Our World – Faith and Robin’s Apartment – Morning
With a deep intake of breath, Robin shuddered under the covers. Tiredly, his eyelids started to flicker open. Once awareness kicked in, his eyes flew open and he sat up. The sheets crumpled under his palms.
On either side of the TV was the grouping of familiar photographs. Edging forward slightly and narrowing his eyes, he saw the picture of him, Faith and Norman standing out on the deck with the backdrop of Lake Erie. Robin ran his hand over his scalp, holding the back of his head. The look on his face was the very epitome of bewilderment.
“Thank God. It was just a dream,” he sighed.
The sound of the toilet flushing from the en suite bathroom broke Robin out of his perplexed stupor. The bathroom door opened and Faith, wrapped up in her white fluffy dressing gown, waltzed out with a towel in hand, drying her hair. She stopped at seeing Robin sitting up in bed.
“You’re finally awake. I thought you’d never wake up.”
He just stared at her, mouth ajar, breathing heavily.
“Not gonna talk, huh?” Faith threw her towel over the back of the chair and reached into the pocket of her dressing gown. “How about this for a conversation starter?” she hurled the white sleeping pill bottle at Robin.
Crossing his arms against himself, the pill bottle smacked the back of his hand and fell onto the duvet in front of him. He picked up the bottle, turning it around to see the printed label with his name.
“Okay, I’m confused here…” he tried to begin.
“Robin, are things really that bad that you feel the need to start popping pills? If you’re stressed and not sleeping, you should have told me. We promised we’d be open with each other. I’ve held up my end.” She paused and he still didn’t say anything, “Robin!”
“Faith, I’ve never seen that bottle before. I swear to you.”
“Guess I should be thankful that you’re just taking tranqs, and not crack that you’ve bummed from Erie Eddie.”
“Faith, I am not taking drugs!”
“What then?” she yelled back at him, far louder than he had at her. “Your name’s on it!”
Robin threw back the covers and went to get out of bed. He reached for his leg, but then stopped.
“Faith. What did I do yesterday?”
“Now you can’t remember what you did yesterday?” Faith frowned.
“Please. Just tell me. What did I do yesterday? Start to finish.”
“I, err…well after kick-starting the day with a mondo sex session, then you went to meetings. I had –”
“I don’t remember having sex,” he said, as he began to put on his prosthetic leg.
That brought Faith to a complete standstill. She tried to speak, but nothing came out at first. “Gee, thanks,” she finally replied indignantly.
“I can’t remember going to meetings, either. Yesterday morning we went to breakfast with Will and Ro.”
“Noooo,” Faith corrected, “you’re thinking of the day before.”
Robin glanced over to the table that the TV sat on and then over his shoulder to his bedside table, where he spotted his Blackberry.
He made his way around the bed. He grabbed his Blackberry and called up his diary. His mouth hung open and his eyes widened.
“This…this can’t be right.”
“What is it?” Faith asked.
Robin raised his head and looked at Faith. “I’ve lost a day. A whole day. Maybe it wasn’t just a vivid dream after all…”
Faith, her brow knitted, stared back at him.
Our World – Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
“So how are things going for you, watcher-guy?” Gwen asked Ethan as they walked side-by-side, each holding a cardboard cup of coffee.
He took a sip and nodded. “Good. Very good. Surprisingly.”
“Why with the surprise?”
“Well you know, me and children. Not exactly a well known mix.”
Gwen smiled. “Wouldn’t say that. You’ve got that paternal look.”
“Don’t know about that. The odd eccentric uncle that only ever gets dragged out of the woodwork for weddings or funerals, maybe.”
“I like odd eccentric uncles. Preferably the ones who give me candy and want me to sit on their knees.”
“You little minx, you.” He winked. Gwen grinned. “So, pray tell. How fares my Energizer Bunny?”
“Yeah, I’m good. Seem to be spending more time here than I do freelancing. Been working with Robin and his crew to ramp up the security system. Tesla barriers, lockdown protocols…my kinda fun.”
“My kind of headache,” he muttered.
“Yesterday Robin was a little…I dunno. Finger; can’t quite place.”
