Sutherland Institute for the Mentally
Patient Name: Alex Paladin
Patient Number: 18189264
Date Admitted: 9/04/98
Date of Examination: 9/25/98
Preliminary Diagnosis: delusions, mania, and minor paranoia
Attending Physician: Dr. Sera Chanders
Today was the first time I met with this patient. On first meeting him, I was rather taken aback. Alex does not fit the profile for any of his ailments. Reasonably tall, blond with blue eyes, he looks like he would be more at home on the football field than here. His handshake was firm and he made the first move; again out of normal profile. When I asked him to tell me his story, although he acted somewhat disgusted and exasperated, he was more then willing to talk. The following is a rough transcript of the story. For the entire dialogue, consult audio tape #5745.
"Have you ever noticed how there are some creatures from myths and legends that keep on showing up in different places? Dragons, for instance. There’s always the big fire-breathing lizards from European stories, ya know, George and all, but they also show up bigtime in Chinese myths. ‘Cept they’re not big dumb lizards, but sorta... whattayacallem’s... uh, benevolent spirits. With lots of magic. And in South America, there are the feathered serpents. Big snakes with feathered wings, intelligent, able to talk and use magic. This might be a coincidence, but that wouldn’t make much sense if you consider all the other critters that do the same sorta thing."
"Take gargoyles. They’re stone statues that guard European churches, Incan and Aztec temples, and there’s also Chinese Foo dogs and Japanese bushido masks."
"Then there’s the human slash animal category. Centaurs, harpies, Medusa, and the minotaur from Greece; from India there’s the gods and rakasta, which are evil humanoid tigers; and mermaids and the associated critters. That’s all without touching lycanthropes; the werewolf from Europe and America, the werefox from China, skinwalkers in the Americas, the Russian firebird that can change her shape from a bird to a human woman, and the doppelganger from Germany."
"Yeah, there’s a point to all of this. See, I got kidnapped by aliens. Heh. You don’t seem too surprised at that. Well, try this one out; I got carried off by a dragon.
"Oh, that got to you. Well, I do have to admit that it’s really the same thing. The dragon was an alien."
"Yeah. An alien."
"Care to go into detail on that?"
"Whatever. You’re the doc. I was walking home a bit after sunset in July. Needed to pick up some steaks for dinner and it was too nice an evening to drive. One minute I’m walking along, minding my own business, then something grabs me. ‘Cept what grabbed me is big. As in wrists to shoulders big. Next thing I know, the ground drops away and the whatever is almost squashing me."
"It’s a good thing I’ve never been afraid of heights, ‘cause we got high up enough so that the city dwindled into a clump of colored lights in a grid. The air was freezing cold, accenting the fact that whatever was holding me was giving off a fair amount of heat."
"Finally, it was getting kinda hard to breathe and my feet were starting to get frostbitten. Just when I thought for sure my toes were gonna fall off, there was a... shimmering in the air. Like heat waves off a car in summer. The movement hit me and it was like I was suddenly in a hospital; sterile air, slightly cool temperature, but comfortable. Then the thing dropped me. That scared me shitless. If anyone found me, all they’d need to do is throw some dirt over the little red smear or into the crater."
"It actually took me a few seconds to realize I wasn’t falling. I was standing – well, okay, cowering – on... something. For lack of anything else, including a floor, I turned around to see what kidnapped me."
"Yup. It was the dragon. Scales, horns, claws and big enough to eat me in two bites and carry me off like some sacrificial virgin. Didn’t matter that it was a bright, neon purple, it was a dragon, and BIG!"
"So there I was, standing next to a dragon, in midair. And then a door opened up. A patch of sky just kind of disappeared, replaced with the view of a room. I couldn’t get a good view because Bigfoot was in the doorway. Seven feet tall, hairier then a gorilla, and feet that had to be size 20. And though it was kinda hard to tell through the hair, I was pretty sure it was female."
"‘Another one?’ it said, and I knew it was female. That or the aliens were really strange. I mean, you’d expect to hear a voice like that coming from Pamela Lee or – well, that is, let’s just say that the voice didn’t sound like it should be coming from Bigfoot."
