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Danielle Peterson currently studies full time at Grand Canyon University, where she plans to earn a Bachelor Degree in Theatre. Previously, Danielle performed in six plays, with one role earning her the award "Best Female Lead." She demonstrated skills of creativity and work ethic to earn her way into her high school Honors Academy and the GCU Honors College.
“Alas, you are becoming very sleepy…,” I hum to the man laying on the table onstage. He, Jimmy Nelson, flutters his eyes, as per usual, and attempts to visibly show his muscles relax. The whole performance is so routine, I accidentally allow my mind to drift as my muscle memory takes me through the motions. Oo's and gasps flow through the audience. Hypnotism fascinates many, particularly the gullible; today's group is no exception. “And now, young man,” I hear myself saying, "Listen to my words very carefully. You are going to awaken, but when I snap my fingers, you will go back into an even deeper sleep.” I wave my hands over his lifeless body as if to amuse a child during a magic show. Tim better be paying me extra for this… “Now, arise!” Jimmy sits up, opens his eyes, and stares blankly ahead. Man, he's good. Better than our last actor. The audience is dazed… suckers. “Now, back to sleep,” I say with a snap of my fingers. Jimmy's head drops. An unsettling hush falls over the audience. Instinctively, I look out to their mass of bodies. Each of their heads have dropped as well. This isn't unusual, sometimes Tim likes to play practical jokes on me during the show. “Alright, very funny, everyone. I know this was Tim's doing. You can stop pretending now,” I announce with more hostility in my voice than intended. No reaction. “I'm going to continue with my volunteer, so, please, join us when you get bored.” As I turn my attention back to Jimmy, I realize the spotlight is no longer focused on centerstage, but has fallen to the base of downstage. I look up to see that the lighting crew have fallen immobile as well. Dang, this is an elaborate prank. “Hey, uh, Jimmy?” I whisper into his ear, “What exactly are these guys trying to pull?” No answer. “Jimmy?” I say louder. “Jimmy?!” I'm practically shouting now, “Wake up!” An electric current shoots through the room as every individual regains consciousness. “Really, guys, this isn't funny,” I announce. No response, only a field of blank stares. “Okay, this is absolute bull. I want to speak to Tim right now. Security, go find him now!” I say with a snap of my fingers. The audience drops their heads again. Wait, there's no way. It's not possible… No. I won't believe such absurdism. “Fine,” I declare, “you caught me. I'm a fraud. I'm just a show woman trying to make a living, is that what you want to hear? Fine. Don't answer. I don't care if you never wake up.” The heads lift once more. I've started shaking violently- uncontrollably. Just as a test, I snap my fingers. Sleep swarms the room again. Holy crap. “Um, okay, I want you to raise your right arm…” Everyone in sight is now raising their arms high above their heads. Holy crap. “Uh, release,” I say as I watch their hands drop. I feel my heart pounding now. I need to find Tim. I'm running. I'm running as fast as my legs can handle. I'm running like a maniac. I will not stop until I reach the box office on the opposite end of the building. Another auditorium door is open, and I think it may contain a shortcut. I dart in and freeze in my tracks. It is filled with people, both standing and sitting, with their heads all dropped. Oh, hell no. I rush back into the hall and straight toward the box office. I think that's where Tim said he would be. Yes, there he is. I think he is looking down at his phone. I rip the door open and march straight up to him, intending to grab his shirt collar, but then I see… he doesn't have his phone in his hand. He isn't holding anything. Out of breath, I manage to sputter out, “Tim, I know this was all you, and I want you to call it off. I'll give you points for being so elaborate, sure, but this is getting irritating. Stop sitting there like an idiot and say something!” His body remains motionless, even as I stand screaming into his ear. This is dumb, but worth a shot. “Crap, ok, uh, well, I am going to awaken you, and when I do, you will tell me a memory from your childhood,” I say in hushed tones, “Wake up.” Tim sits upright, and opens his mouth. He says, in a way that sounds rehearsed, “My dog's name was Prince. Grandmom didn't like Prince. She used to say…” I hear soft chatter behind me and turn to look. Both of the box office attendants are reciting memories in the same fashion as Tim. “Bad idea, this is creepy,” I say, “Stop.” They stop. I snap my fingers and they all go back to sleep. “Okay, I'm going to wake you all up again, but this time you're going to go back to your normal…,” I stop. This is real. It has to be. Why should I release everyone just like that? Leaders have been known to ‘brainwash' people before to get what they want, why should this be any different? If I could control, say, an entire population, I could eliminate our enemies and be a hero. A hero. That sounds nice… No more staged hypnosis shows, no more struggling to make rent, fame, fans, money… “I am going to awaken you, but when you arise, you will do exactly what I, Nezra the Great, command...”