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Mind Games Number TWO 'OUCH!'"!The Mind Games 2 Ouch!I could sense the damage almost at once and the pain followed a split second later. It was much more intense than I expected but duller, as if I'd hit myself with a tack hammer. I withdrew the pencil and glimpsed some bluish grey strands of something before my 'skin' closed up around the wound, leaving a puncture that leaked a slightly viscous translucent pink fluid. I was shocked and horrified, as well as bewildered. Without thinking I jabbed the pencil into the hand that Morphingus was even then bringing up in front of his face. He pivoted on his right foot and struck me with a low left jab that caught me just under the sternum.Vagal inhibition kicked in at once and I bent forward and leaned on the desk, unable to draw breath. My left hand hurt like hell. I looked upwards at Morphingus as he retreated behind the computer desk and addressed the webcam above the flat screen.
The Mind GamesI was having a nightmare. I remember going to bed in London after resigning my position as a cog in the Wheel but can't even remember waking up again before finding myself here, in this picturesque little Italianate square with its well trimmed box parterres and a tinkling fountain, surrounded by quaint little shops with candy striped awnings. On the skyline there was a more imposing building capped by a verdigris coloured copper dome like a renaissance observatory."Where am I?""In The Village", said a voice I'd never heard before, speaking through the tannoys of some distributed public address system which made the voice seem to echo as if it came from everywhere and nowhere."Who are you?""The new Number two.""Who is Number One?""YOU are #4,367,824,000,006... we'll call you 006, for short!""I am not a number. I'm a human being with free will..." After a brief interlude of sarcastically derisive laughter from the speakers I got in another question."Whose side are you on?""That