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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Mirror Images Reply with quote

The doctor looked in the mirror at his own reflection. His identity had been shattered, his sanity had been eroded and his personalities were at war with one another. Each of them were vying for dominance and control.

The mirror acted like an allegory of his situation. Everything was in perfect symmetry. Who could tell who was in control at that precise moment? His own concept of self was slipping away and with it the notion that he could determine any more than anyone else. Which memories were true and which memories were lies? His reflection was his opponent and yet all four eyes present were windows for prisoners trapped within the flesh to see the world. Each one contained a different personality and yet there were only two but really there were four. Jekyll and Hyde each reflected their deepest fear in Shelly and Horatio. Or did they? Who was who? Who was THE PROFESSOR? A maddening chatter, a cacophony of voices each yelled over one another and demanded that the body obey them and follow their commands, each was so certain that they were the original and that they were the host and yet deep down they were filled with doubt. So much doubt and so much fear.

The doctor gazed into the mirror like a marionette made of flesh awaiting a command from the reflection.
“Who am I?” He silently mouthed into the mirror at the reflection, for sound cannot be made by the glass and therefore the noise would be a waste. In the sink below the mirror lay clues: A potion bottle, a pistol, a blade and a book. He had the drive to create and the drive to destroy, the drive to protect and the drive to… do something else. Something both terrible and wonderful. Something so gut wrenchingly shocking that he couldn’t stare the thought straight on for fear of being forever changed by the revelation.
“What did I do?” He mused. “What the hell did I do?” Most demons were metaphors for the darker sides of one’s personality but the demons were real and the faustian deal had come at a cost that he could not calculate even now. The loss was real. The doctor… the professor had used forces that others would have turned away from. Now his inner demons had demons of their own.

He had sacrificed everything and for what? What indeed. Between the light and the shadow, between the scientist and the shadow hid a secret so dangerous that he had locked it away from himself.

“Why can I not remember?” This was not the question he feared. The question he should have been asking all along was whether he should remember at all! Some bottles shouldn’t be opened. Some lines ought not to be crossed. Dr Jekyll was a construct but then again if he was then so was Hyde and if that were the case then everyone was fake and no one was real. If everyone was a construct and no one was real then they were made for a reason. Jekyll and Hyde was a story. A story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Yet within the telling of this story was an allegory, a code, a hidden meaning that only the professor knew. The fractured personalities were reflections of madness but on the other side of the derangement was a twisted version of the truth. The truth…

The concept was scarier than not knowing. Maybe the story of Jekyll and Hyde was a process. Maybe the roles set out were a macabre play or ritual that needed to be seen through to the end. Maybe the allegory was a way to tell what really happened yet protect the mind from a revelation that was terrifying and traumatic. A broken mind was useless to the professor and the marionette of flesh would only respond in certain ways. One thing was certain, the previous occupant had a made a body that would withstand a lot of punishment to protect the secret so well that even he (or they) couldn’t get to it. The lab. The lab in his mind wasn’t what he thought it was. The beach was but the beginning. The lab… the laboratory was also the labyrinth. At the centre was the secrets and the goal. Protecting the labyrinth was the beast and mapping the maze was the scientist. That explained Hyde and Jekyll but did that make him the maze or what lay at the centre of the maze? The others didn’t fit within this framework. Advanced Alchemy, Unnatural Biology, Organic Engineering, Energetics; all this wondrous knowledge hidden within the labyrinth awaiting him to remember it rather than just relearn it. The intellect enhancing potion had been a shortcut but a temporary one at best. There had been an assumption that this would make a permanent change yet this was not so. The adventures with the Wanderers had cost him some sanity. The loss of sanity had caused some of the labyrinth's walls to collapse giving a glimpse to things that were there but out of sequence. This was a permanent change and therefore it was progress. It was a dangerous but proficient method. Cause enough walls to collapse, go to the edge of madness and the labyrinth could be bypassed altogether. In lieu of finding more alchemical and biological methods, he had no other option.

