Friday, April 25, 2014

Isolation in Immortality: A Continuation of Frankenstein

As I break the surface of the freezing Arctic water, my tears are washed from my face.  My father is dead and I wish the same fate upon myself.  Man has brought me nothing but pain and rejection.  I resurface in the water after my leap from the ship, waiting.  Soon, the cold will overcome my body and death will bring me solace.  It seems, however, my creation has left me with an extreme resilience to the cold.  I dive beneath the surface and inhale, feeling the water fill my lungs.  All goes black and I embrace my death with open arms. 
Suddenly I feel strong warmth upon my body.  Truly there is no better place for Satan than Hell.  I waged war against my creator with all that I had done and thus I am banished to the flaming inferno of Hell.[1]  I open my eyes to the blinding brightness of sunlight on ice and snow.  How? How could I be alive?  I may be a monster but I am no amphibian.  Why does this body refuse to die?
It seems my desire to die shall not be sated as of now.  My desire to rid my life of man is still pursuable.  Though I am without a mate from my creator, the isolation of South America’s forest could procure an endurable life.  I told the ship’s captain I would head as far north as I can and end my life with fire but the grief and shock has left me and my sanity returns.
The terrain surrounding me looks unfamiliar and strange.  I am on a beach covered with frozen chunks of ice and snow.  They glisten in the light from the sun shining bright in the cloudless sky. Perhaps I managed to travel west in my “death”, arriving in the Americas.  It is unclear to me how long my journey might have been.  A fogginess is present in my mind, clouding my ability to think.  My body has not aged since my creation.   As I rise to observe my surroundings more, I find myself unable to breathe.  The urge to cough overwhelms my body and I begin convulsing.  Slowly and agonizingly I cough up what appears to be the salty, dirty ocean water.  Had my body adapted to the conditions of the ocean or is it incapable of dying after Frankenstein’s reanimation process?
I decide to construct a small shelter as night approaches in the forest further in-land.  Although it is cold and frozen there are plenty of coniferous trees in the dense woods.  My shelter is enough to block the wind and snow.  I use some boughs as bedding; the essence of pine entering my nostrils from the sap is soothing.  The fiery sun does not set over the sea so there is a chance I have made it west.  As the last rays of light disappear I close my eyes and imagine life in South America.
As morning comes I take note of the rising sun over the sea, unless I have arrived on some large island I believe I have made it to North America.  I gather some berries from around my shelter and try to determine a plan to head south.  The pine shelter is far from comfortable to think about staying in this area indefinitely, and I wish to be away from the ice and snow.  In an attempt to find the direction south I mark the rising and setting of the sun each day for a few days.  Hunger begins to set in after the third day.  Small, bitter berries are not enough nourishment to sustain my body in these conditions.
One night I dream of my father.  The visions of him are not memories as I have few of those to speculate on.  In my sleep I see him as a loveless, irresponsible man with no regard for his creations.  He makes all sorts of creatures and abandons them deep in the northern ice fields.  I never see him make other humanoids, always animal-like monstrosities.  Eventually his wife bears him a child that is born disfigured and sickly.  A resonating scene in my head as I arise in the morning is of him strangling his own child.
Today I decided to begin my journey south.  I plan to follow the coastline for as long as I can, avoiding all people along the way.  I am in no rush to reach the end of my adventure as the first day comes to a close.  The scenery is ever changing and the wildlife is entertaining to observe.  There are more houses and people to avoid as I continue my trek.  I am able to steal some small amounts of food during the night to keep my hunger sated.  Constant deviations are becoming a nuisance but time is moot to my existence.  My thoughts as I travel are of death and whether I will be able to achieve it.  For some reason unknown to me I was unable to freeze or drown.  I consider the thought of immortality and how far that might extend into my being.  Like Satan and the other damned angels I could be invincible.  Their invincibility, however, did not spare them the unending pain of Hell.  Should I plunge over a cliff?  I wish to die but I fear the result of that plunge.  What if my body shatters but I remain alive? Would I be able to feel every pain for eternity as the inhabitants of Hell do?  An immortal life free of physical pain or deformities far outweighs the risk of eternal agony. 
   My progression south is slow but steady.  The ice disappeared a few days ago and I am anxious to see the snow vanish as well.  It is definitely warmer than when I started, a strong indication I have indeed been traveling south.  My thoughts have shifted from death to education.  Observing the family in the cottage taught me a lot and I developed into who I am today as a result.  Maybe there is more knowledge to be acquired through observation without interaction, as interaction severed my previous relationship.
