Exploring Together

Chapter 1: The Fun Begins

by TravisNSpud

Tags: #dom:male #hypnosis #hypnotic_amnesia #hypnotic_eyes #m/f #sub:female #hypnotic_bondage #hypnotic_gaze

I’m on all fours, staring up into my Master’s eyes.

Aside from my beloved leather collar, I’m wearing nothing at all. My long auburn hair is a glorious mess, draped all over my shoulders. Some of it is hanging right in front of my eyes, but I don’t much care.

I feel too good right now to care about anything, really. The carpet feels soft and pliable under my fingers and knees, as if I could sink right into it and just keep going until it swallows me up. My Master’s piercing blue eyes are holding my attention, keeping me from looking anywhere else - not that I want to look anywhere else. Waves of pleasure are passing through my body and mind with every beat of my heart, making me at once more relaxed and more aroused.

This is heaven.

“Master...” I whisper.

He crouches down so he can hear me better, forcing me to lower my gaze so I’m still making eye contact. “Yes, my love?”

I give him a naughty smile. “Aren’t you glad I talked you into this?”

He beams broadly, and the sight of it makes me feel, impossibly, even better.

***

Let’s back up. I was going to start our story from the very beginning, but I was too excited about that bit. It’s my favourite. (Plus, you’ve got to admit, it’s an attention-grabber.)

So. My name’s Alyssa Johnson, but I go by AJ, because I like to pretend to be cool. I’m 23, 5 foot 4, and I live in Los Angeles. I moved here four years ago to pursue my acting career, and while I haven’t exactly become the next Margot Robbie, I’ve had a couple of TV roles per year, which is nothing to scoff at.

I met my boyfriend Richard Yorke about three years ago, when he moved over from Britain. Now, he’s the first to admit he’s not exactly a dashing, suave Englishman - he’s not a Daniel Craig, or even a Tom Hiddleston. He’s 5 foot 9, painfully skinny with long unkempt hair, and never wears anything but a faded T-shirt and a pair of shorts if he can help it. But I’ve always found him cute, in a nerdy kind of way. And let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what a guy looks like - the English accent is such a fucking turn on. (Sorry to be the clichéd American girl, but I’m not really sorry.) Anyway, we hit it off pretty quickly - he’s an awkward guy but keen to make friends, so I introduced him to all of mine. We were close friends for over a year before we got together.

But I know what you all really want to know - how’s the sex? Well, I could tell you it’s always been perfect, mind-blowing, shooting-stars amazing, but come on, that’s just not realistic, is it? Honestly, I haden’t dated much before Richard. Not for lack of male attention, either - it’s just I’m picky, and most men are kind of gross. So I didn’t go into our relationship with a lot of sexual experience, but compared to Richard, I could teach a class on the subject. He’d been with two women prior to me, and neither of them were long-term. (For the record, he’s fine with me telling you all this!) So we had a bit of a shaky start, adjusting to each other and figuring out what we liked and disliked. But nearly two years in, we’ve settled into what he calls ‘a good sexual rhythm’. He’s a dork, but I agree.

However, we hadn’t gotten particularly kinky. And this was not down to me being reluctant, at all. I’ve never really had the chance to explore anything like that - I’ve wanted to, but I’ve never been in a good enough place with any previous boyfriend to pursue it. But I was finally with someone I love and trust, and frankly, I wanted to get kinky! We tried bondage one time, and I loved it. He tied my arms to our headboard, and my legs to the bedposts, and had me spread-eagled and completely helpless. It was hot as fuck. And he clearly enjoyed it too - for a while he just had fun messing with me, tickling me and playing with my boobs. Then he slid his finger into my pussy and slowly, tenderly, rubbed my clit and my inner walls, which was just delightful. And finally - well, long story short and beg your pardon for my impoliteness, but he stuck me real good.

So that very much satisfied Kinky AJ for a while. But I’d asked him a couple of times whether he had anything he wanted to try, and he’s always clammed up or changed the subject. Now, Richard is not by nature a secretive guy. Within three months of meeting him, I felt like I knew basically everything about him. So him not telling me something is usually a cause for, at the very least, curiosity.

