By Mahealani LaRosa

Narrative:

The sun settled over the mountains in purple streaks. The snow-covered jagged tops were a broken canvas that the sun painted its fiery gaze upon. Elizabeth’s face was glowing orange; her skin was shining and her eyes slowly blinked. Victor believed she was thinking that their wedding could not have gone more splendidly. He could hear his voice in the back of his mind. Troy. Whispering thoughts into his brain, delicate hands and his mouth on his ear. He couldn’t think of that now, so he shook his head and wrapped his arms around Elizabeth. She smiled up at him, her hair grazing his chin. Troy. Victor could not get him out of his head. He had abandoned him. Where was he? Was he angry?

“What are you thinking about?”

Elizabeth’s voice broke through the increasingly overwhelming thoughts.

“I’m lucky to have such a radiant, delightful wife.”

She laughed lightly at his quick excuse and stood up.

“Want to go for a walk?”

Her breath was visible in the cold air and her fingertips were becoming pink. He took her hand and pulled himself up.

“Where do you want to go?”

The wind rustled the nearby trees and it reminded Victor of his camping trip with Troy. He remembered how delicately Troy handled the flowers he picked and the way his voice made everything around them feel still. But feeling the way he felt about Troy was wrong. People looked at them strangely, wondering if they were more than colleagues. The coldness of isolation came back to him for a moment, and Victor felt the fear rising in his throat. He hadn’t realized that they had already begun walking, Elizabeth leading him by the hand towards the dark looming trees. They looked like broken skeletons against the fading sky. The path they followed was covered in soft pine needles that made the ground feel like they were floating. When they finally reached the door of the house, she turned and kissed him lightly, standing one step above him on the stairs.

Elizabeth was so delicate he felt like he could break her. She always avoided the conversations about Victor’s work, and the long months he spent away from her working with Troy. She liked to pretend that Troy didn’t exist, but they both knew he did. Now that Victor was away from Troy, he knew it all too well.

Elizabeth opened the door and walked down the wooden hallway. It was eerily silent in the house, and he could hear the crickets and the grass fade away as he stepped inside and the door creaked closed. Elizabeth called from upstairs.

“Victor, I’ll be ready in a moment. Come up in a few minutes for a surprise.”

He knew without a doubt that when he went upstairs she would be wearing the rose-colored lace slip and laying in the center of the bed, sinking into the comforter. She will have lit candles and her feet will be curled like a ballerinas toes. He wants to kiss her. He wants to love her. He pictures her breasts and only wants to study them. Nothing stirs inside him.

Victor sat down on the mauve couch and leaned back, letting his muscles relax. He closed his eyes and his mind drifted to wandering hands and soft lips.

Elizabeth screamed. He almost wanted to ignore it, but he opened his eyes and slowly stood. She screamed again and he heard mild scratches on the ceiling. He shuddered awake and scrambled towards the stairs, slipping on the polished floor. When he finally made it to the room, he found her laying as he predicted. Something was off. Her pale neck was swollen and purple, and tiny drops of blood trickled from her lips. Victor fell, slamming his knees into the ground and clutching her lifeless body. He sobbed.

The window banged open, and the white curtains fluttered inside from the darkness. He whipped his head towards the glass and saw an indiscernible shadow. Suddenly he understood. Troy. He was angry. He ran towards the window but nobody was there. Victors eyes stung and his heart was heavier than it had been before. The balcony was empty. He looked back inside through the doors. Her inanimate body seemed so far away. Nothing seemed worth the effort. He was alone. The ground seemed closer than his dead wife’s body.  The trees were so welcoming, and the sounds of the insects were loud in his ears. He looked back one more time and fell. There was a thud – the bugs stopped humming- and then there was nothing.

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Review:

Dear Mahealani LaRosa,

I greatly appreciated your modern take on Elizabeth’s death scene from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I have often hypothesized that Victor Frankenstein was a homosexual, so I was delighted to see that you subtly brought this idea into your account. I also really appreciated how you made the creature a man who ended up being Victor’s secret lover. You made it much easier for me to understand that in the novel the creature may have been created to become Victor’s perfect male lover. Naming him Troy was also clever because it is  reminiscent of the Trojan War and the idea that Frankenstein was somewhat hiding until the final attack, hiding his true identity from his loved ones but also from himself. It also reminds me that Troy and the Trojan War are still seen as kind of legends. It is not known if they are fictional occurrences or real events, and it will never be known. So in your story, we only know of Troy through Victor’s thoughts and an action he is suggested to have done. We are never given proof of his existence, so he is very aptly named.

The way that Frankenstein acts towards Elizabeth seems more accurate to me as well. He seems less attracted to her, while she dotes on him more often. Your descriptive language almost makes the whole story seem like it is a dream. The way you connect nature and Victor also reminds me of their connection in the novel, but in your adaption, the relationship seems less violent and more calming, but it still has sinister undertones. I also like the fact that Victor is most likely dead. I sympathized with the creature more than I did with Victor in the novel, and I am happy to see that Troy is probably alive while Victor is not. Overall, I thought your writing was poetic and beautiful, and the timelessness of it was amazing as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us readers!

Looking forward to your next release,

An Avid Fan