After another few days I have finally made it beyond the coverage of snow.  I walk slow and allow my senses to be taken over.  Flowers emit wondrous scents that mix well with the warm inviting smell of the green forest.  Small twigs snap and leaves rustle beneath my feet, both mixing with birds singing in the tree tops and animals scurrying as they become aware of my presence. Explosions of green in every shade are offset by the dull brown of the tree trunks and amplified by the bright yellows, purples, oranges, and reds of the wild flowers flourishing in the undergrowth.  As I come to a stop amongst the beauty of nature I find myself full of envy.   I am neither a creation of nature nor do I possess any form of beauty.  A cool breeze brings a new smell into my nostrils; smoke. 
I follow the direction of the wind and discover a small farm.  Quickly I construct a small, well hidden shelter out of sight of the farmhouse.  The sun is setting as a storm moves in that soaks me throughout the night.  Sleep eludes me so I begin to ponder over the construct I will build in the dense forest of South America.  It will need a water tight roof for the almost daily rain showers that occur, but it should not be insulated as the climate is very warm.  Because of the vast amount of creatures that could live in the forest it must also be raised off the ground.  What effects would poisons have on my body?  The possibility exists that my flesh could reject the poison entirely having no effects, much like I did not drown from inhaling the salty ocean water.  Another possibility is that my body would accept the poison and all the resulting pain but refuse to die.  The limits of my potential immortality are something I still do not want to put to the test.  Desperation may lead to that path as my life extends forward, however I do not wish to explore it now. 
The farm seems to be inhabited only by an elderly man and his dog.  From my observations he seems to be entirely self-sustaining.  He raises his own cattle, grows his own produce, and grows the food to feed the cattle.  I am already successful at gathering my own food sources from the wild but thus far I have been constantly traveling.  If I were to stay in one place long enough, such as this man does, learning to grow my own food would be an immeasurable advantage. 
I need to observe this man more, understanding him will help me establish the means of a stable future in South America and also how to maintain happiness in isolation from man.   He eats, sleeps, and goes about chores from day to day.  In the weeks I maintain my surveillance he has no visits or contact from any people whatsoever.  Yet, I observe he is not depressed or unaccepting of his isolation.  Maybe like I, he has chosen this life alone.  The circumstances of his choice could hold the underlying difference between his enjoyment and mine.  I was rejected by man, resulting in my decision; however he could have possessed the ability to reject man without having first been denied acceptance.
Despite the nature of his solitude, he and I are both alone.  He is happy and I am starting to wish for some sort of interaction other than hidden observation.  Even though I have sworn off man and I remember the disappointment of revealing myself to the cottagers, I still desire acceptance.  It would be easier to reject man after being accepted and learning of my distaste for their ways through direct interaction.  But this man is alone and I am alone.  Without consideration of how we both got to this lifestyle, he has found solace and I have not. 
One day the farmer goes deep into the woods for a long hunt.  While he is out I decide to search the house for something, anything that keeps him entertained and distracted.  I expect to find a massive room filled with books upon books.  The thought of being able to borrow books while the farmer is doing chores changes my mood already.  I remember the soft, well-turned pages of Paradise Lost, Lives, and The Sorrows of Young Werthers, my treasures. 
As I enter the farm house I find no such library.  There are not even paintings on the walls to admire.  The entire house is free of any dirt, grime, mud, or filth of any kind that one would expect to find in a farm house.  Everything is exceptionally clean and organized.  Is this how he distracts himself from other people, by cleaning constantly?  I keep searching, there has to be something I’m missing.  I find one book in the entire house, the farmer’s journal.  Obviously I cannot take it with me to read so I begin to skim the first page:
She married today, the only person I could share my feelings with, though I could never manage to share this feeling with her.  I have no one to share any feelings with now, except for you.  I can fill you with my deepest secrets, my overwhelming feelings and you will not judge or leave me for another.  I will never love another as I loved her and I never want to see a man again to remind me of the one I lost her to.  For some, they might see death as answer to my struggle and I do see that solution, but only after a long life.  I regret my failure to express my feelings to her and I do not want to regret suicide as well in my life after death . . .”
I want to continue reading but I hear the dog barking off in the distance.  Returning the journal to its proper place I quickly exit the farmhouse and sneak to my shelter.  This man’s life is a rendition of Werther’s life where he chooses to live instead of die.[2]  I am fascinated by his desire to write in his journal in place of human contact.  It seems he views the journal as a person.  According to his writing it seems he and I have both been rejected by man and chose to live a life of solitude.  I must read more of his life.
