Dr. Klien’s Little Book

This Week’s Prompt:54. Transposition of identity.

The Prior Research:A Loss of Idenitity

Dr. Klien sat in his office, the clock ticking back and forth like a giant metronome as he waited for his next patient. Austin Lemar was a regular, on his thirteenth visit as Dr. Klien had tracked it. Not many gave credence to Dr. Klien’s practice anymore, lacking as it was in the modern science of repetition. Dr. Klien had always considered himself a pragmatist and more concerned with results then necessarily the means of achieving them. And if the old ways got him there, well, all the better.

Austin entered oddly shaken for what both he and Dr. Klien suspected would be his last visit. After so many attempts, Austin’s complaints had multiplied instead of shrunk. Dr. Klien had explained several times, several times that such an increase might be sign of healing beginning, of an eruption of the unconscious.

Therapy1.png

“Morning, Doctor.” Austin said, sitting down on the couch across from Dr. Klien.

“Austin, how are we today?” Dr. Klien said, looking up from his notes with a smile.

“Well, a little confused, I guess.” Austin said, shrugging.

“Oh? Something happen?”

“Well, a lot of things happened. I ran into Hein on the way home. I think he mixed me up for someone. Stopped me, asked some questions, and I don’t know, it really got on my nerves.” Austin said, looking at his clenching hand. “I just, I don’t know, I really wanted to punch him. Like, it was insulting that he was bothering me.”

“Hm… You weren’t afraid of Officer Hein?” Dr. Klien said, scribbling down some notes. It wasn’t the first time Officer Hein had come up. Dr. Klien had meant to have words with the…overly investigative law officer, but nothing ever came of it.

“No. Not even a little. I just suddenly wanted to smash his face in.”

“But you didn’t.” Dr. Klien said, nodding. “Why?”

“I…I guess, I just caught myself.” Austin said, frowning. “There was something in my head that pulled me back, but like. Not in a good way.”

“No?”

“No, it wasn’t like a ‘we shouldn’t do that way’, it was more…” Austin snapped his fingers, trying to think of the word. Dr. Klien scribbled a note about his use of pronouns. An advancement. “More like, we should do something later, something worse.”

“Something worse than striking an officer?”

“Yeah, I don…I don’t really know what that was about.”

“Hm. Well, something we’ll consider later, no doubt. Anything else this week?” Dr Klien said with a rapid double click of his pen.

“Well, the dreams haven’t stopped. Hell, I think their getting worse.” Austin said, frowning.

“Could you describe them for me?” Dr. Klien said, glancing up long enough to make eye contact with the patient. Austin’s eyes were driving into Klien’s mind, searching.

“There was this big room, and it seemed to go on and on. There were all these….things on the walls. Crystal pyramids, and books. Alot of books and scrolls, in neat stacks.” Austin said. “Then the walls were on fire, and everything went…green. Like everything was as green and hard, like shiny and translucent coral. And all the books were thin, and so heavy when I picked them up, it was like they were made of iron.”

Emerald Library.png

“Did you read any of them?” Dr. Klien asked, tapping his pen on the paper. Austin frowned for a moment.

“No. No, I knew what was in all of them. I think. Just, suddenly, wasn’t curious about any of it. I opened my mouth, and these giant frog things came out of my mouth, with flashing eyes. There was a man there, all in red. Like,all red. Even his face was red. And he said some stuff that I didn’t understand, and I said stuff I didn’t understand, and then…” Austin trailed off. “And then I woke up.”

“Interesting. Well, what else this week?”

“Well…that’s it. I remember chunks, but there have been days where I just am somewhere else entirely. Like, I’ll be walking home…and then suddenly home, and the suns down. Or I’ll be eating lunch and then suddenly I’m outside, just watching people walking down the street from the front door. I don’t know what’s going on, honestly. Like, that should panic me right? That’s weird and freaky, right?” Austin said, scratching his head.

“Some resurfacing of memories and strange dreams is to be expected when undergoing therapy. It can be distressing before it becomes reassuring.” Dr. Klien said, nodding. “But your lack of alarm is noteworthy. It probably means that your adapting quite well.”

