The regret was instantaneous. The moment he felt the life go out of Henry Clerval he had felt no better. Fury coursed through him as did the horror of his deed. It could not be undone, but at the same time, he wondered if his regret now would be enough to prevent him from committing yet another crime. He released the body; the lifeless thud of Frankenstein's dearest friend did little to abate the shame he now felt welling up with his breast. But he had sent a message to his father. This is the price Frankenstein would pay for betraying his one request.
Bending over the fallen corpse, the creature further studied Henry. What could have propelled this man to convince his father to betray him? Had the wickedness of humanity been so strong that the entirety of its species was convinced that he should suffer? What living woman would take him? He needed one like himself. The creature's hands clenched up into fists; he meant to strike Henry and wanted to until the face of this beloved friend of Victor's could no longer be recognized.
All he wanted was love, to give it freely and receive it freely. He was cursed in this life, cursed with unyielding loneliness and ugliness. Anger swelled up in him, pushing away the regret. Frankenstein had to know what he felt.
"If you will not give me a mate, father," he murmured to the darkness, traces of pain feathered his voice; "I will take yours." His promise was heavy and he felt the weight of it once the words fell from his lips. Summoning all of his rage and courage, he left the lifeless body of Henry Clerval behind in the forest and marched on.
The creature spent days wandering the forest, casually watching the Frankensteins mourning their friend. Weary and lonely, the creature also mourned his own loss, the loss of his red haired mate. She was a beacon of beauty and hope for him, and she was gone. There was nothing he could do to stop the crying, his tears were like rivers bursting through old dams, unquenchable and relentless. Sobs rocked through his body as he clutched himself. What a woman she could have been! All he had desired was her. His one request to his damnable father.
When the creature's large form wasn't bent over his tear stained books he would search the nearby forests for flowers and fruit to delight him. It was all he could do to taper his fury, all he could do to forget. And he did want to forget. The nameless creature wanted to forget the muffled cries of little William whom his great strength had not meant to crush. More than anything he wanted to forget the awful rejection of the De Laceys. He had meant no harm to them and he still didn't. If they came after him, whether good or ill, he would run to them like a dog at the sight of its master. Yes, he was no more than a dog, he mused sadly.
Searching the woods he found clusters of white flowers, small and sad, they seemed to call out to him. He picked a handful of them and pressed them close to his ashy nose. Refreshing was what they smelled like. It was like drinking from a spring, his very first drink in this cruel world. Examining the flowers he realized that the drooping beauties were snowdrops. Signs of good fortune, how ironic. But he could not toss them aside. A small part of him still hoped when he should not have, but he could not seem to lose it.
The creature cried in despair before smothering his face into the sad blossoms. He let their powers work through his veins as he took in each breath. Would his mate have liked the blooms? Would she have liked flowers? He begged the flowers with each quivering breath to set him free but their only answer to him was the wilting of their beauty. At this, he mourned. Was he banned from all beauty? No, he thought sadly, he would have to be delicate with it.
The fire kindling in his heart began to steadily dissipate as he sat on the forest floor reveling in the snowdrops. He could forget Victor. He could forget and simply love his flowers. He could have beauty and never lose it.
"Miss Daniels! Miss Daniels! Oh, where has she gone! It's not safe out here!" Cried a woman.
The creature straightened instantly. Like a frightened deer, he was ready to bolt. He listened closely for the woman to cry out again. North. She was north of him and only half a mile away. Blood drained from the creature's face, he was too close to them and he had not heard Miss Daniels reply. His father endowed him with suburb hearing and eyesight, gifts he was grateful for since they provided so much protection for him. As such, he presumed that Miss Daniels was much closer to him than he would have liked and that she must not have heard the woman calling her.
"Nettie, I will be back in a moment!" Cried Miss Daniels in response.
Dear God, thought the creature, she was only a yard or two from his refuge. Quickly, he discarded his bundle and left the flowers in a shriveled mess as he retreated to the denser part of the woods. How had he not heard the girl? He shuddered at the thought of her screams if she had found him. If she had not responded his ears would have been filled with her cries. So much for his hearing, he thought bitterly.
What compelled him to remain when he should have fled, he could not say. Curiosity perhaps? He wanted to know why Miss Daniels had wandered off and what she was doing alone. In truth, he wanted to see her; and he wanted to know what he would do when he saw her.
"Georgia! Please, come back!" Nettie was becoming desperate in her pleas.
"Can a lady not take time to herself to stretch and relieve herself!" Muttered Georgia Daniels to herself as she arrived at the creatures small piece of heaven.
Red, all he saw was red. But it was not from fury or rage or even hatred, although he did hate her the moment he saw her. Russet, wavy hair was pinned into a thick bun at the nape of her neck in the fashion of women in a time now past. Braids helped secure loose strands of hair. If raven locks replaced her russet color she would have mirrored the Grecian women the creature had seen drawings of. But Georgia was different from the women he had seen before. She wasn't poor or simple like Agatha and Justine, nor were her clothes dark. She was clad in a yellow and green frock and cloaked in a patterned shawl.
He did hate her, he hated her terribly, he hated the air of her look, the nobility and wealth of it. He hated her strange accent which further ostracized her in his mind as a foreigner. He hated her because she was beautiful and in his garden. The creature stared at her through the protective trees and hated how the sun-beams fell over her pale face brushed with freckles.
"Miss Daniels," came the plea for her once more. This time, however, it was a man that called her. "I'm bringing the gun!"
The creature cringed, remembering the bullet still lodged in his arm from his earnest efforts to save a girl from drowning. He did not want to get shot again.
"I'm alrig-" Georgia stopped speaking and moving as she spoke. Her emerald eyes had caught hold of the rubble he had left in his wake. She paled and slowly began backing up. Fear flushed over her features, she was caught between the desire to bolt into the woods and dread of moving.
"MISS DANIELS!" Shouted another man.
"Sir John! I am coming!" With that she fled, crushing a cluster of snowdrops as she did.
She was gone and the creature felt his body relax. He waited a moment before returning to the flowers and surveying the damage caused by Miss Daniels' careless steps. He heard her running before hearing the relieved cries of her companions. With her safely away from him, the creature wandered back to his cave and books.
"At least you didn't see me," he whispered mournfully to himself.