A couple of months ago, I used his laptop. He was at the grocery store, and I was in the living room watching TV. I wanted to look up the name of an actor, but my own laptop was in our bedroom, while his was on the coffee table in front of me. He’d left it open and logged in, so I could use it if I wanted - again, he’s a very open guy, and he trusts me completely. 99% of the time, he’s right to. Anyway, I looked up the actor whose name I couldn’t remember (it was Arthur Darvill, formerly of Doctor Who, and I’ll never admit to Richard that I forgot his name because he’s a massive Whovian). I closed Google, and my eyes fell on a folder on his desktop, labelled ‘NOPHY’. Hmmm.

I debated whether or not to open it - he could be back any minute, for one thing, and for another, the last time I got nosey about the secret codes he uses on the very rare occasions when he’s being secretive, it was a group chat on messenger where he and my best friends were planning my surprise party. Thank God I’m a decent actress - I don’t think anyone figured out that I knew. But at this point my birthday was months away, so what could he be hiding? My curiosity got the better of me, and I opened the folder.

I was stunned by what I found.

***

Three nights later, we were having our usual quiet evening in: pizza and TV. Tonight it was my turn to choose our viewing pleasure, so I selected an episode of Gotham, much to his delight. Gotham was one of his favourite shows, but, as he pointed out, I hadn’t shown any real interest in it in the past. I claimed that I wanted to compare it with Robert Pattinson’s future Batman film, but I had an ulterior motive.

The villain of the episode was a hypnotist, the Mad Hatter. During the opening scene, where the Mad Hatter mesmerised some people at a club, I studied Richard’s expression carefully. His eyes were fixed on the screen, and the corner of his mouth was slightly upturned. I knew him well enough to know that he was intensely interested.

“It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?” I said, as casually as I could. “Hypnosis?”

“Hmmm?” He glanced at me. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“Seems to happen a lot in this show. Lots of different bad guys with mind-controlling powers - the Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Fish Mooney...”

He nodded. “Yeah, it is something of a theme.”

“Is that why you like it so much? The show, I mean?”

He looked at me again, this time frowning. “What do you mean?” he asked slowly.

“Well, I just noticed you were pretty... focused on that scene. With all the hypnosis. It really seemed to... capture your attention.”

He shrugged. “I like to pay attention to what I’m watching. So I didn’t miss anything.”

“You have seen this before though, right?”

“Yes...” Still frowning, he fumbled for the remote and hit ‘pause’. “What are you getting at here, AJ?”

I stared at him for a long moment, trying to think of a good answer. In the end I decided to abandon the pretence. “I found your folder,” I admitted. “On your laptop... The one with all the hypnosis stuff.”

I swear, all the blood drained from his face. “Y-you did?” he stammered.

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting this reaction. I thought he might be a bit embarrassed and sheepish, but he seemed scared. I moved closer to him on the sofa, holding out my arms to him as if to hug him. “Hey, don’t worry, I’m not freaked out! Everyone has a stash of porn. I have a stash of porn! But I’ve got to admit, I was a little... surprised. You’ve never mentioned you were into hypnosis, and there was so much of it in there!”

He wouldn’t meet my eyes. “Yeah. Yeah, I’ve sort of been building it up, for a long time...”

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

“Because I’m ashamed,” he blurted out. “Because I don’t want you to think that that - all of that stuff - is what I believe.” He took a deep breath. “Look, I don’t know how much you saw...”

“Not much,” I admitted. “I closed the folder pretty fast - I knew you’d be back from the store any minute. And I’m sorry I was snooping, by the way - I was looking something up on Google, and I got a bit nosey...”

“It’s fine, I’m not mad at you,” he said quickly. “I just need to explain - all the real hypnosis stuff in that folder is consensual, OK? You can’t hypnotise someone to do something they don’t want to do, that’s not how it works...”