“I think it’s a safe bet that it’s to do with this Harriman business,” Ethan said, taking another sip of his coffee. “I see we haven’t had any more power cuts of late.”
Gwen wiped her mouth with the back of her spare gloved hand. “Yeah, my bad.” She bit her lip and rolled her eyes.
“Things going well, I presume?”
“Things are going…they’re going.” She shrugged. “Will says we’re making progress. Or she is. Meeting with her next week to go over the results of the scan that blacked out half of Cleveland. I swear, the woman is a genius. Busting it with the mojo, computer savvy, biologist in her spare time, and mother to twins. Wow.” They came to a stop outside the security office. “This is my stop.” She thumbed behind her.
“Oh yes, right. Well, I’d best be off. Shannon’s probably running the others ragged. My little protégé.” He smirked. He went to walk away, then briefly turned back to Gwen. “Oh, and remember to cut the CCTV in the vault at eleven a.m. There’re some jewels that I want to nick. And maybe a scepter. I think I’d look good with a scepter.”
She saluted Ethan and grinned. “Will do. Goodbye.”
“Ta-ta, luv.” He gave her a wink and continued down the hall.
Gwen twisted the doorknob and pushed open the door. She turned and watched as Ethan left, smiled, shook her head and entered the office.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Later that Morning
“It’s okay, Dr. Miller. Anything you say to me you can say in front of Faith. I consent.” Robin nodded as he sat on the edge of the bed. “We don’t have any secrets.” He took her hand in his and gave her a small, somewhat sedate smile.
Dr. Miller looked uneasy and then bowed to Robin’s request. “Okay.” He sighed and looked down to the clipboard in his hands. “For a preliminary examination, I can’t find anything physically wrong with you to suggest a trauma that would cause the symptoms you’re describing. Neither is there anything in your medical history. I’d like to do a further, more extensive physical, if that’s okay.” He looked back up at Robin. “How many sleeping pills did you take? I told you yesterday that I didn’t like prescribing them.”
Robin was taken aback. “That’s the thing…I didn’t come to you yesterday. I never asked for the pills.”
Dr. Miller and Faith shared a quick glance.
“Robin, you did come and visit me yesterday,” the doctor said carefully. Robin closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. “Perhaps it’s the stress of this Harriman business?” Dr. Miller arched a brow.
“Well, yeah, sure. I am stressed, but I’m not to the point where I’d lose a whole day of my life!” Robin replied. He quickly turned to Faith. “I swear on my mom’s grave, Faith. I don’t remember any of this.”
Faith chewed her lip. “You said earlier that maybe it wasn’t a dream after all?” Faith added. “What did that mean?”
He glanced at Faith and then Dr. Miller. “I thought it was just a dream, but the more I go over it in my head…it felt so real.”
“What was it about?” Faith asked.
“The Council, but…it was like a dark reflection of what we are.”
“Meaning?” Faith asked.
“For starters, Heli had your job, and you were nowhere around. Neither was Ro, come to think of it. Grace was there, being sort of…amorous toward me, and Giles and Buffy, well, they looked like they’d been practicing scenes from Lolita for years –”
Faith chuckled. “Geez Ace, what did you eat last night before bed to bring those thoughts out?”
“Disturbing, I know,” he told her. “Wesley, your watcher, he was there. So were Amy and Willow. Jeff, Dawn and Skye, too. They were all part of the Coven, fending off an attack from a group of rebel slayers led by Kennedy. Let’s see, Ethan wanted to sacrifice some humans for a protection spell or something. Oh, and some brown-haired lady from Wolfram and Hart. Her name was Lilah.”
Faith shivered. “Lilah Morgan?”
“Yeah, Lilah,” Robin reiterated. “You know her?”
“Yeah.” She shifted in her stance, a pensive look on her face. “But how would you know her?”
“Good point…” Robin shot a hopeful look up at Faith and then to Dr. Miller.
“Robin, let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” the doctor said. “Let’s get a CAT scan – make sure everything is okay, all right?”
Robin and Faith both nodded.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – CT Room – Moments Later
In a medical gown, Robin lay on the rigid white bed attached to the large CAT scanner.
