Frankenstein: The Last Man Part 5, No Longer Last.

Posted: July 10, 2013 in Frankenstein: The Last Man, Hard Coal Studios
Tags: , , , ,

I turned around to see flashes of white light moving through the forest. On countless nights my hopes were dashed as I’d seen lights that were merely tricks of the moonlight or other phenomenon. My spirit could not bear another disappointment. My eyes examined the light and I was determined to believe they were wrong. “It’s a woman. I can hear her.” Had my new guest gone mad? I heard nothing, but Aliquis immediately sat up, grabbed a piece of firewood and lit it in our campfire. With this newly lit torch he bolted into the woods. I made my own torch and followed behind, but he was so fast I could not keep up. If it had not been for his own torch I would have lost him in the darkness.

From his torchlight ahead it was evident he stopped moving. The white lights continued to shine through the forest, and this time I could hear the woman myself. She let out a scream as I continued to dash toward the light. As I came closer I realized Aliquis had planted his torch into the ground. I could not see him, but I could scarcely make out the woman cowering in the darkness, the firelight just barely caressing her figure. In her arms she tightly held onto a child! After all this time, someone else had survived. Hope for mankind after all. The white lights continued to approach. More people! I could just barely make them out. It was a small group, mostly women but a few men as well. My heart leapt as I saw them. Humanity indeed would survive and prosper as they had before!

My mind was so blind with excitement and optimism that I couldn’t read the situation. This party, whoever they were, came armed. A twanging sound shot through the night air as one of the women fired an arrow from her bow. It shot toward the woman and her child. What monstrosity was this?

I gasped out loud as Aliquis reached out of the darkness and snatched the arrow in mid-flight. With one swift motion he leapt toward them, and in an instant the forest was filled with screams of fright, agony, and an inhuman roar. I made a mad dash to the woods. The woman and the child were both crying as I approached. “Don’t worry I won’t hurt you.” I said. “We have food and supplies. You’ll be safe with us.”

I turned to see the forest was flooded with images both mad and macabre. In but a moment Aliquis killed every man and women he encountered. It looked as though he merely ripped some of them in two! Only one remained, a large muscular man like Aliquis brandishing a long machete. He lunged and parried at Aliquis who swiftly ducked out of the way. It amazed me that both men were so large but could move so fast. “Stop! Stop!!” I called out in vain. He lunged one more time and Aliquis grabbed his arm and threw him to the ground. The man was on his back while Aliquis pulled the man’s arm between his legs which he laid across the man’s chest. Pushing his hips up in one swift motion he snapped the man’s arm at his elbow. He howled in pain and I grew sick to my stomach as I could hear the sound cracking bones. Aliquis continued his violent motion as he twisted the man’s broken arm until it tore off at the elbow. In my youth I had been witness to much violence and savagery, and may have even partaken in some myself, but this was too much even for me.

The man shrieked in pain, but Aliquis would not relent. He sat up and picked up the man by his throat. “NO!” I shouted, pushing against Aliquis’ bloody chest. “You monster!” I called out, beating on his chest. “They were people! They were people and you killed them!” Aliquis released the man and grabbed me by the throat. The one armed man ran screaming frantically into the night. Aliquis pulled me toward him and I thought for sure I would be next.

Then we both heard the child cry out, he released his grip and stepped into the torchlight. The child again shrieked out loud and he looked down and patted his shirt, not realizing he was covered in blood. The child then grew quiet, it was a young girl. She held onto her mother but could not remove her gaze from Aliquis. After several heavy breaths Aliquis cooled his composure and spoke. “Varney you take her back to the camp, I’ll get whatever supplies are left here.”

The woman nodded her head. She walked back with me while carrying her daughter in her arms. The child hid her face from view, but I could see she had the same short curly blonde hair as her mother. I had so longed to speak to another human being, and finally I was in the presence of not one but two of them. Yet in light of the horrific display of violence around me I could not think of a thing to say.

We arrived in silence at the camp. I offered water to my new guests which they gladly accepted. The fire still burned. I looked back to see Aliquis walking towards us. I stood back up and went to greet him. He said nothing as I approached. He hardly even looked at me.

“Aliquis. Aliquis I…” He continued walking. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry it’s just. When I saw those people I thought, we could live together in peace.” He continued walking as if I said nothing. “Try to understand.” I pleaded. “This is the first day in so long I’ve seen anyone alive. It’s also the first time in so long I had to see someone die.”

His arms were full as he’d made a makeshift knapsack out of the clothes of his victims, and had taken their archery equipment as well as the machete. He pushed a pile of bloody clothes into my chest. “These were the women’s.” he answered. “You can carry them for me.”

Back at the camp he pointed to what I was carrying and said to the woman “Some of these will probably fit you. I can make some new garments for your daughter.” Holding up a bow and arrow he asked “Do you know how to use these?”

“Yes I do, and thank you.” she said quietly. The first female voice I’d heard in so long will forever float in my memory.

“You may call me Aliquis. This is Lionel. Who are you and who were those people?”

“My name is Mary and this is my daughter Michelle. We were part of a religious sect, more of a cult really. It used to be based out of Paris, but…”

“Paris!” I finally spoke. “I think I saw them in Paris. Their leader, was he the son of a Methodist minister?”

“Yes he was. Had you fled from them as well?”

“I wasn’t part of their group, but I’d encountered them. My dear friend Juliet fell under their influence, but their leader was a fraud who was hiding the effects of the plague.”

“Juliet. Oh, I remember her. Michelle used to play with her daughter Idris. I was part of a group sent looking for survivors. Some time ago we returned to Paris to find it empty. Juliet, Idris, everyone. It seemed they all died out.”

“Well obviously not all of them.” said Aliquis. “Of course they might all be dead now.”

Looking out into the night Mary said “No, I’m afraid there’s more of the search party out there.”

Sharpening his giant machete over the campfire Aliquis added. “Well not for long.”

“Good god no!” I said, still rattled from the recent barbarism. “We have this whole world to ourselves now. We can rebuild. We must reach some kind of peace. We can….”

“Peace.” He interrupted. “I’ve heard all that shit before; the War to End All Wars, the End of History. You sang Give Peace a Chance for decades but none of you people get it. If you want world peace, go back to being the Last Man.” Pointing to the rubble he concluded, “You should have left me in those rocks.”

Having enough of Aliquis’ disposition, I asked Elizabeth “Why were they chasing you anyway?” but as soon as I asked I noticed. The light from the fire illuminated Michelle’s little face. She let out a cough and I could tell from her pale complexion that she was sickly. “Oh no.” I called out.

Mary began sobbing “Please don’t leave us, we have no-where to go.”

Aliquis looked at me, his eyes shined like fire in the night. “They’re staying with us.”

I have spoken enough of the violence of this tale. The savagery of this beast was so sickening it almost made me abandon the Sybil leaves. Thankfully, or not, my acquaintances encouraged me to move on. Even I realized as much as the brutality taxed my mind, I must continue. Like an arctic explorer, I chose to set out on this journey, and accepted that I simply must finish it.

As much as we’d accepted the nature of the Cumean Sybil prophecies, they still surprised us with what they revealed. Methodist. It was roughly translated, but again how would an ancient prophetess know the name of a Christian denomination? What piqued my comrades interest was the nature of these machines that generated beams of light. Could this device from the future be seen in my day?  What other possibilities await in this narrative?

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