Frankenstein: The Last Man Part 8, The War on the Mount.

Posted: August 7, 2013 in Frankenstein: The Last Man
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The sun rose the next morning and I opened my eyes to see a small group of people, maybe twenty or so, about the size of our group of captors. For a moment I thought I was dreaming, as if I were back with my sister and my dear friends. Only the ropes that bound my hands reminded me of my current state. I’d been cut from the tree in my sleep, and was placed beside Mary to the side of the mount. The crowd gathered below, as Sophia came to the top of the mount to speak.

“Greetings my friends.” She began warmly. “We have gathered you together this day, to offer our warmth, our security, some much needed supplies, but also something much more important.” She continued with much enthusiasm. “We all know the plague that ravished this planet. That is why you’ve been in hiding, living like rats in the darkness. Even those of us alive have still suffered from its ravishes. We’ve lost friends, loved ones. I myself lost my own family to it. But we must leave that in the past. We the meek have inherited this Earth, and it is our duty to rebuild the kingdom of humanity! But what of the plaque you ask? What of it? From the heavens we have been sent a sign”. Motioning to Aliquis she boasted “Behold, this creature has been sent to us, with the power to cure the plaque.” I must confess she had a mesmerizing presence. If I was in that crowd I too would probably long to follow her lead.

“She certainly knows how to stir a crowd.” I said to Mary, who was tied up next to me.

“Yes, she does. Ever since we were children, she always knew how to put on a show.”

Then some women brought little Michelle up to the mount. Sophia motioned to her and the child stood at her side. Placing her arm around her Sophia said “This child just yesterday was suffering from the plague. Near death she was until she found this miracle, and here she is before you a happy healthy child.”

“Why do you tied your miracle to a tree?” yelled out a man from the crowd. “He doesn’t look like he wants to be there.”

“This creature has been sent to us, and suffers to remove our sickness. He can barely stand as he has shouldered the burden that has crushed civilization into the ground.”

“Why should we believe any of this?” said a woman in the crowd.

“I shall show you why.” As she gestured to the side a man covered in robes and a grey hood approached. He walked slowly and was trembling. Standing by Sophia he revealed his face which was covered in some kind of rash. I couldn’t see too clearly from my vantage point but as best I could tell he looked very sickly.

“We found this man when we arrived in Vohburg yesterday, alone, frightened, abandoned by all and ravished by sickness. We promised we would help him, if only we allowed him to show others the miracle we’ve found. He has been waiting patiently, and now it is time”

Now talking to the man he said “Go my friend, go and be well again.”

Slowly he crept toward Aliquis. He knelt down at his feet and lay still for a moment. Then he stood up, and slowly returned to Sophia. Standing at her side again, he looked at her, and Sophia was astonished. He pulled his hood down again and his face appeared fully healed. Gone was the rash and any signs of sickness. The crowd gasped audibly, and Sophia cried out triumphantly “Behold the miracle we have found!”

“I know him!” I said angrily to Mary. I couldn’t believe it. The man that was kind to me, he was an impostor just like the rest of them. John finally found his audience.

The crowd erupted and rushed up the mount. Some of them carried children that appeared to be sick. Others appeared to have other injuries, broken bones, one was blind. “Wait wait, one at a time.” Sophia tried controlling them but they continued rushing. Solomon shot wildly into the crowd which now erupted in fear.

“Solomon what are you doing!” Sophia called out. He answered by striking her in the head with the butt of his gun. She fell to the ground unconscious.

Solomon fired into the crowd again. “Alright you maggots I’m in charge here. You’re going to…” He ducked immediately as someone threw a stone his way. He never considered that some of the crowd might be armed too, as some of them began firing back. With the flash of a gun barrel miniature warfare broke out before me. The survivors fighting the cult, Solomon’s contingent fighting those loyal to Sophia. It was a shocking sight to me. Finally to see others, and this was the result. Their facial expressions betrayed the nature of man. I swear people of all three groups were smiling. They enjoyed the maiming, the killing, the brutality. When I was a lad I lived in brutality in order to survive, but as an adult was happy to live a life without it. Heartbreaking it was to know those before me did not share the same sentiment.