“Because you’re clearly distressed and anxious, Robin, I’m going to administer a sedative to put you out,” Dr. Miller said, standing over him. “It’s nothing to worry about, I assure you. And you being still allows us to get a clearer picture of what’s going on inside that head of yours.”
“You sure are getting your money’s worth on this thing lately,” Robin said, motioning to the scanner. “First Faith and now me.”
The doctor gave Robin a soft, reassuring smile. “Just relax, okay? You’re in good hands.”
He sighed and then gave a nod.
Dr. Miller patted his shoulder and then turned his back to Robin, who winced a little a second later as he felt the needle go into his vein.
Almost instantly, his eyes grew heavy, his vision becoming blurred and glossy. The white fluorescent lights started to dim.
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Robin’s Apartment – Bedroom
There was an arduous groan. It rose up from the silence of the dark room, beginning low and rising to a deep, groggy growl. A hand reached up onto the bed. Clawing at the sheets, Robin pulled himself up off the floor. Grimacing, he held his head and took some breaths. Opening his eyes he found himself back in his bedroom at the alternative Council. As Robin put his hand down, he noticed that he was no longer wearing his medical gown. Rather, he was dressed in his black suit from earlier.
Robin turned around and he jumped; stumbling backwards, nearly falling back over the bed. Wesley was standing, staring back at Robin, in the mirror. Eyes huge, it took a stunned Robin a moment to process wha he was seeing. He threw a glance back over his shoulder. Wesley was not behind him. Robin turned back to the mirror, where Wesley remained.
“What the hell is going on?”
Wesley immediately raised his hands. “Please! Robin, don’t shout!”
“Don’t shout? You’re in the mirror!”
“Please…if they hear you…”
“And I’m supposed to trust you because…?”
“I’m on your side.”
Robin snorted. Then he smiled and began to laugh. “This…this is just great,” Wesley did not share in Robin’s sarcastic elation. “Maybe I am losing it. I’m talking to a dead man in the mirror!”
“Well you’re wrong about one thing – I’m not dead. At least, not in this world,” Wesley said, snapping Robin out of his outburst.
Robin frowned. “This world? So I’m definitely not crazy.”
“You’re quite sane, I’m afraid. And this isn’t a dream, either. Believe me, if it were, I’d very much like to wake up also. No, rather and quite simply, this is not your world.”
“Figured that one out all on my own, thanks. Then what is this? A construct? A fabrication by Wolfram and Hart? Are they the ones responsible?”
Wesley stifled a laugh. “It’s not out of their ability, but no.”
“Then what is this?” Robin waved his palms around the room.
“Another world. A parallel world, you might say.”
Robin’s mouth dropped open.
Our World – Watchers Council – Conference Room – Moments Later
“Robin still asleep?” Rowena asked. She was seated next to Willow at the conference table.
“Yes. It was best to put him out for the scan, if not a little while longer so that he could get some rest. He was quite exhausted,” Dr. Miller said. He stood at the head of the table, Faith beside him. “To say that I’m concerned is an understatement. Robin seems to have created an elaborate lattice of stories and characters to substantiate this severe form of psychosis.”
“Oh yeah, that’s an understatement,” Buffy grumbled under her breath.
“At least he dreamt about you,” Rowena countered. “I didn’t even rank.”
“Hey, neither did I,” Faith added. “Don’t feel too bad.”
Dr. Miller took off his glasses and scratched his head. “I’m not even sure that Robin’s suffering from psychosis. There’s nothing evidently wrong with him. Exams aren’t turning up anything; he doesn’t seem ill in the slightest; he isn’t displaying any obvious symptoms of this type of psychosis. No symptoms of anything at all, just this fantastic story.”
“There was this one thing that really creeped me out,” Faith said.
“One thing?” Buffy asked.
Faith just rolled her eyes and continued. “Robin named Lilah Morgan specifically.”
“Who?” Kennedy inclined a brow.
“She’s some big wig lawyer from Wolfram and Hart that I had an…encounter with in L.A., years back when I hopped the first chicken truck outta Sunnydale,” Faith explained.
