Robert Louis Stevenson was not one for waiting – not while he could be writing the idea that had come into his mind that night. However, when he first received the note from his friend Henry Jekyll, he decided to give up his night of writing to meet with his friend for a drink or two. It would not take too much time away from his writing and he could possibly get ideas as well. It helped that Henry was a muse to him, even if the writing was more towards a dark nature he never showed anyone. Or that it was from the idea that he still had from being a child – the idea of interplaying good and evil as if they were battling each other. He was settled so deep into the idea that he didn’t hear his friend come up behind him until there was a tap on his shoulder. “Oh!” He said and got up, smiling at Henry. “I’m sorry – I didn’t even know you were there.”
“You seemed so deep in thought,” Henry said with a smile as he sat down opposite of his friend after they shook hands. “At first, I didn’t want to interrupt you, but if I didn’t, I would be waiting all night.”
Robert laughed at that. “You are right about that,” he said and looked at his friend. “Are you alright? You seem a bit pale.”
“Just not sleeping as much as I used to,” Henry said with a shrug. “My hours are getting stranger and stranger.”
Robert nodded a yes, dropping the conversations as one of the waitresses came over to them. He ordered his usual drink and let Henry do the same. He waited until she was gone before turning back to Henry. “He’s keeping you up more and more?”
Henry nodded a yes. “It’s getting worse,” he said quietly as he moved forward so they could talk with their voices low. “The only way that I can stop the change is with the potion now. I’m not running low by any means, but this is bad. And I can’t help but feel that I am being followed everywhere I go.”
“I think that is your own jumpy mind,” Robert said quietly but his voice full of concern. “Is there anything I can do?”
“Tell me if you found anything,” Henry said quietly. “In all the books I gave you. I’m sorry that I’m holding up your work – “
“Don’t even think about it that way,” Robert said, cutting his friend off. “I volunteered to do this for you, remember?”
“I know,” Henry said quietly. “I’m just worried about Hyde finding out.”
“Well, you told me how I am to end it and that you wouldn’t mind,” Robert said with a small bit of a smile. “From all the books that you gave me and your notes – there is no cure. The potion you made is excellent. It’s like the work of fiction brought to life, Henry. From the small bit my mind knows, even with all the books – there’s nothing. Not even if you rework the potion that you made. It just turns out to be poison that would kill the both of you.”
“Maybe that would be better than trying to live like this,” Henry whispered. “It’s not even living. I’m waking up in places I don’t even know with women I don’t know.”
Robert was about to say something when he moved back so the waitress could put the drinks on the table. “Thank you, my dear,” he said and paid her.
“I could have,” Henry said.
“I got an advance towards my next book,” Robert said. “As soon as I find the plot for it, I will start writing it.”
“You could write my story,” Henry said. “It’s not like I’m going to really be around to put up an objection to it.”
Robert thought about that for a long moment. “Perhaps,” he said quietly. “But you’re going to beat Hyde. You are stronger than him mentally. You know that.”
“That might be the case but – I – “ Henry’s hand started to shake as he tried to form words. “You should go,” he said quietly.
“Hyde?” Robert asked, looking worried.
“Yyes,” Henry said, starting to stutter. “Go, please.”
“Alright,” Robert said as he downed his drink and got up to leave. “I’ll see you again, Henry.”
“I do hope so,” Henry said in reply as he continued to sit where he was. He couldn’t move his legs and he moved his head to his chest. He could feel the rage burning inside of him as he disappeared into the darkness of his mind as Hyde appeared in the light.
What Henry didn’t know is that Robert waited a few minutes before going back in and sitting down opposite Hyde. Robert looked at the man across from him, noting the small differences. The hairline was different, of course, and he could swear that Hyde looked to be an inch or two taller. With the being taller came a different muscle mass that he could see as well. He waited until Hyde lifted his head and smiled at him. “We share a mutual friend.”
“The Doctor,” Hyde said with a nod of his head. “You just missed him.”
“I know,” Robert said. “He’s talked about you to me.”
“Oh, has he now?” Hyde said with a manic smile. “Funny that I don’t seem to remember you.”
“I wouldn’t expect you,” Robert said with a soft smile. “Would you like something to drink?”
“Whiskey would be good,” Hyde said.
Robert called over a waitress and got an order of whiskey for Hyde and another drink for himself. He sat back in his chair and looked at Hyde. “So – tell me about yourself.”
“What is there to tell that you cannot see?” Hyde asked.
“So your mind is a lot more than just a child,” Robert said.