“I know,” I assured him. In fact, I had been reading up on hypnosis over the past few days, ever since I found the NOPHY folder. I wanted to go into this conversation with all the information, so I could properly understand what attracted him to it. I found a bunch of articles, and more than a few YouTube videos - hours of content, going from lectures on the subject, to film footage of stage shows, to some more erotic content. (You’d be surprised - there’s more of that kind of thing on YouTube than you’d think, although obviously no-one ever gets naked or too randy.) The stuff I found was very intriguing - and, honestly, titillating. I felt I had an idea of why he found it such a turn-on - it started to get me excited too. Particularly seeing people being stuck in place, or frozen... Man, that hit me right in the bondage kink.

“OK,” Richard continued, “but - there’s other stuff in the folder too. Fake hypnosis, acted stuff - and in a lot of those scenarios, it’s not consensual. It’s women being unexpectedly put into trance by neighbours, or delivery men, or guys on the street, and forced to do whatever the guy wants. And I just...” He took another deep breath, like a man who’d been drowning. “I just need you to know, it’s not what I believe. I don’t believe women should be made to submit to men, to be their slaves. Women are equal to men, that’s a fact - and a big part of me actually thinks you’re superior. That’s what I believe - what my mind believes, and my heart, and my soul. But...” He gazed mournfully in the direction of his crotch. “There are other parts of me that seem to believe differently.”

I stared at him for about four seconds, and then burst out laughing.

He looked hurt. “What’s the joke?”

“I - I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I shouldn’t laugh!” I spluttered, trying to regain my composure. “It’s just - I can’t believe you actually looked at your cock when you said that!” And I lost it again.

His expression softened, and he even started to smile weakly. “Yeah, OK, you’ve made your point, I’m a pillock. I just need you to understand...”

“Dude, come on,” I said, wiping away tears of mirth. “Of course I understand! I know you, you idiot. I know you’re not some fucking lunatic who believes in male dominance and women being enslaved. It’s just your kink, OK? It’s not a core belief, it’s just something that gets you horny!”

Really horny,” he admitted.

“And there’s nothing wrong with that,” I said firmly, putting my hand on his shoulder and starting to caress it comfortingly through his shirt.

He still didn’t look completely convinced.

I edged close to him and kissed him, long and soft. Then I rested my chin on his shoulder and said, “Maybe we could try it?”

“Try what? H-hypnosis?” he stammered.

“No, skydiving. Yeah, dummy, hypnosis,” I laughed. “Look, we tried out my kink; it’s only fair we give yours a shot. I’m guessing you’ve never tried it in real life?”

“No,” he said quietly. “Never...”

“Well, then we can explore it together. You never know, I might like it too. I mean, I’ve read and watched some stuff about it in the last few days, and what I saw was pretty... intriguing.” I wiggled my eyebrows suggestively at him.

He laughed, and I felt the tension had finally left him completely. “Have I ever told you you’re the best girlfriend in the world?”

“Twice a day for two years,” I replied with a grin. “But I never get tired of hearing it!”

***

We actually didn’t start trying hypnosis that night, for two reasons. One: because we were both so excited over the whole idea that we just went and fucked for the rest of the evening, not even bothering to finish Gotham. (I’d describe said fucking to you, but it’s not relevant to the story. Sorry!) And two: because I asked him to go away and think about all the hypnosis porn he’d watched or read, and think of all the tricks, suggestions and sexual acts he’d seen in them. I told him to write a list of everything that turned him on, so that I could go through it and see what appealed to me before we started doing any actual hypnosis. That way I’d know what I was letting myself in for and could rule out anything that I didn’t like.

He dutifully went away and spent most of the next day writing this list, handing it to me that evening. It was a long, long list - almost four pages! (To be fair though, it was bullet-pointed, and some points were only a few words long.) I read through all the suggestions and ideas, crossing out anything I didn’t want to do, and circling anything I really liked. In the end, there were only three or four things he’d included that I didn’t like. He was surprised by this, and I guess I was too - but then, I like to think I’m quite an open person who enjoys trying new things. The fact that I was keen to try hypnosis in the first place is surely proof of that.

