Read Frankenstein Lives Again (The New Adventures of Frankenstein) Online

Authors: Donald F. Glut,Mark D. Maddox

Tags: #Fiction

Frankenstein Lives Again (The New Adventures of Frankenstein) (7 page)

BOOK: Frankenstein Lives Again (The New Adventures of Frankenstein)
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“There!” he shouted to Dupré, releasing one hand from his reins to point out the snow-covered object. “That’s it! That’s got to be Fairfax’s crashed plane!”

The Frenchman saw the ship and nodded in acknowledgment. He tried to yell back to Winslow but his voice failed to carry through the wind and over the yelping of his team.

“Looks like Fairfax was telling the truth!” shouted Winslow. "At least, so far!”

The two sleds speeded in the direction Fairfax had told them to go. The sweeping winds no longer seemed to matter, nor did the stinging coldness of the men’s faces. They forced the huskies to draw them faster until, there, standing up from the snow like some frozen gravestone, was a peculiar block of ice, shining in the sunlight like a beckoning mirror.


Over there
!” Winslow roared, pointing.

Both Winslow and Dupré stared at the upright piece of ice as their teams pulled them closer to it. They could see the dark area that betrayed the fact that there was, indeed, something inside th ice block — something imprisoned. As they drew steadily closer they could discern that the shadowy form was vaguely the shape of a large . . . man.

It could be nothing other than the Ice God!

Fired by enthusiasm, both men pulled hard on their reins forcing their teams and sleds to a halt.

“Burt,” the Frenchman started, then paused, “do you think—?”

“I don’t think,” the American interrupted. “Pierre, I know!”

“Then come on,” said Pierre, “and let’s get up there!”

Taking their packs of equipment, their rifles and pistols, the two explorers trudged through the snow toward the ice block. Behind them, the dogs howled, almost in a warning against their approach toward the darkened form within the block. Like two enthusiastic children — or obsessed madmen — they reached the glassy slab and brushed aside the snow that had settled there.

That done, the men stepped back in awe, gasping.

The giant thing loomed above their heads, peering out with a frozen snarl through the obscuring ice, its features twisted into a petrified mask of horror.

“It’s ... it is ... “ began Dupré, who found himself speechless and unable to proceed with his intended description. He could only gawk with wonder and hope that his friend would speak in his place.

“Yes, Pierre,” said Winslow, who was surprisingly calm, given all that had led up to this moment, “it’s the Frankenstein monster.” He then stared at the hideous being in the ice in silent reverence, as if it surely were a deity of the frozen North.

“Come on,” said Dupre’, taking a pick in his hand and gripping it tightly. “Let’s begin chopping away the ice so we can get the thing back to the truck.”

Winslow, who had been staring trancelike at the ice block, suddenly snapped back to reality.

“Yes!” he agreed. “But we’ll chop away just enough of the ice to get it back by dogsled. But not too much of the ice. I don’t want him thawing out on us.”

“Thawing out?” asked the Frenchman. “What does that matter? The Monster looks dead in that ice. How could — ?”

But Winslow was shaking his head, a quite sober look on his face.

“If Victor Frankenstein really did succeed in making his creation immortal, then don’t you think for a moment that the Monster is dead. If that ice thaws out, the creature could revive on us which is something I won’t let happen — at least not here. He’s not going to come back to life until I’ve made all the preparations I need, taken all the precautions, given him all the power to make him completely well. Bringing him back to some kind of ‘half-life’ or in a weakened condition could be disastrous, both for the Monster and for our knowledge of him.”

“I’m beginning to understand,” said the Frenchman.

“He’s been in that ice a long time,” continued Winslow, “and this point, there’s no telling how much damage the ice has done to him But back in Ingolstadt, with a laboratory at my disposal, I'll revive him as Victor Frankenstein himself had intended — by recreating Frankenstein’s experiment in the very laboratory of the Monster’s birth.”

Dupré grinned and clutched his rifle. “Well, even if the brute did come alive out here, we have these to hold him back — if that’s something else you’re worrying about.” He smacked the rifle butt.

