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…


3. Chapter three.

Harry hadn’t spoken to Louis for several hours, not because he was angry with him, but because he was starving, and when Harry was hungry he became irritable and prone to fits of bad temper that caused him to snap at anyone in sight. Not wanting to risk saying something in anger that he would regret later on, he had chosen to stay silent. Beside him, Louis was staring glassy-eyed at the wall opposite them, his eyes flickering up and down without seeing anything, and it would have been almost creepy if Harry had really been paying attention. As it was, he only caught sight of Louis in his peripheral vision.

He had fallen to counting the seconds to pass the time, and something in the monotonous chore had distracted him for a while – but his hunger pangs had returned in force, and every minute or so his concentration was thrown by a distracting gurgle from his insides, which he was powerless to stop. Louis was also suffering; the quieter rumble of his stomach passed through the room occasionally, but they didn’t set Harry’s teeth on edge the way his own complaining gut did.

When a particularly loud sound from deep in the pit of his abdomen caused him to lose count for the eight  time, Harry growled furiously and shook himself, hard. Their meal was long overdue, and even Louis was starting to shift restlessly, not bothering to try and coax Harry out of his filthy mood, because he was busy wrestling with his own.

There was a low thump, and the familiar door opened with a creak. If Harry had been able to stand up, he would have done; instead, he jerked his head and leaned further forwards to stare at the figure in the doorway.

“It’s about time!” he said furiously.

Without responding, the first, familiar man stepped backwards over the threshold, not looking round. Facing him was another stranger, dressed from head to toe in navy, with a bushy greying ginger moustache on his upper lip that drooped limply over his mouth like a dead fox’s tail. Between them, they were supporting the body of a blond teenage boy, who was unconscious and slack-jawed, his mouth hanging open and limbs dangling loosely. He was shorter than Louis, and good-looking, and his sleeping face looked friendly and strangely innocent. Clearly he was heavier than he looked; the two men were struggling to lift him, and they breathed heavily with diamonds of sweat beading on their foreheads as they staggered across the room and started to fasten him to the wall in an identical fashion to Harry and Louis, cuffing his wrists, chaining them above his head, and propping him up against the stonework. Interested but horrified, Harry and Louis stared at him pityingly, wondering when he would wake up, where he had been snatched from, what his story was…Harry’s curiosity was barely overshadowed by his pity.

Once the blond was secured to the wall, Harry and Louis were released and frogmarched down the corridor at top speed, and steered into the same room as before, but opposite sides so that they couldn’t communicate. Another dull, unbelievably balanced meal was served, and Harry wolfed it down so quickly that he almost choked on it, closely followed by Louis. He wasn’t sure which of them was hungrier, but he had a very large mouth, as he would freely admit, and so he managed to eat quicker.

As they ate, Harry tried to communicate with Louis across the room, but there was a limit to how much you could convey by raising your eyebrows and frowning, so much of the meaning of their conversation was lost. Still, there was something reassuring at the attempt to speak to each other, and it seemed to lessen the prickling on the back of Harry’s neck at the feel of the moustached stranger staring intently at his back.

Determined to be back in their own room when the blond boy awoke, so that they could attempt to explain things to him and so that he wouldn’t feel so terrified – an experience which Louis had already had the misfortune of going through, and hated  the idea of anyone else enduring – they ate so quickly that it was surprising they didn’t choke. Impatiently rushing through the standard blood tests and quick health checks, for once, Harry was perfectly behaved without even a hint at trying to be disruptive.

Not-Jeff seemed suspicious of Harry’s sudden switch from rebellion to complacency, but his companion took no notice of his obvious unease, leading Louis back towards the darkened room and leaving Not-Jeff to escort Harry. Together, they manoeuvred the two boys into their places and once again restrained them, although thankfully Harry’s once painful chains were slackened, presumably in recompense for his good behaviour. Thankfully, the blond boy was still unconscious, slumped against the wall, his head lolling at an awkward angle with his hands pinned above his head, and Harry was relieved that he hadn’t awoken on his own. Eventually, after checking that the three of them were definitely secure, the two men calmly walked out in silence. Their lack of communication even through glances sent a chill through Harry; there was something eerie about the way the two men didn’t seem to interact with each other at all, and their stark, bland expressions were somewhat creepy. The relief as the two men left the room was so thick that Harry could almost taste it; the air filled with his and Louis’ thankful sighs.

Then, they diverted their attentions to the sleeping boy opposite them.

