Division of Madness

The madman stepped from the doorway into the street, intent on his plan. His headshrinker, Dr. Corning didn’t know. He couldn’t know. All of these sessions, all of the prescriptions, therapies, and hypnotics had no effect, and neither had the implants, well, not positively anyway. Oh, the implants did seem to create a barrier between the man the Doctor treated and the madman underneath, but the barrier allowed the insanity to flourish behind the wall. He grew, this Jekyll hidden deep within the Hyde. All of the treatments with Corning provided clues for the madman to use against him, as he sat back and noticed the things from behind the sane man’s eyes during treatment.

It began with subtle questions, small talk really. “Are those pictures of your family?” he’d asked, knowing they were. A lovely wife and son, kept forever young in the frames on his desk, and repeating the same 10 seconds of silent laughter over and over. Always smiling, always turning from one another to the man behind the camera. The madman remembered their faces, noted the location by the buildings behind them, but Doctor Corning never knew, never suspected.

It took only a few weeks of walking around town to locate the exact placement of the buildings he’d seen in the picture, the view out of the high-rise windows of the Doctor’s home. He went directly after his sessions every week, straight to where the man lived, where his wife and child may be home alone, and the madman learned the quickest ways to go, but never saw them outside. Once he saw them leaving the building for some errands, but he hadn’t followed them. He didn’t want them in the street, but alone in their apartment.

Today though, today he arrived outside the building just in time to see them go in. He waited a few minutes for them to settle in, and then followed a neighbor inside. He took the stairs up to the eighteenth floor. The windows at every stairwell landing told him he had nearly reached the right level, showing the proper angle of the roofs on the other buildings, just like in the photo.

After a few minutes work with the keyless entry device he had stolen, he emerged into the hallway outside the Doctor’s door, and could hear only silence within.

The kindly patient said, “No, you can’t. We shouldn’t be here!”

“Keep our voice down,” the madman answered in an angry whisper, hushing the other person who fought the implanted barrier in their brain. The doctors told them that the device would alter the neural pathways, effectively shutting out the madman, but it only gave him his own internal workspace, a hidden base in the patient’s mind.

The patient had really made progress, in part because of Doctor Corning’s work, and in part because he was kept in submission to the pain the madman learned he could inflict, the explosive migraines like metal spikes in the man’s temples. He hadn’t been jailed so much as separated into a true alternate personality. The days of self-destructive behavior, of false voices in his head were gone, now that the madman had truly been divided completely from the sorry mental patient.

There sounded like some sort of buzzing coming from the apartment, a noise unlike the madman had ever heard before. “What is that?” he whispered to the patient.

“I can’t hear anything. I think it’s all in your head.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, this is your head too. Oh, just shut up then.” The madman became angry, more so than before.

The noise couldn’t be from in their head, because even then the patient should be able to hear it. He gave a gentle knock at the door, and the buzzing became louder. No one came though, so he knocked again. Once more the buzzing increased in volume, loud enough that the neighbors should be in the hall looking for the source. The madman knocked another time, banging with his fist this time. Still the noise grew louder still, so loud that the windows inside the apartment were surely rattling from the vibration of it.

He began kicking at the door, trying to force it open now. Each blow hurt, but he hoped the door would give before his foot did. And then he saw a gap, a small crack where the door jamb split open just a little. It was all he needed, so then with a running start, he shouldered the door open, forcing the latch through the jamb altogether.

He rushed inside toward his prey, the Missus and the younger Corning. The forced entry would be noted soon, but that didn’t matter. He needed to thank the Doctor for all his hard work, needed to show him what it meant to have one person finally split into two by force. While he couldn’t repay the good Doctor in the same manner, he could split him from his family, separating him out that way.

The noise became overwhelming now, and the madman found it hard to think clearly, to keep his focus on the task. His vision began to blur, but he pushed onward, toward the back of the apartment. Opening the bedroom door, he found the child lying unconscious on the floor. Someone leaned over him, but his eyes watered, and the madman couldn’t make out who was there. Someone else leaned over the woman where she lay on the bed. The madman cleared his eyes with his sleeve, but he found his eyes still could not focus.

Pulling the weapon from his jacket pocket, one of the people turned to look at him. Through his cloudy vision, he could make out large black eyes and an oversize head. The other one looked over from the bed as well, and was the same.

“What are you things?” he yelled out, but he could not hear even his own voice, nor any answer. His body shook violently now with physical pain caused by the noise that still somehow continued to increase. He began firing the weapon, searing the focused electrical current through anything in his aim. Furniture broke apart as slices of them fell out. Both of the strange beings lost limbs, but more importantly the woman and child were severed into several pieces, their wounds instantly cauterized by the electrical current of the weapon. Finally, the buzzing stopped and his vision cleared.

He lay looking at the ceiling, the madman trapped behind the mental wall like the Doctor always wanted him to be. The patient’s eyes roamed about on the ceiling, and distantly he could hear himself calling for help. Although the buzzing had gone, so had most of his hearing, and any control he previously had over the patient’s body. Law enforcement officers filed into the room, and seemed to be trying to pin the madman’s body, now apparently under full control of the patient. Shackles were put on his hands, and as he watched the room slide away, he realized that they were dragging him out.

Those beings were gone, he saw, but the room lay in ruin. Human limbs lay apart from the bodies where they had recently been attached, and blood was everywhere. The madman had succeeded, but found himself relegated to the inside of his cage, like the Doctor had wanted all along, divided from the patient.

The poor, wretched patient pleaded with the police as they carted him away, “Where did the aliens go? Did you see them there? I want to thank them.” The police said nothing, only dragged him away. “Thank you aliens! Thank you,” the patient yelled out. “Thank you for locking them madman away at last!”

The madman wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. Unable to control the body any longer, he tried to push against the mental wall, and only received the buzzing in response. He had done it though, he had divided the Doctor’s family just like the Doctor had divided him. He only wished now that the aliens, whoever they were, would come back and explain how they had completed the Doctor’s unsuccessful procedure.

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