In attempt to keep him away from the house for most of the day, I remove part of his fence in the night and allow one of his cows to escape into the woods.  As he and the dog search I return to the journal and begin to read more.  He writes for six pages about setting up the farm and depressing stories of loneliness and regret.  Then he has a fight with the journal, blaming it for holding onto his pain and reminding him always of the love he lost.  I worry he will stop writing and I flip to halfway through the journal to find empty pages. I flip back and find the journal is empty after only ten pages.  Why did he stop writing? I was confident he was maintaining his abstinence from man by writing to this journal.  The last page reads:
I found a young wolf pup alone in the woods.  He was rejected by his mother, one who he thought loved him much like I thought she loved me.  Now that we have found each other we have no need for either one of them.  You are filled with poisonous memories of my past and I do not need you anymore.  I will no longer write but perhaps I will visit you again someday to remind me of how far I have come.  My new friend needs love and I have plenty of unused love to spare.”
True to his word the farmer never does again write.  It is unclear to me whether he has read it again because of the house’s cleanliness.  I did not expect the dog to be his solace.  I retire to my shelter to dwell upon how this can be.  
The dog and the farmer go everywhere together.  I did not observe this at first but now I see it more clearly.  They were rejected by their loves in life and found love and companionship in each other.  Together they seem happy and able to cheer each other up throughout the day.  Often when the farmer appears weary he will start to slow down on his chores noticeably.  When this happens the dog runs into the woods and finds a decently sized stick.  The dog continuously pesters the farmer by nuzzling him in the legs or grazing his legs with the stick repeatedly until finally the farmer submits.   He takes the stick from the dog’s slobbery mouth and tosses it a small distance; all his elderly arms can seem to muster in his weariness.  Almost comically the dog bounds away from the stick, pretending the distance is more than it can manage and returns it to the farmer’s hand.  The smile on his face as the dog lies down beside him remains fresh in my mind as I fall asleep that night.
I wish to have the happiness and friendship that exists between the farmer and his dog.  They care and love each other in such a way that surpasses that of some human relationships I have observed, especially greater than that of Victor and his wife.  On one of the days of my observation the farmer is working his potato field while the dog wonders about the farm, always staying in sight of his friend.  I am busy watching the dog when I hear the roar.  A large feline beast has moved from the woods and is confronting the farmer as he swings his hoe and yells frantically at it. The dog races to his rescue, howling and growling along the way.  They circle, sizing each other up before the mountain lion dives in for the attack.  With its wolf-like stature the dog is able to sustain the fight, eventually causing the beast to flee back into the woods but not without injury.  The farmer quickly removes his shirt and ties it around the wound to stop the bleeding.  He places his wounded savior into a wheelbarrow and moves him back to the house.  I worry the brave creature will not make it through the night.
That night I do not sleep.  I am filled with dread pondering over the potential death of the dog.  Will the farmer take his own life after losing his best friend?  He loves his pet with unconditional love and the dog returns that love with loyalty, happiness, and security.  Together they care for each other and have no need for other people.  Death is one thing neither of them can avoid like I can; I wonder what will happen to other if one of them were to die.  Hopefully that question will not be answered when the sun rises in the morning.  If I were to find a companion in nature and share a relationship as close as this farmer and his dog, how would I handle its eventual death?
Morning comes and the farmer is doing his usual morning chores but the dog is not with him.  When he moves to work in the field again he brings the dog out in the wheelbarrow and lays it in the grass near him.  Thankfully the dog has survived the encounter.  The farmer takes occasional breaks to check on his friend and even brings him a stick to chew on and play with while he recovers.  They share a mutual happiness through the day and retire to the farmhouse as the sun begins to set. 
Continuing to stay here on the farm I would risk being discovered eventually.  I dwell on the thought of why the dog did not discover me with its powerful sense of smell within the first few days of my arrival and observation.  Maybe by chance the dog cannot detect the smell my body emits?  Or perhaps my body reeks of death and it avoids me like a plague?  The farmer has unknowingly taught me plenty of things to pursue in South America to sustain my life.  Hopefully I can find my own companion along the way as well.
I destroy what is left of my shelter after several weeks inhabiting it and leave the farm well behind me by the end of the day.  There are hopes in my mind of discovering some wild creature to travel with me as the days pass.  Every animal I come across fears me.  I did not notice in my journey before the farm but nearly all animals flee from my presence.  Some animals have attempted to bite me while others expel their bladders beneath them and cower in terror.  I must be genuinely horrifying to imbue so much fear into an animal that it loses control of its own body.  Being rejected by man and animal was not something I was prepared for.  How can I survive in seclusion without a companion?  The farmer has his dog and I have nothing.  My mind wonders again to suicide.  I feel like Werther with my contemplations on suicide.  Sadly his certainty of achieving death was far higher than my own.
