Day 30 – b.The promise

elizabeth lavenza - nanowrimo countLast installment of November.  Ending with 28,855 words.  Had hoped to get over 30,000 at least but I can live with it.  Will keep going anyway.  Hopefully I’ll hit the 50,000 mark for my next nanowrimo.

 

The house was calmer without Victor.  It was curious the effect he had on the household, even when in his bed.  Elizabeth naturally worried about him.  It was what she did.  And it was strange to be without him again.  Agatha made sure she left the house that day and they stopped for tea and pastries.

“You certainly do spoil me, Agatha,” said Elizabeth as they sat drinking their tea.

Agatha thought this a strange thing to say as this was being billed to Elizabeth’s father.

“I am not paying for this.  I’m the one being spoiled.”

“Yes, but I would never do this for myself,” replied Elizabeth.  “Thank you for suggesting it.”

“You need to have your time, Elizabeth.  You are forever doing things for everyone else.  If Victor can have his ramble in the mountains, you can certainly have a pastry.”

“I can manage with or without a day out,” explained Elizabeth, “but Victor’s constitution requires these escapes.  I think one of his difficulties is that he was shut up in a school for so long.  He should have occasionally come home and visited the lake.  I think he would have been far better for it.”

“Perhaps he needs less time to himself and his thoughts,” suggested Agatha, who thought the family indulged his moods far too much.

“No.  I understand Victor.  He needs that time with his thoughts.”

“You realize that he is insane.”

“You don’t understand.  He is not quite himself.  Certainly he has always been sensitive, but this is something more.  He was very ill at Ingolstadt.  Henry suspects some terrible calamity but could get no information.  Those at the school suggested he was simply overworking and became ill, but I believe Henry.  And then the shock of the loss of William and then Justine.  Well, you know my theory about Justine.  I think it’s all just too much for a man of his nature.  Give him some time to himself wandering his mountains and he will be improved.  I’m afraid you have not seen him at his best.”

“Well, I might be a bit more lenient if he would remember my name.  Who was this Belle?  I suppose she was a servant.”

“Yes she was, quite a long while ago.  But she left when she married the gardener.  It was quite a surprise.  How did you know?”

It seemed quite clear to her, as Victor only ever noticed her when he needed something fetched.  Which she happily did for him as it meant that Elizabeth didn’t need to.  But she kept that to herself and instead replied: “Just a guess.”

Elizabeth had been somewhat, though not entirely, offended at her friend’s suggestion that her brother, cousin, closest friend, all that Victor was to her, was insane.  She passed it off as Agatha’s attempt at humour and gave it little thought.

 

The next night they were all in the library with the two fathers sitting by the fire and the talk drifted to family matters and for some reason to the death of her mother, Caroline.

“Elizabeth stayed with her the entire time,” explained Mr. Frankenstein, “though she was not well herself.  Tended to her so diligently.  My wife adored her so.  She was never strong, my Caroline.  I suppose she always knew that she would die young.  She was more prepared for it than I was.  I assumed at my age I would be first.”

Mr. DeLacey nodded.  “My wife died young also.  She was having our third child.  They both died.  To expect more life to enter our home and then suddenly lose a life instead —  it was quite a shock.”

There was a time of silence as everyone stared into the fire, even Mr. DeLacey.

“One good thing came of it,” said Mr. Frankenstein.  “It was at her death bed that Victor and Elizabeth were promised to one another.  She took their hands and joined them together explaining that our greatest happiness, her greatest happiness was in the expectation of their union.  They both agreed and that bond has remained.”

Agatha looked to her friend who had suddenly gone pale.

That was not what had happened at all.  She had only promised to be a mother, not a wife.  It was only then that Elizabeth realized that Agatha was right.  Victor was insane, had probably always been so.  And that she had just been promised to a mad man.

 

 

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Day 30- a. Meeting

Just over 28,000 words at this point, so I guess I will arrive late. But I will keep going.  About to start another installment.

The creature loved the mountains.  It was in the mountains that the advantages of his body could be truly appreciated.  Scaling a rock, jumping over a crevice or, as on this day, skipping over cracks in an ice field left him with a great sense of accomplishment.  These were his activities after his game of flirting with various villages and hamlets grew tired.  This day though brought additional benefit, for in the distance he was certain he saw his maker.  He stopped to make sure that it was not simply his imagination.  The figure grew closer and he confirmed it.  And as he appeared to be enjoying the mountains as much as his abandoned son, he thought the meeting to be particularly fortunate.  He could offer his condolences for the loss of his brother and they could converse on the majesty of the Alps.  He gave a little clap and bound towards him as if on air.

It seemed natural to the creature that they would eventually meet and meet just like this.  The man was his father after all.  Their paths would surely cross.  Victor though, assumed conspiracy.  That the creature existed somewhere beyond his maker seemed impossible and he believed him ever present, even when unseen.  It was equally unfathomable to Victor that the monster’s thoughts may dwell on anything but him, their obsessions must be equal.