His motionless face was blank, so that it was hard to tell how old he was. He wore a bright red polo shirt with the collar twisted oddly, tan chinos, and dirty white Supras, which almost seemed to glow dimly in the darkness. There was something cute about the way his mouth hung so widely open, and Harry looked at the wisps of blond hair falling across his forehead with a strange, sad pity. Long eyelashes curled delicately on his flushed cheeks, and there was a small, bluish-green bruise blossoming on one cheekbone. A cheeky twist to his open mouth hinted that he was constantly on the brink of laughter, and as his chest rose and fell, Harry thought wistfully that in a place like this, there would be no reason for the boy to laugh at all. In sleep, he was unrestrained and careless, showing a vulnerable, sweet side that was rare to see in people; usually, if it was there, they hid it, even in sleep. This boy had nothing to hide. He looked strangely innocent and childlike, sleeping peacefully, and Harry hated the thought of the boy awakening to such a hostile and unfriendly place, with only two well-meaning strangers to try and console him.

“They did it to someone else,” Harry murmured sadly. “They snatched someone else off the street and tied him up in a dark room with a bunch of strangers and no explanation…how many people are they going to abduct?”

Louis made a face. “As many as it takes until they get the result they’re looking for – or until they kill one of us.”

The very thought of that was malevolent enough to make Harry shudder. He tossed his hair out of his eyes and wet his lips nervously.

“Let’s wake him up,” Louis said briskly.

Harry was appalled. “We can’t do that! Look at him. He looks so peaceful. Let him sleep for a little while. He won’t want to wake up in a place like this.”

“He has to wake up some time,” Louis pointed out, “it may as well be now. If we leave him for a few hours, his legs will have gone to sleep, and you know how that feels – it’s like rolling round in stinging nettles. The sooner we wake him up, the better.”

“But look at him!” Harry stared helplessly at the boy. “Just…just look.”

For a moment or so, Louis looked, taking in the sleepy vulnerability of the unconscious boy in front of him. Then, he opened his mouth widely, clearly acknowledging Harry’s argument and disregarding it all in the same moment, and yelled across the room obnoxiously loudly,

“Hey, you! Kid! Wake up!”

The boy stirred in his sleep and whimpered quietly, turning his head with so that the metal links of the chains clinked together. A faint frown creased his forehead and the corner of his mouth twitched downwards in a grimace.

Louis!” Harry protested in horror. “Shut up!”

“Oh, Harry, you know me.” Louis flashed a bright grin in Harry’s direction. “Me, shut up? Even for a second? As if!” Raising his voice, he turned back to the blond. “Oi! You! Wake up and smell the coffee, sunshine!”

The boy jerked, and the back of his head crashed against the wall. A cry tore its way from his mouth and his eyes flew open as he twitched into a sitting position, trying to pull his arms down to his sides and realizing in shock that they were fastened above his head. His eyes flew open, and Harry blinked at them, captivated – blue was far too crude a word for eyes like those. Cobalt, turquoise, cerulean and sapphire swirled together in the depths of those wide, frightened irises. A weak little noise slipped from the boy’s mouth, almost pathetic in its faint, animalistic simplicity; the sound of fear.

“Where am I?” he asked desperately, and then he burst into tears.

Aghast, Louis scrabbled backwards against the wall in horror, his own blue eyes wide with shock. Tears were something he was uncomfortable with; the sight of this stranger, who was only a year or so younger than he was, crying his eyes out because of him, made him feel awfully guilty. Turning pleadingly to Harry for help, he stared in shock, and Harry sighed heavily, irritated that he would have to try and comfort the crying boy when he had toldLouis not to waken him.

“Hey!” he said quickly. “Don’t. Don’t do that.”

Fearfully staring at him, the boy repeated in a terrified, high-pitched voice “Where am I?” His tone was tinged with a hint of hysteria.

Louis’ mouth twisted with regret at the reaction he’d inspired in the stranger. “Okay, mate, calm down.”

“But where the hell am I?” the boy yelped. “Why am I tied up? Who are you people? What the hell is going on?” He struggled violently, chains rattling as he fought against the restraints. Tears spurted down his face as he writhed in panic.

“Whoa!” Harry said immediately, “listen, that isn’t helping anyone. Stop it for a second, yeah?”

“What’s going on?” the boy wailed again, moisture dripping from the corners of his eyes and rolling messily down his face.

“What’s your name?” Harry asked kindly.