In a small cave near a stream I come across a snake that shakes its tail as I approach it, making a hissing sound.  I back away and observe this strange species from a distance.  It waits patiently in a small alcove along the creek until a small rabbit approaches to drink some water.  With one quick motion it buries its fangs into the critter which begins twitching violently after only a few seconds.  The twitching does not last much longer and soon the rabbit goes limp as the snake consumes it whole.  Neither the snake nor the rabbit are very large, this could be a potential situation to test the extent of my immortality.  I am already alone with no companion from nature or from man.  Testing the effect of poisons on my body could help me discover a way to finally leave this world and be at peace in Hell.[3]
As I approach the snake it purges the rabbit from its bulging stomach and prepares to defend itself.  I reach out my hand and it strikes me once on the hand and twice along my forearm.  Initially I feel nothing.  A burning sensation starts in my fingers and progresses up my arm.  It continues to my shoulder and into my chest and neck.   When it gets to my heart I feel it cease its rhythmic beating and I collapse to the ground as my eyes start to darken and I lose control of my legs. 
I awaken sometime during the night.  The burning sensation is completely absent from my body but my muscles ache with a constant, universal pain.[4] Clearly the poison had some effect on my body.  A stronger toxicity of venom might hold the key to defeating my immortality.  South America might hold a creature to offer me the death I dream of as my isolation increases.  I have not died yet but my body is in a state of agonizing, continuous pain.  When I try to stand, my limbs do not obey my commands. Curse this body and curse Victor Frankenstein.  Will I lie here in pain for all of eternity?  For what feels like hours I try time and time again to rouse my body from the ground and continue my journey.  With each defeat I wish for death twenty times over.  What have I done? Why did I test my immortality instead of coping with my isolation and loneliness?[5]
I lay there in helpless torture, still wishing for death.  Werther must have wished death as much as I while he lay on the floor in his room before his servant found him early that morning.  Night falls and I wonder what creatures will come to devour my still living body as I lay motionless yet screaming internally in pain.  Straining with all the will power I have left I attempt to move even a finger on my paralyzed body.  An intense pain is sent shooting through my body as my left index finger moves slightly.  The pain does not stop me.  I strain harder and harder, each new movement causes more and more pain.  Finally I am able to raise my left arm when it falls back to the earth with a thud and my eyes darken once more.
When I finally wake I immediately try to move my limbs to find they all obey their commands.  Agony still hangs in my muscles as I rise.  I can handle the constant pain as long as I am able to move again.  Once I feel more stable I make my way to the creek and drink some handfuls of the water.  My hand trembles greatly but I manage to quench my thirst.  Slowly over the course of the entire day the pain lessens and eventually subsides from my body by nightfall.    The only explanation I have for the previous events is that my body accepted the poison and all its effects.  Instead of allowing it to kill me though, it proceeded to adapt to the toxins and work to either remove it from my body slowly or possibly change itself to work with the poison still present in my system.[6]  It would be simple to test this theory by allowing the snake to bite me again but I do not wish to relive that dreadful experience so soon.  I can find a way to cope with my isolation until I discover my salvation in death.  For now, I will continue to move south towards my goal to be free of man entirely.   
Sometime after calming my thoughts of the events that unfolded I arrive in a massive pine forest.[7]  I climb one of the massive trees and look towards the south.  It is an ocean of deep, dark green extending far beyond what I can see.  The smell of pine sap is ever present in my nose.  I am reminded of my first night on this continent, engulfed by pine in my shelter.  While the sun sets I make a small bed of pine boughs for the night. 
Suddenly I am awakened by a voice in the darkness.  There is a fire lit not far from my bed and I see him standing there, looking down on me.
“You did so well my exquisite tool.  I underestimated the potential of your intellectual capabilities but nonetheless you achieved all that I could not.  Yet, I created you, thus in the end it was I who did everything.”
                My creator is dead; I saw his lifeless body on that ship.  How is he here? To what achievements is he referring?
“Would I have not contracted pneumonia seeking you out to destroy you after your good work; my life would be all that I had planned so intricately.  You see, I disliked my father but I did not want to be responsible for William should my father die.  I had no intentions of marrying Elizabeth and you took care of that quite well.  It was less than simple to anger you enough to kill her.  That actually was a work of luck thanks to your ridiculous desire for a mate.  In fact, I was able to get two murders out of you from that wondrous work of your imagination.  I bet you even considered yourself smarter than me when you framed Justine.  How did you not realize I wanted her gone as well when I didn’t tell the people of your existence to stop her execution?”[8]
                Crash! A falling tree slams to the ground my eyes open and try to focus my cloudy mind.  It was just a dream.  I ruminate on the content of the dream for far longer than I should have.  Sadly, I start to believe the voice of my creator in my dream.  Had he really been playing the part the entire time?  It would explain his abandonment.  I need a companion; I have to get my mind away from this horrific realization that I might have been just a tool to Viktor, doing his dirty work.  Why would a dream come and plague me as I try to move south through this forsaken labyrinth of coniferous green and white sap. 
