MAD Story Edition 4

MAD Story Edition 4

Graham Edmonson

Link to the Finale:

“MAD they say I am, MAD, but it is they who deny progress as never imagined before and dismiss it as insanity.” Doctor Martin Dreden paced his office violently waving his hands. Once again, the king had rejected his wondrous scientific advances as dreams of a madman. For at first when he had first stepped into the hearing room he had been hopeful and inspired with awe to be in the presence of the king. “Behold,” Dreden had said, “I bring to you light which can be maintained for hours yet does not come from a candle.” At this proclamation, he had flipped a switch and his new invention had worked, the ‘lightbulb’ had indeed emitted light.

 But the king saw not the use in this: “What is this trickery you bring to my court young man? I will have none of it. Be dismissed.” 

On that day, December 14, 1574, Dr. Dreden returned home devastated. He did not cease to experiment though. He swore an oath to himself that “if not for the good of England, for the good of progress,” he would continue his experimentation and scientific discoveries, whether or not the king chose to accept what he developed. First, he set out to make a device with which one could speak with someone over long distances. He called this the telephone but shortly found that the only other person which would speak to him over one was his scientific companion Ornsby. 

Ornsby he had known for what felt like the entirety of his life, though they had not met until their early college days. Ornsby seemed to be the only person who agreed with his controversial experiments and radical advancement of science. 

But as time went on his experiments became exponentially more complex and radical. For Dr. Dreden had become bored by simple inventions which no one other than himself and Ornsby would use. As his creation became more and more extreme the king eventually took notice and sent Dreden an order to shut down his laboratory. Dr. Dreden, though, came up with a plan as he paced his office.

“Ornsby, come here fellow, I have a plan,” he said.

Ornsby approached from the other side of the study. “What do you say we do?”

“Once more, our experiments have been rejected as madness. Not just this but we are being ordered to shut them down. This I shall not stand for. We shall move away from the grasps of Britain’s rule to this new world which is called America. In that place, there is not yet law enough to stop us.”

So Dr. Dreden and Ornsby did move, bringing with them only the bare necessities for their newest and most outstanding creation. The rest of the equipment they would purchase later. On February 13, 1576, Dreden set off for the Americas, Ornsby staying behind for another few months before making the journey. 

The doctor landed in the most central area of America, where he then crossed overland to the Pacific ocean. There he purchased the other equipment for his lab and traveled south in search of a safe place to set up, free from the grasp of authority. Down, he traveled, along the coast of South America.

About five months into this journey he came across a town called Costa Hechizada. Here he bunked for a few nights. After a few days in Costa Hechizada, he became aware of a local myth concerning an island called the Isla Loca or Mad Island. This island was said by the natives of the town to be cursed and that those few who had been there told stories of a terrifying old mansion, haunted by all kinds of ghoulish beings, a mansion that drove men to lose their sanity.

Now this story quite intrigued Dr. Dreden, an abandoned island in which all were afraid to go, seemed the perfect place to escape from any kind of authority. Immediately he sent a letter to Ornsby detailing what he had found and directions to Costa Hechizada. 

Within a month Ornsby had arrived and they made their first trip over to the island to inspect the old mansion. They had to sneak out at night as the villagers would have become suspicious if they saw anyone traveling out to the cursed island. Dreden and Ornsby snuck out late in the night and made their way to the coast. Once they had made their way to the beach they departed in a small boat that Dr. Dreden had acquired while waiting for Ornsby’s arrival. 

Once they got to the island they hauled their boat up onto the beach then waited the remaining few hours for the sun to rise.

“You know Martin, this might be crazy, setting up our experiments on an abandoned island. You know, England knows that you have left the country. Over at home, they’re calling you mad, insane even. With this plan, I’m starting to think you may be mad.” Ornsby said with a slight chuckle. 

“Well it’s all in good fun,” Dreden said. “Sometimes you have to be a little bit mad, for science.”

When the sun rose they traveled through to the center of the island until they found a large and victorian style mansion. The house rose three stories high. It was clearly quite old. The roof was missing shingles and the whole house seemed to sag down to one side. They walked up, the wood on the door was dry and chipped.  

“It’s perfect,” Dreden said, “it’s discreet, it’s hidden, and no one ever comes to this island. Let’s begin transporting our things tomorrow night.”  

They spent the next month bringing lab equipment over to the island by night and then setting them up the next morning. For the remainder of the day, they would return to the island and prepare the next day’s haul.