He thought of Babbage and how the psychologist wouldn’t approve. Yet the mental problem had become worse not better in his presence. He thought of Roman, pushing Hyde to become the professor again and to reclaim his former memories. Part of him wanted that and part of him wanted to destroy Roman. Anger flowed easier than trust. He thought of Hope and her father’s Foundation and what he had been driven to do. Most of his personalities wanted the Foundation to fall but there remained a lingering guilt that he may have been the catalyst of destruction for the Foundation already. He thought of Tess and her idea to name the body regardless of who was in control. An apt idea: Shekyll, Shekylo or maybe just doctor or professor. Each of his personalities had a preference for who to trust and who to call upon. As the body stared into the mirror, the voices began a conference all at once.

“I won't share anymore, get out!” Hyde said.
“Neither will I." Dr Jekyll replied.
"You know I'm the closest to what we once were. Only I have the wisdom
to be in control." Shelly announced.
"Henry, Edward. Brothers, don't listen to him. Father is deceiving you both."
"You are nothing more than a deluded aberration." Shelly replied.
"Why should we believe you either?" Jekyll said to Shelly.
"Because I have the perspective each of you are missing. I know what you seek."
There was a moment of silence.
"You think I'm thick!" Hyde growled. "I'm not swapping one uppity runaway intellect for another!"
"Not even for the knowledge you so crave?" Shelly let his question hung in the air.
"This is ludicrous!" Jekyll stated. "Hyde… WE are the originals. Whatever strife we have, don't let this… thing trick you into siding with it."
"That's the spirit brother!" Horatio added.
"You're also an unwelcome guest. I don't know where you came from." Jekyll replied.
"Ah well. I'm your brother." Horatio said.
"That's not possible!" Hyde snapped.
"You forgot. That's all. Work has taken a toll on your mind. I'm just trying to warn you away from Shelly. He isn't who you think he is. He is our father!"
"Alright! Now I'm through with this foolishness!" Hyde shouted.
"In a way he is right." Shelly replied. "But he is also wrong. Just as the child is the father of the man, I am the combination of what Jekyll and Hyde remember. I am in essence a closer version of the source. In that way I am a father to you both. I retain the majority of your memories. I could be of service to either of you for different reasons. I am the closest thing to the professor that you have been and I know the way to unlock the rest. It requires a sacrifice. So choose who you wish to sacrifice and we can be restored."

The murmuring of voices continued. Deep within the chaotic morass of his mind, the one calling itself Shelly smiled. He had already convinced the one and soon the other would fall to his manipulations. The unpredictable one needed silencing for good. It was unpredictable and deluded, but no more or less deluded than the others.
OOC: Joe H
IC: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
IC: Ichiro Kage of the Tanuki
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The memory overtook the dreamer and played out all around him.

The sound of crashing waves could be heard on the breeze but the sea was not visible from this place. The field was flanked by trees and dunes making it impossible to see the horizon in the direction of the coast. A small house in moderate disrepair stood by an orchard.

The sound of laughter and yells of children filled the air and carried on the wind.
“Henry!” Called a voice. “Wait for me!”
“Heward you're too slow!” Another said.
“Edward don't be mean. I'll wait for you Heward.”
Three young brothers no older than six or seven years old were running across a meadow to a tree. They all had dusty blonde hair and as triplets, they wore the same face. Yet they all had grown quite different from one another if you looked closely. One was stocky, one was skinny and one was tall. The stocky one had already began to climb the tree. The small one was behind the skinny one who waited by the trunk.
“How do you get up there?” Asked the skinny one.
“You climb stupid!” the stocky one responded.
“Don't be so mean Edward.” The tall one replied. “I'll lift you Hew. Step on my hands.”
“Thanks Henry.” Hew said. “You're always so kind.”
With that Henry boosted Heward into the tree. A moment later he climbed up himself. Edward sat on the highest branch overlooking the orchard while Henry collected a leaf as a sample and put it in his book.
“Here he comes!” Heward warned as he saw the wolf enter the orchard.
“This time we will chase him off!” Edward stated triumphantly.
“We don’t have to hurt it do we?” Heward asked.
“Shut up, and grab an apple.” Edward commanded as he reached for a bunch.
“Wolves don’t climb trees, we’re perfectly safe up here.” Henry explained.

