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The Further Adventures of the Frankenstein Monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

The nameless ugly creature bid Captain Walton good-bye with these words. "But soon," he cried with sad and solemn enthusiasm, "I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pyre triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace, or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell."

He sprang from the ship's deck onto the vast ice flow and ran with great strides. Soon the vessel was lost in darkness and distance. Although he was dressed as warmly as possible in several layers of fur and leather, the bitter wind cut through his clothing like a sharp knife. To escape the intense cold, he built a small fire with wood he had taken from the ship. At first his intention was to throw himself on the flames and immolate himself. But the fire was too small for that. Instead, he curled up into a ball behind a frozen clump of snow near the flames. Waves washed up, soaking him through and extinguishing the flames. He became numb from the waist down, as though he had plunged into the frozen sea.

The creature expected that the terrible bitter cold and the turbulent sea would soon take him. Since Frankenstein had told him that he did not have a soul, he did not expect to ascend to heaven or be thrown into the pit of hell. He did not believe in such things. He expected only oblivion. As the ice pack broke up, the creature floated into the open sea on large section of ice.

He was sure the end was near. What he did not count on was that Frankenstein had made him of stern stuff. A human would have succumbed by that time. He wondered how long even he could last in the polar environment. At times the pain became so intense that he thought of simply diving into the water and allowing himself to sink to the bottom and drown. However, he was not sure he could die that way either. What if he did not drown or freeze to death? He imagined being trapped under the sea unable to move for centuries. What a hellish fate that would be.

After several days of this torment, the creature spotted land. Although in this icebound region, land and sea blended into blinding white, along the horizon, he spotted a fleet of kayaks, native fishermen of the forsaken place. Behind them on the shoreline was a small village of huts.

The ice flow, however, began to float back out to sea. He decided that to stay on it was the riskier alternative and dove into the icy sea. At first the shock almost drove him into unconsciousness. Using his amazing powers of recovery, he began to swim. The exercise helped warm him. The faster he swam, the less the bitter cold affected him. After several hour-like minutes, he was among the kayaks. Frostbitten on every bit of his leathery skin, exhausted and suffering from hypothermia, his head slipped under the water. A few feet under water, he became entangled into a fisherman’s net. He struggled to free himself, but everything went black.

* * *

As the creature awakened, he felt prickly stuff beneath him. He took a deep breath, which tormented his lungs. His extremities and face was raw and numb. Other parts of his body felt as though he’d been skinned. I do have a soul, he thought. I’m in hell.

He opened his eyes to see an angel. What is an angel doing in hell? he wondered.

As he focused, he realized that the face was that of a young human woman. Nonetheless, she was as beautiful as an angel. Her almond shaped eyes were dark and mysterious, and her high-boned cheeks were light brown. She was applying an ointment on his naked body, which was resting on straw. The nostrum cooled the burning of the frostbite. When she finished, she covered him with the skin of a polar bear.

She was dressed in furs. Beyond her were walls and ceiling of skins. An open fire blazed in the center of the hut, the smoke drifting up through a hole in the ceiling. He realized that the men in the kayaks had fished him out of the frozen sea.

When the woman saw that he was awake, she said something in a language he'd never heard before. He asked whether she spoke Swiss, French or German. She kept babbling in her native tongue. He tried English although he didn't speak it all that well himself. Obviously, she did not know it either.

Using signs she made him understand that he was to remain lying on the straw. She went to the fire and ladled something from an iron pot into a bowl. She gave him the bowl. He raised himself to a sitting position and sipped fish soup from it. It tasted wonderful. He slurped it down and returned the bowl. She refilled it. After six bowls of soup, his spirits improved greatly.

The woman pointed to herself and said, “Katrikki.”

The creature realized that she was telling him her name. Frankenstein had never named him, and so far in his life, he had not needed a name. He decided to take the name of his creator. “Victor.” 

An older man entered the hut. He shooed the girl away from Victor and began to babble in his native tongue. Again, Victor tried to make himself understood in the European languages that he knew. Finally, he resorted to sign language and made the man know that he could not speak his language. The man proceeded to try to teach it to him, by pointing to things and naming them. Soon he learned that the man’s name was Jaakko and that he was Katrikki’s father.

After Jaakko went away, Katrikki began to teach him. She made a game of it, clapping when Victor did well, laughing when he didn’t. Victor loved her laugh. She had a smile that lit up the room. Over the next couple days, as he convalesced, he became very fond of her. One thing troubled him, however. She never looked directly at him. He was sure it was because of his ugliness. He silently cursed Frankenstein again and again. If his creator was still alive, Victor vowed to make him suffer as he had.

In a few days, Victor was well enough to be up and about. His clothes had been cleaned and folded in a corner of the cabin. By this time, he had learned enough of the benefactors' language to communicate. He told Katrikki that he wished to explore the village. She accompanied him. As he walked past the huts, the villagers who he encountered stared at him with awe but not with fear.

Outside the village proper was a corral that contained a herd of animals similar to deer but larger and shaggier. Katrikki indicated that her clothing and the huts were made of their skins. The females also gave milk, which the natives drank and made into cheese.

Victor, a fast learner of language, soon became proficient in their tongue. Once he recovered from his ordeal, he helped Jaakko and Katrikki with their work. The natives appreciated his enormous strength. After he had been there over a month, he built his own hut and a boat from the many pines in the area. The boat was larger than what the natives used. As a result, he was able to catch more fish than the others, which he shared with them, keeping only enough to satisfy his large appetite.

One day Jaakko told him of a legend of theirs about a giant that would arrive from the sea and bring their village good luck. He said that the villagers believed that he was that giant. Victor did not disavow them of this misconception. On the anniversary of his being rescued, each village family gave him a gift, mostly in the form of a reindeer, so that he had his own small herd. When Jaakko asked Victor what he would like from Jaakko, Victor  asked for Katrikki. He knew that the family of a young woman decided whom she should co-inhabit with.

At the time of this request, Katrikki was quietly sewing skins in a corner of Jaakko’s hut. When her father gave his consent, an expression of horror came over her, and tears ran down her cheeks. Victor pretended not to notice. Later that month, there was a celebration in the village as Katrikki was given to Victor in the marriage rites of the village. After the ceremony, there was a celebration at which Victor became inebriated on the native's sweet wine.

Although Katrikki went to Victor’s hut without a murmur of protest, she turned her head to the wall as Victor had his way with her, although he was as gentle as he could be in his clumsy way. Later, he awoke to her sobbing. Again rage against the man who had made him into a loathsome monster burned like fire through Victor’s brain. He decided that some day he would murder every relative of Frankenstein that he could find. He would wipe the name of Frankenstein from the face of the earth.

For forty years Victor lived among these simple people. Like the native villagers, he became a farmer, herdsman and fisherman. Katrikki was a good wife and never complained. Nonetheless, they had no children. Victor did not know whether that was because he was sterile or truly of a different species. Also, she rarely looked at his face and never during sex. After a time, he stopped approaching her for that pleasure.

 

 

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