For the first time in a while, the American smiled. “I doubt if our bullets would have much effect on him,” he said, “except making him angry — if the legends about this creature are true. But no, let’s do it my way, okay? Now let’s start chopping at that block before we have to use these guns on some of the local residents.”

They were like children opening a Christmas present. Burt Winslow and Pierre Dupré chopped and slashed away at the ice. Bits and chunks and splinters of ice flew off in all directions as they worked, always careful not to make direct contact with the being beneath the block. The minutes passed at an agonizingly slow pace as the two men feverishly removed more and more of the confining ice. Neither winced as the small, frozen shards shot into their faces. They were making steady progress in their work, which was all that mattered.

But even as they chopped, they could hear the sound of dogs, not their own teams, coming from the opposite direction.

Winslow and Dupré stopped their work and turned simultaneously to see the dark “dots” moving across the snowfields.

“Pierre . . . now that’s why we have rifles!”

“Eskimos!” exclaimed Pierre, perceiving the parkas of the small band of men approaching on dogsleds. “Burt, if they left Fairfax to die just for seeing their Ice God..."

“I know,” grunted Winslow. “What do you think they’ll try doing to us for stealing it?”

Immediately, the two men stopped their work.

Winslow snatched up his loaded rifle, just as a bullet whizzed over his head, barely missing him and piercing the upper edge of what remained of the ice block.

The Eskimos were already leaving halted sleds, rifles clutched in their gloved hands.

“They’ve got guns this time, Pierre!” called out Winslow. “But if you can keep chopping and get the Monster out, I’ll cover you. Don’t worry, I was…”

“I know. You were top man on the university’s target range, correct?”

“Didn’t know I told you that. But just keep at the ice. The job’s almost finished anyway. I won’t have to hold them off for too long.”

Standing away from his partner, Winslow used his body as a shield to protect both Dupré and the Monster. The Frenchman kept hammering away at the ice while another bullet streaked overhead. Another shot nearly creased Winslow’s fur-lined hood.

“Hurry, Pierre!” the scientist shouted, lifting his rifle. “That was
too
close!”

“I’m going as fast as I can,
Monsieur
!”

Winslow aimed his weapon and fired almost in the same blur of motion.

An Eskimo dropped his own weapon and fell, scarlet staining the pure white snow.

Dupré tried not to look, even though a bullet might, at any moment, come ripping into his back. He kept on working, letting most of what remained of the ice that was to be removed fall to the ground.

Again and again the Eskimos fired at the two invaders to their sacred grounds. Fortunately their aim was poor and Winslow was agile enough to keep moving out of their range of fire. He could almost feel the bullets that blasted near him and into the ice block.

“If they’ve damaged the Monster, I’ll — “ Winslow fired again. A second native moaned and plunged face-first into the snow. “Hurry, Pierre! There are more of them coming! If they make a rush on us or make for our dogs…”

The air was explosively alive. The barking of the huskies and the thunder of bullets seemed to compete for supremacy. Ice shards flew from the impact of hot bullets as well as from Dupré's smashing axe.

Then Winslow heard the words he had been waiting for, shouted over the cacophony.

“Burt! I’ve done it! It’s finished!”

“Finished? Great work,” Winslow said, still firing his weapon and squirming to avoid becoming a target of the barrage of bullets any one of which could have instantaneously ended his quest. “Quick, now!” he exclaimed without even looking at the results of Pierre’s work. “Slide it along to the dogsleds and attach the grappling hooks. But make it fast. I can’t hold them off forever. There are too many of them. Thought l could, but – !”

Winslow dashed aside to avoid another bullet.

At the same time, Dupré gave a mighty shove against the frozen Monster, which, except for a conforming coating of ice, was entirely freed from the matrix of the ice block. The Monster dropped into a blanket of snow, which prompted the natives to fire again.