“Accursed wretch!” Victor cried. “Even in this place of solitude you haunt me!  Have you not done enough?  Leave me to my misery before I throw you from the edge.”

The creature stopped for a moment.  He had not expected a warm greeting certainly, but he had not anticipated hatred either, just discomfort at being discovered.  But he would not lose this opportunity, he continued in his course until he was before him.

“I cannot leave,” explained the creature.  “We are  tied, you and I.  Can we not speak but a little?”

Victor shrank from him as if struck.  “Hideous fiend!  How dare you approach after all you have done!”  He raised his walking stick.  “Get away or I will drive you away.”

“I only wish to talk.  There is so much I do not know.”

Victor shook his head and brought his stick down hard.  The creature blocked it with his arm and a terrible pain shot through him, but it was his wounded heart that hurt him most.

“You fool, I was born into pain,” said the creature with more fatigue than anger.  He pulled the stick away and tossed it onto the ice where it landed with a thud.  “I am a stitched together being, a collection of wounds given life.  Do you think you can threaten me?  What pain, physical or spiritual do you think you can inflict upon me, your rejected son, that I have not already endured?”

“I can remove that dreadful spark that I so negligently bestowed upon you!”

“I may have gratefully allowed you to do so two years previous, such was my agony.  But now I treasure my life, for all its miseries.  You shall not have it.”

Victor threw himself at his monstrous creation, intent on his destruction.  He easily sidestepped the attack and Victor fell and skidded along the rocks.  The creature offered a hand, but he rejected it, getting up under his own power and backing away in disgust.

“Please, stop this nonsense dear father,” implored the creature.  “You created my frame to be superior in all ways to your own and in that you succeeded.  You cannot defeat me physically and only risk your own self.  Be still and listen.  I have only come to speak with you.  To convince you of your own success and ask a few questions about my self.”

“Murderer!  Devil!  Fiend!  You ask to speak with me after all that you have done!

“What have I done?!  Other than to suffer as you made me!  An outcast!  A monster!  Rejected by all who see me.  Left when newly made without help or understanding.  And yet for all these disadvantages I have made a life for myself, pitiful as you may regard it.”

“What have you done?!  You pretend not to know?!”  Victor threw himself at the creature again who once more eluded the attack.

“I am the victim here.  You are the one who created a life and deserted it.  You say I am not wronged?”

“What of William!  What of Justine!” Victor spat.  “No, whatever debt I had you long since took payment on.”

“I do not understand.”

“Are you going to try to play the innocent — claim that you are not responsible for their deaths?”

“I am innocent,” replied the creature.  “I could not take a life, not even yours, although I contemplated it often in the past.”

“Liar!  I will not speak to you.  You are filled with nothing but hatred and deceit.  Admit that you murdered my brother.  I need to know.  Tell me or you will receive nothing from me.”

“You misunderstand me entirely.  I did not commit the murder.  It was a girl.  I knew William and loved him.”

“How dare you even speak his name!”  Victor attempted another attack, holding the beast with the aim of throwing them both off the mountain, although the edge was too far.  The creature, becoming angry at this game pushed him down and glared at him.

“Of course I killed your beautiful brother,” he said, wanting to wound his maker the only way he could.  “He was yours!”

Victor sat on the wet ground, satisfied, then abused them both verbally, as he wallowed in his self-pity.  The creature sat across from him and waited for his ravings to finish.

“Oh that I had never been born,” Victor sighed atlast, his energy spent.  “Or that I had never had that first terrible thought, that fire in the brain that consumes all.  Oh that I had never conceived of you.”

The creature saw that he would now be listened to.  “Let me tell you of my life,” he said gently.  “Come, follow me.  It is getting wetter.”

They entered his lair and he lit a fire.  He told Victor of his awakening, of his wanderings, of the DeLaceys, and of how often he stared at his notebooks wondering if he was truly alone.  Victor stared into the fire muttering through most of it.  The creature wasn’t even sure that he heard any of it at all.  He was about to get to William and his wonderful houses, thinking that he could now retract his false confession and explain the events properly, but Victor suddenly jumped up and yelled:  “No!”

“What?  What is it?”

“A companion.  You want a companion.  I won’t do it!”

“But are there not others,” asked the creature.  “You have many sketches in your books, and almost all of them are of others.  Three books and only the last ten pages are of me.  Do I not have brothers and sisters?  Where are they?”

“There are no others,” was the reply.  “You are alone, my first and only one.  I will not make another fiend as yourself.”

“I have not asked such a thing.  The only companion I ask for is you, my father.  Do I not deserve family and friendship as others have?  You created me, you have a duty towards me.”

“I will not do it!  I will not make another.” Victor cried again seeming not to hear and ran from the cave.

The creature watched him a while, as he scampered across the ice and then paced back and forth shouting and gesturing as if in argument.  The man was truly mad and the creature found himself actually feeling sorry for him.  Eventually the imaginary argument ceased and he collapsed.  The creature debated going to his aid, but he needn’t have worried, for it only took a minute or two for him to get up and find his mule.  He climbed on and left, still raving.