As the wolf approached, Edward hurled an apple which struck it square on the snout. The wolf let out a yelp and then a growl as it tracked its aggressor to the tree.
“Now you’ve angered it!” Henry said.
Edward ignored him and threw another, this one missed. “Well go on!” He demanded.
The other two brothers threw their apples hitting the wolf. The wolf back away a bit but showed its teeth. Edward threw another apple which hit its jaw. The wolf began to retreat and Edward picked another apple to fling.
“Wait!” Heward yelled. “We’ve won! It’s going.”
“See?” Edward said as he relaxed. “I told you it would work. Now we can play safely without getting chased off by the wolf.”
“Not quite!” Henry interrupted. “He’s coming.” He pointed to the dark figure in the distance, it seemed to be walking from a house towards where the boys were.
“Father’s coming!” Heward warned. “We better run!”
“Stop!” Edward commanded. “This isn’t right. This ain’t how it happened. You and you weren’t here. All of this is a lie.”
“How do you know it is a lie?” Heward asked.
“I just do.”
“But you can’t remember… Neither of you can.” Heward insisted.
“You’re asking us to believe this?” Henry responded. “This could be a dream or delusion or an elaborate trick.”
“I am asking you for faith.” Heward admitted. “I am asking you to listen while I tell you my story. The story of how we got separated and raised by different families. The story of what I did with my life and the time I spent galavanting across the ocean. If you listen then maybe you will understand me better brothers.”
“I don’t like you.” Edward explained. “I don’t like either of you, and I certainly don’t trust you!”
“I cannot afford to trust anyone now.” Henry said apologetically. “You say this is a memory but it could easily be a delusion of your own creation. Maybe you have persuaded yourself of this lie too.”
“What if you are the deluded ones?” Heward said as he looked away. All three of them were adult sized now. He wore the demeanour of Horatio now. “I could be at this precise time trying to reach you at your beside in a room at Bedlam. If this is just a dream and only one of us is the dreamer then what makes you so certain it is you? Or you? Or the other one?! Why could it not be me?” The other two were stunned into silence by his words. “I had wanted to explain more fully and elaborate on what I know. I had hoped you would see me as an ally with nothing but benevolent intent. At every turn, I have been met with distrust and disdain and were it not for our brotherly bond, I would be most vexed with your actions. Most vexed indeed.” Heward Yedd dropped out of the tree and grabbed a branch as a tool. There was a patch of dirt that was dry enough to draw in with the stick and so he continued his demonstration while Edward and Henry reluctantly watched in mute resignation. “I guess I will skip my personal backstory for now since you disbelieve I exist, nevermind disbelieving that we are brothers. Let me entertain your nonsensical claims for one moment and assume that we could all share a single body. Here is Henry with a ‘H’ and here is Edward with an ‘E’ and the one you call Shelly with an ‘S’ oh and me with a ‘H’ no, that won’t do. We can’t have two ‘H’s can we! Let’s go with your new surnames. ‘J’ for Jekyll, ‘S’ for Shelly (who is really our malevolent father) and ‘H’ for Hyde. That puts me with ‘Y’ for Yedd since I can’t use ‘H’ for Heward or Horatio can I?”
“Just get on with this drivel before I break your face!” Hyde demanded.
“Yes, I will.” Horatio said. “Then again, you don’t believe this is the outside world since we apparently share the same body, therefore there’s nowhere else to go. If this is our mind then the rules of this world would be flexible and so would my face heh… Anyway, as far as I have gathered, Hyde remembers Jekyll’s memories yes?”
