Chapter Four: Anima or A Damsel With a Dulcimer
A/N: OK, here's where it gets spooky…
That night Crane dreamed. This was not to say that Jonathan Crane didn't usually dream, but this dream was different. Linear. Waking.
After he left Gotham U.'s hallowed halls, he took the train back to the Narrows, and settled himself in at his desk to finish the resignation letter he'd started that afternoon.
Dear Dr. Adler,
I must regretfully tender my resignation from Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately, I feel that my own attitudes and approach to psychotherapy is too different for me to continue on here.
He read over the letter and nodded to himself in satisfaction. Then he pressed the print button and waited as the printer spat out his brief missive. Another man might have leaned back in his chair. Naturally, Crane permitted himself no such luxury, but there was a ghost of a smile on his face as he lifted the paper from the printer tray. He tucked it carefully into his briefcase before he locked his office and left for the night.
Next came the familiar train ride over the bridge and away from the narrows. A scraggly looking kid glanced over at Crane, eyeing his suit and briefcase. Crane simply stared unblinkingly back at him as he would a reticent patient. The wannabe street-tough looked away uncomfortably after a moment. Though conventional wisdom taught that it was unwise to make eye contact with strangers on the train, Crane enjoyed it.
At last he was back at his apartment, a spare, almost ascetic safe-haven. Though the apartment and its contents were well-built, they were stark and built along classical lines. Not for Crane the Yuppie pretensions of Mission furniture or the breathy futurism of Eames's Molded Plywood Division.
In typically methodical fashion, Crane made up some risotto and left it to stew in the pressure cooker while he finished going over some paperwork. Finally, he dished up the risotto, poured himself a glass of Chianti, and ate, still reading through his papers. He paused only to wash his dishes and put them in the dish rack; the, being Crane, he worked for another several hours. At exactly ten thirty, he set his briefcase in chair beside his bed, hung the suit and tie he planned to wear on his closet door and got ready for bed. He read a few pages of Rimbaud and then turned out the light. He fell quickly into sleep.
There was a masked woman sitting in his chair right next to his bed, holding his briefcase. "Hello, Jonathan."
"Who are you?" He asked thickly.
She laughed softly. "I'm you, or rather, the feminine part of you."
"You're my anima."
"Making good use of that psych degree, I see." The voice was lightly mocking.
"Why am I dreaming this now?" The question was rhetorical, Crane was now studying the woman like a specimen.
"I thought it was time we talked." Her voice turned caressing. "It's been awhile."
"So talk." He knew that voice.
"You mean I'm worried."
"Well yes," the voice was amused. "That too. Crane when was the last time you dreamed about me?"
"Tonight, as a matter of fact." He smirked.
"Your Shadow is taking over your psyche. You barely have time for the rest of your mind. That isn't healthy Crane."
"Maybe not for you."
"And not for you either, idiot. Have you forgotten what we learned from Jung? You need me in your brain as much as I need to be there."
"Is this because I haven't been involved with anyone lately?" Crane was feeling a bit unnerved. His subconscious generally wasn't this direct.
"I'm from your unconscious, you idiot, and your recent failure in relationships is just the symptom, not the problem. You've gotten monomanic, and your obsession has made you dangerous. To yourself." She added as Crane felt smug. "The other aspects of your unconscious will be joining me in warning you."
"And what if I ignore the warning?"
"Then we make our voices known." The smile under the half-mask was cruel, mocking. "C.mon, Crane, you know what happens to people who hear voices. Well, multiple voices. Expect your next visitor tomorrow night. In the meantime…" She leaned suddenly over the bed and kissed him slowly, drawing the contact out. "That should remind you what I'm here for." Even as he moved, she pulled out of his reach and then settled his blankets around him like a mother. Go to sleep now Jonathan." She sank back into the chair and smiled at him. "I'll sing you to sleep if you like." Now, she spoke with his mother's crooning voice. And then she sang, almost under her breath, "The storming wind cut through to my skin but she cut through to my blood."
Dimly, Crane recognized the song as one his mother used to sing to him on the rare nights when she was not the victim of his father's attentions. Feeling unbearably exhausted, he rolled over and into dreamless sleep at last.
The dull drone of his alarm woke him at six the next morning. He felt unusually tired as he pulled himself out of bed, and then, abruptly, he remembered his dream. As he showered, shaved and dressed, he began to dismiss it. The Jungian analysis class was leading him to dream strange things.
Then he made his bed. As he moved his pillows, he realized that he would have to reconsider his hypothesis.
Sitting on top of his crisp white sheets, in stark relief, was a black half-mask.
AN: Sorry this took so long! Life has been going insane. It was tech week on my play, and then I had two huge papers to write, and to top it all off, I got horrendously sick, so I have a good excuse. Anyway, here it is, with more to follow. The song is "The Poor Wee Ditching Boy" by Richard Thompson, and it's definitely worth a listen.