Disclaimer: Frankenstein and the characters within aren't mine. They belong to Mary Shelly. The Creature that appears in my story is the one that was portrayed by Luke Goss in the Hallmark's version of the novel. I don't own any of the characters in that version either. If there are any errors about The Romani People in this story, I apologize in advance.
Hope you enjoy! Reviews are welcome.
The wagons rumbled through the village their wheels hitting the wet streets splashing water upwards to hit against their under carriages. Deeply carved reliefs of animals and forest spirits covered their sides in bright paint. Lanterns hung on the front corners of the roofs illuminating the night allowing the huge horses passage through the now muddy lane. The rain fell hard pelting the drivers who pulled their cloaks tighter about themselves to keep warm and the rain out. But since these travelers weren't rich, their worn clothes did little to fight off the elements. The last of these wagons passed by a large fountain that was located in the center of the small town. The hooded driver had to suddenly stop and jump down to talk to the horses that had begun to nervously paw the ground as if something had spooked them. The lone figure gently stroked their massive heads to ease their stress. An ancient tune was hummed quietly as the driver ran her fingers through the black and white mane of one of the two horses.
"Shhhh my friend, there's nothing to fear." She whispered into his ear. The woman searched the streets for what or who had startled her team. Only shadows coming off the buildings could be seen. No animal or person was around. At least none she could see from where she stood. She turned back to her horse.
"Azriel we must catch up with the others. The sooner we make camp the sooner I'll be able to shelter you and your brother from this storm. I know the thunder scares you, but be brave." She patted his head again then climbed back up to her seat grabbed the reins and ordered the horses onward. While on her way again one of the wagon's windows was opened slightly and an older man spoke to her.
"Anya, why did you stop? Is there a problem with the horses?" He sounded concerned.
Anya answered back even as her eyes kept to the path before her. "Grandfather, it was only Azriel. Something spooked him back there. I wish it wasn't thundering out as well. He's always been afraid of the noise. I calmed him as best as I could. We should be arriving soon to where the camp will be set up. I will care for him when we get there. All should be fine till then."
"If you're sure. I will help you with the horses." He closed the window.
Anya continued forward and caught up with the others who by this time had already passed out of the town and into the nearby woods. She followed close behind until the early dawn crept out over the mountains. The light gently caressed the trees alongside the road. Even though she was tired from traveling throughout the night, she knew sleep wouldn't be had until the horses and the wagon had been taken care of. Coming to a side road she noticed that some of the caravan had begun to set up camp near a river. 'That will be good. We'll have fish tonight.' She thought to herself. 'Perhaps after setting up our area I shall see if there are berries in the woods.'
She led the team passed a few other wagons to stop by a small gathering of thin trees. A pathway could be seen barely through the brush. 'It looks like we aren't the only living things that come to the river. ' After jumping down from the seat and tying the horses' reins around a branch, she headed towards the back of the wagon to see her son, Nikolas, come running to her. Anya knelt down to catch Nikolas in her arms for a big hug. He then looked up with his green eyes the same color as hers and with a mischievous smile brightening his face. 'He looks so much like his father when he smiles.' She remembered her late husband…how much he loved to smile and to make her laugh. But those times were long gone now.
Her son's question brought her back to herself. She gazed at him lovingly. "Yes, Nikolas? What was it you had said?" Nicolas made a face then asked again. "Mother can I help the other men and bigger boys get the fish? Alexis and my other friends will be there too. Please." He gazed at her pleadingly. Even though her son was only 8 years old, he wanted to do all the things the older boys did. Anya sighed inward. Her son needed a father to teach him all the things men needed to know. He could only learn so much from his great-grandfather for he was getting older each year and each year she had to do more and more for her beloved family. The loneliness sometimes pulled at her heart making her long for some male company. All the other men in their group were married. She had loved her husband even if their marriage was an arranged one. She nodded to her son as he waited for her answer. "Yes, but listen to Mikhail and be careful. Don't run into the woods by yourself." She kissed his forehead and he ran away to meet up with his friends.
"Anya, you worry too much with him." Her Grandfather walked over to her holding two buckets of food for the horses one in each hand. Anya hurried over and took one of them. They carried them over to Azriel and Salazar who were both waiting patiently. Setting her bucket down for Azriel she turned to her Grandfather and answered. "I know I'm very protective of him, but I just don't want him getting hurt. He's so small as it is. All his friends tower over him. If only Christof and Johan hadn't gotten those soldiers overly excited and gotten shot, he'd still be here with us." She leaned against the tree and ran her hand over her eyes that were threatening to shed tears. Her Grandfather laid his hand tenderly on her shoulder. She went into his arms and started crying a little as sadness coasted through her body. After a minute or two she lifted her head, wiped her tears, and walked to the wagon.
"Grandfather thank you. Could you care for the horses? I need some time. I'm going to see if there are some berries nearby." Anya climbed up and into the inside of her home to fetch a medium sized basket. She kept her shawl on her head just in case it rained again. She waved to him then deciding to follow the path she had seen earlier, she headed into the brush and began slowly walking down it.
The dew of the fallen rain still settled on the leaves of some ferns she saw in passing. The birds had begun to sing and the air was scented with pine which tickled her nose. As she strolled along she again thought of her husband. They had grown to love each other over the years and she missed him terribly. She would lay awake some nights and dream about all the things they could have done and places they could have visited together. She had grieved at his passing, but knew he was in a better place. Besides her family needed her. She had to provide for them. The other men helped when they could but it fell to her to pick up the slack. There were times when she just wanted to scream out her frustrations. She never did. She always tried to keep such negative feelings inside. Her son needed a mother who would be strong…Someone that he could turn to when he was sad and/or unsure of himself. Anya saw a turned over log and went over to sit on it. The tears began to fall in earnest as she let out all the pent up anguish that lay in her heart.
