MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN:
ARCTIC TERROR

by Chris Nigro



Captain’s Log: Cargo ship ORACLE

March 24, 1832

Personal chronicle of Captain Jacob Hanover

My reason for documenting the following incident is expressly for the purpose of contemplation, reflection and for presenting myself a forum to sort out my thoughts. Though I had hoped to keep this highly personal mission “off the record,” so to speak, I must have it chronicled, if for no other reason than to constantly remind myself of its pure insanity. Perhaps whoever else may peruse this entry in future years may gain their own personal insight on the nature of my fanaticism in accomplishing this exploit. You see, I am a devout man of God, and true followers of the Lord simply do not allow any type of obscenity to Him to exist unchallenged. Thus do I now travel to correct an error of two men over three decades past, both of whom were acquaintances of my late grandfather, Roland Hanover.

One of these selfsame individuals my grandfather knew for many years as his captain on an exploratory icebreaker. The second of these, he knew for a mere three weeks before the man died from exposure and exhaustion. The former was a person by the name of Capt. Robert Walton, to whom my grandfather faithfully served as first mate. The latter was a demented but repentant scientist known as Dr. Victor H. Frankenstein. This aforementioned doctor is responsible for constructing a foul caricature of humanity, sutured together grotesquely from the bodies of dead men. This foul parody of God’s greatest creation then proceeded to murder viciously and wantonly, only to escape unpunished to the same frozen wasteland to which I now journey purposefully. Though Frankenstein sought recompense with the Lord by hunting the Monster down, his all too frail human form died in the attempt. And Capt. Walton actually spoke with and allowed this vile beast to walk away uncontested and still among the living. It is this double error in judgment that I currently seek to rectify. You see, I am now journeying to this vast glacial desert to locate and terminate this horrid abomination before it has a chance to ever again wreak havoc upon another human life.

Within the course of several months, my party of seven adventuring agents of the Lord have cast down upon an area of the Arctic where an alleged sighting of the Monster had occurred just two years past. Ever since Capt. Walton’s notes were appropriated by that writer, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and transformed into a novel entitled Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus, the general public has chosen to think of the incident as a fictitious event. Mrs. Shelley herself has never contested that erroneous assumption; hence, no officially sanctioned establishment of the law has ever sought the Monster out. I am among the few men alive today who is of the awareness that the tale is a nightmarish truism. Hence, It falls upon me to destroy this murderous beast. Now that we are arrived at our destination at one of the most Inhospitable locales In the world, I shall inspect my crew and provisions thoroughly.

All seven of my crew, Carmody, Jacques, Hunter, Garret, Simone, Daniels and Kennedy, each appear to be in good health and quite steadfast in the forthcoming mission. Five other men remain on board the ship in order to facilitate a full crew in the event that some of my compliment do not return alive. I count one hunting rifle and one dagger between each of my men, and my father’s extra powerful elephant gun and machete for myself. We all carry a torch for light, and possess sufficient rations among each of us to last for just over two weeks, if we conserve them efficiently. We shall not be here anywhere near that long, however. For among my numerous personal effects, I have a map acquired a mere eight days past which delineates the Monster’s present location as being a cave just forty kilometers distant. It is now only a matter of time.

As we reach the foreboding mouth of the cave, that all too familiar sensation of queasiness enters my stomach as the proverbial moment of truth fast approaches. It was quite easy to think about killing this monstrosity several weeks ago in the warmth and safety of my cabin, many thousands of miles away from that fetid abomination. It’s another matter entirely, however, to think of doing so calmly when you're actually within its midst. I suddenly winch in abject horror at the thought of being painfully dismembered by the creature, of witnessing several quarts of my own blood spattering crimson across the white cavern walls, or of the terrifying sight of my limbs laying several yards from my body before eternal darkness mercifully overtakes me. Perhaps it's not too late to just turn back and depart before the Monster is aware of our presence here. Perhaps my men will not think any less of me if I order them to cease and desist in this mission. No, I cannot do that, for they will take me for an ineffectual coward. Moreover, God will likewise consider me a failure for refusing to rid the Earth of that wretched scion of the Devil. How can a man be worthy of entering the gates of Heaven if he cannot effectively challenge the denizens of Hell? I must remind myself that I have a compliment of seven well-armed, experienced men at my side. So we must be able to kill this abomination.

We soon discover signs that there is indeed some individual living a hermit-like existence within the icy caverns. The telltale objects include flints scattered about where a small bonfire had once burned, various clothing neatly piled about and all made from polar bear hide and the bones of several animals forged into simple tools. We then notice that the cavern suddenly breaks off into several labyrinthine passageways, each of indeterminate length. I do not suggest that we do something as foolish as fragment into multiple groups of one or two individuals, so instead we opt for splitting into just two separate phalanxes: one composed of myself, Jacques, Garret and Hunter while the second consists of Daniels, Carmody, Simone and Kennedy. Presumably, the passageways ultimately lead back to the main cavern and primarily serve as camouflage to any occupant of this cave. Our two teams quietly go their separate ways as the search begins.

My team and I search fruitlessly for just over fifteen minutes, the longest moments of my life, until the silence is suddenly shattered by the agonized shriek of one of the men from the opposite team, followed by the firing of two of their rifles. My group quickly converges to the exact passageway, easily traceable due to the reverberations of the noise off the cavern walls. When we reach that area approximately one minute later, we suddenly beheld a scene culled from our most sordid nightmares. Each of the four men lay before us dead and hideously mangled. Two of them have very visible compound fractures across their arms, a third has his liver torn out and strewn about beside him, whilst the final man had his head ripped off. Each of them rested upon an enormous pool of blood and all four rifles were broken as if casually snapped across someone’s knee. Their torch sticks lay scattered about unlit. Upon viewing that grisly sight, Garret turned around, dropped his torch and rifle and proceeded to vomit very loudly and messily. Jacques angrily cursed, declaring that he shall have vengeance for the loss of his friends.

