What Happened to Agatha?

Day 5 and I am seriously lost.  Not to mention it was busy in the cafe today and so I got no writing done there at all (this should feel like a good thing, right?)  But I still have some notes from yesterday so I have those to work with.  I am introducing Elizabeth here (at the moment prior to the two letters, but still hemming and hawing over that one).   And I may edit yesterday’s work down to almost nothing. And a later note I think part of this belongs somewhere else, but will keep it here for now just so I don’t lose it.  I guess this will all sort itself out as I go on.

So, installment 5. . .

If you were to ask Miss Elizabeth Lavenza to describe a perfect afternoon, she would describe just this very one, the sun bright but not too bright, the air neither too cool nor too hot, the lake a pool of perfect glass.  And the house and the household was without crisis or controversy to take her.   And yet on this day it provided her no satisfaction.

The feeling overtook Elizabeth around 2:00.  It was not a sudden blow, but crept in through the day until she could hardly bare it.  She could not identify it except that she was most dreadfully, unbearably cold.  So she fled the house for the lake.  This was a strange thing to do when it was cold that she was fleeing and it was always a few degrees cooler by the water, but somehow the cold she was escaping seemed to be something inherent to the house. There were times that the house was just too full of her family, the Frankenstein boys and men dominating every space whether they were present or not.  The lake though, was hers.

She had brought with her her usual accompaniments but when she got to the shore she found she had no interest in either her paints or her books and that the feeling had followed her.  Perhaps the problem was that there were no controversies at the house.  A good deal of her time and thoughts were taken up by the running of the place and by those that lived in it.  Today was hers and her mind had nothing to distract it from one pure fact, she was alone.  And on this particular day, though she could not say why, she felt particularly alone and particularly in need of an ally, one that was not a Frankenstein, but was like the lake, hers and hers alone.  There was no one of course.  The Frankensteins were a family that seemed to need nobody but themselves and assumed their ward to be the same so there were no friends to call upon, no confidante to stop by.  There was not even a letter from dear Victor for her to reply to, his correspondence having dwindled to nothing, and her own letters to him had been reduced to but the barest facts about family as there seemed no longer any point to opening her heart and relating any of her deeper thoughts and feelings to him.

And then it came to her — what happened to Agatha?

Agatha had not been so much a friend as a fellow outcast.  One year it was declared that Victor and Elizabeth must go to school.  Victor was to attend a school within the town, but Elizabeth was to be sent off to a school specializing in the appropriate education of young ladies, no doubt to remove any remains of her former, more rustic, foster parents   So Elizabeth found herself away from home on a wonderful adventure.  This adventure turned out to be not quite what she had anticipated.  The other girls did not take to her.  It’s not as if they were cruel to her, but they must have had a strange sixth sense, recognizing that she did not belong and would not be staying so they took no time to know her.  Agatha DeLacey was equally ignored.  These remote students turned out to be quite correct in their assessment.  It was deemed that Elizabeth was far too necessary to her mother and her brothers to remain where she was and that she could acquire her education through experience and her parents’ own tutoring.  She was not however  so necessary that they could not wait until the end of term as no refund would be forthcoming if she left early.  Agatha was removed three months after arriving, her tuition apparently unpaid.  Elizabeth wrote a handful of letters afterwards, but once she returned home her parents convinced her that to maintain any correspondence between them would not serve her best interests.

She thought again — what happened to Agatha?

Elizabeth decided to make inquiries at her last known address, or at least what she remembered of it.  She removed herself from her favourite rock and went back to the house.  The weather was taking a sudden turn, a reminder to all that this was November after all, and not the late summer day it appeared.  And she would require her desk.

Time To Change The Beginning.

Elizabeth lavenza blog

Day 4 and I am writing a new beginning.  No, I am not throwing out the two letters, but have decided that they need something in front of them.  So I thought I would introduce Elizabeth Lavenza and her circumstances and then after a couple of pages of that changed again and am starting with the monster, going into Elizabeth and then the letters.

So, to begin. . .again. . .

The creature awoke.  Pain filled his being and shapes and colours floated in front of him, one shape much larger than the others.  The larger shape became larger still until, for a brief second it was all there was and then, emitting a sound he could not understand, was suddenly gone.

He lay still for a while in blackness, then felt a strange twitching sensation and various shapes and colour reappeared.  A slow blink momentarily eliminated this vision and then it was renewed.  He blinked a few more times as his brain tried to interpret it all.

Something new entered the display, something of his.  He knew this because it brought pain with it.  He held it close and examined it, turning it, twisting it, opening and closing it and wriggling its various pieces.  He had discovered his hand.  His curiosity satisfied, he allowed it to drop.  It fell into his open eye and he emitted a small hoarse yelp.  A second limb, similar to the first, appeared to remove the offender from his face.

He lay a while longer and then his view changed.  He was seated.  Freed of the table,  his head turned one way then the other.  Fresh shapes appeared.  He slowly became aware that he was in a room.  His unknown limbs must have retained some memory of their original functions for in another minute his body left the table and he was standing.  This position could not be maintained though and he crashed to the floor.  The pain this brought about was immense and a barely audible groan left his lips.

