Lisa Carew had thought she'd known helplessness when her father and those around her treated her like a child despite her age. She thought she'd known anger, even hatred, when Simon Stride demanded he marry her at her engagement party to Henry Jekyll, disparaging the man she loved as addled, even dangerous. She thought she'd tasted the depths of despair when Henry had yelled at her for disturbing his work, refusing to elaborate or apologize. She thought she'd known every facet, every layer, of any negative emotion felt by humankind, man or woman.
Now, as the officials removed the body (none could tell if it was Henry Jekyll's or Edward Hyde's) from what was once her wedding reception, she knew all she'd ever felt before was nothing compared to this.
Inspector Newcomen was kind, at the least, and Lisa was able to assuage her grief enough to answer what she knew—no, she'd no idea who Edward Hyde was, had never heard the name before tonight. She had no idea what had turned her husband into a madman, one who'd break people's necks on a whim, spill their darkest secrets, and attack their own father-in-law. He had never displayed such tendencies before—or, if he did, never around her. Never.
Most importantly, Lisa knew Henry Jekyll would have never attacked and threatened to kill her.
And yet, impossibly, he had.
Tellingly, she had no idea what had given him the power to stop attacking her. Was it God's mercy, love, or some force of will? Perhaps all three? Lisa considered the options and found herself wanting; furious, even.
Surely God's mercy would have restored her beloved and cured him of his sickness, absolved him of his crimes so long as he pled forgiveness. If it was love that did it, why would Henry, or Hyde, or whoever he was have put her in a vice, nearly strangled her, to begin with? If love had won out why did Henry have to die? If it was force of will then why had Utterson shot him and run his body through with Stride's cane, as if to ensure he was dead and gone?
And why had Henry himself insisted as such? Had he known it was only a temporary reprieve from… from… From whatever she hadn't been privileged to know.
Utterson had seemed to know what was going on, yet neither of them had told her. Whatever had happened must have been some terrible secret, but the thought of not being trusted to keep it, to know, angered Lisa all the same. Perhaps if she had known she could have helped, before it came to this.
But she hadn't, and now Lisa Carew was nothing. Her future, her life, lay in tatters around her without Henry Jekyll to support it. She'd told Simon as much when spurning his advances, told Henry as much at their party. Lisa had given him her heart, her existence, and with him gone there was nothing left but despair, bitterness, and hatred—whether for the world, herself, or even her dear Henry, she no longer knew.
Without Henry she had no hopes for freedom, nothing beyond what her status and name provided—not that it would amount to much now, with such a scandal only beginning to make waves. There was no façade she could put on that would remotely fix this, and even if she could her heart had been shattered, stomped on, and torn into pieces.
Lisa finished the report and stared out the window, unmoving even as her father gently embraced her. Utterson asked if she needed anything, but she sent them both out. What she needed would soon be buried six feet under, and no comfort from friend or family could change that. If she closed her eyes she could still feel Henry's—Hyde's—arm round her neck, chilling her to the bone.
Lisa wasn't sure what was worse, the thought that Stride was right after all or that her Henry was so, completely, wrong. She thought she'd known her future. She'd thought she'd known his work. She thought she'd known Henry Jekyll.
Clearly, she hadn't at all.
But she could find out, she thought numbly. The lab was still there. His notes were still there. Perhaps, before whatever she decided to do now—ending her life or continuing on in a sham until she died—she would find the source of Henry's demons.
The more she thought about it the more Lisa became set to the thought. Yes, she would root out this problem on her own, without any assistance. She was no doctor, no scientist, but she could read, she could comprehend. She owed it to herself and Henry to learn what had made Edward Hyde out of him.
If nothing else, Lisa vowed, she would understand.
Poole let her in without a word, directing her to the laboratory in silence. It seemed even he was clueless about what really transpired here, though the thought gave Lisa some comfort—if Henry's servants hadn't known perhaps she was not as stupid as she had felt. She politely asked him to leave, and he did, with a strained, hushed apology that Lisa endured rather than accepted.
The lab was in shambles, drawers ransacked and chairs overturned, pages and notes and pens strewn about and snapped in two. Remnants of potions and tinctures littered the desk and floor, staining it red, purple, and pale green. It looked as if there had been a fight of some kind, but the broken glass was dusty, the remnants of ashes and fire brushed away but not completely gone. Whatever had happened here, and however long ago, had not yet been cleaned. Lisa shuddered as she passed a stain that looked closer to blood than any sort of formula, approaching the desk cautiously. She felt as if some creature was lurking here, still, waiting to strike.
She looked at the first note she saw that wasn't torn in half and frowned in confusion. Henry started off normal but seemed to switch hands midsentence, as if fighting for control, and ended up scrawling across the page and creating an angry storm of lines. Most of the words drowned in ink, and what she did read made little sense to her—a list of chemicals for which she had no context for.
A full page, clean-kept, finely pressed, and neat, shed light on the situation. The chemicals were for a formula to separate good from evil, and he chose himself as the subject of the experiment. Henry wrote in detail of the crimson liquid he'd ingested to transform into Edward Hyde, which delighted and intoxicated like fine wine. Was being good so trying, so demanding for Henry that he had to unleash his repressed thoughts and give them being, give them name, give them life?
(A look at her own situation led her to believe that yes, yes it was. Look at what being good had gotten her.)
Lisa turned to another note, this one crumpled in a ball, and carefully unfolded it and read. Immediately, a word jumped out at her. Murder. Hyde had murdered a man, and Henry seemed to dismiss it in pursuit of his work. He wrote, in detail, how free he felt as Hyde, how he could act on whatever baser urges he desired with none the wiser. The curious, left-slanted lines she now recognized as Hyde's handwriting agreed with the doctor.