As the Frenchman dragged the Monsters frozen carcass through the snow, Winslow moved in after him, firing his rifle until it clicked empty. The weapon was useless to him now — he could always pay Lamont for it — and so he dropped into the snow, immediately thereafter snapping his pistol up from its holster. He continued blasting away at the natives with his handgun, hitting two of them in the chest and maintaining a cover for Dupré.

Turning his head at last, Burt saw the Frenchman attaching the grappling hooks to the Monster.

“All right, Burt! Now we can simply drag it away from here!” 

“Okay, then —let’s move out!”

Cutting down another Eskimo, Winslow rushed to his own dogsled, to which the frozen Frankenstein monster had been attached.

By now, the Eskimos had been reduced in their numbers by half, but their losses did not diminish their determination to kill these two invaders.

Whips cracked.

Dogs barked frantically.

A second later, Winslow, Dupré and the frozen husk of the purloined Monster were sliding across the field of snow.

The weight of the giant with its added ice slowed down Winslow’s sled. Yet he managed to draw the maximum speed from his animals. Luckily they had already gained a good head start as the remaining Eskimos scrambled to their sleds and came after the stealers of their god in pursuit.

“Faster! Faster, Pierre!” exclaimed Winslow, looking back now and then to check on both their pursuers, and to ensure that the grappling hooks were holding. “Faster!”

But the Eskimo sleds were getting precariously close to both Winslow and Dupré, and there seemed to be no end to the natives’ supply of ammunition.

At last, both American and Frenchman sighed with relief to see Lamont’s truck waiting in the distance. Lamont, apparently aroused by the sounds of shooting and the sight of the Eskimos’ sleds, was already prepared for the carnage that would inevitably follow. Standing in the snow, rifle in hand, the man waited until his targets were within range of fire, then he joined in the battle

More Eskimos fell from their sleds and into the snow.

Bullets ricocheted off the truck, one bouncing back almost hitting Lamont’s shoulder.

Both Winslow and Dupré drove their sleds alongside the truck. Moving like machines, Dupré and Lamont then brought dogs and sleds up the ramp and into the vehicle, then did the same with the frozen Monster, while Winslow continued to fire at the attackers. The scientist grabbed two more rifles from the truck, confident now that he would have enough ammunition to continue this miniature war until its bloody conclusion.

As Dupré and Lamont finished their work and dropped the canvas over the back of the truck, Winslow yelled to them, “All right! Get inside! I’ll follow you!”

Lamont ran around toward the truck’s cab, the sheer mass of the vehicle protecting him from the natives who were shooting from the other side. The other Eskimos, noting where the man was going, quickly moved around to the front of the truck.

Dupré was still standing outside, confused in all the excitement, not knowing which cab door to enter.

“Get inside, Pierre!” Winslow commanded, firing his rifle again.

Without further delay, the Frenchman rushed for the other door of the cab and was already climbing aboard when an Eskimo’s bullet tore into him. Blood splattered upon the door as Winslow reacted to the scarlet smear with horror.

“Pierre!”

Winslow turned and, his teeth grinding in a vengeful snarl, pumped a bullet through the skull of the man who had shot down his friend.

“Pierre…”

Rushing to the Frenchman, oblivious of the bullets blasting overhead and bouncing off the truck’s hull only inches away, Winslow dragged him inside the cab.

Pierre moaned, clutching his arm.

“Thank God!” said Winslow. “I didn’t see where you were hit. It could’ve been—”

“I’ll live, Burt. J-just my shoulder. But it hurts!”

There was no longer any reason to fire. Lamont gunned the accelerator of the truck and they were soon rumbling away from what remained of the revenge-minded group. Finally realizing that the Eskimos were at a safe distance behind them, Winslow wiped a river of sweat from his brow that had formed there, despite the freezing cold.

CHAPTER VII:

Departure and Death

The back room of Morris Lamont’s business establishment was chilled almost like a freezer, and for good reason.

Burt Winslow, Pierre Dupré and Morris Lamont sat together in the room, doing their meager best to keep warm. The room was cold, as Winslow had felt it best to keep the radiators shut off for a while. He did not want the frozen fourth member of their group to accidentally thaw out.