“Niall,” sobbed the stranger. He had a soft, friendly Irish accent; it was barely discernible, thickened by his tears, but it was there.

“Right, Niall,” continued Louis, “how about we do you a deal? You calm down, okay, and talk to us – and we’ll tell you everything we know.”

It took a few moments of swallowing before Niall took a deep breath and bravely nodded, tilting his head to dry his eyes on his shoulder.

“Okay then,” Louis said. “I’m Louis, and that charming fellow over there is Harry Styles.”

Harry gave Niall a shining example of the famous grin that had sent dozens of girls at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School weak at the knees, and waggled his long fingers in a clumsy little wave, his chains tinkling as he moved. Taking a deep, calming breath, Niall nodded tightly, and he managed a very forced smile in return.

“How old are you?” Louis enquired.

Niall looked slightly defensive as he replied “Eighteen.”

“Hmmm,” Harry mused. “Same age as me…but you’re older, aren’t you, Lou?”

“Yeah, I’m twenty…so age can’t be that crucial…” Louis nibbled his lip thoughtfully. “Whereabouts are you from?”

For the first time, Niall stopped looking bewildered and said a little sarcastically, “Ireland.”

“Obviously,” Louis said patiently, “but where in Ireland?”


“Never heard of it.”

Niall’s mouth twisted wryly. “Yeah, well, it’s not very well known. Not much happens in Mullingar. There’s been some debate over whether it even belongs on the map.”

“That’s interesting,” Harry commented. “Mullingar…why would they go all the way to Ireland just for the purpose of randomly snatching someone off the street?”

Blinking at him, Niall replied in surprise, “They didn’t take me from Mullingar! I was on a trip to London, with college.”

“How did they get you?” asked Louis.

“I was walking down the street,” Niall answered dreamily, staring at the ceiling, “in South London somewhere. I was eating a burger. Some guy came running up to me and asked me the time, and I looked at my watch – and boom! They stabbed a huge needle into my arm. That’s the last thing I remember.”

Louis made a thoughtful noise. “That makes a change from bashing people over the head.”

“I don’t get it,” Harry said. “First Doncaster, then Holmes Chapel, then London…it’s as if they’re just picking people randomly wherever they can find them.”

“Perhaps they are,” said Louis softly.

“Whoa, whoa, hold on a second – who’s they? I’ve answered your questions, now will youplease tell me what’s happening?” Niall demanded.

Harry and Louis then took it in turns to recite every detail they knew of the confusing happenings they had found themselves involved with – and, surprisingly, Niall was far more accepting than they could have hoped. After he had swallowed the story of the drug trial with minimal scepticism, tolerated the idea that they were being experimented on with only a cursory look at the medical apparatus he was hooked up to, and resigned himself to the concept of strangers filling their blood with untested substances with very few attempts at denial, Harry was left to wonder whether the boy was gullible, stupid or just humouring them – and he came to the conclusion that if Niall truly had accepted their story, he must have been some kind of conspiracy-theory fanatic who revelled in such mad tales.

Thankfully, Niall didn’t attempt to blame them for his predicament; he was friendly and reasonable, and despite getting a little teary-eyed when he talked about his family back home in Ireland, overall he was rational and admirably calm. Clearly he was an emotional guy, and he inspired a protective kind of reaction in the other two boys, who wanted to pat him on the back and cheer him up. They resorted to comforting him in the best way they could: telling filthy, immature jokes that grew dirtier and more childish with each passing minute, until the sound of Niall’s laugh bounced off the walls, boosting all of their moods. Something about the blond’s presence had lifted their spirits, and Harry’s previous moody sulking had vanished. There was no point languishing and feeling stupidly sorry for himself – it was far more fun to have a bit of a ‘craic’, as Niall put it, with two guys he didn’t know. Somehow, being locked up with them in that way gave him an odd sense of closeness to them that he’d never had with any of his other friends. He’d never imagined that, within mere hours, he could form such a seemingly instant friendship with a pair of total strangers. It gave him a warm feeling deep in his stomach.

Despite the friendly banter, teasing, and casual conversations, the fact was that they were still bound and restrained, and when their voices wore out and turned husky, the chatter died. They ended up sat morosely watching the floor again, the smile fading from Niall’s face, replaced with a deathly silence that didn’t come naturally to him. Louis’ expression was dismal, and Harry’s face became irritable. Devoid of any distractions, all three boys sat and drowned in their own misery.

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