Chapter Twenty-Three: Home
It took a few months to settle in. Michael and Therese settled in a separate cottage on my property.
I had a meeting with a local doctor who suggested I take on a visiting nurse for a number of months, just to help with the exercises. She introduced herself as Evelyn Stanhope, and I saw her regularly, until March when we had a freakish snow storm and she had to stay the evening at the house.
While performing an alcohol massage on my leg muscles to relieve some cramping I was experiencing, this mousy little woman with her firm thin lips, business like airs, and spectacled eyes, pushed up the end of my shirt and blushed. Once again, the reliable English Oak had decided to, err, rise to the occasion of her ministrations.
Later in the evening, she brought me a nightcap of Brandy and asked how my legs felt. I replied, "Jolly good," and she pulled aside my sheets to run her hands over my thighs. Predictably, my manhood, once again felt the call to duty. Evelyn went to the door, turning the key, came back to the bed, grasped my glass, and downed my Brandy.
I was rather miffed at that, I do enjoy a good Brandy. To my utter amazement, she loosened her hair, flung her spectacles onto the nightstand, climbed onto the bed and kissed me. Evelyn transformed into a lusty emerald eyed siren before my eyes.
We were married two months later.
Postlude: Father Basilone
I set down my pen and rub my eyes, "I am sorry Madame, I did not realize it was growing so late. Your tale is enchanting."
She smiles indulgently at me. "It is good to tell the story again, Father. I am happy to have the opportunity to set the legend to rights."
"And what of Frankenstein," I ask, "do you know what happened to him?"
"We sent letters to Frau Radmacher until her death. I believe Victor is still working at the sanitarium as a mentor for other doctors." She pauses and drops a lump of sugar into another one of the copious cups of tea we have enjoyed during this discourse. She continues, "I don't think he was ever a happy man. Elisabeth was his only life. But I do know that he became a good teacher."
"And what of Herr Dirnegg?" I ask because I am so curious a fellow.
"He lived another two years. He is buried near Astrid, to watch over her I presume." Therese is looking at me now. "I suppose you will want to see scars to prove all of this?"
I feel the heat rising in my cheeks, "Madame," I begin, but she cuts me off.
She gestures over my shoulder. "Would you like to meet my husband?"
The air in the room changes around me, I realize that we are not alone. Although I have copied her words by rote, I have only done so with a mind that this is more of a folktale. In this instance, I realize fully that it is not.
I stand and turn, behind me near the door is the one of the tallest men I have even seen. His night dark hair is interlaced with grey; his face shows lines of age around the proud scar that crosses it. He looks down on me indulgently, and stretches out a large hand. I take it in my own and see the ring of scars around his wrist.
One thing has changed; his eyes have lost the sheen of the grave. They are a faint brown color. He sees me staring and nods. "That gradually went away," he says in a deep voice.
I try to find my voice, gaping at him. I finally stammer, "It is you. The lightning's child."
"Yes," he agrees. "I was the first of the reanimated." He joins his wife walking past me with a powerful but graceful gait. Taking her hand he says, "And this is my wife. She was the last to be storm born."
"I have so many questions."
He smiles; it is a crooked smile due to the scar that pulls at his lip. "Do you think anyone will believe you if you recount this story?"
"I don't care," I reply. "It is enough to see you, to know for myself that you have survived."
Therese tells me, "We did more than survive, we have thrived together."
"We have five children," he tells me. He holds up a hand, "Yes, they are human in every way, right down to the sicknesses and injuries we nursed them through."
She adds, "And grandchildren as well. We tell them the story."
My brain is spinning with the implications of this: the truth of Frankenstein's genius, the power of the lightning, the depth of this man's loneliness and his quest for his wife. "Were you..."
"Married?" He says. "Yes, we were married at the church in the village, with Thomas and Evelyn Wetherden as our witnesses. We stood in God's house to receive his blessing. After all, didn't the lightning that brought us our lives come as he chose it to?"
"Your wife named you Michael, for the archangel. Where did your last name come from?"
They look at each other and grin. They took the last name of Oakes. Evidently Thomas Wetherden makes a lot of references to English Oak. I had not thought him interested in trees.
We smile indulgently. The good Father has no idea that the oak that Thomas refers to is the type that is responsible for our five children. Since returning to Therese I have devoted long hours to making my wife a very happy woman.
Like all other people, we do not know how long the course of our lives will run. We fill our days with the love we have for each other, our friends and our children. Sometimes we sit outside and listen to the storms.
A/N: Thanks to all of you who have reviewed and journeyed through this with Therese and Michael.