                Animals fear me, people fear me, and I am desperately lonely.  Werther enters my mind briefly but I dismiss it immediately with thoughts of the pain I endured not long ago.  Then an even more desperate thought enters my mind.  Despite the time that has passed since I read Frankenstein’s journal, his notes and work are clear in my brain.  Though my hatred for my creation and abandonment goes beyond words, creating a creature of my own under certain circumstances is better than suicide or what might result from suicide.  I argue with myself for countless hours.  It takes time to convince myself that having a companion for my solitude outweighs my distaste for the creation process.  I am also convinced that because I have love to provide and nourish my creation the situation is much more acceptable.  Of course the idea that I won’t be creating a humanoid makes me feel better too.
                I begin gathering parts of animals I find in the woods.  There was a dead fox I found after searching for a few hours and I also discover a giant bat inside a cave.  My creature isn’t going to be able to fly but I want to make it as hideous as I am.  Heading east I eventually come across a small town.  I gather the legs of a baby pony that died shortly after birth along with all the materials I will need to perform the reanimation and assemble the parts together.  For the creatures head I decapitate a goat from one of the town’s farms.  Rationally, I think that a goat’s mind would be the most relaxed and unaggressive of any creatures I might find in the woods.  There is a dead hawk not far from where I decided to start my work.  I replace the fox’s front paws with the hawk’s talons, its rear legs with those of the pony, and place the wings on the back, linking them to the shoulder blades.  I am able to catch several rats around the town and stitch the tails together into a longer tail for my creature.  To make the tail more threatening I place the bottom three talons of a large, beautifully feathered bird with a red head that I find in the area.[9] 
                The creature is far from the natural beauty held by the animals it is composed of, much like I am.  It is horrendous enough to scare any people away that approach me during my journey and in my isolation of South America.  I finish up the final stitching and make the proper preparations to begin the reanimation process.  Maybe I will be able to train my new companion to hunt food for me. Before I start the process I question the validity of my doings.  Nature rejects me so I must reject it and create my own if I am to survive.[10]  If the creature possesses the same immortality as I, I will not need to fear the repercussions of its death upon me as the farmer did.  An immortal pet for an immortal man is a solution worth seeking out.  I begin my new creature’s reanimation eager to have company in eternal life.  Even Satan had his angelic allies for company in Hell.[11]
                What a pathetic creature!  Its limbs twitch and barely move at all once it begins to breathe through the goat’s mouth into the fox’s lungs.  The tail moves only slightly and the legs have not joined the group of moving limbs at all.  I pick it up in an attempt to help it stand and balance itself on the pony’s legs.  It topples to the ground in a thud without putting forth any effort at all.  Remembering Viktor’s notes of my ugliness and inability to function after my initial creation I decide to allow the creature to develop on its own.  To keep it safe I observe it from a small distance away. 
                After several hours my creation is finally able to stand and its tail moves in intricate ways to help keep it balanced, occasionally sticking itself into the ground to prevent the creature from falling over when it starts to teeter.  In an attempt to nourish it and help it grow unlike my father did for me, I decide to help it begin to walk.  Before long it is walking freely around the camp.  I feed it a few berries growing near camp and drift off to sleep as I observe it beginning to try to run. 
                When I wake the next morning the creature is nestled into a small corner of the shelter sleeping softly.  As I arise it begins to stir and awakes to greet me.  A smile crosses my face as I rub its goat head and feed it more berries.  We depart the shelter together and I notice slash markings on the bark of the trees, alarmingly high up.  Suddenly the creature spreads its bat wings and begins flapping them profusely.  Soon it is airborne and soars over my head.  The claw at the end of the tail hits off of the trees as it weaves between them.  Clearly my creation has been learning at an extremely fast rate and its body has immense strength like my own. 
                That evening I manage to catch a few small rabbits for the pair of us to eat.  I rip a small limb from one of the rabbits and present it to my pet.  It devours the piece immediately.  Instead of feeding it directly I toss the rest of the meal several feet away from the camp to which it follows with great speed, eating the rest with haste.  Maybe I can teach this marvelous creation of mine how to hunt for itself and for me.  Before I finish the thought I see its spiked tail stab into a small mouse that was skittering through the thick layer of pine needles that cover the forest floor.  We both retire to the shelter and I close my eyes, thinking of the state I was in not two weeks ago, pursuing death in my loneliness and despair.  Here I am now; filled with happiness and hope in the companion I have created for eternal life.