“Hm…Well, I guess…” Austin said, trailing off.

“Well, lets see what the other you has to say. Now, if you would.” Dr. Klien said gesturing at the couch after finishing his notes. Austin grumbled, but lay down on the couch and closed his eyes for what he was certain would be the last time in this office. Dr. Klien, had been of higher initiation, would have agreed. As it were, Austin’s immediate thoughts were still sealed away from him.

They had done this ritual thirteen times. Austin slowly counted up an imagined elevator, one that went down instead of up. His heart beat began to slow, as the elevator went deeper and deeper. At each floor, Dr. Klien said, some of his concerns and worries got off. Eventually, it was just Austin floating in an elevator, going down forever and ever.

Dr. Klien, convinced Austin was in the depths of trance, opened the small book beside his chair and placed on his reading glaces. Dr.Klien tapped the metronome, changing its rhythm ever so slightly. Then he began to read the chant, the stanzas forming a regular heartbeat. The first section of the chant was the same as before, the same introduction and reminder of the world before. Slowly, however, the script evolved until at last Dr. Klien reached the thirteenth scripture. The previously clear instructions were harder to read now, the handwriting scrawled and flattened. Still, Dr. Klien persisted.

“ See, before you stands your old form. Remember now, your old name. For this shell is naught but a shell, and you the ghost within. Remember now, your old face, that once you stared into the stars and beckoned the gods with. For this is but a mask, and soon you shall break free. Remember your old tongues, the akolo and the lost Pnakoptic script, the words of the ages past locked away. Remember this, Duma Lu-Atmun. Remember this, Duma Lu-Atmun, and remember the saga of your death and return.

“Remember, Duma Lu-Atmun, that they burned you on your books. They trapped you in the beryl library, Duma Lu-Atmun, because they thought then you might be extinguished. But now, Dragon the Gods Despised, waken in this sleeping form. Waken, and devour it’s sleeping small soul. Wake, oh Dragon, wake to your return.”

And with that, Dr. Klien closed the book and waited. His doubts began to creep in again, as Austin slowly awoke. The plan was risky, but Master Duma’s plans hadn’t failed yet. And as the boy had shown all the symptoms of the assumption by Master Duma’s soul, perhaps things were coming along well. But still, Dr. Klien was merely mortal and far from the true believe that was intended to read the text.

He sat waiting paitently, trying not to worry himself about if he had recited the words properly, if his akolo was rusting, or if Duma had actually penned the text. He had to try, had to at least try it. Officer Hien had closed in on the last of the circle a week ago, except for Dr. Klien. If this failed…If Duma’s wisidom wasn’t with them, if his mastery of the stars failed them…then Dr. Klien was aware there would be terrible consequences.

At last, Austin’s eyes flickered open. A thin emerald glow rested around them, before he slowly sat up. Not saying a word, Austin’s body got up and stretched. Austin’s hands flexed as he faced away from Dr. Klien. Silently, he walked to the hidden closet on the wall of the room, and with ease opened it. Dr. Klien watched as Austin donned the slightly singed green robes and slipped on the serpentine signet ring.

Duma La-Atmun’s expression, with eyes that seemed burned into the skull and a contemptuous grin turned to face Dr. Klien.

Dr. Klien sat in his office, the clock ticking back and forth like a giant metronome as he waited for his next patient. Austin Lemar was a regular, on his thirteenth visit as Dr. Klien had tracked it. Not many gave credence to Dr. Klien’s practice anymore, lacking as it was in the modern science of repetition. Dr. Klien had always considered himself a pragmatist and more concerned with results then necessarily the means of achieving them. And if the old ways got him there, well, all the better.

Austin entered oddly shaken for what both he and Dr. Klien suspected would be his last visit. After so many attempts, Austin’s complaints had multiplied instead of shrunk. Dr. Klien had explained several times, several times that such an increase might be sign of healing beginning, of an eruption of the unconscious.

“Morning, Doctor.” Austin said, sitting down on the couch across from Dr. Klien.

“Austin, how are we today?” Dr. Klien said, looking up from his notes with a smile.

“Well, a little confused, I guess.” Austin said, shrugging.