“Couldn’t Robin have gleaned this information from your file, Faith, during your trial?” Jason Felix asked. “It’s plausible that he could have, and the name got pushed to the back of his subconscious. Or perhaps you’ve mentioned it in passing?”
Faith disagreed. “No. I’ve never mentioned her to him.” She turned her head and asked, “Grace?” The young watcher looked up from her laptop in front of her. “Can you pull up Robin’s defense files for my case and search for any mention of Lilah Morgan?”
“Sure thing.” She half smiled and went to work.
“Could Wolfram and Hart be behind this?” Xander asked.
“I doubt it,” Buffy said. “Not that they couldn’t be the culprits, but why? We haven’t had any dealings with them since the Cuyahoga incident a couple of years back. Even then, no beef was had, least not that I know of. Besides, why would they target Robin? It makes no sense, right?” She glanced over in Giles’s general direction, not quite able to look at him.
He gave a nod, which went unseen by her.
Willow began to chuckle. “You can’t even look at Giles now. It was just a dream, and not even your dream.”
“It’s freaky, okay?” Buffy explained, exasperated. “It’s freaky and it’s wrong on so many levels.”
“I think the gal doth protest too much,” Rowena added with a smirk.
“What?” Buffy asked.
“You know,” Willow said, turning to Rowena, “she is taking this a little harder than you’d expect. Maybe she’s had a few dreams of Giles herself.”
“You are a total perv,” Buffy told her best friend.
The entire table laughed except for Buffy and Giles, although the man did have a slight grin.
“Okay,” Willow said, raising her hand and still chuckling. “Honest show of hands. Who here has had a sexy dream about Giles at some point in their lives?”
Giles blushed and buried his face in a hand. “Oh dear lord,” he sighed. He refused to look as Rowena and Faith joined Willow in raising their hands.
“Guess I’m not the only perv,” Willow said to Buffy, with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
“Done,” Grace announced. “No mention of a Lilah Morgan.”
“You know, now that you mention it,” Gwen added, from where she stood over by the window. “Robin was a little off yesterday.”
“He was kinda…snappy,” Grace contributed.
“He was late for his meeting with me, too, which he never is, and he seemed disinterested,” Buffy said, uncertainly.
“You know, this all sounds strangely familiar,” Andrew suddenly suggested. Everyone turned to him.
“That icky, slimy, memory falsifying what’cha-ma-call-it demon you and the geek-three summoned. It stabbed you, too, didn’t it?” Buffy snorted.
“Yeah, but I was fine,” Andrew grinned. “I had the antidote. I was just thinking that this all sounds very much like the Mirror Universe from Star Trek.”
Faith began to open her mouth to say something, but changed her mind.
“Kinda, yeah,” Grace said.
Willow also shared their pensive nod.
“Our resident geeks and my missus aside,” Rowena began, “they could be onto something. What if this other world isn’t a dream?”
“It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility, especially around here,” Giles conjectured.
“We should have a better idea when the CAT results are in,” Dr. Miller offered.
“Question,” Willow interjected. “Not that I don’t trust Robin, ’cause, y’know, I do, but…but what if it is all in Robin’s mind? A-and I don’t mean medically. What do we do then?”
Again, silence fell over the conference room. Faith looked at Dr. Miller, who looked right back at her.
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Robin’s Apartment – Same Time
“But how…how is this possible?” Robin asked incredulously.
“Coincidence. Pure chance,” Wesley said, still reflected in the mirror. “The convergence of two worlds, separated from each other by a very fine, thin line. Do you remember the mirror? The one I would presume can be found in the Bureau Nine storage facility?”
Smash Cut To:
Watchers Council – Former Bureau Nine Secure Storage Facility – Afternoon
As he came to the end of the aisle, Robin looked to his left and saw a large, freestanding mirror propped up against the wall.
Robin frowned, and as he looked up, he noticed that his tie was askew. He put the camera in his blazer pocket and the clipboard under his arm, then straightened his tie.
Bizarrely, Robin’s reflection stayed in the mirror, staring back at him with a peculiar look, as Robin walked off and turned back into the aisle.
The other Robin’s palm fell from the pane of glass, and he snorted an inaudible laugh. His eyes grew narrower, and a cold, eerie smirk widened on his lips.