“Of course it is!” Hyde said as he brought his fist down on the table. It caused some conversations to stop and people to look over at their table.
Robert smiled at them and shook his head before turning back to Hyde. “I wouldn’t do that again.”
Hyde growled at that. “You are not one who can tell me what to do.”
“That’s true, I can’t,” Robert replied. “However, I am someone who wants to know more about you. I’m writing a book and I was thinking about making it about you and the good Doctor.”
Hyde scoffed. “Good Doctor. If he was so good, would he have me in him?”
“We all have our dark sides,” Robert replied smoothly.
“Ha,” Hyde said. He downed the whiskey as soon as it arrived, throwing money at the woman and ordering another. “No – the good doctor – he wants everyone to think that way. To think that he is going to be able to be nice and good and to save the world. No. He’s not. I’m going to end him and take over. It is my turn to be in charge. My turn to have fun instead of having to come out at night. I want to see the light of day and to know what happens then. I already know what happens at night.”
Robert nodded a yes, deciding to not ask about it. He could draw his own conclusions from what Hyde was talking about. He thought about a way to bring his friend back to him in order to talk more about what might be able to be done. “Have you committed crimes?”
“Several,” Hyde said with a smirk. “I might have even killed a man. Why do you care?”
“It is not the idea of caring but just knowing,” Robert said.
“I liked doing it too,” Hyde said, not seeming to listen to Robert. “The way that the throat closed when my hand crushed it. It was nice. Nice and instant, the way that he died.”
Robert raised an eyebrow but decided not to question Hyde more about what he was talking about. He didn’t know how violent Hyde would get or if he would turn on the other people in the bar. “You like whiskey then?”
“Favorite thing to drink in the entire world,” Hyde replied with a chuckle.
Robert leaned in a bit, lowering his voice as he did so. “I have a special kind that I keep in my pocket for cold nights. Would you like to try it?”
“Yes,” Hyde said with a grin.
“Alright,” Robert said as he took out the vial of what was being called whiskey and handed it over to Hyde. He sat back as Hyde drank the vial and then slowly moved his head to his chest. He shook his head at the waitress, more for her safety than knowing what was about to happen. “Henry?” He asked after a few minutes more.
“That was brilliant – whatever you did to make him drink it,” Henry said quietly as he lifted his head off of his chest and looked at his friend. “How?”
“Told him it was whiskey,” Robert explained. “It’s his favorite drink.”
“Good idea,” Henry said quietly. “I should go though.”
“I’ll help you out,” Robert said as he moved to help Henry up and out the door to a carriage. “We should meet again soon though.”
“In a week,” Henry replied quietly to Robert’s request. “Will you continue on with what I gave you?”
“Yes,” Robert said and hid the worried look on his face.
“Oh – you’ll need a new vial,” Henry said and gave Robert the one he had on him. “I have a second one.”
“Thank you,” Robert said as the carriage came over and he helped Henry in. “Just – stay alive for another week, my friend.”
“And you,” Henry said with a thin smile as he closed the carriage door.
A week had passed since Robert seen his friend. He had heard of a man disappearing along the Thames – he knew the man was influential but the name was always escaping him – and he wondered if the Hyde he met had anything to do with it. He wondered about that when hearing different stories in the newspaper or in the gossip about how people had died. He was wondering about how his friend was dealing with this in his own way. I will know soon enough he thought as he looked around the place. He smiled a bit as he saw the door opened but it turned into a bit of a grimace. He knew that it was Mister Hyde that walked in and came over to his table. “Hello,” he said with a nod of his head.
“Evening,” Hyde said with a nod of his head as he sat down. “You were an arse last time.”
“How so?” Robert asked with a raised an eyebrow.
“Your special whiskey,” Hyde said with a growl. “You tricked me.”
Robert shrugged. “So I did. Are you going to kill me for it or allow me to buy you a drink to make up for what I did?”
“It would be nice to kill you,” Hyde said as he let the kill roll off his tongue. “To just break your neck as one would break a twig. The light in your eyes would go out so quickly and it would be over in a second. Or I could suffocate you and make it so that you, you would…” he licked his lips as he thought over the possibilities.
Robert nodded for the waitress to bring over drinks as he let Hyde think. He didn’t like the glazed look of pleasure that was coming to Hyde’s eyes but he would ignore that for now. He had the thought that if he stayed in public, he would be fine. “So,” he said, breaking the train of thought that Hyde was having. “A good evening so far?”
“Two women in two hours. I say it’s a good start,” Hyde said with a chuckle. “And now my drinks are being paid for!” He said happily as the waitress brought over the drinks. “Keep it coming, darling,” he said as he lightly hit the woman on the butt before sending her off. “Now that – that would be a good third hour.”