What no one noticed in all of this was little Shelly, who slipped away with Sophia’s knife in her hand. Swiftly she ran over to Aliquis and cut him free from the tree. His large body collapsed to the ground. Little Michelle kneeled at his side and placed her hand on his wound. Aliquis placed his massive hand over hers and the two looked at each other a moment.

Solomon’s hand grabbed Michelle by the back of the neck and tossed her aside. “Get out of here little bitch!”

“Shelly!” Her mom ran towards her. Our hands were still bound but no one was watching us in the commotion. I ran behind Mary as Solomon reached for the machete attached to his belt. While he did this Aliquis swiftly struck him in the face.

Mary and I both reached Michelle. She was ok. She still had the knife and cut our hands free. Meanwhile Solomon swung a kick to the wounded side of Aliquis. Our new friend fell to the ground as Solomon raised his blade into the air. As his one arm came down Aliquis did some technique where he wrapped his own legs in Solomon’s and grabbed his arm as it came down. With one motion he rolled his opponent to the ground and followed with a punch to the face. He slammed Solomon’s arm into the ground forcing him to release his grip on the machete. The part of his arm that still remained reached over Aliquis’s and the brute bit into him with his teeth. Aliquis yelled in pain as his opponent got some small measure of revenge. A knee to his wounded gut followed and Aliquis was pushed to the side on his back.

One thing I recalled from my more violent youth, is to never rely too much on weaponry, if you can finish someone with your bare hands you should. Solomon made the mistake of reaching for his blade, which resulted in giving his back to his opponent. Aliquis immediately reached over and wrapped his arms around Solomon’s neck. Solomon managed to bring the blade back to lightly pierce Aliquis’s shoulder. Aliquis screamed a mixture of pain and rage, but it was too late for his opponent, whose neck was snapped in a second.

Aliquis took no time to gloat as he stood up and took the bloody blade. Sophia had come to, and Aliquis spotted her. He ran toward her swinging the blade into the air yelling. “Time to meet your maker bitch!” In a second her eyes widened in fear and she raised her arms up while cowering before him. The blade sliced down through the air when Michelle stepped in between them. The blade stopped inches before her forehead.

“Stop!” She yelled. “Stop don’t kill her!”

“You spineless wench she threatened your daughter!”

“And killing her won’t make anything right!”

She knelt down to Sophia’s side. Sophia had a light gash on the side of her head, but it wasn’t serious. They both looked out over the mound to see everyone still fighting. Tears came to Sophia’s eyes as she said “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Mary please forgive me. Help me so it doesn’t end like this.”

This needed to end. I stood at the top of the mount and shouted “Stop! Stop this madness! Stop!” It was useless, the people just kept on fighting. I jumped in incredible fright as an inhuman roar erupted behind me. It was from Aliquis. He stood beside me and when he finished making his beastly noise he looked to me and nodded. A slight smirk escaped his face. I looked back out over the crowd and now had everyone’s attention.

For a moment I was at a loss for words, but then began. “Only three days ago I’d wandered this continent believing I was the Last Man. I’d have given anything just to find one more person. Finally I see not one, but so many before me. And what are we doing when we are finally together? Fighting and killing each other. I don’t want to believe that the only way to peace is for me to again be the last man.”

“They started it!” One of them countered. “We we’re at peace until they arrived. They’re the ones who came here with guns and violence.”

Some of the cult members raised their arms again and for a moment it looked as though the conflict would reignite. Sophia stood to my side. “Stand down! Stand down everyone. We’ve all been blind, all of us. When we returned from Paris we failed to realize the truth. Our leader was an imposter. We just wanted to maintain order, but for what?” Speaking to the others she continued. “It was wrong of me to try to deceive and rule over you.” Slightly kneeling down she said “I submit myself to you. We have food and supplies. We’ll help you in any way we can. Let us redeem ourselves for the wrong we’ve done.”