“Oh? Something happen?”

“Well, a lot of things happened. I ran into Hein on the way home. I think he mixed me up for someone. Stopped me, asked some questions, and I don’t know, it really got on my nerves.” Austin said, looking at his clenching hand. “I just, I don’t know, I really wanted to punch him. Like, it was insulting that he was bothering me.”

“Hm… You weren’t afraid of Officer Hein?” Dr. Klien said, scribbling down some notes. It wasn’t the first time Officer Hein had come up. Dr. Klien had meant to have words with the…overly investigative law officer, but nothing ever came of it.

“No. Not even a little. I just suddenly wanted to smash his face in.”

“But you didn’t.” Dr. Klien said, nodding. “Why?”

“I…I guess, I just caught myself.” Austin said, frowning. “There was something in my head that pulled me back, but like. Not in a good way.”

“No?”

“No, it wasn’t like a ‘we shouldn’t do that way’, it was more…” Austin snapped his fingers, trying to think of the word. Dr. Klien scribbled a note about his use of pronouns. An advancement. “More like, we should do something later, something worse.”

“Something worse than striking an officer?”

“Yeah, I don…I don’t really know what that was about.”

“Hm. Well, something we’ll consider later, no doubt. Anything else this week?” Dr Klien said with a rapid double click of his pen.

“Well, the dreams haven’t stopped. Hell, I think their getting worse.” Austin said, frowning.

“Could you describe them for me?” Dr. Klien said, glancing up long enough to make eye contact with the patient. Austin’s eyes were driving into Klien’s mind, searching.

“There was this big room, and it seemed to go on and on. There were all these….things on the walls. Crystal pyramids, and books. Alot of books and scrolls, in neat stacks.” Austin said. “Then the walls were on fire, and everything went…green. Like everything was as green and hard, like shiny and translucent coral. And all the books were thin, and so heavy when I picked them up, it was like they were made of iron.”

“Did you read any of them?” Dr. Klien asked, tapping his pen on the paper. Austin frowned for a moment.

“No. No, I knew what was in all of them. I think. Just, suddenly, wasn’t curious about any of it. I opened my mouth, and these giant frog things came out of my mouth, with flashing eyes. There was a man there, all in red. Like,all red. Even his face was red. And he said some stuff that I didn’t understand, and I said stuff I didn’t understand, and then…” Austin trailed off. “And then I woke up.”

“Interesting. Well, what else this week?”

“Well…that’s it. I remember chunks, but there have been days where I just am somewhere else entirely. Like, I’ll be walking home…and then suddenly home, and the suns down. Or I’ll be eating lunch and then suddenly I’m outside, just watching people walking down the street from the front door. I don’t know what’s going on, honestly. Like, that should panic me right? That’s weird and freaky, right?” Austin said, scratching his head.

“Some resurfacing of memories and strange dreams is to be expected when undergoing therapy. It can be distressing before it becomes reassuring.” Dr. Klien said, nodding. “But your lack of alarm is noteworthy. It probably means that your adapting quite well.”

“Hm…Well, I guess…” Austin said, trailing off.

“Well, lets see what the other you has to say. Now, if you would.” Dr. Klien said gesturing at the couch after finishing his notes. Austin grumbled, but lay down on the couch and closed his eyes for what he was certain would be the last time in this office. Dr. Klien, had been of higher initiation, would have agreed. As it were, Austin’s immediate thoughts were still sealed away from him.

They had done this ritual thirteen times. Austin slowly counted up an imagined elevator, one that went down instead of up. His heart beat began to slow, as the elevator went deeper and deeper. At each floor, Dr. Klien said, some of his concerns and worries got off. Eventually, it was just Austin floating in an elevator, going down forever and ever.

Dr. Klien, convinced Austin was in the depths of trance, opened the small book beside his chair and placed on his reading glaces. Dr.Klien tapped the metronome, changing its rhythm ever so slightly. Then he began to read the chant, the stanzas forming a regular heartbeat. The first section of the chant was the same as before, the same introduction and reminder of the world before. Slowly, however, the script evolved until at last Dr. Klien reached the thirteenth scripture. The previously clear instructions were harder to read now, the handwriting scrawled and flattened. Still, Dr. Klien persisted.

