The Cup Bearer

by DJ

Chapter 25

Emilio sat, Indian style, on Ramon's bed and stared down at the empty water glass, the third he had drunk since Don went down to raid the kitchen, saying the best way he knew of staying awake was to eat. Don came back in carrying a tray laden with enough toast and coffee to feed a family. Placing the tray on the table that served as a nightstand between the beds, Don sank down on the other bed, poured the coffee and signalled for Emilio to help himself to the toast.

Emilio picked up a doorstop size slice. "I pressed the button twice when that guy from the syndicate left Guido's flat, and again, three times when I knew I was trapped. Why didn't anyone answer my calls?"

Don took a sip of his coffee. "Gary did. He was using the Rover which has a receiver installed and insisted on being in the area himself. He got your first signal and went round to the flat. He was on his own and had to decide whether to follow the guy who came out of the flat or wait to see if you buzzed him again. He called for someone else to follow the priest who came out of the flat, if he's a man of the cloth at all. He's under investigation right this minute. Gary waited for your next signal. He never received it. What happened?"

"I don't know."

"Sorry, maybe it wasn't working properly. Gary said there was a lot of noise coming from it."

"Guido found it. He must have done something to it while I was…any way, Guido told me to tell you he knows he's being watched and that he isn't stupid. He gave me a bruised cheek for my trouble." Emilio's head dropped. "I didn't see anyone when I came out of the flat."

"What did you expect Gary to do, park right outside the flat and wave a flag? Gary saw you throw something away. What was it?"

"The button; I was so angry at being let down." Emilio shrugged his shoulders. "It didn't make any difference anyhow. There was no way Gary could have got me out of that flat. I had to follow instructions or face the consequences. There's something else you ought to know too. Guido took the bolt off the door and gave it back to me in pieces, three days after you put it on. And another thing I think may be important; I was to be taken to a farm tonight, at least that was what the place was called. But I don't think it was a real farm by the way that guy from the syndicate talked. Guido and I were to be picked up and taken to somewhere just outside Trentham where we were to be blindfolded and transferred to another car."

Don sat up suddenly. "The Farm? Are you sure?"

"That's the name the guy used. So I was right, it is important. Why?"

"Nothing for you to worry about," Don said as he turned back to his coffee, but his eyes drew together with worry.

"Come on Don, something almost happened to me and I have the right to know what it was."

"Drink your coffee, it's getting cold."

"Now, Don."

With a sigh Don looked at him long and hard. "You're right, it isn't a farm. It's a place where a bunch of people use to have a good time. One of their victims said it was more like a big old house somewhere in the country, with lots of large cellars, like a church crypt. Another place in the grounds was connected to the cellars by a long tunnel, probably an escape route in case they were raided. Before we could discover much about the people who ran it, or where it 's situated, something spooked them or someone tipped them off and they went to ground. What you've just told me proves it's active again."

"So why do they call it the Farm?"

"Because of the crop it harvests."

"The crop?"

"Yeah, kids for market and I don't mean the type with horns." Don reached for a slice of toast and started to eat it. "Have you had a chance to tell Edward or George everything that happened to you?"

"Some that I can remember; the rest are from nightmares I'm still getting." Emilio took another slice of toast and bit into it. "They've read Tony's diaries of course, but Sherbourne wants my memories of what happened to come naturally and not be forced. That way I've less chance of a load of mental trouble. I'm due at Rudkin's office later today; Edward's meeting me there and I expect he'll give me a grilling before he goes back to London. That's why I had to get things straight in my mind first, like Guido calling me Ganymede just like Munante did. They have to be connected, Don."

"Or just a coincidence," Don offered.

Emilio shook his head. "When Guido first came here, he mentioned someone wrote and told him where I was, so that must mean there is someone over here who's connected to the sex club besides Guido."

"If that's the case, that same someone must have tried to put me out of action," Don remarked. "I didn't fall down those steps, I was pushed; hence my fright when you woke me last night. I guess it'll take time for me to stop being jumpy about being surprised."

"I wonder if Munante's got his claws into all this?" Emilio mused. "Maybe he thought I might recognise someone and wants to shut my mouth; and you were put out of the way to make it easy."

"Could be; it's more likely Guido wanted to make as much money out of you as he could before you blew the lid off the pan."

Emilio reached for a third slice of toast but didn't bite into it. Instead he stared at it thoughtfully. "There's another thing that's puzzling me."

"What's that?"

"Guido said he knew how to control me, I wonder what he meant?"

Don thought for a moment then said gravely, "He hasn't hypnotised you or anything, has he?"

"Of course not, I'd know, wouldn't I?"

"Not if you were drugged first."

Emilio stared at him with widening eyes. "You're not serious?"

"Yes, every serious."

"Nah. I'd know."

Don put down his toast and coffee and sat back against the cushions, thinking fast, then looked hard at Emilio. "Look, kid, he ain't going to invite you to sit down in a comfortable hair and swing a coin in front of your eyes till you fall asleep. That's fakery. And he wouldn't offer you a drink and say this is something to make you go to sleep. Would you mind if we did a little experiment?"

Emilio started to laugh but, seeing that Don wasn't playing games, he sobered quickly. "What are you going to do?"

"That name you say Guido was always calling you."

"Ganymede? It's a name from Greek mythology. You know the story?"

"Yeah, it's about Zeus falling in love with a kid and snatching him from his dad who was a king of some sort?

"Yeah, and Zeus sent his dad a pair of magical horses to make up for the loss."

"Did Guido say the name in a certain way or with certain words?"