And there were some things on that list that I circled. A couple of them I circled a couple of times, to make the circle bolder, because I was really, really into them, to the point where I actually got a little wet just thinking about them. But I’m not telling you what they are - not yet, anyway! Suffice to say, they will be turning up during my story...

We didn’t begin that night either - he wanted time to get a good hypnotic induction ready, and practice his ‘hypnotic voice’. According to him, most good hypnotists have low, steady, smooth voices that make them easy to listen to, to draw their subject in. I could imagine! So that was his preparatory work for the day after that.

I considered spending these two days preparing myself - maybe by watching hypnosis induction videos on YouTube, seeing if they would put me into trance - but in the end I decided against it. I didn’t want to give myself any preconceived ideas of what to expect, in case Richard did something completely different. In the end I just got on with my day, feeling an occasional thrill of anticipation when I thought about what was to come.

Finally, that second evening, we both felt ready to start. It was now five days since I’d found the NOPHY folder. I’m not sure either of us could’ve waited a sixth!

“So,” I said to him brightly. “How do we start?”

He hesitated, seeming uncertain, and I wondered if he was having doubts about doing this again. But the moment quickly passed, and he answered, “Sit down on the sofa.”

“What sofa? All I see is a couch, Brit boy,” I answered cheekily.

He rolled his eyes and smiled at our running joke. “Just sit down, you pillock.”

Giggling, I did as he asked. He sat in the armchair to my right.

“Hold your hands up in front of you,” he told me. “Clasp them together, but point your index fingers out.”

“OK,” I said slowly, following his instructions.

“Now,” he said, “look at your fingers, and imagine there are two magnets, one on each fingertip.” As he spoke, his voice grew lower and steadier. “Picture them attracting each other, pulling towards each other. An irresistible force, drawing your fingers closer and closer.”

As I stared at my index fingers, I imagined the magnets. I could almost see them - I pictured little red discs, stuck to the tips of each finger. As Richard spoke, it seemed like I could indeed feel the force attracting them. And as I watched, my fingers slowly started to move. They were being drawn closer and closer together. It felt like I couldn’t stop them.

“Closer and closer... And before you know it, they’re pulled together. Stuck together. Held in place by the magnets.”

My fingertips met, sending a shiver through my arms and up my spine.

“What you find, for a moment, is that your fingers really are stuck together, and you can’t pull them apart.”

I flexed my fingers, but they wouldn’t separate. He was right - they really were stuck! I gave a little laugh of surprise.

“And when I snap my fingers, they just separate, with the magnetic force...” He snapped his fingers - “gone.”

And just like that, my fingers were indeed free. I unclasped my hands, shaking them slightly as if to restore the feeling. “That was wild! What was that? Am I already hypnotised, or something?”

He laughed. “Or something. That was just a suggestibility test - hypnotists use it to get an idea of how good a subject someone is. I’ve got to say, that was pretty encouraging!”

“It was so weird,” I sighed, staring at my index fingers, half-afraid they’d get pulled back together again. “I really couldn’t move them for a moment there. And when you were talking about the magnets - it was like I could really see them.”

His eyes lit up at that. “Good. Good! See, I already had a good feeling about this, but this just confirms you have a good imagination, and you can really focus when you need to. Both of which are important for a good hypnosis subject.”

Another little thrill went through me then, as I felt inexplicable pride at the idea of being a good hypnosis subject. I mean, I did want that. I wanted to satisfy his kink, and the best way to do that was to give myself over to being hypnotised and entranced.

He exhaled, nodding contentedly to himself. “I think this could work. Right, lie down and get comfortable.”

I did so, shifting some cushions beneath me to make myself as comfortable as possible. A sudden thought occurred to me.

“Oh hey,” I said. “Could you take some photos of me while I’m in trance? Just so I can see what I look like when I’m all zombified.”

