The second therapy session began without a struggle to become comfortable, but Arnold still refused to bring up his childhood this early. Maddox allowed that and then surprised him with another request. Arnold tilted his head slightly, “I thought you said the earlier we start the better.”
The doctor nodded, “That’s true, but since you’re still not ready to talk about your past, I thought perhaps you could at least help me understand what happened to you in November.”
“I thought you said that we’d try to have a real session this time.”
“I do consider this part of your therapy, Arnold,” Dr. Maddox assured him in a professional tone. “Something happened to you out there. I need to know what it was, not just as your friend, but as your therapist.”
The cat frowned, and he had to admit she had a point, “That’s going to take a lot longer than an hour.”
“It’s a good thing we don’t have a set schedule.” The psychiatrist prepared her notebook and then looked at him expectantly, “Now, please do tell me what happened. I need to know.”
The cat sighed and started relating his encounters for that evening…how he had resisted the urge to claw Emerson’s face off and how Metier had been waiting for him. How he’d come to the conclusion that he should follow him in an attempt to do something different, something he hadn’t done in the first timeline. He talked for so long he lost himself enough to confess how terrified he’d been when he realized that Id was doing something with that tear in reality. Dr. Maddox wanted to say something, but she let him continue until he finally stopped.
“Go on,” the psychiatrist encouraged.
Arnold lowered his head into his paws, “I…can’t…I don’t really remember much immediately after that…I recall being angry, and yelling…but that’s all…”
Arnold’s mind cracked after he turned away from Id. He cursed Emerson, Metier, and Id equally in his own tongue for what had happened to him. He had no control over himself as he dissolved into nonsense, curses, and screeches as his fragile psyche started to collapse into itself. Soon he would be no better than the gibbering souls screaming about the spiders crawling over their skin.
“You don’t remember anything?” Dr. Maddox asked.
“No,” Arnold confessed. “The next thing I knew…something was pulling me.”
Arnold’s felt a tug. He stopped yelling in confusion and surprise, and another tug brought him back to some lucidity as he began to recognize his situation again. He couldn’t look about, but he was able to feel as if he was being pulled towards some of the things around him that were not there.
He felt the pull several more times and then his curiosity forced him to inspect the things surrounding him. As he focused his attention on one it became easier to feel it. Whatever it was it was immense on the inside…he tried to get closer and as his body returned he realized that he had gone inside of something.
Looking about himself Arnold found himself on a floating rock, which was surrounded by more debris floating in a void of space. He’d heard someone tell him about outer realms devoid of life, creation, or anything and figured this must be one of those empty realms without time. Arnold frowned as he inspected the cold and lifeless area, but he wasn’t worried. He could feel the place he had started. He could still leave this reality of nothing, and after a few more moments of looking around he did so.
“I don’t know for certain where I was,” the cat explained while staring at his own paws. “But I think that the realm without form I was in was a nothingness in between worlds,” Arnold explained, trying to sound convincing even to himself. “A place where there is no form, or time, or existence, but it’s still between realms. I was able to travel to these realms by passing into that nothingness and out again.” He paused and then added, “Or I was in my head for a very long time thinking that I was…”
Dr. Maddox smiled for a moment to herself, “You should leave those kinds of judgements to the therapist, Arnold.” He shrugged slightly. “Still that’s much better than I had feared. I’d worried you’d found someplace better out there and would not want to return…Tepic, Phaedra, and even Helio warned me you might have.”
“Hardly!” Arnold shouted. “It only got worse from there! Believe me, I’m never leaving ever again! Ever!”
Maddox laughed at his sudden tenacity, “Let’s assume for a moment that you were not in your head. What makes you believe that was the nothingness between realms? And if it was, how could you have survived there…and what made Id think this would help you?”
“I…don’t know…I’m guessing…” Arnold admitted, his hackles rising at the mention of her. “But Lionheart once told me that servitors were created by witches, or for witches…maybe my ancestors were created from the nothingness in between realms.” The doctor frowned, but before she could interrupt him the feline continued, “It also makes sense to me about what happened to Eclipse. He simply faded out of existence in the end…what if it was because his natural existence was nothingness.”
Dr. Maddox sat upright, “You are not nothing, Arnold.” The feline was taken aback by her ferocity at a point he hadn’t been talking about, and was about to make a counter argument when she continued. “And I don’t want you to do any kind of thinking to the contrary.”
Arnold stared at her a few moments and then turned away. The two of them would never agree on this point no matter how much the other one talked. She took his silence for acceptance, “Well, we can pick up here again next week. But for now your task before our next session will be-“
“Yes, Arnold. Your task for this week is to find as many things about your friends that you can that makes them important to you. I want this list next week at the beginning of our session. The more interesting, the better. I would prefer heartfelt, but knowing you interesting will have to do.”
Arnold was left gaping as the doctor and he left the asylum.