No sooner are these words spoken than an enormous human-like fist suddenly pummeled clear through Hunter’s chest from behind. Whilst his rib cage exploded outward, he barely had time to even attempt a scream of agony. All that resulted was a halting gasp followed by a great oral expulsion of blood. As the fist and arm withdrew from the brutally punctured torso of Hunter’s lifeless form, I could see that the massive limb was attached to an incredibly large human shape, over eight feet in height, that moved with astounding speed. The enormous being subsequently grasped a terrified Garret with blinding swiftness, lifted him as if this 230 pound man were weightless and snapped his spine like a chopstick across its upper back and neck. Jacques managed to fire at the figure with his rifle, striking it in the shoulder. The being bellowed in pain and was forced back about one inch. Miraculously, the entity appeared otherwise unharmed. It then struck Jacques at the side of his head, sending him careening against the cavernous wall, from which he then slid to the ground, utterly silent. Knowing exactly what I was facing, I pointed my own rifle at the creature’s chest, which was standing about twelve feet from my position, at one of the cavern portals. In the dim light, I merely saw an enormous human silhouette, but not any fine details. I could nevertheless see that the creature was bleeding profusely from its gunshot wound, though it seemed indifferent to this fact.

I then loudly stated, “Stand where you are, for this elephant gun is capable of slaying even the likes of you!”

I stood looking transfixed at the huge entity before me, inexplicably unable to fire my rifle. Nervous and trembling furiously after what I had just witnessed, I could not help but grant the creature the following interrogative:

“Who...or perhaps...what are you?”

A strong and forceful voice gave me a most unexpected answer. “I am called Frankenstein...Victor Frankenstein the second,” the creature replied in a sinister monotone.

My God...the creature destroys everything its creator held dear to his heart, and then it takes his name! Such an affront is unthinkable!

“I shall destroy you for killing all my men!’’ I exclaimed assuredly.

“Your so-called men attempted to slay me first, you pompous, arrogant fool!” the creature angrily replied. “I merely defended my right to live. Or should I say ‘merely exist?’ For no man of your vile, short-sighted species would have anything to do with me whatsoever, thus forcing me into self-imposed exile.”

“Nor should any righteous folk consort with a living blasphemy such as you,” I angrily responded. “You are a hideous fiend, not created as a result of a loving union between a man and a woman, but by the misguided hands of a sacrilegious student of medicine! Your murders today may have been in self-defense, but not the previous slayings of your creator’s brother, wife and friend; they were innocent victims all!”

“What you have just said may indeed be true,” the creature anxiously continued. “But the killings you have just mentioned were crimes of passion, not of sheer wickedness, and I deeply regret committing all of them. My creator hath abandoned me for dead, and all other human beings would have none of my company when I attempted to befriend them. I thereby struck out senselessly, attempting to make Frankenstein suffer the same overwhelming loneliness that I myself am condemned to suffer for countless decades. It...was not justified...but I was not responsible for the manner of my genesis. It was no fault of my own that the nature of my creation was ‘unholy.’ Do you, sir, have any notion what it is like to be shunned by all your fellow sentient beings merely because you are different? To be devoid of all friendly conversation? To be denied the comforting embrace of a lover? If I am truly such a rancid detestation to human existence, unworthy of the gift of life, then why do I possess such a profound wish for that which all humans desire?

"Why is it that when I contemplate my loneliness, I weep? Why do I so wish to be accepted and to use my gift of incredible strength in the service of man, only to be continuously scorned of such opportunities? Have you, sir, ever desired a woman, only to have every one in existence become vilified at the very thought of intimacy with one such as you? To be bereft of that that which virtually all others on this planet take for granted? If I am truly so unworthy of all human existence, sir, then by all means pull the trigger and expunge my wretched existence from the face of God's Earth!”

I stood by in total silence, unable to hold back sudden feelings of pity and shame. Never did I doubt the utter remorse and sincerity in the creature’s impassioned words. I had always refused to entertain the notion that such a being may actually think and feel as a man does. For it...correction, he…sounds exactly the same as my own son did when I left him and his mother to join the clergy and become a minister. And here did I attempt to callously slay this being without ever granting him the opportunity to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, and this Is something which I must now do. I decide to offer the grotesque fiend standing before me a proposition.

“Please forgive me for my ignorance,” I apologized. “But you must earn your own forgiveness. Return to the land of men, and attempt to use your great strength and keen intellect to aid humanity anew. Seek your absolution in this manner and earn your right to become a creature of God!”

The Monster glared at me quietly for several seconds, until finally replying, “I...shall do as you suggest, though I may never see a reward for such selfless nobility, even in my own extended lifetime.”

He then glanced at the body of Jacques, and then back at me before speaking again.

“Your one friend still lives, and is not hurt seriously. Take him back to civilization with you and convince him not to seek his vengeance upon me. For to do so would only painfully deprive him of his second chance at life. Instead, tell him to ask your God for forgiveness for what he attempted to do to me this day. I shall now make my own way back to the world of mankind and attempt to do as you advised. Godspeed to you.”

I then observed the creature's enormous, ill-defined form turn and walk into the cavern maw and promptly disappear into the darkness. As I tend to the recovering Jacques and prepare to leave also for the awaiting ship, I could not help but wonder if he would truly honor my request and attempt to make peace with mankind and discover his own inner humanity. I was later to learn that he did indeed make such an attempt.

But that is a story for another time.

END