He laughed. “Absolutely. I’m sure they’ll be treasured memories for both of us.”

“Maybe not ones we’ll put in a frame on the wall, though!” I giggled.

Having put his laptop on the coffee table in front of the couch, Richard stood up so he could reach it, and pressed play on an mp3 file. Music began to play - soft, smooth, relaxing music. “I thought this might help relax you,” he explained. I gave him a thumbs up, and he sat back down in the armchair, which was positioned behind my head from my current position.

“Close your eyes,” he instructed me. Again, I did as he said.

“Take a deep breath in, and a big breath out,” he said softly. “Feel all the muscles in your face beginning to relax... Deep breath in... Big breath out... And now the muscles in your neck, and your shoulders, just letting go of all their tension... Breathe in... Breathe out... Now, your arms...”

He continued in this vein, steadily working his way through all my body parts. I’m not going to lie, it was relaxing. By the time he was talking about the tension leaving my toes, I was very chilled out. But was I getting hypnotised? My breathing certainly felt controlled - I was inhaling deeply, and exhaling, whenever he told me to, bringing cool, clear air into my lungs each time - but was it controlled by me, or him?

“Picture a scale in your mind, Alyssa. At ten, at the top of the scale, you are completely hypnotised, blank and mindless. Ready to follow my suggestions, and obey my instructions, without a hint of awareness. At zero, you are wide awake, full of energy, totally self-aware. Each number takes you deeper down into relaxation... deeper down into trance... deeper down into my control.”

Something told me I wasn’t in trance yet. I was more relaxed than I’d been in weeks, but not as completely adrift and blissed out as I was sure I’d have to be. So when Richard asked me, “Alyssa, where do you think you are on that scale right now?”, I was fairly sure of the answer.

“Two,” I admitted sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“That’s fine,” he replied calmly. “No need to apologise!” He was silent for a moment, and then said, “OK, Alyssa. Take a deep breath in, and open your eyes.”

I did so, letting my eyelids open. Richard had already stood up, and was staring down at me, his arms folded.

“Hi,” I said, smiling awkwardly up at him. “Sorry, that didn’t seem to work.”

He smiled reassuringly at me. “I told you, you’ve got nothing to be sorry for. How did that make you feel?”

“Super relaxed,” I answered, sitting up. “I’m more chilled out than I’ve been in a while.”

“OK, well, that’s a good sign,” he said thoughtfully, stroking his beardless (if slightly bristly) chin. “And you responded so well to the sticky fingers test. Every indicator says you’d be a good subject, so maybe I just need to think of a different induction for you. One that suits you better...”

“You know, my kink was a lot less hassle than this,” I joked, winking at him.

He tutted and grinned, enjoying my cheekiness as much as ever. Early in our relationship he’d told me that it was one of the reasons he loved me - he couldn’t be with someone without good banter.

Then he got a look in his eyes that I recognised - his eyes suddenly, briefly shone, like an actual flash of inspiration. I’d seen this before - he was a scriptwriter, and he’d get this look when he had a sudden, exciting idea about where he could go with a plotline or a character. You can almost hear him thinking in these moments: Oh, that’s good. I’m very clever. Well done, me. (OK, but less sarcastic than I might’ve made it sound from the way I wrote that!)

“I have an idea,” he said slowly.

“Careful, you’ll hurt yourself!”

This time he ignored me. Sitting on the floor by the coffee table, he turned the laptop to face him. Some clicking and typing ensued, and the relaxing music stopped, before he turned it back to face me. This time there was an mp4 file open.

“Sit yourself in front of this, and look at the screen,” he told me.

I gave him a mocking two-fingered salute - prompting another eyeroll - and adjusted my position on the couch so I was directly in front of the laptop. As I leaned forwards, he pressed play on the file. A video of a swirling black-and-white spiral began to play.

I couldn’t help myself - I burst out laughing. “A spiral?! This is your big idea?”

“I know, I know,” he chuckled, raising his hands as if in self-defence. “It seems dumb. Maybe it is dumb, but I just have a hunch. Roll with it?”

