What Jacob had hoped would be a short stay, was rapidly becoming something much, much worse than he’d imagined it might be. He’d thought he was fine. Perhaps it was easier, because he didn’t remember much of his time away, and because he hadn’t really had much of a life to return to, once he was free. It was easier to compartmentalize everything he’d done, everything that had been done to him, as a dream. Something he could just put behind him, and forget. But this–this was just as bad, as before He was still in a cage, still treated like an animal in a cage, too. But this time, it was for his own good–and for the alleged safety of the staff and the other patients. It had been better before, at least that had been a kind of freedom. Baccanal had, of course, held the lead…but beyond that, the beast had been free to enjoy itself. It…wanted to…enjoy itself.
While he still detested group sessions, they were rapidly becoming the only place where he had any socialization, beyond nervous staff members clutching tranquilizers, and Mark, who seemed as unfazed by everything as always, though Jacob could…sense a shift in him, somehow, though he couldn’t explain how he knew that. This was becoming a common occurrence, and it took Jacob some time to realize that the voices and ideas in his head, that he’d always experienced as some odd conscience, were in fact the words and thoughts of the beast inside him. It all seemed so obvious now, but he’d been so clueless this whole time. Now, however, all he really wanted was for it to stop. He’d give up…everything, if the beast would just go away for good. He vented in group about that, about how he felt like he’d lost every remnant of control here, how he’d been freed from one enslavement, and was now stuck in another. The other inmates would commiserate, but none of them could really understand, he didn’t think. He knew he was dangerous, and yet…and yet the beast was assuring him that as long as they got out, it would calm down. It just…didn’t want to be caged anymore. It wanted to enjoy life, it wanted pleasure, and sex, and food and wine, all the delights it had become accustomed to, with Baccanal. Jacob found himself wanting them too, just so the beast would finally quiet down.
He shared all of this with Mark, in their sessions together. Mark seemed less interested in what had occurred with Baccanal, however, and wanted to know more about how Jacob’s powers had developed. He was especially fascinated when the dreams began again, though they were…different, this time. He still felt pursued, and attacked, but Jacob found himself witnessing it as both predator and prey. When he awoke, afterwards, he also wouldn’t be caught in the midst of a slippage–he might see just the last bit of nail or fur disappearing in the dark, unsure if he’d seen anything at all.
“I believe, Jacob, that this beast, as we call him, is in fact a separate entity inside both your body and your mind–but when you were both growing up, neither of you understood yourself as separate entities. You were, in fact, much closer in identity than you have become. The events you suffered…created a break in your unity, likely because the substances Baccanal made you consume affected each of you differently. You, Jacob, they put to sleep, but the beast was invigorated by them. I don’t know if it is possible for the two of you to find the same sort of synchronicity you once established so naturally, but I think things are only going to improve after we find a way to communicate with the beast, and after we understand how it uses these dreams to manifest itself, because they are…clearly connected, somehow.” Mark looked up from his notes. “I would like to try a few sessions of hypnosis with you, focusing on dream control, and see if we can better understand the link between the two of you. If we can help you exert a bit more control over the form the beast takes, then you may be able to establish a healthier relationship with your own power, in time.”
At this point, Jacob was willing to try anything, if it might mean getting away from here, though he could feel the beast was anxious about it. It didn’t want Jacob to be in control–all it wanted, was to be free. He told this to Mark, that he wasn’t sure the beast would be very cooperative, and Mark had a simple answer.
“I think the beast is smart enough to understand that, until we find a way to train it and control it, there is no way it can be allowed outside of these walls. I want to help both of you–but if either of you puts up any resistance, then you will both be stuck here for the foreseeable future. Progress is entirely in your hands–both of your hands–and I trust you will both cooperate to the best of your abilities.”
They could both see the truth in that–though when they arrived for the first session, and saw the bed and the straps and the guards looking on nervously, neither of them were feeling very trusting of the doctor. It had to be done, Mark insisted. After all, it had been shown that they both could react very differently to the same stimuli–and it was likely that by putting Jacob into a hypnotic sleep, the beast could very possibly manifest itself while Jacob was in a suggestable state. A few minutes later, Jacob was lying on the bed, watching the flashing screen in front of him while Mark whispered softly in his ear–and then he remembered…little else. He dreamed, he knew that, but what dream it was, was something he couldn’t recall beyond a general sensation of…peace and relaxation. When he was next woken, everyone in the room appeared to be at ease as well, though Jacob didn’t really understand why–it wasn’t until Mark showed him the footage from the session the next day, that he understood.