A Brand New World
My Dearest Faith,
I am writing to you now because I think this may be my last chance. You have asked me since you were a young girl how we got here, us monsters, and obtained this society, when all you have ever read about in books for as long as you can remember are people. People different from us. People a foot shorter with white skin and puny muscles. You’ve always been correct, smarter than your brothers, yet far more delicate. Yes, the humans were here before us.
What you don’t know is why or how we came to be, and I see now that only I can tell you. Please, my Faith, do not think any less of your aging father for this tale. It was I who planned everything. It was I who led us to where we our today.
Light. The faint glow pressing against my eyelids, urging me to open them. That’s what I remember most about that first moment. Finally, I succumbed to the light’s enticement and fluttered my eyelids open.
My eyes scanned the room, and I found that there were two other beings in this dark cellar. One was about five foot eight with short auburn hair and deep brown eyes. He was wearing a trench coat that fell to the top of his russet hiking boots. I remember his expression clearly. There was a horror in his eyes the likes of which I haven’t seen since. He was trembling, but I could tell he was trying his best to hold himself together.
As for the other being in the room, well he was a bit taller, standing at six foot five. His skin was not white, but yellow, and I can see the inner-workings of his body peeking out through his fragile skin. He had black flowing hair, and his lips were set in a thin black line. I found myself instantly attracted to this being, and not the other one.
“What have I done?” It was the shaky voice of the smaller being as he stood there staring at me.
“You have merely done me a great favor. Thank you, Frankenstein. We will leave you be now.” It was the voice of the larger creature, and after he finished his sentence he looked at me.
“Come with me, my darling. We will live in the wilderness and survive off of the fish we catch and the berries we find. We will do no harm to the human race, for Frankenstein has given you life and done us both a great favor.”
As the monster was speaking, I could see this “Frankenstein” slowly inch backwards and grab onto the handle of a sharp metal object that I later learned was an axe. Once it was in his grasp, he began charging at me, determined to destroy the very being that he had just created. I raised my arm to shield my face and the blade cut right into my forearm, where it lodged itself.
I heard the monster call, “Frankenstein! We had a deal!” with more anger than I have ever had in me. I let out a growl, and it echoed across the cellar, even making the overheard lights flicker. I yanked the axe out of my arm with my other hand and angrily thrust it back at Frankenstein. Whether I wanted him to feel the pain I felt or simply wanted to be rid of the treacherous object, to this day I cannot remember. But when I thrust it back at Frankenstein I sent it flying through the middle of his back, slicing his spine in two, and watched as he fell in pieces before my feet.
A strange red substance flowed from the body of Frankenstein that I later learned was blood. An overwhelming stench of iron filled the damp cellar. The other monster walked over to where I stood and stared down at Frankenstein in utter shock.
“You’ve killed him,” he said. I was not quite sure what exactly he was speaking about so I inquired, “Kill?” I was amazed when I heard my own voice, for it was lighter than the other two voices had been, much more pleasant sounding, and far less gruff.
Then the other monster explains, “Yes. You’ve ended his life. He will move no more. He will speak no more. He will breathe no more. Frankenstein ceases to exist. You have done this. This is called murder. But it is all right. He was seeking to murder you. You were merely protecting yourself.”
I felt something called remorse for what I had done. But there was nothing I could do now to change it. I averted my eyes from the mess on the floor and looked straight back into the white eyes of the monster.
“Frankenstein created me. I am a monster, just like you. I was the only one of my kind and was lonely, so I asked him to make me a female companion. He made you. Together we can go off and live peacefully. Now there is no Frankenstein to stop us. Let us go.”
And so I followed him. I had nowhere else to turn. If he was willing to teach me how to survive out there, then I was willing to listen. Before we travelled anywhere, we decided that it would be in our best interest to give ourselves names. My male companion decided to call himself Jacob, and selected the name Zoey for me. I was not as skilled at language as he was yet, and so it was him who was in charge of the names.
