13 July 2023 – 7am
As with most of his days since the move. Marcus had got up, made himself a coffee and some toast and walked outside his cottage to the little iron-wrought table just outside the door. He put his coffee and toast down and stretched. It really was beautiful out here. In fact, Marcus was having second thoughts about football management ever again. He sat down, stretching out his legs in the warm morning sunshine.
Taking a bite out of the toast, he reflected on his position. He had no idea where he was and he couldn’t leave, but he had an ideal location
to just settle with everything provided for and no need to do anything. His sheets were changed daily, by whom, he had no idea. His bed was HUGE and had, what seemed like speakers, built into the curvature of the headboard. He seemed to enjoy a daily nap about 3pm every day in the same armchair. God knows why, he’d tried not to, but suddenly felt very nauseous and wrong at the thought of NOT sitting there.
But on this be-a-yoo-tiful morning, it really wasn’t worth getting upset about. He finished the toast and raised the coffee to his lips. A
rich, dark aroma rose to meet his nostrils. Perfect. Even the frigging coffee was perfect. He smiled to himself and waved at his groundskeeper, who absently clipped a few rose bushes down near the stone wall around the cottage. Life was perfect.
15 August 2023 – 1450hrs.
Marcus was enjoying a glass of red wine outside when a dark sedan made itself known coming down the dusty track. Who was this? thought Marcus, as he set down his glass next to the half-emptied carafe. He rose almost automatically as the car came to a halt outside. A strange feeling came over Marcus. What was this? He checked his watch, 14:58. Crap, he needed to get indoors, go sit in his chair in the sun. But, can’t be rude, thought Marcus.
The driver got out, a huge man who looked like he ate children for lunch. The driver opened the rear door and out into the sunlight stepped Zlatan, dressed only in a studded posing pouch and cowboy boots. His voice bellowing “I see you’re enjoying The Zlatan’s hospitality”. Marcus looked at him in amazement. What was he doing here? Pangs of pain shot through his stomach. What? What was this? His legs buckled and he fell to one knee. Panic flooded his body, his brain was screaming at him to get back to the chair. The soft, inviting embrace of the chair. He slumped to the floor, body refusing to function
“Dirty boy” said Zlatan purred as Marcus’ bodily functions decided to all relax at once. Stepping over the prone Marcus, Zlatan sat at the table and poured himself a glass. Marcus glared at him with an accusing eye.
“I think that you are wondering why this has happened, Marcus?”
“Well, to be frank, I am dressed so because I am the The Zlatan. And every night you go to sleep, we’ve been playing hypnosis tapes through your speakers. We’ve been implanting the suggestion that you need to sit in the chair at 3pm. Clear so far?”
Marcus moaned softly
“Don’t interrupt the Zlatan. YOU NEVER INTERRUPT THE ZLATAN. Of course, that alone wouldn’t induce this state, so every time you sit in the chair, a hypodermic needle comes out and drugs you. While you sleep, we get everything done round the house and you stay none-the-wiser”
“And the withdrawal from those drugs is PRECISELY what you’re feeling right now.. So, I’m going to give you some tip-top Colombian sugar and I’ll see you soon”
Marcus’ eyes closed as darkness overcame him. He never noticed the four people in hazmat suits who picked him up and threw him into a black van. He never felt the jolts as the van sped off down the country lane. He never considered where this would leave him..