Smash Cut To:
Parallel World – Watchers Council – Robin’s Apartment – Resume
“Yes, yes, I remember it,” Robin acknowledged.
“The Robin of this world was dropping off some stock to be stored and the rest, as they…” Wesley sighed, tilting his head to the side. “Since the Council, this Council, acquired Bureau Nine, we had always wondered what the mirror was, what it did. We couldn’t find any information on it.”
“Neither could we.”
“Well, I suppose that’s one thing our worlds have in common. For all intents and purposes, it was just a mirror. Needless to say, when things panned out the way they did, the Council were… elated.”
“And not you?”
“Not particularly, no. Because I knew what they would want to do.”
“And what’s that?”
“They want the Scythe. It was destroyed in this world, and they want yours.”
“What do they want with it?”
“To change this world yet again,” Wesley said. “They want to deactivate certain slayers of their choosing.”
“Can they do that?”
“Yes, our Willow has devised a way to reverse the slayer-calling spell in conjunction with research from the Guardians. She says there is a chain connecting all slayers together. She wants to access this chain and take out the links, the slayers, of the Council’s choosing.”
“Precisely. With them taken out, Willow can reconnect the chain between the removed slayers and those slayers still active, thus keeping the chain’s integrity intact.”
“You have the Guardian Knowledge?” Wesley nodded. “My Giles has it,” Robin explained.
“Well, thank God this world’s Giles doesn’t. In fact, I had the Knowledge purged from my mind. I’m sure you are aware of how dangerous and volatile that Knowledge is.”
“But you gave them the ability to perform this…this spell?”
“It was in a volume that I had written before the purge. This is a reason why I couldn’t store the Knowledge any longer, for fear of giving them anything further that could fuel the fire.”
“They’ll be expecting you to write more volumes, come up with other ideas…finish this Superweapon.”
Wesley shrugged. “I’m stalling.”
“And when you can’t stall any more?”
Wesley didn’t answer at first. “Perhaps death would be better than living in this hell.”
“So…so what, am I asleep? In my world, I mean?”
Wesley smirked. “No. You are both linked, you and the other Robin. When one of you goes to sleep, the other feels the effects.”
“The sleeping pills…in my world, the other Robin took sleeping pills.”
“Yes. You could feel it here. When both of you sleep, you swap places with the other’s body. Or rather, your minds do.”
“So if I don’t sleep, we can’t swap…”
“But our Robin will force the swap to happen again. You can count on it,” Wesley told him. “Willow is using her magic, along with Dawn’s Key powers, in conjunction with the mirror to link the two of you together. While they can keep you linked for as long as they like, your bodies can’t take the stress. You do need to sleep, and that’s the drawback of the link.”
Robin grunted, shook his head and rubbed his eyes. “How do I know that you’re telling me the truth? After all, everyone else in your Council seems to be embracing the dark side.”
“The people I trust are gone. They are either dead or walking this world as people I don’t know. I don’t consider this to be my world any longer, so believe me when I tell you that I am on my own in this. I have nothing to lose, no one to protect bar myself…and you.”
Robin’s face fell. “I’m…”
“I don’t want your pity. All I want is for you to trust what I say.”
“Answer me this…” Robin told him. “What happened to Faith, in your world I mean?”
“You, well, Robin,” Wesley continued, “he tried his best to plead her case to the Council after she was suspended, but his words fell on deaf ears. She was formally discharged from the Council. There was uproar, especially in the Slayer Division. Yet, when the battle took to the streets, Faith did not ignore her calling. She went out and fought, protecting the population against the demons. Some of the slayers left their posts here at the Council and joined with her, thinking it a disgrace that she had been ejected. After the battle was done and she was dead, numerous slayers splintered from the Council, believing its ways to still be archaic. Amongst the most shocking was Kennedy. She rallied the renegade slayers together and formed the Rebels.”
“Surely Kennedy’s not responsible for all this?”
“No, she’s not. Though to say the Rebels have been a thorn in the Council’s side would be an understatement, it wasn’t until things took a further turn for the worse that they, and the rest of the world…changed.”