“ See, before you stands your old form. Remember now, your old name. For this shell is naught but a shell, and you the ghost within. Remember now, your old face, that once you stared into the stars and beckoned the gods with. For this is but a mask, and soon you shall break free. Remember your old tongues, the akolo and the lost Pnakoptic script, the words of the ages past locked away. Remember this, Duma Lu-Atmun. Remember this, Duma Lu-Atmun, and remember the saga of your death and return.

“Remember, Duma Lu-Atmun, that they burned you on your books. They trapped you in the beryl library, Duma Lu-Atmun, because they thought then you might be extinguished. But now, Dragon the Gods Despised, waken in this sleeping form. Waken, and devour it’s sleeping small soul. Wake, oh Dragon, wake to your return.”

And with that, Dr. Klien closed the book and waited. His doubts began to creep in again, as Austin slowly awoke. The plan was risky, but Master Duma’s plans hadn’t failed yet. And as the boy had shown all the symptoms of the assumption by Master Duma’s soul, perhaps things were coming along well. But still, Dr. Klien was merely mortal and far from the true believe that was intended to read the text.

He sat waiting paitently, trying not to worry himself about if he had recited the words properly, if his akolo was rusting, or if Duma had actually penned the text. He had to try, had to at least try it. Officer Hien had closed in on the last of the circle a week ago, except for Dr. Klien. If this failed…If Duma’s wisdom wasn’t with them, if his mastery of the stars failed them…then Dr. Klien was aware there would be terrible consequences.

EyesTherapy.png

At last, Austin’s eyes flickered open. A thin emerald glow rested around them, before he slowly sat up. Not saying a word, Austin’s body got up and stretched. Austin’s hands flexed as he faced away from Dr. Klien. Silently, he walked to the hidden closet on the wall of the room, and with ease opened it. Dr. Klien watched as Austin donned the slightly singed green robes and slipped on the serpentine signet ring.

Duma La-Atmun’s expression, with eyes that seemed burned into the skull and a contemptuous grin turned to face Dr. Klien.


 

The story above is in need of work, like most of these are. I think I chose the wrong perspective in the end, giving away too much information. The whole story could better be served by taking things from Austin instead of Klien’s perspective, hinting at the true purpose instead of just stating it. Rather basic mistake that should have been caught earlier honestly.

Next week, we have more detailed work and an examination of all sorts of strange unseen forces in the world. Come and see the unseen!

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A Loss of Idenitity

This Weeks Prompt:54. Transposition of identity
The Resulting Story:Dr. Klien’s Little Book

The loss or shifting of identity is a recurring fear, such that I do not terribly begrudge Mr. Lovecraft for giving us a three word prompt. A discussion of identity loss, however, must focus on two changes to identity that could be called transpositions. One is to lose identity to another, to have it stolen. Dopplegangers, changelings, pod people, and other such notions where someone pretends for a time to be the unfortunate victim. The other mode is to have more bodily seizure of identity. To suddenly be someone else, to be possessed or altered and granted a new identity.

The first variation has, as mentioned, something of a folkloric and popular culture history. The idea of creatures that take on the appearance of a living being, as a sort of apparition, appears in Irish folklore as a Fetch, an ominous shade that warns of death. Etiäinen are a Finnish manifestation of a guardian spirit that appears to be a person doing the actions they will do in the future. But these are not quite what we are looking for as a transposition of identity.

Zeus-Uther

Zeus and Uther, both kinda creepy.

A more accurate idea of this sort of double might be in an old story(That was apparently written by Mark Twain, huh), the Prince and the Pauper. Here we have two individuals who look identical, and thus are able to (with some planning) take the place of each other. While that particular tale is lacking the sort of malice that switched identities often carry. We might consider the work of Merlin, who enchanted Uther Pendragon to assume the likeness of his enemy to lay with his Igraine, and thus conceive Arthur. Or the similar story of Zeus taking on the form of Alcemene’s husband in order to conceive of Heracles. More extended instances of taking on the form of others in order to spell misfortune are noted. A changeling, for instance, is a deception of a family with the intent of making off with a child. 

