The psychologist's office was, to tell the truth, everything that one might expect it to be. Lit by a combination of soft yellow light and the dying rays of a setting sun, the entire room had a very warm and 'natural' air to it. The wall paneling was of some sort of expensive hardwood, as was the furniture. A large bookshelf dominated one wall of the room; shelves neatly arrayed with an impressive library of leather bound books. An equally leather bound couch and chair; both in the styles that seem to be found exclusively in psychiatry offices, rested in a corner. The inhabitants of these pieces of furniture weren't too out of the ordinary, either. A man towards the older end of middle age sat in the chair while a younger, black-haired male lay back on the couch, eyes staring irately at the ceiling. All and all, the scene was nothing out of the ordinary, save for one fact- the patient's right hand was made of metal.
"So, Ashley-" The psychiatrist started, idly pushing his glasses further up his nose.
"Ash." His patient cut him off forcefully before he could continue.
"Call me Ash."
The psychiatrist blinked, quickly jotted notes down on the legal pad he kept in his lap. "Alright then, Ash. Tell me, do you know why you're here?"
"Because I have to be here." Ash grumbled in a tone of equal parts animosity and annoyance. "Stupid girlfriend made me go."
"No," the psychiatrist chided, sounding assertive, yet gentle at the same time with practiced ease. "You're here because you need to talk to someone, Ash."
"I talk to plenty of folks." Ash defensively quipped.
"That may be true." The good doctor paused, "but you see, I want to talk about what happened at the Cabin."
At these words, Ash slid his gaze to the psychiatrist, eyeing him distrustfully. "I already told you about that." He stated, body tensing involuntarily.
"You told me a fairy tale, Ashley."
"Right. I'm sorry. Ash. In any case, do you –REALLY- expect me to believe all that? Evil books, demons, time travel, miraculous feats of engineering- it's the stuff B-movies are made of. I want you to tell me what REALLY happened."
"I TOLD you just what happened! Hell, I've got proof!" Ash sat up quickly, brandishing his steel prosthetic "It's not like you can buy these things at S-mart or anything. I'd know- I work there."
"No, you can't buy them. But, I'd imagine an engineering student such as yourself would easily be able to construct such a device- and self mutilation isn't uncommon in some mental disorders…though I've never heard of any cases this…extreme."
Ash scowled, "Waitaminute- are you trying to tell me that I'm crazy?"
"Not crazy," the doctor assured Ash "Just…ah…abnormal. Slightly unbalanced."
Ash merely emitted a noncommittal grunt, drawling a resolute "I'm not crazy."
"I'm not saying you are, Ashley-"
"Right." The psychiatrist emitted a slightly tiresome sigh, then continued "Maybe we're not starting in the right place. Tell me Ashl-" He reeled in the name before it could be fully said, lamely attempting to cover it up with a less than discreet discreet cough. "Tell me, Ash, would you say that you had a happy childhood?"
Not quite ready for the question, Ash shrugged, merely stating "Yeah, I'd say so."
The psychiatrist nodded, scribbling more notes down on his legal pad. "Tell me about your mother." He instructed, idly.
"Well, Mom was a nice-" Before he could continue, Ash scowled, sitting upwards to point an accusing metal finger at the psychoanalyst. "Waitaminute! I've heard about that Freud guy and his theories and crap. And I save you some time right here and now telling you that I don't want to kill my father, I don't want to marry my mother, and I sure as hell have better things to do than worry about what some dead German guy has to say about my sex life."
"Freud was Austrian." Mr. Psychiatrist corrected.
"Whatever." Ash snorted. "I also heard he was a cokehead."
"I don't see what that has to do with the matter."
"I don't see what my mother has to do with the matter."
The psychiatrist held back a grin, then leafed back to an earlier page of his notes. "Actually, Mr. Williams, if you keep an open mind, I think you can learn a lot from your dream. It's filled with all sorts of imagery...your evil twin, for example, is an obvious embodiment of sibling rivalry."
"I'm an only child."
This elicited an embarrassed pause from the psychiatrist. Still, he was not about to let this little fact stop him. "Oh…well, in that case, this 'Bad Ash' is a sign of your darker side. Your id, if you will. By defeating this representation in single combat shows your civilized tendencies and defines you as an educated man."
"Funny, I thought I was fighting him because he was trying to kill me." Ash noted, dryly.
The statement was neatly ignored by the psychiatrist as he continued "Furthermore, other elements of this dream world are incredibly fascinating. The removal of your right hand has all sorts of biblical implications, and don't get me started on the phallic symbolism of your 'Boomstick'-"
Thankfully, the psychiatrist didn't have time to get started on the subject, as a high-pitched 'beep' from the direction of his desk caught his attention. "Sorry." He in an embarrassed tone "That must be Ethel, my secretary." An image of a blue-haired old woman at a reception desk ran momentarily through Ash's mind. "Must be important, she knows not to disturb me when I'm with a patient. Excuse me." The psychiatrist moved over to his desk, tapping a button on his telephone as he merely asked "Yes Ethel?"
The only reply that came from the small speaker was an inhuman hiss. The psychiatrist blinked at this, idly commenting "Blasted equipment. Third time this month that I've gotten a false alarm like that. Though I never remember it making such a sound- must be some new computer bug or something like that."
Ash, on the other hand, knew better. His body tensed at the all too familiar sound- it still managed to be unnerving, even when distorted by the intercom. Before Ash could spring to his feet, Ethel- or what was once Ethel, burst into the room with a gust of foul smelling air. The screech that had previously been diluted by the intercom could be heard in its full eardrum-rending volume.. The wrinkled face that had once reminded Ash of his own grandmother was twisted and malformed by the spirit of the Deadite within. One could see a glint of golden metal in her (no- its) right hand- a daggerlike of letter opener, by the look of it.
