liquid that was steadily trickling into his bloodstream.

“You look like you’ve been stabbed,” Louis said quietly.

“My head is killing me, and it feels like I haven’t eaten for a week,” Harry snapped. He took a slow, deep breath. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay, I think you have reason to be a bit moody. They’ll be here in about ten minutes with food and fluids, by my reckoning. As for the headache, that could be something to do with being whacked over the head by some massive guy with a love of violence. I don’t think it’s the drugs, Harry.”

Relieved, Harry blew upwards, ruffling his hair. “You’re sure? I’m not going to grow an extra head or something?” When had he gotten so sarcastic? He didn’t recognise the sharp tone of his weak voice.

“Well, haven’t grown one yet, and they’ve been filling me with Ribena for a lot longer than you,” Louis answered mildly.

The Ribena jibe made Harry roll his eyes; if Ribena was luminous, then yes, it was definitely Ribena.

“Where are you from?” asked Harry.

“Why do you want to know?”

“If we’re going to end up as freaks of society together, we might as well be friends. I’m just finding out a bit about your background, I guess. Besides, it’s better than sitting here in silence.”

“I suppose you’re right…I’m from Doncaster. You?”

“Holmes Chapel.”

Louis made a small noise in the back of his throat. “Weird place to go looking for someone to kidnap, that. It’s not a very big place, is it? What are the chances…?”

“Yeah, it’s weird…I always wanted excitement, but this wasn’t quite what I had in mind.”

“Not the first thing you think of, is it? Being attacked and filled with drugs…” Louis tutted. “Talk about cheesy.”

“People would pay good money to watch a movie about this, you know.”

“If we ever get out of here, we’ll sell our life story to the papers,” Louis said dryly. “We’ll be billionaires.”

“I won’t ask you to shake on it.” Harry grinned and rolled his eyes. “But yeah, okay. You’ve got yourself a deal.”

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