What if Mary Shelley’s, FRANKENSTEIN, was really a true story?
BACK FROM THE DEAD: the true sequel to Frankenstein is a contemporary telling of the thought-to-be mythical creature. The story follows the account by Sergio Carerra, the scientist who revives the “monster” from a two-hundred year arctic freeze, and with his psychologist wife, Sophia, brings him into the family of man. The creature’s 1790’s Gothic sojourns reveal a unique perspective on the original story, why he survived, and the fate of his mate.
How does present society see this formidable beast, so different than his movie counterpart, and how does he feel about his unwanted resurrection? Now that he’s back, others are interested in him, and they’ll do anything to get what they want.
~ Like children with toy blocks, we can play with DNA and atoms, construct wonders with them, but we know nothing of men’s souls. ~
Doctor Sergio Carerra
The study was small and dim, lit mostly by the radiance coming from the fireplace. Picture frames pressed tightly to walls, their images and writings too dark to see. Meso-American artifacts, religious icons and Asian antiquities nestled in the shared space of shelves and cabinets, arranged in no particular way, among travel mementos and sports trophies. They stood out in sharp relief, seemingly alive, flickering as the fire did.
The discordant clicking of computer keys rose above the crackling fire and the only other light source washed out of a computer screen, illuminating the man in front of it in an electronic white halo.
The clicking stopped, and the man sat back for a moment in thought, staring into the brilliance of the screen. With a resignation that seemed overwrought with sadness, he leaned forward and again began to type. His face, lit in an intensity of light, was set in exquisite emotional turmoil. Concerted effort forced his concentration.
Words streamed across the monitor, dark symbols against the luster of a modern age, giving meaning to the memories that flowed from his mind, through each clicking key and out to the world for all to see—and to judge:
I write this account out of love. There can be no mistake about this, for the crimes I have made against the world stem from that love. What I have just done to end this tortured history, that too, was out of love. But are these words just my cry of atonement or for forgiveness from those who would pass judgment? Maybe both, maybe neither.
For truly, nothing can be forgiven. It has been done. Possibly, in the morning or the mornings after, these truths will seem unbelievable and so the pain a little more bearable.
I will tell my—, no, his story from the beginning. The beginning for me, but the rebirth for him.
My name is Sergio Carerra. Not a name to be attached to heroic feats or memorable myths, but a good name. Quite adequate for a doctor.
Although this story has its origins two hundred years past with quite a famous name, he, in fact, wasn’t a doctor at all. A simple misnomer brought on by the advent of cinema. Who knows where I will stand when added to this infamous history?
The true beginning for me was probably the same as for most people: a high school literature class, reading the one book everyone really wanted to read. But for the world, and even myself, this accounting begins in the Arctic, up around Greenland. I wasn’t there, but tourists from a cruise ship were.
The helicopter skirted above the choppy waves directly toward the great glacial wall, where history melts away at 300 feet a year, then suddenly ascended, like a speck of silver glitter wafting on arctic winds. Inside the overheated, vibrating machine, the muffled rhythm of the helicopter blades timed the pulses of the passengers. The celestial azure colliding with the frigid, terror-filled blue of the water, filled those wide-eyes with a splendor usually reserved for painters or poets. This, almost subliminal glory, was cut off in a painful, squinting instant as the chopper cleared the height of the glacial wall to be engulfed in a reflective glare blasting through the thin air from the frozen primordial river below. The view gave them entry into a heavenly wilderness of ethereal luster, accented by glimpses into treacherous glacial gashes. A kilometer from the edge of ice and sea, the helicopter touched down, a plume of white billowing up, obstructing the view, then a slight, jarring thunk.
The pilot flicked all switches off and the engine torqued down whining a desperate cry. The white void everyone stared into slowly dissipated revealing a magical unmoving ocean of ice, its waves frozen in an instant, eons old, for all to see.