"Yeah, like intimately, with adjectives thrown in, as if he meant it, you know?"

Don turned to face him. "Emilio I want you to tell me if there was anything sexual you didn't like doing and wouldn't do unless you were drugged or something like that."

Suddenly Emilio was troubled. "Yeah. Everything."

"Okay, pick one."

Emilio thought for a bit and felt his cheeks grown warm. 'Oral sex."

"Even though the photographs Guido took showed you doing it several times?"

"I was drugged," Emilio snapped angrily, "right to the eyeballs."

"Or hypnotised."

Emilio looked away, shaken.

"What's the time on your watch?" Don asked him. Emilio glanced at his watch and said it was almost four in the morning. "My precious Ganymede," Don said in a softly persuasive voice, "listen to me. I want you to come here to me. Zeus commands you."

Emilio's vision started to blur and when it cleared again Don was laughing gently at him. "Huh?" He gazed blankly at the man.

"That's the fifth slice of toast you're about to demolish."

"My what?" Emilio stared down at the slice of half eaten toast in his hand and the empty plate where, a moment ago, several slices of toast had remained.

Don laughed. "Emilio Gomez, think yourself lucky you like my doorstep toast, and cold coffee."

Emilio pulled a face. "Cold coffee? I hate the stuff."

"Well you've just drunk a mug full of it."

"No I haven't."

"Yes you have, under my control. Take a look, your mug's empty."

"Under your what?" Emilio's face screwed up in disbelief as he stared at his empty coffee mug.

"Whoever hypnotised you, created triggers spoken in a certain way; one to take you under and another to bring you out. When we discussed the story of Ganymede it didn't have any effect, but spoken in the way that Guido did, or as I did today, the name takes you under in no time. You went under easily, and I told you to come to me and do what you hated doing the most."

"Never!" Emilio laughed in disbelief.

Don grinned." I'm not kidding. I called you my Precious Ganymede and told you to bring me to the mountain of delight, among other things." When Emilio opened his mouth to deny it all, Don said, "That was the easy part. The hard part was finding the right trigger to bring you out of it, and boy, you really had me worried. Look at your watch." Emilio's heart gave a jolt. The time on his watch read four thirty-two. "I tried everything I could think of," Don went on, "like you see in the movies, and all sorts of rubbish like that, but nothing worked. In the end I had to order you to sit back down and finish your breakfast or I don't know what would have happened. Then I had to stop you attacking the toast before you made yourself sick, so I said, 'Take it easy,' and you came out of the trance. You've been hypnotised, kid, well and truly."

Gripped by a chilling fear, Emilio shook his head. "Don, I know enough about all that stuff to understand you have to have a long session with a hypnofreak or someone like that, and go to sleep and all that stuff."

Don got to his feet. "I suggest we have a talk to Bryn Adams about it. There's a guy at the Rosscroft who uses hypnotherapy in treating certain cases up there. Perhaps Bryn can arrange for you to see him."

"What can he do?"

"Find out how you were hypnotised and if so, when and by whom. But before that I suggest you go and see Rudkin, then pay your mother a visit and buy her the biggest bouquet of flowers we can find on the way. At least you don't have to worry about food, you've had enough toast to keep you going for hours."

As Don carried the tray downstairs, Emilio said, "Don't we have to visit the child abuse unit at the Rosscroft first?"

"Oh, I'd forgotten about that. Better not have a shower yet."

Knowing the kind of investigative procedure that awaited Emilio at the Rosscroft, Don wished he could have spared him from it, but he guessed it wasn't the first time for the boy. The look on Emilio's face, when he met him afterwards at the main entrance to the clinic, told Don things had not gone well and it wasn't till they were back in the Rover and heading home that Emilio came out of his brooding silence. "Thanks, Don."

"For what?"

"For yesterday, and last night. And today."

"That's okay; it's what I'm being paid for. I guess things didn't go well back there."

"I'm sorry, Don. After what I went through in that child abuse unit, I'm feeling a bit fragile. Talk about legalised medical rape! I've a mind to speak to Bryn about a couple of those nurses, and one of the doctors. They sedated me for the medical but I could still hear them talking, with references to the Mersey Tunnel and stuff like that? They seemed to find it all quite a joke. Anyway, I'm grateful for your friendship, I knew you'd understand."

'Oh yeah? Are you psychic or something?"

Emilio shrugged. "I guess it's my Gypsy roots. I can't read minds to order and I don't have much control over things. When it happens it's scary. I don't like it and wish it didn't happen. That's how I knew Ramon was in trouble. Sometimes I see the future and I wish I didn't do that either. If the visions are strong, I pass out and folks think I'm having a fit; which I'm not but it's easier to let them think I am than trying to explain something they wouldn't believe anyway. What I saw about Guido and Ramon was pretty frightening. I'd rather it didn't happen again."

"Can you transfer your thoughts?"

"Sometimes. It gave me quite a scare the first time it happened; really heavy."

"When was that?"

"The day I left Nashville; I was angry with Peter, and it was as if he'd read my thoughts and he looked real spooked. The second time was my first day at school over here. I'd had a feeling I'd meet someone who'd be close to me, and when I saw Sandy in the classroom I knew it was going to be him. He seemed to know what I was thinking too. I've been having visions since I was twelve. Anyway, thanks again for last night, I appreciate it."

Emilio caught the unspoken words. "Just think yourself lucky I can control myself." and sat in stunned silence till Doan parked the car outside his garage.

Don beckoned him out of the car. "Come up to the flat, I want to show you something."

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