Interlude: Treatment Notes

Session one

The patient seems to respond well when engaged on his own terms. When I spoke with him today, he spoke exclusively in iambic pentameter (thanks Prof. Hayle). When I did the same he became visibly more relaxed and open. When the pattern was broken, he became violent and aggressive. Signs of highly advanced OCPD which is very rarely this extreme. Linked to metahuman abilities? Will do more research.

Research turned up just about nothing. There’s no one theory of what his powers are. Very unhelpful. I’ll have to figure it out as I go.


Session two

Found him lying on the floor spread-eagle, refusing to speak. The bed has been torn from the wall and moved to the center of the room, and the guards say he gets violent if it’s moved back. I’m just watching him now- he hasn’t moved at all, though he hissed at me when I moved to one side to go around him, I think because it broke the symmetry. Weird guy.

Looked closer. His hair is center parted perfectly- perfectly. Not a hair out of place. Probably why he isn’t moving.

He moved. It looks like he’s been provided with two pairs of fingernail clippers. One for each hand. He clipped the nails on both hands at the same time, one-handed. Seems to be ambidextrous and very dexterous at that. It was impressive to watch.

Still refusing to speak. Don’t think I’ll get much from him today. Told the guards not to talk if they can avoid it, on a hunch.


Session three

I have an experiment I’m going to try. I brought with me today a shaker of salt and pepper, mixed together, and am going to insert it through the dog-door thing they use for food here sometimes.

He became violent immediately, and threatened to kill me in sonnet form through the glass. Now he’s just staring at it, really angry. I think I might have to remove it before he gets worse.

Glad I didn’t pull it out. After staring at it for a few minutes, he poured the salt and pepper mix into his hands and started singing, something latin, letting it sift through his fingers. It landed in several separate piles, one for the salt, one for each of the colors of peppercorn, I think. No idea how he did that. Part of his power?

Guards freaked out when he started singing for some reason. Said they felt really sad. Looks like he has some kind of emotion projection or something.

Looked up what he was singing. Words go “O vos homes qui transitis par viam, recordare et attendete qui est dolor sicut dolor meus,” or something like that. Means “oh you people who pass by in the street, look and see if there exists any suffering like unto my suffering.” This guy knows his classics.

Apparently one of the guards passed out today, doc says it was exhaustion, which the guy swears is impossible. He was on the night shift, but he got ten hours of sleep during the day. There’s something I need to check.

My hunch was spot on. I looked at surveillance footage from last night, and the patient didn’t sleep a wink. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like he spent the night whistling.

I convinced the guards to wear hearing protection when they’re in that block. They said their job seems a lot less stressful now, thanked me for the idea. I think that explains how he escaped all those other times.


Session four

He’s not talking again, but I had another idea. I have a set of dominoes and a binder, and I’ve set it up so he can’t see the dominoes. At the moment, they’re symmetrical, arranged in a square with the numbers all the same. In a moment, I’m going to carefully remove one of them so he can’t tell and see what he does.

He could tell. He could definitely tell, somehow. He became very violent, beating on the glass. So glad it’s designed for that. I got dragged out again. I’m going to try again from outside the cell.

I did it again outside the cell, and was rewarded with a loud thump through the wall where my head was.

I almost punched one of the guards. I think he’s getting to me. I think I’m going to take the rest of the day off.


Session 5

Long conversation.

Will ask that he relocate

To solitary.


Session six?

Christ, what happened yesterday? I woke up in one of the temporary holding cells with no memory of most of yesterday. Going to ask the guards what happened. They’re usually friendly.

They brought in a second psychologist just to take a look at me. I don’t get what his deal is. He doesn’t like me taking notes while he talks, so I’m going to keep doing it.


It looks like I’ve been cleared. Bossman says I’m getting paid vacation, which is okay, I guess. I was just starting to figure the patient out. Bossman broke his arm somehow.

So evidently I broke the bossman’s arm. I don’t remember doing that. I called in and asked what had happened, because I was curious. They did put Masquerade in solitary, which is good. They said he seems to enjoy it.

I think I’m going to send my notes in to the Powers that Be. They might be useful to someone further down the line. I have no doubt now that he will be successful in escaping should he decide to do so.


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24 Responses to Interlude: Treatment Notes

  1. I apologize for the shortness and lateness of this one. I had my wisdom teeth removed recently, so I haven’t been in much of a state to write a lot.

  2. mbwakalione says:

    last week i had a wisdom tooth poke its evil little head out, so much discomfort over some thing so small. take all the tym you need
    oh first tym poster, long tym reader. big fan love the storie keep up the good werk

    • Hey, thanks! It’s always cool to hear from the readers (it banishes my sneaking suspicion that all my views are myself.)

      • baochou says:

        you have fans. I think were quiet tough. Take your time and recover, but not to much. I’m addicted. 😀

      • Oh man, you have no idea how happy you just made me. Talk about motivation.

        Anyway, it looks like next week is going to be another infodump-style interlude, then I’m going to jump into Umbra. I’m having a lot of trouble working out all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans I’ve had going on during previous chapters, but I think I’ll have it all sorted out by then. I actually have an active cast maybe twice the size of the visible cast, doing stuff off-screen to feed the plot. Really useful for plot advancement, but an absolute pain to keep track of sometimes.

        Interestingly, I find that the longer my notes become, the more I deviate from the original plan, because the process of writing it all down makes me think about it more. I’m really glad I moved Lengthening Shadows to before Umbra, because my original plan would not have worked out well, I think.

      • baochou says:

        I’ve always heard you know you have a great story when the cast take on a life on their own.

  3. bastardjas says:

    No plot survives contact with the keyboard, just as no battle plan survives contact with the enemy

    • Very true. The characters just refuse to cooperate sometimes. (Though it’s more common that I just realize something’s silly or out-of-character and change it.)

      • farmerbob1 says:

        Ain’t that the truth. My characters sometimes do almost exactly the opposite of what I tell them to do. I’ve been trying to introduce a new enemy for weeks now, and my main characters just keep finding other things to do that keep me writing about them.

  4. Robert says:

    Didn’t the Wardens/Shadow pass on that Masquerade’s power became weaker against Shadow when he deafened himself?

  5. Yikes, that’s creepy

  6. Jerden says:

    Lunatics are always facinating. The question for me is, did he get his power because of OCD, or did he get OCD because of his power?
    Could be either really.

    • Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (Sorry, that’s the closest thing you’re going to get to an answer at this point.)

      • Bobby says:

        The egg.

        A proto-chicken laid an egg with a mutant baby inside. This mutant was the first real chicken.

        Of course, you could never possibly get biologists to agree on where exactly is the divide between chicken and proto-chicken, because those are artificial categories used by human beings to imperfectly categorize the world. But if you somehow got a perfectly objective definition of “chicken”… the egg came before.

      • It’s rhetorical. I know the scientific reasoning.

      • Bobby says:

        Alternately, if you mean specifically chicken egg, the chicken came first, out of a proto-chicken’s egg. The first chicken then laid the first chicken egg at some point.

  7. Mandragons says:

    I was just doing some rereading and noticed something. Does the next arc (umbra) have anything to do with The ‘Urban Metahuman Bastion and Response Act’ mentioned in Casting Shadows 1.8? Or is it just continuing with the darkness theme you have? Or both?

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