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Hyde: An Adaptation
What I record here is in no way a confession, but the empirical data to the greatest discovery of the century, the boon of transcendental medicine. The work that I pioneer shall revolutionize the way we look at life.
I am no Frankenstein, sequestered in dissection rooms, to vivisect life, to dredge it up from the deepest depths and to reanimate it. Life, once lost, cannot be recovered entirely with the furious machination of clockwork.
In the doldrums of a London’s winter did I bemoan the burden of living as ordained by society. The insufferable maintenance of reputation – to manicure and to prim and to hoard one’s very name against the tendencies of nature! We have grown stagnant and staid, as if the taste of life were unpalatable to our lips.
The elixir I have tempered from the inviolate secrets of alchemy shall remove the scales from our eyes – the we may live anew, our perceptions increased tenfold, matched with the strength and endurance needed to pursue life indefinitely.
And so I, in unaffected scorn, cast off my name as this new persona, to trudge through this life anonymously, to present myself not so much as a man as a resplendent model of how to live. Do not think of me as brazen – I cannot depart entirely from this life and to being anew. New growth can only be chocked by the systematic strangulation of a totalitarian system. This is why I, roots firmly established and name firmly credible, nurture a new hope for the continuation of man’s frontiers in utmost secrecy.
And so I leave to my alter ego all of the possessions I presently keep – that from this dragon’s gold cache some happiness may be purchased.
~Henry Jekyll, M.D., D.C.L., L.L.D., F.R.S., &ct.
Walking in the darkness, the meager light of streetlamps glosses over the windowpanes. In dramatic flourish I whip around the corner opium dens, taking care to rattle each windowpane with a percussive thump of the cane. Bleary-eyed and bewildered, they rouse from their stupor only to know the dying footfall and malevolent cackle of their impertinent interloper. Another block and I entertain the thought of blindness, while my brutish cane and tap each cobblestone with staccato and deliberate jabs. That I may roil the waters of life, and by my prodding pulse alone, rouse gold from the sediment.
It is at the next turn that the patter of another’s steps accompanies my own. A girl, shrewish lass of eight at the very least. Running, not looking where she is going. The night is not dark enough to forgive her negligence, she should be more careful of her surroundings. The space between us shrinks, she does not acknowledge my presence. Her eyes do not register my presence in the darkness. We are bound to collide.
Nothing. I stay on my path. I treat her with the same insincerity and walk right over her. An unmovable object meets an unstoppable force… She makes a terrible racket. I cannot cross the street before being accosted by a vindictive mob. Call a doctor, detain the brute. Make him pay full recompense for his actions. I won’t bother to explain my side of the incident; looking as I am, the girl makes for a more reliable witness. I acquiesce to their demands. A hundred pounds, medical expenses plus punitive damage.
My hand gingerly examines my pockets. Ten pounds exactly. As for the rest ,I lead my detainers down one street and up another to my residence. A check for the rest, ninety pounds in full, I assure them. On the desk, the checkbook, every check already signed out by a Henry Jekyll. The recipient of the check remains anonymous.
I need a name
Heaviness settles in me, the abstract becomes shackled into the tanglible. Frost marks the window panes. I feel cold, the first I have ever felt so cold. The sun shines so brightly and yet I freeze. I yearn for the darkness again, to winnow myself back to a thought, to escape to the undefined night. Hidden hiding, hide, Hyde! How delightful – deformed as I am, to warp these things to my touch. Now a given name. A kingly name, a reputable name, set their minds at ease. Richard, Henry, James, Edward… Edward Hyde, now born to this earth.
The door opens, and Hyde steps out. “Gentleman, apologies for my delay. But here it is, all ninety pounds, a long forgotten debt that, now recompensed to me, I may recompense you. And should the name of Dr. Henry Jekyll, whose account I now access, not serve as security to you all, I couple it with my own and show you my address.” A sweeping gesture indicates the shack behind him. “And so may you all, as the distinguished guest of Edward Hyde rest easily, all things resolved.”
A check? Cash it as soon as the banks open. Yes, I suppose we must wait.