As soon as the doors opened, five children bounded from the chopper releasing unearthly ear-splitting shrieks into the chill air. Two sets of parents followed cautiously, outfitted head to foot in tundra gear, standing stiff and bulky, moving their bodies in unison as they looked around in awe and wonder. The crisp, clean air, breathed subtly sweet, like gumdrops.
Only moments passed before adult eyes met, realizing if they didn’t shed their multiple layers of thermal tundra wear, they might all spontaneously combust. They glanced over at the pilot as he slipped from the cockpit wearing ragged jeans and a typically worn bomber jacket.
The children, dressed in high-fashion parkas with colors bright enough to melt the arctic circle, immediately tried to make snowballs.
“Hey, this is ice!” a little boy squealed.
“You can’t make snowballs outta this,” another complained. “It’s too hard!”
A five-year-old, with a great chunk of frozen crystals in her smiling mouth, happily found her own solution.
“Tastes like a Snow Cone!”
A motherly hand quickly smacked the pure ice from her hands. “Dirty!” she snapped, scowling at her daughter.
A slightly older girl, scrunching up her face, spit out an accusatory whine. “Is this all there is in this place, a bunch of ice?”
The gleaming ice floe with its undulant surface converged somewhere in the distance and wound gracefully between granite cliffs, tracing its way back to the North Pole. To the sides of this frozen vista, ice mountains and granite peaks competed to scrape the sky.
The expanse of the glacier dropped off suddenly into the ocean, leaving a clear, magically magnified view over its deep blue turbulence. Dark and opaque as the sky was bright and translucent, both stretched out forever to blend in a frosty haze at the edge of heaven.
The twisted ruts and yawning crevices seen from the air were now hidden in the gleam and sparkle of reflected sunlight. Wondrous ice towers, indiscernible from above, were scattered like glistening blue-white fairy castles.
The children, fascinated by whatever wasn’t near at hand, began to stray.
“Now children, don’t wander. Those hills are much further away than they look,” spoke a seemingly knowledgeable mother, “and there are deep ravines to fall into, as well.”
“Give it a break, Claire, will you? They’re not stupid,” acidly offered her husband.
The pilot interceded with neutral authority.
“Safety is always a good idea, especially out here. Your eyes can easily deceive you. It’s best to stay close by.”
Claire gave Fred her best ‘I told-you-so’ look.
Off by herself, their little girl of seven had made a gigantic ice ball, targeting a little boy. She let fly-thwack!-a square hit on the back of the head.
The tyke let out a wail, spun around in fury, spotted the little sniper and gave chase. On the opposite side of the chopper, they ran away from everyone. Puffing like a little steam engine, the little girl easily outran her victim. He soon gave up and turned back. She glanced over her shoulder, stopping when she saw him turning away.
The chopper and the people were now only little black specks against the painfully brilliant white. She looked around, surveying her surroundings. Nearby, ice towers over fifty feet high formed in fluted shapes allowing one to walk into them like miniature canyons. She looked back again to the little specks around the helicopter. She chewed lightly on her lower lip, a decision making process. No thoughts of rebellion or wiliness crossed her mind. Just curiosity and, I’m a big girl, now. I’ll only be a couple of minutes. Won’t go too far.
The slick walls stretched upward to the sunlight reflecting with such intensity the light appeared to emanate from within the ice itself. The canyons were three to four feet wide with an easily walkable path snaking through. The child walked and skipped along, humming through pursed lips in a futile attempt at whistling. More trails intersected from the left and the right. An enchantment of light pulled her down one path to another, enticing her to investigate. Suddenly, she was lost in the beautiful shimmering maze, running in blind panic.
The adults, near hysteria, and the children, now subdued, gathered near the helicopter. The pilot pulled some rope from a storage compartment and hefted it onto his shoulder, then picked up an ice ax lying at his feet.
He calmed everyone with a measured command. “Listen, people, let’s stay in control. She couldn’t have gone very far. And please, don’t think the worst. We chose this place because of its relative safety.”
