The Elixir

Detective Paul Surnin wanted to know if the murder was the result of a botched experiment.  Murky details littered the scene.  The basement where the crime took place looked like a dirty cat-box.  Surnin was exhausted.  He felt his age — this crime would be his last investigation.  The corpse was disfigured – hard to tell if it was human.  Was it the body of a young man or some new breed of mutant?  Tentacles appeared to erupt from the stomach; or, was it a mass of intestines, entrails spilling from the eviscerated body.  The detective needed answers.  He was feeling desperate … unable to understand why this case affected him so intensely.

The gruesome scene triggered a memory.  Surnin was a young student when he met Professor Wilhelm Valentine.  The scientist was secretly working on a serum to extend youth and eliminate death.  Valentine taught at Arcadia University, but he conducted his experiments in his home in the laboratory he constructed in a hole beneath the basement.  He used many of his male students as test subjects.  Eventually all his subjects were reported missing — never to be found.   Professor Valentine pursued young Surnin.  He was intensely drawn to the young man.  It was inevitable that Paul would become the scientist’s confidant and assistant, helping to conduct bazaar experiments in search of the quintessential elixir.  Over the years, Paul blocked out the details of his involvement with the professor.  No one really knew what took place in the lab beneath the ground.  Neighbors often complained about terrible noises emanating from the earth.  Valentine disappeared once the police became involved.  The discovery of the underground lab was kept secret.  Revelations concerning the depths of human degradation were never divulged to the public for fear of a scandal that would involve the University.  Paul was considered an innocent survivor – the only one.  He was hospitalized with a severe case of amnesia.  The doctors had to construct a whole new identity for the young man.  Paul Surnin was the name chosen for him by the Psychiatrist working on the case.  Paul left the hospital with a new life and he eventually became a detective.

The current case activated a buried past.  Surnin remembered Professor Valentine.  He also recalled the experiments and torture perpetrated on helpless, young men.  Paul was explicitly involved.  Eventually, a serum was developed, but there were side effects.  Valentine’s youth was restored, but his brain was damaged.  A split developed in the professor’s mind … he became a young man (the man who would later be known as Paul Surnin), but he also harbored the mind and personality of the mad scientist, Wilhelm Valentine.

As Paul began to age in body, Valentine became more active.  New experiments were conducted.  Young males went missing.  Bodies like the one in detective Surnin’s current case were being discovered.  Paul had no choice … He had to bring Professor Valentine to justice.  The detective knew Valentine was extremely crafty – he would never allow himself to be arrested.  There was only one solution.  Paul offered himself as a subject for experimentation.  Valentine knew the detective was a menace, but he was too old to be of any value as a guinea pig.  Besides, the new serum was almost complete.  The professor, inflamed with hubris, decided to inject Paul Surnin with a different kind of serum, a potion that would eliminate Paul forever. The poison killed the detective instantly … and the last remains of Wilhelm Valentine were imprisoned in the corpse.

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