After a month all of the necessary equipment had been brought to the island. One night, once all was ready, Dreden and Ornsby checked out of the inn that they had been staying at and faked that they had left the town. In the late afternoon, they left town to the South with an empty carriage. A mile out from the village they abandoned the carriage. Once dark had fallen they snuck through the woods back to the beach and took their last trip over to the island. This time they would not be returning. 

Upon that island they remained, performing their experiments where they were free to do whatever they wished. At last Dreden had the freedom to undertake his most ambitious experiments. First, he made a serum which could be used indefinitely as energy. A blue liquid that, after its energy had been used up, could travel back to a special device that he built to re-energize it. The energy would flow through tubes and, once used, would return to the metal device to have its energy restored. The device was a large steel thing that was kept in the basement of the house and was like the heart of the island, the serum-like blood. 

Shortly after this, Dreden became quite paranoid that they would be discovered. He toiled over a defense system for months before resulting in the corruption of the plants on the island. He took the plants and altered them to move and lash out at those who passed by that were not recognized by cameras. These plants he spread all throughout the island and connected to a system of tubes with the blue energy liquid, all of which connected back to the heart of the island. Once most every plant on the island had been distorted by him in some way, he was finally content to resume the development of his proudest work, a thing which he called Auto. 

Auto was an automated robot that, Dr. Dreden said, would perform all of the functions of a normal human and follow orders perfectly. Within a year Auto was finished. 


. . . 


“My God, you’ve done it!” Ornery exclaimed, “I have never seen something like this before.”

“Yes, and it performs all sorts of tasks, it can clean up the lab equipment and such.” Dr. Dreden said. 

“That’s all fun, but for now it is late and you do not look well, my friend. Let us get some sleep. We will play with this new robot of yours tomorrow.” Ornsby suggested. 

Auto indeed was incredible, but in the process of making the robot, Dr. Dreden had come to be quite ill. He had spent full days down in his lab without sleep or sunlight and it had taken a toll on his health. As time went on the doctor only grew sicker. 

“What shall we do Dreden?” Ornsby asked. “You are quite ill, we must return to the mainland else you will die,” Ornsy said one day. As he exited the room Dreden had an idea. 

“I shall not ever die,” he whispered to himself. 

The next day Dr. Dreden forced himself out of bed and with all the energy left in his body, descended the stairs and into the basement. 

“Auto, come with me,” he said. Then he beckoned with his hand.  


. . . 


“Ornsby my good fellow! I feel great.” Ornsby heard but in a voice which he could not recognize. Ornsby was in the kitchen preparing a midday meal for Dreden. When he turned to answer this he dropped the makings of a sandwich on the floor and screamed. In front of him, looming nearly seven feet tall in the doorway was Auto. Except, where the top of Auto’s head should have been was an abundance of wires and cords connected to a human brain. 

“Do you like it?” the creature asked, “I had no use for that sickly old body anymore, now we can experiment forever. Aren’t you happy Ornsby?”

“D. d. d. DR. DREDEN! W . . w . . what did you do?” Ornsby back up against the kitchen wall as the beast advanced. 

“This is my body now, what do you think?” the thing’s voice was scratchy and metallic, “we can continue our experiments now!”

“NO, NO, I shall not be a part of this. You have gone too far!” Ornsby shouted.

“What are you going to do about it then?” the beast advanced upon him.

“I’m going back to the mainland to tell them what you have done here!” Ornsby said, and all of a sudden threw his lunch makings at the beast. The beast, temporarily distracted, backed away for just enough time to allow Ornsby to slip by. Ornsby sprinted out the door and in the direction of the beach, where their only boat lay waiting for him. 

“NO YOU WILL NOT!” he heard the beast screech from behind him. He heard heavy metallic footsteps pursuing him. 

Ornsby bolted into the forest. As he ran the plants and bushes, which had been corrupted by Dreden, all lashed out at him and grabbed for his legs. He ducked and weaved about. Eventually, he reached the beach and ran straight for the boat, or rather, where the boat had been. 

“WHAAT!” he exclaimed. 

Heavy metallic footsteps sounded right behind him. 

“You thought I wouldn’t think you would go for the boat?”

A strong hand grabbed Ornsby by the neck and began to carry him towards the jungle. Ornsby was tossed among the carnivorous and vicious plants.