The three men sat before the gigantic, ice-encased form of the Frankenstein monster, which was stretched out in a supine position.

A small puddle of water was beginning to form on the floor beneath the frozen hulk, but Winslow was confident that there was no real danger of the Monster thawing as long as the radiators remained off. The icy fist of the patchwork horror was still rigidly held in a gesture of defiance, as though the being were just waiting to catch his observers off guard, to burst free of his cold confinement and strike out at them with his superhuman strength.

Pierre Dupré was still trying to warm himself, burdened though he was by his arm which they had medically treated and which was now supported by a sling. “I still find it difficult to accept the fact,” he marveled, chewing on a cold empty pipe, “that we are looking at the actual corpse of the Frankenstein monster.”

“Er, not corpse, Pierre,” Winslow corrected with a gleam in his eye. “Remember?”

“I’m sorry, Burt. I should have said ‘body.’
Oui
,
Monsieur
. For, as you have already told me many times, the monster of Frankenstein cannot die.”

Lamont’s jaw fell open.

Winslow reacted to the expression of shock that suddenly showed itself on Lamont’s face.

“What?” Lamont interjected. “You mean to say that this . . . this
thing
in the ice… is alive?”

Winslow nodded. “That’s right. The monster was trapped by this ice, shortly after he left his dead creator aboard Captain Walton’s ship, and before he had the chance to carry out his promised suicide-by-fire. But though the creature was frozen, I believe he never really died. In fact, thanks to the immortality given him by the scientist who made him, he shouldn’t be able to die, at least not by ordinary means. In fact, even though the creature can’t move, can’t feel anything at this moment, he’s probably more alive under that ice than all of us put together. But as long as that ice imprisons him in his suspended animation state, he’ll appear to be dead.”

With a worried expression on his face, Lamont began to reach for one of his pistols. “Well, if that thing comes back to life while I’m sitting here, I want to be prepared.”

“No need to worry about that,” said Winslow with confidence “We won’t be needing any weapons,” he continued, pausing melodramatically, “when we turn up those radiators and melt away that ice."

 "What!”exclaimed both Lamont and the Frenchman simultaneously.

“You’re going to thaw him out?” added Lamont. “Here, in my place of business? You can’t be serious, man!”

But Winslow, as usual, was grimly serious. Then, after another silent pause, he laughed. “Don’t worry, I’m fully prepared to handle the monster if he thaws out. Remember that he’ll most likely be in a weakened condition after being frozen for so long.”

“Most likely?” said Dupré.

The American walked to the back of the room, then returned to Dupré and Lamont with a leather object in his hand, which he held out for their examination.

“A gas mask?” remarked Lamont.

“Exactly,” replied Winslow. “Even if the Monster did begin to revive after the ice thaws, this gas mask, stuck over his face, will be able to keep him, along with a couple elephants, asleep until I get him back to Castle Frankenstein. Don’t worry.”

“Well,” said Lamont, clearing his throat apprehensively, “I hope it works — for all our sakes.” He shivered, not entirely because of the cold.

“Trust me,” said Winslow. “And now, shall we start up the heaters?”

Before more than a few minutes had transpired, the coldness of the room was already being supplanted by a rush of warmth from Lamont’s radiators. Smoke chugged into the sky from the building’s chimney and, in that back room, the puddle of water beneath the comatose Monster was increasing in size. After a seemingly endless wait, a large chunk of wet ice finally dropped away from the Monster’s body.

Pierre’s body jerked as the ice chunk crashed against the floor. 

The layer of ice that partially obscured the Monster’s face finally split, the dripping pieces falling away to bring that awesome countenance into full view. All three men rushed in close for a better look, seeing the yellowish, mummylike skin, the long, stitched wound that had never fully healed and which ran the length of the right cheek, the whitish eye sockets, the pearly teeth showing from behind the pulled-back, ebon lips. The flesh hardly covered the coarse muscles and network of blood vessels which added to the unsightliness of the face. 

Reacting with celerity, Winslow thrust the gas mask down over the Monster’s visage. Immediately all three men let out an audible sigh of relief, knowing that they were safe as long as that mask remained in place.

