"But soon," he cried with sad and solemn enthusiasm, "I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace, or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell."
He sprang from the cabin window as he said this, upon the ice raft which lay close to the vessel. He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.
-Frankenstein, Chapter 24, pg. 213
Or rather, things didn't exactly go as planned. I did jump onto the sheet of ice with the idea of going to the top of the world and when there burn myself. I was actually looking forward to it, to tell the truth.
I had picked to die by fire because it was the first thing to have given me pain. I remember from when I had first wandered lost in the woods near Ingolstadt I had found a fire left by some wandering beggar and had thrust my hand into the embers to enjoy the warmth but it had burned me. It had confused me. How could something that made me joyful make me feel pain?
I thought it was only fitting for me to die from the same element that had harmed me first. But like I had said before, things didn't go as planned. My ice sheet didn't go north as was my design but instead went toward land. I watched as my ice floe came closer and closer to the land until I could make out features of the land.
It seemed to be mostly icebound but there were some scraggily trees growing. There was a natural harbor with what seemed to be a town or village nestled between some high hills sheltering them from the wind that howled like a hound from hell.
I had stood up to get a better view of the land so I was jolted off balance when my glacier collided with another and then another. Soon other bodies of ice closed in on my ice raft and I wasn't going anywhere. I gave a sigh. Things never go as I plan them.
I fiddled with the idea of just sitting down and letting the cold seize onto me and that way end my miserable life, but I doubted if it could really kill me. I had spent a few days out there without any other clothing than my shirt and trousers. I decided to cross the ice to the shore, find some shelter and there decide my strategy.
I had to fight through some sizeable drifts to get my way to the shore. I looked at the inviting village where there was sure to be some warm fires, food and water. But the all too familiar hatred toward mankind made me turn my back to it and struggle towards some rock that looked like it might harbor a cave. I did find a cave but it was mostly drifted in, until I shoveled it out with my large hands. That is one thing my creator did right.
At the thought of Herr Victor Frankenstein I stopped my work and wondered what had become of his body. Did the Captain Walton give him a sailor's burial? With just a sewn canvas hammock as his coffin or are they preserving his body for burial later when they come back from their expedition? There was no way to know. Though the wretch had created me and had shunned me for the whole of my miserable life, I hoped he got better than a canvas and the harsh saltwater swallowing him up forever.
I frowned at that last thought. I don't know why I thought he deserved better. He had shunned and loathed me from the first second I awoke! I shrugged then continued to dig my way through the snow until there was enough room for me to lie down. I laid down in the cavity I had carved out in the snow, and fatigued at my effort fell into a light slumber.
I woke and tried to figure out what was different. I felt fine though I was covered in a light layer of snow that had blown in. Then I realized that the wind wasn't raging outside. I sat up, dusted the snow off and crawled out of my shelter. I was tormented by hunger and thirst and decided to satiate my hunger in the village in the harbor. It was still dark when I set out to find myself food. On the way I scooped up snow and shoveled it into my mouth and waited for it to melt before shoveling some more in. By the time I got there I wasn't thirsty anymore.
It was still dark when I got to the village and crept to the nearest house. It was more of a hovel really and guessed that it could be a supply shed of some sort. There appeared to be no light coming through the cracks between the planks and I decided to try the door. I grabbed the loop of leather and gently pulled the door. The leather hinges were stiff but it didn't hinder my progress. I slipped inside and found that I was right. There were shelves, sacks and barrels of food. It looked to be the food bank of the village.
I felt a tinge of guilt of taking food from the village but I quickly waved it away. Human kind hated me, and I it. I took two cans of pickled meat and two wheels of cheese. I thought of taking more but concluded that I'll be gone before I could eat it. I went back to my cave and was unaware of what had seemed to be a sack in the corner move and an eye follow my retreating figure in the snow.
I ate a piece of meat and half a wheel of cheese. I hollowed a hole in the snow in the back of the cave to keep my food. I found that the cave went back rather far though I could barely fit. I went up to a few of the trees I had seen on my ice floe and broke off some branches. I took them back to my cave and started to weave a mat for me to lie on with some of the thinner flexible branches and made with the thicker branches a door for the mouth of the cave.
I was hoping that my makeshift door would keep out most of the snow and help hide me from prying eyes though I suppose that someone may think it strange that branches were covering the mouth of a cave if that someone was aware of the presence of the cave.
I wasn't worried of someone discovering me. The snow had started falling when I had left and I could barely see my footprints in the snow. I went into my cave and put the door at the mouth of the cave. I looked outside at the white barren land I was now captive to and contemplated my fate.
Well, I could still set myself on fire. There was plenty of kindling by the scrawny trees that griped the earth in a vain attempt. Many had seemed to have withered away or blown down. I could just gather the tinder, bring it back here, let the wind blow a drift over the door, light the fire and die by either smoke inhalation or the flames roasting my flesh. It wasn't as glamorous as building a large funeral pyre at the top of the world and casting myself down onto the flames but it'll do to end my desolate existence.
I turned toward the direction of the sea and shook my fist at the shell of the madman that had given me life. Why, oh, why did he give me existence and then leave me to my own devices? No human being in his right mind would leave a child by himself, for that was what I was at the time. No more than a child learning the ways of the world without a comforting hand to guide me. Without that gentle hand I learned hatred and fear early on in life and was all I ever knew from human kind. I learned that, that was all I could ever look to find from the 'superior' Homo sapiens.
I gave a growl at the thought of 'superior' beings. Ha! They're mere tinker toys compared to me. I have the strength of ten men and tower over their most able man. I can read and write whilst most of their populace is illiterate. They fear more than just my looks. They fear me because they fear there might be something stronger in this universe than them. And to think that a mere man that used to walk among them had created me! Well, they may have no more need to fear of me for my time is near!
