All at once, three different cellphones across the city chirped for a new notification. Geraldine, Sasha, and Melanie’s eyes flared eagerly for a text they all were expecting from a friend. Each had to let the sender know that they weren’t working or driving, lest they become too distracted.
The somewhat contained excitement revealed itself more fully as their friend’s text showed the surprise she’d teased them with. Lamia got a professional photo taken of herself; a black tank top over russet, golden brown skin glistening in the lighting, freshly-colored rainbow-hued braid style, and a subtly seductive demeanor graced each screen. She modeled herself with a little more charm than her friends were used to. Lamia was their senior, and first introduction to learning about and experiencing hypnosis. All of them being apart of the same local hypnosis recreation group, they were constantly becoming inundated with how charming the hypnotist could be. Even connected facets of other fascinations, like Lamia’s love of the mythical serpents she named herself after, grew to be of interested to fresh newcomers.
Geraldine and Sasha stared at their phones in Geraldine’s cubicle, while Melanie enjoyed the sight on her break in her car. Three sets of eyes fixed on the knowing smile Lamia bore in the photo, as if knowing what their eyes would be drawn to.
“Fond memories?” A text accompanied the pic, bringing three sets of minds back to an unforgettable first meeting.
Most people Lamia agreed to hypnotize could be induced through various techniques; progressive relaxation, tactile, conversational or confusion induction, whatever the subject responded to best, or sometimes whatever the mood might’ve called for. The trio met her after seeing her entrance another community regular at a party, beguiled by her skill and friendly charisma, eager to levy compliments afterwards. They became friends after talks of random interests and hobbies most of the time at their first munch, finding many of their interests aligning. Lamia wondered if any of them subconsciously realized how they socially clung to her. Fortunately for them, it wasn’t a vexing, overbearing clinginess, so it was accepted gracefully.
Once important communication was made, consent and boundaries established at the start of a later party, and trust was earned on each end, curiosity was satiated among each lady. All of their first trances occurred under Lamia’s guidance, considered most recognizably deep for their absorbent minds, predicated on a simple, innocuous question:
“What’s your favorite color?”
It was more in reference to the colorful t-shirt she wore at the time, though it quickly adapted to how their glances always strayed higher, vibrant braided hair coloring easily catching their eyes. As they thought about their answers, she interrupted their immediate trains of thought with further inquiry:
“Mind if I guess? Could it be red for one of you? I know, stereotypical girl guess, but there are plenty of reasons to love it.”
Reaching out in the same breath to gesture towards Geraldine’s reddish highlights, fingers lightly grazed the ends.
“I mean, for some of us, red is a pretty easy guess. You can’t blame me for guessing this either since you wear this shade of red so well. Red is a beautiful color after all, isn’t it?”
Geraldine marveled at how nice it felt to feel fingers brushing against her hair every time “red” was said aloud. The quantity, but mostly the intoned quality , almost a honeyed crooning speaking “red,” started to relax and embrace the attentive woman who happily agreed to be touched for induction purposes. Lamia looked down a little to find a reddish end of one of her own braids, beginning to stoke the engaging color when she didn’t pass her fingers softly across the ends of her subject. Geraldine wished her hair would be stroked by the hypnotist’s hands the same way, fingers making a rhythmic show of grasping the braid one by one, their motion almost enough of a hypnotic draw by themselves.
“A passionate color, so hot to see red shading the right clothes, the right shoes, lipstick, hairstyle. Fiery, powerful, eye-catching red; why wouldn’t it be a favorite when it can turn your heat up just at that perfect, that absolutely perfect temperature that gets you pleasantly flustered, and very interested in red?”
Lamia varied her style of stroking her braid as she spoke, sometimes gripping the length of the shade she described, sometimes merely running a finger down the same path. A soothsaying, confident tone made the acquisition of their attention so natural, each listener feeling like the braid being stroked by a compelling touch. A smiling Geraldine especially felt it, slightly spacing out, beginning to associate the memory of her red highlights touched with watching the color in Lamia’s hair stroked, and hearing the intonation of “red.”
“So exciting to see it, to feel it, like a signal that something wonderful is coming, or has already arrived. Do you feel it yet, is it already here? Does it, does red, already have your full attention? You can ponder that and see what you feel while I take my next guess. Maybe one among you favors yellow.”
The same hand that stroked Geraldine’s highlights made its way to Sasha’s yellow bracelet.
“Kind of like this yellow. Bright and decorative, I think it finds a way of brightening a room, or someone’s senses if they pay close enough attention to it.”
Like Geraldine’s red highlights, Lamia’s finger gave a tactile association, tapping the top of Sasha’s yellow band in time with every spoken “yellow.”
Stroking fingers moved a longer path up the braids to its mid-section, to a brighter color she was ready to give credence to.