We decided to make way for a place called “Alaska” where it is very cold and the water is even colder. Along the way, we ran into numerous humans. We would try to avoid them, but sometimes they would attack us. When they tried to harm us, Jacob and I saw no solution other than to murder them there and put them out of their misery. By the time we made it to Alaska, we must have murdered no more than one hundred humans. We considered this a victory, because we preferred to not end lives if we could help it.
The trek to Alaska took approximately three hundred and twenty four days. Along the way, I grew to be quite the intelligent individual. Jacob and I would find books along the way. I found that I could read even faster than Jacob, who was a pretty skilled reader to begin with. I read four hundred and seven books while hiking to Alaska. I read many different kinds of books: romance, mystery, and adventure to name a few. But my favorite kinds were the kind that taught about different societies and how they functioned. From a book titled Sociological Forum I found the following passage on pages 110 and 111 that piqued my curiosity: “Little wonder that socialism sprouts utopian wings whenever and wherever it is free to do so. It restores the balance of community, limits the force of order, and reduces the notion of equity to life-size manageable proportions”.
That book got me thinking, should Jacob and I not try this approach? What if we started our own country? We would function much differently from the human societies. Everyone would be able to pitch in to help make our community a successful one. I thought nothing could go wrong.
But that was not the only interesting book that I read. I also read The Public Performance and Management Review. What I found interesting in that reading was the passage on page 177 that read “the findings from the Ohio State University and University of Michigan leadership studies indicate that among the primary functions of many managerial leaders is to set goals for the organization, structure tasks, and make major decisions affecting the organization”.
And as I read that black ink in that book I knew the words were speaking to me. I cannot explain how I knew. I just did. I could feel it. I was supposed to be the leader to the new race of monsters. With the knowledge I gained from books and my own superior natural intelligence, I would create the best race in this world. Me and only me.
Yes, I’ll admit it. I did not want to share all of the glory with Jacob. I think that was the first time I should have noticed how power-hungry I was. But I overlooked it.
When Jacob and I at last made it to Alaska, we were rather exhausted. Although us monsters have a higher endurance level than humans, we are not immune to the atrocity that is fatigue. We slept for five days on the barren land. When we awoke, we mated. It was finally time to start building our own world.
Soon, I was pregnant. I expected to be pregnant for nine months and then give birth to one child, because I had read that was how it was for humans. To my astonishment, I was in labor after only one month of pregnancy, and I gave birth to not one monster, but five. I was delighted. With such a small time frame of growth for such a large quantity of children, I was sure to have my colony momentarily.
Jacob and I mated often, and I found that I was extremely fertile. Oh! How I have known a mother’s joy! Ever since I saw your very first brother’s face, Eli, I have been struck with a completely devoted and unexplainable love.
Soon, Jacob and I had fifty children to raise. You, my dearest Faith, were indeed the fiftieth child. My very first girl. It seems our species is much more prone to produce males as offspring. I have always felt the most connected with you. I trust you. Keep that in mind.
It is time to truly start our society. From the books I had read, and from what I had seen during Jacob and mine’s trek to Alaska, I decided that we would need a few tools. I found metal and welded an axe out of it, using wood from a tree as the handle. With this, I could more easily cut down trees for even more wood. Fires became easier to make, and so you and your brothers learned about warmth.
I took you all out to teach you how to chop the trees. Do you remember, Faith? Your brothers were naturals, although they were not quite as skilled as me. Their mother. Their leader. But I mustn’t think like that. No. We are a team. An equal community. You struggled a bit. I can still remember the way your little yellow hands trembled as you tried to pick up the axe. I was going to help you, but as I was on my way over, you picked it up off the ground, and seeing the proud look on your face was worth more than all of the firewood in the world.
One day I found steel. Faith, this may have been my greatest misfortune. From steel, I could easily craft a gun. And so I did. I crafted one from a manual I found in a human book and was dissatisfied with its power. I shot it at trees, animals, and it could barely dent them. I abandoned the manual and used my own superior intelligence to craft a more powerful gun utilizing steel, lead and fire to name but a few of the many resources I used. My new gun could blow a gigantic hole through the trees.
I became fearful of its power. I spoke to Jacob about my concerns one night in camp.