                Suddenly a scream in the distance awakens me from my slumber.  My pet is nowhere to be found so I head in the direction of the town.  About halfway there I discover the source of the scream as I watch in horror as my wonderful creature is delving its teeth into the corpse of a hunter from the village.  There are a slew of slain and devoured creatures around the area.  Some are as small as mice others as big as deer.  My creature has killed and eaten them all then continued hunting until it came across a villager and saw it as a source of food like the others.  I approach it slowly and try to grab it to stop it from eating the poor soul that lies at its feet.  When I get a grip around its neck it squirms free and lets out a strange sound, almost like the growl of a dog mixed with the baa of a sheep.  In an attempt to stop it from continuing to devour the man I smack it across the side of its head.  The jaw ceases its chewing and the goat head slowly turns to me.  Its mouth opens and the creature lets out a deafening screech as blood and small pieces of the hunter fall from its grasp. 
“Rip them off! Rip them off!” I yell into the trees.
I am frantically covering my ears as the blood-curdling scream echoes through the pines and through the entirety of my body.[12] I duck as it swoops over my head, whipping me in the left shoulder with its spiked mace tail and screeching into my ear even louder.  The sound is nearly paralyzing as I race deeper into the forest, hoping to flee from the monstrosity I have awoken in flesh.   I think I have managed to get away when the sound finally stops.  Then I hear voices.  The townspeople have come to investigate the petrifying sounds being emitted by the dense forest.  I hear a scream, a gunshot, and then the unmistakable screeching of the creature once more.   The screeching and yelling continues until morning.  Warm tears stream down my face during night from my hiding place.  What have I done?
After an eternity the sun finally rises high enough in the sky that I feel safe moving from my spot.  I head towards the small town to observe the ruthless destruction that ensued as a result of my desperation and loneliness.  Something went wrong during the process but I do not know how.  I followed all of my father’s notes as strictly as I could remember them.  My creature was friendly and brought me happiness.  All I wanted to do was stop it from hunting man.  The smell of blood overwhelms my nostrils.  I look around and see the vibrant sprays of red amidst the dull brown of the trees.  There are several bodies of the towns people littered around the area.  Has the monster left any soul alive in this place?  Slowly I approach the houses of the town, hoping that some mother or child managed to hide from the death I have created.
Most of the doors to the houses have been broken down.  Bloody hoof prints lead into them and I fear everyone has been slaughtered.  I hear a faint whimper from inside a house that still has its door intact.  As I try to push open the door I learn whoever is inside has blocked the door with something.  The shear strength of my enlarged body allows me to push it out of the way.  Sunlight pours in through the door and onto a little girl lying on the hard wooden floor.  I rush to her side and hold her tiny hand, careful not to crush it with my own.  She turns her head to look at me.  Her blue eyes stare into mine. 
“A-a-a . . . are you here to save me, God?” She barely manages to get past her lips.[13]
                Slowly her head turns back to look straight at the ceiling and I see the fear engulf her precious blue eyes.  I have no time to react as the three-talon tail plunges into her chest and the screeching begins again.  When I reach to grab the wretched tail, it is quickly pulled away from my grasp.  The creature falls from the ceiling and lands on the young girl’s body.  I try to strike it with a closed fist across its disgusting, blood soaked goat head but I hit nothing but air.  I am met with the pounding force of the two hooves on my chest that knock me out of the open doorway.  Rising quickly I prepare to fight off pummeling blows from the deadly tail but see a more disturbing sight.  My creation, my miraculous companion, is drinking the blood of the little girl from the floor boards.  I find a still burning lantern in a nearby carriage, toss it at the creature and close the door as the fire begins to engulf the room.  The screeching resumes as I see the monster burst from the house’s chimney and fly into the tops of the pine trees.[14] 
                I return to the creature’s birth place and destroy all traces of its genesis.  Before leaving the area completely, I gather what things I can from the town, specifically anything I can use to create fire for the rest of my journey.  I continue heading south for three days and nights, unable to stop for fear that I am being hunted.  By morning on the fourth day I am free of the pine green and brown maze but proceed south regardless.  As evening approaches I find a small setting of trees to stop and rest for the night.  I collapse on a bed constructed of tree boughs and do not wake until long after sunrise the next day.