Another entry, further down the page, seemed to show a change of heart. The body count began to rise—dimly she recalled her father meeting Lord Savage at the train station—and it seemed now Henry was in the throes of guilt, but Hyde was unrepentant and wished for more. Her worries were further compounded when a later entry told of Henry admitting pity for Hyde, reveling in his lust for life, as though he had not killed people with his own two hands. Perhaps, by this point, he no longer saw himself as Hyde. Lisa wasn't sure whether that absolved him or not—how horrid, she thought, to have such thoughts of Henry.
Another note, torn lengthwise and spat upon, detailed that the transformations were beginning to recur of their own accord. He was dangerous, more dangerous than any animal stalking its prey, for even animals have the sense to stop. Hyde would happily continue until his (their?) world was in ruin, caring only for himself, and seemed to delight in the horrors he'd bring if the multitude of underlines under "dangerous" meant anything.
An entry smeared in stains told of a girl named Lucy Harris, who worked at a house of ill repute. The poor, sad woman lived a life that made her own troubles seem inconsequential, and she felt her heart ache the more she read about the deplorable conditions Lucy kept—even worse with the thought that Simon Stride had secretly owned such places. Still, to Lisa's initial relief, Henry seemed to treat Lucy as a friend, nothing more, and kept her at arm's length. Then she noticed a hastily scrawled arrow pointing to the bottom of the page, but there was nothing there. Perhaps it meant something was written on the opposite side.
Lisa flipped to the back, read, and nearly vomited. Hyde had written, in lurid detail, how he had—Lisa couldn't think such thoughts.
But she had to. They had happened.
Hyde had taken Lucy as his own against her will, and Hyde had killed her.
Henry had taken Lucy as his own against her will, and Henry had killed her.
It was the diary of a madman and it was the diary of the man she loved and somehow they were one and the same.
Lisa Carew snapped.
It was uncontrollable and ugly, a rage brought forth from the very depths of her soul. There was no light in Lisa's eyes; there was nothing saintly or good in her at all at this moment in time. She was sick, she was twisted, she was ruined. She tore at the notes as if to devour their essence, raking her hands across the shards of glass and beakers. She scattered the notes and spat upon them, howling in rage and pain, even through the haze amazed at the catharsis it brought.
She had no one to go back to, save her father. No future. No husband. No life.
Lisa then noticed that there was one vial, still intact, nearly full. A red liquid lay inside.
She knew pieces of Henry's story, if not the whole thing. She knew, firsthand and from the notes, what sorts of experiences could await her.
But she knew she had nothing to lose.
(And she was tired, so tired, of being good.)
Lisa brought the flask to her lips and drank without hesitation.
You have the drive you've always wanted, and none of society's expectations holding you back. You can be you.
Start with the self, that's the easiest part. You've been given a new life; may as well look it.
Undo the corset bit by bit. There, can't you breathe easier, now?
Let down the hair from its bun—ah, too hard, but even in pain, it feels good!
This dress is too restrictive; too emblematic of the upper crust of society. Tear at it til it paints the whole picture.
Lisa Carew? Not a bad name, but not good, either. You need something spicier, yet still able to blend in.
Take his notes with you, girl. You have the money for the drugs you'd need. Start a new life, or, for fun, share it with others. Utterson and Lanyon and Enfield, could you imagine those three as free as you? You never know, they could surprise you. You've certainly surprised yourself.
You have purpose now. You're almost (but not quite) free.
There's just one loose end left.
Sir Danvers Carew came home that night troubled and sickened. He still had no idea what to make of the fiasco at the wedding, and Lisa—dear, darling Lisa! Danvers hoped she would be strong enough to survive this trying time, but in his heart he doubted it. She could fall ill and die of grief! She could be anywhere, drowning her sorrows in all sorts of ways. She could…
She could be waiting for him at home, his cane in her hands. She looked a fright—hair loose, dress torn, eyes wild, a broken smile on her face—but, really, had he expected her to look good? She had just lost the love of her life! It was no wonder she needed his cane; just walking would be too much to…
Wait. If she was too distraught to walk straight, how could she have gotten home? And, looking closer, was this Lisa? There seemed to be something off about this woman that he couldn't quite describe. He thought it best to ask her name, but before he could she spoke.
"H'lo, father," she drawled, stringing out the last word.
His voice was eager, almost childish in its hope.
She considered the name, scoffed, and raised the cane.
Brought it down on his head.
She lit into him with blow after blow, each pushing her to new heights of ecstasy. His cries of pain, soon becoming screams, were as music. The crunch and snap of old, brittle bones was to her the sound of countless doors being opened. Her father's last, rattling breath brought a brief tinge of sadness tempered with the thought of not having to care anymore what he thought, what he felt. What anyone felt.
She only stopped when the cane cracked in half and her arms, exhausted, could no longer lift the weapon. Gathering her wits about her, she knew people would come. They would be after the murderer. She would have to run.
And that was it, wasn't it? She could run. She could go anywhere, do anything, and never be caught so long as the potion was close by. These feelings were new and intoxicating, and by their very nature wicked and pleasurable.
She felt giddy, light-headed, high on life. The world glimmered with possibilities.
And to think all it took was giving in to her basest self.
Now, now, she understood Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde.
She understood completely.
Lisa-Emma-Carew-Jekyll-Hyde was split in two.
She was whole.
She had never felt so alive.