“Or not,” Robert said as he brought Hyde’s attention back to him.
“I’ve tried it before but somehow I don’t think you’d like that,” Hyde said with a chuckle. “There’s always a first time though.”
“No, but thank you,” Robert said as he watched Hyde’s attention waver between himself and the waitress that Hyde had his eye on. He waited until Hyde’s glass was empty and shrugged. “Why don’t you go try for her? Worse she can say is no.”
“Good point,” Hyde said with a chuckle as he downed his whiskey. He got up and went towards the waitress that he had his eye on.
“Hope this works,” Robert whispered to himself as he poured the vial into the glass that Hyde was using before with the whiskey. He heard a slap and looked up to see the waitress walk over with the whiskey bottle, just refilling the glass. “Sorry about him,” he said apologetically to the waitress before she walked back. He looked up to see Hyde come back. “Not open to it?”
“Not now anyways,” Hyde said as he looked down at his drink. “At least she knows how to refill a drink at least,” he said as he downed it. He settled back in his seat and raised an eyebrow. “You bastard.”
“You more than me,” Robert said as he watched Hyde’s head drop to his chest and saw Henry come back out of it. “Welcome back,” he said quietly.
Henry looked around at where they were and down at what he was wearing. “What day is it?” He asked.
“Friday,” Robert replied. “How long have you been gone?”
“Since Wednesday. Who knows what he’s been up to,” Henry said as he leaned back. “I can’t go on like this, Robert. I don’t know who I’m going to hurt or who has been hurt – what have you been hearing in the news?”
“A lot of awful things,” Robert said. “But at the normal rate. There hasn’t been a rise in anything or anyone matching Hyde’s description from the police. So, he’s being dodgy.”
“No,” Henry said with a shaky breath. “He’s not smart enough to be dodgy. He’s not even smart enough to think that you wouldn’t trick him twice. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to end this but I know I can’t do it on my own.”
“I am not about to help you end your own life,” Robert whispered. “Go to the police and explain yourself.”
“They’ll put me in the mad house,” Henry whispered. “Who knows that they’ll do to him there? Or to me?”
“I think, at this point in time, you can’t think about that right now,” Robert said quietly. “Get your affairs in order – I have a lawyer who could help you – and then you get to the madhouse. Or the police. It needs to be done, Henry. There’s no other option. Not now.”
Henry was about to open his mouth in protest but nodded a yes. “You’re right,” he whispered. “You’re right. I know you are. I just – it hurts to hear it and know it.”
“I know,” Robert said quietly as he took his friend’s hand. He gently squeezed it comfortingly. “Do you want me to come with you and keep an eye on you? I would.”
“No,” Henry said quietly. “You have done more than enough. I will never forget it as long as I can remember.”
Robert nodded a yes as he let go of Henry’s hand. He watched his friend leave and just paid the waitress, not in the mood for any sort of drinking. He walked out of the bar, knowing that he saw his friend for the last time. He could only hope that Henry would live out the rest of his life in peace – either in the mental institution or under the car of the police.
The next morning, Robert was woken with a start when he heard a very loud knocking at the front door. He heard his butler answer it and he got himself ready quickly to see the guests. He was coming out of the room as the butler came to get him, giving the card that described the people as police. He sighed and went to the sitting room. “Gentlemen – forgive me for making you wait.”
“We have not been waiting long, sir,” the taller policeman said. “And, I might say, that it is an honor to meet you. I’ve read so much of your works.”
“Matthew,” the shorter and older policeman said, in a bit of a sharp voice.
“It’s alright,” Robert said with a bit of a smile. “Is something wrong?”
“It’s Doctor Jekyll sir,” the shorter policeman said. “I’m sorry – my name is James. We found him after a maid had heard gunshots. It was early this morning and the only letter there was addressed to you.”
“Is he alright?” Robert asked, concerned for his friend as he took the letter.
“I’m sorry, he is dead,” James said with a nod of his head. “There was a second letter, but it was to whoever found the body. You have been asked to take care of all of the arrangements and the last will has everything left to you. You would be under investigation but – “
“But the weapon was right there,” Robert said quietly as he looked over the note. “I will not hold you up any longer. Thank you – my butler will see you out.” He shook both of their hands as he sat down to read the letter. He noticed the handwriting starting to change towards the end but Henry being able to remain control. He folded the letter over and let himself cry for the loss of a friend and truly great mind that had the thought to show both good and evil in himself in equal parts.