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Copyright © 1998 by Clocktower Fiction. All Rights Reserved.
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[Transcribed from a recording found among the effects of Daniel Gorstein, Second Oboe, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, September 1948]
They're all gone now. And despite the others' far more Gothic talents for resurrection, it is deliciously ironic that I alone have survived. Not completely "monstrous" enough to notice, yet, all too obviously not "normal," the villagers, with their pitchforks and hounds, torches and crosses, invariably passed me by on those apocalyptic nights to pursue the Creature-- leaving mad Old Ygor, as ever, to skulk away, as he'd done so many times before, a mute witness to the destruction hidden atop the Carpathian hillside. The ancient castle, the windmill, the laboratory, all reduced to wet soot and rubble within a few savage hours.
(Even we "monsters," at our most bloodthirsty, weren't able to wreak such havoc in so short a span, eh Master?).
[LAUGHING AND COUGHING ON TAPE FOR TWO MINUTES THEN CONTINUES]
So, how is it then, that I find myself like one of those mysteriously cyclical birds, always returning here in the early Autumn, just when the sharp odors of pine needles and burnt wood begin to fill the air? Is it some kind of subconscious anniversary, I wonder? I tell the university that I am researching, of course, that these "sabbaticals" are part of another passionless article on Hungarian folk songs, but it is another history that I am concerned with here. As I follow the gypsy caravans through the villages to the south of the mountainside, I feel strangely content on this part of my pilgrimage. The gypsies: I hover at the edge of their campsites, pay heavily for food, and nightly, drink too much of their sour wine and, lay alone, playing my old shepherd's horn beneath the pinwheeling stars, staring up at the smirking moon. Dreaming, Master -
Dreaming of the old days....
The memories are at their worst during night-storms, though. In them, I face barely suppressible blue flickers of my former self creeping out from the corners of a room at night-- twisted shadows spurred by every whipcrack of lightning. It's as if my past is reaching for me, Master, drawing me back to the darkness of my life before with crooked fingers of my former sins!
And, there in my mind's eye, burning in the heart of the storm, silhouetted in blue-white electric flares, I always see you, Master, bent feverishly over your instruments, muttering incomprehensibly to the bubbling tubes and sparking wires, clutching at air like a confounded Zeusstanding before that steel altar, bearing your shrouded slab of cold sewn meat, trying to will it into life!
And dear God, how I believed in you! I, your cunning, crooked Hephaestus, a thing hardly fit to lope fawning at your side. Yes, almost from the beginning, I worshipped them all, physiciansscientists. The so-called saviors of our day!
I began my criminal career working for doctors, snatching bodies for their research long before I met Frankenstein. Can I be blamed? I was a shepherd's son lost in this new Industrial Age! I possessed no trade, and desired no bootlicking assembly job in the city! But in the center of town, there was the College of Physicians! I started as a "bearer," one of those who carried out the remains, but, after bribing the village gravedigger, I created a business of my own-the Resurrection business! A secret, dirty business admittedly, but at least I was my own master. Actually, it was the only time in my life that I was truly free, I think. I drank, whored, and sang, and had the false moment-flush love which early success and money imbue. It was only after the mistake of attempting to sell one physician the freshly interred and exhumed body of his own sister, did I ever run afoul of the law. Just that once, that's all it took. One idiotic error, and I was left dangling at the end of a rope...
The end of my first life. My first dream...
[MUTTERING AND CURSES FOR APPROXIMATELY ONE MINUTE THEN TAPE STOPS. BEGINS AGAIN MID-SENTENCE]
...But I didn't die, did I, Master?
A mistake of haste, of eagerness, no doubt, the hangman neglected to secure the knot tightly enough, just enough so that Ygor might livebut just barely, eh?
Brother Gregor, a monk, found me as I was carted off in a corpse pile with the rest of the day's executions. In fact, he nearly killed me as he pulled my near-dead body out of the heap. My neck was broken and spine shattered in numerous places. A skeletal jigsaw of humanity.
Tortured, I drifted in and out of consciousness as I was borne by horse cart to the Monastery, suffering as he repeated the Lord's Prayer over and over, without inflection, in Latin, each bump in the roadside triggering unimaginable spasms of agony. And yet, somehow, I endured. Days. Weeks.
However, though kind, the Brothers had the medical knowledge of a backward people, hoping that poppy-juice and prayer would suffice in such cases, so after five months, when my bones finally, amazingly, re knitted, they were tangled, bent. Left a human question mark, but alive, nonetheless!
And thirsty for revenge!
A year later, I bid farewell to the monks, and shambled back to the mountains, working as a shepherd once more, traveling alone in the hills, playing my horn beneath a mocking moon. And, slowly, over the months, in my solitude, I began to formulate a new dream. A second dream. The modern age would be my salvation! There had to be a way to fix this!
I determined then, that I would find a doctor, a healer who could right my hobbled form. And thus, a limping quest began...[an error occurred while processing this directive]