“My dear Jacob. I am afraid that I have created a most dreadful weapon. When I shoot this gun, even I am knocked backwards with its power. Perhaps it is better we do not show its horrifying strength to our beloved children?”
“Yes, Zoey. I was reading the other day, as usual, and stumbled upon a book by Herbert Marcuse titled One-Dimensional Man. I read on page 41 that a new society can be “still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges” and I believe that this gun may fit into that description. You created the gun because that is all you knew from the books you have read. But we need to distance ourselves from the human race, my Zoey. We need to come up with our own technologies and way of life. We need to bury the gun.”
I knew he was right. So I took the gun and I traveled off into the woods alone. At least I thought I was alone. I know now that your brother Joshua was following me. I buried the gun under the thirty-second tree that I came across. I dug a hole seven feet deep with my bare hands and laid the gun to rest inside before throwing the dirt back on top of it. Oh! How I should have destroyed it!
I made my way back to camp. I knew I had to reinforce the idea of community that I had longed to instill in you and your brothers. So I called together a group council.
“Okay, my beloved children,” I began. “I want all of your advice. How can we improve our society?”
George piped up first, “I think that we all need to have different jobs to execute daily. I, a member of your third group of offspring, can go with my twin brothers and collect firewood. Perhaps the fifth born group can fish. The seventh born group can read all day and provide knowledge for the rest of the society.”
“I like your idea, George,” I praised him. “I will certainly be the one to assign everyone to their new positions. Does anyone else have any ideas?”
Charlie spoke up next. “I really like this meeting idea, mother. Can we please continue them?”
I responded, “Yes, Charlie. I will hold them right here by the fire nightly. We will become a successful society! We will be the superior race!”
And so thus is how we functioned, my Faith. For a very long time we were successful. There were ten groups who (in order of birth) tended the fire, improved the shelter, collected firewood, scoured the horizon for more land, fished, invented new technologies, read books for knowledge, hunted, sewed, and wrote.
Yes, Faith. You wrote. That is why you’ve always been so literate. That is why you are among the smartest of my children. You wrote the best knowledge down. I cannot possibly explain how proud I am of you.
We functioned like this and were peaceful for four or five years. I had more and more children, until our numbers reached five hundred. But peace cannot last forever. I thought that it could. I thought I had structured the perfect society in which I was the leader, although I tried to make it very unobvious that I was very powerful. Your father was oblivious. He would spend all day in the tent sleeping. I was in charge. It was me. I should have prevented our society from falling apart. I should have stopped them. I should have stopped Joshua.
There had been some quarreling amongst your brothers in the firewood chopper and tending the fire groups. The brothers who gathered firewood thought that their brothers tending the firewood had the easier job and they were not all equal as they should be. They wanted the tenders to gather more firewood. The tenders refused, saying it was not their job. This went on for months.
Joshua was a gatherer. He became so enraged with the whole situation that he trekked all the way back to where I had buried the gun so many years ago. He dug it up right out of the ground. I know he did. The next time he was fighting with Lucas about firewood, he pointed the gun right at his chest and pulled the trigger. He did it right in front of everyone. He did it right in front of me.
That was the first time any of our species had been murdered. Seeing the dead corpse of my beloved Lucas on the ground in tiny pieces brought back vivid memories of the night that I had accidentally murdered Frankenstein.
“What have you done?” I yelled at Joshua. His face did not show the same remorse mine had. I was beyond angry, but I had to keep my temper under control. Joshua’s brothers could not see their mother, but more importantly their leader, resort to violence. Still, I knew Joshua had to be stopped.
His grimace is one that will forever be etched in my mind. I could sense the pure hatred, the lust for murder. Joshua took one final glance at me and ran off to the west, into the woods. He no longer wanted to be a part of the family; that much was clear to me. But he was no longer permitted to be; that much was clear to him.
The rest of my children began to tremble in shock. Silence. I’ve never heard a silence quite so loud. As they stared down at Lucas’ corpse, I was fairly certain only half of them knew what was going on. They had never seen murder before, and Jacob and I had never told them such a thing as death had existed, let alone murder. Still, some of them were able to understand as they looked down at the remains of their brother’s bleeding body.