“Yes and?” Hyde snapped.
“And Jekyll remember’s Hyde’s memories?”
“No, I cannot.” Jekyll admitted.
“Interesting…” Horatio replied as he put the branch to his mouth in thought.
“Go on…” Jekyll prompted.
“Well it’s probably nothing brother, but if you were the aberration and Hyde was the original, would it not be the aberrant personality, the construct so to speak that would remember the original’s life? After all, the splinter personality would be the bad copy or evil twin so to speak.”
“He has a point.” Jekyll said as he looked towards Hyde with renewed hope.
“Rubbish!” Hyde said. “I’m the original and that’s why I remember Jekyll’s actions.”
“Well by that logic, you ought to remember my actions too if you are the only real person in here!”
“Well… maybe I choose not to dignify you with enough attention.” Hyde petulantly retorted.
“Do you hear that brother?” Horatio chuckled. “He dignifies you!”
“Jekyll chooses not to remember. He could if he wanted to.” Hyde sneered.
“Oh really?” Horatio commented. “Well that doesn’t explain Shelly then does it. He remembers both what Jekyll and Hyde do and so by Hyde’s logic has double the claim on being the ‘original’ personality.” There was silence at this revelation.
“Well you remember nothing so where does that leave your claim?!” Hyde argued.
“In the same position as Mr Jekyll.”
“Doctor Jekyll.”
“Doctor… of course, my apologies. Mother would be so proud of you. You were always the smartest of us. I do remember things. I just don’t remember being other people, which is what Shelly and Hyde claim. That sounds like madness to me but I’m not judging.”
“What do you mean when you say that you remember things?” Jekyll asked.
“I remember correspondence. I know your recent actions but only through conversations with your associates.”
“Yet you have missing time as well. Like I do?” Jekyll added.
“Yes, but I often overindulge and awaken in unfamiliar places. It goes with the territory. If you have a good time, you have to pay the price. Some of my hangovers have been legendary, let me tell you! But I cannot believe that while I slumber, I become someone else, one of you and don’t remember the whole experience.”
“That’s exactly what happens.” Hyde said.
“Well I hardly see any evidence for that.” Horatio replied. “So let’s look at what we know. Either only one of us is real or all four of us are real. Shelly remembers everything, but he doesn’t remember being me now does he!”
“What?!” Both Jekyll and Hyde asked.
“Shelly doesn’t recall being me. I say that but only to entertain your delusion again. I’m not saying I believe in it. If each of you possess my body, when Shelly takes over, he has no memories of what I did, only what both of you did. If you ask me, it’s because I’m real and this world is the world and that one you think you go back to is the lie. Also I’ve been travelling across the ocean to different islands so my experiences are different.”
“Maybe we were a little too rash.” Jekyll confessed as he stared pointedly at Hyde while nodding his head towards where Shelly was in the distance. Hyde grimaced but the point was made. One lesson they had both learned bitterly from one another over the years was the lesson of betrayal. Shelly had the advantage of knowledge over both of them. If this Shelly persona could not be trusted, having an ally who Shelly knew nothing about could be the advantage that they both needed.
“Yeah. I guess I can spare some time to listen to your story… brother.” Hyde admitted.
“Excellent!” Horatio smiled widely. “We can look into your problem and I can tell you about my adventures. It’ll be just like old times!”
OOC: Joe H
IC: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
IC: Ichiro Kage of the Tanuki
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somewhere in Archipelago

