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Sept. 28 – A Desperate Attempt

Bookworm drew Lisa aside, nodding to Dr. Jekyll as he went toward his office, carrying the ingredients for Mr. Wright’s solution. In low tones, she told the girl what she’d witnessed, and what Beryl had said was happening to him.

“This is one of those Dream experiences, isn’t it?” she asked, freighting the word “dream” with meaning. When Lisa nodded, she continued, “He said he needed help. Do… do you think you could somehow enter wherever he is, and help him?”

Lisa slumped, looking rather despondent. “His… his Dreamfields are… different,” she said slowly, as if trying to pick the right words. “I’ve never been able to find him – and I have tried.”

Bookworm bent over, laying a gentle hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Try once more? Please? I think he might really need you.”

Lisa nodded. “But where can I go? The nearer I am, the better. But I can’t be in his room with him – I’d be in the way.”

After a moment’s pondering, Bookworm said, “Come with me,” and led her into the room next to Beryl. Together, they edged the hospital bed over to the wall nearest to Beryl’s room. “That’ll have to do,” Lisa said absently. She curled up on the bed, took a deep, calming breath, and was immediately asleep.

Bookworm looked down on her a moment, envying that sleeping ability, then tiptoed out of the room, closing the door softly behind her. She walked to the door to Beryl’s room, peeking in to see Mr. Wright sitting by the cat, monitoring his condition. She hovered irresolutely for a moment, then continued down the hall, finally knocking at Dr. Jekyll’s office door. At his muffled invitation, she opened the door and went inside.

“How’s it going, doctor?”

“Ahh.” Dr. Jekyll looked up from his work. “Almost ready. This will need a few moments to cool off, once I add the silver.”

Bookworm nodded, watching as he poured the crushed silver into the wolfsbane solution and carefully watched the reaction. “I’ll admit,” she said, “I wish Dr. Sonnerstein was here to add his voice to this. But I don’t think we can wait much longer.”

“I would have hoped so, too,” replied the doctor. “But this will have to do for now.” He turned off the burner, setting the mixture aside to cool. “You know, Wright is something of an expert in this sort of thing.”

“You trust his advice, then?”

Dr. Jekyll was silent for several moments, staring at the vial of solution. “Somewhat,” he finally said, and looked at her. “Forgive me, but I’m a bit worried about this whole thing. There isn’t much time to properly prepare.”

Bookworm nodded. “I know. I’m worried, too.”

“I wouldn’t be so worried if this were a disease widely known to man. But lethal lycanthropy… This must be the first case of it I’ve ever treated in my life.”

“I just hope Beryl hasn’t used up all nine lives yet.” Bookworm smiled wanly, a smile reflected by Dr. Jekyll. “I always wondered if there was any truth to the saying.” He checked the temperature of the solution. “It should be about ready. Is the girl from the asylum still in the building? We may need her to help with the transfusion.”

Bookworm kept herself from frowning, though she wasn’t happy with the amount of interest Dr. Jekyll was showing. “Lisa?” she said, trying to keep her tone idle. “She’s… not trained on something like this. She’s a maid at the asylum.”

“Hmm.” The doctor frowned a bit. “It wouldn’t hurt to have an extra set of hands nearby.” He shrugged, and grabbed the potion off the counter. “Shall we go?” Bookworm nodded, and followed him back to Beryl’s room.

Mr. Wright rose to his feet as they entered. “Is it ready?”

“It is.” Dr. Jekyll handed the vial to Mr. Wright, along with a syringe.

Mr. Wright drew the solution into the syringe, and made sure there were no air bubbles present. “There will be convulsions,” he said seriously. “I need you two to hold Beryl down. The tremors should pass after a moment or two.”

Bookworm nodded. She turned Beryl over onto his back and leaned forward, pressing down on his legs. Dr. Jekyll took a position at the other end, holding his shoulders. Beryl wasn’t moving, though his eyes were twitching, and he muttered something unintelligibly.

“Ready on three.” Mr. Wright nodded at them both, holding the syringe in readiness. “One… two… three.” With one quick action, he plunged the syringe directly into Beryl’s left ventricle and injected the solution, before pulling it out just as quickly.

Beryl didn’t react at first, but soon, he began convulsing, throwing his body around. Bookworm and Dr. Jekyll hung on grimly.

“Right now, it feels to Beryl as if their blood is on fire.”

“That… is not surprising,” grunted Dr. Jekyll as he desperately hung on to the cat. Beryl was tossing them around much more than they’d expected, given his size and condition, and was mrowling angrily, fighting their hold. Mr. Wright added his weight and strength to their efforts. After what seemed a long time of thrashing, Beryl slowly ceased struggling, lying still and prone.

Dr. Jekyll looked down at the cat. “Beryl?”

((To be continued…))

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