Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

In Two Minds By Sim Smailes

“It might be possible, of course, that far from being one, we may possess two selves…”

Dr John Robertson paused before continuing, “…and both manifestations may be completely unaware of the existence of the other.”

“Are you referring to schizophrenia?” asked his companion, Professor Owen Williams.

“No. that’s a common misconception. A schizophrenic is likely to hear voices but they do not have dual or multiple personalities. These are manifestations of a condition known as dissociative identity disorder.”

“And you have a patient with this illness?”

“Yes,” replied the doctor. “Leo Sparkes. Does that name mean anything to you?”

“No. I don’t know any Leos.”

“Then follow me.”

The two men proceeded to enter an adjoining room in the high security medical unit. Inside the room, the walls were an intense white under the bright halogen lights. One wall had a mirror built into it and the central feature of the room was a table with a wooden chair at either end.

“This is where most of my research is carried out,” said Dr Robertson. “As a psychiatrist I find the environment plays an important part in my assessments. For some, a room like this is intimidating. Others find it reassuring. How do you feel about it, Owen?”

Professor Williams shrugged a little uncomfortably as he thought about the question.

“I feel uneasy about the mirror, if I’m honest. Is anybody watching us from the other side?”

“No, it’s a standard mirror. Nobody can see us.”

“Thank goodness for that!” smiled the professor. “Now, you indicated that I might be able to meet this patient with you, John. Will it be safe for both of us to observe him or should I leave when he arrives?”

Dr Robertson thought carefully before responding.

“It will be best if you leave, I think. Do you see that mark on the wall over there?”

“Yes. It looks like something has taken a big chunk out of it.”

“Leo Sparkes did that earlier today,” said the psychiatrist. “He has a very violent nature and I believe that he may pose a serious threat to society. I am in the process of having him sectioned for his own safety.”

“Sounds like a good idea,” agreed Professor Williams.

“I’m glad you think so. Now please take a seat, Owen. Leo will be along soon.”

Dr Robertson gave an anxious look as his companion complied with his request. He then grabbed a long piece of nylon cord from his jacket pocket and tied it tightly around the professor’s chest and arms, securing him to the chair. As he struggled, Professor Williams realised that the chair was fixed to the floor and would not move.

“What are you doing, John?” he yelled. “Untie me or I’ll have you struck off.”

“I have to go now,” replied the doctor.

“You can’t leave me here to face Leo Sparkes on my own. That’s inhuman.”

“Haven’t you realised yet?” said Dr Robertson, beckoning in two security guards. “You are Leo Sparkes.”

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