Little did Anya know that someone was watching her from the bushes a short distance away. The man stood hiding so the woman wouldn't see him. He knew if she did, she would scream and run away from him in terror. It was always the same reaction he got from people when they saw him. Even his adopted family, The Delacey's, had treated him with contempt. Well, not the old man and his granddaughter, but he was blind and the little girl too young to judge him. They had been the only ones in all of his existence that had treated him as an equal. He remembered how he wept because of the shock of the situation. He could still feel the sting of the stick that Felix hit him with while he had tried to tell him what good he had done for his family. But he didn't want to listen. He had called him a monster. He was shunned by the world and it tore him apart to know that he would never fit into society. His own father had abandoned him to this cruel world. He was truly alone. It made him miserable. He tried to escape by reading the books that now lay at his camp nearby. He had been reading when he had heard sharp cries coming from this area. When he had investigated he had spotted the woman crying on the log.
He stared at her now and took notice of her beauty. She was wearing a brightly colored skirt of purple. The white bodice was covered with flowers of various shapes and sizes with vines interwoven through them. Over this was a dark corset which clung to her curvaceous body. On her feet were soft leather boots. Her hands and feet were small compared with his large ones. When she had taken off her scarf to wipe her eyes her black hair had cascaded down her slender olive colored shoulders to rest against the small part of her back. After the woman wiped her eyes she looked up at her surroundings. He saw that her eyes were a sparking green and held pain in their depths. Her sadness touched something inside him. 'What's happened to her to make her cry so?' He wondered. Her body shook as she wept. He felt compelled to do something to ease her suffering even though he knew what the outcome would be to himself if he did so. He wanted to help her. But how without scaring her?
The woman got up and proceeded to walk onward into the forest sighing heavily. He followed but always maintained a distance so as to not startle her. She continued walking until she found a raspberry bush and started picking the ripe berries and placing them in her basket. As he continued to watch her he began to think how nice it would be to have a friend. But immediately he turned the idea away for who would look upon him that way. 'I hate being always on the outside of everything.'
Anya gathered her berries quickly and turned to leave when she heard a noise coming from her left. She gasped under her breath then chided herself out loud. "It's only some animal you silly. " She picked up the basket and scanned the woods waiting for the animal to make its presence known. The Creature remained silent as he pressed himself closer against the tree he was hiding by. She walked over to where he was and he held his breath hoping she wouldn't see him. When she passed right by him without noticing him, he breathed a sigh of relief. Then she did something that made his heart stop. She had stopped again, turned and stared right at him. He didn't move. 'Maybe she's looking at something behind me.' He swallowed waiting for her to scream. But she didn't. Why, he wasn't sure.
Anya could have sworn she'd seen some movement coming from the stand of trees on her left. She focused again in that area and thought she saw a pair of eyes looking back at her. She gazed down then back up again and didn't see them. "I must be daydreaming again. I really must get some sleep." She rubbed her eyes and began heading back to the camp. Halfway back she started smelling smoke nearby. 'That can't be the caravan's fires. I've walked out farther than that.' She decided to follow the smoke to see who or what was the cause. Walking another thirty feet she found herself at a patch of area that had a small campfire burning. Littered around it were a few articles of clothing, some old blankets and furs, books, and a meager supply of food.
'I wonder who these things belong to? ; A hermit….recluse….perhaps a criminal?' She pondered. When she couldn't see any weapons of any kind, she rationalized the items again and came up with the solution. "This person must be a beggar. They have very little. Those blankets are so torn. They couldn't possible keep the person warm." She stated.
She picked up one of the books that lay in a neat pile and leafed through it stopping upon a picture showing a man being formed. On the bottom of the page was written something. Anya ran her fingers over the letters, but not knowing how to read she gazed back at the picture to study it. The man was very beautifully drawn. She had seen statues similar while traveling with her family in Italy.
The Creature disappeared when the woman had looked up again towards the trees. He had moved away from behind the tree only when she had started walking away. 'That was close. If I had stayed any longer, she would have seen me for sure.' He waited a few minutes more then headed back to his camp. While walking back he thought about the woman with the sad eyes. He had only seen a few other women and this one seemed to outshine the others. Where they had been fair in their coloring, she was darker and taller. Not as tall as him. He was a giant compared with the other men from the nearby village. He felt clumsy with his size. 'What would she think if I spoke to her...If I showed myself to her now?' As he continued to think about this he drew nearer to his camp, but stopped when he saw her again. She hadn't heard him coming up yet which gave him more time to study her. In her hands was one of his books. She was turning the pages slowly. He pulled up behind some bushes that were closer.
Anya gazed down at the book one more time then closed it and placed it back. Knowing that whoever lived here had little food she made a plan to return later with a warm meal and some better blankets. Her people had always treated the poor with kindness because at any time it could be themselves that were going without. She smiled and her face lit up. It felt good to be helping others. Her mother had told her how doing something for someone else was always rewarded in the future. She decided to leave the berries for the beggar to eat. She left them sitting by the books. Tying her scarf on her head she started back down the path with a skip in her gait.
Her smile dazzled him. 'Oh, if only she would smile like that at me.' He thought longingly. When she had left he came over to where she had placed the berries that were picked earlier. He reached in, grabbed a few and ate them. Their taste was sweet to his lips. He gazed up to where the woman had disappeared. He questioned to himself why such a beautiful person such as herself would leave them here for him. He must repay her kindness. But he had nothing of value to give her. He thought for a moment then had an idea. 'Flowers, I will bring her some flowers.' He had seen some flowers growing near the river that would be perfect for her. He would get them and somehow find where she lived and leave them for her at night. That way no one would see his wretched appearance.