Day 17 and I seem to be getting less written each day. But it should start moving pretty soon I think. I hope.
“I take it the spring bouquet was your idea,” Mr. Frankenstein said to Elizabeth when the boys were in their beds. He was the fifth in the house to suggest it was her. The subject of William’s house, as the structure was now named, had filled a good deal of conversation through the day with much speculation as to who left the flowers, and whether it was or was not inhabited.
“It was not I father,” was Elizabeth’s reply. “Nor was it Agatha, for she was the first I asked. It would not be too out of the way for her to stop there on her way home. But it seems neither of us had set foot near William’s little house until he marched us down this morning. It may be that some poor soul has taken it over, though I think it more likely that someone is having some mischief at William’s expense, most probably Ernest. Apart from the disturbed blanket and the missing bread, there was no other evidence of someone living or sleeping there. There were the flowers of course, but the likelihood of some unfortunate wretch going to such trouble seems remote. I suspect Ernest. He will be filling William’s head with tales of fairy princesses soon, just you wait. Yes, Ernest, though you will never get him to admit to it I’m sure.”
“Be that as it may, it does not make me happy to think of vagrants setting up residence on my grounds. I think I’ll have some of the men look to see if there are any unsavoury characters lurking about or find out if anyone strange has been seen in the area. There’s a few items missing from the house, so we should make sure. I don’t want strangers sneaking in. Not to mention the way you and Agatha are forever wandering back and forth. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to either of you.”
Elizabeth smiled and shook her head. “Well, if you must father. But I don’t think they’ll find anything.”
The next day, after the same exchange of flowers for bread, Mr. Frankenstein sent out his men. Elizabeth was proved right, though. No one was found. The creature, having been solitary most of his short life, had particularly acute hearing and the men’s search was as much about dissuading a squatter as finding one, so they were quite noisy. He had no difficulty avoiding detection. The men explored the area to no avail and it was decided that the little house should be checked on through the night. This had no effect however, for having proven that a man could live in this one structure, and not wanting his unknown guest to be without a home, William moved onto some of the other dwellings he had made and went about repairing them. So the next night found the creature eating his bread and sleeping under his borrowed blanket closer to the edge of the property. This shelter was not so nice as the first, but it worked and he was enjoying the game as much as the boy was. The next morning he left a bouquet of twigs tied together with dried grass.
“It most certainly does not make me happy to have my youngest son raiding the larder to fill up his huts and feed his vagrants, real or imaginary,” declared Mr. Frankenstein that night. He had not been happy to hear his youngest son’s announcement that morning, but for all his rantings, he wasn’t sure he wanted to stop the boy. “He must have at least half a dozen of those forts of his hidden about the woods. And he has decided to fix each of them up for habitation. He will house every unfortunate in the region if he has his way. I should by rights tear every one of those things down.”
Elizabeth smiled at her father. “Well, I think we can all agree now that his vagrants are of the imaginary kind. Mr. Heinrich assures me they saw no sign of anyone. So we have little worry on that end.”
“Yes, well, my larder and its dwindling stocks is not imaginary.”
“Ah, father, you must admit, William is in particularly good spirits since this game of his began. In fact, I think we all are. Are you not enjoying this a little yourself? An actual mystery! Is it one of us? Is it someone else? Are the boys themselves just playing with us?”
“Yes, well, it does provide some change in the conversation,” he agreed, and he smiled quite proudly as he considered his wonderfully capable sons. With Victor over his illness, Ernest talking about a military career, and his young, golden child showing such promise, he could consider his family’s future assured.
The creature was feeling quite happy and proud himself. His allying himself with this young boy had not only provided some entertainment as he watched the child’s jubilant reaction to his gifts and the goings on of the rest of the curious household, but was also providing a great lesson in family life. For the interactions between the two Frankenstein boys were very different to those of the DeLacey family. The boys primarily fought, both in fun and in very serious anger. They yelled at one another, called each other terrible names and hit one another regularly. On a number of occasions he had thought to assist, so violent were their brawls, but he recalled the painful results of his few attempts to help others and remained hidden. This turned out to be the best course, for neither boy ever seemed to be hurt afterwards. In fact no matter how horrific their altercations might appear, and no matter how hard they cried after (and either could be brought to tears, big one or the smaller) they would be the happiest and closest of friends upon completion.
It was this observation of the brothers’ easy love and forgiveness after what would appear to be an irrevocable hurt that provided the creature with his greatest hope. These boys were Frankensteins and it seemed that they could go from love to hate and back again with barely a breath between. Surely Victor Frankebstein was capable of the same. All of his creator’s old notes pointed to a great love for the man he was destined to give life to and yet at the moment of his creation’s birth he despised him. Could it be that his hatred could be reversed, may have already turned back to love without the creature even knowing? He waited with trembling anticipation to see if this might just be so.