“Continue about your work,” I told them, trying to remain calm. “You saw nothing. I will deal with the situation.” After a few more moments of lingering, my children began to spread out in all directions to continue about their daily duties. I was alone with Lucas’ body. My Faith, this is the first time I did something called “cry”. The water was foreign to my eyes. I was not sure how to react. I carried the corpse to a new section of the woods and dug a hole as I had done to bury the gun. I marked the grave with a stone and scratched “Lucas” onto it with my fingernails. Then after one final sob, I staggered back to camp.
I found Jacob sleeping in the tent. I shook him awake. “Jacob. Something terrible has happened. Joshua and Lucas got in an argument over their tasks involved with the fire, and Joshua shot Lucas with the gun I had crafted long ago. He must have known where it was and dug it up. Lucas is dead. Our family is going to fall apart.”
Jacob’s eyes narrowed as he thought. He put his finger on his chin and scratched it. It was as if I could see his thoughts get more and more complex as he helped me figure out a solution.
“Well, Zoey, I think that in this case the best thing to do would be to go about business as usual. Perhaps the others will forget what they have seen and we will only be down one son and not hundreds.”
I was not sure about his answer. The others had already seen what Joshua had done. Was it already too late?
My dear Faith, I believe it was. I tried to pretend as if nothing had happened, but I couldn’t help but notice that Joshua’s fellow woodchoppers began disappearing one by one until the entire group was missing. But that was not even the thing that concerned me the most.
One day I woke up and ambled over to where the inventors did their research, and not a single one was there. I feared they had run off with the woodchoppers and were concocting weapons of mass destruction. Next the fishers were gone, and then the sewers.
The groups who did not leave were growing more and more anxious. This I could tell. The community meetings grew more and more quiet. They could see that our numbers were dwindling. Yes, the meetings were quiet, but there was much more whispering going on.
I caught those who read for knowledge reading books on weapon crafting and battle strategies. I yanked a book on cannons out of Liam’s hands.
“What is this?” I yelled at him, seething with rage.
“Mother. We do not have a choice. We know that those who have left us are planning an attack. We must defend ourselves.”
“You do not know that they are preparing for war.”
“Mother. They are. I have searched for them. I have seen Joshua. I have seen him practice shooting a gun even larger than the one he used to kill Lucas at animals as they run through the woods. The blood is sickening and the sound of the blast is deafening.”
That was about the only warning that I had. Not even an hour later, I saw every son of mine that had left the family come marching back into camp. Each was carrying a weapon of mass destruction.
“Run!” I shouted at Liam and the rest of the brothers on this side of camp. They did not run though. Liam was overcome with a glare that I recognized as almost identical to the one that Joshua had given Lucas’ dead body. Right before my eyes, my sons that were on Liam’s side rolled out cannons, shotguns, and even laser guns.
There was complete and utter silence in the camp for a moment, but it seemed like an eternity. No one moved. No one said a word. Then Joshua lifted his gun, pulled the trigger and sent a shockwave that took out George and four of his brothers closest to him. I would say they dropped dead, but it was more like they disintegrated right before my eyes.
Liam yelled, “Fire!” and his brothers shot off the cannons. The others were too far to see but I think I saw four or five of my sons fall to the ground.
Thus I ran off to the tent, grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and began writing to you, my dearest Faith. I know that I have sheltered you more than your brothers. Although you are a writer, I did not let you bond with your fellow writers too much. I wanted to preserve your innocence, because I had never quite seen anything like it. Now, I have had no choice. The war is still going on back in the field as I write this.
Listen to me. You must run. Take whomever you find that you can trust and run away. There is a raft by the dock. Cross the ocean if you must. You must get away from here. That is all you can do. Do not worry about me. I must stop the war. I must put an end to what I started.
Alas, Faith. I had thought that I could craft a new society far better than the human society that I had read so much about. Books can only teach you so much. Is every type of society doomed to fail? Must every person and monster succumb to the toxic taste of power? As I continue to hear the blasts from the battlefield, I become increasingly fearful that this is the case.
I am sorry.
Your dearest mother