Tension remained in the air, but the peace was maintained. Sophia said to her group “Let’s get our supplies. We have a few medical supplies. Let’s tend to anyone who is sick. We also have food. Let us all eat together in peace.”

Suddenly we heard a slight thud. “Aliquis!” Michelle called out. He’d fallen to the ground. The wound to his side was still fresh and his blood spilled into the ground. Mary, Michelle, Sophia and I rushed to his side. Sophia noticed the wound. “Shelly, can you give me my knife?” Michelle went to give her the blade, but Mary held her back a moment.

“For God’s sake let me gause his wound!”

After hesitating for a moment Mary said “It’s ok Shelly.” Michelle gave the knife to Sophia who immediately tore a long piece of material from the bottom of her dress.

She knelt down besides Aliquis. Her hands trembled as she said “I’m going to try to help you. Can you help me wrap you up?” Aliquis groaned as he pushed his hips up, allowing Sophia to wrap the material around his waist. She tied it and put pressure on the wound. “We have some medical supplies. I’ll try to help you as best I can.”

I’ll be fine.” Aliquis said while coughing up some blood.

“Dammit man stop being so stubborn let her help you.” I said in frustration.

“Mr. Aliquis!” Shelly knelt down besides Sophia and next to her new friend. She placed her hands on his wound. “You made me feel better.”

“Be good to your mom kid.” Aliquis said coughing. “You’re lucky to…have… one of those…”

He then closed his eyes. Shelly called out “Mr. Aliquis!” Tears were shed as she pressed down on his wound with her little hands. Sophia lightly placed her arms on her shoulders saying “Come on Shelly. Let’s go.”

“No.” She cried out.”

Her mother then came to her side. “It’s ok Shelly. There’s nothing you can do.”

“No.”

Suddenly his lungs rapidly expanded and contrasted. He opened his eyes and let out another painful groan. Little Michelle’s face burst into a smile. Aliquis lightly raised her hand and brushed her face. “You made me feel better kid.”

He looked at the other faces before him. “You look scared. Huh. Do I look like I’m a threat?”

Sophia answered, “We’ll, I’m afraid of you being a man of your word.”

“A man.” Aliquis let out a small painful laugh. “Very few people have ever called me a man. I can tell I will not need to turn you inside out.”

And this was the true end of the cult of the imposter. The last branch of it snuffed out, it’s members rejoined with what was left of humanity.

And this brings us to the end of the tale of the no longer Last Man. Presuming only you of my inner circle shall ever read it, I hope it brings some illumination to your church of learning. I should especially thank my friend, Max Sutor, for encouraging me to push beyond the gruesomeness to the end of this tale.

In the event that someone outside my inner circle reads this, then firstly I apologize for any distress this tale has caused you. But again I swear to the heavens I merely served as a translator to the leaves of Cumean Sybil. My mind could never conjure the dark hallowed imagery and violence that accompanied this book, and this tale gave nowhere near the pleasure I’d found in writing The Last Man.

And if you are reading this as someone who I do not know of, or even someone outside the Perfectiblists, you may be curious to know of the other Cumean prophecies outside this tale. You may find it unfortunate that, unlike The Last Man and this particular tale, they were much shorter and in some cases very vague. One prophecy I recall was “A steel whale piloted by no one.” My companions spent hours contemplating it. Like scripture they offered many interpretations, especially regarding philosophical implications of “no one.” While piecing together various fragments occasionally others were brought in to see them. I recall once meeting Prince Dakkar of India. He was a handsome dashing young man with a mind for the field of engineering. Having little insight into the concept of no one, his mind lit up around the idea of a steel whale.

But alas, I have come to the end of writing of the leaves of Cumean Sybil. Whoever you may be, whether stranger or friend, may you find some enjoyment in this tale that I never could.

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