“When was that?” Robin asked.
“I can’t confirm it, but my investigations seem to suggest that this world went the worst part of south after the former head of Bureau Nine was admitted to the Alchemilla Sanitarium on the fringes of the city, also three years ago,” Wesley said. “At first, I thought Bureau Nine was behind this, but once that organization was dissolved and we acquired their files, I found nothing that could have had this effect on the world. I can’t get to the Alchemilla for fear of raised eyebrows, but you might.”
“How can I? If the others know that I’m me, not their Robin, won’t they be monitoring me?”
“They don’t know that the two of you have swapped. Besides, if you go now, the others will be distracted by the preparations to create a bridge between our two worlds.”
“My people, they’ll be caught off guard,” Robin said urgently. “They don’t know what’s happening. I should go back to sleep, get back home.”
“No!” Wesley protested sharply. “You must find out what caused this world to become so wrong, if not in the hopes that I can change this world, then in case the same fate befalls your world.”
Suddenly, startled, Wesley looked behind himself and then hastily back to Robin. “I haven’t much time. The security sweep is about to begin. Do not worry about your world. They are safe for now. The dimensional bridge will not be ready for some time.”
“What will you do?”
“The Council will succeed at opening the bridge. There is nothing we can do to stop that. Not alone. So when you wake in your world, ready your troops.”
“Like I said, I should go back to my world now, rally our forces!”
“There isn’t time!” Wesley shouted, and then checked himself. Quieter, he went on. “Now listen to me, Mr. Wood. Alchemilla Sanitarium. Room 302. Third floor. There you will find the former head of Bureau Nine with information you need –”
Wesley stared at Robin. “No. Mrs. Felix.”
Our World – Watchers Council – Infirmary – Later that Day
Robin began to stir. He screwed his face up, pulling his features in as he came to. He coughed as he caught his breath. Eyes still closed, he barely managed, “Where…where am I?”
Faith leaned in close, his hand in hers. Grip intensifying, she said. “You’re here, baby, in the infirmary.”
She looked back towards Buffy, Willow, Rowena, Kennedy and Giles standing by the door to the private recovery room, each sharing a closed, despondent expression. She gave them a shy nod and turned back to Robin. Willow quietly opened the door and waved Dr. Miller inside.
“Ace, Dr. Miller’s here,” she told him.
Robin blinked and fully opened his eyes. He cast his eyes around the room, getting his bearings, noticing the gathered group of supposed well wishers, especially focusing on this world’s Rowena and Kennedy.
Dr. Miller turned his attention to the monitor standing beside the bed. “How are you feeling?”
“A little…” He grunted as he sat up, “… groggy. You put me out, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” The doctor said, turning toward him. “Your stats are good, BP’s level.”
“What did you find?” Robin asked.
“We couldn’t find anything to suggest what you’re describing,” Dr. Miller told him.
“So…square one,” Robin said slowly.
The doctor’s pager beeped. He checked it and excused himself. “I’m sorry, I’m needed elsewhere. I’ll be back when I can.” He smiled and then left.
Faith smiled at Robin and tightened her hold on his hand. “Do you need anything?”
“No. So what’s wrong with me? Guessing it’s a bad thing, congregation around my bed and all,” he averted his gaze from Faith to the others.
“We’re just here for moral support. We’re concerned, is all,” Kennedy said.
Robin smirked at Kennedy, then turned his head back to Faith. “Have I got anything to be concerned about?”
Faith shook her head. “No. Dr. Miller said that the only thing it could be is stress and that you need to rest.”
Robin nodded. “Well, that’s good. I feel tired. I should go back to sleep.”
“Actually, Robin,” Buffy piped up. “We kinda need your help.”
“Yeah,” Willow said. “Jim needs your help. Harriman’s getting noisier.”
Robin stared at Willow. “Oh, okay. Yeah, sure.”
Then he flashed them a retiring smile.
Parallel World – Cleveland Alley – Afternoon
The alley was dark, despite the fact that it was still day. It didn’t help much that the sky was overcast.
With cautious steps, Wesley stalked down the narrow alley, the street disappearing behind him the further he walked.