I considered. A spiral did seem like the stupidest possible way to hypnotise someone, but I didn’t want to dismiss it outright. Besides, in agreeing to let him hypnotise me, I had agreed to roll with silly ideas. I had given him full licence to mess with me. I expected that if it worked, there’d be a lot more silliness to come!

“OK, I’ll give it a shot,” I conceded, still wearing a smile of amusement.

“Thanks, AJ,” he grinned, getting up from the floor and moving back to the armchair. “Now, I’d like you to look at the spiral. Not at its swirling arms, but at the centre.”

I obliged.

“Focus on that point. Keep your gaze fixed on it.”

I did so. It was a little hard - the swirliness of the spiral was distracting, and it felt like I should follow that instead, but I did as Richard had asked. I kept the centre of my gaze locked on the core of the spiral, as the swirling filled the rest of my field of vision.

“You’re doing so well,” Richard said, and I smiled a little at that, enjoying the praise. “Just concentrate... on the centre... of the spiral...”

I kept staring. Gradually, the edges of my vision seemed to darken - I couldn’t see the coffee table; I couldn’t see the rest of the laptop, just the screen showing the video. The spiral filled my sightline, my eyes fixed on the centre, the rest filled with the swirling.

“Your eyes are locked... Your gaze is filled with the spiral... You can’t see anything else...”

Well, he was right about that. The spiral was all I could see. My eyes were fixed on the centre, filled with the swirling. I couldn’t really think about anything else now, except my boyfriend’s low, soothing voice.

“You can’t think about anything else... Just the spiral... And my words...”

Hey, he was right about that too.

“The spiral... And my words... Sinking deep into your mind... You’re transfixed... You can’t look away... You can’t think... You’re bound by the spiral... Bound by my words...”

He must be right about that too, I thought dimly. And that was pretty much the last independent thought I had for a while.

“It’s so easy... for you to follow my words... You don’t even need to think about them... They just go straight into your brain... Into the back of your mind... Sitting there comfortably...”

Even as I stared at the spiral, seeing nothing else, in my mind’s eye I could picture his words, in big bold black writing, passing into my head like ghosts.

“You’re locked onto the spiral... You’re open to my words... It feels so good... You feel so good...”

I did feel good. Another pleasurable shiver raced through my body - though at this point I was barely aware of my body, I definitely felt the shiver.

“You’re entranced... You’re blank... You’re mindless... You’re hypnotised... You’ll follow my suggestions... You’ll obey my commands... Do you understand, Alyssa? Find that you can answer me so easily, without even trying.”

“Yuhss,” I mumbled. Even with that last instruction from him, I couldn’t yet muster the energy to be more articulate than that, but I think I got my point across.

“You’re under my control now, for as long as I desire... and for as long as it makes you feel so, so good... Do you understand?”

“Yees,” I answered, a little more clearly now.

“It’s so easy for you to follow, so easy for you to obey... Isn’t that right?”

“Yes.” This time my response rang out clearly, without any effort or hesitation from me.

“Good girl. Find that when I say you’re a good girl, you feel pleasure. Find that when I praise you, you feel wonderful. Do you want to feel pleasure?”

“Yes.”

“Good girl.”

More thrills went through me - it felt like three at once. I let out a soft moan.

“I’m going to give you more instructions,” he said. “You don’t need to be aware of them... They’ll just sit in the back of your head, and they’ll work on you when I bring you out of trance. Your awakened self will have no knowledge of them. It’s like we’re playing a joke on her, a little prank... Do you like that idea, Alyssa?”

My mouth twitched into what felt like a smile. “Yes,” I said.

“Good girl.” More lovely shivers.

He continued to speak, giving me more instructions, but though I heard them, I was no longer listening to them. Well, on some level I was, obviously. I found myself responding when he asked me questions, and I definitely recognised the words ‘good girl’. God, it felt good to hear him say that. So I must have heard the rest of his words. But like he said, only the back part of my brain understood or remembered them. To the rest of my brain - which was, by now, completely devoid of thoughts - he may as well have been speaking Japanese.