Not satisfied in its crumpled position, his body re-collected its limbs and he was vertical once more, this time his hands gripping the table for support.  He felt the presence of his foot, moved it along the floor and propelled himself towards a chair, his first step.  He extended his hand to the chair and leaned his weight against it.  He remained upright.  Within a few minutes he had mastered this new ability and walked around the large room he found himself in peering at things, smelling things, touching things.  He amused himself thus for close on two hours at which point he discovered the door and its function.  He entered a new area and repeated his explorations.  He discovered another large area and another door.  Through this door though was something new, a large bed, and within its curtains another creature much as himself.  He moved the curtains aside and peered in.  There was a face laying on a pillow.  This face he recognized as the first object he had seen and felt a happy warmth flow through him at its familiarity.  He bent down to explore it further smelling its flesh and listening to its breath.  He moved to the foot of the bed and examined the shape beneath the covers.  All of this, the face, the shape, the smell was somehow something he knew, something that was his.  He stood there some time holding open the curtains admiring this wonderful new thing.  Then this new creature’s eyes opened and the face stared back at him.  The sound of its breathing stopped.  The creature did not know the words horror or revulsion, but he recognized their presence all the same.  Neither did he know despair and desolation, but he felt them most acutely.  He let go the curtains and retreated from the room as he experienced yet another new sensation — his cheeks had become wet with tears.

His body, aware of necessities that his brain had yet to discover, found some clothes and put them on.  He entered the world.

I Forbid It

Day 3 of November and a third installment to my tale.  This bit just conversation written in pieces at work and now to be turned into something more cohesive I hope.  I can always fill in more details after.

Mr. Frankenstein wondered what was happening to his children and what could be done about it.  First a son lost for months to dangerous and delusional fevers and now Elizabeth seemingly become insensible.  Clear-eyed, sensible Elizabeth, who could be counted on to not fall to passion, but looked to to keep everything in order.

“I do not understand, Elizabeth.  Who is this Miss DeLacey?  What do you want of her?  What does she want of you?  You know nothing of her other than she was impersonating your friend and that her family is living under aliases!”  Mr. Frankenstein attempted to glower at her from his great height, but the last few years had eaten much of it away so Elizabeth was not nearly as intimidated as she once would have been.

“She was not impersonating anyone.  Having fled persecution her father simply thought it in aid of his family’s well-being to change their name and that name happened to be that of my friend and their address similar enough or near enough that when I sent a note, that was where it was delivered.”  Elizabeth tried to glower back, but her gentle beauty robbed her of the effect as much as her adoptive father’s failed height robbed him.

Mr. Frankenstein stalked up and down the room, his hands clasped behind his back, only occasionally looking at this suddenly rebellious daughter.  She was usually so obliging.  What had gotten into her?  He felt for a moment a terrible, creeping dread work through his heart.  It seemed to him, and not for the first time, that some dark force had entered his family, or perhaps fortune had simple left it.  Taking with it first the sweetest and most constant of wives, one that should have outlived him by decades, and then later the health and reason, if only temporarily, of a brilliant and robust oldest son.  Now it seemed to threaten new dangers.  Mr. Frankenstein was far too pragmatic and optimistic a man to entertain the thought of dark forces for too long, but he could certainly believe that luck may be lost if not held tight.  Fearful of what might come next he fought to keep what he had left.

“People can say anything in a letter.  It does not make it true.  Tales of monsters in the night, families fleeing and fleeing again.  It is utter fiction my dear.  You sent a letter of inquiry to a girl you hoped to be your friend and they seized upon it.  You wait my child, the blind old father will have conveniently died before your friend arrives and her supposed brother, (more likely a husband or lover, and a brute on top of it) will appear a short while later to take up residence with her in our cottage.”

Elizabeth had not been without such doubts herself and already owned the obvious solution.  “We are not helpless in such matters.  We simply have them thrown out if they are not as made out.  And if she arrives alone we are not obliged to let her in.”

“Oh Elizabeth, what is this in aid of?  Are we not family enough that you feel it necessary to bring strangers into our midst?  You are all we need dearest daughter.”

Elizabeth’s resolve was not to be broken.  “I love you all dearest father, as you well know.  But I am without female companionship.  I have no one with which to share those confidences that a woman is sometimes burdened with.”

“What burdens could you have my sweet Elizabeth, we care for you so?  And what of Justine?  She is returned to us now.  Certainly Justine can fill that place.”

Elizabeth felt a momentary pang at the suggestion that a servant, even one as adored as Justine could take the place of companion to her.

“We all of us love Justine, and I think of her as family, but she is not a friend.  I am without female friends, we are so solitary here.  And Justine’s health and temperament are both much changed since her return.  I am not altogether comfortable with her.”  Elizabeth, sensing her father weakening, pressed on.  “And you, dear father, who have done so much for so many, done so much for me, you surely would not deny me this opportunity to help a fellow creature.  It is what you would do in similar circumstances, what you have done.  And I am sure that Miss DeLacey will be as useful to our family as I have strived to be.”

Mr. Frankenstein collapsed into his chair feeling defeated.  At his age, his energy no longer sustained him and his opinions as it once did.  He waved his hand in a faintly mumbled acquiescence.

Elizabeth kissed him on the cheek.  “Thank you father.  I am most grateful, especially as I had sent the letter inviting Miss DeLacey and her father to stay some time ago.  I received her reply this morning.  They have accepted our offer.”

Mr. Frankenstein nodded, still wondering what had happened to his most dependable daughter.  “Well, I hope the roads are good for them.  The weather has been most uncommonly fair and we are bound to pay for it somewhere.”