                She called me God.  Have the roles reversed now?  I considered myself Satan but who am I now?  Like God I created and expected loyalty and love from my creation.  I did not want this role forced upon myself but here I am, abandoning the life I have made like my father abandoned me.  If he created me as a tool for his own use isn’t that the same as what I had hoped to achieve? I convinced myself my love and care would make it nothing like my own creation but I did not expect the result to be a true monster.  The chances of me being able to find and successfully kill it are small; I can only hope it remains within the confines of the labyrinth of pine, like the Minotaur in Cretan.  My hopes rest in a hero rising one day as great as Theseus and slaying the beast.[15]  Until that day comes I shall live in a state of dread, wondering how many lives my horrific monster has taken from unsuspecting souls that enter the maze.
                The path south is slow and full of guilt and depression.  I am rejected by all manner of living things, even my own creation who I tried so desperately to love and nourish.  Eventually I come across the ocean cutting a path inland.  Surrounded by water on two sides I pick the western side and follow it back north and west.  When I can finally see across the water I embrace the water and swim.  I am reminded of the freezing water in the Arctic and ponder over my first attempt at suicide.  Maybe this time it will work?  Even if it doesn’t I don’t wish to feel anything anymore.  I submerge and inhale, my last thoughts before everything goes black again is of the bright blue eyes of the girl and her faint young voice rings in my ears.
“A-a-a . . . are you here to save me, God?”
                A monotone droning sound forces me to open my eyes.  The sound is growing louder as the terrible retching of water and mucus out of my lungs begins.  I look all around me and cannot discover the source of the noise.  Suddenly a gargantuan bird soars over the tree tops above me.  Watching it fly over the water several times I detect it does not flap its wings and appears to be the source of the sound.  I continue to watch from the cover of the trees and slowly unearth its real identity.  It is no bird at all but some form of mechanical beast.  On a real low pass over the water in front of me I see that man is the mastermind behind this flying creation.[16]  How long was I “deceased” for this time? Avoiding man is going to be increasingly more difficult as I continue my journey south.
                I try not to think of my actions prior to my third attempt at achieving death.  When I do, I convince myself that Theseus has come and handled the Minotaur with expertise by now.  To try and keep my mind away from all of it I mull over Werther’s suicide.  If he had completely survived his suicide, not just for the agonizing twelve hours after the shot, would he have tried again as I did?  I feel as if he would.  Considering I contemplate it as much as he did and I have tried thrice there is no doubt he would continue trying.  Those twelve hours had to be torture enough, I fear with my inability to expire thus far that those twelve hours would actually be eternity should I attempt something as drastic as leaping from a cliff side. 
                So I plan to continue my pursuit of isolation in South America.  Being truly alone is going to be harrowing but I hope now that the beauty of nature is going to be enough to satisfy me.  There is so much to observe and admire.  Maybe I can build several different shelters throughout the woods and rotate between them.  Maybe there will be a beast in the woods that is accepting of my figure and will become my companion.  Maybe and indigenous tribe will accept me as one of their own.  I just have to keep going, keep hoping I will find acceptance by man or nature.
                The amounts of towns I come across are much greater than before.  Heading south I come across a massive city filled with man and man’s mechanical beasts.  I travel west in anticipation of finding woodland cover to hide presence from them.  Gradually the area is becoming more wooded.  There is a small town between two sections of really dense forest.  In the protection of the trees I set up a small shelter and monitor the town throughout the night.  No lights, no movement.  The next morning I go into the town to explore its remnants, it is completely abandoned.  I lie down on the ground within a small house and drift into a deep sleep. 
                That night I dream of the death of the girl with blue eyes.  This time when she looks up I place my body over her and take my monster’s stab into my shoulder blade.  I pick up her tiny figure and shield her as I carry her out of the house, taking blows from the beast as we flee into the woods.  For days and nights we are moving through the woods.  Once we escape the pines I tell her we are safe now.  She squeaks a thank you out and places her hand softly on my face, tracing my scars. 
“I know I am ugly but I can keep you safe and care for you.” I mutter to her.
“O-o-ok.” She stutters out. “Where are we going to go?”
“People don’t like me very much; I’m going to South America to hide from all of them.  Would you like go with me?”
                The dream cuts to a wooden construct in a thick forest.  Warm, humid air fills my lungs and the sounds overwhelm my ears.  Birds are singing the most perfectly noted songs and small, furry animals that look like people with tails chatter as they rustle leaves, jumping among the tree tops.  Frogs’ croaks echo all around me. 
“Adam, what are you doing?” I hear behind me.  I turn and see a woman standing in front of me, her blue eyes shimmering in a ray of light that has managed to penetrate through the tree tops.