“Such a common, warm, friendly color yellow is. Sometimes overwhelming, yet never oppressive. Like the yellow sun in the springtime, like the gentle tapping of a friend that gets your attention, attention that makes you want to stand outside and just soak up the light of yellow rays and comforting friendship. Some have said that’s what a light trance state feels like to them, the onset of a comfortable warmth, like yellow was a blanket that covered them more, the more they accepted the sensation, and the voice telling them how good yellow feels.”
Interested, docile eyes dutifully watched bracelet tapping, anticipating feeling the tapping, just as with each stroke of a yellow-colored braid, feeling as if their own grey matter was being stroked in close to the same manner.
“All of you have told me that you felt warm, good, even ‘melty’, as one of you said, so maybe you’re all very fond of yellow by now, like you’ve been fond of red. Favorite color to describe your favorite feeling at these gatherings? Maybe. It’s hard to choose when I give you two compelling colors to consider, so it might really throw you for a loop if I guess one more.”
The ebony mesmerist reached all the way up to the roots of her braids to now stroke the whole length of a few strands at a time, all three subjects feeling suggested sensations at red and yellow, waiting for programming for the next color.
“Whose favorite could be blue? I bet it’s Melanie, with those gorgeous sky-blue-painted nails,” Lamia gestured with her hand, palm facing up, wordlessly asking Melanie to place her hand atop hers. Once outstretched, Lamia’s graceful fingers stroked each fingernail smoothly from pinky to the thumb, enjoying the glossy feel, and describing the hue. Melanie left her hand outstretched and still, feeling fingers over her nails with every utterance or stroking of a braid colored blue.
“Arguably blue is the coolest color, a sign of still tranquility, calm waters like the blue ocean, or calm, widespread blue skies that that the warm yellow sun can rest in and be at total peace. I bet it washes over you like a wave, the tide of a voice in your heads bringing in a blue wave to overcome everything else, or the softest cool breeze from the sky, making you stop to enjoy and breathe that oh so gentle sigh, thinking of blue.”
A chorus of sighs brought a smile to a knowing pair of lips, soaking up the deep suggestibility in the trio.
“Is a deep, soothing relaxation coming over you in waves now? One after another? Increasing the chances of favoring blue the most? Where does that leave the warmth of yellow? What about the passion of red? Can you really just pick one now? If you could pick a spectrum of colors, would you?”
Languidly stroking her braids now, Lamia wondered how eclipsed by shades of color and they all felt, if it could be any stronger than how they looked, adorably under with ears, eyes and minds wide open. Taking advantage of some braids being shaded in all three mentioned primary colors, she continued her group induction, fingers caressing near the blue root of one braid.
“Maybe your favorite color is a collection of them, bringing a collection of feelings along to follow. What if it started with blue, like a cool breeze hit you out of nowhere,”
Her stroking got purposefully slower, crossing to the next shade.
“And you just stopped, taking a moment to be caressed by it, suddenly paying more attention to those yellow rays warming you, reminding you of the last time you felt this good, like when I spoke to you like this,”
Her smile deepened.
“The more you think about it, the more you’re reminded of the passion you have for one of her special skills, the one that makes you melt. Your interest in hypnosis started as something you thought was cool, and more and more you warmed up to it, and then you heard the sound of my voice making your interest in hypnosis red hot, as you sank, sinking still, deeper, and deeper, and deeper. ”
Glassy eyes somehow stayed open to remain fixed on the stroking, seeing how Lamia’s stroking hand slowed it a crawl, and then settled on a braided end altogether.
“Wonderful, isn’t it? How colors can just help you back into this place so easily, in one order or another. If it started from the red, you’d think of your deep, passionate interest in hypnosis, warming you up to the opportunity to doing it again, being happy, productive and positive until then. And then suddenly feel triggered, as if a cool, blue breeze from nowhere quelled thinking, replacing it with relaxing.”
Watching her insistent hand reverse its course amused the hypnotist with the faint hints of confusion on their faces that served to draw them deeper regardless of pattern.
“Doesn’t matter where it starts, doesn’t matter where it ends, the colors I bring to your attention wash over you, and help you slip back into this lovely trance. Colors by themselves can remind you one way or another, but it’s so special when I mention the hypnotic rainbow to you. Like following the colorful scales of a mesmerizing snake, making you receptive, melty, and under Lamia’s control for a little while. So nice, isn’t it?”
Nods almost imperceptible to those not looking for them signified their agreement, though the hypnotist noted that she was starting to draw a small crowd interested on their scene, waiting to see what would happen next.
“It makes me so happy to know that you appreciate my hairstyle so much, that you love my rainbow braids as much as I do, if not more. But I’m sure that even if I change it eventually, you can still appreciate the original color, like the deep darkness you’re floating in right now, just as deep, just as inviting, just as captivating…”
Eventually the trio woke from external insistence, not wanting to leave the deep trance they just achieved, but complying with the given command anyway.