Then the scientist motioned for his two friends to move in closer.

The rest of the ice became watery, then fell away to the floor.

Now it was possible to view at their safety and convenience those features of the Monster that were not obscured by the gas mask.

Winslow pointed to a particularly deep red scar. The scar extended across the entire width of the rather high forehead, above the Neanderthal-like brow. It was held together by small strips of metal and stitches of coarse thread.

“There,” said Winslow, sounding not unlike one of his former science lecturers at the university, “according to
The Journal of Victor Frankenstein
, is where Victor Frankenstein opened the skull of his creation to put in the brain he had stolen from a corpse.”

“A criminal’s brain?” asked the Frenchman.

“Perhaps,” said Winslow, “and perhaps not. The journal doesn’t say where the brain came from. But, of course, you’re thinking of the Boris Karloff movie, and what we’re now dealing with is reality.”

Then the scientist pointed to the stitched scar that circumvented the muscular neck of the giant.

“Obviously,” said Dupré, “that’s where
Monsieur
Frankenstein joined the head to the body.”

Winslow nodded. “Simply marvelous, don’t you agree?”

Dupré and Lamont exchanged curious glances.

“And notice,” Winslow continued enthusiastically, “how the Monster was pieced together. See how certain organs don’t really match. He’s like a living jigsaw puzzle ... or maybe many jigsaw puzzles, the pieces of which have gotten mixed-up to create one hideous composite. Fascinating!”

Then Lamont pointed out two small pieces of rounded metal, one protruding from each temple, gleaming in the light of the fire that he had started in the room to hasten the thawing process. The metallic stubs contrasted against the long, jet-black hair of the being.

“What are these?” asked Lamont. “Bolts?”

“Not quite,” answered Winslow. “Those are primitive electrodes. Through them, Victor Frankenstein sent the life-giving electrical current into his creation.”

“I still can’t get quite as enthused about this as you are, Burt, “especially now that I see the Monster, face-to-face, if you will," said Pierre. "Now the creature appears to be more of a horror than a scientific wonder. And yet, I must admit to some morbid fascination with the being. The mind certainly does boggle at the sight of it."

"Yet one thing disturbs me, my friend. You have told me — I have read in Mrs. Shelley’s novel — of the horror this creature once brought upon his maker and all his loved ones. What’s to stop history from repeating itself, with the Monster’s crimes transferred to your own conscience?”

Winslow had already considered that, months ago. “It is because of a simple difference between myself and Victor Frankenstein. He did not realize that his being was a hideous monstrosity, so consumed was he by his own work, until that fateful November night when the Monster came to life. Then, rather than accepting responsibility for his creation, he rejected it and fled from it, leaving it alone to face a world that hated it. And when the Monster asked but one boon from his maker — a female creation with whom to live alone in peace away from mankind — Frankenstein denied him.”

“And you will be different in your treatment of the Monster?” asked Dupré sincerely.

Winslow turned to face the Frenchman. “Unlike Victor, I’m already aware of the Monster’s quite obvious lack of good looks. I’m not shocked by his appearance. I am quite ready to accept him, as a bizarre adopted ‘son’ if you will. And once the Monster is accepted, he’ll become the benevolent being that Victor originally intended him to be.”

“With all of those murders already on his conscience?” asked Dupré, raising an eyebrow. “Burt, my friend, I sincerely hope that you have not deluded yourself by your... enthusiasm.”

For a moment, Winslow felt himself tense up, almost hearing the word
obsession
come from the Frenchman’s lips.

Then Lamont said, “What is there left for you to do, now that the Monster has been put to sleep with the gas? I’d prefer his not being here any longer than necessary. I’m sure you understand.”

“He’ll be gone soon, Mr. Lamont. That I promise you. But first, I’ll need your help again. I want to get the Monster securely packed up in a wooden crate — one that’s sturdy enough to hold him during our journey back to Europe. I’ve rented an entire railroad freight car to haul him as far as I can until I can get him aboard a ship. Then, the Monster and I head for Germany. My assistant will be waiting for me back at the Frankenstein castle in lngolstadt.”

