Posts Tagged ‘Cumaean Sibyl’

Frankenstein: The Last Man is my latest story in what I call the Crosso-verse. My first story was Frankenstein: The Illuminatus Complex, which was followed by a sequel exclusively on my website. This particular story will be exclusive to this blog.

Part One, The Unknown Tale

It has been over ten years since the publication of The Last Man. Despite the harshness it received from critics in the world of literature, it remains in my heart one of my fondest books. I stand by my adoration of this text in spite it resulting in being called diseased and other such terrible statements. Part of my loyalty to this shunned work is my own affection to characters. Many have presumed them to be, due to certain traits they possessed, analogues to both myself and those of my inner circle. However the strongest reason my heart clings to The Last man is the extraordinary circumstances in which it came about. My imagination has been referred to as sickening in regards to this text, when in fact, it did not come from my imagination at all.

As I’d detailed in the novel’s introduction, my encounter with this tale began during my tour of Italy. During this period of my life I suffered the most crushing pain, as both my dear children Clara and William were taken from me. Their memory never extinguished from my heart. Although this time is associated with immense sorrow and loss, the Italian countryside itself is still holds fond memories. As I have written elsewhere, the Italian country was painted by my memory as a paradise.

It was December of 1818 that in this paradise I explored a cave with a companion of my late husband. We were given a tour of what was allegedly the cave of Cumaean Sibyl, the ancient oracle of the Greek God Apollo who wrote prophecies in her cavern. My partner and I initially were not impressed. It’s blank walls bore no trace of visits from the divine. However we spied a small opening to decide, and wished to explore further. Our two guides insisted we not, vainly trying to warn us of specters as well as more natural hazards. Hence my companion grabbed the torch from our guide, and the two of us went on our way.

For but a moment the warnings might have appeared correct. The passage grew more and more narrow, to the point where we were almost crawling like infants. Fortunately we came into a wider space. We were able to stand upright again, but our torch blew out by a current of air. With no way to rekindle our light, we had no choice to go back the way we came.

But after some time heading back we accidentally stumbled into another area. It was a large cavern, the stone roof forming an almost dome like shape, and a hint of light crept in from above, giving the space an almost church-like atmosphere. It was in this place we made the most startling discovery, and my companion realized we were in fact in Sibyl’s cave, as it was filled with leaves and pieces of bark, all of which had various writings on them. What was very strange were the languages of the writings ranged from ancient Chaldee and Egyptian Hieroglyphics, to dialects of English and Italian. The writings did contain what were then prophecies, descriptions of various events, including names that would be now known to modern people.

Over the course of time we excavated our discovery, only sharing it with a select few. Our acquaintances obsessed over what the ancient prophetess might tell us about today’s world.  What captured my attention more was a specific tale of loss and tragedy, which I naturally gravitated toward. The tale was not of our time, nor of any time in the past, but in fact the setting was in a time long after ours. At first my acquaintances were intensely eager for me to unfold the narrative, but quickly dismissed it as the tale offered little speculation as to how this world of far tomorrows differed from our own. Still I continued on, sensing I had some duty to complete the tale, and needing something to occupy my mind from the unbearable tragedies my life had befallen.

The story was intensely tragic itself. It was a tale of catastrophe that reached every corner of the Earth. The end of the tale featured one lone survivor, hence my titling the story The Last Man.

As I’d mentioned it was not greeted warmly, and I promised my editor my next writing to be of greater spirits. Subsequent work was better received, such as my novel Lodore, but the leaves of Cumean Sibyl always beckoned back to me. What no one knew, perhaps because no one asked, was The Last Man was not Sibyl’s final prediction. Events of my creative and personal life delayed me often, but soon I was able to piece together one more narrative taking place after the events of my apparent least favored work. In some ways connected to the first narrative, but with certain characteristics that simultaneously strike it dissimilar. It seems a tragedy that only a few will experience this tale, but perhaps it for the best. While The Last Man was savaged, the events of this new tale are so shocking I fear the literary community may not even believe it came from my hand. Violence and horror is hardly a thing to be associated with my work, and this tale is filled with such. And there is one particular creature, and I use this word because I dread to even think it a man, let alone a man who presumably, according to the oracle, existed, or will exist, or, as impossible as it sounds, could even exist now. A creature so unbelievable no one could ever think to associate it with my name.

I have delayed the telling of the tale long enough. I’ve accepted the probability that only you of my inner circle shall ever read it. May you find some pleasure in it that I never could.

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