This could be a sign of unfulfilled or even unrealized fantasy. Consult Dr. Frewer.
"I could handle Bigfoot talking, but not the dragon. So when it said ‘Fraid so. I think he completes the set’, I nearly lost it."
"What did it sound like?"
"Well, male. Nothing in particular, just a male voice. Things got weirder and a bit fuzzier from there. The dragon started shrinking, of all things. I guess it’s something along the lines of that’s the only way they can fly; by stretching out their mass, almost, so they’re less dense, making them able to fly, and – "
For full details on dragon biology, consult audio tape #5745.
"Like I said, things got kinda fuzzy. Next thing I remember was this critter that I swear was a gargoyle, straight from Notre Dame, was putting something on my head. I couldn’t see what it was. Then the gargoyle moved over to a panel on the wall and pushed a few buttons. Things seemed to disappear. It was like I was in a void. Couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, couldn’t feel, nothing. I don’t know how long I was there, but eventually I heard this voice, deep and kinda gravelly. ‘What scenario?’ The voice that answered was deeper but similar. ‘I wasn’t planning on another, so go for George.’ There was a swirl of lights, and next thing I know I’m standing in a field in the middle of nowhere. Just grass as far as the eye can see."
"There was a popping noise, and a dragon, green and traditional western style, a castle, and my then girlfriend, dressed like a princess from a Disney movie, appeared. So did a set of armor, and I’m wearing it and riding on a horse. I ride towards my girlfriend – her name’s Laura – but she doesn’t see the dragon. Things got kinda twisted. I wasn’t me all of a sudden. I was George, a minor knight for the local king. Laura was his daughter, and we’d been... seeing each other for awhile. And there was a monster looming over her. It reached down with a claw and prodded her shoulder. Laura screamed and I charged. I had a lance – don’t ask me where it came from or when I got it, I just had one – and was going for the heart. Things blinked and I was me again. But I was still charging the dragon with a lance. It didn’t seem to make as much sense as when I was George. So I turned the lance at the last second and just smacked the dragon across the nose. Laura stopped screaming, the dragon froze, and I was back in the void."
"‘Still violent little buggers,’ the second voice said. ‘but good results on subject 8. How about the others?’"
"‘Not as good.’ That was the first voice."
"The void disappeared and the gargoyle was looming over me again, this time holding a mess of wires in a circle. ‘Well?’ another being asked. This one was a unicorn. ‘Getting better, but it’ll still be a few generations before they give it up,’ gargoyle 2 sighed from the panel."
"‘Good results though from 8 and 3,’ gargoyle 1 commented as he/she/it took the wire circle off somewhere I couldn’t see. ‘Better then last time,’ the unicorn said. ‘but I don’t think we’ll be able to land for another few generations. Make sure those two remember. And don’t forget the marks this time!’."
Mr. Paladin leaned back and folded his hands. He was silent for several minutes. "And?"
"And that’s it. They let me go. I did get an impromptu tour of their ship, though. Had every creature from myth and legend that you could name and more. See, they’re trying to land on Earth, but the last times they tried, either the people freaked, there were a few simple misunderstandings, or a few aliens went rogue. That totally trashed their reputation in most places, so they’re trying to wait the humans and the bad karma out. Anyway, when I got home, I told my family, tried to change a few opinions, and look where that got me."
"So that’s all?"
Patient became rather agitated. Not violently so, but obviously reluctant to speak.
"Strictly off the record, you know the stories about changelings and elves from Ireland? See, those are true too. They... change the people they take. They – we – are programmed to be loyal to them. As a sort of visual marker, they altered my ears. See?"
The patient’s ears come to an abnormally sharp point, but nothing plastic surgery or genetic flaw can’t reproduce.
Frankly, I am surprised Mr. Paladin is here. There are many people wandering around with similar delusions. His mania is harmless and he shows no signs of hostility or violence.
Due to overcrowding and understaffing, my recommendation is to release him and have weekly therapy sessions.
Let me out of here!!!! A.K.A. Home
I want to read more! To get back to the fic archive
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