Here is an adaptation piece I did, that takes the scene in Chapter Four of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, wherein Inspector Newcomen and Gabriel Utterson travel to Hyde’s apartment in Soho in an attempt to arrest Hyde for his murder of Sir Danvers Carew.
If you click ‘Read More’ you can read the story.
A decrepit black stagecoach in a sate of disrepair, drawn by an aged and hoary gelded draught horse; approaches the dismal quarter of Soho, where the wind charges and routs in embattlement with the vapourish smog of London, hiding the shimmering degrees and hues of the twilighted sky.
Exiting the stagecoach raggedly are Inspector Newcomen of Scotland Yard and Gabriel John Utterson, they glance in between the swirling wreaths of broken smog, seeing lamps long since un-kindled and unable to fight the darkness. In the nightmarish district, they behold on the dingy street many ragged urchin children huddled in doorways and alleys like circling vultures, while women of many different nationalities passed in and out of debilitated buildings, as coquettish merchants of the flesh beckoned passers by for an audience and transaction.
The two gentlemen tip the hunched coach driver and approach the address indicated on the frayed but embroidered card, bearing the word ‘Gomorrah’ in Utterson’s hand, it was further marked with the dual scrawled names of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. They descend stone steps to an exposed brick wall of a basement, where the large oaken doors of the unassuming premise open with a slight push and the two men are greeted by a pox-marked ivory-faced crone draped in black cloth, her eyes dart towards the card and she ushers them in.
As the two men walk a dimly-lit narrow corridor, they are greeted by a youthful boy, no more than 15, dressed in form-fitting leather that left his upper flesh exposed. He takes the card from Utterson’s hand while maintaining his child-like smile and beckoned them to follow. They follow the swaying hips of the androgynous lithe youth, and they see the inside of this hidden establishment designed for the elite Londoners with more outré tastes than could be satisfied at the brothels, opium houses and sex emporiums that grace the bohemian Cleveland Street. A den of hedonism hidden by the city’s privileged within the steel heart of the great wen.
The windowless club offers an entire catalogue of perversities: bondage, whipping, caning, water sports – all the deviant practices of men and women, many of the members dressed in regalia that promulgates their particular proclivities and desires. The wall-mounted candles are housed in red glass, to emit a light that flatters the naked forms of the habitués’ coriaceous hides.
Newcomen and Utterson survey the patrons of the den and recognise Lord Arthur Somerset oscillating in thigh-high high heels while draped in an unclothed steel-hooped cage crinoline; Henry James FitzRoy the Earl of Euston was writhing on all fours naked for all but a leathered bridle and with a metalled rod impaled in his arse, from which hung a horsehair tail. On a raised rostrum cloaked by large black curtains rests a Saint Andrew’s Cross, with bound upon it Prince Albert Victor gagged, tied and having his flesh pierced by thin needles and his shrivelled scrotum stretched and nailed to an ornate chair by a young blonde boy dressed in a torn nun’s habit, with the unadulterated euphoria of the procedure evident by his throbbing arousal and gagged groaned murmurs.
The landscape is dotted with various statues depicting venereous deities, with a white marble St. Sebastian in the throngs of ecstasy as he grasps the arrows that puncture his sides; a black onyx satyr faun of Pan mounting the boy shepherd Daphnis, and a rubellite tourmaline Cupid with his wings displayed and elevated as he ejaculates. While multiple leather slings supported by heavy-duty rope hang from the ceiling, with the walls decorated with countless instruments designed for both complicated and primitive techniques of pain.
The two men continue their trailing of the leathered juvenile, down passed various locked doors in a red hued corridor, seeing Edward Benson the Archbishop of Canterbury take a leashed child to one of the rooms. The walls are decorated with arrangements of Greek mosaics depicting Spartan wrestlers engaged in intricately choreographed serpentine orgies, with others bearing friezes showing sadistic sexual corruptions of the Passion littered with succubi and incubi.
They reach the end of the debauched corridor and come across a black oaken door; the youth takes a key from somewhere unknown off his body and opens the doors, turning to leave the two men but not before he caresses his soft hand on Utterson’s tired face.
They are first greeted by the sight of a large disheveled and stained mattress; at the corner of each post is fixed heavy-duty rope intended to bind someone, it has worn the wooden fixtures. On the bed rests a rusted iron chain attached to a collared jougs.
The men investigate the candle lit room, the walls exhibiting an array of whips, canes and riding crops. While the shelves display phallic instruments advancing from invasive sizes to those of inconceivable fantasy, alongside arranged brank’s bridles of varying scale. While polished but notably scratched tables are positioned in alcoves, with tarnished esoteric surgical equipment laid atop them.
The two men scour the room for evidence, aimlessly dragging phials of laudanum and sealed jars of formaldehyde from their perches to the floor, letting loose the contents, many that seem to have long ago rotted away to nothing more than unspecified lumps of tissue.
In their search they find the other half of the heavy cane used by Hyde to cudgel Sir Danvers Carew, lodged behind an iron maiden depicting the face of the Virgin Mary. Utterson inspects the cane intimately and recognises it as an ironwood cane he once gifted to Jekyll many years ago.
With evidence enough, the two gentlemen leave the room that played host to ritualistic ceremonies of sadistic violation and go onward, Newcomen to the bank to await Hyde and Utterson to Jekyll’s to demand answers on his relationship with the deformed creature.
Copyright © 2013 – 2016 Patrick Ward – All Rights Reserved.