“Wow, I didn’t know I could go THAT deep,” Geraldine proclaimed, running her hand through her hair, still watching Lamia’s.
“WE could go that deep,” Melanie.
“Seriously…”Sasha said dreamily, already missing where she just emerged from.
“So, how are you all feeling?” she reflexively asked after every trance. They all fell silent looking at their senior in the scene.
“Terrible,” Sasha replied, deadpan.
“Horrible,” Geraldine added. ” Because I’m awake…”
Laughter erupted, Lamia only acting if she was phased by their claims. She took on the role nervous performer in front of an unsatisfied audience convincingly to her friends, for a moment.
“No, but really, that was amazing. All those times you said I was in trance with past tries, though it didn’t feel like it, it really felt like it for the first time,” Melanie explained.
“Same here; that patience and training you told us to keep up finally paid off; it feels amazing to really feel it,” Sasha added.
“And you Geraldine?” Lamia asked in a chipper voice.
“I just want more,” she laughed.
“Well, since you asked nicely…” Lamia scooted her chair closer to Geraldine’s and gave her an intense look to catch its victim off guard. Hypnotic eyes twinkled in Geraldine’s as she took in the depth of the offered invitation to look as deeply as she wanted, to dive in without thought right back to the place she honestly craved. Dark, compelling depths eased a mindless grin to Geraldine’s face, nakedly reacting to the bliss filling her head. Intentionally-blinking eyes got Geraldine to helplessly followed suit, until her eyes were too tired to open, and stayed shut with a silly grin.
Neither of the others were prepared for what just happened, certainly not Melanie as a smooth shift brought the intense gaze directly to her, seeing the powerful sight that Geraldine had fallen into, just as she wordlessly descended herself. A near identical mindless grin formed on Melanie’s face too, and though it took longer to blink her out, she inevitably slipped back into trance as planned.
The snake-favoring hypnotist merely glanced from over her shoulder at a stunned Sasha, noting the distance didn’t keep her from looking away. Not advancing an inch toward the last one left thinking anything, it only took a crooked finger to bring Sasha closer of her own volition, turning until they were face-to-face. Both women enjoyed the hypnotist bobbing her head up and down in sly, serpent fashion, drawing its prey every which way, making them want to peer so much deeper than her peers.
Lamia whispered playfully, seeing the young subject slipping from her chair, appreciating looking up at the eyes that controlled her so deeply. Of all three of them, Sasha looked the most awestruck, complimenting her smiling and beginnings of drool forming.
“Swallow,” she told Sasha raising her chin, tapping underneath it to make her close her mouth.
“Shut your eyes, and trust in me.”
She found it fun to quote the infamous snake at that juncture, and even more fun to see Sasha resisting the suggestion. Lamia couldn’t blame her, after improving her stare’s intensity through practice, making it practically impossible to look away if she wanted all of someone’s attention. It was a nice experiment to see what would win out between her eyes and her words.
“Shut your eyes, and trust in me.”
Sasha eyes had yet to even flutter. The hypnotist changed tactics a bit, moving even closer, but slipping to the side of her face to whisper in her ear.
“Shut your eyes, and trust in me.”
It was gratifying to see her words cut through Sasha’s focus, and cut the energy in her eyelids abruptly in half as they dipped down, eager to obey her words over the inviting stare.
“Shut your eyes, and trust in me.”
She had much more trouble resisting as suggestions equally competed with one another, eyes wanting to close and stay open all at once.
“Shut your eyes, and trust in me.”
Sasha found herself spiraling downwards, her head spun in circles, dragging Sasha’s increasingly tired eyes along for the ride, eyelids almost totally obedient.
“Shut your eyes,” was whispered one last time, as her head fell into a graciously-accepting lap, her last barely conscious thought was the most obvious one that night – to trust in Lamia.
That night stuck with all its participants long after, cementing all of their love of hypnosis. They were happy to let her so very deep into their minds, and Lamia was happy to find a group of regulars she could play with whenever they got together, or even beyond that.
Making sure they were in a safe place for privacy before sending out the photo, Lamia loved knowing what each one would be feeling seeing it, reliving familiar effects and memories, wanting to enlarge and enhance her eyes on the screen when they weren’t focused on other hues. She knew her lipstick would draw them in too, making them close their eyes to concentrate on that special night, to remember her words, to look forward to the next time they’d be able to get together and trance.
It didn’t take long for all of them to message her back and thank her for sharing that photo, and asking how soon they could sink deep for her again. A captive audience that couldn’t wait to be under, unless ordered to, made her wish she could forgo the daily mundane responsibilities and treat their mid-day like hypnotic recess. Each of them would be so pleased to learn that Lamia couldn’t wait either, and gave serious thought to more fun games to play in their heads.