“Why don’t you just take a plane and save some time?” Dupré inquired.

“Don’t want to risk that,” answered Winslow. “I want to be with the crate throughout the trip and I doubt the airlines will me sit with it in the baggage compartment for the entire duration And I doubt even more that the other passengers would appreciate my propping him up in one of the seats, even in the economy section.”

“Well,
Monsieur
, I must say that you certainly seem to have everything worked out in advance. It must be nice to have money.”

Winslow grinned. “It is.”

Within the ensuing hour, the three men were again at work lifting the heavy body of the Frankenstein monster and gently placing it within the giant crate that Lamont had obtained for that purpose. They all leaned against the coffinlike receptacle, then looked at one another.

“Well, my friend,” said Pierre Dupré, extending his hand to Winslow’s and shaking it firmly, “I am afraid I must be leaving you. My part of this adventure is over. But what I would give to go with you all the way to Ingolstadt and see this project of yours through to its completion. But I do have my friends, and my job to consider. And there is still time for me to enjoy most of my boring vacation at the communications post.”

“And I,” added Lamont, “have my business here.”

“It was good knowing you both,” said Winslow. “And if there is any favorable publicity about the Monster — and there should be —I’ll make sure that you two get credit. Believe me, I could never have done this alone. And who knows, maybe someday I just might take a trip back to this white hell and say ‘hello.’”

Lamont cast his gaze at the crated form and slammed down the lid. “If you ever do return, Dr. Winslow, please come alone!’

Pierre Dupré raised his wounded arm up slightly from its sling and attempted to wave. Winslow and Lamont smiled, then watched him take up one suitcase and walk out the door.

“Now,” said Lamont, “shall we nail this box shut? I’ll feel much better when that’s done.”

After the crate had been sealed, Lamont drove Winslow to the railroad depot, transporting the boxed-up Monster in the back of his truck. Both men carried rifles, not to be used against the creature, but as a precautionary measure against other possible attacks by the vengeful Eskimos. So far, there had been no more such violent incidents, but the scientist knew that he could not relax until he was far away from this snowbound land.

After Winslow and Lamont had placed the crated Monster into the boxcar, the scientist climbed aboard and returned the rifle to its owner. “Thanks again, Mr. Lamont,” he said.

A minute later Winslow was peering out the open door of the boxcar, watching the canvas-topped truck rumble back in the direction of Lamont’s transport company.

Winslow turned away from the scene of snow-covered buildings as a railroad employee slid shut the freight car door. The scientist’s attention was now solely on the awesome angular container resting quietly in front of him. He stared at it, even as the train began to chug out of the station.

How great it felt to be able to relax.

* * * 

For the first time in days, Winslow slept. He had dozed off, confident that the rest of his journey would be uneventful. And the darkness of the boxcar was a welcome change from the extended daylight.

His dreams consisted of vague snatches of the events that he had lived in the Arctic. There were glimpses of Lynn mingled in with those dreams, but mostly his unconscious visions centered about the Monster and the violence he had been thrust into while securing its remains. The dreams had no real opportunity to develop into full-fledged nightmares, for he was already being awakened by the sensation that something was tugging forcibly at his body.

His eyes began to flutter.

The Monster!
, he thought.

His vision was rapidly focusing on the reality of the railroad car and he was learning, to his consternation, that powerful arms were dragging him toward the open door. A quick flash of distant snows and white-coated trees streaked by before Winslow fully realized that he was no longer sleeping.

BOOK: Frankenstein Lives Again (The New Adventures of Frankenstein)
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Afternoon Delight by Anne Calhoun
Dawn's Acapella by Libby Robare
Night Blade by J. C. Daniels
To Love a Way of Life by Natalie Hart
A Storybook Finish by Lauralee Bliss
The New Rakes by Nikki Magennis
Piratas de Skaith by Leigh Brackett
Kidnapped by a Warrior by Ravenna Tate