A lone door waited at the end of the alley. It was rusted over, and the posters that had once covered it were faded and torn.
A shadow emerged from behind him, growing and towering over Wesley. Calmly, he opened his hand and a length of metal shot out of what resembled a watch strap on his wrist, concealed by the sleeve of his coat. The metal folded out, snapping into place and constructing a sturdy-looking sword.
Wesley spun around and swung the sword, the tip pointed forward. Nothing.
He peered back down the alley toward the street, narrowing his eyes.
As he turned around, he found another blade just millimeters away from his throat. He held his head back as the blade pressed up against his neck.
“Well, well, well. Lookie what we got here, girls,” Marie said, sword in hand. “A watcher.”
Behind her stood Denise, Chamique, Hadley and numerous others.
Hadley stepped forward and smashed the end of her gun across Wesley’s face.
Parallel World – Alchemilla Sanitarium – Moments Later
“I don’t see what Sophia Felix has to do with Council business,” the doctor stated, a stethoscope protruding from the pocket of his three-quarter length white lab coat.
Robin, walking alongside him, kept his eyes on the dirty hallway ahead of him. The tiles were cracked, shattered and stained. The cries, screams and whimpers of the inmates were almost deafening. “What she has to do with Council business if none of yours.”
“I’m-I’m sorry, Mr. Wood, but I don’t understand. What is it that you wish to get out of her?” the doctor questioned. “She’s severely mentally ill, catatonic most of the time. In the next instant she’s raging, then inconsolable, then…” they came to a stop at the end of the hall, outside the clearly marked, reinforced heavy metal door to room 302. “You won’t get anything out of her unless you want nonsensical drivel.”
Robin glared at him. “Just open the door.”
The doctor nodded. “Very well. I should warn you, Ms. Felix can become very violent, and she’s not due for another dose of Thorazine for hours.”
“I can calm her down.”
The doctor sighed and put the key into the door. The sound of the large bolts turning in the door merged with the wails of the inmates and echoed through the vacant hall.
The door pulled open just a crack, Robin slipped inside and the doctor immediately shut it behind him. As soon as it was closed, Robin realized that there was no noise, just silence; that and that the air was thick and polluted with the distinctive smells of various bodily functions. It took Robin’s breath away as he put a hand to his mouth.
The room was small, the walls padded with thick, grimy cushions, some torn. The feathers from these amassed on the floor, which was also padded. There was no natural light except that which peeked in through the tiny barred window high above ground, just touching the ceiling.
He looked toward one corner of the room, where dubious dark stains lingered. In the corner to his right, huddled in the shadows, was a figure. The woman’s foot poked out in the half-light.
“Hello?” Robin gingerly said. “I’m Robin. Are you Ms. Felix?”
Moments passed, and the silence did not reply. Then a gurgle grew in the shadows.. “Used…to…be…” A chill shot up Robin’s spine as a croaky English voice answered.
Robin waited for a beat and then replied. “Sophia, right?”
“A name…so long…I have not known my name…are you my savior? I have prayed for you to come for I don’t know how long…years are minutes and minutes are years…are you my savior?”
She growled. “Then you are not welcome here.” The voice didn’t even sound female now.
“Please. I am a friend.”
“Friends lie…friends die…oh please,” she whined, “…please…”
“Sophia,” Robin bent down to her level, still a ways back from the shadow that embraced her. “I was a friend of your husband’s. Of Jason’s. Do you remember him?”
“Ja-Jason? My love…”
Her foot reached out, toes tapered to a point. It reached forward and her toes curled, digging deep into the padded floor. Then another foot emerged. Then Sophia pulled herself out of the shadows.
Sophia Anderville Felix was now a gaunt, frail waif of a woman. Her skin was almost gray. Deep, dark purple rings hung under her eyes. Her hair was a matted greasy mess. There was a madness in her eyes.
“Jason…” she would have reached out to Robin’s face, if not for her arms being tied to her chest inside a straitjacket.
“Yes, Jason,” Robin said hopefully, now eye-level with Sophia.
She grinned at Robin for a second, her eyes wide, huge and very much awake. “Then we can be friends.”
End of Act Two