Even though he was on time, he still hurried as though he was late, worried that for once, his train might leave early. He always seemed to be worried about something, as there was always slight anxiety within him. Surely something would be wrong if there was nothing to worry about. He had an appointment in Chester to negotiate a building contract, and if he impressed them with his proposals, then his company was set make thousands, and he knew that a tidy bonus would be his reward, as well plenty of kudos and a step up the career ladder. He was ready to step into a superiors shoes the second they turned their light off in their office before moving on, and was in prime position to backstab, or be stabbed. He almost felt like a teenager getting his first job, even though he’d been there for seven years. His networking and shaking of right hands had helped him get towards the summit at a prompt rate. It was almost a guaranteed shoe-in for him for second in command, so he knew he had to fire on all cylinders.
Lime street station was busy. People milled in all directions, coming from recently arrived trains, or going to those soon to leave, or just generally waiting around, eating their purchases from the shops and reading the newspapers or books while they waited for departure.
He crossed the wide area to the ticket office and joined a queue. As he waited, he looked around, and his eyes came to rest on a little stall set up just near the centre of the station. It was basically a desk with a large board behind. Across it was written: 'FIRSTNET', and below was information on mobile phones. Some were for sale. Now that's something I need, he thought, an updated one. The one he used currently was two years old. Even from where he stood he could see they were the latest models.
Leaving the queue he approached two bored looking men behind the desk. They both wore black suits and one, who looked to be in his early thirties was leaning back on a metal chair eating a cheeseburger. He put it down and sat properly when he saw Paul Cope looking at the phones. He stood up and put on his official greeting voice: "Hello sir, can I help you?"
"Well, basically yes," said Paul. "I'd like to buy a phone".
After five minutes, Paul had rejoined the queue and occupied himself while he waited by trying out the different gadgets the small contraption had. It beeped and flashed, flashed and beeped, and he promised himself he'd work it all out on the train to Chester. He got his ticket and found that his train was leaving in two minutes from platform five.
Anthony Moss watched him with interest, eating the last of his burger, saw him show his ticket to pass through onto the platform, and then disappear from view. His companion Lesley Pascale, sat beside him, leaning on the table, not looking at anything in particular, said: "Do you want to ring him?"
"Me? Are you sure this is going to work?"
"These phones have been tried and tested. Ring him up, but not from here though, outside or somewhere".
"And I can tell him anything? I can tell him to do something and he'll do it". The other man nodded.
"Yes, it's a normal phone otherwise, but only when rang from a similar one will it work". The younger apprentice picked up one of them and looked at it in fascination.
"Tell him to empty money from a nearby cash machine, then bring the money to this desk. Then tell him to get back on the train, and forget the last ten minutes".
"Will that work?"
"Oh that'll work". The man stood up and walked outside, finding a quiet space in a doorway that was seemingly never used where nobody could hear what he was saying. He tapped in the number.
Paul was sat toying with his new phone, in an almost empty carriage, next to a window when it rang. He looked at it for a few moments, wondering who on earth it could be, then answered it.
"Hello, Paul Cope speaking".
"Paul," came the voice. "I want you to get off the train, go to a cashpoint and draw out as much money as possible, and take it to the people who sold you the phone. Then get back on the train and forget everything from the minute you bought your ticket". It was then cut off, and Paul slowly put away the phone and stood up, picked up his briefcase and left the train. In the station were three cashpoints, and from two of them he could withdraw from his account.
Anthony had spoken not only to Paul, but to the subconscious region of his mind where hypnotism has its effect. A sensor had been built in to each mobile phone that resembled a tiny crystal. It conducted through it not only his voice, but subliminal soundwaves that meant that whatever he heard through his earpiece, he must perform, because it also directed that area of the brain that controlled what a person wanted to do next. Paul wanted to get off the train. Wanted to draw out money. Wanted to give it to the people who had sold him the phone, and that's exactly what he did.
He walked from the cash machine, under his hypnotic spell, with all the money it would give him, and without saying anything, handed it over. Les took it, smiled, and put it away in his pocket. The younger man, who was stood at the side of the desk looked impressed. They both watched as Paul walked back towards his train.
"And he's not going to remember a thing about it?" said Anthony,
"Not a thing. Depending on what you told him".
"I told him to forget everything from the minute he bought his ticket".
"Well, there you go. Basically anybody who we speak to over the phone will do anything we want. Even kill".
"Anybody can be ordered to murder, and they can't help themselves, they want to do it. It all depends on what you say. If it's kill, then you have to tell them to forget they did after returning to normal, to cover tracks. If they remembered murdering somebody then they would wonder why they did it, and it would probably be worked out back to the phone, remembering what was said to them. So what you say is very important. You can even make them commit suicide afterwards".
"This is going to make us rich".
"Well, I invented it", said Les with a grin.
Paul had walked through onto the platform, showing his ticket again, and found that his train had gone. There was a vast empty space where it had been, the steel tracks barely reflecting the surrounding light. They spanned away beyond a curve, out of sight.
Paul had not been programmed for this. The voice had said to get back on the train, but it wasn’t there. It was on its way to Chester. He didn't know what to do, for his mind was still not his own. He had to get back on the train but he could not, and because this action could not be performed, the parts of his brain responsible for his current actions began to heat, like a kettle switched on without any water. He began to tremble slightly as the temperature grew and started to tamper with his nervous system. All the time his mind was repeating the same words, words spoken to him over the phone: 'Get back on the train. Get back on the train'.
Soon, the heating had spread throughout his brain, affecting every nerve and every cell. His mind then, in the state that it was, reversed back to his previous action. That meant going back to the table, and to the men who had sold him the mobile.
Slowly, he turned, dropped his briefcase and made his way back. He had no idea what to when he got there. He just had to reverse his actions. His brain though, grew more and more hot, like a knife left in a fire, its blade glowing orange and yellow.
The two men were discussing what to say to another person who had recently bought a phone when they saw Paul, and they knew something had gone wrong. Lesley looked at Anthony and said: "What did you say to him?". Paul shuffled across, almost zombie-like, and a few people were staring. His brain was now melting, and melting everything beneath it, including his eyes, which oozed down his face. He fell forward, his hands slamming down on the desk.
"Get back on the train," he rasped, as blood spilled from his mouth, splattering the table. People screamed and ran, and the two men staggered back, the hording crashing over.
"Get back….on the train". Liquified brain and scarlet fluid poured over his melting jaw, and his head could be heard to crackle like an egg in a frying pan.
Lesley turned and ran, Anthony still staring at Paul, whose very skull, hair and teeth had melted into the multicoloured glistening fluid which pooled around him and covered the table. Still though, the man slowly collapsed forwards onto the desk as his neck, his shoulders, the tattoo of a cartoon fish on his forearm, all melted away into a spreading pool of thick liquid on the floor.
As people still screamed and ran around him, he watched as Paul vanished, his shoes melting away into the reflecting fluid. He joined them, turning and running for the exit, where outside a few taxi drivers were looking curious at the people who were hurrying outside and shouting and looking panicked.
He calmly got into a cab, and quickly thought of somewhere to go.
"Knowsley please", he said, sitting back.
"What’s going on in there lad?" the driver asked.
"Something to do with a bomb scare. Chemicals I think"
As he pulled away, and headed from the scene, Anthony simply relaxed, and took from his pocket a mobile phone.
From his inside pocket he took out a list. A list of telephone numbers of all the phones they had for sale. They had sold approximately three quarters of them, so he knew he could control some people out there. He smiled, and looked out of the window.