-From the private journal of Dr. Henry Jekyll-
Hey, Doc. I doubt you’ll remember much of that crazy dream, so I’m leaving this note for you to see when you’re out. Feel free to tear it out of your notebook and burn it if you wanna.
So about that dream…
The first half was a blur of scenes. Somehow, I walked through a haunted hotel into a hospital ward, into a sewer, through a fox hole, past some creepy carnival and into a haunted house. No reason for me being in any of those places, but there I was, armed with only a lantern and a knife. I think I wound up starting it off, but that’s what happens when you doze off in a warm place with booze. (Thank god Moldylocks had taken a liking to me and let me rest in her restaurant. It was a long day…)
Anyway, it wasn’t the location that made the dream so damn weird, but the bloke I ran into.
Yeah, you heard me. I ran into someone in a dream who wasn’t supposed to be there. First glimpse I saw of the guy was this silhouette of what looked like a scarecrow standing in the middle of the woods. Next time I saw him he was at that weird carnival. I think. I only saw his stupid hat, so I didn’t pay much attention. Then I see him in the neighboring yard of that haunted house for a split second. He was getting closer, possibly getting on either your nerves or mine, but he was still out of the way so I ignored him.
It wasn’t until I ventured upstairs, into the house, when that weird scarecrow man suddenly walks up behind me of his own accord and giggles like a madman.
I turned around, yelling at him and trying to swing my lantern at him on instinct, but damn, that bloke was nimble. Swung right back outta the way. There was a fair amount of light in the house, even more so from my lantern, so I got a good look at the guy. I don’t want to bore you with the description, so have this.
As you can tell by now, he was a literal living scarecrow, stuffed with straw and everything. Though a scythe seems fitting for a scarecrow, a gas mask… Not so much…
But now look at his proportions. See how his hands dangle about a mile from the cuffs of his sleeves? See how you could easily break off one of his spindly legs and use his foot as a small shovel? Notice the fashion in which he wears his oily hair? I might also mention that I got to look at his face from one side and saw he was wearing a pair of emerald-tinted glasses over that weird gas mask. I ask you, who in the realm of the awake and living looks as goofy as that? Only one man does, and I knew it.
At first, of course, he denied being anyone we knew, refusing to remove his mask, giving me cryptic responses like “Hard to say who you might see in a nightmare” or “Is anyone’s face really the same in dreams?” The scarecrow man danced around my questions, both figuratively and literally, like some drunken ballerina trying to seem philosophical. Somehow, it almost worked.
I figured this strange bloke could act like some sort of tour guide. He suggested he could figure out how dreams like this work (Yeah, he made me aware I was dreaming) but he also warned that he could very well lead me astray “to harvest me” like the grim reaper I guessed.
He proceeded to lead me through a whole montage of common fears. Spiders, some surreal room meant to represent an irrational fear of disease, ghosts… All in that same cheery, half insane manner that fitted a scarecrow. He kept asking me if I feared what he was showing me. I admit, some of it did gross me out, but I think you were the one unsettled. The scarecrow would occasionally glance at the wall where your shadow fell like he knew you were there, but never said a word. As much as I wanted to protect our big secret, I had a desire to chip away at his facade, to see the man behind the mask.
Lucky guess, then. We passed through the Murgham Asylum, but not quite as I remembered it. The hallways were twisting and turning, the floor crumbled beneath my feet, the elevator shot down many floors, but we always ended up on the third floor… Where the worst of them crazies were. Here, I finally revealed the scarecrow’s name through guessing alone. I think the conversation went like this:
I asked him, “You live here, don’t you?”
The scarecrow admits, “Perhaps you do know me.”
“Like I’ve been saying, Professor V.”
He squints at me, “…Indeed”
“I didn’t know you had the same sort of humor as I have.”
“There’s a lot you don’t yet know of me. And likely may never.”
“ I could say the same about myself.”
“But I am interested to know more about you two…”
That moment, I realized that Professor Rance Ichabod Vartanian had somehow gotten into my dreams and possibly stumbled upon our secret.
It’s not all that bad, though. I kept asking Prof. V trivial questions while I followed him through a labyrinth as he was picking up weird pumpkins and storing them God-Knows-Where. It turns out, he might have always been a living scarecrow under that human flesh, or he became one a long time ago. He also has this weird habit of walking into the dreams of his patients and feasting on their fear. How, I have no bloody idea, but he figured out why he couldn’t eat mine. He asked me so many near the end that seemed to pierce the soul.
“Compared to Jekyll, you have little if any fear, do you…? Or perhaps like me, you are his monster…? You are what he needs to fear? No reason to fear anything if you are fear itself. Eyes like a wolf… You’re the predator he fears lurks inside every man, aren’t you? You force him to admit that it’s inside even himself…”
That’s what he said.
Now we both know each other’s respective truths.
Prof. V said he would be willing to keep our secret to himself if we did the same for his. Both sides have information that could ruin the other if it was believed.
By now, Dr. Jekyll, you might be wondering why I’m saying Prof. V knows when this all happened in a dream. Well, I think you asked him yourself for proof that he can enter dreams. Here, he pulled some straw from his neck and gives them to me, saying they would exist in the waking world for a few seconds. Sure enough, when I woke up at Moldy’s, I found a couple strands of straw in my pocket, which soon dissolved into dust and liquified into blood which I lovingly smeared on the page for you.
You best make good on that promise and join him for tea tomorrow. Looks like you both have some explaining to do.