“Just listening, the birds sound wonderful today, don’t they Eve?” The name crosses my lips instinctively and I wake suddenly as the sunlight shines onto my face through a hole in the house’s roof. 
                The dream hangs heavy in my mind as the day goes on.  Even my dreams taunt me with thoughts of paradise and a life of being accepted by man, or in this case a woman.  There is no paradise for me in this world.  My creator cast me out of the garden before allowing me the chance to sink my teeth into the apple and there was no Michael to show me what the rewards of my struggles in life will bring.  There is only one salvation for me as there was only one solution to Werther’s pain and suffering: death.  I gather wood from the surrounding woods and fallen down buildings, constructing a large pyre in the middle of the town.  Once the fire becomes a raging inferno comparable to the flaming bowels of Hell I leap into the center. There was no one present to bade me adieu, “Wretched, wretched that I am – not one farewell!” Werther’s words hang heavy in my mind as the flames engulf me.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: The Lynd Ward Illustrated Edition. Dover, 2009.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Online. Available:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The Sorrows of Young Werther. Online. Available:

Plutarch. Lives. Online. Available:
Weird N.J. The Jersey Devil. Online. Available:
Department of Environmental Conservation: New York. Timber Rattlesnake Fact Sheet. Online. Available:

[1] In reference to Paradise Lost where the monster considers himself Satan rather than Adam
[2] From Goethe’s The Sorrow of Young Werther in which Werther loses the woman he truly loves to an arranged marriage and commits suicide rather than endure the pain
[3] Interestingly, the monster believes he is going to Hell because he is Satan and Hell is where Satan belongs, not because of the murders he committed by killing William and Elizabeth
[4] Venom from the Northeastern Rattlesnake is typically a form of Neurotoxin, the destruction of the neurons typically causes muscles to fire and thus spasm uncontrollably. His muscle aching is a result of these spasms.
[5] I am trying to establish some form of an argument here that isolation and rejection leads to his suicide and that even though he regrets his attempts he continues to try because he sees death as the only solution.  It might be a stretch here but I would like to purpose this is use of the Estrangement Effect of Marcuse to represent suicide in our society as a result of rejection/bullying and loneliness.
[6] To clear this up, he believes his body was either flushing the toxin from his body once it got in and then his body rebuilt his neurons or that his body has changed the way his entire being functions by working with his damaged neurons and other cells in such a way that being introduced to the toxin again will have no effect on his body, like immunizations.
[7] In reference to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, as he is moving along the eastern coast
[8] This is my own personal take on the Frankenstein story.  People tend to forget it is Viktor himself telling the story to Walton, he can mold it in any particular way he wants.  I like to give his intelligence more credit than most.  From the beginning he did not want to marry Elizabeth and he flees when his father suggests it.  Although he does get married he knows the monster will come for her so he won’t have to bear it for long.  The other deaths are pretty well touched on in the dream.  He wanted to be a man with no responsibilities in his selfish pursuit of knowledge.
[9] Most descriptions of the Jersey Devil say it has these characteristics.  I tried my best to think of animals that would be in the New Jersey area to compose the creature of these features.  The red headed bird is a wild turkey incase that was not clear.  I would have explicitly said turkey but I was unsure the monster would be familiar with that name.
[10] Another possible hint at the argument, as people are rejected by society they start to reject it back in their loneliness, potentially resulting in terrible tragedies like shootings
[11] Referring of course to the angels that joined with Satan in his war against God in Paradise Lost that were banished to Hell with him.  The monster is starting to believe his existence now might already be Hell.
[12] Legends say the Jersey Devil can not only fly but emits a terrible shrieking sound as well.
[13] Because of his large stature and massive hands the girl believes he is God from the Bible come to save her and take her to Heaven. He understands her words to be from his reading of Paradise Lost.
[14] In the original legend, it is said the Jersey Devil is the 13th child of the family Leeds that lived in the Pine Barrens.  When she gave birth it transformed into the creature, killed the other children in the house and fled out through the chimney.  This is my rendition of the legend to include the monster’s creation but also incorporate some of the original legend.
[15] In reference to his reading of Lives which holds the story of the Minotaur in the maze and Theseus’s slaying of that Minotaur.  It might be another stretch here to compare this to a person in isolation waiting for a hero to come and save them from what they have done as a result of their depression/loneliness (ie drug use or cutting of the wrists/other locations on their body).
[16] In fact he has been “dead” for a very long time.  The legend of the Jersey Devil started around the year 1735 while airplanes would not have been seen until at least 1903 when the Wright Brothers are credited with the earliest powered airplane flight.

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