I decided to let myself have one more day before I ended my being. I finished the cheese and one jar of meat and chose to finish my provisions the night of my self-execution. I laid down in my hole and fell asleep.
I woke and looked out through the door at the bleak landscape that I would soon leave behind. I finished my food and set off towards the trees to get kindling for my final night. I looked up at the sky and felt a twinge of regret. Of all the things I'd be leaving behind the night sky is what I would miss the most. It always comforted me to see the hopeful shining of the stars and the lonely beautiful moon rising above the horizon.
It was quick work to gather branches suitable for my purpose and bring it back to the cave. About halfway back to the cave the wind started a-howling again and threw snow and ice into my face. I just blinked it away and couldn't help but feel hopeful at the thought of a storm coming. It would make short work of drifting my door shut so there would be no way for me to escape if I decided I valued my life more than the torture.
I was starting to relish the thought of the red and orange tongues licking at my body, eating and consuming my flesh, burning through the fat and muscle and charring the bone. Of the smoke curling in my lungs and releasing the toxins that would hinder my intake of oxygen but the thing would be, is that there wouldn't be any available air, just fire, smoke and fresh release from the torture I was forced to endure.
I was about a furlong length away from the cave when I thought I saw something move near the mouth. I stopped walking and stared, daring whatever that was in there to move. Just there! I saw another movement! I quietly placed my wood in the snow and proceeded to my cave with silent footsteps. As I grew closer I could make out a hunched over figure examining my door and mat. When I was about a few meters away I could see that the creature had many layers on and most of it seemed to consist of rough sacking. I reached out my hands to strangle whoever had decided to delay my end when it whirled around and brandished a long knife at me.
I snarled and said, "How dare you trespass on my shelter! I will have you know that I have killed man, woman and child, all who have gotten in my way. And I will do the same to you even with your dagger."
It glared at me with the only eye that was visible in a lumpy scarf that it had wound around its head. Then a gruff but soft voice said from behind the wool, "I am not scared of you. Though I wish to know why you stole from my village." It pointed toward the empty jars that were sitting in the corner of the cave to showcase the evidence with its free hand.
"I needed sustenance and it was no matter to me that I stole from your village."
"Why could you not have asked for it?"
"I hate human kind and it me. Why would your village be any different with its feelings towards me?"
"All that was needed was some gracious manners and we would have most definitely have given you food and a warm fire."
"Is that so true about your village? Have you taken a good look at me?" I took a step towards it and it peered at me closely with its brown eye. "Everyone who has seen me runs away with fear or charges me in hatred."
"I see nothing to fear or hate in your face."
I was truthfully taken aback by that comment and I was speechless for a moment. "What are you?" I finally asked looking down at the creature that was kneeling before me with its one eye.
It gave a laugh. "I am of the species you hate and of that species that supposedly hates you. I am known as Rebecca One-Eye and belong to the village of Shishpic." She looked me up and down then asked herself, "What are you?"
"I am a madman's ravings made into flesh. I was created out of dead matter and sutures and am ultimately the cause of my creator's demise."
She nodded her head in understanding and sheathed her knife though I know not why. I had told her of my killings yet she trusted me enough to sheath her knife. I had killed the man that had brought me life yet she seemed to not care about her life.
She looked me over again before gathering the jars and starting towards the village. She looked back at me standing there staring after her and gave a frustrated sigh.
"Well, come on then you big lout. If you think I'll bring you food out here you got another thing coming."
"Why would I follow you?"
"Have you not heard a thing I said?" She walked back over towards me and glared at me again with that one eye. "I said my village would give you food and fire."
"Why would they?"
"I see no reason why they wouldn't."
"But why would they?"
"Do you thing you are the most hideous thing alive?" When I said nothing she continued, "You are not the worst I've seen. I've seen worse every time I look into a looking glass." She looked down at the ground with what seemed to be sadness.
"How can you be worse than I?! You are not made of parts of once dead bodies! You have no stitches were there had been no wounds before! How could you say such things?"
The eye glared at me a moment more before she set down the jars and started to uncoil the lumpy scarf. When it finally fell away I studied her features but was unimpressed. She was young, probably in her late teens or early twenties. The most of her face was scarred tissue in dark red. The edges where the skin ended and the scarring began the skin was blue-gray from the cold and looked frostbitten even though the scarf did a good job at protecting her face. Her other eye was light gray and looked around sightlessly. She had dark brown hair that was tucked under the rest of her layers. She would have looked quite beautiful it wasn't for the scarring.
A tear rolling down her ruined cheek and she said quietly, "You've never seen yourself in any other way. I've known beauty and lost it."
I thought about her words as she slowly wound the scarf around her head once more and covered the remains of her face except her one seeing eye.
"Come on, best we hurry before this storm picks up anymore."
That was when I realized that the storm had increased in tempest and that visibility was soon shrinking. As I followed her I couldn't help but feel a feeling altogether foreign to me. I felt a sense of belonging. Though I hadn't met the village yet, I believed that if they knew her they might accept me and if not, at least she wasn't fearful of me or hateful. I might have found the companionship I've been craving for my whole existence.
First I had tried to make friends with the cottagers, then I had tried to take a child to raise as my companion and when that hadn't worked I had appealed to Herr Frankenstein to make me one of my kind but of a different sex. When he had destroyed her I had given up all hope of finding someone who would accept me even with my repulsiveness. I looked up at my guide and felt that hope flutter to life in my heart again and gave a smile. I might have just found my companion I've been looking for, in Rebecca One-Eye.