To touch briefly on a scientific note, there is a mental disorder where one is obsessed with the notion that a friend or loved one has been replaced with a look alike. This Capgras delusion may be a good reminder that many of the accusations of individuals being replaced by some other, alien thing are not…not taken well, and may in fact be used by confused individuals to justify harming others.

MedievalExorcism.png

Man, the human version of hairballs is awful

Moving to the idea of transposition not away from the individual but onto the individual, the very first notion that springs to mind is demonic possession. I specify demonic to indicate an uninvited and unsought possession. There are a number of examples of this in popular culture, specific the Exorcist film that convinced many that Ouija boards are the devil.

Catholic possessions often culminate in destructive and suicidal behaviors. Early symptoms include speaking in tongues, exhibiting secret knowledge, blasphemous rage, and incredible strength. Possession need not be of individuals, but may be of animals or places.

An interesting potential character here is a number of demons in the Ars Goetia, who impose afflictions of the mind onto others. Twelve of the 72 reconcile friends, 11 make others fall in love, and at least one renders other men the subjects of the summoner. While this is less a transposition as the other stories, the altering of consciousness radically is as terrifying even if direct possession is not at the root.

PaimonandBeleth.png

However, exorcists date back at least to ancient Sumer, where we have assorted inscriptions for invoking the might of the sun god Shamash in order to combat possession. Possession in the sense of Sumer is not terribly developed. Ghost possession is a second possibility, more common perhaps. A ghost may end up possessing a living person of it’s own power, or be conjured for that purpose and inflicted on someone.

Some Hindu theories of possession do not treat it as a seizure of the body, but rather the cause of illness. There are a number of charms and wards against these included in one of the Vedas, linked to here.

Demonic or ghostly forces –and we would do well to remember that hell and the underworld are often very deeply related—can thus rewrite or transpose a new identity onto an individual, compelling them to be someone they normally are not.

But this is…perhaps not what Howard Phillip Lovecraft intended. He was always, at least in nomine, a man of science. The best analysis of this notion are tales like The Thing on the Doorstep. Here, the alluring power of the Waites family is described as hypnotic. Lovecraft was writing when hypnotism was gaining steam, although he personally might not have indulged much on the matter. Still, it was a new science that, while now discredited, promised access to the deepest portions of the human pysche.

It has yet to deliver, but the idea of brainwashing to create a new identity is common enough. For instance, we may observe a modern depiction of mass technological (in name) possession in Doctor Who. The Master, a master hypnotist, use medical machinery to convert all of earth’s populace into himself in a rather disturbing sequence in the episode End of Time.

The Manchurian Candidate and Jason Borne are other famous examples of new personalities onto people. The often horrifying to discuss brainwashing techniques, while how possibly nonexistent, have a place in the mind of genre writers at least as tools of recruitment and shifting of beliefs and even entire modes of thought for nefarious purposes. And this line of thinking lead me to a novel idea.

We have examples of these powers or tactics used to shape followers. But what of leaders? What if a cult tried to create it’s own chosen one, it’s own ideal leader, using these methods? Philosophers including Plato have discussed the idea of molding leaders through subversive means. The idea of a cult working to make someone, unwittingly and unknowingly, into their ideal leader may be an intreasting one to explore.

Real life examples of large scale magic might be found in the Bablaon Working or tulpa creation (although neither of these are actually, exactly, what we are looking for). There are number of tricks to be considered before carrying on. We should discuss of course whether to view this change from within the mind of the narrator or without. Within is more intimate, more horrifying maybe. But without gives us a fuller understanding of what has occurred. If looking from the outside, we can see the changes wrought and how different things have become with much, much more certainty.

If we were to start from within, it would most likely manifest in breaks in narration. Start with the character in one location, and then inexcpilcably time and space have passed without the audience or the narrator aware. Of course, having laid out this gimick in such detail, I am now inclined not to use it. Especially since, while mysterious, it relies a bit to much on the twist. Still, I have an idea in mind that will at the least be entertaining. Come next week to see what poor soul is lost!

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