All the while, my eyes did not once stray from the centre of the spiral.

Finally, I heard him say, “I’m going to count to five, Alyssa, and you will come back to full awareness, thinking clearly, aware and full of energy. The suggestions I’ve given you will work on you, but you won’t be aware of them unless I say the magic word. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

“You’re such a good girl,” he said, and I felt the strongest surge of pleasure yet. “One, breathing in deeply... Two, big breath out... Three, starting to feel more alert... Four, coming back up for me... And five.” He snapped his fingers.

And suddenly, I was awake. I could move my eyes away from the spiral at long last. Blinking rapidly, I stretched my arms wide and groaned, as if waking up from a long sleep.

“Oh my God,” I said through a yawn. “That was... I feel like I slept for a month.”

“How you feeling?” Richard asked. “Still sleepy, or starting to feel more energised?”

In fact I hadn’t been fully awake as soon as he’d reached ‘five’ - I’d still felt kind of out of it - but with every second I felt more alert and energetic. “I’m good,” I answered. “I’m great, actually!”

“How was the trance for you?”

“It was fucking epic,” I answered honestly. “I can’t believe that actually worked. With that dumb swirly... How did you know?”

He smiled, relishing the chance to show off his epiphany. “I had a hunch that hypnosis might work better for you if I built some associations with bondage. Having you stare at that spiral without looking away was kind of like bondage for your eyes.”

I stared at him for a moment, agog. “That... OK, that’s actually really clever. Linking our kinks together like that.” I giggled suddenly. “It’s a kink link!”

He laughed. He always appreciated a bit of rhyming, puns or word play. Reaching over, he closed his laptop, which, I vaguely noticed, was still playing the spiral video.

“Thanks for that - if you’d left that on, it might’ve sucked me back in again!” I was only half-joking.

He grinned. “I wouldn’t worry about that - we might not need it again. Though I’ve got it on standby just in case.”

Getting up from the armchair, he came and sat next to me on the couch. “You did really well with your staring, by the way. You were barely blinking, it was very impressive.”

“Really?” I beamed. I wasn’t sure why, but his praise made me feel great. Contented.

“Oh, yeah,” he said enthusiastically. “And in fact, in terms of eye fixation inductions, that’s one of the harder ones. Because when you’re looking at the centre, there’s the swirling going on in your sightline, and that can be distracting. The fact that you were able to focus so well suggests that you could really be staring at anything, with any amount of distracting movement happening in your field of vision, and still be able to go into trance.”

As I contemplated this, he stared at me intently. “What do you remember about the experience?”

I thought back. “Not a lot,” I admitted. “Staring at the centre of the... thingy... and I could hear you talking, but I don’t remember much of what you said.”

“Perfect,” he grinned. He seemed very, very happy with how this had turned out.

“So is that it?” I asked him. “Am I hypnotised now?”

He got a naughty look in his eyes. “You tell me...”

I shrugged. “Well, I feel awake right now. Not, like, a zombie or a hypno-slave, or whatever! I just feel like regular me. Which is still pretty awesome.” I winked at him.

“Agreed!”

“But we did block out our evening for this, and it’s still early. So, can we carry on?” I cuddled up close to him. “I’m really enjoying exploring this with you.”

“So am I,” he replied earnestly, gazing lovingly into my eyes. “You’re so amazing, AJ.”

“Awww,” I said with a blush, feeling a wave of pleasure all the way through me. “You’re not so bad yourse-”

“Spiral,” he said softly.

I barely had time to feel surprised. My eyelids dropped shut, as if pulled down by weights. But I didn’t see darkness.

I saw the spiral. Enveloping my vision once again. My eyes were fixed on the centre, the rest filled with the swirling. It was all I could think about. That, and his voice.

“Fantastic,” I heard him say, though the word didn’t register in my empty mind. “You’re doing so well, Alyssa. We’re going to have so much fun.”

x1

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