Inspired by the ending of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (There is no chapter 25.)
|When I left the ship I knew I completed my purpose. The purpose for my life and the misdeeds I committed. The man that laid cold and lifeless on that bed meant nothing to me, yet he defined my way of living. There was nothing left for me to do. I knew not where I would traverse. I knew nothing of this land, but of its harsh winds and ice. I searched for shelter as the wind grew more violent. I knew there was no reason to do so because I was on my way to my end, but I wanted it to be quick, not like this. I would lose limbs or freeze before I found a proper place. The icy wind did not hurt me to a large degree, but it made walking uncomfortable.
I saw a large ice structure, possibly a mountain and headed to that direction. The work was not easy—I was a giant sail in the wind. I walked, using all my energy to keep on a straight path. I finally reached the icy mass and started to climb like a beast. There was a small cave-like opening a fair distance higher. I still had the strength to climb. I had much more strength than any man. I knew I could make it all the way over the mountain, but all my life I had been hasty. It had been as if I was being rushed by some hidden being to complete one task after the other. This time what I did was for myself, I could do as I pleased and take however long I wanted. The cave was dreary, but good enough for sleeping. Bones littered the ground, but caused me no alarm. Whatever was here was long gone. If not, I would rip it apart in the way I wished I could have my creator. However, those feelings of anger had long subsided and I knew I would only defend myself if necessary. Soon, my eyelids grew heavy and I drifted off to another place. For the first time, it was a good place.
I was loved and people looked upon me with trust and sincerity, not in fear or disgust. People welcomed my company and were generous in giving. They needed me to protect them and I did it willingly because I felt compelled to do so. I did not have to hide in shadow, like a horrid monster. This dream was something to be cherished. It did not anger me, but warmed me. It warmed my entire being even as I woke to the lonesome coffin of a cave in this white wasteland. This dream was only the beginning of many more as I waited for the storm to subside, and make my way to my final destination.
The storm was persistent. As I waited for it to die I could do nothing but contemplate my short life and the decisions and actions I had made. The dreams did this to me. I would not have cared otherwise; my enemy was dead and feeling this pain made no sense. Somewhere deep inside me, in the darkness, compassion was blooming. I realized that all along it was buried inside me while the evil ate away at my soul. I grieved for the lives I had taken in my selfish fits of rage. I found myself truly seeing that the energy I put into killing and hurting others, besides Frankenstein, was a waste. All the anger was directed to the wrong people, maybe even the wrong cause. I envied all and it turned me into a creature of desire and destruction. This time I was allotted allowed me to accept that I could not do anything to undo what I had done. I made sure those lives I had taken would not be forgotten or thought of in vain.
Days passed before the storm ended. The wind no longer tore at the earth and I was able to see the top of the icy mountain. I climbed it still in search of my final resting place. When I finally reached the top, the landscape of the cruel ice land transformed into what I would call paradise. Strangely, little snow covered the green pasture which lay at rest in the eternal overcast of the sun. Never had I thought a monotonous terrain could show such beauty and wonder. Birds sang tunes, relishing their freedom from the storm. It was surreal. I thought to myself: what a perfect place to die.
Hours may have passed as I gazed upon the dreamscape. The sun was slowly falling and I wanted the sights of this day to be with me as I went away. I started my task, taking apart trees, bushes, leaves. The sun was setting and the horizon was a peaceful inferno. I knew this was the moment, it was too perfect. I created a fire. The smell of it awoke my senses, I was completely present. Slowly, the ember grew into a blaze with a violent sound. Smoke swirled into the bitter-cold air and leaves confused itself with ash. I stepped back, ice crunched beneath my feet. Although fire was comforting, the beautiful field that lay beside me was more inviting than the flame. And when I realized this, I could not do it. I could not take those steps forward. I could not let myself be engulfed. If only I could do this one thing, it would all be over. I had to think. My mind was clearer in the hours it took me to ascend, hoping I would be ready long before this moment. This body was tougher and stronger than he—the man who had caused me such anguish—ever thought it could be. It has endured so much physical pain and still it strives. If I could have been capable of anything, then why not so much more? I made it to the end and now there was nothing left for me but this last action for my demise.
Something in the bushes moved. Of all the possibilities, of all the places to have been, I was right where I needed to be. A small rabbit slowly came forward, its eyes bright with fire. It came to me and even as I bent down it remained. I was able to touch its soft, ashy fur. It stayed a few minutes longer and then slowly made its way back to the bush.
I stared at the fire, looking for an answer. It could wait. The ending to my life could wait. I let the fire die down to a smaller campfire. I found berries on a bush nearby and ate them pensively as I looked through the flames. I was not all there. I was too deep in thought to realize I was falling into another dream.
This dream was like the others. I stumbled upon a beautiful valley with people dressed in robes. They were people who had developed a life containing compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. They appealed to something deep inside me. I wanted to know how they came to be this way. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to accept life and the world as it was. One man motioned for me to follow him. We walked through a garden filled with different colored leaves of all different shapes. Littered on the ground was not only flowers and various plants, but bones of small animals. There were blue and purple flowers hanging from pots attached to the sides of archways. Trees were covered in dark shaggy vines. The garden could have went on for miles into the unknown. The man led me out of the garden and towards a large structure that I could only think was their temple. I hesitated. If he knew what I had done in the past, he would not let me inside their sanctuary. I was not spiritual, but I felt I would upset my guide if I refused to enter their temple. However, he looked back at me with the kindest eyes of reassurance, beckoning me to follow. He walked inside and disappeared into a darkness. As I entered a feeling of great relief overcame me. I felt it so deep I woke up to see my fire had extinguished itself and the sun had started to rise in a distance.
I sat up, looked around. It was so real. It was as if I was there. The garden, I could smell the flowers, hear the buzz of insects. A peaceful existence was still possible. I needed answers. If these people existed somewhere, they would accept me and be able to teach me. I quickly decided, first, I would search isolated places. Places that would have nothing but peace. If they did not exist, I could find my own peace.
Although, there was still the matter of my promise. I realized that I needed to do this for myself. I knew I would still be alone, still be hiding, and breaking a promise to a corpse.
My thinking only drove me into circles of deeper darkness. I was a heartbroken and lonely creature. In such a state, I started the fire once again. Thoughts raced, I could end it now and be free of this pain. A moment of clarity arose from the burning ash of my thoughts. The wind blew and the smoked cleared from my mind. It made me understand that I was actually free. I let it all go…