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Copyright © 1998 by Clocktower Fiction. All Rights Reserved.
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[WE HEAR THE CLINKING OF GLASS AND THE SOUND OF POURING LIQUID FOR A MINUTE]
It was in a public tavern located across from the medical college, where I first heard you, master: that voice, shrill, effeminate, rising over the snickering chorus of drunken students with its arrogant assertion:
"I can create life!"
I turned. And as the students sat, smirking into their cups; I listened. Not to the words, which I hadn't the ability to comprehend, but to the excitement, the thrill as you spewed forth streams of complicated jargon, waving your hands as if conducting an invisible orchestra. And I knew, almost instinctively, this was the man!
Only a man so insanely focused upon such a preposterous goal could cure me!
And immediately I realized something else:
He'd need bodies...
[A FIVE MINUTE PAUSE; THEN VOICE CONTINUES, ACCENT SLIGHTLY THICKER]
"Ygor, you fool, dig faster! You clumsy imbecile, you'll damage the tissue!"
It was always flesh. The flesh I so patiently harvested from the graves, racing against the impatient dawn. Cold. Lifeless. Flesh.
Working. Never moving quickly enough, never learning fast enough! Is it any wonder that I hated the Creature, Master? That stitched atrocity continually held my future for ransom, constantly absorbing your obsessive attention!
But the original sin between us occurred during one particularly bad night. I had suffered a severe pelting by a gang of Tyrolean schoolboys and, that afternoon, as a palliative for my aching spine, drank heavily. Unfortunately, this was the night which you needed a special task from me. The brain.
There in the murky semidark, hung over, shaking with furtive haste, I dropped the specimen. What to do? Can you truly blame me, Master?
With your urging me to hurry, fearing your wrath, I did what any scolded toady would do: I took the other specimen and ignorantly prayed that you wouldn't notice. Horrifyingly stupid, eh?
And that's where it all began, I think, my bizarre sibling bond to the Creature, as well as my filial piety to the Family Frankenstein. Odd. It was as though each of us were always trying to create a family -- a galvanic family for this new modern age.
Of course, it ended, as all of those experiments did, with the mob and flames. And me, lumpen, living alone in the ruins and graveyards, stealing from herds and flocks. I did it for twenty-five years, caring for the Creature, awaiting your heirs, your son. Still, it wasn't an invaluable time of my life. I learned English from the wandering missionaries. I played my horn in valleys and caverns; I schemed and hunted, hated by the peasant-folk below; I plotted my revenge. I see now that those mobs were but a foretaste of the mobs to follow in Europe, eh? Countries of mobs ruled by angrier, more insidious men than the Inspector. Men capable of teaching them to march in rows and kill...
(You know. I see the Inspector and the burgomaster occasionally, Master. Old men, playing shuffleboard in the square conning drinks from English tourists. The Inspector has suffered a stroke and now he walks with a limp. Funny, isn't it?).
The end came just before the War, where so many dreams much greater than mine died hastily in bomb bursts. Having exhausted the Frankensteins and nearly having been killed in an ill-conceived experiment with telekinesis, predictably, I sought the nearest scientist. Kroger, his name was, a disgraced researcher. He actually began to perform surgery on me, first altering my appearance, then doing further surgeries to increase the comfort in my neck. I took on the name "Daniel," then, and, reflecting on it, Kroger treated me fairly well though he lacked your genius, Master. We traveled from town to town and worked the carnival shows. The final operation was to straighten my spine, but then he, as you, became embroiled in intrigues, in other experiments: the fate of the Creature, lycanthropy, and, of course, vampirism.
Ha! And I, I fell in love!
First, let it be said that she was unremarkable. That particular family of gypsies had bred like rabbits throughout the region and doubtless I'm certain I had seen that face before on a sister, cousin, mother, or aunt a dozen times already. Yes, she danced well enough, and sang, but no more pleasingly than any other peasant girl I'd seen. No, it wasn't that at all. Perhaps it was that she needed me, to escape the mob that one day, who can say?
In any case I, a hunchback, repulsed her, and my punishment for overreaching was to be left once more, rent and torn by mad Talbot. But again, somehow, bafflingly, alive!
[SPILLING OF GLASS AND GIGGLING ON TAPE CUTS OFF THREE MINUTES LATER]
You know, not too long ago, in New York I thought I saw her ghost.[an error occurred while processing this directive]