Day 18 and where I thought I would get lots done, I got almost nothing. A lot of this I started a few days ago.
“You have very light hair. You look more like my brother. Maybe you are my brother. Your mother had dark hair. I bet she stole you like she stole Elizabeth and me. Yes, I’m sure she stole you.”
“She didn’t steal me. And they rescued Elizabeth. Her parents are dead.”
The argument attracted the creature from his daytime roost. Since his and the boy’s little game had begun he had been forced to remove himself further and further from the property. Inspections occurred throughout the night now and sleeping in the little huts was no longer possible, so he made some small use of the blankets, ate what treat had been left him and then left when he heard someone coming to investigate whatever shelter he was using. The game and the excitement for the boy was far more important than a comfortable rest. Instead, he slept in the day far from the Frankenstein home. So it was quite a surprise to realize that a Frankenstein was involved in the altercation.
The creature had accustomed himself to the various fights and insults of the two Frankenstein boys. However, this one was between the younger boy and a girl of his brother’s age. He did not know her name, but he had seen her many times wandering through the woods secreting small objects into different trees.
“They stole her. Like they tried to steal me. My mother told me. They took me from her but she got me back. Then she died and they took me again — they probably killed her. My mother says that I’m why my brothers died. If I had been there she could have saved them. She wouldn’t be alone. I bet they stole you. Bet they stole all of you. You are so different, each of you, both in looks and temperament. It’s because they knew they stole me that they had to return me to her. They should never have done that. If they had loved me they would have kept me no matter what.”
William stood silently staring at the ground wishing he had stayed with Ernest instead of going back home, but Ernest was less and less interested in what he was interested in. He just wanted to replay various famous battles, all of which William was required to die horribly in, and to destroy the forts they built. And Justine had asked if they could play and said she wanted to see his houses. Once they started walking together though, she showed no interest at all in playing or in any of his structures. Instead she taunted him and spoke of his family in the cruellest and most outlandish terms. She continued her rant while he kicked at the ground with his right foot.
“Your mother said she was going to keep me. That I was her angel and I would be like family. But that was all forgotten when she died. She didn’t mean it anyway. I never played with you and your brothers. She just showed me how to sew. You, you don’t play with me.”
“We should probably go home. It’s nearing dinner time.” William was tired of this game of hers and feeling like he may be lost, but Justine did not appear to hear him.
“Are you crazy like Victor? Everyone knows he’s insane.” She leaned her head down to his as if to examine him. “Your entire family is insane, that’s why they stay all the way out here. If you’re not insane, you are stolen.”
William tried to push her away and head back in the direction he thought the house to be, but she wouldn’t let him go, grabbing his arm and continuing her taunts.
“You think your stupid little houses make you special. They all do. With your pretty hair and your pretty eyes. And your stupid houses. And you’re the kind of baby who believes someone lives in them. Believes in faeries and ogres and monsters. They’re just playing with you, putting in useless gifts to make you believe you’ve done something important. Stupid. Pretend. Childish. That’s what your houses are.” She tightened her grip on the child’s arm and emphasised each of her last insults with a tap on his forehead.
“They said I was theirs and then they sent me back. Said I was as another child to them, a pretty golden child.” She grabbed his blonde hair and pulled it.
He kicked her as hard as he could and screamed, “Let me go! It’s not my fault nobody loves you! You’re the crazy one!”
She lifted him by the hair and his arm, then threw him to the ground. “You don’t strike me you horrible little brat. You think you’re better than me?!” He started hitting and kicking at her. She sat on him to hold him in place and punched him three times before he pulled himself out from under her. He ran in the direction of the house, but she was older and faster than him. She tackled him and they fell to the ground. She hit him some more, yelling terrible things at him. He struggled and bucked, scratched and punched. But he could not free himself this time. She grabbed him by the neck and held him until his struggles ceased.
The creature had no idea what it was he witnessed until he saw the girl rise and nudge the boy with her foot. He had seen almost that same altercation acted out numerous times the previous week and a half and whichever boy had been unfortunate enough to be the one underneath had always risen afterwards, angry but no worse for wear. Not on this day. He had witnessed murder and done nothing to prevent it. He had failed the boy who had provided him with so much, watching him die at the hands of another.
His first thought was to run and fetch someone and report this horrific act, but he held no hope that he would be believed. They would not hesitate to blame a grotesque, misshapen stranger over a pretty one of their own. So he stayed and did what it was his lot to do. He watched.
The monstrous girl pulled a chain from the boy’s neck, sneered at it and threw it into some bushes. She dragged the boy’s body by the legs off the path and onto some grass with the obvious intention of taking him down to the lake and throwing him in, but he soon grew too heavy for her. She rested a moment and then changed direction, pulling him by the arms this time and pushed him under some particularly dense bushes. She collected what brush and leaves she could and threw them over the small body. She left.