The deadite sailed across the room with inhuman speed, weapon raised menacingly. This wasn't too surprising, considering that most (if not all) deadites were both hardly human and very homicidal.
Ash surged up to his feet, forced to dive out of the way as the deadite buried the letter opener into the part the couch where his head had been resting moments earlier. This only deterred the creature for a moment as it tugged its pointy bit of metal from the expensive leather.
This brief moment was all Ash needed as he neatly put his metal hand into the side of the undead creature's temple with enough force to put a dent in a car door. A gruesome 'CRUNCH!' and a splatter of brackish blood came with the sound of the impact, which sent the Deadite Formerly known as Ethel reeling.
Still, even with the added 'oomph' that came with a metal hand, one punch was hardly enough to stop any deadite, and Ethel was no exception. The deadite swung around with the blow, using the momentum from the spin to deliver a savage kick to Ash's chin.
The clerk-turned-hero momentarily found himself capable of flight after such a blow, only to careen into the mahogany bookcase that lined the wall with a CRASH! The impact of the blow weakened the structural integrity of the bookcase, causing it to emit a pained shriek of protest before finally collapsing, showering Ash with a cascade of heavy leatherbound books.
Memories of being assaulted by similar flying books flooded Ash's mind for but a moment, only to be quickly swept away by more pressing matters: namely, the Deadite with the pointy thing currently clamoring for his death. In short, the usual.
Ash scrabbled out of the pile of psychological literature as fast as he could- but not quite fast enough, as the deadite managed to score a hit across his right bicep, drawing a thin and painful line of red across the arm.
A cackle issued forth from cracked lips at this, allowing Ash a brief respite, in which he got his bearings. Still stunned, he leaned against the psychiatrist's heavy desk for support. The hiatus in the battle didn't last, however, as "Ethel" lunged forward once again, letter opener lethally pointed towards Ash's neck.
This time, Ash was ready. While deadites did indeed have many traits that separated them from the rest of humanity such as enhanced strength and speed, they lacked variety. They always attempted for the fastest and most painful method of killing their victim whenever possible. This in mind, it was a simple matter for Ash to anticipate and sidestep the golden dagger, allowing the hellish creature's momentum to carry it into the heavy desk, which it sprawled over accordingly. Coincidentally enough, the psychiatrist was hiding beneath his desk at the time (as he had done since the melee started) where he was treated to the disturbing sounds of a struggle. Seizing "Ethel's" non-knife hand in a viselike grip, Ash twisted the limb into a hammerlock, using his body weight to hold the thrashing beast down, if temporarily.
The deadite's convulsions, in combination with Ash's brute strength, proved to be too much for an aged body. A sickly 'Snap' could be heard as tendons, muscles, and ligaments tore loose from their bone moorings, leaving a withered arm- separated at the shoulder –in Ash's grip. With his point of leverage gone, the deadite kicked itself backwards, causing Ash to clumsily backpedal over an obstacle course of office supplies and psychology manuals.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the horrid parody of the secretary turned to Ash, seemingly oblivious of the fact that its left arm was no longer connected to its body. As per deadite operating parameters, it let loose a chilling cackle before it lunged forward once more, letter opener bared. Ash swung wildly at charging creature by instinct, sending it careening to the floor. It was only then that he really realized that his chosen weapon in this case was nothing less than the deadite's own arm. He blinked in surprise, looking down at the severed limb in disgust, unsure of just what to do with it.
That's when "Ethel" hit him. Her letter opener sunk into his left shoulder, driven in further by the fact that the deadite barreled into him, again sprawling the two of them over the desk in a grotesque parody of officetime nookie.
Groping wildly about for a weapon, Ash's left hand finally found something slender and pointed at one end. He quickly took up said object and drove it into one of "Ethel's" unnaturally white eyes. The item was registered finally as some sort of writing utensil, even with the stream of green liquid spewing out from the wound it inflicted. Ash allowed himself a sardonic grin as an appropriate quote came to mind.
"Guess the pen is mightier than the sword."
Sensing the battle turning in his favor, Ash surged forward, pushing the deadite formerly known as Ethel off of him. Groping at its punctured with its one good hand, the thing hissed menacingly, looking more disturbing than ever, given the grievous nature of its wounds and the foul fluids it spewed across the room. While busy thrashing about, the Deadite wasn't able to properly watch where it was going. With the floor littered with all sorts of items, it was nearly inevitable for it to slip upon one of the tomes of psychology, falling heavily upon the floor. The leatherbound book was slung into the air at this, where Ash nabbed it without thinking. Casually, he glanced at the title: The Interpretation of Dreams.
"Talk about a Freudian Slip." Ash tossed the book casually over one shoulder, then allowed himself a slightly maniacal grin as he advanced, roughly yanking the letter opener from his shoulder. "Ethel" screamed.
An indeterminate amount of time later, once the horrid screams had stopped, the psychiatrist peered up over the lip of his desk, bespectacled eyes glancing about fearfully. As soon as he got a good view of the room, he immediately wished he hadn't.
His bookcases were broken, shattered into thousands of tiny splinters. The books they once held were scattered over the floor like a child's playthings, intermixed with items that had once been on his desk and other bits of gooey material that he tried not to identify. And in the center of it all was his patient- covered from nearly head to toe in congealing blood, obviously not his own. A small pile of dismembered body parts sat on the floor by Ash's feet, topped off by the grimacing visage of some sort of twisted and malformed hag. Such a scene was just plain too much for the poor man's mind, which promptly set him into an abrupt faint.
Ash blinked, at this and heaved a sigh, dejectedly turning towards the door to exit, mumbling to himself. "Third one this month."