Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dark World: On the Road Again

(The story begins here.)

No one spoke until Dvorak Manor was well out of sight. Lassiter grunted slightly as another car turned away from them, heading south. “There goes Antonin. He still gives me the creeps.”

Darren had also been watching the other vehicle. “Dvorak was unwise to isolate himself. And Antonin probably wouldn’t have done anything so dramatic if Dvorak had just listened to him. Combining their interests—organics for control and inorganics for power and precision—might have been the perfect blend, though it probably would have yielded the ultimate horror.”

“Speaking of horrors,” Dr. Fleming said, “we seem to have escaped our weird friends. Nothing truly strange has happened for a full day, and I’m beginning to hope they’ve lost our trail.”

“I do hate to disappoint you,” Darren replied, “but I had an odd experience this morning after you threw me out and before I fetched Lassiter.”

“Great,” Lassiter muttered. “Are we werewolves together, or are you above such things?”

“I believe I’m protected. But this was a more positive encounter: I think I’ve met the priest you mentioned in our first interview.”

“I’d take my chances with the werewolves.”

“Having interacted with both, I disagree. He provided some useful information, though I’m still sorting it out. Basically, there’s a kind of doorway between worlds, and once it opens for you, it never really closes—unless you go through, in which case it shuts you in forever. It tends to draw evil to that other world, though I think it’s letting some out here as well.”

Lassiter merely snorted in response, but Dr. Fleming smiled. “I’m sure Dr. Newman will want to hear all about it; he’s always interested in the duality of good and evil in human nature. He even uses Christian terminology, though I’m sure you would disagree with precisely how he uses it.”

Darren glanced back; Lassiter was either very quick at falling asleep or very determined to ignore and be ignored. “So if neither of us is likely to agree with this Dr. Newman, why bother with him?”

“He has relevant knowledge. Dr. Adam Newman—yes, go ahead and chuckle; I am well aware it’s an alias—Dr. Newman pursues unorthodox means, but he sometimes succeeds where others fail. He specializes in rehabilitating criminals, and his work there is quite impressive. It’s rumored that a certain well-known doctor—more of a modern Renaissance man, really—has funded his establishment in upstate New York where he reforms criminals and helps them become useful citizens. But he also believes in some kind of transformative power. I never actually listened, but he seems to think a strong enough psychological change or disturbance can produce physiological changes. He probably would accept the possibility of lycanthropy.”

“So would I,” Darren retorted. “So would you—now. Why go to someone we both consider questionable? Are you really so determined to find even a pseudo-scientific explanation and cure?”

“It may not be so much a false science as a real science sloppily pursued and documented, much like mesmerism. Perhaps I have been too quick to dismiss him and his views, just as I initially rejected the idea of lycanthropy. But in any case, we shall soon see for ourselves whether Dr. Newman’s ‘Better Angel Foundation’ is genuine or fraudulent.”

Next: How Firm a Foundation?

[I really am behind in my book reviews, so I'll pause the story for a few days.]

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