Hey kid, good to see you again. Come on in and have a seat. I cleared my schedule for the afternoon so we can chat. Can I get you something? A cup of coffee, glass of wine, a cold beer? Cool. Let me grab that then we can get to work.
Here ya go. Now, what would you like to know? I told you that I’d tell you about some of the stuff I found in Herr Hess’s journals, but this is your book. What do you want to tell the world?
Dr. Frankenstein? Really? You do know that’s just a story, right? Victor Frankenstein was the product of a night of drinking among a bunch of writers. Oh, don’t get me wrong. The monster was real, but not the doctor.
Alright, here’s the story. Yes, there really was a real reanimated human. His name was George Foster and he really was a monster, but not in the sense you’d think. He murdered his wife and child in a drunken stupor. He was hanged for his crimes, then his body was donated to science. That’s how he came to be in the possession of Giovanni Aldini, the real mad scientist.
I worked for a little publication called The Newgate Calendar. Usually, the stories written were about crimes and executions. However, after the hanging of Mr. Foster, I was sent to witness the experiments done on his corpse by Dr. Aldini.
I was the only woman in the room and most of the men had tried to shield my eyes when the body was brought out. I finally had to inform the lot of them that I’d seen worse and I wasn’t the queasy little girl they were making me out to be.
I took a seat at the front of the room as the body was laid out on the table. Dr. Aldini busied himself setting up all his equipment, then turned to the crowd.
“Gentlemen, and lady.” His tone was both flirtatious and vile. I could tell he wasn’t happy about me being there. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Giovanni Aldini and tonight, I will prove that we can bring the dead back to life.”
Hushed grumbles reverberated through the room as Dr. Aldini continued. “My uncle, Luigi Galvani, proved that animals could be brought back to life through the use of electricity and magnets. I witnessed, first hand, that Galvanism can bring the dead back to life. My uncle was known for experimenting on small animals such as frogs, but I was there the night he reanimated a badger.”
I took notes as quickly as I could. The crowd behind me seemed to be getting more agitated, but I was actually enjoying the show. One of the doctor’s assistants came out and began flipping switches for the final act.
As the machine roared to life, Dr. Aldini took large pins affixed to wires and inserted them into the dead man’s body. He placed one into the heart, one into the liver, one into each of the hands and feet, then inserted one last one into the corpse’s dingus. I tried not to outwardly giggle, especially since most of my peers seemed to be cringing in pain.
Once he was sure each pin was in place, he removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He placed an apparatus on the corpse’s head that looked much like a Celtic torq that rested on each of the temples. I noticed the look on his face had gone from educated nobleman to half-crazed wildman.
The electricity in the air had begun to cause his hair to elevate and those of us in the audience felt the tingling sensations in our extremities. Oddly, I sensed something more in the air. Something not of this world.
“Behold,” Dr. Aldini cried, “I give you life after death.” With that, he reached out and pulled the largest of the levers on the panel next to the table. The lights began to flicker as arcs of electric charges bounced from one side of the corpse to the other. Then, it happened. The corpse began to move.
The fingers began to flex violently and the feet began to kick. The chest was seen to rise and fall as though the creature were grasping at air. The corpse’s head began to slam repeatedly into the table and he was sporting the largest erection I’d ever seen.
I kept writing, but the rest of the room was in an uproar. The hushed tones had turned into full-blown screams.
“You’re a mad man, Aldini,” I heard one voice shout.
“This is insane,” another voice declared.
Suddenly, the creature sat straight up, arms stretched out in front of itself. Its mouth was wide open in a silent scream, and its eyes were as wide as saucers. It was enough to send nearly everyone in the audience out of the room.
One of my colleagues grabbed my arm and nearly dragged me out of the room with him. In the process, I dropped my notebook. As we entered the foyer, I wrenched my arm away from him.
“Unhand me, Sir,” I snapped.
“Forgive me, Madame, but I’ll not stand by while that monster is unleashed. Who knows what that thing would do with the likes of you.”
“I assure you, good sir, I’m quite capable of taking care of myself.” I had no intentions of being paraded around like a child.
I turned on one heel to make my way back into the room. When I opened the door, I found the doctor’s assistants running around frantically. Dr. Aldini lay on the floor propped up on his elbows. Then I noticed that the table was empty.
“Close the door, quickly,” Dr. Aldini barked.
I shut the door but stayed close in case I needed to make an escape. “What happened?” I asked one of the assistants.
He stopped in front of me, looked over his shoulder, then whispered to me, “It escaped.”
“What?” I asked, hoping he wasn’t talking about Mr. Foster.
“The corpse,” he replied, still looking over his shoulder. “It jumped up off the table, knocked Dr. Aldini to the ground, and leaped out the window. It’s out there, running naked, through the city.”
Part of me was worried about the outcome of this event, but the rest of me wanted to find the creature. I had no idea what I was in for.