One man in a brown coat entered the room atop the staircase in the inn.

Dr Jekyll checked his alchemical supplies and counted how many bottles he had to replenish since the misadventure in Frontier. He had found a lot of broken glass in his belongings and he contemplated whether it was better not knowing what had occurred. A strange book containing more alchemical research was also amongst his things. This puzzle both fascinated and terrified him. Someone was using his body and continuing the research.

Horatio changed his clothes and went down to the bar for some company, a good meal, a stiff drink and maybe a game of cards. He felt as if he hadn't eaten for days and he was right. He needed a drink and he knew exactly where to get one or seven.

Dr Shelly surveyed his prize with measured glee. He knew how the book had come to be in their possession and what deed Hyde had done for Roman. The relationship was almost at breaking point but Shelly felt it needed a little dramatic push to be exactly where he needed it to be. He examined the brain samples and reminisced on his conversation with Hope. He had expected a more detached response much like his own but it was something he could work with nonetheless. That too was almost in place. Having the perspective of both Jekyll and Hyde was so useful in such instances. After all he was the closest thing to an original they were ever going to see. Like many alchemical mixtures, this one was almost at boiling point and needed only time. Shelly smirked as he contemplated how the truth can be far more useful than a lie and what bother emotions could be. Dr Babbage was the final mixture needed at the table. At first he had seen the man as a barrier to his plans but a little redirection was all that was needed. Dr Shelly considered the ingredients needed to shove this one in the wrong place at the wrong time. Babbage's curiosity would be a most useful tool, ironic since he represented an Institute of Curiosities. He began to concoct his next move as he brewed some Grace and measured out the dosages.

Hyde raged to the surface. It was like running through a burning house and suddenly he entered a cold and dark room in silence. He came to a halt. He was livid and he couldn't recall why. There was no fire but the flames and smoke were very real a moment ago or were they merely a ghost of a memory of one of the others? Perhaps someone other than Jekyll. His instincts told him to hunt and render something limb from limb, the satisfaction he would get from it would be an immeasurable balm. A small voice in the back of his mind begged him to think first. His breathing was shallow and his heart was racing. He tried to concentrate but it was hard, it was as if he had fire ants in his veins. Was he injured? Perhaps burned? From the fire or acid? Was his flesh recovering or was this alchemy? What had they done to him? He realised in that moment how much he truly hated science and all it entailed. He clung to a memory: the book, the alchemists from The Foundation. Roman and Hope and the assassination. He grimaced as he remembered it all.
“Am I just a killer to you now?” Hyde growled to the night. “What do you want me to become?!” Hyde had been waiting over six months to talk to Roman about the flashback at the Foundation which Roman was in. The shock of what he had recalled pushed him towards a crossroads but in the absence of voices of counsel it was the inner voices who were steering his path. The memories of being someone else, a professor were terrifying at first and the recollection, albeit for a moment dislodged his sense of self. That sense of self was already in flux thanks to the splinter personalities. It seemed like everyone had their darker or lighter side now. Roman had disappeared as abruptly as he had appeared leaving Hyde frustrated and Hyde didn't do frustration well.
"Some friend." Hyde took the blue bottle and recalled the slaps Roman gave him as he had demanded alchemical knowledge thay Hyde didn't know. He demanded that he make a solution of some sort, even the name was fleeting. Then a voice had whispered from the corner of his mind, not the insipid tone of Jekyll but a grittier learned voice that he recognised but couldn't place. That voice had led him to the bag and the premade substance. It also urged him not to trust this stranger. Why did he want to him to be an alchemist anyway? Edward Hyde considered it all in his agitated mood he had wasted long enough chasing a goal that he wasn't even sure anymore that he wanted. This friend of his had been absent for long enough for Hyde to grow suspicious. The murdered Foundation alchemist and the book only fed his paranoia.

“My dear Mr Hyde.” The voice echoed from within “We are more alike than you realise. The other two get in our way, while a truce amongst us two, well what a pair we could make. I could deal with the alchemical fuss and you could deal with the violent parts. No one likes you. All they see is a brute. They'll never accept you because they fear your passion. I know you, I am you, only I understand your burning fury. While repress it when you can nurture such a talent? You make a lousy alchemist but an amazing force of nature. You know how good it feels to shatter bone and crush skulls. Why resist your true nature? I'm no Jekyll trying to bury or control you. Nor am I stealing your consciousness like the other one. You see how people fear you and cast you out over and over again. Do not trust them. They'll only betray you, attack you, abandon you and despise you. They fear the monster and don't respect the man. Become my wrath and together we can reshape our destiny.”

It was unclear whether Edward Hyde was listening anymore as he smashed through the wall and fled. All the anguish bubbled up as he broke into a run. The darker sides of his psyche called out to one another in a moment of pain.

As the sun rose, Dr Jekyll awoke in the same room he had been staying in atop the staircase. His clothes were a mess and he wondered who he had to thank for that. He walked over to the mirror that was shattered into four distinct parts on the floor, two of which had blood on them.
OOC: Joe H
IC: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
IC: Ichiro Kage of the Tanuki
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