Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster
Kyle’s story begins with what is expected to be just another annual Millgrove talent show. Things begin to take a strange turn when Danny Birnie, “The Great Danielini,” takes the stage to perform his new hypnotist act. Danny, who’d never been particularly successful at anything, claims he was actually able to hypnotize his sister only a few days earlier, and now he intends to hypnotize four people from the audience. Kyle is surprised to find himself volunteering, along with Lilly (his best friend’s girlfriend), Mrs. O’Donnell from the Happy Shopper convenience store, and Mr. Peterson the postman. Kyle is even more surprised to find that Danny is really able to put his volunteers into a hypnotic state. What he finds when they all wake up, however, is not surprising. It is terrifying.
Everyone in the audience is frozen in place, their mouths open in a look of horror and shock. Bees still buzz, the wind still blows, but nobody moves. It is the same all over town. Then they discover that the phones, computers, radios, and televisions don’t work. Something terrible must have happened while Kyle and the others were under hypnosis.
Mr. Peterson takes it particularly badly:
They’re gone,” he said. “Changed. All of them. You hear me? I …I SEE THEM!” His words sent a physical chill down my spine. “See what?” I demanded. “What can you see?” “All of them.” His eyes were stretched even wider now, and his voice was little more than a rasping whisper as he said, “They are to us as we are to apes.”
No sooner do they begin to formulate a plan of action than everyone wakes up, acting like nothing out of the ordinary has happened at all. But no one is behaving like themselves, and when Kyle tells his parents what happened, they phone Dr. Campbell. Only Kyle was sure the phones still weren’t working. Kyle’s suspicions that all is not back to normal are confirmed when he overhears Dr. Campbell’s advice to his parents: “I’m sorry, but it is clear that he is one of the zero-point-four. There is nothing that can be done for him. He will have to be dealt with.”
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