“But not totally safe, not totally,” a nervous father interceded.
The pilot glanced around the group of expectant faces. “Okay, one of you stay here with the children; the rest come with me. And please, do exactly as I say.”
The parents hugged their children with unreserved intensity, and then headed toward the ice towers in a tight bundle following the pilot’s footsteps as closely as possible.
The little girl cried as she stumbled, tears streaming down red puffy cheeks. She came upon a fork in the path, like so many others she chose blindly, going left or right without slowing down. This time she stopped. The two ice canyons she had to choose from were virtually identical. Fear and indecision rippled across her face and she let out a shrill, piercing scream, stomping her feet in frustration.
She went several feet down one path, craning her neck for a better look, then turned back and took the other. Seconds into this path, she came to another split. Her tears came again, hard, and she slumped to a sitting position against the ice wall. Sobbing prayers poured from her frightened soul to the only deity she knew for sure: mommy.
“I’ll be good, I’ll be good, I promise! I’ll do everything you tell me, right away, even before you tell me. I’ll be nice to everybody and never make you and daddy fight again. Oh please find me, please find me!”
Through wet eyes she peered down the two paths from her new vantage point. Something caught her eye. Her whimpering slowed to a few involuntary hiccups. She stood, her eyes fixed and trance-like, and slowly started down one of the paths. Several dozen yards in, she stopped, gazing up in wonder.
After an initial, but fruitless search, the parents came together again. They shook their heads wordlessly, their angst expressed by the creases between their brows. The pilot appeared from an ice canyon and trudged toward them.
“I’m sure you can see now why you shouldn’t go further than the first split of the paths,” he said. “It’s extremely easy to get confused. I’ll have to cut markers as we go.
“Mr. and Mrs. Meyers, would you both come with me. Mr. Kurinsky, why don’t you try yelling for Tristin at each entrance. But, don’t go in if she answers. Tell her to stay put and mark the entrance, then wait for us. Understood?”
Jaw tight and lips pursed, Mr. Kurinsky nodded. All turned and started in their respective directions when, from out of a nearby canyon, came Tristin, her face bright and smiling. All that remained of her tears were frosted salt tracks down her chubby cheeks.
The Meyers ran to their daughter with exultations of joy, falling to their knees, grabbing her in great hugs.
“Oh honey, you scared us to death!” her father exhaled in a whisper. “What were you thinking?”
The others approached. Tristin looked up at all the concerned faces and smiled.
“I was lost and scared, but then the man in the ice showed me the way out.”
Everyone looked at each other, then crowded in closer.
“What man in the ice?” her mother asked.
“The one who helped me,” Tristin answered, her voice sparkling. “He was pointing.”
The pilot hunched down to her level.
“What do you mean, honey? You talked to a man in the ice towers?”
She screwed up her face in frustration. “No. He was inside the ice.”
“The man was frozen in the ice, Tristin?” he asked calmly, seriously.
She nodded. He glanced at her parents, who shrugged.
“Could you show us where you saw him, honey?”
With Tristin leading the way into the canyon, the pilot and her father followed close behind. At every branch in the path, the pilot etched an arrow in the ice with his pick.
Tristin glanced back to the pilot, smiling. “I don’t think it’s too very much further.”
She and her father disappeared around a corner while the pilot cut another arrow.
“Here he is!” came her shout from some distance down the canyon.
Her father’s incredulous gasp echoed back to the pilot. “Oh my God!”
The pilot stopped in mid-swing of his ax and broke into a run down the curving trail of the canyon, came around the corner and skidded to a stop, looking up in astonishment.
“See, he showed me the way,” Tristin pronounced proudly.
There, frozen deep within the blue-white swirls of ice was an incredibly huge man, his entire bulk covered in furs. Only the vaguest impression of a face was visible from within the shroud of a hood. It was hard to estimate the actual size of the man, for his enormity could have been a magnified illusion of the ice. One thing, though, was certain. His arm was outstretched and pointing.
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